prince zuko got you all out here thinking every dark haired antagonist boy is gonna do right in the end when zuzu was the exception not the rule

I really wish it weren’t though? I think it’s really telling that a lot of people like redemption arcs because we want to see people be good despite their pasts. The fact that there are so little redemption arcs in media is very upsetting because it just sends the message that people can’t change which we know is not true. I absolutely don’t mean this for characters like Kylo Ren though lol

Redemption arcs are hard and Zuko’s was successful for a couple of reasons: 

1) Zuko wasn’t the worst character in the Fire Nation. From really early on it was shown that, compared to Zhao, Azula, and other Fire Nation leaders, Zuko was consistently more noble. He tried to be a good person and do the right thing, even when doing so led to him suffering for his actions. 

2) Zuko suffered for his mistakes. He suffered when he turned away from Iroh, he suffered when he betrayed Iroh, and he suffered even after his face turn. There were consequences for his mistakes; he didn’t get off scot free because his childhood was hard. He was still held accountable by the narrative and made to take responsibility for the wrongs he did. 

3) Zuko made tangible amends to the people he hurt. He rescued Hakoda, helped Katara get closure, and became Aang’s firebending master. He put in work to make up for the things he did and rebuild bridges with his new allies. 

Most redemption narratives fail because the guilty party is guilty of much greater crimes than failing to capture the hero, never works to make amends, and never suffers for their mistakes. You wanted to see Zuko redeem himself because he had the capacity, wanted to do the work, and paid dearly for his mistakes.

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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