Analyzing the Canon


In my previous article on this subject, What is Canon, I laid out my arguments for what I believe should be accepted as the Zelda canon - the games and instruction booklets, and nothing else. Read that article if you are unsure of what canon is, or if you don't know why I reject the comics, cartoons, player guides, etc. as canon sources.

Now that I've established what I think is canon, it's time to move on to a deeper level - historically analyzing the canon. Are some parts of the canon more authoritative than others? Should gameplay details and official art be considered as historical evidence? To begin, consider the way in which Nintendo has decided to present the history of Hyrule to us. All Zelda games have a dual purpose: one is to provide a fun, exciting, interactive gaming experience; the other is to tell a purely historical, non-interactive story.

How does Nintendo's "game" format of historical presentation (as opposed to some other medium, like book, movie, or essay) affect the historical reliability of the canon? That is a question I will attempt to answer in this article.

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