Reviews for Dragon of the West, Phoenix of the West
Aurelia le chapter 10 . 9/1/2012
Ah, a new chapter! And well worth the wait.

I think Azula’s conversation with Ty Lee flowed well and made sense for her character, despite any misgivings you might have on that score. (I’ve kind of started following you on tumblr, to the extent I can follow anyone without an account of my own.) Azula is at first unwilling to talk about what happened, either just now or more recently. And she would be.

But she needs to talk to someone, having no way in her current situation (such as throwing herself into work or training to the point of exhaustion) to deny the effect any of this has on her. (Azula seems more like the type who would internalize all that hurt and anger and mostly only let it out indirectly, maybe channeling it into her firebending, etc.) So Azula keeps thinking about it until she finally can’t help but ask Ty Lee what captivity was like for her, and reflect on her father’s reaction to prison. I think in a way, Azula is indirectly asking Ty Lee how she coped with being imprisoned or trying to determine if captivity was as bad for her as it was for Azula. She needs a new way to cope, and I think she hopes Ty Lee can give that to her.

The fact that Ozai lives in comfort and complains bitterly about it, while his daughter was abused in secret without anyone to visit or check up on her, really highlights the unfairness of Azula’s situation … a fact that doesn’t escape her. (And now Ty Lee makes the connection too.) A lot of the “evil” things Azula did she did at her father’s command or to win the approval that was the closest she could ever come to love from him.

And yet Azula, an emotionally unstable fifteen year old who has never known any reality but serving her father, is punished more harshly for lesser crimes than a sane and fully autonomous Ozai. Why? I think Ty Lee has the right of it here: Because Azula was more of a threat to Zuko’s rule than Ozai. So Iroh essentially lied to Zuko about the conditions of her commitment, to neutralize the threat Azula represented.

(Not that this absolves Zuko either, when he apparently made no effort to visit her from the time she was institutionalized to when he discovered – quite by accident – she was being abused. I kind of have to wonder what even caused him to make that visit, when he could be bothered to drink tea with his genocidal, child-abusing father once a week without once attempting to visit Azula. Shades of the The Promise…)

In all fairness, Iroh seems to have convinced himself there was no other place for Azula to go, and he probably reasoned there was no sense in Zuko angsting about that if it couldn’t be helped. He might have thought he had to protect Zuko from his own soft heart, as well as from his sister. But that is about as fair as I’m willing to be, because none of this makes anything Iroh did less wrong.

Again though, I can imagine Iroh allowing his niece to come to harm through inaction or even willing deception on his part. (We have already witnessed him write her off on the show; it’s sadly believable he might do the same post-war.) To see this acknowledged not just by Azula but by Ty Lee – sweet, bubbly Ty Lee, who always thinks the best of everyone – is immensely satisfying. Ty Lee is smarter than people give her credit for…

“Iroh had always been Azula's nice, funny uncle … if Iroh was going to hurt Azula, Ty Lee wanted to know.” There was so much of Azula’s history and how it continues to impact her contained in this one paragraph, that I am just … in awe of this paragraph. A lot of what you wrote here are possibilities I have considered for Azula and her relationships. But you capture this so well in Ty Lee’s thoughts and tie it in such an organic way to the situation in-story right now that I am really impressed. You have a talent for using your words to maximum impact.

“‘Her dad used to lose his temper and hurt Zuko and Azula all the time, especially when they had firebending accidents.’ She said it in her sweetest, most genuine voice so he would feel especially guilty.” More proof that Ty Lee is smarter than some would give her credit for, especially when it comes to the people she cares about. Also amusing that she has the will and ability to manipulate other people’s emotions, something she shares in common with (and may have even picked up from) Azula.

The kitten seemed kind of random, but then I remembered your plans for TyZula as stated in your Q&A on tumblr, and I began to understand. It still felt a little out of place, but at least Azula’s reaction to cute fuzzy animals is what I would expect.

I look forward to her conversation with Iroh next chapter. That promises to be interesting, and I can’t wait to see how their one-sided fight and the fallout will impact his behavior toward Azula.

Thanks for another great chapter. :)
Guest chapter 10 . 9/1/2012
best chapter yet, love the kitty and azula peting it in the end lol so cute :)
ty lee, keep spillin the truth! ;)
lantur19 chapter 10 . 9/1/2012
This was the best chapter so far, no doubt about it. The emotions in the scene where Azula and Ty Lee were talking about Ozai and Ty Lee's experiences in prison, and Azula's experience in the asylum, made this one of the best scenes in this fic so far. I just love the commentary you made in here. I wanted to give Ty Lee ALL the hugs and awards in this chapter, because she definitely speaks the truth. As always, characterization is flawless, to the point where I can hear Azula and Ty Lee speaking their lines in my mind's eye. I love this, and I can't wait to see what the next chapter has in store. :)
Aceina chapter 10 . 9/1/2012
verry good chapter and i like hte kitty i hope it becomes azulas pet nothign helps a peron trew pain like a pet
Salixj chapter 10 . 9/1/2012
Excellent. Just excellent. I love the kitten entry, and how Azula refuses it, but when she isn't actually thinking about it her truer self comes out and she cuddles it.
sugahkane chapter 10 . 9/1/2012
Great chapter. I especially like Ty Lee's metaphor. And how at the end of the chapter, Azula is subtly petting the cat that she just all but cursed out minutes earlier.
Guest chapter 10 . 9/1/2012
love it
Led Feynman M.D. D.D.S. Ph.D chapter 10 . 9/1/2012
Aww kitty
Guest chapter 9 . 8/18/2012
oh i really like your story! its very good, please update soon! :D
Lee Savage chapter 9 . 8/12/2012
I love how you characterize Iroh. He's not just the jolly wise man. He makes mistakes and has his own prejudices. And poor Azula. :( I'm definitely glad that this explores their relationship in a way that is complex. Good work! :)
Aceina chapter 9 . 8/11/2012
wow this fic is good adn i enjoy how ure showing how iroh is not perfect for he never did give azula a chance

even when she was just a child he hated her every 1 well every 1 but ty lee

after all can u blame a her for goign to her father when every 1 else treated her poorly for her advacned fire bendign skills after all a monster who wants to use you as a tool is better than no1 wantign u at all
withoutmarbles chapter 9 . 8/9/2012
I continue to marvel at your brilliant portrayal of Azula. She is a very consistent character through all your works, which is a feat of magnificence on your part considering she is such a complex character.

I also enjoy what you're doing with Iroh's character, even if I'm not a big fan of him right now in light of his treatment of his emotionally unstable niece. Iroh's treatment of Azula in the show always rubbed me the wrong way (specifically that line about Azula being crazy and needing to go down), and I like how you've explored that side of him instead of portraying him as some saint. He would definitely not accept Azula the way he accepted Zuko, and you've shown that wonderfully.

I had to come back and reread that last part of chapter nine several times because it was just so great. You didn't reduce Azula to a blithering mess when she cried (thank you!) and you captured Ty Lee perfectly in the way she avoided Iroh after his treatment of Azula. I think I sensed a subtle change in his perception of her at the end of that last chapter - or maybe I'm just crazy.

Anyways, I can't wait for the next instalment. :D
Stella chapter 9 . 8/8/2012
I enjoy this story so much. Azula is a hard character to portray, but you do a good job at it. I hope you update soon (:
BlueLion chapter 9 . 8/8/2012
Fascinating. You paint a really unfavorable picture of Iroh here. All in all many facts are in favor of Azula here. Azula often is more bark than bite - she threatened her captain, but she didn't harm him at all.
While Iroh is responsible for thousands of lives during the siege of Ba Sing Se, Azula on the other hand took no life - she succeeded to win Ba Sing Se cunning and without any bloodshed. She didn't take the regency herself, but gave the administration to a native Ba Sing Se woman - Joo dee.
She didn't kill the Kyoshi warriors, she just took them prisoner. She enabled Zuko to return home. She didn't kill neither Mai nor Ty Lee, though both committed high treason, instead she just took them prisoner.
Azula's a talented and plucky gal, shows impressive leadership and . The girl has been 14 years old - such is what people, much more teens suffer by war - in the end PTSD broke her.
Summing up all those points, Azula's got a lot to be commended here - I wonder if Iroh will be prepared to repent his errors too. I believe that Azula might not take the throne any longer - but she might be able to prove a staunch supporter for the rights of the colonies' citizen - in some way the desperate situation of the colonies reminds me of Northern Ireland here ...
I'm really looking forward how you'll develop the plot and charas - your story is a thrilling tale, keep up the fascinating plot!
N3phtys chapter 9 . 8/8/2012
Great chapter! Even if some TyZula-comforting is bitter needed now. Both Azula and Iroh seem to have a very difficult temper... and Azula has the physical disadvantage.
Also, her comments on Iroh's sexism seemed... understandable. This was always my theory about Azula's childhood taking the way it took.
Great work!

Also, a summary-review of the entire story so far:
*thumpsup!*
It's already in my Top5 and I'm sure it's going to stay.

But to give some pros and cons:
the mature tone and mood in it. It does make it more realistic while not going into all that angsty stuff
all 3 characters seem completely in-character (while Li and Lo do not, but I'm thinking they're not the main characters, aren't they?)
so far the world seems "in-character" too, especially with the market woman bowing to Azula. She is after all the rightful - and better trained - ruler of the nation.
-We do not get any of Azula's POV or what's on her mind...
...but that's good! Don't change it please.

Also, please don't forget the main assasination plot and everything. So far that's the only thing you could mess up anymore in this awesome story.

Please continue! :) Can't wait for the next chapter
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