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Spoiler The Reincarnation Theory - Spirit of The Hero

Discussion in 'Zelda Theory' started by SpiritOfTheHero, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. SpiritOfTheHero

    SpiritOfTheHero

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    So, not sure if it'd be considered spoilers but to anyone who hasn't played Skyward Sword, then spoilers, I guess?

    Also, fair warning.... this is a 10-page document coming your way down below, so if you're not much of a reader then feel free to read at your own leisure.


    An Analysis of The Legend Zelda

    The Reincarnation Theory: The Spirit of The Hero




    Introduction

    Throughout a majority of the entries in The Legend of Zelda, one observation has survived the test of scrutiny: Link is the bearer of the Triforce of Courage, and he alone can wield the Blade of Evil’s Bane, The Master Sword. The premise for this paper exists such that one may be persuaded to believe that the protagonist and hero, Link, is the product of reincarnation. To provide sufficient evidence for this claim, this paper will examine three games in the LOZ franchise (Legend of Zelda), and they are in proceeding chronological order: Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time, and Twilight Princess. In order that one may understand fully the scope of the claim, and the provided evidence, that one must first become familiar with the following philosophical theories: reincarnation, and mind-body dualism.

    Reincarnation and Mind-Body Dualism

    According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, reincarnation also known as transmigration, or metempsychosis is a theory in religion and of philosophy which is defined as the “rebirth of the aspect of an individual that persists after bodilydeath—whether it beconsciousness,mind, thesoul, or some other entity—in one or more successive existences.” (The Encyclopaedia Britannica). The aspect of which is of particular interest is the soul, which in many cases throughout belief systems of old, is synonymous with the mind. In the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, after defeating the evil Demise, the vanquished villain uttered to SS Link, “Those like you... Those who share the blood of the goddess and the spirit of the hero... They are eternally bound to this curse.” (Demise, Skyward Sword) This is the first chronological statement of The Spirit of The Hero, and the spirit as defined by the Online Etymology Dictionarycan be stated to mean from the mid-13thcentury, “‘animating or vital principle in man and animals,’ from Anglo-Frenchspirit” (Online Etymology Dictionary). As such, one can come to the conclusion that the spirit is such that it gives life to a vessel or body.

    Meanwhile, in the case of the soul, as defined by the Online Etymology Dictionaryis, "A substantial entity believed to be that in each person which lives, feels, thinks and wills", (Online Etymology Dictionary). Therefore, one may conclude that the spirit and the soul must be the same thing, and are merely interchangeable terms much like the soul, mind, and spirit. Case in point, The Spirit of The Heromust very well be an essence of SS Link, which survives his biological/physical death, and is reborn countless lifetimes across centuries in a new vessel or body.

    Undoubtedly, those familiar with philosophy or who liken themselves as philosophers will next posit that the Zelda Universe also proves mind-body dualism. After all, in order for SS Link to be reincarnated, there must be a metaphysical component to his existence and that is explained through mind-body dualism. In philosophy, mind-body dualism refers to the theory that the mind and body are two separate, and distinct entities. Consider, The Spirit of The Hero, this would belong to SS Link’s mind, which, as explained above is also interchangeable with the soul. This means that there is an aspect of SS Link which is invisible and intangible, and therefore eternal. The Ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, would refer to this placement as the Forms. Simply put, the soul as explained by Socrates, is independent of the body and thus survives physical death. In fact, according to Socrates, the soul is released from the body through death. This is exactly how The Spirit of The Herooperates, it is the essence of SS Link, his soul, which survives his biological death and is reborn or rather, reincarnated into a new physical body.

    The Spirit of The Hero

    Skyward Sword

    As mentioned earlier, The Spirit of The Heromakes its first chronological mention in Skyward Swordby the villain Demise after his defeat at the hands of SS Link, Hylia’s Chosen Hero.SS Link’s acquisition of the title is one brought about by the strands of fate as revealed to him, first by an elderly Impa, and afterwards by a reincarnated Hylia also known as Zelda. A detailed explanation of SS Link’s predestined role as Hylia’s Chosen Herois revealed to him earlier on in Skyward Sword by Fi, the daemon which embodies the then Goddess Sword, and later, Master Sword. Fi functions as a mouthpiece by revealing the pertinent information to SS Link, information which came directly from the mouth of the goddess Hylia, the wall of text is such:

    “When the light of the goddess's sword shines bright, the great apocalypse will wake from its long slumber. Do not fear, for it is then that a youth, guided by my hand, shall reveal himself in a place most sacred. The youth will be guided by one born of the blade--one who is also youthfulin likeness yet wise with knowledge immeasurable. The youth who draws forth the guiding sword shall be known as the goddess's chosen hero, and it is he who possesses
    an unbreakable spirit. He shall be burdened with the task of abolishing the shadow of apocalypse from the land. Such is his destiny.
    With the spirit of the blade at his side, he shall soar over the clouds and plummet below......And united with the spirit maiden, shall bring forth a piercing light that resurrects the land.” (Hylia, Skyward Sword)


    Through examination of this prophecy, one will see the mention of “the goddess’s chosen hero.”, it is without any doubt that SS Link was preordained into becoming the Chosen Hero. How does this show that Link is a product of reincarnation? It does not, but the information is useful to have if one wanted to understand how SS Link came to be known as the Chosen Hero, it was a divine bestowment, and one tempered through physical and spiritual growth. SS Link was not immediately worthy of the title bestowed to him by the goddess Hylia, which was why he was required to undergo a long, and arduous spiritual journey. A young Impa explains to SS Link that he and the sword would have to grow together.

    Through the completion of Silent Realms, SS Link was granted divine gifts by the three creation goddesses; Farore, Nayru, and Din. As his blade was blessed by the essence of the three goddesses; the Goddess Sword became the Master Sword. However, SS Link’s perilous spiritual journey was not yet over, and it was not until completing the final Silent Realm, one devised by Hylia herself, did SS Link fully emerge worthy of his title, and his blade, blessed once more by Hylia’s mortal form, Zelda, emerged to its titular state and worthy of its reputation as a sword capable of destroying evil.

    This spiritual growth is important to note, it was this journey that SS Link underwent that tempered his soul and made him strong enough to even impress the evil Demise, who said, “Extraordinary. You stand as a paragon of your kind, human…. You fight like no man or demon I have ever known… “(Demise, Skyward Sword) Truly then, it is not surprising that Demise would say, “Those like you... Those who share the blood of the goddess and the spirit of the hero... They are eternally bound to this curse.” (Demise)

    Ocarina of Time

    Still, the premise has yet to be concluded, is Link a product of reincarnation? Well, consider the next chronological entry in the Zelda canon, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which makes multiple references to OoT Link’s predestined role as the Hero of Time. Early into the game, The Deku Tree Sprout explains that The Great Deku could sense OoT Link would have an extraordinary fate ahead of him, "The Deku Tree could sense that this was a child of destiny, whose fate would affect the entire world, so he took him into the forest." (Deku Tree Sprout, Ocarina of Time) Throughout Ocarina of Time, there are multiple references to fate or destiny.

    To elucidate upon why this is significant one will remember the words of Demise in Skyward Sword who cursed those like Hylia (Zelda), and SS Link through future progeny of Zelda’s bloodline, and through The Spirit of The Hero. Demise’s next words were foreboding, he said, “An incarnation of my hatred shall ever follow your kind, dooming them to wander a blood-soaked sea of darkness for all time!" (Demise, Skyward Sword) One could say that this incarnation of hatred of Demise may mean the malicious Ganondorf. It becomes quite clear then, that this looming threat could only be inherently true if OoT Link possessed The Spirit of The Heroand was thus, SS Link reincarnate. Another point to be made, at the end of Skyward Sword, Fi, The Master Sword’s embodiment of consciousness relates to SS Link, “Thank you, Master Link. May we meet again in another life…” (Fi, Skyward Sword).

    Verily, this becomes true when OoT Link draws upon The Master Sword at The Temple of Time, but Fi knowing that this reincarnation of her Master is too young to become this era’s hero, seals away his spirit for seven years until he matures into the age he was the very first time they met. All the mentions of OoT Link’s destiny in Ocarina of Time, especially by the Sage Rauru, are signs of history repeating itself and Demise’s curse on The Spirit of The Hero, the essence of SS Link, coming to fruition. Although Ocarina of Timedoes not mention The Spirit of The Heroin any sort of context, it is still important to take special notice of OoT Link’s predestined role as the Hero of Timeand one may then come to the conclusion that this is the work of reincarnation. How so? Well, Demise did not merely say, “And those with a heroic spirit or mindset.” He said, “spirit of the hero.” This is extremely specific, and Demise could only have been referring to SS Link’s reincarnated forms throughout the generations. Unlike the goddess Hylia who reincarnated once into becoming the mortal Zelda and spread her lineage across a bloodline, SS Link is reincarnated multiple times across many lifetimes when the goddesses (Nayru, Farore, and Din) deem it necessary for a hero to rise up against evil.

    Therefore, OoT Link’s fate to smite the Gerudo Ganondorf was a guaranteed necessity for Demise cursed SS Link and Hylia reborn (Zelda) into eternal conflict with his incarnation of hatred. Curiously, if players of Skyward Swordwere to ask Fi in-game, to analyze Demise for assistance, she informs the player (SS Link) that Demise takes on many forms based on how others interpret him. It is possible then, that Ganondorf is Demise’s incarnation of hatred, and this can only be logical. Ganondorf indeed bears a physical resemblance to Demise, and furthermore, are of the same mindset.

    Twilight Princess

    In Twilight Princess, The Spirit of The Hero is mentioned once more in a different context through the Light Spirit Faron, and previously, the Light Spirit Ordona. Ordona refers to SS Link’s essence (Spirit of The Hero) as TP Link’s “true power”. One may have already wondered, “If SS Link is reincarnated into a new vessel or body, would he not retain his thoughts and memories?” The simple answer to this would be a resounding, no. Why? Consider, Hylia reborn also known as Zelda did not retain any of her memories from her time as the goddess Hylia. It stands to reason that SS Link’s reincarnated forms would operate in the same manner. Henceforth, it is possible that TP Link was unaware, as he originally was in his first life, of his destiny as the hero, and did not know of his real potential as the bearer of the Triforce of Courage.

    Given that SS Link in his first life tempered his spirit through rigorous trials devised by the creation goddesses and Hylia herself and was thus blessed by all four divine beings with power, wisdom, and courage in equal measure; he emerged withThe Spirit of The Hero as Hylia’s Chosen Hero. As such, when the Light Spirit Faron explains to TP Link about the power of the hero lying dormant in his veins, he was referring to his previous life as the aforementioned Chosen Hero, who tempered his spirit/soul/mind through physical and spiritual trials. His power was his unbreakable spirit, and his divinely blessed efforts to emerge worthy of his title and was henceforth blessed with the Triforce of Courage by Farore for his valor. Remember, because SS Link does not have any memories of his previous reincarnations, the Light Spirit Faron would have seen it wise not to cause any undue confusion to the reawakened hero during the events of Twilight Princess.

    Fighting Prowess

    Finally, outside of Zelda canon lore, Link is undoubtedly a product of reincarnation for one other simple reason; his combat affinity. One might be quick to interject by stating, “Well, if SS Link loses all thoughts and memories upon his reincarnations, wouldn’t he lose his knowledge of weaponry and fighting?” It’s a valid question to be sure, but unfortunately has little sway in dissolving the reincarnation theory. A similar condition to the loss of memory which reincarnation would induce is retrograde amnesia. Retrograde amnesia is an onset of memory loss which makes the individual forget events and information learned prior to the injury. In this instance, the injury relevant would be SS Link’s physical death before reincarnation/rebirth in a new life. There is one distinction to be made, although retrograde amnesia manifests as brain damage, reincarnation does not. However, it is still important to note that while retrograde amnesia makes individuals forget many things they have learned or experienced, those with retrograde amnesia are able to maintain normal lives with many aspects intact, such as: normal intelligence, unaffected perceptual and linguistic skills, short-term memory, social skills, and reasoning abilities. One especially important aspect which is retained are scripted activities. In the examples provided through case studies, individuals can change a flat tire, or make dinner reservations. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to presume that SS Link would retain his fighting prowess into his next life, such skills would be subconscious/unconscious memories.

    Consider this example; in Twilight Princess, TP Link relearns abilities from his previous incarnation, OoT Link, and it is important to remember that the Hero’s Shade in Twilight Princessis not a physical presence but rather a spiritual manifestation, and so, it is very much possible for OoT Link to have recorded his memories of techniques learned to pass on to himself in his next life. TP Link is able to immediately master the techniques simply because of unconscious memory, The Spirit of The Hero,which is SS Link’s very essence, would undoubtedly be able to subconsciously record his physical experiences/skills in a muscle memory like fashion, enabling all his reincarnated selves to tap into the reservoir that is his centuries of experience. The reason why Link (Here referring to any incarnation of Link post-SS) is seemingly unrivaled as a swordsman is because it has become second-nature to him. Multiple reincarnations through many lifetimes have tempered his skills, each life affords him new techniques either self-taught or passed on from tutelage. This would also extend to weaponry, as any gear that Link comes into contact, he immediately gains mastery over. Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time, and Twilight Princessall have a bow and arrow, and this has made Link a master archer through centuries of experience.

    Conclusion

    Now at the end of this paper; this essay has endeavoured to persuade that the reincarnation theory is plausible, and that through examination of Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time, and Twilight Princess, one may be persuaded into believing that OoT Link and TP Link are SS Link reincarnate. The final examination, was fighting prowess; mainly Link’s affinity with the blade, and his expertise with weapons/gear. It is with keen hope that this analysis is met with constructive criticism and it is with hopeful desire that such ones who choose to read this may be persuaded in the reincarnation theory.
     
  2. YIGAhim

    YIGAhim Sole Survivor Forum Volunteer

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    You very clearly put a lot of time into this. A very interesting read.

    All of the points make sense. I think after a little bit more examination, I could be swayed to thinking that the Links truly are literal incarnations of the original hero.
     
    SpiritOfTheHero likes this.
  3. SpiritOfTheHero

    SpiritOfTheHero

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    Yeah, I spent a couple of days writing this and while I am prepared for some other fans to find logical contradictions, I feel confident that all incarnations of Link are SS Link reincarnate, at least in the examples I provided.
     
  4. Spiritual Mask Salesman

    Spiritual Mask Salesman ~ Deus' Pug Smuggler ~

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    Fi's conscious began to eradicate along with Demise's. She can't be part of the Master Sword any longer. And by her saying maybe they will meet in another life, that implies she too would be reincarnated, but not into the Master Sword once more. Maybe Navi is a reincarnation of Fi?

    This is an interesting suggestion, but maybe unnecessary. I actually think it is possible that the memories of past lives could be passed down. However, they'd need to be awoken. In Skyward Sword, Zelda went from spring to spring on the surface, and then to the Temple of Hylia in the past, to reawaken memories of her past life as the Goddess, Hylia. This is of course a very special case, her past life was as a divine being, but the principle of reincarnation, I assume, would be no different in any other circumstance. But to really unlock the memories it'd require, first, knowledge of one's past lives. With that knowledge, then actively seeking out a process to unlock the memories. Certain memories, therefore, would be retained unconsciously, and the memories that'd most likely be more impactful would be fighting prowress.

    ---

    Overall, great theory, I agreed with it before you wrote the theory, buy now that you've written it, I'm impressed by the end result.
     
    SpiritOfTheHero likes this.
  5. Magic Bean Seller

    Magic Bean Seller The Apocalyptic Overlord Forum Volunteer

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    @Spiritual Mask Salesman you Say fi's conscious dissapated long before OOT but in BOTW we see some form of conscious remains in the sword as it directs zelda to return it to it's shrine.
     
  6. Spiritual Mask Salesman

    Spiritual Mask Salesman ~ Deus' Pug Smuggler ~

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    Yeah, it seems the Master Sword has some sort of conscious tied to it. Even in OoT and TP that was the case. But I really doubt it is Fi, unless she lied about her conscious dissolving away.
     
  7. Magic Bean Seller

    Magic Bean Seller The Apocalyptic Overlord Forum Volunteer

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    This is a series that retcons and remakes itself every game so i wouldn't be shocked if next games a sequel to BOTW and we discover Fi's been stealing hero souls
     
  8. YIGAhim

    YIGAhim Sole Survivor Forum Volunteer

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    Link in BoTW had to recover memories, so it is fair to assume Links that are reincarnated still need to awaken memories
     
  9. SpiritOfTheHero

    SpiritOfTheHero

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    Not exactly, Fi said she would have a sleep without end, whether that's the same as dying, we can't be sure. I recall another article on here that suggested that Fi's bias towards her original master (SS Link) influenced her greatly, and this is why she initially rejected OoT Link because he was too young. This is of course assuming each Link is distinct from the other one, and there is no reincarnation theory involved.

    I've also considered the spirit of the hero to be like a force, like DC's Speed Force for speedsters, this would be a force that all Link iterations would be able to tap into, which would contain an essence of the previous Link's unconscious memories, enabling a current iteration Link to take advantage of skills they didn't learn, sort of like the Bleeding Effect that you see in Assassin's Creed.

    However, I personally subscribe to the reincarnation theory, but there are other interpretations.