The Missing Link
It’s time for Whose Blog Is It Anyway?! The show where everything’s made up, and the points don’t matter! That’s right, the points are like Ruto’s unquenchable love for Link! Hi, I’m your host, Drew Linky. C’mon let’s have some fun!
Wow… what a Christmas season, eh? We’ve seen the worldwide release of the 13th member of the Zelda series, we’ve lived through hype and suspense like never before in our community, and I’ve been through a dang hurricane. What a season indeed. And so, with all that stress and such, I’ve decided to take it easy next week considering… you know… Christmas. (Plus there’s the fact that all my friends from back home will be clambering to steal away an ounce of my time while I’m back… to touch the precious Wii… and to see their beloved TML once again.) So blogging over the holidays may be a little scarce; if you don’t see any more updates until the new year, you know why. (Of course, I will still try to get something done to fill that void that an empty ZeldaBlog will put into your hearts.) But on with the post…
So let me be completely honest here. This article is fanservice in the truest sense of the word. I have been ignoring your pleas for so long that revolts have been blueprinted with the pitchforks and torches being passed out as I type. Fearing for my own safety (and indeed the safety of my two cats—Roy and Marth—snuggling cozily by my side at ZeldaBlog HQ), I have decided to snuff this rebellion out by doing precisely what it is that you wished for. (After all, such is the purpose of Whose Blog Is It Anyway?, is it not?) And so, without further hesitation or adieu, I present to you the long-awaited Whose Blog? article: Skeletons in Their Closets.
Now I’m going to start off by upsetting all of you right off the bat with a small confession, but let me give you the context so that I might be forgiven for my saying such. While Majora’s Mask was the first Zelda game I played as a raving
Ultimately, as a result of the mistakes from my less mature years, I never really was as interested in the Ikana as you are.
However, having gone back through the game text—something that I assure you was as tedious as pulling out a Lizalfos’ tooth since there isn’t a quoteFAQ for it (don’t make me crack the whip on you, Zelda Legends)—I (ahem) “refreshed” my knowledge of all things Ikana… and subsequently found out—which you already knew—that there indeed was a great deal of history there.
Surprisingly though (at least surprising to me) was that, in the true spirit of Twilight Princess, the Ikana’s mere presence in the game seems to ask more questions than it answers despite the sheer amount of information that is revealed. Just who are the Garo anyways, and why have they been spying on the Ikana for years upon years? What exactly is this blood-stained history that the Ikana have? What exactly did Majora do to them to make them cursed as the living dead? All of the game text alludes to this deep storyline that goes well beyond than what it explains but stops far short from actually explaining detail for detail this elaborate story, leaving us players to speculate heavily on the answers to those questions. So then… let’s speculate! Crack your knuckles and stretch your limbs; we’re going in.
The central theme surrounding the whole mystery seems to be this rather shady past that the Ikana has had. For all intents and purposes, the Ikana clan really could compete to be one of the darkest themes within the entire Zelda series. Everything from the very barren landscape of Ikana Hill to the signposts is enough to just give you the creeps. Add to that a healthy dose of Redeads, Gibdos, and Skeletons (as well as a thrilling graveyard hunt with Dampé—let’s admit it, he doesn’t help) and you’ve got a recipe for a action flick that Hollywood would be jealous of.
In fact, speaking of Hollywood, after doing some research and jotting a few notes down on paper, I found a group that seemed to resemble the Ikana quite well—better than I could have ever thought possible… so good that it’s almost scary the parallels that can be drawn. That movie is the 1997 film The Postman starring Kevin Costner, which I whole-heartedly recommend you see. (It is R-rated, so some of you might run into problems with that.) Set within a post-apocalyptic Western (doesn’t the Ikana landscape cry that out?), it ultimately involves a struggle with a very warlike tribe who has aggregated so much power so as to lord over all the other villages who are just trying to get by day by day. But before I get going on this near-tangent, let’s head back to the Ikana.
When you speak to or about the Ikana, as I said, you get this sense of foreboding, this sense of such a tarnished history at which you would become ill just by hearing it. My impressions on them are that they’re hardly strangers to war; more blood has been spilled on the battlefield because of them than has ever ran through their veins. For that matter, they even went so far as to locking down their own castle into this near impenetrable fort, making sure that wayward heroes would never be able to just diddy-bop their way in the front door. So it’s quite likely that they’ve their good share of enemies… and likely those enemies are probably the people upon whom they’ve laid the smack down. Why were they at war? The world may never why or know which attack came first, the Cucco’s or the egg’s, but whatever happened, you can be sure that the Ikana were very much like the Spartans from ancient Greece: fierce, warlike, and proud.
Now as far as who the Ikana went and laid waste to back in the day, well, that is probably a little easier to answer. From what it sounds like, none of the other races within Termina—not the Terminians nor the Deku, not the Gorons nor the Zora, not even the
As you might remember, the Garo describe themselves as this ninja clan who has been spying on the likes of the Ikana Royal Family since time began. (Okay, so maybe they went and got a doughnut first in the early hours of the universe, but from thence on they did so!) But why? Well, I think it makes a lot of sense that either the Garo have either been one of Ikana’s punching bags over the past few centuries or perhaps is even a potential punching bag. Who can say? However, history has set a precedent that nations will send spies into a foreign land strictly for the purpose of watching for the best possible time to execute a hostile takeover of the country. And since the Ikana are, well, rather prepared for this sort of thing with a near impenetrable fortress (just look at the obstacles Link had to go through to get in!), I think the Ikana know it, especially given their blood-stained past. What’s more, it would explain why Captain Keeta still guards the graveyard—even after death—where the supposed treasure of the Ikana Royal Family lies. So I’d feel quite safe in betting my set of Deku golf clubs on the hunch that the Ikana and the Garo have gotten into repeated squabbles throughout their relationship, thus resulting in the rather tense relationship that seems to exist inside the game.
But that’s not where the troubles of the Ikana stop. No, they run much deeper than that. In addition to external squabbles plaguing the Ikana, it seems as if there is some internal division as well. After Link defeats Igos du Ikana in a deathmatch of epic proportion, you can see his henchmen begin to squabble to the point of challenging one another to the death. They’re only stopped by their king who laments the fact that their clan was like this, that their own internal squabbles—and not their external ones—caused their own hardships. In fact, it caused them to be like this. This is actually a very key revelation to discovering the Ikana’s backstory, so remember this fact, because we’re about to hear a different story of the Ikana’s downfall… a story that, when juxtaposed with Igos du Ikana’s story, will I believe reveal a very good guess as to what happened to the Ikana.
Thanks to the composers Flat and Sharp whom you meet in Ikana Graveyard, we get the privilege of getting a firsthand report about what life was like before the downfall of Ikana. Sharp actually reveals to us that Ikana Valley has not been like it was forever. No, indeed, the composer for the Royal Family mentions that the cause of Ikana’s woes is not internal squabbling but a single man(?). Yup, it’s the same guy that’s caused all of the hardships in Termina, our dear friend the Skullkid with a certain evil mask glued to his face. (And politicians say video games cause violence; they’ve never put an evil mask on their faces!) Looking back, I had originally believed that Ikana must have this way for many years if not centuries, that Ikana Valley was just a civilisation that was swept away by the sands of time, but realistically this couldn’t be the case. Somehow, I just don’t think that the
Even with that “large” a timeline, the Skullkid would have had to have been really busy to foul up the world that much. I mean, he had to completely mess up the Deku swamp, change the jet stream so that clouds from Alaska will swing down to drop blanket after blanket of snow, nearly exterminate the Zora, completely massacre all of the Ikana in one fell swoop by opening the doors of the Stone Tower Temple, and, oh yeah, summon the Evil Moon of Anger to fall upon the world. (And yet the best Majora can do to fight Link is to grow tentacles and dance crazily throughout the room. Lame!) So this certainly must have been a recent development (but not too recent because of the doctor guy at the top of the hill; he did have time to build a house up there, after all!). But how do these two stories collide? How do we fault both the Ikana as well as Majora for the Ikana Valley fiasco?
Enter The Postman. The civilisation from that movie had a set of laws that governed their clan known as the Laws of Eight. When you read these, try to place yourself into the frameset of the Ikana, because it’s creepy that this could actually be their mindset.
Pretty harsh, huh? Still, these laws denote a very regimental society (Spartans) with a clear focus, aggregating power. Whether or not all of these laws applied directly to the Ikana, no one can say for certain, but I brought them all up just to spark your imaginations. However, of particular interest, and the notion I’m going to be directly applying to the Ikana, is Law Seven, that anyone could challenge for leadership (in this case, kingship) of the clan. (This could very well be the reason that Captain Keeta died and was ordered to guard the Royal Family treasure, since Keeta admits to having been shamed by a loss and then subsequently ordered to stand guard there. Perhaps it was a failed challenge to the throne?)
Continuing with Flat and Sharp’s story, we come to find out that they had a squabble of some sort on their own. For whatever reason, Sharp now has this absolute hatred for all things living, which we notice when he tries to kill Link the moment whereupon our verdant-clothed hero enters his cave… just because he’s alive and not dead. (Thankfully, Sharp has not figured out the Cave Exit Principle, thus allowing Link an easy way to get away from Sharp and avert his revenge!) Flat further reveals that Sharp wasn’t the way he always was either; Sharp at one point sold his soul to the devil and is now taking it all out on Link… and whomever else living he ran into.
Wait, the devil? Now I don’t know about you, but Zelda has never had a “devil” appear in any of its games. (Okay, yes, yes… “Oni Link,” but you never actually see any devils, so play along with me.) So I’m thinking here that Flat is speaking in vague metaphor. Somehow, I’m almost thinking that the reference to the devil actually points its finger directly at Majora. (After all, Sharp is the one who admits that it was the masked one’s fault!) Rather, and this is a theory, so play with me, Major persuaded Sharp to be a local member of the Human-haters Union, Local 407. Of course, that’s just the short form of the story. The long form gets much more complicated.
Sharp seemed to be against his brother for some reason, locking him into some tomb in the graveyard, where he obviously passed away. The game doesn’t say why the one composer hated the other, but you can come up with all sorts of plausible answers: jealosy that the king possibly favoured Flat, anger that Flat was able to convince the king not to follow the old traditions, frustration that Flat disagreed with him for some reason… who knows? What we do know is that Sharp wanted to revive the Royal Family. If taken literally, we still run into the problem where there’s two reports about what or who caused the problems of the Ikana… but if taken metaphorically, a whole new world of possibilities opens up.
Let’s assume that the Ikana actually had the rule set above, most particularly Rule Seven. From the conversation with the king, Igos du Ikana to some degree is fed up with all the squabbling going on, even if the warlike tendencies were rights granted to all the Ikana under the rules or edicts specifying how they should relate to society. So it seems that the king was more progressive politically, not exactly wanting to follow the old ways, and Flat probably agreed with him to some degree. Sharp, on the other hand, might not have agreed, and so he wanted to “revive” the Royal Family in the sense of bringing it back to the old, warlike ways, and of course the opportunity to do so would have existed under Rule Seven. So Majora’s Mask comes along and watches this little drama unfold, and instead of just doing things the brute force way, the Skullkid decides to play around, as he is prone to do. As such, Majora converts Sharp (”selling his soul to the devil”) to his evil little games and grants him the power to open the Stone Tower Temple. He had the access since he likely composed the Elegy of Emptiness with his brother, and so he’d have been able to get up there. He definitely has motive… and opportunity.
However the consequences might have been something he hadn’t planned on. Sharp absorbs in whatever evil and dies, becoming a spirit in the process. Yet now he’s full of so much evil whereupon he has to exact revenge upon all things living… just because he’s that evil now. So he trots back to Ikana Castle, invokes Rule Seven then and there (or even not since Sharp was full of evil), and then destroys everyone. And somewhere in that mix, Sharp locks away his brother Flat inside the grave. All in all, Sharp can blame the masked one and Igos du Ikana can blame their own squabbles for their demise… and both can be right. And when you think about it, in a sense, convincing someone to create a rebellion that leads to the downfall of an entire race is even more evil than doing the deed itself.
Now I do realise that some parts of this might be a little farfetched, but I think the story sounds too elegent to just discard because it doesn’t play by the exact wording of the game text. Maybe it sounds a little too cliché to hijack a major plot concept of a movie and inject it into a video game, but I really like how the Laws of Eight would portray the Ikana. Regardless, as with so many things in the Zeldaverse, this is theory and theory only, so you don’t have to agree with me at all; your comments, as always, are most certainly welcome.Follow This Entry | Leave a Response | Trackback
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