Now, last week I took a look at the main themes/songs for four of Link’s companions from the series: Navi, Tatl (more or less), The King of Red Lions, and Ezlo. This week, I will be looking at the themes for Midna from Twilight Princess, Ciela from Phantom Hourglass, and Fi from Skyward Sword. As for Princess Zelda, I do realize that her spirit form plays the role of a companion in Spirit Tracks but I feel that Zelda is not really defined as a companion. Zelda as a character is something much more, and her theme got its own post two weeks ago if you would like to check it out.
Also, just like last week there are SPOILERS AHEAD. If you have not finished Twilight Princess, Phantom Hourglass, or Skyward Sword, tread carefully.
Now without further ado, let’s get on with it! Make the jump to get started.
For some of you there is one main reason you wanted to see this Companion Themes series. Of all of Link’s companions, Midna is one of the most adored among fans and second only to Navi (even then I think half of Navi’s fame is rooted in jokes about how irritating she is). As a companion, I also feel Midna is one of the more complex characters.
Midna’s backstory and maturation as a character throughout Twilight Princess are well executed. At the beginning, it is pretty clear she could hardly care less about the boy-turned-wolf who she springs from prison. She is taunting, rude, and all around unkind to the unfortunate protagonist. She also expresses no concern for Hyrule’s dire state and even goads Link in the form of his childhood friends at one point. Though it is obvious the girl is seeking her own goals, there still remains an air of mystery about her. That feeling is strengthened the most by her song.
Mellow and mournful, “Midna’s Theme” is a perfect compliment to the character even if it may not seem that way at first. Upon meeting her, it’s hard to think of the Twilight Princess as anything but a playful imp. One would expect an equally upbeat and playful tune to accompany someone so teasing. However, what we hear instead is a slowly rising and falling collection of cellos and bass overlaid with the mournful playing of an oboe. It stirs the listener and makes one look at the twilight backdrop that Midna adores so much in a different way, making Hyrule’s plight seem more apparent.
It seems weird for this seemingly carefree and teasing imp to have such a moving song. But then her character begins to develop more and more, and it becomes apparent that this girl is not who she seems. Much later in the game, her story becomes clear: she is the princess of the Twili, a race with a tragically bloodstained history. She was in line for the throne until Zant used Ganondorf’s magic to usurp her and turn her into her implike form, then invade Hyrule. In short, the girl’s had it rough.
In a way, “Midna’s Theme” can be the theme for the entire game. It offers the perfect musical summary of the quiet, saddening way in which the Twili invade Hyrule, Midna is betrayed, Link’s home is covered in shadow… everything in the game. Twilight Princess takes the cake for atmosphere among my favorite Zelda games, and this song is high on the list of reasons why.
This song, however, is at the top of that list. I know I would probably have to deal with an angry mob if I didn’t touch on this gorgeous piece, and that mob would be well justified. This is the background music for one of the most touching and powerful scenes in the game.
After the Lakebed Temple, Midna and Link are attacked by Zant. Due to the Twili usurper’s powers, Midna is left on the brink of death and Link is trapped in his wolf form. With his wounded friend exposed to the light world and lying limp on his back, Link makes a desperate push to reach Hyrule Castle before her life is spent. As the rain begins to fall it all shapes up to be one gorgeous moment.
For all the player knows this is the end of Midna as we know it, just when she was starting to become less of a brat and was shaping up to be likable. The music compliments that perfectly. A sad piano remix of the Hyrule Main Theme, the song is immensely popular and even made its way into Super Smash Brothers Brawl under the title “Midna’s Lament.” Honestly, I can’t really put much more into words what I’d like to say about this song. It’s tragic. It’s beautiful. It’s on my iPod. It’s a beautiful moment from an incredible game in one of the greatest and most artistic gaming franchises ever. This song, man. This song.
Okay, now that I’m done gushing over Midna’s depressing songs, time for something more cheerful: “Ciela, Spirit of Courage.” In the soundtrack for Phantom Hourglass, this song is actually listed as “Island Life.” Nonetheless, following the Navi rule I established in last week’s post I still feel the song fits Ciela very well.
So, Ciela. The first fairy companion since the Nintendo 64 days. The little fairy is very kindhearted and cheerful. After finding Link washed up on the shore of her island, she does not hesitate in helping him look for the Ghost Ship and his lost friend Tetra. Throughout the game she proceeds to handle situations amiably, except for constantly berating Linebeck for his flaws (I was very tempted to include that man’s theme in here as well, but perhaps I shall save it for another week). All around she is not a terribly complex character but neither is her theme.
With a cheerful undertone similar to that of Outset Island the song carries the island-venturing tone of its game well. Overlaid with a flute and clarinet (maybe?) playing back and forth, it really keeps the same cheerful and amiable disposition as its namesake. Like I said before, Ciela is not too dynamic or complex as a character but that isn’t necessarily a problem. The same still holds true for this song; much of what makes it work is how simple and happy it is. It brings to mind images of a quiet island beach with friends playing together. A very nice song, indeed.
And now for another song that is sold and perfected by its scene. Say what you want about Skyward Sword and Fi, but I happen to love both and this music is part of that. I cannot possibly hear this song without thinking of the scene in which Link follows the spectral Fi through Skyloft’s night-tide. The way she floats in and out of sight, all the while moving away from Link while he chases her to the Goddess statue… it’s a beautiful scene.
The song itself is one of peace, curiosity and mystery. You have no idea what awaits you ahead, or who this strange blue figure is. All Link knows is that Zelda has been taken, and he will do anything to find her. These are the emotions that flood the scene and make it all the more incredible to experience. Easily among my favorite introductions for a companion character, this song’s beautiful strings overlaid with that lovely flute overtone mark a high point in Skyward Sword’s already impressive soundtrack. Really, just typing this has made me anxious to go knock my brother over the head and get my copy of the game back just so I can play it again.
Now, I would love to explore the other avenues and versions of Fi’s song, but I feel her original theme alone is enough to keep anyone entertained. Still, I would be remiss if I did not at least mention the songs that play during one of the saddest parts of the game. As the beloved (stop laughing, you people who don’t like her) spirit leaves Link’s side to sleep within the Master Sword for millennia, two beautifully touching renditions of her theme are played. One, “Fi’s Farewell,” isn’t terribly different from its normal version but still forms a gorgeous background for a powerful scene.
The other song from that scene, “Fi’s Gratitude,” doesn’t actually play until after Link departs and silence reigns. We think Fi is gone forever until her image appears again. Alone, she gives her last thanks to our hero: “Many have said these words to you thus far, but I now wish to say them for myself… Thank you, Master Link.” Now, since I actually failed to acknowledge this beautiful song in the initial draft of this feature, I think it fitting that the person who caught me should give their thoughts on the song:
“This is my favorite song in the entire game, tying the Silent Realm themes. It speaks of hope and good memories… it speaks of the words Fi says to you in her final moments. It drove a knife into my heart, simultaneously brushing the tear off my face and wishing me happiness. I love this song. It’s beautiful. It’s hopeful. It’s on my–wait, I don’t have an iPod…“
Many thanks to our reader Hylian Monolith for providing that account. While “Fi’s Gratitude” still maintains the basic structure of her theme, it is now limited to nothing but the lightly pressed keys of a piano with the occasional strings to accompany it. The song is stripped to its heart, and the result is just beautiful.
And so that concludes this week’s Flute Boy’s Meadow! I have really enjoyed this two-part series on the Companion Themes, and I would love to do more in the future so be sure to leave some thoughts and requests in the comments on what songs I should look at next. Also, don’t forget to let me know who your favorite companion is and what you think of their theme music. Thanks for reading, and I will see everyone again this time next week!