Table of Contents:
- Termina Questions
- What is the connection between Hyrule and Termina?
- How exactly are Hyrule and Termina parallel worlds? How does this work?
- Who or what created Termina?
- How did Link get into Termina?
- Shouldn't Link (or all the characters in OoT) have a double in Termina?
- Character Questions
- Who is Link looking for?
- What's the story behind the Four Giants, Skull Kid, and Tatl and Tael?
- What kind of powers does the Mask Salesman have?
- What's the story with Anju and Kafei?
- Mask Questions
- What are the properties and powers of masks in this game?
- What's the story behind Majora's Mask? Who or what is Majora?
- How much of the mischief was caused by Skull Kid, and how much was caused by Majora's Mask controlling him?
- What is the story behind the Fierce Deity Mask? Why is it given to you? Who or what is the Fierce Deity?
- Other Questions
- Is this game relevant to the overall story of the series? It seems more like a sidestory.
What is the connection between Hyrule and Termina?
According to page 6 of the MM manual, "this is a kind of parallel world that is similar to and yet different from the land of Hyrule, which was the setting for the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Termina is a mysterious place, and the people Link meets here may look vaguely familiar at first glance." So Termina is a parallel world to Hyrule. Termina is not in the same world or universe as Hyrule. You cannot get to Termina by starting in Hyrule and walking there. You must use a special kind of portal to reach the parallel world of Termina.
How exactly are Hyrule and Termina parallel worlds? How does this work?
I assume that the notion of "parallel world" is an intuitive one - two similar worlds co-existing in different realities. How exactly can parallel worlds be thought to differ, or be the same? There are two common understandings of the term "parallel world." One interpretation states that a parallel world is exactly like another world, only some event happened slightly differently. For example, perhaps there is a parallel universe that has a planet just like Earth, except Germany won WWII instead of the Allies. Another interpretation asserts that a parallel world need not be almost exactly like the other world. It is only very similar, or similar only in certain characteristics. It shares some of the same land features and people, but has a different history.
These two interpretations, however, are not really all that different. They differ only in the degree of similarity/difference between the two worlds. The question, then, is on which end of the scale Termina lies. Is it a lot like Hyrule, or very different? Termina is certainly not just a slightly different version of Hyrule. There are many differences, as should be obvious to even casual players. They are parallel worlds only because they share some things in common. "Doubles" in Termina look and act a lot like their "doubles" in Hyrule, but they are clearly different people. The land of Termina itself does not look much like Hyrule, but it has many of the same kinds of creatures (Zoras, Gorons, humans), items (hearts, bombs, rupees) and geographical features (plains, mountains, oceans).
For example, in Hyrule Koume and Kotake were evil Gerudo witches, surrogate mothers of Ganondorf. In Termina, the two witches are actually good, and help you. One runs a potion shop, and the other sells tickets for the swamp cruise. In Hyrule, Ingo is the conceited worker at Lon Lon Ranch. In Termina, there are actually THREE brothers who look like Ingo, the Gorman brothers. One runs an entertainment troupe, while the two others run a ranch. So, while characters are similar in Termina and Hyrule, they are sometimes different. (Also note that not every character in Hyrule necessarily has a "double" in Termina. Termina has an entirely different history, and it should thus not be surprising that some Terminan "doubles" never had a chance to be born, and vice versa.) Termina itself is similar, yet different from, Hyrule. It has some of the same geographical features, races, and monsters as Hyrule, but the geography of the land is completely different.
How is it possible that Hyrule and Termina are similar to each other? Obviously, it seems to be within the gods' power to create worlds similar to each other. Perhaps the Four Giants saw the golden goddesses' world (or vice versa), and were inspired to make a world of their own.
It might be instructive to look at the "many worlds" theory. It actually involves quantum mechanics, but it's not too difficult to understand if you just consider the basic idea behind it. The quantum mechanical picture is that, at a very small level, particles don't exist as particles - they exist in "quantum states." A quantum particle is actually a superposition of many states. This means that the particle exists in many different states at the same time. It is not necessary to visualize how this can be the case - in fact, nobody can. What's interesting is this: when a quantum particle is "observed," i.e. when something interacts with it, it randomly chooses only one state to exist in temporarily. The key here is that the choice is random, and only one among many possible states is chosen each time the particle interacts.
At this point, the usual interpretation is that all other possibilities have been obliterated, and only one state remains in the world that we can perceive. But proponents of the "many worlds" theory speculate that the other quantum states don't disappear; they still exist, in parallel worlds. So, in fact, there exist a vast number of parallel worlds, all differing by one quantum state in one quantum particle. That's where the "many" comes in - with this many possibilites, almost any kind of parallel world is possible.
In the case of Hyrule and Termina, envision the beginning of the world. No interactions have yet occurred. Suddenly, two quantum particles interact, and choose states to exist in. So follows the rest of the universe. Some time later, a land that is almost Hyrule exists. But somewhere along the line, a quantum particle chooses a state, and two parallel worlds are created. These worlds start out almost identical, differing by only one quantum particle's state. But after thousands of years, the two worlds turn out to be very different. One world is Hyrule, the other is Termina. They have similar histories, but somewhere along the line their paths diverged. It is also possible that Termina and Hyrule differ by a great deal of quantum states, or that they didn't have a common starting point. The exact application of this theory to this case is left to the reader's imagination.
Note that the"many worlds" theory is just that - a theory. It is, perhaps, scientific, in the sense that scientists formulated the theory in order to explain the behavior of the observable natural world. This does not mean that this is the only way parallel worlds can be created, and it does not necessarily eliminate the role of gods in Termina's creation. The creators of Termina could very well have coordinated the "splitting off," and consquently guided the early history of their parallel world. Also note that a near infinite number of parallel worlds need not exist. Perhaps some parallel worlds are so volatile that they self-destruct. Or perhaps the gods eliminate all but a few. In any case, a purely physical explanation doesn't really explain the origin of any universe, or parallel ones for that matter. It is still necessary to explain how the worlds got there in the first place, why they exist rather than not existing, and how they came to be filled with life.
Who or what created Termina?
MM does not give a clear answer to this question. Thus there are several possible answers.
MM implies that the Four Giants created Termina. Anju's grandmother tells the old story of the Four Giants. According to her, "The imp was a friend of the giants since before they had created the four worlds." The "four worlds" are the lands of Termina - Snowhead, Woodfall, Ikana, and the Great Bay. The apparent implication is that the Four Giants created Termina. This is open to interpretation, however. The old tales could be wrong, since they could, after all, be myths that have only some truth to them. MM doesn't give any other hints about who created Termina, so perhaps rejecting this myth takes too many liberties with the available evidence. Another interpretation is that Termina was created by somebody or something else, and the Four Giants merely fashioned or shaped the four worlds, which are just four lands within the larger world of Termina.
Further adding to the confusion is the old Zelda.com, which used to claim that Termina was created by the same golden goddesses who created Hyrule. Is this even conceivable? Certainly; there is nothing keeping deities from creating other worlds. We have no reason to believe the goddesses are not omnipotent, so this is entirely possible. However, the fact remains that MM doesn't mention golden goddesses, and none of the games mention the goddesses creating other worlds. Given the unreliability of Zelda.com's information (which I discuss elsewhere), my guess is that they just made this up.
If, however, one wishes to speculate about the golden goddeses creating Termina, one may reason as follows. First, it is a certainty that Hyrule was created by three golden goddesses: several games say so, and we have no evidence to the contrary. The three versions of the creation myth of Hyrule do not mention the goddesses creating parallel worlds, but this can be approached from the following angles.
From a creator viewpoint, the creators simply didn't consider MM when they made the previous games, so they didn't tell the whole story. Under this viewpoint, we must admit that the MM games and guides do not tell the full story either, since they don't say that the golden goddesses created Termina. Rather, the full story was kept in the creators' notes, and was revealed for the first time by NOA on Zelda.com.
From an in-game historical viewpoint, it makes sense that the legends wouldn't mention the creation of parallel worlds. Most Hyrulians would have no knowledge of parallel worlds, unless the goddesses told them. They would thus have no reason to believe that the goddesses created worlds other than their own. One may ask how the Hyrulian authors of the legends knew that the golden goddesses created Hyrule. Was it by divine inspiration? The goddesses do, after all, communicate to Hylians, so this is plausible. If we assume that the people of Hyrule were told about the creation by some divine agent (perhaps one who was created by the goddesses, perhaps directly by the goddesses themselves), then either: (1) the goddesses didn't create Termina, or (2) they didn't want the Hylians to know about it, or didn't think it was necessary to tell them. The same reasoning can be applied to Terminians not knowing about Hyrule.
How did Link get into Termina?
The simple answer is that he fell into a portal by accident. It is more difficult to say exactly when and where this happened.
It is commonly understood that, at the beginning of MM, Link is still in the world of Hyrule. After all, Skull Kid was in OoT too, and he hung out in the Lost Woods. So it is plausible that Link is in the Lost Woods in the game's intro. In fact, the manual for the new Collector's Edition GameCube disc, on page 20, says that "Link was waylaid while traveling through the Lost Woods." If we assume that the woods in the intro are the Lost Woods of Hyrule, then Link could have entered Termina in either of two places. One place is, obviously, the log. Link chases Skull Kid into a log, which turns out to be a black pit. He falls in, and strange shapes and colors dance before his eyes. This probably represents the journey from Hyrule to Termina. Another possible place is right before Link enters the Clock Tower. He goes down a long passageway, and meanwhile the camera twists around as Link walks across the twisted passageway (similar to the effect seen in the Forest Temple in OoT). This too, could represent the journey from Hyrule to Termina.
But there are other possibilities, thanks to MM's ambiguity. Link was planning to leave Hyrule. At the beginning of MM, he has done so, and is now in Termina. This is where he is robbed of Epona. The log is merely a very long fall, and the weird shapes and colors are Link growing faint as he falls so far. The underground labyrinth, as before, is located beneath Termina Field. And the weird twisty passageway is still just as unexplainable as before. One might even say that there is a Lost Woods in Termina, which still explains the reference to the Lost Woods in the Collector's Edition manual.
Shouldn't Link (or all the characters in OoT) have a double in Termina?
There is no reason why everyone in Hyrule, or OoT, should necessarily have a double in Termina, or MM. Aside from the fact that Termina and Hyrule share some similarities, they nevertheless might as well be independent of each other. Nothing that happens in one world necessarily affects what happens in the other. And the two worlds may follow different time laws, and/or physical principles.
Some have tried to argue tht Termina is "in the same time period" as OoT. But this isn't necessarily true, and might not even make sense. Suppose that Termina and Hyrule both branched off from a common world. This does not imply that the Hyrule and Termina that Link experienced were in the same place in the timeline after this split. Even if they were, this doesn't mean every person in Hyrule had to be born in Termina. If Hyrule and Termina are thought to be completely independent of each other, then it doesn't even make sense to speak of them being in the same time period. It's like trying to say that an event in Star Wars takes place at the same time as an event in Star Trek. It doesn't make any sense; the two worlds are separate and have their own timelines.
Another argument is the large number of doubles present in Termina. But this alone doesn't imply that everyone has a double. Nor can we imply that MM only has doubles from OoT. Just compare the characters in OoT, MM, and the Oracle games. The characters are jumbled around in Hyrule and Termina, and even in different time periods in the same world, Hyrule. There is nothing necessitating one world to contain all the same people as the other, just as there is not necessarily any physical relation between the two worlds.
What are the properties and powers of masks in this game?
In Termina, masks have special powers and significance. The making of masks goes far back into Termina's history. Anju's grandmother tells us that "for ages, people have worn masks resembling the giants who are the gods of the four worlds. Now, it has become a custom for each person to bring a handmade mask to the Carnival of Time."
Masks can contain magical power, in varying degrees. Magical masks can give the wearer special abilities - the Mask of Scents enhances one's sense of smell, and the Bremen Mask lets you lead small animals with a flute. The Giant's Mask contains great magical power, making the holder into a giant.
More interestingly, some masks contain what I will call the "essence" of a person, which is basically some part of his soul, personality, person, spirit, etc. For example, with Kamaro's Mask you can perform his strange dance. He put some of his "essence" into the mask, giving the wearer the ability to perform his dance. The Circus Leader Mask, which streams out Gorman's tears, "is filled with the feelings of tenderness left behind in the back of one's heart," according to the mask salesman. Some of Gormon's emotions, and thus his essence, was put into the mask. The Captain's Hat contains some of Captain Keeta's essence, allowing the wearer to pose as him.
Most interesting of all are the masks created with the Song of Healing. According to the mask salesman, "this is a melody that heals evil magic and troubled spirits, turning them into masks." Skull Kid used wicked magic to turn Link into a Deku Scrub. Link was able to play the Song of Healing to put this evil magic into a mask. Thus, the Deku Mask contains the "essence" of Skull Kid's evil curse. Whoever wears the mask will be similarly cursed. The only difference is that the wearer can now control the curse, taking the mask off when he wishes to return the evil magic to mask form.
Similarly, Link plays the Song of Healing to remove the curse from Pamela's father, who was mummified while researching Gibdos. The Gibdos' magic was strong enough to begin turning Pamela's father into a Gibdo, but the mask doesn't turn Link into one. Instead, it gives Link the power to communicate with the Gibdos. We can perhaps conclude that the Song of Healing drove some of the evil magic from the curse, leaving only part of it behind in the mask.
The Song of Healing can also heal troubled spirits, turning them into masks. If a spirit has unfinished business, it will not pass on to the afterlife, but will remain to haunt the land. After a while they will become wraiths, empty spirits who exist only for hatred and destruction (this is what Poes, Moas, and most Ghinis are). But Link happens upon Darmani, the Goron hero, and Mikau, the Zora band member, while their bodies are still fresh. By playing the Song of Healing, Link is able to put almost their entire essence, even the essence of their physical body, into a mask. These two masks are very powerful: they change Link's form, combining Link's essence with the essence contained in the mask. Thus, Link's body is a "combination" of both his own and the one in the mask, and he shares many of the same abilities (and possibly memories) of the spirit he has healed. This is why Link retains some of his own bodily features, even when he has transformed into a Goron or Zora. The resemblance is so close that even close relations mistake him for the real person. Note that the transformation is painful - we see Link screaming in agony every time he puts on one of these masks. This is because the mask is permeating Link's essence, combining his with its own.
A similar situation exists with the Deku Mask. Skull Kid's curse was so strong that it created a nearly complete Deku Scrub essence. Thus, Deku Link is a "superposition" of both himself and a Deku Scrub. The difference here is that the Deku Scrub form doesn't appear to be from any particular Deku Scrub. Nobody recognizes Deku Link when he visits the Deku Palace. There is one possibility, however. After you race the Deku Butler, he tells you, "Actually, when I see you, I am reminded of my son who left home long ago... Somehow, I feel as if I am once again racing with my son..." It's possible that Skull Kid encountered this Deku Scrub after he got Majora's Mask. He used his newfound power to steal almost all the poor Deku Scrub's essence. He then used this essence to curse Link. Some have speculated that the withered tree in the underground cave in the beginning of the game is this Deku Scrub, robbed of most of his essence. This would make sense, since Deku Scrubs are part tree. In fact, in the ending we see the Deku Butler next to the tree, which implies that the tree either used to be his son, or reminds him of his son. However, there is no Deku Scrub restored to life, as Darmani and Mikau were, so perhaps this isn't his son after all, or the curse was too strong to reverse. In any case, when Link gets cursed we see him running away from Deku Scrubs, who eventually catch up with him and consume him. This indicates that Link has been taken over by the quintessence of Deku Scub, not just any particular one. When he plays the Song of Healing, a similar scene shows Link waving good-bye to the Deku Scrubs, making his peace with them.
What's the story behind Majora's Mask? Who or what is Majora?
According to the mask salesman, "it is an accursed item from legend that is said to have been used by an ancient tribe in its hexing rituals. It is said that an evil and wicked power is bestowed upon the one who wears that mask. According to legend... the troubles caused by Majora's Mask were so great... the ancient ones, fearing such catastrophe, sealed the mask in shadow forever, preventing its misuse. But now, that tribe from the legend has vanished, so no one really knows the true nature of the mask's power..."
The power of Majora's Mask is very great, rivalling even the power of the Four Giants. It takes all Four Giants to keep the moon from destroying Termina, and even then, they have difficulty holding it up when the mask inhabits the moon. The mask is powerful enough to control its wearer (there are numerous references to Skull Kid being "controlled" by the mask). And eventually, the mask even reveals that it is able to act independently of a wearer. It was only using Skull Kid as a puppet, and perhaps took enough strength from the Skull Kid to move of its own accord. When Link fights it, the mask reveals an even greater power: it incarnates itself, giving itself a body.
There are two theories about the origin of Majora's Mask. One theory is that a very powerful, perhaps godlike, entity was sealed in Majora's Mask (or his essence was). This wicked godlike person did much evil, so he was sealed in a mask. Perhaps the Four Giants did this, or a tribe of powerful protectors - the "ancient ones." This theory explains how the mask is able to act on its own: the mask contains an essence so strong that it can act on its own, and control the wearer. And as Link battles the mask, the entity inside it is cast out, and forced to incarnate itself.
The other possibility is that somebody created the mask in order to cast hexing spells. It seems likely that no one person in Termina could possibly put enough magic into the mask to give it this kind of power. But perhaps an entire group of people mustered all their magical power, and put it into th emask. Or, perhaps, as it passed from person to person, it slowly grew in power as evil magic flowed into it. At first, the mask contained no power whatsoever (or perhaps just a little bit, to get it started). As the tribe kept casting hexing spells with the mask, each wearer put some of his hatred, and dark magic, into the mask. (Why the tribe would need a mask in the first place is not clear - perhaps it would enhance and direct their actions). Over time, the mask accumulated more and more of the collective essence of the tribe - the dark, spiteful, bitter half. Eventually, the power of the mask grew so great that the tribe began to lose control of it. It began controlling its wearers, and doing more damage than they intended. It grew so strong, and powerful, that it began to act like its own entity.
The identity of the "ancient tribe" is not made clear. Perhaps they were not the creators of the mask, and merely used its power to hex their enemies. In either case, we know that the "ancient ones, fearing such catastrophe, sealed the mask in shadow forever, preventing its misuse." Who were the ancient ones? Perhaps we can assume that they were the same tribe who used the mask. But perhaps they were a different group of people entirely - like the sages of Hyrule, who act as guardians of the land. And where exactly did the ancient ones seal the mask? Obviously, the hiding place wasn't foolproof, because the mask salesman was able to find it. Perhaps Majora's Mask was banished to the "gap between dimensions" - the same place Ganondorf banished his Phantom Ganon when Link defeated it. It would seem that the "gap between dimensions" is outside of Hyrule, the Sacred Realm, Termina, and any other possible world. Think of the gap as a "soup," in which all possible worlds float. This would make sense - most normal people, in all possible worlds, would never be able to access the gap between dimensions. And even if they did, they would get hopelessly lost in it. The mask salesman has some mysterious power of his own, which is why he was able to look for, and find, the mask.
Majora's Mask need not have originated in Termina. The mask salesman never actually says what world the mask came from. Though it seems most people presume that it came from Termina, the mask could have come from any world. It ended up in Termina because the Skull Kid stole it from the mask salesman. Why, then, is the mask trying to destroy Termina? Wouldn't its grudge be against whatever world it came from? We may recall that Skull Kid is using the mask. Though the mask is controlling him, Skull Kid is still using it to carry out his own wishes. Skull Kid is angry at the Four Giants for leaving him and then banishing him from Termina. The mask inflates this desire, and Skull Kid's impotent desire to cause mischief is blown up into a desire to destroy the whole world. The Skull Kid's essence becomes mixed up with the essence inside Majora's Mask, until the mask doesn't care what it's destroying: "I...I shall consume. Consume...Consume everything."