“A sword wields no strength, unless the hand that holds it has courage.”– The Hero’s Shade (Zelda: Twilight Picture)
Let it be known. If you have a character’s name be an actual clause or sentence, your bad-assery level increases by a coefficient of 10 at the very least. And this is no different when we talk about one of Zelda’s most memorable characters – Hero’s Shade.
Sadly he is of the tragic hero mythology. He was the famed swordsman of Hyrule, he is, according to the Hyrule Historia, the Hero of Time from Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. But his death was not the stuff of martyrdom, so he was never remembered as a hero. And having not bestowed his skills unto the next generation of fighters, he is pretty much not remembered in any sense.
But as far as warriors go, he is up there with the greatest. And he imparts with some of his knowledge by teaching Link himself some hidden skills which ultimately equips Link with the ability to save Hyrule.
Even in death, this greatest ancestral warrior of Hyrule remains loyal to the kingdom and the Royal Family, training Link to be a great swordsman.
But one lesson stands out amongst the rest. That a sword, not matter how ‘enchanted’ or ‘cursed’ a blade is often labelled, is just a tool. It has no dominion or power. It is, however, the warrior that holds it – that is where true power lies. But not just any hand, but one that has courage.
It reminded me of another quote which I think shares the same sentiment, but add something a little different – not verbatim ” Every weapon ultimately has one, indelible flaw –its wielder. The idea a weapon has no intent, but the bearer does is an argument that may make NRA defenders wet in the panties, but that of course does not take away from the fact a weapons’ purpose if kill or injure.
So intent, and the stuff that makes a hero, is what gives a weapon a purpose – good or bad. To defend something greater than self-preservation. Courage is often about being driven even in the midst of trepidation and doubt. And with Link often plunging into danger to come to the aid of the Kingdom, its fair to say that Hero’s Shade leasons in becoming a worthy warrior and defender of Hyrule are well received.
It also comes as an eerie yet comforting idea re this quote coming from Hero’s Shade. A ghost of years past. The idea that the we can stand on the shoulders and the lesson of ancestors, championing their legacies. Carrying the onus. Lighting the way for the next generation of warriors and gamers alike. History is of course the greatest tutor, after all.
Thanks for the life lesson, Hero’s Shade.