Issue 3.2: More Masks We Wear
An Armchair Symbolic and Psychological Analysis of Majora's Masks
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Table of Contents (Vol. 3, Issue 2: Sunday, May 8, 2022)
Summary & Housekeeping
Feature: “More Masks We Wear” (~28 minute read)
Food for Talk: Discussion Prompts
Game & Word-of-Mouth
Today, we’ll undertake a fun activity where we try to interpret and analyze the symbolism behind all the wearable masks Link can collect in Majora’s Mask.
Remember, we’ve still got two more weeks until we select the two winners of our book giveaway! Keep sharing the word!
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Feature: More Masks We Wear
🚨🚨🚨 SPOILER ALERT 🚨🚨🚨
This post contains spoilers for The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. You've been warned!
⚠️⚠️⚠️ CONTENT WARNING ⚠️⚠️⚠️
This article contains discussions of death and mentions of mental illness, as well as borderline (N)SFW topics. Reader discretion advised.
My, you’ve picked up quite a few masks since we first arrived in Termina, haven’t you? Not that I’m surprised, and I’m certainly not casting judgments. After all, mask-wearing is a universal human behavior; it transcends cultural and temporal barriers. And we do it for the same reason: to be someone (or something) else for a little while, until we remove the mask.
Therefore, our choice of masks must say something about us, right?
The short answer is: yes, but the “what” changes with each person. The same mask might appeal to two different people for two different reasons, but either way, the mask serves as a breadcrumb—it can clue us in to the mask wearer’s subconscious.
This is why I want to spend a little more time on masks before we plunge into the unconscious part of our psyches. The deeper into the mind we go, the more symbolic and archetypal imagery we’ll encounter. Therefore, “mask interpretation,” much like dream interpretation, can be good practice for aspiring psychonauts like yourselves.
So, let’s have a closer look at those masks, shall we?
The Table of Masks
Because we at Game & Word want to make this journey as easy and enjoyable as possible, we’ve taken the time to create the following table of Majora’s Mask’s 24 wearable masks for this activity:
There are two types of masks in this game: transformative masks (those in the “T” column), and collectible masks (everything else). I’m going to conduct a completely amateur, armchair, and non-scientific analysis of each mask’s symbology, and what your preference for each mask might reveal about your personality.1
So, go ahead and pick your favorite mask, read its entry, then drop a comment with the mask you picked, and whether or not you agree with my assessment (and why/why not). Never played? Then just pick the mask based on what you think looks/sounds coolest—I’ve also accounted for that in my analysis!2
[NOTE: I know every single quack pop-psych quiz, book, and blog says this, but the following information really is for entertainment purposes only! I am not a licensed psychologist or therapist, and this little quiz/activity is not intended to be a substitute for real, bonafide therapy. If you’re struggling with your mental health, then a) I get it, god knows I’ve been there many times, but b) you ain’t gonna get the help you need here. Trust me, work with a professional. You can thank me later.]
The four transformative masks are perhaps the most symbolically loaded, and raise the most disturbing questions, out of all the game’s 24 wearable masks. When Link puts one on, the mask seemingly comes alive and—like an E-rated incarnation of the facehugger from Alien—wraps itself around Link’s head.
Unlike the other wearable masks, which only obscure Link’s face, when Link puts on a transformative mask, he literally becomes the mask. During a short and unexpectedly unsettling transformation sequence, the mask physically transforms Link’s body into whoever the mask depicts. Behold:
These masks are also different from the rest, due to their being imbued with the soul of the individual the mask depicts. This means each of these masks contains the living soul of a dead person.3 Even worse, the spirits bound to these masks all suffered premature and violent (but thankfully, off-screen)4 deaths.
Obviously, this raises some rather thorny and uncomfortable philosophical questions, which continue to fuel countless fan arguments on Zelda forums and subreddits, even 20 years later. However, since this isn’t a philosophical analysis, we won’t cover them here. Maybe some other time, for a bonus issue (hint, hint!). Instead, I want to look at the transformations themselves, and what they might symbolize.
Deku Mask (T1)
Transformation: “Deku Link” is notable for being the only transformation inflicted on our hero, and the one players will likely use the least. Deku Scrubs are basically walking bushes, so this transformation makes Link vulnerable (which is probably why Skull Kid chose this particular form to curse Link with). He’s short, can’t swim, isn’t heavy enough to press switches, easily ignites, and even gets attacked by dogs.
Symbolizes: An equivalent transformation in other stories would be an adult turning into a child. In Majora’s Mask, Link is already a child, but he’s not an especially vulnerable child, so this transformation—which strips him of most of his strengths and traps him in an alien and unfamiliar body—does a good job of showing how even the Hero of Time has his vulnerabilities, weak spots, and bad days.
What it says about you: If this transformation speaks to you, perhaps you feel empathy or an affinity for Link in this afflicted state. Maybe something happened that made you feel vulnerable, and connect with the character more. Plus, you gotta admit—Deku Link is strangely cute.
Goron Mask (T2)
Transformation: This mask transforms Link into the Goron hero, Darmani. Gorons are a race of very strong, but very gentle, mountain dwellers that eat rocks, curl up into balls to and roll around (like Sonic!), and have an optimistic, somewhat rosy worldview, which their friendly personalities reflect. They’re also expert bombmakers.
Symbolizes: Gorons symbolize strength, friendliness, and a certain childlike innocence. Their association with bombs can also represent how their immense inner power is restrained by an outer shell of gregariousness—not that you’d want to set one off.
What it says about you: You’re a jolly and merry person, and probably the life of every party you attend. I would advise you to adopt a more realistic outlook towards this world, lest its cruel reality overwhelms you… but even that’s not going to dampen your spirits, is it?
Zora Mask (T3)
Transformation: The Zora are a race of aquatic, humanoid fish-people, akin to Merfolk in other fantasy settings. The Zora are a proud people: excellent swimmers, musically talented, and capable warriors. They carry themselves in a stoicly dignified manner, and generally get along fine with other races, though not as outwardly friendly as the Gorons tend to be.
The particular Zora that this mask transforms Link into is Mikau, guitarist for the hit band “The Indigo-go’s”, and lover to Lulu, the band’s vocalist.
Symbolizes: Water and fish (including fish-people) are deeply associated with emotion and the subconscious mind, both of which we often describe as vast, bottomless oceans. Pisces, the last sign of the Western Zodiac, carries similar associations.
Certainly, the Zora fit into this symbology nicely: they swim gracefully, can use magic, and display strong creative aptitudes (at least the bandmembers do, and they’re most of the Zora we meet in this quest anyway). They’re also in tune with animals—the same dog that’ll attack Deku Scrub Link will beg for Zora Link’s attention, and Mikau/Zora Link helps rescue and reunite two sea horses.
What it says about you: You’re in tune with your feelings and intuition, are highly self-aware, possess at least one creative talent, and are a good judge of character. You might even be psychic. On the flip side, you’re also highly sensitive and easily wounded, both physically and emotionally. You’re also likely a Pisces.5 Remember, you don’t need to be an open book to everyone. Also, don’t spend too much time inside your head alone, lest you venture far too deep and don’t come back from the abyss.
Fierce Deity Mask (T4)
Transformation: Only unlocked by collecting every other mask, and only available during boss fights, this transformation is… enigmatic, to put it lightly. We know next to nothing about it, only that it looks like Link as an adult, and it’s supremely powerful, able to turn even the game’s final boss into mincemeat within a couple of seconds.
Symbolizes: It’s fierce. And apparently a deity. What’s telling is how an apparition wearing Majora’s Mask bestows the Fierce Deity’s Mask to Link right before the final battle, even telling him that he (Link) is “the bad guy.”
Now, we know Majora and her mask are evil, so her “evil” is our “good,” but it still begs the question: why would Majora (or her avatar, whatever) bestow Link with something that gives him such a huge advantage over her, right before the showdown with the highest stakes in the story?
I’ll come clean: I don’t have the slightest clue. But it’s such widely interpretable questions and moments like these that have kept people talking about Majora’s Mask for the past 20 years, no small feat in an industry where a game that drops off the zeitgeist after only 6 months is said to have “had a good run.”
What it says about you: You relish retribution and cutting others down to size. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that it’s for the right reasons. If this is your preferred power fantasy, I’d also say there’s an 80% chance you’ve been muted, shadowbanned, or outright banned from a multiplayer game or forum for being toxic at least once, and perhaps dozens of times.
The masks are more straightforward. Unlike transformative masks, these masks don’t alter Link’s body mass or structure, but instead obscure his face or add new/strange features.
Some masks make Link less conspicuous, whether by making him blend into his surroundings, or by making him look like someone else. Others confer some kind of benefit beyond mere cosmetic enhancements—they actually affect the game’s mechanics. And yet still other masks aren’t about assuming another person’s identity, but instead, signal some societal role or status associated with it.
Postman’s Hat (A1)
Obtained from: The Postman, after Link relieves him of his duties, thus allowing him to flee town for (hopefully) safer ground before the moon crashes.
Used in-game for: Link can use it to peek into mailboxes. But the Postman uses it to signal his occupation as a courier—a job he takes very seriously, and in which he takes great pride, to the point that he refuses to evacuate Clock Town in its final hours because leaving town “isn’t on the schedule.” He relents only after receiving formal orders to evacuate.
Symbolizes: As any neighborhood, city, or country demonstrates, the postal service is the lifeblood of any modern community. As such, postal delivery workers come to know their routes and the people in them—including their schedules, quirks, troubles, shopping habits, and social circles. And yet, instead of using all this knowledge for blackmail or extortion, the humble postal worker simply compartmentalizes it and goes about his route. The satisfaction of knowing everyone on his route, and being considered an essential part of the neighborhood, is more than enough for this honorable civil servant.
What it says about you: You’re very orderly and by-the-book, if not an out-and-out neat freak. You organize your wardrobe with a spreadsheet, color-code your music playlists, and probably work as an accountant. Your morning jogging schedule is so precise, your neighbors set their watches to it.
And yet, you have a strong voyeuristic streak, and delight in hearing neighborhood gossip, deducing people’s online shopping habits, and figuring out who’s cheating on who, based solely on mail traffic patterns.
But there’s no way you’d ever actually act on this information. Simply knowing you have the power to upend entire neighborhoods by opening your mouth brings you more than enough satisfaction (not to mention quite a kinky thrill). Besides, you’re wearing the hat, which means you have way too much respect for the sacred yet fickle bond between postman and neighbors to ever jeopardize it (unless the hat also gives you a whole other forbidden thrill).
Keaton’s Mask (A2)
Obtained from: Kafei, the Mayor’s son, after entrusting Link with his shameful secret (he’s been cursed to look like a child, and so has been hiding from his bethrothed).
Used in-game for: Summoning Keaton, a Kitsune (multi-tailed fox from Japanese folklore), who’ll reward Link with goodies if he answers the sly fox’s trivia questions.
Symbolizes: In Japanese and Western folklore alike, the fox is a favorite depiction of the trickster archetype. Think Loki from Norse Mythology, or Yuffie from FF7. Basically, the jerk at the office who swaps all the donuts in the break room for celery, but only to teach everyone an Aesop about nonattachment and going with the flow.
What it says about you: You’ve unironically used the phrase “It’s just a prank, bro!” at least once in your lifetime.
Romani’s Mask (A3)
Obtained from: Cremia, the Romani Ranch’s owner, after defending her milk wagon from being raiding by bandits.
Used in-game for: This cow-shaped mask is, strangely enough, proof of membership at the “Milk Bar” in Clocktown. Wearing the mask grants you access to the bar and the premium milk it serves.
Symbolizes: Cows usually symbolize one of two things. On one hand, they’re slow, passive, stubborn, and not particularly bright. On the other, they provide nourishment through their milk, meat, and poop (you know, as fertilizer). In Majora’s Mask, considering how Terminans seem to prize and value milk as much as Earth people value wine, it’s most likely the latter.
What it says about you: Cow puns really mooooooove you.
Kamaro’s Mask (A4)
Obtained from: Kamaro, a dancing spirit who tasks Link with spreading his mesmerizing, hypnotic dance throughout the world.
Used in-game for:
Hypnotizing the Rosa Sisters into being Link’s sex slaves Er… sorry, teaching the Rosa Sisters Kamaro’s dance.
Symbolizes: Dancing symbolizes movement, balance, harmony, self-expression, and rhythm. Prior to being taught Kamaro’s dance, the Rosa Sisters struggle to create a dance routine to perform at the Carnival, despite hours of nightly practice. Upon seeing Link perform Kamaro’s dance, their routine falls into place and clicks like a jigsaw piece.
Dancing also has strong sexual undercurrents, especially in pairs, and can quite literally be a mating dance. But the Kamaro sequence’s more suggestive subtext presents some rather… troubling implications that I’d rather leave unexplored.
What it says about you: You’re either an Incel or a Casanova. No in-betweens.
All-Night Mask (B1)
Obtained from: The “Curiosity Shop,” which basically a pawn shop, which only opens late at night and mostly sells stolen goods.
Used in-game for: Hearing Granny’s long, winding stories from start to finish without falling asleep from boredom.
Symbolizes: The mask’s nightmarish form and association with the night lend it an unsettling quality akin to staring into a dark forest. Its wide-open eyes pierce into your soul—after all, “you are what you do in the dark.” The mask hides the face while doubling as a restraint, basically forcing the wearer’s eyes open and depriving him of sleep. It is unnatural on many levels.
What it says about you: You’re a workaholic, insomniac, or seasoned Gimp cosplayer.
Bremen’s Mask (B2)
Obtained from: Traveling musician Guru-Guru, who had himself stolen it from the leader of an animal troupe he was a part of.
Used in-game for: Leading a batch of Cuccoo chicks to march in formation until they suddenly grow into adult
chickens Cuccoos. It makes sense in context,
Symbolizes: The mask, being in the shape of a bird, can symbolize freedom. But since it also signals leadership, it can also symbolize qualities associated with good leaders, including courage, discipline, and determination.
What it says about you: Despite looking chicken on the outside, you’re fierce and headstrong on the inside.
Circus Leader’s Mask (B3)
Obtained from: Cheering up Gorman, leader of a traveling circus troupe, who’s been drowning his sorrows at the Milk Bar after learning his performance for the Carnival had been cancelled.
Used in-game for: Gaining some backstory on the Gorman brothers, three unsavory characters who own a racetrack, engage in banditry, and are implied to have some sort of link to the shadowy Garo ninja clan. Gorman, the middle sibling, left the ranch to pursue a career in entertainment.
Speaking to Gorman’s brothers while wearing the mask nearly moves the otherwise brash and bitter ranchers to tears, revealing how much they miss their middle brother and hope he was able to succeed in finding a better life as an entertainer. The mask itself also rains tears from its eyes as you walk around wearing it.
Symbolizes: The complexity and moral ambiguity within every person, and how even the most unpleasant and shady people can show kindness, concern, and love for those close to them.
What it says about you: You’ve lived a troubled life, haunted by a harsh upbringing, or agonized over fraught familial dynamics. Hang in there, my friend—everything will work out eventually, in its own way. *hug*
Gibdo Mask (B4)
Obtained from: Curing Pamela’s father from the Gibdo (mummy) curse that’s been slowly turning him into a Gibdo.
Used in-game for: Disguising yourself as a Gibdo in order to pass through a creepy, Gibdo-infested passageway without getting cursed or killed. The disguise is apparently so convincing, you can even talk to and barter with Gibdos. Also, “Gibdo” is an inexplicably amusing word.
Symbolizes: A Gibdo is just a mummy with a funny name, and a mummy’s true form is under wraps. And since the process of mummification basically arrests the natural process of decomposition, a mummy is “undead” in the most literal sense of the term. This unnaturalness, combined with the mummy’s concealed nature, explains why mummies and mummy curses have long remained horror mainstays.
What it says about you: You feel that your inner self is rotten, and thus must be concealed from the world. But has it ever occurred to you that the means of concealment are almost as horrifying?
Blast Mask (C1)
Obtained from: Stopping Sakon the thief from mugging the little old lady from the bomb shop.
Used in-game for: Link can press “B” while wearing the mask to set off an explosion, which is handy if you’re short on bombs, but will also shave off some of your life in the process.
Symbolizes: Explosions symbolize volatility, anger, intensity, and sudden, chaotic change. Think about someone having an “explosive” temper, hard news “hitting like a bomb,” or an upheaval leaving someone’s life looking “like a bomb hit.” A bomb also symbolizes the potential for such an explosion, which includes not only the risk of it going off, but also the possibility of preventing it.
What it says about you: You’re probably a little hot-headed yourself. You might want to be mindful of how you talk to your spouse or kids. Or you’re just a pyromaniac.
Bunny Hood (C2)
Obtained from: Leading the Cuccoo chick procession described in the entry for Bremen’s Mask (B2).
Used in-game for: Speed, baby! Wearing this mask increases Link’s walking speed.
Symbolizes: Bunnies are fuzzy, fast, springy, prolific maters, and skittish diggers. They’ve long been associated with springtime, with which they share common associations with youth, fertility, and vitality.
What it says about you: You’ve got a strong playful side, are in touch with your inner child, or have a lot of pent-up energy. You’re the “cool uncle” in your family, and a Peloton early adopter.
Kafei’s Mask (C3)
Obtained from: Madame Aroma (the Mayor’s wife), who hires Link to find her missing son, Kafei, who has mysteriously disappeared before his upcoming nuptials.
Used in-game for: Inquiring about Kafei’s whereabouts, kicking off his side quest.
Symbolizes: Kafei is in hiding because the Skull Kid transformed him into a child. As a man trapped in a child’s body, he feels frustrated, trapped, and constrained. It also lends his and Anju’s character arcs a forlorn, tragic, “star-crossed lovers”-type romantic tinge.
What it says about you: You’re a true romantic: a lover, dreamer, believer, and a giver. Either that, or you’re some aging hipster who hasn’t left his Brooklyn loft since the last Day-Glow party.
Garo Mask (C4)
Obtained from: Beating the shady Gorman brothers in a horserace.
Used in-game for: Summoning the elusive Garo ninjas from the shadows in Ikana Canyon.
Symbolizes: The Garo are a clan of spies and assassins. They remain hidden, only showing themselves when summoned by their master or to ambush their enemies. Their garb fully conceals their face, and they die without leaving a corpse. All of these traits symbolize secrecy, and even deceit. And since the lore reveals so little about the Garo, we cannot even discern whether their motives are benevolent, malicious, or something else entirely—these guys just scream “mysterious.”
What it says about you: You might not be as shifty as the Garo, but you certainly like to keep your true self close to your chest. This is all well and good, but beware of living in the shadows for too long—not least because it’s your actual Shadow’s favorite haunting grounds.
Stone Mask (D1)
Obtained from: Rescuing an injured soldier that only Link could see, apparently because the soldier was wearing this mask.6
Used in-game for: As long as Link is wearing this mask, other characters and enemies won’t see or react to him. This mask conceals Link from enemies because it renders him as inconspicuous as a rock, effectively hiding him in plain sight.
Symbolizes: While stones usually symbolize strength and stability, this rock represents the ordinary and utterly unremarkable. At least at cursory glance, anyway. After all, anything and everything is fascinating if you take the time to slow down and learn about it!
What it says about you: You spend your 1Friday nights tinkering with pivot tables. You only wear black turtlenecks and/or khaki slacks (even for weddings and funerals). You’ve have already maxed out your 401(k), and it’s only mid-February. You’re a PC. (In case you still haven’t gotten the hint: you’re boring. You’re also not only cheating the game, you’re cheating yourself.)
Don Gero’s Mask (D2)
Obtained from: Feeding a hungry Goron his favorite meal: a Rock Sirloin.
Used in-game for: Gathering a choir of frogs together for a rousing concerto to ring in the springtime.
Symbolizes: The power of music to bring people from all the corners of the world together. Frogs also symbolize someone’s inner nature, which is fitting since two of the choir’s frogs had been transformed into Gekkos—aggressive and brash frog-like monsters who turn back into docile frogs after being defeated by Link.
What it says about you: You’re a sensitive and gentle soul, which is a shame because people often overlook or misjudge you. Don’t let those people get you down—you are perfect just the way you are!
Couple’s Mask (D3)
Obtained from: Reuniting Anju and Kafei, who merge their two wedding masks to make this one.
Used in-game for: Breaking up a heated argument in the Mayor’s office. But it’s mostly simply a reward for completing the game’s longest and most complicated (and thus most rewarding) side quest.
Symbolizes: Love, marriage, unity… and all the symbolism associated with those themes. The Couple’s Mask is formed when Anju and Kafei exchange the masks they made for each other (the Moon and Sun Masks, respectively) in a symbolic exchange of wedding vows.
The fact that they undertake this momentous ritual about an hour before the apocalypse rains down makes it all the more poignant, tragic, and touching.7
What it says about you: Whoever your spouse is, they’re very lucky to have you.
Captain’s Hat (D4)
Obtained from: Defeating the undead skeletal remains of Captain Keeta, a former commander of Ikana’s forces in the war against the Garo.
Used in-game for: Communicating with and even giving orders to Keeta’s skeletal troops.
Symbolizes: The hat indicates military rank, and as such is a symbol of authority. It’s made of bones, and used to command a skeleton army; skeletons, like other undead, can symbolize something that can’t or won’t die, even though it should have. Lingering attachments, resentments, or bad habits, for example. The juxtaposition of, and halfway point between, life and death that characterize the undead can also carry its own symbolism (for instance, a loved one who has long passed away, yet is kept alive through the memories of their relatives.
What it says about you: You’ve served in the military, always choose the Necromancer in Diablo II, or both.
Great Fairy’s Mask (E1)
Obtained from: Returning the stray fairy to the Great Fairy’s Fountain in Clock Town.
Used in-game for: Putting stray fairies at ease, making them fly towards instead of away from you.
Symbolizes: Fairies in the Legend of Zelda games tend to be more on the “Tinkerbell” side of the spectrum than the ineffible, unpredictable, and even frightening fairies of actual Celtic folklore.
Nevertheless, fairies in Zelda are powerful and wise beings, being able to restore life and vitality, and offer guidance and protection to their chosen companions. And the Great Fairies are even more powerfu still, and are usually the ones to awaken and enhance Link’s latent magic powers, confer status buffs, and heal his wounds.
As such, the Great Fairy symbolizes life, growth, magic, nature, and a very maternal type of nurture. They can also project a certain playful flirtiness, which is the prelude to creating new life.
What it says about you: You’re very motherly, flirty, and confidently in touch with your feminine side. If you identify as male, Jung would say you have a strong relationship with your anima.8
Mask of Scents (E2)
Obtained from: Completing the race against the Deku Butler.
Used in-game for: Sniffing out truffles? I think? To be honest, I’ve never actually figured it out. Mostly because I’ve never used this mask for anything other than getting a quick chuckle at Link making pig snorts.
Symbolizes: Some very wise person once said that pigs are like saints, in that both are venerated more in death than in life. And pigs certainly get a bad rap in many cultures. Their voracious and decidedly unpicky appetites—they will eat anything and everything, up to and including fecal matter—and tendency to roll around in their own filth have perennially made them symbols of greed, selfishness, and uncleanliness. Oh, and perverts are also often called “pigs.” So are cops.
Why do pigs have such horrible PR? Unlike other livestock like cattle or fowl, they’re only useful to humans as food. Yet two out of the world’s three Abrahamic religions consider them ritually unclean and forbid their adherents from eating them. Pig droppings emit a distinct and particularly foul stench one can smell from miles away. And it turns out that Guy Ritchie didn’t make it up; apparently, people really have used pigs for body disposal. You get the picture.
And pigs don’t even get a break in the Zelda universe! The series’ primary antagonist, Ganon, often takes the form of a demonic pig-like beast. And his mooks, Bokoblins and Moblins, often resemble pigs as well. Poor pigs can’t catch a break!
What it says about you: You really, really like truffles. Otherwise, you might actually be this guy.
Mask of Truth (E3)
Obtained from: Taking care of a golden spider infestation in a cursed swamp house.
Used in-game for: Talking to statues, reading animals’ minds, and generally freaking people out.
Symbolizes: The eye on this mask is a modified Sheikah Crest, the centerpiece of which is Hyrule’s version of our own archetypal “All-Seeing Eye.” The All-Seeing Eye represents all-penetrating awareness and omniscience. Like the Eye of Sauron, it pierces, perceives, and sees everything. Nothing escapes its gaze. NOTHING.
Fitting, since the Sheikah heavily traffic in symbols and imagery related to shadows and truth, particularly those we’d rather not see. The Lens of Truth, a key item that reveals the unseen (like fake walls, or invisible treasure chests, platforms, even monsters), and indeed this very Mask of Truth, are both Sheikah artifacts bearing the Crest and it’s All-Seeing Eye.
Eventually, the truth—all the truth—is revealed.
What it says about you: You highly value learning and knowledge, and always seek to learn more. The burden of all your knowledge has also made you chronically depressed. After all, “the more you know, the more you suffer,” and even the Sheikah Crest depicts a tear dropping from the All-Seeing Eye.
Giant’s Mask (E4)
Obtained from: A treasure chest in the Stone Tower Temple.
Used in-game for: Growing to a height of ~50 feet during the boss fight against Twinmold.
Symbolizes: Giants are usually “modifier symbols,” and when it comes to gigantism, what the giant is, tends to be more significant than the fact that it’s a giant in the first place. And in this case, the giant is Link—the Hero archetype in its purest, most distilled form, and the living embodiment of courage—pummeling the living daylights out of two similarly huge bug-worm-snake things.
In Majora’s Mask, however, this mask carries a much heavier symbolic weight. Termina’s guardian deities are four gentle giants, and are specifically referred to as giants, not gods.
In Greek Mythology, the Titans were deity giants who clashed with the Olympians (you know, Zeus & Friends) over who got to rule the Earth. When you consider this, along with the popular fan theory of Termina’s giants similarly challenging Hyrule’s Creator Goddesses, and… well, I’ll let you connect the dots. This is getting long enough as it is.
What it says about you: You’re awesome, and you know it. Just remember to keep your ego in check, or you might just look up one day to see the moon making a beeline for your house.
And that’s it for this week! Thanks again for reading, and join us next week, as we continue our explorations.
Food for Talk: Discussion Prompts
While you wait for the next issue, I invite you to mull over the following discussion prompts. Please reply to this email with your answers, or post them in the comments—I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Which mask did you pick, and why?
Did you agree with my armchair psychoanalysis? In what way?
What do YOU think each mask represents and reveals about the person wearing it?
You do acknowledge this is all just for fun, and you shouldn’t take any of this seriously, right?
The Dream Interpretation Dictionary: Symbols, Signs, and Meanings by J.M. DeBord.— Dream interpretation is a fraught and highly subjective undertaking, and most free online “dream dictionaries” are about as useful as a Buzzfeed quiz. This one, however, was written by someone who clearly gets Jung, and outlines a solid methodology for creating your own dream and symbol interpretations.
From The Psychology of Zelda, edited by Anthony M. Bean, Ph.D.— A highly illuminating and accessible collection of essays analyzing the Zelda series through various psychological paradigms. One of the books we’re giving away this month.
Embodying the Virtual Hero: A Link to the Self by Jonathan Erickson
Unmasking Grief: Applying the Kübler-Ross Five Stages of Grief Model to The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask by Larisa A. Garski, F. Cary Shepard, and Emory S. Daniel
The Protective Power of Destiny, Posttraumatic Growth in The Legend of Zelda by Larisa A. Garski and Justine Mastin
The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy edited by Luke Cuddy
Three Days in Termina: Zelda and Temporality by Lee Sherlock
The Symbolism of Zelda: A Textual Analysis of Majora’s Mask by Jared Hansen
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#psychology #mythology #symbolism #metaphysics
Not that I’m trying to diagnose you, or anything. No, that would be reckless and highly unethical! After all, I probably don’t even know you. At the same time, however, you really shouldn’t be reading too much into what’s essentially a slightly more respectable Buzzfeed quiz when it comes to something as deep and unique as your psyche.
If you’re having trouble parsing out who you are, please work through it with a licensed professional (like the ones in the books we’re giving away this month!). That is too heavy and too important a task to go about alone, or with as corrosive an influence as the internet. Therapy works—but only with the right therapist. And that sure as hell ain’t me.
Btw, this analysis heavily relies on J.M. DeBord’s “The Dream Interpretation Dictionary” for its symbology and interpretations. Why dream interpretation? Because my own headcanon maintains that Majora’s Mask is simply one of Link’s biggest fever dreams, and nothing will convince me otherwise. That’s how surreal this game is!
With the notable exception of the Fierce Deity Mask: this is the last mask Link acquires, the most powerful of all the masks, and the mask we know the least about. The “Fierce Deity” also uncannily resembles Link as an adult in Ocarina of Time. Hmmmm…
Mikau, the Zora whose spirit inhabits the Zora mask, does pass away onscreen, but we’re spared the graphic details leading up to his death, as he’s already mortally wounded when Link finds him.
In which case—fellow fish, represent! 🙌🏼🐟♓️
Link was only able to see him thanks to the Lens of Truth, which reveals the true nature of everything.
“Please take refuge. We are fine here. We shall greet the morning… together.”
More on the anima and animus later.