- A theory older than the Internet. This is no dream. Koholint is the world of Hyrule's temporary abode for all mortals, animals and monsters whose spirits have passed on and have gathered together in a tropical paradise (sorta like the Halls of Mandos from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth mythos). The Wind Fish is the God of Death. He is the slumbering guardian of this island. He serves as Hyrule's benevolent "grim reaper", and when the number of resident spirits have reached a certain level, he awakens, and everyone disappears into him. They depart with him to an unknown place, known by only the old gods awaiting them themselves. The recycle has repeated, and will be repeated, indefinitely. He will not allow any soul to leave this realm and escape back to the world of the living. All the deceased here have all forgotten their previous existences. Link however, still retains his memories of his former life. He isn't ready to pass on, he's too young, and Hyrule still needs him. He refuses to await the inevitable passing into the Heavens. Link intends to be preemptive and awaken the Death God before his preordained time. He wants to climb before the Wind Fish and isolating himself from the Island and its god's summons, be reunited with his body. The monsters, inspired by this, become increasingly violent, and don't want to pass on either. They instead seek to ensure the Wind Fish never wakes up to escort them into the afterlife and they can rule over this isle in limbo.
- Consequently if the monsters succeed with their plan, no one's spirit will ever be able to leave, or pass on.
- The Monsters are defeated one-by-one and unwillingly return to their death god. Link however, makes it and escapes (for now), though Marin has been long dead and thus is unable to return to her physical body and is still in the Koholint island being absorbed along with everyone into the Wind Fish's being, to ascend to the divine. She still wants to see so much of the world of the living, though in the end, is forced to rise up to the heavens.
Link dies in the Regular Ending but survives in the Good Ending.
- Seagulls rarely rarely venture far out in the sea, and Marin turns/gets reincarnated into one in the "Good" ending.
Marin was always a seagull.
- Marin was simply a seagull that was caught in the same dream as Link. The Nightmares are the only actual inhabitants of Koholint, hence why they're the only ones aware of the world's true nature. The NPCs are all merely people and animals that have been trapped in the same dream.
- In that same vein, Tarin may have really been a raccoon (tanuki?) who simply remembered his true form when he ate that mushroom instead of being Baleful Polymorphed into one.
The Wind Fish is incredibly ancient, and has seen other Nintendo universes.
- It'd explain not only why Koholint is a mishmash of elements from previous Zelda games, but also the presence of Goombas, Piranha Plants, malevolent Kirbys, a reformed Wart and a photograph of Princess Peach. Marin and Tarin's uncanny resemblance to Malon and Talon from Ocarina of Time may be the result of the Wind Fish having been around during the events of the previous game, albeit not physically present - perhaps the Wind Fish has Reality Warper powers while he's dreaming?
- That means the Wind Fish is Haruhi Suzumiya.
- Or, if you want an in-universe identity, he's Levias from Skyward Sword.
The Ocean King is the Wind Fish
- Whale with lots of power? Sounds like the Ocean King. He could be sleepy from all that fighting against Bellum and needed a nap. This would also mean that cross-timeline traveling is possible for beings of that power, since this presumed to be a sequel to ALttP and that is stated to be Child Timeline.
- Cross-Timeline travel? You're heading into Timey-Wimey Ball territory...However, another popular theory is that Link's Awakening is the sequel to the Oracle games (as a sequel to A Link to the Past, but in no way related to Wind Waker/Phantom Hourglass), as in the ending credits of the linked game, Link sails away on a ship suspiciously similar to that in the Link's Awakening opening credits.
- Alternatively, because it's a different timeline, Bellum is an Alternate Universe Nightmare, or the same entity with a different name. Basically, it's Links Awakening from the "Adult Timeline" instead of the "Link Dying" timeline. This would also mean that there might be another in the "Child Timeline" if the "Wind Fish, Ocean King" has a counterpart there.
The Wind Fish is Shigeru Miyamoto
- Is there anyone else who could dream up a world with both Zelda characters and Mario enemies?
- Yes. Any Nintendo fan. Wait...
The Wind Fish is the personification of every Nintendo fan.
- Fans that would die to see a Mario/Zelda crossover. After being woke up, the Wind Fish tried to accomplish this, turning it Up to Eleven, and Super Smash Bros. came to be.
The people and monsters on the island were fake, but based on real people.
- It explains the similarity Marin and Tarin have to Malon and Talon. Plus how some characters reappear in the Oracle games.
- From the Meta point of view, Malon and Talon were based off Marin and Tarin. In-game, if you take the WMG Timeline proposal from above, it could be that Link was dreaming about the people he met in the Oracle games.
Tarin's transformation is a reference to the leaf and tanuki suit powerups in Super Mario Bros. 3.
- This game has several other references to the Mario games, and Tarin has some similarities to Mario, so why not? (So, would that mean that the "it sure was fun" line of dialog was self-promotion by Nintendo?)
The shopkeeper is one of the Nightmares masquerading as a human.
- Hence the ridiculously high prices and killing you if you steal anything: he's doing everything he can to stop you from waking the Wind Fish.
Marin was a lucid dream.
- There were no real people on the island that disappeared at the end. Everybody was just part of the dream, so that when you wake up, no one's really "gone." The Wind Fish just stopped dreaming about them. Marin, who dreamed of being free and who once tried to go wake the Wind Fish, was a part of the Wind Fish's mind that was trying to wake himself up from the dream. The perfect ending was more symbolic than anything.
The island was Link's dream, not the Wind Fish's.
- The entire game is a dream or hallucination by Link as he's floating out at sea, slowly dying of thirst and exposure. Fresh off his last adventure (since Link's Awakening was designed as a direct sequel to A Link to the Past, so it stars the same Link), it's the only thing in his mind to keep him busy as he drifts. This also explains the similarities to the last game even when they don't make sense — for example, there's a castle on Koholint that no one lives in, and what are the odds that both places have a sacred flying rooster? At the end, with the Wind Fish awake, Link dies at sea, alone, but happy.
The Wind Fish is the Zelda equivalent of Azathoth.
- How long has been the Wind Fish sleeping? Why can it only wake up to music? Simply, he is an Eldritch Abomination, although not a malicious one. He lies sleeping in the ocean and was invaded by Nightmare. Link, who was traveling the ocean, encounters a storm (in reality, the portal to the Wind Fish's dream) because he is summoned by the deity to help him. Koholint and its inhabitants are simply A Form You Are Comfortable With for Link that got too real. Marin is "real" in the sense that the Wind Fish made her real, probably knowing the fondness of Link for her, and as a thank-you gift for destroying the Nightmare.
Following that, the Ocean King is the Alternative Timeline Wind Fish
- It's generally accepted that Link's Awakening goes after A Link to the Past, a game that is accepted to be in the Child Timeline. So, the Ocean King is simply another version of the Wind Fish; both summon Link to their respective dream realms (Koholint Island/World of The Ocean King) to fight a malicious invasion (The Nightmare/Bellum).
The Wind Fish and the Ocean King are both Levias.
- Levias is a giant flying whale that serves as the guardian deity of Skyloft. In the child timeline, he just happens to be surfing one day when the Nightmares possess him, and he pulls Link in to help him. Or, perhaps, by that point in the child timeline, Skyloft's been abandoned or destroyed, so he's just a wandering spirit that still retains power, but has no official position. And in the adult timeline, Hyrule is flooded up to around the same level as Skyloft, so he's repurposed from a guardian of the sky to a guardian of the ocean.
Marin may make exactly one wish to the Wind Fish
- If you die at some point in the game, then you may continue as normal for video games, but you no longer get the ending where Marin leaves the dream. In this case, it's more than a game mechanic. If Link dies, Marin wishes that he could remain alive. The Wind Fish grants this by allowing Link to survive as long as he wants inside the dream. Unfortunately this uses up Marin's one wish. If you beat the game without dying, her wish remains unspent, so the Wind Fish grants her the wish she wanted for herself: to become a seagull.
The game refers to you as THIEF after stealing because it's Link's own judgment on his morality
- Since the game is taking place in Link's dream, we get an insight on his morals. If he steals from the shop, he will make the judgment that he is a THIEF and will take it to the grave because of his guilt.
Hot Head was dying when Link fought him
- Hot head (the boss from Turtle Rock) is on fire, and you fight him in a lava pit by shooting fireballs at him. It makes no sense that fire would hurt a fire creature, unless Hot Head fell on the lava pit and was trying to escape when Link found him. However, burning to death would take him too long, that's why the boss is only defeated when Link shoots even more fire at him, accelerating the process.
Marin is Link's dream, not the Wind Fish'sMarin is Link's idea of what Zelda would be like if she was not a princess, thus not busy running a kingdom and can spend more time with him. If Link never dies, than the Wind Fish rewards him for all his hard work and grants her personality a body to explore the world in.
Link's Awakening Link is not real, just another dream of the Wind Fish.Given the All Just a Dream nature of this game, surely it wouldn't be out of place. Link is a Legend, one passed all over the world through Hyrule's influence. The Wind Fish was under attack by an enemy he could not directly fight so he dreamed of a hero he had heard many stories about. In the End, after the Wind Fish wakes up, the Wind Fish makes Dream!Link real. If Dream!Link was badass enough to never die, the Wind Fish grants a the wish of his closest companion. Now if combined with the theories that the Wind Fish is Levias and is old enough to remember multiple Links. He was trapped by a spawn of Demise and dreamed up the only person capable of defeating him. Probably contradicts Hyrule Historia a bit, but wouldn't be interesting for there to be multiple Links running about spreading the meme of the green-wearing swordsman further across the world?
The Nightmare is VaatiHe's trying to use the Wind Fish's dream to gain enough power to return to Hyrule in the Decline timeline, which is why his final form resembles Vaati's Wrath from The Minish Cap.