What King Rhoam’s power Teaches Us about Breath of the Wild composed by Adam Bierstedt ~ above February 20, 2018

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (abbreviated BotW) is a game all around the past. You wander the damages of a collapse kingdom, learning the history of the world you meet, attempting to deal with a past disaster. But, over there is one necessary character the you nothing really learn about: King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule. (Isn’t the a delightful name?)

When we accomplish Rhoam, he’s currently dead, and also has been for a century. Yet somehow, the manages to stick approximately as a ghost long enough to get link to walk off and kill Ganon (or spend 200 hrs trying to develop a flying machine). Even though he is the very very first character any kind of player meets confront to face, and also technically the only one you have to meet, we learn very small about him. He’s Zelda’s father, and also the King of Hyrule, and also he was apparently really strict with her. And… that’s around it.

We need to look closer in ~ Rhoam, because understanding him as a character sheds brand-new light ~ above the responsibilities that drive all of BotW’s searches (including the next quests), culminating in a brand-new conception of Hyrule’s past and future.

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and also that evaluation begins v the quest he gives to you, the player.

Let’s look at his actual speech:

Considering the I can not conserve my very own kingdom, I have actually no appropriate to questioning this the you, Link… but I to be powerless here… You should save her…my daughter. And do every little thing it takes to annihilate Ganon.

Somehow, Ganon has actually maintained control over every four magnificent Beasts, as well as those Guardians swarming around Hyrule Castle. I think it would be fairly reckless because that you to head straight to the castle at this point. I suggest…that you do your method east, the end to one of the villages in the wilderness.

There space two responsibilities that journey the main plot here. The very first obligation on the player is to save Zelda, i beg your pardon is just a father’s desire to protect his child. The second one is to annihilate Ganon. This is whereby things gain interesting. This is, ~ all, the entire suggest of the game (and nearly every game in the series). The prophecy of Calamity Ganon’s return led to Link’s appointment in the very first place. However, the reveals something important.


Rhoam’s speech mirrors that he thinks he failure somehow. However, the game is really vague regarding what the failure actually is. The intuitive prize is the he failure by dying, but this doesn’t do sense. Yes sir a prophecy involved, after ~ all, and the prophecy walk not incorporate Rhoam (at least if we trust Kass’s rendition of the tale). Due to the fact that Rhoam evidently take it the prophecy seriously, he had to suspect something prefer this can happen.

Solving this mystery ends up comment the biggest question of BotW’s story: Why walk the Calamity happen? What I will argue is that historic models the kingship administer the answer. Ns will match the in-game proof as best I can to historical models, at some point showing that medieval Scandinavian majesties offer the best suggest of comparison to Hyrule. This lens reveals Rhoam’s failing as a lose of reputation, not life. Redeeming his reputation calls for someone to do the duties that a king—duties the Rhoam can no longer execute himself. However, therefore doing discover something deeply unintuitive: attach was never ever the hero the the prophecy.

Why We have to Look to history to understand Video-Game Kingship

“But wait!” I’m sure someone, what is thinking. “How can history tell us all that? i will not ~ other gamings be much more useful come tell us about kingship in this fantasy game?” i wish the were true, however a short look at the development of the genre the fantasy will prove that comparison useless.

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Our story starts with JRR Tolkien (to nobody’s surprise). His best king is crystallized in Aragon (the finest warrior, hides the aristocracy behind a raggedy/wicked exterior, etc.). We have the right to sum increase this model as the Hero-King. The is something v some historical and literary precedent, but it is fundamentally a fiction, and also has been substantially overused. Many thanks to the enormous success of The mr of the Rings, numerous other fantasy stories just copy that version with just minor tweaks. Edgar from last Fantasy through is terrific example. But, unequal in novels, fantasy in video games there is no really moved past that. Instead, more recent functions have obtained from older media, which results in a set of tropes, no a meaningful model of ruling.

Just take it a look in ~ Regis Lucis Caelum (not a exciting name) from last Fantasy XV and also Kingsglaive. Majesties don’t surrender or accept exile; castle nobly sacrifice us so the intrepid young protagonist have the right to escape (FFXV, Fire Emblem: The spiritual Stones). Rulers don’t have actually to resolve internal strife; they are usually utterly respected till just prior to the start of the game, and also even then just rarely have actually to resolve revolts (FFIX, Bioshock Infinite). The list could proceed for a long, lengthy time, yet I won’t do anyone endure through that. If there are historical examples of similar events keep going (such as as soon as the Norwegian prince Håkon IV did gain hidden away when his father to be killed, and also later took the throne), this are few and far between.