Zelda Theorizing Isn't Dead

Count this author as one with a recent fetish for doing top ten lists. There was my top ten games of 2010, my top ten most anticipated games of 2011, and now, my top ten Zelda theories of all time. The obsession with top ten lists I can’t explain (it’s not a lack of ideas I assure you), but I can explain why I’ve chosen to do one on Zelda theory articles. All too often in Zelda communities I see and hear people proclaiming that theorizing is dead. It even happens on our forums. The reason for this piece is to let you know that Zelda theorizing is far from dead.

Sure, it may be going through a quiet period at the moment given that Spirit Tracks is passed, and Skyward Sword is yet to come, but that isn’t death. It may not be prominent in the community like I can assure you it will be here at Zelda Informer once Skyward Sword hits, but if you want Zelda theorizing it is there for you. People may get over it from time to time, or think that they have found all of the answers they need for the moment and move on, but new people take their place.

Yes, newbies, (or less politely – noobs/n00bs/newbs) are theorizing. We have to remember that we were all new once, and we all had those moments that we’d wish never happened. They’re embarrassing to look back upon really. To be a respected theorist, you have to start somewhere. Personally, I’d rather not remember the days of ignorance on the split timeline, or how I somehow tried to squeeze Master Quest in there. The thing is, the newbies are the future. Call it clichĂ© if you wish. To those of you familiar with Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell – “if there is hope it lies in the proles”. In Zelda theorizing, hope lies in the newbies.

As long as there is fresh blood there is much to learn, there is new ideas, and there are new discoveries. And in Zelda, there is always room for more discovery. You may think you’ve analyzed everything, but there is always more. More depth. Things you’ve missed. So you must realize that theorizing is far from dead. Theorizing being dead is just the perception of those who are over it. I’ll admit that I haven’t been into theorizing for years, and probably won’t be until Skyward Sword. It may be dead to me at the moment, but it isn’t for others. It is threads like this on our forums which remind us that Zelda theorizing is an ongoing hobby.

Theorizing is timeless. Never ending. So many great theories of the past hold as much for us today as they did back when they were first conjured up. When I read them years later they still help me to understand Zelda even more. They remind me, that despite what people may think, the timeline is only one aspect of Zelda theorizing. Interpreting and piecing together the moral messages of Zelda requires aspects of Zelda theorizing too. I present to you my top ten Zelda theories. Of course it is subjective and my opinion, so keep that in mind.

There is sad point though: there is such a range of great theories hidden away on small online communities where few people have seen them. It’s just like those small bands playing gigs at their local pubs with great songs that we’ll never know. To make this list the theories have to of been formally presented and made it to prominence in the online Zelda community. All of the articles received largely positive feedback from the community at their time of release. You’ll also notice some unintentional Zelda Informer bias due to us being the only site to produce theory articles for a good two year period there, from 2007 to 2009. Regardless of your theorizing past, these pieces always have something to offer to get your mind going. Also just note that any Zelda Informer articles posted before mid-2010 don’t have the comments before that time as publicly viewable, due to our new commenting system. I also tried not be be self-biased, but I do love my work – I won’t hide that.

10 – A Hero Before Ocarina of Time

Author: Nick Geml (nick)

Release date: September 4 2007

Site: Zelda Informer

Summary: Back in it’s time not much was thought of this piece. It made some very strong points from limited evidence, but there wasn’t much more to it. How times change. With Skyward Sword just around the corner, we all know that there is a hero before Ocarina of Time. Looks like theorizing isn’t just about understanding games of the past, but what’s also to come. This was a great prediction and piece of insight.

9 – Origin of the Interlopers

Author: Dathen Boccabella (Melchizedek)

Release date: May 8 2009

Site: Zelda Informer

Summary: This was the first article I ever wrote for Zelda Informer, so it has a special place in my heart. It looks at the characteristics of the Twilight Realm and the Twili in an attempt to understand where the interlopers came from. Lanayru’s story from Twilight Princess is quite ambiguous, and this is me trying to make sense of it. Whether you agree with the theory itself or not, its great food for thought.

8 – The Philosophy of the Wind Waker (Parts 1-5)

Author: Dan Merrill (Hylian Dan)

Release date: March 7th 2010 – April 4th 2010

Site: Zelda Universe

Summary: In any area of study, to be a great theorist you have to be well versed with its philosophies. To me, theorizing is just as much about understanding the game’s philosophy, because that helps us to form opinions and develop connections. This superb five part series from what many will call the best Zelda author ever helps us to understand the message of The Wind Waker – with both inspiration for our lives and pathways for us to better understand the game.

7 – Kaepora Gaebora’s Sage

Author: Fingers

Release date: December 22 2007

Site: Zelda Informer

Summary: When I was new to theorizing this was one of the first things that I ever read. It stood out to me for being out there and not what you’d expect. We all know both Kaepora Gaebora and The Happy Mask Salesman in Majora’s Mask are mysterious, but to make the argument that they are the same entity is quite remarkable. Thought provoking to say the very least.

6 – Legends of Hyrule

Author: Ben Lamoreux (Erimgard)

Release date: September 25 2009

Site: Zelda Informer

Summary: In my opinion, Ben is one of the best theorists to have graced Zelda communities. He always approached theorizing with an open mind, and this article reflects that to a tee. Theorizing to many was all about piecing together a timeline, but this article openly suggests that at times we just need to remember that we are playing a legend – a collection of mythical tales. There is the potential to create a chronology, yes, but the stories about Hyrule don’t need be placed in an order, because after all, they are just legends.

5 – Immortal Childhood

Author: Dan Merrill (Hylian Dan)

Release date: June 14th 2009

Site: Zelda Universe

Summary: Again, The Immortal Childhood was an article about philosophies, that helped us to both understand Zelda better and our own lives. I don’t think there has ever been such an intricate analyses of Zelda games that pieces together elements from so numerous Zelda titles such as The Wind Waker, Majora’s Mask and Ocarina of Time. All with such detail and decisiveness. A true feat in Zelda articles.

4 – Spirit of the Hero

Author: Dathen Boccabella (Melchizedek)

Release date: September 4 2009

Site: Zelda Informer

Summary: Of all the things that I’ve written, this is the one I’m most proud of. That is because it is not solely my ideas, but a collection and interpretation of the many thoughts about The Hero’s Shade discussed across the community. Taking the widely accepted notion that the Hero’s Shade is Link from Ocarina of Time, I went on to explore how the Hero of Time could have come to be in such a state. I also looked at what exactly the Sublime Beast is, with further connections to the Sacred Realm, making this an informative read for all theorists.

3 – Mysteries in Hyrulean History: Dawn of the New Hyrule

Author: Alex Plant (Seran Aileron)

Release date: May 22 2009

Site: Zelda Informer

Summary: No theorist, in my opinion, has ever had such a wealth of knowledge, understanding, and a god-given ability to piece things together than good ol’ Lex. This article was neither groundbreaking or revolutionary, because the concept of a new Hyrule was widely circulating. However, what made this article so great was how it presented all of the evidence of a new Hyrule and discussed its implications. Truly stunning.

2 – Mysteries in Hyrulean History: The Sleeping Zelda and the Timeline

Author: Alex Plant (Seran Aileron)

Release date: March 21 2009

Site: Zelda Informer

Summary: Dawn of the New Hyrule and this go together, hand in hand, as the best duo of Zelda articles. The Adventure of Link’s backstory is tricky – theorists know that. What Lex does here is quite superb. Instead of placing The Adventure of Link backstory into a specific set place on the timeline like so many have done, Lex breaks the story apart piece by piece and relates each element to events that have already occurred in the timeline. Alex draws upon aspects from right across the series to deliver this masterpiece

1 – The Message of Majora’s Mask

Author: Dan Merrill (Hylian Dan)

Release date: May 11 2008

Site: Zelda Informer and Zelda Universe

Summary: When you read a top games list, you expect to see Ocarina of Time in first. On any best song of all time list you expect to see “Stairway to Heaven” leading the way. When it comes to Zelda theorizing, there’s nothing else people would expect to see at number one than Dan’s first, and forever best piece, The Message of Majora’s Mask. This article had it all: in-depth analysis and theories on the Stone Tower, an abundance of inspiring themes drawn from the game, and, it has stood the test of time proving that theorizing isn’t just about the timeline. All you need to have played to understand this is Majora’s Mask. This piece is one of the very reasons why we here at Zelda Informer say Majora’s Mask is better than Ocarina of Time. Essential reading for any Zelda fan.

So, do you agree? Are your favorite theory articles in the list? What would you add and remove? Let us know what you think, and if you haven’t read all of these yet, be sure to get on to it. I guarantee that they will be both inspirational and thought provoking to every Zelda fan out there.

Sorted Under: Editorials
Tagged With: