Wednesday, December 21, 2011

25 Days of Villains - #5: Ghirahim

"It hardly seems fair, being of my position, to take all of my anger out on you. Which is why I promise up front not to murder you... No, I'll just beat you within an inch of your life!"

One of the most flamboyant characters in Zelda history, Ghirahim - or I should say, Demon Lord Ghirahim, as per his preferred title - is also one of the best villains to grace the series. Seeking Zelda as a means to resurrect his master, Ghirahim stirs up a tornado that sucks Zelda down from Skyloft to the surface world. Things do not progress as quickly as Ghirahim had planned, however, as both Impa and Link impede his designs.

While Impa leads Zelda to the various locations around Hyrule that are crucial to her role in keeping the Demon King Demise sealed forever, Link face Ghirahim and all of his followers head on. Ghirahim sends one monstrous foe after another to face Link, only to see them fall to the hero's blade. Ghirahim is introduced as someone who thoroughly enjoys displaying his powers, and likes to lean toward the most theatrical of presentations. But as the game progresses and Link defeats each new challenge thrown his way, the Demon Lord becomes frustrated, allowing his dark side to emerge. By the time the last few hours of the game roll around, Ghirahim is infuriated at how many defeats he suffered because of Link, and becomes a more collected individual, though he is still simmering in hatred and frustration.

His final solution to revive his master is to undo everything Link managed to accomplish, using the Gate of Time to travel back to an era when his master was just freshly sealed away by the goddess Hylia. Link follows, but this time Ghirahim is determined to finish his work. He begins his ritual, intent on using Zelda's life force to free Demise from his current form as the Imprisoned. Summoning the full force of the Dark Tribe with a single snap of his fingers, Ghirahim commands them to keep Link at bay, informing them that whatever they might fear of Link is nowhere near as frightening as what he will do to them if they fail.

But even this massive force proves unable to stop Link, which leads Ghirahim to throw a bit of a temper tantrum, demanding to know why Link won't let him finish his ritual. Ghirahim then moves Zelda off to the side and forges a battlefield high above the Sealed Grounds so that he may face Link once more. He tells the hero that he plans to knock him off the edge and kill him as a sacrifice to Demise. It is then that Ghirahim reveals his true form - a black and grey sword spirit, and something of a polar opposite to Link's companion Fi.

In his new form, Ghirahim's body is impenetrable, save for the diamond on his chest, which Link thrusts his sword into enough times to bring the two back to ground level. But Ghirahim is not done. He utilizes the same tactics he displayed before, though this time his sword is considerably larger and more lethal. It's also somewhat fragile, assuming Link strikes it at the proper angles.

Finally beaten, Ghirahim is appalled at Link's skill. He never fathomed that a human could beat him. In his final moments, Ghirahim informs Link that his effort was all for naught, as the ritual had continued during their fight. Ghirahim laughs maniacally as the Imprisoned absorbs Zelda's spirit, allowing Demise to assume his proper form. Ghirahim welcomes his master back, but is cut short as the Demon King absorbs Ghirahim back into his own sword. His role complete, Ghirahim dies at the hand of the one he fought so long to revive.

Ghirahim is one of the notable exceptions on this list of villains who actually succeeded in their aims. Though Demise was eventually defeated by Link, Ghirahim's sworn duty was only ever to see to his master's return. Ghirahim is a curious individual. Rather than going from collected to crazy, he sort of does the opposite, displaying a very angry yet serious demeanor when he decides to travel back in time - a far cry from the energetic sadist Link encountered in the Skyview Temple.

Boss theme:

This is the track that plays during the final confrontation between Link and Ghirahim at the Sealed Grounds. It's very befitting Lord Ghirahim, and this is my favorite variation.

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