Even by my own standards, today’s column is going to be somewhat whimsical, hopelessly romantic and bordering on self-indulgent — but I beg you to hear me out.

I’m harkening back to my first foray into Hyrule — when I played A Link to the Past for the very first time — and when I read a piece of dialogue that, in retrospect, had a huge impact on my outlook on life and on my personality.

“May the way of the Hero lead to the Triforce.”

It’s a phrase uttered by each of the Seven Maidens upon their rescue that, on the face of it, seems nothing more than an attempt to piggyback off the now legendary Star Wars expression “May the Force be with you”. But looking more closely, a certain reverent tone is revealed that transforms a simple message of good fortune into something much deeper; something that took root in the mind of a young boy at an impressionable age.

I remember fighting my way through those Dark World dungeons, an eleven-year-old struggling through battles I was utterly unprepared for, eventually saving the Seven Maidens one by one, and each time being blessed with their well wishes to push on and retrieve the Triforce. As a child, the repetition really drove the message home, but for what purpose?

I mean, what does it actually mean?

Clearly, it’s a message of heroism; of being the great light in a dangerous and unforgiving world. It’s also an incredibly moral message, telling you that if you to do your very best that you will get your golden reward — a notion echoed throughout so many stories aimed at children at that time, whether through books, cartoons, videogames, or any other medium.

But deeper than that, the phrase, I think, gathers a real sense of perseverance in its meaning from the regularly of its use. You hear the phrase every time you pass a difficult test, almost saying, “You’ve done well, but you have so much more to do. Keep going.” That is an incredibly inspiring statement to any person, but it’s a particularly empowering suggestion to a receptive young mind.

Where you can, people of the world, be a hero.

And eventually, of course, the way of the Hero does lead to the Triforce: you battle your way to Ganon’s Tower, slay the demon king, and lay your hands on the Golden Power to bring peace to the land. Link makes his wish and all becomes right with the world; Flute Boy and his father are finally reunited, Link’s uncle overcomes his injuries and the Master Sword sleeps again, ready for when evil returns to the world.

Nintendo told everyone playing that game, “Work hard and, in the end, you’ll receive everything you strived for” — an optimistic viewpoint, certainly, but one that often rings true.

All my adult life I’ve pushed myself to do the very best I can at anything I turn my hand to, completely unaware of how much a simple phrase from a videogame had helped build my ideology of hard work and humility. It wasn’t until a very good friend recently called me ‘a hero’ in a Facebook message that I made the connection, and in honesty, I was pretty shocked. I knew it was a phrase I’d always liked the sound of, but I’d never realised how much my behaviour could be likened to my favourite hero in green; thinking about it made me equal parts embarrassed and proud. Nerdy as it may be, there are definitely many worse things to be than a hero.

Where you can, people of the world, be a hero.

Thank you for reading. May the way of the Hero lead to the Triforce.

  • Ryan Haney

    Gosh, I love that game!

    I didn’t think of that phrase as May the Force be with you, or any deep Work Hard message. I just thought it was the developer telling me to keep playing and solve the game. ? I guess there was a deeper message than that, though.

    • Drew Sherratt

      I did warn you it was a whimsical and hopelessly romantic post! ?

      Thank you for reading, Ryan