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|“||And the other, who holds the Triforce of Wisdom...is the seventh Sage, who is destined to be the leader of them all... It is I, the Princess of Hyrule, Zelda. I apologize for meeting you in disguise, but it was necessary to hide from the king of evil. Please forgive me...||„|
|~ Zelda revealing herself to Link in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time|
|“||Stow your fear. It's now or never!||„|
|~ Zelda in the opening of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: World of Light|
Princess Zelda, or just Zelda, is the name for several female members of Hyrule's Royal Family who play an integral role in the history of Hyrule. Though each is the titular heroine of The Legend of Zelda series, the actual player character is Zelda's respective Link.
Princess Zelda is not one individual, rather multiple individuals born into the Royal Family of Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda series. An almost completely unique incarnation of Zelda or one of her alter egos has always been one of the central characters in the series. Each one varying in age and appearance, although nearly all incarnations take the form of a beautiful woman or girl with long hair (usually blonde).
Most incarnations of Princess Zelda are portrayed as the possessor of the Triforce of Wisdom, and many also possess several magical abilities, such as telepathy, shapeshifting, and the ability to conjure powerful magical blasts.
Princess Zelda is not one individual, but rather the name was given to females within the Royal Family of Hyrule. Except for two games, an incarnation of Zelda or one of her alter egos has always been one of the central characters in the series. In most incarnations, Princess Zelda is often shown as a beautiful and elegant princess (either as a child, teen or young adult) with the notable exception of Skyward Sword, where she is depicted as a commoner girl. Her hair is usually long and blonde, although in early games, she is depicted as having red hair (due to pixel limitations), and in Twilight Princess, she is depicted as being a brunette, and is usually loose or tied into a braid. Princess Zelda almost always wears a long, pink and white dress that always displays the Hyrulian Crest on it, as well as a tiara to show her title of royalty. In most games, she wears high heels, but in Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, she wears boots, and in more recent incarnations (such as Breath of the Wild and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate), wears sandals.
Zelda is described as kind, virtuous, and benevolent ruler who deeply cares for the people of Hyrule and will do anything to keep them safe, and is not afraid to come to their assistance whenever they need help. Zelda's wisdom is also extraordinary, as her decisions often reflect upon the wisest decisions to help the Kingdom she rightfully rules. Also, Zelda is known to be a forgiving individual, even to those who have previously and regularly harmed or threatened to kill her (such as Ganondorf).
Power and Abilities
Princess Zelda is shown to possess several magical powers. Zelda is capable of using magic to conjure a bow as a weapon. She is also capable of using telepathy to speak to individuals mentally and assist them. Zelda can use her magical powers to fire magical blasts as a form of defense and can teleport from one place to another. In many of her incarnations, Zelda can transform her appearance as a form of disguise, such examples include Shiek and Tetra.
It was revealed by Hyrule Historia that when the kingdom of Hyrule was established during the Era of Prosperity, the queens were often named Zelda after their ancestor, the mortal incarnation of the Goddess Hylia, from the events of Skyward Sword.
One of the first princesses to go by the name was put into a deep sleep. The Prince of Hyrule, who felt guilty about his sister's tragic fate, declared at all future princesses would hold the title of Princess Zelda to honor his fallen sibling.
In Skyward Sword, Zelda is depicted as a commoner girl who takes up the role of the goddess at the Wing Ceremony, afterwards, she and Link go for a flight together, but are nearly killed after a twister summoned by Ghirahim nearly causes them to fall to their death. Ghirahim plots to use Zelda to summon Demise, but with the help of Link and Impa, Zelda outsmarts Ghirahim by going into a deep sleep to trap demise and allow Link to use the Triforces to destroy Demise for good. Angered that his plans have been foiled, Ghirahim kidnaps Zelda and absorbs her soul as revenge. The link, however, defeats Ghirahim and restores her soul into her body. Zelda asks Link what he will do in the future, to which Link smiles, before showing Link and Zelda's Loftwings flying off in the distance, implying that Link chose to stay with Zelda.
The Minish Cap
In The Minish Cap, Link and Zelda are childhood friends who head towards the Picori Festival in Hyrule Castle Town. A confrontation with the evil wind mage, Vaati, leads to Zelda being to stone, which in turn breaks the Picori Blade in the process. Link fuses the four elements to transform the blade into the Four Sword to reverse Vaati's spell. When Link saves an imprisoned Princess Zelda atop the roof of Hyrule Castle. However, soon afterwards, the castle begins to collapse, and as Link and Zelda begin to head towards the Elemental Sanctuary, confront Vaati once more, which Link successfully defeats. Ezlo then urges Princess Zelda to makes a wish, to which she wishes for Hyrule to return to its usual, peaceful state, making all the monsters disappear and returning its people to normal in the process.
Zelda is depicted as the protector of the Four Sword. One day, she sensed something was wrong, which was later revealed to be true, as the seal of Vaati had weakened. Because of this, Vaati was able to escape and kidnapped Princess Zelda in an attempt to force her to become his bride. She is eventually rescued when Link uses the FOur Sword to banish Vaati once more.
Ocarina of Time
Zelda appears as a young girl who lived her whole life in the castle halls. One day, a young Link intrudes into the castle's courtyard, but instead of arresting him, Zelda tasks Link to find three Spiritual Stones to prevent the evil king Ganondorf from obtaining the Triforce. Unfortunately, Ganondorf catches word of this plan and began chasing Zelda around the castle after the Ocarina of Time. Feeling that she was not the best caretaker of the artifact, Zelda gives the Ocarina of Time to Link so that he can protect it from Ganondorf.
Seven years past and Zelda (now known by the alias Sheik) has trained under Impa in the ways of the Sheikah. She comes across Link (who is unaware that she is, in fact, the princess) and assists him in awaking five of the six Sages.
Zelda finally reveals herself to Link, not only as the Princess but also as the mysterious seventh sage and the protector of the Triforce of Wisdom. Ganondorf then kidnaps Link and fights him to the death.
Link succeeds and Zelda rewards him by sending him back seven years to allow him to not only relive the time he lost but also to warn a young Zelda about the danger ahead, essentially preventing the aforementioned catastrophe.
Depending on the choices made, this incarnation of Zelda is significant in the fact that she creates three different timelines: The Fallen Hero Timeline (in which Ganondorf succeeds and obtains the Triforce of Power), The Child Timeline, and the Adult Timeline (both of which Link succeeds in defeating Ganon).
Zelda plays a minor role where she is depicted spending time with Link after he warned her about the events of The Ocarina of Time. Zelda gives Link the Ocarina of Time as a means to prevent him from entering the Sacred Realm, but also as a memento to remember her by. She then teaches him the Song of Time, which holds a deep purpose to her life.
Zelda was the young matriarch of Hyrule until it is invaded by Zant, the Twilight King under the orders of Ganondorf, to whom she surrendered to prevent the deaths of herself and her people. Afterward, she is imprisoned inside a tower in Hyrule Castle. Fortunately, she is spared from becoming a spirit thanks to the powers of the Triforce of Wisdom.
Zelda, who dresses in a dark robe to hide her identity, meets Link while in his wolf form. Later, she sacrifices her soul revive a mortally wounded Midna, losing her physical being in the process and thus seemingly killing her in the process.
During the climax, Ganondorf takes control of the lifeless Zelda, who was being imprisoned in the throne room of Hyrule Castle, transforming her into an evil incarnation of her dubbed Puppet Zelda. Link defeats this evil form of the Princess, and Midna, with the help of the Fused Shadows, restores Princess Zelda to normal.
Ganondorf makes another attempt on killing Zelda, but he is foiled by the fact that Zelda is protected by the Light Spirits of Hyrule who in turn grant her the Light Arrows to assist Link in the horseback part of his final battle. She is last seen alongside Link saying good-bye to Midna at the Mirror of Twilight, destroying the connections between Hyrule and the Twilight Realm in the process.
Four Sword Adventures
Zelda uses her telepathy to call Link to Hyrule Castle so she and he can join the Shrine Maidens to investigate the seal on Vaati at the Four Sword Sanctuary, whom they defeated twice in the past. Suddenly, ominous clouds begin to appear and cover the skies over Hyrule. While using their magic to check the seal, Shadow Link appeared and kidnapped Zelda and the six Maidens and sent Link to the Four Sword Sanctuary, in doing so, Shadow Link tricks Link into releasing the seal on the Wind Mage Vaati, allowing him to escape once more.
Link eventually rescues Zelda, and the two flee the Tower of Winds. As they near the exit, the four Links (who represents the Four Sword) and Zelda are sent tumbling deep beneath the tower by Ganon. The Links are knocked unconscious, but Zelda attempts to seal away Ganon with her magic; she fails and is sealed away instead. The four Links then fight Ganon together, eventually weakening him enough to break the seal on Zelda. Zelda then joins the fight alongside the Links against Ganon and utilizes a ball of light energy which, coupled with Link's arrows, stuns Ganon long enough for him to be drawn into the Four Sword. Later she returns to the Four Sword Sanctuary where she returns the Four Sword, which fusing the Link's back into one individual once more.
A Link to the Past
Princess Zelda is depicted as a Maiden descendant of the Seven Wise Men who had imprisoned Ganon in the Dark World many years earlier. One day, Ganon uses the evil wizard Agahnim to kidnap the descendants to sacrifice them and free him from his prison, and wreck havoc on Hyrule once more. As a last resort to stop Ganon, Zelda uses her telepathic powers to contact Link to save her. Agahnim, however, manages to capture Zelda and sacrifices her to the Dark World, breaking the seal between Hyrule and the Dark World and allowing Ganon to enter Hyrule once more. Link eventually frees her and alongside the other maidens, they break the seal surrounding Ganon's lair, returning him to the Dark World. Link and Zelda then make a wish with the power of the now-freed Triforce to return Hyrule to its peaceful state before the incident.
Zelda is revealed to be the hope of the people of Hyrule. She sends Impa to Labrynna and Holodrum to find Nayru, the Oracle of Ages, and Din, the Oracle of Seasons, and bring them to Hyrule for safety against a forecoming attack from Twinrova. If both games are linked, the players must then defeat both Onox and Veran in the linked game. Twinrova will then kidnap Zelda to sacrifice her to resurrect Ganon. The plan does not go according to plan (as Link rescues Zelda, forcing Twinrova to sacrifice themselves instead), and the Ganon that is resurrected is mindless and raging and is defeated by Link.
The Legend of Zelda
Princess Zelda, as a member of the bloodline that carries and protects the Triforce of Wisdom, breaks the Triforce piece into eight fragments and hid them throughout the realm in an effort to avoid it falling into the hands of Ganon, who seeks to possess the power of the Triforce to plunge the land of Hyrule into darkness. She sends Impa to search for a Hero to retrieve the pieces and bring them back to her before Ganon finds him. Eventually, Ganon learned of what Zelda had done to the Triforce and imprisoned her within his lair under Death Mountain. After Link finds the eight fragments of the Triforce of Wisdom, he travels to Death Mountain and defeats Ganon, freeing Zelda from her prison, and returning peace to the land.
The Adventure of Link
According to legend, Hyrule was a prosperous land ruled by a king who had two children, an unnamed prince and Princess Zelda. The King maintained peace in Hyrule using the Triforce; however, upon his death, the prince (who was supposed to inherit the Triforce as a whole) only received a part of it. The prince became hysterical and began searching for the remaining pieces. Upon learning from a wizard that his younger sister, Zelda, knows the location of the mystical object, the prince angrily demanded that Zelda tell him, but Zelda refused. Angered by the refusal, the wizard cursed Zelda by putting her into an eternal sleep but also killing him in the process. Feeling guilty for his actions, the prince seals his sleeping sister in the North Palace and orders that all female descendants of the Hylian monarchy afterwards are to be named Zelda.
To break the curse, a hero must possess the complete Triforce, a hero named Link successfully obtains the Triforce of Courage, the final piece of the Triforce, and uses the complete form to awaken the sleeping princess from her eternal slumber.
The Adult Timeline
Zelda takes the form of a female pirate named Tetra, who leads a small group of thieves after the death of her mother, but is unaware of her royal bloodline as well. When she meets Link, she takes little interest in him and is mostly reluctant to help him. But when she learns about her true identity, her relationship improves, and eventually reconciles with him. While Link and the King of Red Lions set out to look for the pieces of the Triforce of Courage, Zelda stays hidden away in a basement located inside Hyrule Castle to prevent getting caught by Ganondorf. However, she is eventually caught and imprisoned inside Ganon's Tower. She is eventually freed, and after teaming up with Link to defeat Ganondorf, the two witness the second flood of Hyrule. They promised the King to search for new land to maintain the Kingdom, before setting sail for the Outset Island.
Princess Zelda plays a minor role in this game, once again in her previous alias of Tetra (although she is referred to as "Zelda" by some of the pirates during the game's intro much to her annoyance). Her role is somewhat limited in the game as she is kidnapped early on in the story, and when Link finds her, at last, she has been turned to stone. After Link defeats Bellum, he and Tetra awaken on the Ghost Ship. Tetra's crew that nothing has happened, and that the adventure they went on was "only a dream", only for Link to find the Phantom Hourglass in his pocket, indicating that it wasn't the case.
Princess Zelda plays a much larger role in Spirit Tracks than in previous installments, as she also aids Link (who is portrayed as a conductor) in the salvation of Hyrule. Afterward, Link, Zelda, and Alfonzo attempt to escape via train, but the train crashes due to the disappearing tracks, Chancellor Cole appears and attacks (and technically kills) Zelda, taking her body in process in an attempt to revive the Demon King Malladus; Zelda's spirit fortunately escapes and returns to Hyrule Castle. There, she meets with Link, who seems to be the only one that can see her (as she is now a ghost).
Link and Zelda travel to the Tower of Spirits, where they attempt to restore the Spirit Tracks.
Eventually, Zelda's body has been possessed by Malladus, Link frees her body by firing a Light Arrow using the Bow of Light. Zelda is initially unable to reenter her body, which allows Malladus to attempt to possess it again. This is countered however when Byrne uses his power to repel the Demon King, giving Zelda the strength to pray to Tetra to reclaim her body. Zelda, now back in her body, assists Link in the final against the Demon King, and together they bring an end to him for good. They are then seen holding hands as they witness the departure of the Lokomos.
After the ending credits, Princess Zelda can be seen at her office signing papers and, depending on whether Link chose to be an engineer or a warrior, she will go look out the window and wave at Link upon hearing either a train whistle or swords clanking or simply remember her adventure with Link.
Breath of the Wild
Zelda is portrayed as an aspiring scholar and the leader of the Champions of Hyrule (in addition to being a princess). She is revealed to be over 100 years old as she met with the Champions an had a grave sense that she must stop Ganon, which she devoted to researching about ancient relic to stop him ever since.
After Zelda meets Link, she starts to become suspicious about his character and silence, after failing to open an Ancient Shrine, she gets into an argument with Link, demanding him to stop following her.
Zelda then travels to the Gerudo desert where she is captured by the Yiga clan, who orders her to be executed. Before she is killed, Link arrives and saves her life, causing her to reconcile with him. Eventually, their renowned friendship allows Zelda to open up and reveal her legendary abilities.
- Ocarina of Time
- Majora's Mask
- Twilight Princess
- Skyward Sword
- Hyrule Warriors
- Besides the Princess Zeldas that appear in the games, the back story to some of the games feature additional unnamed Princesses of Hyrule who have a similar appearance to Princess Zelda.
- Although they have yet to be individually named like Link's swords, Princess Zelda has been seen possessing or wielding a blade of her own. In the promotional pictures for Twilight Princess, Princess Zelda is seen in possession of a sword and she indeed wields it against Link when she becomes possessed by Ganondorf, although not in hand-to-hand combat. In a scene where Zelda's Knights fell to Zant's Shadow Beasts, the blade was in her hand, seemingly as a status symbol or for imagery.
- Princess Zelda is also featured in other media, including comics based on the games, animated shows, and the Super Smash Bros. series. In some of her appearances, she is depicted as a brave, proud, and self-reliant fighter who is proficient in archery and horseback riding, such as in the Legend of Zelda comic and the animated series. As with the games, she is the protector of the Triforce of Wisdom.
- Shigeru Miyamoto has stated that the name Princess Zelda originated from Zelda Fitzgerald, the wife of acclaimed author, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
- American actor Robin Williams named his daughter Zelda due to his love of the Zelda video games.
- Hyrule Historia depicts an unused alternate Zelda design from A Link to the Past that gives her a fox-like appearance. It seems it was a possible Dark World form for her, similar to Bunny Link.
- Through Gameshark or Action Replay cheat codes, it is possible to make Princess Zelda appear in Clock Town.
- Over the years Princess Zelda has garnered negative criticism regarding her portrayal as a character. Many fans and critics criticism range from "having little personality in most of the respected titles, having little to no screen time for her main status character and being a total joke in combat" these criticisms have lead Zelda to become quite hated over recent years, next to Princess Elise from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). She also is very infamous and hated in the Super Smash Bros series too for her constant status as being known as "the worst character in the game, she's a total joke." Her Sheik and Tetra alter-egos, however, have been praised.
- Recent Zelda games have depicted Zelda and Link's relationship as more than hero and damsel in distress:
- Skyward Sword - shows their relationship to be platonic, which dates back to their childhood and she was swept up by Ghirahim before presumably confessing her feelings for him.
- Breath of the Wild (at least in most of the memory cutscenes) - shows them as a travelling companion's on a journey to activate the Divine Beasts and advert the return of the Calamity Ganon, with Link being her sole guardian along the way.
- According to Breath of the Wild, her favorite food is fruitcake.
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