Twilight Princess – Lanayru Province

Zora Concept Art from Twilight Princess

I’ve been futzing around with sidequests and minigames in Lanayru Province, but I want to try to record what’s been going on in the meantime. Four things jump to mind.

First of all, I really appreciate how well this game conveys size and distance. The Eldin Bridge (where the player fights the Bulblin King) is enormous, Hyrule Castle is enormous, and Hyrule Castle Town is enormous. Hyrule Field is huge, and most of it is empty space that doesn’t concern Link at all. The player really gets a sense of Hyrule as being an actual country, not just a pocket universe contained within a video game.

Second, Hyrule seems to be literally falling apart. In Eldin Province, there are huge fissures in the earth, and the pillars marking the bridge have seen better days. The Great Bridge of Hylia in Lanayru Province is crumbling as well, so much so that I’m surprised it’s still standing. Are we supposed to understand that all this wreckage happened when Zant took over, or did it happen in some sort of war before then? In this timeline, Link and Zelda had Ganondorf sealed away before he could do anything to Hyrule, so the damage must have occurred either before Ocarina of Time (perhaps during the conflict in which Link’s parents were killed) or after Ocarina of Time. In other words, unless Zant managed to do some major damage during the week or two (if it’s even been that long) after he invaded – which is highly unlikely – then the sorry state of Hyrule has nothing to do with Ganondorf.

Third, when wolf Link finds Ilia in Telma’s Bar, Midna flat out tells him that no one can see him while they are in the twilight. Moreover, daily life in the rest of Castle Town seems to be progressing as usual, with all businesses open and all manner of people out on the streets. In other words, it’s as if Link is the only one affected by the twilight. This is of course majorly different from the situation in Kakariko Village, where property was damaged and people were either killed or driven away. Why is Castle Town unaffected? Is it out of respect for Zelda’s surrender, or out of respect for Zelda herself? Or was Kakariko attacked as a warning? Why would Ganondorf have ordered Zant to leave Castle Town alone?

Fourth, when Link returns the Tears of Light to the light spirit of Lanayru (some sort of alligator eel creature), he is told to beware of the power held within the Fused Shadows. Lanayru forces Link to experience a bizarre dream in which both he and Ilia become white-eyed evil versions of themselves. Link is challenged by three Shadow Links before becoming one himself, and dozens of Ilias fall from the sky. I’m not sure what any of this is supposed to represent. Is the darkness of this dream meant to represent a hidden darkness in Link’s heart, or is Lanayru deliberately trying to upset him, or does the light spirit simply suck at communicating with humans?

What Link learns from Lanayru is that some sort of dark power is contained within the Fused Shadows, and that the four light spirits sealed away this power because it was too dangerous. Dangerous to whom, exactly? Dangerous because it could rival the power of the Triforce?

I have a lot of questions about this game. What happened in the distant past? What happened in the immediate past? What’s happening in the present? What are the stakes? No one ever tells poor Link anything.

As a side note, the designs of the Zora people in this game are really cool. I especially like the ones that wear steampunk diving masks.

( Header image from GlitterBerri’s Game Translations )

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