64 spiders

On Spider Houses and Greed within The Legend of Zelda

​“If you lift the curse … I’ll teach you … something good … Hurry … Please … This is awful … In here … The gold ones … The cursed spiders … Defeat them all … Make me normal … again … .”

- The Cursed Man, Majora’s Mask

“Human desire is an insatiable,
fearsome thing … even to a demon!
But then again, I suppose it’s also
what makes your kind so intriguing … .”

​- Batreaux, Skyward Sword

Above: The Cursed Man of the Fearful Spider House


For me, and perhaps many readers, one of the most powerful images from The Legend of Zelda retained by memory is that of the House of Skulltula in Ocarina of Time’s Kakariko Village. Nestled in the midst of the most ostensibly peaceful location in Hyrule is an unassuming grey house, which, as we learn from the townsfolk, has a dark history and a necessary moral lesson. An elderly villager in Kakariko gives us this history: “Folks around here tell of a fabulously rich family that once lived in one of the houses in this village … But they say that the entire family was cursed due to their greed! Who knows what might happen to those who are consumed by greed.” [1] This tale is corroborated by the cursed father within the House of Skulltula, who tells Link of the curse on his family. Avarice fed his unquenchable desires, and before long, such vice led to the Curse of the Spider, here represented by Gold Skulltulas – themselves a perceptible symbol of greed. In order to dispel the spider’s curse, Link must destroy Gold Skulltulas the world over, collecting them as he goes; and in doing this, he also destroys a visible manifestation of greed and selfishness in Hyrule. [2]

Oft talked about, but little understood, the Spider Houses inhabiting both Hyrule and Termina hold a subtle fascination commonly overshadowed by rising plot, climax, and resolution. Spider Houses do not play pivotal roles in furthering the story, but they often augment small side-chapters parallel to the larger story with parables, morals, and mysteries. They also sound a clarion call against avarice, warning of greed’s corrupting influence on the face of the human soul.

As true in all societies and all places, the Curse of the Spider can take root in any human being, so it should be unsurprising that we also find people consumed with, and transformed by, greed within the parallel realm of Termina.

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