WARNING! SPIRIT WORLD SHENANIGANS AHEAD!
Okay, Avatards. I've just had a thought.
Remember last week, that look of shock on Zuko's face when Korra said she spoke with Iroh in the Spirit World?
Maybe he isn't reacting to the fact that Korra spoke to his dead Uncle. Maybe he's reacting to the possibility that Iroh never died.
Before you go crazy with the nay-saying, hear me out.
The Spirit World isn't inhabited by ghosts. It's not the place that people go to when they die. It's inhabited by the spiritual entities that embody aspects of life and nature. Aside from the past lives of the Avatar, humans are rarely seen living in the Spirit World.
Iroh is a singular exception. It was difficult for a mortal to journey on his own into the Spirit World before the Harmonic Convergence, but we know that Iroh did to search for his dead son Lu Ten.
What if, instead of dying, Iroh decided to cross back into the Spirit World? He's always revered and respected the spirits and their influence on the mortal world. It seems plausible he could want to spend eternity there among them.
Most of the other mortals either entered by the portals or were kidnapped by spirits, like Admiral Zhao. Who is still alive. Whether or not the Spirit World itself or the Fog of Lost Souls is keeping Zhao alive is up for debate.
Obviously, there are some opposing facts for this. Professor Zei, for example, stayed with Wan Shi Tong's library as it retreated back to the Spirit World. Korra and Jinora discovered his skeleton last season. But don't forget that Wan Shi Tong isn't the biggest fan of mortals, so the Professor's death may not have been...natural.
I could be wrong. And according to some notes about the commentary on the LoK episode 'Spiritual Age', which I haven't listened to yet, it's more than likely.
But it's still a fun thought. *cue fanon writer brainstorming*
Spirit World Shenanigans concluded
In other news, the hour for my first Author Q&A is creeping closer. This Sunday (24th) at 11 am EST. Hope to see you all there!