Four Things You (Might Have) Never Noticed in TWW and What They Mean

March 16th, 2006 at 1:51 am by Jack

The Wind Waker is not unique among other Zelda games for the vast number of easter eggs present within it. However, if one is to consider that every bit of information presented in the Zelda games has some element of canonicity, and therefore, plays a role in Hyrulian history, then these easter eggs must not just be taken at face value. More than just mere easter eggs, the following four items are important bits of Hyrulian history–windows into the events of The Wind Waker and future-placed games–that demand further inspection. In this article, I will do just that.

The Writing on Phantom Ganon’s Sword

Take a look at a the sword of Phantom Ganon cropped by the official art piece of him:

Phantom Ganon's sword

Notice the writing on the sword, which when translated from the Ancient Hylian to Japanese, and then to romanized lettering it spells out in six groups of letters “ZUBORAGABORA.” That’s right: the smiths of that blade, apparently, are none other Zubora and Gabora, of the Mountain Smithy in Termina.

As far as we know the smithies and Ganon’s phantasmal familiar never came into contact, but there are still two possibilities that they may have.

The first involves the fact that we know that Phantom Ganon can traverse dimensions, at least through the power of his master, Ganondorf himself. Consider the following quote from Ocarina of Time by Ganondorf (speaking of Phantom Ganon):

What a worthless creation that
ghost was! I will banish it to
the gap between dimensions!!

As such, is it not feasible that Phantom Ganon could have traveled to Termina, another dimension, and purchased the sword from the smithy pair? The other possibility is that dimensional travel is not necessarily in play, but rather Phantom Ganon contact Zubora and Gabora’s Hyrulian counterparts and received the sword from them. If Termina is a reflection of Hyrule, then like many of the characters of the former, they should serve as representations of people from the latter.

Nevertheless, in either case, there must surely have been some sort of contact between Phantom Ganon and Zubora and Gabora. Otherwise, how would that signature have appeared on the sword? Or, maybe this issue is being over complicated, and the sword was simply forged by the pair and found its way into Phantom Ganon’s hands.

The Menu of Windfall Cafe

In the Cafe on Windfall island, there is a drink menu listing the beverages available for purchase. The menu is written in Ancient Hylian, and the items are as follows:1

  • Lon Lon Milk, for 150 Rupees.
  • Deku Nut Cake, for 300 Rupees.2
  • Zora Coffee, for 250 Rupees.

But what is so shocking about a drink menu? Noticing the last line translated, one may see the item “Zora Coffee”. The fact that there is such a beverage available on the Great Sea means that knowledge of the Zora’s existence is still somewhat known, and that said race may still have existed on the sea up until that point.

The Previous Denizens of the Forsaken Fortress

When first arriving at the Forsaken Fortress aboard Tetra’s Pirate Ship, Tetra remarks of the dire-looking place,

There are all sorts of strange rumors about this place. What I do know is that long ago, it used to be a hideout of a no-good group of pirates we used to compete with… But they were just small-time. Now, the place looks like it’s pretty dangerous.

Now, that quote may seem innocuous enough, but the mystery deepens when Link visits Ganondorf’s lair in the Fortress and enters his personal cabin. Before actually triggering the cinema of the meeting between the two characters, if the player peeks inside the room, they’ll notice on the far wall two ornamental shields bearing a familiar eye and tear drop design.

That’s right, those shields bear the mark of the Sheikah people, the shadow folk of Kakariko Village who served as protectors of the Hyrulian Royal Family. Now, what is so important about these two seemingly unconnected items is that they point to the following conclusion: the Sheikah and the Hyrulian Royal Family experienced a split some time between Ocarina of Time and the Wind Waker, and afterwards were not allies but rivals. It’s especially interesting that both groups became pirates. But, the question remains—how did this split occur, what precipitated it, and what did it mean for the future?

Unfortunately, the answers to the first two questions have been lost to Hyrulian history. The third question, however, is easily answered. If one is to accept the chronology of TDC, then it is apparent that the split had long-standing effects. After the Great Flood, we never again see the Sheikah either in large numbers (though, it is true we had never seen that before), and more importantly we never see the Sheikah in the service of the Royal Family again.3

Clearly, a very important event had occurred that led to the split between the once tightly-knit groups, making one easy slaughter for Ganondorf’s dark magic, and the other vulnerable to future attack.

The Portrait of Zelda’s Mother

In the many games of the Zelda series, we have encountered numerous male relatives of Princess Zelda, be they her brother, father, or even distant greatn grandfather. Yet, despite the vastness and diversity of gender that such an expansive family tree would demand, somehow the only female Hyrule (ie. member of the House of Hyrule) we have seen is the Princess herself, and none other!

Now, this has changed, somewhat, thanks to a much-overlooked easter egg (if one can call it that) in The Wind Waker. Behold, as you will, Zelda/Tetra’s mother. This was the woman who carried the tradition and knowledge of the Royal Family’s piece of the Triforce and passed it down to her daughter before her own untimely death (perhaps at Ganondorf’s hands), ultimately forgoing an actual explanation as to what the magical artifact was, and leaving that little detail to the extrapolations of the King of Red Lions.4

Unfortunately, other than the image of this mysterious woman, we know nothing else of her. It is a pity, because there was so much unsaid about the Royal Family’s descendants on the Great Sea.

If you would like to view this portrait for yourself, you can find it aboard Tetra’s Pirate Ship, in Tetra’s bedroom.


1. Please note that these translations were done for The Desert Colossus by Stefan. Many thanks to him for his help.
2. This particular translation was provided to me by a wonderful reader, Erin, who emailed me. Many thanks to her!
3. In future-placed Zelda games, such as the Oracle series and Legend of Zelda, a woman named Impa does serve Princess Zelda. Though, it is not readily clear she is a Sheikah or just a coincidentally named Hylian female.
4. The image of Zelda’s mother was provided by Kamakaziplumber. Many thanks to him!

Or, far more likely, these are all just easter eggs and bits of fan service from Nintendo. But where’s the fun in that?

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Four Things You Never Noticed in TWW and What They Mean


Maybe they named the coffee after the Zora’s or put Zora’s in them and that’s why there are no Zora’s in Wind Waker!! :O

Sigh, do you really think Nintendo cares about this when they made all these games. And i’ve never heard of an official translation of the Hyrule language just ones made up by people like the one up there probly is. And my point is that heaps of people say stuff like I wonder what the people of hyrule thought when Ganondorf was in rule etc. The point is that Nintendo didn’t have a single thought of this when they made the game they just made the game like it is when You play it. So why do people say stuff for example I wonder what Links dad was like when he wasn’t even in a game and doesn’t even exist. Well of course he must of had a father but you get the point.

Re, Zora Coffee: Perhaps it was coffee made in the Zora style? Then again, we never actually SEE Zoras with coffee, so. Take your own spin on that one, everyone.

evil link: Yes, I do think Nintendo cares when they do this, but not as much as the fans do. I admit, sometimes we (fans) can get a little outrageous in our theories, coming up with things that Ninty never imagined people would draw out. On the other hand, you can’t explain all the Easter eggs as one big coincidence either; they are simply too numerous. Things like the ZuboraGabora sword, or the tune from Zelda I’s whistle being used in the opening theme for Ocarina of Time are perfect examples of how little things that get sneaked into games harken back to previous installments.

Perhaps you’re right when saying Nintendo doesn’t care about all that stuff and they just make games. For all the theorizing we do, we may never officially find out what happened to Link’s family or actually meet Zelda’s; you can’t say we won’t ever have more in-depth NPCs to tell us how they’re feeling, and not just random information; but you can’t say it’s not a possibility. Nintendo’s always surprised us and fed our imaginations, especially so with the Zelda series, and I don’t expect that — or the eggs — to stop anytime soon.

I disagree with the explanation of the third point (about the Sheikah shields) because you can really explain it away in a multitude of ways.

The Sheikah shields could have been used by anyone as they could have been remnants of the flood. But even bypassing that to the point that they were strictly used by Sheikah, there’s no evidence that points to their defection; instead, it could be that Ganondorf has taken these shields from Sheikah fighting against him as trophies. It could be this very distinction, the ability to take down the Sheikah, that could have made Ganondorf himself the rise from being a nobody pirate (after all, just look at the crew he’s hired–pretty pirate-like if you ask me) and a somebody pirate.

Not that you’re wrong, of course. ;) In the lack of direct evidence, any set of assumptions, so long as they do not invalidate the games’ theses, is equal to any similar set. :)

evil link said:

Sigh, do you really think Nintendo cares about this when they made all these games. And i’ve never heard of an official translation of the Hyrule language just ones made up by people like the one up there probly is.

There is an official translation of the Ancient Hylian language… into Japanese. The Japanese version of Waker’s manual included a transliteration guide where every symbol was converted either to a number or to a Japanese kana sound (their closest equivalent of our alphabet). As such, the opening text of the game in the cut sequence is indeed translatable and has meaning. It’s just nobody in America can understand it. ;)

And as for stuff regarding how much Nintendo cares about these little details, you have to disassociate Nintendo the Corporation and the individual programmers who happen to work there. It could be that a few select individuals wanted to make these slight add-ons, and so they went to their boss, got permission, and they got approval and just started dropping their own set of hints. I’m not saying that these are Miyamoto-worthy AT ALL; however, the text on the sword… you cannot chalk it up to pure coincidence that it’s there. And the picture in Tetra’s room… well… honestly, it makes SENSE that Tetra would keep a picture of her mother there, so that just adds to Tetra’s characterisation… and the immersion of the game. So are these possible? Sure they are! The real question is how much meaning is behind them, if they were serious add-ons or if they were just programmer jokes. The world may never know.

While I already knew about the hidden meaning of the writting on Phantom Ganons Sword I had no idea about any of the other hidden easter eggs and they do raise a couple of good questions. This proves tyhe point I made in a previous post on another Topic, just because Impa is the only Sheikah we have seen does not mean her people are extinct it just means that-

1. Impa was the only Sheikah to swear loyalty to the Hyrulian Royal Family.
2. The Shiekah race lived very, very, very far away.
3. Or the Sheikah people were living in hideing.

But ive also been thinking what if not all of the Sheikah swore loaylty to the Hyilian Royal Family or Impa was the only one and the rest swore loyalty to Old Ganon/dorf and joined forces with him, there has tp be a deeper reason why they call them the “Shadow People”.

I disagree too with the 3rd point. I think it’s more likely that the Sheikah shields in Ganondorf’s room is merely a victory trophy, like scalps for Native Americans back in the time. I always thought it was obvious this dialogue is a big reference to Gerudo thieves, like seen in Majora’s Mask.

  • 8. TSA says:

I’d also like to point out one other thing. Ganondorf’s swords, not Phantom Ganon’s, say “Koume” and “Kotake” on them. Zethar translated this back in 2003 when we were curious about all of the Hylian writing in Hyrule. Much of the stuff you’ve pointed out was documented back then, Mak and Zethar and myself tried to do a project to translate everything in Hylian in The Wind Waker, and I remember Davogones also being involved. Unfortunately, we didn’t get everything, but we did hit key areas, like Windfall Island. I also know this lead to the review of previous Hylian versions in past games, which sadly turned out to be nothing more than symmetrical characters that say nothing of importance.

It will, however, be interesting to see if Hylian resurfaces in Twilight Princess as a decipherable language. Perhaps somebody will be able to speak it (I’d like to know the dialect and pronunciations if possible because right now Hylian is a dead language). I know it’s nothing more than coded Japanese, but it still would be cool to develop it further.

Well, like I said, the point of this article is to assign value to what is probably nothing more than easter eggs. An exercise in pointless over-analyzation, ya know?

TSA, did you guys ever document that translation effort anywhere? I’d like to read that. I also had no idea you did such a thing.

I agree with TML on #3 too, but it does show that Nintendo meant the shiekah to live on as long as the Hylians.I do know this site to have some Hylians languages, but I dunno if they are official *to TML* May I have permission to post the site name here?*back to subject* I also agree that Phantom Ganon did pick up his sword from the sea, or more likely, when Ganon rose to power, and finally removing his nearly decayed minion out of the void between dimensions (I remember that exaclty, forgive me for bragging) and probably dragged the sword from the deep, and the swords he carries (the ones TSA mentioned) were made by his surrogate mothers, proving that they were also alive.I’d like to give my two cents on what the Forsaken Fortress pirates were.The first known pirates, the Gerudo Pirates, only because they were from Termina, and probably moved after the flood, lived in the island and fought against who were once the royal family.And because they weren’t Ganondorf’s minions, he done what Hitler nearly did before.Very sad for them, ne?

  • 11. TSA says:

Not to also point out the obvious, but TWW Ganondorf’s robe is half blue outlined, half red, and symmetrical…

Hyrulian Hero said:

but I dunno if they are official *to TML* May I have permission to post the site name here?

It’s Kasuto.net as I recall. There are a few others, but being that I’m at work right now, I don’t have my laundry list available since the nice system admins block most video gaming stuff. ;)

But no, the one at Kasuto isn’t “official”, and by official, I mean recognised by Nintendo. The only known official translation from the Zeldaverse to our world is Waker’s Ancient Hylian to Japanese (which is nothing more than a simple substitution cipher, really).

They do directly mention Ancient Hylian in A Link to the Past; however, this is implemented in-game as simply a handful of squigglies and is untranslatable. It is there for the purpose primarily of solving a puzzle as well as for effect rather than for any real substantial value.

wow good article,I even learned a new word!(easter egg) how bout that :) ? the shiekah thing seems to be the most unclear one though,simply because it could be so many different things.it could symbolize the relationship between the shiekahs and ganon,it could be a prize he (ganon)won in a battle with the shiekahs,it could be treasure stolen by the previous owners of the forsaken fortress(which ganon found and desided to hang on the wall after discovering it looked neat ;) ),or it could be a nick-nack ganny found on sale in the sacred realm!!!well not the last one but you get the point,the possibilities are endless.I do think nintendo puts some thought in the designs thay make on signs and stuff (which I thought until today was just hyrulian scribbles).the sword thing makes sence too.phantom ganondorf could have eaisly picked up a new sword in terminia.while were at it though lets blame phantom ganondorf for majoras mask too! heres how,the shiekahs stop serving the hyrulians and instead serve ganon,after seeing there new leader beatin so many times thay deside to go in hiding,leaving many artifacts behind,one being….yup…majoras mask (it does say it belonged to a dark tribe right?).all thats left is for ganon to give some of the artifacts to his phantom,carelessly seal his phantom away,and finally phantom ganondorf tradeing the mask for the sword.well maybe.oh ya ,and zora coffee??? I hope it was just intended to be coffee for zoras.


Hmm, I’ll have to look for these.

  • 16. JC says:

Sure there may be Gerudo symbols or Sheikah symbols or crazy writing. We’ll never know what it means. No use putting definitions on things we don’t even have a backstory on. ;-)

*Sips Zora coffee, then noticces why its for Zora* PLEH!Fish Flakes XP Forgive me, the site I was mentioning is (in URL form) http://hyrulerealms.guardianarchives.com/Index2.HTML .This place has all sorts of stuff in Hyrulian, including several languages, and I think its an affiliate of yours TML.Good site, not dirty stuff, you guys get the point, its like an online museum.

It’s stuff like this that makes the zelda series so great. besides the commonly talked about action, gadgets, and graphics, these little things are what make zelda a great story, not just a game. and as far as the sheilds go, I don’t think gannondorf would let ornaments from the people he just booted out of the fortress keep hanging. so I’m more inclined to go with the Trophy theory.

Wow! Its amazing that they put in the thought to place all these little things in the game!

Another TWW easter egg (if it really counts as one)
Find a fountain idol (Zunari trading item-thing), and place it somewhere (on top of the gateway is a good spot). Then, run a sizable distance away, pull out your telescope, and look at it!

Goodness, that’s creepy! What do you think it means?

Would that be a good distance on the island or out to sea?I’d liked to see this when I get the chance.I got nothin’ to shae with you guys, I’d like to find something cool and tell everyone, but I don’t.

Ah maybe I should play Zelda games again and look for easter eggs that I haven’t discovered yet or somethin instead of playing that stupid *navied* up game world of warcraft :) .

Very interesting.

I actually knew about the menu on Windfall. At first I thought they might have put the Zora Coffee for kicks, but when I stopped to think about it, I was hoping that the Zora would randomly pop up sometime in the game…I only got LaRuto. Okay I guess that that was good enough. And maybe I’m just oblivious, but I couldn’t figure out Lon Lon Milk either.

And I strongly agree with TML and SmashManiac about point number three.

But I definitely didn’t know about Phantom Ganon’s Sword. That one suprised me, and now I’m to wonder if Zubora and Gabora really did have some connection to its creation, or if MM played a bigger role in influencing the WW events than expected.

Did anyone know that six islands form the Trifoce on the Sea Chart?The outer islands are:
Dragonroost, Forest Haven, and Great Fish, and the inner islands, the infamous Triangle Islands.Its been known, Nintendo did this, since there’s a chart in Tetra’s room with a map and the Triforce maked on it.

hey… did anyone stop to think… if we can’t understand ancient hylian (at least the first play through) in wind waker when valoo or the deku tree or wutever speaks it, then why is it written all over the place on signs and in local drink menus? isnt the language sopposed to be non-understandable to the WW populous? (o well, this sounds more like a forum topic to me, so maybe i’ll make a thread)

Well, either those on Windfall and Outset are taught ancient hylian language literatally (not orally) or Nintendo was lazy.And the Hylian languages in both Kasuto and Hyrule Realm are not official, since the one in Kasuto has similar symbols, they didn’t have ones that match the ones on the disk, and the ones in Hyrule don’t have the most important and noticable parts in any letter.Does anyone here have a link to a pic of a TWW Jap. manual?

Languages change over time Hyrulian Hero or get distorted by the passing of time so that could explain the changes/ mix-up, plus the world did get flooded so I doubt anyone was thinking ooooh lets get some books/ scrolls to keep a record of our language, lol.

BTW PLEASE Hyrulian Hero dont say Jap as many people in Japan find it offensive… plus I always cringe when someone uses that word, lol.

i will have to see that later,
and BTW…
i think hyrulian heros TWW manual thing was just a abbreviation, after all it did have a “.” after it :)

dictatorbilbo said:
Find a fountain idol (Zunari trading item-thing), and place it somewhere (on top of the gateway is a good spot). Then, run a sizable distance away, pull out your telescope, and look at it!

Goodness, that’s creepy! What do you think it means?

Thanks, it was just an abbreviation.I tried that and there’s nothing creepy about it.What I think it is is that the farter from the island you are, the less detailed it gets, since it gets more simpler to appear to get smaller in the distance, and any certain deatils (aka fountain idol) become simpler shapes.

Sorry- my “sizable distance” meant “down to the docks” or “over towards the Jelly-potion shop”.
Should’ve used a quantative measurement.

: ( And, it’s creepy to me. *sniff*

‘Tis ok dictatorbilbo, I’ll see what it looks like.Another thing in TWW is that Tingle has a snake on his back.What does that mean?

How did you get the Hylian translations? They are so cool! I did notice the thing about Tetra’s mom though. Cool crap right there.

dictatorbilbo said:

Another TWW easter egg (if it really counts as one)
Find a fountain idol (Zunari trading item-thing), and place it somewhere (on top of the gateway is a good spot). Then, run a sizable distance away, pull out your telescope, and look at it!

Goodness, that’s creepy! What do you think it means?

How do you know that and how do you get it? Tell me slave! I uh… mean… friend!;)

Yeah dictatorbilbo dint leave us hanging like that, tell us what this creepy thing is will ya?

I don’t think it was pirates stayng there i think its the remains of Kakiro Village (The Sheikah lived there remember!)

Wouldn’t it make more sense if the Gerudo Tribe were ruling the Forsaken Fortress, rather than the Sheikah?

I mean, yeah, you can see the Sheikah Symbol in Ganondorf’s Room, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Sheikah ruled there. The symbol may be there because the Sheikah made that shield for the Hylian Knights but were stolen by Gerudos.

It’s just, we don’t even know if that sign represents “Shiekah”, it’s all speculation, really. It could mean anything… But I’m just blabbering, it probably does mean Shiekah.

But, it would make more sense if the Gerudos ruled the Forsaken Fortress and were also the enemies Tetra was talking about. Just think about it, Gerudos have had a history of being thieves, scoundrels and pirates for that matter. They could easily rule the Forsaken Fortress. And also taking in the fact that Ganondorf uses the fortress as a hideout could mean that the Fortress was originally Gerudo-based too.

And if you look at the Great Sea on a certain angle, you can see that it matches old Hyrule. I mean, the Tower of the Gods in the place of Hyrule Castle, Windfall in the place of Kakariko, Dragon Roost in the place of Death Mountain, Forest Haven in the place of Kokiri Forest and the Forsaken Fortress in the place of Gerudo Fortress…

Although Shiekahs may have dominated the Forsaken Fortress and turned against the Royal Family, it does seem kind of farfetched as the Sheikahs were down in numbers during Ocarina of Time…

But you are forgeting that death mountain and Kakairo village were connected and tetras mother is probably Zelda III

But you see, on the Great Sea Windfall and Dragon Roost basically are connected, they’re right next to each other!

When you compare the distance from Kakariko to the Summit of Death Mountain and distance between Windfall and the Summit of Dragon Roost they’re basically the same.

And I’m not even arguing that Tetra’s Mother was Zelda 3 >_>…

My whole point was to state that the Gerudos ruled the Forsaken Fortress, rather than the Sheikah.

I always thought that the seal on the master sword weakened enough for ganondorf to release himself from the sacred realm and the area he came through (by chance) was in the already abandoned forsaken fortress.I figured the pirates that used to own it were just everyday pirates (if such a thing exists) that retired (can a pirate retire?) and left the forsaken fortress (thats how it got its name,thay forsaked it! :D ).plus if it was the shiekahs OR the Gerudos why would thay only be “small time”?

But Death Mountain was in a north easterly direction from Kakariko Village and Dragon Roost is West of Windfall Island so it cant be Death Mountain.

Sorry for the double posting.

I meant to say that Death Mountain was in a North West direction and Dragon Roost was East of Windfall… man whats up with me today?

Robert-UK said:

Sorry for the double posting.

I meant to say that Death Mountain was in a North West direction and Dragon Roost was East of Windfall… man whats up with me today?

Which is why you sort of have to turn the Ocarina of Time Hyrule Map on an angle to see what I mean.