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Tear Jerker / The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

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This is right after the first dungeon, by the way.

The game

  • The Great Deku Tree's demise certainly deserves a mention. Even after going into the tree and destroying Gohma, the tree still passes away, and what's worse is that the Great Deku Tree knew that he was destined to die anyway even before you set forth on your valiant efforts to save him, but possibly most unsettling about it is that something so meaningful to the Kokiris and massive even as an adult that was once green and alive slowly becomes and remains brown and dead. Plus, the sad and creepy music that plays as it happens...
    Deku Tree: Because of that curse, my end is nigh... Though your valiant efforts to break the curse were successful, I was doomed before you started...
    • Although as an adult, we get the Deku Tree Sprout, which will eventually grow to the original tree's size, it is still a bittersweet ending at best.
    • In that same scene, Link learns that he's actually an orphaned Hylian whose mother — who was mortally wounded in the great war — fled to Kokiri Forest with him when he was only a baby, and brought him to the Deku Tree just before she died. Imagine if you will, you go to the grave of the man you once saw as your father, then his son comes to you and says, "I'll now tell you your origins!! You're really of another race entirely, your parents are dead, and you have to go save the world from a great evil!". Link may look stoic, but internally, it must be a hurricane of emotions for him. Iron Woobie indeed.
  • Saria's goodbye to Link as you leave Kokiri Forest. She knew this day would come, and gives you an ocarina to remember her bynote , but she gives you a longing look as you leave, expressing that she still finds it hard to accept. Link seemingly hesitates when the time comes for him to leave, but then hurries along, as if it took him a moment to summon the courage, but now, he wants to get it over with.
    • There's also the boy who stands guard at the exit to the forest, begging you not to leave lest you end up dying- when you come back, he assumes you never actually left. The twin Kokiri girls both also show sadness if you speak with them before leaving. For all Link never seemed to completely fit in with the Kokiri, in part because he actually isn't one, it seems as though his departure's hard on all of them.
      • If you talk to the same boy as an adult, he can be found laying down near the exit and sadly wonders if Link will ever come back.
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  • "He's not moving anymore..." Made even sadder by the fact that the vast majority of people will never know he was even in the game.
  • When you talk to Mido as Adult Link in Ocarina of Time, after beating the Forest Temple.
    Oh... I see... Saria won't ever come back... But... I... I made a promise to Saria... If Link came back, I would be sure to tell him that Saria had been waiting for him... Because Saria...really... liked... Hey, you. If you see him somewhere, please let him know... And also... I'm sorry for being mean to him. Tell him that, too.
    • Made even sadder by considering that Mido may still carry the guilt from being mean to him, due to never really getting to apologize to Link himself; even though he did, but Mido doesn't know that.
      • Another possible explanation: He does realize it's Mr. No-Fairy, but even with all his guilt, he pretends not to know for the sake of his pride.
  • Saria's sacrifice at the end of the temple. She agrees to give up living in Hyrule forever. To leave her friends, her home, the Lost Woods, everything she knows for something she knows next to nothing about. The other sages had to make this kind of sacrifice as well. The fact that they don't have to do so in the child timeline sweetens the deal, but it's still sad that they had to do it at all.
    • Saria is also clearly in love with Link, but Cannot Spit It Out—and the fact that, as a Kokiri, she can never age while he does makes any sort of relationship inherently doomed. You can tell that she wants to say this to Link during their conversation in the Chamber of the Sages, but can't do it, instead solemnly accepting that they cannot be together. As Link departs, we get Saria's final line to him, and there's a double meaning behind it. On the surface, it's her declaring that they'll always have a bond, but it's also her realizing that the bond will never be what she hopes for:
      "I will always be...your friend..."
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  • Your return to the Sacred Forest Meadow as an adult. Link slowly and mournfully strides up to Saria's sitting-stump and then stops right in front of it while the camera lingers on it for awhile.
  • Ingo's oppression. Winning Epona had never been quite so satisfying.
    • If you visit Lon Lon Ranch at night, you can find Malon in the barn singing Epona's song. She says that the only time it's safe to sing is at night, and if she tried to leave, Ingo would hurt the horses.
    • Making it sadder is Ingo firing Talon and forcing him to leave the ranch, effectively separating him from his own daughter in the process.
  • Every single one of the conversations with the newly awakened sages. It's utterly heart-wrenching, seeing these people accepting their new roles, but with the remorse of the cost that it has for them.
  • The official timeline has a branch in which Link fails at the end of the game. Think about that.
    • And it's a disgraceful failure, as well. In the backstory of Link to the Past, the Hero of Time obviously became nothing more than a statistic, mentioning only that "many of the Knights of Hyrule were lost..."
    • Imagine what Zelda must have felt when she saw Link die in front of her eyes. Not only as a hero she entrusted, but as a friend she knew since childhood.
    • Thinking about any of them too hard is a real downer. No matter the outcome of the final battle, Ganondorf's immortality renders it a forgone conclusion. If Link falls, Ganondorf wins the Triforce and goes on to wreak utter havoc for several more years. If he wins, he gets returned to his youth... except that in the "adult" timeline he leaves behind, Ganondorf returns and Hyrule is ultimately wiped off the map in an act of divine intervention. And in the child timeline — despite giving them fair warning of the danger — the sages still manage to botch Ganondorf's execution, leading to two realms being placed in danger.
  • Zora's Domain. Each other area reclaims pretty much all of its former glory, but not there. You beat the Water Temple and you're told Zora's Domain will recover... eventually. So the Gorons are saved, the Gerudo have had their evil leader tossed out, the Kokiri have the Deku Tree's protection back, and Kakariko is now sans an eldritch horror, but Zora's Domain will remain a frozen wasteland for some time... that just seems rather sad, you know?
    • It does look like it's melted (or at least starting to melt) in the ending credits, which lessens the sadness somewhat, but it still seems rather unfair that the Zoras have to wait to get their happy ending. However... something that possibly makes the entire Zora race seem like woobies is the fact that, in Twilight Princess, Zora's Domain also gets frozen over, so it happens to them in both the child and adult timelines.
    • Fortunately in the Child timeline, the freezing is undone relatively quickly.
  • During the ending credits, we're treated to a scene of just about every character seen in the game partying at Lon Lon ranch. Everyone seems to be having fun, except for Mido and the Zora King who are sitting by the front gate looking sad. And then you remembered that both of them has had someone precious to them become a sage and leave them forever. Mido's longtime crush is gone for good, in spite of him trying to convince her not to, and the king lost his daughter and only child. Then they both look up to the sky, and which Sage lights appear in the sky first? Saria and Ruto.
    • Even sadder when you consider that due to circumstances, Link cannot attend the party due to returning to his normal timeline.
  • After you learn that Grog is basically dead now, you give Fado the medicine in exchange for his saw. In the following dialogue, Grog is referred to exclusively as a punk. And this is after he called you a good guy, a nice guy, the only guy who can help him.
    • This is even sadder if you've met him and his father as Kid Link. During the day, the head carpenter says that he considers his son useless because all he does is sit and mope under his tree every night. During the night, Grog muses that people, including his own mother and father, are disgusting.
  • When you get to the Kokiri village after the timeskip, one of the Kokiri is hiding in Saria's house. She says that after the Deku Tree died and Link left, all of the Kokiri assumed Link killed the Tree, and Saria was the only one who defended him. Out of all the Kokiri, she was the only one who believed in him.
  • The imprisoned Gorons in the fire temple. All of them are curled up into balls and shivering, thinking that you're Volvagia and begging you not to eat them. You can't help but feel sympathy for the poor guys. Thankfully, there's no fear of leaving any of them behind, as conquering the dungeon requires you to find and rescue every last one of them.
  • The entire ending, from the moment you lay the final blow on Ganon, to the sepia-tone "The End" screen. Just...the sheer amount of emotion it stirs up in you. The final good-bye from Zelda. The party at Lon Lon ranch. The final laying of the Master Sword. That gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous rendition of Zelda's Lullaby. And just seeing the world that you just saved recover from all the darkness it once hosted. Watching it, you're reaping the fruits of your labor, and it feels indescribable.
    • The 3DS remake gave this already amazing ending one last heart-string tugging touch: A medley of your favorite Legend of Zelda songs played by a freaking orchestra.
    • A special highlight is the climax of the ending cinematic, as after returning the Master Sword to rest and parting with Navi, Link turns, pauses for a moment as though bracing himself to start his renewed life, and departs, leaving a lingering pan to the Master Sword to the crescendo of the musical score, complete with distant church bells ringing and the Nintendo logo appearing like a stamp on a product they clearly were proud of. It truly feels like the end of a long journey.
  • Rauru is not present at the ending of the game when the other five awakened Sages travel to Death Mountain to gaze down at Hyrule for one last time before returning to the Sacred Realm. Hyrule Historia reveals Rauru is in fact Kaepora Gaebora in the form of a spirit guardian animal, which means Rauru has been watching over Link from the moment he began his journey outside of the Kokiri Forest.
  • Shortly before you face Meg, the final Poe Sister in the Forest Temple, she appears to be crying, mourning the loss of her sisters. Even though they were the ones who tried to kill Link first, and you had to defeat them to obviously avoid dying, it's still sad to see that things had to come to this.
  • As much of a Base-Breaking Character as she is, the moment where Navi leaves Link at the end of the game. She and Link have been through so much together, and it's her departure that inspires Link to look for her, setting the events leading up to Majora's Mask in motion.
  • Though the adult timeline was saved, the friends and people you met in the adult timeline were left behind. The Hero of Time left that time and could never come back. You could feel the sadness in the scene as Zelda took Link's ocarina with her hands resting on his. Even worse is the fact that in the end Link had to make many sacrifices in the child timeline. Navi was gone and his reputation in the forest was ruined as he was wrongfully blamed for the death of the Great Deku Tree. No friends, no family, no home; Link ended up completely alone through no fault of his own, and his only company as of Majora's Mask (before and after) is his horse. Selfless hero indeed.
    • This gets even worse after playing Wind Waker. One can almost imagine Zelda's thoughts as Ganondorf returns, knowing she was the one to doom Hyrule yet again. So now Link is at a point where his life is pretty much over, Future Hyrule is in shambles, and nobody wins in the end. The only salvation is that Wind Waker Link eventually puts Ganondorf down for good.
  • The revelation that the Ancient Hero in Twilight Princess is in fact the spirit of the Hero of Time brings a sad note to the end of Link's life; That despite saving the world Link dies full of regret. Regret that he wasn't remembered for what he did when he could have stayed in the adult time line with Zelda and regret that he never passed on any of his skills. Who knows how many decades if not centuries Link remained in the world as a lingering spirit alone with nothing but a lifetime of his own perceived failures until the events of Twilight Princess?
  • At the end Zelda admits she feels really guilty for not doing something to stop Ganondorf before all this bad stuff happened.
  • King Dodongo's death. He doesn't seem at all malicious; in his boss fight he just playfully rolls around, not actively targeting Link at all. Link doesn't even have a reason to kill him; his mission of restoring the Gorons' food supply was achieved as soon as he opened Dodongo's Cavern. But Link has to complete the dungeon because it's there, and kill King Dodongo because he's designated a boss. The fight ends with his body sinking into the lava, and it's made all the sadder because the game doesn't expect us to care about him.
  • A minor one, but in Hyrule Town there's a woman who has a dog named Richard, who she dotes on endlessly and she'll reward you if you return him home during the night. In the future, she's living in Kakariko village and mentions that Talon reminded her of a doggy she used to have. Somewhere in the span of those 7 years, Richard died.

The manga

  • The manga adds another layer of anguish to Link's birth. Link's father was a soldier slain in battle during the previous warring era, and his mother was mortally wounded trying to escape the war, but suffered on for a long time trying to find sanctuary for her baby boy.
  • Ever wonder why Link seemed to ditch Saria's Fairy Ocarina in favor of the titular one? As it turns out, Ganondorf swiped it, thinking it was the Ocarina of Time. When he found out, he furiously broke it into pieces. Thus, the last link our hero had to his fleeting childhood is gone forever...
  • The manga puts Volvagia in a different light. Instead of being an evil dragon revived by Ganondorf, it was a long-lost pet of Link who was possessed by Ganondorf. Despite Link's unwillingness to fight Volvagia and his attempts to talk it back to normal, he is forced to kill it to keep it from destroying Goron City. Only when Link has fatally sliced off its head does Volvagia finally remember him, letting out one last "Li...nk..." before disintegrating away.
    • This later comes back to haunt Link when the Desert of Illusions makes the disembodied head of Volvagia appear saying "It hurts, Link".