It's revealed at the end that Ravio came to Hyrule to seek a hero who could help defeat Hilda. Which is why he rents a bunch of useful equipment to Link. But why did he rent the Sand Rod to Osfala? Because Osfala thought he was the hero of legend, and probably confused Ravio into thinking the same. Or maybe he knew that Osfalawasn't the hero, and gave him a dud item to slow him down. The Sand Rod is useless in the Eastern Palace.
Him renting and selling his inventory to Link also makes sense once you reach the end of the game — he probably plans to use the funds he raised to help reboot Lorule's economy and finance the rebuilding of the kingdom!
Why is it that Ganon never hijacked the plot from Yuga, as per his usual style? Because he was fused with Yuga, and Yuga was pretty much doing exactly what he would have done on his own in that situation already — namely, try to steal the Triforce and Take Over the World. What use would he have in resisting Yuga's will when his will had the same aim that was being achieved right then? Worse, Yuga becomes much more violent and stole the Triforce of Wisdom just to kill Link. It's pretty clear Ganon's hate is influencing him.
Lorule Triforce wielders:
Lorule's counterparts to the usual heroes (and villain) lack the definite trait of the Hyrule Triforce wielders: Link is courageous, while Ravio is a coward; Zelda is wise, while Hilda foolishly tries to steal another Triforce and trusts Yuga; Ganon is powerful, while Yuga runs away and needs to steal his strength to be an effective threat. They're mirrors in every way.
Furthermore, Ravio claims to be a coward, but in reality, his actions show markedly the opposite. Rather than kick back and let Hilda consign Hyrule to a slow, decaying demise, he stepped in to help Link stop her, potentially dooming himself in the process. He might not take an active combat position, but he does, in his own way, show courage. Hilda's plan is a bit short-sighted, but does acknowledge her view of a greater good. She clearly doesn't like what she's doing, and sees it as, at best, a necessary evil, and does what she can to help her people. Not to mention, her plan is rather well thought-out, simply not accounting for Yuga and Ravio's respective betrayals. Finally, Yuga, while not even close to as powerful as Ganon was, is still strong... in his own way. I mean, even as a one-trick pony, his one spell, outside of with Link, courtesy of Ravio's bracelet, is a one hit kill/incapacitation. Seriously, the only reason Yuga's not a threat to Link is because he sidesteps Yuga's silver bullet. He merely exercises it differently, relying on guile more than Ganon's brute force. In effect, it's not that they are opposites, but rather similar characters, just viewed through a different lens.
All three of the counterparts had the traits the Hyrulians have, but not quite enough of it. Ravio didn't have the courage to stand up to Hilda and Yuga, but he was brave enough to find someone who could save them. Hilda had the intelligence to think of a good plan, but failed to account for everything, such as the fact that Link would be strong enough to beat Yuga and keep them from getting the last Triforce piece. Yuga was strong enough to get all of the sages and Princess Zelda, but before absorbing Ganon, he wasn't strong enough to completely defeat Link.
Consider the fact that Lorule's Triforce was gone. Destroyed. Poof. Because of it, Lorule was decaying. There was just a chance that the Triforce was there to give the people of Lorule Courage, Power, and Wisdom... and with its destruction, it couldn't give Ravio the Courage he needed, Hilda the Wisdom to lead Lorule, and Yuga the Power to try to control Lorule by himself.
What if Ravio had the counterpart to wisdom, and Hilda had the counterpart to Courage? Then both characters' actions would make a lot more sense. Ravio, who may not be all that courageous, is certainly wise enough to see that both Hilda's and Yuga's plan is a spectacularly bad idea. Hilda, on the other hand, has enough courage to save Lorule by any means necessary, even if it would destroy another world entirely.
Ravio's pet bird Sheerow is innocuous enough. Its purpose seems to be a way to explain how Ravio gets his items back if you fall in battle. However, after the reveal that Ravio is Link's Lorule counterpart, it's clear that Sheerow serves another role — Ravio's Exposition Fairy! And given its appearance, a tiny white ball with two wings, it suddenly looks like a nod to another Link's own Exposition Fairy — Navi from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Along those same lines, Sheerow works in roughly the opposite way of the fairies that Link can put in bottles. While those fairies bring Link back to life if he falls in battle, Sheerow simply takes advantage of Link's death by retrieving his rented items.
This game's version of the bow of light only works while Link is a painting. This doesn't make much sense until you remember that Zelda gave it to you when she was a painting!
Something concerning Zelda's office in her castle. It is a nice and tidy office, a subtle indication that she is The Wise Princess and signifying her connection to the Triforce of Wisdom. But Hilda's equivalent to the office in Lorule is disheveled. This serves as Foreshadowing that her wisdom has been rather... corrupted.
Why does Hilda have purple hair? It's because Zelda has blonde, like yellow hair. Yellow and Purple are color inverts. Link and Ravio also follow this, with Link having blonde hair and Ravio having purple hair.
None of the Seven Sages have a counterpart in Lorule, which seems rather strange at first. In light of Lorule's backstory as revealed in the ending, it starts to make more sense: with no more Triforce to protect, Lorule doesn't have much need for Sages anymore.
There's something of a Broken Base over the item renting system, as opposed to Zelda's usual dungeon items. But with the reveal that Ravio is Link's counterpart, it makes sense — he's already collected the dungeon items from Lorule!
The Dark World and Lorule have a good share of similarities; for one, while the inhabitants of the Dark World were transformed into monsters, the Loruleans wear monster masks. Lorule's Ravio wears a rabbit mask; Link transformed into a rabbit in the dark world.
After freeing all the sages and obtaining the Triforce of Courage, the Lorule overworld theme is replaced with an epic orchestral arrangement, pumping you up for the final dungeon... It makes you, the player, feel like you're suddenly filled with courage!
Ravio finds Link unconscious around the Sanctuary and, rather than take him to the village nearby, decides to haul him down to an empty house much further down the map that just happens to belong to Link. In Lorule, the village is full of enemies and thieves, and in Hero Mode it's revealed that Lorule's counterpart to Link's house is Ravio's house. Of course he'd take Link to the house instead of the village, Ravio's used to it being much safer!
But Ravio had been in Kakariko Village before trying to sell his goods, so he should have known that it was safe. Maybe Ravio just realized that Link was his own Alternate Self, so he most likely lived in the house corresponding to Ravio's own house in Lorule.
The plot of the game: Link must travel to an Alternate Universe version of Hyrule (with counterparts of most of its inhabitants to match). The parallel world seems doomed to fade, and Link stops someone that is not Ganon (though his body is fought in a way).Sound familiar? As Termina is a counterpart of Hyrule in Ocarina of Time, Lorule is a counterpart of Hyrule in A Link to the Past. Both were fated for the end, and were ready to face their demise, but Link (and Zelda in Lorule's case) saved them at the very last minute. Lorule is the Decline timeline's version of Termina.
The Lorule Triforce can represent Influence, Knowledge, and Determination. Influence is a Form of Power and can be used to gain more Power. Determination to meet a goal can cause the person to be Courageous or at least seen as it. Knowledge is our understanding and information of a situation, and learning how to apply it is Wisdom. This also comes with a 180 degree turn so that Knowledge reflects Courage and Determination reflects Wisdom, since both can become a hindrance to the other's counterpart. Knowledge can lead to fear and Determination can make one so focused in their goal(s) that they fail to see any short-sightedness in their plans born of the Wisdom they gained.
Of course, the one with Knowledge ends up being the hero of Lorule due to the position of that piece if the opinion that it's a 180 degree turn is the right one because that character ends up gaining the other two virtues by virtue of their Knowledge, but they also get the aspects of Hyrule's triforce as well, due to having Knowledge (which is Power) that leads into Wisdom which result in their Influence in the story and the Determination that overrides their fear showing more Courage than they thought.
The initial blackened Triforce of Lorule can be interpreted to be the opposite of the virtues of Hyrule: Instead of Power, it's Impotence (Yuga requires Ganon for his plans), instead of Wisdom, it's Ignorance (how Hilda eventually becomes ignorant that by trying to save one world, she'd doom another), and instead of Courage, it's Cowardice (Ravio's initial personality).
Skyward Sword had aspects of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, but this game contains the remaining aspects that didn't fit either of the other two games. In order to travel anywhere in Lorule, you either had to return to Hyrule or get help from a character in the game, just like you need to return to Skyloft or the Catapult (even though it only sends Link to the minigames). There's even a character that thought they were the hero and had to get their egos checked.
Ravio in his bunny mask is obviously supposed to compare to Link's rabbit form in A Link to the Past; while others who entered the Dark World with greed in their hearts became hideous monsters and strange creatures, Link's pureheartedness transformed him into an innocent one. A more subtle note... Many of the residents of Lorule have taken up thievery as a means of coping with the chaos that has consumed their world, while those who haven't don masks in the likeness of monters and worship them in the hopes that it will save them from corruption. But for Ravio? Just like Link in the Dark World, he takes the guise of an innocent rabbit and doesn't let the dilapidated state of his kingdom coerce him into doing dishonest work instead of what he knows is right, and refuses even to try saving it when he knows he would be dooming another. He remains pure-hearted until the end.
Hilda explains that when their ancestors destroyed the Lorulean Triforce, the kingdom began to crumble away, and the people lost their virtues, becoming afraid and more hostile. In Ocarina of Time, it's elaborated that when Din, Nayru, and Farore finished creating the world, they departed and the Triforce remained where they had come together. If Lorule's creation is identical and the Golden Goddesses created Lorule as well, it makes perfect sense that the world crumbles away when the Triforce is destroyed. Whenever someone makes a wish, the world changes to grant it. Since the Triforce is, in essence, the embodiment of creation, surely destroying it would also destroy the world!
It's easy to view the 3 main Lorulians as pale imitations and failures... Hilda lacks Zelda's wisdom, Yuga lacks Ganon's power, and Ravio certainly lacks Link's courage. But if you just switch around who it is you're drawing comparisons between, they start to look like much more talented characters (and much better candidates for potential triforce wielders). Think about what roles they actually play in the game. Hilda is a powerful sorcerer and arguably the main antagonist due to falling into temptation for the Triforce's power. Those aren't the traits of a failed Wisdom holder, they're the traits of your average Power holder... like Ganon. Likewise, Yuga's role is to go boldly forth into uncertain territory and become his monarch's champion (just like Link, the holder of Courage). And Ravio remains largely removed from the main action, choosing instead to take a tactical approach and help orchestrate the events that will allow his hand-picked hero to save the world (just as Zelda has done in so many games before him).
We know that Lorule's Triforce is basically just an upside-down version of Hyrule's Triforce. So, theoretically, we could think of it as an upright Triforce rotated a few degrees. In the final boss battle, you may have noticed that each piece of Hyrule's Triforce has a specific placing (power is at the top, wisdom bottom-left, courage bottom-right). But if we assume that Lorule's Triforce has been rotated to the right, then that means that the Alternate Selves of Hyrule's representatives have also moved to the right. If you move each correspondent one place over accordingly, it leaves Ravio with wisdom, Hilda with power, and Yuga with courage. Also, consider the following lines:
Ravio: There was no way that I had the courage to stand up to you and Yuga. But I was smart enough to go to Hyrule.
Hilda: Princess Zelda, I have been led astray, tempted by the power of your Triforce.
Sharp-eyed players will notice that there's something a little fishy about Hilda's introduction to you. She tells you that she was unable to stop Yuga. However, she says this as she is standing over the body of Yuga and Ganon's fusion, whom she completely immobilized in no time at all despite said fusion being far stronger than Yuga ever was. So how come she wasn't strong enough to stop Yuga? It's because she never even tried to.
Lorule's Ice Ruins are situated within a massive void. As one descends to the dungeon's lowest depths, the bottom of the void comes into view, appearing to be full of magma. One may find themselves asking "wait, realistically, shouldn't the ice be melting from the heat given off?" Well, compare the difficulty in navigating the upper and lower floors. Who is to say that it isn't?.