Clearly, the story told in The Wind Waker is heavily linked with the past games, especially Ocarina of Time. It emphasizes its connections with other Zelda games not only through dialogue but also through remixed music. Unforunately however, many people have some major misconceptions about precisely how The Wind Waker is connected with Ocarina of Time. These major misconceptions mostly have to do with how the Waker of the Wind and the Hero of Time are related. For those of you who have not played the game yet, never fear, I will attempt to debunk the misconceptions without spoiling any real plot points specific to The Wind Waker.
How many years later does The Wind Waker take place?
News flash. The Wind Waker does not take place 100 years after Ocarina of Time. It actually takes place hundreds of years after Ocarina of Time. In-game text partway through the adventure tells us that. Now, you might argue that it is exactly 100 years based on the interview with Miyamoto and Aonuma a while back. But what the game says is more important than what the director says through a translator. No doubt he forgot the precise statement in the game, and simply made a generalization to demonstrate that this game takes place much later than the first one and thus has a new boy named Link. The game, however, says hundreds. Of course, that’s just what it says in the English version. No doubt it could have said “100 years” in the Japanese version, and perhaps when the game was being localized the translators changed it. If so, they realized that, cataclysmic event or not, 100 years is ridiculously short for certain things to have happened. First, history would not have become become so distorted as to be legend. Second, the language would not have changed so much that the Waker of the Winds is clueless as to what certain characters are saying when they speak in the “old tongue.”
The main point is that the game says it’s “hundreds of years,” and not “100 years.” I would think that rather than the Japanese version saying something different (and completely unrealistic), it’s most likely the case that the director simply forgot the exact phrasing and on the fly generalized by saying “100 years.”
How is the Waker of the Wind connected with the Hero of Time?
Most people believe that the Waker of the Wind (the Link in The Wind Waker) is a direct descendent of the Hero of Time (the Link in Ocarina of Time). This is what is generally believed, but it actually seems to derive from information before the release of The Wind Waker. We do know for certain that the Link in A Link to the Past is a descendent of Link in Ocarina of Time. It makes sense, based on our knowledge of how myths work, to assume that the Waker of the Wind is also the descendent of the Hero of Time. But as you play the game, you find a general emphasis on the lack of a link between the Waker of the Wind and the Hero of Time. Why would Nintendo do that? I would guess it probably comes from the same reasoning that motivated Miyamoto to make the game cel-shaded. He wanted the new game to return to the core concept of the boy in the cave, as I reminded you of last time. In the process, he wanted to make the boy as “ordinary” as possible. In fact, the boy is so “ordinary” that he is not even a descendent of the Hero of Time spoken of in the great legends.
You might object,”Well, do you have any specific examples showing the lack of a connection, Trahald?” I mentioned a “general emphasis” on the lack of a connection. Of course I could describe various parts of the game in which the Waker of the Winds is shown to be unrelated to the Hero of Time, but that would involve major spoilers. The game hasn’t been out long enough for me to start mentioning such things in my articles. However, those examples aren’t absolutely crucial, since all we really need is a certain comment by the King of Red Lions, the talking ship. At one point, he says, “The one I have brought with me [i.e. Link, who is in the ship] has no connection to the legendary one. And yet I sense great promise in the courage that this one possesses.” In other words, the only connection between the Waker of the Winds and the Hero of Time is courage.
On the other hand, what about an event that takes place at the beginning of the game? Even those of you who have never played it should know that your grandmother gives you the family shield, which looks remarkably similar to the one that the Hero of Time bore. Would this indicate that the Waker of the Winds is of the bloodline of the Hero of Time? Not necessarily. A comparison between the shield of the Hero of Time and the shield of the Waker of the Wind reveals that they are different in several significant aspects. They are not the same shield. We do know that the shield of the Hero of Time was the same as that held by the knights of that period. Perhaps, then, the Waker of the Wind is a descendant of the knights who bore shields like that held by the Hero of Time.
Others would argue that Ganon’s curse at the end of Ocarina of Time supports the idea that the Waker of the Wind is a descendant of the Hero of Time. But who does Ganon’s curse refer to? Once again, it is important to think of the game in terms of its designers, a point that I will return to again and again. A Link to the Past kept referring to the “Imprisoning War,” and that was what what prompted the design of Ocarina of Time. Since the Link found in A Link to the Past is a descendant of the Hero of Time, and the maidens in A Link to the Past are the descendants of the sages in Ocarina of Time, Nintendo intended for Ganon’s lines at the end to refer to A Link to the Past, not a game that would not even begin to be designed for several years. That’s why we can’t use Ganon’s curse as proof that the Waker of the Wind is a descendant of the Hero of Time.
What happened to the Hero of Time, anyway?
Exactly what did happen to the Hero of Time? When he returned from Termina, why didn’t he do any more great deeds? The Wind Waker doesn’t leave us hanging. It tells us that that when he was called to that other land, he was “separated from the elements that made him a hero,” especially the Triforce of Courage. When he returned, he seems to have settled into relative obscurity. Otherwise the story would not simply end with him “mysteriously disappearing.” This tells us several things. For one thing, in reference to the romance issue, it means that Nintendo didn’t intend for him to marry any of the sages (including Princess Zelda) or anyone else prominent. But that’s another story for another day.
The bottom line? The Wind Waker takes place hundreds of years after Ocarina of Time, not “100 years,” and the Waker of the Wind is actually not a descendant of the Hero of Time. And by the way, if you choose to send me an e-mail, please refrain from spoilers.