A sword wields no strength unless the hand that holds it has courage.The Hero’s Shade – Twilight Princess
Often times in this day and age, our society blames many of the troubles we face on our elders and those who came before us. Things such as climate change, housing crisis, cost of living, racism, lack of human rights, and the list goes on. I do agree many of these things were caused or made worse by those who came before us, and even many of us currently. However, this does not mean we are to dismiss everything from our elders and ancestors. They faced their own trials before us, and they have many lessons to teach us, as long as we are willing to listen, learn and understand. We do not have to agree with the views of our elders, however we should not dismiss them as being a “bad person” due to choices they made throughout their life, or by their failures. Even through failures, lessons can be learned.
This brings me to think of The Hero’s Shade – a recurring character in Twilight Princess. This character appears as though they are a Knight of an earlier age who has passed on and become a Stalfos. However, there is a sadness lingering around this being. They teach you how to wield your sword and shield, so you can save the world from the clutches of Zant and Ganondorf, and restore light to the land of Hyrule. This being is in fact, the Hero of Time, who has passed on (see Hyrule Historia), and has become a Stalfos. It is suggested after the events of Ocarina of Time, he became lost in the Lost Woods and perished there. To think such an important and powerful Hylian was able to become lost in the Lost Woods – a place he had traveled to many times before – almost seems impossible. But we must remember, just because he did amazing things and saved the land of Hyrule, he too is mortal and cannot overcome every challenge. With this being said, he still has valuable lessons to teach us, with all of his knowledge and life experiences.
We should move past judging others for their failures, and instead look to them for knowledge and teachings. and listen to what they have to say, so we too can move forward and create a better world for all of us. If we do not take the time to listen and try to understand the actions of those who came before us, how are we going to truly move ahead?
“Do you know my mother’s song? Everyone really liked that song… My dad… Even Mr. Ingo… But…since Ganondorf appeared, Mr. Ingo has changed completely. I can remember the good old days only while I sing the song.”Malon – Ocarina of Time
Lon Lon Ranch is one of the most well known locations in the Zelda series – not only is it where you can purchase the famous Lon Lon Milk, but it is also where you obtain your horse Epona, meet Malon, and see looming signs of the darkness and sadness looming over Hyrule as Ganondorf seizes control of the kingdom.
Lon Lon Ranch is owned by Talon, the father of Malon. His brother, Ingo also works on the farm. Seven years after Link first visits the ranch, he learns it has been taken over by Ingo with the help of Ganondorf, renamed it ‘Ingo Ranch’, and has kicked out Talon. Malon is forced to comply with Ingo’s demands as she fears he will harm the horses.
This part of the story in Ocarina of Time really delves into a personal and hard time in life for my family. My grandparents had a very large and beautiful dairy farm. Long story short – during hard times the farm was basically stolen by them from someone who pretended to have their best interests in mind. The evil man, who we will refer to as “Gil”, had one of his henchmen set fire to the barn whilst the animals were still inside. I had an uncle who was still living on the farm at the time, and he was able to go into the burning barn and rescue the animals in time.
As time went on, we were still staying in the home with the looming threat of being evicted (it was a very large century home with about 17 rooms). The home had no heating, other than a woodstove which was used to only heat the living room and the kitchen. The roof was leaking so much, I remember making nightly trips to the attic with my grandmother to empty buckets of water out of garbage pails sitting on the floor to catch the water. At the time I was quite young and did not understand the devastation of this situation, however as an adult I have come to understand it more and the sadness and indignity of it all.
This memory really comes to me in my mind when I think of the perils of Lon Lon Ranch. Recently I have been playing Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, and the ruins of Lon Lon Ranch are near Hyrule Castle. Sometimes I feel I have such a strong bond with the Zelda series, as many of the stories run in parallels with my own life and experiences. I feel it allows me to relive them, but in a positive way in which I can control the outcome for greater good.
“The Kafei we’re looking for is an adult. When I look at you, I just see a child. “Tatl – Majora’s Mask
There are times I find myself comparing my life to the set milestones of society, or the accomplishments of others. Many times I feel I am too childish for my age, or what I feel is expected of me from a society standpoint. I am in my thirties and do not have children. Without the outside comparisons and pressures, I enjoy this life quite tremendously. It is not uncommon to have a parent of other children tell you the best time of your life is when you become a parent. I have no desire to have this in my life. I am content existing in this space as I am.
Sometimes I wonder if we feel pressured to do great things. Contributing to society, being a good and kind person, being accountable – these are all great things. People can be successful in their careers with their finances, fame, and luxuries and be happy, just the same as living simply, getting by and having a place to sleep as dusk falls. Our happiness should not be defined by how we feel others view happiness. It has a deeply personal meaning for each individual as we are all exactly that – individual. What happiness means for you may not be the same as what it means for your neighbour, your sibling or the person walking down the street from your home.
Coming to terms with these revelations greatly helps ground me and encourages me to appreciate my life and what I have accomplished so far. Your life is not anyone else’s to judge – it is your own. I find myself having to remind myself of this often.
This subject has me thinking of the story of Anju and Kafei from Majora’s Mask. They were a couple who were separated due to the antagonist – The Skull Kid – cursing Kafei and causing him to become a child. Kafei hides and if you are able to meet with him, he gives you the Pendant of Memories to give to Anju. This causes Anju to wait for him on the third night at the Inn. If you complete all the steps, they are reunited and decide to die together (so sad!). This may not seem relevant to my musings on true happiness, but this portion of Majora’s Mask really steers me to think about happiness and what it means to each of us, and how it is a deeply personal experience.