If I had to pick one word that best describes the music from The Wind Waker, it would probably have to be “charming.” It could actually describe the game as a whole. Everything about Wind Waker is magical, even its more somber aspects. The song “Farewell Hyrule King” is the metaphorical and literal high note of this fact.

“Farewell Hyrule King” plays at one of the sadder moments in the game, but every time I hear it I can’t resist being drawn into the epic and regal tones it produces. It’s energetic, melancholy, whimsical, and dour all at once.

Medli’s Melodies is a series in which we choose our favorite songs from The Legend of Zelda franchise, or highlight a special piece of music from the perpetually creative fan community. Music has always such been such an integral component of Zelda games, and we’re here to celebrate that every week!

Yes, this song is an updated version of the Hyrule Castle theme from A Link to the Past, but it’s also much more. It’s symbolic of what is happening in the story. The old ways of Hyrule are fading away, which is represented by the departure of the king, hence the name of the song.

I played Wind Waker before I ever played A Link to the Past¸ so this song was unknown to and unexpected by me. All I knew as I heard the main melody begin was that it was beautifully appropriate. Now this song is one of those, “I can’t let the dialogue progress until it gets to the good part” kind of songs for me every time I play Wind Waker.

It starts out slow, just a few notes at a time as it builds up. Then, once the moment is right, it erupts into a melody I could imagine a video game version of the Phantom of the Opera performing. There’s a weight to every chord, and it matches the weight of the water crashing down around Link, Zelda, and the poor king.

This is the point in the game when the king meets his end, but he meets it with dignity and contentment. This is why the aforementioned connection the song has with the royal family is so important. In his final moments, as this song plays and he tells Link and Zelda to live for the future, Daphnes is able to think of himself as a true king one last time.

The idea of old things being washed away is why I wanted to share this song on December 31. Sometimes it’s sad to see things come to an end. We tend to look back at our pasts with regret and think about what might have been. But more often than not the ending of one thing allows something new and hopeful to begin. This was the king’s message to Link and Zelda, and it’s a good one for everyone to reflect on as we begin a new year.