My Introduction to Lore: The Legend of Zelda.

Recently I read this article by Phil Owen on io9 titled I Care About Star Wars Because It Introduced Me To ‘Lore.’  In it he says:

“For me and many other fans, Star Wars is not a series of movies but a setting, a place. And Star Wars was the first property I enjoyed growing up where should I want more stories in its settings I could always have them. And it wasn’t a case of, as it is in many game franchises praised for having lots of lore, characters in a book telling us about past events or info in a codex — nearly all the lore was in books or comics somewhere.”

And I thought, “yeah, Star Wars was definitely the first time I cared about the world of a property beyond its main storyline. That was until I received this in the mail:

Master Sword, yo.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Graphic Novel by Shotaro Ishinomori.

This is a graphic novel, a reprint of a comic that was both printed in Nintendo Power then collected into a paperback in the 90’s. I found the paperback version shortly before The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time came out.

I wish I could remember where because that is a story in itself. It was either at Funkoland or Babbages, two video game shops taking over by GameStop later on in our local mall.

This was the copy I had for the longest time. I think it was falling apart and I was forced to throw it out.

This was the copy I had for the longest time. I think it was falling apart and I was forced to throw it out.

To me, it was the greatest comic I have ever read. This was after I had grown bored of superheroes and their comic books, and before I knew what manga even was (This is apparently considered manga, and the author is a well-known manga writer.) Receiving again this weekend reminded me that, before I ever discovered Stars Wars beyond A New Hope being constantly replayed on channel 11 on television, it was the Legend of Zelda that introduced me and enticed me into lore beyond the main series.  It was this comic that started that snowball effect.

It is basically an expanded upon version of the story to the classic Super Nintendo title, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past which already meant a lot to me as I explained here. It gave so much detail to world that I love. Here’s what that comic gave me as a kid.

  • It gave Link a voice, both heroic and goofy as a young man who gets thrown into his journey so quickly.
  • It explained why he lived with his uncle.
  • It gave him a lineage that explained why he became a hero.
  • It introduced me to Ganondorf more thoroughly, giving a face to the man who would not be fully introduced until Ocarina of Time. I believe his name was only mentioned once in A Link to the Past, either that or only referred to as the King of Thieves.
  • It was the first time I saw the Triforce symbol on Link’s hand, which would become a mainstay of the series after Ocarina of Time.
  • It gave purpose to the pendants, giving Link power to defeat his enemies before obtaining the Master Sword.
The pendant helps Link defeat the corrupted Hylian knight pursuing him.

The pendant helps Link defeat the corrupted Hylian knight pursuing him.

  • It explained the link between the chosen hero and the Master Sword with Agahnim’s remark that “He and the sword are as one.”
  • Plus expanding upon other characters and creatures you only received brief dialog from them on the Super Nintendo.With this, the world of The Legend of Zelda opened up to me, before I knew of words such as canon or non-canon. Then when Ocarina of Time came out around the time the internet was becoming prominent amongst my friends and myself this opened up the possibilities of exploring how the games were interconnected. Were the seven wise men in A Link to the Past the Seven Sages from Ocarina of Time? How were the Links, Zeldas, and Ganons of all the games related? Back then, on the slim amount of message boards on America Online, there were only theories. The Legend of Zelda‘s lore was mostly a mystery and I wanted to know more.

a link to the past

Eventually I discovered Stars Wars, the DC Universe, the Marvel Universe, and Tolkien’s Middle-Earth but for me it all started with The Legend of Zelda.

a link to the past 6

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