The True Message of Majora’s Mask
by Dylan - first posted October 17, 2010
The Imprisonment of Majora’s Mask
“The mask that was stolen from me… It is called Majora’s Mask.
It is an accursed item from legend that is said to have been used by an ancient tribe in its hexing rituals. It is said that an evil and wicked power is bestowed upon the one who wears that mask.”
“According to legend…the troubles caused by Majora’s Mask were so great…the ancient ones, fearing such catastrophe, sealed the mask in shadow forever, preventing its misuse. But now, that tribe from the legend has vanished, so no one really knows the true nature of the mask’s power…
…But I feel it.”
“I went to great lengths to get that legendary mask. When I finally had it… I could sense the doom of a dark omen brewing. It was that unwelcome feeling that makes your hair stand on end.
And now… that imp has it…”
–The Happy Mask Salesman
There is a piece missing from the Salesman’s story. If the mask was sealed away, why was the Salesman worried about it? Are we to presume that the Salesman himself broke the seal and freed Majora from her prison, thinking that he could do a better job of guarding the evil artifact(2)? This doesn’t seem to make complete sense, but the game dodges this detail at first.
An alternate explanation would be that someone else had broken the seal and found Majora’s Mask. The people who found it didn’t understand the true nature of the mask’s power, but the Salesman could sense its evil radiating from afar. To prevent catastrophe, the Salesman tracked down the mask to prevent its further misuse himself.
Indeed, there is evidence for this. Twinmold’s desert lair is filled with monuments in honor of Majora’s Mask. And in the first room of the Stone Tower Temple, there is an enormous statue. At first, the statue seems to depict a grotesque face sticking out its tongue, but when the tower is reversed the statue bears a striking resemblance to Majora’s Mask. (I assume the designers of the game didn’t want this revelation to be too obvious; I think they wanted the inverted statue to be uncannily familiar.) It is not heart-shaped like Majora’s Mask, but if you look closely, you can see that an emblem was painted at the bottom of the statue. Part of the emblem is missing, indicating that part of the statue is also missing. Before the stone fragments had fallen into the sky, the statue had, in fact, been shaped like a heart. It was originally a statue of Majora’s Mask.
The Stone Tower architects had broken the seal of the ancient tribe. They found Majora’s Mask in the desert realm. They built the monuments there in honor of it. They brought it back with them into their world, and in the temple they built the gigantic statue of the mask. Above the statue is a doorway, and beyond the door there is a straight path to the portal to the desert. This path can be accessed no other way, so the statue of Majora’s Mask serves as the gateway to the desert.
(2) I think that Majora is most likely to be female. The form of Majora’s Wrath acts rather feminine and has a female voice. And, there are also markings between its legs that could represent ovaries. The distorted image of Majora’s Mask appears on the Wrath’s chest, and in this position the eyes of the mask resemble breasts. And how appropriate it is for the female Goddesses to unleash a female demon in response to those phalluses and Termina’s masculine pride.
“Destined to Fade”
Majora’s Mask had been freed from its prison; the devil had escaped from Hell. The world it entered was named Termina, a name that seems to be considered almost taboo. Hardly anyone speaks the word Termina within the game.
terminatio: termination, determination, setting of boundaries.
termino: restrict, define, close, set a limit to.
terminus: a boundary mark, limit, end, border.
Termina was a world destined to end, a fact that its inhabitants weren’t eager to think about. However, there are a few beings in the game that seem to understand more about Termina and its destiny than they let on: The Happy Mask Salesman. The owl. The giant turtle. The Giants themselves.
“Ho-ho-ho-ho-hoot! This is a rare sight. You are a fairy child, correct? What business might you have in this poisoned swamp? If you dare not venture further, I shall pass no judgment. It is better that you hurry back to town. This swamp you are in has lost its guardian deity. But it was destined to fade anyway.
Hoo-hoot…And that destiny is not solely limited to this swamp…
If you have the courage and determination to proceed in the face of destiny, then I shall teach you something useful. Before coming here, had you not seen any of the stone statues that bear close resemblance to me? I have placed those throughout the land to aid the one with the power to change the destiny of this land…
Wherever he may appear.”
The turtle and the Giants seem to be relatively divine figures, akin to the Great Deku Tree of Hyrule. The Goddesses of the Triforce must have had great plans for the world of Termina before the early crimes were committed. They created these guardians to protect the new realm, to come to the aid of its people when they call out for help. But when Link enters Termina, he finds that these beings are essentially dormant, either imprisoned or simply observing events quietly as Termina slips towards oblivion.
“Now I can continue resting in peace. I too must abide the laws of ancient times and again merely watch from my deep slumber. But the evil that haunts this land has not completely vanished, Link. I shall depart after enjoying Lulu’s voice a bit longer. I think the gods can permit that. Hyeh, hyeh, hyeh.”
–The Giant Turtle
Here the turtle says something about the laws of ancient times, implying that they limit his involvement in the affairs of Termina.
Now, the Happy Mask Salesman is an interesting character. Though he is most likely not on the same level as the Giants, there is an interesting mystical quality to him: he vanishes into thin air at the end of the game, and at the start he appears out of nowhere and claims to have been following Link. He celebrates masks, which are extremely prominent in Termina’s culture. And he just happens to have somewhere he needs to go three days after he meets Link, at the time of Termina’s apocalypse. Not to mention how he appears to be the adult incarnation of the masked children who play in the strange Moon world.
It’s possible that the Salesman is a sort of divine being, perhaps on the same level as the owl or the Sages of Hyrule(3). Whatever his relationship with the Goddesses may be, he clearly stuck his nose right in the middle of Termina’s affairs. He was aware of some peril facing Termina, so he tracked down Majora’s Mask and escaped with it into Hyrule, attempting to prevent the great catastrophe. His actions seem to have violated the laws of ancient times, however. He did not have the power to change the destiny of the land, and so his efforts failed. Skull Kid stole the mask from him and brought it back to Termina, where it had a dark destiny to fulfill.
(3) It may be that the owl is really an alternate form of the Happy Mask Salesman. After all, Link is able to change forms by wearing certain masks. And the owl of Hyrule, Kaepora Gaebora, is hinted to be Rauru in disguise.