Everything We Know About Link’s New Arm in ‘The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’
If you’re like me, you’re eager to know everything there possibly is to know about The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom before its release date. But you also want to know absolutely nothing. These desires are inherently contradictory, and yet nearly every Zelda fan is going through it. Of the many things that we might want to know everything and nothing about, Link’s brand new arm is attracting universal interest.
In the very first teaser for the game, from E3 (awww) in 2019, Link was seen struggling with a glowing light emanating from his arm. In the second trailer for Tears of the Kingdom, the first shot is of Link taking a nice skydive—but his right arm is looking strange and crumbly. Ever since then, the circumstances around Link’s new arm have been a hot topic of speculation. And if we cull the teasers and all three trailers, we actually know quite a lot. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Link’s arm drama happens in the beginning of the game
In the original teaser for what was then only known as “the sequel to Breath of the Wild,” Link and Zelda are shown exploring what we assume are caverns beneath Hyrule Castle. Whether this is the cold open of the game or not, it certainly feels like it’s in the preamble. At the outset of this excursion, Link’s arm is perfectly intact.
But by the time he jumps to try to save Zelda, which seems like it happens in the same sequence, his arm looks all grey and sizzled. So it definitely happens in that big, climactic opening section where Ganondorf awakens.
Link’s injury is from Malice
Using all four trailers, here’s what we can piece together after Link and Zelda get to the center of the cavern:
Our friends see Malice flowing into and out of a mummified figure. Critically, a glowing arm with a very distinctive pattern is keeping the mummy aloft. Most of us thought this mummy was Ganondorf—and we were correct! Time for a well-deserved pat on the back.
Mummy-Ganondorf awakens, and all hell breaks loose. It seems like this is when Hyrule Castle says goodbye to the ground and begins lifting upward, causing the cavern to crumble. Link, like a good knight and friend, unsheathes the Master Sword to try to fight Ganondorf. But the Malice that Ganondorf had been controlling shoots out at Link, wrapping itself around both the Master Sword and the arm that wields it.
This move is how both Link’s arm and the Master Sword get all messed up. We see the Master Sword in a later teaser image, and it looks like it’s been dipped in a vat of acid. And that same substance hit Link’s arm? Poor, beautiful man.
It’s fused with the glowing hand from the first teaser
The next section of this sequence involves threading together a few trailers in quick succession. But it seems that, right after Link’s arm and the Master Sword get owned by Malice, the crumbling cavern claims Zelda. She falls. And Link, hero that he is, jumps after her. But he misses.
We don’t know what exactly happens to Zelda, except that she ends up in another place entirely (my money’s on “back in time,” à la Skyward Sword). But we know that the glowing arm which was previously holding mummy-Ganondorf catches Link and saves him.
Zelda—somehow, somewhere—pleads with something, “Please … lend him your power.” My money is on the supposition that she’s talking to this magic arm. Because this magic arm appears to fuse with Link’s injured arm. Could it be … the Zonai?!
It’s the source of the runes now
Actually, the case for the magic arm being some kind of artifact from the supposedly long-gone Zonai tribe is intriguing—because it seems like the new arm replaces the ancient tech of the Sheikah Slate as the source of Link’s runes.
If you pay close attention to the gameplay shown in any of the footage so far, you’ll notice the arm is undeniably the source of the runes. Link will place his arm in front and move it in the desired direction of the attracted object. This would also explain the existence of the new runes. Whether our old pals like “stasis” and “bombs” will return remains to be seen.
The biggest question that remains is exactly what the hell this magic arm is. Also, is our boy going to be okay in the long run? We’ll find out on May 12.
(featured image: Nintendo)
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