Since the debut of the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender on Nickelodeon in 2005, it has become one of the most popular and successful animated series. It tells the story of Aang, a 12-year-old kid with the power to control four existing elements: fire, water, earth, and air. There are other unique characters too, but Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation is one of the best, thanks to his incredible development over the show.
Although Zuko is presented as a villain, he also carries critical grief; losing his mother when he was just a little kid. When Zuko’s mom Ursa suddenly disappears, something changes inside him, leading him to act ruthless and arrogant. What’s surprising is that Ursa’s whereabouts are unknown all over the show, so devoted fans of all ages started speculating and creating theories. By being the mother of one of the series’ villains, it’s not unforeseen that fans want to know what happened to Ursa, and here we’re going to uncover that mystery.
Who is Zuko?
As you just read, by being the first child of the Fire Lord Ozai and Princess Ursa, Zuko is the Prince of the Fire Nation and has a younger sister, Princess Azula. He’s presented as one of the villains of the Avatar series, and his main enemy is the Team Avatar, a group of young kids who help Aang to save the world. Even though he’s a royal, his father banished him after Zuko refused to duel him for previously disrespecting him unintentionally.
Being exiled wasn’t the only thing Zuko had to go through; his father also burned his face as a punishment for not obeying him. However, Ozai told him he could be forgiven and regain his honor if he captured the Avatar to kill him. After such horrible events and a painful burn scar on his face, Zuko left his nation for more than three years to try to capture Aang. Nevertheless, things didn’t go as expected; instead, he decided to give up his evil purpose and join forces with Aang to protect the world from his cruel father.
Zuko’s mom in the series
Now that you’re more familiar with Zuko and his feared father, you may wonder where his mother is within this plot. The first glance the show gives us is when Ursa mysteriously leaves when Zuko is still a little kid, leaving him helpless under the endless torment of Ozai. However, it was later explained that she didn’t go on purpose; she was trying to protect her beloved son.
Why did Ursa leave?
By the time Ursa left, Ozai wasn’t the Fire Lord yet; instead, his father, Azulon, was about to yield the throne to his firstborn, Iroh. Nevertheless, Ozai expressed his desire to be a better candidate, but he never imagined that Azulon would ask him to kill his son as a punishment. Azulon thought that Ozai would be worthy to reign only if he suffered the loss of his oldest son, just like Iroh did. Thankfully, Ursa heard that terrible entrustment, and in a desperate way to save Zuko’s life, she told her husband that she could kill Azulon and make it look like a natural death.
Although it was a risky move, Ozai agreed as long as Ursa disappeared without saying a word and never returned. Ursa eventually left as she had no choice, but it’s still unclear how and where exactly she went away. With very little information about Ursa, it was assumed that she was dead, and the princess was never mentioned again until the end of the series. In the last episode, Zuko confronted his father about his mother’s whereabouts, and Ozai suggested that she might be alive.
What about the comics?
Unlike the TV show, the comic ‘’The Search’’ digs deeper into Ursa’s life after being forced to leave her children. In that volume, Zuko decided to go with her sister and the Avatar team to search for his mother or any answers about her.
The long-awaited reunion
Zuko and Azula first went to Ursa’s former home in Hira’a, where they finally found her beloved mother. There they found out that Ursa never returned because her memories were erased by a strange spirit called ‘’Mother of Faces.’’
It turns out that Zuko’s mom changed her identity with that spirit’s help so that she could sneak into the Fire Nation to ensure her children were okay. Unfortunately, she didn’t know that her memories would also be altered, so she never went back or even tried to contact their kids.
Did Zuko and his mom have a happy ending?
After finding his mother, Zuko realized she had a peaceful and happy life far away and believed she was better with no memories of her painful past. However, Ursa’s memories were eventually restored, and she got the chance to apologize to her children for leaving them even though she didn’t want to.
At first, Ursa felt guilty for changing her identity and erasing her past life, but then she felt relieved for having the opportunity to reunite with Zuko and Azula. After knowing what Zuko had to go through during her absence, she tells him how proud she is of him, and their relationship is healed. It’s unclear what happened between Ursula and her children after that reunion, but luckily Zuko reunited with her mom again and healed his emotional wounds.
The Avatar series is full of emotional and heart-touching stories like Zuko’s mom because it’s a show that’s incredibly well-developed. Here you read a quick overview, but Ursa is a character with extraordinary potential to develop more storylines about her. Sadly, the series didn’t go deeper into Ursa’s life before and after she left the Fire Nation, so it will be great to see that in the future. This could be a possibility now that the franchise is expanding and new projects are being cooked, so hopefully, we’ll see more about the brave Ursa soon on our screens.