7. Farewell Hyrule King
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Of course, another great variation of the main theme (albeit it a very minor one) is Farewell Hyrule King, but that’s not the reason why this is sitting in at number seven. Instead, this sombre re-working of A Link to the Past‘s Hyrule Castle is by far one of the most heartbreaking melodies in The Wind Waker, if not the entire series. Link and Zelda have just defeated Ganondorf, but their victory is far from a happy one. As the goddesses grant the King’s wish of burying the old Hyrule beneath the waves, the young warriors must quickly come to terms with leaving their old friend to his fate. They beg him to follow them to surface, but their desperate pleas fall on deaf ears, and instead they must watch him descend into the depths of the sea alongside his beloved kingdom.
But while its weighty presence makes for a tearful funeral dirge, I think the underlying source material is ultimately one of strength, power and pride. Those 16-bit trumpets and drums may not sound like much now, but stepping into Hyrule Castle for the first time back in the days of the SNES made you feel very small indeed. It was a grand and imposing melody, showing off the grandeur of Hyrule’s royal family with pomp and circumstance, and this version is just as valiant despite its tragic undertones. A new world may be dawning, but there couldn’t have been a better swansong to sing out the old one than this.