When Aang finally faces the Firelord in the five part series finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender, no one has any idea how monumental this fight would be. There were teases of course, as it was a final showdown; but Aang vs Ozai came with a bang louder than anyone could have imagined.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the Aang vs Ozai fight, and discuss a few specifics on the epic event. More specifically, was it a bigger fight than that of Zuko and Azula’s; and why did Aang not kill Ozai?

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Aang Vs Ozai: Why Aang Did Not Kill Firelord Ozai

When Aang vs Ozai was at its very peak, Aang had the chance to kill Ozai. But in the series finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang did not. Instead, he let his personal beliefs lead him to spare Ozai.

Fire Lord Ozai was the primary villain of Avatar, having inherited his title and position as ruler of the Fire Nation from his father Azulon, who inherited it from his father, Sozin. It was Sozin who began the Hundred Year War, wiped out the Air Nomads; and plunged the world of Avatar into violence and chaos. But when Aang was faced with the opportunity to exact vengeance for the wrongdoings of Ozai and his ancestors, Aang chose not to kill Ozai.

In Avatar season 3, episode 21, “Sozin’s Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang,” culminates with Aang trapping Ozai by using earthbending and then forming a giant spear composed of all the elements. Aang plunges the spear toward Ozai, but at the last second, Aang stops and comes out of the Avatar State.

Aang says, “No, I’m not going to end it like this.” Before Ozai can attack Aang again, Aang traps him once again using earthbending and then uses energy bending — taught to him by a lion turtle, the originators of all bending — to take away Ozai’s firebending.

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So Why Didn’t Aang vs Ozai End With Ozai’s Death? 

The reason Aang chose to take away Ozai’s bending rather than kill him has to do with Aang’s beliefs as well as his personality. Aang has a strong moral compass that points toward nonviolence and diplomacy, when possible. Generally, Air Nomads are peaceful people who believe in the sanctity of all life (as such, they are also vegetarians) and they do not believe that any good comes from revenge.

Aang explains this to Katara just two episodes before the series finale. In season 3, episode 16, “The Southern Raiders,” Katara is desperate to find and kill the man who killed her mother, but Aang urges her to reconsider and warns her with a saying that he learned from the monks who raised him at the Southern Air Temple: “Revenge is like a two-headed rat viper. While you watch your enemy go down, you’re being poisoned yourself”

Aang vs Ozai: Understanding Aang’s ‘No Kill’ Rule

Aang, however, did not always practice as he preached, making the point a little less effective. In season 2, episode 11, “The Desert,” a buzzard wasp takes Aang’s flying lemur, Momo. Even after rescuing Momo, Aang kills the buzzard wasp when he didn’t need to – it was clearly an act of revenge.

Between sinking ships in the ocean and knocking airships out of the sky, Aang likely killed several people over the course of the series. While no one is shown to have died as a direct result of their actions – and it is, after all, a kid’s show – it’s worth noting that Aang didn’t seem to have as strict of a “no-kill” rule as the series finale would have us believe.

Zuko makes Aang promise to kill him if he becomes like his father and Aang reluctantly agrees. But shortly thereafter, Aang meditates with Avatar Roku, who tells Aang that he wishes he had killed Sozin when he saw what Sozin was becoming.

Aang is horrified by the prospect of killing his new friend, yet similarly begins to fear what Zuko might become. Wondering if Roku could have been right, Aang nearly does kill Zuko. Luckily, Katara is able to calm him out of the Avatar State and Aang apologizes to Zuko.

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The Avatar Is Every Part Only Human

While Aang was the Avatar, he was also human. He had weaknesses and sometimes became volatile, but it reveals something of Aang’s character that he only became angry when someone innocent was harmed or threatened, particularly those he loved, like his flying bison, Appa, and love interest, Katara.

Even then, he often chose mercy and peace over his impulses, which is why he chose to spare Fire Lord Ozai’s life. Avatar: The Last Airbender ends with Ozai in prison, while his son, Zuko, ascends the throne. Zuko and Aang work together to bring balance to the nations without the need for killing anyone.

Aang vs Ozai: Reasons Why Their Battle Was The Best In The Series

The stakes were raised to the max: running away definitely wasn’t to be considered, and losing would have meant that the characters would lose their lives, not to mention the Fire Nation would win the Hundred Year War. There was another fight going on at the same time; the fight between Zuko and Azula (featuring Katara) – but here are reasons why Aang vs Ozai was the better fight.

Aang Had Been Preparing for Aang vs Ozai Since The Series’ Beginning

Since the first season of Avatar, this battle was what propelled the plot forward: Aang had to master all four elements before the arrival of Sozin’s Comet so that he could defeat the Fire Lord and end the Hundred Year War. Although things got a bit more complicated given the fact that Ozai managed to elude him during the solar eclipse, an encounter with Aang and Ozai was always inevitable.

The emotional payoff of finally seeing this battle finally come to fruition can’t really be trumped by other fights in the franchise, no matter how anticipated those conflicts were as well.

The Fight Between Aang and Ozai Introduced The Concept of Energybending

While viewers may have not known it at the time; energybending would become an important element of the franchise moving forward.

Aang’s newfound ability to deprive someone of bending only helped to usher in Book 1 of The Legend of Korra; giving this new show a perfect way to connect to its predecessor. It also helped to expand on a brand new concept that fans didn’t get to delve into as much.

Given that Korra often involved herself with spirits, energy bending only became more pivotal to the series; making the conclusion to Ozai and Aang’s duel a fight that only expanded upon the lore of the franchise.

It Was A Longer Fight Than Any Other Fight In The Finale

While Aang vs Ozai and Zuko & Katara vs Azula were fights that were crucial to wrapping up the series; Aang’s fight with the Fire Lord is a lot longer than the other fight.

Aang’s fight is almost broken up into different phases. The first part shows Ozai with the upper hand against Aang, the second part shows Aang entering the Avatar State. In the third Aang takes away Ozai’s bending in a scene like nothing anyone had seen in the show before.

The Battle’s Symbolism

It was almost ironic that Sozin, Fire Lord Ozai’s grandfather; used the power of Sozin’s Comet to wipe out all but one of the airbenders. Fast-forward a hundred years later; and his grandson used that same power in an attempt to finish the job by defeating Aang. If he were successful, Ozai would’ve turned Sozin’s dreams into reality. In taking down Ozai, Aang was essentially punishing Ozai and his forefathers for the damage they’d brought to the world.

It’s not a mistake that when Ozai had Aang backed into a corner; he stated that the airbenders were weak and had no place in the world. Aang on the other hand, in the Avatar State, accused Ozai and his forefathers of disrupting the balance. This conflict was personal; even though it was one that was started long before Aang and Ozai had the power to influence their world.

It Was A Fight That Showcased Aang’s Most Powerful Use Of The Avatar State

Whenever Aang entered the Avatar State, fans were treated to some of the strongest bending in the series. This time, he utilized advanced bending techniques that viewers had never seen before; he created bullets out of rock, moved humongous columns, flew through the sky with a sphere of air. Not to mention, he used a sphere of all four elements that he nearly used to take Ozai out once and for all.

This moment marked Aang as the fully-realized Avatar that he worked so hard to become; and made fans realize just how much the Avatar State set him above any other bender alive. This is considering the fact that prior, Ozai, who had been dominating up to that point, could only flee from Aang’s newfound power.

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