It isn’t uncommon for there to be a heroine other than Zelda in a The Legend of Zelda game. Malon was present in Ocarina of Time as a helpful young girl. Romani fills a similar role in Majora’s Mask. In The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, we have Marin. Like the other women, she is generally a helpful person who has people’s bests interests at heart and wants to aid Link. However, she stands out for just how close we get to her and how prominent her role is throughout the game.
Marin, like Malon, is a young woman living with her similarly named father. It’s thanks to her that Link is in as good a shape as he is when The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening begins. She finds him washed ashore after his ship is destroyed in the storm, brings him home, and tends to him. But, rather than this just being an example of her being kind to a potential love interest, it is shown as being par for the course for her, enhancing Marin’s character.
Throughout The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, she is established as a considerate young woman who wants to make people happy. She sings in town for people, going over “Ballad of the Wind Fish” over and over again. She also travels to the Animal Village, despite this being an island where monsters live, to perform for them. She even goes to sing for the sleeping Wind Fish.
But, Marin isn’t just a one-note character. We don’t get to just see her as “kind.” The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening shows us other elements of her character, a treatment other people on the island don’t get. While Tarin is always bumbling, Grandma Yahoo is perpetually energetic, and Ulrira never stops chatting on the phone, there are other elements to her character. We know Marin has aspirations beyond just staying on Koholint. She wants to leave and see new places, singing for new people. We know she isn’t perfect and brave, as she’s afraid of heights. Someone could even call her mischievous, as she uses the crane in the Trendy Game Shop to pick up its owner.
We also get to see her grow as a character. While initially Marin admits to having envisioned Link as a dream come true and potential messenger for the deserted island, she grows beyond that. When the two meet up on the beach before heading to the Animal Village, she seems to understand that he isn’t just some idealized figure in her head. Instead, she says that she wants to learn everything about him. Marin wants to know the real Link, not an idealized one. There is also a sense of melancholy about her, as you near the end of Link’s journey and learn to play “Ballad of the Wind Fish” from her. Her request of him is a touching one which suggests she knows what’s to come.
Marin is a young woman with a dream. When Link arrives on her island, she has a chance of seeing it realized. The more time we spend with the game and with her, the more we get to see that she is more than just a kind singer. She has other facets to her personality and even gets to grow a bit as well. There’s even a hint of sadness surrounding her, as we reach the end of Link’s story. It all comes together to make her an adorable character that is always a pleasure to spend time with.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is available for the Nintendo Switch.