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Breath of the Wild's story moral and deeper meaning (spoilers)
  • Aside from the plot, I like to look at the deeper underlying meanings and morals in a story. A good story needs to have a deeper meaning than just an exciting plot, wich I think Breath of the Wild pulls off well.

    It seems that a constant theme in the story was about Zelda not being able to live up to the expectations placed on her. She was born into royalty, and expected to unlock the sealing power but that's not who she wanted to be. As much as she tried, it wasn't for her, so instead she tried studying the Ancient Sheikah instead and be who she wanted to be. There's a lot of symbolism with the flower known as the Silent Princess "The Princess can only thrive out here in the wild. All we can hope... is that the species will be strong enough to thrive on its own". Zelda did not live in the wild, she lived in the highly civilized Hyrule Kingdom, wich comes along with civilized social expectations. She envy's Link for being able to fulfill his destiny as a knight, while she initially couldn't fulfill her destiny as a princess. It further reflects how she couldn't follow her own path when she says "What if... One day... You realised you weren't meant to be a fighter. Yet the only thing people ever said was that you were born into the family of the royal guard. So no matter what you thought, you had to become a knight. If that was the only thing you were ever told... I wonder then... would you have chosen a different path?". Her father scolds her for not following the path that society (Hyrule Kingdom) expects her to follow as a princess. Despite this, she still makes efforts to follow her expected path, and be herself at the same time.

    The story ends with her saying "I suppose it would make sense if my power had dwindled over the last 100 years.... I'm surprised to admit it... but I can accept that. " representing how she is now free of her past obligations and no longer has the weight of constantly trying to fulfill her societal expectations on her shoulders now that she had achieved them. The then camera pans to the Silent Princess flower for the final scene showing more symbolism of her growth and her finally blooming, ultimately living in the wild free. Concurrently Zelda and Link walk to their horses in the wilderness, free from Hyrule Kingdom's expectations when it had existed 100 years ago. So I believe the moral, the deep message the story is trying to tell is that it's okay to follow you're own path and not live for the expectation of others.

    So while the ending has been a mixed bag among fans, perhaps after understanding this core theme of the story, it will be appreciated more.
    You may disagree with me on this thread, but I can guarantee you'll agree with me on another :3nod

    "That knight was none other than you, Link."

    The post was edited 7 times, last by HylianKnight ().

  • That's exactly what I took away from the game's plot and it makes sense. You can also look at it as Princess Zelda struggles with her own identity and fulfilling society's expectations as an allegory for the game developers' struggles to make a game to exceed our expectations while being burdened with all the Zelda conventions and complicated mythos weighing down on their creativity the same way King Rhoam's expectations for his daughter weighed on her. It's when they, and Zelda, step out these expectations did they achieve their goals because it was then they were free to be who they needed to be.
  • Rikki wrote:

    That's exactly what I took away from the game's plot and it makes sense. You can also look at it as Princess Zelda struggles with her own identity and fulfilling society's expectations as an allegory for the game developers' struggles to make a game to exceed our expectations while being burdened with all the Zelda conventions and complicated mythos weighing down on their creativity the same way King Rhoam's expectations for his daughter weighed on her. It's when they, and Zelda, step out these expectations did they achieve their goals because it was then they were free to be who they needed to be.
    I never thought of it that way. It could be a reflection of the development team's journey too haha xD
    You may disagree with me on this thread, but I can guarantee you'll agree with me on another :3nod

    "That knight was none other than you, Link."
  • HylianKnight wrote:

    Aside from the plot, I like to look at the deeper underlying meanings and morals in a story. A good story needs to have a deeper meaning than just an exciting plot, wich I think Breath of the Wild pulls off well.

    It seems that a constant theme in the story was about Zelda not being able to live up to the expectations placed on her. She was born into royalty, and expected to unlock the sealing power but that's not who she wanted to be. As much as she tried, it wasn't for her, but so she tried studying the Ancient Sheikah instead and be who she wanted to be. There's a lot of symbolism with the flower known as the Silent Princess "The Princess can only thrive out here in the wild. All we can hope... is that the species will be strong enough to thrive on its own". Zelda did not live in the wild, she lived in the highly civilized Hyrule Kingdom, wich comes along with civilized social expectations. She envy's Link for being able to fulfill his destiny as a knight, while she initially couldn't fulfill her destiny as a princess. It further reflects how she couldn't follow her own path when she says "What if... One day... You realised you weren't meant to be a fighter. Yet the only thing people ever said was that you were born into the family of the royal guard. So no matter what you thought, you had to become a knight. If that was the only thing you were ever told... I wonder then... would you have chosen a different path?". Her father scolds her for not following the path that society (Hyrule Kingdom) expects her to follow as a princess. Despite this, she still makes efforts to follow her expected path, and be herself at the same time.

    The story ends with her saying "I suppose it would make sense if my power had dwindled over the last 100 years.... I'm surprised to admit it... but I can accept that. " representing how she is now free of her past obligations and no longer has the weight of constantly trying to fulfill her societal expectations on her shoulders now that she had achieved them. The then camera pans to the Silent Princess flower for the final scene showing more symbolism of her growth and her finally blooming, ultimately living in the wild free. Concurrently Zelda and Link walk to their horses in the wilderness, free from Hyrule Kingdom's expectations when it had existed 100 years ago. So I believe the moral, the deep message the story is trying to tell is that it's okay to follow you're own path and not live for the expectation of others.

    So while the ending has been a mixed bag among fans, perhaps after understanding this core theme of the story, it will be appreciated more.
    That's an interesting perspective and it does add some subtle depth to the ending. In this case I definately think it would've helped the ending if the memories weren't an optional extra and that you came across them in some linear fashion in order to progress through the storyline. We sort of saw that with Mipha where you recall her memory as part of the Zora quest.

    Perhaps it would've been more effective if Link's memory was restored as part of the story and through his interaction with the characters and environment... something like having flashbacks as he encounters certain people or objects (like seeing an old memorial with the king's name (or his parents names on it). Just an idea.

    I know that's not what Nintendo was aiming for, not with the whole open-world face-the-boss-from-the-get-go thing.
    "This is the tale of an ancient land of lush forests and verdant meadows. A land blessed by the Goddesses where the powers of light and shadow exist in perfect balance. This is the story of the kingdom of Hyrule, of a king who sought to control the power of the gods, and of a boy without a fairy. A boy whose struggle against the shadow became a legend, riding upon the Winds of Time..."

    A novelization of The Legend of Zelda- Ocarina of Time (Complete & Revised)

    Click here for the audiobook edition.

  • HylianKnight wrote:

    Aside from the plot, I like to look at the deeper underlying meanings and morals in a story. A good story needs to have a deeper meaning than just an exciting plot, wich I think Breath of the Wild pulls off well.

    It seems that a constant theme in the story was about Zelda not being able to live up to the expectations placed on her. She was born into royalty, and expected to unlock the sealing power but that's not who she wanted to be. As much as she tried, it wasn't for her, but so she tried studying the Ancient Sheikah instead and be who she wanted to be. There's a lot of symbolism with the flower known as the Silent Princess "The Princess can only thrive out here in the wild. All we can hope... is that the species will be strong enough to thrive on its own". Zelda did not live in the wild, she lived in the highly civilized Hyrule Kingdom, wich comes along with civilized social expectations. She envy's Link for being able to fulfill his destiny as a knight, while she initially couldn't fulfill her destiny as a princess. It further reflects how she couldn't follow her own path when she says "What if... One day... You realised you weren't meant to be a fighter. Yet the only thing people ever said was that you were born into the family of the royal guard. So no matter what you thought, you had to become a knight. If that was the only thing you were ever told... I wonder then... would you have chosen a different path?". Her father scolds her for not following the path that society (Hyrule Kingdom) expects her to follow as a princess. Despite this, she still makes efforts to follow her expected path, and be herself at the same time.

    The story ends with her saying "I suppose it would make sense if my power had dwindled over the last 100 years.... I'm surprised to admit it... but I can accept that. " representing how she is now free of her past obligations and no longer has the weight of constantly trying to fulfill her societal expectations on her shoulders now that she had achieved them. The then camera pans to the Silent Princess flower for the final scene showing more symbolism of her growth and her finally blooming, ultimately living in the wild free. Concurrently Zelda and Link walk to their horses in the wilderness, free from Hyrule Kingdom's expectations when it had existed 100 years ago. So I believe the moral, the deep message the story is trying to tell is that it's okay to follow you're own path and not live for the expectation of others.

    So while the ending has been a mixed bag among fans, perhaps after understanding this core theme of the story, it will be appreciated more.
    It's hard to appreciate an incomplete story and certainly one where a perspective within the development of the game is to leave it up to your imagination. It's been 31 years since the first Zelda game. We want answers. We're not going to live here forever. So while we're still alive it would be nice to have at least some theories answered as well as inconclusive aspects of the overall story explained.

    The silent princess flower is just a cliche in my opinion. The whole, "my life is a curse! If only I could be someone else" is a drawn out story element that has been used time and time again (not in the Zelda story but in other stories). As I said in my story discussion thread, BOTW is a great story, but it is not a great Zelda story.

    As far as morals go for BOTW, it certainly does have them. The relationship between Zelda and her father is strong. It isn't until you find their diaries that you learn how much it hurts King Rhoam to scold Zelda about her failures when deep down he just wants to be a loving father to her. The moral here could be to make sure your true feelings are always brought to light, even in the most important of times. Never leave someone wondering how you truly feel about them.
    My childhood can be explained in just four words: The Legend of Zelda
  • HylianRoyal wrote:

    It's hard to appreciate an incomplete story and certainly one where a perspective within the development of the game is to leave it up to your imagination. It's been 31 years since the first Zelda game. We want answers. We're not going to live here forever. So while we're still alive it would be nice to have at least some theories answered as well as inconclusive aspects of the overall story explained.
    I loved the game, but I'm starting to feel this way too....

    The post was edited 1 time, last by BMAtreyu ().

  • Octorocker wrote:

    We've gotten answers. Nintendo released a whole glossy book full of them.
    You can deny we've got so many new questions from this specific game...

    For example Ganon.... why took so long for him to show up (10,000 years), and why now?
    What triggered it? Did he brake same kind of seal? If so, was the seal inside of the castle?
    Why now he is Calamity Ganon?

    Same many questions about Link/Zelda 100 years ago. The triforce also.

    We've only got a glimpse of the history at all, and if Nintendo intend to work on a new history, will we ever have these questions answered?

    Many of this should be answered via "memories" too... and so we could go on to next the game.

    Of course this could be fixed if they explain some of these via DLCs... or a Breath of the Wild 2
  • BMAtreyu wrote:


    For example Ganon.... why took so long for him to show up (10,000 years), and why now?
    What triggered it? Did he brake same kind of seal? If so, was the seal inside of the castle?
    Why now he is Calamity Ganon?

    Same many questions about Link/Zelda 100 years ago. The triforce also.

    We've only got a glimpse of the history at all, and if Nintendo intend to work on a new history, will we ever have these questions answered?

    Nintendo knows people theorize about these things. If they put all the cards on the table, there's nothing to speculate about.

    The fanbase doesn't need to be spoonfed the answer with every new game.
  • A lot has been said in this thread about Zelda's emotional journey, her relationship with her father, etc. However, a very crucial detail is lacking if you're making this a discussion about morals:

    Hyrule was destroyed. Most of the Hylians were wiped out. Killed. The Hylian species as a whole is regulated to two small villages and a scattering of stables, where once there was a prosperous kingdom.

    Regardless of Zelda's character arc, the fact that so many people had to die for her to achieve her "freedom" from Princess responsibilities is horrible. Were all those people's lives worth it? Really? I doubt they'd say so.


    BotW Zelda in her purple Hylian Tunic, by my husband, DarkSilver.

    "Breath of the Wild: "Zelda's Redemption" Chapter 3 now up!

    After Calamity Ganon's defeat, a devastated Zelda must come to terms with her ruined kingdom, dead friends, and the resentment of the Hero who had saved her, but lost his fiancee. When all hope seems lost, she comes across a legend of a holy relic that can set things right, if she can find the ancient keys to access it. With the help of new friends, and without Link, can Zelda finally become a legend, on her own terms?
  • Octorocker wrote:

    BMAtreyu wrote:

    For example Ganon.... why took so long for him to show up (10,000 years), and why now?
    What triggered it? Did he brake same kind of seal? If so, was the seal inside of the castle?
    Why now he is Calamity Ganon?

    Same many questions about Link/Zelda 100 years ago. The triforce also.

    We've only got a glimpse of the history at all, and if Nintendo intend to work on a new history, will we ever have these questions answered?
    Nintendo knows people theorize about these things. If they put all the cards on the table, there's nothing to speculate about.

    The fanbase doesn't need to be spoonfed the answer with every new game.
    I Agree.. but there is a limit for that.. the history is very incomplete.
    I feel like there are more questions than answers on this game.

    We can hope for a Breath of the Wild 2, even so, we will have to wait another 4-6 years for a new game. :arch:
  • Violetlight wrote:

    A lot has been said in this thread about Zelda's emotional journey, her relationship with her father, etc. However, a very crucial detail is lacking if you're making this a discussion about morals:

    Hyrule was destroyed. Most of the Hylians were wiped out. Killed. The Hylian species as a whole is regulated to two small villages and a scattering of stables, where once there was a prosperous kingdom.

    Regardless of Zelda's character arc, the fact that so many people had to die for her to achieve her "freedom" from Princess responsibilities is horrible. Were all those people's lives worth it? Really? I doubt they'd say so.
    I bet Ganon would say that accomplishing his goals is worth any number of Hylian lives, and considering that he's the one that killed them, his opinion is the one that matters, right?
    Goddess of the Sands

    Map of Thyphlo Ruins

    Forest Architects

    If you have Amiibo Tap: Nintendo's Greatest Bits on Wii U, you can reset which games your amiibo unlock by deleting the game and then redownloading it.
  • Octorocker wrote:

    BMAtreyu wrote:

    For example Ganon.... why took so long for him to show up (10,000 years), and why now?
    What triggered it? Did he brake same kind of seal? If so, was the seal inside of the castle?
    Why now he is Calamity Ganon?

    Same many questions about Link/Zelda 100 years ago. The triforce also.

    We've only got a glimpse of the history at all, and if Nintendo intend to work on a new history, will we ever have these questions answered?
    Nintendo knows people theorize about these things. If they put all the cards on the table, there's nothing to speculate about.

    The fanbase doesn't need to be spoonfed the answer with every new game.
    You're missing the point here. The overall Zelda series has more questions than answers pertaining its lore and story. Its so big how this aspect of the series is that for people who's first Zelda game is BOTW they will really be left in the dark about what is going on. This is not a theme of the series to be glorified. It is a theme of the series to be corrected. Yes you can theorize but when you have to theorize forever about the most important aspects of the story just to give a perspective on the matter it eventually becomes annoying and a lost cause. With BOTW, we got a great game, but not a great Zelda game.
    My childhood can be explained in just four words: The Legend of Zelda
  • Violetlight wrote:

    A lot has been said in this thread about Zelda's emotional journey, her relationship with her father, etc. However, a very crucial detail is lacking if you're making this a discussion about morals:

    Hyrule was destroyed. Most of the Hylians were wiped out. Killed. The Hylian species as a whole is regulated to two small villages and a scattering of stables, where once there was a prosperous kingdom.

    Regardless of Zelda's character arc, the fact that so many people had to die for her to achieve her "freedom" from Princess responsibilities is horrible. Were all those people's lives worth it? Really? I doubt they'd say so.
    This was a major flaw in the story telling of BOTW. While it seems like a great theme such as pairing Zelda's life with a flower that has a metaphorical meaning, the way it was portrayed was very wrong. You said it clearly. Everyone literally had to die as well as an entire kingdom fall for Zelda to unlock a power that if she had been able to do before would have spared all this destruction. But on the flip side this wasn't Zelda not wanting the responsibility because she wanted a different life. It was because everyone around her was succeeding on their paths but her and she felt like a constant failure. Even still, the story was very cliche and lacking in substance.
    My childhood can be explained in just four words: The Legend of Zelda
  • HylianRoyal wrote:

    You're missing the point here. The overall Zelda series has more questions than answers pertaining its lore and story. Its so big how this aspect of the series is that for people who's first Zelda game is BOTW they will really be left in the dark about what is going on. This is not a theme of the series to be glorified. It is a theme of the series to be corrected. Yes you can theorize but when you have to theorize forever about the most important aspects of the story just to give a perspective on the matter it eventually becomes annoying and a lost cause. With BOTW, we got a great game, but not a great Zelda game.
    I think you're missing the point, actually.

    From the first game, Zelda has been about hiding things from the player with the intent of causing people to discuss the game. That intent to create conversation is unquestionably something the series deserves to be applauded for, and it's something that made the series unique for decades.

    If you're arguing for a Zelda that gives you all the answers, you're arguing for a Zelda that has abandoned one of the things that has remained the most consistent throughout the series.

    At some point, everyone plays their first game, and everyone has questions about the connection to older games. However, each game is also self-contained, so new players aren't missing anything by virtue of being new.

    Furthermore, the series got on just fine back when people weren't even certain about whether the games were just retelling the same story, and there's no need to start spoon-feeding the audience answers now as there are plenty of other video games willing to fill that niche.

    Edit: As to your second post, nothing was cliche about the story at all. There were more than a few handfuls of original ideas, even if they weren't implemented perfectly.

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Octorocker ().

  • Octorocker wrote:

    HylianRoyal wrote:

    You're missing the point here. The overall Zelda series has more questions than answers pertaining its lore and story. Its so big how this aspect of the series is that for people who's first Zelda game is BOTW they will really be left in the dark about what is going on. This is not a theme of the series to be glorified. It is a theme of the series to be corrected. Yes you can theorize but when you have to theorize forever about the most important aspects of the story just to give a perspective on the matter it eventually becomes annoying and a lost cause. With BOTW, we got a great game, but not a great Zelda game.
    I think you're missing the point, actually.
    From the first game, Zelda has been about hiding things from the player with the intent of causing people to discuss the game. That intent to create conversation is unquestionably something the series deserves to be applauded for, and it's something that made the series unique for decades.

    If you're arguing for a Zelda that gives you all the answers, you're arguing for a Zelda that has abandoned one of the things that has remained the most consistent throughout the series.

    At some point, everyone plays their first game, and everyone has questions about the connection to older games. However, each game is also self-contained, so new players aren't missing anything by virtue of being new.

    Furthermore, the series got on just fine back when people weren't even certain about whether the games were just retelling the same story, and there's no need to start spoon-feeding the audience answers now as there are plenty of other video games willing to fill that niche.

    Edit: As to your second post, nothing was cliche about the story at all. There were more than a few handfuls of original ideas, even if they weren't implemented perfectly.
    I'm not missing anything. Neither am I asking for a game to give us all the answers. I am simply asking for a Zelda game with a story that sheds more light on things fans have wanted more light on for a long time. Take A Link to the Past for example. The game didn't leave anything out. It presented a great story and guided you through the story as you went along in the game. BOTW didn't do this well in my opinion. It was basically, "Here's this legend of calamity ganon. This is what happened 10,000 years ago. We should do what they did. Plan goes very bad. Hero sleeps for 100 years. Wakes up and defeats ancient villain. Game over." Where is the substance in the game's story? They care too much about making a fun to play game without realizing that a great story adds to making a very fun to play game. I will not be buying BOTW for this reason. BOTW was a huge cliche. The symbolic flower, rushed ending, unexplained villain, etc. If you go watch AngryJoe's review video of BOTW he explains in the video how it was his first Zelda game and expressed disappointment in Ganon's presence in the game, though he did love the game and gave it a 9/10 rating. The game lacked substance in the story.
    My childhood can be explained in just four words: The Legend of Zelda