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Royal Titles - Avatar: The Last Airbender Meta
The who, the what, the how, and the why not?

User: avatar_meta (posted by pntbrescued)
Date: 2006-10-16 19:06
Subject: Royal Titles
Security: Public
Location:can't let it go - goo goo dolls
This is something that's really been puzzling me for the past few episodes. Well, actually, most of the second season. I can't help but notice that Iroh continues to call his nephew by his royal title – Prince Zuko. If Iroh is in truth trying to discourage Zuko's mission to capture the avatar (I think we can infer this with reasonable conviction)...wouldn't this be kind of counter-productive?

I'd assume that Iroh is very certain that Ozai does not want his son back. And considering the kinds of lessons Iroh has been teaching Zuko lately, he's trying to bring Zuko into the light of this, too. The “It's good to let others help you,” “There's a simple honor in poverty,” and “hope is something we give ourself,” philosophies seem to be taught with the intention of...persuading Zuko to abandon this false hope of going back to the Fire Nation with the avatar, pleasing pa-pa, and becoming the heir apparent once more. (I'd consider the “hope” lesson to be most symbolic, considering the role that the avatar plays not only to Zuko, but the world. This could tie in with a lot of other deep-thinking concepts that would apply to the entire A:TLA earth, but that would be going off topic). They all kind of describe the – forgive me – ideal kind of Zuko, a reformed Zuko; a guy that's headstrong and strong-willed, but also really accepting, too. Maybe it's better to label it the “normal Zuko.” In short, Iroh's been giving his nephew a bunch of new ideas and tips that should eventually turn him into the epiphanized, normal guy underneath the skin made by season one Zuko. It's good.

But then you hear it: “How was your date, Prince Zuko?” (among other similar lines).

It almost seems like a paradox – Iroh's goal is to reform his nephew, but he continues to call him by the name he's sought after for the past three years (if you identify losing your birthright with losing your title, I guess. The loss of his birthright kind of makes his title less...true). Would this be subconsciously reminding Zuko of what he's lost? Of what he's been trying to gain back for all these years, and still isn't totally over losing in the first place? Although it shows that Zuko has been changing, and his Uncle's lessons have made an impact on him... I don't think he's totally gotten over his inner turmoil. And his obsession with restoring “what he's lost.”

Of course, the act of calling Zuko by his royal name could be related to Ursa's “never forget who you are” lesson, and would kind of be a reassurance that Zuko is an honorable Prince no matter what others may do or say, therefore helping him out in a sense. But still...

I'm not sure; what do you guys think? I've always thought that Iroh has his reasons for continuing to address Zuko by his title, but it's still a little bit hard to understand, at least for me.
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cannot make bricks without clay: canon femmeslash
User: shes_unreal
Date: 2006-10-17 01:42 (UTC)
Subject: Mod hat
Keyword:canon femmeslash
I went ahead and accepted this submission but please add a subject line. Thank you. :)
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User: pntbrescued
Date: 2006-10-17 21:24 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Mod hat
oh gosh! I'm sorry. It won't happen again :).
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Smilla's Sense of Snark: Hobbes - Toph in Nature
User: smillaraaq
Date: 2006-10-17 22:09 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Mod hat
Keyword:Hobbes - Toph in Nature
Psssst...you should be able to edit your post to add a subject after the fact, you know! Or the mods can go ahead and put one in for you, if you like. :)
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User: pntbrescued
Date: 2006-10-17 23:57 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Mod hat
Oh, it's edited - I had to log off really quickly after responding, so I couldn't put in the title right then. It's all fixed now, though :). Thanks.
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User: birdsarecalling
Date: 2006-10-17 02:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:tarot -- justice
That's an interesting question.

If I had to guess (and by "guess" I mean "read way too much into what we've seen so far") I'd say:

1) Iroh is showing Zuko that even though his father disinherited him, Iroh doesn't feel that Zuko was unworthy of his title.
2) Iroh is driving home the fact that they can't stay on the run forever, and Zuko can't really be "Li" no matter how deep their cover is.

*shrug* But that's all speculative.
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Smilla's Sense of Snark: Zuko Shakespeare
User: smillaraaq
Date: 2006-10-17 02:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Zuko Shakespeare
(1) in particular seems to fit well in my mind. Zuko and Iroh have pretty much spent their entire lives in settings where honorifics and titles of rank, be they royal or military, would be in constant use; abandoning such terms of respect might actually require more deliberate mental effort than sticking to the old habits. Iroh certainly doesn't seem to see his nephew as unworthy, and even on the run and undercover, resuming that form of address in private could might even be a bit of a comfort...
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User: birdsarecalling
Date: 2006-10-17 03:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:my OTP is hotter than yours!!
Exactly. Plus Iroh is more than aware of Zuko's low self-esteem, if Bitter Work is anything to go by. Seems to be he might be trying to shore up the boy's self-image (again, if Bitter Work is anything to go by, low-self-esteem!Zuko makes Iroh sad.)
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User: the_paper_nun
Date: 2006-10-18 15:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I don't think Iroh has given up on Zuko taking the throne.. in fact, I think living as a pauper is part of his own special preparation for the prince. I think he is trying to show Zuko that event while living as a pauper, Zuko is still a Prince, and honor is how you act, not what you wear or who you command.

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