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Characters / The Legend of Zelda: Ganon/Ganondorf

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The main villain(s) of the series, known as the Prince of Darkness, the King of Evil, and the Demon King, among other similar titles. In Ocarina of Time, the chronological first appearance (in-universe) of Ganondorf Dragmire, he was the King of the Gerudo thieves who coveted the riches of Hyrule, as well as being ambitious and power-hungry in general, and only the Triforce that contains the power of the gods could satisfy him. He eventually got the power he craved, which transformed him into the demonic beast Ganon. Within the series, Ganondorf is used to refer to his human incarnation, and Ganon to his bestial incarnation. He is sometimes able to shift between these two forms at will, in which cases he appears as Ganondorf normally and invokes his Ganon form as a One-Winged Angel transformation, but on other occasions he's permanently stuck in his Ganon form as a result of being corrupted by power.


Ganondorf isn't always the Big Bad of a Zelda game, but is the most prolific and recurring one, and is generally accepted as the signature villain of the series and the Arch-Enemy of Link and Zelda. He is associated with the Triforce of Power, granting him great physical and magical strength. In some titles, he may even have the complete Triforce, not just the Triforce of Power. Otherwise, the details of his backstory, plans, and even personality varies, often because the events of previous games are Shrouded in Myth, and he's been killed and reincarnated in a new form several times. However, one thing that never changes is his goal; to use the power of the Triforce to claim dominion over Hyrule.

The origins of Ganondorf's existence are given in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the earliest game in the franchise's chronology. Demise, the God of Evil who sought to claim the Triforce in times before the founding of Hyrule, was slain by an early incarnation of Link, but with his dying breath he placed a curse on Link and Zelda, declaring that "an incarnation of [Demise's] hatred" will plague them and their bloodlines. Ganondorf's existence is the result of this curse, and it is the reason how and why he keeps coming back no matter how often or how thoroughly he is defeated — thanks to Demise's curse, the Hero and the Princess are destined to keep crossing paths with the King of Evil.


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    A to C 
  • Almighty Idiot: A recurring consequence of Ganon's lust for power. Whenever Ganondorf uses the Triforce of Power to become Ganon, he grows more powerful but usually it seems he ends up devolving his intelligent mind into that of a primal beast. Other examples of his intelligence loss include his botched resurrection in the Oracle games, and his eventual degradation into Calamity Ganon in Breath of the Wild, which takes place at least 10,000 years after Ocarina of Time. It's quite telling that Ganondorf is more dangerous when he is sane.
  • Alternate Self: The Ganondorfs seen in the Decline, Adult, and Child timelines are this to each other — with the exception of the Ganondorf in Four Swords Adventures, who is explicitly stated to be a reincarnation, the Ganondorfs in those games are all the same individual as the one from Ocarina of Time. In addition, he has an effeminate (implied) Lorule counterpart named Yuga, who fuses with Ganon to become superior.
    • In the Downfall timeline, Ganon is at his most powerful, having claimed the entire Sacred Realm and the Triforce with it. After he is destroyed by Link in A Link to the Past, he is brought back by Twinrova, but he Came Back Wrong, devolving into a mindless beast with a thirst for power and destruction.
    • In the Child timeline, the only thought on his mind is revenge, having been thwarted before he can even set his plans into action. Even then he still obtains the Triforce of Power as part of a "Divine Prank", but he is killed by the Link seen in Twilight Princess. His reincarnation in Four Swords Adventures behaves a bit more like his Downfall counterpart, as a power-hungry monster.
    • In the Adult timeline, The Bad Guy Wins, but at what cost? He may have conquered Hyrule, but it's all gone. As centuries pass in-universe, Ganondorf has become more philosophical, yearning to bring back the once lost kingdom.
    • In while non-canon, the version of Ganondorf in Hyrule Warriors hews closer to his Ocarina of Time self, being The Chessmaster who set the entire story in motion, but takes several design cues from his Twilight Princess outfit, as well as Demise.
    • Also non-canon, but yet another version of Ganon appears in Cadence of Hyrule, as both a teenage Ganondorf and his blue pig-monster form in the future.
  • 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: Ganondorf was ruthless from the start of his career, as he sought to acquire more power by any means. His main character flaw is that no amount of power — not even the full and completed Triforce — is ever enough for him.
  • Ancient Evil: By the time of Breath of the Wild, Ganon is remembered as the ancient, eternally reincarnating embodiment of an even older evil that, according to legend, once took on the form of a Gerudo. This ties back into Skyward Sword, where another Ancient Evil, Demise incarnated himself to forever torment Hyrule.
  • Animalistic Abomination: Introduced as a boar-headed monster in the first game, he has increasingly been portrayed as the living embodiment of evil destined to return every few centuries to ravage Hyrule. He especially fits this trope in Breath of the Wild, where he primarily takes the form of a boar-shaped cloud of pure Malice with nary a hint of human attributes and is given the moniker "Hatred and Malice Incarnate."
  • Animal Motifs: Pigs and Boars, representing his greed and lust for power.
  • 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: He's fought half a dozen different Links and Zeldas.
  • Art Evolution: The latter games put more emphasis on his human form and less on his Pig Man or Wereboar form. But since Ocarina of Time, his voice acting has remained the same: he's always been depicted with a deep voice and a menacing laugh.
  • Back from the Dead: Unlike Zelda and Link, who are new reincarnations in most appearances, Ganondorf's return is usually due to his original self from Ocarina of Time being brought back from the dead by his minions.
    • This is the villains' goal in The Adventure of Link, as Ganon died in the events of the original The Legend of Zelda. This only happens if you got a Game Over, and has presumably happened several times offscreen.
    • The linked ending of the Oracle games features a Ganon revived from the dead. He Came Back Wrong, though.
    • He is also briefly resurrected in A Link Between Worlds before being taken over by Yuga.
    • He attempts this in Breath of the Wild, but his resurrection is interrupted by Link, resulting in him being fought as an undead-looking cyborg.
  • Badass Beard: In The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, he's grown his sideburns into a short beard.
  • Badass Cape: He 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 The Wind Waker, and in his concept art for the Oracle games.
  • Batman Gambit: In Ocarina Of Time, he just waits for Link to pull out the Master Sword for him, correctly suspecting that Link will unlock the door to the Triforce that he himself could not.
  • Beard of Evil: In Wind Waker and Twilight Princess.
  • BFS: Ganondorf tends to wield two-handed swords whenever not armed with the Trident or simply using his fists. The swords he uses as Ganon in Ocarina of Time, the blade he wields in the Space World 2000 Demo and Smash Bros. Melee's victory screen, the Sword of the Six Sages in Twilight Princess, and the Blades of Demise in Hyrule Warriors are standout examples.
  • 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: Since his debut in Ocarina of Time in his human form, Ganondorf has become one of the most reoccurring villains in the series.
  • Came Back Wrong: The linked finale to the Oracle games and Breath of the Wild deal with the effects of a botched resurrection. In the former, Twinrova had to use herself as a sacrifice for the ritual when she couldn't use Princess Zelda as intended, leaving Ganon a mindless beast. In the latter, Zelda's seal and Link's abrupt appearance in the Sanctum forced him to scrounge together a haphazard Cyborg body.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: A surprisingly well-handled example. He happily calls himself "King of Evil" and "Dark Lord"; he makes no secret of his sheer love of power; but he's pragmatic, intelligent, strikingly brave, and perhaps a little bit tragic (The Wind Waker depicted him in gloomy middle age), and he enjoys a challenge from a worthy hero.
  • Close-Range Combatant: Link has handled his share of ranged weapons and Zelda is a fine archer, but Ganondorf relies entirely on hand-to-hand combat if using magic is ineffective or unnecessary. He's made use of tridents, swords (normally two one-handed swords, occasionally a great two-handed Chinese broadsword), and the occasional battle magic or weight-triggered earthquake. Super Smash Bros. flanderizes this aspect of him by making him a brawler Moveset Clone of Captain Falcon, drawing far more attention to hand-to-hand moves that he used rather offhandedly in various boss fights and cutscenes.
  • 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 The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, although in the case of the latter he was reincarnated.
  • The Corrupter: He is able to turn people toward evil (or sometimes more evil) through his dark magic and promises of power:
    • Later supplementary materials for Zelda II: The Adventure of Link indicate that the evil wizard adviser to the prince who drove the latter to cruel acts in search for the Triforce was secretly an alias of Ganon's.
    • Ocarina of Time hints that the reason the Gerudo were vicious Desert Bandits is because of his influence. When the Gerudo were brought back in Breath of the Wild after ages free from his influence, they had dropped the banditry and become just as friendly as the other intelligent races of Hyrule.
    • Twilight Princess shows how he got Zant to make a Deal with the Devil where Zant would be granted the power to take over the Twilight Realm in exchange for spreading the Twilight over Hyrule so Ganondorf could take over the latter.
  • Cosmic Keystone: He is the destined bearer of the Triforce of Power, ⅓ of a divine wish-granting artifact.

    D to G 
  • 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.
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: Due to his Gerudo heritage. His predecessor Demise was given Flaming Hair and pulsating black/white skin as Futureshadowing of this.
  • Darth Vader Clone: As a Gerudo, Ganondorf is usually portrayed as this, in contrast to the King Koopa Copy that Ganon was in earlier games — especially in Twilight Princess where he looks like a helmetless, medieval take on Vader. Ganondorf is a huge, highly intelligent and manipulative Magic Knight clad in black robes and/or armor, with several Vader-like skills such as being a Master Swordsman and choking enemies with his bare hands. To further the similarities, his Arch-Enemy Link is a blond, blue-eyed protagonist with a blue sword just like Luke Skywalker.
  • Decomposite Character: Initially, the only differences between Ganondorf the human and Ganon the monster are their appearances and the fact that the latter is his stronger form. But Ganondorf has been increasingly portrayed with more complex characterization (with The Wind Waker in particular giving him a more sympathetic initial motivation for his actions) and has retained the intelligent mastermind personality the character had pre-Ocarina of Time, whereas Ganon has been increasingly portrayed from Ocarina onward as a bestial, mindless monster who is typically a Silent Antagonist (especially in Breath of the Wild).
  • 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. He shocked his countrymen (or countrywomen, as the case may be) with his tactics; but he envied the Hylians' pleasant, temperate surroundings, and wanted to lead his people to that better life.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Ganondorf is possibly the most intelligent character in the franchise, and is more charismatic than you'd expect from someone with a nasty temper, a constant desire to be in charge, and the power to turn into a giant anthropomorphic boar. In Ocarina of Time, he easily manipulated Link and Zelda into opening the Door of Time for him; in the lead-in to A Link to the Past, he gained the trust of the King of Hyrule and carried out a palace coup, even though the king had all the necessary information to figure out that this reclusive wizard wielding an unfamiliar magic just might have something to do with the weakening seal on the Sacred Realm and the great plague that had emerged from it.
  • Dimension Lord: In the Decline timeline, he was sealed away in the Sacred Realm and conquered it, turning it into the Dark World. In the Child timeline, he indirectly took control of the Twilight Realm by using Zant as a proxy.
  • The Dreaded: While games early in their respective timelines (such as Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess) depict Ganon as a relatively unknown entity, those later in their timelines such as A Link Between Worlds and Breath of the Wild show that, even if he has yet to show his face in the present, people are terrified of him as the King of Evil who has repeatedly brought unprecedented death and destruction to Hyrule.
  • Dual Wield: He wields a pair of swords in Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, and Hyrule Warriors.
  • Dub Name Change: The English Super Nintendo instruction booklet for A Link to the Past notoriously made the claim that he was known as "Ganondorf Dragmire" and was also called by his alias "Mandrag Ganon" (supposedly meaning "Ganon of the Enchanted Thieves"), but this information is simply not present in the Japanese Super Famicom version and was subsequently omitted entirely from the Game Boy Advance manual. For 25 years straight, this was never referenced again in any later game or related material until the name Ganondorf Dragmire suddenly resurfaced in an April 2017 update to — which, while an official website, has a proven negative track record of including flat-out erroneous details.
  • Dying as Yourself: He is often killed/sealed away as the demon Ganon. But there are a few exceptions:
    • The Wind Waker is the first game that has Ganondorf be the Final Boss as oppose to Ganon and consequently, Ganondorf is killed as a Gerudo instead of a monster. The official Hyrule Encyclopedia goes even further, suggesting that, by remembering his original motive and past, Ganondorf dies as a free man no longer bound to the curse that binds him to Link, Zelda and the Triforce... though this is contradicted by Breath of the Wild, which establishes that Ganon eventually returned to terrorize Hyrule again.
    • Twilight Princess also has Ganondorf dying as a mortal Gerudo, deprived of the Triforce of Power and succumbing to the fatal wound on his chest. However, unlike his Wind Waker counterpart, Ganondorf's hatred persists even after death, causing him to reincarnate into a new male Gerudo who also lusts for power and transforms into the demon Ganon again in Four Swords Adventures.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: An increasingly prominent motif for him, with his presence and/or influence typically killing off any living thing that isn't one of his monstrous creations:
    • A Link to the Past shows that his influence over the Dark World includes turning the plants into unhealthy-looking brown equivalents of their Light World counterparts and transforming people and animals into monstrous and occasionally undead forms.
    • Ocarina of Time shows that after conquering Hyrule, he transforms Hyrule Castle and its green surroundings into a barren, lava-covered waste dominated by his Tower while also emptying Castle Town of everything but ReDeads. His influence over the rest of Hyrule includes making Death Mountain violently active, imprisoning the Gorons to feed them to Volvagia, freezing the Zora in Zora's Domain and simultaneously drying up Lake Hylia downstream, and generally spreading monsters everywhere.
    • His predecessor/previous incarnation Demise in Skyward Sword is said to have burnt and torn up the land as he strove to take the Triforce for himself, and he also brags to Link that he will destroy everyone and everything the latter holds dear.
    • Breath of the Wild shows that the mere presence of his liquid Malice is enough to leave any area it is present completely barren of anything but his monsters and Guardians. This is especially noticeable in Hyrule Castle and the surrounding area, where all the plants are grey or brown husks presumably left over from the Great Calamity (with the exception of a single Silent Princess in Zelda's Study).
  • Evil Is Bigger: Seven and a half feet tall in human form (although a more normal six feet or so in Ocarina of Time), and probably ten or twelve feet tall in boar form. He's practically a Kaiju in Breath of the Wild. It's worth noting he's actually much taller in-game, being 10+ feet in all 3 of his appearances as Ganondorf, and that the 7'5'' number originates from a listing next to a piece of some old black and white concept art in the Hyrule Historia.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Ganondorf is prone to laughing menacingly while bragging about how powerful he is.
  • Evil Laugh: First appeared in The Adventure of Link — where it was absolutely terrifying if you were of the target age group, since no one imagined at the time that the NES could show portraits or depict even the simplest of voice acting. Iconic ever since, to the point of being 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. Then a new Link shows up ("a new Hero was destined to appear"), kills him, and claims the Triforce for himself. Centuries later, Ganon reacquires the Triforce of Power and falls upon Hyrule again, but is again defeated by a new Link.
    • There's also Breath of the Wild, where Ganon succeeded in destroying the Kingdom of Hyrule with the possessed Guardians and Divine Beasts but still got sealed up in Hyrule Castle by Zelda to give Link time to recover and eventually defeat Ganon. So really, evil's at a disadvantage in this series.
  • Evil Overlord: Overlaps with Evil Sorcerer and Sorcerous Overlord.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Ganon's Tower is his base of operations in several games. He sometimes hijacks Hyrule Castle for the same effect.
  • Evil Virtues: Just about everything on the list. Even a certain amount of honesty, mentioned below. In particular, Ganon is consistently portrayed as Patient and Diligent, working for thousands of years to hatch his plots.
  • Fatal Flaw: His insatiable powerlust proves to be this to him. When the chips are down, he is all too willing to sacrifice his his mind and sanity to achieve even greater levels of power, even though he is arguably more dangerous with his mind than without it.
  • Flaming Hair: His predecessor Demise had this in Skyward Sword to foreshadow Ganondorf's red hair, and Ganon himself had some in his Dark Beast form in Breath of the Wild.
  • For the Evulz: Chaos and destruction are means to ends that he's very attached to, but Ganondorf also enjoys them for their own sake; this comes through particularly clearly in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess.
  • 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.
  • Genius Bruiser: A clever manipulator, a powerful sorcerer, and a fearsome warrior, with or without weapons.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Sometimes he's pretty front-and-center, and gets a great deal of dialogue (for a Zelda game); on other occasions, he's about as impressive as the filler villains he normally replaces. Calamity Ganon in Breath of the Wild is a justified example, as he's lost his mind after years of focusing on his rage and has degenerated into an Eldritch Abomination more akin to a force of nature.
  • God in Human Form: Much like how Zelda is the mortal incarnation of Hylia, Ganondorf is the reincarnation of Demise — either the incarnation of his hatred or Demise himself reborn — destined to fight the spirit of Link and bloodline of Zelda forever. This is brought up in Hyrule Warriors and Breath of the Wild, the latter of which describes Ganondorf as an ancient evil that incarnated as a Gerudo.
    Demise: My hate... never perishes. It is born anew in a cycle with no end! I will rise again! Those like you... those who share the blood of the goddess and the spirit of the hero... They are eternally bound to this curse. An incarnation of my hatred shall ever follow your kind, dooming them to wander a blood-soaked sea of darkness for all time!
  • Grand Theft Me: He does this to Zelda in Twilight Princess, turning her into the boss "Puppet Zelda." He himself falls victim to this in A Link Between Worlds, courtesy of Yuga.
  • 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.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Specifically, his being destined to be the king of a barren desert before seeing the fertility and peace of Hyrule in The Wind Waker. Furthermore, it is implied in Skyward Sword that Ganondorf is the incarnation of the ancient Demon King Demise's hatred after the latter was defeated by the first Link. In other words, Ganondorf really had no other chance of being anything but evil.

    H to J 
  • 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.
  • 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 — which is best reflected by his changes in appearance over the seven-year time-skip in Ocarina of Time: his eyes change from having yellow irises and white sclera to red irises and yellow sclera, and his brown skin acquires a distinct green tint. After being revived by the Triforce of Power in Twilight Princess he immediately begins transforming into Ganon, sporting Black Eyes of Crazy and protruding fangs on his lower jaw. 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: Done multiple times over the series in terms of the finishing blows:
    • In Ocarina of Time, Link, after Ganon was pinned down by Zelda, slices Ganon's face and then delivers the final blow by impaling his mouth.
    • In Wind Waker, Ganondorf 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.
    • In Twilight Princess, Ganondorf is skewered through the chest with the Sword of the Six Sages in a flashback, and Link's finishing blow against him going right through the wound left by it.
    • Skyward Sword gives this trend Futureshadowing by having Demise be defeated the exact same way as Ganondorf was in Twilight Princess.
  • 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, and the fact he's destined to reincarnate by way of Demise's Curse only adds to this.

    K to N 
  • Knight of Cerebus: When he appears in a 3D game, he typically ends up darkening the plot. This is especially true in Lighter and Softer games such as The Wind Waker, where his various minions are portrayed as much goofier in comparison.
  • Killed Off for Real: The original Ganondorf was killed by Link at the end of The Legend Of Zelda I (Decline), Twilight Princess (Child), and Wind Waker (Adult), the latter two 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, but 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: Starting with A Link to the Past, his Moblins are depicted as Pig Men to better match with Ganon in his pig demon form. Though there were games that uses the classical bulldog design such as Ocarina of Time, the pig design becomes the staple for the Moblins and their relatives, even when Ganon is no where to be seen.
  • 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.
  • Leaking Can of Evil: A Link to the Past, The Wind Waker, and Breath of the Wild all deal with how he is still able to spread his dark magic across the land despite either him or his powers being sealed up.
  • Leitmotif: Agahnim's theme in A Link to the Past became Ganondorf's theme 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.
  • Light 'em Up: He has shown proficiency with light magic, and in Twilight Princess, he uses the Sword of the Sages that he stole from the sages who sought to execute him.
  • Light Is Not Good: Despite being affiliated with darkness and evil, he is the chosen wielder of the divine power of Din, and he demonstrates the ability to manifest himself as a giant glowing head in Twilight Princess.
  • 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. In Breath of the Wild, he is completely comprised of an evil mystical substance called Malice.
  • Magic Knight: He not only possesses powerful magic, but is also unbelievably strong and skilled with melee weapons.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: In The 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 Hylia and humans.

    O to R 
  • Older and Wiser: His depiction in The 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.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: If his resurrection goes horribly wrong, his intelligent mind will be reduced into an insane, rampaging beast bent on destroying everything.
  • 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. This is still true in a broad metatextual sense, as while later games with the Gerudo make clear that men are sporadically born into their tribe, he's the only one to ever be portrayed onscreen.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: Although he's usually shown wielding a trident, some games 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. Calamity Ganon is the long-term extension of this trope.
  • 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.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Though he started off a Gerudo man who happened to have access to evil magic, he is frequently characterized as a demon in games that take place chronologically after Ocarina of Time, with "the Demon King" being one of his more common epithets. Skyward Sword reveals that the Demon King Demise cursed the descendants of Link and Zelda to forever face an incarnation of his hatred; whether you interpret this, based on what source you go with, to mean that Ganon is the physical embodiment of Demise's hatred or is in fact Demise reincarnated, the implication in either case is that he was actually a demon to begin with.
  • 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.
    • This makes him transform into Ganon for the final boss fight in Ocarina in tandem with the Triforce of Power.
    • As Calamity Ganon in Breath of the Wild the evil goop-like substance related to him that corrupts locations and spawns monsters is called Malice. In the final battle he loses any sort of mind or consciousness and is simply rampaging Malice incarnate.
  • 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.
  • Pure Is Not Good: Twilight Princess and Breath of the Wild describe Ganondorf as possessing the purest malice and Skyward Sword reveals why.
  • Rage Quit: He does this in a couple games.
    • After losing his first fight to Link in Ocarina of Time, he primes the castle they're in to explode. When he realizes that Link survived, he goes berserk and transforms into Ganon.
    • In Breath of the Wild, Link manages to interrupt his reincarnation cycle and bests his physical body in battle. In response, he transforms into Dark Beast Ganon, a monster that will kill all life in Hyrule if Link does not put him down for good.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Sort of. Word of God is that he was raised by the witches Twinrova.
  • Rasputinian Death: Being a powerful sorcerer, the wielder of the Triforce of Power, and the living embodiment of evil, he won't go down unless Link, Zelda, and their allies give him a major walloping first:
    • In Ocarina of Time, first Link fights him, pelts him with Light Arrows, throws his Energy Blasts back into his face and delivers enough sword-strikes that Ganondorf coughs up blood and collapses. Then his entire tower collapses with him on the roof, leaving nothing but bits of stone debris. He survives that due to the Triforce of Power, and transforms into Ganon. Link fights him, slashes him in the tail many times, and finishes it off by cutting up his face and stabbing deeply into it. And he still doesn't die, instead having to be sealed away in what was once the Sacred Realm.
    • In Wind Waker, to show he's been Killed Off for Real this time, he gets stabbed through the head, Taken for Granite, the tower you fought him on collapses, and the ocean rushes in and buries him under miles of water. We don't actually know for certain which of those steps really did it, either.
    • In Twilight Princess, it takes four phases. First he possesses Zelda, gets beaten out of her, then transforms into Ganon and receives another beating from Link. Midna then uses the Fused Shadows on him, and after predictably surviving that, gets his body filled with light arrows. He falls off his horse (which looked rather painful as well) and gets in a rather awesome sword fight with Link which ends with him getting stabbed through the chest with the Master Sword. Then he STANDS UP, gives his last words, and gets the Triforce of Power taken from him (which had been keeping him alive through all of this). We then see (the dead) Zant break his own neck (for no explained reason), after which Ganondorf eventually dies. He is STILL standing. Not only that, but all of this happens with the wound caused by being impaled, before the game started, by the Sages, who had then sent him to the Twilight Realm. This wound is also the only vulnerable area of his Beast Ganon form.
    • In Breath of the Wild, almost immediately after his Mechanical Abomination form emerges from his cocoon, the Divine Beasts fire their powerful lasers at him. Link then duels against him using all manner of melee weapons, arrows, and the Bequeathed Powers of the Champions. He then reforms into his Dark Beast form on Hyrule Field, where Link rides a horse while shooting Light Arrows at weak points Zelda generates. This all allows Zelda to be freed from within Ganon and deal the finishing blow by sealing him with her magic... and even then it's indicated he'll one-day return.
  • Rated M for Manly: In contrast to the cute, youthful Link, Ganondorf is huge, muscular, intimidating, powerful and all-around extremely manly. Even his boar demon and Calamity forms haven't lost everything in this respect.
  • 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 incarnation of the hatred Demon King Demise bore for Link and Zelda, which is reiterated in Breath of the Wild. Hyrule Historia and Hyrule Warriors state that Ganondorf is Demise's reincarnation as well.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Usually hardly ages much, if at all, over the course of centuries, no matter the timeline. This is likely because of the Triforce of Power turning him into an immortal.

    S to V 
  • Sanity Has Advantages: Ganondorf is smart, charismatic, pragmatic, brave, patient, relentless, immortal, and not crazy — traits which make him one of the most dangerous villains in just about any work of genre fiction. Link consistently needs his wits about him to beat Ganondorf, or to ensure that he stays beaten. Ganon, on the other hand, is a feral pig monster who is certainly dangerous but ultimately dispatched with relative ease.
  • Scary Black Man: Though more Ambiguously Brown, or perhaps Ambiguously Green, his skin's dark enough to give off something of this vibe. He's always been depicted as more Middle Eastern or East African than anything else, in contrast to the European-cultured 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.
  • Shrouded in Myth: By the time of Breath of the Wild, his origins as a Gerudo have been distorted into him once adopting the form of a Gerudo — a reference to Demise's curse.
  • 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 has a fatter muscular build like many powerlifters (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 Ganondorf'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: Initially does this as Agahnim in A Link to the Past. This later becomes a signature technique of his in Ocarina of Time and while possessing Zelda in Twilight Princess.
  • Touché: Especially evident in Wind Waker, when Link manages to escape or defeat Ganondorf. He always has this smirk on his face which demonstrates amusement with Link's gumption.
  • Tragic Villain: By way of Character Development. Initially, Ganondorf 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, having grown up in the barren wastes of the desert whilst living right next door to the lush and prosperous Hyrule. Then, in Skyward Sword, we learn that he's the reincarnation of Demise/the avatar of Demise's hatred born of a Dying Curse, meaning that he was destined to become a villain. Breath of the Wild continues this with Calamity Ganon, an incarnation of Ganon who has become little more than a mindless force of pure hatred. How this happened is never explained but it's implied that he Came Back Wrong due to being unable to properly reincarnate.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Caused by inconsistent translations of his Japanese title "Demon King" over the years. At this point he's Ganondorf Dragmire, the Demon King, the King of Evil, the King of Thieves, the Dark Lord, the Prince of Darkness, and the Scourge of Hyrule. You can then include "the Dark Beast" as a footnote in reference to his Ganon form.
  • 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.
    • The backstory of Breath of the Wild makes clear that Ganon was sealed away and/or dead for 10,000 years by that point, yet he suddenly appears to devastate Hyrule in the Great Calamity. While "The Champions' Ballad" says that the Yiga Clan were seeking to revive Ganon, it's not clear if they were the ones directly responsible for his return. And this is the first Zelda game where Ganon explicitly lacks the Triforce of Power.
  • Villain Decay: Being an intelligent and powerful villain, he isn't a usual victim of this unless the circumstances negatively affect his mind.
    • 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.
    • Played with in Breath of the Wild, as Calamity Ganon, where he's stronger than ever, but lacks a body at that point, and is an Almighty Idiot on top of that due to his sheer power overriding any remaining identity as Ganon or Ganondorf.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • In Ocarina of Time, after his attempt to bury Link and Zelda with his castle had failed, Ganondorf becomes so enraged that he uses the Triforce of Power to transform himself into Ganon for the first time. As Ganon, he is a beast of pure rage and power with no strategy aside from attacking Link. When he is defeated again and gets sealed away by the Seven Sages, he reverts back to his human form cursing his jailers and vowing revenge on their descendants.
    • In The Wind Waker when King Daphnes wishes for Hyrule to be destroyed moments before Ganondorf can wish for it to be his. Ganondorf proceeds to laugh as the ocean starts pouring down around them and then decides to just kill Zelda and Link then and there.
    • In Breath of the Wild, he's become more of a walking natural disaster and living incarnation of The Power of Hate than a real character, intending to destroy the world instead of conquer it. As the final battle goes on, according to Zelda — at least in the English version — he even gives up on trying to properly revive himself just so he can make sure Link dies.
  • Villainous Legacy: Zelda II and Phantom Hourglass deal to varying extents with Ganon's actions in the preceding games having some influence on the plots of the new games despite him having been killed. Skyward Sword reveals that Ganon himself is this for Demise.
  • 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, Ganondorf 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.

    W to Z 
  • Wicked Cultured: As Ganondorf aka King of Thieves, he surrounds himself with the finest arts and treasures. The most notable example is in Ocarina of Time, where he plays his own theme on an organ while he waits for Link.
  • Wolverine Publicity:
    • Although he only appeared in three canonical games, Ganondorf (in general) is treated as the definitive version of the series' Big Bad, getting more publicity than his pig demon and Calamity forms. Super Smash Bros. and Hyrule Warriors use his humanoid form as his default playable form, with his pig form being limited to brief transformations.
    • The pre-rendered clip of Link and Ganondorf fighting that Nintendo showed at Space World 2000 gave Ganondorf a distinct cleaver-type sword. Promotional images of Ganondorf with that sword were used in artwork for Super Smash Bros. Melee, and he was eventually given the sword to use in-game for Smash attacks in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It is one of Ganondorf's most iconic weapons despite it never appearing in any canon Zelda games.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Thanks to his Character Development in Skyward Sword and The Wind Waker. He initially coveted Hyrule because of the harsh environment he grew up in but ended up falling hard down the Dark Side. In addition, as the incarnation of Demise's hatred/Demise reborn he was destined to become an evil scourge from the start (though it's unclear if he has any agency or not). Heck, in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, Zelda and Link even pitied him.
  • Worthy Opponent: Considers Link one, for his courage at least. Ganondorf is prideful and arrogantly secure in his own power, but he is often pleasantly surprised by Link's ability to give him a challenge.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Link and Zelda have frequently fluctuated in age across the games, but whenever they are children, Ganon has never been any less willing to fight them than when they are older.
  • 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 a few games or so.
    • 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.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The revelation that Ganondorf is the human reincarnation of Demise brought on by the Demon tribe curse indicates he was fated to come into conflict with Zelda and Link.
  • You Killed My Father: He's directly responsible for killing Zelda's father the King in A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, and Breath of the Wild, though only in the last game does her grief for her father play an explicit role in the story.


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