The legacy of the maiden in the sword
by on April 11, 2017
Spoiler Warning
This article contains spoilers regarding the story of Breath of the Wild. If you don’t wish to spoil details from the game, perhaps you should wait until later to read this (though certainly bookmark it and come back after you’ve beaten it!).

“Before I enter the sleep that calls me to the sword, I wish to relay you the words that I recorded many times over the course of our journey. Many have said them to your thus far, but now I wish to say them for myself… Thank you, Master Link. May we meet again in another life…”

With these words, it was then that we learned that Fi had always been with us in our journey as the hero. In every instance we have seen the Master Sword — Ocarina of Time, A Link to the Past, Twilight Princess, The Wind Waker, and so on — Fi has been watching over us. As we see at the end of Skyward Sword, Fi returns to the sword one final time before she slips into an eternal slumber. Or so it is said.

Breath of the Wild has proven itself to reference many other Zelda titles with NPCs referencing past games, location names, and even Princess Zelda gives tributes to the legends of old upon Link’s knighting ceremony. One of these that she refers to is none other than Skyward Sword. Since it is the first game in the official timeline, this should not come as a surprise. However, I don’t think many people were suspecting to hear from Fi again — though Link isn’t the one to hear it. Zelda is. But was this truly Fi who was guiding the princess?

The voice in the sword

Upon recovering memories, we learn more about Link and Zelda’s past together over 100 years ago, but it’s not until the final location given by Impa that we see a sign of the blade’s spirit. As Zelda weeps over Link’s collapsed body, we hear a familiar sound. The very same sound that occurs in Skyward Sword whenever Fi enters or exits the sword. This sound was the moment that everything clicked for me, and that I realized that the voice in the sword had to be Fi!

After this, Zelda begins speaking to the sword, and, when she later arrives at the Korok Forest to put the sword in its pedestal, she tells the Great Deku Tree that the sword spoke to her. Before Skyward Sword, this has never happened in a Zelda game — which makes sense considering Fi had not been created conceptually by Nintendo yet. Now that she is a major part of the Zelda lore, Nintendo took advantage of this and made the sword speak. Another nice nod to Skyward Sword is that Zelda tells the blade, “Your master will come for you,” as Link was referred to by Fi as such, and can only be wielded by one who shares his courage and the blood of the goddess’ champion from long ago.

An eternal slumber?

So we have pretty clear-cut evidence that the voice must have been Fi, but there may be an issue with this. In Skyward Sword, it states that once Fi entered the Master Sword at the end of Link’s Journey she would go into an eternal slumber. Well, that puts a damper on this assumption, doesn’t it? However, Nintendo has wormed its way around certain details before, and I’m not afraid to dig up some loopholes as well.

One theory might be that when Fi announces that she will fall asleep, she means her physical being. Since she is no longer needed by the hero, there is no purpose to her having a physical form any longer, so she resides to the Master Sword and stays there existing no longer as Fi but the blade itself. She no longer can leave the sanctity of the sword, but she can still keep an eye over the chosen hero forever more.

Another approach to this situation could be that she was, in fact, asleep. However, Hylia might not have foreseen Demise’s curse, and when the next hero, the H
ero of Time, pulled the sword from its pedestal Fi awakened once again. If this is true, then each time the Master Sword is wielded by a hero, Fi would be conscious, though not able to exit the realms of the blade since it is no longer her mission. She was instructed by Hylia to mentor her chosen champion in the fight against Demise — not against Ganon or any villain thereafter.

If either of these theories true, though, then why can’t Fi speak to the other incarnates of Link throughout any of their journeys? As we saw in Breath of the Wild, only Zelda could hear the sword’s voice — which makes perfect sense. Zelda is a descendant of Hylia, and if anyone would be able to hear her voice, it would be her creator (or in this case, her creator’s descendant). This could also be a variable in why each incarnation of Princess Zelda knows about the Master Sword and its location.

The fate of Fi

As a raging Fi fan, I was beyond ecstatic learning that she was included in this game. Even though she wasn’t physically there and did not even have dialogue, her presence was felt and acknowledged in such a fantastic, tasteful way. It does raise some questions, though: Will Nintendo take this into consideration for future titles? Could Fi physically return? Or play minor roles, as she did in Breath of the Wild?

Do I think Fi will continue to return? Perhaps, and I’m hoping. Do I think she’ll be Link’s partner again? No, I do not. She played her part and completed the task she was given, which is why she resides in the sword now. Her role as a major companion has come to an end, and, though I hate to say it, I think it’s for the best. Though I personally love the concept of Fi, I can understand and agree with the many critics that have had enough of Fi as a traveling companion. I do, however, believe we will continue to see her in small roles, as she did in Breath of the Wild.

Even though her part in Breath of the Wild was minuscule, it did serve a purpose. Without the voice of the sword, Zelda might not have known that Link could be saved. Ultimately, things could have been a lot darker. I think that small roles like this would be perfectly acceptable for future games and even something to be anticipated. This addition to Breath of the Wild’s story did not hinder it but enhanced it. Having the Master Sword, that is, Fi, being able to now speak and guide Link or Zelda is a great inclusion that wouldn’t overtake or ruin the overall plot of the game, and it’s a great nod to a fantastic Zelda title and a nudge in the right direction for our heroes.

One of the things that is so fantastic about The Legend of Zelda is the familiarity we have with the world — even when exploring an entirely new landscape. Having Fi as the voice within the sword become a recurring attribute would help create this comfortable environment in future games. Even if it’s something that is overlooked by fans the first time around, it gives us one more thing to discover in the many playthroughs we might endure.

The world of The Legend of Zelda is filled to the brim with easter eggs and secrets, and as mentioned before Breath of the Wild takes full advantage of this. I was incredibly excited when I heard from an NPC that there was a Linebeck Island. Granted I was disappointed when I went there and found that there was no Linebeck himself, but just that small little detail can make a world of difference. I think that Fi could be a part of this in future titles.

A new light

As previously noted, there is always a nudge and a wink towards other Legend of Zelda games in each new title, so why is it that I’m making such a big fuss over Fi? To me, it’s because it gives the Master Sword so much depth and even character. It makes it all that more thrilling, meaningful, and overall legendary to find it.

When Fi returns to the Master Sword one last time in the conclusion of Skyward Sword, that realization that there was someone who cares about you watching over you like a guardian angel was such an intense feeling. I couldn’t play another Zelda game and look at the Master Sword in the same way. It was always the ultimate sword, the best weapon, the blade of evil’s bane — but now it’s a friend.

As annoying as she could be sometimes, I think Fi was one of the best inclusions to The Legend of Zelda. She was the cold, calculating creation that lived to serve one purpose, but throughout their journey together Link touched her heart. You, the player, ventured as the hero and got to see her grow and develop as a person. You got to bond with her. She became your friend. She now lives on as the Master Sword, watching over Link — watching over you. Your sword is no longer just a sword, but a partner. A servant who has been waiting so long and so patiently to see her master again. The reuniting of two long lost friends after centuries upon centuries, meeting again in another lifetime, just as she had always hoped.

I am sure that we will see more of the maiden in the sword in the future, and here’s to hoping that we meet once again in another lifetime.

Stephanie Cusumano
Stephanie Cusumano is a columnist and feature contributor on Zelda Universe, as well as a cosplayer, YouTuber, and artist who is always ready to show off her Zelda side.