So…There are 5 stages to grief. At first we deny it, then we become angry towards it, then you bargain, eventually you fall into depression before finally you accept that it is fate and begin to heal. What does all this have to do with Majora’s Mask, you may ask? Well there is a popular fan theory that Majora’s Mask deals with the theme of grief, and the stages involved in the process. Basically the game is a character study of the man, the myth, the legend that is Link. Well in this blog I’m going to discuss my love for this, Nintendo’s darkest entry into the Zelda franchise. Furthermore this blog is also a follow up to last weeks blog on OoT, because I loves me some Zelda. The game that is.
You have just replaced the Master Sword in its place. Hyrule has been saved and your youth has been returned. The thing is you have also parted ways with your best friend. You aren’t a child of the forest and by extension you don’t have a fairy; Navi has gone. So you ride deep into the Lost Forest and hope to find her. You don’t find navi, though you in fact find The Skull Kid. He proceeds to steal your stuff and turn you into a Deku shrub. But hay its all fine because the moon is going to crash into the planet soon so it won’t be a problem. Yeah, did I mention that this is the darkest Zelda game? So yeah in the first town you visit you are faced with the out right denial that the moon is going to crash. It’s not just the town’s folk who are in denial, Link himself is also in denial. At first he pays no attention to the moon, all he wants back is his ocarina. Then when he is actually faced with the moon itself he just goes back in time and gives himself the second chance.
Link then faces the stage of anger. He enters the swamp and finds the Deku tribe, who are super pissed, because their princess has just been kidnapped. In the true spirit of anger they have found a scapegoat in a monkey, who is not only innocent but was also with the princess investigating the swamp when she was taken. It’s up to our hero to drive these people out of their denial and save the day once again. The thing is all the people in this town are angry. They all drive their anger onto one guy and seem totally oblivious to the bigger threat. This is a good a time as ever to mention that during this whole game you are timed. When time runs out the moon crashes into the planet and it’s game over. Of course you can use the song of time and go backwards, but the sense of time really plays on your mind. You always know that you are working to a time scale; you need to get it done. You have a sense of urgency; and in a manner you grow to accept the inevitable loss much like the characters in the game. Did I mention that this game is dark?
After the anger you enter a state of bargaining, in which you attempt to postpone or reverse the inevitable loss. In the world of Termina this is characterised by the passing of the Gorgon Monarch. The Monarch has recently died and he tries to bargain with Link for his life back, he asks him to revive him with his magic. This is of course impossible. All the villages are the same too. They all want their hero back. The only way he can be pacified is for Link to remove the bleak cold that has set in the home land and pacify the demon in the temple. Then he accepts his fate and enters into the next stage.
Depression, the forth stage of grief. When Link enters the Great Bay he finds a dying Zora. The Zora explains to Link that his girlfriend has been left behind, and will be without him. Upon further investigation, Link discovers the girlfriend of the deceased who has also just lost some of her eggs. She is grieving for the loss of her unborn children. Link then begins a journey to reconnect the depressed Zora with her people by bringing life back to her people. Only by correcting the flow of water, can link bring life back to the land and banish the depression. Link battles through melancholy of a dead land and beings to accept the fate of the land. He begins to accept that the end is near.
The final stage is acceptance. To symbolise this stage Link enters the Land of the Dead. The people here no longer grieve, they are already dead. This allows Link to face his own grief, over the loss of Navi. Link ascends the tower to the heavens and must face four shadowy forms of himself, each representing the four previous stages. Only when link can demonstrate that he has progressed through the stages can he truly accept the loss of Navi. Once Link accepts loss he his ready to face Majora’s Mask. Only by sacrificing all 5 masks and demonstrating his defeat of grief, is Link allowed to take on his adult form and with his new found maturity face the despair and grief that is amplified in the Skull Kid through Majora’s Mask. Upon defeating the Skull Kid, Link allows him to overcome his grief of being abandoned by his friends and Link and the Skull Kid find the needed companionship in each other.
As I said Majora’s Mask deals with some dark themes, and is a bold move for the Zelda franchise. The sad thing about Majora’s Mask is that it is under appreciated by some people. It came out soon after Ocarina of Time (which in my opinion is the greatest game ever), and used the same engine. You don’t play in the Hyrule you were in last time, and none of the towns seem as memorable. When I first played it I was annoyed that I didn’t see Hyrule Castle and that there was no Navi. Some people though love this game, and embrace the darker tones that it sets. Of course the whole stages of grief thing could be people over thinking a simple game, but it’s nice to think that there is more to it then just a big moon hitting the planet. Once more this game is a character study of Link. It shows (much like OoT) that the true hero is not the celebrated, but the man who has the courage to act without recognition (this is a line I cut from the OoT blog, but I really wanted to use it). Any way this is my humble opinion, what’s yours?
By Matt Husselbury