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Across media

  • Accidental Aesop: The recurrence of Link and Zelda as heroes and Ganon as the villain eventually started to come across as a combination of You Can't Fight Fate and Born Winner, only being reinforced after Skyward Sword revealed how all three Chosen Ones got started. Ganon, in particular, was destined to be evil despite originally starting with sympathetic motives.
  • Adorkable: Starting with the "Oracle Of" duo, Link's been given this quirk as a minor personality trait, especially his "Wind Waker" style "Toon" versions. The Wind Waker Link was specifically characterized as someone who was trying very hard to live up to the standard of being a hero, but constantly failed in hilarious ways. The creators specifically mentioned making him this to avoid having him be "too cool" and an unrelatable action hero. The latest incarnation of Link, via Breath of the Wild, is considered one of the dorkiest and cutest versions of him.
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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Link is pretty heavily subject to this, as he's a Heroic Mime that the player is meant to be free to project their own personality onto, while at the same time he shows some broad, yet distinctive personality traits informed by his actions and the animation (both facial expressions and Body Language)note . Mix these two elements together and you have a recipe for having almost as many interpretations of Link as people who have played the series.
  • Alternate Self Shipping: Linkcest is exceedingly common on the slash side of the fandom. The classic and child Links are almost always ignored in selfcest works, with a focus being on the The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. They're technically assumed to be related but at the same time are reincarnations of each other.
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  • Americans Hate Tingle: The Trope Namer, thanks to Tingle's debut in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
  • Animation Age Ghetto: Possibly due to this trope, the games with a more "cartoonish" artstyle get lower sales and less attention outside of the core Zelda fanbase than the games with a more "realistic" artstyle, regardless of relative quality or content. Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild attempt to reach a happy medium, with realistically-proportioned designs and characters but cartoonish colors and shading. While Breath of the Wild became highly succesful, Skyward Sword suffered the same fate as the other games from this category.
  • Audience-Alienating Era: The CD-i games. Their sting wasn't numbed at all by the fact that Nintendo took its sweet time developing Ocarina of Time, so there were five years between 1993 and 1998 when no Zelda games except for those were being released.
  • Awesome Bosses: Has its own page. Some of the best boss battles in video game history come from this series.
  • Awesome Music: Has its own page as well. The series has given some of the most iconic tunes in gaming for good reason.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Princess Zelda, across her incarnations. As the namesake and overall deuteragonist of the series, many fans consider her to be one of Nintendo's best heroines, appreciate how she's given generous character exposition and/or development in each game (as Link is a deliberate Vanilla Protagonist), and respect her as a wise and helpful ruler. Others find her to be an overhyped character who suffers too much from the Damsel in Distressnote , Faux Action Girl, and Informed Ability tropes; for example, her stint as Sheik in Ocarina of Time is praised by many people for having her act as a "badass bifauxnen ninja", but she doesn't perform any actual fighting or impressive feats on-screen, and while Twilight Princess depicts her with a sword to convey her image as a Pretty Princess Powerhouse, she doesn't actually do anything with it unless you count Ganondorf possessing her empty body, although she does use the Light Arrows against Ganondorf soon afterwards.
  • Broken Base:
    • One of the biggest, yet most subtle divides in the fandom comes from the idea of what makes a Zelda game... a Zelda game! The franchise has become more and more multi-faceted over the years, and thus different people may like it for completely different reasons. Because of this, the fans often find themselves in direct opposition to one another. Sometimes to the extreme that one element may be considered essential to the franchise by one group, but another may consider it even detrimental. The elements that are argued the most are the exploration component, the puzzle solving (especially in the dungeons), and the lore. But there are also plenty of people who will mention the ever changing art style, the story telling, the atmosphere, or even the combat system, especially the boss fights. There's even a fair share of fans who think the answer is "all of the above", and thus there is no point in trying to single out just one aspect and call it THE "Zelda secret".
    • The infamous timeline. For a lot of fans, it's the cornerstone of the entire franchise's lore, and one of the main reasons why they play the games is to try to figure out where each new game is placed, considering that discussing the arguments for and against said placement is part of the charm of the series. However, a similar portion of the fanbase considers the whole endeavor futile at best, and stupid at worst, and think that trying to follow a timeline in any capacity actively makes the whole franchise worse, so people should not care about it and ignore it wholesale. It doesn't help the fact that Nintendo is deliberately ambiguous about the whole thing, and they don't seem to fully support neither extreme. While most people agree that Nintendo obviously cares about the timeline less than the fans do, how much less is not exactly clear due to their contradictory statements.
    • The use of voice acting as a whole has been a bit of a contentious topic among the fandom for a long time in two specific ways: the use of voice acting as a whole, and the use of voice acting for Link specifically.
      • There were arguments for and against its used since roughly The Sixth Generation of Console Video Games, but the debate came to a turning point with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which introduced extensive voice acting for the first time in the franchise. The reception was definitely mixed, but most people agreed that the division was more a matter of execution and casting choices, rather than the concept not fitting the gamenote .
      • However, the matter regarding whether Link should receive proper voice acting of his own (since Breath of the Wild still kept him as a Silent Protagonist) is still rampant. People against it believe he should still remain silent, not only for the sake of tradition, but also because he's supposed to be an Audience Surrogate, and they think giving him a proper voice would diminish or even ruin that. People who are for the idea argue that, now that voice acting is in full display, Link remaining silent only damages his interactions with other characters, making them incredibly awkward. This was specially debated in the wake of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, where it feels as if the developers clashed with this issue and their reaction was to keep Link absent from dialogue as much as possible. They also argue that considering Link an Audience Surrogate doesn't hold much water, given that Link always has his own backstory and predetermined narrative, and that despite his lack of voice, he still shows a broad, but still well defined personality through his body language and facial expressions.
  • Cheese Strategy: The series is no stranger to cheese.
    • In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Dark Link can be cheesed by crouching in the bottom-left corner and spamming the sword button. Dark Link is a notoriously difficult boss who seems able to react faster than humanly possible, and given the game's already-high difficulty, many opt to simply use this method to bring him down instead.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Morpha can be defeated without taking any damage simply by standing in any of the room's corners, where his tentacles cannot reach you.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The final boss fight can be easily won just by pulling out the Fishing Rod and casting the line. Said boss will stare at it, allowing you to get free shots in. Notably, this was intentionally programmed in, as part of Nintendo's continuing reference to defeating bosses with unintended objects dating back to A Link to the Past and the butterfly net vs. Agahnim.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild often presents the player with obstacles that can be overcome in a variety of ways. While many players address them in the way suggested by the game, and some go by Self Imposed Challenges, often a very basic tool will allow one to bypass many difficulties, usually at the cost of time. For instance, Link's climbing ability makes it possible to simply go around many enemies, and he can produce unlimited bombs that can be spammed to eventually kill almost anything. Alternatively, simply blowing enemies into water with the Deku Leaf or blasting opponents from great heights with bombs and/or Stasis are popular ways of dealing with Eventide Island. If skips or cheese to get past the intended puzzle solution are used inside of Shrines, the game can tell, and the Shrine Monk will often praise you for your resourcefulness.
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Critical Dissonance:
    • According to critics, the series has stayed very strong throughout its entire lifespan. You wouldn't know this from all the fan complaints about certain titles in the series.
    • Hyrule Warriors has gotten middling reviews akin to a Licensed Game, and nowhere near the stellar reviews of the rest of the series. Zelda fans, however, adore it.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Getting killed by Cuccos in games where attacking them summons an endless aggressive flock of them. The Hero of Time, slain by a bunch of chickens.
  • Crossover Ship: Due to the below mentioned Friendly Fandoms and appearing in a popular fighting game franchise, Link and Zelda are frequently shipped alongside two popular protagonists from the Fire Emblem series. Link is paired alongside Lucina, as both are sword wielding heroes and a joke is that Link has a thing for women who disguise themselves as men. Zelda, particularly the Twilight Princess version, is paired with Ike, as both are stoic and introverted along with people liking the idea of pairing a royal with a commoner. This ignores that in his own games, Ike has a dislike of nobility.
  • Die for Our Ship: Anything that threatens the possibility of a Link/Zelda pairing is violently purged. Zelda herself can suffer this when other choices are available (Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Many have cropped up over the years, to the point of getting their own page. The short version is any character who a) has a major secret in their backstory that changes the player's perception of them and/or b) experiences Character Development.
  • Epileptic Trees: Oh, boy, is this franchise famous for this! Both because of the narrative style used in the games and the way the developers explain themselves about it (sometimes in contradictory ways), fans just can't get enough of speculating about the mythos and continuity. To be more specific:
    • The timeline alone is a big piece of fanon madness. Before Hyrule Historia came out to explain it in 2011, it was impossible to find a web site or forums of the series (either fan or otherwise) that did NOT have at least one big article and/or open thread discussing this issue at large, with big, crazy theories to boot. Even Nintendo of America got involved in it with an early iteration thanks to Dan Owsen's writing for the original iteration of the official website. And after Hyrule Historia came out, it didn't die. It just evolved into discussing the points that were left ambiguous, debating about the contradictions between the artbook, the interviews to Miyamoto, Aonuma and other developers and the games themselves, tiding up the remaining loose ends, or trying to give alternate interpretations to explanations that were deemed unsatisfactory. Especially crazy because Nintendo put an explicit MST3K Mantra disclaimer in the very same official timeline, explaining that the development team, for the most part, thinks about gameplay first and story later. But fans still treat this topic as Serious Business.
    • After Hyrule Historia was finally accepted as the biggest (albeit not 100% undisputed) authority discussing the timeline up to Skyward Sword, the fanbase then started to focus on in which place of the official timeline would fall the games that were released afterwards. Although at first it was straight-forward enough (A Link Between Worlds being a distant, yet direct sequel to A Link to the Past), with Breath of the Wild, timeline theorists came back with the old energy from the pre-Skyward Sword days back in full force. They analyzed the trailers and demo footage practically frame by frame looking for clues that would answer the mystery, Zapruder Film style. After the game came out, since the game has clues that can be interpreted in so many different ways, the Zelda fanbase has gone in a total frenzy. Namely, the game has references to all three timelines, even though some of them are ridiculously hidden (to the point that some of them were only found after comparing the dubs for all languages). So it's not clear if it belongs to one of the individual timelines, if it means all timelines were converged off-screen, or even if the game is a stealth reboot altogether... or a combination of all of the above. To add insult to injury, Nintendo refuses to give any definitive answer on the matter, arguing they prefer to leave fans to especulate on their own.
    • Even leaving new games aside, there are still tons of theories around the web discussing points in the already established timeline that weren't addressed by Hyrule Historia, like the full history of each race (the Sheikah and Gerudo are particularly prone to it), or the fate of secondary characters. Mostly minor stuff, but still strong enough to sustain entire YouTube channels dedicated to this topic alone.
  • Escapist Character: Part of Link's popularity as a character stems from this and how players can, in addition to wishing they were him, largely project their own personality (or an otherwise desired, idealized personality) onto him as he's a Heroic Mime.
  • Estrogen Brigade: The Zelda series has always had a quite large female fanbase... which tends to grow even further in a not-insignificant amount in the games that feature Link with his Bishōnen design.
  • Evil Is Cool: Ganon(dorf) is one of Nintendo's coolest and most well-loved villains in all his forms, and is fondly remembered by fans for his overwhelming power, Machiavellian evil schemes, and excellent boss fights.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: As explained in Hyrule Historia, there is a third timeline that also split from Ocarina of Time. What causes it? The hero failing, something that fans didn't expect at all due to obviously not thinking Game Overs to be 'canon' in any way. Plus, since the timeline was an endless fountain of Epileptic Trees for over a decade, many fans disliked those explanations which invalidated their own theories.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Most of the Links have one out of necessity. Usually it's an abridgment of their hero titles (fanon or canon) - Wind, Sky, Time, Twilight, etc.
    • Most Zelda games from Four Swords Adventures (i.e. since 2004) onwards, save for a few promotional disks with a handful of tracks each, either received an official soundtrack many years after the game was released or didn't get an official soundtrack at all. Thus many music themes have been nicknamed by fans. Standout examples would be "Midna's Desperate Hour" from Twilight Princess (which was later on officially titled "Midna's Lament" in Super Smash Bros. Brawl), "Link and Zelda's Duet" from Spirit Tracks, and "Romance" from Skyward Sword.
    • For Spanish-speaking fans, the whole franchise, is nicknamed, normally in jest, as La Leyenda de la Cerda (Spanish for "The Legend of the Sow"), partly how the names of Zelda and the word "cerda" sound alike in Spanish.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: The former Trope Namer. A few examples:
    • Don't ever call Link "Zelda" around any Zelda fan. While it used to be a fairly common mistake among people unfamiliar with the series, nowdays it is a fairly obvious Troll.
    • Majora's Mask is not "Zelda 2", no matter how much Sequel Displacement Ocarina of Time created.
    • A Link Between Worlds is not a remake of A Link to the Past, but a sequel taking place in the same version of Hyrule. Certainly not helped by Shigeru Miyamoto originally considering remaking it before Eiji Aonuma convinced him to make an original game.
    • Claiming that there is only one Link (or Zelda for that matter) and that the games were released in chronological order is guaranteed to get you laughed out of any timeline of forum.
    • It is spelled "Ganon" not "Gannon". The extra "N" in "Ganon" is the result of a typo that is only seen in the original game itself. Calling Ganon "Gannon" will cause many eyerolls from fans.
    • In regard to Hyrule Warriors, Linkle is her own character, and not a gender-swapped incarnation of Link.
    • Denying anything written in Hyrule Historia as being "unofficial" is likely to get what you say disregarded. Being that it was written by the series's production team and overseen by Miyamoto and Aonuma, it should be regarded as canonical as the games themselves. It being the source that Jossed the aforementioned fan theories, while canonizing others, is only one reason most fans say it shouldn't be doubted.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • In general, with games that imitate elements from the Zelda franchise to a certain extend. The most popular examples are ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, Ōkami and, to a lesser extend, Darksiders.
    • Related to Shadow of the Colossus, there's also a fierce rivalry between the games' respective horses, Epona and Agro. To their fans, they compete for the position of "most iconic video game horse ever".
    • During The Fifth Generation of Console Video Games, there was also another one with the Final Fantasy series, especially Ocarina of Time and Final Fantasy VII (and also by extension, Link Vs. Cloud). Both franchises were probably the most iconic ones of their respective consoles, and people used to compare them out of their fantasy settings (despite the fact that they were for the most part very different). So it was a natural extension of that generation Console Wars. Just like with the previous console war's Mario vs. Sonic rivalry, an official Link vs. Cloud fight was finally made possible when Cloud was added to Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, and as of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate their respective arch-enemies (Ganondorf and Sephiroth) are also playable.
    • Later on, The Elder Scrolls (particularly Skyrim, since it and Skyward Sword were Dueling Works), Dark Souls, and Horizon Zero Dawn (Dueling Works with Breath of the Wild), albeit to a lesser degree. Mostly because both franchises focus on elements that are considered part of the core of the earlier Zelda titles. Some Zelda fans moved on to these two franchises since they consider they expanded on those elements better than Zelda itself.
  • Fandom-Specific Plot:
    • In fics where Ganon does a Heel–Face Turn, it often comes in the form of him swooping in and saving Link from an OC villain. Bonus points if the situation involved rape, though that's usually saved for shipping fics.
    • Zelda and Ganondorf are in an Arranged Marriage to unite, or at least ease tensions between, the Hylians and Gerudo.
    • Novelizations are a very popular type of fanfic with all the games. Typically they end up changing a few things such as adding extra worldbuilding and covering plot holes.
    • The various itterations of Link meeting each other. It was popular even before Linked Universe caused an explosion in the genre.
    • Modern AU Fics, particularly High School AUs. They are usually presented as The Magic Comes Back settings, taking place in a far future Hyrule that has mostly forgotten the existence of magic except for a select few people.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: Fanfics for this one are scarce, however some of the few that exist deal with the concept of two Zeldas or how the Sleeping Zelda feels about waking up after several centuries.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask:
      • Zelda struggling to survive her seven years of exile, mostly involving how she became Sheik.
      • Fans are very curious as to what happened to Link after Majora's Mask. Did he ever reunite with Navi? Who does he end up with? With the reveal that the Hero's Shade from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is the Hero of Time as well as the current Link's ancestor, fans have written and drawn multiple ways that he could have lost one of his eyes. The general consensus is that, as an adult, Link became a soldier or knight, married Malon (with Zelda as the second option if fans don't like Link/Malon), and/or somehow died alone at a young age.
      • Stories where Link doesn't get transported back into the past at the end of Ocarina of Time, meaning the Child Timeline never comes to be. What happens afterwards depends on the fan. Does he become Zelda's bodyguard, personal knight, or maybe even her husband? Does he keep his Childhood Marriage Promise to Ruto? Does he go back to Malon? What challenges do Link and Zelda face during, and after, the rebuilding the kingdom? Would the goddesses still flood Hyrule? There are many plots that can come from Link staying in the Adult Timeline.
      • A popular topic is finding a way for Link and Saria to be together. The most popular method is having Saria grow up, and several authors have provided explanations. The Legend of Zelda: The Evil Within explains that Saria was, like Link, a Hylian who was brought to the forest by a war refugee. Unlike Link, the old Great Deku Tree couldn't foresee what her destiny was, so she was cursed to stop growing at a certain point and be, for all intents and purposes, a Kokiri. One day, she accidentally fell into the fountain of a Great Fairy, who sensed a curse on her, and removed it. The next day, Mido noticed that Saria was bigger than normal, so she went to the Deku Tree to seek guidance, at which point he revealed the truth, saying she was aging to her actual age of 19, and that to make it in the outside world, she had to find Link, who ultimately found her being attacked by bandits outside of Kakariko Village. Alone Together states that, as a Sage, Saria can leave the forest and not die, but at the cost of eternal youth. This being a Link/Saria story, you can guess which she chooses.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap: This game's backstory involves a legendary hero known as the "Hero of Men." He is heavily implied to be an incarnation of Link, but his story hasn't been featured in a game yet. Fans have thus had to write their own interpretations of his life.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
      • There are a bevy of post-game Midna/Link fanfics that involve Midna either remaining in Hyrule for some reason (often Link stopping her with a love confession) or Link searching for a way to get to the Twilight Realm to be with her (or some new problem in Hyrule manages to tie into that desire anyway). A variant includes Link and Midna having made love sometime during the adventure, with Midna discovering that she's pregnant after returning, prompting her to figure out a way back to Link so they can raise their child together.
      • Post-canon fics where Link returns to Ilia after years away looking how to reunite with Midna. Sometimes Link and Ilia even have a kid together from a fling Link had before he went on his journey
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Many Zelda/Link fics taking place after the Calamity cast Link as an Amnesiac Lover while Zelda struggles with him not fully remembering her or their relationship if they're portrayed as having had one before the Calamity. These usually end with either Link remembering his past feelings for Zelda or not regaining the rest of his memories but falling in love with her anyway.
  • Fanon: The series is one of the most prolific sources of inspiration for fan related works: fan fiction, fan arts, fan remixes and covers, web sites, etc. It has its own sub-page.
  • Fan Wank: The endless, endless confusion over "the timeline", something officially confirmed, but took over a decade of fan speculation to be officially explained by Hyrule Historia. Even after that book explained it all, it's still going, even if discussing different points (See Epileptic Trees above).
  • Foe Yay Shipping: Link and Zelda are shipped alongside villains in the series.
    • Link is often paired with Cia, who has a confirmed interest in him.
    • Princess Zelda is often paired with either Ganondorf or Vaati. The former only kidnaps her for her connection to the Triforce (his animated counterpart did have an interest in her) and the latter only shows interest in his failed resurrected form (though fanfiction depicts his humanoid form when this happens).
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • With Metroid, due to both franchises being Nintendo's most famous "serious" series with games considered among Nintendo's best; there are a ton of fan theories about Samus being descended from Link himself. That said, sometimes the fandoms get into arguments over whether Link or Samus is a better protagonist, as well as the relative quality of both series.
    • The series have a friendly relationship with the Super Mario Bros. fandom since they're both Nintendo flagship franchises and highly revered. They may some times butt heads over who have the 'better games' or who would win in a fight (Mario vs. Link, Peach vs. Zelda, Bowser vs. Ganon), but it's usually in good fun. When both The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey proved to be very equally acclaimed Killer Apps for the Switch, there was much shared rejoicing, even if BOTW took home most of the awards and (narrowly) outsold Odyssey in the subsequent years.
    • A significant number of fans of Metal Gear are also fond of the Zelda series, and the similarities between the Snakes and Links are often brought up. It certainly helps that Snake and Link have met each other during Super Smash Bros. Brawl as well as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and that Otacon lampshaded their similar method of saving the world in a bonus CODEC call on the Shadow Moses arena.
    • Also with Fire Emblem, especially among newer/younger Nintendo fans, as both series have a High Fantasy aesthetic and feature lots of iconic, sword-wielding protagonists and other fantasy characters and themes. It helps that they cover different genres with similar themes, the opposite of the relationship between Zelda and Metroid. With old-school fans, however, this veers more towards Fandom Rivalry due to their general distaste towards Fire Emblem's newfound publicity in the West.
    • And with Xenoblade Chronicles fans as of Breath of the Wild, due to Monolith Soft working on both franchises. It probably also helps that Rex's outfit is available in Breath of the Wild through DLC, and that both Breath of the Wild and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 were released during the Switch's launch year.
  • Genius Bonus: Link's steed Epona is named after the Gaulish goddess of horses.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • While wildly popular elsewhere, the Zelda franchise isn't quite as popular in its native Japan (but still popular).
    • In many Western gaming communities, Link is Nintendo's most popular character, even surpassing company mascot Mario. This even has some effect outside of said gaming communities; Link's amiibo has consistently been the best-selling amiibo figure in Western regions.
    • Reggie Fils-Aime has commented that while the series in general is more popular in North America than Europe and Japan, the one country where Zelda is most popular overall is actually Canada!note 
  • Goddamned Bats: An early example, though Keese and Fire Keese are hardly the only ones.
  • Good Bad Bugs: There are so many that the series has its own page.
  • Hype Backlash:
    • Due to the series' and its characters' widespread Sacred Cow treatment, some people are quick to label popular Zelda games and characters as "overrated". On many sites, most infamously GameFAQs and Dorkly, Zelda games and characters frequently dominate gaming- or Nintendo-related popularity polls and consequently bring up this trope. Even one-shot characters such as Midna or Skull Kid, or games that aren't near-universally praised such as The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, can end up outperforming more famous/iconic characters and more lauded games, respectively. Zelda Informer even has an article on the alleged "overratedness" of the franchise, acknowledging that the excessive hype is unhealthy for the franchise and that it is "simply praised for its name's sake".
    • This seems to be a driving factor behind the fan-defined "Zelda Cycle", where a game that was once universally acclaimed and considered the best game in the series suddenly falls out of favor and is deemed "overrated", while a game that was once criticized takes its place and is Vindicated by History. Breath of the Wild broke this cycle and caused a metastasis of sorts where it, Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past are seen as the most revolutionary and important games in the series, and all other games are contested sequels.
  • I Am Not Shazam: The main character is Link. The girl is Zelda. Daring to say otherwise will get you a lot of ire on forums.
  • Iron Woobie: Link. Even when he earns his happy ending, the nature of the cycle he's trapped in means he'll be back for another round with the forces of Evil.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: A common complaint about entries after the N64 era among veteran fans, especially those who grew up with the first four games.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: As noted under Broken Base, the franchise's problem is it has too many Godzillas. Some players want to explore the vast worlds, some players want to do dungeon-delving, some players love combat against monsters, some prefer the puzzles, and some players just want to immerse themselves in the epic lore. Each game in the series has tried to put different amounts of focus into each of these aspects, so good luck getting these fans to agree which game is the "best".
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Though Link's canonical love interest for many fans is Zelda herself, he's also shipped with many of the girls in any game he's in, Ocarina of Time perhaps being the most prominent. Go to ff.net and see how many ship fics you can find that don't involve Link.
  • LGBT Fanbase:
    • In addition to causing Stupid Sexy Flanders moments in straight fans, a gay magazine voted Link as the hottest video game character of all time. Many nonbinary-gendered fans also relate to Link for his Bishōnen looks, which can be interpreted as both masculine and feminine. Breath of the Wild had Link dress up in Gerudo women's clothes for entirely wholesome reasons, and the applause from the LGBT fanbase could be heard from miles away.
    • As an older Hunk, Ganondorf also has a following in the Bara community.
    • Many other characters have a following of this type. Sidon from Breath of the Wild is especially popular for being a handsome, charming hunk of a fish-man, and is frequently shipped with Link. Urbosa, from the same game, is loved by lesbian fans for being a very pronounced Amazonian Beauty. Tingle, while having several stereotypical Camp Gay characteristics, is not an example because most LGBT fans find him repulsive, just like the rest of the Western fanbase.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Ganondorf is apparently Killed Off for Real once or twice a decade. By this stage, we know better.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Ganondorf Dragmire ("Ganon" in his bestial form) is the king of the Gerudo, the reincarnation of Demise's hatred, and the eternal nemesis of Link, Zelda, and all who carry their names. Initially coveting the Triforce to bring prosperity to his people, Ganondorf would be overcome by his own lust for power, and abuses his intellect and strength to gain it by any means. In his first chronological appearance, he manipulates and exploits his situation to gain the Triforce of Power, and takes the steps to ensure no one can end his rule. He also uses Link to bait Zelda into a trap, and challenges Link himself so that he can gather all three of the Triforce in one place. In all three timelines he is undone, but he always bounces back in some way, whether by manipulating an aspiring usurper, cutting off the Master Sword's power, or disguising himself to befriend and betray Hyrule's king. Stylish, smart, strong, and sometimes tragic, Ganondorf has forever solidified himself as one of gaming's most celebrated villains.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Link, renowned as one of Nintendo's most badass characters. The guy can throw around stone pillars like they were cardboard at the end of Ocarina of Time!
    • The particular Link from Link to the Past, the Oracle games, and Link's Awakening is generally considered the most OP of them all because of how many games he was in (four as opposed to one or two). In any fanfic that features the different itterations of Link meeting each other, this guy will be the one probably capable of wiping the floor with all the others.
    • The Fierce Deity, which is pretty interesting considering it's an item. General belief is that the mask hosts a Physical God, and the fact it can take down any boss in the game in seconds only cements this. Apparently became Ascended Fanon with the release of Hyrule Warriors, as Young Link with the Fierce Deity masks is unquestionably one of the most powerful Game Breakers in it; if not THE best.
    • Groose, who even thinks of himself as this.
    • Ganondorf, for being a Nigh-Invulnerable Knight of Cerebus Rated M for Manly Genius Bruiser in all his appearances and for frequently succeeding in his evil schemes (granted, Link stops him later, but only afterwards). It helps that Super Smash Bros. makes him an even harder-hitting Moveset Clone of Captain Falcon, who's already considered Nintendo's answer to Chuck Norris.note 
  • Memetic Loser: Tingle is a 35 year-old man who dresses in a green onesie and wishes to become a fairy. He's meant to be a Manchild and is loved by the Japanese fanbase... but the Western fanbase loves to loathe him. When you have a trope called "Americans Hate Tingle" named after you, you know you're a memetic loser.
  • Memetic Molester:
    • Tingle and Ghirahim.
    • ReDeads, in particular the Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask versions, mostly because the way they grab Link to bite his face looks like they're mounting him.
  • Memetic Mutation: Too many to list here... so that's why it has its own page.
  • My Real Daddy: While Shigeru Miyamoto deserves credit as the one who created the franchise, there are two individuals who compete for this position:
    • Eiji Aonuma started out as a co-director for Ocarina of Time primarily responsible for dungeon design, later moving to become sole director and producer of the Zelda team within Nintendo. Under his watch, the series' puzzle element became more elaborate and interesting to the point of being considered one of the franchise's core elements alongside exploration and combat. His direction also helped coalesce many of the disparate lore elements introduced in the earlier games to solidify a clearer timeline (best seen among the "Hero of Time Saga" games Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess and the "Wind Saga" games Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks).
    • There exists a vocal group of fans who consider Yoshiaki Koizumi the one who made the franchise reach its full potential, as he was responsible for such hallmarks of the franchise as the lore of the Triforce and Golden Goddesses in A Link to the Past, and increasing focus on story telling and memorable characters starting with Link's Awakening, and the revolutionary Camera Lock-On feature in Ocarina of Time.
  • Older Than They Think: The completed Triforce is actually the emblem of the Japanese Hojo clan, which has been around in various forms since at least the 12th century.
  • One True Pairing: Link and Zelda. This pairing has been since the very beginning and is still on top. The only other pairing that comes even close would be Link/Midna, but has the disadvantage of appearing in only one game that feels more like an exception, rather than a norm. Plus there is a romance angle in their relationship sometimes. Zelda clearly showed interest in Link in the first two games, the "Oracle" duology and "Spirit Tracks", with the two being a couple in "Skyward Sword". A Reincarnation Romance was downright confirmed in Hyrule Warriors. The game may or may not be canon, and is a separate continuity from the three official timelines where Link and Zelda don't reincarnate in the same way, but it still helps make Link-Zelda more popular than any other canon pairing the series has shown.
  • Periphery Demographic: The series was deliberatedly targeted towards young male gamers, but it managed to attract a large female fanbase from very early on. This was made painfully clear to Nintendo during the time of release of Ocarina of Time in the United States, namely with its TV commercial. That ad infamously ended with the snippet Willst thou get the girl? Or play like one?, which definitely didn't sit well with said section of the fanbase, and Nintendo changed it quite quickly for the more uncontroversial Willst thou soar? Or willst thou suck?. Ever since, albeit male gamers are still the bigger demographic, Nintendo always keeps the female section of the fanbase in mind when advertising it.
  • Play-Along Meme: The twist that Sheik's true identity of Zelda is well known, but fans pretend that they have no idea who she really is.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Goes hand in hand with the situation described in One True Pairing above. In Western countries, the Link / Zelda ship is known as "ZeLink", while in Japan it would be "LinZel" (Or more accurately, リンゼル "RinZeru")
  • Protagonist Title Fallacy: Poor Link is one of, if not THE best known example of this trope in the entire video game medium, to the point of Memetic Mutation ("What if Zelda was a girl?"). Ever since the first game in the franchise, newcomers tend to think "Zelda" is the name of the green-clothed hero.
  • Recurring Fanon Character:
    • BEN, a creepy, supernatural doppelganger of Link that originated from the Ben Drowned Creepypasta, has become a recurring supernatural villain in The Legend of Zelda fanworks, even having its own video games and legends.
    • The Patchwork Fic fan-comic A Tale of Two Rulers spawned various popular Zelda/Ganondorf children, including Covarog, Ralnor, and Orana. Sometimes their half-sister Rinku is included, though that depends on if the work has it's own version of Link or not.
    • Jenna Silverblade is a Mary Sue self-insert love interest of Link from the famously So Bad, It's Good fanfic My Inner Life. The story and Jenna’s character are widely mocked, making Jenna one of the most popular OCs in the fandom.
    • A female pink-haired Link was depicted in an obscure 1986 Japanese magazine that would have been forgotten had Twitter user HistoryofHyrule not uploaded high-def scans of the female Link on Twitter in 2022. This pink-haired female Link became a popular subject for fan art on social media, and want her to be in a future Zelda game, seeing this as proof that a female Link can work.
  • Sacred Cow:
    • The series, as well as its protagonist Link, are unanimously praised and loved by the gaming community in the west — even more than Super Mario Bros., Nintendo's own flagship series and one that's sold many more games than Zelda and other franchises by a huge margin.
    • While the core fanbase is split as to the overall quality of each game, four in particular — A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask and Breath of the Wild — are treated as this and adamantly defended from any sort of criticism, although this raises accusations of "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny and Hype Backlash. The Wind Waker gets this treatment to a somewhat lesser extent.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Some fans feel that Breath of the Wild has done this to any number of previous games in the series, due to how much more expansive it is and how much it benefits from advancements in game design of the time, which makes previous games look like minor variations on the same formula (A Link to the Past for 2D, Ocarina of Time for 3D) in comparison.
  • Sequel Displacement: Most of the series' current fans came in after Ocarina of Time and it was surprisingly common to see Majora's Mask referred to as "Zelda 2," even though the real Zelda II was made ten years before Ocarina.
  • Shipping: A rabbit hole that runs too deep to get into detail here. Long story short, many fans really like to argue about Link's perfect mate, both in the series as a whole and on a game-to-game basisnote . Ironically enough, even people who don't like the idea of shipping in the series tend to be just as passionate about Link not being paired up with anyone as people who do want to see him paired up.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Each game is bound to have at least one sidequest or minigame that completely distracts from the main story. In fact, some games make the story seem like a minor annoyance than a matter of importance in the game.
  • Signature Scene: Any time Link pulls the Master Sword out of its pedestal, with the most memorable instances of this being in A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, and Breath of the Wild.
  • Signature Series Arc: The "Hero of Time Saga", which strictly consists of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Masknote  and more loosely also includes Wind Waker and Twilight Princess,note  is this for the franchise. These games collectively defined and built on the lore and themes established by the games preceding Ocarina of Time, making the series' infamous timeline much more clear at least among the games in the arc.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: Most Zelda games have this as part of their formula, where Link must collect three artifacts before a major plot development; this is most pronounced in Ocarina of Time where Link's age, appearance, powers and environment change massively in the Adult timeline, and in Twilight Princess where the prologue and first three dungeons are rather drawn out. Some games avoid this, such as Breath of the Wild where the pace increases more linearly.
  • Super Couple: Again, Link and Zelda. They're Nintendo's best-known romance, apart from Mario/Peach, to the point where even non-fans know about Link/Zelda. The series never stops handling out Ship Teases like candy, and Skyward Sword had their evolved relationship as one of its main draws.
  • Sweetness Aversion: Some fans feel this way about the series, particularly the Toon Link and Classic Link games, believing that it needs to be mature and gritty to be any good, though the actual content is a different matter entirely. Twilight Princess was a conscious effort to avert this trope after said Toon Link games.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Ocarina of Time tends to be used as a measuring stick, by both the fandom and professional critics, to judge the sequels that followed. This led to each game getting some form of It's the Same / It Changed, Now It Sucks criticism. This even extended to its own remake, where most of the negative criticism was due to the lack of new features rather than the nature of the game itself.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Inexperienced players have been known to mistake Link for a girl. This became Hilarious in Hindsight after Linkle was announced.
  • Vindicated by History:
    • Actually a recurring element, to the point where the process has been nicknamed the "Zelda Cycle". Since Majora's Mask, every time a new console game is released, it's immediately panned by what seems to be most fans, while the previous title (which also was mercilessly panned when it came out) is suddenly praised as a masterpiece.note  Eiji Aonuma went on the acknowledge this phenomenon in an interview during the development of The Wind Waker HD.
    • The narrative of the games as a whole. Despite the fact that Nintendo is very upfront about the fact that they think about gameplay first and narrative second (or maybe even third), there is a growing sincere appreciation for the stories and characters told in the games as time goes on. Overall, they are deemed simple, but really engaging nonetheless, hitting a good mix of High Fantasy and Heroic Fantasy, with a healthy dose of Fairy Tale for good measure. This is especially true for the 3D entries: Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, The Wind Waker, and even Twilight Princess to a smaller, but still significant degree, have narratives that weren't particularly praised when they first came out, but nowadays a growing number of fans state them as one of the key components for their enjoyment of the games. The narrative of Skyward Sword was even largely praised practically from day one, to the point that it's considered the game's saving grace among some of its detractors. And that's BEFORE we get into the Fan Wank shenanigans of the lore and continuity, AKA the timeline. The fact that the deliberate lack of story focus of Breath of the Wild was heavily criticized by this demographic, especially when in comparison to the aforementioned entries, only cements this development further.
  • Writer Cop Out:
    • The addition of the "Link is Defeated" timeline is seen this way by many, since it turns that part of the timeline into a "What If?" scenario instead of having a stronger explanation involving legitimate and certain events that lead up to the defeat. And it opens up the question of why there aren't other timelines created by "Game Overs" in games of the series other than Ocarina of Time, or why did the split happened specifically at the Final Battle, for that matter, rather than at any other point in the story.
    • Nintendo's refusal to place Breath of the Wild at any specific point in the timeline, beyond a vague after all the other games in the franchise. While Aonuma stated that this was deliberate so players could use their imagination and put it wherever they feel it fits, many fans weren't pleased with the idea. Many consider that Nintendo, at best, just doesn't care about the timeline anymore at this point and are just giving up on having any real continuity, and at worst, that they are just making the fans do that work for them. Partly because before Aonuma's confirmation, Nintendo had been giving contradictory statements about this issue since before the game's launch, and many fans feel that they will end up having no other choice but to be more specific when newer entries start to accumulatenote .
    • Some people considered the creation of Linkle in Hyrule Warriors to be this. For said people, Nintendo basically took the easy way out in the whole "Should Link be allowed to be a girl?" debate, and deemed it not even close to good enough.

Oath of Lilto - Junya Furusawa


Alternative Title(s): Zelda Manga, The Legend Of Zelda Manga

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