At last we come to one of the choices most favored among fans of Link’s possible love interests: the girl with green hair, Saria of the woodland realm. Clearly, there’s chemistry between them, as they are best friends. But does the chemistry extend beyond that?
Love in their Eyes
Right at the very beginning of the adventure, it’s clear that Saria is very fond of Link. Some have said that since they are mere children, they would not be in love. For one thing, that assumes that “love” is defined to be some full-blown thing that only adults could experience. For another thing, it’s true that she has the body and spirit of a child, but she has a magnificent maturity to her, a maturity that makes perfect sense when she is chosen as a sage. She sees things on a deeper level than others, and proclaims that she knew that Link would one day leave. This maturity could be significant-does she have feelings for Link?
We also learn that Mido likes Saria, and as a result is jealous of Link because he’s her favorite. He tries to get Saria to like him, but it’s certainly not very effective. He’s a bully, but there’s something more large-scale and sinister to his status as bully, something more adult-like. And this too clues us in that at least some of the Kokiri are not entirely what they seem.
Link too, has Saria in a prominent place in his own heart. We see that even at the beginning, especially the way he backs up hesitantly from her on the bridge and then runs off. He doesn’t express his emotions well, perhaps because he was a bit of a social outcast. At any rate, he’s very fond of her, and thinks she’s special in a way that almost no one else could be. Both Saria and Link constantly think about each other.
In the end, however, we have no concrete evidence either way. It’s simply ambiguous. They love each other greatly as friends, but it’s impossible to tell whether or not there’s any crush in there too. They’re the best of friends, and have an amazing chemistry together, but we can’t really tell anything. Drawing the line between the “best friends” kind of love and the “best friends love” with a crush attached is extremely difficult, as it is so often in real world relationships.
It isn’t until Link is an adult that we get our first real interpretable evidence for anything.
After defeating the Forest Temple, Saria says the following:
Because of you, I could awaken as a Sage . . .
I am Saria.
The Sage of the Forest Temple . . .
I always believed that you would come. Because I know you . . .
No . . .
You don’t have to explain it to me . . .
Because it is destiny that you and I can’t live in the same world.
I will stay here as the Forest Sage and help you…
Now, please take this Medallion . . .”
Their meeting is painful. They have that great friendship between them, and there’s a rift in it because of time and circumstances. They are painfully aware of their separation, and although they want to rectify it, they know they cannot.
What happens next is perhaps even more interesting. Against a white screen, a text box says, “Saria will always be . . .” Pause. Then it says, “Your friend . . .”
But even more to the point is what Mido tells you afterwards:
“Oh . . . I see . . .
Saria won’t ever come back . . .
But . . . I . . . I made a promise to Saria . . .
If Link came back, I would be sure to tell him that Saria had been waiting for him . . .”
Then Mido has a hard time getting out the next part:
“Because Saria . . . really . . .
liked . . .”
He falters and says, “Hey, you.” Which is an interesting bit of text because not only does it ironically belong to the previous sentence, but also to the next:
“If you see him somewhere, please let him know . . .
And also . . .
I’m sorry for being mean to him.
Tell him that, too.”
Taking these quotes together, we can see that there’s no question where Saria’s affections lay-with Link. And Link? What does he think? Once again, he seems a bit clueless about it. But as for reciprocating that romantic love, that special bond, it’s hard to say. It’s easy to imagine that if somehow, the circumstances allowed for it, and if she had plucked up the courage to be open with him about her feelings, he would have been happy with the idea. But we can’t ponder the “what if” questions, because these quotes make it clear that Saria is gone from his world. The idea is that they could have grown even beyond being just best friends, but that they couldn’t because this was a new life. It’s part of the larger theme of time in Ocarina of Time. The passing of time and the brutal new reality meant that Link would have to give up that age of childhood. Saria symbolizes a past age, an age which could never again be claimed. Link’s past was a wonderful time, a time of love and joy and innocence and the green and simple things of the world, but now that life could not be reclaimed. It’s a painful thing, but it’s part of the pathos of the game.
Link and Saria. They were the best of friends, tied together by an incredible bond. But did they feel anything “more” than that? On Saria’s part, it seems that she certainly did. On Link’s part, he seems rather clueless as usual. He probably was too “simple-minded,” to to speak, to think of her as something more than a best friend. I would remind you that it wasn’t until Cremia hugged him in Majora’s Mask that we see him having true “fuzzy feelings.” This was something new to him, which means that he hadn’t felt like that before that time. Cremia had to do something obvious for him to open his eyes to what he feels about Malon back home. So it does seem likely that if Saria had strongly encouraged a special relationship in that kind of obvious manner, then his eyes would have opened to the kind of wonderful person Saria was. But that could not to be, because the message of the game is clear, that Saria and Link are of two different worlds, and a romance would never spring up between them because of the painful reality of time and circumstance.
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