Zelda: Ocarina Of Time's Saddest Story Isn't Even In The Game

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time manga by Akira Himekawa radically changed the characterization of a forgettable boss and gives it a sad connection to Link. This 18-chapter Manga, published in 2000, loosely adapts the plot of the game, which was released 14 months earlier. In its ninth chapter, titled "An Old and Beloved Friend", it shows its version of Link’s fight with the boss Volvagia.

In the game version of Ocarina of Time, Volvagia is a monstrous, flaming dragon that serves as the boss of the Fire Temple, the game’s fifth dungeon. According to dialogue with NPCs, Volvagia was an ancient enemy of the Gorons once killed by Darunia's ancestor using the Megaton Hammer. While Link was locked away in the Temple of Time for seven years, Ganondorf used dark magic to revive Volvagia. As a warning to the rest of Hyrule, Ganon imprisoned the Gorons and fed them to Volvagia. Ultimately, Volvagia is slain by Link.

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In the manga adaptation, the fight with Volvagia goes much differently, and completely recontextualizes the Fire Temple boss battle in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. As Link aims his bow at Volvagia, he finds himself unable to fire. It is then revealed, via a flashback, that Volvagia was once Link’s pet.

As shown in the flashback, Link bought Volvagia as a baby in Zelda's constantly animal-filled Hyrule Castle Town and became friends with the dragon before deciding to set it free. In the manga’s continuity, instead of being an ancient monster from history, Volvagia is a friend of Link’s that Ganondorf enthralls and weaponizes to mess with his head. Ultimately, Link slays Volvagia, freeing him from Ganon’s control with a slash through the neck, in a bittersweet ending.

The change to Volvagia’s backstory in Ocarina of Time is admittedly a mixed bag. The revelation of Link and Volvagia’s past is not foreshadowed, instead being awkwardly inserted into the middle of their fight. The changes also make Volvagia less intimidating as a boss. Still, Link’s hesitation when aiming the bow and grief when the fight is over make the manga version of Volvagia an interesting and tragic character.

The manga made a number of other changes to the plot of Ocarina of Time. A small, but memorable change is the manga’s opening.  The Ocarina of Time manga actually shows Link’s mother fleeing to Deku Forest and dying, rather than just explaining her death through dialogue. In addition, Link’s meeting with Zelda and Ganondorf is altered substantially. The manga removes the entire Shadow Temple section, replacing it with scenes of Link training with Impa. The manga also shows Shiek working for Ganondorf as a spy, before revealing that Shiek was a double agent, in addition to being Princess Zelda. It might not be treated as canon, but there's no denying its Volvagia retcon adds further emotional heft to Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's story.

Next: BOTW: How Each Of The Four Champions Died

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