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Link is Dead in MM and the Shiekah are there too

Jun 30, 2014
Hey guys. I've also posted this on ZU, but I am (despite my infrequent use of the forums haha) a bit more of a ZDer personally, so I'd love to get your guys' thoughts on this. Thanks!

Today I'll be vouching for two theories I've always hated.

One is that Link is Dead in Majora's Mask, which as far as I know has been panned across the board by most fans. The other is that the Shiekah had a hand in creating/worshiping Majora-- that is, that they're the Ancient Tribe the Happy Mask Salesman speaks of; this one I always found far fetched-- until now, friends.

Actually, I still find it far fetched. I don't necessarily believe these-- I just find them really interesting, and at least plausible.

They also end up coming together nicely at the end, so stick around, folks.

#1: Link is Dead

The popular theory tends to go like this-- Link takes a tumble in the intro, goes splat, and ends up in the afterlife, or at least some form of Pergatory. There, he has to come to terms with his own death (by overcoming the five stages of grief, for example), and the shot of him walking away in the woods at the end is actjuslly just imagery for his accepting his death.

This is an interesting theory, and clever, but it has a couple huge flaws; the main one being that we know Link must live on to become the Hero's Shade and father children. So unless prepubescent Link was getting it on before he went looking for Navi, he must survive the events of MM.

Going on this, the image of him in the forest afterwards must be him, physically, back in Hyrule. I do believe he lives on, or at least is resurrected.

All worlds in Zelda have some sort of portal that transports oneself from realm to realm. Let's call the "membranes." The membrane of the Silent Realm is a spiritual transportation. It allows only the spirit to pass through. The Mirror of Twilight, I believe, is a physical transporter to some sort of subrealm of half-light. I'm proposing that the membrane of passage into Termina is in fact death. The Realm of Termina is beyond the Veil-- a fever dream of Hyrule, a somewhat metaphorical construct in nature,, but very much real and physical.

Dos everyone go to Termina after death? I don't believe so. However, Termina itself is not individualized or hallucinatory. It's not relative to each person who goes there. It is the same, whether you are Link, the HMS, or any other visitor.

Why do I believe this is the case? Well, Termina is very much preoccupied with death and peace of the soul. The original "Link is Dead" theory is not wrong in that regard. Link aso does very much go splat in the intro. By all accounts, he should have died. My theory will also become stronger in section 2...

One final note though, before we make that jump: Termina is not just a place after death. It is a commentary on death. It's very nature is a home for all of death's anxieties and archetypes. It concerns itself with the resolution that death brings, as any subtextual analysis of the game will tell you. Sk we have a realm that is a metaphorical, spiritual reality.

#2: The Sheikah have been to Termina

So Termina is intertwined to Hyrule-- one is life, the other is beyond the grasp of the living. What causes one to go to Termina instead of some other afterlife? I don't know, and I don't claim to know. But I do believe it must be something unnatural.

We see five figures in all bridge the gap between Termina and Hyrule. The Skull Kid, Tatl, Tael, Link, and the HMS. We only see Link actually make the transition. Three, and possibly four (Link) do so under the influence of Majora's Mask. The HMS... well, we'll come back to him.

The Sheikah are a mysterious race. We don't know much of their belief, except that they are dedicated to Hylia. Sometimes, the Sheikah are squeaky clean technological geniuses. Mostly, however, they're shadowy and unnerving, consumed with truth and death. One need look no further than their imprint in OoT.

What is to stop the Sheikah from attempting to bridge life and death? Is it not plausible that at least some cruel sect of the Sheikah immersed themselves in blood ritual? And that these rituals permeated the membrane of death and brought them to Termina? I do not know the specifics here, but from what we know or suspect of the Sheikah, is this not believable?

Again, Termina is not just death, but a subexistence exploring the nature of death itself. the Sheikah could have even pursued this very idea and therefore reached Termina-- or created Termina (ok that is not integral to this theory, but it is interesting and I may explore it in the future).

So the Sheikah are in Termina. I now refer to the well known Hylian Dan theory of Majora, the Stone Tower, and the Tower of Babel. I think I'm relatively safe doing to so because it's a very well done piece of work-- one of he highlights of Zelda theorizing-- and it's been around for a long time now, so most of you should be familiar with it. For those that aren't, or want a recap, it's essentially that the Stone Tower meant to mock the Golden Goddesses (hence the upside down Triforces and obscene Triforce imagery) by reaching the heavens or sun (similar to the biblical Tower of Babel). The Golden Goddesses instead revered the tower so it would extend downwards into Hell and the ancient tribe would condemn themselves in the process. Majora's Mask was created somewhere in here-- it is said that the ancient tribe used this mask in their heading rituals by the HMS.

Take this theory and make the ancient tribe the Shiekah. This is very believable. Whatever sect of the Shiekah were cruel and obscene enough to reach Termina would be equally motivated to mock the gods further. Perhaps Majora is their interpretation of Hylia (the Shiekah may have a very different conception f Hylia than the Hylians do, who mainly view her as a benevolent angel), and the were placing her above the old gods?

(It is also worth noting that the Twili were punished similarly for attempting to eclipse the old gods, and many theorize them to be related to the Shiekah. But that's not necessarily relevant here, just notable. The Twili story is also a biblical allusion-- this time, Genisis).

Note: this next paragraph is relatively speculative, but does connect elements of this theory together.
Majora may be this particular Shiekah sect's primary deity (in which case, it is probably an interpretation of Hylia), and it is through him/her they believe they bridge life and death. Therefore the "hexing rituals" the HMS claims MM was used in may have been the very rituals that bridge Hyrule and Termina, and by which the Shiekah first came to Termina. The mask itself is a bringer of death, hence why it aims to bring death to Termina.

Speculation over.

My final section here will discuss the HMS. He is most likely a Shiekah, or at least a Shiekahn descendant. Do I even need to support this theory? Unnerving knowledge of the Shiekahn ways, red eyes (at least I believe, correct me if I'm wrong), etc.

And he can bride the gap to Termina. Is it implausible he could be a descendant of this ancient Shiekahn sect? That he could know the rituals that lead to Termina? That he could wish to recover the mask of myth, the mask of his ancestors?

Wrap up thoughts:

I'm actually quite happy with this theory. It comes together well. Some outlying questions remain, such as , "how does Link return to Hyrule?"

Do I necessarily believe all this? Perhaps. It could use some more affirmative evidence. In terms of Termina being beyond the Veil of Death-- Termina is generally open to interpretation, and I do enjoy this angle.

In terms of all the Shiekah stuff? Like I said, I think it's intriguing and plausible. Not everything in Zelda needs to be connected. But this does offer an new perspective on Majora, the Shiekah, blood magic in Zelda, and even Hylia.

If you have any questions, criticisms of, or expansions on my theory, please type away! I'd love to read them.

Spiritual Mask Salesman

~ Deus' Pug Smuggler ~
ZD Legend
Forum Volunteer
Site Staff
Oct 18, 2011
The astral plane
Honestly I just dislike the Link is Dead theory, I will never be able to back it. Link could survive the fall at the beginning of the game because he falls and lands ontop of a Deku Flower. No matter the distance of a fall, landing on a Deku Flower asorbs the impact leaving no fall damage at all.

There is no doubt that MM is full of symbolism of death and acceptence, but it is not a purgatory for Link to accept his own death, or better put, to accept his own death because he actually died at the beginning of the game. I prefer the theory that Navi died and Link is trying to move on after finding that out. In regards to his own mortality, I like the interpretation that the game is chronicaling growth of the Hero of Time, and acceptence of death is simply a part of adulthood. I'll link this relevant article, it's a good read and I highy recommend those interested to read the parts pretaining to OoT and MM in it.

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The Great Old One, Star Spawn, Sleeper of R'lyeh
ZD Legend
Jan 22, 2016
United States of America
Majora's Mask isn't so much exploring death, though. It's loaded with Shinto and Buddhist symbolism, and the lesson the game teaches is accepting the reality of the situations the characters face.

As far as Link being dead, it's a popular notion, but it's directly refuted by several lines of evidence from the games themselves.

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