"At least I'm different now. 'Circus freak' is a compliment!"
— Ty Lee in The Beach
Ty Lee is a cheerful and energetic teenaged girl, hailing from the Fire Nation. The daughter of a nobleman, she attended the Royal Fire Academy for Girls with her longtime friends Princess Azula and Mai. As a child, she dealt with six sisters that shared an identical appearance to her, which caused a loss of individuality, a longing to be a distinct, recognizable person, and a desire for attention from other people. Because of this, after she matured, she abandoned her home and joined a Fire Nation Circus, becoming a skilled acrobatic performer and gaining more personal attention.
Ty Lee is a formidable hand-to-hand combatant, utilizing a unique form of martial arts that attacks the pressure points on the human body. By striking these, she is able to disrupt that individual's chi flow and temporarily paralyze them, removing their ability to use bending. She and Mai were recruited by Princess Azula to hunt down and capture her relatives Prince Zuko and Iroh, and later, the Avatar.
Mai later betrays Azula to save Zuko's life, which leads to an attack from the infuriated princess. Ty Lee rescues Mai from injury by paralyzing Azula, which leads to her and Mai's imprisonment. While held, she was reunited with the Kyoshi Warriors and befriended them. In return for teaching them how to block chi, she joins their group and is released from prison when the War is over, ironically adopting their makeup, effectively becoming one of a matched set.
During one of Zuko's flashbacks, she was shown to be superior in acrobatics even as a child, able to gracefully perform a series of cartwheels and somersaults at which Azula failed. Azula roughly pushed Ty Lee down in retaliation for upstaging her, then laughed. Ty Lee's clear annoyance with this behavior, however, did not stop her from happily going along with Azula's plan to humiliate Mai and Zuko, on whom Mai has a crush. After Azula orchestrated a situation in which Mai and Zuko fell into a fountain, Ty Lee teased the pair about being "cute" together. She seemed to have been a happy and lighthearted child, although she followed Azula rather blindly,as she continued to do before her captivity.
Book 2: Earth
A New Task
After Ty Lee ran away to join the circus, Azula tracked her down and attempted to recruit her to assist with the capture of the now-fugitive Zuko and Iroh. However, Ty Lee was at peace and happy with her lifestyle, claiming that her "aura has never been pinker!" Azula, in an ostensibly friendly gesture, informed Ty Lee that she would attend that night's performance before leaving, while Ty Lee seemed rather uneasy about this. During the performance, Azula ordered the Ringmaster to set ablaze the net beneath the tightrope on which Ty Lee is performing, and to release an assortment of dangerous animals, securing the lethal effect that would take hold if Ty Lee were to fall.
Afterwards, Ty Lee informed Azula that she would not be performing the next day, due to the fact that, "the universe is giving me strong hints that it's time for a career change." When Mai later asked her about the circus being her calling, Ty Lee notes that "Azula called a little louder." She accompanies Mai and Azula when they made a hostage trade (King Bumi for Tom Tom) and, after Mai called off the trade at Azula's suggestion, she acquitted herself well in the ensuing battle using her Chi blocking to disable Katara's Waterbending. Later, when they're leaving the city, Ty Lee, much like in childhood, teased Mai about her affections for Zuko, noting that it will be "interesting" for Mai to see him again.
Pursuing Team Avatar
Ty Lee, Mai, and Azula pursued Aang and his companions, and when Sokka and Katara split from the Avatar, Ty Lee and Mai are charged with tracking down the siblings. The two overwhelmed them easily, but were then sent flying into a river by an air blast from Appa. Once out of the water, she states her affections for Sokka.
Ty Lee, Mai, and Azula oversaw the attempt to breech the walls of the Earth Kingdom capital, Ba Sing Se . When the Terra Team was sent out to slow the drill, Azula ordered Mai and Ty Lee to deal with them. With the help of her companion, Ty Lee made quick work of the team, blocking their chi and rendering them disabled.
Later, when Aang, Katara, and Sokka were found sabotaging the drill, Ty Lee once again acknowledged Sokka particularly, this time sending him a flirtatious look, to which Sokka responded with some light flirting of his own. Once Azula sent Mai and Ty Lee after the fleeing siblings, Ty Lee followed them into the slurry waste pipeline. However, Katara and Toph bent the water and rock mixture, using it to plug up the waste tunnel while Ty Lee was trapped in it, thus thwarting her attempt to catch them. During this, Katara was presumably embittered towards Ty Lee because of her ability to impair bending and aggressively insulted Ty Lee, calling her a "circus freak." After the drill is destroyed Ty Lee was launched out of the pipeline by the build-up of pressure and slammed into a rock platform, but was more or less unharmed.
Fall of Ba Sing Se
After the defeat of the drill, Ty Lee played a minor role and only reappeared when helping Azula attack Suki and the other Kyoshi Warriors. During the battle, she showed concern over her physical appearance, when she remarked that she was more attractive than a Kyoshi warrior she was fighting.
After Team Avatar departed from Ba Sing Se, Earth King Kuei gave audience to three imposter Kyoshi Warriors, who are later revealed to be Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee in disguise. The girls used their false identities to aid their infiltration into the Earth Kingdom city, fooling both the Earth King, and Team Avatar . However in the episode "The Guru", Katara rushes in with important news. She says how Zuko and Iroh have entered the city. Azula (who Katara thinks is Suki) tells Katara that she'll be sure to let the Earth King know. Katara sees her gold eyes, recognizes them as Azula's and prepares to attack the group. However, Ty Lee suddenly attacks Katara with a chi block therefore allowing the trio to easily capture Katara.
After a successful coup against the government of the Earth Kingdom orchestrated by Azula, Ty Lee remarked how cute Sokka was. Then while fighting Sokka, claimed it was like they were dancing. Ty Lee was last seen trying to teach the Earth King's bear, Bosco, how to do a handstand. While in the process of doing this, Toph Earthbended her hands and feet to the floor, rendering her immobile.
Book 3: Fire
A Trip to Ember Island
Ty Lee and her friends vacationed for a short time on Ember Island, at Lo and Li's beach house. At the beach, Ty Lee soon finds herself being approached by a boy who helps her unpack, and then stand to give her shade. Not long after, another boy came with a seashell to present to Ty Lee. In no time at all Ty Lee was surrounded by many admirers. During a Kuai Ball match, Ty Lee attracted the attention of two boys, Chan and Ruon-Jian, who invite Ty Lee and Mai, as well as Azula and Zuko (though reluctantly) to a party that night.
During the party, Ty Lee was surrounded by boys and was forced to paralyze them with chi blocking to escape the crowd. Seeing this, Azula calls Ty Lee a tease and says that none of the boys really cared about her. When Ty Lee starts crying, clearly upset, Azula hurriedly apologizes and confides that she said those things only because she was a little jealous of Ty Lee's popularity. Azula asked Ty Lee how to make boys like her. Ty Lee felt that boys were intimidated by Azula, and tells her to act as if she is interested. The group is later kicked out of the party and goes down to the beach together.
When a campfire was started, Zuko mocks Ty Lee as a circus freak. Ty Lee reveals tearfully that she had six sisters who looked identical to her, and that she went to the circus to have individuality, "circus freak" was something she regards as a compliment. Mai replied that the reason Ty Lee wants so much attention is because she received so little as a child, affecting her for the future.
The group then began to open up to one another. With all their secrets out revealed, the heaviness between the four seems to vanish. Ty Lee commented that she would remember this night forever, and that Lo and Li were correct about the beach's ability to reveal people's true selves. To celebrate their revelations, Azula decided on a fitting end to their night - the four then headed back to Chan's party, trashing the house and leaving it a ransacked mess. Together, the four of them forged their own memory of the place, uniting as friends for the first time in years.
Arrest at the Boiling Rock
Ty Lee made another appearance when she assisted Azula at the Boiling Rock maximum-security prison. She and Azula then confront Sokka, Suki, Zuko, Hakoda, and Chit Sang, a firebending prisoner. Suki, now well aware of Ty Lee's Chi-blocking techniques, took great care to evade her attacks. When the guards were about to cut the line on the gondola she and Azula were standing on, they jump onto another passing gondola, after which she wore an unsure and anxious look on her face - either for Sokka, hinting that she may still have had some feelings for him, or for Zuko, her old childhood friend.
Back at the Boiling Rock, she saw Mai double-cross the Fire Nation guards. After some tension and argument between Azula and Mai, Ty Lee turned against Azula, blocking her chi and striking her down to protect Mai, thus showing which friendship she valued more. Ty Lee then urged her dumbfounded friend to leave the scene, but they were arrested before they were able to flee. Azula ordered the guards to lock the two away, not wanting to be in their presence after their unfaithfulness. These events severely weakened Azula's mentality, and played a part in her defeat and nervous breakdown at the hands of Zuko and Katara.
Release from Prison
While in prison, Ty Lee met and befriended her old enemies, the Kyoshi Warriors. Ty Lee gave them some lessons in chi blocking, which lead to their bonding. After they were let out of prison, the Kyoshi Warriors allowed Ty Lee to join them. It is assumed that she went with them to Kyoshi Island to begin her training, and may have incorporated her chi blocking into their fighting style. She last appeared on Fire Lord Zuko's coronation day, in a Kyoshi Warrior uniform, elated to be a part of the warrior team.
Ty Lee is bubbly and outgoing, yet slightly air-headed. She is a direct contrast of Azula's innate cruelty and Mai's constant torpor. She appears to delight in her own acrobatic abilities, and never misses an opportunity to show them off, most likely a result of her lack of childhood attention. Because of her upbringing, being a part of an identical set of seven sisters, Ty Lee craves attention and recognition. This is what may have lead her to develop her acrobatics in the first place, as well as her running away to join the circus. These attention issues also cause her to be a bit of a flirt, which is also why, according to Mai, she needs the affection of ten boyfriends.
Ty Lee has shown a strong sense of loyalty to her friends, Mai and Azula. Despite her obvious differences from Mai, she has a strong respect for her and they often make an effective fighting force together, teaming up numerous times in the series. Ever since childhood, Ty Lee has also considered Azula as a friend, but as she got older, that loyalty seems to have been based out of fear for the Princess. When she first refused Azula's request that she join her search for the traitorous Zuko, Azula persuaded Ty Lee again by endangering her life during a circus performance. Since then, she never disobeyed Azula's orders. However, a breaking point came at last at the Boiling Rock, during Azula's attempted murder of her own brother and Ty Lee's childhood friend, Zuko. When the rope holding Zuko's gondola was about to be cut, potentially sending Zuko along with several prisoners and friends plummeting to their deaths, Ty Lee appeared to be concerned while Azula smirked on next to her. After Mai helped him escape the prison, Azula threatened her life. Seeing Mai stand in the face of Azula's terrible rage, but also out of fear for Mai's safety, Ty Lee attacked Azula, ending up in jail but finally conquering her own fears and taking a stand against her "friend" after months of submission.
Ty Lee apparently is not known to hold grudges against her enemies despite their encounters on the battlefield. This is evidenced by her recent bond with the Kyoshi Warriors, whose imprisonment she is partially responsible for. She was able to establish a fairly strong friendship with the group while they were held together. She also has shown affection for Sokka, despite having fought him under the orders of Azula.
Ty Lee has also been known to be close to animals. In Ba Sing Se, she was seen teaching Bosco acrobatic moves before Toph Earthbended her to the ground. This may be related to her being in the circus, where she may have bonded or performed acts with them.
Ty Lee has a slight tendency to be superficial, which is demonstrated for the first time when she affirms her beauty to a Kyoshi Warrior, and a second time when she warns her friends about the negative energy, which she says will give them acne, despite the serious conversation. This attribute may have originated with her profession as a circus performer, her appearance perhaps making her a more popular attraction among the audience - especially since this experience came right after an upbringing which had left her attention-starved.
Ty Lee is extraordinarily acrobatic. Even at a young age, she was able to do cartwheels and somersaults in mid-air with a skill that surpassed even the agile Azula's. Her acrobatic abilities allowed her to join the Fire Nation Circus, where she frequently performed high-wire acts with balance and grace. Because of this, she is very fast and agile in battle, able to outmaneuver almost any opponent she comes across. Her abilities allowed her to dodge dozens of powerful Earthbenders, who were unable to land a hit on her. She is also very flexible, able to contort herself into positions nearly impossible for a normal person to achieve and walk on her hands without any struggle. These abilities allow her to scale almost any surface very quickly, and squeeze through most barriers and into small spaces.
However, Ty Lee's defining, most noticeable ability is her mastery of pressure-point striking martial arts, Chi Blocking. She is able to strike sequences of pressure points immobilize her enemies to various degrees. She has the ability to paralyze a single body part, or even the entire human anatomy. This technique allows her to block certain Chi paths in benders to compromise their abilities. This makes her especially dangerous to warriors like Katara, who rely solely on their Bending and possess no secondary fighting skills. She is so powerful, that outside the walls of Ba Sing Se, she was able to defeat dozens of powerful Earthbenders within seconds. However, if her target has faced her before or is expecting it, the effectiveness of her Chi blocking decreases as her opponent takes measures to prevent her from using the technique. Fighting her before, Suki was able to avoid her attacks at the Boiling Rock , and Katara and Sokka were able to do so as well. She also takes Azula by surprise when she is about to strike Mai. It might be possible that she could kill someone with her chi blocking skills, but doesn't do so because of her kind-hearted personality and lack of need to do so.
* Ty Lee in Chinese is written as 太力 (tài lì) which translate as 'extreme strength.' In Mandarin, 太 can be pronounced both as "tài" and "dài", although most of the time it depends on the context. This renders the pronunciation of Ty Lee and Dai Li identical.
* As shown in "The Chase", and said by Avatar extras, when Ty Lee uses her chi blocking on a non-bender it causes their body parts to go limp and make them unable to move them (though despite this Sokka is still able to put up a good fight with only his leg and head).
* Ty Lee appears to have a crush on Sokka as she mentioned in "The Chase" that Sokka was cute. Further, in "The Drill", when she, Mai and Azula found Aang, Sokka and Katara, she said, "Azula, you were right -- it was the Avatar... and friends," obviously directing the comment towards Sokka. Later in "The Crossroads of Destiny", when confronting Sokka in the throne room, she happily describes their fight as dancing.
* Ty Lee may not have been imprisoned at The Boiling Rock since the Kyoshi Warriors, except for Suki, were held elsewhere, unless the other Kyoshi Warriors were transferred to The Boiling Rock after Suki escaped.
* Ty Lee is the second known outsider to join the Kyoshi Warriors, Sokka being the first.
* Ty Lee is one of the few members of the Fire Nation that doesn't have black hair or golden eyes.
* According to "Avatar Extras", Ty Lee is described as the Avatar version of a Valley Girl.
* In the non-canonical School Time Shipping episode, Ty Lee is shown to have some attraction to Haru, however whether this was simply in that one special or if they would be attracted to each other if they met remains unknown.
* Ty Lee went to the circus because she did not feel special among her six sisters. Ironically, by the end of the series she joins the Kyoshi Warriors, who all dress and look alike.
* Ty Lee's chi blocking fighting style is strikingly similar to Neji and Hinata Hyuga's fighting style, Gentle Fist, from the popular anime series Naruto and its sequel Naruto Shippuden.
14 (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
Deceased in The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra
Mai, Fire Nation Circus, Team Avatar, Kyoshi Warriors, more...
Weapon of choice
Chronological and political information
Kyoshi Warrior, Former circus acrobat
* High Class Fire Nation Citizen
* Fire Nation traitor (Amnestied)
* Kyoshi Warrior
* Chi Blocking Master
* Fire Nation
* Kyoshi Warriors
Return to Omashu
Ty Lee jumping from tree to tree to get Katara.
Ty Lee blocking Chi.
A boy's vision when he first saw Ty Lee.
Mai and Ty Lee after betraying Azula.
Ty Lee and Azula as children.
Ty Lee (in disguise) getting close to her crush, Sokka.
Ty Lee has a sweet and quite ditsy personality.