Hide Your Loneliness Under the Guise of Wrath
What Majora’s Mask teaches us about letting go
I used to feel like an alien trying to blend in. I could imitate other people and pretend to like the things that they like, but none of these things made sense to me. Even when I tried to adopt “normal” things into my life, I would feel a queasiness in my gut, like I walked through an abandoned door with a sign saying, “do not enter”. I knew that I could always have “friends” if I acted normal, but I would always feel like an outsider.
The world of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask presents a clear distinction between the inside and outside worlds. Despite all of the strangeness in the world, Skull Kid (the main antagonist) still somehow fails to fit in. As an outsider of outsiders, he will only get along with those in the same situation…in this case, the giants. Becoming friends with them grants him temporary freedom from his loneliness, but the giants know that the world does not need them yet. Skull Kid, with his childish mindset, mistakes their wisdom for malice. The giants leave him to conserve their energy, but hatred begins to boil in Skull Kid.
Picking on the faults of others to hide your own
Now a hopeless loner, Skull Kid wallows in his misery outside of Clock Town. He needs friends to play with but he keeps pushing others away with his tricks. During these painful moments, he gets discovered by two fairies, “Tatl” and his sister “Tael”, who lift him from his depression and loneliness, at least for a while. Put together, their names play on the word “tattletale”. Now, you may be asking, “why would befriending spirits of tattling help you to feel less lonely? Wouldn’t you be pushing away others?” Although I do not have a clear answer to this question, I can provide one possible reason. Skull Kid learns to “tattle” on the faults of others to make him feel better than everyone else.
Tattling has two different sides, represented by the two fairies. On one hand, a tattletale wants to reveal the truth. They speak with honesty and concern because they want to ensure that their structures remain intact. On the other hand, tattling means betraying those close to you in service to that order. Tatl represents betrayal while Tael represents honesty.
The world notices you but you’re more lonely than ever
His relationship with the fairies begins with an innocent, childish exploration. He plays with the fairies in the forest, making jokes and playing tricks. However, this relationship does not solve his loneliness; rather, it represses it. Through this repression and immaturity, he does not have the strength and wisdom to resist dark power.
He stumbles upon another outsider, the Happy Mask Salesman. He could befriend the salesman and let his other friends go but, instead, he takes advantage of him. By betraying his own kind, he gains a power that allows him to take revenge on those who pushed him away. This power consumes him, corrupting every bit of his remaining innocence. Skull Kid will make sure the world recognizes the pain it inflicted on him.
He poisons swamps, freezes mountains, curses deserts, and imprisons his closest friends. It may seem that his wish of becoming a somebody will come true. Instead, he feeds into his own loneliness with every tick of the clock.
Blinded by betrayal
The anger possessing Skull Kid becomes a giant moon. He rises above the entire world so the world will see him. However, he ends up even more alone. He cannot see any other conclusion for a world that seems to despise him. In three days, he would play out his final act. His anger will crush the world, burning everything including himself, and nothing can stop him…right? Too bad his arrogance blinds him to the truth.
Skull Kid encounters a lost child that wanders alone in the woods. They both could have connected through their shared dilemma of loneliness, but Skull Kid perpetuates his own pain. He cannot let go of his lie. It possesses him into stealing all the child’s power, trapping him in a broken world. If he told the truth, he could have found a friend who understands him. Instead, he treats the child as the world treated him. He pushed away his honesty, leaving him with betrayal.
After losing all sense of meaning in his life, he sacrifices the only thing he wants (his friends) in favor of revenge. The spirit of honesty (Tael), once a friend to Skull Kid works against him by helping Link. This allows Link to use his connection to Zelda (the Ocarina of Time) to prevent disaster until he uncovers Skull Kid’s weaknesses (the giants). The tattling that gave Skull Kid pleasure turns around to defeat him.
Letting go does not mean forgetting
Link confronts Skull Kid’s lie and reveals the lonely, immature child behind Majora’s Mask. This mask loses its power and gets returned to the Happy Mask Salesman who says:
“Whenever there is a meeting, there is a parting. However, that parting need not last forever…whether that parting be forever or merely for a short time…that is up to you.”
Skull Kid realizes the world does not push him away, rather, he chooses to push away the world. He chose to believe that his friends forgot about him. They needed to move forward, but, instead of doing the same, Skull Kid relives the past over and over again. Parting does not have to mean an end to a friendship, rather, it means having faith that you will meet again. Through this discovery, Skull Kid finds his place in the world and reunites with honesty (Tael). With his friends at his side, he lets go of the past and moves on.
If we fail to let go of our blessings when they leave us, our arrogance will turn into wrath and consume us. Although it will seem enticing to destroy the world when we feel like outsiders, it will only create ruin and meaninglessness. Instead, we can forge a more powerful path for ourselves. If we let go of the past, we can learn how to find our places in the world and move forward to a better future.