How did Iroh manage to escape from the prison when the sun was black? As we know the sun got black in E11S03 "The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse".

I believe he waited until all the fire-benders were weak and busted himself out, but how did he manage to do it when he can not fire-bend, or does he have another way to fire-bend without the sun?

We see in the prison that he manages to destroy the metal like it's nothing! So, why can't Mako do the same when he was in the prison with Bolin?

6 Answers 6


It is never explained.

The best we get is the guard proclaiming “He was like a one-man army!” and a visual of snapped and bent cell bars.

My Opinion

Iroh presents himself with a very unassuming manner that makes it easy to forget that he is one of the most martially powerful and intelligent people alive.

I suspect that he began manipulating the integrity of the bars with fire long before the eclipse. Low-level heating makes them malleable to the point that they will bend and break just like you see in the episode. (Imagine if the bars were built out of metal the tensile strength of cheap metal tableware.)

When the time came, he burst the bars by either fire bending them immediately before the eclipse took effect or by sheer brute strength. Either way, the guards would have been unprepared for this, even if they were present in his cell at the time. Dealing with the unprepared and under-trained guards after that was only made more difficult by doing it without killing them.

I personally suspect this is one of the reasons he chose the time of the Black Sun to do it as well. By removing fire bending, he removed the single most deadly variable from the equation.

That, and fire benders are typically not very good martial artists when they can’t fire bend. It is even given several times in the series that fire benders rely too much on the fire itself. In that same episode, recall that palace soldiers went from “We’ll never give up!” to complete submission once they realized they couldn’t bend, and even the army took steps to retreat and save fighting for only when they had bending.


Of course, my personal opinion presumes some semblance to reality in the details. The other possibility is the obvious super-human nature of a television program about super-human people, where Iroh DBZed it up and bust through those rails with his immense, super-human strength.

  • 1
    WOW, Nice thinking, but why the guard does not hear him when he cutting the metal?, it came to my mind now, I think he use his CHE to fire-bend without the sun. is that possible? and thanks for your answer. Dec 20, 2017 at 19:19
  • +1 for the insight that a working out and then breaking out on a day when every fire bender is disarmed is simple but effective.
    – gowenfawr
    Dec 20, 2017 at 19:54
  • 3
    @MohammedAlhanafi He never actually needed to cut the metal — it snapped. If you want to get an idea of how this works, find yourself a metal table spoon you don’t care about destroying, then just bend it back and forth a few times. Eventually it will snap. All Iroh needed to do is slowly heat the metal when guards were ignoring him. It wouldn’t even get red so they would never know unless they touched the bars where he was heating them. He didn’t even need to heat all of it; just strategic spots. Once soft enough, he could break through without fire.
    – Dúthomhas
    Dec 20, 2017 at 20:38
  • @Dúthomhas the strange thing is: why would he do that on the eclipse though: while strong he isn't the most muscular person. The offset with his firebending skills compared to the guards must have been much greater. So by "adding firebending" his advantage should grow?
    – paul23
    May 5, 2021 at 18:15
  • @paul23 have you missed the Iroh training montage? youtube.com/watch?v=GdCyUgDg4dc He trained for months. At the end of it, he was more muscular than 90% of firebending army.
    – jo1storm
    Oct 6, 2021 at 13:59

Iroh knew of the Day of Black Sun. I suspect that due to his strong spiritual connection. This spiritual connection is evidenced in the first season when Uncle Iroh saw Aang on the back of Avatar Roku's dragon, but the Earth kingdom soldiers did not, along with the fact that in Legend of Korra, Uncle Iroh was also in the spirit realm, where no human has ever resided except for those trapped in the fog (tldr; fog was a spirit that made humans forget their identities).

We know Uncle Iroh used padding to make himself appear fat, but he was secretly working out. Duth made a mention of firebending the metal, and this actually does make A LOT of sense. Weakening the structural integrity of the metal bars wouldn't have been much trouble. Remember when Jet saw Uncle Iroh heat his tea with firebending? Obviously, this was VERY cool in comparison to how much heat he could have generated with firebending, so this leads me to believe that Uncle Iroh has a mastery over the level of heat he exerts when firebending, so it's very possible that he would have used firebending to slowly heat up the bars, weakening the structural integrity. Sokka speaks about science a lot, so it's probably not a stretch of the imagination to use science in this.

Further, Uncle Iroh was extremely strong due to his physical exercise in prison, so it's very likely that he was able to overpower all the guards. He more than likely broke the prison and overpowered the guards due to his extreme strength and stature over them.


It's pretty simple. Iroh was a master at hand to hand combat. All bending uses a forms of fighting, and since he studied all four Nations, he could simply fight the guards using his newly fit body. Plus, not all members of the Fire Nation's army are benders.

Iroh was a general so he knew how to plan. He could have taken the Earth Kingdom if his heart was in it. If you pay attention, most powerful firebenders are lean but muscular, most powerful earthbenders are bulky, and so on. So he was a very bulky muscular man fighting lean men who only knew bending or one fighting style.

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    What? He punched through 2'' thick bars with martial arts?
    – Hellreaver
    Jul 25, 2020 at 10:53

What if Iroh used combustion like firebending as seen when Combustion man was hunting the Avatar?? After all he is the Dragon of the West, he would have mastered all forms of firebending, keeping himself humble until he needed to use it the most. Just Saiyan.

  • Do you have any evidence that he actually did this to escape or is it a complete guess? If the former could you edit this to include some evidence.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 9, 2020 at 19:42

It’s likely Iroh could have learned some handy tricks from the dragon masters. In the episode "the Firebending Masters", Zuko remarks “I understand” as the dragons reveal to him and Aang the origin of firebending. The result being, Zuko gaining an entirely new resource for firebending. This enabled him to fire bend even after being in cooler on the Boiling Rock, a device designed to keep firebenders from bending.

The episode "The Day of Black Sun" happened prior to the episode "The Firebending Masters", so we can’t know if Zuko would’ve been able to firebend on that day, and the dazed prison guard doesn’t give us any clues as to how Iroh escaped. But as we’ve seen, Iroh is full of surprises so it can’t necessarily be ruled out. Jumping the third wall, the proximity of the events makes me think the writers intended us to draw some connections.


I think we have all forgotten that Iroh was the last one to face the fire bending masters. He had the secret ot fire bending, so it's possible he could have been able to bend during the eclipse. No one in his generation had the 'DRAGON' title except for him, not even his brother.

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