Was Zelda Inspired By Lord Of The Rings?
A lot of us not only play the Legend of Zelda, but also have a wide range of other interests, such as cinema, reading, writing, etc. At Zelda Shop, we are also huge fans of the Lord of the Rings saga, and we have noticed a lot of similarities between the two universes!
If you want to know if Zelda was inspired by Lord of The Rings, then sit back, take your favorite tea or coffee, and enjoy the reading!
Zelda was inspired by many things
The Legend of Zelda's universe is so unique, so beautiful, so interesting, but could some of its qualities have an outside influence? There are so much fantasy books, movies, series right now that it is difficult to find sagas that don't at least share some similarities. However, sometimes, it is very clear that the author or creator chose to embody either values, themes or characters that are quite a lot influenced by some other piece of art.
1. Is Link inspired by Peter Pan?
Green clothes, green hat, childish yet adventurous nature, denial of aging yet warriorly behavior... All these traits made a lot of fans and students of the Legend of Zelda's story compare our favorite hero with one of Walt Disney's most eminent characters. And as strange as this may appear, they are right.
Miyamoto explained during an interview that the creators wanted to make Link recognizable by the masses. And as Link's personality could fit quite well Peter Pan's, they chose it. Indeed, there are huge differences between the two, and Miyamoto didn't want to copy Disney. But it was a great way to bring powerful feelings into the audience's and the player's subconscious. Almost everyone knows Peter Pan and the themes linked to him, and this is with this web of subconscious information that we start analysing Link. Do you think this was the adequate thing to do?
2. Is Zelda Teeming with Celtic mythology?
One of the first points in which the Legend of Zelda is similar to Celtic mythology, is that its story involves more heroes than gods. The hero, Link, has mortal qualities, yet manages to transcend his human nature by almost becoming like a god, but not a god. He is indeed the farmer who struggles growing up, yet saves the world and reveals himself to be stronger than all the dark forces.
Second, did you know that Epona's name comes from the celtic goddess of fertility and protector of horses? Epona also means "Great Mare", and it comes from Proto-Indo-European "ekwos", which means horse. There is no doubt as to why such a name was chosen, and it cannot be mere chance. Furthermore, the presence of fairies in the Legend of Zelda resembles a lot the concept of fairies in Celtic mythology. There are even stories about child abduction, magic, doorways to other world and so on that have many similarities with the Zelda saga, but we will keep that whole passionating subject for another post!
Another interesting point is the similarity between the story of some Celtic tribes like the tribe of Dan (Tuatha de Daanan), and the story of Hyrule and the Hylians. Again, both legends are imbued with magic, an epic fight between good and evil, and characters with elf-like qualities. Many similarities right? What do you think?
In any case, as we know that Tolkien's magnum opus and overall work was heavily influenced by Celtic mythology as well, this is another point showing that both sagas have much in common. So let's delve into more detail!
Zelda has many similarities with Lord of the Rings
Even if we forget about the story, the character's names, the timeframe and everything else, we all agree that Zelda is awesome in general, and so is Lord of the Rings. Both are to an extent masterpieces in their own domain. One is masterful in its ability to let you dive in to a wonderful universe, with the freedom to solve riddles and beat darkness yourself, while the other takes you in an immersive trip, in a journey to Mordor, where all that is fake will be lost and dead, and all that is beautiful will fight to death in order to survive. We can't really compare everything, but both Zelda and LOTR have pretty common themes and can trigger quite the same feelings and thoughts into people.
So let's see what makes those two masterpieces so similar!
1. Hyrule and Middle Earth aren't that different
We have already discussed the similarities between Zelda's story and other influences such as Celtic mythology. If I tell you about an old evil that is formless yet casting a strange shadow over the world, to the point crazy things happen and the world falls into a very dark state. What do you think of? If you haven't seen Lord of the Rings but have already played Zelda, you will think of Calamity Ganon. Otherwise, doesn't it sound exactly like Sauron to you? This is only a small thing, a small similarity between Hyrule's world and Middle Earth, but there is more.
In Zelda like in LOTR, there is a reccuring theme of heirs from a royal family having to reverse transgenerational curses and win against all odds. Interestingly, here we can compare Aragorn to Zelda, with the curse of having Isildur's blood running through his veins, yet managing to resist the dark ring's power. There are many similarities both with our princess and Link's fight here. And guess what? In Breath of the Wild, the Champions form a fellowship of many races all trying to help our heroes to defeat the Evil in the world. We of course think of the Fellowship of the ring here, who brought together dwarve, human, elf and hobbit in order to help our hero fight against the darkest forces.
Finally, there aren't only similarities in the storyline, but also in the feelings. Has it ever happened to you whilst playing Zelda, and especially Breath of the Wild, that you were like Frodo, trying to get into Mordor in a sneaky way to save the world? Zelda's atmosphere is enchanted, fantastic, profound, and so is Lord of the Rings. We can also funnily compare the Great Deku Tree with ents. What do you think?
2. Ocarina of Time and LOTR
At Zelda shop, we love Ocarina of Time, and we love LOTR as well. We have noticed blatant similarities between the two. Just as Link is a lonely child with no understanding of the world he lives in past the forest he lives in, so is Frodo who needed to leave the Shire without knowing anything about the "exterior" world. Both had to take a quest that was forced upon them, yet both did brilliantly without any training. It seems that destiny gave both Link and Frodo the strenght necessary to save the world whilst risking everything. The two characters then realized the potential within them; which ironically would have never happened if they didn't leave their peaceful, almost childish yet comforting small world.
We clearly understand in both stories that there is a "chosen one", a character that alone can do what is necessary to save the world. A character that is ordinary yet otherwordly, that is simple yet brilliant. We can clearly see the similarity here. As stated before, we also recognize a clear antagonist to fight : Ganon or Sauron (that both end with the same sound "on" by the way...). This antagonist is trying to destroy the natural world and to gain complete power over the living.
Also, both Ocarina of Time and Lord of the Rings mention a distant past where the world was in peace, yet something terrible happened. Was it the corruption of the royal family? The summoning of a tremendously powerful demon or beast? What is sure in both LOTR and Zelda, is that the dark forces try to erase this distant past. Both try to make the people forget, so that they are more easily controllable, and so that they forget even the root cause of this evil in the first place, in such a manner that it is impossible now to fight it. But fortunately, Darkness never wins in the long run, even after the most horrific periods of time, even after dreadful centuries of fear, hunger, slavery and forgetfulness, the true Light awakens, and new heros are born. Both Zelda and LOTR show us that ultimately, the Good triumphs.
You surely understand now what makes both LOTR and Zelda similar, although there are obviously differences. You also know that the ring is a symbol for the lust or greed for power. We will make a new article next year with some incredible information about what influenced the Legend of Zelda, so stay tuned!
If you want to know why it is called the Legend of Zelda, we invite you to also read this article!
What about you, do you think Zelda was inspired by LOTR?
Maybe you agree with our point of view, or maybe not. In any case, on Zelda Shop, we are huge promoters of free speech and like everyone to share their side. So don't forget, feel free to comment and share, and above all show your courage and skills, and join us on the adventure!
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