The Missing Link
I remember a while back hearing a quote about the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring from some member of its production staff. In it they referred to the party that marched to Mordor to really be ten in number rather than the otherwise obvious nine. He mentioned that they chose to personify the One Ring itself as a member in their party, a member with its own personality–its own way of being–such that its influence could be felt as if it were a real entity and not just some ordinary artifact.
I’ve often wondered about whether the Triforce could be viewed in much the same way as this. The Triforce, however, unlike the One Ring, always has seemed to be much more a mysterious artifact, playing the role more often as a mere prize to be held by the winning party at the end of the day. In many ways it acts as a non-participant in the minor war games between Link and Ganon, good and evil. In short, an artifact and nothing more.
At the same time, however, the Triforce’s true nature is still something of a mystery. In many of the games, it doesn’t get the chance to say its mind or demonstrate any sense of will. After all, it’s not like we actually get to see the Triforce 90 percent of the time, and when we do, we usually don’t get a moment to interview it because, well, Ganondorf is there. (Cheeky jerk. All I need is an interview with the Triforce and I’d be a professional reporter! No more silly ZeldaBlog for me!) But seriously, there have been times when it has shown some sense of spirit, some proof that it isn’t just a thing that silently does the willing of its owner, and the emphasis here is on the “silent” part. It has shown the ability to speak, and we have heard from it precisely twice over the past games. Without any other way to determine the true nature of the Triforce, this is all we have to go on.
As such, let us dig into the first quote, which comes from the ending sequence to A Link to the Past:
Hearing this for the nth time puts me into two minds as to why the Triforce speaks to Link. One side of me is chomping at the bit to say, “Look here, friends and neighbours! That’s proof of sentience! The Triforce is alive!” But things aren’t as simple as they seem, and that’s where the other side of my gut resides. If the Triforce indeed was created by the goddesses on their departure from Hyrule (which it was… (or was it? Dun dun dun!)), this could very well be the analogue of the answering machine left by the goddesses should someone ever happen upon the Triforce. I mean, with the exception of them saying Link’s name, it sounds almost identical to something like this:
Honestly now! It just drones on, reciting the laws that bind its otherwise supreme cosmic power, revealing how to care for it, feed it, and change its diaper. Now don’t mistake me; I’m not disparaging the quote or calling it silly; it really is a befitting end to what I personally believe to be the greatest Zelda title on the planet. But from the perspective of analysing the Triforce, the dialogue is drab, it shows no emotion or motivation. For all we know, it could very well be a lifeless, monotone object… or Ben Stein, your choice.
The second quote comes to us from the opening sequence of Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons. Get ready for it; it’s a doozy:
Did you catch that? Let me repeat that for you again, in case you missed it.
Yup, that’s it. Four little words. You might think that this is a little off-kilter for what we expect of the Triforce (it is; I blame Capcom), but nevertheless it’s canon, and we’ve got to stomach it. This one little sentence is all we have to tell us everything and more about the Triforce’s persona, but believe it or not, these are probably the four most telling words in the Triforce’s entire repertoire. How so? Let me explain.
We cannot say for certain what Link wished for on the Triforce when he obtained it (or indeed which of the Links the Oracles Link might be). However, we know that the Link in the Oracles games must be “pure of heart” because he is able to wield the Master Sword in the games (after a very convoluted exchange of complex passwords between the two cartridges). So Link’s wish is almost certainly something that would be quite beneficial for Hyrule and not something that is self-serving. In short, he wouldn’t be begging of the ol’ Triforce, “Please, I beg you! Make me have a life full of quests to solve because I have needs! I don’t care if I endanger Hyrule or anywhere else! I need quests! Now!” Thus, for the Triforce to elect for him to go on what could very well be the longest quest of all the Zelda titles (since Ages and Seasons together tell one story) is a very odd interpretation of whatever in the world Link wished upon the Triforce, especially when you consider, as we saw in A Link to the Past, that the Triforce can pull an I Dream of Jeannie and just poof things back to Happyland with the nod of its head… er… upper triangle.
So what’s its game here? “Hero! Glad to see you, pal! Look, I wanted to tell you that there’s some bad things going down over on some islands way out there; some people you know are up to no good. And I know you wanted me to do this whole ‘peace’ thing and be all wonderful for everyone, but you messed up and said your wish was just for Hyrule. Too bad, so sad! Next time, read the fine print on the Wish Contract, mmkay? But look, I’m willing to make you an offer you cannot refuse! I’ll just poof you over there and start you out with no items, and then you can take it from there! What do you say? No? Well, I said you couldn’t refuse it, so off you go! Poof!” Sure, that sounds rather ridiculous when put into whimsical speech, but honestly, what else could it be? The Triforce is all-powerful, is it not? Can’t it just make things all happy again?
Well, if it could, why wasn’t Ganon able to fulfil his wish? Did he not follow the Terms and Conditions Clause? It’s a hard sell since he’s gotten several Linkwhopin’s over the past few centuries. (At the same time, Ganondorf only was able to snag all three pieces of the Triforce once in his entire career–talk about leaving a bad legacy for his kids!–so theoretically, he might not have known? Shrug.) Either way, there’s an escape clause written into the Triforce which puts restrictions in place. Where there’s a villian, so there must be a hero… and vice versa. Ganon and Link have played this dance of temporary victories for all too many games now. Ganon always comes back at that opportune moment, cheating death many times. Link always has to go back and put the smackdown on Ganon to seal him away for another century or three. Wishes aren’t perfect.
But the Triforce seems to know what Link is driving at, even though it’s only given “semi-phenomenal, nearly cosmic powers.” And so it’s willing to help out in its limited way. It’s “I’ll get you what you want, but you have to do it yourself this time, bucko.” But this is just really more of the same, more of what the Triforce just does. It takes in the wish of its holder and expresses it in proportion to the weight of the need. In the Oracles, Link doesn’t know of a master scheme to resurrect the King of Evil; thus, no automatic Hulk Smash on Ganondorf. (Link so should have brought the Triforce along to Holodrum and Labrynna when he went on this quest. Imagine seeing what would happen when he found out Ganon was coming back. Ah well, his mistake. Whoops!)
So for this reason, what little true sentience the Triforce seems to have can be explained away by a simple disembodied voice left behind by the goddesses to “be the
At least until the next Zelda game comes out to challenge that.Follow This Entry | Leave a Response | Trackback
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