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Author Topic: why did Zuko go to Ozai for advice instead of Mai in the promise?  (Read 8821 times)
Misty23
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« on: Oct 06, 2014 07:18 am »

I never quite understood the logic behind this - I thought Zuko would want to be a leader entirely different to that of his father. Plus Mai openly said if he had any problems to talk to her, why doesn't he? She supported his decision to betray the fire nation in the episode the boiling rock and she tried to help when he was stressing out about not being invited to the war meeting
 So why on earth after all that time is he still hiding important stuff from her?
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chicken_sokka
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« Reply #1 on: Oct 06, 2014 01:45 pm »

Because he figured his father had more experience ruling a nation.
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« Reply #2 on: Oct 06, 2014 01:51 pm »

Because PLOT.
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Ikkin
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« Reply #3 on: Oct 06, 2014 06:11 pm »

I never quite understood the logic behind this - I thought Zuko would want to be a leader entirely different to that of his father. Plus Mai openly said if he had any problems to talk to her, why doesn't he? She supported his decision to betray the fire nation in the episode the boiling rock and she tried to help when he was stressing out about not being invited to the war meeting
 So why on earth after all that time is he still hiding important stuff from her?

Zuko's primary issue was fear that he'd made the wrong decision and gone bad again.  He probably didn't go to Mai due to shame.  And, since he was looking for advice about how to be comfortable in his choices rather than about what choices to make, he thought Ozai might actually be able to help (since Ozai never cared what anyone thought about his choices =P ).
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« Reply #4 on: Oct 06, 2014 06:17 pm »

Um...because Ozai had years of experience at running a nation and Mai had none?
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Misty23
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« Reply #5 on: Oct 06, 2014 06:21 pm »

Fair point but doesnt explain why he kept stuff like that from her.
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Maivry
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« Reply #6 on: Oct 06, 2014 07:50 pm »

And, since he was looking for advice about how to be comfortable in his choices rather than about what choices to make, he thought Ozai might actually be able to help (since Ozai never cared what anyone thought about his choices =P ).

So? I think Mai is very comfortable with her choices without being a psychopath. Even the Promise maintained this decisiveness of hers despite the fact it completely went against her previously most definitive decision to stay loyal to Zuko against all odds.

Zuko has demonstrated reluctance to get people he cares about involved with his problems. He explained that that was the original reason he left Mai in the Fire Nation, of course, but the comics also demonstrated it with his reluctance to seek out Iroh's help, as well. Even though Iroh thought he should have sought his help, Zuko didn't want to bother him in his repose.

Ergo, Zuko wasn't opposed to dragging Ozai down with his problems.

I find it hard to believe that Zuko thought it through even as far as that, to be honest, but it's somewhat more palatable to imagine than no reason at all.
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« Reply #7 on: Oct 06, 2014 07:54 pm »

And, since he was looking for advice about how to be comfortable in his choices rather than about what choices to make, he thought Ozai might actually be able to help (since Ozai never cared what anyone thought about his choices =P ).

So? I think Mai is very comfortable with her choices without being a psychopath. Even the Promise maintained this decisiveness of hers despite the fact it completely went against her previously most definitive decision to stay loyal to Zuko against all odds.

Zuko has demonstrated reluctance to get people he cares about involved with his problems. He explained that that was the original reason he left Mai in the Fire Nation, of course, but the comics also demonstrated it with his reluctance to seek out Iroh's help, as well. Even though Iroh thought he should have sought his help, Zuko didn't want to bother him in his repose.

Ergo, Zuko wasn't opposed to dragging Ozai down with his problems.

I find it hard to believe that Zuko thought it through even as far as that, to be honest, but it's somewhat more palatable to imagine than no reason at all.

I wasn't saying Zuko thought Mai couldn't help.  He just didn't want to push his problems on her, as you said (as well as possibly being afraid she'd think worse of him for making the wrong decision in the first place).  The bit you quoted was only meant to show why he thought going to Ozai was a good idea.  ^^;
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Maivry
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« Reply #8 on: Oct 06, 2014 08:02 pm »

That still leaves the "without being a psychopath" part. Grin
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« Reply #9 on: Oct 07, 2014 07:13 am »

Lousy writing. /Thread. Tongue Honestly, there's no reason Zuko should have gone to ask Ozai for advice instead of Iroh. Iroh would be glad to help out and since he was meant to be Fire Lord after Azulon died or retired he would probably know enough about running the FN to help Zuko.
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« Reply #10 on: Oct 07, 2014 08:38 am »

Lousy writing. /Thread. Tongue Honestly, there's no reason Zuko should have gone to ask Ozai for advice instead of Iroh. Iroh would be glad to help out and since he was meant to be Fire Lord after Azulon died or retired he would probably know enough about running the FN to help Zuko.
Iroh doesn't seem to have any experience running a country. Ozai does.
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« Reply #11 on: Oct 07, 2014 10:34 am »

Iroh was groomed for the position since birth and had much experience in leading the military. He also would know the inner workings of the political sphere as well as understand basic human behavior. Ozai is a sociopath through and through. Ozai may have led the Fire Nation, but he's still not the best one to go to for advice. If Zuko went to him to do the opposite of what Ozai would do and gain a little insight, then it would make sense.
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badstudent
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« Reply #12 on: Oct 07, 2014 12:02 pm »

Zuko didn't go to Iroh for the same reason he didn't go to Mai; he didn't want to burden them with his problems because he is self-sacrificing. I mean seriously, Iroh retired on the other side of the world; Zuko didn't want to drag him back into the life he no longer wants. It's noble but stupid, which is Zuko's thing. And he's obviously realized he can ask Iroh for help by the beginning of The Search.

The Avatar fandom is ridiculous about wanting the Gaang to be absolutely perfect in the comics and LoK.
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« Reply #13 on: Oct 07, 2014 12:23 pm »

Nobody said he has to be perfect, but at least having a little common sense wouldn't hurt. In what conceivable way did Zuko think it was a good idea to not let others know of his plans and then to top it all off march into battle wearing his father's phoenix king helmet? The fandom is not ridiculous for pointing out flaws that make drama just for the sake of a plot.
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Maivry
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« Reply #14 on: Oct 07, 2014 12:35 pm »

Yeahhh, I'm okay with flawed gaang, but their characterization can't be jerked around just for the sake of a melodramatic plot. Why couldn't he have oscillated between his choices (a la the story of the hawk and the turtle-crab, which I quite liked) without comparing his every move against what his father thinks? Especially since he has plenty of evidence to think what his father thinks is the opposite of what he should do. It just doesn't make sense for Zuko to turn into his father, but they went that route so Aang could be provoked into the Avatar State multiple times, or something.
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« Reply #15 on: Oct 07, 2014 12:53 pm »

It wasn't a good idea, but that doesn't make it bad writing. And it definitely wasn't out of character for Zuko who is not known for making good ideas and thinking things through.

The clash in The Promise isn't there just for drama. It comes from the political struggle between the EK and the FN, and personal drama between Zuko and Aang from which they both grow as characters. It's set one year after the war's end featuring young characters dealing with complex political issues while under a ton of stress. They're inexperienced at this kind of thing, and its necessary to show them messing up early into their political lives and how they manage to pull through it.
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« Reply #16 on: Oct 07, 2014 01:17 pm »

Just because Zuko has made bad decisions in the past doesn't excuse anyone who writes him making bad decisions from being a bad writer. At most it's a neutral thing.

When it comes to the drama, I agree that the political situation presents very logical reasons for why there would be tension and Zuko would be unsure about what to do about it. But it doesn't make sense that Aang would agree to take out Zuko if he ever turned into his father, especially considering Aang didn't really take out his father in the first place. Yet the trilogy is named for this very agreement between them. The conflict was trying to make it look like Zuko was turning evil and Aang had to take him down, but we had little to no reason to believe it would actually turn out that way. And the only reason it even got as convincing as it did was because Zuko made the illogical choice of going to Ozai first, rather than finding anyone else with experience who he could trust. I dunno, if he wouldn't drag people like Mai and Iroh into his life, couldn't he have tried talking to Chief Arnook or Hakoda or something? Bumi? Other members of the White Lotus?

Nope, Ozai is the most logical choice. That tension was just added for drama.

I find his going to Ozai even more perplexing, because he seems to think Ozai experienced the same pressures as him... did he? Zuko was suffering from anxiety over assassination attempts, which Ozai plausibly had to deal with, but they were never because he was trying to restore balance or bring peace to the world. That doesn't seem like a problem that Ozai would be understanding about. I'm sure if anyone attempted to assassinate with Ozai, he simply would have dispatched with them and never lost sleep over it. Obviously that's not a route Zuko should have taken, and I think even he would have the presence of mind to realize that after all he'd been through.
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« Reply #17 on: Oct 07, 2014 04:25 pm »

Zuko didn't ask Mai because he considers Mai nothing more than a pet who can be told to "Stay!"

Canon.

If he thought she had a brain that gloomy skull of hers, he'd expect her to make his own decisions.
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« Reply #18 on: Oct 07, 2014 04:58 pm »

Gene Yang said in an interview that Aang's agreeing to off Zuko if it came to it was based on a Buddhist thought on assisted suicide as opposed to murder. The air nomads are largely based on Buddhists. Plus, I seriously doubt Aang had any reason to believe Zuko would get to that point when they made the deal (and Zuko pressured him into it anyway). Honestly, this part is overblown. He attacks Zuko in an Avatar State rage that he is quickly talked down from by Katara. Once things really go south, Aang does consider having to kill Zuko, but he is troubled by the idea and ultimately decides against it (even cutting ties with Roku over it). The conflict is never will Aang kill Zuko; it's how will they work things out?

Zuko is struggling under stress as the leader of a nation, and Aang has to keep balance in a much more nuanced situation than fighting Firelord Ozai. Aang is also struggling with restoring balance (the original national boundaries and reviving Air Nomad traditions) and accepting/promoting the changing world. Neither of them are in a position to be easily making good decisions, and considering their inexperience them not messing things up would be unbelievable. It's much more interesting to see them overcome problems than get everything right immediately.

Zuko goes to Ozai because he under incredible stress and "wants to know how [Ozai] was able to sleep peacefully in spite of the pressures of the throne." Ozai manipulates the conversation. Mai and Iroh don't have personal experience as Firelord, and Zuko doesn't want to burden them. Ozai is right there for immediate advice (this is a time before modern mass communication). Ozai has run the country Zuko runs. When you've got international problems going on, it's not really the best idea to share your weaknesses with leaders of other nations. Ozai is in prison, and Zuko likely believes he'll hold all the power in their conversation.
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« Reply #19 on: Oct 07, 2014 05:10 pm »

Gene Yang said in an interview that Aang's agreeing to off Zuko if it came to it was based on a Buddhist thought on assisted suicide as opposed to murder.

And this is a load of bison poop. Zuko only asked to be killed if he got like Ozai. Aang could clearly see that Zuko had not descended to the point where he was getting off on lighting little boys on fire. That Aang was considering killing Zuko was not Aang helping with assisted suicide, it was Aang considering a strategic assassination because he was annoyed. Aang going into the Avatar State out of anger just proves this.


Zuko goes to Ozai because he under incredible stress and "wants to know how [Ozai] was able to sleep peacefully in spite of the pressures of the throne."

Apparently, Zuko forgot that Ozai was a sociopath who got off on lighting little boys on fire.

Ozai has run the country Zuko runs.

This is a load of bison poop. Ozai didn't run the same country Zuko runs. Ozai ran an empire that was at war with every single other nation in the world, and considered outright genocide to be a viable method of international relations. Ozai's regime didn't recognize the sovereignty of any other nation, never had negotiations with any other regime, and didn't even understand the concept of compromise.

Zuko is running a peacetime nation, in the process of a delicate transfer of land with another nation of equal strength and military preparation, trying to find the best solution for a population of civilians who are being displaced from their generational home.

In other words, Zuko went to see Ozai because CLIFFHANGER, and let's just dash over the explanation because even the author can't be bothered to come up with something that make a lick of sense after even a moment of thought.
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badstudent
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« Reply #20 on: Oct 07, 2014 05:51 pm »

Aang attacked Zuko while in a rage in the Avatar State then backed down immediately once Katara quickly talked him down. He didn't calmly, and in a fairly clear piece of mind, consider taking Zuko out until the last book when he was talking to Katara and Roku after it looked like war was once again at hand. Roku even told him he may have to kill Zuko in part 1, which Aang ignored until his short moment of rage provoked by Zuko. He was still full of doubt and clearly did not want to do it, but he considered it a potential option (that Zuko himself brought up) just as he did consider killing Ozai in the Avatar finale. Ultimately he decided not to because he listened to Katara's thoughts on the Yu Dao situation and even severed ties to his spiritual adviser who wanted him to kill Zuko.

Zuko going to Ozai was not a good decision, but it was in character and understandable considering his position. Zuko's reasons for it don't have to be right (they really weren't); they just have to be understandable and in character (which they were). Aang is able to peacefully stop the conflict at the end because he had been confiding in Katara and listened to her opinion and advice. Zuko nearly plunged the world into another war because he internalizes problems and shut out Mai. Both of them listened to bad advice, but Aang had the external support to better deal with that bad advice.
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« Reply #21 on: Oct 08, 2014 06:10 pm »

Any time Aang is glowing continuously, he's not in control of the Avatar State. This is backed by the depiction in the cartoon, and even The Rift - Part 2 has Yangchen specifically comment that she hadn't fully mastered the Avatar State by the time of the incident she's flashbacking, and so it's depicted as being a continuous glow instead of a brief flash.

Thus, Aang was emotionally overwhelmed whenever he used the Avatar State in The Promise, including when he attacked Zuko in the final battle.

So, we've established that Aang was raging at Zuko, and that nothing of the situation matched Zuko's terms of the titular promise. Thus, we can conclude that all the stuff about "assisted suicide" is Bison poop, and Aang was simply acting wildly out of character.


Zuko going to Ozai was not a good decision, but it was in character and understandable considering his position.

It's not, is what I'm saying. It makes no sense that Zuko would ask a sociopath for advice about dealing with guilt, or that he would ask a warmongering warrior about peaceful compromise. Zuko is aware that Ozai is both of these things, which is the basis for his whole speech to his father on the Day of Black Sun. No explanation was even offered in the comic for why Zuko would suddenly think these things, evidence of just how artificial the whole plot is.
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« Reply #22 on: Oct 26, 2014 04:36 am »

Um...because Ozai had years of experience at running a nation and Mai had none?

Yeah, but I always felt Zuko subconsciously still harbored a level of admiration for Ozai. Been his father and all, he still somewhat admires his abilities. That's the vibe it gave me anyway. He could seriously ask anyone else, but despite everything that has happened and all his growth, he still had a little, tiny bit of desire to learn from him. He did learn the mistake of asking political councel to a psycopath.
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« Reply #23 on: Oct 26, 2014 04:41 pm »

I think Zuko just has a BIG thing for visiting relatives secretly in prison!
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« Reply #24 on: Oct 28, 2014 04:42 pm »

I think Zuko just has a BIG thing for visiting relatives secretly in prison!

It seems so Roll Eyes I still believe it makes sense for him to go to Ozai. Deep down he still felt the need to get close to his father. Understandable if you ask me.
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But four babies playing a game can make a playworld which licks your real world hollow... I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia.

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