Zelda and the Curious Case of Bolson and Karson

Are they an item?

One of my favorite things about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is its inclusion of LGBT characters. I’m talking, of course, about Vilia, the Drag Queen you encounter in the Kara Kara Bazaar, and Bolson, the fabulous, pink-clad carpenter you befriend in Hateno Village. It makes me happier than I can even express to see this kind of representation in a big Nintendo game like Breath of the Wild, no matter how subtle they both may seem. But what interests me the most about the inclusion of these two characters is the fact that Bolson is never seen without his companion, Karson, which begs the question: are they an item?

It’s a tough question given how the game understandably shies away from addressing sexuality in any capacity beyond flirtation, but there are plenty of cues that seem to suggest that Karson and Bolson might actually be romantically involved. They go everywhere together: from the beginning of the day to the end, one is never seen without the other (not even when they travel to Tarrey Town for Hudson’s wedding), and they even share a house together.

Being buddies/coworkers, and sharing a place isn’t exactly strong evidence of a romantic relationship, but analyzing these things only seems to support the conclusion that there’s something going on between them. A good place to start unpacking, though, is whether or not these characters are even gay in the first place.

Bolson, I think we can all agree, is incontrovertibly a homosexual. He wears pink clothes and has pink earrings, sure, and his mannerisms are more effeminate than the word’s definition can even describe, but he also never once mentions anyone of the opposite sex, let alone hints to any kind of sexual preference at all. This might suggest that he’s asexual, but in doing so could actually be the greatest proof that he’s gay in the first place, since gay characters are often represented in mass media as either hyper-sexual or devoid of any sexuality at all. Not to mention, Bolson greets you in a way that’s reminiscent only of the famous Drag Queen Alaska Thunderf***; with a musical, “Hi!”

Karson, on the other hand, is a bit a mystery. He doesn’t display any sort of latent effeminate mannerisms, and he actually mentions having a girlfriend (more than once, I might add). So does this hurt our “Bolson and Karson are a thing” argument? Not necessarily.

For one thing, just because Karson says he has a girlfriend doesn’t actually mean that she’s a girl, or that she exists at all. Manny and Prima, for example, are one of the only other NPC’s that reference romantic interest, and they each refer to each other by name. Karson never names this “girlfriend” of his, and while we have no proof either way, I suggest that this was only concluded to throw us off of he and Bolson’s romantic trail. Or, this could be Karson’s way of attempting to maintain his masculinity, which, if you didn’t know, is something most gay men struggle with when they’re first coming to terms with their sexuality. Alas, we may never know which is which.

The thing that ties all of this together is the fact that Karson and Bolson both share a house together. That they sleep in separate beds means very little when you take into account that Nikki and Nack—the couple that lives across the street from the Bolson Construction model homes with their two kids—sleep in separate beds as well. Additionally, whenever Bolson references or talks to Karson, there seems always to be a tone of flirtation. Take, for example, one of the things Bolson says when you ask him to improve your house: “Karson! Recall that time you dazzled me? Well, it’s dazzling time again, baby!”

All of this is enough for us to conclude that there’s something more than just companionship or employee-boss camaraderie. What is true and what is clouded by my shipping these two as a couple, the world may never know.


What do you think? Are these two a thing, or am I reading into something that just isn’t there? Let me know in the comments below, or engage with us on Twitter or Instagram.

5 Thoughts

  1. well, I think either you’re onto something, or we’re both fishing for the same trout–I found this article through a very specific google search asking this question 😛

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  2. Karson’s girlfriend is actually identified to be Sophie from the clothing shop in Hateno Village. If you talk to him in Tarrey town just before the wedding, he’ll tell you that his girlfriend works at a clothing shop where her dad is the taylor. But who knows, nothing is really carved in stone.

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  3. How about the fact that every time you give them a job to do, they go in your house and have sex. Certainly sounds like gay sex to me. They are like a couple of gay rabbits.

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  4. The dude in the gerudo desert isn’t a drag queen, he dresses up in gerudo women clothing in order to have access to the city. The quest he involves is literally him selling Link women’s clothing so that Link can get in as well.

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