Ever since its inception, The Legend of Zelda has been one of Nintendo's most popular and acclaimed franchises. Link of Hyrule's adventures have come a long way since their humble beginnings. Link's efforts to save Princess Zelda and thwart Ganon or whatever forces of evil are in play have only evolved over the years.
Link has proven himself a hero for all ages and the Legend of Zelda series has arguably hit new heights with the Switch's Breath of the Wild. In spite of the many successes of the Zelda series over the years, there are still plenty of weird details and surprises about the history of the games that are sure to shock avid gamers. Accordingly, Here Are 20 Facts About The Legend Of Zelda That’ll Ruin Your Childhood.
20 It Brings Japan’s “Toilet Ghost” Urban Legend To Life
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is perhaps the most overtly creepy of all of the Zelda titles. There are plenty of ways that this game gets under your skin, but one of the more upsetting elements is a piece of heart quest that involves giving some paper to the bony hand of a “toilet ghost” named “???” It’s extremely weird, especially since it pulls upon a real urban legend. Nintendo would reference this legend again in Oracle of Ages and Skyward Sword.
19 The Genocide Of The Garo People
Majora’s Mask features a region known as Ikana Valley, which is a literal ghost town. It’s a very scary area due to the rampant ghosts and undead enemies that roam the land. As Link digs further, he learns that the Garo people used to roam Ikana Valley before they were all wiped out in battle. Link encounters the spirit of one, but upon defeating him, he commits suicide, which is a super depressing note to end the story of Garo on.
18 Link Must Experience Great Pain To Wear Any Masks
One of the flashiest recurring scenes from Majora’s Mask is the memorable transformation that occurs every time Link puts on a new mask. Link is shown screaming and appears to be in severe agony, but it’s possible he’s just putting on a dramatic show. A developer later confirmed this was not the case and rather, that whoever wears a mask will "immediately feel the boundless sorrow of the creature it came from." So think about that every time you slap on that Goron mask.
17 The Hero Of Time Is A Ghastly Monster
In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, there’s an arc where Link receives training from an ancient armored skeleton that’s referred to as the Hero’s Shade. It’s a strange segment in the game, but Hyrule Historia goes one step further and confirms that the Hero’s Shade is in fact the Hero of Time from Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. It’s super depressing to see that such an important figured is now tantamount to a ghoul.
16 The First Game Is The Bleakest Of Them All
The original Legend of Zelda is set during the “Fallen Hero Timeline” and features a rather dismal series of events until Link is eventually able to right those wrongs. It’s hard to notice at first, but the fact that the game lacks any conventional towns or shops and instead is full of caves and ruins speaks to the game’s dire timeline. And this is how they wanted to introduce audiences to Hyrule!
15 Near-Fatal Production Art
Video games typically feature a ton of fascinating production art that shows where titles begin and the changes that happen during development. Sometimes production never fully “comes to life” in a finished title. Strangely, some of the production art from A Link to the Past feature illustrations where Link nearly offs Zelda. Link’s target is an enemy spider, but due to his reckless actions and a poor environment, he almost takes out Zelda instead.
14 The Series’ Fascination With Tingle
Tingle is certainly one of the most strange and unnerving characters to pop up in the Zelda universe. If anybody is about to snap and turn out to be a bad guy, it’s Tingle. In spite of the character’s abrasive nature, he’s been rewarded with three spin-off games in Japan. He’s also popped up in titles like Hyrule Warriors to lend a hand, showing that they’re far from through with him.
13 Fighting Your Dark Side
A number of Legend of Zelda games have featured creative sub-boss battles where Link is forced to square off against an evil version of himself, whether it’s Dark Link or Shadow Link. These make for entertaining battles that put Link up against his own trademark abilities, but what’s more disturbing is the implication of what happens if Link doesn’t win the battle. Dark Link would take Link’s place and infiltrate his life to a sinister degree.
12 Link Doesn’t Take Marriage Seriously
Link is without a doubt an honorable individual and a hero in the truest sense of the word, but that doesn’t mean he’s perfect. He seems to especially struggle with commitment issues and the importance of marriage, for instance. In Ocarina of Time Link haphazardly finds himself engaged to Princess Ruto, but he doesn't actually get married.
11 The Games Encourage Breaking And Entering And Looting
So much of the Zelda series involves Link going into random people’s homes and taking their rupees, smashing their pots, and even opening their treasure in some cases. Sometimes Link even does this in front of homeowners and doesn’t exhibit any remorse. It’s one of his primary ways of acquiring loot.
10 Link Has No Right To Exorcise Poes
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time sees Link spending some time in a graveyard, which in itself is a little alarming. Poes are billed to be enemies of sorts, but they’re really just the souls of people. Accordingly, Link has no right to vanquish or collect these souls (or keep them trapped in tiny glass jars.) On top of all of this, Ocarina of Time sees Link commit a bunch of grave robbing for 100% completion, which is hardly a positive message.
9 Link’s Scarecrow Slave
Link is a highly capable hero, but it never hurts to have some allies around to lend helping hands if he ever gets overwhelmed. Link runs across a peculiar Scarecrow during Ocarina of Time that he’s able to enchant courtesy of the Scarecrow’s Song. Playing this song wills the Scarecrow to appear wherever and help out Link. He may just be a scarecrow, but Link has no problem turning him into his puppet and using him whenever he sees fit.
8 The Origin Of Skull Kids
When they’re playing music, prancing in the forest, or keeping to themselves, Skull Kids are actually pretty cute in terms of Link’s rogues gallery. It’s easy to dismiss these creatures as just quirky enemies, but their backstory is actually horrifying. Skull Kids are all children who wander into the Lost Woods and can’t get out. It’s a terrible fate for these frightened children and it easily could have also happened to Link if he wasn’t more careful in there.
7 Good Doesn't Always Conquer Evil
Making sense of all of the various timelines that exist within The Legend of Zelda series can be seriously tricky business. The text, Hyrule Historia, tries to lay all of these out and simplify matters. In doing so it points out that some of the various timelines feature a set of events where Ganon triumphs and Link does not succeed. They're grim alternate realities to consider.
6 You Can Steal
Link’s Awakening actually allows Link to take items from shops without paying for them. Doing so will brand Link a shoplifter and he won’t be able to return or make future purchases. However, it still allows this thievery and shows that Link is tough enough to push his way through such a situation and take advantage of a friendly shopkeeper.
5 Link Willfully Commits Animal Cruelty
There are two kinds of gamers out there: those that like to torture the innocent Cuccos in Zelda games, and those that avoid it like the plague. Regardless of your preference, it doesn’t change the fact that Link is still allowed time and time again to abuse these cute creatures (sure there are consequences, but they can be avoided). Even when Link’s not attacking Cuccos, he still uses them for flight purposes and is quick to abandon them mid-air, if needed.
4 Stalfos Were People, Too
The Legend of Zelda games boast all sorts of spooky enemies that are supernatural in nature. It’s easy to identify a combative skeleton as a villain,, but it’s not as if these Stalfos just began as evil bones. They’re the actual remains of people that Ganon’s dark magic brings back to life to use against Link. These bones are helpless, yet Link doesn’t seem to mind tearing them to shreds.
3 Link Takes Over Mikau's Life
Majora's Mask involves Link infiltrating many different communities by "becoming" versions of them thanks to the different masks that he puts on. Often Link requires the skills of these creatures and he's not trying to outright deceive anyone, but that's not the case with the Zora, Mikau.
After the guitar-playing Zora passes away, Link puts on the Zora mask, pretends to be him, and deceives his love interest by playing his famed song to calm her down. At no point does Link tell Lulu the truth and as far as she knows, Mikau is still out there, but just ignoring her.
2 The Dungeon That's Hiding In Wind Waker
One side quest in The Wind Waker results in Link acquiring the deed to a grateful woman's fancy island cabana. If you happen to find and visit the cabana, it looks pretty uneventful and boring at first, with only minimal rupees to acquire and pots to break. However, if you launch Link's grappling hook at the ceiling, it will trigger a secret passageway through the fireplace. Link just crawls through some decrepit tunnels filled with re-deads and rats. Did the lady imprison people down here? Was her giving away the deed a way to get rid of her evidence or maybe even trap Link?
1 Romani’s Ghost Abduction
One of the more unusual missions in Majora’s Mask takes place at Romani Ranch and features some renegade Poes. Link is staffed with keeping these ghosts from taking away the ranch’s livestock, but there are surprisingly grim consequences if you fail. The alien-esque Poes will take Romani as punishment, and even though she returns later, it’s implied that these ghosts did something dark to her.
Sources: MentalFloss.com, Uproxx.com, TheGamer.com