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Admiral Zhao

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Er is een kringloop in sjablonen geconstateerd: Sjabloon:Fire character infobox Zhao was a Captain, then Commander and later, being promoted by Fire Lord Ozai, an Admiral in the Fire Nation Navy. He was a master Firebender, and a rival to the banished Prince Zuko. One of the most powerful men in the Fire Nation, Zhao took it upon himself to capture the Avatar, Aang, and nearly succeeded at least once. Other than Prince Zuko, Admiral Zhao was the main antagonist of Book One, being responsible for besieging and nearly destroying the Northern Water Tribe as well as temporarily killing the Moon Spirit and almost killing Zuko.

History Edit

Background Edit

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In his youth, Zhao studied under the now-renegade Firebending master Jeong Jeong, but stayed under his tutelage only as long as necessary to learn destructive maneuvers, rejecting Jeong Jeong's attempts to teach him discipline. This lack of self-control, combined with a fiery temper, resulted in a tendency to make foolish mistakes when provoked. Any endeavor Zhao took was in the name of his own ego and self-gratification.

As a Lieutenant serving under General Shu in the Earth Kingdom, Zhao discovered a vast hidden underground library, later revealed to be the library of the spirit Wan Shi Tong. Interested to learn the information it held, he searched through scroll after scroll until he came across a detailed illustration with the words "moon" and "ocean". It was there that he learned about the Moon and Ocean Spirits of the Water Tribe and where their mortal incarnations could be found. After this, he believed it was his destiny to destroy them. He is also quite possibly the one to have destroyed information about the Fire Nation that was recorded in the Spirit Library.

In spite of his temper, Zhao rose through the ranks over the years, from Lieutenant to Captain to Commander and then finally to Admiral. This last promotion was granted by Fire Lord Ozai himself.

Zhao was one of the witnesses to the Agni Kai between Zuko and his father, Fire Lord Ozai, during which Ozai burned Zuko's face and banished him from the Fire Nation. Taking great joy in seeing Zuko suffer showed just how cruel Zhao really was.

A Bitter Rivalry Edit

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Zhao vs. Zuko

One day, he was commanding a Fire Nation naval base where Zuko has docked his ship to repair the damage caused by his battle with the Avatar. Zuko initially tells Zhao that the damage was caused by crashing into an Earth Kingdom ship, but Zhao senses that he is hiding something. He invites a reluctant Zuko and a jolly Iroh to a drink in his office. However, he secretly has the banished prince's crew interrogated. After the questioning reveals Zuko's encounter with the Avatar, Zhao has Zuko and Iroh confined in his office. He says that the task of capturing the Avatar is too important to entrust to a teenager, and announces his own intentions to capture the young Airbender. The ambitious Commander and the wayward Prince begin a verbal argument, which ends in Zuko challenging Zhao to an Agni Kai.

During the battle, Zhao initially has the upper hand, easily parrying the youngster's attacks and launching powerful attacks of his own. However, just as the Commander seems on the verge of victory, Zuko manages to break his stance. Pressing his advantage, the young prince aggressively attacks Zhao, until he has the older man on his back. Zuko struggles for a moment with the idea of killing him. Zhao urges Zuko to kill him, but Zuko fires a small fire-blast at the ground beside his head as a warning, an act which causes Zhao to label him a coward.

As Zuko is walking away from the battle, an enraged Zhao attempts to attack his back, but is stopped by Iroh. Iroh says that Zhao's behavior in defeat is disgraceful and dishonorable. This event sparks a bitter rivalry between Zuko and Zhao. ("The Southern Air Temple")

Shortly after the Avatar's return to the world, Zhao was commanding a number of Fire Nation ships forming a blockade between Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom waters. During this time, the Avatar tried to cross into Fire Nation territory to reach Avatar Roku's Temple. Zhao ordered his ships to open fire upon the Avatar without concern for hitting Prince Zuko's ship, which was in pursuit of the Avatar at the time. Aang managed to pass the blockade, and presuming Zuko to know Aang's destination, Zhao allowed Zuko to pass the blockade and continue pursuing the Avatar. He tracked Zuko's boat to Avatar Roku's temple and, because he had been forbidden to re-enter Fire Nation territory, arrested Zuko along with the Avatar's companions. Aang was within a sealed chamber at the time, and Zhao waited for the Avatar to leave the main chamber to arrest him as well. However, due to Aang's contact with Avatar Roku, Zhao is instead face to face with Avatar Roku himself; Roku freed the prisoners and began destroying the island. Zhao managed to escape, but with no Prince or Avatar he attempted to save face by declaring all of the Fire Sages traitors, despite their protests that only Fire Sage Shyu helped the Avatar.

Promotion to Admiral Edit

Later, Zhao requested that Colonel Shinu, commander of a Fire Nation fortress in the Earth Kingdom, use the legendary Yu Yan Archers to help capture the Avatar. Zhao insisted Shinu was wasting their talents in using them as security guards, but Shinu scoffed that Zhao's hunt for the Avatar was nothing more than a vanity project. However, a message arrived from the Fire Lord Ozai; promoting Zhao to Admiral, who made his request an order.

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Zhao tormenting Aang

Zhao began to use his position to hinder his rival, Zuko, by blockading the port they anchored. Zuko began to despair of ever returning home, as Zhao's far greater resources gave him a great advantage in capturing the Avatar. The Yu Yan Archers successfully captured Aang and brought him to the fortress. Zhao, confident that the Avatar was defeated, gave a speech to the soldiers of the fortress forecasting the ultimate Fire Nation victory. Unbeknownst to him, a blue-masked warrior infiltrated the fortress and freed the Avatar. Together, they fought past the guards and escaped to the last gate, where the soldiers managed to corner the two combatants. Zhao ordered the Avatar captured alive, as otherwise he would simply reincarnate and trouble the Fire Nation in a new life, when the Blue Spirit (as he was later known) held Aang hostage at sword point. Zhao was forced to give the order to let them pass through the gate. However, he has a Yu Yan Archer knock out the thief from long range. Unfortunately for him, the Avatar escapes, taking the masked warrior with him. ("The Blue Spirit")

Reunion Edit

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After hearing reports of the Avatar being seen in a Fire Nation town during a festival, he began searching the nearby rivers. There he confronted his old master Jeong Jeong, and proclaimed that living in the wild had reduced his old master to a savage. Jeong Jeong retorted saying that it was Zhao who had embraced savagery, representing the unrestrained destructiveness of Firebending. Jeong Jeong warned Zhao not to confront the Avatar, but Zhao ignored these warnings, arrogantly stating that he could defeat a child. Aang was surprised to learn that Zhao was the enlightened Jeong Jeong's student, and he used what he learned about Zhao's temper to continually egg the Admiral on until a raging Zhao was tricked into destroying a convoy of his own ships, proving his own lack of restraint and focus was against him. Again Aang escaped, leaving a humiliated Zhao brooding over his failings.

Siege of the North Edit

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Still chafing from his Agni Kai defeat, Zhao discovered that Zuko was the vigilante thief, the Blue Spirit. Determined to eliminate further interference, Zhao ordered a group of pirates to engineer a (failed) assassination attempt on Prince Zuko. Afterward, he led a large invasion force in a siege of the North Pole, for the dual purposes of capturing the Avatar and destroying the Northern Water Tribe. Fully aware that the waterbenders draw their powers from the moon at night, Zhao attacked during the day, capitalizing on the weakened state of the Waterbenders.

On the second day of the siege, Zhao's forces managed to penetrate the city's walls. Having previously come across Wan Shi Tong's library, Zhao discovered an ancient scroll which detailed the mortal forms of the Moon (Tui) and Ocean (La) Spirits. Knowing that they could be killed, Zhao used the assault of his troops as a diversion while he and a small team made their way to the Spirit Oasis on the second night of the siege. Upon arriving, Zhao bagged the Moon Spirit koi fish, causing the moon to fade away until completely gone. This event therefore negated all waterbending abilities.

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Confronted by Aang's group and Iroh, Zhao chose to eliminate Tui and fled. The slaying of the Moon aroused the anger of La, the Ocean Spirit. Merging with Aang's Avatar State, the Ocean Spirit and Aang proceeded to vanquish Zhao's entire fleet. Zhao made an attempt to escape, but was confronted by Zuko, who saught revenge for Zhao's attempt to murder him. Zhao fought the prince until the Moon Spirit was restored by Princess Yue's sacrifice. Seeing the return of its ally, the Ocean Spirit left Aang and returned to the Spirit Oasis. As he was defeated by Zuko, Zhao stared in disbelief at the moon. At that moment, La, who hadn't yet reached the Oasis, reached from one of the canals, grabbed Zhao from the surface and began to pull Zhao into the water. When Zuko saw this, he offered help by reaching out to Zhao and telling him to take his hand. But while Zhao at first made an attempt to reach, he decided he'd rather die than accept help from Zuko. La pulled him underwater, where he died most likely from being drowned. Zuko was the only one who witnessed Zhao's death.

Zhao's forces, meanwhile, were almost, if not completely, eradicated by Aang and La. Fire Lord Ozai was furious at this turn of events.

Personality Edit

Zhao had many traits of a stock villain: he was cruel, ambitious, and arrogant. He also had an uncontrollable temper, as stated by Jeong Jeong, and therefore had no control over his Firebending. He never learns from his mistakes and therefore is always repeating them. He also underestimates his enemies such as Zuko and Aang because of their age and their apparent lack of power. Both Aang and Zuko have been able to defeat Zhao when they fought him.

Abilities Edit

Firebending Edit

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Zhao was a very powerful Firebender and was considered to be a master. In his youth, he studied under the master Jeong Jeong. However, he had very little interest in Jeong Jeong's philosophy of control and discipline, seeking only more power. As such, Zhao's style of firebending is very powerful, but he lacks control and focus.

In "The Southern Air Temple", Zhao, in a duel with Zuko, easily blocks the Prince's relatively strong attacks. He then proceeds to break through Zuko's defense using his own attacks, and is on the verge of victory, until Zuko breaks his footing.

In "The Deserter" Zhao uses enormous blasts of fire against the Avatar, larger than any Firebender had been seen creating until that point. These blasts burn parts of the forest and destroy three Fire Nation river boats. Zhao was able to fire many of these blasts without tiring.

Other Skills Edit

Zhao was a gifted military strategist, enough so that he managed to secure a promotion to Admiral.

In "Winter Solstice Part 2: Avatar Roku", Zhao discerns Zuko's strategy to use a smoke-screen to throw him off his trail. In "The Blue Spirit", Zhao makes use of the highly skilled Yu Yan Archers to capture the Avatar. In the Season One Finale, Zhao commands a massive fleet against the Northern Water Tribe, and carries out a plan to kill the Moon Spirit, in order to deprive the Northern Waterbenders of their bending.

Behind the Scenes Edit

  • Zhao's series of promotions, from Captain to Commander to Admiral, is somewhat backwards. In traditional naval ranking, it should go from Commander to Captain to Admiral.
  • In an interview on IGN, Michael Dante DiMartino said that the character of Zhao was originally inspired by Jason Isaacs' performance as a villain in The Patriot. DiMartino asked his casting director to get "someone like" Isaacs for the role, and she managed to get the actual person.
  • In another IGN interview, Isaacs said that he was told when recording the role to "be yourself, but be your American self".


Trivia Edit

  • Zhao is the only antagonist to die on screen in the entire series

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