Daughter to Fire Lord Ozai, Azula is Zuko's 14-year-old younger sister. Azula's a lot like the typical "little Miss Perfect" younger sister, only she's also a deadly Firebender. Azula has always been the favorite of the Fire Lord and everyone else for that matter - everyone except Zuko. Azula excels at fitting her royal role. She is extremely gracious, smooth and put-together. But, she is also cold, calculating, and precise. Zuko will tell you that Azula is "lucky." Things just tend to turn out in her favor.
Princess Azula was born to Prince Ozai and Princess Ursa in 85 AG and was named after her paternal grandfather, Fire Lord Azulon. Azula grew up in the riches, the splendor, and the privileges of royalty in the Fire Nation. Her sharp wits and the fact that she was a firebending prodigy gained her great attention and acclaim, which quickly made her Ozai's favorite child. Her father began raising her as his true heir from an early stage, taking her into his confidence and educating her in politics, while on the other hand neglecting Zuko. She later attended the Royal Fire Academy for Girls, where she met Mai and Ty Lee, two daughters of Fire Nation noblemen.
Nevertheless, when Azula and Zuko were little, cohesion and peace were still strong among the young family. Zuko and Azula often reenacted the final duel of Love amongst the Dragons after watching the play during their frequent vacations at Ember Island. Both siblings happily recalled these memories many years later. However, as they grew older, the siblings eventually grew apart.
Though Azula was clearly favored by Ozai, she felt that her mother loved Zuko much more than her, creating a rift of jealousy between her and Ursa and Zuko. Confronted daily with this mother/son bonding, Azula often attempted to gain Ursa's attention in some way. However, these attempts usually resulted in family quarrels. Around 94 AG, Azula walked together with her mother and brother in the royal garden. Feeling neglected and bored as Ursa only talked with Zuko, Azula ignited a flower, prompting Zuko to tell on her to Ursa. Ursa scolded Azula for disrespecting the royal garden, but the princess just said that the flower "deserved it", as it had not grown to her liking. In retaliation for telling on her, the Fire Nation princess burned Zuko's bottom, calling him a tattletale. However, Ursa promptly sent her to her room. Scowling about this treatment, Azula stormed off. These kinds of scenes happened on regular basis, and due to this, the Fire Princess began to feel increasing hostility toward Zuko and Ursa.
Months later, Azula and her family ate together at the palace dining hall. The princess, unsatisfied with the conservative training techniques of her firebending teacher, happily told her father that she set his britches on fire after being lectured by him. Ozai agreed that the teacher sounded like a fool for insisting on specified forms and declared that he would send him to the colonies as punishment. Full of spiteful joy, Azula said that it "serve[d] him right" and called him a "dummy". However, Zuko attempted to defend the tutor, but was promptly silenced by his father. Ozai continued to reprimand his son for his poor firebending skills, comparing him with Azula and her natural talent for the bending art. Revealing that he would have almost discarded Zuko because he thought that he was a nonbender when the prince was born, Azula triumphantly smiled at her shocked brother.
Even though Azula often displayed her natural talents, along with her tendency for malice and perfection, they were especially clear when the princess played with her friends in the royal garden in 95 AG. When Ty Lee succeeded in performing a cartwheel after Azula had failed while attempting to do her own, Azula responded by shoving her friend to the ground, out of jealousy, and laughing gleefully. When she saw ten-year-old Mai attempting to hide her crush on her brother Zuko, Azula used her acting and cunning to convince her mother to make Zuko play with them. During their game, she proceeded to place an apple on Mai's head and set it on fire, forcing Zuko to tackle Mai into a fountain to put out the fire. She found great pleasure in embarrassing the two of them.
A true tactician, Azula desired power from a young age, suggesting that her father would make a better Fire Lord than the heir apparent, her uncle, Iroh. She torched a doll that her uncle had sent her as a gift from the Earth Kingdom, preferring the weapon Zuko had gotten over a simple doll. Not long after this, her cousin Lu Ten was dead, causing Iroh to abandon his legendary six-hundred-day siege at Ba Sing Se, which in turn prompted Azula to call him "a quitter and a loser". She even showed some slight disrespect to her grandfather as when she was told to call him "Fire Lord Azulon", she responded with, "Can't we just call him grandfather? He's not exactly the powerful firebender he used to be".
Shortly after receiving this news, Azula and the rest of her family went before Fire Lord Azulon, and she put on a spectacular display of her firebending prowess. After her routine, she watched smugly as Zuko tried to copy her performance, but his attempt failed. When Azulon ordered everyone except Ozai out of the room, Azula grabbed her brother and hid behind the curtains. From there, she and Zuko watched their father request that he be made Fire Lord instead of Iroh. When Zuko fled in fear from the Fire Lord's anger, Azula stayed behind to watch with amusement. She later met her brother back in his room, claiming gleefully that she heard her grandfather sentence him to death. She taunted him about it until their mother angrily pulled her away for a private talk. Under pressure from her mother, Azula confessed what she overheard and was told by her mother to go to her room, which she did while sporting a devious smile. A short time later, Azula played with the knife that Zuko had received from Iroh and coolly announced to him that no one knew where their mother was and their grandfather had passed away during the night. Soon after that, she watched her father's coronation with glee. No amicable feelings developed between her and Zuko throughout the next few years, as Ozai apparently began to favor her more and more over her brother during this period.
Azula, alongside Iroh and Zhao, watched Zuko's Agni Kai with his father. When Ozai burned her brother's face, she smiled smugly in triumph, along with Zhao.When Zuko was banished from the Fire Nation, Azula officially became Ozai's heir. For the next three years, she would continue her relentless training in firebending, strategy, and combat, until she refined herself enough to serve her father. By this time, her firebending advanced to the level where her fire was blue and she could create lightning thus increasing her overall bending power and intensity, making her a formidable prodigy.
Shortly after Zhao's failed siege on the Northern Water Tribe, Azula was summoned by her father to his throne room. As she knelt before Fire Lord Ozai, he commented that Zuko was a failure and Iroh was a traitor. He charged her with a mission: to find and capture her uncle and brother.
After Fire Lord Ozai sent her on a mission to capture her brother and uncle,Azula formed a small and elite team composed of her two closest friends,Mai and Ty Lee. During their pursuit, they encountered Team Avatar and established them as a prime target.
When Fire Lord Ozai branded Iroh a traitor and her brother Zuko a failure, Azula willingly obeyed her father's command to capture them. While en route, she worked toward perfecting her ability to create lightning with the aid of her advisers and teachers, Lo and Li. Azula eventually found Zuko and Iroh in a village resortand attempted to capture them both, luring Zuko with the false promise of being accepted home with open arms. Zuko believed his sister, but Iroh was skeptical, and though he boarded the ship with Zuko, he remained incredulous and vigilant. After the captain accidentally referred to Zuko and Iroh as prisoners, Zuko became enraged and began dueling Azula. She easily evaded his attacks and struck back with taunts and brief attacks. She almost managed to fire a bolt of lightning at him in an attempt to finish him off, however Iroh intervened. He redirected the lightning toward a nearby cliff, kicked her off her ship, and proceeded to flee from the resort with Zuko. Soon after, she threatened the local Earth Kingdom villagers with cruel punishment from the Fire Lord should one of them harbor the traitors.
After being advised by her twin masters that traveling with the Royal Procession was not a wise choice, Azula agreed and decided to abandon the unit, opting to find and recruit her two childhood friends. She first attempted to recruit Ty Lee, but the acrobat initially declined the offer because she enjoyed her life at the circus. To convince her to leave, Azula attended her performance that night and ordered the circus master to set Ty Lee's safety net on fire and release the circus' dangerous animals, scaring the young performer. Azula met Ty Lee after the performance, and her friend agreed to join her mission, telling her that "the universe [had] given [her] strong hints that it [was] time for a career change." The two traveled to Omashu, where Azula had an easier time recruiting Mai, who was willing to leave the boredom of the conquered city in favor of going on an exciting hunt. While in the city, Azula met with Ukano to discuss matters of the city and berated him for his failure at his task of governing the city. After this, she renamed Omashu as the city of New Ozai in honor of her father.
While in the city, Azula first encountered the Avatar, Aang. She and her new allies were almost able to defeat Aang and his friends, but their overall unpreparedness, not being able to work as a team, and a trump card delivered by a shrewd KingBumi enabled Team Avatar the time needed to escape the city. Soon after the battle, she and her friends left the city and named the Avatar as a new target in addition to capturing her brother and uncle.
Princess Azula and her two friends relentlessly pursued the Avatar's group, using a highly advanced Fire Nation tank train and three mongoose lizards as mounts to pursue them night and day. After wearing down the foursome, Azula decided they should split up after uncovering Aang's deception to lead the team off course. Azula encountered the Avatar in an abandoned town and prepared to fight him; however, she was interrupted by her brother Zuko, who had tracked them and had his own plans for capturing Aang. Azula fought the two boys and, despite the fact that most of her opponents' attack were concentrated on her, she dominated the fight, easily landing a knockout blow on Zuko and later trapping Aang beneath some fallen rubble. Victory was denied to her, however, when Katara, Sokka and Toph showed up to rescue Aang, while Iroh arrived to help Zuko. Cornered, she claimed she would be willing to give in, saying that "a princess surrenders with honor", but to everyone's surprise and dismay, Azula took advantage of Iroh momentarily being off guard and seriously wounded him with a bolt of blue fire. She was able to escape as the four benders attacked with their respective elements.
A few weeks later, Azula and her allies oversaw War Minister Qin's efforts to use a giant drill to break through the Outer Wall of Ba Sing Se. When the engineers reported an accident involving an ambushed engineer, stolen drill schematics, and further sabotage, Azula realized it was the work of the Avatar. Upon finding Aang, Katara, and Sokka attempting to break the engine's braces, Azula forced Aang and his gang to quickly flee. She sent Mai and Ty Lee after Katara and Sokka while she followed Aang, once again claiming personal ownership over the Avatar's capture. She caught Aang trying to bore a hole at the top of the drill and they began a brutal match. Her firebending nearly overwhelmed the young Avatar, but he continued to fight as the drill bored its way through the wall. The fight ended in a rather undignified manner when the drill's slurry pipes burst and Azula collided with Aang; both nearly fell off the drill. Azula tried to regain the advantage, but Aang was faster, as by the time she had recovered, he was already on his way up the wall to land a powerful final blow to destroy the drill. Azula gave one final strike with flame, but was a second too slow. Aang's powerful impact on the earthen wedge destroyed the drill and knocked Azula away, marking the Fire Nation's defeat.
Following this incident, Azula began hunting for the Avatar's bison, following his trail of fur. When the princess and her companions finally came across him, he was in a forest clearing being tended to by a group of female warriors—the Kyoshi Warriors. After a few snide remarks in which she dismissed the warriors as the Avatar's "fan girls", Azula and her friends initiated a fight. Azula engaged Suki in a swift one-on-one battle and managed to disarm the warrior and kick her to the ground; however, she was distracted by another Kyoshi Warrior and turned to fight her instead. By the time she returned to Suki, Suki had already driven Appa off with a flaming branch. Suki proceeded to take a firm stance, whereas Azula condescendingly teased her again, before rushing in to battle—the girls clashed, but the rest of the fight was left unseen.
Later, it was revealed that the Kyoshi Warriors did not claim victory in this battle, as Azula and her team had stolen some of their attire and disguised themselves as Kyoshi Warriors, thereby successfully deceiving the Earth King and infiltrating the city.
Shortly after, the Earth King revealed that he was having a troubling week with Long Feng and the Dai Li planning to take over. Azula's initial smug amusement at the irony of the situation turned to a sudden concern when he revealed the Earth Kingdom's plan to invade the Fire Nation on the day of a solar eclipse. Azula was visibly caught off-guard by this information and immediately began to consider what to do.
Afterward, she confided to Ty Lee and Mai that she planned to take control of the Dai Li and take down Ba Sing Se from the inside. She developed a plan to inform the Dai Li of their true nature and thus spread the word on to their leader, Long Feng. The plan was successful, and Azula was taken by Dai Li agents in the middle of the night to Long Feng, who struck a deal with her. He gave her control of the Dai Li to overthrow the government in exchange for the Avatar.
Meanwhile, Katara discovered that Zuko and Iroh were in the city and approached Azula, thinking her to be Suki, informing her of her brother's presence. Azula revealed herself, and before Katara could warn anyone, Ty Lee took the youngwaterbender down. Azula proceeded to lock her in the Crystal Catacombs beneath the city and have a "family reunion" by sending a letter to Iroh and Zuko, telling them that the Earth King wished for them to serve him tea. Near the beginning of coup, the pair fell into her trap and became surrounded by Dai Li agents. Iroh managed to escape them and the palace—Zuko, on the other hand, chose to stay behind to face Azula, challenging her to an Agni Kai. His sister nonchalantly turned him down, and he was subsequently overwhelmed by the Dai Li. He was later imprisoned in the same dungeon as Katara.
Finally, Azula unleashed her coup upon the city. She had the Dai Li arrest the Council of Five, the Earth King's highest ranking generals, while she personally captured the Earth King. Sokka and Toph were arrested as well while attempting to warn the Earth King of the danger, and Azula sent them off to a separate dungeon. Immediately afterward, Long Feng arrived on the scene and commanded the Dai Li to arrest Azula, smugly proclaiming a double-cross. The laugh was all Azula's, though, as she gleefully explained that the Dai Li were so impressed by her that they no longer knew who to follow. In fact, a Dai Li agent had remarked earlier to Long Feng that Azula was "both terrifying and inspirational at the same time", a perfect example of her talents. In a smug and verbose speech, she denounced him for his lack of the divine right to rule—something she possessed and boasted about. She ended by commanding Long Feng to bow to her since he could not compete with somebody born to rule. He grudgingly obliged, saying that she had beaten him at his own game. She scathingly replied that he was "never even a player".
Azula appeared in the Catacombs' prison cell after Aang and Iroh found Katara and Zuko. Aang and Katara had been sent off by Iroh to find Sokka and Toph while he remained behind for a moment with Zuko. Once alone, he tried to persuade Zuko to follow his lead and choose good. However, his choice was made complicated when Azula suddenly entered. Using the Dai Li to immobilize Iroh, she put her tongue and wit to the ultimate test, promising that their father would restore Zuko's honor and that she needed him—she promised him everything if he would help her. She closed the argument by leaving him to choose his own destiny and went to battle Katara and the Avatar. However, things were not going in her favor during the beginning of the battle, as her attacks could not break through their defense, and she found herself surrounded on both sides by Aang and Katara. Just when it seemed that she might lose the battle, her work came to fruition. Zuko arrived, and after a moment of consideration, chose to attack the Avatar, triggering a long battle to ensue. After some time, Azula attacked Katara, but only to be held back in a dire predicament with one leg and one arm immobilized in water. Azula was saved by Zuko's timely intervention, and she gave him an approving look before proceeding to fight the Avatar. After disabling him, she moved to end the stalemate between her brother and Katara. Together, she and Zuko easily overwhelmed the waterbender. The Dai Li joined them within a few moments, and Azula and her brother appeared unstoppable.
Aang closed himself off in a chamber of crystal; the rest of the room stared as he entered the Avatar State. However, Azula positioned herself behind the Avatar and used her lightning to strike the Avatar in the back before he could unleash his own assault. She would have successfully severed the Avatar Cycle if not for Katara's timely recovery and swift waterbending; all the same, the Avatar was unable to fight, and Azula and Zuko were unquestionably the victors. As the siblings approached the defeated duo, though, they were blocked by the appearance of Iroh. He temporarily held off Azula, Zuko, and the Dai Li, allowing himself to be captured once Katara had made her escape with Aang. Later, in the Earth King's throne room, Azula assured a concerned Zuko that he had restored his honor by joining her, and that Iroh had been the one who had betrayed him—not the other way around. His honor was restored, she explained, for after a hundred years, she and Zuko had finally conquered the Earth Kingdom city of Ba Sing Se.
- Princess Azula is regarded more as a Memetic Molester, ever since that "favorite prisoner" line she used in regard to Suki in "The Day of Black Sun"mini arc. Which had more than a few fans wanting to be her prisoner, themselves, but gladly envisioning Mai, Ty Lee, and even her brother, Zuko, in their stead.
- In Avatar the Last Airbender: The Search, Ursa was forced to marry Ozai under threat of her parents, her and her lover being killed, and went on to have Zuko and Azula, who can be considered G-rated versions of this trope since the rape part is only implied by context.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has Azula, who lies to everyone about everything, and is good enough to say she's "a four-hundred foot tall purple platypus bear with pink horns and silver wings" and not set off Toph's Living Lie Detector abilities. The most spectacular example is when she managed to infiltrate Ba Sing Se and conquer the city in a few days (something which the Fire Nation had been trying and failing to do for 100 years) using nothing but lies and manipulations. Unfortunately, she couldn't successfully lie to herself, which resulted in her Villainous Breakdown.