Skull Kid: The Imp From The Heavens

Termina Screenshot

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 Goddess 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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  • You-Know-Who

    The man “in the MAN”?

  • 7DS

    You do realize there is no way to confirm it was deep into Lost Woods. There could’ve been other woods to find. There isn’t anywhere shown in Lost Woods and the deep, is the meadow, already explored. So it would’ve best been noted as deep in a woods.

    • http://www.gengame.net/ Alex Plant

      It was actually stated to be the Lost Woods when the game’s premise was first introduced.

  • 7DS

    Oh and also, how is trying not to go to the heavens true when Stone Tower Temple was that exact thing. An attempt to go to the heavens. Doesn’t make sense. There is a better version of this story on ZI Informer, except that they miss a couple things you mention.

    • WillDaBeast

      The stone tower may not have been built to go to the heavens. Its never mentioned in the story that it is. The stone tower to the heavens is just a theory, along with this article

    • Erimgard

      If you’re referring to the article “The Skull Kid And The Tower,” I wrote that article as well as this one. If you’re referring to the Message of Majora’s Mask, this article was partially inspired by it, but they follow significantly different premises.

  • aubriemarie

    Mind = blown

    • http://www.facebook.com/coolkangarooo Gabriel Gomez

      haha me too lol

  • Amnis

    I can’t remember the characters saying or expressing their hatred to the goddesses in any way, and if so why would they call the goddess for help?

    • Amnis

      great article by the way :P

      • Erimgard

        Thank you!

    • http://www.gengame.net/ Alex Plant

      The articulation of hatred is found in their statuary “eating” the Triforce.

  • Thomas

    Thanks for the article :)

    • Erimgard

      You’re welcome :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidfraser1985 David Fraser

    They should make a sequel to majoras mask or at least set another one there

  • AyVeeDee

    The “imp” isn’t skull kid its majora. Skull kid only did the things he did because he was corrupted by the mask (it could be stated somewhere that i’m wrong though havent played that game in years). cool article though

    • Ian Green

      Yeah, you’re wrong. The imp is Skull Kid. Majora is never elaborated on, but at the end it confirms that Skull Kid is in fact the imp in the story, and he asks to be forgiven by the giants and to be his friend again.

    • Katrinia McGuinness

      Majora is the name of the mask he is wearing through out the game. The mask corrupted him.

  • http://nerdreviewstechnology.blogspot.com/ Nicholas Alexander Jabbour

    This is my favorite Majora’s Mask theory, next to the Tower of Babel theory.

  • RawX

    Ive been working on a mod that makes both games into one game for n64, so far it works well there is a portal in the lost woods that takes you to the fountain in majoras mask by the desert near the ocean, then when you swim around the fountain 3 times and you all of a sudden your in your tree house again but it has major glitches with some things such as inv, with the masks so i made a bank type chest to store things in

    • RawX

      the only issues is its 52.8mbs and only a hacked n64 emu will even attempt to play it also it makes alot of the quests non playable for some reason so I gave up and Im not going to finish it unless i get alot of help from someone

  • Baga Jr

    Holy crap, that actually makes perfect sense and it’s not even far-fetched! It’s so obvious that I can’t believe I never thought of it before.

  • zark

    he spoke of the heavens as though they were heaven but in reality in that case the heavens were the skies it would not make sense wit either thier religion or the japanease religion to say heavens meaning heaven because they don’t have it sorry if this is a repost

    • Erimgard

      The Japanese word used here for ‘heavens’ is more literally ‘realm of the gods’

  • Bladezer

    One small problem with your Theory. Its blatantly obvious in Ocarina of Time that all the Skull Kids either don’t know about the Triforce or the Goddesses, or don’t really care. So how in the heck the rejection of the Triforce come from Skull Kid.

    Plus its only really Ikana that seems to have hatred for the Triforce and the Goddesses, plus the whole Stone Tower seems more like the Giant of Ikana was sealed, not a place of worship like the 3 temples in Majora’s Mask. Also by having the door of Stone Tower opened awoke the resting dead into what was already a long dead kingdom that didn’t really what anything to do with The Stone Tower

  • vind

    I personally prefer the “Tower of Babel” theory, although, this does
    fill in som missing holes for me, which is always interesting and
    rewarding. I was never sure of what to make of the story told by Anju’s
    grandmother, considering the ancient time the tale was set in. But with
    the Babel theory in mind, it makes sense that they would see the heavens
    as a cursed place, wanting to banish the Skull Kid to this place, while
    in truth he probably went (back?) to Hyrule.

    When it comes to
    the Skull Kid’s actions in Termina, it appears that a lot of time may
    have passed in Termina, while Link and Tatl were separated from Tael and
    the Skull Kid in the dimension between Hyrule and Termina. When it
    comes to the cutscene where Link has freed the second giant, Tatle
    vaguely questions why the giants have been trapped within the cursed
    masks, receiving no answer before they are sent back to Termina. Whereas
    her brother Tael seems to know about the four giants, as revealed atop
    the Clock Tower during the final hours, Tatl appears to be unaware of
    their presence in the world. So where did Tatl fall short?

    While
    the game doesn’t directly imply that the Skull Kid had anything to do
    with the temples and the four giants, I always had a notion that there
    was a connection there. But how would he have had time to mess up the
    four worlds of Termina just before Link’s arrival? It appears to me that
    the dimension between Hyrule and Termina may be a place where time
    moves drastically slower than in Termina, thus creating a huge time lag.
    So while Link and Tatl may have experienced their travel through this
    dimension as a brief moment, a whole month could have passed in Termina
    before their arrival there. This particular interval is also suggested
    by Madame Aroma, who says her son Kafei “disappeared about one month
    ago”. Assuming that he went to see the Great Fairy in North Clock Town
    shortly after being turned into a kid (at which point his ceremonial
    mask was stolen, hence why he hid away), this imples that at least one
    month has indeed passed since the Skull Kid transformed him into a kid.
    One month to play havoc throughout Termina; seal the giants into cursed
    masks and turn them into giant monsters; curse the four worlds; and
    finally curse the moon to fall.

    Furthermore, when Tael attempts
    to tell Link and Tatl to summond the four giants, the Skull Kid seems
    very reassured that there’s nothing they can do. But what about his
    reaction when the gants actually respond to Links call? While Link
    experiences the three days again and again, making progress freeing the
    giants (who presumably reside outside of time), the Skull Kid merely
    spends the three days atop the Clock Tower, waiting for the world to be
    consumed. Surely, he didn’t see that coming.

    I love this game. Nintendo went above and beyond with this title.

  • Matthew Zelnik

    Couldn’t the Imp be the child wearing Majora’s Masks (or the mask itself) on the moon, the moon being the heavens?

  • Cody Conn

    The way i see it is this. In the story in ocarina of time and almost every zelda game concerning the triforce it says that the triforce could be used for good or for ill. So someone before had to have used it for ill intents and purposes before all this happened.

  • James Claxon

    towards the end when you mention skull kid banished to the heavens saying he was from there originaly made me think he was hylian and lived in the sky like swyward sword, but only fell down to termina, or hyrule into the lost woods then bringing the religion to both worlds and since hyrule didnt have a religion they acepted his words, but termina already having there gods and guardians refused him

  • Bernard Quintana

    what they left out is at the end of the majora’s mask skull kid goes up and sniiffs link then laughs and says “you remind me of a fairy boy i met a long time ago”

  • Bobby Coghlan

    i dont think termina is completely parallel to Hyrule. disagree with me? explain the triforce on the ikena pillars.