Wednesday, 21 February 2018

#451 Heroism and laziness

"Link! Link! Wake up! Can Hyrule's destiny really depend on such a lazy boy?"

I was on the tube. Pondering the opening line of one of the 90s' greatest videogames, The Ocarina of Time. Can Hyrule's destiny depend on such a lazy boy? Can it indeed...

We quickly learn at the game's start, that Link isn't like other children. He was born without a fairy. What does that mean? It means he has no guardian. His house is sparse. He either lost, or never had, a set of parents. It's a common aspect of a hero. James Bond (also a killer 90s game). Harry Potter. Luke Skywalker. Why is this significant? It's because an orphan is unmolded. Vulnerable in some sense.

Ripping an ordinary child away from a familiar structure has consequences. The family might protest. The child might return to its family. Only a child who has no family, or has been neglected by their family, will depart on the hero's journey. Chaos is easier to face if you're already from a chaotic environment and lacking a guide as a kid is plenty chaotic.

Without a proper mentor, Link is left with his undeveloped forms of reasoning and discipline. It's no wonder he stays in bed. Nobody tells him to get up. Nobody needs him. He's a surplus being. More able to entertain approaches from outsiders. Fortunately Link is summoned by the Deku Tree, a wise and responsible senior figure. It could so easily have gone another way.

And so Link gets up. He's given a conscience of sorts in the form of Navi, the guardian's servant. Navi isn't as wise as the Deku tree. She's more of a messenger. Like some of the players who'll turn on the game, she doesn't fully understand the complexity of the events she's being asked to carry out and arguably, she doesn't need to. Her question goes unanswered for the time being as it's more entertaining but the answer, as we find out, is "Of course it can" and with good reason too.


Fizzfan said...

Do you think all children like the notion of succeeding outside the confines of ‘the others’, namely parents and society?
It’s a winning formula for a story or game if they end up being successful too. I know I loved books about children getting the upper hand over horrible adults and naughty ones getting one over on authority figures.
He did have some help though, but it was mystical and wise rather than intrusive and controlling. Harry Potter was OK because he ended up being a super wizard and Skywalker ummmm I don’t know but didn’t he have some sort of super power, or was it just a light sabre?

So is the idea of abandonment (or freedom) a catalyst for unleashing your very own super power? And against all the odds you win. It’s justice isn’t it and who wouldn’t love you for triumphing over all those odds. You would undoubtedly be far more interesting too.

Could well be. Also, Necessity is they say, the Mother of invention.

Running on empty said...

I thought both of you would enjoy this, it made me laugh

Dan Copping said...

Fizz I don't know. I'd expect the distribution of rebelliousness among children to be roughly normal although with children it's sometimes difficult to know how they'll behave unless you remove them from the institutions of family and school - so rarely are they given much freedom that it's hard to know how they'll react to it, even if they're well behaved normally.

Skywalker was strong with the Force although he wouldn't have learned that until later in the story.

Abandonment isn't a good indicator of success as far as I can see - it's more of a catalyst for 'something' - if they're fortunate enough to meet someone wise then 'something' could be succeess but if they meet someone malevolent or don't meet anyone then the 'something' is trouble or floundering.

I did enjoy the biscuit story, thank you Cath.