5. The Love Triangle
Under the grand narrative of saving the world, there is the beautifully simple and surprisingly touching relationships Link has with Saria and Zelda, making for an emotive and humanly relatable sub-plot throughout the game. When Link goes to leave the forest and commence his adventure, Saria gives him a sentimental farewell and a token of their life-long friendship, his first ocarina. She hopes that they will be friends forever and one can't help but think her affection for Link goes beyond friendship. This scene (pictured above) shared on the bridge is one of the most moving moments in the game.Yet there is also Link's unrequited love for Princess Zelda, whom he yearns for from the minute he lays eye on her. Link's affection for Zelda feeds his chivalrous motives to protect her from Ganondorf and ultimately save Hyrule. There is a melancholic tone when she transforms him back into young Link at the end of the game and their adventure is over as they must once return back to their respective worlds. Ultimately, Link's conflicted affections for the two females are reconciled by the bigger picture. When Saria is revealed as the Sage of the Forest, she is his superior. She is no longer the 'girl next door' character Link left behind but becomes part of the grand narrative itself and any feelings between them become irrelevant. It seems like such a simple subplot to intertwine with an epic story, but it significantly contributes to the emotional weight of the game experience and is just demonstrative of the thought and artistic integrity that catapulted this game into its own class.