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Fanfic / Blind Courage

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Blind Courage is a 38-chapter Zelda/Ganondorf-themed The Legend of Zelda fanfic by shinobipopcorn. It can be read here (or here on Archive of Our Own).

Lord Ganondorf has memories of his previous lives. He is tired of the constant feuding between the Gerudo and Hylians. He wants to make peace and allow his tribe to be treated like the Hyrulian citizens that they are. When Ganondorf marches to Hyrule Castle unannounced, he meets the newest incarnation of Princess Zelda. She's a sprightly 17-year old girl who doesn't remind Ganondorf of her previous lives. There's an instant attraction between the two, which leads to the duo having sex a few days after they met. Zelda falls pregnant from this encounter. Her father and the royal advisors don't take kindly to this. When Zelda refuses to terminate the pregnancy, she is banished to live on the outskirts of Hyrule and "Princess Zelda" is declared dead.

Zelda moves into a secluded cottage where she lives with her child for the next several years. Due to a poisoning attempt during her pregnancy, Zelda's daughter Baby was born blind. Things change when Ganondorf comes across Baby while travelling.

Blind Courage features a fair amount of Worldbuilding about the series compared to the games. The story is loosely connected to a previous Alternate Universe Fic called Ocarina, an adult timeline story where Zelda never sent Link back in time and the timeline split never occured.

Blind Courage provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Ganondorf has none of the animosity or cruelty of his other incarnations. He's still a war lord to be feared, but he's not blood-thirsty and is fine with negotiating. Ganondorf uses his Past-Life Memories to his advantage when he decides to try and settle the Gerudo-Hylian feud through peaceful manners.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The king is usually a benevolent figure in Zelda media, but this king, King Harkinian, cares for image more than his own family. He nearly killed his daughter Zelda and isn't guilty about it. It's implied he didn't love his wife and he feels nothing towards his daughter and granddaughter either.
  • Age-Gap Romance: Zelda meets Ganondorf when she is seventeen and he is twenty-seven. While Deliberate Values Dissonance lessens the stigma of their age gap, it's still noted that their relationship is delicate due to Zelda's youth.
  • Age Lift: Link, who is significantly younger than usual. They are usually around the same age as Zelda, but about seventeen years younger here.
  • Alternate Universe Fic: The child timeline never occured because the Hero of Time wasn't sent back by Zelda and the Goddess' never flooded Hyrule. However, Ganondorf still eventually escaped the Sacred Realm.
  • Always Identical Twins: Averted with Tetra and Iriana. One has golden hair and the other has strawberry blonde.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The end implies that Impa either blinded or killed the former king. She officially exiled him to the Shadow Temple, but she comes back with bloody fingers.
  • Arranged Marriage:
    • The council attempts to force Zelda into Altar Diplomacy, but it fails when she falls for Ganondorf and ends up pregnant within a month after they meet.
    • Zelda's mother was married off at fourteen and had given birth by age fifteen.
  • Asshole Victim: The Hylian seneschal who poisoned Zelda is murdered by Impa. No one is sorry about his death.
  • Babies Ever After: Chapter 38 is a stand-alone oneshot that takes place several months after the fic ended. It's themed around the birth of Zelda and Ganondorf's twins, Tetra and Iriana.
  • Birthday Hater: Zelda dislikes her birthday because her mother died on her seventh birthday.
  • Child of Forbidden Love:
    • Baby's parents are the leader of the Gerudo and the heir of Hyrulean royal family. The two have been at war for centuries.
    • Gerudo tradition states that their patron goddess, the Goddess of the Sand, is the child of Hylia and Demise. The Golden Goddess' disliked their union and forcibly split the couple apart. Din took pity on their innocent baby and raised her. When the child was older, she was sent into the desert, where she became the Goddess of the Sand and the ancestor of all Gerudo.
  • Child Soldiers: Downplayed with six year old Link. He's begun his training but he won't be expected to be a full-on guard until he's older.
  • The Coup: The story ends with a coup against Zelda's father so that Zelda can be crowned queen. It ends easily after everyone learns about what happened seven years ago.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Just like in canon, the Hyrulian religion is Christian-like. People even do the sign of the Three Goddess' over their chest, like how Christians cross themselves.
  • Dead Guy Junior: One of Zelda's twin daughters is named after her mother Iriana.
  • Death of a Child: This is used as a world-building element in the backstory. Due to dwindling resources and routine wars with the Hylian empire, the Gerudo were prone to malnutrition. Boys rarely made it past their first year. Eventually Gerudo women grew to evolve so that they'd only produce female children.
  • Disabled in the Adaptation: Link cannot speak due to an unspecified disability.
  • Disease by Any Other Name: It's implied that Zelda's mother had a brain tumor, but no one in-series understood it. According to the writer, she died of eclampsia.
  • Elsewhere Fic: The story isn't based on any particular incarnation of the games. It features a new Zelda from an unknown time period after Ocarina of Time.
  • The Exile:
    • For getting pregnant out of wedlock, Princess Zelda's death was faked and she was secretly exiled.
    • King Harkinian is exiled to the Shadow Temple for his crimes.
  • Fantastic Racism: Hylians and Gerudo have gotten along poorly for generations. Gerudo live in the margins of society and are treated as second-class citizens despite being Hyrulean.
  • Fantastic Slur: Downplayed. "Outsider" is a euphemism that Hylians use for Gerudo. It's an upsetting term but not considered an outright slur.
  • Forced Miscarriage: This is attempted but subverted. When the barely 17 year old Princess Zelda becomes pregnant out of wedlock, it causes a scandal in the court. Her father and his royal advisors try to make her terminate the pregnancy but Zelda refuses. One of the advisors sneaks a poison into the princess' food, which causes Zelda to get rapidly sick. She spends a week asleep but her nursemaid Impa is able to save the baby. The incident, however, led to Zelda's daughter being born blind and made Zelda into an ill girl who suffers from chronic illness.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: "There is no way in Demise's Fire  I am giving up my child so you can keep up appearances!"
  • Identical Grandson: Downplayed with Zelda. She has facial features that make it clear she's Zelda, but they're also softer than the norm. Zelda's are known for their blue eyes and either (usually golden) brown hair or blonde hair. This Zelda has very unusual purple eyes and red hair. Her standout design parallels how she's different from the other Zelda's personality wise.
  • I Have No Son!: Zelda's father King Harkinian agrees to exile her because she's "tainted" her bloodline by getting pregnant out of wedlock to an unspecified man. When Zelda asks her father if he loves her, he refuses to answer.
  • Love at First Sight: Reincarnation Romance and Past-Life Memories streamlines Zelda and Ganondorf's relationship into this. They're head-over-heels despite barely knowing one another.
  • Mama Bear: Barely even a few hours after realizing she's pregnant, Zelda goes into this mindset. Not even her own father will get between her and her child.
  • Meaningful Name: Baby is Zelda's precious little baby. She's also later given the holy middle name "Hylia" as she has divine blood running through her veins.
  • Missing Mom: Zelda's mother Iriana died on her seventh birthday.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Nephewism:
    • Though not technically her aunt, Impa is the cousin of Zelda's mother Iriana. Impa has always been Zelda's nursemaid and has been a maternal figure to her, especially after Iriana's death.
    • Aveil and her husband Fado have been raising their six year old nephew Link since his parents died years ago. Due to his age upon adoption, he considers them his parents instead of his aunt and uncle.
  • Oh, My Gods!:
    • Using the Golden Goddess' name in vain occurs. "Naryu's love" is one example.
    • Gerudo use the Goddess of the Sand in this manner.
  • Opposites Attract: Hylia is a goddess while Demise is the embodiment of darkness. They're polar opposites who, according to Gerudo myth, fell in love. However, they were left Starcrossed Lover because the other goddess' disapproved of their relationship.
  • Papa Wolf: The story describes Ganondorf as a "Papa Boar" in this regard. He becomes bonded with Baby from the moment they meet and is very protective of her even before learning she's his daughter.
  • Parental Abandonment: Link's biological parents died years ago, leaving the young boy in the care of his uncle and his wife.
  • Past-Life Memories:
    • Ganondorf has vivid recollections of his past lives.
    • Zelda doesn't instantly have memories, but she unlocks flashbacks after being close to Ganondorf.
    • Subverted with Link, who can't remember anything about his past lives. It's described as unusual for a Triforce holder but Zelda considers it a blessing that he isn't burdened by his past.
    • It's mentioned that most Triforce holders remember their past lives.
  • Puppy Love: Baby and Link are only six but they already show signs of a budding future romance.
  • Related in the Adaptation:
    • Twilight Princess' Link is the descendant of Link and Sheik from Ocarina of Time.
    • Impa is the cousin of Zelda's mother.
    • Link is Twilight Princess Fado's nephew.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Zelda and Ganondorf had been in love in his earliest life. It's been centuries since he's been on friendly terms with a Zelda, but the current Zelda is different. She's the first Zelda in generations that's been attracted to him.
  • Sex for Solace: Ganondorf and Zelda's first time together is a few days after Zelda's birthday. At the time, Zelda was still in mourning because her mother had died on her birthday a decade prior.
  • Shout-Out: Impa apparently owns a bat’leth that she got from her Gerudo friends.
  • Teen Pregnancy:
    • 17-year old Zelda has a tryst with Ganondorf and ended up pregnant.
    • Zelda's mother was married young and had her at age 15.