Friday, December 30, 2011

Thoughts Focused Skyward

Aplogies for lack of fiction posting lately. I've not only been doing edits on one of my novels, I've also been rather ill and I've been off playing hero in the mystical land of Hyrule.  Yeah, I'm going to be kind of off until I finish "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword."  I had a marathon session of it today - it was helping me forget my body aches and stomach pain. 

Today, I ran into a cutscene that struck me as weirdly theological.  o_0

I mean, the Legend of Zelda games are secular in nature - they do borrow imagery and ideas from world religions and mythology, but Hyrule and surrouding territories, worlds and eras all have their own gods and demons and so forth, but playing today something struck me as being relatable to some of the theology disscussions I've been in online. Weird, I know. 

If you know anything about gaming, you know the Legend of Zelda series is a very popular series that defined and defines a lot of the tropes of fantasy-adventure videogames.  Not the absolute first - there's an Atari 2600 game called "Adventure" I can recommend to uber-retro gaming geeks who don't mind their protagonist being a (literal) square and can find a working 2600 or the Atari Gallery disc for PS2. (There are places online to play it, too).  Anyway, the Legend of Zelda -- if you've had a Nintendo system, you've probably played at least one of the games of the series - not as ubiqutious as Super Mario Bros., but most would say a lot deeper in storylines.  In any given game, you play a protagonist (officially) named Link who must help/save/rescue a girl named Zelda and keep the world from falling into darkness.  (Some exceptions - Majora's Mask, for example, puts Link in another world that he has to save from a falling moon and Zelda isn't involved except in a flashback).   Diffrent games in the series cover different eras with protagonists that are technically different people (unless you subscribe to "they're reincarnates"). 

There are other things that are common to the series, too, such as the Triforce - which is the cosmic keystone of the series - a set of three golden triangles that form a whole, representing Courage, Wisdom and Power in balance.  Various games in the series have explained them as a sort of residue of the divine - that which was left by the Three Golden Goddesses who created their world/universe. 

Zelda is actually a very religious series - but with its own religion. 

The Triforce, through the series, is something that, if whole, a person can touch and it will shape the world to their wishes.  Technically, it is a neutral entity, granting both good and evil wishes (but it seems like people with evil hearts never have hearts balanced enough to touch it without it fragmenting). 

Anyway, "Skyward Sword" is a "prequel to everything in the series so far" game that attempts to explain parts of the mythology of the land of Hyrule (where the series is set).  The game is mostly about the forging of the Master Sword (the ur-holy weapon of the series mythology).  Today, playing Link, I met up with Zelda during a cutscene that's kind of a spoiler (heard 'round the world in the fandom, so I probably wouldn't spoil anything by explaining it, anyway).  Zelda explained some mythological goings-on and the Triforce and how it has the power to bend reality and shape the world, an then she talked about how "The old gods created a device they could not use to give hope to mortals." 

And I had the thought:  "The gods (Goddesses) of Hyrule purposely left the Triforce in the hands of mortals to shape their own destiny - they themselves cannot use it.  Cool!" 

Which brings me to the theology disscussions I've read and sometimes gotten my dumb self into online.  I've met some people online who's "solution," as it were, to the "problem with pain" - is simply "What are YOU doing to help people?"  In other words, "What are you doing,  mortal, to shape reality?" 

A lot of people in certain circles talk about how in Judeo-Christian thought, God created Free Will and gave it to us to do with as we will (Free Will, after all) and how he cannot interfere with it / does not override it because while he could create a world without pain - it would make us all automotons unable to experience any actual courage, wisdom, power....

Something he himself (or her, herself, it, itself, however you define "God" ) created for mortals to use that he cannot interfere with....     

I'm not trying to get into a theological throw-down here.  Believe or don't believe what you want.  I'm merely saying that I saw a superficial resonance to discussions I see go on back and forth all the time online to the mythology of a videogame.  If I'm saying anything, I'm saying that the people at Nintendo either really do their homework when it comes to crafting mythology for this particular series and/or the writers stumbled upon something profound by accident.  (Probably the latter, or my reading "coolness" into where I want to read "coolness"). 

Or I've been in too many online disscussions about certain things and I'm spending way too much time with a Wiimote in my hand.  *Shrug.*    

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