Posted on May 14 2013 by Axle D. Wilder
Link is kind of a ladies’ man; tons of Zelda girls adore Link. And who could blame them? It’s a generally understood fact that effeminate guys are often found especially attractive, and let’s face it: Link is a little bit of a girly dude. But he’s also manly and heroic, so clearly he’s quite a catch. Because of their abundance, it’s honestly pretty hard for jokes about Link’s many admirers to make me laugh anymore. The gag isn’t just a cliche in the Zelda series; it’s been done to death in tons of other stories — particularly anime. I’d never complain about it in the Zelda series and I always enjoy these moments, but I’d be lying if I said that they really can make me laugh most of the time; the joke’s done enough that it takes something extra special to make it really funny again.
Like making his admirer a tree. That would be hilarious!
Seriously though, Oracle of Ages is one of the few Zelda games or stories in general to actually make me laugh at this joke again. When it comes time for Link to seek the Maku Tree’s aid, he must first venture into the past to protect the Maku Tree from being destroyed by monsters while she’s just a sprout. After she’s saved, she says almost word for word the phrase I’ve seen a thousand times:
And I burst out laughing! So why is it that, even though this joke is so old for me, Oracle of Ages managed to make me laugh with it? Because she’s a tree! What is good humor if not creating or outlining artful absurdity? From the most childish jokes where people just make funny faces or silly noises, to the most witty ones that point out irony or stupidity, absurdity in some form or another is at the base of every joke.
The thing here is that this joke wouldn’t have been funny at all for me if the Maku Tree hadn’t been, well, a tree… OR the circumstances and phrasing hadn’t been so exactly cliche. What cracked me up about this moment was how it was exactly the cliche, every little thing went exactly how it goes in every other story… except she’s a tree. One totally insane detail, a complete departure from the expected and the norm, and it’s never actually addressed in any way. I mean, we can be sure if Link could talk, then that would be his primary point of protest while attempting to reason with the Maku Tree about all the problems inter-biota marriage would have, but neither the Maku Tree nor any other characters ever say anything about it. Because of this, the joke also manages to avoid being one of those annoying “Get it? GET IT?!” kind of things where the person or thing making the joke is also trying to desperately explain it at the same time, and the reaction to the absurdity is left entirely to the player.
Bottom line? This is one of the funniest moments in Zelda for me and I think it’s not only an excellent example of humor in the Zelda series, but a really great example at how to utilize cliches in a hysterical way in general. This is one of the funniest moments in any video game or story in my opinion. What did you think about it? Did you think it was hilarious, or is the concept just overdone? Would you go so far as to call it one of the funniest moments in Zelda? Tell me your thoughts on the Maku Tree’s affections for Link in the comments!