1. A wise and trusted counselor or teacher.
2. An influential senior sponsor or supporter.
3. To teach, educate, advise; to act as a mentor.
EX. Yesterday we talked about the "Blind Bandit" and today we're talking about the "Dragon of the West." Zuko's mentor, his Uncle Iroh, stands out for a number of reasons as a character. He is one of the older characters, his goals and motives are a mystery, and he is basically Gandolf mixed with Danny Devito.
AND PART 3: THE WISE FOOL
AND PART 4: THE LOVEABLE ROGUE
An aside: One of my readers brought up the fact that one of the major weaknesses of the series is that it's light-hearted tone made it impossible to take the bad guys seriously. In a world torn by war and with several characters, including Iroh, with pasts defined by war and loss, such dramatic subjects were hardly covered seriously. Furthermore, the conclusion feels weak because a war, that involved massacre and genocide (only barely escaping a nation wide burning), was resolved so easily that the invading forces of the Fire Nation were basically all but unpunished for their war crimes. At least, within the context of the show.
This is relevant as Uncle Iroh, who also dips into the "Wise Fool" category also dips into two other archetypes.
THE MENTOR/ THE OLD SOLDIER
Uncle Iroh is a mentor that seems to come from an unlikely place. In the beginning of the series, his character seemed to mostly serve as a comic foil to Zuko. Yet, it quickly becomes clear that his inaction was all part of his pacifism and to lead Zuko to the realization the futility and/or wrongness of his quest. This can be seen in Iroh's decisions that either slow the quest down. For example, he insists on finding a White-Lotus tile for a strategy game called "Pai Sho". This is actually a subtle clue that will lead to the realization that Iroh is part of a secret organization dedicated to stopping the Fire Nation. Iroh is like a good fortune cook; a little kooky on the outside but filled with secret wisdom.