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Ty Lee is a cheerful and energetic teenaged girl from the Fire Nation. The daughter of a Fire Nation nobleman, she attended the Royal Fire Academy for Girls with her friends, Princess Azula and Mai. Having six sisters that look identical to her, she eventually ran away from home and joined the Fire Nation Circus, becoming an acrobatic performer.
Ty Lee is a formidable hand-to-hand combatant, utilizing a unique form of martial arts that attacks pressure points on the human body. By striking a person's pressure points, she is able to disrupt that individual's chi flow and temporarily remove their ability to move and use bending. She and Mai were recruited by Princess Azula to hunt down and capture the Avatar and his friends.
When Mai betrays Azula to save Zuko's life, Ty Lee attacks Azula to stop her from hurting Mai, and is therefore imprisoned. While there, she meets the Kyoshi Warriors and befriends them. In return for teaching them how to block chi, she joins their group and is released from prison when the war is over.
During a flashback in "Zuko Alone", she is shown to be superior in acrobatics even as a child, able to gracefully perform a series of cartwheels and somersaults at which Azula fails. Azula roughly pushes Ty Lee down in retaliation for upstaging her, then laughs. Ty Lee's clear annoyance with this behavior, however, does not stop her from happily going along with Azula's plan to humiliate Mai and Zuko, on whom Mai has a crush. After Azula orchestrates a situation in which Mai and Zuko fall into a fountain, Ty Lee teases the pair about being "cute" together.
Book 2: Earth Edit
A New TaskEdit
In "Return to Omashu", Ty Lee has run away to join the circus, but Azula tracks her down and tries to recruit her to assist with the capture of the now-fugitive Zuko and Iroh. However, Ty Lee is happy at the circus and wants to stay, claiming that her "aura has never been pinker!" Azula, in an ostensibly friendly gesture, informs Ty Lee that she will attend that night's performance before leaving. Ty Lee seems rather uneasy about this. During the performance, Azula orders the Ringmaster to set ablaze the net beneath the tightrope on which Ty Lee is performing and to release all of the dangerous animals making sure that if she fell she would either be scorched by the fire, or devoured or trampled upon by the animals. Afterwards, Ty Lee informs Azula that there won't be a show tomorrow, due to the fact that, "the universe is giving me strong hints that it's time for a career change." When Mai later asks her about the circus being her calling, Ty Lee notes that "Azula called a little louder." Ty Lee accompanies Mai and Azula when they go to make a hostage trade (King Bumi for Tom Tom) and, after Mai calls off the trade at Azula's suggestion, she acquits herself well in the ensuing battle using her Chi blocking to disable Katara's waterbending. Later, when they're leaving the city, Ty Lee, much like in childhood, teases Mai about her affections for Zuko, noting that it will be "interesting" for Mai to see him again.
Pursuing Team AvatarEdit
In "The Chase", Ty Lee, Mai, and Azula pursue Aang and his companions, and when Sokka and Katara split from the Avatar, Ty Lee and Mai are charged with tracking down the siblings. Ty Lee and Mai overwhelm the two sleep-deprived siblings easily (this time, Ty Lee strikes Sokka's pressure points, disabling three of his limbs, although recoiling when accidentally striking Sokka's skull), but are then sent flying into a river by an air blast from Appa. Once out of the water, she states that Sokka is cute.
In "The Drill", Ty Lee (along with Mai) is with Azula as she oversees the gargantuan drill that the Fire Nation is using to breach the walls of Ba Sing Se. When a small group of elite earthbenders is sent out to slow the drill, Azula sends Mai and Ty Lee to deal with them. With the help of Mai, Ty Lee makes quick work of the team nearly, easily blocking their Chi and disabling them. Later when Aang, Katara, and Sokka are found sabotaging the drill, Ty Lee once again acknowledges Sokka particularly, this time sending him a flirtatious look (to which Sokka responds with a smile, a wave, and a drawled "Hi,"). Once Azula sends Mai and Ty Lee after the fleeing siblings, Ty Lee follows them into the slurry pipeline where Mai refuses to go. However, Katara and Toph bend the water and rock mixture using it to plug up the pipeline while Ty Lee is still in it, thus thwarting her attempt to catch them. During this, Katara (presumably particularly embittered towards Ty Lee because of her ability to impair bending) aggressively insults Ty Lee, calling her a "circus freak." After the drill is destroyed Ty Lee is launched out of the pipeline by the build-up of pressure and slams into a rock platform, but is more or less unharmed.
Fall of Ba Sing SeEdit
In "Appa's Lost Days", Ty Lee has a minor role and only appears when helping Azula attack Suki and the other Kyoshi Warriors. In the episode, she shows concern over her looks when she remarks that she was prettier than a Kyoshi warrior she was facing.
In "The Crossroads of Destiny", after a successful coup against the government of the Earth Kingdom orchestrated by Azula, Ty Lee is last seen trying to teach the Earth King's bear how to do a handstand, but Toph Earthbends her hands and feet to the floor.
In the canonical comic, Going Home Again, Ty Lee is used by Azula to help set Mai and Zuko up for a date to convince Zuko to come home. When caught, Azula attempts to the blame on Ty Lee, much to her dismay. The next day, after Mai and Zuko are back together, Ty Lee remarks on how they look "totally adorable".
Book 3: Fire Edit
A Trip to Ember IslandEdit
In "The Beach", Ty Lee and her friends go on vacation to Ember Island at Lo and Li's beach house. At the beach, Ty Lee soon finds herself being approached by a boy who helps her unpack, and then stand to give her shade. Not long after, another boy comes with a shell to give to Ty Lee. In no time at all Ty Lee is surrounded by many admirers. During a Kuai Ball match, Ty Lee arouses the attention of two boys, Chan and Ruon-Jian, who invite Ty Lee and Mai, as well as Azula and Zuko (though reluctantly) to a party that night.
During the party, Ty Lee is surrounded by boys and is forced to render them unconscious to escape the crowd. Seeing this, Azula calls Ty Lee a tease and says that none of the boys really care about her. When Ty Lee starts crying, Azula hurriedly apologizes and confides that she said those things only because she was a little jealous of Ty Lee's popularity. Azula asks Ty Lee how to make boys like her. Ty Lee feels boys are intimidated by Azula, and tells her to just laugh and smile at anything a boy tells her. The group is later kicked out of the party and go down to the beach together.
As the campfire goes on, Zuko calls Ty Lee a circus freak. Ty Lee reveals tearfully that she has six sisters who look exactly like her and that she went to the circus to be different, so being a freak is something she regards as a compliment. Mai says that this is the reason Ty Lee wants so much attention is because she received so little as a child. The group then begins to tell their own feelings and secrets. With all their secrets out in the open, the heaviness between the four seems to vanish. Ty Lee says she will remember this night forever and that Lo and Li were right about the beach's ability to reveal people's true selves. To celebrate their revelations, Azula decides on a fitting end to their night - the four then head back to Chan's party, trashing the house and leaving it a ransacked mess. Together, the four of them forge their own memory of the place, uniting as friends for the first time in years.
Arrest at the Boiling RockEdit
Ty Lee makes another appearance in "The Boiling Rock, Part 2", where she assists Azula at the prison. She and Azula confront Sokka, Suki, Zuko, Hakoda, and Chit Sang, a firebending prisoner. She battles evenly against Suki. When the guards are about to cut the line on the gondola she and Azula are standing on, they move onto another passing gondola after which she wears an unsure look on her face - either for Sokka, hinting that she may still have some feelings for him, or more likely for Zuko, her old childhood friend. Back at the Boiling Rock, she sees Mai double-crossing the Fire Nation guards. After some tension and argument between Azula and Mai, Ty Lee turns against Azula and disables her to protect Mai. Ty Lee then pulls on Mai's sleeve saying "Let's get out of here". Azula orders the guards to lock Ty Lee and Mai up in some place where Azula will never see them again. These events severely weakened Azula's mentality and played a part in her defeat at the hands of Zuko and Katara.
Release from PrisonEdit
While in prison, Mai and Ty Lee met and befriended their old enemies, the Kyoshi Warriors. Ty Lee gave them some lessons in Chi Blocking. After they were let out of prison, the Kyoshi Warriors allowed Ty Lee to join them. It is assumed that she went with them to Kyoshi Island to begin her training. Ty Lee last appeared on Zuko's coronation day, in a Kyoshi Warrior uniform, but without a sword. She seems to not need it because she is good enough with her chi blocking ability. Her last line after hugging her new friends is "We're gonna be best friends forever!" with a big smile.
Ty Lee is bubbly and outgoing, yet slightly air-headed. She is a direct contrast of Azula's mean-spirited nature. Ty Lee appears to delight in her own acrobatic abilities, and never misses an opportunity to show them off. As a result of her upbringing, having six sisters who are exactly like her, Ty Lee craves attention and recognition. This is what may have lead her to develop her acrobatics in the first place, as well as her running away to join the circus. These attention issues also cause her to be a bit of a flirt, which is also why, according to Mai, she needs ten boyfriends.
Ty Lee also has a strong sense of loyalty to her friends, Mai and Azula. Despite her obvious differences from Mai, she has a strong respect for her and they often make an effective fighting force together. Ever since childhood, Ty Lee has also considered Azula as a friend, but as she got older, that loyalty seems to have been based out of fear of the Princess. When she first refused Azula's request that she join her search for the traitorous Zuko, Azula persuaded Ty Lee again by endangering her life during a circus performance. Since then, she has never disobeyed Azula's orders. However, Ty Lee finally took a stand against her "friend" during "The Boiling Rock, Part 2". After Mai helped Zuko escape the Boiling Rock, Azula threatened her life. Out of fear for Mai's safety, Ty Lee attacked Azula, ending up in jail but finally facing her fears.
Ty Lee apparently is not known to hold grudges against her enemies despite their encounters on the battlefield. This is evidenced by her recent bond with the Kyoshi Warriors, who she is partially responsible for getting imprisoned. She was able to establish a fairly strong friendship with the group while they were imprisoned together.
Ty Lee is extraordinarily acrobatic. Even at a young age, she was able to do cartwheels and somersaults in mid-air with a skill that surpassed even Azula's. Her acrobatic abilities allowed her to join the Fire Nation Circus, where she frequently performed high-wire acts. Because of this, she is very fast and agile in battle, able to outmaneuver almost any opponent she comes across. Even dozens of powerful Earthbenders were unable to land a hit at her. She is also very flexible, able to bend in nearly impossible positions and walk on her hands. These abilities allow her to scale almost any surface very quickly, and transgress through most barriers and into small spaces.
However, Ty Lee's defining, most noticeable ability is her mastery of pressure-point striking martial arts blocking one's Chi, Chi blocking. She is able to strike sequences of pressure points to do numerous things to her enemies. She can paralyze a single body part, or even the entire human body if she wants to. She can even block the Chi paths in a human body, depriving Benders of their abilities. This makes her especially dangerous to warriors like Katara, who rely solely on their Bending. Her skill is such that she was able to defeat dozens of powerful Earthbenders within seconds. However, if her target has faced her before or is expecting it, the effectiveness of her Chi blocking decreases. Fighting her before, Suki was able to fight her evenly in "The Boiling Rock, Part 2" and Katara and Sokka were able to evade her blows in "The Chase" and "The Crossroads of Destiny" respectively. She also takes Azula by surprise when she is about to strike Mai. It might be possible that she could kill someone with her chi blocking skills but doesn't do so because of her kind-hearted personality.
- Ty Lee in Chinese is written as 太力 (tài lì) which translate as 'extreme strength.' In Mandarin, 太 can be pronounced both as "tài" and "dài", although most of the time it depends on the context. This renders the pronunciation of Ty Lee and Dai Li identical.
- Ty Lee may not have been imprisoned at The Boiling Rock since the Kyoshi Warriors, except for Suki, were held elsewhere, unless the other Kyoshi Warriors were transferred to The Boiling Rock after Suki escaped.
- Ty Lee is the second outsider to join the Kyoshi Warriors, Sokka being the first.
- Ty Lee's fighting style is similar to the Hyuuga' Clans Gentle Fist Taijutsu in the Naruto Universe, in which they hit chakra points to block the chakra of an opponent and leave them stunned and weak. However, users of the Gentle Fist can kill opponents with it. Ty Lee either can't or is unwilling to kill people with Chi Blocking, she can only incapacitate them.