Reviews

Breath Of The Wild 2 Should Be A Love Story

I’m a hopeless romantic that ships Link and Zelda in Breath of the Wild. I also ship Link and Sidon, Zelda and Paya, and probably a handful of other pairings if you held a gun to my degenerate head and made me admit to them. Once you blow my brains out you’ll find it’s filled with wholesome hand-holding with the occasional glimpse of smut. I am pure to the bitter end. But I’m normally a giant gay, so indulge me as I go straight for a little bit.

While Breath of the Wild’s narrative is often derided for being little more than a selection of discordant flashbacks to underpin the rise of Calamity Ganon, I continue to feel this sells a magical story so damn short. It’s the best example of character development and world building in the series’ long history, using subtlety as its greatest strength to depict a land that is clawing back from the brink of oblivion. Bright sparks of hope are found throughout the sprawling adventure, all of which spur you onward with heartfelt curiosity.

Hyrule is filled with fascinating personalities and historic locations to uncover, but Link and Zelda are the two centrepieces that keep it together. Their chemistry is palpable despite a one-sided expression of dialogue, Link’s facial expressions lifting a gargantuan weight on his shoulders to showcase him as a valiant knight who is willing to do anything for the Princess before him. After he awakens in the Shrine of Resurrection he must accept his own failure, ruminating upon the losses of close friends while finding some way to save the girl he left behind to fight this battle all on her own. She needs your help and yours alone.

The flashbacks you uncover across Hyrule aren’t told in chronological order. Some might depict Link and Zelda as close friends while others will have them barely tolerating one another. Their relationship isn’t given to us in a linear fashion, a clever way of expressing how we’re regaining Link’s memories alongside him. He is aware of his mission to save Zelda, but who this woman was to him and what he must accomplish is a mystery we have a responsibility to piece together. When they are finally reunited after the battle is won they are left to repair a world which has spent 100 years in devastation. Zelda’s kingdom is in shambles, her friends are long dead, and her citizens need a leader to steer them into the future. She’s overwhelmed, but Link is there by her side regardless of the outcome.

I’ve written about this magical ending before and how it is easily the series’ best, subtle in its emotional delivery yet profound in its wider meaning. We don’t know where these characters will go from here, but we know they will be together until the very end. Link started as a knight appointed by his charge’s father but grew into a close friend, and perhaps something more once the sequel rolls around. Now I’ve read enough fanfiction to know that travelling alone with a dreamy twink will inevitably lead to a bit of rough and tumble under the stars, but I’m serious when I say a love story between Link and Zelda would work in Breath of the Wild 2. Their existing bond is strong enough to sell such a connection, Link’s loyalty to the throne slowly evolving into a love for this girl that goes far beyond the line of duty.

I’ve written before about my fear of Breath of the Wild 2 once again making Zelda a damsel in distress, ensuring she isn’t a playable heroine while the men of the hour must save her for the umpteenth time. She has magical powers and is capable of defending herself, so I’d love to see that prowess in the flesh instead of being confined to flashbacks or merely hinted at through dialogue. It’s safe to assume that both Link and perhaps a reincarnated version of Ganon will be playable, taking to the land, sky, and sea in an adventure that adopts the finest tenets of the original game while evolving them further. It looks fantastic, and now the plot resides in the present day, it’s time to start building relationships like never before.

There’s a trope in anime and manga where a female character will cut her hair after breaking up with a partner, or as a sign of growth which has been a signature piece of development throughout countless pieces of media. I’ve also written about that if you’re curious, but Zelda’s new style likely has a larger meaning beyond it looking adorable. She’s grown, parting with a literal sense of baggage, a golden weight of royal consequence seeking to define who she must be and what she was born for. Girl has some issues, and I get that.

The crown weighs heavy, and she will need someone beside her to help bear the burden. I hope it’s Link. Perhaps they will be on the cusp of love, or are already together and this sudden emergence of a new threat forces them to evaluate their relationship to save each other once again. There are so many ways for this angle to be made possible, and given how excellent Breath of the Wild managed to be with its storytelling, I hope being pulled into the present day doesn’t do away with such subtlety. Now I’m not saying a man and woman can’t be in a friendship like this without things inevitably leading to love. Other incarnations of Link and Zelda I wouldn’t dare project a romance onto, but here it just feels right, like it could take the narrative to emotional peaks that would make our investment all the more palpable.

If it doesn’t come to fruition, I still have this 100k slowburn fanfic to turn to as I struggle through sleepless nights. But there’s so much potential for it to become a reality. Link is a speechless himbo who loves cooking and yeeting himself down mountains, while Zelda is royal, sassy, and caring as she marches around the kingdom expecting Link to follow like the good little puppy he is. Their bond is tangible, and goodness me they’re cute together.

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