WHEN I have kids I’m going to tell bedtimes stories where I plagiarise the stories from the Legend of Zelda. I’d start with Ocarina of Time, move to Majora’s Mask, and that’s when it would get blurry. Maybe next I’ll tell the story of Breath of the Wild.
Breath of the Wild is basically Skyrim being given the Hyrule treatment. The self discovery – assuming you don’t cheat and look it up online for answers – is fantastic although I spent three days trying to solve one puzzle involving fixing a giant mechanical beast in the desert.
The fascinating thing for me is trying to work out the timeline of Breath of the Wild. Is it before the events of Ocarina of Time? How does Breath of the Wild fit in with Windwaker, in which Hyrule is flooded and the remnants of its civilisation live on islands which once were the kingdom’s mountains.
Even harder to figure out, where does it fit with Twilight Princess?
I’m fascinated in Zelda in the same way I’m fascinated with the Mad Max series.
Each adventure is its own story, told from someone who has heard it from someone else, and someone else, and then someone else. But the general fairytale element is the reoccuring fight against the prince of darkness for the peace and prosperity of the perfect kingdom of Hyrule over many eras.
Courage and wisdom must overcome power.
The truth is the story, but with so many stories the truths jar. They don’t necessarily fit. They may not be told in order. The same hero could look different (hence in Mad Max where some movies may star Mel Gibson and another may star Tom Harding. It actually doesn’t matter! The details are told by an orator).
In the Zelda games the main location played in is the Kingdom of Hyrule. Over 30 years since the first Legend of Zelda game some reoccurring locations have appeared, whether it be Death Mountain, Kakariko village, Lake Hylia, Zora’s Domain, the Temple of Time, the plains of Hyrule.
In most games these locations are roughly in the same area. But there’s at least one dramatic disparity on the map in each game. Lake Hylia of Hyrule in Twilight Princess (2006) is more central, while in Ocarina of Time (1998) and Breath of the Wild (2017) it is to the south.
There’s also reoccurring characters in various forms. Considering each game could be hundreds or thousands of years between each other, it makes you wonder how some of these characters’ reincarnations can be explained.
Some, such as the prince of darkness (the name and form changes in each telling; but Ganon appears the most common of the names) evolve over the timeline, from being a magician and leader of a band of desert thieves to becoming an immortal demon. Others such as Zelda seem to be reincarnations of a Goddess. But then there’s weaker, seemingly insignificant novelty characters.
There’s the map maker Tingle, who appears in the land of Termina in Majora’s Mask. He reappears in other forms such as in Wind Waker, which surely is hundreds or thousands of years in the future.
In Breath of the Wild there’s a quirky trader called Beedle.
In Wind Waker (2002) Beedle is a trader who travels by boat. Now, I see Wind Waker as an alternative future. A ‘what happens to the world’ if Link doesn’t save the day in Breath of the Wild.
Which brings me to the point of how the world in Windwaker was flooded. The orator of Windwaker says that it was ‘the will of the Gods’ attempting to save the world from evil. Breath of the Wild’s events suggests that it was more likely a mechanical accident.
Mad Max is fiction. The Legend of Zelda is fiction. But instead of the creators pretending it is real, or dismissing its immersive world by not taking it seriously (as many movies, books and TV series have done) it’s left you valuing each individual piece of work for what it is, and to enjoy the inconsistencies.
For in real life with numerous authors there are inconsistencies, but it doesn’t make the overwhelming message any less true.