You can’t have The Legend of Zelda without the legendary princess herself. And there is a good reason why her name is in the title of practically every game. Between her rank, her divine powers, and her influence on Link, Zelda is a pretty awesome character. Whether she’s the kind-hearted princess who believes in good, or the stern general who’s not afraid to kick some monster butt, Zelda isn’t someone you should mess with. After all, she is the reincarnation of the goddess Hylia. If you try to fight her, you will lose.
What’s also pretty cool about this princess is that there are many different versions of Zelda, but they all hold the same purpose: to rule and protect Hyrule from all evil. And thanks to her divine gifts, she usually ends up being the one with the power to stop Ganon and other villains from taking control. No matter what version of Zelda you see, she is always dedicated to her people.
But Zelda has not had it easy. Practically every version of her has gone through some pretty terrible things. Between Hyrule constantly being in danger, her getting stolen, and Ganon trying to rise to power again, Zelda has a lot on her plate. And a lot of messed up things have happened to her.
So here are the 20 worst things that have happened to Zelda. Let’s bring on the pain and suffering! Think we missed some significant moments? Make sure to let us know in the comments section below!
20 This Kingdom Is Surprisingly Hard To Hold On To
When it comes to protecting Hyrule, poor Zelda can’t seem to catch a break. Hyrule is always in danger of being taken over by some force of evil, particularly Ganon. The Gerudo King of Evil is determined to take over Hyrule, no matter how many times and lifetimes it takes him.
And he does succeed a few times. Ganon has taken over Hyrule a couple of times thanks to his immense power. And Zelda was forced to either give up her kingdom to him and go into hiding, or she was captured by and imprisoned by him. And in at least two cases, Zelda has lost her father, the King, to Ganon. That’s got to be tough on the poor girl.
19 It’s The Battle That Never Ends
What’s pretty impressive about Breath of the Wild is that it takes place 100 years after Calamity Ganon has won and destroyed a good part of Hyrule. So, while those that survived are slowly getting on with their lives, a very interesting battle is going on at Hyrule Castle.
Zelda's been locked in battle with Calamity Ganon for 100 years.
According to this game, Zelda has managed to keep Calamity Ganon at bay and trapped in Hyrule Castle for 100 years, waiting for Link to recover and take on Ganon once and for all. So, for 100 years, she’s been locked in a nonstop battle with this monstrous being of darkness. That’s a long time to be fighting. I think Zelda deserves a nap after all of this.
18 Zelda With Ghost Powers Is Pretty Cool
While Zelda has never technically been ended in the games, her ghost does get separated from her body in Spirit Tracks. While the evil Chancellor Cole takes Zelda’s body, her spirit somehow manages to escape. It does come in handy and it’s pretty cool since this was the first time you could ever play as Zelda.
But it’s kind of creepy when you think about it. Zelda’s body has been captured by an evil guy, and her spirit is just wandering around, trying to help Link. And she can possess people, which is pretty awesome, bgffut also kind of disturbing. Hey, whatever it takes to save Hyrule.
17 She’s Stone Cold Serious
Zelda has had quite a few unpleasant things happen to her. She’s been taken, nearly sacrificed, and nearly ended. And of course, she’s been turned into stone. But did you know that she’s been turned to stone not once, but twice?
In The Minish Cap, Princess Zelda gets turned into stone by Vaati, the evil dark sorcerer. And in The Phantom Hourglass, Tetra, also known as Zelda gets turned into stone by Bellum. I don’t know what it is with people wanting to turn Zelda into stone, but I’m sensing a theme here. That can’t be all that pleasant for her. I wonder if she was aware of anything while she was stone?
16 This Guy Is Way Too Obsessed With The Princess
I don’t know about you, but I think Ganon has a rather unhealthy obsession with Princess Zelda. Pretty much anytime he shows up in a game, he goes and captures the princess. I get that she’s one of the Triforce wielders and she’s literally blessed by the gods, but you need a new hobby, Ganondorf.
Ganondorf likely hurt Zelda while she was held captive.
What’s also disturbing is that Ganondorf likely hurt Zelda while she was held captive. Nothing’s been confirmed in games, but I wouldn’t put it past the King of Evil to have his own twisted fun with the princess. Poor Zelda needs to get out of there somehow.
15 Sometimes You Have To Run
Being a princess wouldn’t be an easy job, and Zelda showed she cared about her people from an early age. But in Ocarina of Time, she was forced to leave Hyrule castle and go into hiding when Ganondorf betrayed the Royal Family and took over Hyrule.
This must have been hard for Zelda. Even though she was only a child when this happened, it probably felt like she was turning her back on her people. She knew that she couldn’t do anything if she was gone, but that still must have been a difficult thing to do. But things worked out in the end, thanks to her working with Link.
14 How Far Would You Go To Save Your People?
While Zelda doesn’t play a huge role initially in Twilight Princess, she does some pretty awesome things. And one that stands out is that she gives her life to save Midna. After Zant exposes Midna to the light world, Midna is mortally wounded and barely clinging to life. But Zelda decides to save Midna’s life by giving up her soul and her divine powers to her.
You’d think that would end Zelda, but it apparently just makes her body soulless, an empty shell. It’s a very noble thing to do, and you could see why Zelda did it. She understands that Hyrule and Link need Midna if they have any chance of defeating Ganandorf and Zant. But still, that’s a pretty brave thing to do, Zelda.
13 That’s A Lot Of Pressure
Being a ruler over a country wouldn’t be easy. And throughout the games, Zelda has often taken over as the ruler of Hyrule at a pretty young age. I think the oldest version of her still isn’t much older than 18. So, you can imagine that she would feel a lot of pressure.
Zelda has often taken over as ruler of Hyrule at a pretty young age.
But I think it’s the Zelda from Breath of the Wild that goes through the most, mentally and emotionally. She knows that it’s up to her to stop Calamity Ganon, but she can’t seem to access her divine powers, and you really feel for this girl who’s trying her best, but still failing. It’s hard when your entire people are relying on you to win.
12 She’s Not Herself Right Now
It’s always kind of creepy when good characters in a game get possessed by evil ones. You’re basically fighting your friends, but they’re not really them. And of course, this has happened to Zelda a couple of times as well. The most notable one is in Twilight Princess.
After Zelda gives her soul and powers to save Midna, Ganondorf captures Zelda’s body. And when Link and Midna come to fight Ganondorf, he uses Zelda as a puppet to fight Link. Thankfully, Link and Midna manage to restore Zelda to normal, but that must’ve been terrible for her. Even if she wasn’t aware of anything, her body’s probably super sore at least.
11 That’s A Powerful Soul
Even the first and original Zelda in Skyward Sword had her fair share of hardships. She had to travel from temple to temple to activate her powers. She was taken by Ghirahim and then her soul was used to bring about the great Demise, an evil entity that was sealed away.
Being ended is one thing, but having your soul ripped out of you and absorbed by another being can’t be pleasant. What’s also crazy is that the events of Skyward Sword trigger the never-ending loop of the battle between Zelda, Ganondorf, and Link. This is where it all started, and Zelda still ended up suffering.
10 Everyone Wants This Princess
It’s not just Ganondorf that has an unhealthy obsession with Princess. Throughout the games, a lot of people have captured, imprisoned, or trapped Princess Zelda in some way. Pretty much any time an evil entity was bent on taking over Hyrule, that meant subduing the Princess somehow.
Defeating her basically ensures nothing stands in your way of conquest.
This does make sense since Zelda is the main monarch of Hyrule, and she has the powers of an actual goddess. Defeating her basically ensures nothing stands in your way of conquest (except for a certain boy in green clothes). But that has to be annoying for Zelda. Getting captured constantly would get old real fast.
9 It’s Not A Party Without A Sacrifice
Along with being captured many times, it’s a bit surprising how many times Zelda has been sacrificed and nearly sacrificed. Some villains wanted to sacrifice her to bring back Ganon, Agahnim sacrificed her to the Dark World, and let’s not forget that Ghirahim sacrificed her soul to release Demise.
Since Zelda is the reincarnation of the goddess Hylia, it does make sense that sacrificing her would bring about a lot of power. And fortunately, none of the sacrifices have been permanent, so Zelda was never ended. But you have to feel bad for Zelda. All these people trying to sacrifice her to gain power. That would be seriously annoying.
8 She’s Looking A Little... Flat
Throughout the games, Zelda has had a few things happen to her. She’s been transformed into stone, her spirit got temporarily separated from her body, and she’s lost her soul a couple of times. But probably the most random thing to happen to her was that she was turned into a painting.
Yep, in A Link Between Worlds, Zelda gets turned into a painting by the evil Yuga, who then uses her and the power of the Seven Sages to revive Ganon. It’s only thanks to Link that she gets free. I can only imagine how uncomfortable it would be to be a painting.
7 Making A Tough Decision
When you’re the ruler of a country, you have to make some pretty hard decisions sometimes for the greater good. And Zelda is very much aware of that. One of the hard decisions she had to make was in Twilight Princess.
Surrendering meant that her people were at the mercy of Zant.
After Zant storms Hyrule Castle, Zelda is forced to make a decision: surrender or watch her people perish. And Zelda decides to surrender. That couldn’t have been easy for her, especially since surrendering meant that her people were now at the mercy of this insane Twili. But she knew that where there was life, there was hope. But that still would’ve been a very difficult decision, one I wouldn’t have wished on anybody.
6 An Endless Sleep
Not a ton of Zelda fans are familiar with the game The Adventure of Link. But it’s become iconic as being a rather difficult Zelda game and the only Zelda game to have the side scrolling function. And the Zelda in this game hasn’t escaped unscathed either.
In this game, Zelda is a princess who’s been placed under a spell by an evil wizard, causing her to sleep an eternal sleep, and she remains asleep for many generations. And it’s only thanks to Link, who obtains the Triforce of Courage, that Zelda wakes up. Though I don’t know if this was a seriously terrible thing to happen. I wouldn’t mind sleeping for a few centuries.
5 She’s Often Going In Alone
Depending on the version, we occasionally see Zelda’s father alongside Zelda. Though she soon loses him, thanks to Ganon. But there’s one person we never actually see, though she is mentioned a couple of times. Of course, we’re talking about Zelda’s mother.
In pretty much every version of Zelda, she’s lost her mother. And in a few games, we see how Zelda is affected by this, particularly in Breath of the Wild. It’s pretty obvious that Zelda lost her mother recently and is still missing her. That’s got to be hard for the princess, especially when she’s trying her best to gain the powers to protect Hyrule. Poor girl.
4 Hiding And Ninja Training
Imagine living in the world where a great evil had taken over, but there wasn’t anything you could do about it except hide and train in the shadows. Well, that’s what happened to Zelda in Ocarina of Time. For seven years, she had to remain in hiding, training with the Sheikah Clan, while Ganon wreaked havoc.
She had to be in hiding for seven years.
I can imagine that couldn’t have been easy for Zelda. She must’ve been aching to help her people, but she knew she couldn’t do anything at the time. Her only choice was to learn and grow and become stronger while also waiting for the Hero of Time to come.
3 As I Lay In Your Arms
In most of the games, Zelda and Link are shown to be pretty close. Link’s dedication to her is admirable, and her faith and trust in him is pretty amazing. And it’s usually only through these two that Ganon can be defeated. But Zelda has seen Link fail and actually perish.
The most memorable moment is in Breath of the Wild where Zelda holds a dying Link in her arms. She does help bring him back, but it takes a hundred years before he’s revived. But if you think about it, anytime you fail in a final battle against Ganon, Zelda has likely watched you perish. Imagine seeing your champion being ended. I can’t imagine that was easy for her.
2 She’s More Powerful Than We Give Her Credit For
We often talk about Link going up against some crazy foes (and he does deserve the recognition because this guy has had some epic battles), but I think we tend to downplay Zelda’s power. Zelda has actually gone up against some pretty powerful people.
Most notably, she’s clashed against Ganon multiple times, a being who’s known to be one of the most powerful beings of all. And every time, she’s come out on top. But can you imagine having to fight against a being like Ganon? That would be terrifying. Zelda is a lot braver than we give her credit for.
1 The Time Split Is Totally Her Fault
Thanks to the Hyrule Historia, it’s been established that the timeline in the Zelda games has been split into three different branches. And it’s actually thanks to Zelda in Ocarina of Time that this split happens.
Did she know the implications of what was going to happen when she did this?
WhiIe don’t know if this is a necessarily bad thing, it is significant. Due to the epic battle between Zelda, Link and Ganondorf, and Zelda sending Link back to his own childhood timeline, the times get split. And in these three branches, we get different versions of Zelda. And it’s all thanks to OOT Zelda that this all happens. I wonder if she really knew the implications of what was going to happen when she did this?