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