The Wind Waker – Nayru’s Pearl

The Wind Waker Greatfish Isle

The location of the final pearl that Link needs in order to open the path to the Master Sword has been marked on Link’s map as Greatfish Isle, which is north of Link’s home on Outset Island. At this point in the game, Link is free to go off adventuring, but I prefer to go ahead and get Nayru’s Pearl, as certain events render navigation difficult and unpleasant.

The “great fish” of Greatfish Isle is the guardian of the pearl, an enormous anglerfish named Jabun. As Link approaches the island, the player notices a scary cloud circling above it, and the sky grows dark. Rain starts pouring down as Link pulls the King of Red Lions onto the shore, and Jabun is nowhere to be found. The Rito postman Quill shows up and tells Link that Ganondorf has cursed the island, cleaving it in two with his magic and causing Jabun to flee.

In addition, Ganondorf has invoked a magical storm that fans of the game refer to as “the endless night.” During the endless night, the Great Sea is beset by strong winds and driving rains, and the dawn never comes. The usual upbeat sailing music is replaced by a version of Ganondorf’s theme, and sailing around in these conditions is, as I wrote earlier, difficult and unpleasant.

I have to interject here to say that it makes no sense for Ganondorf to be held responsible for this storm or for the destruction of the island. Although Ganondorf seems to be able to communicate with creatures that the other characters in the game dismiss as monsters, such as the Bokoblins and Moblins, this is hardly magical. Also, it’s later revealed that Ganondorf’s powers have been sealed by the Master Sword, so he’s not able to use strong magic at this point in the game anyway. It makes much more sense for Jabun, who is able to reshape the land and control the sea, to have destroyed his own island and summoned a storm in order to drive Ganondorf away.

In any case, Jabun has apparently sealed himself within a cave, and Link needs to get his hands on some bombs so that he can blast down the earth wall. The only place to get bombs is the Bomb Shop on Windfall Island, so we head north in the dark and the rain.

This is where the player learns that Tetra and her pirate crew are more than a little scary themselves. When Link docks on Windfall Island, the Bomb Shop is locked, so he has to sneak around the back. From an upstairs storage area, he sees that Tetra’s pirate crew has tied up the store owner so that they can steal his bombs for themselves. Tetra prevents them from killing him, but they leave him bound and helpless behind a locked door before heading to the bar. Tetra notices Link and winks at him, signaling that he should board their ship and take some of their ill-acquired bombs for himself. It seems that the pirates are also after the “treasure” in the cave on Outset Island, but for some reason Tetra wants Link to find it first.

Link successfully makes his way onto the ship, where he finds a convenient bag full of bombs. Before he steals his share of stolen goods from the pirate ship (aided once again by a mousy junior pirate Niko), Link can enter Tetra’s private chambers, where he will find three interesting things.

First, she’s posted a large sea chart on one of her walls, and she’s used this chart to mark three points that connect into the shape of a Triforce. These three points are the locations of the three Triangle Islands, which Link will soon learn reveal the location of the sunken Tower of the Gods. Did Tetra already know about this? If so, how did she find out, and why was she looking in the first place?

Second, on the wall above her bed she’s got a large woodblock print poster of the legendary hero, a version of which appears during the game’s opening sequence. This reminds me of A Link Between Worlds, in which Zelda goes to her castle’s portrait gallery alone at night to look at the painting of the hero. I wonder what she and Tetra thought when they first saw Link. Was he like a dream come true to these young women, or were they disappointed? Tetra certainly seems to have been, as she had to be coerced by Quill into allowing Link to board her ship.

Third, on the wall in the antechamber is a framed portrait of a dark-haired woman smartly decked out in an admiral’s coat and holding a spyglass. This is presumably Tetra’s mother, who once commanded the pirate ship. Perhaps because she’s depicted in a more realistic style, Tetra’s mom doesn’t look anything like her. This makes me wonder if the qualities that make the people in their family “Zelda” only manifest in daughters destined to become involved in the legend.

I should probably stop speculating, because there’s no way to answer any of these questions. If nothing else, I wish we got to see more of Tetra – I would love to learn more about her life on the Great Sea.

Instead of crashing the private pirate party at the bar on Windfall Island, Link dutifully returns to the King of Red Lions, and they sail all the way south to Outset Island. As they circle the island looking for Jabun’s cave, they become trapped in a whirlpool in front of a massive stone wall constructed of boulders. For some reason, the King of Red Lions is equipped with a small canon, and Link can use this canon to launch bombs at the wall until it cracks and shatters. He must do so quickly, however, or he will be sucked into the whirlpool.

When I wrote earlier that Jabun “is able to reshape the land and control the sea,” this is what I meant. There’s some powerful magic at play here. Once Link enters the cave and speaks with Jabun, the endless night ends, once again leading me to believe that it was caused by Jabun and not Ganondorf.

Jabun only speaks in Hylian, and he tells Link to stop Ganon. Or, actually, who knows what he says? The King of Red Lions translates, and who’s to say that he’s not just making things up? Jabun could be complaining about his bowel movements, and the King of Red Lions would still probably translate his words as “you must stop the evil Ganon.”

The King of Red Lions is really fixated on Ganondorf, I’m just saying. It’s like they’re ex-boyfriends or something. Probably they stalk each other on Instagram.

ANYWAY, Jabun gives Link Nayru’s Pearl (where was he keeping it), which means that Link can now go to the Triangle Islands, raise the Tower of the Gods, and draw the Master Sword… but why make tangible progress in the game when you could sail around hunting for treasure and having adventures?

( Header image from The Hidden Triforce )

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