The legend of Zelda series has a wide range of unique and unforgettable characters who for better or for worse will always stick with us. Today I wish to talk about one character in particular, a mysterious character that has often been talked about, the Happy Mask Salesman from Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. There have been varied theories surrounding this figure and I figured I might as well disacuss my own opinions. Please keep in mind that this is my opinion and I in no way claim to have the correct answers, your opinions may differ from mine which is fine, great in fact but please be respectful to me and my opinions…thank you.
With that aside, let’s dive into it. The Happy Mask Salesman has a fairly small role in the Ocarina of Time, he runs a shop in Hyrule Castle’s market town and as a one of many, side quests, I suppose, you sell masks for him and each time you sell a mask and return the money you earned to himanother mask will become available. I don’t really need to go into more detail than that since if you played the game you know all about that…Anyway, we don’t really see the Happy Mask Salesman outside of the shop in this game, and all we really know about him is that he’s a traveling Mask Salesman. I remember thinking that if he is a traveling salesman why does he need Link to sell masks for him? I understand that his purpose is to spread happiness but it seemed a little lazy…oh well, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps that was part of the magic of his spreading happiness, to have a child sell masks for him.
In Majora’s Mask the Happy Mask Salesman plays a larger role, primarily as I suppose you could say a guide. Looking at the plot itself he was the owner of the mask that Skull Kid stole and ultimately it corrupted him. He heals Link from the curse that Skull Kid placed on him and pleads with him to get his mask back from Skull Kid before (paraphrasing here since I don’t have the game with me) something terrible happens. So, this is very curious the HMSM does appear to practice at least in part some form of magic, we don’t really know his origin other then the fact that he is a traveling Mask Salesman and that he seems to have quite a bit of knowledge beyond many of the other characters within the universe itself.
As for my theories, to explain his knowledge of the background of Majora’s Mask, well simply put if you come to him wearing any of the masks you have received he will tell you in basic about them. Just like any skilled Salesman he understands the masks, all of which were masks he likely sold to the people you receive masks from. We must also consider the fact that he travels the world to collect these masks and it’s naturally a good selling point to have knowledge about the masks background (certainly also if it has some sort of evil power). It’s likely that Majora’s Mask itself was not for sale, knowing the evil power within the Mask naturally he panicked. My theory is that if he did receive this mask from some sort of tribe, I imagine that he kept it as a memento, despite knowing of the evil within it, one could even wonder if a part of him was controlled by the mask, at least enough so that he couldn’t discard it. However, having never worn the mask he remains uncorrupted by Majora’s Mask, yet he will never be able to get rid of it so long as evil lurks within the mask.
To explain his reaction at the end of the game when Link has defeated Majora, I honestly feel the Happy Mask Salesman felt a mixture of both shock and relief. Of course he believed Link could do it, it is not a question of that, rather it was holding Majora’s Mask and realizing that the evil within it it was indeed gone, this presence that had resided in the mask and traveled with him was suddenly gone. It would naturally take a moment to sink in and despite the relief he felt I am sure there was a bit of sorrow/emptiness realizing the Mask’s spirit was now gone. Therefore, unlike the manga’s interpretation I do not feel the Happy Mask Salesman is a trouble maker rather I feel he was himself a victim to the strong presence of Majora’s Mask.
One last theory before I conclude my thoughts for now. Well possibly two… if we look at Terimina for a moment, regardless of what you believe Terimia to be, whether you feel like it is an AU or not, looking at their culture, they place heavy importance on masks when it comes to rituals, coming of age, etc. Teriminans are well aware of the power or masks and use them in their everday life. This is why I believe the Happy Mask Salesman was in Terimina to begin with, the Carnival of Time was approaching at that time so naturally he’d want to sell his masks to Teriminans during a festival that masks likely play a huge role in. It is also possible that the Happy Mask Salesman could himself be a Teriminan. There is clearly must more I could mention but I will be here forever so for now I will end here.