Ever notice that almost every Zelda game opens with Link sleeping? On one level it's played for laughs, but it also symbolizes the Hero's courage awakening inside him as he begins his adventure. Still, it feels so uncharacteristic of Link to sleep in, given that once the game starts he won't ever sleep until the Triforce is saved, Ganon is defeated and the last Metroid is in captivity.
I know it reeks of Patrick Duffy, but what if Link is dreaming all of these adventures? That would explain why there are so many familiar themes and places, and why history kind of repeats itself. Maybe every time Link wakes up, it's an indication that the previous game was a dream...
...and the next game reveals the last one was all a dream, which actually took place inside another dream...
It would be one of the lamest reveals ever, but the prevalence of sleeping Links does lend credibility to the Zelda Inception theory. It doesn't even really mess with Nintendo's Official Timeline, either -- all you'd really have to do is draw a big dream bubble around the chart with thoughtbubbles leading to yet another dozing Link.
You can't really put it past Nintendo. Remember the end of Super Mario Bros. 2?
This might be the most popular Zelda fan theory out there, but it's for a good reason. Maybe people are dying to ascribe meaning to a game that otherwise seems so obtuse, but there's too much evidence to dismiss it. Plus, it's vital to entry #1.
For a long time, fans have maintained that the story of Majora's Mask follows the classic Five Stages of Grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. According to the theory, each of these ties to an area in the game. The Game Theorists did a great job of summing up the major tenets, but if you don't have 15 extra minutes let's go over them quickly.
In Termina, the townspeople are in Denial about the giant evil moon that is barreling towards the planet.
Then there's the Deku King, who is needlessly thrasing about in Anger about his missing daughter. He's so blinded by rage that he blames her disappearance on a little monkey.
Despite the fact that he clearly died and became a spooky ghost, poor Darmani tries his hand at Bargaining for his return to this mortal coil.
Maybe saddest of all, Lulu's Depression initially prevents her from speaking. You can't really blame her -- she's speechless because she lost her eggs. It's like Nintendo's version of one of those soul-destroying Super Bowl commercials.
Acceptance is a bit trickier. Many tie it with the Stone Temple, a place filled with death. The only one alive, Link climbs the tower as though his soul were ascending to a higher plane. Eventually he finds the Light Arrows, which could be tied to the enlightenment that comes at the end of the five stages. It also looks pretty rad when you shoot it.
There you have it. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is a harrowing journey through the psyche of someone who had just experienced traumatic loss -- which happens to programmed for the Nintendo 64 and requires a RAM Expansion Pak to play.
But wait, if it's all about grief, then who are we grieving over? You don't just arbitarily go through these this awful spiral without actually losing someone first. The Game Theorists think that it's Link himself that's going through a process to accept his own death, but the Ocarina/Majora Link has to grow up to be the ancestor of Twilight Princess Link.
Someone else has to die. Come think, Majora's Mask starts with Link searching for a lost friend...