Cosplay Friday: The Legend of Zelda

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The Legend of Zelda

The award winning The Legend of Zelda video game series is undoubtedly one of the most beloved and iconic of all time. But how much do you really know about this action-adventure phenomenon? Even with 17 official games and multiple generations of fans there are still a few hidden tidbits about the land of Hyrule that are not especially well known.

Let’s start our quest at the beginning with the inspiration for Hyrule. Creator Shigeru Miyamoto spent most of his days wandering around the countryside of Sonobe, Japan, where one day he discovered a cave. A curious child, he took a lantern and began exploring what turned out to be a series of interlocked caves. This experience and the sense of adventure he felt would later serve as the foundation for The Legend of Zelda.

The Legend of Zelda was not the game's full original title. In Japan the title was The Hyrule Fantasy: Legend of Zelda. "Hyrule Fantasy" was later changed for the North American release and eventually disappeared from the title worldwide.

Now for our hero, Link

As the running meme delights in telling you, his “name is not Zelda.” You can say Link traveled straight out of Neverland, as he was based on the Walt Disney version of Peter Pan. He's a young lad with pointy ears, green hat and he's surrounded by feisty fairies and Kokiri who never grow up. It’s not hard to see the resemblance.

Our Princess, the actual Zelda, was based on Zelda Fitzgerald, the wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby). According to Miyamoto, she “was a famous and beautiful woman from all accounts, and I liked the sound of her name.” What Miyamoto might not have known was her tragic history of being more than her husband's muse. He plagiarized her diaries when he needed more authentic female voices for characters in his novels. He then promoted the popular notion that she was “crazy” when she hinted at his ongoing literary thievery.

The Legend of Zelda, however, is no stranger itself to the dark side of nature with the original game being set in a post-apocalyptic Hyrule, where Link’s fate is grim. Nintendo’s Hyrule Historia book contains an official Legend of Zelda timeline with three alternate timelines based on the events of the Ocarina of Time game. Each path was based on a different outcome: Link beating Ganon in the future and staying there, Link defeating Ganon and returning to the past, and the last with Ganon defeating Link.

Last but not least. The sword.

Why is there an old man in a cave telling Link “It’s dangerous to go alone!” and then handing him a sword? Because Miyamoto wanted to make the game more complicated and confusing. He purposefully made several changes throughout the game to ensure it was, including starting our hero off without any weapon to defend himself. He thought doing so would lead players to share information with their friends in order to figure out what was going on and that this would help foster a sense of community around the game. Being that The Legend of Zelda was one of the most discussed games on the playground in the 80’s, it’s safe to say he was successful. Just remember you do need the sword to end the game, so make sure you grab it from that old man.

With it’s 29th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda coming up in February, what more perfect time to see all of our favorite Zelda characters brought to life by the talents of the DeviantArt cosplay community?! So now it’s off to Hyrule we go!

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