May 26th, 2011
|12:04 pm - Review replies for "Bringing out the Blue" (an Avatar: The Last Airbender fic)|
What can I say? I like discussing my own stories :)
As mentioned on FF.N, I'm using this post to reply to those reviews which are unsigned, or which have had the PM function turned off. I will copy such reviews from FF.N into the comments and try to reply within a couple of days. You can also post your review, or a question you have, directly here.
Note on spoilers: I know that most people care about spoilers more than I do (me, I'd never have gotten into the Avatar fandom in the first place if I hadn't started reading a detailed review series on it). Therefore, I try to keep any comments on what's coming up in my fic very vague, but I can't guarantee that there will be absolutely no spoilers. If you dislike them, proceed with caution.
ETA: Unfortunately, I've been slow to reply, so please be patient with me. All the same, if you don't see a reply to yourself in over two weeks, it probably means I lost track, so please poke me with sharp sticks as a reminder.
Current Music: Tracy Chapman - Our Bright Future
|Date:||May 26th, 2011 05:15 pm (UTC)|| |
reply to Kally Lass (2011-05-09 . chapter 14) - Pt 1
First off, let me say I love this story to pieces, it's ranking in my top five A:TLA fanfisc alongside 'Embers' (obviously *eyeroll*) and a few others. Characterisation is very believable, especially for Zuko - I'm betting he's your favourite character - and this is a very enjoyable, in-depth character study.
Thanks for such a detailed review! I love pretty much all of the characters, but Zuko’s a particularly complicated and therefore interesting to write :)
Granted, I do think there are a couple of points where his obstinacy/willing blindness are stretched just a little too far, it's still within the bounds of IC actions.
I would really appreciate it if you would tell me more about where exactly you feel I’ve stretched things too far. Even if still within the bounds of IC (I certainly hope!), it would help me keep my characterization in line in the future.
In fact, I think these aspects of his personality are this strong *because* of that line back in ch. 12 back when Ozai says [kind and gentle]: [Zuko, do you understand now why I had to do it?] What a complete and utter mongrel that man is, it's utterly believable he'd take advantage of that extraordinarily impressionable time post-Agni Kai to mess with his son's head. And the worst part is how utterly true-to-life that kind of thing is. "I wouldn't have to hurt you if you did what I say.", "I only do it because I love you and want to teach you."; eventually the child's going to believe what they're told..
Yes, that was exactly the kind of thing I had in mind when I wrote that line. I really don’t think that even Zuko would stay that loyal if his father constantly hurt him. But always having the chance held out that he could be loved if he did this, and that, and the other thing – it would feel like real love while being everything but.
And so this Zuko is even more messed up than canon-Zuko. And that's a lot of messed up right there.
BOtB-Zuko is pretty heartbreaking really, doesn't feel he earned his money (I'm guessing he had a monthly budget for his ship(?)), affection or anything; and he so desperately wants to go home. Even though at one point he mentions how Ozai didn't want him to have friends. And the whole matter of his entire childhood really.
I tried to keep his messed-up-ness close to canon, actually, but possibly, my interpretation of it is on the heavy side. Ozai continued to give him his allowance, as you’ll see in a few chapters. Not a bad amount, seeing as he’s a prince, but certainly not sufficient for all necessary expenses. And to continue with the topic above, one of Zuko’s big mental blocks is with believing that everything has to be earned.
I mean, canon-Zuko at least *knew* Uncle was with him because he loved him. BOtB-Zuko kind of gets it, but not really. Hardly at all in fact.
I may need to correct that characterization – where in canon do you see that?
But I'm glad his friendships with the Gaang, and his friendship-and-something-more with Mai is pulling him out of his ingrained teachings. I think for all of them it's their distance from Zuko that's doing it. Mai hadn't seen him scarred before, and she didn't. Care. One. Bit. In fact, she *admired* it and what it represented. And as for the Gaang, they know only the barest bones, and they respect (and pity) him for it.
I’m not sure what you mean by “distance,” but yes, all their voices, even though he doesn’t want to trust the Gaang, combine to override the one he’s listened to for so long.
|Date:||May 26th, 2011 08:55 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: reply to Kally Lass (2011-05-09 . chapter 14) - Pt 1
(Kally Lass here) Thanks for responding with an equally long reply to my review! :)
[I would really appreciate it if you would tell me more about where exactly you feel I’ve stretched things too far. Even if still within the bounds of IC (I certainly hope!), it would help me keep my characterization in line in the future.]
This will be very vague, and impressionistic as I only ever saw the series through in its entirety about two years, although I've since seen a few isolated episodes more often.
It's more the subtle things in the show. If we look at the canon version of 'The Blue Spirit', all it takes is for Aang asking Zuko one question that starts Zuko thinking.
This bit just stood out for me the most: Zuko goes to bed, and he *turns away from the Fire Nation emblem*. It's *very* subtle, but that moment, combined with the melancholy tsungi horn music shows us that Zuko's starting to think that maybe the Fire nation isn't everything. Then there's as=lso his chat with Song in season two, which makes him think about Fire Nation war crimes (he turns his head and frowns), and that's with a kind stranger; here he's hearing first-hand accounts of personal pain and grief from people he *at least* respects and acknowledges as good people.
Now, granted, nobody aside from Jee and Mai know who the Blue Spirit is, but Zuko's also had a *lot* longer pre-Koizilla to get to know *Aang* and the siblings. You also haven't dealt much at all with Zuko's thoughts on Azula and her attempt to take him and Iroh back to the Fire Nation as traitors either. He should be doing so, and that it's kind of skimmed over makes me think he's still very much set on his home as being a good place to be.
Actually, upon reflection, I very much think Zuko's opinion swings as far as Aang and the others go is very good. He knows them, but he also has a direct, guilty, emotional link to the Siege of the North.
Like I said, really it's just stretching it to the outer-bounds; I can definitely see a lot of early season two and three stubbornness in your Zuko.
Really, I think you addressed a fair few of my issues with his stubbornness/obstinancy well in ch. 15. He's applying Fire Nation-bred theories to other peoples, and eventually he will have to turn on his own nation's attitudes as well (specifically insofar as politics goes).
[Yes, that was exactly the kind of thing I had in mind when I wrote that line. I really don’t think that even Zuko would stay that loyal if his father constantly hurt him. But always having the chance held out that he could be loved if he did this, and that, and the other thing – it would feel like real love while being everything but]
I read a lot of wide-ranging books and textbooks and articles, which is why I cottoned onto the possible effects of it being said *just that once* while easily impressionable. Maybe this verbal manipulative abuse could do with being mentioned once or twice more, as I remember a review a while back saying 'Ozai would never say such a thing' (paraphrased) even though that sort of thing *is* what Ozai would do if he felt it would help him control Zuko.
And didn't Iroh mention, again during the treaty proposition, that Ozai feared an independent heir more than any Avatar?
[I tried to keep his messed-up-ness close to canon, actually, but possibly, my interpretation of it is on the heavy side. Ozai continued to give him his allowance, as you’ll see in a few chapters. Not a bad amount, seeing as he’s a prince, but certainly not sufficient for all necessary expenses. And to continue with the topic above, one of Zuko’s big mental blocks is with believing that everything has to be earned.]
Hooray for logical assumptions! Hmmm, if anything then, going with the 'mental block', Zuko could even feel embarrassed about needing an allowance, and then ashamed that he can't even allot it correctly to help his crew.
As for interpreting it on the heavy side . . . if anything I think the show kept parts of it much more child-friendly than it could have realistically been! Did you know that Zuko actually suffers from several key indicators of PTSD. Possibly even Complex-PTSD.
|Date:||May 26th, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC)|| |
reply to Kally Lass (2011-05-09 . chapter 14) - Pt 2
Getting back into the story properly; I believe Zuko found himself a spirit ally. Which is so many kinds of awesome, especially as it's one as capricious as the Blue Spirit is hinted to be. He's an ["interesting"] ally who helps when and where he pleases and [ma[kes] his own honour]. And so I get the feeling the Blue Spirit's only going to help out Zuko as either a very last resort, or because of spiritual influences. AKA: for gits and shiggles. Of the two most obvious times Zuko's manifested a Blue Spirit 'glow' it was in a storm which may or may not have been influenced by Tui and La (that storm was over way too fast) and any way it came right on the heels of the canon 'spiritual metamorphosis' (which I never really liked) - although in this case it was . . . interrupted?
Did Zuko raise his internal temp high enough to burn off that angst coma? It sounds like it.
Yes, the Blue Spirit is not easily pinned down :) I never liked the “metamorphosis,” either, which is why Zuko did not go through one. In fact, it’s only Iroh’s interpretation aboard the raft that Zuko’s about to go through a transformation – the fever may have been spiritual, but it might equally have been the effect of heavy exertion with incompletely healed injuries in icy conditions. (I have my doubts about the canon fever, also, and what happened in canon didn’t look anything like spiritual growth to me.) So Zuko did his best to fight off the fever on the raft, which probably included internal temp regulation, but also included the best cure to angst – the idea that there’s a job to be done which he can do.
Point is, because I got sidetracked again, is that during those three weeks on the raft, and then when fighting off the passive-aggressive air-spirits we have the blue glow; and in both of these incidents Zuko could do literally nothing without that added boost. I do have my own suspicions about that last appearance of Zuko-as-the-Blue-Spirit when escaping Azula's ship (which was fantastic in its entirety), maybe the Blue Spirit (henceforth known as spirit!Blue as opposed to Zuko!Blue) added a little oomph! to Zuko!Blue's appearance.
Your suspicions are exactly right, but you’ll have to wait for the details till later :)
With the last interference by Spirit!Blue I'm beginning to wonder if Zuko isn't going to try to find out more about this too. He clearly knows there's something messing around with his head even if at the mo' he's semi-convinced it was a hallucination. *But* then he's told about his ally, and Zuko did make a point of praying to spirit!Blue back at the theatre. I'd be very surprised if he *didn't* try to work out exactly what was happening.
Not that it's going to affect how he acts, he's not one to trust to anything in particular. Plus he knows enough of Spirit!Blue's personality in the operas to know better than to trust him blindly.
Yep! The newest chapter is his first attempt, but there’ll be others.
|Date:||May 26th, 2011 09:21 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: reply to Kally Lass (2011-05-09 . chapter 14) - Pt 2
Kally again, sorry about the long replies, I'm an English student who, by nature tends to analyse things ridiculously in-depth for fun; and I tend to ramble while explaining why I think what I do.
[Yes, the Blue Spirit is not easily pinned down :) I never liked the “metamorphosis,” either, which is why Zuko did not go through one. In fact, it’s only Iroh’s interpretation aboard the raft that Zuko’s about to go through a transformation – the fever may have been spiritual, but it might equally have been the effect of heavy exertion with incompletely healed injuries in icy conditions. (I have my doubts about the canon fever, also, and what happened in canon didn’t look anything like spiritual growth to me.) So Zuko did his best to fight off the fever on the raft, which probably included internal temp regulation, but also included the best cure to angst – the idea that there’s a job to be done which he can do.]
Excellent! I love ambiguous explanations and unreliable narrators! Iroh probably underwent one, hence his assumptions.
Me, I think I'd be leaning to a bit of both - spiritual fever, but mostly exhaustion, exertion and injury. Also: shock.
(Ah! Ah! Remember one of my previous comments? The one about BOtB!Zuko loving Iroh, but not really understanding why iroh loves him? This is another example of your Zuko doing what he does *for* Uncle, but not knowing why: he fights off the fever for Uncle. See also: his smile at the end of c. 9.)
I'm not so sure why I don't like the canon 'metamorphosis' except that it seemed very forced (although I can definitely see Zuko getting ill from his actions; stress and so on), but I think that might be the idea behind it, if poorly executed. Zuko wasn't *Zuko* because he did what he thought his uncle wanted, rather than what *he* wanted.
However; I adore your angst cure. So true, and yet funny.
[Your suspicions are exactly right, but you’ll have to wait for the details till later :)]
NOOOOOO!!!!! :D Still, can't wait to see that. It's going to be fantastic, especially if ZUko happens to be there, finding out as well.
And hooray for another suspicion being proven correctly. Silly logic only coming to the fore when I *don't* really need it. A light/dark blue mask with blue highlights being easily visible in a dark sea at night, illuminated only by firelight, which itself tends to make things ripply and indistinct? Not really going to be very visible.
[Yep! The newest chapter is his first attempt, but there’ll be others.]
And as you can tell from my review of ch.15 it made me a very happy bunny. :) Zuko really does use what he can, as best he can.
One reason why I loved ch. 10. He has a bag a shells, a knife, a mask, firebending and the element of surprise (until he doesn't) and he knocks out *the entire ship* on his own, if not all the soldiers. At sixteen. With what? Ten minutes to plan, and having an hour to enact his plan. Probably if he had another half hour they'd have made a cleaner escape.
|Date:||May 26th, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC)|| |
reply to Kally Lass (2011-05-09 . chapter 14) - Pt 3
Zuko's just going to end up concluding that Spirit!Blue likes him because Zuko!Blue's bringing The Blue Spirit back into popular awareness. I mean really, saving the Avatar (Earth, Fire and probably Water would hear of this, and oh, *the AVATAR HIMSELF*), completely destroying the Fire Princess' personal warship and helping two Princes of the Fire Nation escape (Fire Nation only methinks, unless messages are intercepted or gossip spreads.), openly walking with refugees and helping out at Omashu and in the swamps with the Avatar; Zuko!Blue's basically a walking testament to The Awesomeness of the Blue Spirit. And that's including the three years prior to the Avatar's awkening either.
Ten years down the line the wordless operas and plays are going to feature the Blue Spirit in major roles rather than bit parts.
::laughs:: Definitely no more obscurity! But actually, the relationship between Zuko and the Blue Spirit is more complicated than that.
I *really* like Spirit!Blue, what very little we've seen of him, and while I like him a lot as the elusive blue glow I think he'd be amazing too if he as fleshed out *just a little bit*. Do *not* explain everything. That would ruin the nature of the Blu Spirit I'm thinking. He lurks in shadows, listens, thinks, and helps when *he* pleases; explaining too much would ruin the mystique that's inherent in himself.
Another thing I think Zuko!Blue is doing (for Zuko himself) aside from giving him more perspective, more angles to think from, *flexible thinking* is that it's teaching him self-control. To watch his tongue and think before he 'speaks'.
I had the idea that Zuko teaches himself that, actually, but it’s being in the different headspace which allows him the freedom to do that. From the first, what the Blue Spirit had meant to Zuko was “this is not the only option.” In canon, though as late as Ba Sing Se, Zuko stills says “I don’t want to make a life here,” it’s interesting that he barely fights it.
I'm also intrigued by the constant references by Sokka about how *different* Zuko!Blue is from Zuko and other firebenders. Mainly in control and attitude; Zuko in canon is actually a pretty shy and dorky person and these are things Zuko!Blue *is* but Zuko isn't yet. And aside from two slips (during the rain and at Luanyang) Zuko!Blue's had impeccable control over his firebending. He'll be out of practice when it comes to forms, but he should be much better at the finer points; much as Zuko!Lee was in canon.
Well, remember that Sokka hasn’t actually met many firebenders, so he fills in gaps with what he thinks firebenders “ought” to be. Also, Sokka mainly saw Zuko in action in the 2nd and 3rd episodes, plus a few bits of fighting during the Avatar Roku ep and the Bato of the Water Tribe ep. Those would involve Zuko being a) “the prince” and b) firebending. Both absent in Zuko’s “Blue Spirit” persona. To my mind, Zuko has always been shy and dorky (his flashbacks suggest as much), but naturally became angry and bitter post-Agni Kai, and then also decided that, because being “weak” was unacceptable, he had to project a much more forceful personality.
And speaking of Zuko!Lee, back as early as the first or second chapter you wrote that Zuko didn't want a 'Lee' floating around his head because he was already two people. Even Zuko!Blue's body language and motion is almost diametrically opposite to Zuko's motions. A sign of a borderline split personality there, probably exacerbated by the sudden increase in time spent as Zuko!Blue. I'm looking forward to their reconciliation as one awesome person.
I’m looking forward to Zuko reconciling with himself, too! However, I would not call it anything like a split personality. From what I understand, people who pretend to be someone else for prolonged periods of time (for whatever reason) do end up feeling like they “switch” between personalities, and sometimes have trouble with keeping them distinct, but that doesn’t mean they actually are different people in one body. It’s more that trying to follow Ozai’s directives left a claustrophobically narrow path for Zuko to follow (“I was the perfect prince, the son my father always wanted. I wasn’t me,” as he eventually realizes.)
|Date:||May 26th, 2011 10:08 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: reply to Kally Lass (2011-05-09 . chapter 14) - Pt 3
Kally again.[::laughs:: Definitely no more obscurity! But actually, the relationship between Zuko and the Blue Spirit is more complicated than that.]
Hahaha! I kind of figured that; and while the pair's relationship is definitely more complicated, I do think it could be something *Zuko* would think. Especially as he's got so little self-worth. Really though, their relationship just amuses and mystifies me all at once. Brilliant combination! I hope they get to interact a lot more soon. And now that Zuko's recognised how Spirit!Blue normally talks to him it should be fun, as well as more complicated.
Probably calls for more introspection and self-analysation on Zuko's half. Silly scene time!:
"'Why did I think that? It was out of the blue . . . Blue Spirit, is that you?' Zuko waited, concentrating for anything that didn't feel like himself; there was a slight sensation of nodding. 'Well, it's still confusing when you do that.' he grumbled petulantly. And then winced when he felt the mental equivalent of another friendly slap to the head."
Heh, and running along similar lines; it's going to be tricky for Zuko explaining that he's actually kind of in a partnership with the Blue Spirit.
[I had the idea that Zuko teaches himself that, actually, but it’s being in the different headspace which allows him the freedom to do that. [...]In canon, though as late as Ba Sing Se, Zuko stills says “I don’t want to make a life here,” it’s interesting that he barely fights it.]
I did say Zuko!Blue. It is *precisely* because of the new headspace, and the new ways he has to think to get his opinion across, *and* understand the thoughts of others that's making Zuko more flexible and open-minded.
Speaking of the Blue Spirit as posing another option for Zuko, how exactly did you get the idea for this story? It's just such an interesting concept, and one that I've never seen before.
But I can definitely see the Blue Spirit, as you've written him, as being essentially just the 'OR' option to the 'either/or' situation. It, I think, gives Zuko more freedom to make *his* choices for himself, as nearly everyone else has an ulterior motive to making him change his ways.
I addressed the Ba Sing Se thing earlier, so you know that I too thought it was odd how he never really *fought* Iroh's decision. Especially given we all know how almost supernaturally stubborn and unstoppable Zuko is.
[Well, remember that Sokka hasn’t actually met many firebenders, so he fills in gaps with what he thinks firebenders “ought” to be. [...] because being “weak” was unacceptable, he had to project a much more forceful personality. ]
Good point. I really should watch the series again. I would say though, that while Sokka has seen a lot of firebenders, it's always been in combat with anonymous soldiers. This means he's seen the aggression and battle styles of firebending, but no the things like healing or other applications Zuko's mentioned.
You do make a really good point though, even when it's just Zuko he's still in the forceful commander of the ship and royal prince role; hardly the 'average' firebender. Same for Jeong Jeong now I think about it: a self-loathing former *General*.
I also like your reasoning for *why* Zuko underwent such a drastic change after the Agni Kai. Lovely interpretation of the canon. However, some of that arrogance and forcefulness would be natural; he is a prince after all.
[I’m looking forward to Zuko reconciling with himself, too! [...] (“I was the perfect prince, the son my father always wanted. I wasn’t me,” as he eventually realizes.)]
This is another example of it being very late, and me being discombobulated. I'm not saying he's got a split personality as in the mental disorder; but that he has a difference in approach . . . in *style* so it shows in his body language and some of the ways he thinks.
Loving your analogy for Zuko's situation; it pretty much works in with what I got out of ch. 15: he's [trapped and helpless]. I'm assuming the quotation is from canon, just here it turns out he has another option. And he's taking it. Why? he doesn't really know, I don't think; but he's taken it.
Looking forward to your next update so much! But more importantly, I hope you have as much fun writing it, as we do reading it.
|Date:||May 26th, 2011 05:21 pm (UTC)|| |
reply to Kally Lass (2011-05-09 . chapter 14) - Pt 4
By the by, I can so see this last chapter coming back to bite Zuko in the rear one day soon. Zuko!Blue will disappear 'to go meet someone, be back in a few days, where're we going to meet?' and say three or four days later the Gaang are at the rendezvous town; they get concerned/bored and say "Hey Aang, use that connecter-sense of yours to show us how far away Blue is, maybe we can go meet him. It'd show just how well you've been practising, he'll be so proud!", cue the connecter-sense tracking him down and . . . it'll show him Zuko. Being Zuko. Possibly arguing with Uncle. Or making out with Mai. One of those three.
You have no idea how tempting it is to write it that way! It would be hilarious. However, for plot purposes, I’ve already decided that Zuko will get to tell the truth to the Gaang. In an alternate alternate reality, though… In this one, it’s going to at least give him a few bad moments. He really doesn’t plan ahead well.
So now Blue is Zuko and the Gaang are probably going to flip. And be horrendously confused. Toph (assuming she's joined up by then) would probably react the best as she's never met Zuko, and only knows about Blue.
Aang next, confused, but more understanding about the 'abducting airbenders' thing; he'd be immensely confused I think because Blue's been pretty nice and *taught* him things, and Aang's very trusting. Not to mention his past life told him Blue was awesome and lucky.
That’s about how I see it for those two.
Sokka would be the hardest character to evaluate, he's already halfway convinced Blue's a firebender/fire nation, he's already figured out that the masquerade *isn't* one any more as it's too involved and out of all the Gaang Sokka's benefited the most, easily. Got a friend - a *best one*, they teach each other fighting skills, Blue acts as another voice of reason (and as far as Sokka knows Blue is a mute wandering swordsman dressed as a minor spirit who is seriously messed up mentally (and possibly physically from the explosion)). However, it's precisely *because* of those benefits that he may feel betrayed. They've worked together, had fun and told each other secrets, and he genuinely worries over Blue; yet he really doesn't like Zuko. Imagine trying to reconcile those two people when he'd already convinced himself Zuko and Blue weren't the same person! Tricky personality leads to difficulty predicting the reaction given all the above, but I'm leaning to cautious optimism.
It’s my story, so it’s going to end well… eventually.
Katara is . . . Katara. She's going to flip. Big time. It's all going to have been one lie after another, and how *dare* he lie about his mother being missing! He's just laughing at us, mocking our losses. He deserved to die in the explosion. And so on and so forth. Then again, some of the reactions Blue had she knows *can't* be faked, and some of his questions were *way* too earnest, so she'll take a long time to come around, but it will make her re-evaluate Zuko even while she's despising him with every breath in her body.
Also going to – eventually – work out. Lots of explosions on the way, though :)
And for these reasons I'm hoping the Big Reveal comes *before* the Cave Scene in Ba Sing Se. Maybe even before Ba Sing Se itself as it would be pretty unexpected for the readers, and at this point in time (ch.14) Zuko's change of ideologies is pretty big.
Don’t want to spoil the exact circumstances of the reveal, but Zuko’s got a few more things to work through. No Cave Scene in my fic, though.
Mainly: Ozai shouldn't have done what he did. And coming from three isolated POVs too (Iroh, the Gaang collectively, and Mai) makes for some convincing stuff. Not to mention spirit!Blue's occasional opinion. Don't get me wrong, Zuko's got a long way to go, especially regarding figuring out the Fire Nation indoctrination and propaganda and what's wrong with it, but he's getting there fairly well.
I really hope the Revelation happens pre-Ba Sing Se.
Well, I hope you enjoy the upcoming chapters, then!
|Date:||May 26th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: reply to Kally Lass (2011-05-09 . chapter 14) - Pt 4
[You have no idea how tempting it is to write it that way! It would be hilarious. However, for plot purposes, I’ve already decided that Zuko will get to tell the truth to the Gaang. In an alternate alternate reality, though… In this one, it’s going to at least give him a few bad moments. He really doesn’t plan ahead well.]
Well, call it an omake then. And if boredom or writer's block ever strikes, just think on the silly little omake. :P
But trust me, I'm looking forward to the Big Reveal a lot more now that I know Zuko's going to tell of his own volition.
[That’s about how I see it for those two.
It’s my story, so it’s going to end well… eventually.
Also going to – eventually – work out. Lots of explosions on the way, though :)]
Aaaawww, I love happy endings. Especially for the great friendship between Zuko and Sokka. I'm looking forward to seeing how the different conflicts between them gets sorted out. And, sadistically, I'm also looking forward to the unspeakably awkward moments just as much.
[Don’t want to spoil the exact circumstances of the reveal, but Zuko’s got a few more things to work through. No Cave Scene in my fic, though.]
I'm a happy bunny. The Cave Scene was interesting, but wasn't exactly my thing; and I can hardly see it happening in any form in your fic for various reasons.
Of course, by teasing all these tiny little things you're being a very cruel woman as well; making me anticipate the reveal even more like that.
You enjoy this don't you? :)
[Well, I hope you enjoy the upcoming chapters, then!]
Ha! This is going to be *awesome*!
But I always enjoy your chapters, so don't you worry sweetheart.
|Date:||May 26th, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)|| |
reply to JC (2011-05-25 . chapter 15)
I say Next Chapter,he tell them they meeted Azula eriler.
Zuko care about the People of Fire Nation,he knowns Azula will not care.She is the one who stop the exchange.
I totaly see Tylee as a potential Airbander.
Thanks for reviewing! Zuko won't need to tell them - they'll figure it out as they did in canon, after their next encounter with her. Ty Lee probably could be an Airbender, but I wonder if she would be interested - she seems happy with the circus, and later, with the Kyoshi warriors. Perhaps a few years down the road.
|Date:||May 26th, 2011 10:44 pm (UTC)|| |
reply to dasserk (2011-05-25 . chapter 15)
Finally! I've been waiting for this chapter forever! I really like it - It's interesting that Zuko still doesn't understand how the 'gaang' works, and how angry he gets at Aang. But I'm also happy that Zuko is starting to doubt the Fire Nation more and more, even if it's taking a while for him to change his mind.
Keep going, I really look forward to seeing where this story goes.
Thanks! Zuko really doesn't have a lot of experience of normal relationships to draw on for understanding (not that the Gaang is entirely normal, either :-) ) He also gets the angrier over small things because he can't express what he feels about the big things (not without blowing his cover, at least).
|Date:||May 27th, 2011 10:47 pm (UTC)|| |
reply to potion (2011-05-26 . chapter 15)
this is a really good story. i like how your handling zuko's character development. a lot of authors go for an instant personality change with no real explanation for the shift, those stories don't really set right with me- it's the main reason i avoid romance stories. but i seem to be getting off track/sorry. i will admit im alittle leery about how the whole blue is zuko thing is going to work out, heck for all i know you might not even have the "gang" learn that zuko is blue.
Thanks for reviewing! Characterization is pretty much the most fun part of any story to me, so I'm glad mine is working for you. Yes, Zuko is going to eventually admit the deception to the Gaang, but that's not for a little while yet.
|Date:||May 27th, 2011 10:51 pm (UTC)|| |
reply to Kally Lass (2011-05-25 . chapter 15) Pt. 1
I ended up cutting a few bits from this, just to keep it manageable. Assume that everything I didn’t quote, I enjoyed reading and was just nodding along to.
The Momo/Zuko interactions are seriously cute. I wonder how and why the pair bonded so quickly; maybe Momo has a spirit awareness; that or he just likes having a new friend who gives him fruit. It also heightens how much Zuko loves animals, by the way, throwing in his canon love of turtleducks was a wonderful analogy to use for his confusion.
Well, from the first time Momo appears, he does act oddly (leads Aang to the body of his mentor, gives fruit to Sokka, and what exactly _was_ he doing hanging around the temple by his lonesome?) I heard from somewhere that the creators originally intended for him to be the reincarnation of Gyatso. I’m not sure I’d buy that, but… it’s fun to ponder just how much Momo really understands about what’s going on. More than the average animal, is my bet.
The bit with the fireball is pretty distressing for Zuko (and for us as we realise just how much the memory still affects him, and even moreso now he 'can't' firebend and block it). I'm going to leap forward in the chapter and state outright that Blue!Zuko (as we're in Katara's POV) had such a severe nightmare because of this. You're trying to break our hearts aren't you with this scene? I love Katara's reaction here, to the revelation that he *can* speak, if barely; and the fact that she's so earnest in trying to help him communicate with the world. Of course, when she finds out that all her planning's gone to waste on *Zuko*, well, hello explosion. For some reason, I think because it's after she [touched his head] he's reliving the days directly after the Agni Kai, hence his [heavily slurred and oddly pitched] voice, as well as him still being asleep and very much terrified out of his mind.
Yes, you’re right again. PTSD, and being triggered by something similar to the original event. I honestly wasn’t trying to break anyone’s heart, but what Zuko has lived through is heartbreaking enough on its own. Katara meant well, but she managed to put her hand on the part of Zuko’s head which got burned (there’s no way only the area of the scar got burned, because burns don’t work like that; I figure that the scar is what didn’t heal after extensive treatment). So in his sleeping state, more memories got triggered.
Resuming where I left off, oh Zuko. The reason you're [bothered] by Sokka's loss is because he's your best friend, and you sympathise with his loss of his primary weapon. Darn, he's precious when he's clueless to why he thinks these things.
Well, he’s not actually that clueless. Just denying like crazy again.
More things for Zuko to think about re: the superiority of the Fire Nation. I think what I like best about how you make him doubt his indoctrination is that it's always the smaller things that kick it off. More, that he's thinking in terms of reciprocity, and how/why these things didn't transfer to the main islands. This attention to detail foreshadows his thoughts later on (Yuen Ha and corruption, the bit about Azula), draws attention to his curiosity, intellect (because while he's brash he's still very smart, adaptable and was *raised* to know these things) and shows why and how he'd be a good peacetime leader. And all from Zuko realising that cheaper vegetables mean techniques that could be brought to other lands. You are an *extremely* skilled writer.
::blushes:: Thanks! But I don’t see how Zuko could be convinced by anything _but_ the smaller things. Everything larger gets hit with the wall-o’-denial. The small things, on the other hand, can slip through and undermine the indoctrination.
Also, all respect to Mike and Bryan, but they live in the land of 24-hr supermarkets, so they probably think nothing of having fruit and veggies available year-round (there are melon-type things for sale during “The Storm,” which supposedly takes place in winter). In the countries without such amenities, the timing of the “first new greens” is an Extremely Huge Deal. Zuko would notice it the way people from warm climates notice snow in late May.
|Date:||May 27th, 2011 10:55 pm (UTC)|| |
reply to Kally Lass (2011-05-25 . chapter 15) Pt. 2
Still loving the way he thinks of the Gaang as [children] even though Sokka's a year younger than him. His perspective on the attitude of the crowd at the festival is very good, if heightens the tension even for those who know what's coming up. Whoa. Zuko saw a live execution as a child? No wonder he acts the way he does over Chin village.
The sad thing is, none of them are really children anymore (even Aang is being dragged out of childhood bit by bit.) Canonically, Zuko and Katara would both be around the same age by that reckoning (with Zuko only slightly the eldest), and older than the others by several years, not the chronological difference. (Throw in the way Azula treats him as younger than herself, and you’ve got some very interesting dynamics going). I think Zuko instinctively understands that growing up so quickly is not really a good thing; his insistence on categorizing the others as still children is both protective of them and defensively superior. As for the live execution – I think that Ozai would have made him watch at least one. As a character-building exercise, you understand. After all, he made a whole crowd watch, including his 11-year-old daughter, while he burned his 13-year-old son.
I really like how Zuko's swinging between pitying the Gaang and hating them here, especially over Aang's insistence he's never killed anyone (and of course, Zuko's education comes to the fore, but he can't say anything. That happens a lot doesn't it?) and then wondering about whether Aang'd agree to be tried by the Fire Nation for the soldier's deaths. (I can really see the Embers influence here, unless it's a total coincidence) And then he reasons that as being the only reason he's looking after Aang in this place.
I read “Embers” slightly past the point where the Katara-bashing starts – absolutely loved the story up until then, but couldn’t bear to go on afterwards. If that’s in those chapters, then it was an unconscious borrowing, which I hope is not close enough for plagiarism (if it is, *please* let me know so I can change it ASAP). Otherwise, coincidence, or great minds thinking alike.
Now for my favourite part of the chapter, and the one that made me grin. One of my theories came true. Zuko talks directly to Spirit!Blue! Awesome. And he's starting to realise how Spirit!Blue communicates, all those random thoughts out of nowhere *aren't*. I wonder then, does Spirit!Blue have access to all Zuko's memories, or just the ones from the moment Zuko started 'serving' Spirit!Blue? Either way, Zuko's working hard at figuring out a very enigmatic spirit, and this pleases me so much. Especially Zuko's cranky question, which only gets him a mental clip around the head. Spirit!Blue's acting like a big brother. I like the last message Spirit!Blue gives Zuko the most, it's very enigmatic, obscuring Spirit!Blue from easy comprehension (something I was hoping would happen to maintain his mystique), but provides what I feel is a very elegant answer and interpretation by Zuko.
Well, he’s a spirit, so I presume he’s seeing Zuko most directly _as_ another spirit, just one currently occupying a body. All the memories contained in Zuko’s spirit should be _possible_ for Spirit!Blue to access, but just as with one’s own memories, some come easier than others. As for the last message – Zuko is not wrong, per se, but Spirit!Blue was actually communicating another thing at the same time.
It also leads me to suppose that Spirit!Blue's [asleep]/weak because he's not as appreciated as he once was, so that loss means he can't act like other spirits (Hei Ba, Fang, various Avatars etc.) and help so easily. Maybe Spirit!Blue was once a more important spirit back in the day. Then again, it could just be part of Spirit!Blue's thing that his answers are as mysterious as the shadows that obscure everything about him.
That’ll become _slightly_ clearer later. We really don’t learn much about the Spirit World in canon, which means I make stuff up.
|Date:||June 1st, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: reply to Kally Lass (2011-05-25 . chapter 15) Pt. 2
Kally Lass again. Same as you, if I ignore bits I'm nodding along.
[I read “Embers” slightly past the point where the Katara-bashing starts – absolutely loved the story up until then, but couldn’t bear to go on afterwards. If that’s in those chapters, then it was an unconscious borrowing, which I hope is not close enough for plagiarism (if it is, *please* let me know so I can change it ASAP). Otherwise, coincidence, or great minds thinking alike.]
I'd suggest giving 'Embers' another go, just push past those chapters and things pick up *a lot*, but it's your choice. And as far as your story being similar in part to 'Embers', I must say this: I got into A:TLA fanfiction *because* of 'Embers', and that story is so very big in A:TLA fanfic in general, that people do take ideas/themes suggested by things in 'Embers' and run with them. Or it truly *is* coincidence, but more people than not have read 'Embers' and make assumptions.
When I say parts of your story remind me of 'Embers' it comes down to two things: Zuko can 'heal', or do something remarkably *like* healing (which seems to have been pretty much typified by 'Embers' even if it didn't create the idea) and that in both stories your Zuko and Vathara's do *not* let the Koizilla incident go. You both take it in very different ways, and your Zuko's are so different that it's really only outward similarities. You both just picked up on larger ramifications of the destruction of the Navy, and extrapolated what the survivors might think.
[Well, he’s a spirit, so I presume he’s seeing Zuko most directly _as_ another spirit, just one currently occupying a body. All the memories contained in Zuko’s spirit should be _possible_ for Spirit!Blue to access, but just as with one’s own memories, some come easier than others. As for the last message – Zuko is not wrong, per se, but Spirit!Blue was actually communicating another thing at the same time.
That’ll become _slightly_ clearer later. We really don’t learn much about the Spirit World in canon, which means I make stuff up.]
Makes sense. As long as you remember to keep your rules internally consistent, I love seeing people take a throw away idea and run full tilt with it, much as you did with the Mysterious Tornado from 'The Swamp'.
Now you've mentioned the double meaning of that dream I'm off to go ponder some more. Or I could be lazy and wait for later reveals. But where's the fun in that? Aside from reading your story obviously :P
|Date:||May 27th, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC)|| |
reply to Kally Lass (2011-05-25 . chapter 15) Pt. 3
Hee~ the Blue Spirit's off a-stealing. And modifying. Any moment where Zuko pulls out his ninja skills is fantastic. I also think it's a nice way of giving Zuko back his weapons; it's a vindictive theft, but from a very not-nice person, so it's petty and funny all at once.
I had to watch the ep a few times to get this, but canonically, Zuko’s second set of swords comes from the guy who forced Uncle Iroh to dance for the golden coin (talk about ninja skills – easily defeating an armed guy with your bare hands after he’s already gone on alert? Whoa). So – a similar kind of circumstance for my fic.
Aaawww, Sokka kept up on his promise. This slate/bedroll scene is sweet and heartbreaking. So affected by his being given necessities without having to ask; it shows just how much he undervalues himself. And the not-crying, and Momo. He's having [problems] because they're all his friends now, and he doesn't get that; and he's al sad because he knows he's deceiving them, and he doesn't feel he deserves their friendship. Gah. So. So emotional! Noone should react that way to a slate, some chalk and a sleeping bag. Poor Zuko.
Don’t forget Katara! She’s the one holding the money, and she was probably the one to think of the necessity of a bedroll. You’re right, they’re such simple things, but Zuko’s just had all his assumptions about having to _earn_ loving care exploded, and in the nicest way possible.
And because I forgot earlier when mentioning this scene; Zuko!Blue's sleeping next to them without waking up even when Katara approaches! Another subtle way of showing how much he's come to care for, and respect them. Especially when Katara compares it to the last on-screen nightmare we know he had. Her shock is darkly comic too.
Yes, I was hoping people would notice that! He wouldn’t admit it, but he feels safe with them.
Why did Zuko!Blue startle? All I can think of is maybe when Kyoshi showed up (I only saw this episode once, about two years ago, so), unless the mayor did something.
Along the same thread, did Zuko!Blue 'see' Aang using the connection? Indicates either Aang's not been able to go 'invisible' yet or Zuko!Blue's becoming more spiritually aware? The latter being backed up by his conversation with Spirit!Blue.
If you mean the startle that Aang “saw,” it was because the glowing white thread was visible, and the implications of “oh, no, they can find me everywhere; they could see me without my mask; and I’m the one who insisted on learning more about this” have just hit Zuko. If you mean how come he pulled the swords out where the mayor could see them, it was because the verdict of “boiled in oil” was just announced.
This amuses me: [Personally, however, I've always considered "not acting stupid" more important] Oh really Zuko? Really?
::Zuko-voice, indignant:: What do you mean? I’ve never been deliberately stupid. ::author-voice:: Hee!
By that, because I don't think I'm making myself clear, is that if Zuko judges Earth Kingdom politics etc. based on Spirit!Blue or the Gaang, he's basing it on spirit knowledge, which is all well and good, but can come off as potentially Mary Sue making *because* he has no other in-universe reason to make all these judgements. And the Gaang are very inexperienced children when it comes to politics, so making these judgements based on their opinions would make him seem foolish when we *know* he's had a very high class education.
So Yuen Ha's works, while most likely still Fire Nation, are still broad enough in their reasoning that Zuko has a more neutral basis for comparison *without* any of the possible problems I've outlined above. Does that make sense? I hope so.
It does! She’s appeared in the first place for much the reasons you mention, and will resurface again. Pet peeve: Zuko, in his own words, has spent years preparing, training, and meditating (presumably during his meditations, he tried to put into perspective what he’d learned, in addition to reliving happy moments and calming himself down). In a large number of fics, and to some extent, even in canon, it’s as if he did nothing with himself all that time, and didn’t start learning anything until some time after Aang showed up.
|Date:||June 1st, 2011 09:13 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: reply to Kally Lass (2011-05-25 . chapter 15) Pt. 3
[I had to watch the ep a few times to get this, but canonically, Zuko’s second set of swords comes from the guy who forced Uncle Iroh to dance for the golden coin (talk about ninja skills – easily defeating an armed guy with your bare hands after he’s already gone on alert? Whoa). So – a similar kind of circumstance for my fic.]
Everyone likes a ninja Zuko. And if it gives you a way to respin a canon event in a way that makes sense, even better! Makes me wonder how long canon!Zuko spent training all of his skills though, this sort of sneaky ninja stuff certainly doesn't seem the sort of thing he'd be officially taught. Boy has some serious skills.
[Don’t forget Katara! She’s the one holding the money, and she was probably the one to think of the necessity of a bedroll. You’re right, they’re such simple things, but Zuko’s just had all his assumptions about having to _earn_ loving care exploded, and in the nicest way possible.
Yes, I was hoping people would notice that! He wouldn’t admit it, but he feels safe with them.]
Hence the feeling safe? Along with general camaraderie and stuff. I admit I do tend to forget about Katara; she annoys me so much sometimes (and a pet peeve of mine is Zutara) that I sometimes tend to forget when she's actually being kind.
It is sweet though that Zuko's conceptions are being destroyed this way. Got me wondering whether he'll stop feeling safe around them for a while after he tells them who he is. Eh. Can't be predicted quite yet.
[If you mean the startle that Aang “saw,” it was because the glowing white thread was visible, and the implications of “oh, no, they can find me everywhere; they could see me without my mask; and I’m the one who insisted on learning more about this” have just hit Zuko. If you mean how come he pulled the swords out where the mayor could see them, it was because the verdict of “boiled in oil” was just announced.]
Bit of both, but mostly the latter. Don't think I ever saw this episode fully back in the day. That is one thing I have a gripe with when it comes to series rewrites. They tend to assume everyone knows the details in full, no haze or anything, and so they miss out bits that should arguably remain in the story anyway. They'll just throw in lines like "Wow, Kyoshi Island was really tiring, let's take a break at this town; they have a fantastic theatre!" or something. If you haven't see the episode you're all: buh?
It's like (trying to think of an obvious, non-spoiler example) how everyone knows that Romeo and Juliet kill themselves at the end. But if you were writing a 'sequel' or something revolving around a peripheral character (say the Priest or their parents) and didn't mention *why* or *how* they killed themselves. You'd still know how and why, but feel it would be better if the story mentioned it to ground you.
That section just feels a little garbled to me for that reason; although I was able to intuit that Zuko!Blue probably saw the connection thingy about ten minutes after I wrote the review.
[::Zuko-voice, indignant:: What do you mean? I’ve never been deliberately stupid. ::author-voice:: Hee!]
Uhuh. And I'm a cat.
[It does! She’s appeared in the first place for much the reasons you mention, and will resurface again. Pet peeve: Zuko, in his own words, has spent years preparing, training, and meditating (presumably during his meditations, he tried to put into perspective what he’d learned, in addition to reliving happy moments and calming himself down). In a large number of fics, and to some extent, even in canon, it’s as if he did nothing with himself all that time, and didn’t start learning anything until some time after Aang showed up.]
Yay! I like Yuen Ha.
I agree with you on the peeve. Zuko never really gets much of a chance to show off his academic or scholarly knowledge even though he is, *at worst*, the fourth in line to the throne. Granted, if one assumes he picked up his ninja skills in his banishment (as most do), he gets to show off his military-based skill set very well; just, not as much as possible. Being any highly positioned noble is all about diplomacy and the finer details, something which he almost never seems to display an aptitude for as a general skill.
|Date:||May 27th, 2011 11:02 pm (UTC)|| |
reply to Kally Lass (2011-05-25 . chapter 15) Pt. 4
I'm not entirely certain if banishment removes a person from the line of inheritance though; I've done a little Googling and Wiki'ing, but I can't find anything concrete.
Ah. Although there are historical precedents for exiles, and the descendants thereof, to take the throne. http:/ www. royalark. net/ Korea/ korea7.htm (remove spaces). Ctrl+F "H.H. Prince Yi Pyŏn, Prince of T’osung (Tosung-gun), who ascended the Peacock Throne as H.M. Great King Ch’ŏljong, King of Korea", who was third child of an exiled prince.
Thanks for the research! Really, since it was never clear in canon, I went with the school of “make things up.” Since Zuko mentions “my throne” as one of the things he’ll get back on capturing the Avatar, even though he doesn’t actually have one, I presume it’s shorthand for his place as the heir. I think that of course, it’s understood between them that if something happens to Ozai, Azula, and Iroh, Zuko’s banishment won’t mean much, but really, who has the highest chances of getting killed on that list? Speaking of which, the interesting thing about the FN royal family is a) how few relatives Zuko has (Sozin and Azulon both seem to have been only children, but even so, where are all the distant relatives?), and b) their philosophy seems to be more “first a spare, then an heir” instead. Iroh seems to have spent most of his life as a soldier, while Ozai seems to have remained at the palace. Lu Ten died in battle. And while Ozai does make his appeal to Azulon based on “I have heirs and Iroh doesn’t,” Azulon doesn’t seem to see it as even slightly valid. It’s rather odd behavior for a royal family, really, so I assume they’ve got various contingencies worked out ahead of time, and are not completely wedded to the idea of unbroken succession. Finally, speaking about Zuko’s banishment specifically – it really doesn’t look like Ozai thinks he’ll _need_ successors. He wants to be “Phoenix King.” He throws the position of Firelord to Azula like a bone.
I adore Zuko's reaction to them thinking Azula's [more reasonable]. I would add though, that Azula was very good at controlling Ba Sing Se, and I don't *think* there's any canon evidence for her disinterest in the duller parts of ruling. She was very eager to become Fire Lord, and her plans were certainly detailed enough to show that she understand the need to ensure the [smooth running] of something on a smaller/short-term basis e.g. the emotional manipulations, Ba Sing Se, all the times she's out-thought anyone.
She certainly does fall apart in the series, but that was more to losing the trust of the only person she genuinely looked up to among other betrayals. But it's your AU, so your rules go.
Zuko’s bitter about Azula, so it colors his assessment of her capabilities, but I honestly don’t see her as doing well long-term, even without her breakdown. First, the Earth Kingdom is modeled on China, where, as I’ve heard it, “kings may come and go, but bureaucracy is forever.” I.e., things kept running smoothly in Ba Sing Se because the civil servants there were already used to running themselves while paying lip service to orders from on high (seriously, imagine what they must have been doing every time King Kuei decided to take his duties seriously while being lied to right and left by the Dai Li). Second, there’s no clear evidence, but Azula aboard her ship threatens the captain with death if he can’t speed the ship up – not the actions of someone used to being a leader to her subordinates. See also Azula in the drill – she doesn’t interact with any of the people under her command. She allows the War Minister to tell her what’s going on, but she doesn’t ask him, or anyone else, to report. Sure, when danger threatens, she’s an excellent thinker, and she’s scarily smart, but she considers only the things she does herself to be important. That’s not an attitude you want in a ruler of a nation. I admit, it’s more impressions than evidence, but that’s how she reads to me.
|Date:||June 1st, 2011 09:44 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: reply to Kally Lass (2011-05-25 . chapter 15) Pt. 4
[Thanks for the research! Really, since it was never clear in canon, I went with the school of “make things up.” [...] the interesting thing about the FN royal family is a) how few relatives Zuko has (Sozin and Azulon both seem to have been only children, but even so, where are all the distant relatives?), and b) their philosophy seems to be more “first a spare, then an heir” instead. [...] I assume they’ve got various contingencies worked out ahead of time, and are not completely wedded to the idea of unbroken succession. Finally, speaking about Zuko’s banishment specifically – it really doesn’t look like Ozai thinks he’ll _need_ successors. He wants to be “Phoenix King.” He throws the position of Firelord to Azula like a bone.]
No problem, I'm fine with making things up; it just felt odd to me as I've spent some years studying the intricacies of medieval monarchies. I had to search outside Europe for that though as I don't know about Asian lines of succession.
I actually thought canon was fairly clear on some things. Iroh was most definitely the heir and favoured son (see how Azulon reacted after Lu Ten's death), and it was also heavily implied, although don't ask me where. And if you think in a wider perspective: Sozin went to war and searched for the Avatar, Azulon went to war (Azulon's gates, and searched for the Avatar), Iroh was the Dragon of the West, Lu Ten was probably of Captain rank or higher at the Siege of Ba Sing Se. Ozai? I think there was one throwaway line about his search for the Avatar.
And then you look at Zuko and Azula. Both fight on the front line with unwavering loyalty to their cause. And they're thirteen and fourteen when they start asserting their responsibilities as *war leaders*, if not earlier in Azula's case.
Something is clearly suspect with Ozai being the only member of the Royal Family in the line of succession *not* openly said to be fighting in the war.
It's definitely strange that the FN royal family is so small, with no mentions of other family; nobles liked *big* families because it meant strong fertile lines and options to name cousins, nieces and nephews as possible heirs.
Not sure what Ozai was thinking of though when it came to the Phoenix King.
[Zuko’s bitter about Azula, so it colors his assessment of her capabilities, but I honestly don’t see her as doing well long-term, even without her breakdown. First, the Earth Kingdom is modeled on China, where, as I’ve heard it, “kings may come and go, but bureaucracy is forever.” I.e., things kept running smoothly in Ba Sing Se because the civil servants there were already used to running themselves while paying lip service to orders from on high [...] Second, there’s no clear evidence, but Azula aboard her ship threatens the captain with death if he can’t speed the ship up [...] See also Azula in the drill – she doesn’t interact with any of the people under her command. She allows the War Minister to tell her what’s going on, but she doesn’t ask him, or anyone else, to report. [...] That’s not an attitude you want in a ruler of a nation. I admit, it’s more impressions than evidence, but that’s how she reads to me. ]
Good points about Azula. She does seem a superior type, I think she rules by fear and reputation; hence her actions. It truly does come down to whether you think royals do or do not actually do things, up to and including ruling their country.
I'm undecided really, now you've made your arguments.
On the one hand, she does have small-scale and some wide-scale military cunning. On the other hand, what you brought up. And she has even worse interpersonal skills than Zuko (dorkiness seems to be a character trait ('The Beach'), but Azula can't handle dorkiness and awkwardness with grace) and is only good at manipulation.
And she *is* only fourteen, so probably hasn't learnt everything she could.
I'm officially on the fence as far as this goes. Nice going. Most have her pegged as a prodigy in everything, so your interpretation is unique, and actually fairly plausible when your reasoning's been heard. Especially the bureaucratic argument. She seems more a wartime leader than a peacetime one a la Churchill.
|Date:||May 28th, 2011 05:11 pm (UTC)|| |
OMG, I know this whole post has a purpose (and that purpose is not me gushing,) but can I flail a little for your love of ATLA? *FLAIL*
I'm totally tracking down this fic and checking it out -- today if possible!
|Date:||May 28th, 2011 06:25 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: /off topic
|Date:||May 30th, 2011 02:30 am (UTC)|| |
reply to zukofan (2011-05-28 . chapter 15)
oh please, please write more! please let this amazing adventure continue!
i cant wait to find out when zuko realizes whos side he should be on! will he get sick, as his mind fights against himself? How will they find out that Blue is really Zuko?
Im sooooo excited, please continue this wonderful story!
Thanks for the review! I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the story so much, and I have no plans for stopping writing it. Zuko doesn't get sick the way he did in canon, but as you can imagine, it's still not an easy process for him. They'll find out because he'll tell them himself; also not an easy process.
|Date:||June 12th, 2011 06:48 am (UTC)|| |
reply to zukofan (2011-06-06 . chapter 16)
WOW. Just WOW!
I Loved It!
sooo great, u r an AMAZING fanfic writer!
i wonder if they'll find out zukos really blue?
will sokka see the similarities? (this is sooo exciting)
I wonder if the healing Zuko does, has any long term effects on him? Like is it natural for firebenders to heal? It it really safe for them to do it, or does it harm them?
ohhh i cant wait! please update soon :)
Thanks! You know, I haven't really thought of whether there might be long term effects of healing. Doing too much would be unsafe, definitely, but long-term? Hmm. I do think it's pretty natural to them, once they get over the prejudice their culture currently has towards it (since according to the dragons, "fire is life" and such). There's a short bit in the upcoming chapter where Katara asks Zuko about the state of medicine in the FN - hopefully, that'll explain a little of my concept of it.
I do think that there's likely to be quite a danger of "burning out" - literally, in the case of firebenders - if they put so much of their own energy into healing others that they can't regenerate it fast enough. That would lead to all sorts of subtle problems in the body (as tissues begin to starve). However, I expect that experienced FN healers would be quite aware of the problem, and have all sorts of safeguards against them. Zuko doesn't know he should be careful of that, but he also doesn't do much healing, and has heard the lecture given to Katara.
|Date:||June 12th, 2011 06:52 am (UTC)|| |
AGirlWonder (2011-06-06 . chapter 16)
Mmm. What was in the letter? Inquiring minds want to know!
Zuko will retell most of the contents to Uncle in the next chapter. The remaining few things were private :)
|Date:||June 12th, 2011 06:55 am (UTC)|| |
Alta-Lemur (2011-06-07 . chapter 16)
I don't know if I can describe how much I like this story so far. It's well written and is an interesting turn of events, reworking the story of the cartoon. I also like that we're still seeing Zuko's major conflicts, and even seeing them more in-depth than in the cartoon, as most often when people want to rewrite the series, they just make it happier and remove any serious character development. I still love the series, but I also really love your story so far. Keep up the writing.
Thanks for reviewing! I admit, I'm going for a fairly happy overall tone, as writing too much angst would be depressing to me right now, but character development is a large part of the fun for me.
|Date:||June 12th, 2011 06:59 am (UTC)|| |
lyssie (2011-06-09 . chapter 9)
I liked this chapter. Just one thing. Where you say that iroh hugs zuko for a 'solid ten minutes' I find it to be slightly unbelievable. Two to three minutes seems to be more realistic.
You're right that in reality, it was shorter, and I appreciate you taking the time to point it out. In this particular case, however, I stand by what I've written, because Iroh wasn't exactly keeping time with a watch. It felt like a very long time to him, especially given how quickly Zuko tends to pull back on other occasions.
|Date:||June 15th, 2011 07:13 pm (UTC)|| |
Kally Lass (2011-06-14 . chapter 16) part 1
Evening maguena1, sorry about getting to this so late, I had work. Let's address the edits first off. Actually, I just want to say I am *beyond* flattered you thought my minor suggestions and criticisms were worth enough to go back and edit your fantastic story.
I understand being busy, so please don’t apologize! I admit, after your last couple reviews, I do look forward to reading your takes, but RL takes precedence, so don’t feel obligated. And I really want this story to be as good as it can be, so criticism is very valuable to me, and I’m glad that you thought the changes worked so well.
Iroh's POV is a little unexpected, given the last chapter I was perhaps expecting a continuation of Zuko's POV; but this is still a very natural switch over in a narrative sense. We go from Zuko thinking about Iroh to Iroh himself,
Yes. Honestly, I don’t write in terms of chapters; just scenes, and break things up into chapters later. I initially thought to put Iroh’s POV in the same chapter as Zuko’s need to talk to him, but ended up splitting that out for reasons of both chapter length and theme (everybody moving towards the eventual meeting).
and there's even the in-story explanation of what appears to be a lesser version of Aang's ability. I'm also reminded very strongly of the end of ch.8 when Zuko very dearly wished for Iroh: [[Zuko] wanted to go to Uncle [...] A whisper at the back of his mind told him] where to go. At first I thought it was Spirit!Blue, but now this new information makes me think Zuko might have accessed this connector-sense (as well as Iroh using his own). Perhaps augmented by Spirit!Blue as Iroh does recall that it's troublesome the further away a person is.
Iroh’s powers in my fic really got sparked off by the episode in which Zuko infiltrates Zhao’s ship, and I started wondering exactly how they knew to meet up with each other (at least twice, and probably more) on the ship, when they couldn’t have possibly planned the exact corridor in which Zuko would be. Combing through the entire ship would be inefficient and possibly put suspicion on Iroh. Then it occurred to me that Iroh also must have found Zuko post-Koizilla, and somehow managed to catch up to Zuko-riding-the-ostrich-horse on foot, and pinpointed the exact exitless catacomb-room in which Zuko and Katara were… really, positing that he must have some sort of bending method of finding Zuko becomes the easiest explanation. But it’s not the same as Aang’s ability. (Zuko was able to do it that once because of stress breaking down his normal boundaries, causing him not to think about what he ¬_should_ want, but what he actually wanted; Spirit!Blue may have provided a nudge, but no more than that).
And if, as you seem to be implying, this is solely linked to firebending-as-life, Aang is learning a very advanced (and augmented) firebending technique.
No, Aang learned an Avatar-specific technique (closest, in effect, to earthbending). However, I see no reason why high-level benders of each element might not come up with their own versions of an extremely useful technique. The firebending method is actually pretty limited – only people you know/love well with whom you’ve been in contact recently (so, once again, poor Zuko won’t be able to get a simple method of finding his mother). Probably Toph could approximate Aang’s level of power best – if she weren’t twelve and self-taught and never before away from home, she might know how already – but presumably, even Toph would not have nearly Aang’s range, assuming equal levels of training, and would be stumped by things like bodies of water where Aang won’t be. Speculating onwards, waterbenders might want to suppress their version, as for them, the most obvious marker of “this person I need to find” would be blood (probably their power would be limited to blood-relatives), hence too close to blood-bending. Airbenders, I’m not sure – with their preference for detachment, they might not be interested in developing such techniques at all, but on the other hand, given that they let young kids wander the world with what seems to be only a bison for company – who knows?
|Date:||June 15th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)|| |
Kally Lass (2011-06-14 . chapter 16) part 2
I say this because Iroh has no blood links to any recent Avatar, so it seems to be learnable to firebenders. If it's an Avatar-specific thing, and carries down the bloodline (although it can be learned, possibly to a weaker extent), it would imply that descendants of Avatars have special skills that have been completely undiscovered by the people of the world, something I doubt. There have been thousands of Avatars, and if even only one in ten had descendants, that's still enough for Avatar-kin (pardon my neologism) and their possible powers to have been documented.
Yeah, I had this discussion with another reviewer re: Zuko’s healing powers. No, for the good reasons you mention, none of the things they can do are because of being related to an Avatar; only because of being powerful firebenders. However, do note that Ursa was the one who taught Iroh the technique. Since Ursa must be the daughter of one of the children we see escaping the volcano-explosion in which Roku died, she’d have been taught a _slightly_ different version of firebending than most people under Sozin’s reign.
[snipped lots of praise] And then to haul Zuko!Blue into it as well! Lady, your writing is virtually seamless in these transitions. If I had a hat to doff, it would be doffed.
This really means a lot to me!
I do think the Gaang's discussion over Zuko!Blue's backstory is very well thought out. No one gets stroppy, and everyone presents their cases well; with Sokka being won over to Katara's theory because it's as viable as his own. And possibly also because he doesn't want to believe Zuko!Blue's a firebender.
No, he doesn’t. He thinks he’d be cool with it, and yet…
The fact that it's not easily settled, with a compromise being made about asking for more firebending tips, but not asking if he's a firebender is more realistic and balanced than plumping for one option or the other. Especially once Sokka throws in his Secret Society Theory (if only he knew the truth. Zuko's *inspired* one aiming to overthrow the Navy, and Iroh runs another, with Zuko being a potential member) which is worth an ironic giggle or two.
Zuko – “I’m not in a Secret Society and I wasn’t reporting to anyone! Oh, wait… I am reporting to one of the key members of the WLS!” Then Jee catches up to him…
I think though the best part is Toph. She does her neutral jing thing, throwing in her own two cp which both validates *and* invalidates Blue!Zuko. Yes, he could be a member of a secret society, and if he's mixed that explains a lot. (Validation) And then rumbling out his entire backstory by virtue of being an *aristocratic member of the Earth Kingdom*. A lot of people seem to forget that Toph is a noble, or make it only a point of derision for her. Given all little non-slips Zuko made that would only be obvious to someone that well educated and connected it makes his hastily thought up backstory again very valid as far as it goes, but not enough to fool someone who really knows her stuff.
Toph does hate her aristocratic background. Still, there can only be so many earthbending tournaments within striking distance of her home. What can a blind girl do, since she can’t escape into reading, like many other children would in her situation? Why, listen in on the many goings-on around her – though that would probably just further fuel her contempt for the “well-bred” society.
And the rest of the Gaang still defend him. I like that you brought up his sincere questioning and emotions as evidence that he's not faking everything, so all that at least is true as well as mixing all the things Sokka noticed. They're so defensive about their Zuko!Blue. It's cute. If only Zuko were around to hear this.
It would do him a lot of good ::nods::
|Date:||June 16th, 2011 04:09 am (UTC)|| |
Nys (2011-06-15 . chapter 16)
About the connection- thing, didn’t Guru Pathik use the same white-glowing-pointing-thing to check were Aang is? That’s how he could tell Appa to go to Ba Sing Se, and as far as I know, the guy’s not a bender. He did say something about the ‘everything is connected’ theory, thought.
I always thought that Pathik used Appa's connection to Aang to temporarily get that ability. That is, since Appa is Aang's animal guide, he must have some Avatar-like powers of his own. On rewatching that part of "Appa's Lost Days" just now, it's not clear how Pathik does it, but nothing directly contradicts that theory. What we see Pathik do on his own is read Appa's emotional state (using a two-finger pointing gesture to apparently trace those emotions) and help Appa's "energy" smooth out again after everything he's been through. For locating Aang, he places a hand directly on Appa's forehead, and we see the same white ribbon shoot out, but no flash-vision of Aang's location (reasonable limitation, since Appa isn't himself the Avatar). The forehead-touch seems significant, since that's how Roku's dragon communicates with Aang, and Aang with Hei-Bai.
I think it's most likely that Pathik is so spiritually developed that he is doing what he does by using the power of the Spirit World while still alive. Also, the fact that Pathik knows so much about the Avatar State implies that the knowledge has applications beyond being useful to _only_ the Avatar.
We really don't know much about Guru Pathik, do we? It's not even clear if he's a bender or not. All we know is that he was willing to hang out for decades in an abandoned temple drinking onion-and-banana juice on the strength of wanting to help Aang.
(And please, write moore! I’m addicted to this story to the point I read even the reviews! I’ve got it bad, I know.)
My ego is growing to massive proportions :-P I'm just about to do a final read-through of the next chapter, so depending on how that goes, I should be able to post either later tonight or tomorrow.
|Date:||June 24th, 2011 05:08 pm (UTC)|| |
meandcartoon22 (2011-06-21 . chapter 17)
PLEASE update this is such a great story! it is great and you are a great author! i have this story in favorites please update!
Thanks for reviewing! I certainly sympathize with the desire to have updates more often; unfortunately, right now, I can't write as much as I'd like, due to going through a rough patch with my health. However, I am still working on the story nearly every day, so updates are coming :-) The next one should be sometime this weekend.
|Date:||June 26th, 2011 02:40 am (UTC)|| |
Kally Lass (2011-06-23 . chapter 17) Pt. 1
Thanks for mentioning all the stuff you liked – once again, I had to cut for length (growls at LJ’s character limits) – but I really enjoy hearing about those things!
Though I would suggest that when Iroh realises just how seriously Zuko blames himself for . . . everything that has ever gone wrong anywhere in his vicinity for most of his life, he'd better sit Zuko down with (a nice cup of tea) and walk him through a lot of things.
Much as I love Iroh, I seriously doubt his ability to have the kind of serious, painful, and lengthy conversation that would involve. (I don’t see that as his fault; Iroh’s been as damaged by their nasty family dynamics as anyone else, and while he’s learned some healthy ways to compensate, he’s not “all better.”) He can and will, however, do everything that _is_ within his power.
Hmmmm, I do believe the off-screen events from Pakku's ship have just reared their secretive head: the OotWL is gathering in Ba Sing Se ahead of schedule I believe. Zuko's probably going to be cool with warning Ba Sing Se about the drill though. I think. Depending on how far he's got in the Reveal, or if it's gone or not.
Yes, they’re ahead of schedule :) And no, Zuko’s not likely to mind, but that’s the problem with growing up in a dictatorship – it teaches paranoia.
Wait what. Iroh thought Ursa'd died of a [sudden illness]? Stuff is going to *hit. the. fan* when Iroh gets *that* nasty little incident out of Zuko - and yes, he'd better. After all, his grandfather was murdered by his mother to save his life. I'm supposing that a lot of the conversation you said you couldn't fit into this chapter will revolve around Zuko confessing several Big Secrets to his uncle. Can't wait to find out how Iroh reacts to them.
You guess right, and Iroh is Iroh, so his reaction is not going to be particularly surprising, but it’s going to be explosive.
Jee! Awesome. From the sounds of it, they're going to attempt to sabotage the airships? Or maybe recruit there? On top of general spying. Either option would be great fun.
Right now, it’s spying and recruiting, since they don’t know a whole lot about the airships yet, but if they determine that a little sabotage for a good cause is necessary – watch out :-)
I like how, despite everything, their poky little ship of rejects still know a lot of what's going on. Super-top-secret airship factories, other secret projects (the drill), and they're still tracking the key players (the Gaang, Azula et al. and hunting down the two Princes - even if Jee does know some of the movements of one of them); seriously, this is a very efficient group of rebels. Just goes to show: never mess with *anyone* who respects or like a member of the Royal Family or you're going down.
Well, the poky little ship is just the headquarters – they have already managed to get a good network going in a lot of places in the navy, and making headway into the army and airships. But yes, they’re scary efficient. That’s what happens when you build a navy based on who can suck up most, rather than merit – the two are negatively correlated.
|Date:||June 26th, 2011 02:42 am (UTC)|| |
Kally Lass (2011-06-23 . chapter 17) Pt. 2
I mean, seriously, they're even creating their own orders (love the inconsequential detail thrown in that the Admiral is female) to have a suitably long route to get to their official destination.
The Fire Nation may be more gender-egalitarian than most, but they definitely do seem to have a firm glass ceiling in place (IIRC, all the generals in the War Meeting are male). Admiral Misaki fought her way up despite that, but there’s more than one reason the other admirals don’t give her enough support.
Not to mention it shows off Zuko's ingenious plans created under desperation, and his skill, because I've no doubt he was one of those firebenders looking after the floats. That's just how Zuko and his family fight: on the front lines.
Yep, the three firebenders with the required level of skill included both Iroh and Zuko. Even if they hadn’t been so short-handed, wild horses probably couldn’t have dragged Zuko away from personally making sure that the plan worked.
And Jee's crew are going to build on their past experiences to out-awesome the previous fight. Is it wrong that I'm kind of hoping to see these floating fire bombs in action?
Well, if it’s wrong, then why am I wracking my brains trying to devise a situation where they can use the floats in an epic battle against the FN, despite the lack of wood in FN structures? Possibly unhidden this time. Hundreds of tiny lights drifting through the water, ethereally beautiful, and then BOOM!
The Katara-Zuko discussion is also nice, strictly professional as you'd expect from two enemies. Or openly enemies. You get my drift.
I think you’re being a touch unfair to Katara in this review, and here’s the first instance. She’s not taking a professional tone because Zuko’s her enemy (far as she knows). She’s trying to be professional because she’s genuinely concerned about her patient and wants to do a good job. I don’t think it’s unreasonable that she’s a touch anxious about acting in a healer’s role – she only learned it a couple months ago, she’s still nowhere on the level she needs to be, and what Zuko just said about Iroh’s condition was not exactly encouraging.
Oh Toph, I adore you. Picking holes in Zuko's arguments as easily as you earthbend. And this is another completely unbiased viewpoint to make him *think* too. Although now I have to wonder exactly how much influence Iroh exerted on his brother to get Zuko [the mildest banishment in history], or how much Zuko is deluding himself.
The way that I imagined the background story here, Iroh spent pretty much every bit of influence and persuasion he had on getting Ozai to agree that he could go with Zuko. Because from Ozai’s perspective, the first thing he thought on hearing “If Zuko goes, I go with him,” was – Iroh wants to raise up a rebellion against the rightful Firelord, using Zuko as his pawn and figurehead. Which wasn’t Iroh’s intention at all, but try convincing Ozai of that. (Doesn’t help that in the end, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy). So Zuko isn’t wrong about who gave him those things; what he didn’t realize is that they were the furthest things from gifts of concern and love. To Ozai, it was one obsolete ship that was supposed to be condemned soon, anyway, a few incompetents, and a bit of money. Those last two, in particular, are both good ways to track one’s wayward offspring and keep him in check should he start to get ideas. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that, during “The Storm” ep, there didn’t seem to be anyone aboard who might question the “training accident” theory, and in my story, it’s not a coincidence that there’s no one who’s been on the ship from the beginning and only two people who can cast back as far as two years.
|Date:||June 26th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)|| |
Isn't it always the way? You should have been in bed half an hour ago, but someone posted an interesting-looking rec, so you'll just peek at the first chapter and see whether you should read it tomorrow or put it in the read-it-someday file.
Twelve hours later...
Congratulations on a riveting fic, and I'm eagerly looking forward to more.
|Date:||June 26th, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC)|| |
And in the time it took me to read through the conversations here, the latest chapter went up. Now that's a pleasant new surprise, and I'm off to read it.
|Date:||June 27th, 2011 10:39 am (UTC)|| |
RJM (2011-06-26 . chapter 18)
Oh man, poor Zuko! He's so f-cked up and confused and trying to do the right thing anyway and yeah. It's amazing to read.
(It's my suspicion that Toph is the one that is going to be the one to penetrate Blue's disguise using her disability superpowers. Which is why you made sure to have him leave the group before she showed up, so she didn't do it in these chapters. I figure she'll probably address Blue as Zuko next time she runs into him.)
Thanks! As for Toph, yeah, she's uniquely qualified to penetrate his disguise, though that's not why I had him leave at that particular time. After all, if she'd first seen him as Blue, what could she have said? She doesn't seem to rely on distinguishing fine details such as facial features with her earthbending - she recognizes Aang by his footsteps in that ep where they're trying to infiltrate the Earth King's party. "Yeah, there's something seriously wrong with his face" is probably what she'd see, and how she'd put it to the others.
Hey, I'm pretty sure this isn't technically the right place to post this, but I don't have an account on FF.N and couldn't tell if I could leave a review there. I just happened across your journal here a few hours ago and you are an amazing writer. I'm not done with all of the chapters yet - I was in the middle of three, and I came across this one passage that just completely blew me away:
"We won't leave you, Aang," Katara said firmly. "You're our family, too, now."
"Yeah, you're not getting rid of us that easily," Sokka drawled. Aang laughed and threw himself at the siblings, hugging them both. They returned the embrace without hesitation. Zuko looked away. They'd been together for only a little over a month. How could they be so sure?
*falls to pieces* THIS IS BRILLIANT ON SO MANY LEVELS. The dialog, it's so natural and conversational! I'm sorry for quoting such a lengthy bit, but the later sentences were the ones I wanted to draw attention to, but I realized I wanted some of the context, and then I suddenly realized how complex and colloquial and authentic the dialog is. This is seriously remarkably well done.
So - the main bit at the end is so brilliant, there's so many unsaid implications! So much subtly! Of course Zuko thinks this behavior's weird - he interacts with his crew in this totally perfunctory manner, because as far as he's concerned none of them are going to die. The century-long war, the quest for the avatar, the rivalry with Zhao, all of that is really serious, sure, but it's not going to get anyone killed (usually). It's a matter of honor, or geopolitics, or just how things are. It's not about survival.
Meanwhile, Aang's people are all dead, Katara's/Sokka's mother is dead, they're on the lam from what's quite literally an evil empire that has all of the other governments on the planet outmatched, and the main opponent of that empire is a disorganized feudal nightmare full of extremists like Jet who kill people dead. Like people actually experiencing war, the people they're around are so important for both logistical reasons of needing some one to trust but also just because every moment matters because they could so easily die. They're fighting against their own eradication, in some sense, so those tensions are so completely heightened.
But beyond that, it reads to me like there's a touch of the old Fire Nation classism rearing its head again. Maybe this is just my weird interpretation, mainly because one of the things I react strongest to in the series are the points were a furious Azula screams "peasant" at Katara, but there's sort of sense here that Zuko thinks they're such simple country folk (so trusting, so quick to form friendship, so naïve). Proper friendship of the aristocracy takes years to cultivate, in his experience, so there's this edge of "oh the proles, they have such brief lives which are full of quick choices". It's so... patronizing! Very in character for Zuko at that point too! (I'm thinking specifically of how he actually believed the propaganda that the war was sharing the glorious Fire Nation culture with the lesser nations).
The ethnic dimensions don't resonate as strongly with me, but maybe just because I'm looking at it all though class. Maybe he's equally astounded that these individuals from separate cultural groups can so quickly trust one another? Canonically, he seems pretty capable of allying himself with Earth Kingdom types under the right circumstances, so this one doesn't immediately come to mind as much, especially given how the powerful (read: Fire Nation) often confuse various disenfranchised groups together (read: all the other cultural groups).
I've taken paragraphs just to hint at some of the bigger stuff that I can see hinted at in a few sentences! I'm not even talking about familial implications, since that's complicated and canon confuses me on that point. TL DR: you are an amazing writer and I'm going to go finish the rest of the fanfic!
PS: I cut some of the dialog because I felt like I was quoting too much. The bit that I kept is good, but the section before it is so incredibly contextual, it's like an actual conversation in real life. Seriously, amazingly well written.
|Date:||June 29th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)|| |
Alta-Lemur (2011-06-27 . chapter 18)
Love the new chapter, and most of it in Toph's perspective. I'm enjoying her POV. So will Toph know Blue is Zuko? How precise is her earthbending sight? Will Blue show up again before Ba Sing Se?
Thanks! Toph is fun to write. The limits of Toph's earthbending sight are something not very clear in canon. On the one hand, she can "see" ants crawling about, on the other, she usually can't see her opponents while they are in the air. She identifies Aang by footsteps when he is very lightly disguised as a busboy, rather than by body build or facial features, and the sandbender who stole Appa by voice, but she clearly recognizes Iroh as the man she met recently while he is lying unconscious on the ground post-Azula's lightning. I'm figuring that she sees facial features in very low detail (supported by the visualizations we are given of her ability) and uses a combination of various things to figure out who is who.
So yes, she would be able to figure out that Blue is really Zuko, but not easily, and you'll have to wait to see how that plays out. They'll definitely meet again before Ba Sing Se.