Every now and again, I run through the SNES version of Legend of Zelda (A Link to The Past). There’s one thing that kind of bothers me about it. I have some moral reservations about my service to the King:

Most of the town seems to live in relative poverty. Meanwhile, the castle is very large luxurious and the King seems to have an outsized army considering that there is not, to my knowledge, a neighboring kingdom that poses an existential threat. In the opening, the city is portrayed as a place of peace… and a lot of soldiers. Presumably, in order to pay for all of this he would need a significant tax-base. That means that Hyrule either has great mineral wealth, which the royal family is not sharing with its townspeople, or the people themselves are producing wealth and the King is taking an outsized portion of that. Otherwise, we’re looking at conscription and slavery (for the building of the palace and the armor/weaponry). It’s all really quite disturbing that I am supposed to be working with/for the leaders or such a government.

Granted, when the alternative is Ganon, then a tyrant is better than a nihilist. But the sequel to this game should not have been Ocinara of Time, but rather Revolution Against The King.

Category: Theater

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2 Responses to Link: Tool of the 1%

  1. SFG says:

    The Middle Ages were an incredibly repressive time, made less so by the lack of technology of the kings and prices. But peasants and such had few rights. There’s a reason the French Revolution was so bloody. Of the philosophical ancestors of modern geek culture, Tolkien himself was rather conservative in a Catholic Tory-ish way (though he notably hated the Nazis for giving Nordic myth a bad name), Lovecraft and Howard had all kinds of racial attitudes we wouldn’t like today, and Gygax never thought too hard about the sociology aspect.

    A lot of comic book writers, conversely, were New York Jews and hence on the liberal side. (Batman lives in Gotham and Superman in Metropolis, two slang words for NYC.) Magneto and Professor X were supposed to be Malcolm X and MLK Jr. Magneto’s somewhat-justified persecution complex is clearly inspired by the Holocaust. People have discussed the Jewish parallels to the Superman story–sending the last surviving child of a dying planet away. You might argue that liberals see themselves as superheroes rescuing the downtrodden poor. 😉

    I wouldn’t think too much about it, honestly. Most stories don’t make sense if you poke at them enough.

  2. trumwill says:

    This post was mostly tongue-in-cheek. It was something that kind of jumped out at me, though.

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