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Tragic Details You Missed In Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom

"The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom" may be rated E for everyone, but that doesn't mean the game is a happy-go-lucky journey through a peaceful kingdom. The entire history of "Zelda" is basically a sequence of one tragedy after another. Beneath the kid-friendly veneer, all the games tell somewhat dark stories, and there are plenty of things only adults notice in "Tears of the Kingdom."

This game's Hyrule is brightly colored and filled with characters who are only too happy to talk to you about their lives. Almost everyone has a tragic story to tell, thanks to the chaos that the Upheaval has caused across the kingdom. The general citizens in Hyrule aren't the only ones suffering. Link has his own struggles to contend with, and even the hero's enemies find themselves dealing with personal tragedies.

We understand that Ultrahand might have kept you busy working on some of the wildest creations in "Tears of the Kingdom." Instead of crying through an epic playthrough of "Zelda," you can take a break and cry hear over the most tragic details you missed in "Tears of the Kingdom."

Tamana's unrequited love

In "Tears of the Kingdom," this version of Hyrule is more alive than we've ever seen it before. The game purposely tries to create an atmosphere that's the polar opposite of the stark loneliness of "Breath of the Wild." In an "Ask the Developer" interview, technical director Takuhiro Dohta said, "What's unique this time is joining hands and cooperating with various characters." That design philosophy affects more than just the gameplay. Plenty of Hyrule's inhabitants also have connection on their minds.

Link encounters a handful of NPCs through his journey who are looking for love. Unfortunately, the Upheaval hasn't just torn the land of Hyrule apart. The chaotic events plaguing the kingdom have separated a number of friends and lovers, but there's one character who has an unrequited love that's particularly tragic because it's so close to home.

If players take the time to return to Link's home village of Hateno, the first thing they'll likely notice is that mushrooms are all the rage in town. If they dig a little deeper, though, they'll encounter a young woman who is head-over-heels for Link himself. Tamana isn't exactly subtle in her affections. After all but pouring her heart out on their initial encounter, Tamana asks Link to forget everything she's just said. Players are given two different options as a response, but neither one of them makes Link seem anything but aloof. Poor Tamana will just have to keep daydreaming because Link probably has someone else on his mind, but more on that later.

Link thinks Zelda will reject him

Ask any "Zelda" fan, and they'll tell you that there are some bizarre things about Zelda and Link's relationship in the games. The two of them are basically destined to meet each other whenever Hyrule faces a cataclysmic crisis. Over the past three decades, Link and Zelda have been siblings, strangers, friends, and maybe even more than friends.

"Breath of the Wild" set up this iteration of the pair to be the closest yet. Link is Zelda's sworn defender, and after he fell in battle against the Calamity, Zelda herself guaranteed that he would be saved at the shrine of resurrection. 100 years later Link helped Zelda defeat Calamity Ganon, and the two set about rebuilding Hyrule. Nothing could break their trust after that, right? Actually, Link himself wasn't so sure.

In the very beginning of "Tears of the Kingdom," Link and Zelda get separated, and Link's right arm gets replaced with the arm of King Rauru. Shortly after that, Link sees a vision of Zelda in the Temple of Time, and she reaches out toward him. Link has a long hesitation before he reaches back to his old friend. He looks down at his new arm, almost as though he worries that Zelda won't accept the change his body has recently undergone. Eventually, he slowly reaches out, and their hands meet. Zelda does accept him, but the two aren't reunited there in the Temple.

Shamae still has big dreams

In "Tears of the Kingdom" the Upheaval is causing problems all across Hyrule. Malice-drenched creatures are rising from the Depths, mysterious phenomena are disrupting life in the kingdom's major cities, and chunks of ancient ruins are dangerously dropping out of the sky. It's a tough time for the kingdom, but not every effect of the Upheaval is bad. It's also opening up new opportunities for research that could bring all sorts of powerful technology to Hyrule.

There's one character in the game who has a perfect understanding of how exciting these recent events really are, but who tragically won't get a chance to take part in anything herself. When Link makes his way to the Woodland Stable in Eldin Canyon, he gets to meet a young girl named Shamae whose eyes are always on the sky. Shamae is absolutely infatuated with the islands that have suddenly appeared over Hyrule, and she can't stop talking about how badly she wants to be an explorer who sails through the clouds.

It must be heartbreaking for Shamae to watch Link get to live out her greatest dream. What makes the entire situation even more tragic is that Shamae has been wanting to travel through the sky even before the islands appeared. In "Breath of the Wild," she told Link that she dreamed there was a land in the sky, and that she wanted to travel there in a balloon. Now her dream has come true, but she won't be able to reach it because she's still a kid stuck at the stables.

Experiment or scam?

‌Early in the game, players will encounter people from Lurelin village who have abandoned their homes because pirates moved in and took over the town. If Link travels south to the village, he'll find a pirate ship docked in its port, and Bokoblins running amok all over town. The pirates actually came to Lurelin from Eventide Island, and if Link travels there he'll find multiple Bokoblin strongholds, a secret pirate cave, and a hidden shrine.

You'd think after fighting through swarms of Bokoblins and helping a monster control crew member complete a sidequest that Eventide Island would hold no more surprises, but you'd be wrong. Once everything is said and done, Link can travel to the very top of the island's lone mountain, where he'll discover a Hylian named Branli and a Rito named Mimo.

Branli and Mimo are researching flight using some Zonai gliders that they found after the Upheaval. Tragically, the kingdom of Hyrule hasn't provided them with the resources they need, or so they claim. Branli begs Link to be their test subject, but if Link agrees, he'll also need to contribute 20 rupees every time they run a test to help with the project's funding. It's entirely possible that Branli and Mimo really are short on help, and Hyrule is really missing out on a huge opportunity to take advantage of all the Zonai tech that's suddenly appeared. On the other hand, their experiment just involves putting Link on a glider and pushing him off a cliff, which really shouldn't be all that expensive. Link might be getting scammed here.

The constructs are working against their will

Zonai constructs are some of the first creatures that players will encounter when they embark on their "Tears of the Kingdom" journey. After landing on the Great Sky Island, Link quickly runs into some aggressive constructs that teach him the basics of battle and the fact that his weapons are not long for this world. He also meets a friendly construct who tells him that the ones he fought were built to defend the island, so he shouldn't take their attacks personally.

That first disclaimer from a friendly construct sounds a little ominous at first, but the more you dig into the small details surrounding the constructs on the Zonai islands, the worse their situation seems to become. The defensive constructs were built to protect the islands from invaders, and even though the Zonai are long gone, their constructs are still performing that basic function. The same principle applies to all the other constructs that Link discovers throughout his journey.

Link finds many worker constructs performing duties that have no real purpose. One has been chopping wood for thousands of years. Another that mines Zonaite tells Link tat it requested additional help ages ago, and now worries about handling all its duties without extra assistance. The construct that helps Link upgrade his energy cells always makes sure to say that he'd love to see Link again. Taken all together, it's obvious that the constructs feel abandoned, but they can't help but continue performing their original functions against their will eternally.

Paya's diary

In "Tears of the Kingdom" some of Hyrule's people are living their lives just the same as always while others have had their lives completely changed by the Upheaval. Impa used to be the chief of Kakariko village, but after the Upheaval she decided to begin traveling the kingdom to study the mysterious Geoglyphs that appeared all over the land. Impa assigned her granddaughter Paya to look after Kakariko village in her place. 

When Link first meets Paya in the village, she seems a bit overwhelmed by her current status,  but for the most part she seems to have things under control. She's working to keep life in Kakariko as stable as possible while also helping the townspeople capitalize on an influx of visitors thanks to the ruins that recently fell out of the sky and surrounded the village. All in all, Paya seems like a confident leader.

A bit of exploration in the village might lead players to Paya's home, which once belonged to Impa. There they'll get a deeper look at Paya's relationship to her new position. In her journal Paya writes about her worries for the village, and her fear that she'll never live up to her grandmother's legacy. The journal shows a side of Paya that she can't reveal to the rest of Kakariko, and it's a shame Link can't give her a hug after reading it. 

Marbled rock roast hurt children the most

Of the many regional phenomena that Link investigates in "Tears of the Kingdom," few are as eerie as the marbled rock roast that plagues the inhabitants of Goron City. Initially, marbled rock roast seems like a cute, quirky problem for the Gorons to have. People from the far regions of Hyrule travel to try the roast for themselves, only to discover it's too hard for their teeth to bite, and the Gorons love it so much they literally can't stop eating it.

Link eventually uncovers and destroys the source of this mind-controlling not-quite-meat, but before that he can spend some time on Death Mountain learning just how much marbled rock roast has disrupted the lives of the Gorons. At the Bedrock Bistro, Link encounters Tule, a young Goron who pleads with his older brother Burin to give up the food. Burin has become so addicted to the roast that he's refusing to go to work at YunoboCo. Meanwhile, in Goron City, young Axyl is distraught because Jengo has given up on their plans to build something called Mine-Cart City in order to pursue his love of marbled rock roast full time.

Goron children are the first to realize that something is amiss in Goron City. Even Yunobo's kids know that something is seriously wrong, and they beg Link to help fix whatever has happened to their father. In this particular Upheaval phenomenon, it's the kids who suffer the most.

Souls of the dead offer help in the depths

The Depths aren't unlike the Dark World from "A Link to the Past." They seem like a place where the forgotten bits of Hyrule eventually come to lie, and they're also a hiding place for forces that would threaten the kingdom given the opportunity. One of the biggest things that separates the Depths from the Dark World is how the former is filled with the souls of the dead.

Spirits have always been a part of "Zelda," but they play a big role in "Tears of the Kingdom" in particular. Players would be hard-pressed to miss the gleaming blue souls that dot the landscape of the Depths. Known as poes, these souls can be taken to statues of a strange deity to be traded in for all sorts of useful equipment. The poes are the most attention-grabbing spirits in the Depths, but they certainly aren't the only ones.

Every so often, usually at the top of a large pillar or stone outcropping, Link will find a shadowy figure standing with a weapon in its arms. These figures appear to be the souls of lost warriors, and they offer up their former weapons to Link to aid him along his journey. From just their silhouettes, it's hard to tell if the soldiers are Zonai or Hylian. For now, the true origin of these spirits is a mystery, but their help is much appreciated.

The Yiga are suffering too

No one is going to shed a tear for the Yiga, but that doesn't mean they're living a great life during the Upheaval. "Tears of the Kingdom" reveals that after the previous game's events, the Yiga were literally forced underground. Though they still have some bases on Hyrule's surface – a notable one being on the Great Plateau – they now primarily live and work in the Depths.

To hear a certain member of the Yiga tell it, life in the Depths is about as miserable as you would imagine. Anyone who's been there knows that it's no place to build a home. The Depths are shrouded in permanent darkness, filled with dangerous creatures, and host to very few edible materials. It's that last point that seems to be causing the most distress for the Yiga.

If he journeys to the Abandoned Gerudo Mine in the Depths, Link will discover a clandestine base of operations for the Yiga. After clearing out the clan members guarding the place, he'll have free reign to explore the makeshift house there, and he can discover a small journal left by one of the clan's members. In the journal, the Yiga complains about the difficulty of living underground. Specifically, they take issue with the utter lack of bananas to be found in the Depths. This is one tragedy in "Tears of the Kingdom" that might end up being a net benefit for Hyrule if it's allowed to continue.

The true tragedy of Link's separation from Zelda

Zelda gets trapped in Hyrule's ancient past at the very beginning of the game, and Link makes it his mission to find her. Of course, as the princess's sworn knight, it's Link's duty to do everything he can to help her whenever she needs it. However, some hidden details in the game might shed new light on Link's dedication to the princess.

In "Breath of the Wild," Link could buy a house in Hateno village. In "Tears of the Kingdom," that house is still there, but it turns out that at some point between the two games, Zelda moved there. In the house players can find Zelda's journal, where she writes about opening a school in the village and having a secret room installed beneath the well out back.

If players decide to explore Zelda's hidden workroom, they'll find some more notes from her, but they'll also discover a massive chest. Inside is Zelda's Well-Worn Hair Band, and that item's description gives us a better sense of how Link is feeling throughout the game. It says, "Wearing it in your hair makes you sentimental about times past." Clearly Link is sorely missing his best friend, but considering that Zelda was living in his house, it might even be possible that the two of them had a much deeper relationship before the Upheaval tore them apart.