4 years ago1,000+ Views
The Legend of Zelda is one of the most iconic franchises in all of videogames. Link is instantly recognizable virtually anywhere. People have been talking about these games for years. However, a lot of people seem to miss the subtext across the games.
The Evil that you fight in these various games is not just some vague darkness. The evil is the evil of industry. The Legend of Zelda is actually a strong anti-industrial narrative.

Link Himself

Link's character is modeled after Tolkien-esque elves, and also drawn from other fantastical entities, according to creator Shigeru Miyamoto, such as Peter Pan.
Elves and Peter Pan are both linked deeply to nature. They live in the trees and play in the forest, seeking privacy from prying eyes (or adults). We see even more Link's connection to nature through his equipment. Almost everything in his entire arsenal is gifted from natural spirits or beings, or found in shrines to these natural beings.
He gets the Gust Jar in Minish Cap (uses wind), the various Ocarinas use the spirits of nature, and Link is even healed by fairies on his quest.

The Temples/Dungeons

Many of the Temples that Link visits on his quest are sacred places. In Minish Cap, they are the places where you find the elements. In Oracle of Seasons, they are where you restore the spirit of the different seasons. In Majora's mask, they are the places you need to restore to their original form.
In Ocarina of Time, the Fish King Jabu-Jabu is literally a being that has been corrupted, and you must save him.
It is virtually always remarked that these locations were once pure, or somehow spiritual, and have been corrupted by some 'evil' or another. It is easy to see how the evil at work is the shadow of oncoming industrialization, wiping away the natural (and therefore spiritual) sites of import.

The Quests

In basically every Legend of Zelda game, Link must go off on his quest to restore balance to the world, by ridding it of the dark evil that threatens the realm.
Along these quests, Link must collect essential items in order to be able to access the final stage. In Oracle of Seasons, it is the Essences of Nature. In Link's Awakening, it is the Instruments of Sirens. It's the elements in Minish Cap, it's the songs in Ocarina of Time.
In each of these circumstances, it can be easily read that Link is effectively reclaiming nature and using its strength so as to defeat the ultimate evil at the final stage. You need to embrace and utilize the power of the natural world in order to topple the oppressive reach and power of industry.
Fight for the fairies and the Zora and the Gorons, whose simple lives are under siege by the industrialized powers.


Of course. It's the entry we were all waiting for. It's what ties this whole concept together. Ganon is the embodiment of industrialization.
I mean, look at him! Tall, imperious, covered in dark hues and metals, always somehow grasping something. His eyebrows go into his hairline! Well, that might not be relevant, but still.
In his ongoing attempts to rule Hyrule, his manner of doing it is to first destroy or corrupt all of the natural spaces. He poisons the fish king, he corrupts the Mako tree, he is the worst. The only way you beat him is with the combined skills and strengths you've gained from traversing the spiritual sites of the world and learning from those more connected to nature.

Thereby, Link is anti-industrial hero.

This post has been brought to you by punk rock. And elf babies. No, but seriously, I'm definitely following this metaphor, and it's crazy how I never noticed it as a child.
Side note: While spirit tracks might seem to counter this narrative, because of the central use of the train, it's a subversive narrative. The train isn't man-made. Instead it's made by the spirits, and is used in conjunction with the natural world around it. You build the train with recycled natural materials and defeat the demonized spiders and baddies with your cannon.
the best zelda's scenario is link to the past on snes, the best of zelda graphic is the twilight princess on wii. but whatever i love every zelda series :)
@danidee I'm glad you agree with it. I think the game has enough going on in it on a surface level that we can all mis it, especially as young'uns. I know I did. Now that we're older, though, we can unpack these kinds of things with more informed thoughts.
@danidee he is so punk rock. he's like joey ramone and sid vicious had an elf baby
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