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while “zuko sent to find one single person who hasnt existed in 100 years and then he actually does” can be very funny in concept, can we just talk about how fucking heartbreaking it must be for iroh? 

like. he knows this is an impossible task. and it does happen–yes! in the first episode, so maybe we don’t even think about it that much! but when ozai tells zuko to go find the avatar, it’s an impossible task. and iroh knows this. and zuko might have everything riding on this, and he’s a kid and hasn’t learned what’s impossible yet, and so he’s plugging his ears and saying “i can do it! i can do it and then dad will love me again!”, but iroh knows the only reason this specific task was assigned is because ozai doesn’t want him. he doesn’t want him back. ozai didn’t want him to betray them so he gave him a little hope, a little “of course i could still love you, you can come back, that’s a possibility, just don’t disappoint me” because, you know, he’s an abusive dick. but iroh knows his brother, and he knows 

i think as a kid, while i loved loved iroh, it was a little hard to reconcile his silly moments with his wise moments. it’s not anymore 

i’m just thinking of the pai sho tile, and how silly it seemed at the time that it was just in his sleeve. silly old man! so forgetful 

no. no, that wasn’t it at all 

because every moment he stalled, every moment he mucked up the plan, every moment he just generally wasn’t helpful, that was another moment where he could still have a chance. where he might get through to zuko. where he could delay what was suddenly now a very real possibility: 

that ozai sent zuko away, but zuko would actually come back, expecting to be loved. and that’s what iroh didn’t want to happen. winning ozai’s love was more unrealistic than finding someone who’d been dead for 100 years, in the end 

While watching the show it never occurred to me that Iroh was stalling to avoid the confrontation Zuko would have with his father’s undeniable rejection. I always thought it was to prevent Aang from actually being captured. to save the world- not to save Zuko. But this adds such a deep and beautiful layer to it.

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