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
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.
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.
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.