How Prince Zuko Restored his Honor

I wrote this for the and Philosophy blog. Thoughts on Zuko’s character arch, on what honor might be (tricky virtue!)

The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series

How Prince Zuko Restored his Honor

By Helen De Cruz

*For those who have not seen Avatar: The Last Airbender, spoilers will follow.*

Honor is very important to Zuko, the banished crown prince of the Fire Nation. The young prince seeks to restore his lost honor by capturing the Avatar (a mythical fighter who will restore balance among the four nations), so that his father, Fire Lord Ozai, will allow him to return to his rightful place as heir to the Fire Nation’s throne. In Zuko’s view, social position is what constitutes honor. In order to regain it, he would need to win back his father’s favor and his former position. However, Zuko’s uncle Iroh (a disgraced Fire Nation general) thinks that Zuko doesn’t need to capture the Avatar to regain his honor. But, for a large part of the show, Zuko refuses to listen.

Gradually, Zuko realizes that…

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