- The Legend of Zelda I
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
- A Link to the Past
- Link's Awakening
- Ocarina of Time
- Majora's Mask
- Oracle games
- Four Swords
- The Wind Waker
- Four Swords Adventures
- The Minish Cap
- Twilight Princess
- Phantom Hourglass
- Spirit Tracks
- Skyward Sword
- A Link Between Worlds
- Tri Force Heroes
- Breath of the Wild
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The Goddesses' Chosen
The three main characters, whose actions form the basis of The Legend of Zelda as a whole.
- The Chosen One: Of their respective Triforce pieces. Ganondorf is even granted the Triforce of Power in the Child Timeline when he's about to be executed.
- Chromatic Arrangement: Red, Blue, and Green for Ganondorf, Zelda, and Link respectively. This is also the order of their Triforce arrangement, reading from top, left, to right.
- Divine Conflict: Skyward Sword reveals that while they use the powers of Three Golden Goddesses, the conflict is more about two specific lesser gods, Hylia and Demise, and the mortal chosen as the former's champion.
- Fairytale Motifs: At their simplest core, it's the knight saving the princess from the monster.
- Hereditary Curse: Ganondorf, or something else controlling the Moblin and demon forces, will appear in every era that Zelda and Link reincarnate in just to cause trouble for them. At the same time, those two are the only people that can defeat him.
- Interpretative Character: Justified, given Hyrule's lengthy history and the splitting of timelines. While their basic attributes remain unchanged, the circumstances behind their encounters vary throughout each game.
- Legacy Character: There have been about eleven Links and Zeldas in the series (so far), per Word of God and Hyrule Historia. In contrast there have only been two Ganondorfs.
- Green heroes are all reincarnations of the Hylia's Chosen Hero from the era before Skyward Sword.
- Females born into the royal family were often named Zelda in honor of the one from Skyward Sword. The Back Story of The Adventure of Link explained that this eventually became every female in the family (at least within its timeline).
- According to official canon, all of the Ganons and Ganondorfs seen throughout the series are the original one from Ocarina of Time resurrected or unsealed. The exception is the Four Swords Adventure incarnation, who is actually a reincarnation rather than a resurrection. The previous Ganondorf of that timeline was the one of Twilight Princess, where he was killed. Tthis implies he can reincarnate as much as the other two, he just doesn't need to as often because of his near immortality.
- Magic Knight: Link and Ganondorf are associated with the sword and trident most often (though Ganon uses swords too, and Link can really use anything), and as of Wind Waker, Zelda gets a bow. They can all use magic as well.
- Power Tattoo: They sometimes bear the mark of the Triforce on the back of their dominant hand (usually left for Link, always right for the others), with the piece symbolizing the pieces they own glowing the brightest. The symbol can also appear when magic abilities are triggered.
- Power Trio: In spinoffs they sometimes work together, but never in the main canon.
- Xanatos Gambit: From their forebearers. If the Triforce splits; Ganondorf and Zelda, via Demise and Hylia, are guaranteed to get their pieces, with a Link/Hero Spirit showing up to tip the balance in Hylia/Zelda's favor. Link can apparently touch the full Triforce without breaking it however.
Voiced by: Fujiko Takimoto (Ocarina of Time (child), Majora's Mask, A Link to the Past (GBA), Four Swords, The Minish Cap), Nobuyuki Hiyama (Ocarina of Time (adult)), Sachi Matsumoto (The Wind Waker, Four Swords Adventures, Phantom Hourglass), Akira Sasanuma (Twilight Princess), Yuki Kodaira (Spirit Tracks), Takashi Ohara (Skyward Sword), Mitsuki Saiga (A Link Between Worlds)
The main playable character(s) and hero(es) of the series. You play as a different incarnation of Link in every series of games, but he always has some world-saving destiny at hand. Garbed in his green tunic with sword and shield in hand, he's out to save the world (and frequently, the princess) from whichever Big Bad comes his way. He holds the Triforce of Courage, though not in every game.
- Action Hero: He is a warrior, this is a given.
- Adorably Precocious Child: Even in his younger incarnations, Link is righteous and unbreakable.
- Adorkable: Starting with Wind Waker, he's been given this quirk as a minor personality trait, especially his "Toon" versions. The Wind Waker Link was specifically characterized as someone who was trying very hard to live up to the standard of being a hero, but constantly failed in hilarious ways.
- All-Loving Hero: Link will help those around him, no matter what. Affiliation, race, and different dimension mean little to him. To him helping is helping. This is quite possibly why he’s the chosen of the Triforce Of Courage. It takes true courage to be willing to help so many people without a second thought for your safety.
- Alternate Self: The events of Ocarina of Time split the timeline in three, making the Links seen in the Decline, Adult, and Child timelines this to each other. He also has a cowardly Lorule counterpart named Ravio.
- Ancestral Weapon: Twilight Princess Link is a descendant of the Hero of Time, making the Master Sword this.
- Animorphism: In A Link to the Past, he turned into a rabbit, and in Twilight Princess, a wolf. The manga adaptation of the former by Akira Himekawa has him turn into a wolf as well.
- Audience Surrogate: This is the reason his name is Link.
- Badass Adorable: Well, look at him. Even the older Links tends to get a "d'aww" out of fans when they get their cute on.
- Badass Biker: In Mario Kart 8, seeing as his default vehicle is a motorbike.
- Badass Bookworm: Not only is he a skilled warrior, he is also smart enough to solve an impressive amount of puzzles. Happens literally too, in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past he retrieves a book from the library to help translate ancient text throughout the game.
- Baleful Polymorph: His wolf transformation in Twilight Princess, his Deku form in Majora's Mask, and his rabbit-form in A Link to the Past. He does usually manage to find ways to put his transformations to good use, though, especially once he manages to gain control of them.
- Berserk Button: In general, all Links don't like it when you hurt someone close to them.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's generally portrayed as a friendly, kindhearted young man who tends to go out of his way to help those in distress. He is also the avatar of Courage, and has a history of beating the hell out of everything from dragons to demigods.
- BFS: In Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, the Master Sword is almost as long as he is tall.
- Big Brother Instinct: To Aryll in The Wind Waker, and to pretty much all the kids in Ordon Village in Twilight Princess.
- Bishōnen: In his adult forms.
- Bow and Sword, in Accord: While he has a vast array of weaponry, he is rarely seen without a sword or a bow.
- The Champion: Zelda's, whenever she's more than a cameo. Kind of the point, really.
- Chaste Hero: Generally, although subject to a few exceptions:
- He is kissed by Zelda once in The Adventure of Link and again in the Oracle series.
- There is also Puppy Love between Link and Zelda in Spirit Tracks.
- In Skyward Sword, he and Zelda actually go on a date. Hell, they found the Royal Family of Hyrule.
- Chick Magnet: He doesn't get much female attention in most games, but he apparently has the ability to charm most girls that he meets. Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword's Links are prime examples.
- The Chosen One:
- In A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, the Oracle series, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword. "The Hero Chosen by the Gods," indeed. The major exception is The Wind Waker, where he is The Unchosen One and he has to find the Triforce of Courage himself and prove his worthiness to be the hero.
- Played with in The Adventure of Link; despite possessing a mark on his hand indicating that he is the only one worthy of obtaining the Triforce of Courage and awakening Zelda, he still has to prove himself by running the gauntlet of the Great Palace and taking it for himself.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Link will find himself helping random citizens in his quest to save Hyrule.
- Clothes Make the Legend: To the point that, in The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Spirit Tracks, there is a reason as to why he wears the so-called "Hero's Clothes".
- Color Motif: He's almost always associated with the color green, due to his trademark clothes, his connection with nature (he often starts his adventures in a forest in the countryside), and the Triforce of Courage (the piece of the goddess Farore, who is also associated with green). Very often blue and indigo serve as secondary colors for him too (the Hylian Shield, the Master Sword, the glow of its attacks, etc..)
- Combat Pragmatist: Though he's skilled with a sword, the majority of his battles have him coming up with a more clever way to take his foe down then simply head-on combat, such as irritating Valoo even more (the point of the battle was to get rid of the source of his irritation) so he causes a stone slab on the ceiling to drop on Gohma. This mostly happens out of necessity as Link might not be able to damage the foe normally, but in fights he CAN win with just his sword there are often alternate methods of defeating the opponent, like reflecting energy balls with a net, or using a hammer instead of a sword.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Link never has his parents appear in-game, and it's usually implied that they died some time before. He's occasionally lucky enough to have a few blood-relatives.
- Cool Sword: It's called the friggin' Master Sword!
- Cosmic Keystone: He is the destined bearer of the Triforce of Courage, ⅓ of a divine wish-granting artefact.
- Costume Evolution: The exact look of Link's Hero outfit varies from game to game, but in the original games - and most of the games set in the Decline timeline - it has yellow trim. Ocarina of Time gave him tights, while Twilight Princess added chainmail and pants.
- Crazy-Prepared: Has a weapon/item for every possible situation.
- David Versus Goliath: Very frequently takes the role of David. It's actually to his advantage, as most attacks send him flying and give him room to recover.
- Depending on the Artist: The different Links have often wildly divergent appearances. The only real constants are his green tunic and hat.
- In the last decade or so, Link's appearance has largely standardized to just two blond models: the young "Toon Link", and the older more realistic teenage Bishonen. Previous Links had different hair colors like brown or auburn, and the art style shifted wildly. He even had pink hair in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Today Nintendo seems content to just stick with just these current two styles.
- His eyes are usually very blue, but in The Wind Waker and other games featuring "Toon Link", they're black.
- Death Glare: Normally Link has a pretty calm and sometimes even happy expression, so when you see him frowning at an enemy you know shit is getting real. Skyward Sword would be the best example, but there are instances before that.
- Demolitions Expert: Bombs have been a standard part of his arsenal since the early days, and over the years he's gotten more creative in their usage.
- The Determinator: Practically his superpower. Link never gives up (see Heroic Spirit, below).
- Instant Expert: ...unless it's this. Give him a new toy, no matter how bizarre, and Link will be wielding it like a natural in a matter of minutes.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Since the Big Bad of each game tends to be some sort of Eldritch Abomination
- Die, Chair! Die!: All Links seem to share an instinctive hatred of pottery and tall grass.
- Emerald Power: He wears green clothes, his homeland is most games is a lush forest and Farore, his patron goddess, is also symbolized by green.
- Eternal Hero: Skyward Sword and Hyrule Historia imply that each Link is the incarnation of the "Spirit of the Hero", therefore making successive Links the reincarnations of their predecessors. Hyrule Warriors is the first game - albeit not part of the established timeline - to explicitly state this to be the case.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: Since A Link To The Past, this has been one of his best sword attacks, and essentially his signature move.
- Featureless Protagonist: Was this for the first few games (well, sort of), but with additions over time of backstory, family members, and motivations other than "save Zelda", seems to be beginning to grow out of it.
- Good Is Not Soft: Link is (most often) a humble farmboy, but when things get messy, the bad guys will be destroyed.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: About half of Link's incarnations have blond hair and, true to the trope, he is often kind to the people he meets.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Although his Canon Name "Link" is used extensively pretty much everywhere, you get to name the lad in almost every game. While at least one of the Links could've actually been named Link, the other heroes' real names have been lost to history, so it's open to interpretation.
- The Hero: Of course. Just about every Link from Ocarina of Time onwards has had "Hero of..." as part of their moniker.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Many of Link's incarnations are highly skilled swordsmen, or become them over the course of their adventures, and all of them wield swords as their primary weapon.
- Heroic Mime:
- The God of the Trope.
- Aside from battle cries, Link never says a word. But NPCs sometimes react as though he does, implying that his dialogue is supposed to be imagined by the player. Occasionally, he gets Dialogue Tree. Also at some points in The Wind Waker, where he very clear calls out "Come on!" during the escort missions. This is averted again in Twilight Princess. Not the main Link, he's as silent as ever, but Hyrule Historia says that the Spirit Advisor Hero's Shade is the ghost of the Link from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask.
- He's actually seen talking during cutscenes in Skyward Sword and A Link Between Worlds, but the audience doesn't hear anything. But they pretty much get the gist of it if they have been following the game's plot.
- In the non-canon Hyrule Warriors, it's taken Up to Eleven, where he's confirmed to be mute and uses fairies to interpret for him.
- Heroic Lineage: Some of the Links in the series are descendants of others. This is notably subverted by the Hero of Winds, who is not related to the Hero of Time, but manages to be a hero anyway. He also starts his own lineage in his sequels. Skyward Sword and Hyrule Historia imply that the various Links are reincarnations of the Spirit of the Hero.
- Heroic Spirit: Whether the obstacles are diabolic puzzles or demon kings, nothing stops Link when people need him. Lampshaded in Skyward Sword, which explains that he's The Chosen One specifically because of this.
- Horse Archer: Originally, the only thing that he could use while riding Epona was his bow.
- Hot-Blooded: If there's one thing all of Link's incarnations have in common, it's passion.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: A sword, shield, bow, boomerang, bombs, and a hookshot. And those are just his standard items.
- Iconic Item: The Master Sword and the Hylian Shield are almost as iconic of him as...
- Iconic Outfit: His trademark green tunic and hat. It's first canonical appearance was the green version of the knights uniform in Skyloft. Somehow it came to be casual clothes worn by the Kokiri. Then it became known as the Hero's Clothes after the Hero of Time (who was raised as a Kokiri). In the Adult Timeline it became part of a coming of age ritual on Outset Island, before the Hero of Winds brought it full circle to being a knights uniform in New Hyrule.
- Ideal Hero: No matter in what situation he is in, he is always described as the ideal choice to be the hero of Hyrule.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Of the heroic and idealistic variety.
- Jaw Drop:
- Kid Hero: Though only when he's a kid.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: If it even vaguely looks useful and isn't nailed down, Link will nab it. And anything that is nailed down? He will brave a dungeon's depths just to get something he can use to pry it up so he nab that as well.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Oh, hell yes. Twilight Princess even gives him magic armor that makes him invincible, but eats his money in exchange. He's also recently taken to wearing chainmail under his tunic.
- Lady and Knight: The White Knight to Zelda's Bright Lady.
- Eternal Hero: In-Universe the various Links are implied to be the reincarnations of Hylia's chosen hero, and thus each other as well. Hyrule Historia notes that not all of them may have even been named Link, but that the name is given by the storytellers who recount the Legends of Zelda. This is a Lamp Shade on the fact that you can name the character in every game, but even in-universe previous Links are only referred to by title such as The Hero of Men, Hero of Time, or Hero of Winds, never by given name. And though characters may note that the current Link is wearing The Hero's Clothes, wielding the same Cool Sword, or having the same spirit, they never say that he has the same name. Of course, this wording is right after "they could be the same person, [or] relatives...", so they could mean family name.
- Leitmotif: The field theme for each game which usually means the Main Theme of the series. Some melodies once unique to individual games, like the Ocarina of Time Hyrule Field and the Twilight Princess Hyrule Field themes, have become recurring in future games as well.
- Lightning Bruiser: Almost always very light on his feet, and strong enough to throw around or clash swords with foes much larger than him. In one case, he's able to overpower Ganondorf in a contest of strength.
- Magic Knight: Pairs good old fashioned swordsmanship with magical items, and occasionally magic spells.
- Magic Music: Whether it's an ocarina, a harp, or a magical baton, several of the Links have had the ability to warp time and space via music.
- Master Swordsman: Develops into one or is one from the beginning in each game.
- Maybe Ever After: While Link and Zelda have never been outright confirmed as an Official Couple, it's been implied many, many times.
- Meaningful Name: His official name refers to the fact that he is the player's "link" to the game world. And by pure coincidence, this left-handed hero's name just happens to be German for "left."
- In Dutch, Link means both "risky" and "dangerous". Which describes the situations he's in adequately well.
- Mr. Fanservice: His Bishōnen designs. The first one in Ocarina of Time was made specifically to make him physically attractive. Boy, did it work! The peak was his Shirtless Sumo Scene in Twilight Princess, which was pretty much every Zelda fangirl dream come true. Except for the fact that he had to fight a... let us say... less physically attractive character.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: Often performs feats of strength that, considering his size, should be completely impossible. Some cases are justified with the use of magical enhancements. Others (such as swinging around a sword literally twice his size in Skyward Sword and 3 times his size in Wind Waker) are not.
- Nice Guy: Link is nice to just about everyone he meets.
- Nice Hat: Would he really be Link without it? It practically even got its own game.
- Nintendo Power once stated that the one thing Link could do that nobody else could is make a floppy green hat look cool. They're right.
- One-Man Army: Repeatedly shown to be utterly superior to Hyrule's official army.
- One Mario Limit: Played With. According to Word of God, the actual names of the various heroes (such as the "Hero of the Winds" and the "Hero of Time") may not actually be "Link". The stories we see in the series are legends told generations after they happened. It could very well be that a person named "Link" gets reincarnated every so often, or it could be that Hyrulean storytellers retroactively named every Hero that appeared "Link", regardless of what their original names were.
- Only I Can Kill Him: Being the chosen wielder of the Master Sword, Link is the only one who can kill Ganondorf.
- Only the Chosen May Wield: The Master Sword does not appear in every Zelda game, but when it does, a Link is always the chosen wielder.
- The Paladin: He is the chosen hero of gods and wields Holy weapons like the Master Sword and Light Arrows.
- Pants-Free: Played straight in most of the earlier games, where the art made it clear he wasn't wearing much under the tunic. After Ocarina of Time, though, they started showing him wearing tights, and in Twilight Princess, he is finally given real pants.
- Parental Abandonment: In every single one of his incarnations. The closest he ever came to having parents was Ocarina of Time (in which they were revealed to be dead). He gets to have an uncle in A Link to the Past and a Grandma and Grandpa in Wind Waker and The Minish Cap (respectively), but that's about it.
- Platonic Life Partners: With Zelda. It has been noted in some games, most notably The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: No matter how bizarre the magical knicknacks he picks up, he'll find some way to kill at least one giant monster with it.
- Precursor Heroes: Some Links are this to their successors. The best-known example is the Link of Ocarina of Time, who is the ancestor of the Link of Twilight Princess.
- Progressively Prettier: Link was rather average looking in his first few appearances, with unkempt hair, a stubby nose, and enormous ears. It wasn't until Ocarina of Time that he became a full-on Bishonen thanks to sharper features, a cleaner hair-do, and thinner ears, and he's only gotten prettier since then.
- Reforged Blade: Sometimes, the Master Sword must be reforged in order to increase its power. Unlike most examples, however, the Master Sword is not broken in the first place. In the Skyward Sword prequel manga included in Hyrule Historia, the original incarnation of Link is shown shattering the Master Sword in order to reforge it from a divine greatsword only wieldable by Hylia into a longsword he can use.
- Reincarnation: Link is not just one hero, but many who are all incarnations of the "Spirit of the Hero" who is destined to fight Ganondorf alongside Zelda.
- Rewarding Vandalism: Link's primary source of income is smashing random objects. Especially pottery.
- Sacred Bow and Arrows: His Light Arrows/Silver Arrows.
- Screaming Warrior: Link's only spoken dialogue has been screaming at his enemies as he hacks them to pieces.
- Second-Person Narration: With a few exceptions that can be written off as typos, the narration always refers to Link as "you", e.g. "You found ten rupees!". The instruction manuals for A Link to the Past and Link's Awakening are written entirely in second person.
- Showy Invincible Hero: We all know he'll win, but dear Gods, it's almost as much fun to watch him win as it is to be him when he wins.
- Signature Move: His Spin Attack. Also, to a lesser degree, the Jumping Down Thrust/Finishing Move.
- Smarter Than You Look: A portion of the fandom doesn't think much of Link's intelligence, possibly due in part to his Nice Job Breaking It, Hero in Ocarina of Time (when he was all of ten, following Zelda's advice, and was raised in a Hidden Elf Village). Virtually every game in the series relies on figuring out all manner of puzzles, including some nasty Puzzle Boss opponents. He may be goofy on occasion, but even the Master Sword isn't the sharpest weapon in his arsenal.
- The Southpaw: Except on the Wii. Interestingly, early official art for the first game shows him holding his sword in his right hand. The left-handedness came about because of his Ambidextrous Sprite appearance in that game, and it was decided to make the southpaw status canon.
- Special Person, Normal Name: The Hero of Hyrule has the average name "Link".
- Spirit Advisor: He both has and is one in Twilight Princess, as the Hero's Shade who guides Twilight Princess Link is in fact the Link from Ocarina of Time according to Hyrule Historia.
- Sword Beam: In some games, Link can use his sword to fire energy beams. Depending on the game, either any sword can fire a Sword Beam or only the Master Sword can do it.
- Unskilled, but Strong: In the 2D games, Link's fighting style consists of large, slow, sweeping slashes and stabs, but with his legendary sword in hand, he's an unstoppable force. In most 3D games post-Wind Waker, he starts out as this but becomes a Master Swordsman by picking up more elaborate fighting techniques.
- World's Best Warrior: By the end of every game, Link becomes this.
- Zettai Ryouiki: The Links from the original Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, A Link to the Past, and Link's Awakening have Type C.
Voiced by: Jun Mizusawa (Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess), Hikari Tachibana (The Wind Waker), Akane Omae (Spirit Tracks), Yu Shimamura (Skyward Sword), Ayumi Fujimura (A Link Between Worlds)
The series's namesake(s). The Princess(es) of Hyrule, when not getting kidnapped, is usually the one to send Link on his quest or to help him along the way. Like Link, she appears in different incarnations throughout the series, in honor of the Zelda from Skyward Sword.
- Action Girl: In Twilight Princess, The Wind Waker, and Spirit Tracks. Also implied in Ocarina of Time and Skyward Sword, although we don't get to see it on screen.
- Archer Archetype: Her bow wielding selves are typically the serene and graceful take on it.
- Badass Princess: More recently, Zelda has been taking increasingly proactive roles in protecting her kingdom.
- Barrier Maiden: When fighting with magic she can create barriers.
- Battle Couple: With Link in more than one Final Battle.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Typically supports Link as an archer while he does the up close and personal.
- Sword and Sorcerer: Except in Four Swords Adventures, where she uses an Energy Ball to attack instead.
- Big Good: Starting in Ocarina of Time, where she takes an active role in Link's adventures and gives him missions.
- Cosmic Keystone: She is the destined bearer of the Triforce of Wisdom, ⅓ of a divine wish-granting artefact.
- Costume Evolution: She originally had a pink dress with puff sleeves, and a wide bell skirt that had white ribbons and bows near the hem. This only lasted the first couple of games. In The Legend Of Zelda A Linkto The Past she had a white dress with some purple trimmings and gold accessories. This would be the first form of her standard dress, which would evolve over further games.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: The biggest example in the games, what with her being the mortal reincarnation of the goddess Hylia.
- Damsel in Distress: In many games, often right before the very end. However, she's a variation in that she usually creates a plan to stop Ganondorf in some way prior to her capture.
- Damsel out of Distress: Mostly in her Action Girl incarnations, but even when she's not, she always keeps her cool and dignity.
- Demonic Possession:
- Used on her empty body near the end of Twilight Princess, while Zelda's soul is secretly keeping Midna alive.
- Happens again in Spirit Tracks, only this time her soul's been put in a suit of armor. Multiple suits of armor, in fact. Also in Spirit Tracks, Malladus inhabits her empty shell as part of a boss battle.
- Deuteragonist: The second most important character in the series (despite it bearing her name) after Link.
- Everything's Better with Princesses:
- Played straight in all of the games except for Skyward Sword, where she is not a princess.
- In Twilight Princess, she is Hyrule's sole ruler, having the authority of a queen. Therefore, she is a princess In-Name-Only.
- God in Human Form: Specifically Skyward Sword's Zelda, who is the mortal incarnation of the goddess Hylia. Considering the strong implication that most-to-all of the Zeldas in the series are reincarnations of each other, it's very probable this trope applies to them, as well.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: In games where she helps Link in combat, it's usually with magic or arrows while Link fights with the Master Sword. Averted in her Shiek persona, where she fights with hand-to-hand martial arts skills, adding needles and a chain-whip in Smash Bros or kunai and an enchanted harp in Hyrule Warriors.
- Zigzagged with Tetra, an incarnation of Zelda who was brought up as a pirate captain, in Hyrule Warriors, who fights with Sword and Gun.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Like the leader hero, most of her incarnations are blonde. On occasion, she will have brown hair and, even rarer, red hair. While she is a princess of varying ages, she has her people's best interests at heart.
- High Class Gloves: Her standard royal dress often includes long, white gloves.
- The High Queen: Particularly in Twilight Princess, where the plot begins right in the middle of the coronation ceremony that would have made her Queen of Hyrule.
- Implied Love Interest: The various relationships between Link and Zelda basically fit the trope description to a tee: Zelda never has another love interest (Link tends to be either the same or a Chick Magnet depending on the game), interact with each other the most (usually), the plot is focused around Link rescuing Zelda (usually), and always form a strong emotional connection quickly no matter the amount of actual interaction. The exceptions are Spirit Tracks and Skyward Sword, which play up the romance angle, and Hyrule Warriors (see Official Couple).
- Informed Attribute: Although she's always the bearer of the Triforce of Wisdom in games where it's shattered, her actual wisdom is... questionable. Although it's arguably for plot reasons, she often makes foolish decisions that just cause Link trouble.
- Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Zelda's Action Girl selves typically have more masculine alter-egos but still tend to do most of their combat in her Pimped-Out Dress.
- Lady and Knight: The Bright Lady to Link's White Knight.
- Lady of War: She becomes one in the final boss battles of Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Spirit Tracks.
- Living MacGuffin: According to Word of God, Zelda is the title character because she is invariably the center of Link's adventures.
- Leitmotif: Zelda's Theme (better known among fans as Zelda's Lullaby). First appeared in A Link to the Past and officially named in Ocarina of Time. She's also associated with the Ballad of the Goddess, which is Zelda's Lullaby backwards.
- Light 'em Up: Usually in the form of the Light Arrow but sometimes as a Kamehame Hadoken, Instant Runes, or an Energy Ball.
- Light Is Good: She often emphasizes the power of light against evil.
- Little Miss Badass: Give her younger forms a weapon and you get this.
- Mage Marksman: She's always something of a sorceress and on many occasions will take up arms with a bow and arrow mostly to fire the Light Arrows.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: She often inadvertently triggers difficulties for Link or Hyrule as a whole when she makes poor decisions. Two of the more notable examples would be her plan in Ocarina of Time, where she ended up allowing Ganondorf to access the Sacred Realm and take the Triforce, and her sudden disappearance to take up the guise of Shiek in Hyrule Warriors, which served no strategic purpose and succeeded in doing nothing but demoralizing her troops.
- Also, one can argue her existence as this based on the ending of Skyward Sword. Reading between the lines of Demise's Dying Curse, it's plausible that the reason the entire cycle exists is because Demise-as-Ganondorf is piggybacking on the same divine reincarnative powers used to create each Link and Zelda. In other words, Ganondorf only gets to come back each generation because Zelda and Link will always appear each generation.
- One Mario Limit: Averted. Like Link, there are multiple Zeldas throughout the timeline, though for various reasons. For example, in The Adventure of Link, it's explained that every princess born was named Zelda in honor of the one that was put to sleep defending the Triforce of Courage.
- Parental Abandonment: Although the King has appeared in two games so far, and offscreen in a third.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Being a princess, she often wears elaborate dresses.
- Platonic Life Partners: With Link. It has been noted that in some games, most notably The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.
- Princess Classic: She's characterized as this in the games up to Ocarina of Time, where she is instead a headstrong child/guilt-ridden adult.
- Princesses Prefer Pink: About half of Zelda's outfits.
- Psychic Powers: She is often clairvoyant and telepathic.
- Royal Blood: All Zeldas are females born into the royal family, and they always have a crucial role to play in the Links' battle against evil.
- Royalty Super Power: Sorcery is passed down the Royal Family of Hyrule, due to the line's Divine Parentage and service to the Gods.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Oftentimes. Even the very first Zelda game had her doing her part in keeping Ganon away from completing the Triforce by breaking apart and hiding each piece of the Triforce of Wisdom.
- Sacred Bow and Arrows: In more recent titles, the honor of wielding the Light Arrows has passed from Link to her.
- Semi-Divine: Skyward Sword reveals that the first Zelda was the reincarnation of the goddess Hylia, making every Zelda after her this.
- Ship Tease: Has a ton of these with Link. While the first two games implied they were an Official Couple, later games toned the relationship down to this with only hints of a romance.
- Statuesque Stunner: A number of Zeldas are as tall, or taller, than their respective Links.
- Taken for Granite: In The Minish Cap and Phantom Hourglass she's petrified.
- White Magic: Her powers are almost always defined as divine in origin, which is revealed in Skyward Sword to be attributed to her divine heritage.
- The Wise Princess: Triforce of Wisdom, natch. She's even the Goddess of the Trope.
- Wise Beyond Her Years: Whether as a child, a teenager or a young adult, Zelda is always much wiser than her age would imply.
- Xenafication: Initially just a Damsel in Distress, later games made her a ninja, a pirate, and ultimately a goddess. After Wind Waker, she's not as capable of Link but is able to competently assist him in battle by providing Light Arrow support fire. Skyward Sword even goes so far as to have her successfully infiltrate the Skyview Temple and get a good distance to the Earth Temple on her own.
Voiced by: Takashi Nagasako (Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker), Hironori Miyata (Twilight Princess)
The Prince of Darkness, King of Evil, and ruler of the Dark World. Although his original appearance was more like a giant blue pigman, the 3D games gave him a human form when they established his Start of Darkness. He is considered the main villain of the series. He holds the Triforce of Power and is the main villain for six games, and the final boss of a further two. He stated in Ocarina of Time that the Triforce of Power makes him immortal and this is reiterated in Twilight Princess. The Sages attempted to execute him, but this awakens the Triforce of Power which keeps him alive. He can be weakened and sealed away, but as long as he has the Triforce of Power he cannot be permanently killed and will revive in strength. This basically means that while Link and Zelda in the various games are reincarnations of their past namesakes, many of the Ganondorfs (though not all) are the same being resurrected. The ending of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword revealed that an incarnation of the Demon King Demise's hatred will always live on so long as incarnations of Zelda and Link continue to live on. And thus, Ganondorf exists as that incarnation of Demise's hatred as the main villain of the series, though there are a few other villains that serve that role as well.
- Alternate Self: The Ganondorfs seen in the Decline, Adult, and Child timelines are this to each other. In addition, he has an effeminate Lorule counterpart named Yuga, who bonds with Ganon to become superior.
- Ambiguously Brown: The Gerudo people all live in deserts, so it's probably justified. Ganondorf himself, however, is Ambiguously Green for whatever reason. Conversely, his Lorule counterpart Yuga has stark, pasty white skin.
- Ambition Is Evil: Ganon's chief trait is an unquenchable desire for power. No amount of power, not even the Triforce, is ever enough for him.
- Animal Motifs: Pigs and Boars.
- The Antichrist: He is the incarnation of hatred of Demon King Demise, who reincarnated himself into mortal form to match his rival, the goddess Hylia, and swore revenge on her and her champion.
- Arch-Enemy: To more than half a dozen Links and Zeldas.
- Art Evolution: Has gone from a pig man to a dark brown/green skinned redhead giant over the years.
- It should be noted that while the transition from pig Ganon to humanoid Ganondorf was done moreso to explore Ganon's past as a demon who was once a Gerudo, the pig form tends to stick around for Final Boss battles, and has undergone some Art Evolution itself. It's gone from looking like a cartoony caricature of a Pig Man in the 2D games to being much more realistic and bestial in Ocarina and beyond.
- Back from the Dead:
- This happened if you got a Game Over in The Adventure of Link. Has presumably happened several times offscreen, too.
- The linked ending of the Oracle games features a Ganon revived from the dead. He Came Back Wrong, but it still counts.
- He is also briefly resurrected in A Link Between Worlds before being taken over by his Alternate Self, Yuga.
- Badass Beard: In Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, he's grown his sideburns into a short beard.
- Badass Cape: Wears a cloak in human form Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, and as Ganon in the games set in the Decline Era.
- Badass Longcoat: In Wind Waker, and in his concept art◊ for the Oracle games.
- Batman Gambit: In Ocarina Of Time, he just waited for Link to pull out the Master Sword for him.
- Beard of Evil: In Wind Waker and Twilight Princess.
- Big Bad: The main antagonist of the entire series and usually the main villain of each game, with a few exceptions.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Has them in his human form. They're so big that they connect to his hair!
- Breakout Villain: During his debut in Ocarina of Time in his human form, Ganon has become one of the most reoccurring villains in the series.
- Complete Immortality: In Ocarina of Time, it's established that his piece of the Triforce makes him immortal, and for the most part, the series sticks with it. However, if he loses his piece, he does die for good, as seen in Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, although in the case of the latter he was reincarnated.
- Card-Carrying Villain: A surprisingly well-handled example. Ganondorf makes no secret that he values power above all else. He even refers to himself using titles like "King of Evil" and "Dark Lord". Still, his pragmatism, intelligence, and tragic origins makes him more popular and interesting than the average villain.
- Cosmic Keystone: He is the destined bearer of the Triforce of Power, ⅓ of a divine wish-granting artifact.
- Dark Is Evil: His Color Motif leans on black and very dark tones. And whenever his power grows, darkness begins to blot out the world. Hell, the world he created is called the Dark World.
- The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Implied in the ending of Wind Waker; he originally set out to obtain the Triforce to give prosperity to his desert-bound tribe, the Gerudo, akin to that which the Hylians enjoyed. Instead, after acquiring the Triforce of Power, he became obsessed with destroying Hyrule and conquering everything, forgetting all about his people in his new thirst for power.
- Dark-Skinned Redhead: Due to his Gerudo heritage.
- Demonic Possession: He uses this on Zelda in Twilight Princess and it is implied that he did so on Agahnim in A Link to the Past.
- Desert Bandits: He was the king of the Gerudo, a tribe of desert-dwelling thieves. His original motivation for desiring the Triforce was to give them a better life.
- Diabolical Mastermind/Evil Genius: Ganon is one of the most intelligent being in the entire franchise. He's a skilled planner, and manipulated Link and Zelda to open the Door of Time for him.
- Dimension Lord: In the Decline timeline, he was sealed away in the Sacred Realm and conquered it, turning it into the Dark World.
- Dual Wield: He wields a pair of swords in Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, and Hyrule Warriors.
- Evil Is Bigger: He's seven and a half feet tall! And that's just in his human form.
- Evil Is Hammy: Ganondorf is prone to laughing menacingly while bragging about how powerful he is.
- Evil Laugh: Almost a Verbal Tic in Ocarina of Time.
- Evil Only Has to Win Once: Subverted. The "Decline" Timeline is exactly what happens when Ganon does win — and it still doesn't work out that well for him. Even after defeating Link and gaining the complete Triforce, the people of Hyrule still managed to fight back and managed to seal Ganon in the Sacred Realm/Dark World. However, as he still had the Triforce at his disposal, Ganon continued making wishes and building his power until the Dark World's power began seeping into the Light World as well. And when this happened, we're told that a new Hero was destined to appear. So really, evil is kind of at a disadvantage here.
- Evil Overlord: Overlaps with Evil Sorcerer and Sorcerous Overlord.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: Ganon's Tower is his base of operations in several games.
- For the Evulz: Depending on the game, especially Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, he enjoys the evil he causes.
- Freudian Excuse: It's revealed in Wind Waker that he was jealous of Hyrule's prosperity while his people were reduced to thievery in the desert, and claims that is the reason he initially invaded.
- Full-Boar Action: His Ganon form, especially in Twilight Princess and Hyrule Warriors.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Specifically, his being destined to be the king of a barren desert before seeing the fertility and peace of Hyrule. Furthermore, it is implied in Skyward Sword that Ganon is the incarnation of the ancient Demon King Demise's hatred after the latter was defeated by the first Link. In other words, Ganon really had no other chance of being anything but evil.
- Genius Bruiser: A clever manipulator, a powerful sorcerer, and a fearsome warrior with weapons or without.
- Generic Doomsday Villain: Depending on how prominently the game features him, he can end up as this due to not getting enough screentime to get any characterization besides wanting to Take Over the World.
- God in Human Form: Much like how Zelda is the mortal incarnation of Hylia, Ganon is the reincarnation of Demise, specifically the incarnation of his hatred, destined to fight the bloodlines of Link and Zelda forever.
- Greater Scope Villain: He serves as this role if he has a Dragon working for him (usually trying to resurrect him, like his surrogate mothers in the Oracle games) or if he is The Man Behind the Man. In fact, there's a whole trope for this, and he is the Trope Namer: Hijacked by Ganon.
- Has Two Mommies: He was brought up by the Twinrova, two witches.
- Hellish Horse: In Twilight Princess, he rides one with glowing red eyes.
- Hijacked by Ganon: Trope Namer, and he's been at it for five games and counting. He's also the God of the Trope.
- Honor Before Reason: A rare villainous example: During the final fight in Wind Waker, Ganondorf, after being hit by enough Light Arrows, approaches Tetra, and, instead of stabbing her, puts away his sword and simply backhands her. Also, he seems to have a habit of, whenever knocking down Link, waiting until he gets back up before he resumes his attack or does a finishing blow.
- Humanoid Abomination: He was once simply the king of the desert-dwelling Gerudo tribe, although a powerful sorcerer nevertheless. After acquiring the Triforce, however, he became something much, much worse. He is also the reincarnation of the primordial Demon King Demise and a manifestation of his hatred towards Zelda and Link.
- Immortality: He is the only bearer of a Triforce piece that remains the same being from appearance to appearance for this reason. It's strongly implied that Link and Zelda's spirits are reincarnated from each passing generation instead.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: A variation occurs in both Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker in terms of the finishing blows: in the former, Link, after Ganondorf was pinned down by Zelda, slices Ganondorf's face and then delivers the final blow by impaling his mouth, and in the latter, Ganon attempts to do a last-ditch attack on Link, Link parries it, gains enough air, and then does a downward thrust through Ganondorf's head. Played completely straight in Twilight Princess with the Sage's Sword skewering him through the chest, and Link's finishing blow against him going right through the wound left by it.
- Invincible Villain: Ganondorf claims to be unable to be killed by any weapon without the ability to purge evil, and backs it up in Wind Waker.
- Joker Immunity: Despite dying on-screen several times, he usually finds a way back in time for the next game. The Triforce of Power is attributed for most if not all of these returns.
- Knight of Cerebus: When he appears in a 3D game, he typically ends up darkening the plot.
- Killed Off for Real: The original Ganondorf was killed by Link at the end of Twilight Princess and Wind Waker, both times due to the Triforce of Power, the source of his immortality, being separated from him. However, as per Demise's Dying Curse in Skyward Sword, he is reincarnated as the Ganondorf seen in Four Swords Adventures in the Child Timeline. So far, he's stayed dead in the Adult Timeline. This is still circumstantial, however — in the Decline Timeline, Ganon loses the entire Triforce twice (at the end of A Link to the Past and then at the end of the original Legend of Zelda as well), and we're told that there's still a way to revive him in Adventure of Link. That's the final game in that timeline, so it never actually happens barring a Game Over.
- King Koopa Copy: He started out as one, but after the introduction of his human form, Ganondorf, he became very different.
- King Mook: In some games, he can be considered this to the Moblins, as they sometimes take on a Pig Man appearance.
- King of Thieves: Before he obtained the Triforce of Power and became the Prince of Darkness/King of Evil, Ganondorf was the King of Thieves of the Gerudo. The position goes to the one male born to the tribe every 100 years.
- Large and in Charge: In both his human and beast forms. Hyrule Historia even puts his official human form height at a staggering and stout 7 feet 6 inches.
- Large Ham: In various games. Bonus points for, as Ganon, making it as literal as possible.
- Laughing Mad: His reaction to the waves coming down on Hyrule from the Hyrulean King's wish to the Triforce in Wind Waker.
- Leitmotif: Agahnim's theme in A Link to the Past became Ganondorf's theme in from Ocarina onwards, as the former was in many ways a prototype for the latter. It is a slow, menacing theme. He even played it on his organ one time, while waiting for Link to arrive. The various Ganon, Phantom Ganon, and Ganondorf boss battle themes go with the character as well.
- Lightning Bruiser: In Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, he does away with taking on Link with spells from afar and fighting as the Mighty Glacier Ganon and proves to be an astonishingly agile opponent while still being bigger and stronger than Link and Stone Walling all but the most advanced sword attacks. Even when he is Ganon in Twilight Princess, he's incredibly agile, and turns human for the final battle.
- Made of Evil: Because of the revelation that Ganondorf is the manifestation of the curse placed upon Zelda and Link's descendants by Demise in Skyward Sword, Ganondorf's existence hinges on the hatred and persisting spirit of an ancient evil.
- Magic Knight: He not only possesses powerful magic, but is also unbelievably strong and skilled with melee weapons.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: In Wind Waker, Ganondorf laughs off a slash from the depowered Master Sword and scolds Link for even thinking that he could be defeated by a weapon without the power to purge evil. Every time he is killed, he will come back to life just fine due to having the Triforce of Power and being a manifestation of Demise's hatred towards humans.
- Older and Wiser: His depiction in Wind Waker, having had a lot of time to think about things. He still wants to claim the Triforce and take over Hyrule, but he's become more philosophical and explains his original motives.
- The One Guy: To his entire race. Ganondorf is the male Gerudo born once every one hundred years, which is his claim to his title as king.
- One-Handed Zweihänder: Although he's usually shown wielding a trident, some games do have him wielding massive swords, most notably Ocarina of Time (as Ganon) and Hyrule Warriors (where it's his default weapon-set).
- One-Winged Angel: His boar-like beast form, Ganon. The 2D games have him in this form all of the time.
- Orcus on His Throne: Possesses the Triforce of Power, is a spectacularly skilled sorcerer and swordsman, easily mows down any and all (non-Links) who oppose him, is immortal... and he generally waits around for the latest incarnation of the Hero to level up at the expense of his minions rather than deal with any potential threat himself. Subverted in some games, however, such as Wind Waker, where Ganon was tearing up the place before the Master Sword was sacrificed to seal most of his power and then Hyrule was flooded to keep him away.
- Overarching Villain: He hijacks the plot from a lot of villains, and is overall the main recurring antagonist.
- Pig Man: The rare Big Bad example of this trope. Precisely how piggish he looks tend to vary from game to game; he tends to be more pig-like in the 2d games, probably to match his iconic Mooks, the moblins (who tend to see-saw between pigmen and bulldog-men themselves). His Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess incarnations are the least piggish-looking, with the former being a hulking demonic Beast Man with a piggish nose and the latter looking like a swinishly snouted, tusked hybrid of lion and ape.
- Physical God: Almost literally, as he (usually) wields the Triforce of Power, which amplifies his own abilities immeasurably, and is the reincarnation of the Demon King Demise.
- Planet of Copyhats: In the backstory of A Link to the Past, he is said to be a masterful thief on account of how he came by the Triforce. Thievery ends up being one of the main defining features of the Gerudo.
- The Power of Hate:
- He embodies the dying curse that Demise set on the descendants of the first Link and Zelda, in which that an incarnation of his hatred is destined to forever fight all of their descendants.
- Makes him transform into Ganon for the final boss fight in Ocarina in tandem with the Triforce of Power.
- Pride: What really keeps undoing Ganondorf again and again is his extreme arrogance. While he has recognized Link's skill on several occasions, the King of Evil refuses to believe that the Hero is a match for him no matter how much the latter accomplishes.
- Prongs of Poseidon: His most commonly seen weapon is a trident of some description, although the style varies between games. Every Ganon wields one in the 2D games, and it's his secondary weapon set in Hyrule Warriors.
- Raised by Grandparents: Sort of. Word of God is that he was raised by the witches Twinrova.
- Reincarnation: The Ganondorf seen in Four Swords Adventures is the reincarnation of the original Ganondorf killed in Twilight Princess, and Dark Link is a manifestation of his hatred for Link. In Skyward Sword, it's revealed that he is the the incarnation of the hatred Demon King Demise bore for Link and Zelda. Hyrule Historia and Hyrule Warriors state that Ganondorf is Demise's reincarnation as well.
- Scary Black Man: Though more along the lines of Ambiguously Green, his skin is dark enough to give off a Scary Black Man vibe. The Gerudo are also more Middle East or East African inspired, in contrast to the more European Hylians.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: At the end of Ocarina of Time and in the backstory of the Decline timeline he's sealed into the Sacred Realm, at the end of Four Swords Adventures he's sealed inside the Four Sword, and in the backstory of Breath of the Wild he was sealed inside Hyrule Castle.
- Sinister Schnoz: As part of his Gerudo heritage, he has a large nose. Ocarina of Time in particular has it be impressively pointy like all Gerudo. Later games tone it down, but it's still fairly big in most interpretations.
- Stalker Without A Crush: To every Zelda he meets. He only desires her for the Triforce of Wisdom she carries.
- Staying Alive: Several games imply or outright state it is due to the Triforce of Power making him immortal.
- Stout Strength: In most of his appearances, he's either fat (as an anthropomorphic pig) or muscular-but-somewhat-fat (as Ganondorf in all his appearances except Ocarina of Time), but is still one of the strongest beings in Hyrule.
- Super Strength: On top of his powerful magic abilities, his physical strength is godlike. Many times, he is portrayed as stronger and more powerful than Link (who has impressive feats of strength himself) like in Wind Waker where he completely overpowers Link (a Link who can lift giant boulders) in every encounter without even trying, or in Ocarina of Time where Link needs big magical strength enhancement gloves to even compare to Ganon's strength. He has feats like breaking free from heavy chains, destroying the floor of his throne room with one punch, destroying pillars which require powerful weapons for it to destroy with ease, wielding huge weapons that Link himself would struggle to wield, killing the water sage with one punch, breaking free from a giant castle rubble while half dead and creating earthquakes with his physical abilities.
- Take Over the World: His main goal in claiming the Triforce and conquering Hyrule.
- Tennis Boss: In Ocarina of Time and while possessing Zelda in Twilight Princess.
- Touché: Especially evident in Wind Waker, when Link manages to escape or defeat Ganon. He always has this smirk on his face which demonstrates amusement with Link's gumption.
- Tragic Villain: By way of Character Development. Initially, Ganon was just a Generic Doomsday Villain, with A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time expanding on how he was a master thief and warlord who managed to acquire the Triforce (and, in the former game, slaughtered his own followers to possess it). In Wind Waker, he was given a Freudian Excuse for coveting the Triforce; the Gerudo were poor, shunned outcasts who were forced to live in the barren wastes of the desert whilst living right next door to the lush and prosperous Hyrule (and Fridge Horror only makes it worse about how bad things would have been, especially since they were a One-Gender Race who had to mate with Hylian men to propagate). Then, in Skyward Sword, we learn that he's the reincarnation of Demise/the avatar of Demise's hatred born of a Dying Curse, which means that he never had a choice in what would happen to him. He was destined to become a monster, whether he wanted to or not.
- The Unchosen One: Zig Zagged Trope. Unlike Link and Zelda, Ganondorf did not stumble across the Triforce of Power and was not granted its power from birth. However, as the reincarnation/manifestation of the demon Demise, he still seems to embody it. Most telling is the Child Timeline, where Ganondorf failed to open the Portal of Time due to Link's intervention, but is just "awarded" the Triforce of Power just because.
- Unexplained Recovery: He has died. He has also appeared, perfectly healthy, in games that are chronologically some time after the game in which he has died.
According to Hyrule Historia, Ganon returns in the original The Legend of Zelda (after A Link to the Past) without hinting he had died before in games which at the time weren't released. Due to the ambiguity of what happens in-between, how he inexplicably recovers is unknown.
Several of the games, including Ocarina of Time, strongly imply if not outright state it is due to the Triforce of Power making him immortal. In Twilight Princess, the original Ganondorf is finally slain... only to reincarnate in time for the next chronological game.
- Villain Decay: In the Decline timeline, Ganon's power and intelligence gradually decrease as he gets defeated by various incarnations of Link over time. In A Link to the Past, he was at the height of his power, having defeated the Hero of Time and obtained the entire Triforce ages ago with an entire world at his command. The only way to defeat him was by a combination of the Master Sword (which could only stun him) and four Silver Arrowsnote . In the Oracles games, Ganon is revived, only for the resurrection to be botched and he comes back as a mindless, raging beast with limited awareness of who he is. He can be killed by any sword (with the Master Sword causing the most damage). In A Link Between Worlds, Ganon is revived again to be used as a power source for Yuga's One-Winged Angel form, and Yuga remains in full control of his body. He is killed by just the Master Sword. And finally, in the original Legend of Zelda, according to Hyrule Historia, Ganon returns but lacks any of Ganondorf's intellect back in Ocarina of Time, now simply a demon warlord bent on stealing the Triforce. He is ultimately slain by a non-Master Sword and one Silver Arrow this time around.
- Villains Never Lie: In Wind Waker's New Game+, Link receives the "Hero's New Clothes", which are invisible to everyone but the honest. Ganondorf can see them just fine.
- Villain Respect: Despite animosity toward him as an enemy, Ganon has nothing but respect for Link's courage. Numerous times, he praises Link's determination and toughness and gives an amused grin/laugh when Link outsmarts him.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Revealed to have started off as one before his rise to power in Wind Waker, with his intention of freeing the Gerudo from the deserts. As to this, the monster he eventually became is a result of Motive Decay, justified as him going mad with power.
- Wicked Cultured: In Ocarina of Time, he's playing his own theme song on an organ while Link progresses through his lair.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Thanks to Skyward Sword and Wind Waker, he also comes across as this. He pretty much wanted to make life better for the Gerudo, but ended up falling hard down the Dark Side, and in Wind Waker at least, it's even implied that he might have regretted his crimes. In addition, since he was predestined to become the reincarnation of Demise's hatred, he also literally never had any choice in regards to whether he could become good. Heck, in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, Zelda and Link even pitied him.
- Worthy Opponent: Considers Link one, for his courage at least. Ganon is prideful and arrogantly secure in his own power, but he is often pleasantly surprised by Link's ability to give him a challenge.
- Wrestler in All of Us: While very heavily Flanderized in Super Smash Bros., Ganondorf often uses various hand-to-hand combat and wrestling moves in his boss battles alongside swordplay and magic.
- Xanatos Gambit: In two games.
- Ocarina of Time. It doesn't matter who opens the Gate of Time, he'll still get a Triforce piece.
- Wind Waker. The Master Sword is the only weapon that can defeat him, but freeing it gives him his full powers back.
- In Hyrule Warriors, he repeats the gambit from Wind Waker by manipulating Cia into unsealing three parts of his soul and becoming a big enough threat that the heroes have to draw the Master Sword — which was sealing away the final piece of his soul — to stop her.
The Golden Goddesses
Goddesses as a Group
The divine creators of Hyrule, Din, Nayru, and Farore. In ancient times they descended to the chaos that was the world at the time, created the known world and the creatures within it, and then departed, leaving the Triforce at the point in the world they left it. The Goddesses have never directly appeared in a Zelda title outside of flashbacks to their creation of the world, but creatures named for them and artifacts bearing their power frequently appear.
- Color-Coded Characters: Din is usually represented by red, sometimes orange; Nayru is usually represented by blue, sometimes violet or purple; and Farore is usually represented by green.
- Freudian Trio: Din is the Id, being associated with fire and power, and Ganondorf, who wields her part of the Triforce, is the power-hungry Big Bad; Nayru is the Superego, being associated with water and wisdom, and Zelda, who wields her part of the Triforce, is the wise and peaceful ruler of Hyrule; and Farore is the Ego, by virtue of being associated with Link, who defeats Ganondorf, rescues Zelda, and restores balance to the land in the process with a combination of wisdom and power.
- God Is Good: Whenever an evil great enough to demand it threatens the land, they will intervene to help stop it.
- Top God: Of the "God of Gods" variety. The Legend of Zelda provides no shortage of deities but they all pale in comparison to the Hyrulean goddesses, who created the universe and every living creature in it.
Din, Goddess of PowerGoddess of Power, represented by fire, the color red, and the Goron race. She created Hyrule itself, shaping the earth and the mountains.
- Playing with Fire: Is said to have created Hyrule with her "strong, flaming arms", and is generally associated with fire, such as Din's Fire and Death Mountain.
Nayru, Goddess of WisdomGoddess of Wisdom, represented by water, the color blue, and the Zora race. After Din created the land of Hyrule, Nayru breathed her wisdom onto it, creating the laws of space-time.
- Deflector Shields: The spell associated with her, Nayru's Love, creates an energy barrier to protect the user.
- Making a Splash: Is associated with Water via the Zora's Sapphire and similar artifacts.
- Time Master: Being that she's implied to have created the laws of physics (Ocarina of Time says she "gave the spirit of law to the land"), it is thought that she may be the Goddess of Time often spoken of but never named. Additionally, the oracle that bears her name has the power to control time.
Farore, Goddess of CourageGoddess of Courage, represented by the forests and the wind, the color green, and the Kokiri and Deku races. Once Nayru created the law of the land, Farore created life itself, all creatures and plantlife.
- Flash Step: Farore's Wind, the spell associated with her, allows the user to teleport.
- Heroic Spirit: It's implied that while Zelda gets great wisdom and Ganondorf great power, the Triforce of Courage grants Link this trope. Being the Goddess of Courage, it only makes sense.
- Green Thumb: Is the spirit of nature.
- Wind is Green: Is associated with Wind, and her spell in Ocarina of Time, Farore's Wind, is green.
Link's Shadow/Dark Link/Shadow Link
Link's Doppelgänger who first appeared as "Link's Shadow" in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, the surprise final boss. He's something of a popular character with the fandom despite his infrequent appearances and lack of characterization. He appears most notably in Ocarina of Time as the mini-boss in the Water Temple, and in Four Swords Adventures as a Recurring Boss.There are many different Dark Links, just as there are many different Links. The character is alternately known as Link's Shadow (in The Adventure of Link), Dark Link (in Ocarina of Time), and Shadow Link (in Four Swords Adventures); it is unknown if there are any meaningful differences between these names. In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, you can enter Shadow Link Battles as a StreetPass feature. They represent other players you pass and are equipped with up to two of the items they have.
- Big Bulky Bomb: He throws humongous bombs at you several times during Four Swords Adventures. Can also use them in A Link Between Worlds should an opposing player equip them with one.
- The Blank: In many of his appearances, he has no facial features except for glowing red eyes, and sometimes not even that.
- Bonus Boss: In the Game Boy Advance version of A Link to the Past and in Spirit Tracks.
- Degraded Boss: In Oracle of Ages, Veran can create dark Link doppelgangers as easily defeated Mooks.
- Doppelgänger: He is an evil, jet-black clone of Link.
- Evil Twin: He is identical to Link... except made of shadow.
- Enemy Without: In Zelda II, he is explicitly seen jumping out of Link, and in Hyrule Warriors manifests out of Link's shadow.
- Fearful Symmetry: One of his favorite combat tactics in boss battles.
- Fighting a Shadow: In Four Swords Adventures, he retreats into the Dark World whenever you beat him.
- Final Boss: In The Adventure of Link, he is the final boss.
- The Heartless: The Shadow Link seen in Four Swords Adventures is a manifestation of the original Ganondorf's hatred towards Link.
- Legacy Character: Each Link copy is a different character and has a different explanation for their existence. In Zelda II, Link's Shadow is a last test of worthiness for the Triforce of Courage. In Ocarina of Time, Dark Link is a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere. In Four Swords Adventures, Shadow Link is a creation of the Dark Mirror and a manifestation of the original Ganondorf's hatred for Link.
- Mirror Boss: In Ocarina of Time, Dark Link mirrors the real Link's attacks.
- Paint It Black: The versions in The Adventure of Link, Ocarina of Time, and Four Swords Adventures are jet-black.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: In Ocarina of Time, he has glowing red eyes. This was carried over to the unnamed Oracle of Ages and Twilight Princess copies/illusions.
- Sequential Boss: In A Link to the Past (Game Boy Advance version).
- The Trickster: In Four Swords Adventures, he and his clones play malicious tricks on Link.
- White Hair, Black Heart: He is given white hair in his Twilight Princess incarnation.
The twin sisters Koume and Kotake, who were Ganondorf's adopted parents in Ocarina of Time. They presumably taught him his dark magical abilities and set him on his Start of Darkness. Koume uses fire magic and Kotake uses ice magic. Their Fusion Dance forms a composite being that can use both. They were later seen trying to revive Ganon in the Oracle series. Interestingly, their Alternate Universe counterparts in Majora's Mask are good guys who run a potion shop and tour boat in southern Termina.
- Crystal Ball: They are sometimes depicted as using one of these, mostly in the Oracle series.
- The Dragon: The twin sisters were Ganondorf's adopted parents. That probably explains a lot.
- Dual Boss: You fight both witches at the same time, they eventually fuse together.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Whenever you face them; Koume is weak to ice and Kotake is weak to fire, so the typical fighting pattern is reflecting one's elemental attacks to damage her sister with it.
- Evil Matriarch: They rule the Gerudo tribe, and whoever disobeys gets banishment or enslavement to their son.
- Evil Old Folks: They're said to be centuries old.
- Hot Witch: Their fused form Twinrova is noticeably more youthful.
- Flying Broomstick: Their mode of transportation.
- Fusion Dance: Their Twinrova form, which the player usually has to fight.
- Unexplained Recovery: In the Oracle series, provided they're not the same twins as in Ocarina of Time. That game's Link defeated them and they ascended to heaven, yet they show up just fine in the Oracle games.
- Wicked Witch: They fit the traditional archetype pretty well: evil, old, green skin, Sinister Schnoz, ride broomsticks, etc. Subverted in Majora's Mask, however, where they run a potion shop and are helpful to Link (if a bit racist towards Dekus and Gorons).
The main villain of the Four Swords sub-series. The backstory from The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords told of how a young hero imprisoned him in the titular Four Sword and how he escaped when the seal weakened. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is his Start of Darkness, explaining how he used the power of the Minish Cap to transform himself into a human sorcerer, and later a giant eyeball-cloud.
- The Archmage: Vaati displays incredible magical prowess.
- Big Bad: He plays this role in The Minish Cap and Four Swords.
- Blow You Away: Being a wind mage in his later games, his attacks based on wind can send Link flying.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Vaati won the tournament decisively and then went on to humiliate the soldiers of Hyrule in the beginning of The Minish Cap.
- The Dragon: To Ganon in Four Swords Adventures. Although he was most likely manipulated.
- Eldritch Abomination: At the end of Minish Cap, in Four Swords, and in Four Swords Adventures, he appears as a one-eyed demonic entity.
- Enfant Terrible: Even though his age is never mentioned, it's pretty obvious that he wasn't an adult in his human and his original Minish form, since his human artwork makes him barely taller than Link and his Minish-sprite is even smaller than that of a regular Minish. Additionally, he's so cute in these two forms that you wouldn't know he's a villain unless someone told you... Of course the knights of Hyrule suspected nothing when a young boy signed up for the tournament...
- Evil Sorcerer: He's a skilled and powerful magician who wants to conquer Hyrule.
- Faceless Eye: In his demon form he's an Oculothorax with bat wings.
- Giggling Villain: He laughs like the Happy Mask Salesman.
- Greed: One of the guards describes Vaati as greedy when the latter is impersonating the king in The Minish Cap.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: In Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures, due to forgetting his former life, he's become obsessed with pretty girls. He kidnapped Zelda in the former because he wanted a bride.
- Killed Off for Real: Hyrule Historia states that Vaati was killed in the final fight of Four Swords Adventure, permanently writing him off the Child Timeline. His fate in the Adult and Decline timeline is, anyhow, undisclosed.
- Meaningful Name: "Vaati" resembles "Venti", the Italian word for "Winds". Vaati's Japanese name, "Gufū", translated into English means "tornado".
- Motive Decay: In Minish Cap, he wants the Light Force, which is located in Princess Zelda. From then on, he desires any girl that catches his eye, with Princess Zelda for a bride. Word of God justifies this, as he has forgotten his life as a Minish and everything in it.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The plot probably wouldn't have been kickstarted after he revealed his true colors had he deduced that Zelda was carrying the Light Force he was seeking, and thus not turned Zelda into stone.
- One-Winged Angel: At the end of Minish Cap he drains Zelda's light force and transforms into a humungous floating eyeball-cloud.
- Older Than He Looks: At least after Minish Cap, Vaati is immortal and all of his appearances are the same character.
- Peek-a-Bangs: Apparently he doesn't even use that eye, since he ditches it when he goes One-Winged Angel.
- Really 700 Years Old: At least in Four Sword Adventures, which is the last game in the timeline it appears in and has the same Vaati as the one from Minish Cap, which is one of the earliest games in the timeline.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: All his forms have red eyes.
- Robe and Wizard Hat: His first form in Minish Cap wears this.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Vaati releases all the monsters within the Bound Chest when he shatters the Picori Blade. He later becomes the sealed evil when he is imprisoned within the Four Sword.
- Staying Alive: Each appearance by Vaati is the same character who has managed to live across several generations.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: He unleashes numerous monsters by destroying the Picori Blade. Fixing and upgrading the weapon is necessary to navigate through the world and ultimately to defeat Vaati.
Other Legacy Characters
Impa is a name given to each Zelda's nursemaid. However, each character with the name are very different from one another.
- Action Girl: In some incarnations, she seems less a nanny and closer to a bodyguard. In general, Impa is either a young Sheikah not unlike a ninja, or she's an old and possibly portly woman. In Skyward Sword, she's both. Even the elderly version from the NES games managed to escape capture and survive monster attacks long enough to find Link.
- All There in the Manual: She never made an on-screen appearance until Wand of Gamelon/Ocarina of Time. In the NES games, she only showed up in the manuals.
- Cool Old Lady: When she isn't a young Ninja, she comes across as this.
- Demoted to Extra: According to the Hyrule Historia, originally Ganon was just the bad guy and it was Link, Zelda, and Impa forming a Power Trio that protected Hyrule. Then Ocarina of Time came around and Ganon became the third member of the trinity.
- Legacy Character: One who actually looks different in each of her incarnations, having been everything from a feeble old lady, a muscular warrior, an overweight middle-aged woman, and a tall, thin ninja (as a young woman, that is. We also meet her when she's much older and a Miniature Senior Citizen).
- Ms. Exposition: She always explains the backstory. Even back when she only appeared in the manual, her role was still primarily to explain the backstory. In fact, according to Word of God, her name is derived from the word "impart" because she imparts the legend of Zelda.
- Ninja: The Ocarina of Time and Skyward Sword incarnations are of the Sheikah tribe, a race of ninja-like people of the shadows. The Hyrule Warriors incarnation is also this, primarily based on the Skyward Sword incarnation in appearance.
- Parental Substitute: Most games have her as this to Zelda, due to her parents rarely being mentioned.
- Team Mom: She's Zelda's nursemaid.
- Undying Loyalty: As a member of the Shiekah tribe, her loyalty is to the royal family, mostly Princess Zelda. She's seen as Zelda's surrogate mother or bodyguard in various games.
- Xenafication: Zig-Zagged. In the first two games, Impa appeared as a feeble old woman. In Ocarina Of Time, she's a muscular Amazonian Ninja. In the Oracle games, she's a pudgy middle-aged woman and is less active in the plot. In Skyward Sword, she's back to being an Action Girl Ninja as Zelda's bodyguard and also a short elderly woman. In A Link Between Worlds, she's once again an old woman. And in Hyrule Warriors, she's back to being a muscular amazonian ninja, but she's more conventionally attractive than her Ocarina of Time counterpart.
The wise old owl who shows up in Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, and Four Swords Adventures. A similar owl also appeared in Link's Awakening, but was not named. He appears to give the player hints as to where to go next and what to do. However, his long-winded text conversations and Exposition Break manner of speaking made him annoying in any playthrough but the first one.
- Exposition Break: "Would you like me to repeat that?"
- Exposition Fairy: His main purpose is to give the player information.
- Expy: Of the owl from Link's Awakening.
- Giant Flyer: In Ocarina of Time, he's able to pick Link up anf fly him from Lake Hylia to Hyrule Castle.
- The Owl-Knowing One: He's always willing to give Link some advice.
- Shall I Repeat That?: Probably the most famous example.
The Seven Sages
A group of people with special powers that they use to support Link and Zelda - usually after Link has to rescue them. The title of Sage is a hereditary one and the identities of the Sages change with each game they're in, though Zelda is usually considered one and if Impa is in a game with Sages in it, then she's one too.
- Chekhov's Gunman: In Ocarina of Time and Link Between Worlds, you meet each of the Sages (except for Rauru) in the early parts of the game long before you (or even they) realize they are a Sage.
- Distressed Damsel: Ganon and other bad guys usually target the Sages and imprison them at the beginning of the game, forcing Link to rescue them. Some of them are Distressed Dudes instead, but "damsel" is more common (Link to the Past and Four Swords Adventures specifically make them the Seven Maidens).
- Expy: The Lokomo fill the role of the Sages in Spirit Tracks.
This is the girl from Lon Lon Ranch in Ocarina of Time, who also appeared as a minor NPC in most other games, from Oracle of Seasons to The Minish Cap. She's the one who gives Link his horse, Epona.Ocarina's Malon herself is the second version of the character, the first having a starring role as "Marin" from Link's Awakening. Aryll from Wind Waker is meant to be another incarnation of the archetype and was named "Maryll" early in development. Kina from Skyward Sword is another close counterpart.
- Escort Mission: In Four Swords Adventures. In Majora's Mask, you can help her Expies in two different escort missions.
- Expy: Of Marin from Link's Awakening. She herself does have two 1:1 Expies in Majora's Mask, Romani (child Malon) and Cremia (adult Malon). Hyrule Historia implies that, with the Link of Link's Awakening coming into the adventure fresh from the Oracle games, Marin was formed from his memories of Malon.
- Farm Boy: Farm girl, really, but she's almost always a farmer.
- Friend to All Living Things: The archetype also has an affinity for animals. Particularly cows in rural games, and seagulls in tropical ones.
- Magic Music: Always has a lovely singing voice. Marin could use her song to summon the Wind Fish. Malon is the first to sing Epona's Song which summons the horse and gets free Lon Lon Milk from Cows. Kina's song at least keeps the patrons of Lumpy Pumpkin entertained.
- Missing Mom: Like Marin, she has only her dad. However, her counterparts in Majora's Mask have both parents deceased.
- The Nicknamer: In Ocarina of Time, Malon refers to Link as "Fairy Boy" because he's dressed like a Kokiri. In Majora's Mask, Romani refers to Link as "Grasshopper" because he dresses in green and patters about. In Link's Awakening, Marin along with everyone else will refer to Link as "THIEF" if you steal from the village shop.
- Put on a Bus: Her last appearance in a Zelda title, not counting the remake of Ocarina of Time, was Minish Cap in 2005. Even Link Between Worlds, which references Lon Lon Ranch, makes no mention of her and doesn't even have the ranch itself appear.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Inherited this from Marin. Her dad always looks like Mario.
- Wacky Parent, Serious Child: A rare mixed-gender example in Ocarina of Time. Despite her youth, Malon is clearly more on the ball than her laid-back, lazy goof of a father.
The owner of Lon Lon Ranch and Malon's father. He's good-natured, but somewhat lazy. He shows up in every game that Malon does.
- Bumbling Dad: Malon is much more level headed than he is, and more well liked.
- Expy: Of Tarin from Link's Awakening and by extension, of Mario. It seems he gets more Mario like with each successive game. In Link's Awakening, Tarin's sprite looked a lot like Mario, but his character art was somewhat different. In Ocarina of Time he has the blue overalls and red shirt. In Oracle of Seasons, he has Mario's "M" logo on his hat, Mario's exact mustache, sideburns, nose, ears, and eyes. He even gives Link a mushroom as part of the trading sequence.
- Heavy Sleeper: A Fetch Quest in Ocarina of Time and Oracle of Seasons involves finding an item to wake him up.
- Lazy Bum: He has a bad tendency to fall asleep in out-of-the-way places and typically spends hours at a time asleep. Quests featuring him typically involve the need to wake him up.
- Shipper on Deck: In Ocarina of Time he talks about Link marrying Malon when they grow up, though he claims to be just joking around.
- Sleepy Head: Frequently found napping during the day.
- Wacky Parent, Serious Child: A rare mixed-gender example in Ocarina of Time. Malon is the sensible one of the two, and their authority is somewhat reversed as a result; when you first wake Talon up and he realizes Malon sent you, he is terrified, lamenting that Malon is going to be so mad at him before racing off to meet her in Castle Town faster than Epona can run!
Great Deku Tree
Great Deku Tree
The guardian spirit of the Kokiri tribe in Ocarina of Time and the guardian of the Forest Haven in The Wind Waker. He is cursed by Ganondorf at the beginning of Ocarina, and dies shortly after Link breaks the curse. A new Deku Tree grows in his place when Link is an adult, who tells Link that he is a Hylian and not a Kokiri. This is the Deku Tree that later features in The Wind Waker.
- Expy: The Maku Trees of the Oracle games are Expies of him.
- Fisher King: Once the Deku Tree dies, Kokiri Forest goes to seed.
- Genius Loci: He's a sapient individual, but also large enough, in Ocarina of Time, that your first dungeon is exploring his cavernous interior.
- Legacy Character: The "Wind Waker" Deku tree is a descendant of the original.
- Nature Spirit: He's a tree that talks and holds dominion over the wild, untamed Lost Woods and Kokiri Forest. He also is guardian and leader of a tribe of magical beings; the eternally child-like pseudo-elves of the Kokiri in Ocarina of Time, and the Plant Person tribe of Koroks in Wind Waker. In the second game, he's also responsible for trying to coax great trees across the islands of the Great Sea.
- World Tree: A sapient, talking, magical tree of immense size.
The goofy-looking man who rides around by tying a balloon to his belt, floating in the air drawing maps. He first meets Link in Majora's Mask where he's jealous that Link has a Fairy Companion, because he thinks that he's the reincarnation of a fairy. He later appears in The Wind Waker, where he charges 398 Rupees apiece to translate the Triforce Charts.
- Americans Hate Tingle: Although loved and cherished in Japan and some parts of Europe, he is despised in America and several other countries, to the point he's the Trope Namer for the trope of "a character is received in starkly different manners in different countries".
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite his eccentricities, he is a skilled cartographer, and in The Wind Waker, you can't beat the game without his help.
- Catch Phrase: "Kooloo-Limpah!"
- Cloudcuckoolander: He's a 35-year-old ballooning map salesman who thinks he's a fairy.
- Gonk: Even if you look past the ugly costume, he's got a very disturbing face, not helped by the somewhat grating simlish used to convey his speaking voice.
- Intrepid Merchant: He may be an oddball to say the least, but he's willing to go anywhere and do anything to get Rupees.
- Man Child: He's convinced he's the reincarnation of a fairy, constantly drifting around on a balloon and wearing a goofy green leotard in hopes that it will help the other fairies find him to take him back with them.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: It's probably just a coincidence, but he does look kinda like Nintendo's own Koji Kondo.
- Spin-Off: Stars in three: Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, a Tingle-themed reskin of Balloon Fight, and a dating sim slash Wizard of Oz parody called Ripened Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love.
EponaLink's trusty steed. Link either has to obtain Epona from a ranch or starts with Epona from the beginning of the game, although in that case, it's guaranteed that Epona will soon run off, and Link has to find her again.
- Automaton Horse: She never requires any sort of care, other than the Sprint Meter that prevents unlimited spurring to full gallop.
- The Cameo: Appears as a carthorse in Minish Cap, pulling the Lon Lon Ranch goods to market. If you speak to her while Minish-sized, she'll ask you to buy some milk to lighten her load.
- Cool Horse: As the hero's horse, this comes naturally, but she has some unique qualities of her own, like her chestnut coloration with white accents. In Twilight Princess, she's an enormous Clydesdale with a spiky facial marking who facilitates Link's Horseback Heroism by obligingly pulling some badass Rearing Horse poses.
- Horseback Heroism: Link couldn't do this without her, after all.
- Horse Jump: Epona is required to jump numerous fences (some actually more than waist high) and even a chasm.
- Invulnerable Horses: She's completely impervious to enemy damage, to the point that trampling foes is a highly effective tactic. Her supposed injury at the beginning of Twilight Princess does not hinder her in any way, though in that game, Link can be hurt while riding her.
- Meaningful Name: She's named after Epona, a Celtic fertility goddess and protector of horses.
- Power-Up Mount: In all her major appearances.
- Rearing Horse: With some victory close-ups in Twilight Princess.
- Sprint Shoes: Her primary purpose is to get Link to places more quickly than running.
BeedleA traveling salesman with some form of mobile shop in each game he shows up in (except for Minish Cap, where he runs a normal market stall).
- Beetle Maniac: He has a beetle symbol on his shorts, and demonstrates a fondness for bugs in Wind Waker and Skyward Sword.
- Exact Words: The Complimentary Cards in Wind Waker. You don't get stuff for free (that would be a Complementary Card), Beedle compliments you for being a good customer. Not as useless as it sounds. If you redeem these cards while currently injured, the compliments will heal you!
- Honest John's Dealership: A mild case. His goods are quality and generally not overpriced, but with things like the Complimentary Cards and putting on a Paper-Thin Disguise to sell his premium items, there are still some shady business practices going on.
- Intrepid Merchant: His shop boat/balloon/airship can travel all over the map, even into extremely dangerous areas.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: "Masked Beedle"
CuccosChicken-like birds found throughout the games. Provoke them at your own risk.
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": They're basically chickens.
- Killer Rabbit: Sure, they may look like chickens, but once you anger them, they become invincible.
- Running Gag: The "Cucco Revenge Squad". 90% of times Cuccos are mentioned, it's in reference to the fact that if you attack a cucco too many times, they summon a flock of invincible cuccos that can and will kill you unless you run away. It's taken Up to Eleven in Hyrule Warriors, where Lana can actually summon cuccos to act as a weapon.
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Attack them too many times and you'll be in trouble.
Blin familyCommon goblin-like mooks whose names all end in the suffix "-blin". Designs have ranged from imp-like to bulldog-like to boar-like (this motif seems to be the most popular). Bokoblins are smaller and hinted to be smarter than the hulking Moblins. Bulblins are a more recent variation which ride giant boars called Bullbos.
- Elite Mook: Starting with Ocarina of Time, Moblins have been portrayed as one of the bigger, tougher enemies in the 3D games. This set in after Bokoblins were introduced, which have henceforth taken their role as the Big Bad's common footsoldiers.
- Mini Mook: Miniblins are miniature Bokoblins. Their "da-na" noises will haunt your dreams.
- Mook Carryover: They have served — in chronological order — Demise, Ghirahim, Vaati, Ganondorf/Ganon, Bellum, and Malladus.
- Our Demons Are Different: Skyward Sword reveals that they are demons who originally served Demise.
- Our Goblins Are Different: On the scale between goblin and orc, the Miniblins are the most goblinish and the Moblins the most orcish, with Bokoblins and Bulblins falling in between. Especially in Twilight Princess, they tend to follow the Tolkien style of orc in terms of their characterization, though King Bulblin eventually reveals himself to be more of a Proud Warrior Race Guy in the Blizzard tradition.
- Pig Man: Moblins and Bokoblins sometimes have this appearance, which help establish them as minions to their leader Ganon.
- Savage Piercings: Both Bokoblins and Moblins have these in Skyward Sword, with Moblins having nipple piercings.
OctorokAn octopus (or squid in some cases) monster that shoots rocks from its snout. Notable for appearing in every single Zelda game, with the exception of Twilight Princess.
- Aquatic Mook: They take up this role in the 3D games, completely replacing the River Zora.
- Dishing Out Dirt: They tend to spit rocks.
- Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: They're cephalopodic monsters that spit rocks at their prey.
- The Goomba: Is often the earliest encountered enemy in much of the 2D games, and one of the most fragile.
- King Mook: Big Octos, usually found blocking paths creating whirlpools.
StalfosA reanimated skeleton soldier. If you count the Stalchildren and Ikana Guards in Majora's Mask, these enemies have appeared in more games than Octoroks.
- Ballistic Bone: Some variants throw them at you. These variants also have a nasty habit of jumping out of the way when you attack them with your sword.
- Dem Bones: They're the Zelda equivalent of the common "animated skeleton" you tend to see in fantasy settings.
- Elite Mooks: Certain varieties of Stalfos are given this treatment, almost acting like minibosses, such as in Ocarina of Time.
- Underground Monkey: They come in a variety of different forms across the different games.
Darknut and Iron Knuckle
Darknut and Iron KnucklePowerful knights with protective armor. The two, whilst similar, are implied to be separate species.
- An Ax To Grind: Iron Knuckles in Ocarina of Time wield axes as big as they are that take off four hearts (the max Link can have is twenty) a swing.
- Animated Armor: Some interpretations of these monsters suggest this, though when Darknuts lose armor, they are shown to be creatures wearing armor.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Normally, the only way to damage them is to hit a vulnerable gap in the armor.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: Darknuts and Iron Knuckles are always among the most difficult enemies you will encounter, and are frequently featured as mini-bosses.
- Lightning Bruiser: Despite their appearance, Darknuts are NOT slow, which is part of why they're so dangerous.
- Mighty Glacier: Iron Knuckles, however, are very slow. They make up for this with the highest damage output of any enemy in the series, and by wielding particularly dangerous weapons, like a giant axe or an Epic Flail.
- Turns Red: In the 64 games, Iron Knuckles will lose their heavy armor after taking sufficient damage and speed up.
Corrupted SoldierSoldiers and guards of Hyrule who have been corrupted by evil. They attack in large numbers and can use a variety of weapons.
- Art Attacker: In most games, they're soldiers of Hyrule who have been corrupted. In A Link Between Worlds they are paintings brought to life.
- Brainwashed and Crazy
- Cannon Fodder: Unlike Darknuts and Iron Knuckles, their armor isn't very protective and Link can cut them down by the dozen.
- Elite Mook: Some soldier variants have stronger armor and weapons, with the strongest usually wielding Epic Flails.
- Faceless Goons: Friendly soldiers normally have their faces exposed, whereas corrupted soldiers do not.
- Zerg Rush: One of their primary tactics.
Wallmaster and Floormaster
Wallmaster and FloormasterDisembodied giant hands that like to send Link back to the dungeon's entrance (or a cell, in some cases).
ArmosA Living Statue that chases Link. Their abilities and appearance change greatly from game to game.
- Mistaken for Granite: Especially confusing when they're found alongside other inanimate statues that look the same.
- Taken for Granite: The original game manual states that they were actually soldiers turned into stone in that game. All subsequent entries do away with this explanation, however, instead making them fully mechanical.
Gibdo and ReDead
Gibdo and ReDeadReanimated corpse-like monsters (mummies in the former case), with the former being in more games than the latter.
- Breakout Character: ReDeads were initially just another enemy in Ocarina of Time, but were featured alongside the series regular Like Likes and Octoroks in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies
- Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: ReDeads get this in The Wind Waker when they scream, while Gibdos have these all the time in Twilight Princess.
- Golem: The ReDead trophies in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U state that they are artificial constructs seemingly made of magic and clay. It's debatable if this was always the case (especially in Majora's Mask, where the ones in Ikana are gossiped to have once been members of the castle's dancing troupe), but they definitely have an incomplete-looking, clay-like appearance in Tri Force Heroes.
- Hell Is That Noise: Their screams are just about the most startling thing in a Zelda game. This is especially true in-universe, where their screams are chilling enough to render Link, bearer of the Triforce of Courage, paralyzed in fear.
- Kill It with Fire: Zigzagged with Gibdos in A Link to the Past; hitting them with a fire attack doesn't kill them, but, it does turn them into the far weaker Stalfos instead.
- Mummy: Gibdos are Stalfos wrapped in cloth.
- Night of the Living Mooks: ReDead are — or if the Smash Bros. trophy descriptions are accepted as canonical, at least resemble — zombies. Likewise, Gibdo are ReDead or Stalfos wrapped in cloth.
- Personal Space Invader: Both of them, but ReDeads to a memetic extent.
- Savage Piercings: The Wind Waker ReDeads are decked out with this and tribal paint to give them a morbid appearance.
Ghini and Poe
Ghini and PoeGhostly beings that usually can't be attacked by normal means, often requiring an item to make them vulnerable. The difference between the two is that Poes carry lanterns.
- Bedsheet Ghost: Ghinis are one-eyed versions of this.
- Disappears into Light: Inverted. Shining light on Poes gives them physical form to attack in The Wind Waker.
- Ghost Lights: The Poe's lanterns serve this function. If you kill them in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, you can scoop them up and keep them in a bottle.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: And they're different from each other as well, too. While Ghinis are more like cute Bedsheet Ghosts, Poes tend to look creepier, and different with each game.
- Shout-Out: The four Poe Sisters from Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, and Oracle of Seasons share their names with the four young main protagonists of the novel Little Women.
GoriyaDemons that resemble anthropomorphic rats. They are known for using boomerangs, but sometimes they shoot fireballs instead. To date, they have only appeared in the 2D top-down games.
- Battle Boomerang: Their Weapon of Choice in most games.
- Fearful Symmetry: In A Link to the Past they copy Link's movements, moving in the opposite direction to him. Red Goriyas also shoot fireballs when Link faces them.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Quite literally, in this case. Goriyas were quite common in the series' years on the NES and SNES, but they haven't appeared in a main console game since A Link to the Past. Their most recent appearance is in A Link Between Worlds, which is the first time they appeared in 3D.
Peahat and Leever
Peahat and LeeverA flying plant root that attacks with sharp leaves and cactus-like blobs found under sand.
- "Get Back Here!" Boss: Both annoyingly have a habit of making themselves impossible to harm, making Link wait for them to make themselves vulernable. Peahats are notable in that they tend to flip from game to game whether they're vulnerable in their stationary state or their mobile state.
- Man-Eating Plant: Both of them.
- Money Spider: In several games, Leevers are excellent sources of rupees.
- Piñata Enemy: Both of them. Peahats in particular are likely to drop health restoration items, so hunting them down can be a matter of life and death at times.
EyegoreGiant cyclops monsters. Their tough skin protects them from most attacks, so you need to go for the eye.
- The Juggernaut: They are usually amongst the toughest enemies in the game. Even though they have an obvious weak point, it should be noted that it is usually their only weak point and it can take a lot of hits.
- Lightning Bruiser: Not only are they very tough, they are also surprisingly fast.
- Mecha-Mook: They do not appear in The Minish Cap, but Eyegore Statues do and they behave in pretty much the exact same way.
- Savage Setpiece: Their normal behavior is to sit perfectly still, usually blocking off a path, only awakening if you disturb it.
HelmasaurAggressive beasts that wear metal masks. The mask can be removed or destroyed to make them vulnerable.
- Attack Its Weak Point: If you can't remove the mask, target it's unprotected back.
- Cool Mask: It can be removed or destroyed to make them more vulnerable. In some games, their face underneath is surprisingly cute.
- Dash Attack: Their primary move.
- Dub Name Change: They appear in Majora's Mask, but they are called Hiploops. Even though in the game they look more insect-like than dinosaur-like (which is the case in most games), they are definitely supposed to be Helmasaurs because they were always called Hiploops in Japan.
- In Link's Awakening they are called Iron Masks.
- Elite Mook: In Twilight Princess you can encounter the Helmasaurus, a bulkier variant whose armor can't be removed.
- King Mook: The Helmasaur King, the boss of the Palace of Darkness.
Deku BabaMan-eating venus flytrap-like plants. Comes in several different variations.
- Expy: In The Wind Waker, they are replaced by Boko Babas. They're also similar to Piranha Plants from another Nintendo series, to the point where the ones that appear in Mario Kart 8's Zelda-themed DLC track move and behave exactly like them.
- Man-Eating Plant: Of the classic "carnivorous plant with a giant mouth-like bulb that lunges forward and attempts to snap you up" variety.
DodongoFire-breathing dinosaur dragons that are typically found close to lava. The most well-known method of killing them is throwing bombs down their throats.
- Attack the Tail: Other then feeding it bombs, the tail is another recurring weak spot.
- Defeat Equals Explosion: In some games, Dodongos violently explode upon dying.
- Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Of all the "dragons" in the Zelda series, Dodongos resemble dinosaurs the most, though in Twilight Princess they look more like geckos.
- Feed It a Bomb: Varies slightly from game to game, but this is the most common way to kill them.
Lizalfos and Dinolfos
Lizalfos and DinolfosLizard warriors that normally attack in pairs. Dinolfos are stronger, faster and can breathe fire.
- Dual Boss: Usually they attack in pairs, whether attacking simultaneously or as a Tag Team. Occasionally you can encounter trios.
- Elite Mook: The Dinolfos are this to Lizalfos.Twilight Princess gives us the Aeralfos, a variant that can fly.
- Knife Nut: One of their preferred weapons.
- Power Fist: In Skyward Sword they use giant rocky gauntlets.
Like LikeA stomach-like blob monster that swallows Link and eats his shield and/or tunic.
- Bandit Mook: They don't do any damage when they attack, but they steal your shield when they do. There is a variant known as Rupee Like who, you guessed it, steal your Rupees.
- Evil Lawyer Joke: Although not referring to lawyers, Super Smash Bros. Melee reveals that Like Likes get their name from an old Hylian proverb: "Shield-eaters and world leaders have many likes alike". Whatever that means.
- Poison Mushroom: Their Rupee Like brethren disguise themselves as Rupees, and suck up Link's own Rupees if you fall for them. There's also Life Likes, which just damage Link but hide as helpful hearts. There's usually an easy way to distinguish them from the real things, though.
GohmaArthropod monsters with a giant vulnerable eye.
- Cyclops: They only have a single, massive eye — which, naturally, is their only weak spot.
- Giant Enemy Crab: Varies between this and Giant Spider. They are usually said to be the former in 2D titles and the latter in 3D titles.
- Go for the Eye: From shooting it in the original to pulling it closer to you so you can slice it up with your sword.
TektiteA four-legged spider creature that gets around by hopping.
KeeseBat-like enemies that have appeared ever since the original game. They reside in dungeons or dark places and tend to swoop down upon Link, but they're usually not much of a threat, even in large numbers. They can come in fire or ice variations; they're still not much more of a threat, but they're bigger nuisances as they can respectively burn your shield or freeze you solid.
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": There's hardly any difference between Keese and bats.
- The Goomba: They're pretty weak, and can be defeated with a single arrow or sword strike.
- Made of Iron: Despite being one of the weakest enemy types in the series, they can be engulfed in flames (or ice/icy fire) for several minutes and not be killed.
MoldormA worm (or centipede) monster, usually with a vulnerable point on the rear segment. Aside from this, they're most known for fighting on high platforms, where it's easy to fall off to a lower room.
- Attack Its Weakpoint: The giant versions have vulnerable tails.
MothulaGiant insectoid enemies who commonly appear as minibosses, but in some instances are a fully-fledged boss.
SkulltulaSpider monsters with a skull motif on the back.
- Giant Spider: Definitely bigger than normal, and can be bigger than Link.
WizzrobeWizard-like enemies that attack with spells.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: Easily the most dangerous regular enemies in the series besides Darknuts.
- Expy: Their attack patterns are very similar to the wizards from The Tower of Druaga.
- Fragile Speedster: Not too durable, but good luck catching up to their Teleport Spam.
- Squishy Wizard: Squishy, but backed up by magical mojo.
- Teleport Spam: Fights with Wizzrobes often involve chasing them all over the room.
BubbleDespite the name, these things are flaming disembodied skulls that normally curse Link when he touches it.
- The Artifact: The name "Bubbles" for this monster made a lot more sense when they just looked like blue or red circles. Now that they've been modeled to look more like demonic flaming skulls, the name seems absolutely bizarre.
- Dem Bones: They appear as a flying skull (sometimes with bat-like wings) that surrounds itself in a globe of ghostly flames.
- Interface Screw: An effect they can have when they curse Link.
- Invincible Minor Minion: In several games, it's completely impossible to defeat them; they must be instead evaded.
ChuchuA fairly weak blob creature available in a wide range of colors and types, with each color normally yielding a useful spoil. Weak blob creatures have featured in numerous early Zelda games (Bits and Bots, Zols, and Buzzblobs), but the Chuchu has seemingly become a default replacement for all of them.
- Blob Monster: A pretty weak one, too, though they can still be dangerous.
- Easter Egg: The chattering noise they make in Wind Waker is actually a recording of an argument between two Japanese men, sped up and reversed.◊
- Elemental Powers: Some possess electrical, ice, or fire powers depending on the environment they're found in.
- The Spiny: Some Chuchus are naturally electrical, forcing you to use measures beyond simply swinging your sword at it.
River ZoraWater-dwelling merfolk known to spit fireballs at anyone who trespasses their territories, not to be confused with their sleeker Sea Zora cousins.
BeamosA Living Statue like Armos, but acts more like a sentry.
Buzz Blob and Cukemen