12 Avatar The Last Airbender Characters, Ranked Worst To Best


  • The writing in
    Avatar: The Last Airbender
    allows characters to grow while remaining recognizable, with Zuko’s redemption arc being the most-praised storyline.
  • Fire Lord Ozai is a less nuanced character, serving as the threat for Aang and the other heroes to overcome.
  • While many of the characters are children and teenagers, Iroh is a compelling mentor to the younger cast.



The amazing writing for Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender series has given viewers some of the best characters in animation. Avatar allows its characters to grow while remaining recognizable from who they were at the beginning of the series. The series explores the different character arcs of traditional heroes and nuanced villains, depicting young people who struggle to remain true to themselves while fighting a war.

Zuko’s character arc is the series’ most praised storyline: Zuko first appears in the Pilot determined to capture Aang and is a self-realized hero at the end. While most of the main cast are children and teenagers, the story also includes fascinating mentors who have a profound impact on the younger cast. With Netflix’s live-action Avatar series coming up, the show’s best (and worst) storylines will soon be on TV once again.

12 Ozai

The Fire Lord serves as the series’ main villain.

Ozai on Avatar the Last Airbender

Avatar’s main villain Fire Lord Ozai does not officially appear until the final season and is not a very complex character. Ozai is an evil tyrant who inherited the Fire Nation’s mission to control everyone but is depicted as even more malevolent because he manipulated his own family to gain more power. He has no backstory or justification for why he is like this. Ozai’s main role in the story is to be the villainous force that Aang and the others must defeat. He is a good villain in this way, but a less interesting character in his own right.

11 Mai

Zuko’s love interest who trained herself in stilettos.

Mai holding one of her throwing knives in Avatar: The Last Airbender using throwing stars.

Mai is an expert at throwing stiletto knives and trained herself out of boredom. Her emotionless demeanor does not change during her time on the show, even if her priorities do. Mai and Ty Lee’s betrayal of Azula is a defining moment for both their characters, demonstrating that they have the agency to stop taking orders. While Mai’s cold personality and combative expertise make her an interesting character, it seems strange that she betrays Azula and the Fire Nation without much emotional fanfare, even though she is angry with Zuko for leaving her. Mai has also never indicated that she is unhappy with the Fire Nation’s rule in general.


Avatar: The Last Airbender – Main Characters, Ranked By Fighting Ability

Because ATLA is an action-packed, adventure story, basically all of the main characters are good fighters. Here’s how their skill-sets compare.

10 Ty Lee

Azula’s childhood friend realizes they are too different.

Ty Lee bows in Avatar The Last Airbender

Ty Lee betrays Azula to protect Mai, who turns against the Fire Nation Princess out of love for Zuko. Ty Lee has an overly bright, friendly personality and her friendship with Azula is strange because the latter is so violent. Ty Lee stands by Azula because they are childhood friends, but ultimately realizes that Azula’s decisions do not work for her. She can ignore Azula’s violence until it is directed at Mai and makes the split-second decision to incapacitate Azula, so they cannot hurt each other. While Ty Lee is not Avatar’s most popular character, she is lovable because she only wants to prevent conflict between her friends.

9 Appa

Aang’s loyal sky bison and friend.

Aang and Appa On ATLA

Thanks to the writers and animators of Avatar, Appa can effectively convey emotions even though he never speaks. He protects and comforts Aang and the others and is as devastated as Aang when they are separated. While Appa does not have as much character development as the series’ human characters, he plays a vital emotional and logistical role. After all, Avatar would have been a much slower series if the main characters had not had Appa to transport them everywhere.

8 Suki

Leader the Kyoshi Warriors.

Suki attacking as a fire rages behind her in Avatar: The Last Airbender

Suki is a capable and levelheaded character. She is a fierce fighter and the leader of the Kyoshi Warriors, but also generally kind to everyone she meets. In her first episode, Suki demonstrates that she can easily defeat Sokka but also forgives him once he admits he was wrong for thinking that girls could not fight. Suki’s overall character does not change throughout the series because she is already well-equipped to fight everything that comes her way from her first episode. Suki was not meant to return after her first episode, but was so popular among the fans and staff that she was brought back in seasons 2 and 3.

7 Aang

The Avatar who remains true to himself.

Aang in a fighting stance in Avatar the last airbender

Aang does his best to uphold the Airbenders’ code of non-violence, despite the expectation that he will kill Ozai to end the war. There is a lot of pressure on Aang to be a certain kind of warrior, and this pressure is why he runs away from home. He is a goofy kid in some episodes but a destructive force of nature in others. Aang is always trying to reconcile his position as the Avatar without giving up on himself. By the end of the series, Aang has grown up considerably from the child found in an iceberg, but he still retains the most significant aspects of his personality.

6 Katara

A powerful Waterbender who only becomes more skilled.

Katara is already a powerful Waterbender at the beginning of the series. However, as time goes on, she hones her skills and becomes a deadly fighter. On the other hand, Katara makes a conscious effort to emotionally support all her friends and to save as many people as she can. Katara comes to a crossroads when Zuko offers to help her find the man who killed her mother. This episode shows all of Katara’s extremes: She blood bends and stops rainfall in midair, but finds it in herself to spare the man and reconcile with Zuko. Overall, Katara is a layered character who is both challenging and nurturing.


Avatar The Last Airbender: Main Characters Ranked By Likability

Avatar: The Last Airbender has a huge cast of characters, but who is actually the most likable from the entire series?

5 Iroh

Zuko’s uncle is kind, intelligent, and terrifying.

Uncle Iroh is smart because he knows that the Fire Nation and Ozai are not good for Zuko, but also realizes that if he were to tell Zuko outright to defect, Zuko would not listen to him. Iroh instead gently but persistently encourages Zuko to be better and to fight for peace. Iroh is motivated to do this by his own experiences serving the Fire Nation, most notably leading the Seige on Ba Sing Se where his son was killed. He knows that the war is futile and that the Fire Nation are not the heroes, and tries desperately to impart this to his nephew.

Iroh also offers occasional guidance to other characters, including Toph and Aang. Iroh is a kind mentor and seemingly harmless at first—but he is doubtlessly one of the series’ strongest characters. His fire-bending skills earned him the moniker “The Dragon of the West.” However, it is not until the final season that the audience and the other characters realize how powerful Iroh truly is. Overall, Iroh is a wise mentor with a detailed backstory that drives him.

4 Azula

Zuko’s maniacal sister stands in for Ozai.

Azula in Avatar the Last Airbender

Zuko’s recklessly violent sister is an engaging villain for the heroes to fight as they work their way toward defeating Ozai. There is no negotiating with her and even peaceful Iroh knows that she must be defeated. However, the writers do an excellent job of justifying Azula. Azula’s mental health is worsened by her mother favoring Zuko and her need to be in control. When Azula loses control over Mai and Ty Lee, she quickly deteriorates. In the end, the series frames Azula as another tragedy.

3 Toph

The Gaang’s Earthbender and toughest member.

Toph is already a very complex character when she enters the story. She is sheltered by her parents because of her blindness and competing in underground Earthbending fights is the only way she can show off her skills. Toph is a fan-favorite character because she is the toughest of the Gaang and nothing can stand in her way. Yet she is also hilariously sarcastic and even sweet at times and is the first to argue Zuko’s case. There are also many lists and video compilations of all Toph’s jokes about being blind.


Avatar: The Last Airbender Voice Cast & Character Guide

Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the most beloved animated series of all-time, and its talented voice cast included some big stars.

2 Sokka

Most character development of the Gaang.

Sokka training with his sword

Sokka demonstrates early that he can learn from his mistakes and grow as a person and a warrior. Sokka makes many jokes in the first few episodes about how girls cannot fight until he meets Suki, and surprises her by owning up to his mistake. Sokka is also unique among the Gaang because he is the only non-bender. While he is still vital to their mission as the planner and navigator, he worries that he is not as useful in a fight. Sokka then seeks out Piandao to learn swordsmanship. There are not many episodes focusing on Sokka’s character, because he learns how to be better so quickly.

1 Zuko

The Fire Nation Prince has one of the best redemption arcs ever.

Zuko’s redemption arc takes time, allowing Zuko to realize that he is not happy serving his father and leave the Fire Nation on his own terms. Despite encouragement from Iroh and occasional offers of friendship from Aang and the other main characters, Zuko forges ahead with his mission to win his father’s approval. It is only after he finally has this that he realizes it is not what he wants after all, and defects with no help from any of the other characters.

Zuko is one of, if not the most complex characters of the Avatar: The Last Airbender cast. Even when Zuko is hunting Aang, the series frames him as someone to root for because of how his family treats him. Zuko’s arc involves many plausible setbacks as he struggles to let go of what he thought he wanted before his story finally ends in triumph, making him the most compelling and well-written character of Avatar: The Last Airbender.


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