That Time You Realized Two Things You Liked Were in Fact the Same Thing: Or, I Have Been Thinking Way too Much about The Legend of Zelda and Redwall

I was having a conversation with my partner tonight, and somehow I started talking about The Wind in the Willows (an old British children’s book that I loved as a kid), and I described it as “like a very old and more mundane version of Redwall,” to which she asked me “what is Redwall?”

So I began to describe Redwall, and came up with the following points:

  • It’s a loose series of books, in that there are some direct sequels throughout but no real coherent chronology beyond the broad scope and a kind of mythic timeline. There is an era of myth and legend and then a sort of contemporary era, with novels in both. The timeline makes sense from a very wide angle but when you look at individual books it begins to fall apart

  • It’s about finding secrets in ancient but otherwise mundane places, and carrying on legacies of myth and legend, and castles and tombs and abbeys. Its plot is kind of a balance between these really epic fight sequences and meticulous puzzle-solving and ancient riddles and secret doors and locations

  • The setting is a sort of quasi-medieval fantasy world that’s mostly natural, with some settlements, and a bunch of castles and abbeys and warrens that characters tend to explore long after they’re abandoned

  • The first book has a lot of overtly Christian symbolism that is very quickly dropped from the rest of the series, if the aesthetic lives on a bit in its themes

  • There’s a couple of central objects, like the Sword of Martin the Warrior, which is this ancient and maybe magical sword that this ancient liberatory warrior wielded against the forces of evil.

  • It’s a very formulaic series with a couple of more experimental offshoots that tend to be the more engaging parts of the series

  • Somewhere in the middle of the series there’s a sudden swashbuckling pirate adventure on the wide open ocean that might secretly be the best part of the series

And as I was saying these things, it slowly dawned on me that I was also perfectly describing The Legend of Zelda. I then spent five minutes feeling stunned and then trying to explain why I felt like I’d just peered into the matrix. Surprise surprise, it turns out that my favorite book series as a child and my favorite video game series — maybe my favorite media object even — as an adult are essentially the same aesthetic object.

Have you ever had a realization like this? Do you have any fun hot takes about what two seemingly dissimilar stories or objects are actually the same deep down? Does anyone want to do some pointless but hopefully fun lit crit with a sleep-deprived grad student? In any case, I thought this might make for a fun thread.

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I wasn’t as into Redwall as I was other YA book series, but yes, I totally get this comparison.

My only question: what’s the Majora’s Mask of the Redwall universe?

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Inuyasha and Twilight and Gundam Wing are the same thing. No, I will not be taking questions.

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A lot of the things I love are just Dune in different clothes. I don’t know if I’ve ever had that galaxy brain moment so much as a resigned feeling of “yep, I guess I just really like space-fuedal weirdness a whole lot”.

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The Fast and the Furious is a beat-for-beat remake of Point Break and now they might be going into space.

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Ok so this took a bit of looking back and I don’t think it’s a perfect 1-to-1 because there’s nothing in Redwall as openly expermental and weird as Majora BUT I think, in terms of structure and plot, it’s The Bellmaker?

  • Direct sequel that keeps many of the same characters from the previous book (Mariel of Redwall) without really depending on that book’s plot

  • Further develops that book’s protagonist, despite having a somewhat less climactic but more intimate quest than the previous one

  • Introduces a new, smaller, somewhat treacherous realm linked tenuously to the previous, main one (I think Southsward only shows up this once?) that has some interesting parallels to it but is very much its own, different thing

  • If I’m remembering correctly, a little off-putting and weird

This is tough though. I feel like also I just want to say all of them are Pearls of Lutra because that would make sense, and because that one’s probably my favorite so I know it the best (I read it so much the cover literally fell off). Lord Brocktree and Skyward Sword is probably the easiest 1-to-1 because they’re both the kind of ultimate prequel story. This might be where my comparison breaks down though haha

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Magnolia and Evangelion are the same thing, just one has mechs and one has frogs

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I also grew up with Redwall! I count it as the beginning of my deep love for page long descriptions of feasts in fantasy novels.

I actually had a similar revelation earlier this year but about broader genres. So during the pandemic I got really into week-to-week competitive reality shows. The kind where there’s a group of contestants that complete a challenge every episode and at the end one of them goes home as so on until there’s a winner. Desert making, make up, interior decoration, acting, fashion, drag, I watched like a dozen of these.

I was telling my mom about it on the phone one day and she was like ‘I’m surprised you’re into reality shows, you were always watching anime and stuff’ and I was like ‘yeah well…’ and it suddenly clicked for me that these types of competive reality shows are the exact same thing as shonen tournament arcs.

A diverse, often quirky, group of characters each with their own skill set

Winning a match often comes down to a surprising or clever use of an individual skill

We learn about contestants backstories in flashbacks mid contest

The rules themselves are shifting and their own source of tension

Realizing this made me really want an anime where there isn’t a clear protagonist in the fight and we meet a bunch of characters fresh in ep one and are surprised by the winner

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I applaud the attempt and I think the comparison still holds up :stuck_out_tongue:

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