Majora’s Mask is one of those titles that just begs you to dig deeper. The primary plot of finding a way to stop the moon from crashing is fairly simple, but the game offers an intricate and complex network of sidequests and NPC interactions that can keep you busy for countless hours. Everyone in Termina has a story to tell or a secret to share if you look hard enough.
Even the very history of Termina is shrouded in mystery, with only a few vague clues explaining the events that led to Skull Kid’s actions. Perhaps the most intriguing of these clues is the fact that Skull Kid’s story actually begins in the early days of Termina, as he has been immortalized in story as an “imp” that plagued the land long ago. This eerie bedtime story, coupled with several references to Hyrule, a land which the inhabitants of Termina should know nothing about, may hold the real truth of Termina’s past.
Termina exists as a parallel dimension to Hyrule. Accidentally discovered by Link, Termina can only be entered through a portal hidden deep within the Lost Woods, and it’s likely that few people from either world have traveled to their world’s counterpart. Although it mirrors many of Hyrule’s inhabitants, it is a separate world entirely, with its own history and mythos. There is no reason to believe that Termina’s inhabitants attribute their world’s creation to the Goddesses of Hyrule; their only “gods” are the giants who protect the land. How is it then that remnants of Hyrule’s religion have made it into Termina?
Only a little time left…Oh,
Goddess of Time, please save me…
Spoken by the man in the Skulltula House, this cry for divine salvation seems out of place for a man from Termina. Why is he not calling out for help from the giants, the protectors of his land? How does he even know of a Hyrule-based deity? Tatl, Link’s fairy companion, has a similar request for help from the Goddess of Time when confronting Skull Kid.
This out-of-place knowledge of Hylian mythos continues with the Stone Tower Temple. The four temples of Termina were built to honor the four giants, yet just outside the Stone Tower Temple are a number of stone carvings of the Triforce. What is this symbol of the Essence of the Goddesses – the ultimate power of Hylian lore – doing outside a temple in Termina?
The depiction itself is also puzzling. The stone blocks depict gargoyle-esque creatures holding the Triforce on their tongues. In Hylian lore the Triforce has always been displayed in an elegant and revered manner, but here we see something that seems disrespectful and foreboding. How does Termina know of the Triforce in the first place, and why is it being displayed in such an unlikely manner?
To understand this, we have to go back to the early days of Termina when the giants first took on their protective roles at their respective temples.
“The Four Giants.”
This tale’s from long ago when all the people weren’t separated into four worlds like they are now.
In those times all the people lived together, and the four giants lived among them.
On the day of the festival that celebrates the harvest, the giants spoke to the people…
“We have chosen to guard the people while we sleep…”
“100 steps north, 100 steps south, 100 steps east, 100 steps west.”
“If you have need, call us in a loud voice by declaring something such as, ‘The mountain blizzard has trapped us.’”
“Or ‘The ocean is about to swallow us.’ Your cries shall carry to us…”
Now then…There was one who was shocked and saddened by all this. A little imp.
The imp was a friend of the giants since before they had created the four worlds.
“Why must you leave?” “Why do you not stay?”
The childhood friend felt neglected, so he spread his anger across the four worlds.
Repeatedly, he wronged all people. Overwhelmed with misfortune, the people sang the song of prayer to the giants who lived in each of the four compass directions. The giants heard their cry and responded with a roar. “Oh, imp. Oh, imp. We are the protectors of the people.” “You have caused the people pain. Oh, imp, leave these four worlds! Otherwise, we shall tear you apart!” The imp was frightened and saddened.
He had lost his old friends. The imp returned to the heavens, and harmony was restored to the four worlds.
And the people rejoiced and they worshiped the giants of the four worlds like gods. And they lived happily…ever after…
As we know from the main story of the game, the little imp is none other than the troublesome Skull Kid. His misdeeds during the game itself mark the second time he’s caused trouble for Termina, with the first event being so long ago that it was before Termina’s inhabitants had spread out to the four corners of the map. With the four “worlds” being established during this time, and likely their respective temples as well, Termina’s knowledge of the Triforce would have to predate this event.
The language depicting Skull Kid’s departure seems oddly out of place, given his crimes. Skull Kid’s banishment saw him returning “to the heavens.” This is important for two reasons. First of all, a banishment is usually to some desolate place; it’s not generally associated with a heavenly place. Secondly, Skull Kid returned to the heavens, which implies that he had been to the heavens before. Termina’s inhabitants have knowledge that Skull Kid can travel to and from the heavens, yet they do not seem interested in this place. If anything, the heavens are given a negative connotation in this context.
This story lets us know that Skull Kid was present during the era in which Termina must have learned of the Goddess of Time and the Triforce. It also shows us that Termina knows of a place that they consider to be the heavens, and that Skull Kid has been there. This heavenly realm is most likely Hyrule, as that is where Skull Kid resided before Termina.
If Skull Kid learned of things like the Goddesses and the Triforce while in Hyrule, and then came “from the heavens” to Termina with this knowledge, it could explain Termina’s rejection of Hylian religion. The Skull Kid is considered to be a troublemaker and an imp in Termina, causing so much trouble that the giants had to intervene and banish him.
The people of Termina associate the Goddesses and the Triforce with the hated Skull Kid, so it’s no wonder they rejected such a religion and made no attempt to go with him to the heavens. Instead, his banishment by the giants inspired them to promote their protectors to the status of deity. They even depicted the Triforce in a disrespectful manner outside one of their temples, honoring their “god” while rejecting another with one simple design. Termina’s hatred for one child who acted out in anger influenced their religion forever.
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