“Hasty decision making is my weakness…This time, more than ever, it has become clear to me.” — Deku King, Majora’s Mask
Patience is said to be a virtue. As the old saying goes, good things come to those who wait. Now although this old maxim is not true in the sense that we must seize opportunity and not wait idly by, it does have a point in highlighting the danger of hastiness. The Legend of Zelda series contains a number of scenarios that caution us as players to not rush into action without taking the time to properly assess the situation.
The Wind Waker begins at Outset Island with a young Link that knows nothing other than the stability of his childhood abode. This Link has never experienced conflict or loss, and so it is that when his sister Aryll is kidnapped by the Helmaroc King he blindly charges after her and runs right off a cliff.
Thanks to Tetra swiftly catching him, Link is saved from a nasty fall into the surf below. Despite being a similar age to Link, Tetra is much more mature having seen the wider world and having lived the life of a pirate. She has learned the wisdom in taking time to patiently evaluate a predicament before taking action.
This is a lesson that Link comes to appreciate, but for much of the earlier moments of The Wind Waker he displays his hasty nature. At first he is overly keen to rush off with the pirates to the Forsaken Fortress to save his sister; however, he never stopped to think of preparing. He had a sword, but not a shield to protect himself.
Tetra reprimands Link, “You can’t possibly mean to go there with nothing but that cheap little sword! That’s not brave! It’s stupid!” Link is so set on saving his sister that he also forgets to properly say farewell to his grandmother until Tetra once again prompts him: “you’d better go say good-bye to your family while you still have the chance.”
It is not until reaching the Forsaken Fortress that Link truly learns that success requires time and patient thought as opposed to hasty action. Instead of charging through the fortress in an attempt to save his sister, Link can only succeed by sneaking in the shadows. He must patiently wait for his opportunities to sneak past the Moblins and avoid the watchlights.
The notion of hastily running off while forgetting what lies behind at home is not limited only to The Wind Waker. In Ocarina of Time Link leaves Kokiri Forest without saying farewell to his best friend Saria. Luckily she knows Link too well and does not let him get away without a proper good-bye.
The hurried decisions continue for the Hero of Time once he leaves the forest, as he and Zelda childishly plot against Ganondorf. In their haste they believe obtaining the Triforce first is the only way to overcome the Gerudo King. Their rushed actions ultimately lead Ganondorf directly into the Sacred Realm and to the Triforce. Perhaps only time would have hatched a more effective scheme.
Majora’s Mask tells the story of Link once again running off, this time in search of his friend Navi, while he forgets his friendship left behind in Princess Zelda. Within Termina the three-day cycle gameplay mechanic reinforces the importance of time. Players must not only be conscious of it, but they must learn to use the time effectively. To get the most out of each cycle players must plan each 72 hours before taking action.
Anju found herself in a scenario where the rumors and whispers that her fiancé Kafei had run off with Cremia tempted her to flee. If players do not complete the quest to reunite the couple Anju will give into hasty decisions and flee for her own safety. If she receives the letter from Kafei then she takes time to ponder and eventually makes the decision to wait for him.
Only through patience does Anju make the correct decision to wait. Even though the world is going to end shortly she exerts temperance. To the Anju who waits comes the love of her life and the dawn of a new day of happiness. The Anju who is ruled by hasty decisions is left with nothing.
In the Southern Swamp of Termina the Deku King seeks to punish and torture an innocent monkey for the disappearance of his daughter. The King fails to investigate the issue properly and so ignorantly blames the monkey. His intention is to torture the poor creature: “The monkey shall suffer and suffer ‘til he can suffer no more! You shall know the wrath of a king whose darling princess was taken away from him!!! Suffer! I shall prolong his suffering! Foolish monkey!”
Once Link saves the Deku Princess from her captivity at the hands of Odolwa she is immediately concerned that her father will have rushed into abusing the monkey. Link informs her of the situation to which she angrily responds, “yet another hasty decision, father!”
The Princess returns to her father alongside Link just in time to save the monkey from his punishment. The Deku King reflects upon his action and sees the mistake that his desire to blame someone had caused. He learns the danger of hastiness and realizes that hasty decision-making is his weakness. It is a character flaw that needs to be eliminated.
After witnessing and preventing the disastrous results that would have come from the Deku King’s actions, Link heads off to Snowhead where Kaepora Gaebora sums up what the hero has seen. The owl counsels Link that impatience can distract us from what is important.
Instead of saving his daughter haste makes the King take his anger out on the monkey. In The Wind Waker Link focuses on hastily saving his sister and is blinded to where he is going. To perform at our best we must not jump to conclusions and take hurried actions. Patience truly is a virtue. Good things may not be handed out to those who wait, but those who wait never run blindly off cliffs.
“By no means should you grow impatient. Impatience brings uneasiness and distracts the heart.” — Kaepora Gaebora, Majora’s Mask
Dathen Boccabella was a lead writer for Zelda Informer from February 2009 to February 2012. He now writes for the major sports-news website The Bleacher Report while studying a double degree in Media & Communications and History.
Stay tuned at Zelda Informer until the end of February for Dathen’s weekly Friday night Legend of Zelda inspirational column.
To keep up to date with all of Dathen’s work you can now follow him on Twitter @dathboc where he’ll be giving away your choice of a free Wii or Wii U game at 1000 followers.