Who is Tatl?

To those who have not played Majora’s Mask, but know a decent bit about it, Tatl would appear to simply be a yellow Navi; but those people would be wrong. While Tatl does take Navi’s place as Link’s sidekick, Navi was just there, serving no real purpose and wasn’t much of a character; however, Tatl, while also serving no real purpose, is very much her own character.

Now, a lot of people last week commented that I was more retelling the story of Majora’s Mask, rather than exploring Link’s character, and I agree. I’ve felt a similar way about several of my previous editorials, as I was analysing each move a character made as they occurred. In future, I’m aiming to make these editorials more structured and looking specifically at each character’s personality and how it affected their later actions, rather than the other way around. With that out of the way, let’s get straight into it, shall we?

Tatl is a yellow fairy who resides in the land of Termina, with her younger brother, Tael. In the past, fairies have not been seen to have a concept of family, but Termina is a parallel world, so where fairies don’t have a concept of family in Hyrule, they do in Termina. This has often left me to wonder whether or not Tatl and Tael had parents, or if their parent was a Great Fairy in Termina, and how they became separated from their parents, if they had any?

Either way, given the absence of a parental figure in her life, Tatl took it upon herself to watch over her younger brother. At a point in the game where Link and Tatl stumble upon a tree carving that Tatl had made with Tael and Skull Kid, Tatl recounts how she and her brother first met Skull Kid. In the scene that follows, we see Tatl and Tael taking shelter in a large hollowed log in Termina Field from the rain. When Tael starts shivering, Tatl moves next to him to comfort him. In addition to this, Tatl shouts at the possessed Skull Kid after he backhands Tael, and from the very beginning when Tatl is stranded with Link, she is determined to get back to her brother.

Tatl and Tael’s relationship ties in with Majora’s Mask’s strong focus on emotions and relationships and is the first thing which makes Tatl stand out as her own character. While she can be a little sharp with some of the things she says, she is actually a kind fairy, like all other fairies in the series. After taking shelter from the rain, Tatl and Tael found the crying Skull Kid, and, not wanting him to feel sad and alone, they went over and huddled with him.

With the rain in progress, the fairies and Skull Kid entered the log as strangers; but when the rain subsided, they emerged as friends. As they played together, their friendship strengthened. But as the friendship strengthened, the innocent young Tael became ignorant of the increasingly mischievous acts of the Skull Kid, of which Tatl tried to warn him. Despite this, Tatl did not want to leave her brother and stayed with him and Skull Kid.

During their play-dates, they soon encountered the Happy Mask Salesman, and after rendering him unconscious, Skull Kid went through his backpack looking for anything that looked cool, and found Majora’s Mask. While Skull Kid’s antics had gotten progressively more mischievous beforehand, after he got Majora’s Mask, his tricks started to become cruel, though still Tatl remained with her brother, for fear of what might happen to him on his own with Skull Kid.

Getting to the beginning of the game, Tatl, still sticking with her brother, helps ambush Link. Together, Tatl and Tael startle Epona, causing her rear up and accidentally toss Link off, rendering him temporarily unconscious. Skull Kid then approaches and takes Link’s Ocarina of Time, not knowing its power. When Tael asks if he can touch it, but Tatl cries out against this, warning him that he might break it.

From this it is clear that Tatl thinks that Tael is still quite immature. Admittedly, if he touched it a little too hard, he might knock it out of Skull Kid’s hand, but I doubt it would break on the ground, not only because of the grass, but also because in Hyrule Historia, it is hinted that the Ocarina of Time was carved out of a Timeshift Crystal from Skyward Sword, and they could withstand sword slashes, so I think it could withstand falling a small distance to the ground.

The idea of Tatl believing Tael to be immature is furthered when she is separated from him, having stayed to keep Link (now transformed into a Deku Scrub thanks to Skull Kid) from following them, while Skull Kid and Tael continued on, she makes the following comment:

“Ohhhh, Tael…
I wonder if that child will be all right on his own?”

There can’t be too great of an age difference between them, and if Tael is still a child, Tatl would, by most standards, also still be a child. Either that, or her role as Tael’s guardian has gone to her head and she still sees him as immature.

Tatl, in her confusion of what might happen to Tael, mixed with feelings of regret for staying back with Link, her continued worry for Skull Kid’s wellbeing, and her urgency to reunite with Tael, takes it out on poor little Link, but despite the fact that she could simply chase after Tael and Skull Kid and easily catch up with them, she decides to stay with Link. Perhaps she senses that Link can save Skull Kid from Majora’s Mask and his mischievous ways?

After a failed attempt to stop Skull Kid after three days, Link is forced to use the Song of Time to return to the start of the three days, and Tatl is pulled back with him. Knowing that the only way she can be reunited with Tael and for Skull Kid to be saved is to stick with Link and help him free the four Giants, Tatl does so.

After the four Giants are awakened and stop the moon from falling, Majora’s Mask leaves Skull Kid and possesses the moon, Tatl soon realises that Tael was never as immature as he seemed. From Tatl’s perspective, it appeared that Skull Kid was doing everything, but Tael realized that it was not Skull Kid, but some entity in the mask that was acting through him, and while Tatl wants to stay with Tael and Skull Kid while Link finishes off the mask, after Tael volunteers to go, she changes her mind and goes with Link while Tael stays with the Skull Kid.

After everything is resolved, Tatl suggests that Link continue on his travels while the rest of them go to the carnival. This always did (and I think it always will) perplex me. Tatl was always a kind person, and under pressured circumstances, should could be a bit of a prick, but after all that she’s been through in the past three days (multiply that by however many times you rewound time and adjust calculations for any non-complete cycles you went through), you’d think she’d at least invite him to the Carnival of Time, given that Link also just agreed to be the Skull Kid’s newest friend. But, no. I came up with the idea that, along the way, whenever Link asked her about info on an enemy that she knew quite well and was pretty common in Termina, she soon realised that Link was from a different land entirely, and after everything was resolved, she realised that not only was it awkward for her having to try and figure out a way to say goodbye to a stranger, she realised that it was awkward for him being in this strange world, and not knowing how to say goodbye, she just blurted out the awkwardness that she was feeling.

Luckily for Tatl, Link agreed, and happily went on his way. After Link’s departure, we can assume that Tatl and Tael’s relationship would’ve started anew, with Tatl now seeing Tael as an equal, and with Skull Kid having learnt from his mistakes, their friendship would also be renewed, and together, the three of them would have good times, laughs, and everything that friends should have.

So how was that? I know this might not be the best example of a more in-depth editorial, so do you guys feel that there might have been a different reason for Tatl’s farewell to Link? What are your ideas for why she was looking after her brother and sticking with him? Do you have a better reason for why she decided to stick with Link at the beginning? Let me know in the comments.

Sorted Under: Editorials, Majora's Mask