Mythic Warriors: Link

link the legend of zelda twilight princess video game heroes warrior spirit

Hero with a Thousand Faces

Unlike many other Warriors, Link is not an individual person. Throughout the games, various individuals have filled the role of Link, though they always look about the same. His distinctive tunic is passed down through the ages from hero to hero, calling upon one courageous youth to take up the legend's mantle in times of need. Similarly, the people who fill the roles of the other two Triforces, Wisdom and Power, changes with each iteration of the myth. Zelda is always the holder of the Triforce of Wisdom, and Ganon the Triforce of Power. These three forces manifest over and over again throughout the history of the world in which the game is set, replaying a familiar theme in which evil Power darkens the land, snuffs out Wisdom, and Courage must emerge to seek out Wisdom and overcome sheer Power.

Link, the young warrior, is that hero.

Stepping Up to the Challenge

What makes Link so inspiring as a hero is his unfaltering willingness to set out to save the world from evil. In the latest story, Twilight Princess, Link finds his village victimized by evil creatures and himself transformed into a beast. While all the rest of the townsfolk, and indeed most of Hyrule, simply cower and hope the darkness passes, Link simply begins chipping away at the evil that has fallen over the land.

Throughout the game, Link inspires more and more people to take up their own fights. Seeing him risk his life over and over for people he has just met, they eventually take a stand against the forces of darkness, even simply by aiding him and risking their safety.

What I have always found inspiring in Link's character is his defining characteristic: Courage. It is that one trait that enables him to start making the difference. There are folks far more powerful than he who are in a position to do something, but only he has the courage to face the fears that paralyze everyone else. In the same way, I find that in real life, there are many people who have more skills, knowledge, and resources, but who lack the courage to take risks necessary to enact change or pursue their dreams. In my case, I often find myself inspiring these individuals to act when they see me doing the things they wanted to do, even though I clearly don't know what I am doing.

Skills and Abilities

Of course, Link distinguishes himself through his mind as well. Puzzle-solving has always been a huge part of the Zelda franchise, and Link has always found himself in seemingly impossible situations and managed to use his wits to escape or overcome some powerful boss. The lesson we can take from this is that it takes more than a willingness to face danger in order to overcome it. Link sometimes finds himself defending overly zealous children inspired by his example who lack the skills to face monsters. So even as we face the challenges other might shy away from, we ought to approach them intelligently and with the necessary skillset.

One of the most engaging elements of the Zelda games is that Link gains new skills, items, and powers throughout the game. He starts off with a basic sword and shield, but by the end of it is master of a wide variety of clever tools and weapons, possessor of a legendary sword, and clad in protective magic. He has made many friends and allies who provide him with additional aid when he needs it. In this way, Link becomes a truly formidable warrior. The combination of Courage, Wisdom, and Power converges to create a well-rounded, capable hero.

In the same way, a real life Warrior should always be looking for ways to develop his or her skills, either through individual practice, seeking out capable teachers, allying oneself with others who have the necessary skills, or acquiring the right equipment and the ability to use it. Becoming the focal point of a large array of quality resources and abilities is the mark of a truly capable Warrior who can affect real change in his or her chosen endeavor.

A True Hero is Humble

Despite all these formidable traits, the thing that leads me to truly admire Link is his simple kindness and ability to enjoy the simple things in life. He is ready to help pretty much anyone who asks, despite the heavy burden that rests on his shoulders. He never takes out his frustrations on anyone else, bearing his destiny with quiet acceptance. At the same time, he does not worry himself overly much. When the opportunity presents itself, Link isn't above spending some leisure time playing carnival games for prizes or simply enjoying a day fishing. Perhaps this is because he always comes from a rural background, either as a forest sprite, a goat herder, or a simple fisherman. He is a well-balanced hero, a Warrior who can appreciate what he fights for. This internal harmony may seem like a small thing, but I believe it is the core of Link's indomitable character.

So I can say with complete seriousness that I aspire to be like Link, the Hero of Time, Savior of Hyrule, and Slayer of Skulltulas.

Who is your favorite video game Warrior or hero? I'll be writing about historical and fictional characters in the coming weeks, so send me your suggestions for Warriors you'd like to see profiled.

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