As I was posting on a different tumblr post I realized some things. Namely (and obviously each firebender has his/her own style.
Starting with Mako;
He tends to lightning bend with an open palm. The first shot is a bit hard to tell (as to whether or not his pinky and the finger next to it are actually touching his palm) either way around his bending is more open then everyone else’s. Perhaps this is an indicatior that he doesn’t know how to do it as well, maybe it’s the opposite. Perhaps it’s simply another sign that the Avatar universe changed. As it got older there came new techniques.
Aang is interesting; his lightningbending (rather method of redirecting it) is very loose. His two fingers are spread apart. Every other bender keeps those two fingers firmly together. This I think is a clear sign that he’s new at lightningbending and is struggling to control it. The lightning is kind of pushing his fingers apart.
Iroh’s pretty unique; most of the firebenders seem to bend in horizontal motions or motions that keep their arms away from the ground. Iroh doesn’t he bends more vertically and his fingers are nearer to the ground. He’s definitly one of the more powerful firebenders so this could be an indicator of that experience.
Zuko seems to have a more standard fire bending method. For one thing his is comparable to Mako’s. What that tells me is that he has the basics down and can still do some damage but he’s still only got the basics (at least at this point). There’s another reason I say this and I’ll get to that in a bit. As for his form; his hand is much tighter. He has his two pointers extended and his tumb and pinky folded so that they touch. This is unique to him. He’s also got wider more bombastic motions when generating lightning (if I remember right).
Azula gets a few images (not just because I like her more but to provide solid examples). She is also why I say Zuko only has the basics down. Because her method of holding her fingers together was very similar to Zuko’s when we first see her doing it. Though there’s a slight difference in that Zuko’s thumb only touches his pinky whereas Azula’s thumb overlaps her other two fingers. Yet it’s the same sort of technique. As she became more experienced with the lightning she started swaying away from the simple form; she now seems to also lift her thumb up along with the other two fingers. Basically she’s more or less a step above the basics at this point. Granted when I looked through some images I’ve noticed that sometimes she does this other times she doesn’t. I’m wondering if this depends on how relaxed or confident she’s feeling while doing it. Where she and Zuko are very different is that she seems to be the most graceful and fluid in her generation motions. She’s very precise. She also seems to like to keep her arms drawn closer to her body for longer periods of time than the others;
I may be reading too much into it but maybe this is symbolic of her need fro control. The closer she has the fire to her the more control she feels she has over it. This is also something that changed in the comics
Furthering that symbolism perhaps this is another way of showing she lost control. Maybe it indicates that she got better at lightningbending--and by this I mean that it wasn’t effective to Marshall the lightning so close to herself. Maybe they simply didn’t have enough panels to show her entire bending form.
As a side note, the fact that she can bend lightning at this angle is pretty impressive. And also it shows again that she now likes to bend with her thumb up.
And finally majesty must be a family thing because Ozai looks like a majestic butterfly. Jokes aside he seems to be the quickest lightning bender and his motions are also pretty wide and sweeping. Like he has to be the star of the freaking show. He also seems to make a lot of pretty shapes. He’s definitely a show off. Also I think it should be pointed out that (while Zuko’s form is most similar to Azula’s) Azula’s form looks a lot like her dad’s. He’s also got his thumb sort of overlapping his fingers. This kind of serves to dispute my thought that this finger positioning indicates inexperience. So maybe Azula was just bending with her thumb up because it’s more comfy or she’s better at it that way. Or maybe its symbolic of her not being influenced by her father as much since she picked up her own style. But back to Ozai; the dude knows what he’s doing that’s for sure; looking at this same scene--by the end of his technique--he seemed to have generated more lightning and in less time.
What do you all think?