In a show about superpowered teens driven by destiny and trauma, it’s surprising that one of the best characters is the elderly uncle that follows around the (original) antagonist. General Iroh is one of the greatest characters in television history for a reason – he’s just perfect. The top General Iroh Moments will be remembered forever!
He’s grounded, powerful, and caring, making for some exciting moments in Avatar the Last Airbender. While he definitely adds some much-needed comic relief to his brooding nephew, there is a deeper part of his character that shines through the darkest of moments and still brings fans to tears. While’s it’s hard to encapsulate the amazingness of Iroh in a simple list; we’ll try our best to do him justice.
10. Defending the Moon Spirit
The Avatar series had a strong start for many characters, but the show didn’t have quite enough time to delve into the deeper personalities of the cast. For one, there were a lot of questions to be left for the early antagonists who wanted nothing more than to push for fire nation domination and get the Avatar.
Uncle Iroh was the elderly escort to Prince Zuko, who was looking to find the Avatar to regain his honor. While he seems to just go along with whatever Zuko is doing, he seems more like a loveable uncle than anything else. It’s during the 18th episode, The Waterbending Master, where we get our first real peek at Iroh’s defiance.
When Zhao insisted on killing the moon spirit, Iroh threatened to take action (and delivers on his words). It’s his insight that ultimately brings the moon spirit back to life as he sits side-by-side with the grieving avatar gang. Lets see some more of the best General Iroh Moments…
9. Meeting Toph
Toph and Uncle Iroh met outside of the terms of Avatar’s battles. While he was following Zuko during some much-needed character development, Iroh runs into Toph while she’s dealing with her own internal struggles. He treats her with the same kindness he treated everyone else, and they both exchange some helpful words on how to help each other.
Even though they probably didn’t realize who significant the other would be in the other’s life, it was a cute exchange that fans loved. He helped Toph learn that she needs to accept help from the people that love her – much-needed advice as she trailed on by herself while conflicting with adjusting to life in the Avatar gang.
8. The Banishment
Following a failed Avatar kidnapping stunt, Zuko and Iroh are both banished. Zuko ceremoniously cuts off his hair and falls down a spiral of angst. Uncle Iroh is doing arguably well, but he is trying his best to be there for Zuko. As Zuko is trying harder than ever to be full of pride after the shameful ordeal, Iroh explains that pride is not the opposite of shame. In fact, “humility is the only antidote to shame.” A very nice lesson for everyone listening.
7. A Memorable Iroh Quote
Uncle Iroh is known for giving some great advice, and that is exactly what he does when Aang asks for it. Although they are technical enemies due to his position in the fire nation, Uncle Iroh never saw Aang as an adversary. He’s pretty comfortable walking with the Avatar as they try to escape a tunnel, delivering some pretty memorable quotes.
One of the most significant was when he told the Avatar he admired how he chose love over perfection. He said, “You can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
6. Opening a Tea Shop
When Iroh and Zuko end up in the earth kingdom, Iroh does the most Iroh thing he can and opens up a successful tea shop. It’s during this fun little arc where he gets to act like a real uncle and not deal with all the drama and action of the whole Avatar thing. It’s cute to watch how he puts Zuko to work, interacts with his customers, and even sets his nephew up on a date.
5. Family Moments
It’s safe to say that Iroh favors Zuko over his sister, but the loveable uncle seems like the guy to value family, right? Well, fans were surprised with Iroh’s snarky response to Zuko when they discuss his troubling niece. After Zuko says some harsh things, he explains that he knows that Iroh would say they are siblings and should get along – Iroh just matter of factly replies, “oh no, she’s crazy, and she needs to go down.”
4. The Mugging
This is one of the funnier and less depressing moments of Iroh. After someone attempts to mug him, he simply gives the guy some advice. He sits down and has tea with the guy, who he figures out is just struggling and isn’t prepared to hurt anyone at all. It’s a small moment – but one that sticks with you. It certainly offered a lot of life lessons to the kids watching the show when it was airing on nickelodeon.
3. Harsh Words for Zuko
Understandably, some of the best Iroh moments involve his troubled nephew, Zuko. While he normally has some calming words and a cute little saying to go with his advice, he completely yells at Zuko when he discovers his nephew found Aang’s flying bison, Appa, who had been stolen.
While no one actually knows what Zuko is planning to do with the bison now that he found it, that is kind of the point that Iroh calls him out on, shouting at him how he never really plans anything out. He points out one of Zuko’s major Avatar-catching failures when Sokka and Katara end up saving them from freezing to death.
After Zuko insists on how he’ll make it work because he knows his destiny, Iroh calls him out for constantly following the “destiny” his father laid out. Ultimately, Zuko releases Appa from chains unharmed, and he ultimately finds his way back to the Avatar.
2. Prison Break
We’ve focused a lot on Uncle Iroh’s wisdom, but he is one of the most powerful characters in the Avatar series. While he acts as a frail old man in prison, the audience is let in on a little secret – Iroh is jacked and working out. The second he has the moment, he breaks out of jail like it’s nothing and rejoins his allies to help put an end to the war.
1. Forgiving Zuko (Best of General Iroh Moments)
Easily one of the heartwarming moments of the show was his conversation with Zuko. After Zuko betrays both the Avatar gang and his uncle, Iroh ends up in prison. Zuko tried to visit and reason with his uncle, who stays relatively silent. As Zuko is supposed to be enjoying his newfound life where he is redeemed, he can’t help but feel as though something is wrong. In the end, he makes up his mind and betrays his nation, pursuing the Avatar so he can be his firebending teacher.
This fun twist led to one of the greatest character redemption arcs in animated history. While he does eventually win the trust of the Avatar gang and reunite with his uncle, there is a lot they need to discuss. Zuko pours out his emotions in a heartfelt apology over everything he did and begging for his uncle’s forgiveness, even if he doesn’t deserve it.
He surprises Zuko by quickly pulling him into an embrace. Shocked, he asks Iroh why he forgave him so easily and why he isn’t furious. He simply says he was never angry with his nephew, just sad that he thought he lost his way. It is a tear-jerking moment that never fails to give goosebumps to any fan of the show.
Bonus: Leaves From the Vine
We always see Iroh as the fun-loving uncle. However, we get a rare glimpse of his troubles when he sings a commemorative song, “leaves from the vine,” for his son, who died in the war. It was one of the most touching General Iroh moments.
Without a doubt, Iroh had a huge impact on the Avatar world. He played a major role in driving both story and character development. He gave an entire generation of people some sound advice and interest in tea. We want to hear from you. Did we miss any major General Iroh moments for Iroh?