Skyward Sword – Kina and Guld, Batreaux and Kukiel

Tea Party with Uncle Bats by Stickynotelover

Cleaning up the Bokoblins from the Eldin Volcano unlocks the final Gratitude Crystal quest.

Kina, the daughter of the owner of the Lumpy Pumpkin tavern, needs someone to help her plow the pumpkin patch. By this point Fi is apparently fed up with the Pumpkin’s Landing sidequests, so before Link can agree to do it himself she pops out of his sword and says he would be better served by finding someone else to do Kina’s dirty work over in the Eldin region.

Link dutifully goes down to the surface and brings back Guld, the leader of the Mogma tribe. Guld has grown tired of searching for treasure in the earth and longs for the sky. Kina butters him up in the same way she used to coax Link into performing manual labor for her, and he takes the bait hook, line, and sinker. I’m not sure how having a mole person digging tunnels in a floating island is a good idea, but Guld seems to be happy, so that’s all right then.

Kina is at first startled that Guld can speak like a person, but she gets over her astonishment quickly in much the same way that Instructor Owlan became accustomed to the Oolo the Kikwi. Although it’s touching how unalarmed Owlan and Kina are by the appearance of non-Hylian sentient races, it’s troubling how they both position the creatures as less than fully human (Owlan, for example, wonders how best to “classify” Oolo). To me, this emphasizes how weird it is that Hylians live alone on Skyloft as the chosen people of the Goddess Hylia.

Or rather, they don’t live quite alone.

With the final five gratitude crystals in hand, Link finally has the requisite number to transform the demon Batreaux into a human. I was half expecting there to be a Beauty and the Beast style sequence in which Batreaux transforms into a gorgeous beefcake and his house is suddenly clean and shiny, but instead he becomes an avuncular middle-aged man who is just as silly-looking as he was as a demon. His house is still gross, and the huge portrait of him still shows a big blue batman. Batreaux is such an adorable nerd, and I love him.

His friendliness makes me wonder what a demon – and only just one demon – is doing hidden on Skyloft anyway. I’m fairly certain that Batreaux is an oblique reference to the Moblin in the original Zelda game who hid underground and gave rupees to Link. The “it’s a secret to everybody” line implied that the Moblin was bribing you not to reveal his location not just to Ganon’s forces, whom he had presumably betrayed or just flat-out didn’t want to join, but also to other Hylians, who would see him as an enemy and attack him.

It’s sad that Batreaux feels a similar need to hide himself away in a dingy hole underneath the Skyloft graveyard, a remote location where no one could accidentally find him. The reason he wants to become human is so that he can spend time with Kukiel, the little girl who likes to hang out with him and have tea parties. The two of them are super-cute together, and there is nothing even remotely creepy or threatening about Batreaux.

Why was Batreaux worried that the Hylians wouldn’t accept him if he revealed himself? The only person in the sky who knows anything about him is the old man who hangs out in the Lumpy Pumpkin, and no one believes him. This makes me think that perhaps something happened in the past…

Once Batreaux becomes human, the monsters that come out at night on Skyloft disappear. The catlike Remlit creatures that laze around the island during the day also stop attacking Link at night. What’s going on there? If demons aren’t inherently evil, why would the presence of a demon inspire such vicious behavior in wild animals? What is it about Batreaux that makes him “inherently evil”? Is it simply the circumstances of his birth as a member of a non-Hylian race? If so, that is extremely troubling.

Wow. I just got really invested in a random minor character. I should probably stop.

( Header image by stickynotelover on DeviantART )

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