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Spark Comic 96
July 27th, 2016
Spark Comic #96 - Coloured Visions

First of all, let me get something out of the way: I LOVE the Legend of Zelda Franchise. I've played many of games in the franchise and while I don't think Ocarina of Time is the best game ever, I highly enjoyed it. I played a little bit of the Gamecube port growing up, but I only finished the game when it came to 3DS.

That being said... As a kid, there were a few moments in the Legend of Zelda series that made me slightly uncomfortable, but I didn't know why. Now that I'm older, I do recognize it as a bit of racism within the world of Hyrule. Now I'm not going to say that The Legend of Zelda is a racist series by any means, but there are some intentional or unintentional examples in some of the games.

I always felt kinda weird seeing this early scene of Ocarina of Time growing up. Not because Ganondorf is cast as the main villain, but because I now realize... Princess Zelda's probably pretty racist. Ganondorf is king of the dessert dwelling Gerudos and the only male Gerudo born in a century. He is seemingly loyal to the King of Hyrule. However Zelda, pretty much calls him evil IMMEDIATELY after you meet her... Why? At this point, Ganondorf hasn't actually done anything bad as far as she knows. If Zelda or the King were aware of what he was up to, the royal family would've kicked him out ages ago. Zelda just says he's a bad man because her dreams kinda told her so... Which is either psychotic, racial bias, or evidence of a child's wild imagination. Sure, Ganondorf is evil anyway and he's been up to a lot of things, but at that point, I felt weird since there's no real given reason for Zelda to have anything against him. As someone who's actually had that kind of experience before (many times over) this scene never felt right with me.

In addition, I've also never felt right that Link (with the exception of Wind Waker) always has to save Hyrule by reinstating the Hyrule royal family again. Monarchies, by nature and design, are pretty oppressive and racist in and of themselves. I think there were a few small lines in the dialogue of NPCs in Hyrule that suggested Hyrule's culture didn't think very highly of the Gerudos either. Gerudos were often thought of in negative fashions and/or as thieves. It's not like the Gerudo didn't have grievances with Hyrule. Personally, I'm not a fan of monarchies and don't think deposing of one monarch to instill the another, especially when it's the old one, is a good idea. Kings power grabbing over each other like an episode of Game of Thrones is just what kingdoms do and I don't believe in good monarchies so I can't claim that everything was so much better or innocent when Hyrule's traditional monarchy is in charge.

It also doesn't help that Zelda is literally vilifying the only dark-skinned man in the land without cause. Given Zelda's status as the princess she was probably raised that way... But that still doesn't help that, unless she has a better reason, she's being pretty racist.

Kinda makes me wish we had a game from Ganondorf's perspective.

Next comic will go into one more instance of uncomfortable racism in another Zelda game. If you know the franchise well enough, you'll probably guess exactly which scene I'm going to nitpick.

See you next comic! :)