Ozai & Unalaq
"You’re right, I do have the power. I have all the power in the world!”
"Now a new era for Spirits and humans will begin, and I will lead them all as the New Avatar.”
There is much in common between the two super villains of the Avatar universe. It isn’t just presentation that sets them apart from all others. (Megamind anyone?) Notably, each seeks to dominate the world. This is textbook. What interests me in the analysis of these villains is how they go about enacting their plans. What are their methods to madness?
Firelord Ozai and Chief Unalaq represent perversions of their native elements.
I take it readers and viewers won’t have much difficulty swallowing what I have to say. After all, when the writers grant these characters lines such as those quoted above, an audience gathers impressions of these characters and their respective dogmas.
Firelord Ozai avows to reap from The Great Comet every ounce of power it may hold. As his grandfather before him, Ozai abuses the Spiritual gift of the Comet. By Ozai’s time, however, the mantle of Sozin’s dream for a new world order has been erected, insofar that Ozai’s plan to annihilate the Earth Kingdom is for the sole purpose of indulgence in power. And his power is consummate. In its consummation, Ozai’s power is impure, out of balance, disfigured from its beautiful, celestial form.
Chief Unalaq hopes for revolution. Learned and sage as he is, Unalaq is also blinded by the alluring promise of change. Drinking from the spring of sacred knowledge in his Tribe, his vision clouds. Spirits are all that he sees. He poisons himself with dark energy, in which he steeps waiting for his moment to effect change unlike ever before. He becomes a Dark Avatar. This becoming signifies the singular, greatest cosmological shift since the dawn of The Age of The Avatar. So enamored with history and philosophy and change, Unalaq divests himself of concern for his body, yet in doing so he loses himself, consumed by Vaatu.
Point being, these two are markedly different, opposites even! In their abuse of the elements power and change, Ozai and Unalaq embody one of Avatar's fundamental premises. No one element is inherently predisposed to villainy; misfortune befalls all who disregard the philosophy of balance.
In addition, I have realized that insofar as Ozai and Unalaq corrupted the principles of their own elements, they also attained new heights in their opposites. Ozai’s abuse of power would have allowed him to finally change the world, to complete the Fire Nation transformation in which “all lands are Fire Nation.” Unalaq did want power as well. He achieved that by changing his very nature and by disrupting the balance of energy in the world.
I just think these two, while each is actually not so well-developed in terms of backstory or motive, parallel each other nicely. Even in their undeveloped state haha. They are both an objective evil and that is most clear in how destructive they intended to be!