There is no love greater than a first love.
They are a song you can never cease singing, and a dance you can never unlearn. They are a remembered summer day in your lonesome winter nights. Tonight, I write these lines in remembrance for my first love. The man who awakened the fire within my soul and taught me how to love with passion and honor.
Zuko from "Avatar: The Last Airbender."
Before you dismiss this as jest, I want you to close your eyes and think of a boy—dare I say, man. A beautiful, beautiful person who overcame and conquered his inner demons—finally getting the haircut he deserved. I may not know where Zuko’s mother may be, but I do know where my heart is and it is with an animated, handsome angsty teen outcast/prince looking for his honor. And, here I am, Zuko. I am your honor. How much do I love him? You ask. Well, let me count the ways. Or perhaps, I’ll just give you four.Yes, one for each element (of him).
1. Water: Willing to Change
Zuko's character development was television's most iconic change through the entire series. His change was not easy; he wrestled with his inner demons in a way that was different than other mainstream “bad boy” characters. Reiterating a sentiment from dear Uncle Iroh, we observed Zuko mid-metamorphosis. From an angry pony-tailed brooding boy to a mature, quiet, sentimental man with a slight-overgrown sexy mane.
Like I said, a metamorphosis into the beautiful fire-lrd butterfly we alway knew he could become.
2. Earth: Resilient
Yes, Zuko's season 1-2 1/2 obsessive compulsive chase of the Avatar was... a bit insane. But Zuko's quest for honor--though yes, rooted in problematic daddy issues--showed his dedication. His drive. His motivation. He knew what he wanted (sort of) and wasn't afraid to get it. Even after Zuko officially joined team Avatar and got his "fire power" back, Zuko was as determined as ever to achieve a goal he set in mind. He never gives up, and that's why I can never give up on him.
3. Fire: Passionate
Everybody needs a boy with a little soul, and soul is all that Zuko is. Just look into those golden animated eyes. He does nothing half-heartedly; his energy is all-consuming. The passion in his heart has kept him warm when nothing else could.
Not to mention he certainly has rhythm. It takes a lot to keep up with dancing dragons, amirite ladies?
4. Air: Forgiving
To overcome his faults, Zuko needed to let go of the past that had been dragging him down (ie: his metaphorical honor), and rise about his own insecurities. Despite all the wrongs that have been done to him, Zuko has this insane ability to forgive, learned from Uncle Iroh (RIP still not over "Leaves From the Vine." Whether it be his insane (but ultimate bad-ass) sister or psychotic (but alarmingly handsome father), Zuko harbored no hatred.
Perhaps I'm a little insane to be pining over a non-existent cartoon character (who may have ended up with knife-throwing goddess Mai). Maybe I should stop looking for this perfectly complex, but good-natured boy to stumble upon my life, and settle for some far less interesting fellow. But my childhood love of Zuko-- arguably, at least a three-year relationship --taught me to not cast someone aside based on their faults. To understand the complexities of another person, but also to not let that person drag you down. That's not love. Out of love, I needed Zuko to empower himself and heal, but I could never make excuses for his misbehavior. If that's not love, I don't know what is.