Navi: The Guiding Spirit
Posted on April 08 2013 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
The following article is a theoretical piece, so please read it with that in mind. It reflects the opinions and ideas of the author, and not Zelda Informer as a whole. This article is also part of classics month, and as such it may conflict with the recent release of Skyward Sword and Hyrule Historia. With that said, enjoy the read.
The ending sequence to Ocarina of Time can be described with many words. Epic, nostalgic, climactic, accomplished and emotional. For the theorist, words like perplexing, confusing and intriguing will also be on the list. There are all of the subtleties that piece together the split timeline, but perhaps nothing is left quite as unexplained as the penultimate scene of Navi’s departure. Zelda fans have long been questioning the significance of the moment, and although very few people were sad to see Navi go, many still want to know why she left. This article suggests one possibility.
You may or may not be familiar with a theory on the Temple of Light, which ultimately suggests that the window in the Temple of Time where Navi flies off to is a gateway to the Temple of Light, and therefore, the Sacred Realm. Read “Search for the Temple of Light” for a more detailed explanation. Given the common sense that we wouldn’t expect Navi to fly through a glass window, the Sacred Realm theory has weight. The question that this raises is why does Navi go to the Sacred Realm? My suggestion is that she is only going back to where she came from, now that her purpose is accomplished!
“When evil rules all, an awakening voice from the Sacred Realm will call those destined to be Sages… Together with the Hero of Time, the awakened ones will bind the evil and return the light of peace to the world…”
This is a part of the “Legend of the Temples” told to Link by Sheik. While debating what exactly the “voice” that calls to the sages from the Sacred Realm is a topic worthy of discussion, it is not a stretch to say that an “awakening voice” also calls to the hero Link himself. In my popular theory piece, “Spirit of the Hero” I suggested that the awakening voice was a spirit that guides Hylian heroes, but in this case, we will consider the possibility of Navi being that “awakening voice” that calls to the hero from the Sacred Realm.
Looking to Ocarina of Time’s opening sequence we can take the “awakening voice” extremely literally. Link is asleep in his bed, dreaming prophetically* of his future encounter with Ganondorf, and it is Navi who wakes him up. We all remember Navi’s ramblings: “Hello, Link! Wake up!” “Link, get up!” “Hey! C’mon! Can Hyrule’s destiny really depend on such a lazy boy?” And so on it goes. It’s no wonder that she isn’t the most loved companion of Link’s, but she sure is an “awakening voice”. Right from the start, Navi knows what is at stake as she talks of “Hyrule’s destiny”. It is noteworthy that once evil has begin its quest to “rule all” by cursing the Deku Tree; this is when Navi, the guiding spirit, appears.
All throughout Link’s quest she is there, giving him advice, guiding him in the right direction, and being his sole companion on the lonely path of the hero. Navi seems to be much more than a mere fairy, she seems to more likely be a guiding spirit, which begs the question: why take the form of a fairy? The answer is starkly obvious. Link has spent his life being the odd one out, always teased for not having a fairy. The Kokiri are forever childish, and so is their capacity to bully. Mido’s comments to Link are such an example: “Hey you!” Mr. No Fairy!” …Without a fairy, you’re not even a real man!” The irony of that sentence coming from a ever childish male that hangs out with fairies is amusing. Nevertheless, couple the insults with Link’s artistic expression carved into his treehouse that reveals his longing to have a fairy companion and fit in with the Kokiri.
Are we to believe Navi was always a fairy, or did she have to get used to that form? Perhaps her flying abilities in the opening sequence allude to that. By manifesting herself as a fairy Navi has an easy way into Link’s life, because she is what Link has desired, even expected, for many years. Furthermore, having a fairy by his side gave Link the courage that would become so much stronger in the future. With a fairy Link felt as if he could face the world, that he was a “real man”. We know that it is only the Kokiri that have fairies, and they are not allowed to leave the forest – although the end credits are an exception to that. Link is unlikely to get a fairy companion, because he isn’t a Kokiri – plain and simple. Navi then, chose the perfect guise of a fairy, to become Link’s companion. After all, “fairy” and “companion” would have been synonymous in Link’s mind.
We do have to ponder how much the Deku Tree knew, but given his dying wish – “Navi the fairy… Help Link to carry out my will… I entreat ye… Navi…” – we could say that he knew perfectly well how important she was. It is an interesting notion, and explains Navi’s departure to a degree. Having achieved her purpose of guiding Link to defeat Ganondorf she returned to the Sacred Realm where she came from. Link was now well aware that he is not a Kokiri and that his life is not meant for companionship with fairies, but with other people. Or at least, that is the very message instilled into Link during his quest in Majora’s Mask for his “beloved and invaluable friend” Navi. “A friend with whom he parted ways when he finally fulfilled his heroic destiny.” Navi left because she had also achieved her destiny. Link never found Navi, because the quest was always futile. Navi as a fairy was no more, and the guiding spirit had left for the Sacred Realm; no longer present in the world of Hyrule.
It’s not an all round solid explanation – there are holes – but it does offer one potential theoretical solution for Navi’s departure. What are your thoughts on Navi’s ambiguous farewell?
* Look out for an article from me later this week called “The Hero of Time a Prophet?”