The Marks of a Beast

It was only natural that the King of Evil would share some characteristics with the Prince of Darkness. Still, several of the similarities and allusions may surprise you.

By Smith Stuart. Posted 07/06/2011 16:00 3 Comments     ShareThis

This article contains spoilers regarding The Legend of Zelda franchise. Please do not read on if you don’t want to learn that Tingle is Ganondorf’s son.

There are perhaps few people living in the western world today who have never heard of The Antichrist. Whether by a deranged madman, a fictional book series, or straight from the Bible, pretty much all of us, including those who believe the idea is farce, seem to know a few general things about this enigmatic figure. We know he will be a man who will rule the world near the end of time, he will be a persuasive speaker who initially claims peace but lies through his teeth, he will magnify himself above all and he will set up his own kingdom and kill all who oppose him. He will trigger the last battle known as Armageddon and generally he sounds like bad news.

Referred to as The Beast, the Man of Sin, the Lawless one, the King of Fierce Countenance or just plain Antichrist, it is believed by biblical scholars by and large that he will arise and remain on the political scene for seven full years, be Satan incarnate, have intense power not his own, defile sacred places, claim to be a god (or God), suffer a deathblow by a sword wound to the head, be sealed in a bottomless pit for a time, and possibly even claim to be born of woman. Now that doesn’t remind you of any familiar, evil wizards that just happen to be hell-bent on destroying Hyrule? Every last one of these allegations can be easily applied to Ganondorf in some manifestion or another.

Ganondorf posing, musing, chilling in Twilight Princess (Legend of Zelda)
Sound familiar?

Now before you have any rash, contrary thoughts, allow me to elaborate. In Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf’s induction to his ending spanned seven years. In Four Swords Adventures, Princess Zelda said that he was “the ancient demon reborn”. In A Link to the Past, it was mentioned that he willingly defiled the Sacred Realm in time past (not to mention the Great Deku Tree, Lord Jabu-Jabu and the Zunan Pyramid). In Twilight Princess, he claimed divinity. In The Wind Waker, he was stabbed through the head by the Master Sword; and at the end of Ocarina of Time, he was sealed into the void of the Evil Realm for around 100 years. Of course, we all know he hailed from a purely female race known as the Gerudo and that he obtained his otherworldly strength from a source not his own — the Triforce of Power.

Sure, you can probably find one or two of these character traits in nearly all well-told villains. Books have been written on the spiritual themes found in scores of fictional titles, including Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix and even Harry Potter. I believe this is done primarily to vindicate avid fandom in the minds of religious fans, regardless of the levels of truth (or lack thereof) behind these alleged “spiritual themes.”

But to use this field of scrutiny on The Legend of Zelda as a whole? Such a thought had never entered my mind until the Nintendojo staff brainstormed the possibility of writing a history piece on Ganondorf a few weeks ago. Thinking about the process for over a month, I concluded that it was not out of some need for a bizarre mental baptizing that I leaned towards a spiritual approach to the article; but out of a desire deeply rooted in direct parallels I pondered that were quite difficult for me to deny. In other words, I felt it was a spin worth writing. Combine that with my interest in the Bible and prophecy, and it became all but necessary.

As of yet, I have only been describing the Antichrist from a literal, down-to-earth perspective. But there are also a number of scriptures that depict him in strange, symbolic vernacular that must also be taken into account.

The Beasts

“Now the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet.” – Revelation 13:2 and Daniel 7:7

Of course, the above verses are filled with heavy symbolism. They are not to be taken as literal descriptions of the Antichrist or his kingdom; but simply as metaphoric presentations of his actions. And if you consider that John (the Revelator) and Daniel were given quick glimpses of scenery from centuries to millennia ahead of their time, then you should be able to understand even further why some of their writings are difficult to interpret. Still, by the same token, Ganon’s demonic forms from Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess fill the gist of these statements almost to a tee.

And then there’s Agahnim. The Beast of Revelation, though an egomaniac, does not work strictly alone. There is “a second beast,” known as the False Prophet, who acts in his stead with the same level of power and authority. The Bible also says that he will “perform great signs,” so that he even “makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” I see this at least partially fulfilled in Ganon’s host from A Link to the Past. Now, take a look at the following passage from Daniel’s eighth chapter and see what you can find that can doubly be taken as a vividly descriptive reference to Zelda’s chief villain. I think this particular parallel is quite astonishing.

Prophecy“And in the latter time of the kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes. His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; He shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive; He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human means.”

One of the problems of being enamored with the future is that those who are often lose sight of all the yesterdays and todays that are floating within their immediate grasp. This lack of focus can equate to apparent zaniness and a haunting disconnection from reality, leaving the sane to mock and scorn and jeer the lot of prophecies. The unfortunate side of disregarding them as rubbish, though, is that you will miss out if and when they are fulfilled. I’m sure many would say that readers can find anything they want to in those vague Bible passages, and those remarks certainly are warranted; but I believe that it is only by looking into the past that we can understand the future clearer — otherwise we are doomed to repeat it. I, for one, cannot accept the idea of coincidence. I have seen too much, lived too long, to rationalize life away as some meaningless, unorchestrated accident of nature. And no number of titles or letters surrounding a person’s name can give them the brainpower to disregard this obvious foolishness we see around us each and every day of the week. It is where we invest our faith, whether that be in a textbook of questionable history, or off the diving board of a blind man’s religion, that ultimately determines everything about our worldviews. And that is why personal scrutiny is so important.

In any case, I hope these allusions have at the very least helped make Ganondorf seem all the more wicked to you. He is not the Antichrist — but he could certainly pass for one.

3 Responses to “The Marks of a Beast”

  • 165 points
    LocoBaka says...

    This has been a very insperational read. I know now what my calling is.

  • 57 points
    Urie says...

    This was a cool read…I like the fact that the quality of writing is better on Nintendojo than IGN, and I’m not an especially strong IGN-hater. It’s just blatantly obvious when they’re killing time. I definitely appreciate the creative approach you guys take.

    • 219 points
      Smith Stuart says...

      Thank you for the kind words. I mean, I’ve never been in any writing class. I only know how to write from avid reading, an intrigued memory and self-educated translation (which slowly evolved into witty script-writing). I do what I do out of joy, and try to write editorials from angles that have never been written before. The more dynamic the presentation is, the more I feel all the thousands of hours of gameplay I’ve invested into varying Nintendo consoles and media was worth it. I wouldn’t mind being paid for it (like IGN and the other guys), but there is also a sense of pride in knowing that I am not. I’m of the sort who, if I could, would love to officially translate/localize games for Nintendo for free (until I proved my worth). That’s basically what we do here with our writing – work for Nintendo for free.

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