Fire Nation

Fire Nation

The Fire Nation is a collective term for a nation of people in the fictional universe of the Nickelodeon animated television series "." One of the series' "," the Fire Nation is located near the planet's equator in the western hemisphere and comprises an archipelago of volcanic islands, drawing its inspiration from Japan and Iceland to Indonesia and the many volcanic Pacific islands, such as Hawaii and Fiji. The Fire Nation is home to an order of men and women who practice firebending, the pyrokinetic ability to create and control fire.

Regardless of its ancestral boundaries, the Fire Nation armed forces had subjected much of the globe to colonization and imperialism over the course of a century-long campaign of expansion.

According to Uncle Iroh, Fire is the element of power; its people have a energetic willpower to strive to get what they want and need and the drive to get it, as reflected in Firebending. [cite episode| title=Bitter Work| series=Avatar: The Last Airbender| serieslink=Avatar: The Last Airbender]

Appearance

While all the names of people and places in the Avatar series clearly have Chinese influence, the Fire Nation's people, as well as having names most influenced by the Chinese language (notably Prince Zuko, Admiral Zhao and Fire Lord Ozai) also seem more similar in clothing/physical appearance to the Chinese. Women wear their hair in various updos, usually simple and elegant in style and noblewomen often sport long, sharp, well-manicured nails. Men have various hairstyles, however, many men, usually those of importance and higher class wear a traditional bun or top-knot (sometimes accompanied by a hairpiece). Buns are also quite common in hairstyles for both genders. Fashion in the Fire Nation mimics traditional Chinese elements as well. Layers of various colors, coats, and traditional pieces of armor are common elements in their style, as in Chinese traditional clothing. Citizens and rulers of the Fire Nation wear colors ranging from black, to brown, to various reds, very often accented by gold lining or jewelry. Their funeral clothing is white, also like the Chinese culture. Skin complexion is usually fair, however sparingly ranges to tan and darker brown. Those from the Fire Nation have golden brown, amber or light grey blue eyes.

National Emblem

The emblem that represents the Fire Nation is, most simply put, a flame. The flag it resides on is red, while the flame on it is black. The flag that holds this emblem is shown many times and in many places, from the Fire Nation itself to the cities and towns that the Fire Nation has conquered and reside in. Unlike other nations, this emblem is not usually worn on the army and navy uniforms, but only stays on the flags of their nation. A gold flame hairpiece is used to signify Fire Nation royalty.

Season

Every Nation is represented by a season, The Fire Nations season is summer. Summer is the warmest of the seasons and is often tied with fire. As such most firebenders are more powerful in the summer because of longer days (in contrast to Waterbenders.) More firebenders are also born in summer than in any other season.

Influences

The Fire Nation's landscape and geologic features were based on Iceland. The creators wanted the Fire Nation to look nothing like other locations seen earlier in "Avatar", so they captured photos of Iceland to use for the show.cite video|year=2008|title=Avatar: The Last Airbender season 3 volume 1 DVD commentary for the episode "The Beach"| medium=DVD|publisher=Paramount Pictures] Examples of locations from Iceland that were used as models for places in the show include a waterfall from "Sokka's Master"cite video|year=2008|title=Avatar: The Last Airbender season 3 volume 1 DVD commentary for the episode "Sokka's Master"| medium=DVD|publisher=Paramount Pictures] and the hot spring, lava pillars, and lava sand seen in "The Beach". Some of the Fire Nation's background designs also come from Korea. In the original designs, the Fire Nation was very industrialized, with its land stripped and its cities full of factories.

Culture

Cultural festivals

The "Fire Days Festival" is a traveling street fair in Fire Nation towns and villages, including those situated in former Earth Kingdom territory. [http://www.nick.com/all_nick/tv_supersites/avatar2/ Official Nickelodeon Avatar: The Last Airbender website] ] Its participants wear stylized hand-carved wooden masks similar to that of Kabuki theater masks, and merchants vendor a wide variety of trinkets and local snacks. The festival's attractions include puppet shows, fireworks, firebending jugglers and magicians, and overall displays of individual or group bending prowess. [cite book
last = Mason
first = Tom
coauthors = Dan Danko
title = The Lost Scrolls: Fire (Avatar: the Last Airbender)
publisher = Simon Spotlight/Nickelodeon
date = 2006
pages = pp. 24
isbn = 1416918809
ref = Avatar The Last Airbender The Lost Scrolls: Fire
] As illustrated in its cultural festivals, the Fire Nation employs propaganda to indoctrinate a sense of nationalism and loyalty to the Fire Lord (cult of personality) in its citizens from the earliest age possible. (A popular attraction cast Ozai as a hero in a children's puppet show.)cite episode | title = The Deserter | episodelink = The Deserter (Avatar: The Last Airbender) | series = Avatar: The Last Airbender | network = Nickelodeon | airdate = 2005-10-21 | season = 1 (Book 1) | number = 16]

Agni Kai

Among Firebenders, or at least those of the upper-class, conflicts and disputes of honor are settled by a challenge to an "Agni Kai," or "fire duel," a traditional Firebender duel that is centuries old. Such a match is conducted in an open-air arena at sunset and may be witnessed by spectators. The goal in these duels is to knock an opponent off-balance, and incapacitate (fatally or otherwise) with a final blow. The duels have claimed the lives of countless Firebenders, and they've been even more unforgiving to those who show mercy on their opponents. [http://www.nick.com/all_nick/tv_supersites/avatar2/ Official Nickelodeon Avatar: The Last Airbender website] ]

Education

The Fire Nation expresses a formal education system which overall is quite similar to real-life school systems. High class public schools can be found on the outer islands, which equate to the upper class suburbs of the Fire Nation. Students in certain schools begin the educational process as soon as they begin firebending or, for non-benders, as soon as they begin walking. Subjects including history, music, etiquette, warfare, and firebending are taught to the students by various teachers. [http://www.nick.com/all_nick/tv_supersites/avatar2/ Official Nickelodeon Avatar: The Last Airbender website] ] However, the educational system works also as a "mind-molding" process, causing students to develop a strong sense of nationalism and loyalty to the Fire Lord. Teachers maintain rigid discipline and order and refuse to teach the students the art of dance or any form of self-expression. In addition, censorship and propaganda can be found in articles within history books (e.g. the genocide of the Air Nomads is described as a battle with the Air Nomads' "army," despite the fact that they have no formal military).cite episode | title = The Awakening | episodelink = The Headband (Avatar: The Last Airbender) | series = Avatar: The Last Airbender | network = Nickelodeon | airdate = 2007-09-28 | season = 3 (Book 3) | number = 2]

Government

The Fire Nation is ruled with an iron fist by the latest in a long lineage of Fire Lords, with the most recent leader being Zuko. The title of the Fire Lord is passed down to each generation's eldest son through one family. [cite book
last = Mason
first = Tom
coauthors = Dan Danko
title = The Lost Scrolls: Fire (Avatar: the Last Airbender)
publisher = Simon Spotlight/Nickelodeon
date = 2006
pages = pp. 17
isbn = 1416918809
ref = Avatar The Last Airbender The Lost Scrolls: Fire
] However, the ruler of the fire nation Fire Lord, Ozai, was the second eldest son, but he managed to scheme his way to the throne and usurp his older brother, Iroh, of his birthright.cite episode | title = Zuko Alone | episodelink = Zuko Alone | series = Avatar: The Last Airbender | network = Nickelodeon | airdate = 2006-05-12 | season = 2 (Book 2) | number = 7] Also unknown to the general public is the fact that the current royal family shares its lineage with Avatar Roku, Princess Ursa's grandfather. [cite episode | title = The Avatar and the Fire Lord | episodelink = The Avatar and the Fire Lord| series = Avatar: The Last Airbender | network = Nickelodeon | airdate = 2007-10-26 | season = 3 | number = 46] . Known Fire Lords are Sozin, Azulon, Ozai. (Princess Azula was Fire Lord Ozai's succsessor, however right before she was crowned she was stopped by Zuko and Katara).

In the beginning of the Fire Nation history, the Sun Warriors lived on the land that is the Fire Nation. Later, the sages controlled the land with the Grand Sage (Fire Lord) being in charge.

The Fire Nation's current political system is an absolute monarchy that has been waging a century-long imperialist war against the other three nations of the world; the stated goal of which is to create a global empire. They are not above employing genocide to accomplish this goal, having already eliminated the entire nation of Air Nomads, driving the Southern Water Tribe to the brink of extinction, and also planning to burn the entire Earth Kingdom to the ground, with the help of the energy boosts provided by Sozin's Comet.

However, the Fire Nation was not always the tyrannical, militaristic embodiment it is today. Then, a millennia ago, a council of sages led the Fire Nation who, among several other national interests, were heavily invested in philosophy and spirituality, much like that of the monastic Air Nomads. The lead sage was known as the "Fire Lord" due to his high level firebending powers as well as his deep spiritual affinity with the element. Over the years, one lead sage chose to sever ties with the remaining sages and sought to be the sole ruler of the Fire Nation. Now led by the Great Sage, the sages were relegated primarily to spiritual matters but nonetheless still retained some political power over the Nation, with tensions between the two sects increasing with every generation.

The dispute finally reached a state of equilibrium during the course of 's rise to the throne and reign. When still alive during Sozin's rule, the sages remained loyal to Avatar Roku and kept watch over his sanctuary. But following the death of the Avatar, the sages were, after three generations, finally submitted under the Fire Lord's rule and were forced to serve only him, counseling him on spiritual affairs.

On the day of Sozin's Comet, Phoenix King Ozai was defeated by Aang in battle and placed in a high security Fire Nation prison. His son, Zuko, became the Fire Lord. Zuko as Fire Lord, has officially stopped the 100 year imperialist war and now plans on making an era of peace. However, there is and will for a long period be great tension between the Fire Nation and the other nations.

Under the servitude of Fire Lord Ozai, the Fire Sages were the last of their kind, aging remnants of an era long past when spiritual matters were placed in high importance over military ambition. [cite book
last = Mason
first = Tom
coauthors = Dan Danko
title = The Lost Scrolls: Fire (Avatar: the Last Airbender)
publisher = Simon Spotlight/Nickelodeon
date = 2006
pages = pp. 46-7
isbn = 1416918809
ref = Avatar The Last Airbender The Lost Scrolls: Fire
]

The Chinese text for Fire Lord, as seen on the wanted poster in "The Desert," is "烈火君" in Chinese, which is a literal translation of "Fire Lord" from English.Fact|date=May 2008 In "The Avatar and the Fire Lord," on the boxes which held the diary scrolls, 'Fire Lord Sozin' is written as 烈火君蘇進 (liè huǒ jūn sū jìn). Sozin or Sū Jìn translates as 'resurrection enters.' The word Sū is also used for Zuko's name in "Tales of Ba Sing Se."

Military

The Fire Nation military is the strongest of the Four Nations.Fact|date=May 2008 A key component of this factor is that as a result of the society's advancements, it stands as also the first nation to possess a mechanized armed force.Fact|date=May 2008 The Fire Nation military makes active use of armored naval vessels as well as a variety of land-based war machines and vehicles and are the only nation to have an air force.

Using a fiery comet that greatly enhanced their powers, they succeeded in wiping out the Air Nomads early in the war. Though the Fire Nation fought on two fronts against the Water Tribe and the Earth Kingdom, they still had the upper hand. As the war draged on, it became clear that the Fire Nation would eventually win if the Avatar does not intervene. The Water Tribe did not have the military might to directly challenge the Fire Nation, and as of The Crossroads of Destiny, the vast Earth Kingdom has lost its last great military stronghold to the Fire Nation.cite episode | title = The Awakening | episodelink = The Awakening (Avatar: The Last Airbender) | series = Avatar: The Last Airbender | network = Nickelodeon | airdate = 2007-09-21 | season = 3 (Book 3) | number = 1]

Army

The Fire Nation's army comprises non-bender foot soldiers, who normally wield spears, swords, and shields, and Firebenders. The majority of Firebending soldiers wear white faceplates shaped like abstract skulls, while ranking officers do not. Both have spiked fire crests on the front of their helmets. Normal soldiers wear cone shaped helmets without masks. It is a possibility that a soldier's skull mask is also used for psychological warfare due to their frightening appearance. For practicality, the faceplates can be removed from the helmets. Additionally, troops are shown to retain different sets of uniforms pertaining to the season or climate of the region that they are situated in.cite episode | title = The Siege of the North | episodelink = The Siege of the North | series = Avatar: The Last Airbender | network = Nickelodeon | airdate = 2005-12-02 | season = 1 (Book 1) | number = 19] Elite Firebenders who serve as the Fire Lord's Royal Procession wear red, highly stylized armor all over, and have three-eyed faceplates.cite episode | title = The Avatar State | episodelink = The Avatar State | series = Avatar: The Last Airbender | network = Nickelodeon | airdate = 2006-03-17 | season = 2 (Book 2) | number = 1]

Their cavalry ride . These creatures are a mix between a large rhinoceros and a komodo dragon, and have three horns like a Triceratops and a long whip-like tail. Outfitted with heavy armor around the face, they're used for pulling carts and carrying people, both for war and civilian purposes. Fire Nation soldiers mount these frightening beasts to terrorize their enemies. [http://www.nick.com/all_nick/tv_supersites/avatar2/ Official Nickelodeon Avatar: The Last Airbender website] ]

In "Zuko Alone," the act of dressing up prisoners of war as faux soldiers to provide fodder was a tactic used by the ancient Mongolians and some Chinese warlords. During a war planning meeting that takes place in "," General Bujing suggests sacrificing a novice division of troops to provide a distraction, an act used by various military leaders throughout history.

Yu Yan Archers

The Yu Yan Archers are Colonel Shinu's highly skilled unit of tattooed archers, and are, according to Zhao, "capable of pinning a fly to a tree from convert|100|yd away without killing it."cite episode | title = The Blue Spirit | episodelink = The Blue Spirit | series = Avatar: The Last Airbender | network = Nickelodeon | airdate = 2005-06-17 | season = 1 (Book 1) | number = 13] This statement resembles the skill of "piercing a willow leaf at one hundred paces", which is a common occurrence in Chinese literature.Selby, Stephen. "Chinese Archery". Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2000 (ISBN 9622095011), pg. 134] It also resembles the skills of a famous archer who lived in ancient China. Records comment after being told by his archery teacher that his vision needed to be trained until something impossibly small looked large, "Ji Chang hung a flea from the window frame by a hair and facing south, watched it. In a couple of weeks it seemed larger, and after three years of practice, it seemed like a cartwheel ... Then he took a bow ... and shot [at the flea] . He hit the middle of the flea and the hair did not even break." [Selby: pg. 149]

They are so skilled that they succeeded in overwhelming and capturing Aang, the Avatar, though he subsequently escaped from custody. A possible way to write their name is 玉眼 for "jade eye." The Chinese believed that jade had magical properties and would prevent the decay of the body.Fact|date=October 2007 The word 'Shinu' (死), the colonel's name, means 'to die' in Japanese.

Rough Rhinos

An elite band of Fire Nation cavalry led by Colonel Mongke. The Rough Rhinos comprise a variety of warriors of varying skills, including a masked warrior who hurls explosives and a Yu Yan Archer. Riding their trademark mounts, they act on their own free will, attacking enemies of the Fire Nation, and claiming land and towns in the name of the Fire Lord. Both of their appearances have been defeats, the first by Aang and companycite episode | title = Avatar Day | episodelink = Avatar Day | series = Avatar: The Last Airbender | network = Nickelodeon | airdate = 2006-04-28 | season = 2 (Book 2) | number = 5] and the second by Iroh and Zuko, although the latter was more of a humiliating draw.cite episode | title = The Desert | episodelink = The Desert | series = Avatar: The Last Airbender | network = Nickelodeon | airdate = 2006-07-14 | season = 2 (Book 2) | number = 11] In "Lake Laogai," it was revealed that they were responsible for the death of Jet's parents and the burning of his village. According to Iroh the Rough Rhinos are also famed for their singing talents.

outhern Raiders

An elite legion of soldiers who were in charge of attacking and occupying southern lands. Their most distinct notice is that their uniform is different from the army (Their helmet makes them look like birds). Thier ships look almost like Azula's ship (it comes with a Pagoda). The flags have a Sea Raven on it. In The Southern Raiders, It's revealed that they are responsible for the death of Katara's and Sokka's mom, Kya.

Navy

As a result of being an island culture and primarily situated near large bodies of water, the Fire Nation has developed a powerful naval force. The Fire Nation's navy is comprised of hundreds of coal-powered ironclad warships. In addition to its sturdy properties, the Fire Nation's use of metallurgy to remove impurities from the metal ensures that Earthbenders cannot damage their ships with their powers. These vessels serve many purposes, from ferrying and disembarking troops to providing bombardment with their catapults to creating blockades.cite episode | title = Avatar Roku (Winter Solstice, Part 2) | episodelink = Avatar Roku (Winter Solstice, Part 2) | series = Avatar: The Last Airbender | network = Nickelodeon | airdate = 2005-04-15 | season = 1 (Book 1) | number = 8]

Among various watercrafts in the Fire Nation's naval arsenal is the jet ski. Designed to accommodate two passengers, highly maneuverable, and able to travel at very high speeds, these metallic, steam-powered jet skis are honed for short-range water travel in rivers, lakes or coastal areas and warfare. However, the vehicles are generally used by domestic forces for patrolling waterfront population areas rather than in heavy combat.cite episode | title = The Painted Lady | episodelink = The Painted Lady (Avatar: The Last Airbender) | series = Avatar: The Last Airbender | network = Nickelodeon | airdate = 2007-10-05 | season = 3 (Book 3) | number = 1]

Azula’s ship

Compared to Zuko's ship, Azula's royal sloop is bigger, faster, and newer. The royal ship is the pride of the Fire Nation Navy as it stands as the most technologically advanced ship in the entire fleet. Under Azula's command, the ship is guarded by the members of the Royal Procession - an elite group of Firebenders dressed in unique armour serving to protect Azula and hunt down Zuko and Iroh. This ship is particularly unique for having a 3-spiked prow, and a pagoda tower. [http://www.nick.com/all_nick/tv_supersites/avatar2/ Official Nickelodeon Avatar: The Last Airbender website] ] The ship was not seen in the remainder of the second season since the episode "Return to Omashu", when, following her advice, Azula abandoned it to pursue the Avatar on land with Mai and Ty Lee. The ship is seen again in "" as Azula's and Zuko's means of transportation back to the Fire Nation.cite episode | title = The Awakening | episodelink = The Awakening (Avatar: The Last Airbender) | series = Avatar: The Last Airbender | network = Nickelodeon | airdate = 2007-09-21 | season = 3 (Book 3) | number = 1]

Air force

Towards the end of "The Northern Air Temple," the Fire Nation acquired a "War Balloon," a primitive hot air balloon designed by , an Earth Kingdom inventor who the Fire Nation had pressed into service designing weapons and technology. The Mechanist had been impeded with the experimental balloon's development due to difficulty figuring out a means of control, but was able to overcome it thanks to Sokka's ingenuity. The key to piloting the war balloon was the creation of a small valve at the top that allows the pilot to control the release of hot air, thereby controlling the up and down movement of the balloon (which is probably useless if it's ran by because they could just weaken the hot air or feed it with their bending). With the ability to carry heavy loads and by possessing the ultimate high ground, the hot air balloon stands as a potent weapon. As stated by , "This defeat is the gateway to many victories."cite episode | title = The Northern Air Temple | episodelink = The Northern Air Temple | series = Avatar: The Last Airbender | network = Nickelodeon | airdate = 2005-11-04 | season = 1 (Book 1) | number = 17]

Near the end of failed Fire Nation invasion, the war balloons were seen once again and effectively used in combat to close the battle. In addition, utilizing the same technology that engineered the Mechanist's hot air balloon, the Fire Nation has managed to develop gigantic airships that looks like Zeppelins. Several times larger and more destructive than their original counterparts, the airships are able to hold a crew of fifty, along with numerous Firebenders, and capable of flying vast distances. In terms of firepower, the airships are equipped with an engine that has propellers and coal burning to keep the engine moving and a bomb bay for dropping explosives and flanked with catwalks hanging off the belly where safely-harnessed Firebenders are able to open fire on their enemies below and a main deck with avanced controls.

The only zeppelins shown during the series are deployed during the finale. Due to the Fire Nation only having six months to build up their fleet, these dozen may be the only in existence. A small strike force infiltrated the fleet off the coast of the Earth Kingdom and destroyed it.

History

A great deal of Fire Nation history is revealed during the course of the series and in the spin-off media.

Dragon Hunting

During the time of Fire Lord Sozin, a new Firebender tradition was created. It was said that if a Firebender tracked down, battled, and killed a dragon, then his powers would become legendary. Though dragons had long been friends of mankind, this act turned them against man and they fled into places of hiding. Once a Firebender killed a dragon, he was bestowed the title of 'Dragon.' The last Dragon was Crown Prince Iroh, who wore the title "Dragon of the West" to his elder years. What he discovered from fighting the dragon was the ability known as Breath of Fire, which he then went on to teach to his family. However, according to Iroh, the dragon that he killed was the last one in existence. It was later discovered that he was lying in order to protect the secret of the Sun Warriors.

Sun Warriors

The Sun Warriors were an ancient sect of powerful Firebenders. They practiced a unique version of Firebending that focused on the pure aspect of fire as the source of life, rather than the channeling of rage and aggression as the modern Firebenders used. To them, fire was a form of energy, the counterpoint to the other nation's views of their own elements as states of matter: earth is solid, water is fluid, and air is gaseous.

The Sun Warriors were said to have died out or been destroyed centuries ago, the Fire Nation archipelago dotted with ancient Sun Warrior ruins. Zuko and Aang went to these ruins to find the ancient source of Firebending, only to discover the last of the Sun Warriors living in seclusion beneath the city ruins. There, they discovered that the Sun Warriors worshipped and were guided by the ancient Firebending masters, the last two dragons in existence, Ran and Sha.

See also

* Firebender
* Water Tribe
* Earth Kingdom
* Air Nomads

References

External links

[http://www.telewatcher.com/Animation/Avatar-The-Fire-Nation-Leaders.119807 Fire Nation Leaders]


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