Ty Lee was a cheerful and energetic teenage girl who hailed from the Fire Nation. As the daughter of a nobleman, she attended the Royal Fire Academy for Girls with her friends, Princess Azula and Mai. As a child, Ty Lee dealt with six sisters who shared identical appearances with her. This caused her to feel a loss of individuality, and led her to have a longing to be a unique, recognizable person, and a desire for attention from other people.Because of this, after she matured, she ran away from her home and joined a Fire Nation circus, becoming a skilled acrobatic performer and gaining more personal attention.
Ty Lee was a formidable opponent at hand-to-hand combat, often utilizingchi blocking, a unique form of martial arts that attacks the pressure points located in the human body. By striking these, she was able to disrupt that individual's chi flow and temporarily paralyze them, removing their ability to use bending. Mai and Ty Lee were recruited by Princess Azula to hunt down and capture Prince Zuko and Iroh, and later Avatar Aang and his friends.
Mai later betrayed Azula to save Zuko's life, and when the infuriated princess retaliated, Ty Lee defended Mai by paralyzing Azula, which led to her imprisonment.While in prison, she met the Kyoshi Warriors for a second time and befriended them, and in return for teaching them how to chi block, they allowed her to join their group. Upon their release when the Hundred Year War ended, Ty Lee adopted their makeup and clothes, effectively becoming part of a matched set once again.
Born into a Fire Nation noble family in 85 AG, Ty Lee was one of seven identical sisters, the others being Ty Lin, Ty Lat, Ty Lao, Ty Liu, Ty Lum, and Ty Woo. In order to preserve a sense of individuality, the sisters each chose a different hobby and agreed to stay away from each other's so their parents could not compare them with one another. Despite that, Ty Lee still felt like she was part of a matched set and constantly had to compete for attention, often feeling neglected by her surroundings. She attended the prestigious Royal Fire Academy for Girls where she met Azula and Mai, with whom she developed a close friendship.Due to her friendship with the Fire Nation princess, Ty Lee was allowed to play with Mai and Azula at the Fire Nation Royal Palace. During one of those outings, Ty Lee demonstrated her superior skills in acrobatics by performing a series of cartwheels and somersaults, techniques which Azula was unable to mimic. As a result, Ty Lee was pushed to the ground by a jealous Azula, who subsequently laughed at her. Despite her indignant reaction to the princess's behavior, Ty Lee happily went along with Azula's plan to humiliate Mai and Zuko, on whom Mai had a crush. After Azula orchestrated a situation in which Mai and Zuko fell into a fountain, Ty Lee teased the pair about being "cute" together.
After Ty Lee ran away to join the circus, Azula tracked her down and attempted to recruit her to assist with the capture of the now-fugitive Zuko and Iroh. However, Ty Lee was at peace and happy with her lifestyle, claiming that her "Aura [had] never been pinker!" Azula, in an ostensibly friendly gesture, informed Ty Lee that she would attend that night's performance before leaving, while Ty Lee seemed rather uneasy and nervous about this. During the performance, Azula ordered theringmaster to set the net beneath the tightrope, on which Ty Lee was performing, ablaze and to release an assortment of dangerous animals, heightening the danger that Ty Lee would be in if she were to fall.
Afterward, when Azula told her she was looking forward to the next day's show, Ty Lee informed Azula that she would not be performing, due to the fact that "the universe [was] giving [her] strong hints that it [was] time for a career change." When Mai later asked her about the circus being her calling, Ty Lee noted that "Azula called a little louder." She accompanied Mai and Azula when they made a hostage trade, exchanging King Bumifor Tom-Tom, Mai's younger brother. After Mai called off the trade at Azula's suggestion, she handled herself well in the ensuing battle, using her chi blocking to disable Katara's waterbending. She and Mai were eventually defeated when Appaknocked them off the platform on which they had been battling. When they were leaving the city, Ty Lee gently teased Mai once again about her affections for Zuko, noting that it would be "interesting" for Mai to see him again.
Ty Lee, Mai, and Azula pursued Aang and his companions shortly after their confrontation at Omashu. When Sokka and Katara split from the Avatar, Ty Lee and Mai were charged with tracking down the siblings. The two overwhelmed them easily, but they were promptly sent flying into a river by an air blast from Appa. Once out of the water, Ty Lee commented, "Was it just me, or was that guy kind of cute?" in reference to Sokka.
Ty Lee, Mai, and Azula oversaw the attempt to breach the walls of the Earth Kingdom capital, Ba Sing Se. When the Terra Team was sent out to slow the drill, Azula ordered Mai and Ty Lee to deal with them. With the help of her companion, Ty Lee made quick work of the team, blocking their chi and rendering them disabled. Later, when Aang, Katara, and Sokka were found sabotaging the drill, Ty Lee once again acknowledged Sokka particularly, this time sending him a flirtatious look, to which Sokka responded with some light flirting of his own. When Azula sent Mai and Ty Lee after the fleeing siblings, Ty Lee followed them into the slurry waste pipeline. However, Katara and Toph bent the water and rock mixture, using it to plug up the waste tunnel while Ty Lee was trapped in it, thus thwarting her attempt to catch them. During this, Katara was presumably embittered toward Ty Lee because of her ability to impair bending and aggressively insulted Ty Lee, calling her a "circus freak". After the drill was destroyed, Ty Lee was launched out of the pipeline by the build-up of pressure and slammed into a rock platform, but was more or less unharmed.
After the defeat of the drill, Ty Lee played a minor role and only reappeared when helping Azula attack Suki and the other Kyoshi Warriors. During the battle, she showed concern over her physical appearance when she remarked that she and her friends were more attractive than the warriors they were fighting.
After Team Avatar departed from Ba Sing Se, Earth King Kuei gave an audience to three impostor Kyoshi Warriors, who were later revealed to be Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee in disguise. The girls used their false identities to aid their infiltration into the Earth Kingdom city, fooling both the Earth King and Team Avatar. Eventually, however, Katara rushed in with important news. She stated that Zuko and Iroh had entered the city, to which Azula responded that she would be sure to let the Earth King know. Katara quickly saw her gold eyes, recognizing them as Azula's, and prepared to attack the group. However, Ty Lee suddenly attacked Katara with a chi block, therefore allowing the trio to easily capture her.
After a successful coup against the government of the Earth Kingdom orchestrated by Azula, Ty Lee remarked playfully how cute Sokka was. While fighting Sokka, she claimed it was as if they were dancing. Ty Lee was last seen trying to teach the Earth King's bear, Bosco, how to do a handstand. While in the process of doing this, Toph earthbent her hands and feet to the floor, rendering her immobile.
Ty Lee and her friends vacationed for a short time at Lo and Li's beach house onEmber Island. At the beach, Ty Lee soon found herself being approached by a boy who helped her unpack and stood over her to provide her with shade. Not long after, another boy came with a seashell to present to Ty Lee as a gift. In no time at all, Ty Lee was surrounded by many admirers. During a kuai ball match, she attracted the attention of two boys, Chan and Ruon-Jian, who invited Ty Lee and Mai, and more reluctantly, Azula and Zuko, to a party that night.
During the party, Ty Lee was surrounded by the boys from the beach and many others and was forced to paralyze them with chi blocking to escape the crowd. Seeing this, Azula called Ty Lee a "tease" and said that none of the boys really cared about her. Ty Lee immediately started crying, clearly upset, and Azula hurriedly apologized and confided that she said those things because she was actually a little jealous of Ty Lee's popularity. Azula asked Ty Lee how to make boys like her and Ty Lee admitted that boys might be intimidated by Azula. Ty Lee advised her friend to act as if she was interested in whatever the boy was saying and to laugh frequently. Zuko was later kicked out of the party and Mai, Azula, and Ty Lee came down to the beach to find Zuko. After starting a campfire, Zuko mocked Ty Lee as a "circus freak". She subsequently revealed tearfully that she had six sisters who looked identical to her and that she had gone to the circus to have individuality. Because of her experiences, "circus freak" was a term she regarded as a compliment. Mai replied that the reason Ty Lee craved so much attention was because she received so little as a child.
The group subsequently began to open up to one another. With all their secrets revealed, the heaviness between the four seemed to vanish. Ty Lee commented that she would remember that night forever and that Lo and Li were correct about the beach's ability to reveal people's true selves. To celebrate their revelations, Azula decided on a fitting end to their night – the four later headed back to Chan's party, trashing the house and leaving it a ransacked mess. Together, the four of them forged their own memory of the place, uniting as friends for the first time in years.
Ty Lee made another appearance when she assisted Azula at the Boiling Rockmaximum-security prison. She and Azula confronted Sokka, Suki, Zuko, Hakoda, and Chit Sang, a firebending prisoner. Suki, well aware of Ty Lee's chi blocking techniques by this point, took great care to evade her attacks. When the guards were about to cut the line on the gondola in which Suki, Hakoda, Sokka, and Zuko were escaping, Ty Lee and Azula, who were dueling the escapees, jumped onto a passing gondola. Immediately after this, Ty Lee wore an unsure and anxious look on her face – either for Sokka, hinting that she may still have had some feelings for him, or for Zuko, her old childhood friend.
Back at the Boiling Rock, she saw Mai double-cross the Fire Nation guards. After some tension and an argument between Azula and Mai, the two prepared to attack each other. Azula was getting ready to attack Mai when Ty Lee turned against her as well, attacking her by blocking her chi and paralyzing her to protect Mai. Ty Lee quickly urged her dumbfounded friend to leave the scene, but they were arrested before they were able to flee. Azula ordered the guards to lock the two away and "let them rot", not wanting to be in their presence ever again as a punishment for their unfaithfulness. These events severely weakened Azula's mental state and played a part in her eventual defeat and nervous breakdown at the hands of Zuko and Katara.
Ty Lee and Mai were locked up at another prison, where they met the rest of the Kyoshi Warriors, until the defeat of Fire Lord Ozai during the coming of Sozin's Comet. While in prison, Ty Lee befriended her old enemies and gave them some lessons in chi blocking, which led to their bonding. After they were let out of prison, Ty Lee felt that the world was broken due to the war and wanted to help rebuild it, so she decided to join the Kyoshi Warriors. Together with her new comrades, she appeared on Fire Lord Zuko's coronation day in a Kyoshi Warrior uniform, elated to be a part of the warrior order. Sokka became hysterical, initially believing that Ty Lee was impersonating a Kyoshi Warrior again, but they explained their bonding while in prison, which proved to be enough to calm him.
- Ty Lee from Avatar: The Last Airbender claims to have the ability to read Auras, as she occasionally makes reference to the colors of other people's auras. While at the circus, she remarks that her aura has "never been pinker!" One season later, in "The Beach", she says that Mai's aura is a "pale, dingy, gray...." Considering Mai's personality, this is hardly surprising. No word on what color the other characters' auras are, though, since it never really came up outside of those two instances. It's really ambiguous whether she really has this power. Mai doesn't believe her, and for what we saw, Ty Lee just makes obvious statement about the person's mood. Plus, she's not exactly reliable.