I first came across a character named Fado in The Wind Waker. I later found out that the rancher’s name in Twilight Princess was also Fado. I realized the name was the same but didn’t think much of it — that is until I discovered that in Ocarina of Time there was another character named Fado as well! Are there any other Fados I should know about?
The short answer is no, but it is rather peculiar to have three characters with the same name. Perhaps there is some connection between these characters and a reason why this little tradition only made it into three titles. This isn’t the first time Nintendo has recycled names in Zelda, but to have completely separate characters share the same name is unique, to say the least. Today we’ll explore just why there may be so many Fados in the first place!
Zelda’s Study is a series where we examine the history of The Legend of Zelda to bring you some fascinating (or just plain weird) trivia. In our studies, we’ll explore each game’s development, curiosities within the rich lore of the franchise, and the impact it has had on our culture. From time to time, we’ll also look at Nintendo’s past to unearth some facts about our favorite company.
First, we must ask: Why the name Fado? What does it mean? Where does it come from? Well, the name actually has a musical connection. Fado stems from the solfège (or solfeggio) syllables in the music scale. If you’re not familiar with this term, to put it simply, the musical scale can easily be recognized in seven syllables: do, re, mi, fa, so(l), la, and ti. Fado is simply a combination of the notes fa and do. Interestingly enough, Mido is also a combination of two of these syllables.
Now, let’s explore the characters. We’ll start with the first appearance of a Fado, which happened in Ocarina of Time. This Fado is also the only female character to bear the name. She is a Kokiri in this title and does not really have a major role in the story. Fado teaches Link how to “look” when he is a child and also warns him of the dangers of the Lost Woods. When Link is an adult, she plays a small part in the Biggoron Sword trading sequence.
In development, however, it’s interesting to note that she is the only other female Kokiri aside from Saria to have her own unique character model. She was created around the same time as Saria and is speculated to possibly have some sort of connection to the scrapped Wind Temple that was planned for the game. This theory originated from the Wind Temple and the second Fado’s existence in The Wind Waker.
The Wind Waker released several years later and introduced us to the next Fado, who was, in fact, the Wind Sage. He was Kokiri, just like the previous Fado, but he was cut down by Ganondorf to stop his prayers from powering the Master Sword. When Link meets him, Fado is but a spirit who relays his message to find the next Sage of Wind. Makar, a Korok, is his heir and is brought to the Wind Temple to pick up where Fado left off.
Not only does the connection to his Kokiri predecessor make sense, but Fado’s name can also have multiple meanings that are well-suited to his character.
The word “fado” in Portuguese translates to “fate” or “destiny,” and also is the name of a Portuguese music genre known for its use of stringed instruments. The music’s lyrics are often tragic, but they also represent great importance in the national culture. It is possible the developers aptly named the character in reference to fado in the real world, given Fado’s tragic circumstances, destiny, and use of a stringed instrument.
The next Fado is found in Twilight Princess, but unlike the other two, this character is not a Kokiri. He instead is a human who resides in Link’s hometown of Ordon and works alongside him at the Ordon Ranch. He usually has a hard time getting the goats to listen to him, which is why he is in need of Link’s assistance. He also sets up fences to help Link and Epona to practice their jumps.
This version of Fado is the hardest to connect with the previous two, but I do have a theory. There is no Kokiri forest, race, or descendent tribe like in Wind Waker, but Ordon is the starting point of Twilight Princess, much like the Kokiri Forest is the beginning of Ocarina of Time. As we can see in early concept art for Twilight Princess, some of the characters (such as Ilia) had a more tribal design to them with very Kokiri-like attributes, including tattoos of fairies. Maybe at some point in development, there was supposed to be a type of Kokiri or similar forest tribe, and the creators wanted to keep this tradition of a Kokiri named Fado going. So when they ultimately decided to go in a different direction (i.e., the village of Ordon we know today), perhaps they just decided to keep the name the way it was since it wasn’t doing any harm.
All of these characters play rather minor roles but are prominent enough to warrant interaction with Link at least once or twice throughout his adventures. This is really the only major connection that I could find between the three characters, but who knows, perhaps there is more to this name than meets the eye. Could we see another Kokiri in the future who shares this name? Or perhaps even another simple tutorial character? All we can do is sing the scales and keep an eye out in the next Zelda installment.