“Look Sokka, you’re going to fail a lot before things work out. Even though you’ll probably fail over and over and over again, you have to try every time. You can’t quit because you’re afraid you might fail.”
Can we talk about this for a moment please
It’s evident here (and in season 2 for Pete’s sake) that Zuko is more than capable of showing great empathy and drawing from his own experiences to help people. A HUGE PART of Zuko’s character is that he’s not ‘born lucky’ or ‘talented’ - he’s had to struggle for damn near every fucking thing in his life, even parental love. He sees that Sokka is about to give up on something that means a lot to him, and he’s all ‘fuck that shit, we’re going to see this through to the end no matter what the outcome’ even though it personally has little to do with him.
Now I can hear you now “OH BUT HE JUST WANTED FORGIVENESS” Please. When he leaves with Sokka to go to the Boiling Rock, he goes with him because he knows how it is to fight for your honour. He says ‘believe me I get it, I’m going with you’ when Sokka talks of regaining his honour. And before he even puts it out there, he’s suspicious when Sokka says he ‘feels better knowing where his dad is’ when he clearly doesn’t. See, Zuko catches on, and chases him up to stop him from running headlong into trouble, especially by taking Appa- suggesting they take his war balloon instead. If Zuko just left him to take Appa and go on his own without backup, Sokka would be in a world of trouble. He had to put his foot down to stop that from happening, because he could sense what was going wrong with Sokka himself and couldn’t just turn a blind eye to his friend. What’s more, this is Zuko putting himself in danger WITH Sokka in order to help him fulfil the kind of quest that means so much to him, even though it’s not his own burden to bear. Empathy. Sensitivity. Self-sacrifice. Complete and total understanding.
This, fandom, THIS is the Zuko we see with Katara in The Southern Raiders. And if you seriously think his motivation is ‘using her dead mother for forgiveness’ without so much as feeling for her mental wellbeing or her situation, then you really don’t understand Zuko’s character at all.