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#1 Raien

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 05:30 PM

As a fantasy series, The Legend of Zelda is quick to borrow the conventions of myths and legends to build its universe. But a lot of players can’t distinguish the mythology from the real world, and so they discuss a lot of ideas that really don’t apply to the Zelda universe, such as genetics and tectonic plates. What separates mythology from science is symbolism, and this article will explain how and why the Zelda universe is grounded upon symbolism.

First of all, I need to explain what symbolism is. Symbolism is the process of explaining the world through meaning and purpose, as opposed to physical causality. For example, water has always been recognised for its apparent purpose to nourish life, but not the actual process of nourishment. This is because we can only symbolise what we can physically and emotionally sense. The feeling of thirst, and the emotional satisfaction of drinking water when thirsty, defines the symbolism of water having purpose for nourishment. But we cannot see or feel the intake of water into the cells of our body; that is something we know exists only through scientific analysis, and so that aspect of nourishment holds no symbolic meaning to us. The Zelda universe functions on this basis, with the creation of the elements of earth, air, fire and water, and the Triforce possessing the human traits of power, wisdom and courage. Genetics and tectonic plates do not exist in a symbolic universe.

One argument to support the application of modern science into the Zelda mythology is that the authors are contemporary, and thus contemporary scientific knowledge is expected to be carried across in their writing. However, contemporary writers are aware that symbolism is more emotionally powerful to audiences than science is, and symbolism is actually responsible for why we enjoy these stories so much. The writers for Disney's The Lion King make that case in the commentaries, establishing the film’s success as an emotional response to the symbolism present in the story. In particular, the scene in which Simba discovered the spiritual connection with his father was cited as the most emotional part of the film. And so if symbolism is important to the audience, then it is not surprising that the Zelda series has built such an emotional reaction from the general public. It's not a large step to take from "natural king of the Pridelands" to "natural hero of Hyrule", after all. And so I think we would be truer to the writers if we start looking at the symbolism inherent in the Zelda mythology, as opposed to discussing the inclusion of scientific facts.

Since I began my topic with the example of water, let's look at the symbols present within the elements of nature. Like water, the elements of earth, fire and wind are all connected to the preservation of life. Earth makes the plants grow (and thus, plants are symbolically related to the earth element), fire provides warmth, and wind allows seeds to scatter and birds to fly. And with the understanding that all the elements work for the common cause of life preservation, we have an explanation for why we never see signs of conflict between the elements (as depicted by the elemental deities). All the elemental deities are generally benevolent because of their symbolic purpose to preserve life, which puts them at odds with the forces of Darkness who want to destroy life.

Light and Darkness are connected through different symbolism to the elements of nature because the two forces are in direct conflict with each other; existing as exact opposites. Light is the representation of benevolence, which I believe is due to the symbolic relationship between light and existence; the ability to see something is the most immediate sense to tell us that it exists. I also believe that this leads to a symbolic relationship between the sky and heaven; if heaven is up above, then the sun shines from a benevolent source. Darkness is the representation of evil, which I believe is due to the symbolic relationship between darkness and oblivion. If the destruction of all things leads to oblivion, then the reasons for destruction are observed as "dark" and thus evil.

In TP, Princess Zelda referred to Light and Darkness as in a state of balance, but funnily enough, a fan translation revealed that to be an invention by the Nintendo of America translators, and an invention I don't agree with. It suggests that Darkness has a divine purpose alongside Light, and is a necessity to maintaining order in the world. But while we have seen evidence of Light coming from a divine source (the Light Spirits and the Master Sword being the strongest examples), Darkness has always set itself against the divine, just as Ganondorf did in The Wind Waker. Apart from coinciding with the idea that evil is a product of free will (in the Zelda mythology, human greed), this makes me doubt whether the forces of Light and Darkness really are equal in the Zelda universe. It would certainly explain why Hyrule spends most of its time at peace if Light was the dominant force in Hyrule, with the skeletons sometimes emerging at night in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess.

Another piece of symbolism that would be worth looking at is the manipulation of magic. The Zelda mythology conforms perfectly to the symbolism of magic in general mythology; namely control over the things which are outside our control in real-life. The wind cannot be controlled in real-life, so controlling the wind thus becomes an act of magic. When the King of Red Lions gave Link the Wind Waker, he said that Link could "borrow the power of the gods". I see this language relating to the symbolic perception that the elements are powers that only the gods (and the divine deities) are allowed to control, and the wind waker is an item that the goddesses blessed with their power to allow humans this ability as well. According to Christianity, it is believed that the manipulation of nature is sacred to God alone, and thus its movement by humans is perceived to be black magic or witchcraft. But in other mythologies, if communication with the gods (or deities who are deigned to wield the elements) can be established by a human (like a priest or witch doctor), then that person could be allowed that sacred power to wield. Sometimes the elements themselves are suggested to be alive and obey the sorceror, as if the magic creates a pact between them. Anyway, the wind waker was said to be possessed by the King of Hyrule, so it perhaps signifies that the king had some form of magical communication with the gods (as the leader of the Hylians, the chosen people of the gods).

Next, we come to the nature of the goddesses; Din, Nayru and Farore. Given that they are responsible for a peaceful state of order for the world, as well as consistently associated with the power of Light throughout the series, it's quite clear that they are benevolent deities. Even when the goddesses were presumed to have given Ganondorf the power to conquer Hyrule, Zelda believed that some good had come from the following events. We just have to accept that, for the purposes of the story, the goddesses allow suffering to send a moral message.

As the Triforce is made from the essences of the three goddesses, the Triforce is a symbolic reflection of the goddesses. Each of the three Triforce pieces represents a goddess, and they work in unison to maintain the natural state of order in Hyrule, just as the three goddesses are also unified in their endeavours. Just as the power of the gods created the world, that same power maintains the world. The Triforce also symbolises government. A Link to the Past’s original manual established that the Triforce governs the world from the Sacred Realm, and whoever possesses it shall themselves govern the world according to their own desires. For the wielder, this has been phrased as both the granting of a wish and a reflection of the heart. The Sacred Realm is a visual reflection of the Triforce’s power and thus it transformed into the Dark World in accordance with Ganondorf’s evil heart. The Triforce also represents Order, in that it keeps the nature of the world constant. It is up to people to create a new state of Order, and the Triforce is said to hold a particular character type as “worthy” of governing with its power. This character must have a heart free of evil, a resolute character and a mastery of the three virtues of Power, Wisdom and Courage. Essentially, it must represent the hearts of the people and keep them in peace.

Ocarina of Time introduced a new mechanic; the Triforce would split at the touch of a heart that does not balance the virtues of Power, Wisdom and Courage. This has raised questions about the nature of a balanced heart, and in order to understand it, we need to understand why people believe that power, wisdom and courage are important in life.

Let’s first look at Power. A powerful character commands both fear and respect from weaker characters, and can protect the weak. So a character can believe in power to be used for benevolent purposes. However, power is said to be a corruptive force in the Zelda series. With power comes the ability to force others against their will, and thus the tendency to do evil outweighs the tendency to do good. A man corrupted, like Ganondorf, would believe in power solely to have his own selfish desires made real.

Next, let’s look at Wisdom. Understanding how the world works gives a character the ability to solve the problems that they encounter and improve upon existing magic and technology. Understanding how people work can allow a character to bring people together and end feuds. So the belief in wisdom is essentially about bettering one’s position in the world and, as an extension of that, the positions of those around them. However, since wisdom is a means to attain power, wise men can also be corrupted, thus using their knowledge to better their own positions at the expense of others.

And finally, let’s look at Courage. The belief in Courage means it is important to fight for one’s ideals. In Eastern philosophy, courage is defined by one character recognising the authority of the wider world and contesting it. In Western philosophy, courage is more simply defined as facing one’s fears. Ganondorf was not a courageous character because he did not recognise and fear the authority of others as a counter to his own ideals for world domination. Heroism, on the other hand, derives from Courage because a character must be able to recognise threats from the wider world in order to protect others.

Edited by Raien, 17 March 2009 - 11:03 AM.


#2 CID Farwin

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 07:08 PM

Good read! I'm happy someone else understands this symbolism!

I'll have to post a proper reply later; I'm leaving right now.

#3 Nameless_Joe

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 08:54 PM

These comments on the light/dark relationship caught my eye. It reminded me of several concepts and set my mind upon a train of thought regarding Hyrule's patron (maternal?) deities. I haven't thought it completely out. It's not perfect, and some points may be redundant, but here is the essence of it.

Humor me for using a scientific explanation to expound upon symbolism:
If you are familiar with thermodynamic theory, you'll recall that there is no such thing as cold; there are only varying degrees of warmth (which is a product of molecular activity/friction). This concept could very well be carried over to light and dark. No such thing as dark; only absence of light. Light is defined as a spectrum of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. If you go beyond (either higher or lower) this spectrum, the waves' names and behaviors change (such as radio waves, microwaves, or gamma rays) but they are still forms of EM energy. Now, there is a set of theories about darkness, called blackbody, which basically states that true darkness can never be obtained because everything in the universe emits EM waves. Therefore, literally, darkness cannot possibly exist as a 'negative energy,' as I said above there is only a noticeable lack of light.

So, perhaps the symbolism of light and dark could be defined this way: 'Light' is the effect Hyrule enjoys as a product of the goddesses' providence/blessing. 'Darkness' is the effect experienced in a region or time when this blessing isn't evident or has been retracted.

When Hyrule is in a period of peace, or light, the evidence of the goddesses' blessing is manifest. When darkness threatens Hyrule (blessing absent), the land is reverting to a chaotic state as it was before the goddesses appeared. The Triforce, the essence of the gods, is the key to these two states. If the person holding the Triforce has a good heart (in line with the goddesses' will), the realm will prosper. If the holder is evil (against the goddesses), the realm will suffer. It makes the series a big morality play.

I see this language relating to the symbolic perception that the elements are powers that only the gods (and the divine deities) are allowed to control


Umm... by your definition what is the difference between gods and divine deities?

According to Christianity, it is believed that the manipulation of nature is sacred to God alone, and thus its movement by humans is perceived to be black magic or witchcraft.


Actually, you've reminded me of something: In the book of Job, I think there's an account of the devil whipping up a storm to kill Job's children. So, I guess you could say sacred to God and his forces (e.g. angels, etc.), but not only at their disposal.

#4 LionHarted

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 09:04 PM

And the same goes for anything we cannot immediately sense or perceive, such as tectonic plates and genetic development.


While we cannot immediately sense or perceive tectonic plates in the Zelda universe, we do see a large number of the ingredients that, in our real world, characterize their existence.

--Earthquakes
--Mountain systems, particularly volcanoes and islands
--Continental drift
--A molten Earth interior
--The suggested formation of a supercontinent*

*The Deku Tree is the spirit of the earth, and we see in TFPRR that he makes MORE Deku Trees, who together probably manipulate the earth to accomplish this.

In TP, Princess Zelda referred to Light and Darkness as in a state of balance


Not so! Zelda was referring to the denizens of the Light and Shadow worlds, and the worlds themselves. The powers of darkness threatened to upset the balance between worlds and introduced the one to the other. The result was a curtain of darkness which threatened both worlds. We must still note that NoA uses the term "Shadow" to refer to the Shadow Realm or anything related to it.

It would certainly explain why Hyrule spends most of its time at peace


For the sake of accuracy, we don't really know that it does, just that it is in a time of peace up to the events that disrupt that peace during each game. OoT's background suggests that Hyrule has a history full of greed, bloodshed, and hatred, and ALttP and TP both support this.

#5 Raien

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 09:09 PM

So, perhaps the symbolism of light and dark could be defined this way: 'Light' is the effect Hyrule enjoys as a product of the goddesses' providence/blessing. 'Darkness' is the effect experienced in a region or time when this blessing isn't evident or has been retracted.

When Hyrule is in a period of peace, or light, the evidence of the goddesses' blessing is manifest. When darkness threatens Hyrule (blessing absent), the land is reverting to a chaotic state as it was before the goddesses appeared. The Triforce, the essence of the gods, is the key to these two states. If the person holding the Triforce has a good heart (in line with the goddesses' will), the realm will prosper. If the holder is evil (against the goddesses), the realm will suffer. It makes the series a big morality play.


Certainly, the absence of Light is fundamental to the strength of Darkness, just as the absence of Darkness is fundamental to the strength of Light. When it comes to competition between the two forces, the strongest power will overwhelm the other, just as Darkness overwhelmed the Forest of Light in FSA. But since the concept of "light banishing the darkness" has much stronger symbolism, then it would suggest that Light is a stronger force than Darkness overall.

Also, you're not the first person to connect Darkness with the original chaos. For a long time, I had the understanding that the forces of Darkness and the original chaos were the same, and thus they were opposed to the goddesses who brought order to the world (with the Triforce, no less). Not sure whether it's important now, but it serves as a nice idea.

And one last thing, in ALTTP's manual, it was said that the goddesses left the Triforce to govern the world, which gives the Triforce a purpose other than to grant wishes. What this tells us is that the power of the Triforce is tied to order in the world, and thus, whoever has their wish granted has their desire tied to the order of the world. So someone with an unbalanced heart would desire chaos, and thus the Triforce would effectively remake the world as one of chaos. Someone with a balanced heart would desire order, and thus the Triforce would remake the world as one of peace.

Umm... by your definition what is the difference between gods and divine deities?


Gods are the creators of the world. Divine deities are spirits that live in the world and protect the natural order (such as The Great Deku Tree and Jabun).

Actually, you've reminded me of something: In the book of Job, I think there's an account of the devil whipping up a storm to kill Job's children. So, I guess you could say sacred to God and his forces (e.g. angels, etc.), but not only at their disposal.


This depends on the Christian belief. Some Christian groups believe that Satan serves God, whereas some christian groups believe that Satan and God are at constant conflict. I was referring to the latter with the witchcraft example.


While we cannot immediately sense or perceive tectonic plates in the Zelda universe, we do see a large number of the ingredients that, in our real world, characterize their existence.


That's true. As I see it, symbolism doesn't dictate what does and does not exist in the Zelda universe, but it does dictate what is relevant to the story and the timeline. My argument is that if tectonic plates aren't relevant to the Zelda storyline, then there's no point trying to involve them in the storyline. The same goes for genetics; I would expect the importance of Link's bloodline (or any bloodline, for that matter) to be symbolically similar to the Mufasa-Simba example, as opposed to a factual shared gene pool.

Not so! Zelda was referring to the denizens of the Light and Shadow worlds, and the worlds themselves. The powers of darkness threatened to upset the balance between worlds and introduced the one to the other. The result was a curtain of darkness which threatened both worlds. We must still note that NoA uses the term "Shadow" to refer to the Shadow Realm or anything related to it.


You're clearly not thinking of the quote I was referring to. Go to Page 19 of the Translation topic, where Zelda says, according to NOA, "Our world is one of balance. Where there is light to banish darkness, there is benevolence to banish evil." You can see the balance line does not exist in Japanese.

For the sake of accuracy, we don't really know that it does, just that it is in a time of peace up to the events that disrupt that peace during each game. OoT's background suggests that Hyrule has a history full of greed, bloodshed, and hatred, and ALttP and TP both support this.


There has been conflict, but I think Hyrule has been symbolically defined a kingdom of peace (for the purposes of the story), moreso than a kingdom of conflict. Wars always appear to take place at times other than when a game is set.

Edited by Raian, 01 June 2008 - 09:48 PM.


#6 LionHarted

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 10:59 PM

That's true. As I see it, symbolism doesn't dictate what does and does not exist in the Zelda universe, but it does dictate what is relevant to the story and the timeline. My argument is that if tectonic plates aren't relevant to the Zelda storyline, then there's no point trying to involve them in the storyline. The same goes for genetics; I would expect the importance of Link's bloodline (or any bloodline, for that matter) to be symbolically similar to the Mufasa-Simba example, as opposed to a factual shared gene pool.


1) If we're talking about islands merging, the process by which this would occur inevitably comes into play. The Deku Tree and forests are ultimately responsible for doing so, as the Tree himself states, but the process is a mystery. Therefore, I look to the real world. Your ideas have inspired me to stop looking to the real world for trees making islands, and instead to look to the Deku Tree as the earth spirit who is therefore capable of doing such things.

2) I actually am starting to drift away from the idea of a literal bloodline at least in the case of the sages (following the TWW example). TP also suggests a symbolic hero's bloodline, although ALttP of course does not, since how else could Link be the last of their bloodline?

You're clearly not thinking of the quote I was referring to. Go to Page 19 of the Translation topic, where Zelda says, according to NOA, "Our world is one of balance. Where there is light to banish darkness, there is benevolence to banish evil." You can see the balance line does not exist in Japanese.


I see. I was thinking you were referring to the "one cannot exist without the other" quote, since this one is rather of no consequence, since it seems to be saying that the gods will always counter evil, which is of course true.

There has been conflict, but I think Hyrule has been symbolically defined a kingdom of peace (for the purposes of the story), moreso than a kingdom of conflict. Wars always appear to take place at times other than when a game is set.


Definitely.

I think the idea is more that the kingdom of Hyrule never instigates war, instead having war waged upon it by invading forces, as opposed to the idea that the kingdom of Hyrule is always at peace.

Edited by LionHarted, 01 June 2008 - 11:03 PM.


#7 SOAP

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 11:02 PM

Light and Dark are a very commonly use trope in... well pretty much everything really. I guess because it's such a universally recognized theme that every human can recognize, possibly because we owe so much of existence to the sun, our primary source of light, so we associate with Goodness and we associate it's absense with Evil. Scientifically speaking too much sun light be bad for you and darkness, in the form of night or shade is important too. I wonder if that can successfully cross over symbolically as well? TWW, kinda toys with Ganondorf trying to paint the Goddesses as the bad guys.

Interesting as the whole Light and Darkness deal is, it's been discussed so many times here both symbolicly and literally. I'm sure Zelda has more symbolism than just that.

#8 NM87

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 12:48 AM

I would like to discuss the symbolism of the gods and the Triforce, but I've written quite a lot already, so let's discuss what I've got here and expand on it a bit later.

I must say, your comparisons between Zelda and the Lion King were amazing, I was really getting into it. I have always dismissed science in favor of the "spiritual" world. For example, the age-old mind-body problem. You have physicalists (the mind is the body) and dualists (the mind and body are two separate things). I prefer the dualist argument, because I am more concerned with things such as qualia, as opposed to moving your arms and legs. Personally, I think people would be disappointed if they had ever found out the "meaning of life", and you can draw your own conclusions about what I mean by that.

Like you said, rain described as the benevolence of heaven is more appealing than rain described as a product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that is released on the Earth's surface (wiki).

Edited by NM87, 02 June 2008 - 01:07 AM.


#9 Raien

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 01:05 PM

1) If we're talking about islands merging, the process by which this would occur inevitably comes into play. The Deku Tree and forests are ultimately responsible for doing so, as the Tree himself states, but the process is a mystery. Therefore, I look to the real world. Your ideas have inspired me to stop looking to the real world for trees making islands, and instead to look to the Deku Tree as the earth spirit who is therefore capable of doing such things.


Excellent. Certainly it would be wonderful to get a glimpse of the process, because I think it makes a good set-up for the imagination.

2) I actually am starting to drift away from the idea of a literal bloodline at least in the case of the sages (following the TWW example). TP also suggests a symbolic hero's bloodline, although ALttP of course does not, since how else could Link be the last of their bloodline?


I certainly don't see why Link's bloodline can't be spiritual; if it applies to the Sages, it can very well apply to the Hero (and the Knights of Hyrule, in general).

I think the idea is more that the kingdom of Hyrule never instigates war, instead having war waged upon it by invading forces, as opposed to the idea that the kingdom of Hyrule is always at peace.


Quite right.


Anyway, I'm in the mood now to start thinking about symbolism surrounding the Triforce and the gods.

The three Triforce pieces possess the essences of the gods; the virtues of Power, Wisdom and Courage. Already we can see evidence that the goddesses have an emotional nature reflective of the human heart; they are not alien characters. However, the three goddesses are never symbolically represented as individual characters, but as a collective working towards a common cause. And I believe there is a good reason for this, which I will explain further on.

In ALTTP's original manual, the Triforce was said to "govern the world", which gives it a more meaningful purpose than waiting for someone to claim a wish from it. And there is symbolism tied to it; just as the power of the gods created the world, that power maintains the world as the Triforce. And thus whoever takes the power of the gods can remake the world to reflect his/her own heart. This connection would certainly explain why the Sacred Realm, a realm manipulated by the Triforce's power, becomes a mirror of Hyrule. In ALTTP, as the Dark World, it might even be a premonition of what the Light World would like if Ganon's wish was granted.

One important piece of symbolism which ties to OoT, is that the Triforce as a whole represents order and balance (which is symbolically tied to peace). This once again ties with the creation story, where it was said the goddesses brought order to a world of chaos. And thus chaos is representative of imbalance (and symbolically tied to war and destruction). So just as we have Benevolence and Evil, Light and Darkness, we have Order and Chaos, Balance and Imbalance. All these things tie together, because a balanced heart seeks order and is thus benevolent, whereas an imbalanced heart seeks chaos and is thus evil. This is ultimately what separates the hearts of Link and Zelda from Ganondorf, and this is why the goddesses are never represented as individuals. It could be interpreted that if the goddesses represent single virtues, they could be imbalanced and thus chaotic, which contradicts the symbolism inherent to the creation story.

Despite what ALTTP's manual says about the Triforce being unable to distinguish benevolence from evil, that's exactly what happens in OoT with the Triforce-split. Ganondorf had an imbalanced heart by desiring power, and that made him evil. The Triforce responded to the imbalance by splitting, and so it could recognise Ganondorf's evil character due to the imbalance. And yet the Triforce-split is the only example in which the Triforce has made this distinction, and so I don't think it shows a general change in mythology. Rather, I think the symbolism has been changed only in the Triforce-splitting event for the purposes of making that event possible.

And lastly, we come to the nature of the goddesses themselves. Given that they are responsible for creating order, life and all the elements to preserve life, it's quite clear that they are symbolically benevolent. And that explains why the Sages were so dumbstruck when the goddesses blessed Ganondorf with power in the execution scene. Even I had a lot of trouble admitting that this could be possible, given that all the goddesses' actions had otherwise been to save Hyrule from evil. But at the end of the day, Zelda had shown that some good had come from the following events, and while it's easy to question the benevolence of the goddesses, as many people question the benevolence of the Christian God for his actions in the Bible, it cannot really be doubted that for the purposes of the story alone, the goddesses are benevolent. You just have to ignore all the suffering that comes from allowing evil to thrive.

Edited by Raian, 02 June 2008 - 01:22 PM.


#10 MikePetersSucks

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 01:44 PM

Despite what ALTTP's manual says about the Triforce being unable to distinguish benevolence from evil, that's exactly what happens in OoT with the Triforce-split. Ganondorf had an imbalanced heart by desiring power, and that made him evil. The Triforce responded to the imbalance by splitting, and so it could recognise Ganondorf's evil character due to the imbalance. And yet the Triforce-split is the only example in which the Triforce has made this distinction, and so I don't think it shows a general change in mythology. Rather, I think the symbolism has been changed only in the Triforce-splitting event for the purposes of making that event possible.


Unbalance doesn't equate to Evil, even though one can cause the other. Ganon could've been a perfect saint, but if he was misaligned, the Triforce would split anyway.

And lastly, we come to the nature of the goddesses themselves. Given that they are responsible for creating order, life and all the elements to preserve life, it's quite clear that they are symbolically benevolent. And that explains why the Sages were so dumbstruck when the goddesses blessed Ganondorf with power in the execution scene. Even I had a lot of trouble admitting that this could be possible, given that all the goddesses' actions had otherwise been to save Hyrule from evil. But at the end of the day, Zelda had shown that some good had come from the following events, and while it's easy to question the benevolence of the goddesses, as many people question the benevolence of the Christian God for his actions in the Bible, it cannot really be doubted that for the purposes of the story alone, the goddesses are benevolent. You just have to ignore all the suffering that comes from allowing evil to thrive.


Or the goddesses really aren't responsible for that event. :P

#11 CID Farwin

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 02:47 PM

Alright. Since we're talking Triforce now, I don't have to restrain myself with saying some of this.

Symbolism is a large part of the Zelda series, and even more so in TP. TP is a game heavy with symbolism from the light/shadow dualism (among other things symbolized by that particular dualism) to the symbolism of the Hyrule field theme when Link gets his tunic (and accordingly, the opening fanfare to Hyrule castle from ALttP when Zelda reveals herself.) This is something I was talking to Raian via PM about, but I never could say it right. The plot and stuff that literally happens is easy enough for a newcomer to understand, but it's when we get into the symbolic representations (themes for Zelda, Ganondorf, and Link, as well as the workings of the Triforce, just to name a few) that fanboys wet themselves.

I like Raian's point about the Triforce "Governing the World." That seems to me to be much like the Pillars of Nosgoth from the Legacy of Kain series. As the Pillars decline, so does the state of the world. When the Pillars are restored, so too, is the world restored. As a matter of fact, when I first saw that aspect of the Pillars of Nosgoth I was instantly reminded of the Triforce.

Symbolism, indeed, is much easier for everyone to understand. Rather than having knowledge of the inner workings of a gene pool, most people can understand things like "blood running thin" and such.

Speaking of symbolism of the Triforce, when playing TP and having at least some prior knowledge of Zelda, most people won't pick up on specific words like "Power of the Gods," they'll instead pick up on the crests on the backs of hands and go 'ZOMG TEH TRIFORCE!' They also would take "Divine Prank" in context of the scene and take it to mean what it probably does, an unfortunate turn of events, not the creator Goddesses literally giving Ganondorf the Triforce (which is never seen, or really even alluded to.)

#12 MikePetersSucks

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 06:15 PM

I like Raian's point about the Triforce "Governing the World." That seems to me to be much like the Pillars of Nosgoth from the Legacy of Kain series. As the Pillars decline, so does the state of the world. When the Pillars are restored, so too, is the world restored. As a matter of fact, when I first saw that aspect of the Pillars of Nosgoth I was instantly reminded of the Triforce.


While I see where you're coming from, the Triforce was never really in decline like that. :P

Both the Triforce and the Pillars serve as Axis Mundi, a common archetype.

#13 CID Farwin

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 07:22 PM

While I see where you're coming from, the Triforce was never really in decline like that. :P

well, duh. :rolleyes:

Both the Triforce and the Pillars serve as Axis Mundi, a common archetype.

I'm unfamiliar with this. (I have only a base knowledge of archetypes.)

#14 NM87

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 11:43 PM

In ALTTP's original manual, the Triforce was said to "govern the world", which gives it a more meaningful purpose than waiting for someone to claim a wish from it. And there is symbolism tied to it; just as the power of the gods created the world, that power maintains the world as the Triforce. And thus whoever takes the power of the gods can remake the world to reflect his/her own heart.

ALTTP's manual also states that it was waiting for someone worthy to inherit its governing powers, in which their desires would be granted. Since we know the Triforce can be split, we know hat those inherited powers can also be distributed separately and split. So, at one time, there can three individuals in the world each holding those powers. For ALTTP tells us that the gods can judge between good and evil, and therefore can make their own decisions on who gets what if they please…since this is their world and their symbol governs it.

It definitely makes the distinction in which the world is reflected in ones heart, which is through their evil or good nature. The Sacred Realm becomes a paradise is a good person touches the Triforce and becomes a dark world if someone evil touches it. Not because they are imbalanced will it become a paradise or dark world, but depending on the nature of their heart.

#15 Raien

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 08:20 AM

Unbalance doesn't equate to Evil, even though one can cause the other. Ganon could've been a perfect saint, but if he was misaligned, the Triforce would split anyway.


But would a benevolent person seek change to the extent that they would invade the Sacred Realm? I see your point as one of cold-hearted logic, but I think if we were to appreciate the symbolism behind Ganondorf's character, then the evil in his heart is the imbalance.

The reason why we never see "greed for courage" or "greed for wisdom" is that courage and wisdom are states of mind, whereas power is an interaction between multiple people and/or forces. Due to this fact, added wisdom or courage would have no significant (or destructive) impact upon the world, and thus the player would have problems finding something inherently wrong with it; certainly something that could be called an imbalance of the heart. After all, the imbalance of the heart has to have negative consequences in order for there to be a meaningful purpose for depriving someone of the Triforce's wish, and in Ganondorf's case, that negative consequence was the destruction of the world. If Zelda wanted all the world's wisdom, would that desire lead to negative consequences and thus justify splitting the Triforce? I don't think so, and so I don't think we will ever see such a desire depicted as an imbalance of the heart.

They also would take "Divine Prank" in context of the scene and take it to mean what it probably does, an unfortunate turn of events, not the creator Goddesses literally giving Ganondorf the Triforce (which is never seen, or really even alluded to.)


Okay, here's something I raised on other topics but could be discussed here. The act of choosing is, by definition, the act of singling out something for importance (although that importance has to be defined by context). This is a basic meaning that everyone can identify with.

So in OoT, Link and Zelda were said to be chosen by the gods (Japanese translation) to receive the Triforce of Courage and Power, whereas Ganondorf was not chosen to receive his piece because he took it himself. And furthermore, Ganondorf never claimed to be chosen in OoT or TWW. In TP, however, Ganondorf refers to himself as chosen to wield power, and while it has been argued that he is too self-confident, I can't help but see this as a validation that he had been singled-out by the goddesses to wield power, like Link and Zelda. Ganondorf could not consider himself chosen without the action of singling-out.

Edited by Raian, 03 June 2008 - 11:40 AM.


#16 MikePetersSucks

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 03:00 PM

I'm unfamiliar with this. (I have only a base knowledge of archetypes.)


The Axis Mundi is expressed as the Center of the World, or the Key to the Heavens, or similar. Not only are they points that are supposed to represent the world's physical center, but they're also held to be mythical lynchpins of reality that connect the various planes, and tampering with them can affect the rest of the world. It's typically a shamanic, religious, alchemical, and yogic subject. Aside from the two expressed examples, one could also cite Sigil from Dungeons and Dragons, Mount Olympus from Greek Mythology, the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz, and the human body in Kabbalah.

but would a benevolent person seek change to the extent that they would invade the Sacred Realm? I see your point as one of cold-hearted logic, but I think if we were to appreciate the symbolism behind Ganondorf's character, then the evil in his heart is the imbalance.


Religious zealots are a common example of benevolent antagonists that can't be conquered with reason.

The reason why we never see "greed for courage" or "greed for wisdom" is that courage and wisdom are states of mind, whereas power is an interaction between multiple people and/or forces. Due to this fact, added wisdom or courage would have no significant (or destructive) impact upon the world, and thus the player would have problems finding something inherently wrong with it; certainly something that could be called an imbalance of the heart. After all, the imbalance of the heart has to have negative consequences in order for there to be a meaningful purpose for depriving someone of the Triforce's wish, and in Ganondorf's case, that negative consequence was the destruction of the world. If Zelda wanted all the world's wisdom, would that desire lead to negative consequences and thus justify splitting the Triforce? I don't think so, and so I don't think we will ever see such a desire depicted as an imbalance of the heart.


I disagree. Courage and Wisdom are qualities, just like Power. Also, you're equating the Triforce's splitting with "lol world destruction", which isn't the case. The Triforce DOESN'T CARE about what you do with it, it's what you want that matters. If your soul is unbalanced in any of the three qualities, I believe the Triforce would split. If someone merely wanted to know the ending to a book, the Triforce might split and leave then with Wisdom. (And before you start, LTTP equates Wisdom to Knowledge.)

So in OoT, Link and Zelda were said to be chosen by the gods (Japanese translation) to receive the Triforce of Courage and Power, whereas Ganondorf was not chosen to receive his piece because he took it himself. And furthermore, Ganondorf never claimed to be chosen in OoT or TWW. In TP, however, Ganondorf refers to himself as chosen to wield power, and while it has been argued that he is too self-confident, I can't help but see this as a validation that he had been singled-out by the goddesses to wield power, like Link and Zelda. Ganondorf could not consider himself chosen without the action of singling-out.


The fact that Ganondorf had the ToP dwell within him is proof enough that he was chosen even in OOT. The thing is that he just made the first move, but the Goddesses don't seem to have a problem ordaining people's actions via prophecy. I wouldn't be surprised if the Zelda multiverse was absolutely deterministic or something, but that debate is for another day.

Besides, it's my personal belief that Ganondorf acquired the Triforce of Power with his own hands like in OOT.

Edited by MikePetersSucks, 03 June 2008 - 03:08 PM.


#17 Raien

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 05:19 PM

I disagree. Courage and Wisdom are qualities, just like Power.


I was addressing the symbolism, not the mechanics. Courage and Wisdom are states of mind, and thus desiring and attaining them is symbolised as self-improvement. A good example would be the Wizard of Oz, where the Scarecrow desires wisdom and the Cowardly Lion desires courage. In contrast, attaining power is not symbolised as self-improvement because it only makes a person dominant to others, and dominance through force is symbolised as destruction. For a greedy mind, physical force is the simplest means to dominate, and that is how greed is tied to destruction through power.

It is possible that men can commit evil to attain courage and wisdom, and it is possible that a powerful man can be benevolent (I see the King of Hyrule in this role, as a mirror to Ganondorf). But when we are dealing with symbols, especially symbols surrounding the Triforce, power has the strongest connection to the traits of evil, and thus evil best represents an imbalance of the heart.

Also, you're equating the Triforce's splitting with "lol world destruction", which isn't the case. The Triforce DOESN'T CARE about what you do with it, it's what you want that matters. If your soul is unbalanced in any of the three qualities, I believe the Triforce would split. If someone merely wanted to know the ending to a book, the Triforce might split and leave then with Wisdom. (And before you start, LTTP equates Wisdom to Knowledge.)


Then what is the purpose of the Triforce split? Remember, symbolism is explaining the world through meaning and purpose. The Triforce-splitting has to have some symbolic purpose in the story, and that purpose appears to prevent Ganondorf from having his wish granted (given that Ganon would be unstoppable in ALTTP's Light World, reason suggests it would be the same in OoT). In which case, the Triforce-splitting gives the property of an imbalanced heart negative connotations, suggesting that someone cannot be benevolent and imbalanced. Given that Ganondorf's most prominent negative character trait is his greed, then the simplest conclusion is that his greed is the imbalance.

The fact that Ganondorf had the ToP dwell within him is proof enough that he was chosen even in OOT. The thing is that he just made the first move, but the Goddesses don't seem to have a problem ordaining people's actions via prophecy. I wouldn't be surprised if the Zelda multiverse was absolutely deterministic or something, but that debate is for another day.


Okay. I remember the Triforce mark in TWW now and I see your point.

Edited by Raian, 03 June 2008 - 05:55 PM.


#18 MikePetersSucks

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 11:38 PM

I was addressing the symbolism, not the mechanics. Courage and Wisdom are states of mind, and thus desiring and attaining them is symbolised as self-improvement. A good example would be the Wizard of Oz, where the Scarecrow desires wisdom and the Cowardly Lion desires courage. In contrast, attaining power is not symbolised as self-improvement because it only makes a person dominant to others, and dominance through force is symbolised as destruction. For a greedy mind, physical force is the simplest means to dominate, and that is how greed is tied to destruction through power.

It is possible that men can commit evil to attain courage and wisdom, and it is possible that a powerful man can be benevolent (I see the King of Hyrule in this role, as a mirror to Ganondorf). But when we are dealing with symbols, especially symbols surrounding the Triforce, power has the strongest connection to the traits of evil, and thus evil best represents an imbalance of the heart.


Whatever. It's general semantics.

Then what is the purpose of the Triforce split? Remember, symbolism is explaining the world through meaning and purpose. The Triforce-splitting has to have some symbolic purpose in the story, and that purpose appears to prevent Ganondorf from having his wish granted (given that Ganon would be unstoppable in ALTTP's Light World, reason suggests it would be the same in OoT). In which case, the Triforce-splitting gives the property of an imbalanced heart negative connotations, suggesting that someone cannot be benevolent and imbalanced. Given that Ganondorf's most prominent negative character trait is his greed, then the simplest conclusion is that his greed is the imbalance.


The Triforce splits to prevent someone unbalanced from getting it, good or evil. If someone has an unbalanced heart, regardless of their intentions, then their vision of the new world isn't balanced, either. One doesn't need to be evil to be dangerous; I wouldn't give the Triforce to a four year old, no matter how benevolent. And no, that's not what Symbolism is, but nice try.

#19 Raien

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 09:32 AM

Whatever. It's general semantics.


And that's a bad thing, considering the Zelda universe is inherently based on symbolism? I'm not saying you have to agree with my interpretation of the symbols, but you shouldn't immediately write them off for being symbols.

The Triforce splits to prevent someone unbalanced from getting it, good or evil. If someone has an unbalanced heart, regardless of their intentions, then their vision of the new world isn't balanced, either. One doesn't need to be evil to be dangerous; I wouldn't give the Triforce to a four year old, no matter how benevolent. And no, that's not what Symbolism is, but nice try.


Alright, let's back up a bit here. I'm fully aware that the Triforce could account for a multitude of psychological complexes, but most of these aren't defined in the Zelda universe, especially a character who commits evil for benevolent intentions. In mythology, evil people know they are evil because symbolic absolutes have more emotional impact than contradictive personalities. The one time that I can remember such a concept of a benevolent man committing evil was when the goddess Hera had temporarily driven Heracles to kill his family, and even then that was considered a state of madness.

In fact, from reading Jumbie's translation of the legend again, it appears to define three character types as imbalanced:
-One who believes power is the only important quality for a man to possess. This would be Ganondorf, who wanted power to rule the world.
-One who believes wisdom is the only important quality for a man to possess. This would be a man who seeks knowledge for himself, but would not use that knowledge for the benefit of others.
-One who believes courage is the only important quality for a man to possess. This would a reckless fool, who may endanger himself and others in his recklessness.

The one thing that ties all these character types together is that their desires are inherently selfish, which ties quite perfectly with Ganondorf's defining trait; his greed. What ultimately makes a heart imbalanced is greed, and it is also greed that leads men to evil, so the source of evil is an imbalanced heart. And what ties a balanced heart to benevolence is the relationship between the qualities in a man's heart. Wisdom allows a man to understand right from wrong, courage allows a man to stand up for what is right, and power allows a man to protect the peace. Thus, all three qualities are desired equally for unselfish reasons. I know it could conversely be argued that courage and wisdom allow a man to defy threats against his power, but if his power was great enough to eliminate all threats, then he would not need courage or wisdom.

Edited by Raian, 04 June 2008 - 12:53 PM.


#20 MikePetersSucks

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 01:10 PM

And that's a bad thing, considering the Zelda universe is inherently based on symbolism? I'm not saying you have to agree with my interpretation of the symbols, but you shouldn't immediately write them off for being symbols.


Semantics aren't symbols.

Alright, let's back up a bit here. I'm fully aware that the Triforce could account for a multitude of psychological complexes, but most of these aren't defined in the Zelda universe, especially a character who commits evil for benevolent intentions. In mythology, evil people know they are evil because symbolic absolutes have more emotional impact than contradictive personalities. The one time that I can remember such a concept of a benevolent man committing evil was when the goddess Hera had temporarily driven Heracles to kill his family, and even then that was considered a state of madness.

In fact, from reading Jumbie's translation of the legend again, it appears to define three character types as imbalanced:
-One who believes power is the only important quality for a man to possess. This would be Ganondorf, who wanted power to rule the world.
-One who believes wisdom is the only important quality for a man to possess. This would be a man who seeks knowledge for himself, but would not use that knowledge for the benefit of others.
-One who believes courage is the only important quality for a man to possess. This would a reckless fool, who may endanger himself and others in his recklessness.

The one thing that ties all these character types together is that their desires are inherently selfish, which ties quite perfectly with Ganondorf's defining trait; his greed. What ultimately makes a heart imbalanced is greed, and it is also greed that leads men to evil, so the source of evil is an imbalanced heart. And what ties a balanced heart to benevolence is the relationship between the qualities in a man's heart. Wisdom allows a man to understand right from wrong, courage allows a man to stand up for what is right, and power allows a man to protect the peace. Thus, all three qualities are desired equally for unselfish reasons. I know it could conversely be argued that courage and wisdom allow a man to defy threats against his power, but if his power was great enough to eliminate all threats, then he would not need courage or wisdom.


That's actually what I've been trying to say. Glad to know we're on the same page, lol.

#21 Raien

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 02:02 PM

That's actually what I've been trying to say. Glad to know we're on the same page, lol.


I have to admit that on a subject like this, it can be incredibly difficult to articulate a point because of the clash of different symbolic concepts. And the worst part is that we instinctively try to assume that there is a moral lesson to apply to everyone in the real world, when a lot of real characters simply don't apply to the mythology. I had the same problem with The Lion King, where I couldn't understand why Simba was obligated to follow in his father's footsteps since I never had that relationship with my father. Being told "it's symbolism, lol" helped me identify with the concepts later, but it's a bit annoying that it took a commentary to make me aware of it. Perhaps this is a sign we should start making new myths, or something.

#22 SOAP

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 10:31 PM

I disagree. Courage and Wisdom are qualities, just like Power.


I was addressing the symbolism, not the mechanics. Courage and Wisdom are states of mind, and thus desiring and attaining them is symbolised as self-improvement. A good example would be the Wizard of Oz, where the Scarecrow desires wisdom and the Cowardly Lion desires courage. In contrast, attaining power is not symbolised as self-improvement because it only makes a person dominant to others, and dominance through force is symbolised as destruction. For a greedy mind, physical force is the simplest means to dominate, and that is how greed is tied to destruction through power.


This post caught my eye. I have to strongly disagree with this. Power, by itself, isn't an evil quality. Maybe the word "Power" brings up negative connotations of evil dictators, greed, enslavement, dominance over other, ect. But it could also mean strength, energy, or will. These are pretty positive qualities to wish for. Just because you desire power most of all doesn't mean you want to step on everyone's toes. You could desire power in the sense to have the power to help those who are weak. If what Ganondorf said in his speech in TWW had any sincerity to it, it may be that Ganondorf initially desired power to free his people from their bad lot in life.

#23 MikePetersSucks

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 11:35 PM

I disagree. Courage and Wisdom are qualities, just like Power.


I was addressing the symbolism, not the mechanics. Courage and Wisdom are states of mind, and thus desiring and attaining them is symbolised as self-improvement. A good example would be the Wizard of Oz, where the Scarecrow desires wisdom and the Cowardly Lion desires courage. In contrast, attaining power is not symbolised as self-improvement because it only makes a person dominant to others, and dominance through force is symbolised as destruction. For a greedy mind, physical force is the simplest means to dominate, and that is how greed is tied to destruction through power.


This post caught my eye. I have to strongly disagree with this. Power, by itself, isn't an evil quality. Maybe the word "Power" brings up negative connotations of evil dictators, greed, enslavement, dominance over other, ect. But it could also mean strength, energy, or will. These are pretty positive qualities to wish for. Just because you desire power most of all doesn't mean you want to step on everyone's toes. You could desire power in the sense to have the power to help those who are weak. If what Ganondorf said in his speech in TWW had any sincerity to it, it may be that Ganondorf initially desired power to free his people from their bad lot in life.


Quoted for Emphasis.

#24 NM87

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 12:13 AM

If what Ganondorf said in his speech in TWW had any sincerity to it, it may be that Ganondorf initially desired power to free his people from their bad lot in life.

So they begin to hate him when they find out his true intentions.

#25 Ize

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 12:33 AM

I believe Ganondorf has a point, and the way he tries to justify his actions in WW is one of the best zelda moments in my opinion. He was a king of thieves, stranded in the middle of the harsh desert, with everyone on Hyrule looking them as bad people, he had been denied the peace and green, cool fields of Hyrule, his people probably suffered in the previous wars...
Then, of course, TP and returned him to 'I'M SO EVIL BWAHAHAHAHAHA'

#26 Raien

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 08:14 AM

This post caught my eye. I have to strongly disagree with this. Power, by itself, isn't an evil quality. Maybe the word "Power" brings up negative connotations of evil dictators, greed, enslavement, dominance over other, ect. But it could also mean strength, energy, or will. These are pretty positive qualities to wish for. Just because you desire power most of all doesn't mean you want to step on everyone's toes. You could desire power in the sense to have the power to help those who are weak. If what Ganondorf said in his speech in TWW had any sincerity to it, it may be that Ganondorf initially desired power to free his people from their bad lot in life.


SOAP, I know that power is a quality, and it is totally irrelevant to the point I was making.

A man is praised for possessing courage, because courage is typically seen as a sign of good character.
A man is praised for possessing wisdom, because wisdom is typically seen as a sign of good character.
A man is not praised for possessing power, because his character determines what is to be done with that power. A good man does good deeds with power (and is thus praised), and an evil man does evil deeds with power.

Because power does not determine the character, the association with power and greed is symbolically much stronger than courage or wisdom. In most fictional examples, the relationship between man and power is said to be symbiotic; a man possesses power like a symbiote (think Venom from the Spider-man comics) and can control it or be controlled by it. According to Zelda, Ganondorf was a man who was controlled by power. TWW's King of Hyrule would be a man who controls his power.

And to add another point, courage and wisdom are states of mind, meaning they affect the individual, whereas power is a state of action, which affects interactions between multiple individuals. In any narrative, it is generally known that states of mind are harder to express than states of action. It is easier to know that someone is evil when he commits murder, rather than by giving us a monologue of his evil. Thus, greed for power is a symbolically stronger force for evil because power is a state of action. Greed for courage or wisdom might be understood as states of mind, but it is harder to determine as a force for evil because it only affects the individual.

Also, if someone desired power to help the weak, then that would symbolically make them wise and courageous, fulfilling the balanced heart archetype. Ganondorf may have been raised in a life of suffering, but his thoughts have only ever turned to his own greed; the wind he "coveted".

Edited by Raian, 05 June 2008 - 08:40 AM.


#27 CID Farwin

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 02:14 PM

This post caught my eye. I have to strongly disagree with this. Power, by itself, isn't an evil quality. Maybe the word "Power" brings up negative connotations of evil dictators, greed, enslavement, dominance over other, ect. But it could also mean strength, energy, or will. These are pretty positive qualities to wish for. Just because you desire power most of all doesn't mean you want to step on everyone's toes. You could desire power in the sense to have the power to help those who are weak. If what Ganondorf said in his speech in TWW had any sincerity to it, it may be that Ganondorf initially desired power to free his people from their bad lot in life.


SOAP, I know that power is a quality, and it is totally irrelevant to the point I was making.

A man is praised for possessing courage, because courage is typically seen as a sign of good character.
A man is praised for possessing wisdom, because wisdom is typically seen as a sign of good character.
A man is not praised for possessing power, because his character determines what is to be done with that power. A good man does good deeds with power (and is thus praised), and an evil man does evil deeds with power.

Because power does not determine the character, the association with power and greed is symbolically much stronger than courage or wisdom. In most fictional examples, the relationship between man and power is said to be symbiotic; a man possesses power like a symbiote (think Venom from the Spider-man comics) and can control it or be controlled by it. According to Zelda, Ganondorf was a man who was controlled by power. TWW's King of Hyrule would be a man who controls his power.

And to add another point, courage and wisdom are states of mind, meaning they affect the individual, whereas power is a state of action, which affects interactions between multiple individuals. In any narrative, it is generally known that states of mind are harder to express than states of action. It is easier to know that someone is evil when he commits murder, rather than by giving us a monologue of his evil. Thus, greed for power is a symbolically stronger force for evil because power is a state of action. Greed for courage or wisdom might be understood as states of mind, but it is harder to determine as a force for evil because it only affects the individual.

Also, if someone desired power to help the weak, then that would symbolically make them wise and courageous, fulfilling the balanced heart archetype. Ganondorf may have been raised in a life of suffering, but his thoughts have only ever turned to his own greed; the wind he "coveted".

That's all very good, but I don't see what this has to do with the Triforce. While you have a point, the Triforce cares about which you value most, which one dominates your heart. Actions and potential don't really matter.

#28 Raien

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 03:49 PM

That's all very good, but I don't see what this has to do with the Triforce. While you have a point, the Triforce cares about which you value most, which one dominates your heart. Actions and potential don't really matter.


Yeah, I've been confusing my arguments and making two separate points instead of one. For the particular matter you just described, I covered that in a response to MPS and have since added it to the bottom of my first post.

Edited by Raian, 05 June 2008 - 03:50 PM.


#29 Anuril

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 01:27 PM

Light and Darkness are connected through different symbolism to the elements of nature because the two forces are in direct conflict with each other; existing as exact opposites. Light is the representation of benevolence, which I believe is due to the symbolic relationship between light and existence; the ability to see something is the most immediate sense to tell us that it exists. I also believe that this leads to a symbolic relationship between the sky and heaven; if heaven is up above, then the sun shines from a benevolent source. Darkness is the representation of evil, which I believe is due to the symbolic relationship between darkness and oblivion. If the destruction of all things leads to oblivion, then the reasons for destruction are observed as "dark" and thus evil.

In TP, Princess Zelda referred to Light and Darkness as in a state of balance, but funnily enough, a fan translation revealed that to be an invention by the Nintendo of America translators, and an invention I don't agree with. It suggests that Darkness has a divine purpose alongside Light, and is a necessity to maintaining order in the world. But while we have seen evidence of Light coming from a divine source (the Light Spirits and the Master Sword being the strongest examples), Darkness has always set itself against the divine, just as Ganondorf did in The Wind Waker. Apart from coinciding with the idea that evil is a product of free will (in the Zelda mythology, human greed), this makes me doubt whether the forces of Light and Darkness really are equal in the Zelda universe. It would certainly explain why Hyrule spends most of its time at peace if Light was the dominant force in Hyrule, with the skeletons sometimes emerging at night in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess.

According to my Religion, Light and Darkness are BOTH necessary. To much good is bad, so evil is needed to balance things out.
If you look at history, there's always been a cycle between a golden age and a dark age. We need that dark age to balance out the golden age.

Another piece of symbolism that would be worth looking at is the manipulation of magic. The Zelda mythology conforms perfectly to the symbolism of magic in general mythology; namely control over the things which are outside our control in real-life. The wind cannot be controlled in real-life, so controlling the wind thus becomes an act of magic. When the King of Red Lions gave Link the Wind Waker, he said that Link could "borrow the power of the gods". I see this language relating to the symbolic perception that the elements are powers that only the gods (and the divine deities) are allowed to control, and the wind waker is an item that the goddesses blessed with their power to allow humans this ability as well. According to Christianity, it is believed that the manipulation of nature is sacred to God alone, and thus its movement by humans is perceived to be black magic or witchcraft. But in other mythologies, if communication with the gods (or deities who are deigned to wield the elements) can be established by a human (like a priest or witch doctor), then that person could be allowed that sacred power to wield. Sometimes the elements themselves are suggested to be alive and obey the sorceror, as if the magic creates a pact between them. Anyway, the wind waker was said to be possessed by the King of Hyrule, so it perhaps signifies that the king had some form of magical communication with the gods (as the leader of the Hylians, the chosen people of the gods).


Also, I believe that Zelda is based off of Pagan Beliefs. You seem to be coming at this with a Christian point of view, but Zelda Mythology is much more conforming to that of a Pagan religion. Have you ever heard of Wicca?

And... OMG! There's too much reading to do in this topic. I got lost after the 3rd reply. I'm replying to the first post. :lol:
By the Way, I'm interested in Wicca, and since Wicca is Paganistic, that could be one of the reasons why I like Zelda's Storyline.

Edited by Anuril, 18 April 2009 - 01:34 PM.


#30 Duke Serkol

Duke Serkol

    Famicom

  • ZL Staff
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Posted 18 April 2009 - 02:23 PM

...I've been bitin' the bristles for a while, but now I've GOT to ask: are you P*****?

Edited by Arturo, 19 April 2009 - 05:20 AM.
Argh, you pronounced the forbidden word!





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