The Importance of Death Mountain.

For those who remember, last month I wrote up an analysis on the significance of the inhabitants of Kokiri Forest and their relationship to the overall plot of Ocarina of Time and Link’s character.

Each temple featured in Ocarina of Time has its own unique significance, and each temple is represented by a Sage, a secondary character who plays a vital role in the development of Link’s character.

Kokiri Forest, the Forest Temple, and Saria all relate to Link’s initial character and his eventual departure from childhood. After all, Ocarina of Time is all about Link growing up, albeit in a rather unorthodox way.

The next stage in Link’s journey takes him to Death Mountain, the land of the Gorons. This is the second of the three temples that Link experiences as both a child and an adult. If we count the Temple of Time, it is of the four. I’m speaking broadly here; I know Link doesn’t physically go to any of the three temples until he is an adult.

The Shadow Temple and the Spirit Temple were experienced after Link had already traveled seven years into the future, though, interestingly enough, Link must become a kid again to complete those temples (in order to meet Nabooru before she is kidnapped and brainwashed, and in order to retrieve the Lens of Truth). However, since we are traveling from adulthood to childhood, instead of childhood to adulthood, it is an entirely different experience.

The Temple of Light is unique because it lacks dungeon crawling, along with a boss. We also never properly explore it; we only see in the Chamber of Sages. The Temple of Time acts as a bridge between the Temples:

Forest – Fire – Water – TIME – Light – Shadow – Spirit

The regions that Link first experienced as a child are especially important because after seven years have passed he has something to compare them to. When Link first steps out of the Temple of Time and sees the dark sky and the glowing red ring of firing encircling Death Mountain, there’s a shock value because we know what it used to look like.

Death Mountain.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s start from the beginning.

After his little chat with Zelda, Link agrees that he’s going to help her save the world, and heads immediately to Goron City. Upon arriving, Link discovers that evil has already reached the Gorons. Ganondorf has already visited the city in an attempt to acquire the Spiritual Stone of Fire (a.k.a. Goron’s Ruby). When the Gorons refused, Ganondorf unleashed King Dodongo in their caverns, where their food supply is located. So when Link visits the city, the Gorons are starving.

But an evil had already plagued the Gorons before Ganondorf ever dropped by. The Gorons’ entire civilization is based on brotherhood. They’re all about relationships based on trust. In order to gain a Gorons trust, you must first proof yourself worthy of it. It doesn’t matter who you are or even if you’re a kid; if you are worthy of being a brother to the Gorons, they will accept you for life. The King of Hyrule is considered a brother to the Gorons, but at the point in time Link meets the Gorons, the King has neglected his brotherly duties.

Despite the fact that the Gorons are in trouble, and clearly have been in trouble for awhile, the King has sent them no aid. Instead, the King is having a nice little get-together with the very guy who caused the Gorons’ trouble.

Zelda being the wise future-ruler she is, is the only member of the royal family who assists the Gorons. She does this while also simultaneously attempting to stop Ganondorf from obtaining the Triforce, by sending Link.

Since Darunia has a pact with the Royal family he is obligated to hand over the stone on Zelda’s request. Zelda knows this, but she also wants to help the Gorons with King Dodongo. She knew that the Gorons were starving, just as her father knew. And she knew that Link, as her representative, would have to address the King Dodongo issue. She fails to mention this to Link when she sends him off, adding to guilt she feels and admits to by the end of the game.

Sworn Brothers.

The Gorons are extremely loyal people; their sworn brothers are like blood brothers to them. From the Gorons’ perspective the King’s negligence is an act of betrayal. But since these bonds are blood bonds, Darunia sees the King as if he were actually born his brother. Therefore, I do not doubt that, if the King were in trouble, the Gorons wouldn’t hesitate for a second on coming to the King’s aid, even though the King did not help them.

By the time Link visits the Gorons, they have lost faith in the King’s coming, but they have not dismissed the royal family as a whole. They acknowledge that Zelda is different from her father. As such, they judge Link separately as well, despite him coming on Zelda’s behalf. They give him the chance to prove himself, and judge him based on his actions.

'I now call you Brother' by DeviantArt user ry-spirit

So when Link defeats King Dodongo, it profoundly affects Darunia’s opinion of him. Link did something that was not only necessary for the survival of the Gorons, but also something a Sworn Brother wouldn’t even check in about. Yet Link was not a Sworn Brother; he did it because the Gorons were in trouble. Link didn’t even ask about the Spiritual Stone until after he had cheered up Darunia with some music. Darunia was so affected by Link’s courage and purity that he ended up naming his own son after him. He even offered for Link to stay with the Gorons, an offer that Link was never able to take up because of future events. In addition, Darunia regretted that he did not get to see Link grow into a man himself.

For Link the Gorons were a group he never saw coming. Link had spent years subject to relationships based on prejudices rather than deeds and merit. Here were a group that were politically more important than any Kokiri, but they accepted Link. Furthermore, they did not accept Link based on what he looked like, how old he was, or if he had a fairy or not; they accepted him for him. Considering that Link spent his whole life listening to and believing Mido, this was a huge step for him, and it was a necessary step in Link’s path to self-confidence.

Volvagia by DeviantArt user firecloud.

When Link returns to Death Mountain seven years later, he isn’t a kid seeking acceptance. Instead, he returns as a long-lost brother who was sorely missed. However, Link’s belonging issue was only the first character flaw he had to overcome. By the time he is an adult, he understands that he was significant in people’s lives. As an adult his flaw isn’t low self-esteem, but guilt. Returning to the Forest, Fire, and Water regions showed him how much he meant to the people he met in Hyrule. Furthermore, he is plagued by the knowledge that he led Ganondorf to the Triforce. Link wasn’t just the legendary Dodongo Buster who wasn’t there to fight off Ganondorf’s men when they took to Gorons away to be fed to Volvagia; he was the reason why Volvagia was unleashed, the reason why Goron Link had to grow up without a father.

Darunia, with the knowledge of a Sage, does not blame Link for any of the misfortunes caused by Ganondorf. Instead he thanks him for once again saving his people. Even if leading Ganondorf to the Triforce was technically Link’s fault, Darunia would never blame him for it because he knows that Link was trying to stop Ganondorf when no one else was. Link is also his friend, his brother, and he is willing to forgive him. While Link still blames himself for several more temples, this is the first step towards him realizing that it wasn’t his fault that he is not responsible for Ganondorf’s actions.

Bolero of Fire by Me (Yes, really, I drew this).

Ultimately, Death Mountain is important because it is about friendship and forgiveness, and how together these two things lead to destruction of the King of Evil.

“It is something that grows over time… a true friendship. A feeling in the heart that becomes stronger over time… The passion of friendship will soon blossom into a righteous power and through it, you will know which way to go… This song is dedicated to the power of the heart… Listen to the Bolero of Fire.” – Sheik

The Importance of Ocarina of Time is an ongoing series where I look closely into each of the major Temples of the N64 Zelda game and analyze how each temple is important to the overall plot of the game and Link’s character.

The Importance of Ocarina of Time is an ongoing series where I look closely into each of the major Temples of the N64 Zelda game and analyze how each temple is important to the overall plot of the game and Link’s character.

Previous articles in this series: Forest, Fire, Water, Shadow, Desert, Milk, Milk

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