The Legend(s) of Zelda has always been about heroism, courage, believing what’s right and making the world a better place. Love, or at least the suggestion of it, has played its part, and as in any good world building game, there have been B and C stories of lovers and their trials. Who can forget the lovers in Majora’s mask finding one another in the last days of the apocalypse as the Demon Moon bore down menacingly on Clock Town?
“Isn’t it romantic?”
Indeed, in some games there has been an insinuation of romance between our protagonist Link (or whatever name you managed to slip past Nintendo’s curse word filter) and the Princess of Hyrule, Zelda. This has never been made explicit, but it’s always there, be it in the “growing up together” narrative of Ocarina of Time or the damsel in distress Link to the Past.
“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi!”
I’ve just finished playing Twilight Princess for the 3rd time, and while it is still my second favorite of the series (Link to the Past FTW!), it plays things a little differently, by introducing us to three different potential love interests for our strong and silent type hero. Zelda barely makes an appearance in the game, but is obligatorily beautiful and noble. Link shares a secret smile with her when he thinks Ganon has gone down for good, but beyond that, this game really focuses on the other two, unique relationships of this game: Midna and Ilia. Note: neither are the story I actually want to talk about.
Though there is never really any choice to be made, Link spends the entire game with Midna while trying to save Ilia from pig monsters. Midna has personality; she’s mischievous and aloof, powerful and funny and derisive and clever. In short, she’s perfect in every way, except for the fact that she is a little imp creature who rides on Link’s back and can only exist as a shadow when he’s human. This is of course famously dispelled when the game ends and she is transformed to her true form, the impossibly gorgeous, bedroom-eyed Princess of Twilight. Though Link and Midna form a real bond throughout the game, with both being injured and saving the other at various times, she chooses to seal the Twilight World from the World of Light forever.
“And I suppose, if it’s my last chance to say it…”
Ilia is mostly just a MacGuffin that helps move the plot along when Link has no idea what to do next. While she represents the comforts of home and he presumption of happiness once this is all over, she doesn’t really feature much in the game, and becomes a little tiresome after a while. She also suffers from Soap Opera Memory Loss (SOML) which just seems hackneyed for such an original game. Let’s just move on.
So, if none of these are a satisfying Zelda love story, what do we have left? Why, the Yetis of course! I had completely forgotten about this part of the game, despite it being my third playthrough, and it seems to come out of nowhere and never be referenced again. Despite the Mansion at Snowpeak being an incredibly fun dungeon, it is never referenced in any other game and seems to be entirely forgotten in Zelda lore. This dungeon isn’t even a temple, mystical tree pervaded by evil, or anything: just the hilariously badly maintained house of our star couple, Yeto and Yeta.
Of course they are meant to be together, that is never questioned. With names so similar, how could they not be, not to mention the fact that they are apparently the only two Yetis in this or any other Zelda universe? As Link slogs his way through ruined courtyards deep in snow and slides around frozen storerooms, Yeto spends the entire time cooking soup for his beloved Yeta, who has come down with a cold. She, ever the gracious host, tries to help Link find the Mirror Shard, but really just warms herself by the fire. They are comfortable and at home, here in their solitude atop the unforgiving mountain. It is what we all should aspire to.
Reekfish Soup for the Yeti Soul
At the end of the dungeon, Yeta is transformed into a monster by the One Ring which link must defeat. Just as that battle ends, Yeto storms into the room, knocking Link off his feet. He is clearly immensely powerful, but he doesn’t care about what may have hurt his darling wife, only that she is OK. There is no possessiveness, no impulse to violence, just pure love and concern. In contrast to other monsters Link defeats, it isn’t her destruction or the purging of evil from her body that yields the all-important heart container, it’s the love they share that makes it pop into existence. For that reason, my 13th heart will always be to me the most precious.
By the way, check out this amazing tumblr for a recipe of how to make the soup above for the Yeta in your life. Let us know in the comments what your favorite Zelda love story is.