|Relationships:|| Zuko (son)|
Ikem (husband) and Kiyi (daughter) - comics only
|Fandom:||Avatar: The Last Airbender|
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Ursa is the mother of Zuko and Azula in the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. She is seen only in flashbacks in the TV show, but appears as a major character in Avatar comics, particular The Search series.
Particular areas of fandom interest are Ursa's relationship with her children, which makes sense as her impact on them seen on them (Zuko in "Zuko alone" and Azula in "The Beach" and "Sozin's Comet, Part 3: Into the Inferno") are some of the most beloved arcs in the show. There are a lot of pre-canon fanworks set before her disappearance that explore how her memory came to be such a source of strength and comfort for Zuko but a source of shame and fear for Azula.
Fandom also was eager to fill in her backstory and what became of her after she disappeared from the royal palace. Fans created many AUs that address where she went, what she did during the years that canon took place, how Zuko might find her after the conclusion of the tv show. Even after The Search series of comics were released, which covered all of this, many fans ignored the comics and continued to come up with their own versions.
Fans also create more canon-divergent works, such as AUs where Ursa flees from Ozai with one or both children, or turns down his marriage offer in the first place. Also popular are fluff or fix-it AUs which imagine the Royal Family as much happier during Zuko and Azula's childhood, imagining the sibling getting along better, Ursa being a more supportive mother to one or both of them, or Ozai being less terrible.
The comics in general were not well received by many fans, and Ursa's story in The Search was subject to particularly strong criticism. Many fans felt that it did not make sense with the picture of Ursa presented in the show, or that it was a disappointing direction in which to develop her character.  Some however defended the comics' storyline and characterization of Ursa.
Another significant disagreement within fandom is over Ursa's relationship with Azula. Some fans that she was cruel or neglectful towards Azula, favored Zuko too much, or didn't do enough to defend Azula from Ozai's manipulations. Other fans push back on this interpretation, arguing that Azula's dislike and fear of her seen in the show's finale arose after Ursa left, and those memories are biased by Azula's mental breakdown.
Ursa's maternal relationship with Zuko and Azula tends to get the most attention within the fandom, but there are somewhat popular ships for her:
- Coming Home, Archived version by lalaietha -- a post-canon Ursa return fic written before the The Search comics were published
- Grandfather and daughter, Archived version by Nele -- "Ursa commits conversation instead of murder."
- Explain, Archived version, by electrons -- snippet from the 64 Years AU in which Ursa is a dual-sword-wielding vigilante similarly inspired by the Blue Spirit theatre character. (intro post, Archived version)
- "Remember me"/Ursa and little Zuko, Archived version, by leantailean, 2021
- my full piece for the @born-lucky-zine !, Archived version
- Instagram poll winner: Azula's Reflection, Archived version by jwirthdreams, 2020
- I just read The Search. Wish there was more Azula & Ursa :( It ended so abruptly!, Archived version by banafria, 2013
- ...…rare sight, completely harmless Azula :), Archived version, biorn21, 2019
- ATLA’s Ursa. A sorta quickie painting., Archived version N. Duong, 2013
- you’re telling me ursa, as a fire lady and the granddaughter of avatar roku, didn’t know how to defend her life, Archived version, by articianne, 2015}}
- The Two Ursas, Archived version, essay by Loopy777 contrasting Ursa's characterization in the show vs. the comics
- Ursa and Korea, Archived version, about correspondences between Ursa and Korean mythology and folklore
- What is your opinion on Ursa?, Archived version by royaltealovingkookiness, 2020 -- Although Ursa-focused, discusses both Ursa and Ozai's influence on their children.
- So happy to hear that you're not in the show!Ursa is a bad mom -camp., Archived version further discussion by RTK
- So, this is going to show up in the Fire Siblings fic ..., Archived version,by soozenwrites, ljf613, and kiyi-and-zuzu, 2020 -- meta about potential bias in both Azula's and Zuko's memories of their mother as presented in the show
- What I think of Ursa, Archived version, ellakomskaikru, 2022 -- a defense of the comics storyline for Ursa and examination of her relationship with Azula
Links & Resources
- Ursa (Avatar) works on Archive of Our Own
- Avatar: The Last Airbender stories and crossovers featuring Ursa on FanFiction.Net
- #ursa tag on Tumblr
- I agree that the backstory of Comics! Ursa could be compelling..., Archived version. Answer on Tumblr posted by zuko-always-lies. Posted May 24, 2022. See also many similar sentiments in the meta section of this article.