The Legend of Zelda series focuses on the story of three main characters: Link, the protagonist, Ganondorf, the antagonist, and Princess Zelda, the damsel in distress. Zelda is often overlooked as the timid, defenceless maiden who requires constant saving. Despite popular belief, Zelda is more than capable of taking care of her own, and is more than just the conduit for Link’s heroic quest.
Throughout the series she has morphed from a hopeless princess in Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, into an active and complex character in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, battling Ganon while Link takes it easy and rests for a few decades. She is the face of Hyrule and is bound by her Royal Family bloodline to be its guardian. Each time Hyrule faces peril, she must risk everything and do whatever it takes to protect it from evil. If Princess Zelda falls, Hyrule falls.
This is a lot of pressure to put on anyone, but thankfully Zelda has an ally: Link. Though seen as the main protagonist in the series, Link would not have gotten far without the aid of Zelda. She is constantly there to reassure him and provide him with any help he may need on his journey.
15 She Doesn’t Always Need To Be Rescued
The Legend of Zelda games plays off of the theory that princesses are always in utter peril and need to be continuously saved by loyal knights in shining armour. However, this is not always the case. Princess Zelda has shown in more than a few cases that she is strong and able. Princess Zelda has two main alter egos throughout the series: Sheik and Tetra. Sheik appears in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as a mysterious character from the Sheikah clan, an age-old tribe of warriors sworn to protect the Royal Family of Hyrule. Equipped with a lyre, Sheik teaches Link several songs and provides him with valuable information which he would be lost without.
Tetra appears in Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and its sequel, Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. She is the leader of a group of pirates that Link encounters early on in his quest. In contrast to Sheik, who does everything in her power to immediately aid Link, Tetra is initially unimpressed by Link. This changes, however, as the game progresses and Link begins to earn her respect. She helps him rescue his sister and later aids him in battle against Ganondorf. These two alter egos are prime examples that Princess Zelda isn't just a damsel in distress waiting around to be saved. She is highly capable of intervening in the plot and guiding Link whenever he needs the extra hand.
14 There Are Multiple Incarnations of Zelda
The name Zelda is traditionally passed down from generation to generation to female members of the Royal Family of Hyrule. Unlike Link, who is commonly believed by most fans to be a different individual called upon at random when a hero is needed, each Princess Zelda is connected through the Royal Family bloodline.
There are three main timelines in the Legend of Zelda series: child Link, adult Link, and fallen Link. These timelines have their own chronology in the games, depicting a wide range of differences, especially the fallen Link timeline. Each timeline has its own incarnation of Zelda and Link. The Zelda incarnations are always related to the Goddess Hylia, which will be further explained at a later point.
13 She Has Her Own Set Of Powers And Abilities
Princess Zelda is no run-of-the-mill princess, she has several magical and psychic abilities which make her practical and useful in the series. These powers include telepathy, teleportation, and the ability to undo or create barriers and seals, among others.
In Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Zelda has prophetic visions and has the power to remove barriers as they escape Ganon’s Castle. Throughout Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Zelda can communicate with Light Spirits, the spirits that watch over the four provinces of Hyrule, and in Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Zelda is able to possess the bodies of Phantoms, allowing her to help Link solve different puzzles. She is more than just an incompetent character lingering in the background with no real function. These powers have allowed her to help Link more than a few times.
12 Her Name Was Inspired By Zelda Fitzgerald
Zelda seems like a name taken from a fairytale book. It sounds bold and heroic but is not very common. According to Shigeru Miyamoto, co-Representative Director of Nintendo, the name was inspired by writer and socialite, Zelda Fitzgerald. Miyamoto heard the name, liked it and decided it was a perfect fit for their princess.
Zelda Fitzgerald, who was married to writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, came from a high standing family and was recognized for her beauty and vitality. She was named by her mother after the stories Zelda: A Tale of the Massachusetts Colony by Jane Howard and Zelda’s Fortune by Robert Edward Francillon.
11 She Didn't Appear In Every Legend of Zelda Game
Though Princess Zelda is an important character throughout the Legend of Zelda series, there are a few games in which she did not appear. This includes Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening which fails to feature the Princess or any Triforce artifact. It instead focuses on Link’s quest to get off Koholint Island, where he has been temporarily stranded.
Zelda only appears once during a brief flashback in Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. It takes place in an alternate world of Termina and also bears no mention of any Triforce relic. Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes also shows no sign of Princess Zelda, instead focusing on multiplayer strategy. Along with these, Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Oracle of Seasons fails to portray the Princess in the flesh. Instead, Link meets Impa, Zelda’s bodyguard who speaks on her behave.
10 She Has Probably Never Met Her Mother
The Royal Family of Hyrule is the ruling family of the Legend of Zelda universe. The Family includes the King of Hyrule and a Princess of Hyrule. In very few instances do we ever encounter any other members. One exception is the Prince of Hyrule, who is found in Legend of Zelda II: Adventure of Link and is acknowledged as being the brother of Princess Zelda. The King of Hyrule is a somewhat prominent character throughout the series. In Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule remains in underwater Hyrule, awaiting the hero to save the world from Ganondorf. He guides Link on his quest and unveils Tetra as Princess Zelda.
Through the entire series, there is little mention of Zelda’s mother, the Queen of Hyrule. She is briefly referenced in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, where it is discovered that she passed away unexpectedly when Zelda was six years old. However, besides this, we know nothing of the Queen. There is some speculation from fans that Nintendo sought to create a simplistic storyline, and therefore believed that having a Queen or any other Royal Family line would only muddle the plot.
9 She Has A Gift For Music
Much like Link, Princess Zelda has a knack for playing a wide range of instruments. In Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Hyrule Warriors, the Princess shows a talent for playing stringed instruments, as she wields a lyre with ease.
In Hyrule Warriors, the Princess is also seen as being a skilled conductor, able to wield a range of batons, including the Wind Waker. In Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Zelda shows Link the ropes of using an ocarina and in Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, she gives Link the Spirit Flute which has been passed down by her ancestors, therefore showing a skill for playing various stringed and wind instruments.
8 Her Family Was the Reason For (Temporary) Peace In Hyrule
Hyrule was originally created by the Golden Goddesses, three powerful deities that created the world and all life. The Golden Goddesses descended upon Hyrule, a land of chaos, and took it as their mission to cultivate the land and create the spirit of law and all life forms. When their work was done they ascended back into the heavens, but left behind the essence of their power. This was the Triforce, which rested in the Sacred Realm, a mythical plane linked to Hyrule.
The Hyrulean Civil War began shortly after, as many sought to enter the Sacred Realm and claim the Triforce for themselves. The various tribes of Hyrule fought against one another to reign over the Realm. This war was eventually put to an end when the King of Hyrule emerged and managed to unite the tribes of Hyrule under one banner. Since then the Royal Family’s job has been to rule and protect the people of Hyrule.
7 She Was Originally The Mortal IncarnationOf The Goddess Hylia
Hylia is the great Goddess featured in Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. She is portrayed across the game in statue or image form, holding a sword and bearing angelic wings. Hylia was originally entrusted by the Golden Goddesses to protect the Triforce. This was no easy task. At that time Demon King, Demise, broke through to the surface world and launched an attack with his monstrous army to steal this power. In order to protect the relic, Hylia gathered together the surviving humans on a plot of earth along with the Triforce and sent them up beyond the clouds, creating an island in the sky out of harm's way.
Hylia then called on the five remaining tribes; the Gorons, Kikwis, Ancient Robots, Mogmas, and Parella, to help her battle Demise and his dark forces. She was eventually able to seal Demise within the Sealed Grounds and restore peace over the lands. However, worried that Demise may try to break free, Hylia created a backup plan. She formed the Goddess Sword and hid it within the Statue of the Goddess, a statue of her likeness, where it would await a chosen hero. Hylia also shed her immortality, transferring her soul into the body of a human, and entrusting the Sheikah clan to be the protectors of her future incarnations. Thus she became the first Princess Zelda.
6 She Is The Leader Of The Sages
The Sages are an important element in the Legend of Zelda universe. They are the connection between Hyrule and the Sacred Realm, guarding the Triforce and are destined to help the chosen hero. The Seven Sages first appear in Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, where they fought during the Imprisoning War, managing to seal Ganondorf into the Sacred Realm. Years later, the descendants of the Seven Sages, the Seven Maidens were kidnaped by evil forces who wanted to open the Realm and free Ganondorf. As one of these Maidens, Princess Zelda sought out Link to aid them.
Zelda is the Seventh Sage and leader in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, starting Link on his journey to stop Ganondorf from acquiring the Triforce. While each Sage in the game has an element, it is never mentioned what Zelda’s is. Some fans suspect that she is the Sage of Time, as she originally appears at the Temple of Time. Others speculate that she is the Sage of Wisdom, since she possesses the Triforce of Wisdom in several games.
5 She Was Initially Going To Be A Sci-Fi Princess
Legend of Zelda is recognized as a fantasy adventure series, but this wasn’t what it was originally intended to be. According to Shigeru Miyamoto, the game was originally set in a futuristic sci-fi environment. During early development, the Triforce fragments were meant to be electronic computer chips. The storyline was originally meant to take place between the past and future, with the protagonist jumping from medieval to futuristic time periods.
The main character, Link, would act as the "link" to both times periods in the game. Some concept art has also revealed sketches of a sci-fi version of Princess Zelda. The Princess, bearing the crest of the Triforce, looks as if she is the princess of a high-tech space metropolis. One can only theorize what the plot of this technological game would have been, and it's possible it would have followed the series we now know and love, but instead featured futuristic weapons and spaceships.
4 She Is A Benevolent But Strong Ruler
Princess Zelda is depicted as a kind ruler with a deep love for her people. She is graceful and caring, but also extremely determined and self-sacrificing. On several occasions she shows empathy and selflessness. In Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Zelda asks Anjean, the protector the the Tower of Spirits, to help Byrne. Previously Byrne had attacked Zelda and Link and captured Zelda’s body after her spirit was separated from it. Once he is attacked by the Demon King and near-death, Zelda is adamant about helping him.
She is compassionate and forgiving, willing to provide some, such as Byrne, with a second chance. She is also wise beyond her years and makes her decisions based on the best outcomes. This is portrayed in Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, when Zant, the Usurper King, threatens the life of her and her subjects. She immediately surrenders to him in order to save her people, with the hope that no one will be harmed.
3 Robin Williams Was A Big Fan
Robin Williams was known to be an avid gamer and huge fan of the Legend of Zelda. In fact, he named his daughter, Zelda Williams, after a key character in the series. “From what I’ve been told, they were playing Zelda when my mom was pregnant with me,” Zelda Williams explains in a video, “and I think both of my parents really liked name, and so it just stuck.”
Williams took on her father’s hobby, after having grown up playing The Legend of Zelda games. She went on to do several commercials for the Nintendo 3DS rerelease of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time with her father. In March, Zelda Williams streamed Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in her father’s memory to raise money for the Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on researching mental heath.
2 She Doesn't Only Run Around In A Dress
Throughout The Legend of Zelda series, Princess Zelda appears to have a pretty standardized outfit. She is generally displayed in a long, flowing pink dress, with highlights of purple and white, and a tabard adorning the crest of Hyrule. However, she doesn’t always wear cliche princess attire.
In Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Zelda steps out of the dress and into a comfortable set of pants. We finally get a chance to see her character shed her ornamental robe and put on clothing that allows her to be an active participant in the game with a rich personality. She is a more fleshed-out character in Breath of the Wild, able to show strong preferences and emotions. This portrays Zelda’s inner spirit as a fighter, who sometimes needs to shake off the social constraints and do what needs to be done.
1 She Has Occasionally Appeared As A Fully Fledged Queen
Though we tend to think of Zelda as a princess, there is at least one game that depicts her as a queen. Hyrule Warriors is the first game to let Zelda try on the big-girl crown and promote her up to queen-status. In the game, Zelda has her own army of Hyrule which she can control. Despite Hyrule Warriors not officially being part of the canon, it is a nice change to see Zelda take on a more prominent role of actively commanding over her people with an official title. In Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Zelda also “acted” as queen. She was seen sitting at a throne and was the sole leader of her people, making authoritative decisions for them. Many fans question why she is still considered a princess in this game.