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

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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.

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Link is rescued from drowning by a talking boat who calls himself the King of Red Lions (after his face, which resembles 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).
  • 15 Puzzle: Appears as a minigame in Private Oasis, where the result is the image of a character (there are sixteen images in total). However, Link is explicitly told by the sponsor (the Butler of the Private Oasis) that solving it gives no reward beyond money, and since money is much more easily obtained thanks to Treasure Charts, the mini-game serves little purpose aside from distraction should you like this kind of puzzle.
  • 100% Completion: To complete the game, you have to:
    • Collect 41 Treasure Charts (46 in the remake), plus the 12 extra Special Charts, and the mandatory 8 Triforce Charts (3 in the remake). The benefit of getting the Special Charts is that they're helpful to locate many other things, such as Pieces of Heart, the Great Fairies who grant the ammunition and wallet upgrades, the Big Octo minibosses (whose defeats yield rewards on their own), submarines, special treasure lights, secret caves and watchtowers.
    • Special items like the Hero's Charm, the Magic Armor, both special tickets from Bettle (for which you have to make a total of 60 purchases), and the availability of all three colored Potions in Doc Bandom's shop in Windfall Island. The last one is prone to being missable if the player sells too many Chu Jellies to Beedle.
    • Collect a figurine of every single character in the entire game. To get a figurine, you have to take a photograph of the character, then go to a particular island and have somebody make the figurine from your photo. Your camera can only hold 3 photographs at once. There are 134 characters in the game, and more than a dozen of these can only be photographed at specific times: if you miss your chance, you miss your shot at 100%, though you can take a New Game+ for a second chance after you beat the game. This nets you yet another trophy (Link riding The King of Red Lions), which is unobtainable otherwise.note  This completion is made easier in the Wii U remake.
  • 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."
  • Acrofatic: Ganondorf, while still seven and a half foot tall mass of muscles, has gained some extra padding over the years. You'd think he'd be a strong but slow type of boss, right? Nope. In fact, he's the one swordsman faster to the draw than Link, able to effortlessly react to and block all of Link's sword strikes regardless of what direction they're coming from. Unlike most other forms of Ganondorf, the difficulty in this boss fight is due to his incredible speed and hyperalertness.
  • 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.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Inverted. Initially, the Bomb Shop owner on Windfall Island charges such ridiculous prices for his wares that it is impossible for Link to buy any even with the biggest wallet available (and the upgrades are impossible to get at this point in the game anyway). These prices do not sit well with Tetra and her pirates, who simply tie him up and steal the bombs from him, after which he lowers his prices to reasonable amounts that Link can afford.
  • Adipose Rex:
    • King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, though he still looks quite dignified.
    • Ganondorf looks like he's gained some weight since Ocarina. Compared to characters like King Daphnes, Lenzo and Mila's father it looks more like Ganondorf's a Top-Heavy Guy rather than overweight. The huge robe he's wearing doesn't help matters.
    • Jalhalla is another evil version, being the "lord of the Poes." Its overweight appearance doesn't wane even after you've defeated many of the Poes that constitute its body.
  • Adventurous Irish Violins: The intro theme features a nice violin melody later into the song, fitting a story about sailing away to adventure. The same melody shows up again during the second half of the game, played on a blue fiddle, and it turns out to be some appropriate Magic Music, which reconnects the current Wind Sage (in this case, Makar the Korok) with his mystic ancestry. When the sage plays his fiddle at the temple's gates, the temple is unlocked.
  • An Aesop:
    • Don't live in the past, it will blind you to everything.
    • You are not defined by the others that came before you, but by your own path.
  • 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.
  • Air-Aided Acrobatics: There are small whirlwinds in the waters of the Great Sea that can help Link reach higher places while he's hovering with the Deku Leaf. Some examples include the tall structure from which Link can enter the Forbidden Woods, the flying racetrack of the Flight Control Platform, and a high spot housing a Blue ChuChu in Shark Island. The Wind Temple has wind currents generated by fans, including a very large one that is periodically created in the central room.
  • Airborne Mook: The Mothula enemies come in winged and wingless varieties. The winged Mothulas can have their wings shot off with ranged weapons such as the hookshot, the arrows or the boomerang, bringing them to the ground.
  • 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.
  • All the Worlds are a Stage: The first half of Ganon's Tower features sections based on four of the game's main dungeons (Dragon Roost Cavern, Forbidden Woods, Earth Temple and Wind Temple) which must be completed in order to dispel the stone gate that leads to the second half; each section ends with a rematch against the dungeon's resident boss, fought in a black-and-white recreation of the battlefield where you're reduced to whatever items were available to you when you originally went through the dungeon (however, the Master Sword retains its full power, allowing you to defeat the first two bosses more quickly). The second half of the dungeon features an illusory puzzle set in mutiple chambers of identical appearance based aesthetically on Forsaken Fortress, and to solve it you must repeatedly face Phantom Ganon (a miniboss from that dungeon) and pay attention to the hilt of its sword when it falls down. The only dungeon that isn't represented in any form is Tower of the Gods, because it's a benevolent location (interestingly, its entrance also holds access to Hyrule, and by extension Ganon's Tower).
  • Alluring Anglerfish: Jabun resembles a mix between an anglerfish and a catfish. His lure, which resembles a man-made lantern hanging from a tendril, appears to be purely decorative.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The trope is taken to its logical conclusion halfway through the game, when you come across Hyrule Castle, which was frozen in time at the exact moment it was falling to an invading army; all their base were in a perpetual state of belonging to Ganon for the last several centuries.
  • 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: Whenever Link sails near the Forsaken Fortress, it suddenly becomes night (until somewhere halfway through the game when Ganondorf ceases to use it as a base of operations).
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The HD version displays this with the first American printing; art-wise it's identical to the Japanese box art, but the color palette is much different, having everything and everyone except Link rendered in shades of yellow. The American Nintendo Selects re-release averts this, as it uses the original full-color artwork. In the original release, Japanese players got an ensemble picture, while Western players got a sepia-toned Link and King of Red Lions sailing.
  • Amusing Injuries: Many cases, like Link flying 50 feet in the air with his rear on fire if he falls in lava, flying facefirst into the side of the Forsaken Fortress in a launched barrel early on in the game, and later repeating the same (sans barrel) with the Tower of the Gods.
  • 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 the Adventure Continues: The game ends with Link sailing out with the pirates (mimicking the game's prologue) to find a new land, after having saved the Great Sea. It's also one of the few in the series to get an actual follow-up.
  • 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...?)
  • Annoying Arrows: Played for Laughs. There's a friendly fish in each sector of the ocean who has some ferocious body aches that only acupuncture can cure. You have to shoot the fish with your bow as he leaps out of the water, and if you shoot him enough times within the time limit, he'll pay you 200 rupees and tell you how good it feels to have all those arrows sticking out of him.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The HD remaster added a few of them. Among other things:
    • The Wind Waker is now considered a quest item with its own dedicated slot on the Up D-Pad button, allowing for on-demand use without needing to equip it to an item slot. Additionally, the small animation that plays when Link conducts a Wind Waker song only plays once in a given session; every time you use the same song after that, its effects occur automatically.
    • Sailing has received several additions and tweaks to make traversing the Great Sea a more streamlined experience.
      • The Sail is now a quest item alongside the Wind Waker, mapped to the A button to further free up the player's item slots while sailing.
      • The Auction house offers a new, optional quest item in the form of the Swift Sail, which the player can switch between with the regular sail at the press of the A button. In addition to increasing your top speed, the Swift Sail automatically adjusts the wind to flow in the same cardinal/diagonal direction the player is facing, eliminating the need to use the Wind Waker every few minutes to change course.
      • The boat's cannon and crane are mapped to dedicated slots on the Left and Right D-Pad buttons; while you're still given the option to do so, you no longer need to equip the bombs or grappling hook in your item slot to use the aforementioned boat functions.
      • An aiming reticle is shown when using the cannon at sea; making aiming far easier and less of a guessing game.
      • In most instances where Link takes damage while sailing, he isn't knocked off his boat anymore. Only select attacks and obstacles (such as Exploding Barrels) will 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 the 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.
    • When you're swinging on a rope or the grappling hook, you can actually turn while you're swinging, without needing to stop.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: While the game doesn't have a time-based reminder notice, one of Sturgeon's notes advises you not to stay up all night playing video games.
  • Anti-Villain: This game's Ganondorf spares the lives of prisoners he has no need for, even going so far as to subdue, rather than kill, Link himself (at least until his goal is destroyed and he completely snaps for the final battle). He also explains his original motive for wanting to take over the world: The harsh desert winds brought death, suffering, and ruin to his people, but in other, greener regions, it meant something very different.
    Ganondorf: I coveted that wind, I suppose.
  • Arbitrary Equipment Restriction: When fighting the flashback bosses in the last dungeon, Link is restricted to whatever equipment he had at the time.
  • Armor of Invincibility: The game introduces the Magic Armor, a spell item that renders Link invincible, at the cost of constantly draining his magic for as long as it is active. It's functionally similar to Nayru's Love from Ocarina of Time.
  • 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.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Disarmed Darknuts will try to arm themselves with a new weapon, such as a Moblin's spear, and will engage Link in hand-to-hand combat if they can't. They also tend to counter Link's hurricane spin with one of their own if they seem him charging it up.
  • Artificial Script: The Hylian language appears in text as a Artificial Script. In the second playthrough, Link can comprehend the Hylian language, or it becomes legible to the player at the very least. Or you can take the time to translate them yourself.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The game has notoriously poor enemy AI and literally nonexistent pathfinding. If an enemy spots Link, it will try to chase him down on a completely straight path, even if said path leads into a cliff face which Link is on top of. Enemies make no attempt to avoid obstacles such as unclimbable slopes. The enemy AI is often cited as an example of the game's lax difficulty. They'll also hit and kill enemies that happen to be in their way. Your enemies. Moblins will clobber each other trying to hit you, Darknuts will mow down foes standing between you and them, etc. It's actually a viable strategy to use stronger foes to wipe out the other enemies for you, especially if there are a lot of them, or there are several strong monsters.
  • 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 – Economics: The bomb merchant in Windfall Island 'sells' his bombs for several orders of magnitude more rupees than you could possibly carry. He seems mighty pleased with his exploitation of his monopoly, forgetting that if you offer your products for several times the total wealth of the planet, no one who can go without the product will buy it, and those who can't go without it will just steal it, as the pirates do later in the story. The real reason for the outlandish prices is of course to serve as a Broken Bridge, preventing you from obtaining bombs too early in the story.
  • 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-Shifted Sequel: The game's cel-shading visuals depart from the semi-realistic graphics used in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask.
  • 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.
  • Asteroids Monster: Jalhalla, boss of the Earth Temple, splits into multiple Poes when injured. Link must then kill as many of these Poes as possible before they reform and repeat the cycle until the boss dies.
  • 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.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Link can pick up enemy weapons like machetes, spears, and greatswords for his own use. Although it's required a few times to break barriers, he has a much smaller combat moveset with them compared to his own sword, and can't carry them from location to location. In particular, the Moblin Spear swings in a large circle, which is actually detrimental since it means you'll hit the walls in most places. By the time the Master Sword is found and restored, taking them's not really worth the trouble.
  • Back Stab: One of the parry attacks Link can perform involves rolling under the enemy's attack, around behind him, and slashing. More standard backstabs are also effective against Moblins: Though they don't do any extra damage, the Moblin will spend the next few seconds jumping around in pain.
  • 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 in Distress: Here Link has a history of this. He may be very badass, but if he acts without thinking or gets hit by a surprise-attack, he's quite easy to take down. Ganondorf gets him almost killed twice in the game and Tetra has to save him both times.
  • 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.
  • Bamboo Technology: There's a camera with capabilities similar to those of real-world digital cameras. The camera itself is made of wood, and the color version is powered by a firefly.
  • Bandit Mook: The rats, though not always. Normally, they run at Link and knock rupees out of his wallet on a hit. The rats steal the highest-value rupees that they knock loose and Link has to kill the rats if he wants the money back. However they're much more interested in the All-Purpose Bait you're carrying and, if you give them some, they'll not only leave you alone but also offer to sell you stuff.
  • Barely Changed Dub Name:
    • In German, Aryll became "Aril", Medli became "Medolie" and Makar became "Makorus".
    • In French, Aryll became "Arielle" and Medli became "Medolie".
  • Bare Your Midriff: Senza. Who is a guy.
  • Bathos: Link places the last of the goddess pearls he's collected up to that point in an ancient statue. At first it seems like it's about to explode but then it stops for a moment. Just as Link thinks it's okay to get close, it promptly explodes and launches him off the island. However, the statue also causes the Tower of The Gods to emerge from the waves. It's as majestic as it sounds... Until Link splats himself against the side of the rising structure.
  • Battle Boomerang: Link obtains a small yellow Boomerang in the Forbidden Woods. Like in (most) other Zelda games, it's more of an add-on to your regular combat rather than a proper combat tool in its own right, but its ability to quickly stun the majority of the game's enemies lets it fill that role very well.
  • 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).
    • The game's enemy music incorporates Variable Mix, adding instruments and increasing the tempo as Link inflicts damage to his enemies. It also introduces a separate theme for enemy encounters in the Great Sea.
  • Beak Attack: The Helmaroc King is a giant bird that attacks Link by slamming its beak down into the ground. This leads to the beak getting stuck in the ground, giving Link an opportunity to attack its head.
  • Beware the Skull Base: Despite featuring pirates and many pirate themed hideouts, the game actually averts this. The closest it ever comes to this is the lookout outposts scattered across the Great Sea which have skulls on the rooftops but these are more decorative than anything.
  • BFS: The Darknut swords and the swords dropped by Phantom Ganon are of decent proportion to their original wielders, but when Link picks them up they're taller than he is.
  • Bird People:
    • The Rito are humanoids with avian traits native to Dragon Roost Island who gain their wings after getting a scale from Valoo.
    • Wizzrobes in this game are redesigned to be humanoid toucans in robes.
  • Big Bad: Ganondorf, who returns to the world after his seal in Ocarina of Time.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Earth Temple is a Hailfire Peaks hybrid between this setting and Underground Level. For one thing, it's where the ReDeads and Poes first show up, and there are also huge hallways filled with mist that renders you unable to use weapons, typically filled with Floormasters.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Link's is so powerful that it nearly makes him jump off a cliff near the beginning of the game.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The series-classic Mothula makes a return, this time as a luminiscent cyclopean moth that comes in two varieties (a winged form that serves as a Mini-Boss in Forbidden Woods and later as a strong normal enemy, and a wingless form). The series also introduces the centipede-based Magtails, which can hide beneath lava and have a sturdy body; their Queen Mook is Gohma.
  • 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.
  • Bird People:
    • The Ritonote  people are feathered humanoids with beaks who gain wings on adulthood when they receive a scale from the dragon that acts as their guardian deity. They are descendants of the Zora, a race of Fish People who were transformed by the gods after The Great Flood so that the Great Ocean could remain mostly lifeless. Likely as a way to keep the flooded kingdom of Hyrule hidden.
    • The Wizzrobe enemies, while normally just men in cloaks, are redesigned as Toucans with colorful beaks and wing-arms visible underneath their cloaks. This is part because the Wizzrobes' original art in the early games, when brightened up, made their hooked noses look a lot like bird beaks.
  • 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 afterwards, 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.
  • Block Puzzle: Block puzzles in this game have different characteristics that change depending on where they are. The floating crate puzzles in the Tower of the Gods have water whose level rises and lowers periodically. The lowest floor of the Earth Temple combines this with Light and Mirrors Puzzle in order to get the key to the boss' room, as the "blocks" are huge mirrors. In the last room of the Wind Temple, there are blocks that can only be moved while wearing Iron Boots, as there's a strong wind blowing from huge fans. And in the optional Angular Isles, there's an underground cave with a pile of blocks Link has to climb by pulling some of them; but if he pulls one too many his Mirror Shield won't be able to catch and reflect the light that activates the treasure chest (luckily, the puzzle can be resetted by exiting and re-entering).
  • 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.
  • Blow You Away: Link gets a magical Deku Leaf from the Deku Tree that he can use to hang-glide, at the cost of some magic. It can also be used to make a strong blast of air without needing to use magic. A more blatant example is the titular Wind Waker, a magical conductor's baton that can be used to change the direction of the wind and conjure cyclones.
  • 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 (overseas GCN version), the Hero's Charm (worldwide Wii U version), or 10 Rupees (Japanese GCN version).
  • Bonus Feature Failure: The HD remake turns the Hero's Charm into this, since it's gotten there at the end of the Savage Labyrinth instead of Windfall Island. And the Labyrinth is where the Charm would be otherwise very useful to check the HP of the stronger enemies to know how much they have before they die.
  • Bookends: During the prologue, Link leaves his hometown with the pirates. In the last scene of the game... Link leaves his hometown with the pirates. The tone of the latter scene is much more positive, though. Especially notable is that the first departing-scene had Link waving his grandma and neighbours goodbye with one hand, stoping for a few seconds, suddenly running foreward a few steps and then starting to wave at them again, but this time with both hands. The second departing has his sister Aryll (who stays behind on Outset) doing this just the same way.
  • 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.
  • Border Patrol: The game has a large, seemingly limitless ocean overworld, but it does have its limits. Ordinarily, Link can't sail past set boundaries outside the map (the King of Red Lions, Link's talking boat, stops and turns around automatically) but if Link swims instead, he can pass the original boundary until he drowns and respawns at the nearest land. However, with cheats, one can have Link swim even farther out... until Link drowns anyway. Yes, even with cheats that let Link swim forever, he still drowns at a set distance that the player cannot reach without cheating. Granted, there's nothing at that distance away from the map, but there's still an insurmountable obstacle that one cannot even reach in normal play.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy:
    • Gohma is invulnerable to grapple and sword attacks, because she is shielded by a thick layer of armour. Handily, the boss fight takes place in a cavern with a weak ceiling and a dragon's tail poking through it. Putting a little bit of weight on the tail causes part of the roof to crash down, destroying her armour. This is at least somewhat justified by the story, since Gohma is living in that exact spot in order to harass the dragon you can drop on her, making it more of a case of Hoist by His Own Petard.
    • Fighting the boss Jalhalla involves hitting him with light from holes in the ceiling and throwing him into spiked pillars around the room.
  • Boss Arena Recovery:
    • Gohdan (the boss of the third dungeon) is a justified case, as the boss is only there to test Link. This boss will GIVE you Arrow and Bomb Refills (which you need to defeat it) if you are low on them.
    • From the same game, the Final Boss arena seems to avert this. Until you figure out you can use your Hookshot on Princess Zelda to strip hearts from her to heal yourself!
  • Boss Corridor: The fight against Ganondorf is preceded by a long, decrepit upstairs corridor. The game gradually mutes the background music to hype the upcoming battle via Quieter Than Silence.
  • Boss Remix: Inverted. Ganon's theme is first heard in the overworld area during the curse of the Great Sea, long before the endgame when you confront the Gerudo king in person.
  • 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 fourth is 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. Unless you haven't obtained the Piece of Heart from him already (won by landing at least 500 hits), you don't get any reward for 1,000 apart from Orca calling you "Master" for the remainder of the game.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Break the Haughty: Windfall Island's rich girl Mila and her father behave quite arrogantly with Link. Then after Mila is abducted (and rescued) his father falls into poverty and she's even forced to steal.
  • Broken Armor Boss Battle:
    • Gohma begins its fight encased in a thick rocky carapace, but the area it's fought in has a very weak ceiling with a dragon's tail dangling through it. Link can use the Grappling Hook on the tail to collapse the ceiling onto Gohma, repeat until its carapace is completely destroyed, then use the Grappling Hook on its eye to bring it into stabbing range of his sword.
    • The Helmaroc King wears a metal mask that Link must shatter with the Skull Hammer before he can damage him properly.
  • 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.
  • Buy or Get Lost: Invoked by Bomb-Master Cannon and his Bomb Shop. Not only is he gleefully an asshole to you if you can't afford his bombs, but he also deliberately prices his bombs very high (at around 10,000 rupees a pop) so that nobody can afford them and he can therefore be an asshole to them. He eventually tries this on Tetra and her pirates so they rough him up, tie him up, and just steal the bombs. After this he lightens up and begins selling them at affordable prices, though even then old habits die hard as, if you come into his shop without buying something, he's clearly struggling to be nice about it.
  • Camera Lock-On: The camera will lock on to enemies if Link targets them, giving him a more accurate shot.
  • Canon Character All Along: Tetra is revealed to be Princess Zelda's latest incarnation. The reason her name isn't Zelda is that Hyrule was flooded years ago putting an end to the royal family Tetra is descended from, which had a tradition of naming daughters "Zelda". Basically, her name would be Zelda and she would be a princess if she had a kingdom to rule over.
  • Canon Immigrant: Eiji Aonuma was directly inspired by the non-canon Watarara race of giant birds from the Zelda manga to create the Rito.
  • Can't Refuse the Call Anymore: Happens when the pirates first drop Link off at the Forsaken Fortress. And because he's still an overconfident kid by then, he's tossed into the ocean and rescued, leaving him with no option other than to wise up. The mid-game twist occurs when Link first encounters Ganondorf with the Master Sword, only to find that it has lost its power.
  • 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).
  • Cast from Money: The game changes the magic armor to work this way, presumably to balance the item, as you could simply carry magic-restoring potions around otherwise. But it's less useless than in Twilight Princess, because it only drains money upon getting hit.
  • Catapult to Glory: How Link gets in the Forbidden Fortress. He almost makes it to the boss room but misses by a few feet.
  • Celibate Hero: Enforced. The game mostly tries to avoid giving Link such an Unwanted Harem, with Medli instead being slightly attracted to Prince Komali, the two girls on Windfall island either having different problems or already being in love, and Aryll being, well, his sister. Only the creepy fairy-queen is seen flirting with him and she's never seen again after that.
  • 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, lightmapping, motion blur and real-time cloth simulation. The HD version further enhanced the graphics.
  • Chain of Deals: The resident trading sequence is a bit different in comparison to those of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, in that you're bartering various decorative items between Zunari's shop and the three Traveling Merchants, and every trade requires Rupees as well. But you don't need to barter every item to get the key rewards, which are a Piece of Heart from one of the Merchants and Magic Armor from Zunari.
  • 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.
  • Chest Insignia: Link's first outfit includes a blue tunic with a white crawfish on the chest.
  • Chest Monster: As you explore the dungeons and one of the submarines, sometimes small enemies burst out of jars.
  • Chick Magnet: It's much more subdued in this game, given most main characters are children; but Link still has Ship Tease with both Tetra/Zelda and Medli, and the Fairy Queen outright says that he's her type.
  • Children Are Innocent: A complex mix. While Link and Aryll are still innocent, Tetra defies it with all her might. After all, a pirate captain has no need of such a thing. Then she turns into innocent Princess Zelda who takes up a bow and helps Link kill Ganondorf in an incredibly brutal way. When the fight is over, the King of Hyrule calls the gods themselves out to this trope, referring to Link and Tetra. Also, many players have noted that, aside from Link and Aryll, most of the children in the game behave like small adults, especially (aside from Tetra) Medli.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: While the Great Fairies in the game all resemble grown women, their Queen takes on the form of a little girl, though Really 700 Years Old applies in this case.
  • Circling Birdies:
    • Auction house patrons see stars (which sound like birds) upon being stunned by Link's bids.
    • Link gets a halo of stars circling around his head after a Hurricane Spin attack.
    • Medli is the only one who has actual birds circling her head, since she is, herself, a bird.
  • Climax Boss: The Helmaroc King, the one responsible for kidnapping Aryll as well as having kidnapped other girls and overall terrorizing the Great Sea. But it's only Ganondorf's second-in-command.
  • 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.
  • Combat Tentacles: Kalle Demos, the second boss, is a giant Korok-eating plant that uses this with its vines to attack Link.
  • 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.
  • Comfort Food: Link absolutely LOVES his Grandma's soup (which also recovers his HP magic and doubles his attack power).
  • Comically Missing the Point: Maggie, who reads the words "I want to eat you for dinner" and concludes that the love of her life is proposing to her.
  • Comically Small Demand: There are two little girls on Windfall Island who won't tell you anything they know unless you pay them 2 rupees (you can find this by cutting flowers for 15 seconds). They're so little that they're pleased to get even one rupee each.
  • 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.
  • Commonplace Rare: Bottles have been rare in previous Zelda games to begin with, but in this game there's one sold ar 500 rupees in Beedle's special shop.
  • Company Cameo: This game nods to its parent company of Nintendo via the Nintendo Gallery, a location that kicks off a sidequest where you take photos of everyone in the game to give to Carlov the sculptor.
  • 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.
  • Conspicuously Selective Perception: During the game's prologue, Link must sneak around the Forsaken Fortress without his sword, as being spotted means capture. If, however, he hides in a barrel, he can't be detected unless the barrel is seen moving. This is true even if the barrel blocks the Moblin's patrol path; he stops, seems to sniff (sometimes, thanks to lack of collision detection, sticking his nose in the barrel), sometimes looks around, but then goes on his way. Justified by Moblins explicitly being really stupid.
  • 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 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.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Ganondorf, compared to both his previous portrayal in Ocarina of Time and the eponymous antagonist of Majora's Mask (respectively the villains of the previous two 3D games in the series). After breaking free from the seal that contained him in the former game, he started to outgrow his original evil nature and become a more complex figure who wants the Triforce to restore Hyrule despite still wanting to control it. This contrasts his ruthless personality during the pre-flood era, as well as the For the Evulz nature of Majora's Mask.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: In Ocarina of Time, Link is The Stoic, was orphaned, had the fairy Navi as a companion, was The Chosen One, and sealed Ganondorf away; many of these traits were kept in Majora's Mask, though Link had a different fairy accompanying him and his nemesis was the Skull Kid (until the mask he wore turned out to be the true responsible for the suffering of Termina and its people). In The Wind Waker, Link has dorky elements, grew up with his sister and grandmother, is The Unchosen One who later proves his worth on his own, works without an Exposition Fairy (being instead guided by the spirit of a wise king), and outright kills Ganondorf by impaling him through the head.
  • Convection Schmonvection:
    • In the Dragon Roost Cavern, tossing a pot of water into a lava pit temporarily creates a floating bit of solid, perfectly-fine-to-walk on ground, which you can even ride up lava plumes on. However, the terrific animation for falling into a lava pit makes up for it all.
    • The game has an especially odd example of this, with Fire Mountain. Sure you use the Ice Arrows to freeze the main spurt of lava, but it's still pretty hot inside. The Hero's Clothes are stated to look "too warm for the weather" earlier in the game, and yet they don't make Link overheat.
    • This goes further in the last dungeon where you must swing by grappling hook over a big open lava pit. At the nadir of your swing you are mere inches from the lava, and the game even applies distortion to the camera to underline just how hot the air is.
  • 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.
  • Cosmic Deadline: The third and last Goddess Pearl is given to Link directly by the Sea Spirit Jabun, without the former having to go through a dungeon beforehand as in the case of other Zelda games with three or more Plot Coupons. A third dungeon for this part was planned, but had to be scrapped due to time constraints during the game's development.
  • Could Say It, But...: The "Nice Girls who never spread rumours," 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.
  • Coup de Grâce Cutscene: The outcome of the Final Boss battle shows Link ramming his sword into Ganondorf's head and fusing with the power of the Triforce to turn him to stone for all eternity.
  • 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.
  • Crate Expectations: There are crates (with Triforce logos) in the Tower of the Gods, one of the game's dungeons. It makes you wonder if the Hyrulean gods are really the executives of a shipping company. Placing them accordingly is important due to the periodic rise of the water's level, as Link can then hop between crates to reach places he wouldn't be able to from the water.
  • 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.
  • Creepy Basement: The basement of the Cabana/Player's Oasis. A creepy maze filled with rats, it even has two ReDeads in it for reasons not too well explained.
  • Creepy Centipedes: Features Magtails and Gohma, centipede-like monsters that live in molten lava. The Magtails are about the size of a human adult, but Gohma is huge and fills most of the chamber you fight it in while still partially submerged in a lava pool.
  • Crescent Moon Island: One of the many islands in the game is shaped like a crescent moon. Although there isn't much to be found on it, its shape is a hint that it is connected to the moon somehow: it's one of the locations where the Ghost Ship may appear, which is determined by the in-game moon phases. However, the Ghost Ship appears here when the moon is full, not crescent.
  • Curse: Ganon sends a powerful attack that not only destroys Greatfish Isle, but also curses the entire Great Sea into an endless night with rain and storms. It's liften when Link manages to reunite all Goddess Pearls (he has two by the time he arrives the destroyed island, so he only needs to look for the third).
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: A handful of places have their layouts reused throughout the game.
    • The interior of Tetra's pirate ship has a small upstairs area with her room and a staircase leading to a platform overlooking a large room, with another more narrow platform connected to a small room on the other side. While the upstairs part and staircase only appear here, the lower decks' layout is reused for the interior of every submarine and the Ghost Ship.
    • Every Fairy Fountain uses the same layout, an underground room with an ethereal design, a fountain in front of you and a beam of light to leave behind. Additionally, each of the five "[blank] Fairy Islands" all have the same heart-shaped island layout (save for Thorned Fairy Island having an extra platform at the top of the heart), though each one faces a different direction and has different things on it.
    • There's a tiny cavern with an elevated platform surrounded by three giant shark jawbones in the walls, and a short path leading to the beam of light that marks the entrance and exit disconnected from the main area. Among others, this cavern can be seen on Shark Island, Star Island, and the Angular Isles.
    • A recurring area is a series of temple-like rooms, three at minimum and seven at maximum, where Link fights a bunch of enemies. The first room is small and contains only a beam of light and a door to the second room. The second room is a large, open, circular space with six doors; the entrances to the first and third rooms across from each other, and a door on each of the diagonals (relative to the first two doors). Depending on which usage of this area you're in, the diagonal doors will either lead to small rectangular rooms with varying enemies, or lead back to the center room and spawn a different set of enemies there. The third room is a small circular area with a floor panel where you play the Wind's Requiem to spawn a chest. Places to find this area include Dragon Roost Island, Overlook Island, and Stone Watcher Island.
    • Needle Rock Island and Diamond Steppe have a cavern full of underground shipwrecks. The former locks you to only a small section of the room, and features a puzzle where you have to spot six torches spread throughout the rest of the area and and light them from a distance with Fire Arrows. The latter is a maze of Warp Jars that you have to navigate to find and collect a rare item; this means that unlike Needle Rock's version of this cave, you get to go all around the area.
    • The Savage Labyrinth is 51 rooms long counting the entrance, but there are only a few layouts for those rooms. The first 11 rooms are circle-like and have a rocky appearance with a small mound, where Link begins each room, and two larger mounds, one with two torches and a hole that leads to the next floor.note  The 12th-through-21st rooms have an identical layout, but with a grassy appearance instead. The 22nd-through-31st rooms are circular and temple-themed, with a gentle slope leading from the walls to the center, and the holes to progress atop the slope. The 32nd-through-41st rooms reuse the design of the grassy 12th room, while the remaining floors go back to the temple setting that began in the 22nd room.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • Ganondorf himself is able to give Link the old one-two and then have him at his mercy; not so much during the battle.
    • Shooting a single ice arrow at a specific erupting volcano will freeze the lava and put the eruption on hold for 5 minutes. Ice arrows aren't normally anywhere near as powerful as in this little cutscene. A corresponding frozen island can also be heated up to a safe temperature for 5 minutes with a single fire arrow.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Link starts out on his adventure in order to rescue his sister, who's been kidnapped by a gigantic bird which ends up being Ganondorf's pet. It should be noted that this Link is a major case of a Knight Templar Big Brother, which causes him to react to the kidnapping of his sister nearly the same way a "regular person" would react to her death.
  • Cypher Language: The Hylian language, whose alphabet is a code for Japanese kana.
  • Damage Discrimination: Most enemies are capable of harming each other. The Moblins especially come to mind, with their wide 180° spear swing that knocks EVERYONE off their feet. A group of Darknuts cease to be much of an issue after circling around them, and coaxing them into attacking one another while stealing items using the grappling hook. And if Link begins charging for a spin attack, the Darknuts will ready one of their own. This is annoying vs. a single Darknut, since their giant swords out-range Link's, but against a group all Link has to do is release his attack in an isolated part of the arena & watch the enemies simultaneously chop each other down.
  • 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 same controls.
    • In all previous Zelda games, setting an object or bomb down vs throwing it was context sensitive, you pushed the required button while standing still to set an object down, and pushed it while moving to throw. Meanwhile, in The Wind Waker, setting an object down has a dedicated separate button, and pressing A or the equipped button will always cause link to throw the object, regardless of if he is moving or standing still.
  • 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. The reason why was that the Helmaroc King mistook her for Tetra.
  • 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.
  • Deadly Gas: Although not itself deadly, there is a purple poison gas In Earth Temple that temporarily disables Link's ability to attack or use items, and there are usually enemies in the gas. Later in the dungeon, there are Blue Bubbles with the same ability. Going into a source of light will remove the gas instantly.
  • Death Mountain: Dragon Roost Cavern is an example of the classic volcano subtype. As Link makes his way to the warm interior (where the Rito tribe lives), he has to use Bomb Flowers and move a couple blocks. The island transitions into Lethal Lava Land once Link approaches the entrance to the resident dungeon, Dragon Roost Cavern. There's also an optional path that requires the Deku Leaf (obtainable later in the game) and control of the wind to be traversed: Link can fly between the tall rocks to eventually reach a cave with a treasure chest holding a valuable rupee. When you put the Map of The Wind Waker on top of the Map of Ocarina of Time, several familiar places (like the Deku Tree) are in the same location. Dragon Roost and Death Mountain share their spot on the maps. We find out that there's a reason why some things are in the same places: the game's setting is a flooded, post-apocalyptic Hyrule and the islands were the old world's highest places, all that survived. Though it's not stated outright, Dragon Roost probably isn't just similar to Death Mountain.
  • 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 run 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 Equals Explosion: All monsters explode into ominous (yet harmless) purple smoke. Except for the giant Armos Statues, who explode like bombs and does damage when you are too close to the explosion. The Helmaroc King had a particularly dramatic one.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Cyclos. He likes that you could beat him so much that he gives you the power of Cyclone-based fast travel via the Ballad of the Gales.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Tetra, as the game progresses, goes from a mean-spirited girl to a friendly ally. Especially after her true importance to the plot is revealed and she realizes that she can't just act as the selfish pirate captain she's known as anymore.
  • Degraded Boss: Nearly every dungeon miniboss in the game is encountered as a regular enemy sometime after their original appearance. For example, the large Moblins with spears are presented as inmune guardians Link must avoid confronting in Forsaken Fortress, then one is fought as a Mini-Boss in Dragon Roost Cavern; afterwards, however, they're reduced largely to tough minions. This same role is later filled by the Darknuts, the first of which shows up as a sub-boss in the Tower of the Gods, but the very next section following its completion pits you up against six of them and twelve Moblins (their later incarnations are more powerful, but you almost always fight at least two). And so on with the shielded Bokoblins, Mothulas, Stalfos, enemy-summoning Wizzrobes and Mighty Darknuts. The remaining minibosses (Phantom Ganon, Big Octo, and Cyclos) are the only aversions: The former two always challenge Link in miniboss fashion, while Cyclos is fought only once to begin with.
  • 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 to free him.
  • Didn't Need Those Anyway!: Darknuts in this game become faster as they lose pieces of their armor. If Link manages to knock the sword out of their hand, they suddenly switch to a hand-to-hand combat style where they are actually more dangerous than when they had the sword.
  • Died Standing Up: Ganondorf turns to stone after being stabbed in the head by the Master Sword, and stands up while this happens.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Each of the prayers given to restore the Master Sword are one-half of the title theme - Medli's being the first half and Makar's being the second.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The Helmaroc King, after which the game shifts gears to Link having to become the new hero 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.
    • The Boomerang. At the press of a button, you can use it to stun enemies, including Moblins, unhelmeted Darknuts, and Stalfos, and kill some weaker monsters outright. It also works as a ranged attack with no ammo limits, doesn't leave Link open to counter-attack, and has a relatively short duration between uses, which makes it a good combo piece for large melees.
  • Disconnected Side Area: The Fairy Queen's Fountain on the "mother" of Mother and Child Isles is only reachable by playing the Ballad of Gales after you learn it from Cyclos.
  • Disintegrator Ray: The Light Arrows have this effect immediately, on nearly every enemy they touch.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: Even after the events of Ocarina of Time, the Triforce has remained split into three pieces, and Ganondorf resumes his plan to reassemble it after he gets free of his seal. In turn, the Triforce of Courage was split into eight pieces after the Hero of Time was sent back to his era, thus requiring their collection by the Hero of Winds so he can assemble it.
  • 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.
  • Door to Before: Happens in the Earth Temple right after Link obtains the Mirror Shield, as the small passageway he and Medli unlock afterwards takes them back to the central room of the first floor, in which the shield comes into play for access to the second floor. Another example involves the underground maze beneath the fireplace of the Private Oasis, after Link claims the Triforce Chart found there (in this case, the jails to before are opened by pressing switches with the Skull Hammer).
  • Doppelgänger Spin: Phantom Ganon can split into four replicas and have all of them perform a spin attack towards Link when they have him cornered.
  • Double Unlock: The infamous Triforce Fetch Quest, in which you first have to find the eight Triforce Charts scattered about the Great Sea and islands via the Incredible Chart obtained after rescuing Aryll, then have Tingle decipher them, THEN go to the spot in the sea that the chart specifies and fish up the shards, which are assembled to unlock the final dungeon. The Wii U version simplified this by replacing five of the triforce charts with the actual shards themselves, saving several steps.
  • 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).
  • Dragons Are Divine: Valoo, the Sky Spirit and the patron deity of the Rito tribe, and the source of their ability to fly through his scales.
  • Dramatic Irony: When you pilfer the Bombs from Tetra's ship, she contacts you via the Pirate's Charm and remarks that you can have a headstart to finding the treasure on Outset Island while they enjoy the amenities of Windfall, but that they'll be heading for the island come morning. However, as the King of Red Lions remarks on when you arrive at Outset, she's unaware that the world is currently in the middle of The Night That Never Ends, so by staying the night she's inadvertently made it impossible for her crew to beat you to it.
  • 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.
  • Drop the Hammer: The Skull Hammer, the flagship item of Forsaken Fortress. Not only can it press rusty switches, but also cause high damage to enemies (and, in the case of Miniblins, they're squashed flat). Using the hammer onto an enemy frozen with the Ice Arrows will kill it instantly.
  • Drought Level of Doom: The Savage Labyrinth, a dungeon with 51 floors where enemies don't drop any items, so you're stuck with whatever was in your inventory at the time. Many an unwary player had to quit the dungeon early not realizing this was the case.
  • Dual Wielding: Ganondorf, who uses two sharp blades during the final battle.
  • Dungeon Shop: The game features these being run by rats, of all creatures. You can entice them to speak to you by throwing some bait down near their nests, for which they'll offer you anything from potions, to bombs and arrows, to even more bait. They tend not to charge more than any other shop would.
  • Dynamic Loading: Islands load while you are sailing towards them. In fact, the developers set the sailing speed as seen in the Gamecube version in order to ensure the islands do get loaded. If you somehow manage to beat out the dynamic loading, the game irises-out and resets you in your boat in the loaded quadrant without a word. With the improved hardware of the Wii U, loading has improved to the point of being able to load the entire Great Sea at once, and there is a new Swift Sail for the boat obtainable in the game.

    E-H 
  • Early Game Hell:
    • Forsaken Fortress is quite nasty because it foists a rather unforgiving Stealth-Based swordless dungeon on you. Without the means to defend yourself you're stuck sneaking around, hiding under barrels from Moblins in areas where rats will gleefully knock you over and expose you if you're unlucky, while you try to find your way around what amounts to a maze to take out searchlights and clear the route to retrieve your sword. In fact, your second attack on the Forsaken Fortress much later in the game, despite being swarming with many more (and more powerful) enemies, is worlds easier simply because you're free to fight instead of being forced to surrender when you're spotted.
    • In the HD version, Hero Mode causes you to take double damage, while no monsters or pots drop hearts. Dragon Roost becomes extremely dangerous in this mode, as you're not allowed to leave the island until you complete the dungeon, and the only healing items you can get within are red potions (purchasable from rats) and a fairy in the pot in the room right before the boss. And you only have a few Heart Containers (four if you collect enough Heart Pieces, including one from Forsaken Fortress that will be missed until much later if you don't get it on your first visit) while everything deals double damage. You do get a bottle, which you can use to catch the fairy or buy the red potion, but you don't get it until after you reach the island, so you can't put any other healing items in it. Once you finally get off the island, you can claim a second bottle and start buying more potions, making future dungeons far more manageable.
  • 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 changes this to account for the absence from Twilight Princess, giving them the "Series: Exemplary Enemy" award instead.
    • 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.
  • An Economy Is You: The auction house. Everything that's up for auction is something Link can use. There are things up for sale that people besides Link might want or need, but Link is the only one who will need all of them. Everybody will bid on something, even if it's something they probably couldn't use (why did that gossipy older lady just buy a treasure map when she probably doesn't have a boat?). But where it really smashes headlong into this is the fact that if anybody besides you wins the auction, you can leave the room and come back to find that they returned it to the auction for literally no reason and more often than not the person who bought and returned it is at the auction bidding on it again. The item will always be returned to the auction house until you win it.
  • Elite Mooks: The Darknuts. Based on an enemy appearing in the original game that could not be attacked from the front, this version is fully armored, with a huge flamberge and in some cases a shield, so they are very difficult to take in a head-on fight, and they hit like a truck. Parrying their attacks will cut off parts of their armor, but even without that it takes nearly twice as many hits as other types of mobs (and that's with a fully empowered Master Sword) to put them down for good. But what really puts them above the others is when they are disarmed; where other enemies will stand their ground when you come at them, Darknuts will actually evade. If you come at them, they will jump back and out of range. Out of all the enemies you face short of bosses, darknuts are clearly the most heavily armed and armored as well as the most skilled.
  • End of an Age: The age of Hyrule, Ganondorf, and the wars of the Triforce have been ending since Ganon attacked 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.
  • Enemy Scan: Tingle provides this function, though unlike the other 3D games, he can only be summoned by an assistant player, from a GBA connected to the GameCube. He doesn't actually offer much in the way of concrete help, but it's better than nothing. There's also the figurine gallery, which shows background information on characters (also available in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap) and the Hero's Charm, a mask which actually displays a Life Meter for enemies.
  • Enemy Summoner: The Mighty Wizzrobe does this with its enhanced magic, which isn't limited to shooting fireballs anymore. The one fought in Wind Temple is powerful enough to summon another Wizzrobe, which is why it serves as that dungeon's Mini-Boss.
  • 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 of wall-mounted Moblin statues in the Forsaken Fortress, for some reason.
  • Enter Solution Here: Nico asks Link for a password (with associated riddle), but even if you can guess the password, Nico won't accept it until Link has heard one of the pirates say it (though at least he acknowledges that it's close to the right answer and that Link's just "saying it wrong".)
  • Escort Mission: You have 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.
  • Event Flag: During the night of the Great Sea's curse, you're asked to provide a password to get back inside Tetra's pirate ship. However, even if you solve the password riddle perfectly, capital letters and all, the game still won't let you into the ship until you view the correct cutscene where Link overhears the password from two pirates (thus triggering the event flag). It's Hand Waved that there is a very specific and precise way the password needs to be pronounced for it to pass, and that even if Link guessed the word he wouldn't know how to pronounce it until he overheard it from the pirates.
  • Evil Laugh: After the King of Hyrule uses the Triforce to wish for "hope" for Link and Zelda and the old Hyrule begins to flood and vanish under the water, Ganon starts to laugh madly, his sanity broken at seeing all his dreams smashed before his eyes. The laughter continues to grow until he is eventually shrieking.
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once: Centuries after being sealed in the Golden Land, Ganondorf returned in boar-demon form and swept away all opposition, forcing the goddesses to drown Hyrule under a new ocean in order to stop him. Ganondorf eventually broke out of his underwater prison and began rebuilding his forces, but Link got the assistance of the scattered descendants of Hyrule's original population, challenged Ganondorf in his castle, and defeated him before he could reconquer Hyrule's remnants.
  • 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.
  • Excalibur in the Rust: Following the Great Flood, the Master Sword was stuck at the bottom of the ocean, its power to ward evil having been sealed by Ganondorf eliminating the guardians of the temples used to keep the sword empowered. Link needs to awaken a new generation of Sages in order to restore the sword's power and defeat Ganondorf for good.
  • Exclusive Enemy Equipment: Unfortunately, you can't take enemy weapons through doors.
  • Exploding Barrels:
    • In certain areas of the Great Sea, there are explosive barrels whose sole purpose is to be obstacles that make Link fly off the King of Red Lions if not dodged carefully.
    • The bomb flowers (what you use to blow stuff up before you get your own bombs) are especially a barrel-like hazard. If struck, they go boom and don't take nearly as long to do so as when you pluck one and place it near a big rock in your way (they actually have a longer time limit than your own bombs). In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks they blow up the instant they're struck, no delayed reaction.
  • Exposition Fairy: The King of Red Lions a.k.a. King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, who also serves as your main means of travel through the Great Sea. He keeps in touch while you're on land via a magic stone given to you by Tetra, who fills this role during your first visit to the Forsaken Fortress (the fact they can both use the stone is a plot point).
  • 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 it does not affect Link or Tetra, considering they've never seen him nor do they know much about Hyrule.
  • Failures on Ice: Expect to hear a lot of yelps and shouts of distress as Link tries to keep his balance while moving across ice, especially when he's turning. And if you try going the exact opposite direction you're moving too quickly, he can fall on his face.
  • Fairy in a Bottle: As expected in the series, Link can swing a bottle to capture a fairy. In this instalment, 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 (and its notes are very similar), just under a new name. It swaps between day and night, which becomes handy when doing sidequests in Windfall Island as well as during the lengthy Nintendo Gallery sidequest.
  • Feathered Fiend: The Helmaroc King. The common Kargorocs as well.
  • Feed It a Bomb: The only way to defeat Armos Knights is by throwing a bomb onto their mouths. They'll move erratically out of desperation before exploding. Gohdan, which is their King Mook, is defeated this way as well, though it requires three bombs instead of just one (as well as disabling its eyes and hands beforehand to fully stun it and open its mouth).
  • 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. This was 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.
  • Fiendish Fish: The waters of the Great Sea are overrun by Gyorgs (smaller specimens of the Majora's Mask boss), which have a tendency to charge at the King of Red Lions to knock Link down onto the waters and attack him more easily.
  • Final Boss Preview: Link and Ganondorf meet face to face after the former manages to defeat Helmaroc King and rescue his sister, but Ganondorf reveals to him that bringing a powerless Master Sword won't give him victory, and then proceeds to beat him until Tetra (and later other Ritos plus Valoo) come to the rescue.
  • Final-Exam Boss: Puppet Ganon has three forms, each one resembling a boss that was previously fought by Link during his adventure. The standard puppet form has strings that have to be cut with the Boomerang to hit the tail more easily with the Light Arrows, similar to how the upper roots of Kalle Demos have to be cut with the same weapon to unveil the interior of its bud and hit it. The spider form attacks Link from above and has to be hit in the tail (with the Light Arrows again) when it falls down, a reverse form of the battle against Gohma (whom Link causes damage by going above and making a large rock fall right onto that boss). The snake form moves rapidly through the battlefield as Link tries to hit the tail (with the same projectiles as before), similar to how Link has to deal with the Moldorms released by Molgera. The battle against Ganondorf at the top of his tower is a 2-on-1 duel that requires cooperation with Zelda, not unlike the dungeons where Link had to cooperate with a supporting character (or, in one case, controllable statues); and to deliver the final blow, he has to use his Mirror Shield to reflect a Light Arrow shot by Zelda at the Gerudo villain and then employ one of the game's newest sword skills (the parry).
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Link's elemental arrows come in the standard Fire, Ice, and Light varieties just like in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask; but in this game, Light also has a lightning element to it.
  • 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.
  • First-Person Snapshooter:
    • Just getting the Pictobox, as well as upgrading it to the Deluxe version for colour pictographs, spans a sidequest on its own: It all starts with exploring the narrow caves behind Tingle's prison, then showing the Pictobox to Lenzo, then completing three snapshot tasks, then finding a rainbow-coloured firefly in Forest Haven and then giving it to Lenzo (Thankfully, the HD remake omits the requirement for the firefly). This is just one of the various sidequests in Windfall Island that involve giving pictographs to certain characters.
    • After getting the Deluxe Pictobox, there's an elaborate Sidequest that involves taking pictures of nearly every character, enemy, boss, etc. in the game and delivering them to the Nintendo Gallery to complete a figurine collection (notably, one character only appears if you have a Game Boy Advance and a cable to link it to your Nintendo GameCube, allowing you to complete another sidequest that spans five of the game's dungeons, though this character isn't a requirement for completing the gallery). The HD remake alleviates most of the tedium which comes this sidequest, thanks to the Deluxe Pictobox holding more photos (12 as opposed to 3), the addition of a small icon indicating whether a pictograph is eligible into becoming a figurine and Carlov being able to create multiple figurines per day (as opposed to 1 per day). Thanks to the Tingle Bottle, users could also post pictographs to Miiverse, helping to eliminate the risk of permanently losing the chance to take pictographs of characters or bosses who make limited appearances (after the shutdown of Miiverse in late 2017, the risk is present once again). However, despite the omission of the system link requirements for the other sidequest which makes a certain character appear, there is no indication on how and where to complete this sidequest, and this once optional character is now 'required' to complete the gallery.
    • There are also sidequests in Windfall Island that require Link to make use of his Pictobox, and they all require the Deluxe upgrade.
  • Fishing Minigame: While the game is missing an actual fishing simulation (which seems odd until you hear that the ocean is described as empty and fishless), purchasing and using fish bait is nevertheless an important part for filling up the sea chart.
  • Floating Mask: Jalhalla, the boss of the Earth Temple, is a spectral mask which uses a swarm of Poes to create a body.
  • Flooded Future World: The Great Sea is what remains of the ancient kingdom of Hyrule after it was flooded by the gods 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.
  • Flunky Boss: Molgera will summon Lanmola-like larvae all the time, constantly jumping at you. Your locking system automatically locks to the closest larva to you, thus forcing you to either defeat the larvae or get even closer to the boss who is in quick sand, trying to swallow you.
  • 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.
  • Fog of Doom: The mist in the Earth Temple not only robs Link of being able to use items (including his sword), but also leaves him defenseless against the dreaded Floormasters.
  • Forced Tutorial: The game's prologue has the sword training section with Orca, and the interrruptions Tetra makes during your exploration of Forsaken Fortress.
  • 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 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!"
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: The game heavily changed things up from what had been the standard Legend of Zelda formula at the time; for example, the main hero is The Unchosen One who has to work hard in order to even be deemed worthy of being the Hero rather than his role being destined from the start. It takes place in an Ocean Punk world instead of the sprawling, terrestrial kingdoms of previous games, and has a heavy focus on sailing from place to place rather than riding through an expansive field on horseback made famous by The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. This ties into the central message of the game: That Nothing Is the Same Anymore. And at the end of the game, the protagonists set sail to found an entirely new kingdom after the destruction of ancient Hyrule beneath the waves of the Great Sea.
  • Four Is Death: There are six coral reefs, known as One-, Two-, Three-, Four-, Five- and Six-Eyed Reefs. Four-Eyed Reef is the closest to Forsaken Fortress, which serves as the base of operations of the Big Bad. In addition, Forsaken Fortress itself is the fourth dungeon in the game completion-wise,note  and its surroundings are under a curse that leaves it in perpetual nighttime; even Tetra and her pirate crew hesitate to approach it, and Lenzo the photographer advises Link against getting there as well. Lastly, out of all fragments in which the Triforce of Courage was split, the fourth is retrieved after finding the chart that lies inside the dreaded, undead-themed Ghost Ship.
  • 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).
  • Game-Breaking Bug: A minor one. For some reason, in the GameCube release doing a jump slash onto the chest inside the Ghost Ship will instantly freeze the game. HD fixed this bug.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: In the final battle against Ganondorf, other than a scripted moment where she is KO'ed, Zelda cannot be harmed during the battle (though she does wince in pain); you can't kill her, even if you repeatedly slash her with the Master Sword.
  • 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.
    • A subtle, musical example: after Aryll is kidnapped, Outset Island's music becomes shorter, removing her leitmotif from the rest of the melody.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Lampshaded in the auction minigame. If you lose the auction, you may leave the room and re-enter it immediately, at which point the auction will begin afresh. The auctioneer's preamble will then begin: "Today's lot is... a treasure chart. Yes, this is exactly the same treasure chart we had last time, but for some reason, Anton, who won the auction, has decided to return it."
  • Gangplank Galleon: Link boards Tetra's pirate ship at the start of the game to reach Forsaken Fortress, and later again when looking for bombs; in both cases, Niko puts him into test with the use of ropes to swing. There's also the Ghost Ship, where one of the Triforce Charts lies; but it can only be accessed after collecting its own chart in Diamond Steppe Island.
  • Gargle Blaster: The potion maker uses a welding mask as described above when mixing up new potions. The process also involves small explosions and clouds of colored smoke. Link burps up a small puff of colored smoke after drinking one.
  • Genre Deconstruction:
    • The game is a deconstruction of The Chosen One narrative, and in a meta sense, the classic Zelda formula that the previous games in the series ran on. As seen in the Opening Narration, the Hero of Time, who was an explicit Chosen One, became a Messianic Archetype to the people of the ancient kingdom of Hyrule after he saved them from the great evil, the Big Bad Ganondorf. The people then counted on the same hero spontaneously appearing to save them generations later, when the evil returned... and he didn't. The people of the kingdom, unable to defend themselves, were relegated to praying to the gods for salvation, and the gods responded by flooding Hyrule to keep Ganon from taking over, drowning any who could not make it to the safety of the kingdom's mountaintops. Then, in the present day, the main hero of the game is very much an average boy, with no Heroic Lineage to speak of, and only leaves his home island to rescue his sister when she is kidnapped at the beginning of the game. Even when he's recruited into opposing Ganondorf's plans to get at the Triforce by the King of Hyrule, disguised as a Cool Boat, he's still very much The Unchosen One, stated to have no connection to the older heroes. He has to quest to prove himself worthy of being the Hero at all, but in the end manages to permanently kill Ganondorf, having risen to the challenge of his own accord, rather than Because Destiny Said So.
    • It's also a deconstruction of post-apocalyptic After the End settings, especially those dealing with the fall of an ancient civilization. Only the vaguest memories of the ancient kingdom of Hyrule, as seen in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, remain in the present day, and rather than the usual dreary and depressing Crapsack World of the post-apocalyptic genre, for the most part, the residents of the Great Sea live normal, if isolated lives, and are content with their world. The Big Bad Ganondorf is a stubborn remnant of the ancient world, having tried and failed to conquer Hyrule and obtain the Triforce in the past, and in the present still schemes to return and claim the kingdom which is now slumbering beneath the waves, devoid of any and all life. Ganondorf's inability to let go of the past and move on eventually gets him Impaled with Extreme Prejudice, Taken for Granite and Killed Off for Real, and at the end of the game he and the last King of Hyrule remain underneath the sea as the old kingdom is swept away permanently. Meanwhile, the main hero Link and his companions Tetra and her Pirates set sail to find an entirely new land, and start a kingdom anew. The ultimate message of the game is to keep looking forward, rather than dwelling on the past.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Wizzrobe uses teleportation to move its position shortly after firing a projectile. One kind in particular likes to summon hordes of other monsters to fight you at the same time. Often, they will be monsters that require a lot of attention if you don't want to get wasted by them, including Moblins and Darknus. And in one case, other Wizzrobes, with summons of their own.
  • Get on the Boat: The game is set in a Hyrule that has long since been flooded and has turned into the Great Sea. As such, Link needs to get on the King of Red Lions to sail the Great Sea and access the islands within. At the beginning of the game, the King of Red Lions won't let you board until circumstances are met (getting a sail, getting the pearls), but after that, you're free to go where ever you want (except where the King of Red Lions says you can't).
  • Ghost Ship: Called the Ghost Ship. It sails around certains islands from the Great Sea depending on the phase of the moon: Crescent Moon Island during full moon, Diamond Steppe Island during waning gibbous, Bomb Island during third quarter, Spectacle Island during waning crescent, Five-Star Isles during waxing crescent, Star Belt Archipelago during first quarter, and Greatfish Isle during waxing gibbous (the new moon phase is never seen in-game). Diamond Steppe Island happens to be the place where Link can find the chart that allows him and the King of Red Lions to enter the Ghost Ship and look for the Triforce Chart that lies within. Interestingly, though the ship itself is harmless, some Fishmen are horrified by it, while others talk enthusiastically about it.
  • Giant Hands of Doom: Gohdan is a floating stone head flanked by a pair of floating stone hands. It attacks by trying to push Link into electric pits and clapping its hands on Link.
  • Giant Squid: Big Octo a giant squid that is always preceded by a large flock of seagulls, and will try to suck in your boat if you go near said seagulls, at which point you must attack all of its eyes with your bombs or boomerang.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Link's little sister Aryll wears her hair like this.
  • Glamour Failure: Inverted. On a New Game+, Link's Grandmother, instead of giving him the iconic green hero's clothes, gives him what's either invisible clothes or absolutely nothing. Link wears them over his normal clothes, with absolutely no difference. It seems at first that she's just playing a joke on him, but looking at Link's shadow and the outline of the Magic Armor reveals the indistinctive shape of his floppy hat. According to his grandma, they're magical clothes that are only visible to honest people, and a few characters do comment on them like the Great Deku Tree. "What's the matter? You see them, don't you?"
  • Glowing Eyes: A new graphical effect added to the HD remaster is that enemies now have glowing eyes.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The game reveals that, after being defeated by the Hero of Time and sealed in the Sacred Realm, the monstrous Ganon somehow managed to escape. He began to utterly destroy Hyrule, and the people hoped a new hero would arise...but none ever did. They prayed to the gods for help, but even they were powerless before Ganon, and ultimately decided that the only course of action was to sent torrential rain that drowned nearly everyone, including the evil sorcerer. The only survivors were a few select people who fled to the mountaintops to begin life anew.
  • Go for the Eye: Gohma has an eye as its weak point, but it also has an armored lid that comes down every time you try to hit it — at least, until you drop a huge rock on its head enough times to break its armor.
  • Gonk:
    • The Deku Tree, among many others.
    • Maggie's father. Especially after his makeover. Maggie isn't such a beauty herself.
  • Good Morning, Crono: After the prologue recapping the ancient legend, the game begins with Aryll going to the observation platform on Outset Island and waking up her older brother Link for his birthday.
    Big Brother!
  • Gossipy Hens:
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: There are two major groups of collectibles, besides the usual Pieces of Heart and bottles:
    • There's the vast array of sunken treasure in the sea obtainable only by collecting and opening the Treasure Charts hidden through all of the Great Sea. There are 41 standard Treasure Charts, which not only have to be collected by completing sidequests, exploring islands and dungeons, and defeating enemy groups in caves, watchtowers and submarines, but also opened to pinpoint their marked treasures so you can claim them in their corresponding island quadrants (there are 49 quadrants overall, but the remaining 8 hide the fragments of the Triforce of Courage, for which you have to collect, open and decipher the Triforce Charts instead; the Wii U version makes this part easier by only having 3 charts and the other 5 fragments earned directly, thus increasing the number of standard Treasure Charts to 46). There are other 12 charts in the game, which instead pinpoint specific types of collectibles or special locations across the Great Sea (Pieces of Heart, Great Fairy locations, Big Octos that guard treasures, etc.), which greatly help the player achieve 100% Completion.
    • The figurines to complete the Nintendo Gallery. You have to take pictures of every character, enemy (with some exceptions), and boss in the game, for a total of 134. And some of them have limited appearances, so beware. It was easier to complete in the HD remake, as one could even find the formerly missable pictures via Miiverse...until Miiverse was shut down, of course. Knuckle is especially infamous; the only way to make him appear is to collect all five of the Tingle Statues, which are hidden in five of the game's dungeons. In the original version, the only way to find them is with the Tingle Tuner, which will react when you get close. But you need a Game Boy Advance to use that. Then you have to place a Tingle Bomb at each appropriate spot, and only once you've found all five will Knuckle appear for you to take his picture on Outset Island. And that's not the worst part, which is twofold: in the original game, it was possible to permanently miss one of the statues, meaning you needed to wait for the New Game+ to complete the quest. And in the remake, the Tingle Tuner doesn't exist. So, what did the devs put in to help you find the statues instead? Nothing, meaning that unless you have an incentive to bomb every slightly suspicious location in every dungeon, you can only find the Tingle Statues if you look up where they are. Though at least that also means that there's no trick to finding him afterward; instead of finding him on Outset and 'proving yourself' through a few odd tasks, he simply appears on Tingle Island.
  • 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 can 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 are 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?
  • Granny Classic: Link's Grandma. She takes care of Link and his sister, plays pranks on him and cooks Link's favorite food, a soup that doubles his strength.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: There's a regular old Grappling Hook, used to allow Link to traverse pitfalls or reach higher places with the help of special wooden setpieces that the Hook can be attached to. However, the classic Hookshot is present as well, only it appears much later than in other games, namely in the penultimate dungeon, so the Grappling Hook won't be superseded for a while (especially since it has other uses anyway, such as acting as a salvage crane to retrieve underwater treasure and being used to steal enemy items).
  • 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.
  • Great Escape: Link needs to infiltrate through Forsaken Fortress to look for his sister, who was kidnapped by the Helmaroc King. If he gets captured, he'll have to find a way to break free (interestingly, getting captured is the fasted method to find the dungeon's Compass). It's not until the second visit when he succeeds, as Tetra's pirate crew helps him take his sister and the other imprisoned girls out of the whole place.
  • 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.
  • Grimy Water: Subverted. The Forbidden Woods are filled with filthy, purple-tinted water, but actually swimming in it poses no more danger than ordinary water does. Scooping some up in a bottle even confirms that it's just normal water, in terms of its properties.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Medli and Makar, who are actually playable for one dungeon each. If a Game Boy Advance is connected to the GameCube while you play, Tingle can join in too anytime. Lastly, though not playable, Princess Zelda helps Link during the final battle against Ganondorf.
  • 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.
  • Gusty Glade: True to its name, the Wind Temple has wind as a major theme, and thus there are several rooms with fans that continuously expel wind for Link to fly higher with his Deku Leaf.
  • 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.
  • Hailfire Peaks: The resident Temple of Doom dungeons are dual: the Earth Temple mixes Underground Level with Big Boo's Haunt, while the Wind Temple merges Gusty Glade with The Lost Woods.
  • 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.
  • Happy Ending Override: Ocarina of Time had a Bittersweet Ending to start with, but this game overrides even the good parts of it since Ganon managed to return after being sealed away, and no one stepped up to oppose him, which forced the gods to flood Hyrule to prevent him from taking over.
  • 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. Special mention goes to Gohdan, whose dungeon (Tower of the Gods) is longer and more elaborate than the previous ones by that point, but which in battle will give you arrows if you run out, making the battle against him less of a straight-up boss fight and more of a final test of cunning.
    • 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.
  • Hard Light: Placing objects on certain luminiscent pads in the Tower of the Gods will make corridors or staircases made of sacred light appear. They're solid, allowing Link to walk onto them.
  • Harmless Freezing: Link's ice arrows will freeze enemies solid, but they break out a few seconds later unless the damage was enough to kill them... or unless you smash them with a hammer. Also, enemies that have been frozen due to prolonged exposure to the cold are still alive, just going through suspended animation.
  • Harp of Femininity: Medli's Harp. Apparently, the Earth Sages are Always Female and always harpists.
  • Healing Potion: In addition to featuring the classic trio of Red, Green and Blue Potions, the game also features the Elixir Soup, which fully refills Link's health and magic, and also makes him more powerful until he gets hit again, has two helpings, and isn't Too Awesome to Use as it can be easily replenished by talking to Link's grandma. The only drawback is that you can only carry one bottle of it at a time.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Bomb-Master Cannon from Windfall Island overcharges prices for bombs until Tetra's Pirate Crew steals them. Afterwards, he realizes he could lose his business if he doesn't start selling his bombs at reasonable prices and people resort to stealing, so he sells his bombs at a much more reasonable price.
  • 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.
  • Helpful Mook: Moblins carry halberds that are easily three times as tall as Link. And they are so bad at using them that they will regularly miss Link altogether and hit the mook standing next to them, knocking them clean off their feet. They then waste two seconds staring at the guy they knocked over.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: The legendary Hero of Time did, and so does Link.
  • Heroic Lineage: The game gets special mention because it deliberately subverted the trope, revealing that its Link was not related to the Hero of Time's bloodline at all. Many of the powers that be doubt that he can save the day for precisely this reason, and Link proves them wrong. Zelda retains her lineage through the normal chain of succession. However the fact that she herself, as Tetra, is unaware she carries that lineage is the surprise.
  • Heroic Mime: Link, in the tradition of Zelda protagonists. Though he's unique in that he's Suddenly Speaking on a couple of occasions.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the end, the King of Hyrule floods his kingdom with the waters of the Great Sea, sacrificing himself to give Link and Zelda/Tetra a future, as well as to drown Ganondorf, further sealing him away.
  • 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.
  • Hourglass Plot: A rich man and a very poor man both have their daughters kidnapped, and the circumstances surrounding their return swaps them over. When you first arrive on Windfall Island, Mila's father is a snooty collector of expensive vases who resides in an opulent mansion, while Maggie's father is a timid beggar who pleads for anyone passing by to rescue his daughter. When the pirates return the girls, they extort Mila's father out of his fortune, leaving the newly-reunited family destitute and living on the street; the experience humbles Mila's father and teaches him that there are more important things than money. Meanwhile, Maggie's father manages to make a killing off the rare Skull Necklaces that Maggie brought back with her, allowing them to move into the newly-vacated mansion; in the process, he becomes an arrogant snob who turns his nose up at everyone else and throws temper tantrums when the postman tries to deliver mail to his house.

    I-M 
  • 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.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: The game introduces Beedle, the intrepid merchant who sells goodies to Link and has since gone on to become a recurring shopkeeper in many modern Zelda games.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Most of the entries in the Zelda series are known for a lighthearted, cartoony sort of violence, and Wind Waker doubly so with its cel-shaded style that makes it seem like a kiddie game. But in a first for the series, here Link defeats Ganondorf by running the Master Sword right through his face.
  • 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.
  • Impoverished Patrician: An unusually optimistic example. On Windfall Island, there is a rich man whose daughter Mila has been kidnapped. He's a bit stuck-up, but he says he'll do anything to get her back. She is rescued by Pirates, who demand an enormous sum for her return, which he pays. He ends up dirt-poor and living in the streets, but he's happy because his daughter is back. He plays a direct Foil to a Nouveau Riche man on the same island.
  • 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.
  • Infernal Background: The game shows Ganondorf standing in a ring of fire when the King of Red Lions explains who he is to Link.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Light Arrows. For slightly more magic cost than Fire or Ice, you shoot an arrow that pierces through and obliterates any enemy in the game short of Ganondorf himself. Naturally, you get them when there are only about ten enemies left between you and Ganondorf.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Zill can "strike a nerve without realizing it", as mentioned by his figurine. It shows when you return to Outset Island; talk to Zill, and he'll bluntly but innocently ask Link if he's rescued his kidnapped little sister Aryll yet, to his brother and mother's shock.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence:
    • Every time you try to sail to areas your map doesn't cover, the King of Red Lions (your boat) says something along the lines of "In that direction is sea too dangerous for you to travel now." and refuses to sail through.
    • The King of Red Lions also does this if you try to go anywhere but the row of three map tiles between Windfall and Dragon Roost Island before finishing Dragon Roost Temple, and the column from Dragon Roost to the Forest Haven before you clear the Forbidden Woods, so if you want to get back to Windfall Island from the Forest Haven, you have to go north and then west, rather than just cutting through diagonally.
  • Interface Screw: One of the things a Poe can do, including King Mook Jalhalla, is to reverse the direction your Control Stick makes you go.
  • Interface Spoiler: A marked aversion. The fish that marks the area of the Great Sea the Tower of the Gods is located in won't appear until after the Tower has risen from the sea.
  • Interspecies Friendship: The game sees Link becoming friends with Medli of the Rito and Makar of the Koroks. There's also his friendship with his talking ship the King of Red Lions, though the latter turns out to actually be an alter ego for King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, a fellow Hylian.
  • 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.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Beedle, whose shop ship will be found floating around not just populated areas, but random rocks in the middle of nowhere.
  • In-Universe Game Clock:
    • Downplayed with the sky on the file select menu, which changes depending on the time set on the system's clock.
    • Save on the largest islands (where time stands still), the time of day transitions as usual, and while sailing you can see a small icon portraying the day's and night's respective skies reflecting this flow. An interesting note is that the game makes use of this at one point: You are told by Tetra that her gang won't leave to follow you until morning. Most (at least, most first-time) players take that as a cue to rush back to your boat and sail right toward Outset Island. However, as the player will no doubt notice, and the King of Red Lions will point out, something strange has happened causing the world to be in constant night for this segment of the game. It's due to Ganondorf, who put a curse on the Great Sea in an attempt to cast the world into darkness. Luckily, this means you can visit your friends and family, heal your sick grandmother, and finally retrieve the MacGuffin from Jabun, which breaks the curse and restores the in-game clock.
  • Invasion of the Baby Snatchers: 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.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The big pig in Outset Island is immortal and also deals out more damage per hit than nearly every enemy and boss in the game (three hearts, only matched by the Mighty Darknut's and Ganondorf's strongest attacks). The other two pigs you can optionally catch are only half-immortal; you can't kill them, but they die anyway.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: The Magic Armor (which looks almost exactly like Nayru's Love) prevents damage and knockdown while on. It requires magic in order to function.
  • Invisible Wall: The game normally averts this — should you continue out-bounds through glitches, Link will literally fall over the edge of the world in a huge Bottomless Pit — but Hyrule Castle and the path leading to it are surrounded by an extremely tall, invisible barrier.
  • Ironic Birthday: The events of the game start on Link's birthday. He's just received his gifts from Grandma and they're starting to celebrate when his beloved little sister gets abducted by a giant bird.
  • Irony:
    • The game has a meta example with the awakening of the sages who empower the Master Sword. Medli, a Rito girl whose race and tribe have a fixation towards sky (and they indeed can fly), is chosen to be the sage of the Earth Temple. Makar, a plant born from the earth thanks to the Great Deku Tree, is chosen to be the sage of the Wind Temple. It looks at first that their corresponding elements are deliberately mixed up, but the assignations make sense. Birds are fond of rocky, earthly places to put their nest safe from predators, and plants are the reason why air (and, by extension, wind) exists for living creatures to breathe.
    • Ganondorf's original reason for wanting to rule Hyrule was because it was far more habitable than the desert he grew up in. When he finally takes control of it, the gods render it completely uninhabitable by burying it beneath the ocean.
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate: Link, unlike his predecessors, was not chosen by the gods to become the next wielder of the master sword and Ganondorf's demise. He was just a normal kid who just so happened to be the older brother of Aryll, an adorable little girl who Ganondorf kidnapped by accident, prompting Link to begin his quest to save her and deliver a royal beatdown on whoever dared to touch her.
  • It Can Think: Kalle Demos, the boss of Forbidden Woods, actually waits for Link to arrive before eating Makar and then laughs at Link.
  • Item Get!: This game's item-collection pose has Link hold the item above his head with his left hand. A few scenes play on this:
    • When Link receives the Hero's Clothes, he looks very unenthused about them.
    • While accepting the family shield from his grandma, Link has a sad expression - and then the following cutscene has him look at his despondent grandmother while in the same position, before stopping and facing her like normal.
    • Whenever Link performs the item collection pose in the presence of Tingle, Tingle himself will take on a similar pose alongside Link.
  • 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 All Upstairs from Here: A benign example with the last floor of Tower of the Gods. The stairs lead to a boss battle, but Gohdan is a force of good who aims to challenge Link so the latter can prove his worth. A not-so-benign example occurs near the end in Ganon's Tower, where Link walks the long staircase leading to Ganondorf, who's keeping Zelda captive.
  • It's Personal: All the heroism, destiny, and whatnot aside, let's face it: Link's whole initial reason for going up against Ganon? To rescue his sister. After she's rescued, he merely proceeds to complete the job.
  • 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 tends 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.
  • Joke Item: Getting a certain number of points at Beedle's shop will earn you a "Complimentary ID". Using it at the shop will earn you... a compliment (which heals you). Leo of VG Cats fame finds himself on the receiving end and he is less than amused. The second prize you receive is more rewarding, however, as it offers a discount on your next purchase.
  • Just Add Water: A potion maker can make any of his wares from a single type of Chu jelly, though he needs several units for a full batch. Possibly justified as it he might be simply distilling or refining the jelly in some way. In Twilight Princess, you can drink the jelly straight for the same effects.
  • Justified Tutorial: Link engages in a sparring match with elderly wise man Orca at his cottage; doing so will obtain the sword needed to progress through the first half of the game. Players can also return much later to engage in a harder sparring challenge to earn some particularly nifty rewards.
  • 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.
    • If you hit the small pigs often enough, they react similarly 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.
  • King in the Mountain: In the prologue, it's implied that the reason Old Hyrule fell is because they were expecting this trope: the Hero had saved them from Ganon once before, and now he was failing to do it. Because someone decided that the hero needed to spend some more time on his childhood and sent him back to his other timeline at the end of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
  • King Mook: The game features Gohma (who resembles a Magtail), Jalhalla (the king of the Poes), Helmaroc King (a giant version of a Kargaroc), Kalle Demos (whose head resembles a Boko Baba's with eyes) and Gohdan (who is a giant Armos statue). Even Molgera is one, as he's a giant version of the Moldorms he releases.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: The events of the game are set in motion when Link's little sister Aryll is kidnapped by a massive bird. He then proceeds to journey through perilous dungeons, slay legions of monsters, a few of which are thirty times his size, smash the bird's skull in with a giant hammer, murder the man who sent it by stabbing him through the forehead and leave his petrified corpse at the bottom of the ocean, all over the course of several days. Also, the bird's master was the King of Evil who turned Hyrule into a desolate ruin ages ago. Oh, and not only is this the goofiest Link to ever exist, he isn't even a "real" Link! He's not descended from the original Link like all the others, he's just some random kid named after the legendary Hero of Time like probably a hundred other boys out there. There's no prophecy or destiny backing him up on any of this, and yet he manages to pull it off anyway because someone kidnapped his sister and he's pissed.
  • 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.
  • Language Drift: The Hylian language has changed enough in the interim between it and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time that those who speak ancient Hylian such as Valoo and Jabun are not only significantly different from modern Hylian speakers like Link but utterly incomprehensible. The few modern characters who do speak the ancient version of the language, such as Valoo's attendants, speak it in a form so broken they can manage only partial translations making ancient Hylian very near to extinction.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: If you break any of the sparkling pots on the first floor of the auction house, the owner chastises you and makes you pay off the damages. But if you don't have any Rupees? He'll shout so hard, you'll get flung out the door!
  • 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.
  • Lava Pit: In contrast to the game's two predecessors in 3D, this one has all lava pits force Link to respawn in the area entrance upon falling into lava pits, which is retained in all future games. Fortunately, there are usually water jars that cool down a part of the pit for a limited time, allowing Link to quickly traverse them; shooting an Ice Arrow at the lava has the same effect, becoming handy in a room from Ganon's Tower.
  • Law of Cartographical Elegance: The game keeps you hemmed into the game world by having your boat forbid you to continue past the edges. It also mentions that there's a storm (which you can see) further on.
  • 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.
  • Left Stuck After Attack: One of the Helmaroc King's attacks is to peck at Link, after which he'll sometimes get his beak stuck in the ground. That's your cue to smash the crap out of his face with the Skull Hammer to crack his mask open and later attack him with sword slashes.
  • 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.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: As of this game's era, the events of Ocarina of Time have been passed down for generations to the point where they're now considered a myth. Despite this, the people of Outset Island have a custom where boys are garbed in green when they come of age (twelve), in the hopes they'll find courage like the Hero of Time. There's also a statue of said Hero of Time in Hyrule Castle, as well as stained glass portraits of the Seven Sages.
  • 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.
    • Aryll also has a short theme accompanying most of her appearances. It's most notably incorporated into the Outset Island theme, but also plays a few other times.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The second dungeon's boss, Kalle Demos, dies in one hit from... pouring Forest Water on him. Forest Water's main use is to purify sick plants during a sidequest, so this application does make a lot of sense. Despite existing ever since the original version of the game, fans only discovered this one 14 years later when a speedrunner was messing around with the HD version.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Dragon Roost Cavern is set inside the volcanic heart of Dragon Roost Island, and features lava geysers that can be mounted on by cooling the top temporarily with water. The game also features the Mini-Dungeon of Fire Mountain, which has to be completed under a time limit after it's cooled with the Ice Arrows (it was planned to be a main dungeon, but couldn't be due to time constraints during development). There's also Bomb Island, which is optional.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: In this game, Link acts pretty goofy at times, and he is also subjected to slapstick humor such as being launched into the air and slamming against a wall. When it comes to his sister's safety or facing down Ganondorf, Link becomes deadly serious and will absolutely wreck anything that stands in his way. Doubly so in the final battle where Link's finishing blow on Ganondorf involves jumping up and plunging the Master Sword directly into his head.
  • Level of Tedious Enemies:
    • Morth enemies exist to jump on Link and slow him down, dealing absolutely no damage otherwise. There are sections of the Forbidden Woods and Wind Temple that make use of this in their puzzles for no other reason than inconvenience.
    • In the Earth Temple, Floormasters and Blue Bubbles are everywhere. Floormasters exist to try and snag Link or Medli and make them start the dungeon all over. Blue Bubbles deal negligible damage but afflict Link with Curse, which prevents him from using any items. All of this is to make the Earth Temple as much of a slog to get through as possible. Both enemies even make a return in the Wind Temple, though in far fewer numbers.
    • Diamond Steppe Island is a Pot Warp Maze that forces Link to engage in Trial-and-Error Gameplay to try and figure out the way to the end of the puzzle. While Link is trying to find the solution, Floormasters are there to try and yank him back to the beginning to disrupt his progress.
    • Any segment of the game in which Link must use a Hyoi Pear to control a seagull. Kargorocs will be flying about and will try to attack the seagull, which will disrupt Link's control over the bird. This does no damage to him, but it consumes the Hyoi Pear and makes him start over.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: The Earth Temple sports this during the second half, with mirrors that always reflect "forward"; both you and your Escort Mission (Medli, the newly chosen Earth Sage) have reflective items (respectively, the Mirror Shield which is found here and the Rito harp that originally belonged to Zora Sage Laruto). At times you must use your shield to bounce light onto her mirror, to illuminate a third mirror that reflects light onto a series of other mirrors. The room leading to the Boss Key has a famously complex puzzle where, counting the characters' reflective items, a total of ten mirrors has to be used to illuminate a face that opens the door to the Boss Key's room.
  • 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.
  • Lighthouse Point: There's a lighthouse on Windfall Island, not to mention the Forsaken Fortress and its watchlights.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: There is an Easter Egg in which Moblins hop in pain crying when you stab them in the butt.
  • Little Miss Almighty: The Fairy Queen, who is the most powerful Great Fairy in all of the Great Sea, manifests to Link in a child-like form. And then hits on him.
  • 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.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Tetra, how sensible of you to put Link down for being a Knight Templar Big Brother with Chronic Hero Syndrome on every given opportunity. Probably also the only Princess Zelda to ever point out to Ganondorf that an Evil Laugh doesn't exactly make you seem sane.
  • Living Statue:
    • A curious case occurs in regards to the cabana. It is a solitary cabana located on a small island. Painted on both sides of the front door is the image of a valet. There are also three wooden cutouts inside depicting said valet (one of them dressed as a maid). Either the valet specifically or the cabana as a whole is alive and talks to people who drop by, though it seemingly only shows respect to the rightful owner. It could be the cabana is haunted, because beneath it reside ReDeads.
    • The Command Melody lets Link control the sacred statues found in the Tower of the Gods. Even without that song, they're still sentient, as they respond to Link's (famously voiced) calls.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The load times for islands are supposed to be masked by the immense overworld, though even the most complex islands load in less than a second. Inside dungeons, rooms load instantaneously, except for miniboss and boss rooms. When entering these rooms, the screen darkens while the miniboss or boss programming is loaded.
  • 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.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: "Farewell, Hyrule King"; it is heard after the end of the Final Boss battle, and is a Dark Reprise of the series' Hyrule Castle theme.
  • Lone Wolf Boss: Gohdan is a creature born of the Gods' need to test the potential hero. As such, he has no association with Ganon and is not fought again at Ganon's Castle.
  • 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. They make up the second major dungeon, featuring a large number of branch platforms that move from one side to another, Baba Buds that launch Link onto high spots, and enemies like Peahats and Mothulas (with their adult leader serving as the Mini-Boss). It's a separate part of the Forest Haven, which is inhabited by the Great Deku Tree's descendant and the Korok race. Much later in the game, Link reaches the sixth dungeon, the Wind Temple, which combines this trope with Gusty Glade (it is overrun by grass and Makar can plant trees in certain spots, but the bigger focus lies on wind currents).
  • 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.
  • Lunacy: The moon, for some reason, has an influence on the whereabouts of the Ghost Ship. There is even a map illustrating the islands the ship visits according to the lunar phase.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Link assembles the Triforce of Courage before the final battle. However, instead of politely engaging in a Boss Battle as 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.
  • Machete Mayhem: Link can obtain machetes by disarming or defeating Bokoblins. Besides their use in smashing through wooden barriers, they can serve as a stronger alternative to the Hero's Sword (until the player obtains the Master Sword).
  • Mad Bomber: Some rats constantly throw bombs at Link. According to their figurine entry in the Nintendo Gallery, they're called Bombchus (and are retroactively the inspiration for the mouse-shaped bombs that appear in other games in the series, even borrowing the name).
  • 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 he departs 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 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 Music: The eponymous Wind Waker allows Link to conduct melodies that cause diverse effects. Like the Ocarina of Time, it's also used to unlock or access temples, in this case by way of awakening the new Sages.
  • Magic Wand:
    • The Wind Waker (although it's actually a conductor's baton).
    • The Wizzrobes all carry magic wands.
  • Manchild: Tingle, who ramps ramps it up here in comparison to Majora's Mask and Oracle of Ages. His HQ is a tower where his cohorts spin the top around to make magic happen... or something.
  • Man-Eating Plant: The Boko Baba, a variant of the Deku Baba proper, can actually chew Link before spitting him back with inflicted damage. And it's the "small" version; Kalle Demos, a King Mook, is a really big Korok-eating plant.
  • Manly Tears: Orca begins crying manly Tears of Joy upon successfully teaching Link the Hurricane Spin.
    Orca: At last, you have made our long-held dream come true! Oh, the joyful tears... They won't stop... [wipes the tears away] I thought my tears had dried up long ago.
  • Marathon Level: The Savage Labyrinth, located in Outset Island, is a 50-floor gauntlet that puts Link against a vast array of enemies and former minibosses, with no health drops. To compensate this, only the first 30 floors are mandatory to beat the game, as the other 20 lead to an optional prize.
  • Marionette Master: Puppet Ganon is a massive marionette controlled by Ganondorf himself. You even have to sever the strings controlling it if you want to win.
  • Mask of Power: Giving 40 Joy Pendats to Ms. Marie rewards Link with the Hero's Charm, a mystical mask which lets you see enemies' HP (if you can figure out how to equip it). The Wii U version relocated the mask onto the last floor of the Savage Labyrinth.
  • Match Maker Quest:
    • One sidequest has you deliver a letter from Maggie, a woman who's in love with Moe the Moblin, and then retrieving the response letter to deliver from Kogoli the postman after Maggie's father refuses to let him deliver it himself.
    • Anton and Linda (respectively, the man in the green shirt and the lady in the orange dress on Windfall) both have crushes on each other but aren't willing to tell the other. If you have a Picto Box and talk to Linda, she'll ask you to take a photo of her and deliver it to Anton. Doing so results in the two subsequently going on a date in the Cafe Bar, and meeting them there will net you a Piece of Heart.
  • 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).
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: After Ganondorf beats up Link and summons the full Triforce before him, King Daphnes Nohanson Hyrule comes out of nowhere and touches the Triforce, causing his wish to be granted instead of Ganondorf's.
  • Mechanical Monster: Tower of the Gods has a non-malicious example with Gohdan, an ancient machine created by the gods to challenge the new hero before their access to the biggest secret of the Great Sea.
  • Memorial Statue: When in Hyrule Castle, a statue of an older incarnation of Link can be found in the centre of the main room. This is supposedly the same incarnation of Link from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
  • Message in a Bottle: The Tingle Bottle item, which replaces the Tingle Tuner in the HD version.
  • 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 the 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.
  • Mondegreen Gag: A large number of characters refer to a legendary item lost beneath the waves: the Triumph Forks. Nobody is sure why this cutlery is so legendary, but it must be so! The item they're referring to is in actuality the pieces of the iconic Triforce.
  • Money for Nothing: A late-game quest requires you use special maps to hunt down eight Triforce fragments. The catch is that each map has to be "deciphered" by Tingle before they can be used, and he charges you 398 rupees per map to do so. In the original Game Cube version, this required getting a wallet upgrade before you could even carry enough money to pay him. In the HD re-release, the default wallet size was increased to 500 rupees, and all but three of the charts were removed entirely, making Rupee-grinding not much of a thing in this version (though they don't become quite as useless as they are in Ocarina of Time).
  • Money Sink: Tingle, who requires you to spend 398 rupees eight times in order to complete the Triforce quest. Also, getting the Island Merchants' items (which also gives you the magic armor and a Piece of Heart) also means using lots of rupees if you're aiming for 100% Completion, since you always have to pay a value difference between the item you're trading and the item you're receiving. The HD remake does away with most of the Triforce Charts (five shards out of eight are acquired directly), but since the Magic Armor doesn't drain magic anymore, it instead takes away rupees every time you get hit, which means the more rupees you have, the longer you'll stay protected.
  • Mono no Aware: A major theme of the story is how change is not always pleasant, but clinging to the past is foolish.
  • Monster Compendium: The game features one composed of statues of all the enemies (and the NPCs, too) with short descriptions of each. So how do you fill this out? Three pictograph pictures at a time, one statue a day/night cycle (done faster in the Wii U remake with twelve pictures at a time, three statues a cycle).
  • Monster in the Ice: Inside a grotto located in the interior of Ice Ring Isle, there are enemies encased on chunks of ice. They can be melted with Fire Arrows, and defeating all enemies will unlock a treasure chest with a valuable Rupee within.
  • 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 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).
  • Mook Maker: Puppet Ganon periodically generates Keese and Morths that can be killed for refills.
  • Moth Menace: A Mothula 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:
    • There's the moment when you get the Master Sword; time unfreezes, and the horde of enemies that were assaulting the castle now want you dead; namely, you have to defeat a total of eight Moblins and eight Darknuts so you can leave.
    • The Savage Labyrinth is a 50-floor Mini-Dungeon where Link has to duke it out against enemies of all varieties; you enter a room that has some enemies in it, you kill them, then you move down a floor, rinse and repeat until you get to a rest room with no enemies and some healing. The first 30 floors are required to get one of the Triforce Charts, but the last 20 are optional, more difficult due to the stronger enemies, and thus Bonus Dungeon material. The reward for full completion is a yellow Rupee in the Japanese version of the original game, a Heart Piece in the overseas version, and the Hero's Charm (obtainable in a different way in the original game) in all regions in the Wii U remake.
    • The cave located in Shark Island is filled with several enemies, ranging from Miniblins to Darknuts and Wizzrobes. It is the longest enemy gauntlet outside the Savage Labyrinth, and can only be accessed by pressing four switches (each of a different kind and requiring a different item) quickly. The reward is only 100 Rupees.
  • Mundane Utility: The Rito use the power of flight, which is granted to them by climbing a mountain and obtaining a scale from a dragon, to deliver mail.
  • 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.
  • Mystical Lotus: The Great Fairies create a mystical lotus blossom whose petals they blow into Link whenever they bless him with an upgrade such as increased magic or increases to his wallet, bomb bag, and quiver's max capacity.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Quite a few things from Ocarina of Time and its scrapped 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 scrapped 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 like an improved version of 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.

    N-Q 
  • 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, and the sunken treasure you can pinpoint after collecting and opening the Treasure Charts will be slightly further away from its original position, making their locations more difficult (this also applies to the Triforce Shards).
  • New Skill as Reward: If you bring enough Knight's Crests to Orca, he'll teach you an enhanced version of your Spin Attack.
  • New Weapon Target Range: Getting the Master Sword causes the time stop on Hyrule Castle to be undone, allowing the powerful enemies frozen within to roam free. This gives players a quick chance to use their new weapon.
  • Now, Where Was I Going Again?: The King of Red Lions clues Link in to the next objective whenever he is spoken to.
  • 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 allows him to get his wish.
  • The Night That Never Ends: Ganondorf places the world under a curse of perpetual night from the time you arrive on Greatfish Isle until you find Nayru's Pearl. In this instance, it works out in your favor; the pirates are also seeking the pearl, but they've stopped at Windfall Island for the night and claim they'll set off on their adventure when morning comes.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Courtesy of the Great Fairies.
  • No-Gear Level: During the game's prologue, Link arrives at the Forsaken Fortress via catapult and loses his sword in transit, requiring the use of stealth until the sword is recovered.
  • No Hero Discount:
    • Exaggerated with Bomb-Master Cannon, who sells his bombs for prices several orders of magnitude above what you can possibly carry. This isn't intended as a Cash Gate, but as a Broken Bridge, and bombs can be bought for normal prices after the pirates rob the merchant of his bombs as part of the story. Prior to that, the merchant seems mighty pleased with his greedy exploitation of his monopoly, seemingly forgetting that, monopoly or not, he's not making money: no one can buy his wares because they cost more than the combined wealth of the world.
    • Tingle charges 398 Rupees to decipher each of eight maps needed to find the pieces of the Triforce. You have to get the first wallet upgrade to even pay this.However  Luckily, you can hold up to 5000 Rupees after finding both wallet upgrades, a big jump from previous Zelda games.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Ganondorf beats the living crap out of Link with nothing but his fists in one cutscene.
  • No Item Use for You: The Gohma, Kalle Demos, Jalhalla, and Molgera rematches in Ganon's Tower take away any and all items that were not present in your inventory at the time of the initial battle. Link's bottle collection is left intact, however.
  • Non-Combatant Immunity: When you first enter the Forsaken Fortress, you lose your sword on the way there and you have nothing else in your inventory that you can use as a weapon. The whole fortress is played in stealth mode and being spotted gets you thrown into a flimsy jail instead of attacking you. Once you do get your sword back, you can effectively kill the mooks patrolling around but they will fight back as well.
  • Noob Cave: The Forest of Fairies in Outset Island, and some time later the shockingly difficult navigation around the Forsaken Fortress without your weapon until the end where you fight a Boblokin as a Warmup Boss. Your journey here when you have the Master Sword is actually much easier.
  • 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" Remark: The King says that, in a sense, he was the same as Ganondorf, being unable to let go of a dying land.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Ganondorf makes a climactic speech explaining his motive to conquer Hyrule, saying he came from a harsh desert country where the wind brought only death whereas Hyrule's wind was so pleasant that he coveted it. However, nowhere in this speech does Ganondorf claim he was doing this to help his people, the Gerudo, nor does he pretend that his wish is anything but personal and selfish in nature. If he had any well-intentioned motives, they had eroded away long ago and he's only now recalling them in hindsight.
  • Nouveau Riche: There is a poor man on Windfall Island who begs and moans for you to rescue his kidnapped daughter Maggie. When she is rescued, she brings back a load of Skull Necklaces (which look like junk but are secretly worth a lot of money), which he uses to become rich overnight. This turns him into an extremely arrogant rich man. He plays a direct Foil to an Impoverished Patrician on the same island.
  • 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 some 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 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.
  • Odd Name Out: The Tingle brothers: Tingle, Ankle, Knuckle, and David Jr. The latter having a different kind of name is justified for not being actually related to Tingle.
  • 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.
  • Ojou Ringlets: Mila is a Rich Bitch and has parted straight bangs that curl into tight ringlets in front of her ears. She loses them after her family goes from Riches to Rags.
  • Older and Wiser: Ganondorf returns this way after his defeat in Ocarina of Time, now sporting a surprisingly effective Beard of Evil, having become much more calm and calculating than he was in his youth, preferring to control events from the shadows as opposed to in everyone's face with his magic and hordes of evil. Fittingly, however, he reverts to his fury of the old days during the final battle.
  • Old Master: Orca, the swordmaster of Outset Island, is quite spry for his age, and trains Link with the sword.
  • One-Hit Kill: Though the Light/Silver arrows in previous games were already exceptionally powerful, it's more evident in this game, where they're capable of disintegrating the enemies' bodies in an explosion of light.
  • One of These Doors Is Not Like the Other: In the second half of Ganon's Tower, a maze can be navigated only after Link kills the Phantom Ganon in each room and sees which direction its sword's handle falls.
  • One-Time Dungeon:
    • Tetra's Ship is only ever visited at two points during the game. The first time is when Link joins Tetra's crew at the beginning of the game; the ship goes away after Link arrives at the Forsaken Fortress. The second time is when the ship is docked at Windfall; it will vanish after Link obtains Nayru's Pearl. The ship is seen again during the ending cutscene.
    • The Ghost Ship will permanently disappear the moment Link collects the treasure that's inside.note  Upon receiving the treasure, the screen will fade to black, and Link will reappear back on the open sea upon the King of Red Lions.
  • One to Million to One: Jalhalla, boss of the Earth Temple. Killing the smaller parts is what actually harms it, as evidenced by its life bar.
  • One True Sequence: Although travelling 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.
  • One-Woman Wail: The game uses one in the "enemy encounter at sea" music. It employs Variable Mix when either Link or the enemy receives the first hit.
  • Only Good People May Pass: After 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 Idiots May Pass: When you find the pirate ship docked at Windfall Island, the first logical step would appear to be to board the ship and see what's up. Entering the ship requires you to give the password, a horribly punny answer to a pirate riddle. It's possible (and, in some cases, quite easy) to guess the password, but you'll still be turned away unless you've visited the secret entrance to an unremarkable building in the city and overheard the password yourself. The game Hand Waves this by implying that you need to say it "exactly right" (inflections and all, apparently).
  • 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), 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.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Tetra's charm turns out to actually be a piece of the Triforce, passed down by the royal family, meaning she's really the current Queen - er, 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.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Implied. Since Link and his sister Aryll have been raised by their grandmother, it most likely means that their parents are dead, so Granny outlived whichever of their parents was her child.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Happens as early as the first dungeon, when you lose your sword. The tone also feels completely different from the rest of the game, being dark and dank, and you'll find yourself moving slowly, crouching, sidling along walls and hiding inside barrels a la the box from Metal Gear Solid. You also have to take out the searchlight operators in order to be able to move on.
  • 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 can kill them. Arrows harmlessly poke them at best, and using the Hookshot 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.
  • Oxygen Meter: The game does not have any underwater breathing, but does have a stamina bar to prevent you from swimming from island to island (which can only be done by sailing your boat).
  • Palmtree Panic: A good deal of the overworld has this, since the Great Sea originated from the Great Flood that sank Hyrule to prevent Ganondorf from taking over it by force.
  • "Pan Up to the Sky" Ending: The final scene of the game after the end credits is a pan up from Link and the pirates to the sky, as the "THE END" logo appears.
  • Parental Abandonment: Link and Aryll's parents are nowhere to be seen and never mentioned. They live with their grandmother on Outset.
  • Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Death: It's mostly sunny when the Final Boss battle starts, but it soon darkens and starts raining heavily (literally as heavy as the entire ocean). The battle ends with the death of Ganondorf (who doesn't get better this time around), the King of Hyrule, and Hyrule itself.
  • People Puppets: A heroic example. Link learns the Command Melody which allows the player to control someone else. It's mainly used to control statues, and on willing partners like Medli and Makar.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • There are several characters and creatures that have limited appearances in the game, thus limiting your opportunities to take photos of them for the Nintendo Gallery sidequest.
      • The Helmaroc King: Your only opportunity for this is to take a photo during your boss fight with it.
      • Kogoli the Rito: For some unexplained reason, he ceases to exist after Medli awakens as a sage. He's the Rito right in front of you when you enter the outer deck, and is also the postman attempting to deliver Moe's letter; this latter instance allows you to take a photo of him in the Cafe Bar.
      • Tetra and her crew: Take a photo of Tetra while leading her through the submerged Hyrule, or before being launched into the Forsaken Fortress on a New Game+. This also gives you all her subordinate pirates.
      • Big Octo: There's a finite amount of them as minibosses; take a photo of one before slaying all six.
      • Cyclos: Take a photo of him during a "battle" with him, any time before nailing him with three arrows. This figurine also comes with his brother Zephos.
      • Red Wizzrobe: Fought only once, as the Wind Temple's miniboss. Snag a snapshot before bagging him.
      • Phantom Ganon: If you miss your shot during the Forsaken Fortress, you'll have many retries in his maze later, but once you shoot him with a Light Arrow he's gone for good.
      • Puppet Ganon: Take a photo during the battle against it, and exit the area to have it sculpted.
    • Due to him being a hidden character who requires a Game Boy Advance Game Link Cable to make appear, Knuckle is considered optional for completing the Nintendo Gallery. Thus, if you obtain every other figurine in the Nintendo Gallery without submitting a pictograph of Knuckle in the interim, you can't get his figurine due to Carlov having left, considering the gallery to be complete without Knuckle.
    • 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.
  • Perpetual Molt: The Helmaroc King in Forsaken Fortress, which constantly drops black feathers while it flies. Its appearance in Hyrule Warriors goes the weaponizing route with Feather Flechettes.
  • Perpetual Storm: There is a moment in which Ganondorf curses the Great Sea, causing an endless stormy night in order to hinder Link. Jabun lifts the curse when he deems Link worthy to enter the Tower of the Gods.
  • 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.
  • Pillar of Light:
    • Pillars that show the position of any treasure you have a chart for as long as you're not too close,
    • Pillars that warp you out of the Boss Arena,
    • Even a Pillar that shines briefly before stopping to reveal a stone with the instructions for the Command Melody on it.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Mila wears a pink one until her father gives away his fortune to save her. After Maggie's father gets his fortune, she wears a similar purple dress.
  • Pirate: Tetra leads a 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 travelling with the crew while Tetra (now Zelda) is in Hyrule Castle.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Windfall Island is full of big, burly sailors... who are never seen doing any actual seafaring. One of them outright refuses to sell Link a sail by citing that he needs it to earn his living, yet Link's boat is always the only one at the docks.
  • Pivotal Boss: Gohma and Kalle Demos. The former is a giant Magtail monster that attacks from a pool of lava, while the latter is a plant creature rooted to the floor.
  • Plot Coupon: Three Goddess Pearls to unveil the Tower of the Gods (which holds the secret to access the whereabouts of Hyrule), then the blessing of two temple Sages to empower the Master Sword, and finally the eight pieces of the Triforce of Courage to return to Hyrule.
  • Plot Tunnel: Your voyaging across the sea is pretty limited for the first couple dungeons. Even after obtaining your own boat to sail, the King of Red Lions will only let you travel from Windfall Island directly east to Dragon Roost. Once you reach Dragon Roost, he won't let you leave until you have what you came there for. And once that's accomplished, he'll only let you sail either directly west back to Windfall or directly south to the next island, the Forest Haven. Only once you've finished with the Forest Haven does the rest of the world open up to you, since the routes between islands are a lot less lineated after that.
  • A Plot in Deed: One of the Triforce Charts that pinpoint the location of the sunken fragments of the Triforce of Courage is located in Miss Marie's private cabana, in an island northwest of Forest Haven. The problem is that she still owns the island legally (despite living in Windfall Island), so Link has to acquire the Cabana Deed from her in order to inherit the property. He can receive it by gifting her 20 Joy Pendants as part of her incoming birthday.
  • 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.
  • Post-Defeat Explosion Chain: After Link delivers the killing blow to Molgera, the giant Sand Worm guarding the Wind Temple, it flies into the air screeching; its body segments then turn to sand and promptly explode one after the other.
  • The Precarious Ledge: There are a few of these occurrences during which you have to get past using the "sidle" command. You're fine as long as you don't let up the 'A' button.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: For the first time in a 3D Zelda game, the Boomerang physically locks onto multiple targets when you aim, and will hit them all when you release. And it's not even said to be magic!
  • Pre-Final Boss: Ganon first uses a giant puppet (Puppet Ganon) to wear Link down before their fight.
  • Prison Episode: The Forsaken Fortress. When Link ventures through it the first time, he's unarmed due to losing his sword at the start; if he gets caught by the patrolling Moblins, he'll be imprisoned and will need to escape. The second time he visits this dungeon, he not only has the Master Sword at hand but is also better prepared overall, so he can confront whoever sees him.
  • Prized Possession Giveaway: Played with Aryll's telescope. This instrument is Aryll's most valued possession, so she lends it to Link during his birthday and tells him that she wants it back when the day ends. When Aryll is rescued after her kidnapping, she writes a letter to Link telling him that she'll let him use the telescope for as long as necessary (thus making the item a permanent one in the inventory gameplay-wise), though it's never shown in the ending whether Link returns it to her or she lets him keep it for real. This is referenced jokingly in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, where a Link wannabe called Nyeve gives the real Link a kaleidoscope he "received from his sister" (he then admits he just found it during his travels).
  • Prolonged Prologue: The beginning of the game is quite different from the rest of it: you start on 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 several 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 Puns 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, and in this very game most bosses invoke this to varying degrees, 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 to get a bit creative.
  • Quad Damage: The Elixir Soup doubles Link's attack power until the next time he is hit by an enemy or hazard.

    R-T 
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Turns out to be the crux of Ganondorf's plot.
  • Rags to Riches: Played straight and inverted. Alongside Aryll, two other girls are being held hostage in the Forsaken Fortress, a rich girl and a poor girl, and their respective fathers can be seen on Windfall Island. After the girls are rescued by Link and Tetra's pirate crew, it turns out the rich girl's father put them into the poorhouse trying to get her back, so now they are the poorest hobos in town. Meanwhile, 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 overnight. 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. Meanwhile, the formerly rich man doesn't seem upset about losing all his money, as his daughter is back and that's all that really matters to him.
  • Railroading: The game is particularly harsh with its railroading mechanics as it very frequently relies on But Thou Mustn't rather than the Beef Gates or barriers that require a specific weapon to pass that the series is known for. The only reason you can't explore the great sea in its entirety until the game decides you can is the King of Red Lions says no. If you warp to Mother and Child Island before the game wants you to you'll just be told to come back "when you're ready" to get the fire and ice arrows. If you head to a reef before the game decides it wants to let you conquer them said reefs will just be devoid of enemies. If you're where the Ghost Ship appears but don't have the Ghost Ship Chart, you won't be able to enter the ship.
  • Rainbow Speak: Important things like item names, controls, objectives, and hints are highlighted in red.
  • Rasputinian Death: To show Ganon is Killed Off for Real this time, the game has him stabbed through the head, Taken for Granite, the tower you fought him on collapses, and the ocean rushes in and buries him under miles of water. We don't actually know for certain which of those steps really did it, either.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: When Tetra ends up in Hyrule with Link and the king reveals her true identity as Princess Zelda.
  • Real-Time Weapon Change: The HD remaster on Wii U allows you to change object with the Gamepad without interrupting the game.
  • Regional Redecoration: In Wind Waker's backstory, the golden goddesses flooded Hyrule 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.
  • Ret-Canon: The idea of the titular Princess Zelda being an Action Girl with archery skills first originated in the '80s cartoon. It carries over to the games from The Wind Waker onwards (and here, notably, Zelda attacks Ganondorf with Light Arros while Link uses his sword), and Zelda's trademark weapon (when it's not just plain magic) is usually the Bow and Arrows of Light.
  • Rewarding Vandalism:
    • A guy charges you if you break his things. (The trick is to do it when you're broke.)
    • A number of underground grottoes contain pillars and Darknuts. Using the Darknuts' swords to smash the pillars tends to release large amounts of Rupees. You could also use the Skull Hammer.
  • Ring of Fire: The Mini-Boss battle against the two Mighty Darknuts who challenge Link in the basement of Hyrule Castle after Zelda's kidnapping due to Ganondorf is encased within a ring of fire that surrounds the area with the Master Sword's former pedestal. It dissipates after Link defeats his two enemies.
  • Ring-Out Boss: Defeating Jahalla in Earth Temple requires throwing the boss into spiked columns lining the arena before finishing off the poes that make up its body.
  • Rise to the Challenge: You have to climb a spiraling ramp around the upper interior of the Forsaken Fortress, avoiding both rising water and the Helmaroc King. You fight him when you get to the roof.
  • Rite of Passage: Young Rito must journey to the peak of Dragon Roost Island's mountain to receive a scale from the dragon Valoo, the sky spirit who guards the island. It explicitly allows them to grow their wings and implicitly makes them grow taller very quickly (the latter indicated by Prince Komali being noticeably taller after getting his scale). The first major dungeon arc requires Link to find a way of calming down the suddenly rampaging Valoo in part because this means the Rito can't get those scales anymore.
  • 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. Every ruin has both a purpose and a good reason for its decay.
  • Rule of Seven: There are seven dungeons in the game: The first two to earn the Goddess Pearls (Dragon Roost Cavern and Forbidden Woods), the next two to find the Master Sword and then finally rescue Link's sister (Tower of the Gods and Forsaken Fortress), the next two to awaken the new Sages and empower the Master Sword (Earth Temple and Wind Temple), and finally one to confront Ganondorf and save Zelda (Ganon's Tower). There are also seven destinations for the Ghost Ship, one per night and also associated with a specific phase of the moon.
  • Rule of Three: Three Goddess Pearls. Placing them respectively into the three statues of the Triangle Islands unlocks the Tower of the Gods. In turn, unlocking the highest floor of that dungeon requires reuniting the three sacred statues located in the second floor's rooms into its central area.
  • 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, and this same rating revision was also applied to the remakes of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask.
  • Sapient Ship: The King of Red Lions. He functions as this game's Exposition Fairy and your main form of transportation through the Great Sea.
  • Save-Game Limits: From this game onwards, the resumed playthrough in most Zelda games puts Link at the entrance of the latest location he was, dungeon or not, thus alleviating the limitations seen with previous entries in this regard. As usual, saving inside a dungeon usually sends you back to the dungeon's entrance on restarting the game.
  • Savage Setpiece: The game replaces the previous games' Cuccos with pigs. If you return to the first island you'll find that the pig you caught at the beginning of the game is now HUGE. It can be provoked just like the other pigs. It does more damage per hit than nearly every enemy and boss in the game (three hearts, only matched by the Mighty Darknut's and Ganondorf's strongest attacks).
  • Save the Princess: While Princess Zelda is safe during most of the game, Ganondorf manages to find her and capture her by the time Link fully empowers the Master Sword and reassembles the Triforce of Courage. Rescuing her is the final objective in the game.
  • Say It with Hearts: One of the Fishmen, while neither kawaii nor genki, gives Link one when talking about ChuChus. Also, the sculptor (Carlov) speaks with hearts quite often.
  • 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, where the increased render distance allows for certain locations to be viewable from halfway across the world.
  • 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 instil 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.
  • Second Hour Superpower: The King of Red Lions gives you the titular Wind Waker when you get to Dragon Roost Island, in time to teach you the Wind's Requiem, the song that allows you to control the winds.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The events of Ocarina of Time are inverted in this game, where Ganondorf's attempt to work in the shadows to restore and reclaim Hyrule under his title ultimately manage to do everything required to draw he, Zelda, and Link together once more. He perceives this as so self-evident that he expounds at length during the final battle about how the circumstances of their meeting cannot be anything but fate.
  • Selfless Wish: During the game's climax, the king of Hyrule wishes for a future for Zelda and Link instead of the restoration of Hyrule, forever burying his old kingdom under the sea with Ganon.
  • 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.
  • Sequential Boss: There are two:
    • The first boss, Gohma. In the first phase, Link has to make the rocky ceiling fall over her to gradually break her exoskeleton. After three falls, the second phase begins and Link is ready to properly inflict damage to the boss.
    • Puppet Ganon takes exactly three forms: The actual puppet, then a spider, and finally a Moldorm-like caterpillar.
  • Series Fauxnale: While not purporting to be a finale for the franchise as a whole, it's clearly written to be a Distant Finale to the "Hero of Time Saga" that encompassed both Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, with the game's plot hinging on Ocarina of Time's Zelda removing Link from the timeline and leaving said timeline with no hero to take up the mantle when Ganon returned. The game as a whole has an air of finality to it, with the Central Theme of the game being to let the past go and Ganondorf being permanently sealed or killed with the Master Sword at the end of the game. Despite this, Wind Waker's direct 3D successor, Twilight Princess, would continue the "Hero of Time Saga" for one more game, albeit in the timeline of Majora's Mask that the Hero of Time was transported to.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Due to the game's Tropical Island Adventure setting, there are no desert areas in the overworld. However, the boss Molgera in Wind Temple is fought inside an underground chamber filled with a very large pool of sand (and is constantly supplied with sand falling from the ceiling). During battle, the boss can not only dwell beneath the sand, but also hover in the air and then land downward to create a sinkhole to expose its head again. The Lanmolas it releases every time it takes damage can swim through the sand freely as well.
  • Ship Level: Even though the game is a set in an ocean-filled world, there are only two ship levels, Tetra's Ship and the Ghost Ship. The former is boarded twice, and in both cases Link must complete a challenge offered by Niko to obtain a reward. The latter is accessed upon collection of the Ghost Ship Chart, and inside Link has to defeat a group of enemies in order to claim one of the Triforce Charts.
  • Shipper on Deck: If Link pays Beedle a visit after stealing the bombs from Tetra's ship, he mentions that the pirates sold him the ones they still had before asking if Link is "acquainted" with their leader and teasing him about the bashful look on his face.
  • Ship Tease:
  • Shop Fodder: The game introduces Beedle, who accepts monster-dropped shop fodder items for rewards above simple cash. However, this is never expressly stated in the dialogue with him.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Significant Anagram: Tetra's Italian name is "Dazel". Now switch around the letters and see what you get. The weird thing is that this painfully obvious anagram actually sounds a lot better as a name than her real, original Japanese name...
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: The game allows the player to throw Medli into walls at times, resulting in her being dazed and only able to speak in gibberish for a few seconds.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: There's a Mini-Dungeon, the Ice Ring Isle, that's kind of difficult to get into because of its icy layout (and the first time you arrive you must clear it under a time limit, as the warmth provided by a Fire Arrow will be temporary until them). It was planned to be a full dungeon, but couldn't be due to time constraints. It's especially telling because of the slippy-slidey mechanics (we get special vocal effects only heard when slipping and falling on the ice, and the very ability to slip and fall never appears anywhere else, either). More went into it than makes sense for a short Timed Mission to get the Iron Boots.
  • 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 the 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...
  • 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.
  • Soul Jar: Jalhalla in Earth Temple is a ghost who houses fifteen smaller ghosts within, making him both this trope and an Asteroids Monster.
  • Spikes of Doom: The game features spiked borders in certain boss battle arenas. In the Earth Temple, the boss is a giant, intangible ghost, and is met in a room whose walls are covered in spikes. The ghost can blow Link, our trusty hero, into the walls and kill him thusly, but if Link can render the ghost tangible, he can then throw him into the wall, at the spikes, where he breaks apart into smaller, stab-able ghosts. No such luck in the fight against Helmaroc King: It will occasionally flap its wings to push Link towards the spiky border of the battlefield, and there's no way to use it in your favor.
  • Spin Attack: The game introduces a downright ridiculous variant called the Hurricane Spin, in which Link moves around while spinning like a top for several seconds (but also leaves him dizzy for several seconds).
  • 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.
  • Stalactite Spite: There are stone coffins placed upright with loose lids so unstable that walking past one will cause the lid to fall, causing half a heart of damage. The lids can be prematurely activated by shooting an arrow at one.
  • Star Scraper: The Tower of the Gods is so tall it can be seen from almost anywhere on the map.
  • Stationary Boss: Kalle Demos uses the vines it hangs from the ceiling with to do the damage.
  • 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 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.
  • Suave Sabre: While only shown in game art, Tetra also counts as this trope as she is shown having a cutlass, a rare variation.
  • Subliminal Seduction: The seemingly babbling sounds of the ChuChus are voices from two Japanese men arguing, but the speeches were sped up and in reverse.
  • 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.
  • Sword Plant: Link performs a down thrust to deliver the final blow to Ganondorf in the final battle.
  • 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.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss:
    • Molgera from Wind Temple sticks its tongue out and then just sits there.
    • Gohdan from Tower of the Gods will also gladly sneeze out bombs and arrows, should you happen to run out of either. In his case, however, it's justified as Gohdan is meant to test Link's skill, not however much ammo he has.
  • Take It to the Bridge: The rope bridge on Outset Island leading to the Fairy Woods is the one that Link's sister Aryll gets snatched off of by the Helmaroc King.
  • 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.
  • Take Your Time: Upon setting off for the Forsaken Fortress in the first part of the game, you can take as long as you want on the pirate ship inside and out, as Tetra doesn't announce they've arrived until the Spoils Bag has been acquired.
  • Taken for Granite:
    • 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.
    • At the end of the Final Boss battle, Ganondorf turns to stone after being impaled by the Master Sword. Apparently he's now the pedestal.
  • 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.
  • Tears of Joy: Orca drops his spear and breaks into a stream of tears when he teaches the Hurricane Spin to Link.
    Orca: Oh, the joyful tears... They won't stop...
  • Tempting Fate: When Link first tries on the Hero's Clothes and expresses discomfort at them, Grandma consoles him, stating he only has to wear them for "just one day." Link takes off to save his sister before his birthday ends, and as a result ends up wearing the green clothes for the whole game.
  • Tennis Boss: Happens during the return to the Forsaken Fortress, as a fight against Phantom Ganon. The only way to stun him is by successively deflecting his energy beams with the Master Sword, as they're the only thing that can weaken him. As with Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time, the use of the empty bottle for this purpose is still an option (and it's lampshaded in Phantom Ganon's figurine entry in the Nintendo Gallery).
  • 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.
  • Tentacle Rope: There are plant tentacles (called Dexivines) in some dungeons that rise from the ground when Link draws near and latch onto him. They don't inflict damage and merely tether him to the spot, steadily sapping his MP so long as they are attached. They'll respawn indefinitely but can be killed in one shot and aren't much of a threat.
  • Terraform: The Koroks are periodically sent out by the Great Deku Tree to plant trees on the islands of the Great Sea, in an attempt to create forests and to reclaim land from the sea.
  • 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. They're no longer much of an annoyance in Wind Waker HD, as they've lost the ability to knock you into the water, much like almost every other naval hazard.
  • Threshold Guardians: The first encounters with both the pirates and the King of Red Lions place them in this role, with the latter asking questions on how far Link will reach to rescue his sister. Later on, the Tower of the Gods in its entirety is a more literal version of this trope.
  • 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.
  • Tide Level: The water in the entry level of the Tower of the Gods raises and lowers periodically, and adapting to the changing water level is key to eventually gain access to the higher levels of the tower.
  • 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 and Girly Girl: Tetra, who is a tomboyish, roughhousing pirate leader; and Link's sister, Aryll, who is very sweet and girlish with her pigtails and dress.
  • 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 note . Get 60 points, though, and you'll get the Fill-Up Coupon, an item that 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 Jerkass: Maggie's father. When you first meet him, he's a pitiable pauper who is distraught over his daughter being kidnapped. But when Maggie comes back with a massive fortune in Skull Necklaces, he turns into a selfishly greedy bastard who won't even let Maggie get letters from her (sort of) love interest.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Mila's father. During the first half of the game, he's an arrogant rich man who demands the rescue of his daughter from captivity in Forsaken Fortress. Tetra's pirates rescue Mila, but ask the father for a lot of money, leaving him and his daughter poor. This changes his viewpoint on life, and he becomes much more modest as a result.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Aryll’s telescope. She initially let Link have it 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 a Caribbean-esque ocean dotted with sporadic tropical islands (although it isn't the only game with a 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.

    U-Z 
  • 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."
  • Uncommon Time:
    • the music that plays during the scene in which Linder reports that Makar fell into the Forbidden Woods alternates between 7/8 and 5/8. The game's title theme is entirely in 9/8.
    • There's a section of Ganondorf's battle theme where the time signature is 7/4 for a few bars before switching back to 4/4.
  • Underground Level: The aptly named Earth Temple. Since the number of light sources is finite, Link and Medli have to reflect the available light to the dark areas where it's required.
  • Under the Sea: A surprising aversion, considering the game's main setting. There are no true underwater dungeons and the water is opaque and cannot be dove into or even swam in for more than a short period. The closest example of a water level in Wind Waker is the Tower of the Gods, which only features water rising and lowering at timed intervals on the first floor.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay:
    • 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 version happens 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."
  • 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.
  • Unsafe Haven: Eventually, Hyrule Castle. After the truth of Tetra being the successor to the Hyrulean Royal Family's bloodline is revealed, Zelda is kept in the same chamber that the Master Sword was kept. But considering that Link cleansed the place of Ganon's forces only a few hours or so before, it was no surprise that Ganon found her.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment:
    • Some enemies do in fact drop weapons that you can pick up and use, ranging from simple clubs to a BFS that's more than twice the length of Link's body. However, you can't store them in your inventory and drop them if you leave the area.
    • Phantom Ganon's sword, which is only dropped in rooms where there are no other enemies anyway. Which is secondary to the fact that you don't want to pick it up anyway, since watching how it falls is a puzzle hint.
  • Unwinnable Joke Game: If Link asks Mila's father for funds before going to the Forsaken Fortress for the second time, he will toss three red Rupees into the vases below. Even if the player correctly guesses where the vases are and break them open, Mila's father will still demand payment for the broken vases. The only way to "win" is to save and quit the game after getting the Rupees so they can't be docked.
  • 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.
  • Useless Item: The items Tingle gives you upon freeing him from jail, depending on the version.
    • In the original, he gives you the Tingle Tuner. If you don't have a Game Boy Advance and a Link Cable to hook it up to the GameCube with, you'll get absolutely no utility from it. If you do, though, then this item is actually very useful, boasting services such as ranged bombs, walking on air, temporary shields, and potions on the go.
    • In HD, he gives you the Tingle Bottle. This item allowed you to send and receive messages in bottles via Miiverse while out on the Great Sea. Once Miiverse shut down on November 8th of 2017, the bottle was rendered completely pointless - and unlike the Tingle Tuner, it doesn't have a silver lining.
  • Use Their Own Weapon Against Them: Link can knock swords and spears out of the hands of enemies such as Moblins and Darknuts, allowing him to pick them up and attack them with it.
  • Variable Mix: The battle music has a lot of depth to it, playing different channels depending on what's going on in the fight. One obvious example is that less instruments play in general if you're in combat without your sword equipped; a more subtle one is the high-pitched flute of the regular battle theme, which kicks in whenever you do a Spin Attack.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The game follows the footsteps of A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time by giving this role to Ganon's Tower. This time, it's located next to Hyrule Castle in what used to be the land of Hyrule before its flood. Per tradition, a barrier prevents you from accessing it early and you'll need to empower the Master Sword with the help of two temple Sages to break it (as well as the Triforce of Courage in repaired form to return to Hyrule to begin with), but this time it's not in the Tower itself but in Hyrule Castle. The dungeon is divided into three sections: One in which you have to dispel a gate's seal by tackling rooms based on several previous dungeons, one which features an illusory puzzle and a sequence of rematches against a familiar Mini-Boss, and finally a long staircase leading to Ganon and the story's climax.
  • Victory Fakeout: Puppet Ganon pulls this after you beat their first form, complete with a version of the regular boss-defeat theme that transitions into a more menacing reprise. Their second form doesn't bother with it.
  • 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.
    • You can hit the King of Red Lions on the head with a weapon, or even spam the Boomerang or Hookshot at him with an L-Target.
    • Attacking the big pig will get you seriously hurt, except when he's in the pig pen and you attack from outside with a projectile weapon. He'll charge at you, but won't be able to get you. Also, if you're skilled enough, you can attack with your sword, and quickly backflip over the fence to avoid injury.
  • 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 realistically. 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.
  • Vine Tentacles: Kalle Demos, the second boss, is a giant plant that attacks Link by lashing at him with its long, barbed vines.
  • Visual Pun: Tott spends all day and all night dancing in front of a gravestone. Disco is dead.
  • Warp Whistle: The titular Wind Waker can be used to conduct various songs. There aren't so many as for the Ocarina in the previous two 3D Zelda games, but the one called the Ballad of Gales, after Link learns it from the god of storms, allows him to summon a whirlwind that will deposit him and his boat in one of eight areas of the player's choosing. This is different from many other examples, as the exact landing point within the area is somewhat randomized. One of the destinations puts Link down inside an otherwise inaccessible grotto on a sheer-walled island, where he can receive a valued quest-relevant gift from the Queen of the Faeries (which also renders this warp point useless for any other purpose). As far as the dungeons go, there are pots that must be bombed to open up. If you can open up at least two pots, you can jump into one and spring out the other. This is not only good for leaving the game and returning easily to where you were, but there is usually one outside the boss' door.
  • The War Sequence:
    • Partway through the game, you run through the entrance hall of a large castle, where many armored guards are frozen in time, like statues. When you leave, however, they all have come back to life and you have to kill them all before you can proceed. There are only about twenty of them, but they are the strongest enemy in the game.
    • The lower levels of the Savage Labyrinth contain large groups of generic enemies.
    • The secret grotto on Shark Island has a particularly long battle sequence against a horde of various enemies.
  • Weaponized Offspring: The Mothula enemies counter-attack by launching a blast of Morths at you which cling to Link to slow him down.
  • Wham Line:
    • Courtesy of Ganondorf in his first meeting with Tetra:
    Ganondorf: Ha! At long last, I have found you... Princess Zelda!
    • Ganondorf's first line in the game: "It's been a while, boy..." In those five words, players are immediately told that this Ganondorf isn't a reincarnation, as had been the case in every game he or Ganon had appeared in up until this point—he's the same Great King of Evil from Ocarina of Time. And what's worse, he remembers Link. It's also a sign that he's become more philosophical and pensive during his long imprisonment, as the words have a reminiscent, almost bittersweet tone as opposed to the Evil Gloating of the Ganondorf of the past.
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • There's a house that has big, fancy pots. Break one and Sturgeon will chew you out on breaking his fine pots and that next time he'll require compensation. If you do it again then he'll do good on his word and will fine you for each one you broke before you leave the house.
    • If you attack your Orca, he gets annoyed, and eventually knocks you across the room.
    • And then there's the woman on Outset Island, who's constantly carrying around a pot on her head. If you smash it with your hookshot, or arrows (light arrows are especially fun to use when doing this), and then go and speak to her, she'll take 10 rupees from you... and say you're terrible.
  • 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.
  • Wind Is Green: The game features a Link who embodies Blow You Away once he acquires the titular item— he is, of course, clothed in green, but The Wind Waker usually averts this trope being itself white, same as the lines of wind that travel through the game's atmosphere. The Deku Leaf, which can be used to blow gusts of wind and glide on wind currents, is green, and the Gusty Glade dungeon Wind Temple has lots of grassy terrain (with the plant-based character Makar serving as its new sage).
  • 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.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The final floor in the Savage Labyrinth is a fight against four Darknuts, accompained with fire-breathing statues that hinder Link.
  • Worthy Opponent: Ganon seems to regard Link as such.
    Ganon: Do not betray my expectations.
    [a series of boss battles commence. 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.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Link's attempt to rescue his sister ends in failure due to his inability to confront the Helmaroc King, forcing him to embark on a longer quest with the help of the King of Red Lions. When Link does a second attempt, he manages to rescue her with the help of Tetra and her crew and defeats the Helmaroc King for good, but is unable to confront Ganondorf due to the Master Sword having lost its power (which means his new plan was ultimately doomed to fail as well).
  • You Can Turn Back: When Link is sailing off with the pirates at the beginning of the game, Tetra takes note of how emotional he is in his goodbyes and tells him that they still have time to turn the ship around and drop him back off at Outset. Naturally, you're not given the choice.
  • 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 Favorite: Link's grandma plans on making her soup, which she knows both he and Aryll love, for Link's birthday. This ends up not coming to pass when both of them end up leaving the island before dinnertime, but when you return to Outset midway through the game and heal Grandma with a fairy, she'll happily prepare Link a full bottle of that same soup any time he requests it. This is even reflected in Link always equipping and drinking his soup with a smile, compared to the grimace he prepares for normal potions.
  • 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:
    • You have to learn 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.
    • You can't enter the Ghost Ship until you obtain the Ghost Ship Chart, which tells you what island the ship shows up at at each phase of the moon.
  • Zonk: One of the auction prizes is a treasure chart... that leads to a single Rupee. This was changed in the HD remake to offer the chart-standard 50 Rupees.

"I have scattered the seeds of the future..."
 
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Alternative Title(s): The Wind Waker, The Legend Of Zelda The Wind Waker HD

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Link stabs Ganondorf

Link delivers the final blow to Ganondorf during Hyrule's final moments.

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