As many of you know, about a week ago I posted a video about the villains of the Zelda series, and recently Axle the Beast from our affiliate Zelda Dungeon made a response video, agreeing with some parts of my video but disagreeing on the villainy of Skull Kid.

Well, I’ve created a response to that which outlines my thoughts on why I feel that Skull Kid is a villain. You can check out all three of the videos from newest to oldest after the jump.

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  • TheMaverickk

    Skull Kid himself isn't a villain.

    He's an antagonist sure… but villain no. This comes down to almost a grammar issue in terms of what the word villain implies.

    Villain:

    1. A wicked or evil person; a scoundrel.
    2. A dramatic or fictional character who is typically at odds with the hero.

    Through events in the game it's pretty clear his intentions for his actions are not to make people miserable or harm people… his intentions are acts to get the attention of the deities. Whom he believes have abandoned him.

    The intent behind actions usually is the key indicator in terms of whether or not someone is evil.

    Ganondorf is a villain because he himself wants to rule, and essentially ruin Hyrule. His actions are cold and calculated. His intent is to kill, and use those around him for his own gain.

    Skull Kid's intentions aren't necessarily to kill everyone. His intentions are purely to get the attention of the deities in Termina.

    On the other hand though Majora is a villain… he is evil… and thus uses Skull Kids own inner desires to the benefit of his goal… ultimately taking full control of Skull Kid with the intention of destroying all of Termina.

    The truth is this is a dicey toss up of a topic… and can be read and interpreted many different ways. Still despite this I think there are some very concise points that weigh very heavily on the fact that Skull Kid was not in control for all the actions that transpired in Termina.

    My personal perception is that there is a huge difference between the Skull Kid we meet in the opening sequence, and the Skull Kid we meet atop Clock Tower on the 3rd day. To me that is a sign of a change in who is in control at that point. At both points Skull Kid has Majora's Mask… but his demeanor and mannerisms are far different. Who goes from laughing, and shaking and slapping his butt atop the tower in earlier days, to a violent and cold being by the 3rd.

    The one fact I will point to that seriously suggests that Majora becomes the sole entity taking action though alone is after all 4 giants are summoned and stop the moon. At this something obviously snapped and you can see Skull Kid seemingly trying to shake/pull the mask off while screaming out.

    There's even in game text that suggests Skull Kid had no control… Tael says "The power of the mask made him do it" and even Majora supports this by saying "A puppet that can no longer be used is garbage". To me someone who is being manipulated isn't a true villain.

    That is enough for me to believe that there was a lot of circumstances in the game where the Skull Kid was not in control.

    • "To me someone who is being manipulated isn't a true villain. "

      But wouldn't that then disqualify, say, Zant? There have been plenty of "puppet antagonists" in the Zelda series that are considered villains in the video game sense. It all depends on how you define "villain" I guess.

      • hei link

        Zant nor anyother zelda villain has been manipulated to this extreme point; they were owners of their actions, Skull kid wasn't

      • TheMaverickk

        Yes Zant was manipulated… but he wasn't used against his will. It's heavily implied at some point Skull Kid was being used against his will to do acts extremely out of character for himself.

        Intent behind actions are everything.

        Zant and Ganondorf shared very similar goals, and Zant was fully willing to do what Ganondorf wanted. Zant, like Ganondorf, was sort of on the fringes within their own societies… both who felt they for the most part were the ones fit to rule over them. Then of course wanted to extend that rule over all of Hyrule.

        Zant and Ganondorfs goals coincide.

        Skull Kid's goal/intent was simply to get the attention of the deities.
        Majora's goal was the total destruction of Termina.

        Their intentions were not in line with each others. Even though there have been a lot of puppet style antagonists in the Legend of Zelda series, that does not make them all the same. The relationships between these duo's in many cases are very different.

        Even consider this… Skull Kid likely didn't know that Majora's Mask was an entity all on it's own. Who would assume that the mask held a demon with a will of it's own. Zant on the other hand full embraced and acknowledged Ganondorf before taking on his power. See there's already a different dynamic between the two.

        Anyways I'm just saying that villain implies actions with malicious intent. With a certain dirty underhanded way of doing so as well. Skull Kid doesn't fit that role…. antagonist absolutely…. villain not so much.

  • bit of a feud going on here lol 😀 entertaining. i too have always thought skull kid was being controlled and possesed. he ends up being nice at the end of MM.

  • damn it axle and cody should be on the same channel!

  • Smythe

    I honestly never thought of the Skull Kid as a villain. He was, as Majora's Mask put it, a puppet.
    The mask used his weak and lonely mind, gave him the illusion of power and made him think that the giants, who he believed abandoned him, would have to become his friend through the power he was given.
    The Skull Kid suffered from "Delusions of Grandeur", believing himself higher than all, and felt no remorse for what he did to others. Was this the Mask in control, or Skull Kid?

  • The Skull Kid was a puppet to Majora's Mask. He really was innocent, only being manipulated by thinking his actions were only a game, but in truth caused harm to Termina's residents.

    • TheMaverickk

      Actually during the course of the game it's never quite clear who the Skull Kid directly affected, and then who was affected by other characters in the game.

      Kafei for example was changed into a boy by Skull Kid, but that wasn't the worst of his problems (he even states that himself), and the actions of Sakon were what he was actually concerned with. Sakon was not a follower of Skull Kid or Majora but someone acting on his on agenda.

      Mikau the guitarist dies in the game, but his death is again not even linked with Skull Kid… in fact he was the victim of the Gerudo Pirates who he had gone off to steal the Zora eggs back from.

      The cursed Skulltulla man seems to have been cursed by the mask of truth for his greed, and again is another inhabitant who's troubles aren't tied in with the events taking place with Skull Kid.

      One thing you notice through out Majora's Mask is that despite Skull Kid being the antagonist, he isn't the main source of the problems the inhabitants of Termina have to deal with. That in itself is a very unique aspect of this Zelda title.

      • sjo

        Actually, Mikau dying was skull kid's fault. He made the ocean water poisonous and tempted the gerudo pirates.

        • TheMaverickk

          The ocean wasn't poisoned, the temperature in it was rising. Which is why the eggs were being transported to the Ocean Laboratory where they could be hatched in a temperature controlled tank.

          When they were being brought over the Pirates attacked the Zora to get the eggs, which they believed would help them to get into the Great Bay Temple. It's never quite stated what Skull Kid told them, he may have simply mentioned that there was a great treasure in the Temple that would help them easily steal. It's not clear if he told them they needed those Zora eggs, or if that's something they did because they believed them to be the clue they needed to get in there.

          Either way Mikau suffered some fatal wounds in an attempt to retrieve the eggs from the Gerudo Pirates. Skull Kid can't really be blamed for the Pirates greed or their choice to use force, which led to Mikau's death.

          Almost every conflict that occurs in the land of Termina is a result of the characters interacting with one another. The Skull Kid was simply a catalyst, which fits with the mischief making persona.

  • Smo

    Skull kids Intention's were a combination of both (imo), the Mask is evil, Obvious, but to further clarify Majora itself was a being of true anarchy, but the behaviour skull kid exhibits is too similar to that what you'd expect skull kid's to be

    i feel majora Magnifies an inner desire for chaos, the skull children being themselves, nightmarish children of the forest, lets not forget that. the only reason Link and skull kid were "Friends" was because all skull children believe that link is kokori, whilst they have been known to attack and evade adults

    So essentially, skull kid is out of his element, in a world he doesn't know or understand, far from the lost woods he called home, and whilst being innocent in nature would still hold his prankster habits, to which judgement would be seriously affected by majora

    To sum up, yes, he was innocent in his own nature, likely aware of the destruction he would cause, but being blinded to the idea of how catastrophic it would be to the people, looking at it as another prank at the least

    • TheMaverickk

      "skull kid is out of his element, in a world he doesn't know or understand, far from the lost woods he called home"

      That completely conflicts with the fact that the Skull Kid was friends with the deities in Termina before they left to go in their 4 separate directions. A story as old as the lady telling it…. and clearly an event that transpired long before Link ever set foot in Termina.

      Skull Kid probably was either from Termina, or had visited there for a time period before Link ever met him in the Lost Woods. Also Skull Kids are not "nightmarish children of the forest"…. they are just denizens of the lost woods. I think you are confused with a statement the one Kokiri girl makes about those getting lost in the woods become Stalfos.

      It's unknown the origin of the Skull Kids…. are they even from the land of Hyrule… or were they created or had they always been the way that they were.

      • Smo

        Just checked the zelda wiki (i know, not a reliable source but i thought i read it somewhere before)

        "According to local folklore, anyone who does not possess a Fairy will be transformed after becoming lost in the forest: Adults become Stalfos, and children will become Skull Kids"

        Its not the exact same i remember seeing, but its similar, but it does seem to fit the bill that skull children are the lost spirits of children, and backs up the point i was making, He simply dosnt know better, and when driven by a malicious force like majora, isnt gonna see why crashing the moon into the ground would be a bad thing

        (just thinking about this game reminds me how epic a storyline it was, and zelda in general… why am i not a member on here!?)

  • xRallinkx

    The Final nightmare in Link's Awakening is definitely up there with the most evil villains. The monster wanted to keep the Wind Fish asleep forever, so he could rule the fictional world of the WF's dreams. It sounds small, but put it in perspective of the island's inhabitants, the monsters appearing when Link arrives, and the nightmares in every dungeon, you get a bit of a bad vibe from his plan…there's definitely a lot of destruction and greed there.

  • Prada

    enough with the philosophical views, [too much to read]! But I just have to say skull kid is my favourite character(at least when he's wearing the mask), he is so awesome

  • Prada

    oh and Cody you are pretty darn cute/handsome!

  • GanonLives

    yay he's back.

  • Smo

    You know, touching on this issue is too strong a philosophical issue, it comes down to weither you can blame majora's influence on skull kids actions.

    Its like… If a man gets drunk and hits another man, can that man be blamed for the violence? or can he shrug it off, apologise and say "Sorry, i drank too much", fact is, thats up to interpretation to the other man, he can either relate, or not.

    In skull kids case however, the cause is a little bit severe (Demonic mask of Doom – Hazah!) and lets face it, 99% of people will say that its entirely the masks fault, but the difference is SK feels something, Guilt, he knows after that its wrong and he was merely a puppet, but to show true sorrow for your actions is what defines your intentions, so imo, he is Not a villain,

  • Driorianos

    Hrm, I can't say I agree… you used the phrase 'Absolute power corrupts absolutely' I think, and that doesn't really describe Majora and Skull Kid. To me, it was always about this utter twisting of power, and personality. That the Mask was insidious, warping Skull Kid's every thought, and making it focus purely on the things that hurt, the negative. After all, we can see that when Skull Kid was without the Mask, he was absolutely capable of moving on from the hurt, as with Tatl and Tael.

    This, I think, explains the matter of it, that everything started turning bitter, malicious, harmful to others, in the name of familiar 'good fun.' A lot of it can also be expounded on about how Skull Kid reacted to his bonds, that the ones broken by the Giants left him hurt, bereft, and partially healed by the fairies.

    I think the Mask made it so that the only thing he could focus on was those giants, in a way, turning it into an obsession. After all, he didn't lash out at other people in the time he was left by the Giants, he was just miserable for a time, then found new friends, before getting carried away, leading him to a theft that could be argued was orchestrated by the mask itself.

  • Hylian Dan

    I think it's important to note that Skull Kid's behavior – his, not Majora's – was the opposite of all the messages the game was trying to communicate. He couldn't trust his friends, he refused to forgive his friends, he turned against his friends, he didn't have the least bit of concern for the strangers around him, he had so little faith that he turned to suicide, and he was essentially a child throwing a fit.

    Does that make him a villain? Well, who's the villain of Othello – Iago, Othello, or both? Othello, like Skull Kid, is a sap who listens to the snake whispering in his ear. Iago, like Majora, is much more devilish and veiled in mystery. In both cases, the evil involves both the puppetmaster and the susceptible puppet, and the stories' significance has to do with the relationship between the two of them. I think Majora represents a sort of universal evil – the problem isn't so much that this great evil exists, but that there are those weak enough to succumb to it as Skull Kid and Othello did.

    • TheMaverickk

      Actually a lot of characters in the land of Termina were much the same way as Skull Kid. Put into situations where they experience hardship most of the inhabitants of Termina turned towards negative solutions and actions.

      Whether it's how Sharp sold his soul to the devil, and then imprisoned his own brother's ghost in a grave. Or whether it's the Gorman brother's resorting to stealing the Romani's milk deliveries. Even Cremia didn't take her sisters word, and put off her concerns with other things going on in the world.

      To be honest most of the characters living in Termina are actually just as depressed as Skull Kid… most becoming selfish and focused on their own personal needs then the needs of those around them. Quick to assume the worst from others (like the Deku King to the monkey) and instead isolate themselves from the rest of the world.

      In a lot of ways the weakness of Skull Kid is mirrored by the weakness of Termina's inhabitants. In the end the only way the inhabitants are helped is through Link's meddling, which in a lot of cases even resolves some of the personal conflicts between characters.

      That message that only by working together can people overcome periods of hardship. In the end it is through the help of Skull Kids's friends (the deities) that even he is able to over come his own depression and anger.

      Skull Kid though is no more evil then any other inhabitant who succumbed to temptation and selfishness. Something many characters in the game were guilty of. Yet this doesn't make them villains. There may be no Zelda to rescue…. but in many ways the game is about saving these people from themselves.