How many enemies in the Legend of Zelda series do you consider to be actually frightening? There are plenty of bizarre and unsettling creatures to encounter: ReDeads, Wall-Masters and Dead Hands perhaps being the most notable. They creep us out and perhaps even inspire a little shiver, but can we really call them frightening? I don’t think so, because their core idea is understandable. A ReDead is just a zombie, a Wall-Master is just a mindless monster in the form of a hand, and a Dead Hand is an amalgam of reanimated corpses driven by hunger. We know what they are and what drives them, so they stop short of being truly frightening. Even the main villains of the series, though terribly powerful, don’t succeed in frightening us because they’re characters. They have goals and desires we can understand. This can be said about just about all Zelda enemies save for one: Majora. There is no explaining Majora, and that scares me.
Nothing in life is more frightening than the unknowable, and that’s exactly what Majora is. First off, can we say with any certainty what it is or even where it came from? We know the origin of its mask: It was created by an unknown ancient tribe to be used in hexing rituals. That’s just the mask though. In Majora’s Mask only contain the essence of a person or creature, not the individual itself. The creation of the mask most likely only marks the event when Majora became sealed within it, and not the beginning of the entity itself. If that’s the case, then we’re back at square one when it comes to Majora itself. “Majora” might not even be its true name! It never calls itself “Majora” we just assume since that’s the name of the mask. For all we know it could be something even more ancient than the tribe of legend and something far more powerful than a simple evil spirit. How powerful is it though?
We know Majora has the power to conjure up an angry moon and crash it into a city with enough force to utterly destroy everything. We also know that we defeated it, so it can’t be that powerful, right? Well, again I’m not convinced. We certainly won our encounter with Majora and got the result it wanted, but didn’t that fight go just a bit too easily considering that Link was fighting an entity that could create a giant moon and use it? Something with that kind of power could only be described as a force of nature, yet Link was able to defeat it with a sword and a little bit of magic? That doesn’t add up. It gets even more fishy when we take into account how Majora actually handed Link a mask that was supposedly more powerful than itself. Why would it do that? Link doesn’t even fight Majora itself, just three incarnations of it: Majora’s Mask, Majora’s Incarnation, and Majora’s Wrath. What about just Majora? Seems fishy. It may be that it underestimated Link and was destroyed as a result, but it also might have just used Link for its own ends.
We know Majora is extremely powerful and we know that it’s intelligent. We also know that entities sealed into a given form can be released from it. Link is our example here: he was freed from Deku form by the Song of Healing, so it’s not too far-fetched to think that escaping mask form just required a different, more powerful, method. It may very well be that everything in the story played out exactly as Majora wanted. After all, once everything was said and done, it was free of the mask. There truly is a possibility that we, along with Link, played right into Majora’s hands in the end. Sure we got a happy ending, but if Majora’s theme is any indication, having Majora on the loose means this peace will only last for a time.
Majora is perhaps the only one of its kind in the Zelda mythos: an enemy that is truly alien. We can’t understand it because we know almost nothing about it, and what we’re able to infer doesn’t paint a pleasant picture. We know it’s powerful, but don’t know the magnitude of that power. We could call it a force of nature, but it has intelligence and a goal. We know the origin of the infamous mask, but not of the entity itself. We don’t even know its true nature or form! All we know is one chilling fact: it doesn’t care if it destroys everything, it might just have the power to do it and we’ll never faintest idea of why.
(Brrr….I think I just felt a chill!)
What Zelda enemy do you think it the scariest? What would you say is the most hair-raising thing about it?
Lede image taken from official Majora’s Mask 3D promotional art. Edits/adjustments made by Hatm0nster.