Unlike most other Zelda games involving time travel, you will never see all of the past version of the Lanayru region, therefore, you'll always be wondering what all the ancient structures looked like and how the inhabitants lived, thus adding to the desolate mood and atmosphere of this region. Well played, Nintendo.
Another thing about Ghirahim: his appearance resembles a fencing outfit (minus the mask), and he wields a rapier in his second phase. What could be more appropriate for a sword-to-sword duel?
Some players might be expecting a huge ancient robot as the boss of the 3rd dungeon had they not seen spoilers, ultimately be disappointed when it turns out it's the Giant Scorpion of the E3 2010 demo. However, remember all those little Arachas that plague the dungeon? Yeah, they must have a mommy.
Not only a mommy, but a daddy, too, which explains the other Moldarach you find in the shipyard.
During the the first battle to reseal the Imprisoned, you are told by the old woman who watches over the Sealed Temple if The Imprisoned escapes, it would mean the End of the World as We Know It. At first, you think it is because it is incredibly strong anyways and probably has enough power to level Hyrule, but after turning Fi into the Master Sword, these battle are given an even greater importance because a) The Imprisoned requires the Goddess Hylia's soul to regain its true form as Demise, b) Zelda is in fact Hylia reborn as a mortal, c) Zelda has put herself into a crystallized sleep capsule in order to maintain the seal for as long as she can, and d) said capsule is in the Sealed Temple not far from where The Imprisoned's seal is located. Meaning if you cannot stop The Imprisoned from reaching the top, you've just allowed him to regain his true form.
Hyrule's desert used to be a vast ocean. In the alternate world of Termina, the Gerudo are pirates!
The desert used to be a vast ocean? But where did all of that water go? Permanent worldwide cloud coverage.
The clouds appear to be wholly magical in origin. The surface has a mostly clear sky, after all. The water could've been sent to (one of) the future(s), answering where all the water that flooded Hyrule came from.
One thing that I found to be absolutely brilliant is when Link Powers up the Goddess Sword into the Master Sword, the game states that now only Link can use the sword. In the later games they say that only those with a pure heart can use the Master Sword, what makes this brilliant is that it makes perfect sense, since only those who share Link's soul or destiny are the ones that could wield the Master Sword, and Link has a Pure Heart and is generally good, with time people assumed that only those with a pure heart could use it, not knowing the true reason, exactly how information tends to get warped over time. This makes it Fridge Brilliance for all the Zelda games.
It also handily explains how Ghirahim was able to snatch it during your first fight with him.
One of the main questions plaguing the Zelda series concerns the dungeons and temples. Why are they there? Why are they so convoluted and hard? Some actually serve or used to serve a practical purpose, but others are just... there. This game explains several dungeons and various other trials by saying the Goddess left them for the Chosen Hero. Little more than a Hand Wave... until you find out Zelda is the human incarnation of the aforementioned Goddess. She set up those trials SPECIFICALLY to be difficult and convoluted—to force Link to become courageous, powerful, and wise enough to use the full power of the Triforce. She even shed her immortal form and allowed herself to be born as a human in his time, to befriend him and give him the motivation to undertake the trials. The entire Zelda series is arguably a massive, ongoing plan by the Goddess Hylia to ensure that there is always a Hero strong enough to use the Triforce against evil. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why it is the Legend of Zelda.
In other words, the temples are a collective architectural Stealth Mentor, designed to train Link to be strong enough to beat the Big Bad of whatever game they appear in.
In other games, it seems odd that any weapon could harm someone wielding the Triforce of Power. Now we know why the Master Sword can harm Ganon; it's empowered by qualities of all three values. The fact that it's a "blade of evil's bane" is even a manifestation of Power itself! Its name really does fit.
More than that, once you go back to the past and see Zelda before she goes into her long slumber, she uses the power of the goddess Hylia to further empower the Master Sword. Thus the True Master Sword has all three values, plus the blessing of a fourth goddess. It may not be much, but it's clearly enough to tip the balance out of Ganon's favor.
This game was known to detail the origins of the Master Sword long before the game was released. But why was it named the Master Sword? This version of Link was the one who unlocked the hidden potential within the Goddess Sword, thus creating the Master Sword in the first place. Fi is the living spirit of the Goddess Sword. What does she call Link, the one who wields the sword? She calls Link her "master". The name "Master Sword" is a reference to the original owner of the blade. The very first "Master" of the sword is Link himself, thus making the "Master Sword" HIS sword! As shown by the ending, Fi treasured her time with Link despite it just being her purpose. It is brilliant (and also heartwarming) to see that the spirit within the sword named it after her very first companion.
It is also a play on words. Assuming Fi is the one to introduce the next protectors to the sword, what would she call it? Master's Sword, which sounds exactly like...?
It's well known that the Ballad of the Goddess is Zelda's Lullaby backwards; The Ballad of the Goddess backwards is, therefore, the goddess's lullaby.
The reason Link starts with six hearts instead of three like in all the other games? Unlike most of his descendants, this Link went through basic combat training at the Knight's Academy, which buffed up his endurance.
The first time Zelda's Lullaby plays in this game is when Zelda actually puts herself in a long sleep, making it the first time Zelda's Lullaby has been used as an actual lullaby.
In the first Legend of Zelda game, an ancient legend state that the first princess to bear the name "Zelda" put herself into a long slumber. What does Zelda do in Skyward Sword? Exactly that.
Actually that's the backstory of Zelda II and she was put to sleep by a wizard. It's also certainly not the same Zelda because you all of that game waking her up.
Many parts in the game appear to be useless (like a part in the Sealed Grounds that has a fence over it that serves no purpose). It is later revealed however, that these parts are meant to be used when you upgrade your equipment or for the story to progress. Like in the Sealed Grounds, that annoying fence was removed by Groose to build his rails for the Groosenator.
Beedle complaining that Link is heavy. He may not seem to weigh much, but keep in mind he's carrying a sword, a shield and all of his gear (yes, even the bugs and treasures). Adding all up can make someone weigh a lot too.
Notice how Link can't traverse between the three sub-sections without resorting to his Loftwing or Groose's catapult later on, but certain other species can. They include Gorons and Mogmas, who are experts at travelling over mountains and digging tunnels, respectively. So, they're disconnected by extremely high mountains, possibly created by the dark forces who invaded the past Hyrule.
When Link's gear gets taken from him after Eldin Volcano erupts, the Master Sword is the only part of Link's arsenal that isn't in a treasure chest somewhere. Why? Because by then, it's the fully powered Blade of Evil's Bane. The bokoblins probably couldn't even touch it, much less try to take it.
In Twilight Princess, the Master Sword is explicitly described as "a sacred blade that evil can never touch," not only confirming the above but also explaining why Ghirahim doesn't use his signature Bare-Handed Blade Block the third time Link fights him.
A possible early indication that The Imprisoned is actually Demise, the game's final boss: all of the game's bosses have Boss Subtitles, except for both The Imprisoned and Demise - just like how Ganon was subtitle-less in Ocarina of Time, in contrast to the rest of that game's bosses.
A pretty silly one: Fi is your sword. The game uses Wii MotionPlus to have 1:1 (-ish) sword motion—in other words, your Wiimote is your sword. Therefore, Fi is your Wiimote, and therefore she doesn't actuallybreak the fourth wall when she tells you your batteries are low—they're HER batteries!
Fi's singing expression (and some of her other mannerisms) tend to be considered Uncanny Valley territory by the fanbase. But this makes perfect sense when you consider that she is, essentially, a goddess supplied helper-bot created for the sole purpose of aiding the hero and has had (to the best of our knowledge) next to no human contact prior to Link. To this troper, that makes her heartfelt farewell even more of a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
A minor thing that came to mind, about the shields. Now, one may wonder, with how, for example, why the imagery of the shields Link can procure in this game don't appear in any other game, save for the Hylian Shieldof +1 Infinity. The answer to this is simple, all the other shields break. It is only logical that, after so long, the other shields wore down over time, leaving only the Hylian Shield as a reminder of that ancient era.
Perhaps it also explains why all of the Hylian Shields don't really look all the same, too. In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the Hylian shield looks different than this one, adding an upside down triangular yellow piece at the bottom. Maybe the shield creators just used the design of this game's shield and based theirs off of it, due to the fact that it's one of the only remaining shields from this era.
Impa's dual appearance in this game is a reference to both of her portrayals throughout the series; the old woman represents Impa as she appeared in (the manuals of) Zelda I and II, while the sleek, younger Impa hearkens back to her appearance in Ocarina of Time.
On the main page there's an example of Gameplay and Story Segregation that notes that right before the final boss battle, which takes place in the past, you're given the opportunity to return to the present to prepare, and everything is the same. However, the state of the world at this point could easily be interpreted to mean that Demise is destined to be defeated, so there's no chance that the future you return to could be a different one.
Indeed, all of the Gate of Time-exclusive pieces of time travel seem to point at a Stable Time Loop, so the future would be predetermined.
It's impossible to 'stay in the past'. It's far more likely he's off flying somewhere.
The Amber Relics found all over the place are chunks of Zelda's sarcophagus.
Would that make the Dusk Relics bits of the dark energy seeping out from The Imprisoned/Demise's Seal?
How does that work? Zelda is sealed in the past and freed in the present, and the Amber Relics are collected all throughout.
The time portal is only a few feet away from her crystal. If the fragments can end up all over Hyrule, then getting thrown through first isn't a huge stretch either.
All the structures and enemies in the past version of Lanayru Desert have this red-and-blue abstract pattern on certain segments. A similar red-and-blue motif can be found in Gerudo-related designs, though the Past-Lanayru patterns are typically gaudier than the more faded, deserty Gerudo patterns. This signifies how the Gerudo probably came across relics of the past such as the robots or buildings and decided to incorporate elements of those designs into their own. Cross-reference an Armos◊ with Ganondorf◊.
That symbol on the base of the Goddess Statue (the one that turns into the entry to the inside of the statue) and the Goddess Crests look like Fi.
Zelda also prays at the Earth and Sky temples. In Wind Waker you power up the Master Sword with the prays of the Earth and Wind sages.
Faron Province is associated with Farore, the Goddess of Courage. The dungeons of Faron are also where you find the vast majority of the game's undead creatures, which are pretty scary, and which require courage to face.
The introduction of Loftwings: for the longest time, I wondered why the herald of Hyrule was a bird◊. Now we know where it comes from.
Even better when one notices that the crest of Hyrule on the Hylian shield has the bird in question is colored Crimson, making it match the Loftwing that was bonded to Link.
Faron Province is associated with Farore and courage, Eldin with Din and power, and Lanayru with Nayru and wisdom - it's in the names. The native residents of each province lack these virtues: kikwi lack courage, mogma lack power, and the ancient robots lack wisdom.
The citizens of Skyloft have relatively small ears compared to the future residents of Hyrule in games such as Ocarina of Time (when Hylians are the most prominent race), and also lack any special magical abilities. Their origins are not touched upon, other than that their descendants inhabited the surface AKA Hyrule. The Hylians, however, are said to be descended from the gods, have magic infused blood and can hear messages from the gods. Who's the only resident of Skyloft with long, pointed ears that are comparable to that of the future Hylians? Who also obviously has magic in her blood and could hear the surface (arguably the gods) calling her? Zelda, the mortal incarnation of Hylia. She's the one who would have eventually given birth to the first Hylians. The way all other Skyloftians were designed compared to Zelda is pretty genius, if one thinks about it.
Zelda is the mortal incarnation of Hylia. Hylians. Think about it. (Compare "Skyloftians" as the previous race).
When you first meet Gorko, he gives a fanciful description of Skyloft, such as it having buildings made of gold. However, he also mentions water that grants immortality, giant disease-curing fruit, and pumpkins that never rot. Well, the pumpkins DON'T rot, you have to find water from a sacred spring to heal Faron, and the Tree of Life does indeed bear a (gigantic) fruit that you use to cure Lanayru!
Although, the sacred spring and the Tree of Life are technically on the surface, so they don't count.
The two springs where Zelda has to purify herself are located, respectively, in the Skyview Temple and the Earth Temple. Why? They symbolize her descent from the sky to the earth, and the celestial being Hylia reincarnating into an earthly being!
In the final temple (and maybe this was stupid obvious), you have to fight the ultimate symbol of fear—the undead—and overcome them to get the Triforce of Courage. You also have to show the ability to manipulate primal forces (well, the flow of lava anyway) to get the Triforce of Power, and bypass tricky things for the Triforce of Wisdom. So you have to show mastery over each of the virtues of the triforce before you can be allowed to obtain them.
He's definitely ambidextrous here—while he wields his sword righty, he wields the bow like a lefty. Word Of God is he just has different preferences for the different weapons.
According to the timeline released by Nintendo, this is the oldest game in the series (in-universe), followed by the second-oldest game in-universe, the Minish Cap for the Gameboy Advance. In Minish Cap, there is an entire civilization and set of temples that exist above the clouds. Perhaps the remnants of the civilization from Skyward Sword?
Of the three Sacred Flames, Nayru's Flame is the only one that doesn't increase your sword's attack power. Instead, it increases your ability to gather information — appropriate for the Goddess of Wisdom.
In previous games, Nayru tended to be associated with water, but in this game her element is electricity instead. Despite that, the boss guarding Nayru's Flame is a one-eyed sea monster with tentacles, just like the bosses of the water temples of Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess.
As you progress through the story, stronger mooks pop up. At first this was put to the game just making things harder as the player gains experience. But when it is revealed Demise's seal is weakening it means that his power is flowing into the mooks and making them stronger.
Why does Demise decide to reincarnate himself as a mortal in all the other games? Because Hylia did it so well in this game and he figured he'd give it a try too!
Related, because the Master Sword "absorbs the remains of Demise's consciousness" or something like that in order to seal it away, whenever Link slashes Ganon/dorf in other games, he's really smacking him with himself.
Zelda/Hylia states that the reason she was reborn as Zelda was to ensure that Link would have an emotional connection to her, and thus would be willing to face any danger and surmount any obstacle that threatened to harm his beloved friend. This is the only game where we get any real interaction with Zelda, especially before the excitement begins. The designers were ensuring that we spent time getting to know this shy bubbly girl before she is dragged into danger because it allows us the players to have that same connection to her, as evidenced by the fact that we were willing to see this game through to the end to save her.
All the instructors at Skyloft are named after birds. All exept Zelda's father Gaepora, that is, because he's instead named after Kaepora Gaebora, the owl from Ocarina of Time.
The Imprisoned is destroyed in the present, but Demise is killed in the past. Plus, the Sealing Spike is nowhere to be seen in the past. How was The Imprisoned still in the present, and how did he escape when he was supposedly destroyed? Simple. The Imprisoned was the remains of Demise's energy that were trapped in the Master Sword that escaped, and since only Link can wield the Master Sword, they had to seal it away a different way. Since Demise has a new form every time he appears (hence his changing forms as The Imprisoned), that fits in line with Fi's description that everyone Demise appears different to everyone who confronts him.
Judging by the positions of the dead robots and bobkin skeletons you see in the Lanayru Desert, it seems that whatever burned out the region happened FAST.
It could be a result of the Dragon Lanayru dying.
The subterranean area of Ancient Cistern was a mild case of Fridge Horror - after all, there have been plenty of creepy dungeons throughout the years. But think about it - the Hindu imagery, the golden light colors, the lotus blooms - it's pretty much Heaven. And what's downstairs from Heaven? That's right. Link just went into a zombie-infested, blood-watered Hell.
The main mooks in the hell section are zombie bokoblins. Who probably killed them in the first place? You did.
Also, just why does Koloktos giggle like a child when you kill it? Considering that it runs on souls, it could easily have been powered with the souls of children!
This gets far worse if you know that Nintendo actually based this place on The Spider's Thread, and old Japanese story about a condemned murderer and rapist who was offered one more change at freedom by Bhudda...by climbing a spider's thread out of hell. Yes, that part in the game is based off this story. Not only that, but in the story the other souls who are damned to Hell try climbing out along with this criminal, only for the criminal to shake the rope and for everyone else to fall back into the pits of hell. ...Sound familiar? But what pushes this over the edge is that, yes the Bokoblins are based on the "damned souls" from this story, the lower level is based on hell and the upper level is based on heaven...but also, in the story, it's said that Hell is filled with rivers of blood. ....Think about what the lower level looks like in the game...and let the horror sink it...
So it's heartwarming to know that Fi has been with you in some form or another through every Zelda game since the first one. But what about in Wind Waker, when the Master Sword has been severely depowered, to the point of being little better than a regular sword? This seems to imply: 1) That Fi was either dead or dying by the time WW Link picked her up, and 2) that even if WW Link "saved" Fi by restoring the sword's power, he still left her impaled through Ganondorf's head while Hyrule was being destroyed around them. Somehow Wind Waker's ending got even sadder.
I imagine that the sword was even more 'asleep' than it was before, since the Sages could restore it right back up; not to mention the power of Evil's Bane is from the Divine Flames, not Fi. As for the sword being left behind...well, she completed her purpose, and judging by Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, Ganondorf and thus Demise's curse might be dealt with forever in that timeline. Meaning Fi's purpose is complete. That's the happiest thing you can really give her.
Just because Ganondorf is dead, doesn't mean its the end of Demise's hatred. He'll just get reincarnated as another evil being. Heck, he probably alreadyhas.
The Master Sword, and thus Demise's consciousness, is still apparently gone forever, so the point remains the same.
That doesn't seem to be the case, as a new Demon King (Malladus) appears right afterwards. Demise's curse was never specifically about Ganondorf(s).
There is no indication that Malladus is related to Demise's hatred. If anything, his "Demon King" title means that he is as completely different being, perhaps who succeeded as the leader of the demons after Demise's defeat or an even older being, considering what is said in Spirit Tracks about him.
Skipper, like all of the little robots in the desert, are only alive in the past. And Skipper proved the robots are actually aware that they are in a future where they and everything they worked for has decayed and been forgotten. They may be robots, but they're sentient and have personalities. You'd think that'd create some sort of existential dread.
Additionally, after Link defeats Tentalus, Skipper and his crew are now in power of the ship again. However, we find out earlier that Skipper has a wife and child living in Skipper's Retreat. (This can be assumed by reading the pieces of paper on the walls of Skipper's Retreat - one of which is a note from his child. There are two deactivated robots in the Retreat - we can assume they are his family). Skipper has revealed that he cannot access his old home (which is why Link has to get the sea chart for him). Skipper may forever live in Lanayru's golden age, with his crew, protecting the Flame... but his wife and child are deactivated for eternity.
Which, in turn, is why their main industrial activity seems to be centered around gathering Timeshift Stones, which allow them to live forever at their height in Lanayru's golden age.
At the end, Demise's residual consciousness is absorbed by the Master Sword. Does that mean that part of Demise been lingering in the Master Sword in every game it has appeared in?
Impa mentioned that it's just residual energy and that it's in there dying, so most likely it's well under control, and when it's completely destroyed, Demise's curse will end.
Perhaps it explains why Ganondorf generally gets a convenient power boost around the time Link draws/awakens the Master Sword. If the Master Sword is sealed away, so it most of Demise's power. When the sword is awakened, the power is freed and probably immediately is transferred to Ganondorf.
Before his second fight, Ghirahim makes a speech about a "thread of fate" binding him and Link to do battle, and that he intends it to be "stained crimson with [Link's] blood." Creepy enough, but takes on anothermeaning if you're familiar with a certain Asian proverb.
It says a lot about Ghirahim that this isn't the most blatant pass he makes at Link.
You know how if The Imprisoned gets to the top of the Sealed Temple, you get a Non Standard Game Over? Well... it's because Zelda / Hylia is in there, locked in a thousand-year sleep, and completely defenseless. And you have no idea she's there the first couple of times you fight him. It's very chilling to look through that crack in the door and realize how close you kept coming to losing her forever.
And it's even more creepy to think about it from her point of view. You're sleeping, sealed in a crystal, when this huge... thing is there to kill you, and you're defenseless. Presumably so, since Hylia is in mortal form at that point. She's pretty much screwed if The Imprisoned reaches her. No— EVERYTHING is pretty much screwed if The Imprisoned reaches her.
The scene before the second Ghirahim fight in the fire sanctuary, Ghirahim dives down towards Link, lands in front of him and then suddenly appears behind him. Most would probably assume that he just teleported as usual, but if you look at the scene again, you'll realize that there was no distinctive teleporting sound or animation. Looking at the scene carefully, it looks very much like that Ghirahim actually DOVE underneath Link's legs to get behind him. No wonder the guy looks terrified...
In this game, Eldin is inhabited by Mogmas, and Gorons are wandering tribes and explorers. In Twilight Princess, the Gorons became a proud militant race inhabiting Eldin Volcano and the Mogmas are nowhere to be found. Gulp.
For the record, the Gorons weren't militant in Ocarina of Time (in fact, it was implied that they became militant in Twilight Princess because of the Fused Shadow and that they were most certainly not always that way), and the Mogmas weren't there, either. There's still some fridge horror there, though, but not on the levels of invasion.
-ahem- What about the Dodongos? The Earth Temple was inhabited by Dodongos with a clear Hindu inspiration; the Dodongos even seemed to be some kind of guards to the temple - not monsters. By Ocarina the Gorons have taken up residency (with clear Islamic themes to their temples) and practically get Link to commit genocide upon the Dodongos in what could have been remnants of the original temple. By later games they're no longer even found within Eldin while the Gorons are. Pretty horrifying.
In Twilight Princess we get a civilization in the clouds composed of Half Bird Half Human hybrids. In THIS game we get a civilization in the clouds of Humans that ride birds. Just what went on?
Well, the people in Twilight Princess say that the Ooccoo (the sky-dwelling birds) made the Hylians. Myths often get mutates over the centuries. The Hylians are remembering an old, old legend about their ancestors coming from the sky (the Skyloft residents) and assuming that the Ooccoo civilization is the same. But what if, centuries after all of the sky-dwelling humans left the sky forever—the Loftwings evolved and created their own civilization? The Ooccoo are the Loftwings' descendants.
If Link decides to employ Guld at the Lumpy Pumpkin, he's effectively only employing his abilities to plow through the pumpkin plantation field. What's more is that he doesn't even get to rest inside the inn come nighttime, and Keet even looks down upon him scornfully. Similarly, Oolo the Kikwi is brought to Skyloft as a live lab experiment subject. Congratulations, you just made Link into a slave trader.
Although in Guld's case, he seems to like resting outside, and Keet looks down scornfully upon anyone whom he considers a rival for Kina's affections.
In the opening cutscene introducing Skyloft, we see the crimson Loftwing later revealed to be Link's. As the scene continues, you see Grouse and his gang jump onto their Loftwings, trailing down your own. That's right, this is the scene where he kidnaps your bird.
This is extreme fridge so stay with me on this: When Demise curses the successors of Link and Zelda, it obviously effects a third party, Impa. What if it effected Groose in the most extreme way by latching Demise's spirit on to his, creating what would be reborn as Ganondorf and later Ganon. It has always been shown that Ganon is a bit arrogant to a fault, but Demise never displays any of that in his time against Link. Grosse however is shown to be entitled, wanting to control and lead things with attitudes fitting a certain King of evil, that ultimately have lead to his downfall. This means that every time you beat Ganon you were doing it with the inadvertent help of Groose's corrupted spirit and you've techincally been fighting and killing the reincarnation of Groose making this scene way more powerful.
Groose does look like he could be the original ancestor of the Gerudos. He's tall and red-haired.
Potions are improved by adding bugs to them. Think about that every time Link gulps down his Heart++ potion.