Of all the characters in the Legend of Zelda series, it is Ganon that casts the longest shadow. He is the main antagonist of most of the games, and even when he's not, the pig-man/sorcerer will often usurp the position of the final boss or be involved with the villains' plans in some other way. Whether in his demon form as Ganon or his human form as Ganondorf, the King of Evil has left an impact on generations of gamers trying to rescue Hyrule and Princess Zelda from him. And because of the series' lore, a new incarnation of Ganon will always rise up to threaten the world again.
And like any good antagonist worth his salt, Ganon has a vast variety of special powers and abilities at his disposal. All the better to bedevil Link and the players controlling him. But Ganon's arsenal of tricks is vaster than most realize, ranging from his well-known use of evil magic to the more obscure like his affinity for tennis. Every incarnation of the character brings new superpowers to his disposal to the point that even his most ardent fans can't keep track of all of them. Heck, sometimes he doesn't even use some of his more powerful abilities.
This is all the result of over thirty years worth of character evolution of course, but it's still kind of jarring when you look at it all in context. In that spirit, let's look at 15 Superpowers Fans Forgot Ganon Has (And 15 He Never Uses.)
30 Fans Forget: He's A Master Swordsman
In most fantasy series like Zelda, someone characterized as a demon king or evil sorcerer like Ganon wouldn't be much of a physical fight. Their power comes from their magic, not their martial prowess.
In his human Ganondorf form, He is a master swordsman whose skill with a blade surpasses Link's. The King of Evil effortlessly dual wields, a feat all the more impressive considering he favors scimitars and great swords which are meant to be wielded with two hands. But even with just a single sword, he's a dangerous opponent.
29 Never Uses: Turning Into A Giant Monster
All right, this isn't a "Never Uses" power as much as a "Doesn't Know He Can" power. Since the introduction of his human form Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time, the last stage of the final boss usually involves a defeated Ganondorf transforming into his giant boar monster form. It's unclear though if he's even aware he's doing it or if the transformation was triggered by Ganondorf. We've only seen him transform back into his human form after going full boar once, in Twilight Princess. If Ganon does know he can transform though, it makes sense that his turning into his rampaging demon form is his Final Smash in Smash Bros.
28 Fans Forget: Making Shadow Clones Of Himself
A recurring tactic of Ganon's across several of the Zelda games is to create shadow clones of himself to pester Link across his journey. We first see this in Ocarina of Time, where Phantom Ganon (the clone) is the boss of the Forest Temple. Phantom Ganon reappeared in Wind Waker, acting as his creator's guardian. The clones possess all the same abilities as Ganon, from his swordsmanship to his equestrian skills, but due to their ghostly nature were immune to most weapons. For players, they were mostly a warm-up for the real thing.
27 Never Uses: Triforce Wielder
A key part of Ganon's motivation in any Zelda game is his desire to wield the entire Triforce, the most powerful object in the series' lore. We have to question exactly what he's going to do with it though because he already has a third of it and never uses that power.
Yeah, he's already got the Triforce of Power.
The series is deliberately vague on what exactly the Triforce does, but we know it bestows several things on Ganon. Like his near-immortality. But as for what he can actively do with the Triforce of Power? Never really explained.
26 Fans Forget: Super Strength
Physical threats and magical ones are often separated in fantasy stories. Ganon is one of the rare exceptions because that dude's got super strength on top of his magic. We see him demolish all of Hyrule Castle with one punch in Ocarina of Time and survived its ruins falling on top of him. But the King of Evil's great strength is more apparent in the Super Smash Bros. series, where he can deal massive damage without any of his trademark magic or weapons. True, he can enhance his blows with magic but even his base attacks hurt like heck.
25 Never Uses: Near-Immortality
As both the wielder of the Triforce of Power and the reincarnation of the Demon King Demise, Ganon has a lot of evil magic and power to protect him. In fact, the combination of those two things makes him near-immortal. Only weapons made to hurt evil like the Master Sword or the Silver Arrows can harm him. As such, he's survived several fatal attacks before the events of Twilight Princess and has shrugged off other serious blows. Despite this, the idiot only gets involved when he has to face off against the one thing that can hurt him.
24 Fans Forget: Invisibility
He hasn't used this power in a very long time, but way back in the first Legend of Zelda game Ganon did have the ability to turn invisible. It seems he was much weaker in these early days, as Ganon used this power to shoot fireballs at Link and then disappear. Not exactly the confrontational powerhouse he is now. Even then, he forgot to take his vulnerability to the Master Sword into account as getting hit by it would render him visible for a few moments. Yeah, players had to swing wildly to hit him, but that's still crappy invisibility.
23 Never Uses: Reincarnation
Okay, obviously Ganon uses his ability to reincarnate after death. That kind of happens without having to do anything, like with Link or Zelda. But he never takes advantage of it. One thing that separates Ganon from those other two is that he actually remembers his previous incarnations.
You'd think he'd learn from those past mistakes but no.
The King of Evil just keeps making the same blunders. The only incarnation of Ganon to actually change his strategy is his Wind Waker incarnation, who actually showed some regret about how pointless all his ambitions have been.
22 Fans Forget: He Commands Monsters
As the reincarnation of the Demon King Demise, you might think the various Zelda monsters just flock to Ganon. Like he's a magnet of evil or something. But you'd actually be wrong. The Moblins, Lizalfos, and others are not just stupid beasts and they've actually sworn fealty to Ganon. He's their commander, like a general in an army, not their controller. Sure, some of the boss monsters just respect his vast power, but nevertheless, they know he's the one who is in charge. So loyal are his monster followers that they spent most of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link trying to resurrect their fallen leader.
21 Never Uses: Portals And Teleportation
If you could teleport, would you teleport to somewhere within the same room? No, because that would be silly. Apparently, Ganon didn't get the memo though.
That fool only ever teleports in the same room.
And only during boss battles. I get the strategy, trying to sneak up behind your opponent and catch them off guard, but come on. Just walk man. Or at least get a bigger room. Ganon did this in both the original Zelda and Twilight Princess. He can also pass between different dimensions like the Dark World and the Twilight Realm.
20 Fans Forget: His Presence Wards Off Good Magic
From the beginning, Ganon was set up as the embodiment of evil in the Zelda series, but it's been codified into the lore since. In Ocarina of Time, the fairy Navi says Ganon's presence creates a wave of darkness that keeps fairies away and prevents him from being targeted.
His very being wards off good magic.
This could be because Ganon is the reincarnation of Demise, the literal root of all evil in Zelda lore. It could also explain how he could break the seal trapping him in Breath of the Wild. His very presence weakened it.
19 Never Uses: Warlock Punch
The disconnect between Nintendo's multiplayer games and their main series games can create some weird plot holes. Like how Ganondorf has a ton of powerful attacks in Super Smash Bros. that we've never seen him use in any Zelda games. Like the Warlock Punch. Ganon charges up his fist with evil magic and then backhands opponents. Seems like that would be handy in a boss battle. The real reason is that Ganon's moves in Smash were based on Capt. Falcon's, like his famous Falcon Punch, but fans deserve an in-universe explanation.
18 Fans Forget: He Can Possess People
Ganon has many magical abilities at his disposal and some are less straightforward than others. One trick he's used on occasion is to possess another person's body and fight using that. We saw this in Twilight Princess where he actually possessed Zelda's body to do battle with Link. It was a smart move. No one wants to hurt someone they love, even if they're possessed. But even if he doesn't outright take over their body, Ganon can still corrupt and influence people. He did this with Zant from Twilight Princess and Agahnim in A Link to the Past.
17 Never Uses: Flame Choke
Despite mostly being known as a sorcerer, Ganon seems to have a great love for physical combat. It might explain why he so often challenges Link to sword fights and why he uses no weapons at all in Super Smash Bros. He's not above using his magic to give him an edge though. Another Smash Bros. move is the Flame Choke, where Ganon grabs opponents by the throat and blasts them with evil magic, knocking them to the ground. It's a cheap move considering he's strong enough to deal damage without magic, but he is the villain.
16 Fans Forget: Resurrecting Ancient Monsters
You ever wonder where all those huge boss monsters you fight in all the dungeons come from? Well it turns out that those are all Ganon's handiwork. He's been taming dangerous beasts in the wild or resurrecting ancient monsters to serve as obstacles in the dungeons.
This is best seen in Ocarina of Time.
There, he not only empowered the game's first three bosses but also unsealed the ancient spirit Bongo Bongo and brought the dragon Volvagia back to life. It really is a testament to Ganon's magical prowess that he can bring such powerful monsters back from the dead.
15 Never Uses: Fire Breath
Generally, Ganon is seen as weaker and less of a threat in his demonic beast form than he is in his human form. For the most part that's true, he lacks much of his magical and weapons skills in beast form.
But the change also gives him new powers.
Ganon's demon form in Hyrule Warriors lets him breathe fire. It's a move called Burning Breath, where he will actually hover into the air and strafe the field with fire like a dragon. Giving up swords to go full Dracarys on some fools? I'd make that trade.
14 Fans Forget: Flight
Most boss battles with Ganon go the same way. He's got a big sword, he throws fireballs at Link, you can distract him with your fishing pole. But the fight with Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time was different.
In that game, Ganondorf hovered around the arena.
Yes, you may have forgotten since he's not utilized the ability since but Ganondorf could fly in his human form's first appearance. All the better to throw fireballs at players. Though knowing that he can, at least, levitate makes one wonder why he hasn't used something so useful since.
13 Never Uses: Agility
Anyone who's played as him in Smash Bros. knows that speed isn't exactly one of Ganon's strong points. He hits like a truck but moves like one too. It may be an act though, as he's shown some surprising agility in other circumstances. During the final boss battle in Wind Waker, Ganon is able to dodge Zelda's Light Arrows without looking at them. He also manages some sweet flips during the battle, implying that he's light on his feet for such a big guy. Of course, his beast form is even faster, matching the speed of horses.
12 Fans Forget: Absorbing Hatred To Become More Powerful
Even when he's in a weakened state, Ganon has powers to increase his strength and cause chaos. A lesser known talent of his, seen best in Twilight Princess, is to absorb other people's hatred and anger and turn it into power for himself. In that game, Ganon used the resentment felt by the Twili tribe over their banishment from Hyrule to restore his power after a failed attempt on his life. Doing so, the King of Evil became strong enough to corrupt the usurper king Zant and escape the Twilight Realm he'd been banished to.
11 Never Uses: Desert Survivalist
One thing that often gets forgotten about Ganon is that his human form had a separate backstory. The human Ganondorf was born to the desert-dwelling Gerudo tribe, their first male baby in generations.
But living in the desert is no picnic.
The Gerudo, including Ganondorf, had to turn to banditry to survive, pillaging the nearby Hyrule settlements. This even factored into Ganondorf's motivations in Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker. He wanted to bring greater prosperity to his people in the desert.
10 Fans Forget: Master Of Deception
Ganon may be an extremely powerful fighter and sorcerer, but he knows it's not always best to rush in. Sometimes, it's better to be subtle. Several times throughout the Zelda series he's shown using cunning and trickery to achieve his goals. The best example is Ocarina of Time, whereas Ganondorf he convinced the King of Hyrule he was a trustworthy ally and manipulated his way to the throne. But even in his demon form, he employs such deception. In A Link To the Past, he used his minion Agahnim to overthrow the king and open a path to the Dark World.
9 Never Uses: Telepathy
It's unclear exactly how strong Ganon's telepathy is or what the limits of it are. It's only been acknowledged in Wind Waker, when he refers to seeing into Zelda's dreams. So maybe it's only limited to Triforce Wielders. We can speculate that maybe he used his telepathy again in Ocarina of Time, where he read Zelda's mind about visions she was receiving about him. But again, it's unclear. It would make sense though. Ganon has been shown to influence the thoughts of others with his evil and turn them to his own ends.
8 Fans Forget: Weapons Master
His go-to weapon might be a large sword, but that's not the only weapon Ganon will use. Throughout the series, he's shown himself as a capable wielder of many different weapons.
If not a sword, he'll often use a trident.
It's been a staple of his since the original Legend of Zelda, and Ganon has used it in both his human and demon forms. A trident is also his main weapon in the game Hyrule Warriors as well. He's even used holy weapons, the only things that can hurt him, like the sword used to eliminate him in Twilight Princess.
7 Never Uses: Master Thief
Before he was a sorcerer or a pig-man demon, Ganon began life as one of the desert-dwelling Gerudo. With resources scarce in their homeland, the Gerudo turned to banditry. All of them became thieves and raiders, Ganon included, and he was named King of Thieves. Granted, that title was always given to the one male born every 100 years to the all-female Gerudo. But still, given the lifestyle the Gerudo lived and the deeds that followed in Ganon's life, it seems safe to assume he earned that title. Heck, by trying to steal the other two Triforce pieces, he's still a thief.
6 Fans Forget: He's An Equestrian
Between magic, sword fighting, and physical combat, it seems like there aren't any skills that Ganon hasn't mastered. But one that fans forget about is his talent as a horseback rider. We first saw him in the saddle in Ocarina of Time, where his huge steed terrified Young Link, but his equestrian ability shined in Twilight Princess. That game showed he couldn't just ride a horse, but fight on one too. Of course, only the most demonic of horses will do for the King of Evil. They're all huge and black, with blood-red eyes. Players can actually tame one in Breath of the Wild.
5 Never Uses: Fury Horn
It's a shame that Ganon seems to lose some of his intelligence in his demon beast form, because it gives him access to abilities he can't use otherwise. For example, according to the game Hyrule Warriors, Ganon can borrow the abilities of other boss monsters in his beast form.
One ability is raining spikes down on his enemies.
It's a move called Fury Horn, borrowed from the monster Manhandla, and is one of his beast form's more powerful attacks in the game. How canonical Hyrule Warriors is though is unclear, maybe explaining why he doesn't do this more often.
4 Fans Forget: Turning People Evil
Turning people evil, or at least corrupting them, has never explicitly been stated to be one of Ganon's powers. There's enough evidence across the Zelda games to make a case though. In Ocarina of Time, The Gerudo tribe turned from a merchant people to bandits while Ganon was their king, only giving up theft after his defeat. In Twilight Princess, it was his influence that made King Zant usurp the Twili throne and invade Hyrule. Even in Breath of the Wild, Ganon's Malice blights and poisons everything it touches. He's true evil in his blood.
3 Never Uses: Turning Minions Into Weapons
Okay, this power is kind of a cheat since we've only seen the Demon King Demise use it in Skyward Sword. But Ganon is Demise's reincarnation, so that's close enough for me. In the final boss battle of the game, Demise turns his general Ghirahim into a dark sword that he uses to battle the original incarnation of Link. Given the loyalty the many monsters of his army show him, it's surprising Ganon hasn't tried doing this himself. He certainly knows how to wield a sword. Perhaps the ability was lost in his reincarnation.
2 Fans Forget: He's Apparently Skilled At Tennis
Unlike its Nintendo sister series, the Mario games, the Legend of Zelda doesn't have any multiplayer sports or party games. You're not going to see Link and Ganon go-karting any time soon. Nonetheless, players can notice Ganon's affinity for the game of tennis. A favorite tactic of his, seen in Ocarina of Time and others, is to throw a ball of energy at Link only for Link to knock it back with his sword. They'll continue knocking it back and forth until it hits one of them.
1 Never Uses: He Can Play The Piano
Let it never be said that Ganon is not a man of some culture. Players of Ocarina of Time will remember that as they climbed Ganon's Tower to reach him, they were serenaded by the ominous sound of a pipe organ. And who should we find playing it at the top of the tower? None other than Ganondorf! It's such a classic villain trope, probably going back to Phantom of the Opera, but darn if it doesn't work. Ganon's skill at tickling the ivories set the perfect mood for the climactic battle of a masterpiece game.