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Why Ocarina Of Time’s Link Was Raised As A Kokiri

In Ocarina of Time, Link grows up in Kokiri Forest even though he’s not actually a Kokiri, but was brought there in the midst of a war in Hyrule.

Humble beginnings are no strangers to The Legend of Zelda. Link is frequently an unlikely hero, roped into saving Hyrule by his inescapable fate and forced to leave a quiet home. Ocarina of Time leads players to believe Link is just another Kokiri, living in a secluded and peaceful forest. Over the course of the game, however, players learn that Link is in fact Hylian, and was brought to Kokiri Forest under dire circumstances.

Ocarina of Time opens with Link being awoken by Navi, his fairy companion for the entirety of the game. The Great Deku Tree, one of Zelda‘s more prominent recurring characters, knows of Link’s true identity as a Hylian but does not divulge this information to him, instead sending him on his quest spurned by visions of Ganondorf’s destruction. There’s a wealth of dialog with the other forest folk that makes it fairly obvious how strange it is that Link is only now getting a fairy – the first clues that he is special.

Related: Zelda: Link’s Ocarina of Time Story Is The Series’ Most Tragic and Heroic

Link’s non-Kokiri heritage is made clear after his emergence from the Sacred Realm following his removal of the Master Sword from its pedestal in the Temple of Time. The children of Kokiri Forest don’t age, yet Link’s seven-year stint in the Sacred Realm has turned him into an adult worthy of carrying the Blade of Evil’s Bane. Link soon returns to his childhood home to find it overrun by Ganondorf’s evils, and finally learns the truth of his past after delving into the Forest Temple.

How Zelda: Ocarina Of Time’s Link Came To Kokiri Forest

The Deku Tree Sprout tells Link of his Hylian heritage in Ocarina of Time

After defeating Phantom Ganon and awakening Saria as the first of the Seven Sages, Link is teleported to the Great Deku Tree’s grove, where a Deku Tree Sprout has begun to grow in place of the one killed by Ganondorf’s curse seven years prior. The Deku Tree Sprout, which is implied to shepherd the Kokiri’s evolution into Koroks in later eras, confirms what players have likely already deduced: Link is actually Hylian, not a Kokiri. Link is told that he came to Kokiri Forest during “a fierce war.” In an attempt to flee the desolation caused by it, “a Hylian mother and her baby boy entered [the] forbidden forest.”

Kokiri Forest is protected by the Great Deku Tree, and it’s implied that no one but the Kokiri are allowed to enter without the Deku Tree’s permission. Link’s case was special, since “the Deku Tree could sense that this was a child of destiny, whose fate would affect the entire world.” The child was then raised as a Kokiri, ignorant of his true identity until well into his quest against Ganondorf. Letting Link live a lie for the first years of his life was perhaps a tragic, but better, option than the alternative, but this subplot is an often overlooked aspect of the narrative of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time because the game itself glosses over it, not even bothering to give Link’s mother a name.

Next: How Ocarina of Time Shows You the Power of Ganon

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