This was a bit of a frustrating night, so now, to make up for it and the lack of actual writing I did today, you all get to sit here and read through my flailings over Maiko again—and Mai in general.
FIRST, I want you to look at that above picture, because this is the scene we’ll be studying…okay, screw it, I’m just reacting, because here, she’s been waiting outside of the war room for WHO KNOWS HOW LONG, because you know what? She’s worried. The last time Zuko went into a war room, he came out on a one-way road to banishment; Mai’s a stoic, logical woman, but you KNOW that she was worried SICK by this. How do we know?
Because she mentioned it earlier in the episode trying to cheer Zuko up.
And come on, there was no way that the thought didn’t cross her mind. So she waited there, probably stressed out beyond any level she had ever been since Ember Island (see, her arms are folded…now I’m going to have to look into that…”what Mai does when she’s stressed”…IS there a code?), and thankfully, there are no explosions.
OH THANK EVERYTHING I DON’T BELIEVE IN. Now, be casual, be CASUAL.
“So? How’d it go?”
And then she goes and listens to him explain everything, and finally, when he gets to the part about how he was literally at his father’s right hand and such, she’s all…
“Zuko, that’s wonderful! You must be happy!”
No, wait…if he was happy, he’d be skipping…he’s never happy…right…crap, he’s going to angst again, isn’t he? Well…that’s why he’s got me.
And then they go and look at the giant Ozai portrait, and the two of them are SO SMALL compared to it, because this is the picture of the guy who decided to split them up for three years and could do the same thing at any time and the very next day this is exactly what WILL happen but Mai has no idea about this and Zuko is probably already REALIZING that he’s going to have to leave her, but she doesn’t know, she just knows that he’s still not happy…
And here he keeps talking, and she’s looking up at Ozai, realizing what he’s seeing…
And she’s confused, but still listening to everything Zuko says, because she TAKES THE RESPONSIBILITY OF BEING ZUKO’S CONFIDANTE SERIOUSLY. She doesn’t back off or shy away from him when he’s angsting, or tell him to stop worrying about it…she doesn’t just go to kiss it and make it better, because she tried that last night and she’s learned to know when to just stand there and listen and not cut him off which is CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON THAT I HAD NOT NOTICED and who knows how much more open those two might have become if he hadn’t had to leave the next day…and she just stands there, and listens, but sadly, she doesn’t have the answers to his problems. She’s not Iroh, she can’t spout wisdom, she’s not even on the right side right now, she’s the one who has to learn from HIM, but she does so by listening, and that’s why this relationship is my absolute favorite and why I LOVE THESE TWO TO DEATH BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T ABANDON HIM IN HIS TIME OF NEED AND EVEN WHEN HIS RESPONSIBILITIES FORCE HIM TO LEAVE HER HE STILL TRIES TO LEAVE A NOTE AND STILL CARES ABOUT HER AND LOVES HER AND SHE SACRIFICES HERSELF TO SAVE HIM BECAUSE SHE REALIZES THAT HE’S RIGHT AND AOQU
Aye aye, very much this. We all know that aside from Iroh, Mai’s the only one who can stomach Zuko’s attitude on a daily basis. She represses her emotions, sure—but her actions prove she cares greatly for the dork. Risking her life for him especially in the Boiling Rock—didn’t have to do that, didn’t have to disobey Azula, didn’t have to do all the things she did. Mai’s all about actions, not expressions. Really nails ‘em.
❝What do you want from me? You want a teary confession about
how hard my childhood was? Well it wasn't. I was a rich only child
& got anything I wanted... as long as I behaved... and sat still...
& didn't speak unless spoken to. My mother said I had to keep out of trouble. We had my dad's political career to think about.❞
Some people complain that Mai can be such a boring, emotionless bitch and doesn’t deserve Zuko but um ^^^^^ She was pretty much conditioned since early childhood by her mother to not show her emotions. To me, Mai was pushed aside because in many cultures, especially in Asia, daughters are considered less valuable than a son. We can see this in 02x03 ‘Return to Omashu.’ Her parents seem to care more for their son than for their daughter and it makes me kind of pity her. But Mai does have emotions, it’s all in the eyes. She genuinely cares for Zuko. She comforts and supports him in her own way. I cheered so hard for her when she saved ‘the jerk who dumped her.’ She may not be a favorite but I think that she’s fascinating character with a subtlety that maybe not everyone understands. Mai may not be your cup of tea but she deserves some recognition and respect in this fandom for being just as strong a woman and warrior as Suki or Katara.
In which Zuko spends his well-deserved retirement gallivanting about the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom on an extended field trip with his wife, sampling (and occasionally critiquing) different tea shop offerings, watching a variety of wonderful, revoltingly-colored sunsets, correcting the stances of bandits who propose to mug them, and generally being themselves free of all political pressures or expectations.
(Mai’s wondering if she should tell him that that’s actually his cup of soy sauce he’s about to drink.)
…The other important thing here is that it’s swan2swan’s birthday, and y’all should send him a good wish or two; the reason this piece came about was because I happened to be scrolling through the comments on my horrifically dated drawing of an older Zuko and Katara playing Pai Sho, and spotted one by him saying something along the lines of “I’m looking forward to when you
turn traitorswitch ships.” To which my response was “ LOL NOWe’ll see.”
The irony, I thought, deserved preservation of some kind.
Don’t worry. They will like you.
It’s just I wanted to draw some Zuko family..I don’t know, in my head Honora might not know Kataang kids for a while.. Considering they all live in Republic city and Zuko and his family is rather far away in the fire nation, busy with all royalty duties. So this is kind of an important meeting, in which Zuko will finally introduce his daughter to those kids:D And she’s is kind of worried hehe
but of course they will like her:D
Viria…your art… you’re the best. <3 ;-;
Ahhh my feels <3