Monday, January 15, 2007

Link, a Tool?


Around halfway through The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, something struck me. Through the plot structure and objectives of the game, it seems to me that Link largely acts as an instrument for female characters.

Besides Twilight Princess, I’m not too familiar with Zelda--I’ve only dabbled in the original, so I don’t know if this is something that has popped up before. I do know though that the premise of the original game stuck to the tried-and-true formula of save the princess. In later installments, that formula has evolved, and that seems to be true for Twilight Princess as well. This shift in plot has made the traditional hero that was Link into a sort of beast of burden for goddesses and princesses.

In Twilight Princess we have Midna, who rides Link’s back and has him hunting for fused shadows. Princess Zelda is relying on Link to free her kingdom from the confines of darkness, and the goddesses chose Link to save the world. Not to mention, there’s the Zora’s queen, the bar keeper, and that monkey with the pink bow. This is not to say that Link’s not helping out plenty of men too, but the majority Link’s services are for women. I say that’s because the women of Hyrule hold a lot of power and influence.

I should mention, too, that this is helped by the fact that Link doesn’t seem to have a personality. He just does what he’s told. We get to see his facial expressions, sure, but other than that he doesn’t utter one word, sigh or complaint.

For all intents and purposes, Link is a tool. He’s not just the medium for the gamer; he’s the trusty workhorse for the rest of the major and supporting characters.

9 comments:

tekanji said...

Psst, it's not "intensive purposes" it's "intents and purposes" :)

Other than that, though, that's definitely an interesting postulation. My experience with the Zelda series ends with A Link to the Past, which didn't feature much in the way of characters. Zelda was a constant invisible force, Gannon was the bad guy... other than that, I can't think of any other actual characters (though doubtless there were some).

100LittleDolls said...

Thanks and fixed! Lol, I think that's been one of my most creative mistakes.

I think my favorite part about Twilight Princess so far is all the different characters and their unique personalities--for instance how all the shop keepers are distinct.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Link's kind of the intern of the adventuring world. Get the Great Deku Tree coffee? He's on it, after a few screens of being monologued at. He's really just happy to be here.

I hope they've resisted the temptation to give Link too much of a personality in Twilight Princess. I can't help but think of him (what's it been, like seven, eight games now?) as the strong, silent type, seen but not heard. Okay, if not the strong, maybe the fey, blonde, subby silent type.

-Crab

tekanji said...

Thanks and fixed! Lol, I think that's been one of my most creative mistakes.

lol don't worry about it. You're actually the third person to make the same exact mistake. I think it may be a common one because I don't think it's a saying that's taught in English class (as opposed to "burning the midnight oil" which I only know because it was an Wordly Wise vocabulary word).

I can't help but think of him (what's it been, like seven, eight games now?) as the strong, silent type, seen but not heard. Okay, if not the strong, maybe the fey, blonde, subby silent type.

Mmm, subby Link....

Ahem. Actually, I have to say that my take on Link's character is a bit different because I used to read the comic in Nintendo Power and I was a fan of his spot in the Super Mario Bros Super Show. ^^;

Madeline Ashby said...

That's an interesting take on Link, and fetch-questing heroes in general. Personally, I was already angry that Zelda didn't, you know, try and free herself. I've always wanted the game that was half RPG, half stealth survival, in which Link is working hard to rescue Zelda, but she's working just as hard to escape. Then again, I haven't played in ages, so perhaps my vision of the games is skewed.

megatrouble said...

i like madeline's comment! The fact that zelda hasn't gotten a game from her POV is criminal.

But I think you have done some good theorizing!

I love playing Twilight Princess, but the fact that they muted Link and used him as a "tool" in the game is the designer's way of giving you, the player, some identification with Link, so you can "see yourself in him." Even his name, Link, could be interpreted as a bridge to the other characters--he exists for someone else, not for his own sake. I suppose.

Ami Angelwings said...

Wow that's a great theory! I've.. never thought of the Zelda series that way but now that I do, I think you're right!

Every game has had him running around doing tasks b/c of female characters directing him. :O

I dunno what it means tho o_o;;;

Mar said...

Oh yeah, in the end of Ocarina of Time you (spoilers)find out that Zelda was manipulating Link through the whole first half of the game because she wanted power(/spoilers)

100LittleDolls said...

Cool, Mar. :) I've yet to play that Zelda game, but it's interesting to see that there seems to be a pattern.