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Headscratchers / The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

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  • Okay, let's talk about the ending of Link's Awakening. Why does the Wind Fish just leave Link behind?! Link just went through loads of dangerous battles to save the Wind Fish from endless sleep, and had to cause Dream Apocalypse in the process... the Wind Fish even says that the island will continue to exist in Link's memories, so why not give him a ride home so he can tell people about it?! Stupid inconsiderate whale.
    • Give the guy a break, he just woke up. Are you rational and intelligent when you wake up? The way I see it, Windfish is halfway to [presumably] Zora's Domain when he remembers he left The Hero out in the ocean, at which point he figures that if Link was gonna drown he woulda done so already, so too late to go back.
    • I attribute it to the Windfish being a Semi-Divine Jackass. (Is that a trope?) He considers assisting him a great honour in itself, and thus doesn't feel like he needs to help the insignificant Hylian after all Link went through.
    • We don't know he left him in the middle of the ocean. For all we know, Link woke up near an island or something.
    • He almost certainly did. He wakes up to the sound of seagulls calling, and seagulls are never very far from land.
    • Not quite correct. Gulls sometimes do venture far out to sea. Tighter groups follow foraging whales, groups of dolphins, or schools of large fish in open water, hovering to nab small prey driven to the surface. Guess what the Wind Fish is?
    • This Troper liked to joke that Link grabbed some driftwood and started paddling while singing "Row Row Row Your Boat" to the tune of "Marin's Song".
    • The manga adaptation actually does end with Link grabbing some driftwood and paddling away towards the horizon.
    • Maybe the WMG about how the game was Link's dream, not the Wind Fish's, is actually supported by this ending?
    • Literary Agent Hypothesis would solve this. Link obviously had to survive in order to tell somebody about the story. If Link had died without sharing the story, we wouldn't know about it. Or maybe I misunderstand the trope.
    • The camera's only on them for a about a minute, and the Wind Fish flies by at both the beginning and the end of that, not seeming to go very far away. Who's to say that, moments after the "camera" cuts out, the Wind Fish doesn't swoop down and offer Link a ride to the shore?


    Marin's ears 

  • Are Marin's ears the pointy elf kind, or are they more human-like? All the official art of her has her hair covering it, so it's hard to tell. And consider that with differing art styles, the length of a Hylian's ears can vary, so just saying they're round because if they were elf ears, they'd be longer is not the end of the discussion.
    • Presumably she just has shorter pointed ears, given how Marin is supposed to be a Zelda Expy and Zelda does have pointed ears.
    • Even in the manga where there's a lot of art of Marin, her hair is always covering her ears. Apparently, it's part of her character design. Nonetheless, all of the other natives of Koholint Island have rounded ears, so presumably Marin would as well.
    • It could be that Marin's hair covers her ears precisely to make it difficult to tell that her ears are rounded, so that she'd have a closer resemblance to Zelda.
    • In the Switch remake Marin's ears are now visible all the time, and they're shown to be round.

    Marin as a seagull 

  • Why does Marin want to be a seagull of all birds? Seagulls make horrible-sounding squawks, right?
    • But the point is that they can fly across the sea, which is Marin's dream.
    • But I thought seagulls only went out to sea to die.
    • You might think the squawks they make are horrible-sounding, but that's your opinion. Marin evidently thinks otherwise, seeing as she refers to their calls as "singing". Not to mention, seagulls are probably the only birds she knows, and all she sees them do is fly out over the sea. Of course she would wish to be one of them.
    • And Marin's wish isn't specifically to become a seagull; it's to be able to fly so that she can leave the island. She tells Link that if she were a seagull, she'd go flying around the world and sing to people, but becoming a seagull isn't the actual wish she made. In the 1993 release of the game, the secret ending even has her appear as a winged human girl, not a seagull like the DX and Switch versions have her has.


  • We all know the infamous shopkeeper, who kills you with his super lightning spell, if you steal? Why isn't he the one saving the day? Couldn't he just walk into all the dungeons and fry every monster inside leaving the easy part?
    • Because he's not real. Link is. So, apparently, is Prince Richard (although it could be argued that he is meant to be a reference to Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru, rather than a literal appearance by the character, in which case the above would not be true).
    • Well, he only does that if you steal. Perhaps he just doesn't care about saving the day because the monsters aren't stealing from him, so as long as they don't bother him specifically he's not going to do anything about them.
    • A major part of the characterization of the islanders is that they don't really know what's going on and that they're blissfully ignorant of Link's quest and the island's true nature.
    • Maybe the lightning attack isn't effective on all enemies. Aren't there items in this game that damage some enemies but can't damage others?

    Skip text 

  • Why did the developers remove the ability to skip the text from common dungeon items? (keys, compass)
    • Lazy programmers?
    • Remove? I don't think that ever was an option, especially not in the games that came before Link's Awakening. You can make the text go by more quickly, but never skip it entirely.
    • Hardware limitations for the '93 release. Between the 64 KB file size of Game Boy cartridges at the time and the way the game processed displaying text, making the message play faster or adding a function to skip a message entirely would have meant cutting something from the game.


  • A rather minor one, but since it's all a dream, there's no way Link can actually die during his quest, is there?
    • Your Mind Makes It Real?
    • Maybe, since the monsters were created or controlled by the Nightmares, Link being killed results in the monsters being able to inhabit Link's mind and use his powers for evil in the real world.
    • Alternately, this is the only Zelda game that has an in-game justification to continues — since Link doesn't actually die, the dream just "jumps back" to a point where he was still alive and continues forward as if nothing happened.
    • Even if he can't die in the dream, he can certainly remain caught in it long enough for his physical body to starve or drown. If the monsters can keep him in the dream long enough, he's dead and the Wind Fish will never be freed.
    • "THE WIND FISH SLUMBERS LONG...THE HERO'S LIFE, GONE..." This issue is touched upon by one of the owl statues in the game — even if the island was created through the Wind Fish's dreams, as long as Link remains inside it, anything and everything that happens is just as real as the rest of the world. In short, the Wind Fish could sleep for 100 years or more, but there's nothing to stop Link from aging away and dying in that time.
    • It's a common superstition that dying in your dreams will make you die in real life. But the question of how real everything was is still a bit vague. Was Link actually asleep the entire time? Or did he just get sent flying by the column of water at the end that made him land in the wreckage of his ship as the island disappeared? The Ocean King is commonly speculated to be related to the Wind Fish in some way (both are whales trapped in a deep sleep that creates a world that is only accessible while dreaming), and Phantom Hourglass ended not with the World of the Ocean King being destroyed by him waking up, but instead the connection between the two worlds is severed. Link and Tetra had to get back to their ship before the connection was broken or risk being trapped until the next time the Ocean King fell asleep.
    • Uhh, pardon me, but the Ocean King was never said to have been “asleep” or to have created a world through his dreams. The world that he watches over is just a separate universe from Hyrule’s, one where time apparently passes differently in between them. Link could not have ended up on the Ghost Ship at the end of the game if the events of the story were a dream, because the opening shows he lost his grip and fell into the sea before he could climb aboard.

    Hyrule geography 
  • Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a landlocked valley surrounded on all sides by impassable mountains. Where did Link board the ship in the intro?
    • Depends on which version of the timeline you go by. According to Hyrule Historia, the Oracle games come before this one, and in a Linked ending, we see Link departing Holodrum/Labrynna in the same boat seen in this game's intro, so that's how he boarded it. If you go by the Encyclopedia, which says that the Oracle games come after this one, we don't have reason to assume there isn't any way over Hyrule's mountains just because Link isn't able to go past them. Either way, we know that Impa and the Knights of Hyrule made it from Hyrule to Holodrum to protect the Oracle of Seasons (unlike Link, who was sent via the Triforce), so there must be some way for them to have done it.


  • Say two people, Marin and Link (rhetorically speaking) had a child. Since Link is from the real world and Marin is a part of the Wind Fish's dream... would the child they had together disappear along with the rest of the island or continue existing in the real world, like Link?
    • They'd probably disappear, given it would be the dream making the baby happen. Or they'd become a seagull, if that's what happened to Marin at the end. It's kinda vague.
      • Or a maybe Rito?


  • In the trading sequence, the woman that you give the Yoshi doll to says her baby's been asking for one. But... he's very clearly a baby, how is he asking for anything specific?
    • Maybe the kid pointed to it while the mother was walking by.
    • Or perhaps he is old enough to form simple words, and communicated what he wanted to his mother this way.

     Why only her? 
  • Why is Marin the only one on the island who wonders and desires to explore what lies beyond it? Whenever Link asks anyone else about it, it's always "Whoa, OUTSIDE the island? What do you mean, OUTSIDE? Whoa! The whole idea just makes my head hurt!" Did the Wind Fish dream up Marin as an especially special someone amidst the other people on Koholint? Was it because she was the one who found Link on the shore? Or is she just the only curious person on the island?
  • Considering Marin's resemblance to Zelda, it's possible that Marin actually comes from Link's dream rather than the Wind Fish's. She doesn't really belong on Koholint Island at all, even though everyone else presumes she does. Also notice that she always refers to Tarin by his first name rather than as "dad" or "father".
    • It's also possible she represents some aspect of the Wind Fish's mind that, while not quite having the lucid dream experience that the Owl has, nevertheless intuitively knows there's something beyond the familiar world and wants to go there. Basically, while the Owl is the part of the Wind Fish that thinks, as a matter of logic or ethics or necessity, that they should wake up, Marin is the part that, on a much more emotional level, *wants* to wake up.
    • All things considered, her resemblance to Zelda is passing at best. Given that her hair and skin are different tones that Zelda's, I think Link mistaking her for Zelda would be grogginess (or a concussion) rather than an actual striking similarity. But if she was from Link's dream rather than the Wind Fish's, it seems like other people knowing her would be hard to explain. Even though the island only exists within the Wind Fish's dream, it doesn't seem likely that the Wind Fish has only been asleep for a few moments when Link wakes up in Marin's home.
      • Not necessarily. First off, Princess Zelda in the Oracle games does resemble Marin, to the point that they share the same sprite. And if she’s supposed to be the same Princess from A Link to the Past, that just means they retconned her design. And the island’s geography alone gives us hints that Link’s effects on the dream have already merged with the Wind Fish’s, since the layout is the same as A Link to the Past’s overworld: village and forest to the west, castle in the center with cemetery northwest of it, small house on a hill south of the castle, large body of water in the southeast, and mountains with waterfalls up in the north.

     The Storm 
  • How did Link survive the violent storm in the prologue? Or dreaming days, maybe even weeks away, in the real world? He's seen in the ending half-submerged in the ocean, tied to what's left of the ship's mast. The prospects aren't looking good there, unless the Wind Fish dreams at a different rate of time, Link would soon die of starvation, dehydration or hypothermia.
    • The specifics aren't terribly clear. The developers did state at one point that the Wind Fish's dreaming brought Koholint into the real world, but that does clash with the ending, in which Link is still tied to the mast like he was during the intro. So it could be something like Phantom Hourglass, where the events of the dream moved slower through time than those of the real world. (Kind of like how dreams in real life work.)
      • Given the statement below about if he had been swallowed or something, Link was ejected from the island by a column of water before the island disappeared. The only thing that would be in that general area would be the flotsam from the wreck. I think that the Wind Fish made sure he landed close enough, or even pushed Link onto it, before he woke up.
  • The symbolism of the ending's events was a little peculiar in that Koholint disappeared before the "celestial area" where Link held an audience with the deity's consciousness, he was later ejected out through a column of water. Was he blown out through a spout? Was he not just in the Wind Fish's dream, but also cryptically inside the whale god the entire time? Would the survival rates be higher or lower?

     Questionable dub name changes 
  • Why were Stretchy Ghosts renamed Camo Goblins in the English translation, when they look nothing like goblins?
    • That was Prima's name for them, not Nintendo's.
      • The Zelda Encyclopedia confirmed that the name is official. Several of the other monsters in that guide have names that were at odds with other guides at the time but are now considered correct.
      • The Dreamer Art Book included with the Switch update renames them Goo Specters.
    • Besides, how do you know what goblins look like?
    • Goblins have had lots of depictions in folklore and popular culture. But more importantly, they're not ghosts, either. Obake is often translated as "ghost" in English. But more often than not, myths about obake portray them as inanimate objects that have come to life or monsters that can shapeshift.
  • Several enemies are taken from Mario. But why do some have the same English names as they do in Mario while others don't? Several of them - Boo, Goomba, Piranha Plant - share their Mario names in both languages. But then others - Spiked Beetle (Spiny), Evil Eagle (Albatoss), Camo Goblin (Boo Blah) - have the same name in Japan for both series but different names in English. Obviously some are more recognizable than others, and the localization team would notice them right away. But if they knew some of them were shared between the series, why not double check to make sure they stay consistent?
    • It seems someone at Nintendo agreed, and Spiked Beetles had their name changed to Spiny for the Switch remake. Camo Goblins at least have a descriptive name (biyon obake, translated as "stretchy ghost" but see above) and don't appear to have been directly based on the Mario enemies (but based on the same mythical creature).
    • The localisation team probably didn't realise those were also Mario enemies. And really, of the three examples given, only one actually looks like the Mario enemy.


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