Zelda is a game that I hold very close to my heart. I don’t play video games as much as I used to, but when I think back to when I played in the past, Zelda, Luigi’s Mansion, Halo and James Bond Nightfire are the first that come to mind. They are the games that opened my eyes to creative world building, plots and a way for the player to feel immersed in ways that other media can have a hard time doing. When you can feel like Link saving a princess, it’s much more gratifying than watching Indiana Jones and his quests from the sidelines. The act of being Link versus watching Link is what makes video games such a massive industry and the reason that people play for hours without regard for time – exploring dungeons and saving the princess is cooler than whatever your day job is.
That might seem like a tangent for a music review, but it’s not. Thief Reborn is a song made by the artist Rozen. It’s a reimagining of songs related to the game franchises most iconic villain, Ganondorf. Ganon is a man who is the unholy part of the holy trinity known as the Triforce wielding the Triforce of Power. If he controls the Triforce, then he controls the world. Zelda holds the Triforce of Wisdom and is, in basically every game, taken hostage by Ganon immediately. For holding something with the word wisdom in its title, you’d think that she could think her way out of captivity, but what’s the fun in that?
Link holds the third and final piece of the Triforce – the Triforce of Courage. He is reborn time after time with his main trait being the ability to sack up and attack someone stronger than him without fear, and every game he succeeds. He’s the perpetual underdog that kids dream of being. He’s the whimsical memory of us walking through our woods, living room or dreams with an imaginary sword and defeating imaginary monsters. No matter the monster, we won because we weren’t going to back down. We’re plain and simple humans, but the wooden stick that we found was all we needed to stop Ganon from taking and injuring our families. We created these massive worlds that only the most creative and determined could conquer time and time again.
*Start listening to the song now*
So, when Rozen starts the song with the elegant beauty of chimes, a choir, quiet base drum and fills it up with the rest of the orchestra, matching the same delicate caressing, you know you’re back in that amazingly playful world that you haven’t seen for so long. Then dissonance arrives like nails on a chalkboard, but instead of fear and discomfort, you feel ready. The hairs on your neck rise to the challenge that you know is incoming. Quick strings and deep brass beckon you to pick up your wooden stick and prepare to fight. The choir seems to be cheering you on as the brass welcomes Ganon… the villain that you’ve worked your whole life to defeat.
Then, the battle begins with the brass playing the most majestic line you’ve ever heard, hyping the battle. You are ready, but weaker than your foe. You dive in, knowing that he’ll likely win… but you have the Triforce of Courage. You are the kid that you used to be and you’re ready to fight through whatever this magical son-of-a-bitch can throw at you. The low brass and electric guitar welcome his string of well-planned and thought out attacks. The bell tones guide you around the battlefield as you dance around, avoiding his punches, looking for a weak point – when it reveals itself. The low brass stops, and frantic notes encourage you to make your move. You are the hero of time. The electric guitar plays again, as you swing your wooden stick at the man-turned-dragon.
You back up as you notice the smoke clear. He is defeated. The choir welcomes your victory scream. That’s when he inches back to his feet. He’s weak, but you are too. The battle ends with one final blow. The eternal fight between good and evil is done… for now.