Demise is the overarching antagonist of the Legend of Zelda franchise, serving as one of two main antagonists and the Final Boss of Skyward Sword. Long ago, he and his horde of demons broke through a fissure in the earth and sought out the Triforce. However, he was defeated and sealed away by the Goddess Hylia and, after the events of Skyward Sword, by Link through the use of the Master Sword. Upon his defeat, Demise makes a claim that his hatred will not end, but will be reborn in the coming ages. The form of this evil is thought to be Ganon. Hyrule Historia specifically mentions that his flaming red hair is to signify a connection to him.
Demise was an eternal entity who had conquered time itself. When the Golden Goddesses departed from the world, they trusted their ultimate power, the Triforce, in the hands of Hylia to protect it. However, Demise, wanting to make the world his own, gathered an army of monsters and together launched an attack against the people of The Surface, murdering them and causing misfortunes to get their hands on the power guarded by Hylia.
To prevent the great power from falling into the hands of Demise, Hylia and the five tribes who lived on the Surface joined forces and sealed away Demise, restoring peace to the land. Due to the seal placed upon him, he assumes the monstrous form as The Imprisoned for the majority of the plot.
Ghirahim, who is actually Demise's Sword, pursues Zelda to steal her soul and thus resurrect Demise, who is his Master. Meanwhile, Demise attempts to break free of his seal by his own means in the form of The Imprisoned, but he is constantly repelled and re-sealed beneath the Sealed Grounds through the efforts of Link and Groose. When Link finally obtains the Triforce, he manages to kill Demise by driving the Statue of the Goddess from Skyloft into the Sealed Grounds as The Imprisoned awakens for the fourth time. However, Ghirahim kidnaps Zelda and takes her to the past through the Gate of Time in the Sealed Temple, where he begins a ritual to revive his master.
While Link manages to defeat Ghirahim, he is too late to stop the resurrection of Demise. The Imprisoned begins to absorb Zelda's soul and eventually transforms into the Demon King himself. Ghirahim welcomes back his master, but Demise pulls a dark Sword out of Ghirahim and seals his entity within the weapon. Demise continues to absorb the soul of Zelda to gain unstoppable power; he is impressed with Link's determination to protect the goddess and invites him to do battle. To Demise's shock, Link manages to defeat him, but in his dying throes, he warns Link that it is not over, and that an incarnation of his hatred will be reborn as a being to pursue domination of the world, as well as those with the blood of the Goddess and the spirit of the Hero, in a cycle of rebirth. Demise is sealed away within the Master Sword, where his remains begin to decay.
Demise carries a cocky, overbearing temperament, and will stop at nothing to prove his power to any who defy him. Fi describes Demise as "the source of all monsters," and states that he "has conquered time itself." Demise bears a strong resemblance to Ganondorf: large stature, fiery red hair, dark skin, and even his facial features are similar, and in the cutscene before the final battle with him, a variation of Ganon's leitmotif plays.
After Link enters the chosen battlefield through the portal in the past, Demise praises him for his courage, but tells him that when he falls, he shall rule over everything in the world. After Demise states that he will eventually acquire the Triforce and rule the world with it, the battle begins.
Striking Demise through his guard can be difficult, as he will attempt to block every attack Link makes. Additionally, Link's Skyward Strike is unavailable as the power of the Goddess is negated by Demise's personal battlefield. Link can quickly defend himself with a Shield Attack when Demise attacks with his Sword, then follow up with a vertical attack or Spin Attack. Eventually, Demise will be thrown backwards, seemingly defeated, but will then rise up and summon a storm. Demise can draw the lightning from the storm to charge his Sword with electricity. Link will now be damaged if he strikes the Sword and Demise will cause twice as much damage as before. Demise is now able to perform his own variation of a Skyward Strike, after which he is forced to recharge his Sword by pointing it skyward. It is possible to defeat Demise by attacking him before he can recharge his blade, but it is easier to mimic Demise and point the Master Sword to the sky. This will charge the Master Sword with electricity from lightning bolts, allowing Link to attack with a Skyward Strike and paralyze Demise, making him vulnerable to attack.
Eventually, he will fall back again, allowing Link to finish him with a lightning-charged Fatal Blow. However, Demise will usually dodge the attack at first, and sometimes the second. If Link is quick enough to land the second attack or attempts to land the third, the battle ends.
Throughout Skyward Sword, Ghirahim pursues Zelda in attempt to revive Demise from his imprisonment. As Link progresses farther in the game, Ghirahim's appearance begins to gain dark marks in several places. In the final stretch, in order to fully revive Demise, Ghirahim takes on his true form which bears great resemblance to Fi, strongly emphasizing that he is in fact the spirit of a sword. When Demise is fully revived, he summons the sword from Ghirahim, his true form, and Ghirahim is sent into the sword. In the end, when Demise is defeated, the sword dissolves, likely taking Ghirahim with it.
The blade is significantly larger in comparison to the Master Sword. It is capable of sending Link flying backwards in one strike and when lifted in the air during the presence of a severe thunderstorm, it can absorb lightning bolts to charge up and send electric shocks when stricken with a metal object, as well as beams.
Demise's sword is almost completely black with a red aura surrounding it. The hilt bears resemblance to the Master Sword, with a red jewel as opposed to the Master Sword's golden one. The blade differs from the Master Sword in terms of shape and size, but it bears an upside-down Triforce emblem.
- Despite elsewhere referring to Demise as a man, Fi calls Demise an "it" while describing him to Link.
- Demise will stare at the Bug Net if it is brought out, similar to the uses of the Net, Empty Bottle, and Fishing Rod in previous games. As with Agahnim's attacks, Demise's Skyward Strike can be reflected by the Bug Net.
- Demise bears a glowing, X-shaped scar on his forehead, which may be a result of the Sealing Spike. It is located in the same area that his reincarnation, Ganondorf, wears a forehead jewel, and in Twilight Princess, both Ganon and Ganondorf have similar scars which serve as weak points.
- Demise shares the title of "Demon King" with Malladus and Ganon.
- Two of Ganondorf's Weapons in Hyrule Warriors, the Swords of Demise and the Trident of Demise, are named after and designed around Demise. On a similar note, Ganondorf's design in the same game takes cues from Demise, such as the lengthy mane of hair and the waistcoat.
- The appearance of Demise's Sword mimics that of the Master Sword, but with a darker look and upside down Triforce.
|Names in Other Regions|
|FrenchEU||Avatar du Néant (SS)||Avatar of the Void|
|German||Todbringer (SS)||Death Bringer|
|This table was generated using translation pages.|
To request an addition, please a staff member with a reference.
- Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 10
- "Results from my analysis confirm that the time to strike Demise is when he holds his sword aloft." — Fi (Skyward Sword)
- "Demise in "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword" (VG) (Japanese)" — Tsuguo MOGAMI, Anime News Network, retrieved July 19, 2021.
- Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 174 (SS)
- "To give him some resemblance to Ganondorf, we didn't just make his hair red, we set it on fire." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 17)
- "This eternal being has conquered time itself. It is the source of all monsters." — Fi (Skyward Sword)
- "Handed down by the gods of old, this power gave its holder the means to make any desire a reality. Such was the might of the ultimate power that the old ones placed it in the care of the goddess." — N/A (Skyward Sword)
- "One dark, fateful day, the earth cracked wide and malevolent forces rushed forth from the fissure. They mounted a brutal assault upon the surface people, driving the land into deep despair... They burnt forests to ash, choked the land's sweet springs, and murdered without hesitation. They did all this in their lust to take the ultimate power protected by Her Grace, the goddess." — N/A (Skyward Sword)
- "In his thirst to make the world his own, Demise readied a massive army of monsters for war. He sought to take the Triforce for himself by force." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "With the humans safe, the goddess joined forces with the land dwellers and fought the evil forces, sealing them away. At last, peace was restored to the surface." — N/A (Skyward Sword)
- "Stripped of his true physical form by the seal that binds him, he takes the shape of an abomination. But even in his hideous state, he's more than capable of devouring this land if we allow him to do what he desires." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "My master may have perished in this age, but in the past he lives yet! I'm taking the girl back through that gate to help me revive the demon king!" — Ghirahim (Skyward Sword)
- "Welcome back to us, Master." — Ghirahim (Skyward Sword)
- "Hmm... So you and that other human would stand before obliteration to aid the goddess, would you? How curious... The humans I've known are weak things. Hardly more than insects, shivering under rocks and ready to flee at the mere glimpse of me." — Demise (Skyward Sword)
- "When I last walked this world, they did little more than scream and cling to their goddess, mewling and praying... Counting on her to protect them." — Demise (Skyward Sword)
- "You grow more fascinating by the second, human. I never imagined I'd meet one of your kind who wished to stand against me in battle. Very well, then. I shall prepare a place for us where we will not be bothered by distractions. If you still have the courage to face me, seek me there." — Demise (Skyward Sword)
- "Though this is not the end. My hate... never perishes. It is born anew in a cycle with no end! I will rise again! Those like you... Those who share the blood of the goddess and the spirit of the hero... They are eternally bound to this curse. An incarnation of my hatred shall ever follow your kind, dooming them to wander a blood-soaked sea of darkness for all time!" — Demise (Skyward Sword)
- "The last remnants of Demise are decaying slowly within the sword." — Impa (Skyward Sword)
- "The only question left is how long you will remain standing before I take your life. Try to keep it interesting for me, would you?" — Demise (Skyward Sword)
- "How amusing to think those cowards begot someone like you." — Demise (Skyward Sword)
- "You can spend what little time your world has left cowering and crying, as befits your kind." — Demise (Skyward Sword)
- "Ah, so you've decided to meet your end in battle after all. It pleases me greatly to see such misplaced valor, human." — Demise (Skyward Sword)
- "Take a moment to appreciate your surroundings, for where we stand shall serve as your tomb for eternity." — Demise (Skyward Sword)
- "And when you do fall, know that your world and everything in it is mine to dominate... Mine to subjugate... Mine to rule!" — Demise (Skyward Sword)
- "I will take the Triforce for my own... And the world shall be under my foot for eternity!" — Demise (Skyward Sword)
- "A series of attacks that can overwhelm Demise's guard is required, such as repeated slashing from various angles. However, vigilance is required. Any attack falling near Demise's sword has a 100% chance of being blocked." — Fi (Skyward Sword)
- "It is clear that Skyward Strikes cannot be called down to your sword because this place is under the magical influence of Demise. Attacks using Skyward Strike energy will not be possible here." — Fi (Skyward Sword)
- "Master, I see no reason why you cannot make use of the lightning strikes the same way Demise does. It is possible to store lightning in the Master Sword by raising your sword in the air as if you were readying a Skyward Strike. When lightning strikes in the distance and the sky lights up, quickly raise your sword skyward to call down the lightning." — Fi (Skyward Sword)
- "This eternal being has conquered time itself. It is the source of all monsters. According to tales passed down through generations, it appears differently in each epoch and to each person who lays eyes on it." — Fi (Skyward Sword)
- "Oh, Demon King Malladus... I am the one who has freed you from your prison! Grant me the power I have dreamed of!" — Byrne (Spirit Tracks)
- Hyrule Historia (Les Éditions Soleil) pg. 17 (SS)
- This voice credit is disputed. Some sources list Takashi Nagasako in an uncredited role.