chapter  5
20 Pages

Twilight and Faërie

The Music of Twilight Princess as Tolkienesque Nostalgia
WithVincent E. Rone

The fantasies of Tolkien and The Legend of Zelda games share a mutual predilection for the past, for nostalgia, which becomes apparent through musical examination. For instance, Tolkien’s characters express nostalgia often by recollecting memory through song, while characters in Zelda perform songs that intimate the past. We learn music common to several Zelda games, melodies that allow characters to recall and even travel to the past. Investigation into the nostalgia of Zelda through a musicological lens, I argue, reveals it as genuine Tolkienesque Faërie, and Twilight Princess (TP, 2006) stands as the strongest case. The mythopoeic power of TP lies in the ability of its music to reveal continuity with Zelda’s developing mythology, while also cuing our personal gaming memories from past experience with previous Zelda games. We thus can understand Zelda in Tolkienesque terms as a mythopoeic work of fantasy elevated, rather than mired, by nostalgia.