We see Ursa (Avatar) get banished from the Fire Nation in Avatar: The Last Airbender; and we don’t hear much about her for most of the series’ run. However, the follow-up comics answer what happened next.
Zuko lost his mother, Ursa while he was still but a young lad; and we don’t know much about why this happened – until the tie-in comics were released a couple of years after the show ended. We learn exactly why she disappeared – and what happened to her afterward.
As Fire Lord Ozai’s exiled son, Zuko spends much of Avatar: The Last Airbender acting as an antagonist towards Aang and his friends. This is because capturing the Avatar is the only way that Zuko can ever return to the Fire Nation. As time goes on, he redeems himself and ends up defeating his fighting alongside Aang.
Ursa (Avatar) History
Zuko’s mother is called Ursa (avatar), and she is the granddaughter of The Fire Nation Avatar before Aang; Avatar Roku. In The Last Airbender we see that she made some kind of deal in order to protect Zuko’s life; when his father was planning to kill him. Afterwards, she gets sent away from the Fire Nation.
However, the series of sequel comics written by Gene Luen Yang with The Last Airbender creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, which are set in the days after Aang defeats Fire Lord Ozai show an extra dimension to the story.
One of theseLast Airbender comics; The Search, details Zuko’s quest to find out what happened to his mother. He seeks to even be reunited with her.
Why Zuko’s Mother Ursa Was Banished
Zuko’s grandfather, Fire Lord Azulon, came across a prophecy about mixing his bloodline with that of Avatar Roku’s. He learned that it would produce descendants with great power; further securing his family’s place on the throne long after he passed. In response, he tracked down Ursa (Avatar), forcing her to marry Ozai; even though she was already betrothed to someone else. This man was named Ikem.
Azulon would end up doing himself in through his actions. When Iroh’s son died in the war, Ozai crossed the line; angering his father by asking him to pass Iroh’s throne birthright to him instead. As punishment for such a request, Azulon wanted Ozai to feel the pain that Iroh had felt of losing his firstborn son, and so he ordered Ozai to kill Zuko.
Upon discovering this, Ursa (Avatar) and Ozai made a deal. She would use her herbal skills to concoct a poison that was colorless and odorless, so that Azulon would be killed and Ozai could take his place as Fire Lord. Ozai agreed to this on one condition; after Azulon was dead, Ursa would leave the Fire Nation and never return. He requested this so that she could never use the same poison on him. A sad Ursa (Avatar) had no choice but to agree and was forced to leave her children behind.
What Happened To Ursa (Avatar) After She Was Banished
After Ursa avatar fled the Fire Nation Palace, she returned to the village where she was born. There, she met a man called Noren – who was actually Ikem. having asked a spirit called the Mother of Faces to change his appearance so he could escape Ozai’s wrath.
Ursa decided she would make a similar deal, but when the Mother of Faces felt the pain in Ursa’s heart she offered something extra: not only a new face but a new mind, where all her memories of her life as Ozai’s wife would be erased. Ursa made the difficult choice to forget her children along with the rest of her former life and was given a new face and a new name: Noriko. She and Noren lived in peace together for many years and had a daughter called Kiyi – Zuko and Azula’s half-sister.
Zuko Is Reunited With His Mother
Zuko first meets Noren and Noriko in The Search without realizing that they are actually Ikem and Ursa. After learning the truth from the Mother of Faces, he returns to the village and reveals to Ursa that he is her son. Ursa chooses to have her face and memories restored and she and Zuko are finally properly reunited.
Azula, unfortunately, doesn’t feel quite so warm towards her mother. Having been driven mad at the end of Avatar: The Last Airbender, she believes that Ursa has been secretly plotting her downfall all her life and is responsible for everything bad that’s ever happened to her.
Zuko manages to stop Azula from killing Ursa, and watches helplessly as his sister runs away. The Search ends with Ursa promising to tell Zuko everything about her life, starting from the very beginning.
Later in the comics, Ursa returns to the Fire Nation Palace for the first time since she was banished and finally confronts Ozai again – now powerless and locked up in the dungeons. He proceeds to threaten to destroy everyone she loves, but Ursa sees him for what he really is: “a small, small man.” She walks away, no longer afraid of her former husband, ignoring him as he impotently orders her to grovel for him.