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Gossip Stones: Is it all just gossip?

In only a few select Zelda games, the Gossip Stones have been an odd item found among the various locations of Hyrule. Out of all the Zelda games, however, the Gossip Stones only have only made a memorable appearance in the admired N64 titles; they made smaller, less remarkable appearances in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, and Spirit Tracks.

In and of themselves, they were incredibly odd landmarks. They were represented by large (in relation to Link), gray stones with a darker-gray Sheikah’s Eye of Truth emblazoned in the center. Two sly lips curl significantly underneath the sinister eye; three arrows come off of the eye and branch out in three directions: one at 60⁰, another at 90⁰, and the last at 120⁰. It looks as though the rock has gone through a bit of earthly strain, but not enough to change the color or, say, erode.

The eye itself is peculiar, as it holds one of the Gossip Stones’ many powers: to be able to invade a person’s mind and soul. When approached by the player and interacted with (without the Mask of Truth), the Gossip Stone reveals a chilling text box:

“This statue’s one-eyed gaze pierces into your mind…”

This is one of the most blunt and creepy lines in the game and, as a result, makes it a memorable entity.

They can also give the player either useful or irrelevant tips. They can range anywhere from petty street gossip to distinguishable control tips to creative theorizing information from the very Sages themselves! Whether or not the information is helpful depends on the environment in which the Stone is in, and the Stone itself. If, say, the Stone is located near the Temple of Time in the Hyrule Castle Town where Malon sings every night, they will most likely have some thoughts and feelings on Malon; almost exactly like real people would have. Here is an actual quote from the Gossip Stone in the Temple of Time’s courtyard:

“They say that Malon of Lon Lon Ranch hopes a knight in shining armor will come and sweep her off her feet someday.”

The Gossip Stones themselves will be further expanded upon later; for now, let’s look at the vessel in which the thoughts and feelings are communicated through.

The Key: The Mask of Truth

It's really creepy, huh?

The Mask of Truth is the item in which the thoughts and soul essence is transferred through to the player. It looks nearly identical to the Gossip Stones, although it is worn on the face and, instead of the dull colors consisting of gray and darker gray, it’s instead painted white and red. The cold, gray eye that we’ve seen on the Gossip Stones’ rocky face is now golden, further discerning it from the entire standard item set.

The Mask of Truth is obtained by the Happy Mask Salesman in Ocarina of Time, and the fact that you receive the mask from the most controversial NPC (Non-Playable Character) in the game makes the item in itself controversial.  The mask is obtained after a short series of trading masks to NPCs throughout Hyrule. Once you trade the last mask to the last NPC, he lends you the Mask of Truth; you’ll probably keep it, as it is the only mask that is useful during the game.

But, why does this NPC own the Mask of Truth? He is known to be able to traverse worlds (and theorized by many, time as well). Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to get to Termina in the game’s sequel Majora’s Mask.  I even will go as far to theorize that he is the deity (or god) of Termina; however, that’s off topic.

Whenever the Salesman opens his eyes in a violent outburst is Ocarina of Time, we can see that he has red eyes. The red eyes of Hyrule are almost always commonly associated with the Sheikah Tribe. This may in fact be a result of his anger, but what further attributes to this theory is that he owns the Mask of Truth. This Mask would also have been passed down to him (a common tradition in Hyrule) or left in an easily positioned location, where he could come back to later. The Mask of Truth being connected with the Gossip Stones, there is a strange connection here.

Gossip Stone: Redux

Well, we know that the Mask of Truth is able to read the Gossip Stones for the player; that much is perceptibly obvious. Yet, how does this contraption work, exactly?  Well if we look at it from a simple point of view, we know that the first thing that is said to the player when interacted with is:

“This statue’s one-eyed gaze pierces into your mind…”

If we think about this a little more, you’ll find that information on an NPC is limited to where the Gossip Stone is located. So, we have a Stone near the top of Death Mountain in Ocarina of Time; it says:

“They say that Biggoron’s Sword is super sharp and will never break.”

How would this Stone know this unless the Stone had already read the Biggoron’s mind? This implies that there is a soul… a soul being trapped inside of the Gossip Stone for it to remember things like this. I have a conjecture on this topic:

  • The Sheikah used these Stones as gravestones for their ancestors, and then, at some point later on, somehow the soul of the ancestor merged with the Stone, using it as a vessel.

This is supported by the Stone’s ability to read the minds and hearts of people and be capable of holding an assortment of memories. To further understand this topic, we have to look at yet another Sheikah Artifact.

The Truth of People and the World beyond: The Lens of Truth

Although the Lens of Truth doesn’t hold any significant purpose in the full analysis of the Gossip Stones, we do need to understand how it works itself.

The Lens of Truth

It let’s us see hidden things in Hyrule itself. As any fans of the series might know, the Lens of Truth is an eye, almost a gateway to seeing the fourth dimension in the two N64 titles. It lets us see the walls that are visible in the real world be invisible in the 4th, and it lets us see platforms that aren’t visible but are with the artifact worn.

In this respect, the Gossip Stones act as a sort of Lens of Truth; however, it is more of an upgraded version of the rock. It acts as a shredder, tearing through the lies and deceit in order to find the truth in people. It’s an item that can see the lies and Hyrule, much like the Gossip Stones can see the lies in the Hyruleans. It can also see an intangible world that is brought out in the same way between two objects.

Conclusion

So, what can we infer from the Gossip Stones? We can tell that they are pretty odd. We can tell that they hold a great deal of information (useful or useless). We can tell that they have a pretty strange and great connection to the Happy Mask Salesman, the Mask of Truth, and the Lens of Truth. They have a function similar to the Lens of Truth: being able to see what others may not. They are like treasure chests, being opened by the Mask of Truth. They are objects of immense power, and whether they are souls of a long-departed Sheikah Tribe or just enchanted Sheikah Artifacts (like the Lens of Truth, Mask of Truth, etc…), they are largely one of my most beloved and most memorable entities in the entire Zelda series.

I hope you enjoyed this [fairly short] article, thanks for reading.

  • DekuSprout

    As cool as Gossip stones look…. To be honest, they're pretty useless to most but it is amusing to find out the information they give(:

    • Zelda_Chapman

      Gossip stones are the coolest thing evaaa 😉 i want your mums gossip stone!

  • DekuSprout

    They're pretty useless… Though funny to read(:

  • Murasaki-Mary

    excellent article! I definetly agree on all of your points here in connection to the Sheika and the HMS! (^w^)b

    • Scholar

      Thanks! I appreciate your feedback!

  • Keimori

    You missed one point, the fact that they have a habbit of blastin into orbit when exploded upon! clearly this must be a super secrect defence mechanisim!

    oh, and you neglected to mention the one in WW, which funtions more like a ye olde cell phone.

    otherwise you got some very good points, nicely done.

    • Scholar

      Thanks man! Yeah, I remember that. Thanks for the feedback! ^__^

  • Nuke

    Yeah nice article Shroom 😀

    • Scholar

      Why thanks, Nuke! :3

  • Sheikfreak

    Have you ever considered that they may just be magic. theres nothing in game to support the whole "soul in the stone theory"

    • the_voice

      Have you ever considered that they may just be living organisms that look like rocks. theres nothing in game to support the whole "magic theory"

  • Jailin

    I do understand where you're coming from. But, I don't think the production team was thinking of that when they were making the game. Otherwise, good observation and I would agree with your theory if the reason previously stated wasn't probably true.

  • KMantegna

    Interesting! The Gossip Stones (and the Mask Salesman!) are a strange part of the game.

    Your theory sparked a theory of my own: That the Gossip Stones are actually "pierc[ing] into your mind" to see Link's past, present, and future. That the Gossip Stones know the Biggoron's Sword is strong, not because the Stone looked into the Biggoron's mind, but because the stone looked into Link's mind and was able to see that Link would indeed someday obtain the sword. To give another example, the Stone knows that Malon wishes a knight would sweep her off her feet because Link, someday, does indeed sweep her off her feet (in one way or another :/ ) Or, possibly Link himself is not the knight but another person, and Link may come to know this through getting to know Malon, in this world/time or another.

    I haven't gone back and looked through the Gossip Stone messages, but I thought this seemed an interesting possibility – the Gossip Stones could possibly look into Link's mind and see all that he eventually comes to know; they could serve to explain to Link in some Oracle type of way (think Matrix Oracle), to show Link (or another Mask-wearer?) what must be done, even if he doesn't know it yet (or in that specific world/time).

    Thanks for the article and thoughts! Cool stuff.

    • do u like waffles?

      very interesting theory 🙂

  • yanoit15

    you know what i wuldnt mind? nintendo elaborating more on the stones…iv always had a weird feeling about them….they could make an entire game about them to explain there origins. use them to maybe save the world(like link usually does).i dont know, but itd be cool to learn about them theyve always been so mysterious and sometimes missunderstood

    • lootic

      The Legend of Zelda: Mask of Truth CONFIRMED!!!

    • shooflypi

      I have a feeling we are going to see some Sheikah and maybe the inception of the gossip stones in Skyward Sword

      • TnzSki

        Oh yeah, we probably will see the Sheikah, seeing as they died off some time before OOT and SS takes place some time before OOT!

    • Dara

      I honestly wouldn't mind Nintendo elaborating more on EVERYTHING. The only reason we have theorists is because Nintendo leaves so many gaps. Some gaps are great, and theorizing is fun, but I wish they would at least confirm the theories as the games progress, so we don't all die never knowing the truth.

  • robotortoise

    Great article, though I thought it should've touched on one topic: whether the stone's gossip is actually true, or is just, well, gossip. I know it seems kind of silly to question a line that's embedded in the game, but they ARE called gossip stones. Some of it we know is true, for instance, " Biggoron’s Sword is super sharp and will never break", but some of it we don't:"Malon of Lon Lon Ranch hopes a knight in shining armor will come and sweep her off her feet someday". Or that Kepora Gebora is, in fact, an ancient sage reincarnation.

    Oh, and just for the record, in the 3D version the text says,"What do suppose this stone is? I feel like it's trying to tell us something… I think there's a fairy hiding inside it, too. Maybe you can lure it out somehow!"

    • gannon banned

      that's because when you play the song of time in front of one a fairy comes out ;p

      • Shadowknight1

        Or Zelda's Lullaby. Or the Song of Storms.

      • robotortoise

        Yeah. I was just referencing that the 3DS version doesn't mention the whole "soul-looking -into" thing.

    • Keeda

      Yet, I had Biggoron's sword and it once broke on me.

      • robotortoise

        … Probably the Giant's Knife. Biggoron's sword never breaks. At least, I don't think it can…

  • We need more articles like this – Not 4chan-trash that isn't even remotely amusing.

  • sk8on9876

    Interesting, yet people think too deeply into this stuff.

  • katyerin

    This is what I love about the Zelda series the most – as much work as they put into developing all the side stories and details, they still leave it a mystery, adding a whole new dimension to the game. Even though you're not playing the actual video game, you're still playing the game by trying to figure it all out.

    • gannon banned

      I totally second that

    • aeolus

      That was actually one of Miyamoto's goals with the first game. We wanted to make a game that players would think about when they aren't in front of the tv

      • aeolus

        ….uh, I meant "He" not "we"….

  • poesister89

    Awesome article on a topic that I've often wondered about. This is just another mysterious element of the Zelda series that makes it so enjoyable! 🙂 Thanks for a refreshing topic!

  • bushibu@bushibu.com

    damn, i thought this was going to be an article telling everyone what order you have to go around hitting the gossip stones for them to tell you (sublminally) what date skyward sword was going to be released. 🙁 Oh well, that was still a pretty intresting article.

    • GorCoronSumo

      Boiingg! Boiingg! Skyward Sword's release date will be ????!

  • zeldaman69

    I forget, where is a Gossip Stone in WW?

    • Scholar

      The Pirate's Charm that Tetra gives you before your first flight into the Forsaken Fortress was stated to be the relic of the Gossip Stones by the King of Hyrule.

      "That stone is an enhanced version of the Gossip Stones long spoken of in the legends of the Hyrulian Royal Family. I am the one who made it." ~The King

  • Qaz

    What about the ones in TP? They were present, too.

  • Chesireson

    I have found two typographical errors in your analysis:

    • “Whenever the Salesman opens his eyes in a violent outburst is Ocarina of Time, we can see that he has red eyes.” “Is” (before Ocarina of Time) should be replaced with “in.”
    • “It let’s us see hidden things in Hyrule itself.” “Let’s” should be replaced with “lets.”

    Additionally, NPC is an acronym for Non-Player Character; not Non-Playable Character.

    Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading this perspective article. Keep up the excellent work, Scholar.

    • Scholar

      Why thank you Chesireson. I'll be happy to edit out those little problems. :3

  • Jonny

    I find that to be an interesting perspective and some very good thoughts. There is are things I don't really agree with or I think there is too little evidence to jump to speculation on such as the idea of gossip stones having a soul. I think there could be a variety of ways in which they could store information (or gossip) including plain and simple magic. But if we agreed on everything we wouldn't be theorizers :p

    There are also some thoughts on the gossip stones I've been brewing for a while but be kind as I've not really devoted enough time to make sure there are no big holes I've missed in my analysis:

    While I agree on the read minds I think there is more too them than that, I think more than read minds they can actually see the truth in what is said. So if situated next to Biggoron and he says (either to himself or someone else) that this will be a strong blade the gossip stone would see that this it true and too what extent (that it wouldn't break).

    I think this due to the way the mask of truth lets you hear the truth (I believe that the MoT and the stone are very similar devices) when you speak to someone while wearing it and you hear the truth in what they say rather than just reading their minds, I do also agree with the reading of the minds as there are instances of reading minds such as animal's in MM and the gossip stones themselves but I think they are more complex than simply that.

  • TheMaverickk

    Interestingly enough there is merit on the "soul/object" theory.

    More so though in the form of the Lens of Truth. Since an old man in Adult Link Kakariko mentions that there used to be a man who apparently could see the truth who also happened to live right where the well stands now.

    Needless to say, who knows if that man actually had eyes that could see the truth, or if it was simply cause he had the Lens of Truth in his possession. Either way this man who could apparently see this truth was likely a Shiekah man considering that it was someone who lived there long before the well was ever built.

    Perhaps by some magic, that mans eyes became the Lens of Truth even.

    It's all interesting conjuncture. I'm seriously hoping that in Skyward Sword we will get to see more Shiekah. Since although Hylians are from Skyloft, the rest of the races in Hyrule probably originated from the land below (the gorons, zora, shiekah, Gerudo and even the Kokiri should theoretically live below the clouds).

    • Banooru

      "A long time ago…There was a man in this very village who had an eye they said could see the truth! Now usually, you have to train your mind's eye most strenuously to actually see the truth… But this fella, no, they say he had a different way of doing things…His house stood where the well is now…"

      It says that usually you have to train your mind's eye to see the truth. I think his different way of doing things was using the lens of truth. Although, it could mean his different way of doing things was using magic when others just looked for clues (there are usually small clues to find fake walls or invisible scythes) and his soul became part of the eye of truth, but I don't think so.

  • do u like waffles?

    @ Tnzski: Oh yeah, I remember those stones. Though they were howling stones, not gossip stones, as they didn't give any gossip. I don't think there were any actual gossip stones in TP, but I do remember the howling stones.

  • falconfetus8

    Perhaps the gossip stones are exactly what their name implies; Gossip. Perhaps the eye is used to pierce into ones mind and obtain information. Similarly, when Link wears the mask of truth, he can use its eye to read other peoples' minds just like the stone does. And when he uses the mask of truth on the stones, he is actually reading the stone's mind in the same way that it reads his.

    • Logic, duh.

      This makes more sense that the whole article :/

  • Legend of link22

    I think that the Gossip Stones are pretty useless. But I also think that they are just something cool Nintendo decided to put in.

  • zeldafan4040

    This was very interesting indeed! It really made me think!

  • Sy G

    I hate it when people miss things out… they were also in MM!

    And I'm not sure if the stones found in PH or ST are actually Gossip Stones… the handheld games often take liberties with things that don't make sense, things that can't be considered canon as they are not made by the same group who do the console versions (with the exception of LA).

    This is why you'll never see Subrosians (or anything specific to OoS/OoA) in a console title, and why various things like Tingle and the toilet paper hand are 'borrowed from MM and seen in OoA, and why Malon and Talon appears in Minish Cap.

    And although PH follows after TWW, nothing in it or ST will affect the storylines in any console Zeldas.

  • mattgamer15

    I do believe that they are quite useless, but i do enjoy placing a bomb in front of them, watching the bomb explode, and making the stone turn red, and blasting off into outer space 😉

  • erik

    But when the mask salesman lend you The Mask of Truth, he says someting like: "It can be usefull and scary. why scary? you find out when ur older". I don't see why it is scary. does someone know?

  • rob

    The lens of truth allows you to see the *tangible world not the intangible.
    It strips away the intangible.
    Love the idea of the gossip stones being gravestones though considering the sheikah were everywhere. Explains why there is so much magic in hyrule.

  • Kevin Naderi

    Thank you all Zeldafans!