Iroh vs. Ozai is a match-up that we, as fans of the franchise and the Fandom, have longed to know the result of. The fan-favorite being General Iroh, a Grand Lotus in the Order of the White Lotus secret society. Fire Lord Ozai, the usurper of the throne of the Fire Nation. He is suspected of having killed Fire Lord Azulon when he pitched the idea of being Fire Lord instead of Iroh soon after Lu Ten was killed in Ba Sing Se. He suggested that Iroh had no heirs and he was fit for the position.
Azulon, enraged at his audacity, demanded that he feel the loss of a first-born son and said he had to kill his own son Zuko. Soon after, Fire Lord Azulon passed away in his sleep, as historians recorded. However, Ozai had become Fire Lord the next day, which fans thought was too convenient.
However, this article aims to settle this long debate on this battle. Who would win in a battle between Iroh and Ozai?
Closing in on the end of the hundred-year war when Avatar Aang was nowhere to be found, the team remained focused and were determined to end the war at all costs. However, they were confident that Aang would show up just when he should and at the right time. This faith or belief in him led them to proceed with other plans, expecting his arrival.
While going over the battle plans, Iroh was asked by Zuko to take on Ozai in the Avatar’s absence, but Iroh refused. He said that he was unsure if he could defeat him, and even if he could, history would see it as a brother killing another for power. So it created the question of who would win if these two crossed one another in battle—Iroh vs. Ozai.
Iroh vs Ozai: Details On Iroh
Much like his father before him, Iroh was a renowned Fire Nation general during the Hundred Year War. Azulon had several exploits, and so did Iroh. Iroh enjoyed serving as a military commander and fully embraced his role as heir to the Fire Lord, later musing that his blood “boiled with desire” for power at the time.
His views at the time partially came from a desire to honor his father Azulon and grandfather Sozin. He felt like it was his duty to do this as both his father and grandfather had fully committed themselves to the war. In addition, Sozin was hell-bent on sharing the fire nation’s prosperity with the world.
This was according to the conversation he had with Avatar Roku at his wedding. Then, acting on a vision he had witnessed in his youth which told him he would capture the Earth Kingdom capital of Ba Sing Se, Iroh besieged the great city for six hundred days and successfully breached the Outer Wall.
This was a feat that had never been done before. However, before he could breach the Inner Wall, his son Lu Ten was killed on the front lines, and in his grief, Iroh lost most of his fighting spirit and abandoned the siege. Thus, the Siege of Ba Sing Se came to be seen as a terrible dishonor and failure for Iroh.
As Iroh returned home from the siege, his father, Fire Lord Azulon, died under mysterious circumstances. Although Iroh was the Crown Prince, his younger brother Ozai was named Fire Lord, apparently at the dying request of Azulon himself. Having lost his desire for power after the death of Lu Ten, Iroh did not fight for his right to the throne, and Ozai took power without incident. Regardless, Iroh initially felt that not becoming the Fire Lord was a “tremendous failure.”
Iroh vs Ozai: Details On Ozai
Ozai was the ruler of the Fire Nation during the final years of the Hundred Year War, reigning as Fire Lord from 95 to 100 AG. He is the younger brother of Iroh. He is the second son of Fire Lord Azulon and Ilah. He is also an uncle to Lu Ten and husband to Ursa, the father of Prince Zuko and Princess Azula.
He is also the paternal grandfather of Izumi, Zuko’s daughter, as we see in the later sequel to the Last Airbender series, the Legend of Korra. Ozai was a firebending master and was believed to be the most powerful firebender in the world before the end of the war. This prompts many questions like can he stand in battle against an equally controlled and powerful firebender, Iroh.
After Iroh’s only son, Lu Ten, died, Ozai usurped his brother’s birthright. This was in a scheme that resulted in his father’s death and Ursa’s banishment.
During Ozai’s rule, there was a mass buildup of industry and significant technological advancements. But, like his father and grandfather before him, Ozai was hell-bent on fully conquering and subduing the other nations. To this end, he planned to become the supreme ruler of the world.
To do this, he planned to use Sozin’s Comet to his advantage. He intended to burn down the Earth Kingdom, renounce the title of Fire Lord as he made Azula the New Fire Lord, and declared himself the Phoenix King, ruler of the world. However, before his plans could come to full realization, he was defeated by Avatar Aang.
Aang would not kill him as he upheld a principle not to do things as they had been done before. Instead, he used energy bending to remove his firebending abilities permanently.
After the end of the war and Zuko’s crowning, Ozai was sentenced to life in prison for several war crimes. However, he maintained a degree of influence on world politics through some of his loyal followers creating the “New Ozai Society” and his son, who occasionally sought advice from Ozai. As a result, the former Fire Lord was indirectly responsible for the failure of the Harmony Restoration Movement.
Iroh vs Ozai and Who Would Win
Although being unmatched fire benders in the fire nation, the two brothers, seconded by Jeong Jeong, who also showed great control, have been pitted together for a battle of who would win.
While Ozai displayed immense abilities in the series, Iroh also displayed equal and, in some cases, unparalleled levels of fire bending control. The first time we see any bending from Ozai is the second part of the day of Black Sun.
This is when Zuko confronts his father and pours out everything he has been carrying in all his sixteen years. When the eclipse that originally blocked Fire benders from bending was removed, Ozai displayed exceptional skill and bent lighting at Zuko.
He, however, did not factor that Zuko had mastered the ability to redirect lightning.
The next time we see Ozai is during the return of Sozin’s Comet which he also displayed outstanding control as he unleashed amazing Fire bending from atop his airship. We also see the extent of his abilities when he battled Avatar Aang.
Iroh, however, has us from the very start. We see his skills in fabled reports from people who call him “The Dragon of the West.”
Iroh exhibits control in high proportions. We see this as he trains Zuko from the start of the series. Iroh learned from the masters Ran and Shaw, the last dragon masters. While fire bending that the recent generation of Fire benders have become used to is fueled by rage, Iroh sought a different and better method. He was able to learn this from the dragons. This makes his fire bending a lot more powerful than Ozai’s.
While Ozai is fueled by rage and seemingly no self-control as much as he might seem calm and calculating, Iroh’s brand of fire bending comes from somewhere deeper. As Aang demonstrated with Zhao, rage would make you lose without the opponent throwing a single blow.
In a battle between Iroh vs. Ozai, based on the evidence and the information from the series, Iroh would most likely be the victor in this battle.