Aonuma on the 5 stages of grief fan theory in Zelda: Majora’s Mask

A popular theory among fans of the Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask is that the game exhibits the five stages of grief, for those unfamiliar with the idea the five stages of grief are something someone goes thru when faced with something truly tragic. The five stages of grief include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, which when thought about and applied to the world of Termina in the Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask we can see this exact theory and how it works. Every corner of the world has signs of at least one or two of these stages shown in the environment or even its residents.

Recently in an interview with Game Informer Aonuma was asked about the Zelda fan theory regarding these stages of grief and how they are presented in the game, considering whether it was on purpose and considered, here is the question and Aonuma’s response:

Game Informer: Some fans speculate that Majora’s Mask is a metaphor for the stages of grief. The towns-folk are in denial of the moon falling; the Deku King is punishing the monkey out of anger; the ghost in the snow temple is bargaining for a return to the world of the living; Lulu in the Zora Temple is battling with depression; and the final temple could be considered acceptance as it wraps up Link’s journey. Was this considered during development, or is this just a fan interpretation?

Eiji Aonuma: It’s certainly true that each one of these different episodes you talked about has a different emotional cast to it. One feels like it’s tinged with sadness, and another with anger – that certainly was intentional. But, I also want to point out that it’s not that each one of these episodes only has the one emotion that they are conveying. There are certainly other notes that we’re trying to hit as well, and the reason we did this is always to allow the player to experience that emotion – to give them a chance to hook into the emotional tone of this scene and react to it and feel like they want to accomplish something in the game as a result.”

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