More Lessons From The Last Airbender
"Why am I so bad at being good?" Zuko - The Western Air Temple
I've been thinking a lot about his back and forth. How he lets his anger get in his own way. How his strong sense of honor often leads him to do the right thing even if he wants to do the "wrong" thing. How he refuses to give up on his "quest" of capturing the Avatar to regain his father's approval even when faced with great obstacles (mental and physical). How he gets tempted so easily to the dark side when the path to do good has fewer obstacles than being bad. How he holds firmly to the "truth" even when it is shown to be a lie. How he fails miserably in his attempts to be a teenager. He is a sixteen year old working toward becoming a man and embodies all of the conflicts that one faces when reaching adulthood. Zuko's transformation into a hero isn't an easy path and he hurts others on his journey. Of course, his path toward redemption includes opportunities for him to make amends so he can fully realize his potential as one of the heroes.
Sometimes we need our characters to say or do things we don't like. Sometimes we have to put them through hell for them to grow and get to where we need them to be. Poor Zuko, those writers literally put him through the wringer over and over again, but which character has captured my imagination, you guessed it, Zuko.