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Video Game / The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

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This is but one of the legends of which the people speak...

The tenth game in The Legend of Zelda series would be the first Nintendo GameCube release: The Wind Waker (known as Baton of Wind in Japan), which was released on December 13, 2002 in Japan. The game was released in North America on March 24, 2003, and in PAL Regions on May 2, 2003. This game, explicitly set some time after Ocarina of Time (hundreds of years), showed off cel-shading techniques combined with slightly realistic shading to produce a game visually reminiscent of animated films. Its major gameplay concept is the titular conductor's baton, the Wind Waker, which among other things, allowed Link to control the wind. Following from the first true multiplayer Legend of Zelda game, Four Swords, it also included a limited two-player Asymmetric Multiplayer mode using the Game Boy Advance cable, allowing a second player to control Tingle and assist (or hinder) the player.


Legend tells of an ancient kingdom that was saved from the evil forces of Ganon by a green-clad boy who came to be known as the Hero of Time. Years later, when Ganon returned once again to spread his dark power, the Hero did not return as well, and the ultimate fate of the kingdom was lost to myth.

The narrative picks up centuries later on Outset Island in the southern reaches of the Great Sea, where the inhabitants have a tradition of giving a set of green clothes to boys who come of age in honor of the legendary hero. On the same day that a boy named Link receives his own clothes, he spots a large bird carrying a young girl and being chased by pirates. Link rescues the girl, the pirate captain Tetra, but the bird then snatches his younger sister Aryll. According to a Rito postman, this bird has been taking long-eared girls from across the Great Sea and bringing them to the Forsaken Fortress, to which place Link and the pirates go to rescue the captives. Unfortunately, Link's infiltration of the Fortress goes sour, and he briefly catches a glimpse of a large dark-robed figure who orders him tossed out into the ocean.


Link is rescued from drowning by a talking boat who calls himself the King of Red Lions (after his face's resemblance to a Chinese lion). This being reveals that the dark figure was Ganondorf himself, and that it is up to Link to not only rescue his sister and the other girls, but also to defeat the dark lord and end his evil reign.

The game tasks the player with sailing the King of Red Lions across the vast Great Sea. While sailing is quite different from riding Epona, requiring the use of the eponymous Wind Waker to shift the wind's direction so that the ship's sail can catch it, land-based overworld and dungeon exploration is largely identical to that in previous games. There are forty-nine islands of varying importance and size, and the sea is vast enough to hide lots of secrets and treasure. And despite the rather cheery, cartoonish visuals, the plot delves into surprisingly dark themes involving apocalyptic events and learning to let go of a lost past. Even Ganon, the main Evil Overlord of the series, is portrayed as a more nuanced, even tragic, figure compared to previous and subsequent games.

A remade version, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD was released for the Wii U in 2013 for two specific reasons: 1) to be a stop-gap game to satiate fans while waiting for the new entry developed on the same console, and 2) to serve as an outlet for the developers to test out what they can do with the new hardware. The gameplay itself has been slightly streamlined, particularly the sailing mechanics and a key late-game Fetch Quest. The Tingle Tuner has been replaced with the Tingle Bottle, used to send messages to the game's Miiverse community (although this item no longer functions following the service's shutdown in November 2017). The game also includes the more challenging Hero Mode introduced in Skyward Sword, but in this game you can start a new file with it activated rather than needing to beat Normal Mode first to unlock the toggle for it.

The HD remake was released in North America on September 20, 2013, in Japan on September 26, and in PAL regions the following month.

The game is followed up by two sequels: the direct sequel, Phantom Hourglass, was released in 2007; the distant sequel, Spirit Tracks, in 2009.

Tropes regarding the manga adaptation can be found here.

This game provides examples of:

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  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Light Arrows, which you get just before the final bosses, and are required to defeat them (although you don't even get to use them yourself for the very last). They can actually oneshot anything in the game that isn't a boss (with a pretty neat, unique death animation to boot), including Darknuts (you don't even need to aim for their weak point).
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: Aryll is kidnapped on Link's birthday, which kicks off the main conflict of the game.
  • Accidental Proposal: In a sidequest, Maggie thinks Moe the moblin's letter to her is a marriage proposal. In reality, it only says "I want to eat you for dinner."
  • Action Commands: The Parry Attack, which requires the player to Camera Lock-On an enemy, and then press "A" just before an enemy's attack, making Link dodge and Counter-Attack. It's instrumental for defeating Darknut Knights and Ganondorf, in his and Link's Duel to the Death.
  • Adipose Rex:
    • King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, though he still looks quite dignified.
    • "Lord" Valoo, too.
    • Ganondorf is an evil version.
    • Jalhalla is also an evil version, being the "lord of the Poes."
  • Adult Fear: Ganondorf has various young girls kidnapped because they share a couple physical similarities to Princess Zelda; among these is Link's child sister. The parents of these lost kids are appropriately freaked out.
  • After the End: The events of the game take place in the Great Sea, whose islands are remnants of the mountains that once belonged to a now-flooded Hyrule.
  • Alertness Blink: The old beggar man on Windfall Island right before he asks you to rescue his daughter. You'll be forced to talk to him if he catches you until you beat the Helmaroc King.
  • Alternate Timeline: This game follows the "adult" part of the timeline split caused by The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which involved Hyrule being completely overthrown.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Wooden submarines in a fantasy setting, built out of wooden planks like a barrel? Preposterous! Only, the real-life Turtle was exactly that, just much smaller.
  • Always Night: The Forsaken Fortress has this up until Link's second visit. After Link visits Greatfish Isle after the second dungeon, Ganondorf also curses the sea to have perpetual nighttime (though this ends up helping Link, as this causes Tetra's pirates to never leave Windfall Island to obtain the third pearl before Link can do so).
  • Androcles' Lion: In the first dungeon, Link saves the dragon Valoo from having his tail tormented by Gohma. Later, Valoo brings help while Link is captured in the Forbidden Fortress, and blasts Ganon with dragon fire for good measure.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Among other things that change on the second playthrough, Link wears his Outset Island clothes through the course of the game (normally Link only wears them right at the start before he gets his "coming of age" green tunic). The justification is what he's actually wearing is "invisible except to those of great honesty and virtue," so the player just can't see them. (But Ganondorf can see them fine...?)
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The HD remaster added a few of them. Among other things:
    • You can win a faster sail that automatically adjusts the wind as you go along. Also, the sail and Wind Waker are now quest items as opposed to regular items, meaning you don't have to sacrifice two items slots when you're sailing.
    • Still on the topic of sailing, you don't need to equip the bombs or the grappling hook to use the boat's cannon and crane; they're always available when you're sailing regardless of what items you're equipped with at the moment.
    • Most of the times Link takes damage while sailing, he isn't knocked off his boat anymore. Only select attacks and obstacles (like Exploding Barrels) can still knock him off.
    • The Nintendo Gallery sidequest has been greatly improved: you can get the Deluxe Picto Box as soon as you first arrive on Windfall Island (the Forest Firefly is no longer required), you can save twelve pictographs as opposed to only three, a golden icon appears on pics that can be turned into figurines, and Carlov accepts up to twelve pictures a day as opposed to one. This makes completing the gallery much faster and less tedious.
    • The Triforce sidequest has been revamped, with most of the charts leading to the shards getting the shaft; instead, you get most of said shards directly. Only three shards need a chart to be deciphered. Also, the standard wallet carries up to 500 Rupees, meaning a Wallet upgrade isn't necessary to afford Tingle's deciphering prices anymore.
    • The small animation that plays when Link conducts Wind Waker songs only plays once in a given session; every time you use the same song after that, its effects happen automatically.
    • When you're swinging on a rope, you can actually turn while you're swinging, without needing to stop.
    • An aiming reticle is shown when using the cannon at sea; making aiming far easier and less of a guessing game.
  • The Artifact: In the HD version, the Fishman still states that if you want him to repeat his hint, you have to use bait again, even though you can now read the hints at any time on the GamePad screen.
  • Artistic License – Ships: Although easier to sail with the wind than against it, Link's methods of sailing are pretty unrealistic. Since doing it realistically would make the game immensely tedious and frustrating, this can be filed under Acceptable Breaks from Reality. Also, it's a talking boat.
  • Artistic License – Physics: In the cannon shooting minigame on Spectacle Island, angling the canon higher than 45° will result in the projectile travelling a longer distance, when in fact 45° should yield the farthest possible distance.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The cheerful, cartoon-inspired graphics of the game stand in stark contrast to, among other things, the fact that the sea the game takes place in was formed when Hyrule was drowned in an apocalyptic flood, and that Ganondorf is killed by being stabbed through the head at the end of the game.
  • Asymmetric Multiplayer: By way of the Tingle Tuner.
  • Auction: There's a minigame based on this in Windfall Island. The items that can be purchased are two Treasure Charts, a Heart Piece, Joy Pendants and (only in the HD remaster), a Swift Sail.
  • Avian Flute: Dragon Roost Island is home to the Rito. The island's theme music has a woodwind melody over a jaunty, upbeat background to create a light, airy feel.
  • Badass Adorable: Link, being the main character, is very good at the hero business. He is also one of the most harmless-looking people in the game, and is, all in all, a very huggable person.
  • Badass Normal: Orca has a Knight's Crest in his possession. The only way to obtain one of those is to defeat a Darknut in combat. For anyone who isn't the legendary hero, that takes balls of steel, as Darknuts have attacks that take away three hearts of damage.
  • Battle in the Rain: In the final battle, the entire ocean is raining down on you.
  • Battle Theme Music: In this game, every boss has a unique boss theme, a trend that would be seen to varying extents in subsequent 3D games. The game also started the trend of featuring minibosses with unique themes (Phantom Ganon plays a remix of Ganon's theme from A Link to the Past, and the sea minibosses Cyclos and Big Octo share a unique track as well).
  • BFS: The Darknut swords. And you get to wield them! Same for the swords dropped by Phantom Ganon.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Senza. Who is a guy.
  • Bird People: The Rito are the bird version of this.
  • Big Bad: Ganondorf, who returns to the world after his seal in Ocarina of Time.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Link's is so powerful that it nearly makes him jump off a cliff near the beginning of the game.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Link and Tetra being rescued from Ganondorf by the Rito and the giant dragon Valoo, who proceeds to torch Ganondorf's tower. He gets better.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Jabun speaks ancient Hylian while the King of Red Lions uses the modern language.
  • Bishōnen Line: In spirit - Ganondorf doesn't transform at all this time, but you fight the giant, monstrous Puppet Ganon before you duel him in his human form.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Tingle, though it's Played for Laughs. He forces two guys who look just like him to rotate the giant Tingle head at the top of his tower with not so much as a single moment's rest. The guy in white isn't even related to them; he's just some poor schmuck who washed up on Tingle Island after a boating accident and has been stuck there ever since.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Link ultimately defeats Ganondorf and rescues Zelda, but Hyrule and the King are lost to the ocean's waves forever. Shortly afterward, Link embarks on another adventure with Tetra to discover a new land, meaning he has to leave his sister Aryll behind once more.
  • Blade on a Stick: The weapon used by the Moblins; Link can pick them up and use them as weapons, but as they're easily three times his size, he's rather clumsy with them.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Mooks don't bleed when you cut them. Normal for a Zelda game. Ganondorf doesn't shed so much as a drop when you drive the Master Sword into his skull. Not so normal for a Zelda game.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The last 20 (optional) floors of the Savage Labyrinth, which depending on the version you play, may reward you with a Heart Piece, the Hero's Charm, or 10 Rupees.
  • Book-Ends: Sailing away from Outset Island with the pirates.
  • Bootstrapped Leitmotif:
    • This was the entry that started to use the popular Main Theme of the series as Link's own Leitmotif.
    • Also, it used "Hyrule Castle" as King Daphnes' Leitmotif as well.
  • Boss Rush: The first part of the final dungeon requires fighting four of the six regular bosses for further progress, The third isn't evil, and the sixth was Ganon's above ground pet.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • Orca will challenge you to hit him as many times as you can, and you lose once you take three hits yourself. Based on how many times you hit him, you get rewards at certain intervals. However, the hit counter only has three digits, and if you overrun the counter by hitting him 1000 times, he will tell you he lost count. You don't get any reward except that "your trigger finger must be numb."
    • If you can get to the Piece of Heart at the bottom of the Savage Labyrinth, you've proven you don't need it. And said Heart Piece was replaced with the Hero's Charm in Wind Waker HD. You fight through increasingly deadly combinations of every single common enemy in the game so you can gain an item that lets you see their health bars. By that point, you're so familiar with the enemies that you're likely never to even put the thing on afterwards. And it doesn't work on the Final Boss.
    • Getting the boss figurines in the Nintendo Gallery. While they theoretically could be useful, since they contain info on how to beat the bosses, you already have to have defeated them already (and taken a picture during the fight) before you can get the figurines.
    • Also completing the Nintendo Gallery in its entirety. While on the subject, some of the characters and enemies you need to take a picture of either disappear after a certain point in the game or have a limited amount of times in which you can take a picture of them, like Tetra, and if you complete your second playthrough without having gotten everyone, some of them will be Permanently Missed. Your reward for it all? Carlov's greatest work: A statue of Link and his boat, the King of Red Lions.
    • Shark Island's ultimate reward. Upon arriving, you'll find a ring of fire surrounding a hole in the ground. Around the island, you'll find one of each of the game's switches: An ordinary weighed switch (only requires that Link steps on it), a diamond switch (which must be struck with any weapon), a wooden peg (requiring the Skull Hammer), and an iron weighted switch (requiring the Iron Boots)... All of which are on a timer the moment you touch them. If you manage to finally hit them all in time, the flames go out and you can drop down the hole. What do you find inside? A gigantic ambush, one that not even the Savage Labyrinth itself can rival! If you can somehow survive, patiently and methodically defeating every enemy in there, you'll win... A Silver Rupee. Of which there are tons more out there, in easier-to-reach spots.
  • Breakable Power-Up: The soup power-up heals you and also gives you extra attack power. The attack power buff is lost if you are damaged.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Tingle may be weird as hell, but his skill as a cartographer is unmatched, and you must seek his aid to decipher Triforce Charts.
  • Butt-Monkey: Link gets no respect for the first half of the game.
  • Camera Lock-On: The camera will lock on to enemies if Link targets them, giving him a more accurate shot.
  • Canon Immigrant: Eiji Aonuma was directly inspired by the non-canon Watarara race of giant birds from the Zelda manga to create the Rito.
  • Cartography Sidequest: The map of the Great Sea has to be drawn gradually by feeding the Fishman in each insular square (there is a total of 49). To make up for the long time needed for this and the amount of Bait required, each Fishman provides useful information on how to complete other sidequests, and in some cases important clues regarding the main quest's objectives (i.e. the location of a Triforce Chart, or how to access a dungeon).
  • Catapult to Glory: How Link gets in the Forbidden Fortress. He almost makes it to the boss room, but misses by a few feet.
  • Cel Shading: This is the first game in the Zelda series to employ this type of graphics, and is specifically inspired by the character designs of anime productions from The '80s. Notably, the game also makes use of visual effects that are usually very difficult to code within cel-shading graphical engines, such as heat haze, light mapping, motion blur and real-time cloth simulation. The HD version further enhanced the graphics.
  • Character Development: Taking Ocarina of Time into account, Ganondorf had a lot in the time in between games. The man was a Card-Carrying Villain before. Since then, he's clearly thought a lot about his life and seems to regret a lot of his choices. He also Took a Level in Badass—Ganondorf has never been more deadly at swordplay than in this game; though, the only other time Link has fought Ganondorf with swords, in Twilight Princess, Link was in his late teens, so the size difference might have something to do with it.
  • Climax Boss: The Helmaroc King, the one responsible for kidnapping Aryll.
  • Clip Its Wings: Hitting a (flying) Mothula enough times will cause it to lose its wings and drop to the ground.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Ganondorf. Master swordsman and skilled sorcerer; holder of the Triforce of Power. Greets our hero with a sucker punch. Even Tetra gets one.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: The fairies in this game look more like little girls than glowing balls of light, so when you bottle one, you can see her looking quite forlorn over her extremely limited living space.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Maggie, who reads the words "I want to eat you for dinner" and comes to the conclusion that the love of her life is proposing to her.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The game starts with Link going through his village's rite-of-passage on his twelfth birthday, the day he's officially considered an adult. He's done a lot of growing up by the end, when he's defeated and killed Ganondorf, and set off to start a new kingdom with Tetra and her pirates.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: A part of the art style. Characters and important objects are rendered with cel shading and vibrant colors, while islands, buildings and such have more detail, duller colors, and realistic shading.
  • Continuity Nod: The first Zelda game to reference its past to such a degree—mostly using musical cues.
    • The Seven Sages appear in stained glass in the Master Sword's pedestal room.
    • The last few notes in the Ballad of Gales are reused from the ending to the Minuet of Forest.
    • The Outset Island theme contains a nod to the Kokiri Forest theme.
    • Dragon Roost Cavern has the same background sounds as Dodongo's Cavern.
    • The music in Forest Haven contains elements of the Kokiri Forest theme, and the inner sections of the Haven mix in Saria's Song as well.
    • The Koroks mention that in the Forbidden Woods they still have houses that they used long ago when they took a different form. Sure enough, in that dungeon Link comes across tree-carved structures that look like Kokiri houses. Saria's house holds the Boss Key.
    • C-stick motions for the Wind's Requiem are exactly the same as the C-button directions for Epona's Song. Fitting, as both songs allow you to have access to a more reliable, faster transportation method.
    • The Song of Passing is the Sun's Song and serves the same purpose.note 
    • After Maggie and her father get rich selling Skull Necklaces when she's rescued, her new outfit includes a Bunny Hood, a la OoT and Majora's Mask.
    • The Rito that runs the post office at Dragon Roost looks a lot like the Postman from Majora's Mask. His figurine description lampshades this.
    • The sounds from the exit portal that emerges after defeating a boss, are sampled from the sounds of the theme of the last remaining hours in Majora's Mask.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Link takes no damage despite standing next to, or even dangling himself directly over, a pool of lava. And he will lose only one half a heart if he falls in the stuff.
  • Cool Boat: Early in the game, Link gains access to the King of Red Lions, a skiff that serves as the primary mode of transport on the game's overworld. The boat is painted red, and the stylized figurehead is capable of speech—in fact, the boat is a sentient being.
  • Cool Sword: The Master Sword, the very same legendary Blade of Evil's Bane used by past incarnations of the Hero. Though subverted at first in that it starts powerless and much weaker than normal due to Ganondorf's machinations with the sages. Link restores it to its former glory.
  • Could Say It, But...: The "Nice Girls who never spread rumors," even if you pay them rupees.
  • Counter-Attack: The Parry Attack, when Link dodges out of the way of an enemy's attack and slices them from behind or above.
  • Covers Always Lie: The original NGC Japanese and HD remaster covers depict Valoo and the gods facing off against Helmaroc King. This never happens in the game. Admittedly, the distance between them probably means they were just trying to showcase as many big characters as possible, but none of them are even on screen at the same time.
  • Crapsaccharine World: What with all the bright, vivid colors and cartoony visuals, it can be easy to forget that you're sailing above the desolated, flooded ruins of what was once Hyrule, and all the seemingly thriving islanders are the descendants of the few who managed to scramble up the mountains in time to avoid drowning.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Averted. It does have The Stinger, but all the other 3-D Zelda titles have sequences or other transitions, showing the world/characters you saved. Wind Waker merely repeats bubbles of people's faces over and over as the credits play.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Anyone who has played Twilight Princess HD and used the third-person targeting reticle will suffer a few problems using the bow in Wind Waker HD, which only has the (much less reliable) first-person targeting system and the exact same controls.
  • Damsel in Distress:
    • Medli and Tetra. Medli gets caught after entering the volcano, while Tetra is being carried off by a huge bird at the start of the game, then dropped into a tree. Later, Tetra gets the same treatment when it's revealed she's Princess Zelda.
    • Aryll is kidnapped right after Link helps Tetra get out of the Fairy Woods, and is taken to Forsaken Fortress, where Windfall Island girls Mila and Maggie are imprisoned as well.
  • Dark Reprise:
    • The battle music for Gohma, Kalle Demos, Jalhalla, and Molgera receive one each in Ganon's Tower during the black-and-white rematches with them.
    • During the cursed night leading up to obtaining Nayru's Pearl, the normally grandiose and adventurous sailing theme suddenly becomes dark and ominous, even incorporating notes of Ganondorf's theme in the background.
  • Deader Than Dead: Ganondorf. He gets a sword through his head, is either encased in or becomes solid rock, and then has an ocean wash over him after he removed his Triforce of Power, the source of his immortality, to complete the Triforce. The two games that follow in the timeline don't (directly) feature him.
  • Deconstruction:
    • The Wind Waker is a radical one on post-apocalyptic After the End stories. Its bright and upbeat style of art and music shows how life goes on. Centuries later, an old civilization will be forgotten and un-mourned, and a Reset Button on everything can be both a good and bad thing.
    • The game's backstory can be seen as a deconstruction of The Chosen One trope that the series and others runs on. Inspired by the legend of the Hero of Time, the people of Hyrule count on a hero spontaneously appearing to save them whenever evil arises. Because of this, when Ganon returns, the people of Hyrule are completely helpless and the gods must flood Hyrule to prevent Ganon from taking over. This theme carries through into the main story itself, where this time, Link is explicitly stated to have no blood connection to any past heroes (though Skyward Sword confirms that he and the other Links are reincarnations of Skyward Sword's Link). His actions are done mostly by his own initiative, and it's only towards the end of his journey, after he's proven his worth on his own, that he gets the Triforce of Courage and is officially appointed as a hero.
    • The story is a deconstruction of the Zelda series as a whole. The Wind Waker was developed in the shadow of Ocarina of Time, and it's aware of its predecessor's legacy. Ganondorf fails because he continues the same mistakes he made in the past, and he knows this, but there is a kind of futility in his actions. On the other hand, this Link has no direct connection to the Hero of Time (again, both Wind Waker and OoT's Link were reincarnations of Skyward Sword's Link). While everyone in the world waited for the Hero of Time to return, Link was the one to finally step up and become the hero on his own. The ultimate message is about moving forward, not looking back.
    • One particular area in Windfall Island (until a certain point) deconstructs the longstanding Zelda tradition of destroying every pot you come across. Each of those pots have nothing in them, and you actually have to pay 10 rupees per broken pot before you can leave.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Cyclos. He likes that you could beat him so much that he gives you the power of Cyclone travel.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The Boss Rush towards the end of the game and Hyrule in temporal stasis. Link is exempted from the effect and stands out rather dramatically. The HD remaster downplays this, with the effect being heavy desaturation rather than straight-up greyscale.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • If the player sequence breaks and completes the Triforce of Courage before finishing the Wind Temple (possible if one retrieves the Hookshot from the temple, then leaves to collect the Triforce before finishing the dungeon), the King of Red Lions will admonish Link to head to Hyrule rather than collect the Triforce after leaving the Temple.
    • Using the Forest Water, a magical product of the Forest Haven that purifies evil from plants, on Kalle Demos, the evil Man-Eating Plant boss of the Forbidden Woods, will kill it instantly. This is especially crazy because the Forest Water turns into regular water 20 minutes after it leaves the Forest Haven, meaning that it would likely expire during the time it would take most players to go through the dungeon and get to the boss. This trick wasn't even discovered until 2016, 14 years after the game's initial release. It doesn't even have much use for speedruns note ; the devs put it anyway because it made the game's world just a little more consistent and logical.
    • Even though it is usually impossible to hit any boss in the game with a Light Arrow, which are obtained in the final dungeon, through a glitch in the original and a Sequence Break in the remaster, it is possible to use them. Shooting the ghostly Jalhalla with one will instantly solidify it to make it vulnerable, which you would otherwise do by reflecting light onto it.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The scripted event where Floormasters capture Makar early in the Wind Temple. It can't be prevented, and it serves as the primary motivation to find the Hookshot in order to free him.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The Helmaroc King, after which the game shifts gears to Link having to become the new hero in order to stop Ganon once and for all. A lot of the game's sidequests also only become available after this fight.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: The return to the Forsaken Fortress. You've collected the pearls, proven yourself worthy in the Tower of the Gods and you've got the Master Sword. Finishing the dungeon means that Link gets to finally save his sister, which has been his primary motivation throughout the entire game, and you get to kill the bird who kidnapped her in the first place. After you beat the Helmaroc King, you head right up to Ganondorf's lookout for the final battle only to learn that the Master Sword is powerless and that drawing the Master Sword broke the seal limiting Ganondorf's power.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The Tingle Tuner gives you a steady supply of healing potions, explosives, temporary invincibility, and the ability to walk on air (reaching areas and items you normally wouldn't have access to) long before you get the respective items that these are based off of. For a fee, of course, but given the myriad of ways to get rupees in this game...
    • The Grappling Hook. Using it on enemies lets you steal their treasures without even having to defeat them. It's as easy as going in and out of a room, pilfering, and repeat, and the first time always nets you a spoil, with the Skull Necklaces and Joy Pendants earning you 5 Rupees a pop.
  • Disintegrator Ray: The Light Arrows have this effect immediately, on nearly every enemy they touch.
  • Distant Sequel: While it's not clear exactly how much time passed between the game's present day and the great flood or between Ocarina of Time and the aforementioned flood, it's been long enough that Hyrule itself, Link and his deeds and the Triforce have all long passed into legend, and that language drift has caused the dialect of Hylian spoken in Ocarina of Time to become an incomprehensible dead language.
  • Downer Beginning: The opening scene in the game details how Ganondorf returned after Ocarina of Time, and Link wasn't there to save the day, and all of Hyrule was lost and flooded by the gods.
  • The Dragon: The Helmaroc King fits this, doing most of Ganondorf's dirty work and quickly making it personal by kidnapping Link's sister. Then again, he gets taken down halfway through the game, so Phantom Ganon might fit better (although he doesn't have any characterization).
  • Dramatic Wind: Lots of it, given the theme of the game. In particular, Ganondorf sheds his typical armor for a kimono-like outfit with enormous sleeves that flap dramatically in the wind.
  • Dual Wielding: Ganondorf, who uses two sharp blades during the final battle.
  • Dummied Out:
    • The game was originally meant to have two more dungeons, but they were ultimately left out due to time constraints. Shigeru Miyamoto stated that he usually doesn't keep deadlines, because this is what happens when he does. Interestingly, Wind Waker made use of several elements that were Dummied Out from Ocarina of Time, like the sages powering up of the Master Sword and the Wind and Earth temples.
    • There is an item in-game that can't be accessed without hacking. It has no in-game visual, and on the menus it simply shows up as kanji translating to "Water Boots." Equipping it and pressing said button makes Link hop as if he was slipping on the Iron Boots, earning it the nickname of "Link Shuffle."
    • While making the original version, the development team created huge, high resolution texture assets which had to be pared down to run on the GameCube. With the HD remaster, they were able to finally use them when creating the enhanced graphics.
  • Easily Forgiven: After Tetra's true identity as Zelda is revealed, she apologizes to Link for all the events that led them here and that it's all her fault. Link immediately forgives her with a simple chuckle before leaving.
  • Easter Egg:
    • If you manage to damage either a Darknut, a Miniblin, or a Bokoblin with a bomb, they will run away from you as long as you carry a bomb. It's fairly amusing.
    • The All-Purpose Bait is not only useful for feeding pigs, rats and fishmen; it can also be used to draw enemies nearer. This includes Puppet Ganon's snake form.
    • Normally, you can't go behind Zunari's stall during the day, because he blocks you and shoos you away. He isn't there at night. If you go in at night and play the Song of Passing, it'll cut to daytime, at which point Zunari is confused as to how you got in and moves you out.
    • By pouring mystical Forest Water onto Kalle Demos's weak point, you can One-Hit Kill it.
    • When you slash the King of Red Lions with your sword, he flinches. If you slash him when you are taking Tetra to see the king in Hyrule, the boat doesn't do a thing, as his spirit is not currently inhabiting the boat. He also doesn't talk or move.
    • In the original release, the Octorok figurine's description stated that they were the winner of the "Perfect Attendance Award," for appearing in every Zelda game to date. The HD remaster removes this, because they did not appear in Twilight Princess. It was instead given the "Series: Exemplary Enemy" award.
    • You can use the grappling hook on Zelda in the final fight to literally steal her heart. It's actually somewhat useful in the Any% speedrun as a safety.
  • End of an Age: The age of Hyrule, Ganondorf, and the wars of the Triforce has been ending since Ganon's attack on Hyrule and the subsequent Great Flood, but the events of the game shut the book on them, seemingly forever, as the magic preserving them is destroyed and they are left to erode to nothing beneath the crushing waves.
  • The Enemy Weapons Are Better: Zigzagged. Link can pick up and wield enemy weapons such as machetes and Darknut swords, which inflict more damage than his Hero's Sword. However, Link cannot take the weapons to different areas. Once the player finds the Master Sword and brings it to full power, they will have no reason to ever pick up enemy weapons again except when they have to use Phantom Ganon's sword to break down the last barrier in Ganon's Tower.
  • Energy Weapon: The Beamos enemies aim them at Link when he's in their vision range, and also a couple wall-mounted Moblin statues in the Forsaken Fortress, for some reason.
  • Escort Mission: You had to escort Medli and Makar to the boss chambers of the Earth and Wind Temples. Thankfully, the two are useful and are required to solve several puzzles, and do not have a health meter of their own and thus cannot die. However, they can get captured by Floor Masters. Medli allows you to fly, and is essential before you get the mirror shield!
  • Eternal English: Averted; one of the Great Deku Tree's lines implies that the (barring a New Game+) indecipherable ancient Hylian is simply Hylian from the Era of the Hero of Time.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Two of them: Forsaken Fortress Tower, and Ganon's Tower.
  • Exact Words:
    • How Daphnes manages to intercept the power of the Triforce that Ganondorf just assembled.
      Daphnes: He who touches it will have whatever he desires granted... That is what you said, is it not, Ganondorf?
    • The Complimentary ID. Trading it in gets you a compliment from Beedle.
  • Exclusive Enemy Equipment: Unfortunately, you can't take enemy weapons through doors.
  • Face-Revealing Turn:
    • After Link reaches the top of the Forsaken Fortress, Ganondorf does this while introducing himself. Incidentally, Link had already seen Ganondorf during his first trip to the Forsaken Fortress, but he got a better view this time, and it initially leaves him somewhat frightened.
    • The King of Hyrule does this as well, but is has no effect on Link or Tetra, considering they've never seen him nor do they know much about Hyrule.
  • Fairy in a Bottle: As expected in the series, Link can swing a bottle to capture a fairy. In this installment, you can see the fairy frowning in the collection close-up.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: To the surprise of many for such a happy looking game, Ganondorf gets one of the most brutal deaths in the entire series, when Link stabs him through the forehead with the Master Sword.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Averted harder than in any previous Zelda. Cannons that shoot bombs seem to be the weapon of choice in the Great Sea.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: The "Song of Passing" functions the same as the Sun's Song in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, just under a new name.
  • Feathered Fiend: The Helmaroc King. The common Kargorocs as well.
  • Fetch Quest: A rather infamous one close to the end of the game, with Link having to pay Tingle to decipher treasure charts, sail to various parts of the sea, and pull up pieces of the Triforce of Courage. Thankfully made much less tedious in the HD remaster.
  • Fictional Age of Majority: The game implies the age of twelve to be at least a "special" age on Outset Island.
  • Fire, Water, Wind: Considering the three goddesses are the incarnations of these elements, it naturally makes an appearance here. Din's Pearl is at Dragon Roost Island (the game's fire dungeon), Farore's Emerald is at the Forbidden Woods (a wind-themed dungeon, but to a much lesser extent than the Wind Temple later on), and Nayru's Pearl is held by Jabun, a large fish who lived at Greatfish Island until it was destroyed and then sought refuge in a sea cave at Outset Island.
  • Flooded Future World: The Great Sea is what remains of the ancient kingdom of Hyrule after it was flooded by the gods in order to protect it from Ganondorf when the Hero of Time did not reappear to save it. The islands of the sea are the highest mountaintops of the ancient kingdom, to which the people of Hyrule were forced to flee as the oceans rose.
  • Flying Postman: The Rito are humanoid birdfolk who fly between the various populated islands of the Great Sea to deliver mail. This seems to be one of the main things their species does, as a visit to Dragon Roost shows several crates of mail, and even a minigame where Link himself gets to sort some of it for them.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • For all of a few moments before you find out the truth, but the music that plays as the Helmaroc King flies Link up to the sanctum of the Forsaken Fortress contains the melody from the boss theme for "Great King of Evil - Ganondorf" in Ocarina of Time. A few moments later in the game, the King of Red Lions reveals that the red-haired, dark-skinned being you saw is, indeed, Ganon.
    • The King of Red Lions, for seemingly inexplicable reasons, knows exactly how the Pirate's Charm works and uses it almost as if he were the one to give it to Link instead of Tetra. This is because, as Tetra's ancestor and the King of Hyrule, he made it himself.
    • The notes he makes you play after getting the Wind Waker is Zelda's Lullaby, hinting at his connection with the royal family.
    • If you take a look inside Tetra's room when you have the chance to, you'll see that she has several pictures on her walls that foreshadow her identity as Princess Zelda. This is also foreshadowed by the painting of Zelda and her attendants in Hyrule Castle. Also, Tetra's name in the Italian version of the game is "Dazel," which is simply an anagram of "Zelda."
    • Most of the time, the King of Red Lions will look at you as you walk around him, and jerk his head if you hit or throw something at it. When the King of Hyrule tells you through the stone to bring Tetra to him and you begin to lead her to him, the boat is totally still, not reacting to you or to objects. This is Five-Second Foreshadowing that he usually is the boat but he's not inhabiting it at the moment.
  • For Great Justice: One of the reasons Link can give for not letting Mila off the hook when he catches her trying to steal from her boss is because he's an "ally of justice!"
  • Free Rotating Camera: In most parts of the world, you can view the camera at any angle, but some parts do have limited view.
  • Freudian Excuse: Ganondorf, of all characters, has one. His monologue about how growing up in the desert made him a bad person: Ganondorf led a harsh life in the desert, saw the lush and prosperous land of Hyrule, and saw that the people had no idea how good they had it. That made him angry.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Two aversions:
    • The game's enemies. If they attack, they'll take out their comrades as well if they happen to be in the way. This helps in many situations with strong enemies (e.g. Darknuts) clustered together where you can bait them into whaling on their own.
    • The final battle: Zelda can hit Link with light arrows accidentally. Fortunately this doesn't disintegrate him, it just shocks him like hitting an electrified enemy does.
  • Full Health Bonus: The Elixir Soup obtained from Link's grandma not only fully restores health and magic, it also doubles attack power until Link next takes damage.
  • Future Imperfect: So much time has passed since the Great Flood that nobody remembers most of the legends of ancient Hyrule. Most humorously, the Triforce has been forgotten, and replaced in the popular consciousness by the "Triumph Forks." Thus, the Cosmic Keystone of the Zelda Universe is remembered as a collection of fancy eating utensils. In the original Japanese version, it's apparently a bucket and hose (Tarai to Hosu). In the German version, the "Triumph Forks" got changed into a supposedly legendary "Kapitän Dreifuß" (Captain Threefoot in English).
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: A minor example, but when Link drinks the Elixir Soup that his grandmother gave him, he has a huge smile on his face, as opposed to the wince he has when drinking a standard potion.
  • Ghost Ship: Called the Ghost Ship.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Link's little sister Aryll wears her hair like this.
  • Glowing Eyes: A new graphical effect added to the HD remaster is that enemies now have glowing eyes.
  • Gonk:
    • The Deku Tree, among many others.
    • Maggie's father. Especially after his makeover. Maggie isn't such a beauty herself.
  • Good Morning, Crono: "Big Brother!"
  • Gossipy Hens:
  • Götterdämmerung: Ganon, Hyrule, and the Master Sword are washed away, and the Triforce is no longer in the hands of anyone, and is forgotten by all but Link, Tetra, and Tingle anyway.
  • Grandma's Recipe: Link's Grandmother is able to make Elixir Soup for Link after a certain point in the story. It acts as one of the best potions in the game, not only fully restoring both health and magic, but doubling your attack damage until you take a hit. There's also two servings in a bottle so you can use it twice before running out, and you can receive more for free indefinitely any time you return home. The only downside is that you can only carry one bottle at a time. It's also the only bottled item that makes Link smile before drinking, whereas potions get a grimace.
    In-Game Description: And your kind old grandmother filled your bottle so full that there's two helpings inside! Isn't she the sweetest?
  • Grass Is Greener: What drove Ganon into wanting to get his hands on the three Triforce parts in this game was that he envied the winds that blew on the lush green landscape of Hyrule while his country suffered constantly punishing winds that brought only death.
  • The Great Flood: Why there's an ocean on top of Hyrule.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The Stalfos. If you are holding their mace when they regenerate, they will rip off one of their own arms and use it as a nunchuck.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Thanks to the Command Melody, the game has the highest number of playable secondary characters in the series: Medli, Makar, Tingle, even seagulls and statues.
  • Guide Dang It!: In the HD version, the Tingle Tuner has been removed. Tingle's golden statues, which you can find in the game's dungeons by bombing specific spots you can find with the aid of the Tingle Tuner, have not. They did not add replacement hints.
  • Gunship Rescue: Wherein the "gunship" is a huge red fire-breathing dragon. Somehow, Ganon survives and flees to Hyrule.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: The Final Boss fight has Link wielding the Master Sword and Mirror Shield, and Princess Zelda wielding the Bow and Light Arrows. Notably, it's the first game to canonicallynote  create this dynamic for Link and Zelda, which has become a staple of the main series from this point onwards.
  • Happy Dance: Whenever Link beats a boss, but it's subverted in the final battle when Link begins cheering after defeating Puppet Ganon's first form — only to realize the fight isn't anywhere near over. By the time you do defeat Puppet Ganon, he's too exhausted and overwhelmed to be happy about it... and now you have to go face the real deal.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses:
    • Mainly towards the end. The first two bosses, Gohma and Kalle Demos, can be challenging simply because your maximum health will be pretty low, but after you find some Heart Containers, you can soak up more damage than most bosses can dish out.
    • In the HD remaster, without heart drops, the numerous small threats in a dungeon will whittle your life away, but the boss door always has some fairies you can nab before entering, where you mercifully only have one thing to worry about - to take a picture for the gallery.
    • Gohdan will give you arrows if you run out, making the battle with him less of a straight-up boss fight and more of a final test of cunning.
  • Harp of Femininity: Medli's Harp. Apparently the Earth Sages are Always Female and always harpists.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Molgera's noises can only be described as a combination of donkey braying and pained screaming.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The player can name the protagonist, as is Zelda tradition.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: The legendary Hero of Time did, and so does Link.
  • Heroic Mime: Link, in the tradition of Zelda protagonists. Though he's unique in that he's Suddenly Speaking on a couple of occasions.
  • The Hero's Birthday: Unusual for a Zelda game, but yep.
  • The Hero's Journey: Present more so here than in quite a few other games in the series, likely as a result of Link being The Unchosen One and needing to do a lot more to prove himself.
  • Hitodama Light: The Ghost Ship has blue flames floating around it.
  • Hopping Machine: The Servants of the Tower (statues you control in the Tower of the Gods), and Armos statues.
  • Ice Breaker: Upon being shot with an Ice Arrow, Darknuts will instantly break out. There's still time to hit with the Skull Hammer before they do this, however.
  • Identical Grandson: Tetra's pirates look near-identical to their ancestors, the servants of a previous Princess Zelda, as seen in a portrait in Hyrule Castle. Tetra herself is also a carbon-copy of that previous Zelda, as seen when she assumes her true identity towards the end of the game.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Ganondorf gets it right in the head.
  • Impossible Task Instantly Accomplished: This Link has no connection to the Hero of Time from Ocarina of Time, but manages to get wrapped up in Ganon's plot after Aryll is kidnapped. He then proceeds to power through his Butt-Monkey status, wield the Master Sword, repower the degraded Master Sword, earn the Triforce of Courage and the title of Hero of Winds, and win a Duel to the Death with Ganon. All in a matter of weeks, if not days.
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: If a Darknut is disarmed and allowed to grab a Moblin's spear, it will pick it up and use it the same as their BFS.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Light Arrows. For slightly more magic cost than Fire or Ice, you shoot an arrow that, with one hit, obliterates any enemy in the game short of Ganondorf himself. So, naturally, you get them when Ganondorf is just about the only enemy left.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • One of the side-quests of the game involves delivering a letter to Maggie, one of the Hylian girls who was being held hostage in the Forsaken Fortress. It's from a Moblin, named Moe, that she fell in love with during her captivity. However, it's highly possible that Moe just wanted to eat her.
    • The fish who fills in the map square for Rock Spire Isle mentioned spending a lot of time watching the Windfall Island lighthouse with Gillian, the Hylian bartender on Windfall. That said, it's implied that he may have been human at some point.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: How you get the Wind Waker itself, and also a delivery bag.
  • It's All My Fault: Zelda says this to Link when she admits all her actions as Tetra led them in danger.
  • It's Personal: All the heroism, destiny, and whatnot aside, let's face it: Link's whole initial reason for going up against Ganon? Kidnapping his sister.
  • I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You!: As done by two little girls on Windfall island, though getting the information requires paying the princely sum of two rupees.
  • Interface Spoiler: A marked aversion. The fish that marks the area of the Great Sea the Tower of the Gods is located won't appear until after the Tower has risen from the sea.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Downplayed. The sky on the file select menu changes depending on the time set on the system's clock.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Tetra, the typical tsundere.
    • There's also Mila's father. He initially appears to be a regular old rich jerk, but when his daughter was kidnapped, he spent every bit of his fortune looking for her. Maggie's father, on the other hand...
    • Mila herself has a tendency to be rude to the people she waits on, but she still takes a menial job to help out when her family is poor. And after you talk her out of robbing the store she works at, she takes a second job at night, on a different island.
  • Jerkass:
    • Maggie's Father. Giving him Skull Necklaces (after you get the Treasure Chart he gives you) has him reward you with Rupees. Far less Rupees than you'd get from selling them to Beedle. He also doesn't hand them to you so you can do your "You Got a Red Rupee!" cutscene — he throws the money on the floor for you to pick up yourself. And it wasn't a case of Took a Level in Jerkass either, if you read his dialogue while he's still poor carefully, you'll realise he was no less of a jerk back then. He all but states the only reason he wants Link to rescue his daughter is because it's hard to make money without her. He doesn't seem to care about her in the slightest.
    • The bomb shop owner, who sells his bombs for outrageous costs while being a giant jerk the whole way. He gets some glorious Laser-Guided Karma when he does the same thing to Tetra and her pirates; they beat him up, steal all of his inventory, and leave him bound and gagged with nobody visibly coming to rescue him (and you don't get the option to do it). He learns his lesson after that experience though, becoming much, much nicer and selling his bombs at a very affordable cost.
  • Kid Hero: Link starts his adventure on the day of his twelfth birthday.note  He's nine according to Satoru Iwata.
  • Killed Off for Real: Ganondorf, as it seems, after he's Impaled with Extreme Prejudice and buried beneath the waves at the end of the game. The games set after this one in the same timeline (The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks) have completely different villains, with no appearance of Ganondorf except a flashback at the beginning the former.
  • Killer Rabbit: You have a chance to capture a wild pig at the beginning of the game. It's so harmless that it runs away from you, but you can pick it up and take it to a pig pen and have another family raise it while you go off questing. When you return, it has been fed so much that it has become massive. It's still harmless, right? Well, it won't attack you unless you slice it a few times, but once you hear the "enemy" music start, it's time to RUN. This pig will cause three hearts worth of damage every time it rams you, which is even more than the final boss can do. But unlike the final boss, you can't kill it or even block its attacks. Just get out of the pen before you become pig slop.
    • And before that, if you hit the small pigs often enough, they react similar to the infamous killer cuccos.
  • Kill It with Fire: Mothulas can be killed in one hit with the Fire Arrows.
  • Kill It with Ice: Long-time fans may remember the Ice Arrows from Ocarina of Time as being fairly useless. This time around, however, they're actually capable of freezing enemies completely. A hit from the Skull Hammer afterwards will kill them instantly.
  • Koosh Bomb: Explosions are drawn something like this, although the aftereffect of stylized curly smoke is more prominent.
  • Land, Sea, Sky: Used for the first three MacGuffins; the first is obtained from the sky spirit Valoo, the second from the earth spirit The Great Deku Tree, and the third from the sea spirit Jabun.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Tetra is Zelda, which is clear in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, and her Super Smash Bros. Brawl trophy. The former two even tell you right at the beginning of the game!
  • Laughing Mad: Ganondorf's reaction to the king's wish to give the children hope and flood Hyrule with Ganondorf still in it.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Orca, if you can hit him 999 times in the minigame, asks if your left index finger hurts (from holding the L-Button for so longnote ).
    • In the remaster, Lenzo Lampshades the fact that the Forest Firefly is no longer necessary for upgrading the Picto Box.
  • Legacy Character: This is the first game to confirm in-game that there is more than one Link. Zelda (aka Tetra) herself as well, being a descendant of the Royal Family of Hyrule (presumably meaning she's one of the Princess Zelda seen in Ocarina of Time). Link on the other hand, is not descended from the Hero of Time, according to the King of Red Lions (making it possible he's more a reincarnation than a relation). Also, the Seven Sages apparently managed to leave a few descendants, four of which show up here; Laruto (a Zora) and Medli (a Rito) are presumably descended from Princess Ruto, and Fado (a Kokiri) and Makar (a Korok) are presumably descended from Saria (somehow). There's also the Great Deku Tree; implied to possibly be the mature form of the very same Great Deku Sprout from Ocarina of Time.
  • Leitmotif:
    • The title sequence is actually a medley of the Earth God's Lyric and the Wind God's Aria. That's not the only one.
    • After you discover that Greatfish Island has been destroyed, the cheery music of the Great Sea is replaced with a darker version, complete with Ganondorf's signature leitmotif in the background.
    • Ganondorf's leitmotif also plays in his tower, and each room you go into incorporates a little bit of the leitmotif from the dungeon it's inspired by.
    • A bit of a harder to catch, but if you listen closely to Jabun's Theme, you can hear the background beat from Inside Lord Jabu-Jabu's Belly.
  • Lighter and Softer: The art style initially got a lot of flack for this reason, and the overall tone does dial back from that of the preceding 3D game, Majora's Mask. However, the plot and themes in the game lean frequently to a less comical side, as Hyrule was flooded, leaving only the highest mountain peaks as islands, and during the game one of the islands is violently destroyed. Also, The Hero of Winds stabs Ganondorf in the head.
  • Little Miss Badass: Tetra. She can't be too much older than Link, but she's violent, strong, and in the fight against Ganondorf, she actually helps you out. It certainly took some courage when she jumped from a rafter and tackled Ganondorf from behind in an attempt to distract him long enough for Link to recover. It might not have worked out quite as well as she hoped, but that's quite a change from her previous appearances.
  • Loads and Loads of Sidequests: The game has lots of extra content besides the usual ones. These include completely optional islands with their own puzzles and enemy matches, treasure charts to find sunken treasure, and the notoriously long Nintendo Gallery. Even just filling the Great Sea's map can take a while.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: Maritime Battle and Jabuns Theme. The first one is only heard during battles while sailing, and the second one is played once during a cutscene largely consisting of text, where the player might mash the A-button, as most of the text is in an ancient language and thus unreadable. The latter's case occurs because of how combat on your boat works: the average player might just ignore the enemies, missing out on a tone that is actually very lengthy.
  • Loophole Abuse: King Daphnes thoroughly owns Ganondorf with this at the end of the game. Having reunited the Triforce once and for all, Ganondorf makes his wish as he approaches the mystical object. But before he gets to it, King Daphnes puts his hand on it and makes his wish. Even though Ganondorf made his wish first, the King was the first one to touch it, so it was the King's wish that came true.
  • The Lost Woods: Well, they're called the Forbidden Woods here, but that's not fooling anyone.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • Beating the "Squid Battleship" game for treasure maps and a piece of heart.
    • In the HD version, attempting to acquire missed pictographs via Tingle Bottles.
    • An extremely nasty one exclusive to any% Speed Runs of the HD version: When the infamous "barrier skip" Sequence Break was finally found, the optimal any% route no longer acquired the hookshot. As a result, the only way to enter the Ganon fight in such a run is to "zombie hover" to it. Before January 2018, the only known way of accomplishing this was breaking two fairy pots beforehand and praying to the RNG that the fairies would move toward Link and heal you so you don't unavoidably die right before the final boss. The vast majority of any% runs ended here, as the probability of this is very low. This effectively killed any% runs for a short while, and "all dungeons" was now the de facto "most timesaving glitches" run type. Fortunately, in January 2018, a method involving blowing a heart-dropping Morth onto the ledge leading to the final boss fight was discovered. The barrier skip responsible for all this can't be performed in the GameCube version, by the way.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Link uses his family's ancestral shield, and him equipping it the first time is one of the game's sadder moments.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The King of Red Lions (aka Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule) Tetra's ancestor, making her Princess Zelda.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Link assembles the Triforce of Courage before the final battle. However, instead of politely engaging in a Boss Battle like he did in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf just sucker-punches Link and nabs the Triforce of Courage for himself, allowing him to complete the Triforce.
  • Made of Iron: Link slams facefirst into a stone wall after being launched from a catapult, and then falls dozens of feet down into water. This later happens again when opening the Tower of the Gods. Both times, he shrugs it off after a brief moment.
  • Magic Antidote: Link's grandmother falls ill sometime after his departure from Outset, to the point that she's barely coherent when Link returns. Using a bottled fairy on her immediately turns her back to normal.
  • Magical Camera: The Picto Box functions more or less like a normal camera, except that it develops instantly and can only keep threenote  pictures at once (like a digital camera), and in order to take colour pictures, you need to capture and use a special kind of firefly that emits prismatic lightnote . So every time you use it, presumably, you're tormenting a firefly, somehow.
  • Magical Gesture: Link does this whenever you used the Command Melody (or the Hyoi Pear) to control another character, implying that he's controlling them via a mental link.
  • The Magic Goes Away: At the end, when the Triforce is reunited and flies away to (presumably) the Sacred Realm.
  • Magic Map: Link can collect a series of maps, some of which have special properties. Treasure and Triforce maps cause a pillar of light to appear over the treasure's location, and the ghost ship map allows it to be boarded to retrieve a Triforce mapnote . The Triforce ones are mandatory to complete the game.
  • Magic Wand:
    • The Wind Waker (although it's actually a conductor's baton).
    • The Wizzrobes all carry magic wands.
  • Match Maker Quest: One sidequest has you deliver a letter from a woman who's in love with a Moblin, it dosen't go all that well as the Moblin only wants to eat her.
  • Mayincatec: The Tower of the Gods bears similarity to ancient South American architecture, especially Gohdan.
  • Meaningful Name: The Skull Hammer. It doesn't just look like a skull; the Stalfos in this game can be killed in one hit with it once their skulls have been separated from their body (though it really does help to stun them first).
  • Message in a Bottle: The Tingle Bottle item, which replaces the Tingle Tuner in the HD version.
  • Memorial Statue: When in Hyrule Castle, a statue of an older incarnation of Link can be found in the center of the main room. This is supposedly the same incarnation of Link from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
  • Messianic Archetype: The Hero of Time became this to the people of the ancient kingdom of Hyrule after saving them from the great evil the first time; though, unlucky for them, he didn't reappear to save them the second time.
  • Meta Twist: In the Zelda series, it's frequent to have to explore three dungeons to gather an initial set of Plot Coupon items before something unexpected occurs and the Master Sword has to be collected (or, conversely, the Master Sword is collected and then the twist occurs). So it was very shocking for gamers to discover that the location of the third quest item in The Wind Waker is utterly destroyed and the holder of the item went elsewhere for safety. The item is gotten after a series of events in the overworld, rather than the completion of a dungeon. The real third dungeon, Tower of the Gods, is found after making use of the three quest items and is completed to find the Master Sword. And the traditional unexpected twist occurs after completion of the fourth dungeon (Forsaken Fortress).
  • Mini-Boss: There's one per dungeon (except Forsaken Fortress, which has two), plus there's Big Octo and Cyclos in the Great Sea. Notably, almost every miniboss in this game is subject to being degraded upon subsequent appearances, to the point that Link will frequently fight them en masse at various points.
  • Mini-Dungeon: The Savage Labyrinth, whose first 30 floors are required to get the chart that leads to one of the Triforce fragments to enter the Very Definitely Final Dungeon. The game also has Fire Mountain and Ice Ring Isle, which are short but contain items (the Power Bracelets and the Iron Boots, respectively) necessary to access through main dungeons (Earth Temple and Wind Temple, again respectively).
  • Mistaken Identity: Quill posits that this is the reason why Link's sister Aryll was kidnapped at the beginning of the game; the Helmaroc King mistook her for Tetra.
  • Mono no Aware: A major theme of the story is how change is not always pleasant, but clinging to the past is foolish.
  • Mood Whiplash: Imagine going through a graveyard-like temple full of zombies and reanimated skeletons. Your only companion is a bird girl who you must rely on for helping you, unable to kill the ghosts without her help. Eventually you come to a spiral staircase and must leave your only companion behind, afraid of what is beyond that door. As you enter you come into the arena to find a morbidly obese ghost that you fight with circus music playing in the background. Said music is greatly distorted and twisted in the second fight and in the HD version.
  • Mook Bouncer: With the Wallmasters absent in the game, The Floormasters serve as this by pulling you down and sending you back to a previous area. If you have the Tingle Tuner equipped, you will be able to see the enemy in advance (GCN version only). In addition, the Floormasters will now pull your partner into another area (either Medli or Makar).
  • Moth Menace: A Mothula (moth enemies that first appeared in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past) acts as the Mini-Boss in the Forbidden Woods. Some wingless Mothulas appear throughout the game as well.
  • Motive Decay: Nothing of what originally motivated Ganondorf is really at play anymore, but he still won't give up on ruling Hyrule, even though it's flooded. Though he does say he only supposes that's what originally motivated him.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: Happens on some of the islands; Shark Island is semi-notorious for this. Also happens once you get the Master Sword. All those Darknuts and Moblins frozen in time throughout the castle? They all unfreeze simultaneously, and you can't get out until they're all dead. Have fun!
  • Musical Nod:
    • Ganon's Castle is a remixed version of the same. note 
    • Outset Island's music has many phrases lifted from the music for Kokiri Forest in Ocarina of Time, since both are the First Town in their respective games.
    • Windfall Island's music is reminiscent of the traditional Kakariko Village music, again drawing on the fact that Windfall serves much of the same role in Wind Waker as Kakariko does in other games in the series, being the largest settlement on the map with many NPCs to interact with and lots of side-quests to do.
    • "The Legendary Hero" opening cutscene incorporates the series leitmotif as it tells of the "Hero of Time."
    • Phantom Ganon's theme takes its intro from the first game, is primarily based on Ganon's battle music from LttP, and has a second half that incorporates Ganondorf's battle music in OoT.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Quite a few things from Ocarina of Time and its Dummied Out elements. A blond Kokiri named "Fado" was meant to be the wind sage in OoT, but her role was changed to a simple Creepy Child minor NPC with an oddly in-depth personality. This would later be achieved in Wind Waker with its own "Fado," who is a Gender Flip of the original. There are also a few Dummied Out temples that achieved reality in this game. If you actually look and compare this game with the beta of OoT, it's actually quite similar aside from the storyline, right down to sages powering up Link's Master Sword.
    • The names written in the sword of Phantom Ganon are Zubora and Gabora, the blacksmiths found in Majora's Mask.
    • A Link to the Past
      • The theme in Hyrule Castle.
      • The title-screen theme of the game is heard when Tetra's Triforce piece completes in said castle.
      • The track "Farewell Hyrule King" is a classical cover of the Hyrule Castle theme from ALttP, with a hint of the Dungeon theme from the first game.
      • Windfall Island's theme definitely takes its cues from Kakariko Village.
    • The original Legend of Zelda
      • The Hero of the Winds song is a remix of the title screen music (aka the first music ever heard in the series).
      • The cutscene before facing Ganondorf incorporates the final dungeon theme.
    • Other games/miscellaneous:
      • Before the fight with Puppet Ganon, the way that Tetra is asleep on the bed recalls the way Zelda is asleep during The Adventure of Link.
      • The three statues in the sea that reveal Hyrule are statues based on Din, Nayru, and Farore: the three goddesses that created Hyrule and referenced throughout the series (starting with Ocarina of Time).
      • Though not mentioned in the main game, the Super Smash Bros. Brawl trophy description for the Helmaroc King state he's the same being as the Helmasaur King. The monsters share the same name in Japan, confirming the connection.
      • In the HD version, the Magic Armor is changed to cause you to lose rupees instead of health when hit, rather than making you invincible at the cost of magic as in the original version. The altered behavior makes it work more like the Magic Armor in Twilight Princess.
    • Like in Oracle of Seasons, the pirates have a gong that they sound to signal their departure. The portrait of Tetra's mother, their former leader, also resembles Ambi, the queen of Labrynna in Oracle of Ages and the former lover of the pirates' captain.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: The first two times Link confronts Ganondorf, he has the Master Sword while his enemy relies on his fists. He gets beaten down both times for his trouble. In fact, Ganondorf is only defeated when he actually uses weapons against Link. When Ganondorf's plan to dominate Hyrule is ruined for good, he pulls out a pair of katanas for a final attack and gets impaled through the head.
  • New Game+: Beating the game once unlocks the second quest, which lets you play through the game wearing Link's Outset Island clothes that he wears at the beginning, allows you to read the Ancient Hylian text (though Link is still dumbfounded by the text), gives you the color Picto Box right off the bat, and keeps your Nintendo Gallery progress so you can have another go at the figurines you missed (Miss them a second time however, and you're screwed). References to Link's clothes are also slightly changed.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Once again. Why does Link always end up accidentally helping the evil he's supposed to kill? Ocarina of Time, the Oracle games, Four Swords... and now THIS. This time, when getting the Master Sword, he unlocks not only the monsters from their stasis but also gives Ganondorf his power back. And the Master Sword lost its power long before Link even pulled it, meaning he can't even fight Ganondorf.
    • This one isn't explicitly pointed out, but by assembling the Triforce of Courage to go after Ganondorf, Link gives him the opportunity to get his wish.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Courtesy of the Great Fairies.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Ganondorf beats the living crap out of Link with nothing but his fists in one cutscene.
  • Noodle Incident: "The Forsaken Fortress? Isn't that the place where..." This sentence is never finished.
  • No Place for Me There: Why King Hyrule doesn't go with Link and Tetra to the surface. He's realized that Hyrule is a dead land, and he, like Ganondorf, couldn't let go of it. Instead, he tells the kids the new land would be theirs before they go.
  • Nostalgia Level: At one point in the Forbidden Woods dungeon, Link comes across the remnants of Kokiri Village.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The theme of the game, more or less, is that nothing can resist the winds of change. The point is driven home by the ending, in which Ganondorf, the Master Sword, and Hyrule - the three major constants of the Zelda series - are forever sealed and buried under the ocean by the power of the Triforce.
  • Notice This: If you let Link stand still for a short while, his eyes will eventually drift toward whatever nearby object or feature happens to be relevant.
  • Not So Different: The King says that, in a sense, he was the same as Ganondorf, being unable to let go of a dying land.
  • Ocean of Adventure: The game is set in the Great Sea, what remains of Hyrule after a global flood turned it into a vast ocean dotted with islands that once were mountaintops, and which in the game's present have become home to a number of insular communities ranging from Hylian towns to the villages of nonhuman races to forbidding fortresses of monstrous pirates. The game follows Link as he sails from island to island, plumbs the seas for treasure, fights off sea monsters and hostile warships and uncovers the ancient legacy of Hyrule locked deep beneath the waves.
  • Ocean Punk: The game's setting is the Great Sea and the islands within, which stands out from the earthly kingdoms of previous games in the series. Over the course of the game, it is revealed that the Great Sea takes place After the End, being what remains after the ancient kingdom of Hyrule, as seen in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, was flooded by the gods in order to protect it from Ganondorf when the Hero of Time did not reappear to save it. The islands of the sea are actually the mountaintops of the ancient kingdom. Whereas most inhabitants enjoy a peaceful rural life in the biggest islands, pirates and divers sail the waters of the sea to find treasure. The evil forces, powered by Ganondorf, developed warlike technology in the form of warships and installed watchtowers armed with wall cannons.
  • Offhand Backhand: If, while targeting one enemy, another sneaks up behind, Link will strike both with one wide swing if they're close enough.
  • Official Couple: Anton and Linda. The sidequest to upgrade the Picto Box to its Deluxe version already touches upon the mutual feelings the two feel (as one of the objectives is to take a shot at them during the exact moment they're watching face-to-face). Once the Picto Box can take pictures in color, it'll be possible to start reuniting the two so they can have a date and declare their feelings to each other. Kamo doesn't take this well, as he's in love with Linda as well.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: No matter how fast you sail between Windfall and Spectacle Island, Salvatore will be there to run his minigame. The same applies to Loot and the Boating Coarse.
  • Oh, Crap!: Link in one cutscene, when he realizes that his magic sword doesn't work and Ganondorf has a giant katana pointed at him. He gets another, split-second one later when Molgera starts screaming.
  • Old Master: Orca, the swordmaster of Outset Island, is quite spry for his age, and trains Link with the sword.
  • One to Million to One: Jalhalla, boss of the Earth Temple. Killing the smaller parts is what actually harms it, as evidenced by its lifebar.
  • One True Sequence: Although traveling can be anywhere, the game's main quest is still linear; unlike the earlier games, you have to complete dungeons in the order the game wants you to. You may, however, collect the Triforce Shards in any order and either before or after completing the Earth and Wind Temples; this is still more than what most of the later games allow.
  • One-Winged Angel: The first game in the series where you fight Ganondorf, but not in his boar form. Puppet Ganon, on the other hand, does this happily. Twice.
  • Only Good People May Pass: At the conclusion of Ocarina of Time, the previous Chosen One that wielded the Master Sword was sent back to his original time, thus breaking the cycle of reincarnation which spawns a new Chosen One. The Tower of the Gods was created to test anyone who wanted to wield the sword in the future, and it requires three pearls that embody the virtues of the goddesses themselves to unlock it.
  • Only Shop in Town:
    • Beedle's shop ship is this for most of the overworld.
    • The owner of the Bomb Shop on Windfall takes pride in the fact that he's the only resident of the Great Sea in the bomb-selling business, and uses it to set ridiculously sky-high prices for his bombs; though later on, he takes a level in kidness due to the pirate influence, and his prices become much more reasonable.
  • Opening Narration: It recounts the legend of the Hero of Time (albeit not without some Future Imperfect) and the story of the ancient kingdom's disappearance. And it's in what seems to be storybook form, complete with ink illustrations.
  • Opening the Sandbox: When you first gain the ability to sail, you can only sail from Windfall Island to Dragon Roost Island, at which point the King of Red Lions won't let you leave until you've obtained the first pearl. After that, you can only travel to the map squares connecting Windfall, Dragon Roost, and the Forest Haven. After getting the second pearl, you can sail anywhere except the Forsaken Fortress (despite the King's insistence that you head to Greatfish Isle immediately). Of course, it might be worth it to stay on track until you at least learn the Ballad of Gales (for which you have to defeat Cyclos by shooting arrows, a weapon housed in Tower of the Gods), in order to make navigation more efficient.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Averted. Ganondorf is incredibly proactive here - he sends out the Helmaroc King to find Zelda before the game starts, nukes Greatfish Isle so Link can't get the final Pearl (even though Jabun escaped), and kills the Sages of Wind and Earth to depower the Master Sword. And when it seems like Link and the King of Red Lions are one step ahead of him by restoring the Master Sword's power and reassembling the Triforce of Courage, Ganondorf returns to Hyrule before his two enemies do and kidnaps Princess Zelda.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Here, they're tiny, humanoid women with wings and magic wands, rather than the winged balls of light the previous two 3D Zelda games used.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: ReDeads are particularly infamous in this game compared to the rest of the series, as it would seem only Link's sword is able to kill them. Arrows harmlessly poke them at best, and using a hook shot is suicide. However, being either an oversight on the dev team or because they couldn't figure out how to reasonably program it, ReDeads aren't immune to bombs. As such, the easiest way to deal with them is to chuck bombs in their direction while keeping back to not aggro them. This tactic is especially useful on Hero mode, where ReDeads can very quickly eat through all your health.
  • Parental Abandonment: Link and Aryll's parents are nowhere to be seen and never mentioned. They live with their grandmother on Outset.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • If you obtain all the figurines in the Nintendo Gallery except for the hidden character Knuckle, you can no longer accept Knuckle as a figurine as Carlov will have left, considering the gallery complete. Also, some other candidates for the Nintendo Gallery must be gotten before certain points in the game, or they will no longer be available. note 
    • Before the Miiverse shutdown, the HD remaster made it possible to acquire any figurine you've missed by obtaining a picture for it from a Tingle Bottle, although this led to a Luck-Based Mission, as there was no way to decide what messages you would have gotten. Knuckle is now also required to complete the Gallery, with his description even lampshading his original non-required status.
  • Pet the Dog: Ganondorf promises Link he won't kill him. Not only does he quickly break this promise, but he made it after beating the boy silly with nothing but his fists. Granted, this was before the King of Hyrule came out of nowhere and single-handedly ruined his plans when he was seconds away from achieving his goal. Needless to say, Ganondorf was pissed off, so it's not surprising that he would go back on his word. Chances are, had the King not interfered, he actually would have let Link off with just the beating.
  • Physical God: Zephos and his brother Cyclos are wind gods, and they appear in the forms of frogs riding clouds.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Mila wears one, until her father gives away his fortune to save her. After Maggie's father gets his fortune, she gets that very dress.
  • Pirate: Tetra's group of them, and they're the scourge of the ocean and a band of misfits, no less. She mentions another group of pirates that were once rivals to her own, but they're never seen in-game.
  • Pirate Girl: Tetra, who is the captain of a pirate crew despite her young age. Later, Aryll becomes one while traveling with the crew while Tetra (now Zelda) is in Hyrule Castle.
  • Plot Coupon: First, the three goddess pearls, and then, towards the end of the game, the pieces of the Triforce of Courage.
  • Pointy Ears: Link and his family, Tetra, and some other human characters. The word "Hylian" is never used (justified with the fact that the kingdom of Hyrule is lost beneath the waves, and the people don't even remember its name). Quill mentions that the Helmaroc King is only kidnapping young human girls with "long ears," and it's unknown to him that it's because one of them might be Princess Zelda. The Rito also have them, on another note.
  • The Precarious Ledge: There's a few of these occurrences during which you have to get past with the "sidle" command. You're fine as long as you don't let up the 'A' button.
  • Prolonged Prologue: The beginning of the game is quite different from the rest of it: you start out in a tiny island with no weapons, hang out with a cast of pirates and are carted around on their ship, lose your equipment and have to spend about an hour doing a Stealth-Based Mission (the only one in the entire game), and then have to do a number of fetch quests for various townspeople. It's only about 3 and a half hours into the game when you finally have your equipment and your own boat that the game catches its stride.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Two In-Universe examples:
    • The two humans who are obsessed with and dress like the Rito. The Rito sponsor their flying contest.
    • The figure fan walking around the Nintendo Gallery can have a figure made of himself.
  • Punny Name:
    • Medli's name is a multi-lingual Hurricane Of Woolseyisms in and of itself. To clarify, the name Medli, obtained during translation to English by removing the O of the original phonemic name Medori, is close to and sounds like the musical term Medley. Now in addition to that, the French and German translations brought back the O and changed her name again to Médolie. Médolie is a simple anagram of the French (and German) word Mélodie, the meaning of which you can probably guess (it's not a false friend). It's anyone's guess whether Medli's name is a series of exceptionally fortunate coincidences or some ridiculously extensive forethought on the part of the developers. Or, you know, a bit of both.
    • As a side note, "dori" in "Medori" is one way to read the character for "bird," another being "tori," which in Japanese is "Rito" backwards. Add that to the fact that "Rito" intentionally sounds like "Ruto," the name of the princess whose race is ancestral to the Rito, and you have a very significant spin-off hurricane.
    • Also, Medli. Makar. Medley Maker. And if you make a medley of the songs that the two characters play, it creates the game's main theme.
  • Puzzle Boss: Not unusual for Zelda games, but special mention to Ganondorf, who actually learns to parry more of Link's attacks as the battle goes on. He'll also start dodging Zelda's Light Arrows, forcing you you to get a bit creative.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Turns out to be the crux of Ganondorf's plot.
  • Rags to Riches: Played straight and inverted. After the girls are rescued from the Forsaken Fortress, it turns out the snooty rich girl's father put them into the poorhouse trying to get her back, so now they are the poorest hobos in town. And of course, the poor girl and her father become extremely wealthy (they even move into the rich girl's old home), because apparently she brought back so many Moblin Skull Necklaces with her and they were so valuable that they were able to sell them off and become filthy stinking rich. The formerly poor girl's father lets it slip that he's dreamed his entire life of taking part in this trope. Now that he's achieved his dream and is a rich man, he goes from being pitiful to being highly obnoxious overnight. Meanwhile, his counterpart doesn't seem upset about losing all his money, as he's learned that his daughter's safety is what really matters.
  • Reality Ensues: When they finally face off for their climactic showdown, Ganondorf smacks the Master Sword out of Link's hand and them beats the boy silly with his bare hands - what would happen if a 10-year-old tried to fight a fully grown adult, let alone a bandit king and wielder of the Triforce of Power. Link only stands a chance after Ganon loses the Triforce, and then only with Tetra's assistance.
    • A more literal Reality Ensues happens earlier in the game when you break the vases inside Mila's father's house and you have to pay for the cost of the damage you caused. In the real world, if you break someone's stuff, especially in a store, you usually have to cover the cost of the damage, also known as "you break it, you bought it."
  • Really Royalty Reveal: When Tetra ends up in Hyrule with Link and the king reveals her true identity as Princess Zelda.
  • Regional Redecoration: In Wind Waker's backstory, the golden goddesses flooded Hyrule in order to save it from Ganon, creating the Great Sea and its many islands.
  • Reincarnation: Link, the Hero of Winds, is hinted to be this to the Hero of Time, according to a few things that the King of Hyrule and Ganondorf say.
    Ganondorf: [to Link] Yes, surely you are the Hero of Time, reborn.
  • Retaliation Mode: Gohdan flies up and unleashes a salvo of energy orbs when Link shoots their first eye out; when he shoots out the second, they drop down and open their mouth for Link to stuff a bomb into.
  • Roc Birds: The Helmaroc King, a giant bird with a helm-like metal mask over its face that serves as Ganondorf's Dragon. At the start of the game it kidnaps Link's sister Aryll, kicking off the main plot. There are also the Kargarocs, smaller (though still man-sized) mook variants of the same species.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • The King of Hyrule. The spirits Valoo, the Deku Tree, and Jabun all seem to imply that he's taken up the mantle of saving Hyrule, and they're simply trying to help. Valoo and Jabun even tell him "We're counting on you!" Before he found Link, he was the hero, so to speak.
    • Tetra counts as well, considering her status as a princess.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Completely averted for once. Each and every ruin has both a purpose and a good reason for its decay.
  • Rush Boss: The battle between Link and Cyclos lasts only 30 seconds, but that time is decisive. If you fail to quickly shoot three arrows to Cyclos, he will use his cyclone to take you away to a random part of the Great Sea, forcing you to look for him again for a rematch. And if you aim for 100% Completion, then you will also need to take a pictograph of the opponent before defeating him, otherwise you will never have another chance.
  • Same Content, Different Rating. The original GCN version was rated E for Everyone. The Wii U remaster is rated E10+, but the content is intact. This was because the E10+ rating didn't exist when the game was first released.
  • Scenery Gorn: Greatfish Isle, which is a horrific contrast to the rest of the game's islands - the entire island has been ripped to shreds by Ganondorf and his forces. The contrast of approaching the island, seeing the swirl of dark clouds above it, and its horrific state, is extremely jarring when contrasted with the rest of the game, likely intentionally so.
  • Scenery Porn: The cel shaded backgrounds push the Gamecube to their limits, and nearly everything is gorgeous. Some of the larger landforms and buildings, most notably the Tower of the Gods, actually use realistic shading and detailed textures to simulate the detailed background of a high-quality animated film. Taken even further with the HD remaster.
  • Schizo Tech:
    • Wooden submarines, robo-turrets, and a camera, to name a few. The camera can even become a color camera, though that's through magic, not technology. However, the way the camera handles images is too similar to the way a digital camera handles pictures for the camera to be completely magical.
    • If you talk to the treasure hunters near Eastern Triangle Island once more after they give you the treasure chart, their leader will mention quantum physics. In a series that's by-and-large Medieval European Fantasy. Chew on that for a second.
  • Second Coming: Subverted. Everyone expected the Hero of Time to return to deal with Ganondorf when he was released from his imprisonment, but he didn't. This didn't deter the surviving citizens of Hyrule from dressing up boys in the garb of the Hero of Time in the hope that they can one day instill the same level of courage in them to defeat evil. However, years later, a new hero who ended up bearing the Triforce of Courage was recognized by Ganondorf as "the Hero of Time, reborn." Even Hyrule Castle is seen to be honoring the Hero of Time as a Messianic Archetype.
  • Sequel Hook: The game ends with the King of Hyrule, remaining beneath the waves along with old Hyrule, imploring Link and Tetra to find a new land and start a kingdom anew. Link sails off into the sea with Tetra and her pirates, which would lead to the direct sequel The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, and later down the line to The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, in which a new kingdom has been established.
  • Ship Tease:
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sniper Scope Sway: There's no scope, but Link's bow sways anyway.
  • Soft Water: A Zelda tradition; a fall from any height into the sea is harmless.
  • Some Dexterity Required: The original GameCube version, projectile weapons like the bow and boomerang were aimed with the left thumb-stick, and you couldn't move while aiming. The HD remaster changed this, however, allowing you to move backwards, forwards, and sideways with the left stick, and aim with the right stick, just like a First-Person Shooter. Thing is, two of buttons that you can equip weapons to (X and Y), are pressed with right thumb, making it more difficult and cumbersome to aim and then shoot in quick succession (good luck if you have a moving target). Equipping this kind of item to R works just fine, but if you want to equip more than one of them at a time...
  • Something Completely Different: The Ocean Punk world, the heavy focus on sailing, and the main hero being The Unchosen One and having to quest in order to prove himself worthy of even being the hero at all are this in comparison to the previous games in the series. Of course, this ties into the central message of the game itself: that Nothing Is the Same Anymore.
  • So Near, Yet So Far: Link's sister is in the first dungeon you visit, which is easy enough to traverse. ...But the Big Bad's drag--er, giant bird, prevents her rescue because Link isn't strong enough. You have to attain the Master Sword before she's finally rescued.
  • Spinning Out of Here: Occurs when you're teleported out of a completed dungeon.
  • Splash of Color: Link retains his color — such as his bright green clothes — while he's in Hyrule Castle, which otherwise only has slightly-tinted grays. The rest of the castle's color returns when Link pulls the Master Sword.
  • Stealth-Based Mission:
    • The first visit to the Forsaken Fortress, when Link is sans sword after the catapult incident, and has to hide in barrels to avoid guard detection.
    • Following Mila on Windfall at night. Notably, if Link is heard by her, but not seen, he impersonates a cat in order to throw her off his trail.
  • Stealth Pun: As per usual, the Spectacle Rock formation appears in this game, but as an island. For those unaware, Spectacle Rock is always shaped like eyeglasses when viewed from above. The island is no exception. However, between the two outcroppings of rock is a literal bridge, which is the technical name of the wire that connects the two eyepieces together.
  • Suddenly Speaking: This is the first game in which Link explicitly uses his voice: "Come on!" and "Meow!"
  • Suit-Up of Destiny: This is the first time Link began his adventure without his green tunic and hat, a tradition to be followed by Twilight Princess, Spirit Tracks, and Skyward Sword.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: You can undergo a minigame involving sparring with your former instructor in the art of swordplay. If you get a score of 1000 points, he responds in this manner.
  • Supreme Chef: Link's grandmother. Her soup replenishes all your hearts, replenishes all your magic, and doubles your attack strength until you take damage. And you get two doses of it per bottle. It even extends to Link's drinking animation! Normally when he drinks a potion beforehand, he usually looks grossed out by it— like he knows it's gonna taste bad— and has a grimacing expression after he finishes. When he drinks the Elixir Soup however, he's excited and happy, and even smiles after he's finished!
    Description: Now that is one hearty soup!
  • Surprise Creepy: The Zelda franchise has always been good at this, but the art-style makes the creepy moments stand out all the more (see Nightmare Fuel). That's without mentioning the rather dark backstory, and Ganondorf meets his end at the hands of Link via brain-kebab. There's also the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown mentioned above. Unsettling enough on its own merits (how often do you see Link at the receiving end of those?), the fact that the oldest Link could be is 16 and possibly as young as 9 makes it all the worse.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: This incarnation of Ganondorf is largely seen as the most sympathetic, for his Freudian Excuse and his visible tiredness of being the Evil Overlord. He's still a total prick, though.
  • Take My Hand: Having grown very attached to Daphnes during their journey, Link desperately reaches out to the King when he forces them up to the surface after the final battle. It's made all the more heart wrenching when the King also raises his hand toward Link, but then slowly lowers it down sadly, while Link floats away with both a very sad and confused look on his face.
  • Taken for Granite: Ganondorf turns to stone after being impaled by the Master Sword. Apparently he's now the pedestal.
    • There are also the Purple Chu Chus. They're invulnerable to any kind of attack, but once light touches them, they turn to stone (for a short while anyway) in which state you can either crush them to death with the Skull Hammer or pick them up and throw them before they recover (or throw them into one another!), or use them as a weight on a switch.
  • Taught by Experience: Ganondorf's plans after his return seem to focus on eliminating exactly the things that caused him to lose in the past. He kills the sages so that the Master Sword loses its power and attempts to hunt down any descendant of Princess Zelda so that he can steal her Triforce. Later during the final boss fight, when he realizes that you're acting as a distraction while Tetra shoots him, he simply jumps over to her and knocks her unconscious.
  • Tempting Fate: When Link first tries on the Hero's Garb and expresses discomfort of it, Grandma consoles he only has to wear for "just one day."
  • Tentacled Terror: Sea Octoroks and Big Octos. While the River Octoroks are tame enough, Sea Octoroks are big, flail menacingly when you get close instead of hiding in the water, tend to come out of nowhere right in front of you and knock you out of your boat, have creepy yellow eyes and glowing blue spiked heads at night, and come in huge swarms. The Big Octos are building-sized, create storms and a whirlpool to pull you closer so it can suck you in and spit you out, have eyes all over their bodies which act as weak points and seemingly move around at random, and their location is marked by a flock of seagulls.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Each of the prayers given to restore the Master Sword are a half of the title theme - Medli's being the first half and Makar's being the second.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Link's face just before being launched from a catapult.
  • Threatening Shark: Gyorgs, which appear as enemies while sailing. They'll ram your boat to knock you out and begin taking huge chomps at you. They don't seem to bother you if you just keep moving, though. And they'll ram your boat while you're trying to get back into it, knocking you back into the water again, putting them somewhere in-between Goddamned Bats and Demonic Spiders. They're no longer much of an annoyance in Wind Waker HD, as they (and almost every other sea creature) can no longer knock you out of your boat.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Link can do this with the oversized swords dropped by enemies, and it does damage should the blade hit an enemy.
  • Time Stands Still: For ancient Hyrule underneath the waves, and especially in Hyrule Castle itself, where several Darknuts are frozen and the scenery is Deliberately Monochrome. Link pulling the (de-powered) Master Sword from its pedestal restores the flow of time, at least in Hyrule Castle.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Tetra is just as surprised as Link to learn that her true identity is that of Princess Zelda.
  • Tomboy Princess: Being a princess with Action Girl moments already makes Princess Zelda a potential candidate for this trope, but this installment's version of her is regarded as an especially clear example.
  • Top-Heavy Guy: Many character designs, especially the sailors on Windfall Island.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Get 30 points at Beedle's Ship Shop and he'll give you a Complimentary ID, which does... Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Get 60 points, though, and you'll get the Fill-Up Coupon, an item which lets you immediately refill every ammo-dependent item in your inventory, along with health and magic, completely free of charge. The problem? You only get one. You'll never be low enough on ammo (and be near a Ship Shop) that you'll feel justified in using it.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Tetra. Not only is she a badass pirate leader with no qualms about showing it, she doesn't hesitate to get in on the action in the final boss battle with Ganondorf, despite being revealed to be the usually-unhelpful Princess Zelda.
    • Link himself easily counts. While this is nothing new in the series for him, his level-taking is especially noticeable. He goes from a goofy kid setting off on a half-baked mission to rescue his kidnapped sister and overall Butt-Monkey to earning right to bear the Triforce of Courage, clearing out temples to restore a depowered Master Sword and reinstate the Gods' chosen sages, and ultimately defeating Ganondorf in one of the best final boss battles in the series. Took a Level in Badass, indeed.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Aryll’s telescope. She initially let Link have for his birthday. After her kidnapping, Link holds onto it throughout the entire game.
  • Tron Lines: The Tower of the Gods has these on just about everything.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: Wind Waker abandons the series' typical Medieval European Fantasy setting in favor of an ocean dotted with sporadic tropical islands (although it isn't the only game with an tropical island setting—see Link's Awakening and this game's sequel, Phantom Hourglass). These islands are actually the mountaintops of Hyrule, which was flooded by the Goddesses in a desperate attempt to thwart Ganondorf after a reincarnation of Ocarina of Time's Link failed to appear.
  • Tsundere: Tetra falls into that territory, thanks to being a pirate as well as a princess.
  • The Unchosen One: The actual Hero of Time failed to appear, so this Link is his replacement. Link has to earn the right to the Triforce by sailing around the sea to find it, instead of just getting it Because Destiny Says So. At first, he's so weak that even ordinary Moblins give him serious trouble until he gets the Master Sword. Eventually, however, he is given his own title as the "Hero of Winds."
  • Unique Enemy: The lone bomb-spitting River Octorok in one room in the second visit to the Forsaken Fortress, and the golden Warship near Needle Rock Isle which you destroy to get a Triforce Chart.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Congratulations! You've obtained the Master Sword, the legendary blade of evil's bane! Except that pulling it from its pedestal has unlocked the seal on Ganon's magic, not to mention that its own powers have weakened, and until you restore them the blade can't even touch him.
  • Victory Fakeout: Puppet Ganon pulls this after beating his first form.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Unexpected in a Zelda game, but it does exist in spades in this one. You can do some really nasty things to Medli and Makar when they accompany you in the temple dungeons, as they are Nigh-Invulnerable.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Harming the pigs too many times in a row will anger them; as long as they're angry, they will chase Link ceaselessly. Small pigs' attacks deplete one heart of damage, but attacks from the adult pig will deplete three, making them the deadliest in the game along with Mighty Darknut jump slashes (three hearts) and being swallowed by Molgera (two hearts).
  • Video Game Stealing: Done in a realistic way. Items stolen from enemies with the Grapple Hook actually disappear from their inventory. If that particular item happens to be visible, such as the Moblins' Skull Necklaces, it also disappears from their model. The Darknuts and Moblins also react to having their Knight Crest/Skull Necklace stolen too. The latter ones even shout something that sounds like "Me loot!" when you steal their Skull Necklaces
  • Villainous Breakdown: Ganondorf after Daphnes completely derails his plan. He stands perfectly still for several minutes, then suddenly starts laughing.
  • Villain Has a Point: Ganondorf is not incorrect in his accusation that it was the gods who destroyed the world by flooding it and killing off most of the population just to stop him.
  • Villains Never Lie: Only the honest can see the Hero's New Clothes. Turns out Ganondorf can see them just fine.
  • Visual Pun: Tott spends all day and all night dancing in front of a gravestone. Disco is dead.
  • Weaponized Offspring: The Mothula enemies counter-attack by launching a blast of Morths at you which cling to Link to slow him down.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: The second largest overworld of any Zelda game after The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It's just that most of it is water.
  • Windmill Scenery: A big windmill-slash-lighthouse is the main landscape feature from Windfall Island. A rather smart choice for a power source if the name of the island is to be believed.
  • Winged Humanoid: The Rito are a unique variation. Their arms are their wings. As soon as they take off, the feather "sleeves" fold out to form fully functional wings.
  • Wise Tree: The Deku Tree.
  • Worthy Opponent: Ganon seems to regard Link as such.
    Ganon: Do not betray my expectations.
    [a series of boss battles commences. Afterwards...]
    Ganon: Yes, surely you are the Hero of Time, reborn. Your time has come... Come now... Stand before me.
  • World Limited to the Plot: For most of the population, this is what living on the island is like: their world ends at the edge of the sea. It's when the plot starts intruding in (most obviously on Link's home island, but when monsters start popping up when the sun is down and the forces of evil cause a never ending night at one point in the plot) when things start freaking out.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Although he does give her a heavy backhand, Ganondorf goes out of his way (even sheathing his swords) to avoid seriously harming Tetra, even while she's actively trying to kill him.
  • Young and in Charge: Tetra is the leader of her band of Pirates, despite being the youngest member. This is lampshaded when Nudge jokes that Tetra is Older Than She Looks.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: So you've got the Master Sword, stormed the Forsaken Fortress, saved your sister, and are now about to go kill the Big Bad - sweet! ... Wait, the Master Sword lost its power?
  • Your Size May Vary: Din's orb is about the size of a soccer ball when it first appears, when Link finally gets it it's about the size of a handball, and finally about the size of a tennis ball when he places it in the hands of the statue.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Besides having to learn the the Wind Waker songs before you can use them, which is typical of the Zelda series, Niko won't let you into the ship when it's docked on Windfall Island until you've overheard the password from Gonzo and Mako in the Bomb Shop, even though all the possible passwords are answers to his riddles, which are pretty easy to figure out. Justified by the pirates mentioning that you have to say the password in a certain way for Niko to let them in.
  • Zonk: One of the auction prizes is a treasure chart... that leads to a single Rupee.

"I have scattered the seeds of the future..."

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Wind Waker


Laughing as Hyrule floods

After King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule uses the power of the Triforce to flood the old kingdom of Hyrule, Ganondorf lets out a hearty, insane laugh.
This is the laugh of a man who coveted the wind of a neighboring kingdom.
The laugh of a man who had lost sight of a better future for his people.
The laugh of a man who had spent centuries planning to conquer Hyrule only to find it beneath the sea.
The laugh of a man who had the Triforce within his grasp.
The laugh of a man who now watches as his ambitions are washed away with the very kingdom he had desired.

How well does it match the trope?

4.8 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / LaughingMad

Media sources:

Main / LaughingMad