The featured image and all screenshots in this article were taken by me.
Mild BOTW spoilers
It’s mid-December now, which means it’s basically Christmas and everyone’s very ready for it. I’ve still got my Halloween decorations up because I can’t quite accept it’s no longer spooky season but regardless, I am feeling the faint echoes of festive spirit.
And now it’s truly cold again, I’m reminded of when I first played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, back in January 2018. It really is one of those games that affected me on a deep level, and the beauty of the open world was a big part of that. The wintery, cold places especially stuck in my mind. So what better way is there to finish the term than to look at some chilly and some cosy places on BOTW’s map? Just remember to make sure you’re dressed properly for this, because you really don’t want to be sending Link out there in his Gerudo outfit.
This has got to be one of the best places in Breath of the Wild. Well, I’m biased in saying that, because Revali is my favourite of the four champions, and as a Rito this is where he came from. However, I really like how warm and inviting the place is, with the lamps and cosy-looking beds. Back in my days as a sleep-deprived Sixth Form student (honestly, what’s changed?) when I was first playing this game, the Rito Village inn made me wish I’d gone to sleep at 8 pm.
It’s definitely the most naturally beautiful of the four major settlements you will visit in the game, with views of snowy forests and mountains. Unfortunately, Prince Sidon isn’t here to make you feel valued and appreciated literally by virtue of existing, but you can’t have everything: you’ll have to visit Zora’s Domain to catch up with him. Well, perhaps the sequel to this game will let us take him on holiday all around Hyrule. We can only dream.
My knowledge of horses is limited, but luckily the horses in this game don’t seem to mind the cold. The same can’t be said for Beedle, everyone’s favourite travelling salesperson, however.
The idea of arriving at this stable after a long journey through the snow is really comforting to me. And once you’ve rested and you’ve boarded your horse, there’s nothing better than procrastinating saving the kingdom by cooking a meal on the fire and chilling with Beedle. While he looks on in jealousy at your full Snowquill Set. Perfection.
I believe that this is also the nearest stable to the Tabantha Tundra, where I have previously encountered Stalhorses, though only at night – these are the reanimated skeletons of horses, and usually Stalkoblins ride them. You can also befriend and ride the Stalhorses once you’ve defeated the enemies, and they’re just like your ordinary horse but, well, a skeleton. Sadly, they disappear into dust at 5 am in-game time and as a consequence, you can’t register them at any stable. The Snowfield Stable owner is amazed that you have the audacity to bring a Stalhorse to him and refuses to accept it, so these creatures are much maligned but more than worthy of love. (Is this another request for the sequel? Of course. Let us have the skeleton horses, Nintendo!).
As the name ‘tundra’ suggests, this is a wide expanse of snowy land in the very north of Hyrule. Apart from the skeleton horses and Stalkoblins, you can find standard Bokoblins on horseback during the day and also a white Lynel, which is terrifying, to say the least.
For the unaware, the white Lynel is the toughest out of the three varieties, and I can’t even make eye contact with one, let alone defeat it. In the above photo I saw it, panicked, tried to get past it quickly and forgot I was basically at the end of the map, and nearly launched both myself and my horse into oblivion. Why I didn’t just turn around and go back the way I came is a mystery I will never know the answer to.
But the snow foxes are cute, so it’s all fine.
Breath of the Wild’s open world is a remarkable thing and I’m constantly finding new items, areas and shrines. Obviously, part of the fun is finding things for yourself, so there are a few places I could have mentioned here that I chose to leave out. The most amazing places to me are those right at the edge of the map, and the tundra, in particular, makes me feel as if Link is truly alone, bringing a sense of isolation that is unmatched in any game I’ve played. Conversely, the presence of a warm and welcoming village or stable in these environments is a really lovely thing, and it’s just one of the many elements of this game that makes it so memorable. So if you haven’t yet played BOTW, I’d recommend it without reservation. Even if Beedle’s lack of appropriate attire is at times painful to witness.