Reflection #2: Cremia’s Hug

This is not a particularly well-known event in in the grand scope of video games, perhaps because it isn’t built upon death or sadness, but instead around a rather understated warmth that has always resonated with me. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask enters the darkest territory of any Zelda game released to date by not just having its story unfold in a world that will be destroyed in three days, but also by taking a deeper look at the human — as well as Goron, Zora, and Deku — relationships that are falling apart at the seams. Amidst the complex web of character-related side quests in the Bomber’s Notebook, there are a number of secrets waiting to be discovered. One of these secrets is an unexpected hug from a red-haired cattle rancher.

Majora’s Mask’s Termina setting was geographically smaller than Ocarina of Time’s land of Hyrule, but its array of key locations and important characters were much more fleshed out. Regardless of where you traveled, the world was chock full of secrets, characters with a story to tell, and side quests aplenty. A few of the Majora’s Mask’s most bizarre occurrences unfold at Romani Ranch, and are among the game’s most interesting in terms of atmosphere and gameplay. Of paramount interest here is the one event that has you on dusk-to-dawn duty protecting a barn full of cows from invading paranormal creatures. Ranch owner Cremia’s daughter, Romani, recalls the invasion of the past year and is pleased to have you there with her for the night.

If you’re successful in defending the livestock, another side quest is unlocked the following day that is otherwise unavailable. As ranch owner Cremia is making a delivery to the Clock Town Milk bar in the morning, she is set upon by the ill-willed Gorman brothers. A high-speed horse and cart chase ensues, and you need to protect Cremia’s milk with the Hero’s Bow.

The Gorman bros: total dicks

So, who are these thieves, exactly? The Gorman brothers own the Gorman Track just off Milk Road. Their brother is making an honest living in Clock Town as the leader of a theatre group, but they certainly aren’t diamonds of the same cut. In fact, they’re pretty shoddy people to be honest. They claim to produce their own delicious brand of milk, but it seems suspiciously diluted and tastes vaguely familiar. Almost as if it was stolen from Romani Ranch and watered down. Hmm. As it turns out, the brothers not only enjoy a day at the race track but occasionally indulge in the debacle of high-speed milk thievery as well.

The delivery along Milk Road goes well until a carefully placed barricade forces Cremia to take a detour along the Gorman Track. It’s here that two masked riders roar out of the shadows and begin to give chase, taking aim at the caravan as if to destroy it. You’ve got to bring these suckers down with your bow and arrow or they will ruin the shipment. If you’re able to drive the attackers away, Cremia is so grateful that she gives you a Romani Mask, which grants entry to the Milk Bar. Can you imagine if you had to put on a weird cow mask every time you wanted to have a drink at the pub?

 

 

You'd look kinda like this, and that would be weird.


Because the game takes place during a three-day cycle that repeats over and over, there are opportunities to complete the same quest again. The Romani Mask, like all other masks in the game, will stay with you as you pass back through time, so you can’t get two of them. Instead, subsequent completions of the side quest are rewarded with a bottle of Chateau Romani, a golden rupee, or my favourite: the elusive hug.

Quote: "You feel all warm and fuzzy inside! Sigh... You could get used to this!"

In the context of Majora’s dark narrative, as Termina’s characters knowingly march toward their end, this fleeting moment of affection made me smile. I’d been through so much with Cremia and her daughter Romani as we staved off aliens and made a desperate dash to Clock Town while under fire from bandits. It had been a bit exhausting to be honest. Little did they know, I’d been through it with them more than once. I’d even failed to protect them more than once and traveled back through time a few times to set things right. They had no idea that I’d come from the future, but I must wonder if Cremia ever questioned where her Romani Mask went as she stood outside the caravan that morning, paused, then extended her arms to give me a big hug.

Last week’s reflection was tinted with feelings of sadness and loss, but this week’s reflection is just the opposite. Whereas my role in Koholint’s destruction left me questioning my own actions, Cremia’s hug warmly asserted that I was doing things right in Termina. It was a beautiful moment hidden in a comparatively dark narrative — discrete but touching. And, well, it looks like Link got something a little extra with his hug. He must have been smiling, too.

9 thoughts on “Reflection #2: Cremia’s Hug”

  1. Excellent article, in what appears to be an ongoing series. That brings a smile to my face :) I also loled at the comic you linked to hehe.

    Majora’s Mask will always be the odd duckling for me. After having waited what felt like my entire life for OoT, to have a sequel so soon felt…strange. Keep in mind that before OoT had been released I was super excited for Resident Evil 2, which itself saw delay after delay, but was then actually released. This happened to quite a few series I was into, but Zelda just seemed like a dream. When OoT finally hit it blew my mind, and the rest of the world. It truly felt like a 3D version of ALttP, and I couldn’t be any more pleased. MM felt so different, it was significantly shorter, and was a really jarring experience compared to OoT. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, on the contrary, just that it will always remain the odd one in the series because of how starkly different it was.

  2. Majora’s Mask was my favourite 3D Zelda until Skyward Sword. (Jarrod is also crazy and has been known to sleep without underwear) But man, you mentioned defending the ranch from aliens… and for some reason, that struck a bell with me! Haven’t played that game in ages, so please explain!

    1. Yeah, Steven, that alien invasion was seriously unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a Zelda game in terms of atmosphere and gameplay. It was basically like some sort of castle defense game wherein the aliens approach the barn from all sides and you have to pick them off with the Hero’s Bow. It could also be a bit difficult if you didn’t have a good shot. Fortunately there were a couple tricks that helped out enormously. You could play the Inverted Song of Time so that time — and the aliens — would move slower, and also equip the bunny mask to move around quicker yourself. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkcjFC0zc-Q

  3. You’ve been watching me in my sleep again! Ah!

    Majora’s Mask was probably my second favorite 3D Zelda after OoT because it was so unique and dark. WW is a close tie though. TP hasn’t aged as well for some reason, but Skyward Sword is now way up there. Not sure if I’d place it above OoT though. That would make for a wicked top five feature!

  4. I really can’t remember that event at all. So thanks for brining it up, Charles. Nicely written as usual.

    Perhaps the most memorable side-quest in Majora’s Mask and for me personally is Anju and Kafei. It was really engrossing and you actually get to play as an NPC for once. Their ending is also absolutely adorable.

  5. @Jarrod: So true about TP. I remember back when it came out I thought it was something else, but playing through it again in December it just hasn’t held up as well as TWW, MM, or OoT. There were some phenomenal moments, though

    @Ahmed: Glad you enjoyed it. The Anju/Kafei quest was the most comprehensive and rewarding in the game, I’m with you on that for sure. And that’s totally true about playing as an NPC… has this ever happened at any other point in the Zelda series? Not counting taking control of statues and whatnot, of course. There were secrets related to Anju and Kafei that were really cool, too. For example, Anju’s mother freaks out at you in the Stockpot Inn if you show up wearing Kafei’s mask. Also, on the second day if you peek through a hole in one of the inside walls of the inn, you can witness a discussion between Anju and her mother about departing to Romani Ranch to escape from the falling Moon. Anju’s mother also raises the concern that Kafei has run off with Cremia, warning Anju that she’d only be unhappy to be with a man who runs off the day before his wedding, drawing from her own personal experiences. But Anju is insistent that Kafei will return because he said he would in his letter and wants to remain in Clock Town as long as possible. Just another of the many secrets that made Majora’s Mask special.

    @Marc-Andre: It’s good to see another huge MM fan! :P

    1. I actually remember that conversation through the hole. I remember stumbling into that and being so amazed by the depth offered by the NPCs here, particularly Anju/Kefei. Don’t remember the talk about Cremia. Very interesting stuff right there. Man…I’m holding off playing through this again in preparation for a 3DS remake. I truly hope that Nintendo will make it happen this year!

  6. Great article. Just one thing: Cremia is not the mother of Romani. Both are sisters. There is a mention of their father but is deceased.

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