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Bosses, sometimes known as Guardians, (TAoL)[1] are powerful variants of the enemies Link fights in The Legend of Zelda series,[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][name reference needed] sometimes aided by Princess Zelda.[9] In Link's Awakening, the Bosses are known as Nightmares.[10]


The Legend of Zelda[]

In The Legend of Zelda, eight fragments of the Triforce of Wisdom are hidden in eight underground labyrinths containing dangerous enemies which Link has to overcome.[11][12] He then fights Ganon in his fortress in Death Mountain after completing the Triforce of Wisdom, and then takes back the stolen Triforce of Power.[13][14]

The Adventure of Link[]

Long before the events of The Adventure of Link, the King of Hyrule hid the Triforce of Courage, and wrote a message on scroll telling a hero that had not been found in his era how to unlock the way to the Great Palace in the Valley of Death.[15][16] After Impa entrusts Link with this scroll, Link defeats six palace guardians the King created, and sets six crystals Impa had given to him in the statues of each palace to undo the binding force placed on the Great Palace.[17][18][19] Following this, Link battles the last guardian in the Great Palace,[20] Thunderbird, as well as Link's Shadow, to obtain the Triforce of Courage which undoes the spell which had been cast on Princess Zelda once it is reunited with the other two pieces.[21][22]

A Link to the Past[]

In A Link to the Past, with the exception of the major antagonists Agahnim and Ganon, Link defeats Bosses which guard the way to either one of the three Pendants of Virtue in the Light World that Link needs to obtain the Master Sword, or one of the seven Crystals holding a Maiden which Agahnim had sent to the Dark World.[23] In either type of dungeon, a Heart Container is the reward for beating the dungeon Boss.[24][note 1]

Link's Awakening[]

In Link's Awakening, the Nightmares wreak havoc on Koholint Island, the world inside the Wind Fish's dream, preventing the Wind Fish from waking up. Link arrives on Koholint Island and, aided by the Owl, destroys the Nightmares.[26][27] Eight dungeons each hold a Nightmare that guards one of the Instruments of the Sirens, which together open the way to the ninth and final dungeon, the Wind Fish's Egg.[28][29]

Ocarina of Time[]

In Ocarina of Time, because of the influence of Ganondorf, the respective Bosses Inside the Deku Tree and Inside Jabu-Jabu's Belly curse the Great Deku Tree and Jabu-Jabu,[30][31] while King Dodongo, an inhabitant of Dodongo's Cavern, goes berserk.[32][33] Five[34][note 2] other Bosses prevent the Sages from awakening in their Temples,[34][39] which open the path for Link to battle Ganondorf in Ganon's Tower after their rescue.[40][41]

Majora's Mask[]

Main articles: Bosses in Majora's Mask and Bosses in Majora's Mask 3D

Oracle of Seasons[]

Oracle of Ages[]

Four Swords[]

Main article: Bosses in Four Swords

The Wind Waker[]

Main articles: Bosses in The Wind Waker and Bosses in The Wind Waker HD

Four Swords Adventures[]

The Minish Cap[]

There are six Bosses in The Minish Cap, with the sixth and final Boss having three separate forms. Each Boss is invulnerable to damage until Link is able to reveal their weak point through the use of whichever Item is obtained in the Dungeon. The final Boss, Vaati, requires the use of several Items to make his various forms vulnerable to damage from the Four Sword.

Defeating each of the first five Bosses grants Link a new Heart Container and (with the exception of Mazaal) one of the Four Elements. A green Portal also appears alongside the Heart Container (again with the exception of Mazaal), which will transport Link back to the entrance of the Dungeon.

Twilight Princess[]

Main articles: Bosses in Twilight Princess and Bosses in Twilight Princess HD

Phantom Hourglass[]

Spirit Tracks[]

Skyward Sword[]

A Link Between Worlds[]

Tri Force Heroes[]

Breath of the Wild[]

Tears of the Kingdom[]

Other Appearances[]

Zelda (Game & Watch)[]

Main article: Bosses in Zelda Game & Watch

The Faces of Evil[]

The Wand of Gamelon[]

BS The Legend of Zelda[]

Zelda's Adventure[]

Ancient Stone Tablets[]

Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland[]

Ripened Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love[]

Hyrule Warriors[]

Cadence of Hyrule[]

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity[]


TMC Forest Minish Artwork Names in other regions TMC Jabber Nut Sprite
This table was generated using translation pages.
To request an addition, please contact a staff member with a reference.

See Also[]


  1. The manual of A Link to the Past calls Bosses dungeon keepers. However, as this contradicts the name given in Encyclopedia, this name is not considered Canon.[25]
  2. Encyclopedia erroneously states that six sages (not including Princess Zelda) are rescued from exploring dungeons,[35] and that both the Light and Spirit Medallions are rewards for beating the Spirit Temple and awakening the Sage of Spirit.[36][37] In the game, Rauru is already the Sage of Light when he wakes up Link in the Temple of Light.[38]


  1. Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 222 (TAoL)
  2. "You got the Boss Key!
    Now you can get inside the chamber where the boss lurks!
    " — N/A (Ocarina of Time 3D)
  3. Oracle of Seasons manual, pg. 38
  4. Oracle of Ages manual, pg. 38
  5. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap — The Official Nintendo Player's Guide, Nintendo of America, pg. 12
  6. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess — The Official Nintendo Player's Guide, Nintendo of America, pg. 28
  7. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — The Complete Official Guide (Expanded Edition), Piggyback Interactive Limited, pg. 322
  8. Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 144 (TLoZ), 146 (TAoL | ALttP), 150 (MM | MM3D), 152 (TWW | TWWHD), 153 (FS | FSA), 155 (TP | TPHD), 156 (PH), 157 (ST | SS), 308 (ZG&W)
  9. "After he leaves Princess Zelda's body and possesses Cole's body instead, Link and Zelda battle Malladus for the sake of New Hyrule." (Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 191 (ST))
  10. "You got the Nightmare Key! Now you can open the door to the Nightmare's lair!" — N/A (Link's Awakening for Nintendo Switch)
  11. "In order to get ahold of the eight Triforce fragments, Link must first move around above ground and find an entrance to the underground labyrinths." (The Legend of Zelda manual, pg. 27)
  12. "Eight fragments of the Triforce of Wisdom are hidden in the darkest corners of dungeons scattered throughout Hyrule. The entrances to each dungeon lie aboveground and lead far below where dangerous enemies lurk." (Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 144)
  13. "Link has collected the eight fragments and completed the Triforce of Wisdom. Now he's ready to fight Ganon in the depths of Death Mountain!" (The Legend of Zelda manual, pg. 39)
  14. "After gathering all eight of the Triforce fragments, Link proceeded to Spectacle Rock and its Death Mountain peak: Ganon's stronghold. Ganon's fortress was far larger than any dungeon Link had yet explored. But deep within was Ganon, and with him, Princess Zelda. Link fought his way into Ganon's lair, where the Prince of Darkness waited, formidable but weakened by the completed Triforce of Wisdom. [...] Having defeated Ganon, Link recovered the stolen Triforce of Power and safely freed the imprisoned Princess Zelda, restoring peace to the land." (Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 218)
  15. "This scroll contains the words of the king of Hyrule: [...] The king's scroll warned that the Triforce's misuse would produced many evils, and it foretold that a crest would appear on a young man deemed worthy. Until that time, the Triforce of Courage would be hidden in the Great Palace in the Valley of Death." (Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 222)
  16. "This was written on the scroll. [...] But the Triforce Courage [sic] I have hidden for a reason. Not everybody can use the Triforce. It requires a strong character with no evil thoughts. But an inborn special quality is also necessary. Unfortunately, I have not found such a person during my lifetime. Therefore, I have decided to cast a spell on all of Hyrule. A crest will appear on a young man with that character who has been brought up correctly, gained many kinds of experience and reached a certain age. But, what will happen if someone else uses the Triforce before then? If it is misused it will produce many evils. The Triforce of Courage is hidden in the Great Palace in the Valley of Death on the largest island in Hyrule." (The Adventure of Link manual, pg. 9, 10)
  17. "After telling this story to Link, Impa entrusted him with a scroll and six small crystals. [...] To enter, Link would need to defeat the guardians of six other palaces. At the heart of each was a statue. Setting crystals in these statues would release the binding force the king had placed on the Great Palace. [...] Just as was written on the scroll, Link discovered six palaces and placed crystals in stone statues within them." (Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 222)
  18. "From the stand next to the alter [sic] where Princess Zelda lay in a deep sleep, Impa took six crystals and a scroll with the same crest and handed them to Link." (The Adventure of Link manual, pg. 8)
  19. "The Triforce of Courage is hidden in the Great Palace in the Valley of Death on the largest island in Hyrule. However, to enter there you must first fight the guardians and undo the "binding force." When you have set crystals in all of the statues in the six palaces, the "binding force" placed on the Valley of Death will be removed and you will be able to open the great palace." (The Adventure of Link manual, pg. 10, 11)
  20. "There, you must fight the last guardian. And you can obtain the Triforce only by beating that guardian." (The Adventure of Link manual, pg. 11)
  21. "Waiting at the heart of the Great Palace was the guardian, Thunderbird. After a vicious battle, Link found the Triforce of Courage in the room beyond, but his shadow cast on the wall attacked! To battle oneself was the final trial for the hero who would inherit the Triforce. Link defeated his shadow and finally obtained the Triforce of Courage. [...] Her curse broken, Princess Zelda opened her eyes and spoke: "You saved Hyrule and you are a real hero!"" (Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 222)
  22. "The magic spell cast upon Zelda will sure to be broken [sic] if the Triforce is used. Please Link, unite the Triforce and save the princess. And bring back peace to Hyrule." (The Adventure of Link manual, pg. 12)
  23. "An evil dungeon keeper lurks in the dark recesses of each labyrinth. When you defeat it, you will receive a Pendant of Virtue or a Crystal. You will need to obtain three Pendants before obtaining the Master sword. And one of the maidens is trapped inside each of the Crystals. [...] Finding seven Crystals is your goal in the Dark World." (A Link to the Past manual, pg. 31)
  24. "You will find one of these Heart Containers in Sanctuary [sic], and you will receive the others one by one as you defeat the dungeon keepers." (A Link to the Past manual, pg. 28)
  25. "After defeating the Armos Knights that serves as bosses for this dungeon, he receives the Pendant of Courage." (Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 146)
  26. "We were born of nightmares... To take over this world, we made the Wind Fish sleep endlessly! If the Wind Fish doesn't wake up, this island will never disappear! We would have been the masters of this place... But you had to come here and disrupt our plans!" — Shadow Nightmare (Link's Awakening for Nintendo Switch)
  27. "Young lad... I mean, Link, the hero! You have defeated the Nightmares! You have proven your wisdom, courage, and power! ... ... ... ... As part of the Wind Fish's spirit... I am the guardian of his dream world... But one day, the Nightmares entered the dream and began wreaking havoc. Then you Link, came to rescue the island... I have always trusted in your courage. I knew you could turn back the Nightmares." — Owl (Link's Awakening for Nintendo Switch)
  28. "Hoooot! That is an Instrument of the Sirens! I have to admit, at first I did not believe you were real... That instrument, along with the seven others in the set, has the power to wake the Wind Fish! You must collect them all! I was instructed to give you directions..." — Owl (Link's Awakening for Nintendo Switch)
  29. "When you play the instruments in front of the egg, the Wind Fish will wake and you will leave the island." — Owl (Link's Awakening for Nintendo Switch)
  30. "Deep within the Kokiri Forest, the great Deku Tree suffers from a curse that is slowly killing him. The tree beckons Link to stop the curse. [...] After finding the Fairy Slingshot, he takes aim at the root of the curse: the spider-like boss Gohma. [...] Link finds the Boomerang and rescues Ruto from the electric Barinade that has rooted itself deep inside Jabu-Jabu's digestive system." (Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 149)
  31. "But since that stranger, Ganondorf, came here, Lord Jabu-Jabu has been a little green around the gills..." — King Zora (Ocarina of Time)
  32. "The fire-breathing, infernal dinosaur, King Dodongo is the boss of Dodongo's Cavern. It is a giant Dodongo said to eat anything. Though it was originally a protector of sorts for the cavern, Ganondorf's influence has caused it to go berserk." (Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 187)
  33. "Thanks to you, we can once again eat the delicious rocks from the Dodongo's Cavern until our stomachs burst! I can't believe the Dodongos suddenly appeared in such great numbers! And that big rock blocking the cave... All this trouble must have been caused by that Gerudo thief, Ganondorf! He said, "Give me the Spiritual Stone! Only then will I open the cave for you!"" — Darunia (Ocarina of Time)
  34. 34.0 34.1 "If you believe the legend, you have no choice. You must look for the five temples and awaken the five Sages.... One Sage is waiting for the time of awakening in the Forest Temple. The sage is a girl I am sure you know... Because of the evil power in the temple, she cannot hear the awakening call from the Sacred Realm..." — Sheik (Ocarina of Time)
  35. "This is the first of many dungeons Link must explore as a young adult in order to free the six sages and Princess Zelda." (Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 149)
  36. "Light Medallion (Critical) One of six medallions that grant Link the power of the sages. Link receives it from the Sage of Spirit, Nabooru, in the Chamber of Sages." (Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 130)
  37. "Spirit Medallion (Critical) One of six medallions that grant Link the power of the sages. After clearing the Spirit Temple, Nabooru awakens as the Sage of Spirit and presents this sacred artifact to Link to aid in the looming battle with Ganon." (Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 139)
  38. "Wake up... Link, the chosen one... I am Rauru, one of the ancient Sages... Ages ago, we ancient Sages built the Temple of Time to protect the entrance to the Sacred Realm... This is the Chamber of Sages, inside the Temple of Light..." — Rauru (Ocarina of Time)
  39. "Link, at the behest of a young Sheikah named Sheik, traveled between the present and the past of seven years ago in a quest to find the six sages. After these six sages were awoken, Sheik explained that the one endowed with the Triforce of Courage sought by Ganon was none other than Link, the Hero of Time." (Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 236)
  40. "Link, the Hero of Time, was thrust forward in time to awaken the sages and, together with their leader, Princess Zelda, seal Ganon away." (Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 24)
  41. "Ganondorf's seat of power looms over where Hyrule Castle once stood. Inside are six corridors, each corresponding to a freed sage, that lead to barriers that Link must destroy in order to confront Ganondorf." (Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 149)