Posted on March 26 2018 by Ashley Reed
Have you ever wondered why Link, our beloved hero in Twilight Princess, was turned into a wolf? The beast is aided by Midna in his journey to return peace to his village as well as uncover the secrets of the unnerving Twilight. Wolf Link also appears in Breath of the Wild, granted you have the amiibo to unlock him. His abilities include helping you hunt, fight, discover shrines, and of course curb your loneliness for a short time! But why a wolf, specifically?
This is debated in a recent video by Hylian Cece and Hyrule Gamer. Players familiar with Japanese animated films such as Princess Mononoke might have noticed a common theme regarding these animals. Beasts, such as wolves and boars, are often compared to gods and spirits of the forest, respectively. In Japanese folklore, wolves are referred to as “Shinto gods,” “ookami,” or “divine messengers.” If you remember Link’s initial meeting with Midna, she actually refers to him as “the divine beast that would save her people.”
According to the video, wolves are often thought of as loyal and courageous, so it’s not surprising that Link, born with the Triforce of Courage, bears much resemblance to these divine beasts. However, it’s not just Link from Twilight Princess‘ Ordon Village that transforms into a wolf. As Link continues his journey, he stumbles upon the Hero’s Shade, another wolf, though one glowing and golden in color. As previously stated, wolves in Japanese culture are highly respected. Hylian Cece and Hyrule Gamer point out that Japanese Farmers would actually worship wolves because of the protection they offered against boars. Boars have often been a problem for farmers, causing damage to their crops and wasting yen in efforts to prevent destruction. While hunting in Breath of the Wild, you might have noticed wild boars are quite common, both in and out of the forests.
In numerous Legend of Zelda games, the main antagonist, Ganon, proves to be a very formidable foe. Just when you think the final fight is nearing its end, you realize the true battle is just beginning. This occurs in Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, as well as Breath of the Wild. As the video points out, Link not only fights Ganon as men, but also as beasts, with Ganon often taking the form of a wild boar. Could this be a coincidence, or are aspects of Japanese culture embedded in the Zelda series? Boars are looked down upon and viewed in a negative light. They ruin farmers’ crops and bring ruin and suffering, traits Ganon often spread across the beloved land of Hyrule.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Link’s transformation into a wolf is linked to Japanese culture, or something else? Do you think another animal suits Link better? What about Ganon? Let us know in the comments!