In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Avatar itself is the strongest bender of all. It is, of course, how he is supposed to maintain balance in the world. That is possible with his ability to bend all four elements, while using all the knowledge of the past Avatars in the spirit world through the Avatar state. In the case of Aang, he even learned the ability to bend the energy of bending within a person, which he used to defeat Firelord Ozai at the end of the show. However, there was one firebender who was truly the most formidable opponent Avatar Aang faced. And it was Princess Azula. Her firebending prowess trumps everyone else’s. And her blue fire was her unique trademark. But, how was Azula achieve the technique of emitting blue flames, unlike any other firebender?
Azula – the firebending prodigy
As soon as Azula made her first appearance at the end of season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender, everyone knew she should not be taken lightly. And throughout season 2 and season 3, she proved to be the most formidable threat Avatar Aang had to fight throughout the series. That was because of Azula’s power as a firebender and her unmatched command on her soldiers, through fear and intimidation. And her blue fire demonstrated uniqueness as a firebender. But, why was she the only one to achieve that feat?
Some fans theorized that it was because Azula was able to generate lightning, also known as “cold-blooded-fire”. However, that was not the case. In Avatar, Firelord Ozai and Uncle Iroh could also generate lightning. Yet, their flames were always the traditional yellow. Moreover, Mako from The Legend of Korra could also generate lightning from his fingertips. And his flame was also yellow and orange. So, what made her fire blue?
Well, ever since Azula was a young child, she was known as a firebending prodigy. She had been demonstrating her firebending talent ever since she was 9 years old. Her father Ozai, and her grandfather Azulon, after whom she was named, reveled at her ability. And to gain more of their approval, she kept on striving for perfection. So much so that she reached the very bounds of physics.
What the blue fire represents
The blue part of a flame is always the hottest one, due to perfect combustion. A blue fire has no zero off-gassings of combustion by-products and zero carbon monoxide. It is simply perfection. And it shows that Azula had perfected her firebending to such an extent that her fire was blue. It indicated that her flame was perfect in every sense, burning the air around it perfectly. Moreover, whenever Azula’s flame touches something else, it burns with an orange flame. And as her fire cools, it also turns orange as shown in some of the Avatar extras.
Moreover, Azula’s own name is derived from the Spanish word for blue, Azul. And the creators used the blue fire to help Azula stand out amongst all other firebenders. The blue fire also put her in complete contrast with her brother, Zuko. Zuko symbolized imperfection, rage, and impatience. And that is why his flame was orange. And Azula’s flame represented the complete opposite, as she was methodical, composed, and level headed, along with lacking any kind of empathy, and a cold-hearted perfectionist. Even though she was hiding a lot of vulnerabilities and insecurities behind that seemingly composed demeanor.
Despite being a prodigy, Azula’s end was just as catastrophic. She lost her sanity after ascending to the throne of the Fire Nation, as she lost all forms of support. Her friends Ty Lee and Mai no longer stood by her, leaving her by herself at the top. And that helped Zuko in defeating her sister. However, after Avatar: The Last Airbender ended, Azula did not lose the perfection she achieved in firebending. But, she did end up coming to terms with her place in the world.