When it comes to the The Legend of Zelda franchise, the Princess of Hyrule has a special life role that she has to play. Not only does she personify the goddess of wisdom, but she is also a queen, so she is expected to be smart, balanced, and traditionally feminine. She rarely wants anything else for herself. But in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildZelda struggles with the role she was born into. The world is unable to unlock its inner sealing power and meet the high expectations of its father. She seems to be against her at every turn. Despite this pressure, she finds refuge in her chosen family and inner strength. That is why I am referring to her as a bisexual woman. It helped me see my own worth and worth.
In the old games, Zelda was more like your stereotypical princess. They can usually be found dressed to the nines at Hyrule Castle or trapped in a dungeon. in the Breath of the wildZelda is often out in the fields making fun of a frog or a rare flower. As someone who loves to keep talking about a dazzling video game or thought-provoking book, I totally get it. I love sharing my passions with close friends and around the world. Whether she’s learning about the local flora and fauna or the ancient guardians, knowledge is what drives her and what makes her feel on purpose. The more excited she is about a new discovery, the faster she speaks. But Zelda doesn’t always feel comfortable expressing her authentic self.
Breath of the wild contains a heartbreaking cutscene in which the King of Hyrule confronts and abuses his daughter. He examines her, what the gossipers say about her, how she wastes her time studying the guards, and so on. In her father’s eyes, her true identity does not matter. According to him, she has a role to play and she is utter nonsense. When Zelda clenches her fists in frustration, it’s like a scene from my own life. Your anger is almost palpable. I can relate to that deeply. There is nothing more discouraging than being punished for not meeting expectations or performing a role someone else has asked of you, especially if it came from a loved one.
Like Zelda, I should be someone I am not. When I was a kid I loved video games because they expanded my imagination and calmed my anxious mind. However, they were classified as “boys’ things” by my colleagues and my family and fired. In my early twenties, I was forced to come out of the closet while driving a car. My relatives told me that I needed to go to church because I was with a woman, as if some divine intervention was going to fix me. When I was a little older, I was advised to hide my bisexuality from the man I was seeing. For many years I could not cope with the pain. I crumbled like a sloppily built sandcastle under the weight of those expectations. Nothing robs you of your autonomy like the feeling of not having a voice.
My loved ones believed that bisexuality was not a real thing. They couldn’t care that a person could be attracted to both men and women. They could only see the world in black and white. The backlash I received was cruel, unfair, and unjustified. But I learned a lot from it. I realized that I couldn’t live my life according to someone else’s plan. Up until that point, I was trying to be the perfect daughter and friend. But the box that others put me in was getting smaller every day. To live a more authentic life, I had to turn to my friends for help.
Zelda can’t live up to her father’s expectations (crazy thing) and seeks support from the champions. They are their chosen family and they accept her for who she is. They promote a safe space in which she can express herself freely, whether sleeping on Urbosa’s shoulder or sobbing in Left’s arms. It is so important to have a strong support network, especially when dealing with bigoted attitudes from loved ones. Everyone deserves to feel loved and validated. Zelda’s champions made me think about my own family and how they lifted me up during a really dark time of my life.
In college, my relationship with my actual family was strained. I couldn’t talk to them about my sexuality without being beaten up with a million questions. Everything seemed bleak and hopeless; I felt like I was drowning. But my friends, a group of wonderful outsiders with open minds and open hearts, often took me on car trips in our hometown. They let me express my worries and fears as they sped up and down the busy freeway that ran like an arrow through our city. It was cathartic. The gratitude that I still have for her is immense and immeasurable. In these more difficult times they were beacons of hope and light. They helped me find my own strength when I was lowest.
Zelda also finds her own strength when she’s at the lowest point. In one of the final cutscenes, a crowd of aggressive guards and a weakened Link approaches her. When she raises her hand to prevent a guard from killing Link, her sealing power shines out of her in the form of a bright yellow light. After the light has gone, two Sheikah guards approach her and Link. The power in Zelda’s voice is undeniable as she gives clear instructions to the guards to establish an inept connection with the Shrine of Resurrection. Despite everything she was going through, she continued. While Link is praised for his physical prowess on the battlefield, I have always believed that the real hero of Hyrule was Zelda. She took control of her destiny and found her inner voice.
I found my voice too. When I got to see my husband in my thirties, I was petrified. I actually wrote myself a script because I feared I would freeze and choke on my own words. Even though he’s one of the nicest and most outgoing people I know, I was still afraid that he would reject me. My fear was probably due to these previous traumatic experiences. Fortunately, he was totally fine with that. He was just sad that I had missed Pride month by a few weeks because he wanted to celebrate it with me. He’s a great life partner and I am so happy to have him in my corner. It took me a long time to get to this point in life, but I’m so glad I did.
Zelda taught me a lot about finding my inner strength. Giving up on myself was just not an option. Zelda had to overcome her father’s doubts and find her voice. I had to overcome the ingrained bigotry of the people I loved. I am not defined by these experiences, but I am certainly shaped by them. It’s not just about finding your inner strength, it’s also about realizing that people can be wrong. Nobody can decide what role to play. I am valid and deserve love and respect and no one can take that away.