Concepts In: Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a game for the Nintendo Wii and an installment in the long-running and successful Legend of Zelda series.  It was released back in 2006 during the launch of the Nintendo Wii, and is considered one of the best games in the franchise due to its gameplay, story, and visual style.

Twilight Princess has been a favorite game of mine since it first came out.  Back in '06, I got the Wii on launch day, and this was the first game I played on it.  It was the definitive must-have title when the Wii first released.  I have played through it multiple times, and have accrued hundreds of gameplay hours over multiple save files.  There are few games I have played, explored and learned about more than this game.

It is this admitted obsession with Twilight Princess that makes me dumbstruck to learn many fans of the Zelda series are actually dissatisfied with this game, with some of them even bold enough to say that the game was bad.  Certain players say it's bland, or unimaginative.  Others say the game makes a cheap and cliché attempt to create an atmosphere that is dark and depressing.  These so-called fans must not have paid attention while playing, otherwise they would have seen the immense depth that is conveyed through the game's story.

This game is not dark.  It's not trying to be moody, either.  The theme of Twilight Princess is not darkness, it's beauty.  The beauty found in everything held dear.

The atmosphere of the game, particularly the parts that take place in the Twilight Realm do envelop you in a somber setting, but that does not make it forcefully moody and depressing.  When you stop for a moment and take stock of the world around you, you see that it has a distinct and surreal majesty to it, made most evident by the colors of the environment and dusk lighting.  The character Midna, a resident of the dimension known as the Twilight Realm, at times defends her home, and makes the serene beauty known to the other characters and the player.  It is a beauty that is overlooked and refused by those not accepting of it, but is still to be appreciated.

This love of something Midna finds beautiful gives the players a starting point for the motifs that are prevalent in the game.  The idea of loving something you hold dear and valuing what you do have, and the reverse idea of not being content and envying what is not yours.

Midna is one of three characters that best exemplify the concept of loving what they have and desiring to defend and preserve it.  The other two are Princess Zelda, and Link, the game's main protagonist. They have all had something they love be taken from them, and later fight to reclaim whatever it is they lost.  Midna wishes to reclaim her lost home, which has been turned into a hostile land under the control of an evil king bent of conquering Hyrule.  Zelda wants to restore her kingdom and free it and her people from the invading Twilight.  Link desires to rescue his friends who were taken by the invaders and defend his homeland.  Each of them see the beauty and value in what it is they treasure.  They don't need to have more then what they already treasure.

The total opposite motives of Midna, Zelda and Link are displayed in the game's atagonist:  Zant, the Dark Interlopers and Ganondorf.  These villains’ hearts are filled with malice and envy, and seek to take what they do not have.

Zant is the one who took control of the Twilight Realm and deformed it and its inhabitants.  All Zant ever wanted was to be king of the Twilight Realm, and developed great bitterness and anger when the title was not passed to him.  In his jealousy and hatred he let himself become the tool for Ganondorf’s schemes, and began his agenda to rule the Twilight Realm and sink Hyrule into darkness.  Zant entire motivation was to punish people for possessing what he could not have, and taking what did not belong to him.

Though not a as directly important to the plot as Zant or Ganondorf, the Dark Interlopers set the groundwork for what the main villains desired to accomplish.  They were magic users that excelled in black magic, and were one of many groups that throughout the course of Hylian history tried to establish dominion over the Sacred Realm.  The only difference between them and the others was their source of power, the Fused Shadow.  It was a power they created, and in their arrogance tried to use it to take the Sacred Realm, and by extension the Triforce.  Because of this they were seen as challengers to the power of the goddesses, who sent the Light Spirits to defeat the Interlopers and banish them to dimension that later became known as the Twilight Realm.  These Dark Interlopers allowed their lust for power to make them behave carelessly and arrogantly, and were punished accordingly for it.

Lastly is Ganondorf, the true villain of the game and greatest threat to Hyrule.  He is by far the most extreme example of a character that desires nothing more than to take from others.  Ganondorf wants conquer everyone and everything, and has the power to do so.  You learn as you play through the game that Ganondorf was supposed to have died.  He was a thief who was caught, apprehended, and put death, but the Triforce of Power kept him alive.  Surviving his execution was more enough to put Ganondorf over the edge, and fill his heart with enough pride and arrogance to make him believe himself all-powerful.  He would stop at nothing in his quest to take control of Hyrule, and make himself its king.  

Every villain wanted something that was not theirs.  They only saw and desired what belonged to someone else.  This combination of greed and jealousy was ultimately their undoing.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a fantastic game and one of the highlights of the Zelda franchise.  It is a game about hidden beauty, love and fighting for what you care about.  To anyone who has disregarded this game, you may want to play it again, and this time enjoy it for what it truly is, and not what it is perceived to be.


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