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Breath Of The Wild: A Treatise On Demise

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1 Breath Of The Wild: A Treatise On Demise on Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:06 pm

Re-visiting the finale while setting up for the inevitable uploads to the Stream channel made me truly appreciate the work and effort gone into the visual and audio storytelling of the final battles.

Ganondorf has always been a villain. We will never know if he could or would have ever been anything different, because he was never allowed the chance. From the first moment we were introduced to him, chronologically, he was already firmly affected by the curse that is Demise. That life was utterly and completely ruined, and the best part is Demise does not care. All this man ever was to him is another vessel for his rage and his malice, and his desire to destroy that which surrounds him. Gazing upon the ruined and broken vessel, a literal husk of a man with nothing left but half of his skull and two molten orbs for eyes, entranced by alien and erratic movement as the magitek body forces motion into whatever semblance of the man remains. A literal abomination of technology, magic, and the most cruel of malice; absolute uncaring. You can almost hear the voice begging you to end it.

Seeing what became of that poor soul grew a great swell of pity within me, and I meant my final words. I cut down Demise not for Hyrule, or Zelda, or Link. Not for Mipha, or Riji, or Yunobo. I killed that son of a bitch for Ganondorf. The man that never will be, because of you.

Screw you, Demise.


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2 Re: Breath Of The Wild: A Treatise On Demise on Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:04 pm

I have to say I've been thinking about this a lot. I've seen this basic sentiment echoed many times, to varying ends, and there's something that's always struck me as rather wrong about it. I think my own feelings may be somewhat difficult to fully articulate, but in general I feel that there's a problem with lending too much weight to Demise' curse--because it robs Ganondorf of agency.

Ultimately it boils down to the simple fact that we have no clear understanding of Demise' curse. We don't know exactly what it is, or what it does, and so we can only make assumptions about how it might manipulate its hosts. And when thinking about how Demise' curse might work, it seems as though the assumptions I make counter those made by most of the fans. So, here are my thoughts:

---

1. Because "Demise" is the literary counterpart to Link, I think it makes sense to view Demise' Curse as roughly analogous to the reincarnating Spirit of the Hero. Just as Link's courage is reborn into new generations, so too is Demise' hate. Now, we don't really know how reincarnation works in the Zelda setting, but given the proximities between "Crises", sometimes as short as a mere century (ALBW), sometimes as long as 10,000 years (BotW) it seems safe to assume that reincarnation is a rather frequent affair. This would indicate, to me at least, that Link's heroic spirit is born into many people who never had the opportunity to be heroes, and likewise Demise' hate could be born into many people that never had the opportunity to be villains.

2. What interests me most in all this is the ubiquity of Ganon. If the Spirit of Courage is constantly reincarnated into different individuals after the death of the preceding host, why does Demise' curse seem to be so inseparable from Ganon? Because Ganondorf was *special.* And not simply because of the power he claimed in the Sacred Realm--remember, in the Adult Timeline Ganondorf's grand plans fizzled and failed before they ever really began. No, Ganondorf was special because of the sheer force of his personality.

3. Which brings me to how Demise' Curse might manifest. I ask myself, "Did Demise' Hate force Ganondorf to do anything that he would not have otherwise wanted to do?" And I don't think it did. I don't think the curse is a force of mind-control any more than I think the Spirit of the Hero robs Link of his free will and compels him to run around collecting jewels, smashing pots and slaying evil. Rather, I think it manifests as predilection. As a subtle motivation towards certain actions and reactions. The Hero finds his (or her) self compelled to help other people... to react with compassion, patience and understanding. The Villain is compelled act more quickly, more violently and towards more personal ends. It is perhaps little different than any quirk of personality anyone else might have. Maybe some Links are too lazy to ever act on that impulse, and so it dies. Maybe some Villains are too comfortable or indolent to act on that impulse, and so it dies. In other words, I think of it as a compulsion that can be resisted, ignored, or embraced. And what makes Ganondorf special is that he chose to embrace it.

4. Almost all of the Ganondorf's characterization comes from Wind Waker. Here, and only here, we learn the source of his ambition and hate. And it is understandable. He was born in an impoverished land, and grew to deeply envy and resent the prosperity of his neighbors. Neighbors who acted in reprehensible ways to maintain their prosperity and power. In other words, Ganondorf's hatred was deeply justifiable, and I think that if we removed Demise' Curse from the equation, he would have acted in exactly the same way. What the Curse lends to Ganondorf that he would not otherwise have... is not Hate, I think, so much as a capacity for self-perpetuation. Demise' power is what feuls Ganon's ubuquity in the franchise. Ganondorf and Demise were two like individuals, both consumed with malice and envy, and when the two came together they compounded upon each other. The reason why Ganon persists *as* Ganon is because he is using Demise' power to fuel his own. In other words, Ganondorf is not someone who was made a victim of Demise' Curse, but rather someone with the power and sheer force of will to take control of that power and use it to his own ends.

Therefore in Breath of the Wild I do not see the broken shell of a tragic character in Ganon's shambline corpse, animated by hate. I see the remains of a man whose feelings were so powerful they were able to subsume a primal evil and remake it in his own image. That Demise' Curse is so permanently embedded in Ganon is a testament to Ganondorf's agency, not a condemnation of his lack of agency.

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3 Re: Breath Of The Wild: A Treatise On Demise on Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:30 pm

Read over this a second time, and I actually rather like the alternate interpretation. I do find it funny that we both have the same root 'problem'; the lack of real information about Demise, the curse, Ganondorf, etc. I very much enjoy the idea of Ganondorf having sufficient personality and will to be the primary presenter of Demise, as opposed to the other two.


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4 Re: Breath Of The Wild: A Treatise On Demise on Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:55 pm

This is canon right? Very Happy

Why Calamity Ganon Never Spoke in BotW

More characterization than BotW had for poor old Gaonondorf.



Last edited by Governor Gollvieg on Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:59 pm; edited 1 time in total

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5 Re: Breath Of The Wild: A Treatise On Demise on Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:07 pm

Nintendo's general approach to storytelling has always been "less is more," so I think it's very unlikely that we'll ever learn more about Demise' curse, or how the whole reincarnation thing works (though they may have to do some quick damage-control PR when they inevitably incorporate full player customization for Link thanks to all of the... "those people" around these days).

Anyway, re: that comic (the 2nd one) I really do see that as kind of my headcanon. We know Ganondorf had a whole lot of hatred and resentment towards Hyrule, and we know Hyrule fought in a number of wars, so there's definitely a history of violence in the OoT era... and, of course, little Zelda absolutely hated Ganondorf with exactly zero real justification, from the first moment she saw them.

She was later proven correct in her mistrust... but validation after the fact does not retroactively make her initial feelings jusfitied.

For example, imagine you're walking down a city street at night. Say 10pm or so. You're in St. Louis. Or Chicago. It's a moderately well-off part of town, brightly-lit, but there aren't many people out. You're alone on the sidewalk. You see a black man in front of you, walking towards you. In this scenario, by the way, you are white. Very white. So you do what any irrationally terrified and at least vaguely-racist person would do, and cross the street to avoid passing to near to the black man.

Holy cow are you a racist.

But then the black man crosses the street, punches you in the stomach and steals your wallet.

So: was your initial assessment and action correct?

...The same thing is happening with Zelda. We know the Hylians don't think fondly of the Gerudo. We also, if memory serves, only ever hear Hylians use the term "King of Thieves." Because all Gerudo are thieves.

Like how all black people are violent thugs, you follow?

So "King of Thieves" is, essentially, a racial epithet. In the scenario in the comic, Zelda may as well have been saying "He's the KING of the GERUDO" because the word "Gerudo" is synonymous with "thief." To jump back to the analogy, it's like someone using "He's got BLACK on his FACE" to condemn a man at a Klan rally.

In the TP timeline, Ganondorf is tried, convicted and condemned *prior* to committing any crimes. He has done NOTHING illegal at this point in time.

And, let's remember, he is not even a citizen of Hyrule: he is the sovereign of a foreign nation. The King of Hyrule has zero legal authority over Ganondorf.

Yet he is tried, convicted and executed.

And, as we know from Twilight Princess (and later Breath of the Wild) after Ganondorf's execution, the Kingdom of Hyrule "somehow" winds up in control of Gerudo. By the far-flung future of Breath of the Wild, the Gerudo have been a province of Hyrule for so long they can barely remember it ever being any different.

So what happens is clear: Hyrule unjustly murdered the King of the Gerudo, and used his crimes (which had not been comitted in the first place) for the invasion and annexation of their most powerful rival.

...

Sorry for this kind of stream-of-consciousness post here. I don't really have any single unifying argument to make to wrap everything together neatly, but ain't it an interesting line of thought?

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6 Re: Breath Of The Wild: A Treatise On Demise on Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:43 am

What bothers me about Demise is that Ganon's power always used to come from the ToP until... WW, I believe? Makes me wonder why he needed the Triforce at all when he supposedly had Demise superpowers all along.


...The same thing is happening with Zelda. We know the Hylians don't think fondly of the Gerudo. We also, if memory serves, only ever hear Hylians use the term "King of Thieves." Because all Gerudo are thieves.

That's reading too much into it. The character was established as having premonition powers.

In the TP timeline, Ganondorf is tried, convicted and condemned *prior* to committing any crimes. He has done NOTHING illegal at this point in time.

Except you know... killing the Deku Tree, the regicide plot and the acts of terrorism against the Gorons and the Zora.

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7 Re: Breath Of The Wild: A Treatise On Demise on Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:14 am

Luslanz wrote:
In the TP timeline, Ganondorf is tried, convicted and condemned *prior* to committing any crimes. He has done NOTHING illegal at this point in time.

Except you know... killing the Deku Tree, the regicide plot and the acts of terrorism against the Gorons and the Zora.

Yeah but all those acts are all blamed on Ganondorf based upon hearsay and circumstantial evidence.

>_>

<_<

Plus trees, fish and rocks have no rights. =P

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8 Re: Breath Of The Wild: A Treatise On Demise on Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:22 pm

It's also unclear whether or not the Zoras and Gorons are a part of the Kingdom of Hyrule, or only allies. Given that we have a Zora King (and later a Zora Queen) it seems safer to assume that they are fully sovereign states in their own right.

The Zora and Gorons also had no evidence, and IIRC did not even know Ganondorf's name. Presumably they could have petitioned the Gerudo for recompense, or maybe even extradition depending on how the Gerudo monarchy works... but there is no conceivable situtation where Hyrule has *any* legal right or moral justification to so much as detain Ganondorf, let alone execute him and annex his land. Those are the actions of a tyrants, not a benevolent monarch.

I think it's safe to say that OoT's "present" king is just as barbaric as his predecessors.

Luslanz wrote:What bothers me about Demise is that Ganon's power always used to come from the ToP until... WW, I believe? Makes me wonder why he needed the Triforce at all when he supposedly had Demise superpowers all along.
This brings us back to the problem of not really knowing anything about the nature of Demise' Curse. Given that neither Link nor Zelda nor Ganondorf have ever really exhibited any major (or, with the possible exception of Zelda, minor) supernatural abilities... it seems more likely that Demise' Curse doesn't imbue its vessel with ANY special powers. More likely it affects their personalities... gives them a certain predisposition towards certain thoughts and actions.


That's reading too much into it. The character was established as having premonition powers.
It's definitely reading into it, but too much? Can't say I agree. Zelda was what, ten years old? And the only prediction she ever actually made, she made *after* the fact. That's not exactly a glowing endorsement of her abilities. And if she *was* generally accepted as a precog, the plot to OoT simply would not happen, as Ganondorf would have been locked up before Link even got to Castle Town.

The simple fact of the matter is that the King of Hyrule said "no" to one 10-year-old kid saying Ganondorf was a Bad Dude, and "yes" when two 10-year-old kids said it.

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9 Re: Breath Of The Wild: A Treatise On Demise on Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:21 pm

It's definitely reading into it, but too much? Can't say I agree. Zelda was what, ten years old? And the only prediction she ever actually made, she made *after* the fact. That's not exactly a glowing endorsement of her abilities. And if she *was* generally accepted as a precog, the plot to OoT simply would not happen, as Ganondorf would have been locked up before Link even got to Castle Town.

The simple fact of the matter is that the King of Hyrule said "no" to one 10-year-old kid saying Ganondorf was a Bad Dude, and "yes" when two 10-year-old kids said it.

TP doesn't go into specifics about how Ganondorf was "exposed, subdued and brought to justice". That the King had no concrete proof and acted based only Link and Zelda's story is a big assumption imo.

Consider this: the King dismissed Zelda's premonitions as a child's nightmares of this scary looking dude, until Link came along with the Triforce of Courage and told him about the sneak attack on the castle and he was like "oh he got the company logo maybe there's something to this." So he sent his personal army of ninjas to investigate, who found his stronghold full of mercenaries and also his journal.

Or maybe the King just waited for Ganondorf to attack except they were prepared this time, same result.

This brings us back to the problem of not really knowing anything about the nature of Demise' Curse. Given that neither Link nor Zelda nor Ganondorf have ever really exhibited any major (or, with the possible exception of Zelda, minor) supernatural abilities... it seems more likely that Demise' Curse doesn't imbue its vessel with ANY special powers. More likely it affects their personalities... gives them a certain predisposition towards certain thoughts and actions.

But if Demise's curse affects only his personality then where does his power in BotW come from?

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