Flute Boy’s Meadow – Ilia’s Theme

JordanJanuary 21st, 2013 by Jordan

Say what you will about Twilight Princess. Complain about its dungeons, its opening two hours, its art style, whatever you want. But do not complain about this game’s music.

As part of my play-through of every Zelda game in a year, I finally got around to starting the GameCube version of Twilight Princess last night. As I slogged through the endless opening sequences of the game, one thing kept me from ever skipping a cutscene or complaining about fishing with weird controls: that music. One tune in particular really stood out to me. “Ilia’s Theme” plays a fair number of times in the opening parts of Twilight Princess as the relationship between Link and his friends are developed for the player. With its sweet tune and the gorgeous scenes that accompany it, it’s hard to get bored of this song.


Track: Ilia’s Theme
Game: Twilight Princess (GCN, Wii)
Purpose: Character Theme, Exposition
Composers: Toru Minegishi, Asuka Ohta, Kōji Kondō.

Author’s Note: For this week’s feature I would like to try something new. I realize in the past I have often wound up giving some great songs much less attention than they deserve while others received full focus. There’s no explanation for that but my own laziness and lack of structure, so I will be keeping to a common setup from now on. Each song will be broken down into its point (what its use is in the game, what it’s meant to accomplish), its sound, and finally the verdict or summary of how well those two parts work together. I hope that keeping these clearly defined will help me give full focus to each part. Now let’s get started!

The Point
As I mentioned before, much of this song’s use is as a background theme for the scenes between Link and Ilia. Childhood friends, the pair are shown to have a very deep connection that goes beyond simple friendship. Ilia may criticize Link for his carelessness but this is only because she still cares deeply for him. Similarly, Link appreciates Ilia’s care for him and Epona, and would sacrifice anything to protect her (hence how he gets himself caught up in saving the world . . . as usual). Their scenes together in the early parts of the game need to convey this and music is important for that.

“More courage in that girl than in all the soldiers in Hyrule, for sure!”
Later in the game, this story is further expanded upon when Link finds Ilia for the first time since her kidnapping . . . and she can’t remember a thing. As Telma is speaking to Link about what this amnesiac girl has done, it becomes clear that Ilia is truly caring and courageous at heart. Even without a single memory of who she is, all she can care about is the welfare of others. The music for this character would have to cover all of this; her love for Link, her kindness towards others, and perhaps even the misfortune of her kidnapping.

The Sound
The star of this theme is the flute, no doubt about it. With almost nothing to accompany it, this beautiful wind instrument rises and falls in a steady tune that carries itself wonderfully. At first it follows a steady refrain that very closely resembles “Epona’s Song” but is still different enough to stand on its own legs. Still, this throwback to Link’s horse is a nice and subtle way to show the connection the friends have.

As the theme continues, it begins to rise into some much higher pitches in a truly gorgeous section that has every capability of leaving the listener with chills. This is the part that sets the song apart; otherwise it would have just been too repetitive for my liking.

All in all, this flute piece is very sweet and quiet. It is hard to simply call this a sad song, but it is just as difficult to define it as happy. “Sweet” and “soft” are the words that come to mind; this is a song about happy memories and a song about kindness.

The Verdict
The early scenes between Link and Ilia provide beautiful imagery with the twilit forest and spring around the two friends and their horse. Those scenes are perfected by this song, making every word spoken between the two that much more important; you can really feel that this is a relationship that matters to both parties. Later on, as Telma speaks of Ilia’s deeds, the tune plays again in an even softer tone. The player feels sorry for Ilia’s memory loss, but there is still that sweet recognition that plays across Link’s face: this is his friend. Even without knowing who she is, she is still the person he has known all his life. The music echoes this familiarity for the player.

All in all, this is a gorgeous tune. It may not be my favorite in the series or even in Twilight Princess, but it holds its own in the series with its gorgeous sound.

How do you like Ilia’s Theme, and her character as a whole? Do you think the song matches her well? What are some of your favorite covers of the song? Be sure to let me know your thoughts and suggestions for the future in the comments!

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  • Hoff123

    It doesn’t matter, people seem to complain on the music too. They even think…ugh…SS had better music. Sorry, but I LOVED TP’s music. And SS’ music? Lol.

    Damn, I’m gonna get flamed for this…

    • TwilightSword

      TP’s Hyrule Field theme is my favorite Zelda music ever. The only other game that had music I liked as much as that one was Xenoblade.

      • Hoff123

        Damn, I think I like this site. I mean, everwhere I’ve looked online, people seems to disagree with me lol. TP’s Hyrule Field is freaking incredible. Especially that version that plays during the end credits. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LpUpCXQp-s

        • gamer

          This site has a good mix of fans. Old and young, new to the series, and some who have been around since the beggining. One things for sure, someone will agree with you, but another thing that’s for sure, is someone will disagree too. I like this site for comments best though. They do have fanboys, that think Nintendo can do no wrong, but most regulars here are good at having realistic conversations and keeping the arguements civil.

          • Hoff123

            :)

        • http://www.facebook.com/jordan.dipalma Jordan DiPalma

          I absolutely love Twilight Princess’s soundtrack. Like I said above, it’s the one part of the game nobody has an excuse to complain about.

          I’m also quite partial to its Hyrule Field theme, but I haven’t looked at it yet because I’m planning to eventually cover all the overworld themes from the series in one big collection spanning a few weeks. Whenever I get around to that I expect Twilight Princess’s post to be lengthy :D

        • Darkstar

          Amen to both of you, lol. Hyrule field theme in this game was just as amazing as the OOOT version. But this version sounded more grandeur and epic (probably because of the melody)

    • gamer

      Thought SS had a weak overall set of songs. Other than The main theme, Ballad of the goddesses, and Fi’s song, nothing else was memorable.

      • Someone

        Indeed, I have to say that I got annoyed of listening to SS Faron Woods after a while.
        That tune really is endless -.-
        But I remember en love a lot more songs from TP than from SS.
        There are a lot of complaints with TP, but it’s music is one of the things that was extremely well done.

      • Hoff123

        That’s the exact same songs I actually kind of like in SS :) . If you are talking about “Fi’s Theme”. That weird song that plays when you first meet Fi(and follow her around Skyloft).

        • Hoff123

          *Those are lol

      • IgosDuIkana

        Sadly I agree it is like graphics in video games. The music was “higher quality” in presentation, however that does not make it better in structure or of better composition. SS had terribly unmemorable music. It had its moments, but I found the soundtracks of other games much greater. Hell as much as I gripe about Spirit Tracks, it even had a better set of songs than Skyward Sword.

        • Hoff123

          I remember getting really angry when someone complained on the music in SS(me? lol), and then someone came in and said: “yeah, but you wanted orchestral music, it is not gonna sound as catchy”, and then someone(probably me) showed them a video of a song from Super Mario Galaxy(probably Gusty Garden Galaxy :) ), and then they said: “Huh? What’s so great about this? Skyward Sword still has much better music than this.”. Yeah…

        • punkinoodle

          Compared to the other music in the series, SS music wasn’t anything to write home about, but on their own the songs were quite enjoyable, at least, in my opinion. I felt they convey both the theme of the moment at which they are being used and the game’s overall lighthearted nature. But it may also be that I am simply more easily pleased with music in general. :P

        • Teengamer08

          Disagree. Oot’s soundtrack may be timeless but that doesn’t detract from SS’s orchestral score. Skyloft, Groose’s theme, Fi’s theme, and the main theme are all AT THE VERY LEAST very recognizable and memorable for people who have played the game. :)

      • spence

        you forgot Groose’s Theme, Lanayru Sand Sea, Earth Temple, Skyloft’s Theme…..

        • Someone

          This is the point I guess, I played the game two weeks ago but I just can’t remember how these songs sound.
          And I played MM a month ago and I still have trouble getting the Deku Palace and Clocktown songs out of my head.

      • Thing

        ?okay?

    • bluetoadshow

      Funnily enough, it’s the opposite for me. Maybe it’s because I played SS before TP. Or that SS had a lot more original music, making it more memorable. I mean, I love the Hyrule Field Theme and Midna’s Theme, but a handful of the tracks are just variations of the Main Theme (see Gerudo Desert, Fishing Hole, Link is Coming) or from previous games (Rutela’s Theme= Serenade of Water, Kakariko Village).

  • HeavyMetal

    I love Ilia. as her character and her amazing personality. this song is
    amazing too. it matchs her perfectly. the song is a beautiful
    combination of tunes that match each other and flows through the whole
    song in a way i can not discribe. and so is Ilia. this isn’t my favoritesong in the zelda seriesbut in TP it may be. still if I can not discribe how awesome and gorgeous this tune is…i cant imagine what it would be like to discribe another zelda song, that is better than this one.

    • HylainBOSS

      again- :O

  • Hoff123

    Imagine Two Steps From Hell type of music in Zelda. Damn :) . Probably wouldn’t suit the game(s), but still… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIxas0a-KgM&list=PL_KLK8kUKLtr7aGOFHKh_K2-z5Sl77t8b&index=2

    OK, no more comment now, I’m gonna shut up…for a while…lol…

  • TheIvoryDingo

    Ilia is my #1 MOST HATED CHARACTER IN GAMING!!! >:( Though hwhy I think she is is something I’d rather keep to myself as it’s rather personal.

    • TheIvoryDingo

      The song itself is good, I just don’t like the character.

      • iKhan

        I’m not her biggest fan, but I’ll take her any day over SS Zelda.
        My big motive in TP was Colin though. He’s an awesome character.

        • HylianBOSS

          :0

        • http://lulles.deviantart.com/ lulles

          Wow, really? Funny, I really liked SS Zelda, she had much personality. Ilia, on the other hand, was a failed attempt at a mix between Malon and Saria. She’s just annoying. And yes, Colin was awesome.

    • Ordona

      So many people seem to hate on Ilia, and I’ve never really understood why. True, she’s not a very fleshed-out character but I always felt like that’s exactly why you can’t hate her – we just don’t know enough about her. I will admit, despite having nothing against her I am curious as to why so many people are so angered by her.

  • Westar

    This song brings so much spirit in the meetings with llia, but also some kind of uncertainty of the relation between our beloved hero and this cute girl (especially in the scenes in and around Ordon Springs) The first time I heard this song I actually got astonished. WHAT?? DOES LINK HAVE A GIRLFRIEND NOW!? This is my favorite song from TP along with the remake of Lost Woods and Midna’s Lament. Really enjoyable song to listen to! But it’s sadly too often forgot because of the beautiful scenes it comes with… Good that you brought it up!

  • Link-Hero-Chosen-By-The-Gods

    MY FAVE ZELDA GAME EVER. I love Ilia. Midna. Link. The music. I like the light spirits, and I even liked Zant. This whole game just dripped with perfection to me. And the graphics: TOP NOTCH. Especially for it’s time.

    • WTFisgoingon

      YOU TOTALY READ MY MIND!!!!!

  • Lupine Hero

    My sole complaint about Twilight Princess’s soundtrack is the fact that it wasn’t orchestrated. After listening to ZREO’s Twilight Symphony previews (which you should all check out if you haven’t already), I realized just how incredible the soundtrack could have been with full orchestration. Skyward Sword had a great soundtrack, but, unlike Twilight Princess, there were only one or two that I would give 5/5 stars. Note, however, that I am somewhat biased in this, as TP was my first Zelda game, and remains my favorite. (Where do you think this name came from?)

    • Ordona

      The Twilight Symphony is INCREDIBLE! Giving credit where it’s due, the ZREO team created incredible arrangements, and they didn’t really have any restrictions as to what they could do with the incredible bits of music in Twilight Princess. I reckon if the TP soundtrack was orchestrated, it wouldn’t sound anywhere near as grand, simply because it would be within the confines of a game and would have to loop etc. That’s why I love what ZREO does so much, because there is great music in the Zelda series and they really show off its full potential.

      Also, I agree with you about SS. The music has its truly spine-tingling beautiful moments (Follow Fi, Romance In The Air) but the TP soundtrack is a masterpiece.

  • JakDark

    I love this game, second best to OoT. I’ve yet to try SS but, I don’t see what people could complain about in Twilight Princess. And besides orchestrated music doesn’t belong in the Zelda universe, that’s not right.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jordan.dipalma Jordan DiPalma

      Funny, I felt the Zelda series was one of the best candidates for orchestrated music… to each his own I suppose.

  • HylianBOSS

    I hate ILIA!!!!!!(most likely for the same reason as theIvorydingo…)

  • http://www.facebook.com/jordan.dipalma Jordan DiPalma

    Lots of hate for Ilia in here, sheesh :P
    I stand by everything in the post, though. I really like Ilia as a character, even if she’s overshadowed by Zelda, Midna, and Colin as far as memorable moments. Admittedly, most of my appreciation for her is because of the song…

  • Zelda4Life

    Love the song, OK with Ilia, hate the hair.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jordan.dipalma Jordan DiPalma

      I kind of like her hair… except that little Dairy Queen soft-serve flip in the back. *shiver*

  • The Hylian Monolith

    *cries a little bit because it’s too nostalgic for her to handle*

    I… I can play this on flute… and ocarina… and piano…

  • http://lulles.deviantart.com/ lulles

    Love the song, don’t really care about Ilia. The game more or less forces you to like her and keep shoving down your throat how much of a great girl she is. When she’s in her normal state of mind she’s a bit annoying, and the memory loss idea was quite cliché.

    Anyways, yes, this is a wonderful song and one of my favorites in TP’s soundtrack.

  • blue

    Funny thing, the ONLY thing I see can be critisized about twilight princess is Ilia’s actions at the biginning of the game, and jordan says that’s the only thing that CAN’T be critisized about the game… wierd…

    • http://www.facebook.com/jordan.dipalma Jordan DiPalma

      …that’s not what I said…

      “Complain about its dungeons, its opening two hours, its art style, whatever you want. But do not complain about this game’s music.”

      So… yeah. Maybe you misinterpreted my point. I said the scenes between Link and Ilia were improved and sweetened by the excellent music. Never said they were flawless; after all, I did mention the first few hours as complainable (not a word, don’t care).

      • blue

        In my opinion, the game was perfect except for Ilia. It seemed pointless to add an unnecesary character when there could’ve been a different love interest in the game… but then again, that’s just MY opinion

  • Teengamer08

    I did not find Ilia annoying AT ALL and in fact really liked her as a childhood friend of Link’s in the game. I wish people wouldn’t hate her so much :/ But I digress – her theme is very well composed and strikes me with feelings of home and longing with its beautiful guitar chords. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/flappywhacksbigdicksociety William Jones

    I thought Twilight Princess was the absolute best, most creative installment. Then, Skyward Sword changed that. The ONLY real complaint I have about Skyward Sword, though–I miss the dawn/dusk of Twilight Princess. The switch between night/day in the 3D series has always been beautiful, but the sunsets in Twilight Princess were mezmorizing in beauty.