heat Analysis: “You’ve met v a terrible fate, haven’t you?” composed by Aaron Suduiko on January 5, 2015

The complying with is an entry in “A substantial Theory the Majora’s Mask,” a collection that analyzed the storytelling the Majora’s Mask from the moment its 3D remake to be announced to the moment the remake was released. Uncover the full series here.

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The many iconic heat of “Majora’s Mask” is the very first line spoken to attach by the Happy Mask Salesman upon Link’s come in Termina: “You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?” come many, this line alone catches the essence of what it method to play “Majora”; here, the salesperson succinctly sums increase Link’s sudden encounter v a dark parallel world. It’s among the lines the leave a haunting impression top top players lengthy after the game has been placed down. It’s also the namesake the my current analytic endeavor.

In today’s article, I market the very first in a series of analyses concentrating on certain lines that dialogue within “Majora’s Mask.” I understand that, even for this project, such an enterprise can feel favor over-analysis; however, i hope to convince readers to take it a different perspective: ~ a the majority of heavy, theoretical work, we have the background evaluation to research lines such together “You’ve met v a destructive fate, haven’t you?” in an illuminating way, through a brand-new perspective unique to our overarching theses.

I have actually a confession to make to readers before proceeding: a far-reaching portion of my theoretical approach over the previous two months has been tacitly designed to carry out the vital machinery to study this certain line of dialogue. This is because, as I will argue, the line does actually include a significant amount that what it method to get in into the human being of “Majora’s Mask”; and, it might just carry out insight to the world past the game. Before beginning analysis, i list the appropriate theses I will be using, and where to uncover their first stipulation and also defense.

1. The human being of Termina end up being reality through virtue of link encountering it.

2. There exists no substantive, metaphysical grounding for principles in Termina.

3. Over there is an fabricated perception of principles in Termina, focalized ~ above Majora and catalyzed through the Happy Mask Salesman. 

4. Link’s journey in Termina reflects inter-timeline soft determinism and intra-timeline agency, and also intra-timeline agency is unique to Link.

5. The Happy Mask salesperson is ontologically responsible because that Link’s firm within Termina, since he gives him the capability to cure his Deku form.

6. “Majora’s Mask” is framed by one unreliable narrator.

So much for background theses. This is the form that my heat analyses will take. I will consider: the speak of the line; the intended audience of the speaker’s words; the relationship between speaker and audience; and also the contents of the line itself. Lastly, I will synthesize these materials to present an effort at comprehensively explaining the line.


Regarding the speaker: ns analyzed the Happy Mask Salesman last time, and also argued that he attributes as an reality that is metaphysically surrounding to Termina, and also is responsible because that Link’s agency, Termina’s fatalism, and also Termina’s moral artifice. Not just is that generally crucial to the style of Termina, yet he is also critical to Link’s capacity to communicate with Termina, both since of his teaching link the track of Healing and also because that the motivational force of ascribed moral valence. We could say, then, the the evaluation describes the Salesman together a speaker who both create the trouble of Termina — that is, the plot that the game — and prompts attach to resolve it — and, to placed it one more way, motivates the player to play the game.

And who, exactly, is the audience that the Salesman’s words? The apparent answer is ‘Link’, however I think the what I just said over should give us pause: as we have disputed before, link is less of a substantive personality and more of an avatar that straight links the player come the world of the game. Combine this with the Salesman’s position adjacent to the basic domain the Termina, and I think we can plausibly translate him as speaking both come Link and also the player. I will certainly flesh out a defense that this an ext in a moment, when I think about the line’s content.

As because that the relationship between the Salesman and Link, it is precious noting that this is the line that directly creates that partnership in “Majora.” the is this line the stops connect from exiting the Clock Tower right into Clock Town, and also prompts him instead to encounter the Salesman, that frames Link’s quest as a mission come reclaim a steal mask, and also to return come “normal.” In keeping with the concept of the Salesman together ontologically an essential to our conception that Termina, it’s no at all clear what would take place if link were to leave the Clock Tower without encountering the Salesman; much more to the point, that isn’t noticeable that Link could get in Termina there is no encountering the Salesman. Analyzing the line’s content will define what i mean.

“You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?”

Let’s suppose, to begin with, that the referent of ‘you’ is Link, skipping the player. We space equipped v an explanation the what it way for connect to ‘meet with’ other in Termina: I said in the examination of Mikau that Termina is lugged into truth by link encountering the <1>. Using this argument, we have the right to gloss the definition of ‘meeting’ together ‘creating v encountering’.

Turning to the subject, ‘a damaging fate’, we have the right to understand that by parsing it in two parts: ‘fatalism’ and ‘terribleness’, i m sorry <4>, <2>, and also <3> allow us to explain. Ns have identified ‘fate’ together the easy determined collection of timelines constituting a given playthrough the “Majora,” in ~ which timelines each specific Link own agency. ‘Terrible’, i m sorry I read as a ethical term, is an circumstances (actually, the first instance) that the Happy Mask clerk ascribing principles to a world in which morality does not fundamentally obtain. Combine the terms, then, we uncover the principle of one artificial, an adverse moral gloss to the structure of a deterministic set of timelines, which connect is around to encounter.

Of course, the presumed referent that ‘a devastating fate’ is Link’s transformation into a Deku Scrub; is that plausible to broaden the concept of ‘fate’ in this case to the timeline set? i think it is, due to the fact that I check out the revolution and timeline collection as inseparable: the is the transformation of attach that leads him to discover the song of healing from the Salesman, thereby endowing him with meaningful agency within Termina, and also allowing him to continue through the timeline collection <5>. Yet of course, the ‘terrible fate’ comes hand-in-hand v intra-timeline agency, and also Link’s capacity to meaningfully alter the number of form of three-day cycles. Inseparable indigenous the fate of Termina is Link’s capacity to act willfully.

This is what brings us to the end of the line, ‘haven’t you?’, which transforms the tenor the the line from a statement to a question. In this phrase, the Happy Mask clerk cedes his position of metaphysical authority by admitting uncertainty; also if the concern is rhetorical, the tenor is fundamentally much more tentative than if he to be to say, because that example, ‘You’ve met with a destructive fate, i see.’ that the expression accompanies a statement the coherently reinforces the metaphysical and metaethical structure of Termina says that this may likewise be the very first instance of narrative dissonance and unreliability in the video game <6>. Moreover, the join of fallibility from a figure that is architecturally an essential to our principle of Termina argues that the rigid is mindful of its very own dissonance.

Synthesize this points, and also we can gloss the Salesman speak “You’ve met v a damaging fate, haven’t you?” together follows: a metaphysical arbiter the Termina is fallibly claiming to the link between player and game world (‘Link’) the he has lugged a morally an adverse set the softly figured out timelines right into being by encountering it. But over there is a seeming paradox here: how have the right to an architecture fixture that a universe coherently inform someone the they have created that world by encountering it?

The most compelling reason I uncover on this translate for believing that the clerk is speak to both Link and also the player is the this partnership resolves the seeming paradox. The Salesman may narratologically justify and also substantiate the minimal agency that Link, but it is the player who is eventually responsible because that imparting that agency to Link. This is what renders the line, in mine mind, therefore significant: beyond encapsulating the aesthetic dynamics the “Majora’s Mask,” it can be check out as an dispute for the nature of video clip games together a medium. The player turns on a game and also is educated by the game that, in turning it on and engaging it, castle have brought a universe to life; yet the persistence the the universe in contingent upon the player’s choice to continue playing the game. The game develops a meaningful universe, and yet the most simple authority of that universe must be ceded to the player.

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From the jumping-off suggest of narratological fallibility, other, more complex forms the narratological dissonance, such as the artifice the morality and also the genocide of the Garo, might be posited, adding unique aesthetic facets to the game which can not be achieved in various other media. This is why I have actually chosen to do this heat the namesake that my occupational on this blog: the is the open front door of gaming together a medium, inviting the player to create a job-related of art by mere virtue of suffering it.