- "I had a dream... In the dream, dark storm clouds were billowing over the land of Hyrule... But suddenly, a ray of light shot out of the forest, parted the clouds and lit up the ground... The light turned into a figure holding a green and shining stone, followed by a fairy... I know this is a prophecy that someone would come from the forest... Yes, I thought you might be the one... Oh, I'm sorry! I got carried away with my story and didn't even properly introduce myself! I am Zelda, Princess of Hyrule."
- — Princess Zelda
Zelda, Princess of Hyrule, best known simply as Princess Zelda (ゼルダ姫 Zeruda-hime?, ) is the name for several female members of Hyrule's Royal Family who play an integral role in the history of Hyrule. Though each is the titular character of the Legend of Zelda series, the actual player character is each era's respective Link.
Just as there are multiple Links, there are multiple Zeldas throughout the series. Generally close in age to her respective Link, Zelda is most often portrayed as a child, but has been portrayed as an adult on four occasions: in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Zelda is depicted as a kind and benevolent ruler. As the holder of the Triforce of Wisdom, she is wise beyond her years and intelligent enough to rule her people. She always wishes to do what is right for her people and is extremely self-sacrificing. Though not always capable of defending herself or her people on her own, Zelda is willing to use any means necessary to aid her allies to achieve those ends, no matter the cost to herself.
Zelda is portrayed as a young girl or beautiful young woman, usually with blonde hair. In Twilight Princess, however (and therefore in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, in which her appearance is based off of that of Twilight Princess), she is depicted as a brunette. She also has light brown hair in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (though she is depicted as being blonde in artwork), and auburn hair in The Adventure of Link. She often wears jewelry such as ornate earrings, as well as a royal gown of white, pink, lavender, or another pale color (red in The Adventure of Link), usually bearing the Royal Family's crest.
Associated with the Goddess Nayru and the Triforce of Wisdom, Zelda possesses keen insight and good judgment—although this does not always aid her in avoiding capture. Most of Zelda's incarnations are also gifted with innate psychic or magical powers, such as telepathy and precognition. Although her full range of abilities has yet to be revealed, Zelda has demonstrated the ability to cast spells, create or annul barriers and seals, and shoot a bow. In Twilight Princess she wields a sword, though it is unknown if she truly possesses any fencing skills. Zelda's alter egos also appear to have specialized abilities of their own.
Zelda has appeared in nearly all Legend of Zelda games with varying degrees of significance. The only exception to date has been The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, where she is briefly referenced but does not make an actual appearance. According to The Adventure of Link, all princesses in Hyrule have been called Zelda since the first Princess Zelda.
Zelda is kidnapped by Ganon, who imprisons her in his lair on Death Mountain. Before she was kidnapped, she shattered the Triforce of Wisdom into eight shards and scattered them throughout Hyrule to hide them from Ganon and prevent him from gaining its power. She then sent her nursemaid Impa in search of a hero that could reassemble the Triforce of Wisdom and be courageous and powerful enough to defeat Ganon and rescue her. Zelda is not actually seen in this game until after Ganon is defeated.
The sequel to The Legend of Zelda plays on the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty. The Zelda in this game is not the one from the first game, but rather her ancestor. Long ago, the power of the Triforce had belonged to one man alone, a great King of Hyrule; however, before his death, he divided the artifact and concealed the part called the Triforce of Courage; the heir to the throne could inherit only the rest.
Before his death, the King had imparted a secret to his daughter, Princess Zelda; it is generally presumed, though not confirmed, that this secret was the location of the Triforce of Courage. Whatever the secret was, the Princess refused to reveal it, even when her brother and one of his counselors, a Magician, threatened her. In his anger, the Magician put a powerful sleeping curse on the Princess, despite the objections of the new King. The exertions caused the Magician himself to drop dead after casting the spell, so he could not be induced to undo it. Devastated, the grieving brother had his sister locked in a tower of the North Castle, and decreed that every female born into the royal family would thereafter be named Zelda, in memory of the tragedy. Link, the hero of the game, eventually reclaims the lost section of the Triforce and awakens this Zelda from her perpetual slumber.
Princess Zelda is one of the Seven Maidens descended from the sages who sealed Ganon away during the Imprisoning War. At the beginning of the game, she is imprisoned in the dungeon of Hyrule Castle by Agahnim, who plans on sacrificing her along with the other six maidens in order to break the seal between the Light and Dark World. This would free Agahnim's alter ego, Ganon, from the Dark World and allow him to wreak havoc on Hyrule. Zelda telepathically calls for help, contacting both Link's Uncle and Link in their house.
Link rescues Zelda and takes her into the Sanctuary, where she remains under the protection of the Loyal Sage for part of the game. After Link retrieves the Master Sword from the Lost Woods, Zelda is kidnapped by Agahnim's henchmen and sent to the Dark World in his final ritual, breaking the seal. She is not seen again until she is rescued by Link from Turtle Rock. Saving her and the other six maidens opens the entrance to Ganon's Tower, the final dungeon of the game. Zelda is last seen together with her revived father in the end credits sequence.
Zelda is the daughter of the King of Hyrule, and eventually the Seventh Sage and the holder of the Triforce of Wisdom. She is also the leader of the sages. The heir to the royal family, she is of the Hylian race with blonde hair and blue eyes. She begins the game as a young girl about 10-12 years old, who is gifted with psychic abilities. In a dream of symbolic importance, she senses Ganondorf's treachery and predicts Link's arrival before either occurs. When Link meets her for the first time in Hyrule Castle's courtyard, she sends him on a quest to collect the three Spiritual Stones and protect the Triforce from Ganondorf. When Ganondorf attacks Hyrule Castle, Zelda and her nursemaid, Impa, flee the castle on horseback. The Princess throws the Ocarina of Time into the moat in front of Hyrule Castle Town for Link to retrieve; as he touches it, Zelda appears before him in a vision and teaches him the "Song of Time", the final key to the Sacred Realm.
When Link awakens from his seven-year slumber in the Sacred Realm, he encounters Zelda, disguised as a young man of about Link's age named Sheik, who claims to be a survivor of the Sheikah tribe. Thereafter, Sheik gives Link clues to the locations of the various temples, and teaches him special songs enabling him to warp to specific points near these temples. After the final temple guardian is conquered, Zelda risks her life by revealing her identity and disclosing her position as the Seventh Sage. She informs Link that both of them hold pieces of the Triforce and gives him the Light Arrows, but moments later is captured by Ganondorf and imprisoned in a pink crystal in his castle. Following Ganondorf's defeat, she is freed and assists Link in his escape from the collapsing fortress. She then helps Link defeat Ganon by holding him in place with her magic while Link delivers the final blow. After Hyrule is saved, Zelda uses the Ocarina of Time to send Link back to the past, allowing him to regain his lost seven years.
When Link retrieves the Ocarina of Time from the Skull Kid, he is overcome with memories about his departure from Hyrule. In a flashback, the young Princess Zelda from Ocarina of Time is seen saying her goodbyes to Link; she gives him the Ocarina of Time to help him on his journey, and teaches him the "Song of Time" again, which becomes vital to the completion of the game. Zelda makes no further appearances.
Impa tells Link she has been sent by Zelda to guard Din, the Oracle of Seasons, and Nayru, the Oracle of Ages, and to escort them back to Hyrule. Zelda herself will only appear in a Linked Game. She is briefly captured, either by the Great Moblin or Vire depending on which game is played, but Link rescues her. She then stays safely with Impa for a while. Towards the end of the game, she becomes upset at seeing the citizenry distraught over the evil powers pervading the land and speaks to them encouragingly to not give up hope. While she is out and about, Twinrova kidnaps her in a plan to revive Ganon, attempting to sacrifice her in order to light the Flame of Despair. Link saves her by defeating Twinrova, who sacrifice their own bodies instead of Zelda's. After Link defeats the mindless Ganon, Zelda kisses him on the cheek in gratitude.
In the beginning of the game, Zelda goes to the Sanctuary of the Four Sword with her childhood friend, Link, to check on the seal containing the Wind Mage, Vaati. The seal has weakened, however, and Vaati emerges and kidnaps Zelda in order to make her his bride. The four Links eventually save Zelda and seal Vaati away again.
Near the beginning of The Wind Waker, Link saves a young pirate girl named Tetra after the Helmaroc King drops her into the nearby forest on Outset Island. After the bird kidnaps Link's sister Aryll, Tetra and her pirates bring Link to the Forsaken Fortress to rescue Aryll. During the race for Nayru's Pearl Link runs into Tetra at Windfall Island, where he steals the bombs from her pirate ship. Tetra allows Link until morning before she comes after him and Jabun. Link meets Tetra one last time, at the Forsaken Fortress, where she saves his sister and warns him of the Helmaroc King. She then attempts to save Link during his confrontation with Ganondorf. Her blows are easily deflected and Ganondorf strikes back, grabbing Tetra by the neck. Before he can do anything to her, his Triforce resonates, showing him that he has finally found Princess Zelda.
At that moment, the Ritos Quill and Prince Komali fly through the open windows, grab Link and Tetra, and fly off. Link then takes Tetra to ancient Hyrule beneath the Great Sea, where the King, Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, reveals that she is the last descendant of the Royal Family. She then receives the other half of the Triforce of Wisdom, revealing her true identity as Princess Zelda. She hides in Hyrule while Link embarks on another mission. Once Link completes this mission, Zelda is kidnapped by Ganondorf, who takes her to his tower. Link storms the castle, defeats Puppet Ganon, and faces off against Ganondorf in a final battle. Zelda aids Link during the battle by shooting Light Arrows at their foe. After defeating Ganondorf, Link and Zelda, once again in the form of Tetra, return to the Great Sea and embark on a new adventure together, searching for a land to call their own.
Worried about the seal on Vaati, Zelda goes with six other mystical maidens to check on the Sanctuary of the Four Sword, and Link accompanies her. Something goes horribly wrong, however, and a dark shadowy Link attacks them. Link is forced to draw the Four Sword to fight Shadow Link, and Vaati escapes. The girls are abducted, and the Links come to their rescue. Zelda helps them defeat Shadow Link, and after Vaati is dispatched, the five quickly flee the collapsing Tower of Winds. Finally, the Links face Ganon, who is behind all the mischief, and Zelda helps them deliver the final blow.
At the story's start, she takes Link, whom she has been friends with since they were infants, to the Picori Festival in Hyrule Town. During the ceremony following the Picori Festival Tournament, she is turned into stone by the winner, Vaati. Vaati is an evil mage searching for a legendary Light Force, and knowing Zelda has mystical powers of her own, he wants to keep her out of the way. Later, discovering that her power is, in fact, the Light Force, Vaati invades Hyrule Castle and abducts the petrified Princess, planning to sacrifice her and become a god. Link, after reforging the Four Sword, attacks the castle and faces off against Vaati. Upon defeating the evil mage, Link uses the power of the Four Sword to restore Zelda, who tells Link she had seen him on his adventure as if through a dream, to normal. Zelda then uses the power of the Magic Cap to return the castle to its natural shape.
Zelda was the young matriarch of Hyrule until its invasion by Zant, the Twilight King, to whom she surrendered in order to prevent the death of her people. Subsequently, she is imprisoned inside a tower in Hyrule Castle, although unlike her people, she does not become a spirit under the influence of the Twilight (possibly due to her implied possession of the Triforce of Wisdom). It is here that she meets Link, transformed into a wolf by the Twilight's power. Later, she expends all of her power, even losing her physical form, in order to save a dying Midna. She regains her body later only to become possessed by Ganondorf, but his influence is purged from her body by Midna with the power of the Fused Shadows. Ganondorf makes another attempt on Zelda's life soon after, but she is protected by the Light Spirits of Hyrule, who grant her the magical Light Arrows so she can assist Link in part of his final battle. The last time she is seen in the game is when she and Link bid Midna goodbye at the Mirror of Twilight.
According to Zelda's card in the official Twilight Princess trading card deck, she was going to become Queen of Hyrule. Zant's invasion came a few days before her scheduled coronation, thus preventing it from taking place. The game manual for the non-canonical Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which uses Zelda in her Twilight Princess form, does refer to her as the Queen of Hyrule—implying that once Link lifted the Twilight, the coronation took place as planned.
While Princess Zelda does not make a physical appearance in-game as such, she is seen as Tetra with her original name and appearance. Zelda is also shown with her classic princess appearance in the prologue. At some points in the game, the pirates call Tetra "Princess Zelda", much to her annoyance.
As revealed in the game's storyline, Tetra and Link founded New Hyrule and befriended the Lokomo guardian of the Tower of Spirits, Anjean. The Zelda of Spirit Tracks, the princess of New Hyrule, is the granddaughter of Tetra. This marks the first time a Zelda has been playable in a canonical Zelda game.
When awarding Link with the title of Royal Engineer during his Graduation Ceremony, Zelda slips him a note, warning him of the suspicious Chancellor Cole and instructing Link to take a hidden path and meet her in secret. Zelda requests Link's aid in investigating the mystery of the vanishing Spirit Tracks, which entails Link helping her sneak out of the castle. She then presents Link with a change of clothing, the Recruit Uniform, which will help Link blend in with the similarly dressed guards as they escape the castle. Upon exiting the castle, Link and Zelda enlish the aid of Alfonzo, Link's Master Engineer and mentor, to take them towards the Tower of Spirits. However, the tracks begin to vanish out from underneath their train before they witness the tower's levels being separated and then are stopped in their tracks by Chancellor Cole and Byrne. Byrne easily defeats Link and Alfonzo while Cole uses his magic to force Zelda's spirit out of her body.
With only Link about to see her, Zelda helps him obtain a sword before the two make their way Tower of Spirits where Anjean tells them that Zelda's body contains a sacred power and that Cole took it in order to serve as a vessel for the Demon King Malladus. Learning that she can inhabit Phantoms to aid Link, Zelda proceeds to help him restore the tracks and the Tower of Spirits to its former glory to keep Malladus trapped. However, Cole manages to release his master as he enters Zelda's body. Using a specially made Phantom, Zelda aids Link in defeating Cole and forcing Malladus out of her body. With Bryne holding Malladus off, Zelda manages to return to her body before she aids Link in destroying the Demon King when he resorts to entering Cole's body. Soon after, Zelda joins Link in saying their farewells to the Lokomo.
Unlike in earlier installments, Zelda does not bear the title of princess. She resides in Skyloft, where she attends the same boarding school as Link and rides a blue Loftwing. A childhood friend of Link and the object of affection of Link's rival Groose, Zelda has been confirmed to be Link's love interest throughout the game, as she shows to be very cheerful around him and rather nervous when alone with him, such as she bashfully asked him to fly around in the skies together, like a date. Link also reciprocates these feelings. Toward the beginning of the game, she is swept off of her Loftwing by a tornado caused by Ghirahim. Before she is captured, however, she is snatched up by Impa and undergoes a journey to be purified in the springs of the Skyview Temple and the Earth Temple. Zelda is eventually brought to the Temple of Time where she manages to give the Goddess's Harp to Link before she and Impa enter a Gate of Time to evade Ghirahim.
It is only after Link finds a second Gate of Time that it is revealed that Zelda is an incarnation of Hylia. She also confesses to manipulating Link's feelings for her so that he could fulfill his destiny, a deed for which she is very remorseful. In order to maintain the seal on the Demise, Zelda imprisons herself in a crystal and falls into a state of hibernation, asking Link to wake her up when his mission is complete before she does so.
After Link wishes for the destruction of Demise with the Triforce, Zelda awakens from her hibernation, though her reunion with Link, Groose, and the Old Woman is cut short as Ghirahim abducts her. He takes Zelda through the remaining Gate of Time to resurrect Demise in the past, which he means to accomplish by performing a ritual on Zelda that will allow the Imprisoned to swallow her life force. Though Zelda's life force is taken by Demise, Link manages to defeat the demon to return Zelda's soul to her body. Soon after, Zelda is saddened to learn that Impa intends to remain in the past to safeguard the Master Sword, learning that Impa aged into the Sealed Grounds' overseer in their timeline as the old lady welcomed them back before vanishing. Soon after, Zelda decided to live on the Surface while asking Link what he will do. Based on his reaction with a smile, and how both their Loftwings fly off in the distance, it is implied that Link has decided to live on the Surface with Zelda.
Although information is only considered series canon if it comes from the games or instruction booklets (where there is conflict, the games themselves are the accepted source), or occasionally other Nintendo materials, there are a number of other officially licensed Zelda stories. Many of these explore the relationship with Link in greater depth than the actual games.
Princess Zelda was set to appear in the unreleased game Mystical Seed of Courage. In the game, she was to be the one responsible for managing the four seasons of Hyrule, in a role similar to Din's in Oracle of Seasons. She would be kidnapped by Ganon, which, along with the disappearance of the Rod of Seasons, would cause Hyrule's seasons to go out of control.
Zelda was featured in three games made by a third party for the Phillips CD-i system. In Link: The Faces of Evil (1993), she was kidnapped by Ganon and had to be rescued. In Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon (1993) and Zelda's Adventure (1994), Princess Zelda was the main protagonist, as the plot in both games involves Link's kidnapping. The games are generally criticized by fans, although they are noteworthy as the first time Zelda has been a playable character in any game.
According to the manual, Princess Zelda is Link's "sweetheart" who is kidnapped and imprisoned by Eight Dragons wreaking havoc on mankind. Link needs to gather eight pieces of the Triforce and slay all eight dragons in order to free her.
Because of the limitations of the LCD screen, there is no elaborate ending sequence. When the eighth dragon has been defeated, Princess Zelda walks out of her prison and right up to Link (just as she does in The Adventure of Link) as if to embrace him, but the animation ends just before they meet, leaving the end result up to the player's imagination.
Zelda appears as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Melee (the 2001 sequel to Super Smash Bros), in her adult incarnation from Ocarina of Time. She debuted first as Sheik, and it was later revealed that this was one of the character's two forms. Zelda is one of the most diverse characters in the entire game as she is actually two characters in one, each with its own unique moves, attacks, and fighting style. At any time during play, she can change form to take advantage of the full range of her abilities. This unique gameplay mechanic made her one of the most anticipated characters during the game's pre-release hype.
Initially, the player assumes control as Zelda, although it is possible to start a round as Sheik by holding down the A button following selection of a stage until the round begins. Zelda is somewhat slow but is rather graceful and agile, and her special attacks, if they connect, are extremely powerful—boosted by magic, if the sparkles and flashes of light are any indication. Her aerial movements and dodging skill, as well as her attacks' high priority and strong impact, make her an ideal counter-defensive character. She is very much built for defensive attacking, but her moves leave her very open if timed incorrectly, and if attacked, her gracefulness can work against her. She has a light frame and is easily sent flying.
Zelda's B button attacks lend themselves to this defensive style of play as well. Din's Fire is a long range setup attack allowing the player to control a guided fire "mine," which explodes upon release. Nayru's Love is a crystal shield which not only reflects projectiles, but damages nearby enemies and pushes them away. Farore's Wind is Zelda's third jump, a teleport move which can be directed and has enormous range, but leaves her somewhat vulnerable. If Zelda invokes the teleport while physically touching an enemy character, that character will take damage, but this is very hard to pull off in practice. Fans may remember her three magic attacks as the same ones Link acquired in Ocarina of Time, albeit with quite different applications. Instead of a fourth attack, her final command is the transformation to Sheik.
As Sheik, the character is completely different. Sheik is not only extremely fast, but also easy to control, making her a very popular character both in casual circles and in the tournament scene. Her close range attacks are possibly the fastest and most easily chainable of any character, with her martial arts training allowing fluid and swift ninja-like attacks. Sheik is at her best when using her speed and high-momentum attacks for an evasion-based "hit-and-run" offense. Her needle throwing attack is extremely flexible, and can be used to start combos or keep the enemy at bay. Her chain whip, while situational, is an excellent way to sabotage an opponent's strategy by interrupting their movements. Her Deku Nut-concealed vanish move is shorter than Farore's Wind but leaves Sheik much less open to attack, and is easier to use as an attack as well.
The instruction booklet and in-game trophies refer to Sheik as a female; it is also interesting to note that Sheik's poses and general body form in Super Smash Bros. Melee are considerably more feminine than those in Ocarina of Time. In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Zelda and Sheik are voiced by Jun Mizusawa.
Although Zelda's design is now based off of her appearance in Twilight Princess, she retains her Sheik transformation. As Sheik, game director Masahiro Sakurai states that her updated character design is based on a potential design made in the early drafting stages of Twilight Princess. This version of Sheik now carries a small blade at the waist and sports longer hair in the back, tied in a similar style to her Princess Zelda form. Interestingly enough, Sheik's hair remains blonde, while Princess Zelda's updates to light brown per her Twilight Princess appearance. As Nintendo established via Sheik's trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee that the Sheik disguise was a magical costume change, the magic could presumably explain the hair color as well.
The changes to Zelda's move set in this game were mostly balancing issues. Essentially, Zelda was powered up, with several of her moves being made more powerful and easier to execute. This can be seen in Din's Fire, which is substantially more powerful than in Super Smash Bros. Melee, and in several of Zelda's Smash Attacks, which literally "stop time" for a moment before sending the opposing character flying off the screen. She retains her massively powerful "Lightning Kick" from Super Smash Bros. Melee. Sheik's attacks, meanwhile, were made weaker but faster.
Zelda and Sheik both have the same Final Smash: the Light Arrow. The Light Arrow is a powerful attack that inflicts heavy damage in a straight line originating from Zelda or Sheik. When Zelda uses the attack, it sends anyone it hits in a more upward direction that Sheik's version.
Supposedly, the development team of Super Smash Bros. Brawl was originally going to create a Toon Zelda/Toon Sheik character as well, but the idea was abandoned.
In the game's story mode, "The Subspace Emissary", Zelda is watching a match between Mario and Kirby alongside Princess Peach. When the flying battleship Halberd appears over the stadium, both princesses join Mario and Kirby in fighting off the enemies that emerge from it. After the fight, Mario is blown out of the stadium, and Zelda and Peach are captured by Petey Piranha, one of Mario's enemies. Kirby fights Petey to rescue the princesses, but can only save one of them (the player can choose which one). The other princess is turned into a trophy by Wario, and Kirby escapes with the rescued princess as the entire stadium is pulled into Subspace by a Subspace Bomb.
The rescued princess journeys alongside Kirby until she is attacked and turned into a trophy by Bowser, who uses a swarm of Shadow Bugs to create a clone of the princess. If the princess is Zelda, the clone tries to attack Link and Yoshi, but is intercepted and destroyed by Mario and Kid Icarus hero Pit. Link notices the battle just in time to see what appears to be Zelda's trophy dissolve into nothing, and attacks Mario and Pit in a rage.
Zelda and Peach are taken onto the Halberd, but are rescued when Metal Gear protagonist Solid Snake infiltrates the ship and defeats another pair of clones. Snake insists that the princesses stay were they are, but Peach and Zelda (who dons her Sheik disguise for the first time in the game) instead make their way to the upper deck of the ship, which has come under attack by Star Fox protagonist Fox McCloud. When Peach gets trapped in the crossfire, Sheik teleports into the air and directly attacks Fox's Arwing, forcing him to eject. Peach stops them before they can fight hand-to-hand. As they are joined by Snake and the Pokémon Lucario, a group of Mr. Game & Watches are forcibly ejected by Meta-Knight, who had infiltrated the Halberd with Lucario to take his ship back. The Game & Watches merge into the boss Duon, which is defeated by the heroes. Duon turns back into a single Mr. Game & Watch, who is befriended by Peach. The various heroes subsequently unite to launch an attack on the Subspace Realm from which the attacks have been originating.
Zelda is featured on four stickers. Two of these are titled "Young Zelda," while the other two are simply titled "Zelda." The first two depict artwork of Zelda as a child from Ocarina of Time and The Minish Cap, and provide a +20 bonus to electric attacks and a +16 bonus to battering resistance, respectively. The latter can only be used by Link, Toon Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf. The two stickers titled "Zelda" depict artwork of Zelda from A Link to the Past and of her adult form from Ocarina of Time. The former grants a +27 bonus to magic attacks and, like all other stickers that grant bonuses to magic attacks, can only be used by Zelda and Peach. The latter grants a +18 bonus to flame resistance and can only be used by Link, Toon Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf.
- "Excuuuuuuuuse me, princess!"
- — Link
A set of Legend of Zelda cartoons aired on Fridays from 1989 to 1990 as a part of DiC's The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. The series loosely follows the NES Zelda games, mixing settings and characters from them with original creations. Zelda is depicted as a warrior princess who wears more comfortable and practical garb as opposed to her appearances in the games. In addition to running the kingdom part-time for her father, King Harkinian, she often accompanies Link on his adventures and is quite skilled in archery.
The series portrays an overt romantic relationship between the two protagonists. Link is always begging Zelda for a kiss; however, even when she agrees to indulge him, it never occurs. They are interrupted by monsters, or Spryte, or any number of unfortunate circumstances. It is directly revealed that Zelda loves Link in one episode, and there is no doubt of their romantic relationship in this series. Thirteen of these cartoons were produced before the cancellation of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. Princess Zelda was voiced by Cynthia Preston in the cartoon.
A slightly altered version of this Princess Zelda appears in assorted episodes of Captain N: The Game Master.
Featuring characters and settings from the TV series, this fleetingly entertaining comic only ran for four issues. Although Zelda's feelings for Link are made quite clear, there is another element at play here: her duty to the Triforce, which must come before her own needs and desires. When Link is corrupted by the Triforce of Power in one story, this Zelda briefly possesses his Triforce of Courage, which will not reside with one who uses Power without Wisdom.
Stories from a number of Zelda games have been adapted into manga in Japan. These official publications greatly expand parts of their respective games' backstories. As of Autumn 2008, these manga are being re-released in English in the United States.
Sheik is Princess Zelda's Sheikah alter ego in Ocarina of Time. Wearing a blue, possibly armored suit with the red Sheikah eye in the center, and with voice muffled and face concealed, the character is essentially unrecognizable and appears relatively masculine. It is possible that Zelda utilizes her magical skills in altering her appearance. Sheik plays a lyre and teaches Link new songs to help him on his quest. When Link arrives at the Temple of Time near the end of the game, Sheik transforms back into Princess Zelda.
Although Sheik is intended to appear masculine, it is unclear whether Princess Zelda physically transforms herself into a male or simply dresses herself to look like one. When Link encounters Princess Ruto in the Water Temple, Ruto explains, "A young man named Sheik rescued me from under the ice". Later, when Link obtains the Water Medallion, Ruto asks, "If you see Sheik, please give him my thanks". Additionally, a Gossip Stone in the Hyrule Castle Grounds says, "They say that contrary to her elegant image, Princess Zelda of Hyrule Castle is, in fact, a tomboy!"
Sheik is a playable character in both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
In the noncanonical Ocarina of Time manga, author Himekawa Akira depicts Zelda requesting her true identity be sealed. Impa then actually transforms Zelda into a male, adding some controversy as to the exact nature of Zelda's Sheik transformation.
Tetra is Zelda's alter ego from The Wind Waker, an accomplished sailor and pirate captain. Orphaned at a young age, she commands the utmost respect of her pirate crew due to her leadership and her strength through hardship. Tetra can be impatient, mischievous, and rude at times, but possesses a big heart beneath her gruff exterior.
Tetra is skilled with a catapult (or so she assures Link), and it is reasonable to assume she knows how to use the bombs she has her pirate crew steal at one point. As a member of the Royal Family, she can use the Pirate's Charm to communicate with its holder and keep an eye on his doings within a certain range. Curiously, she is much more tan as Tetra than when she assumes her Princess Zelda form. At the end of The Wind Waker, she resumes her identity as Tetra and sets sail with Link in search of the land that will become the New Hyrule. This leads into the events of Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks.
Relationships with other characters
A popular theory among fans is that of a romantic relationship between some of the Zelda and Link characters in the Zelda series. Although never explicitly confirmed in a video game title, this theory is based on hints given in the games, interviews with the game creators, and content of the animated series, comics, and manga (although the last three are generally considered non-canonical).
One hint of a romance between Zelda and Link is given at the end of The Adventure of Link, when the awakened Princess apparently kisses Link under the falling curtain. Some cutscenes in Ocarina of Time featuring the two together have been interpreted as signs of an attraction. For example, when Link follows Zelda out of Ganondorf's crumbling castle prior to the final battle, several hearts that recover the player's life energy are left by Zelda. While Link and Zelda are escaping Ganon's Castle, Zelda will additionally show her concern for Link by shouting out whenever he is hurt. Moreover, in the game's final scene, Zelda and Link are floating in the sky together, sharing a decidedly sentimental (if not necessarily romantic) moment. In addition, if the Oracle games are played as sequels to each other, the ultimate ending sequence shows Zelda lightly kissing Link on the cheek. Link swoons while hearts float above the pair's heads, and Zelda looks away, blushing.
In The Wind Waker, when Zelda is asked to stay in hiding in Hyrule Castle, she waves goodbye to Link, asking him to be careful. Afterwards, if Link visits one of Beedle's Shop Ships after meeting with Jabun, Beedle will ask Link if he knows Tetra. He then says "You have a bashful look on your face, Mr. Customer. You can't hide it from me! Yuk yuk yuk yuk yuk", implying that he can tell Link has feelings for Tetra.
Spirit Tracks features several moments that can be interpreted romantically. Early in the game during the Graduation Ceremony, Zelda walks into the room in front of Link, who is bowing down respectfully. Link then looks up and gasps, blushing at her in amazement. He is then scolded by Chancellor Cole for raising his head without permission. Later, when Zelda's spirit is separated from her body following the first encounter with Chancellor Cole and Byrne, Link is the only one who can see her besides the Lokomos, demonstrating a clear and strong bond between himself and the Princess. After Zelda and Link defeat Byrne in the Tower of Spirits, Byrne, disbelieving, comments that he was beaten by two mere children. Zelda, while still possessing a Phantom, says that when she and Link combine their strength, no one can defeat them. Link turns to her, surprised. The background turns white and Zelda's Lullaby plays as they both laugh and high-five, gazing at each other all the while. Toward the end of the game, before the final battle against Malladus, Zelda is reunited with her body, and is no longer able to levitate. Link runs underneath her to catch her as she falls, and she lands on top of him and knocks them both to the ground. Upon awakening, Zelda, overjoyed to have her body back, embraces Link, causing him to blush. Finally, after Malladus is defeated, Zelda and Link watch Anjean and Byrne's spirits ascend to the heavens. The camera then lowers to show Zelda and Link holding hands while Zelda's Lullaby plays in the background. After the credits, a short cut scene shows Zelda gazing at a picture of Link on the Spirit Train with her flying beside him, which she keeps on her desk.
Skyward Sword has several noticeable romantic moments between Link and Zelda. Early in the game, Zelda wants Link to be the first to see her outfit for the Wing Ceremony. She worries over him and she does not want him to fail at becoming a knight. When Link's Crimson Loftwing is hidden by Groose, Zelda assists Link in finding the bird. Along with that, after Link wins the Wing Ceremony, Zelda jumps off the ledge and Link catches her almost as if she was expecting him to and congratulates him on winning. Afterwards, Zelda mentions that she is very happy to be atop the Statue of the Goddess with him. She also gets extremely close to him and almost implies that the two are to kiss, before she pushes him off the statue. Afterward, Zelda bashfully asks Link to go out flying, and she tells Link how amazing the day was, and that she would remember it forever. At the Temple of Hylia, when Zelda states she must seal herself to keep Demise in place, she sheds tears of sadness and states before all this, she was happy just being with Link on Skyloft, demonstrating a deep level of feelings for Link. Link desperately tries to stop her and when she is sealed, Link lowers his head in sadness, showing his deep feelings for her. Much later in the game, when Link releases Zelda from her sealed state, Link runs up and catches her from falling and both of them hug and walk out smiling at each other, holding hands, before Ghirahim ruins the tender moment. During the ending, Zelda asks what Link will do now. Link smiles while his and Zelda's Loftwings fly off toward the sky, implying that he chose to stay on the Surface to live with Zelda.
The game creators also seem to be fond of the idea of romance between the characters.
Another less popular theory among fans is that Link and Zelda are related by blood, either as siblings or more distantly. Even though rumors to this effect started with the infamous "Save the Princess... Zelda is your... ... ..." line from A Link to the Past (later reported as a mistranslation), the theory generally revolves around the Link and Zelda from Ocarina of Time.
A possible indication of a blood relation between the two in Ocarina of Time is their physical resemblance: they both have blonde hair, blue eyes, and similar facial features. They also have similarly shaped heads. Graphics limitations could be responsible for some of this similarity, however. Certain dialogue could also be perceived as implying a blood relation: the ghost Sharp comments that Link reminds him of Zelda, and that Link "may have some connection with the Royal Family". Link's connection to the Royal Family is highlighted throughout the game, with Link often playing Zelda's Lullaby to verify it. The fact that Impa agrees to teach a strange boy a song only Royal Family members are allowed to know could also be interpreted as a hint at Link's blood relation to Hyrule's Royal Family. 
Additionally, Zelda seems to recognize Link's name upon their first meeting. This could be attributed to her prophetic abilities, although the boy in her dreams seemed to be a largely abstract figure, with no defining traits aside from the presence of a guardian Fairy and a Spiritual Stone. This line of dialogue has often been regarded as a sign that the two have met before, although this could only have occurred when Link was a baby per the Great Deku Sprout's account of Link's coming to Kokiri Forest. It is also worth noting that while the King of Hyrule is clearly identified as Zelda's father, no mention is made of a Queen. Meanwhile, Link's mother is stated to have died shortly after reaching the forest, but no information is given concerning his father. Given these facts, it is possible that Zelda and Link share the same parents, making them siblings. The Skyward Sword Link and Zelda were presumably married after the ending, opening the possibility that Link and Zelda are cousins.
Beyond speculation, though, the only confirmed relationship between Zelda and Link is one of close friendship.
In several games, Zelda has a nursemaid named Impa, a faithful servant who is largely responsible for raising her and cultivating her abilities. In The Legend of Zelda, Impa is her most trusted servant, the one whom she entrusts with the task of finding a hero to defeat Ganon. In The Adventure of Link, it is Impa who brings Link to the North Castle and recounts the story of the ancient curse on the sleeping Zelda.
The Impa from Ocarina of Time is a survivor of the mysterious Sheikah race. She protects and cares for Zelda, teaching Zelda and Link the ancestral melody known informally as Zelda's Lullaby, and fleeing the castle with Zelda when Ganondorf threatens the Princess in his attempt to enter the Sacred Realm. Impa then teaches Zelda the ways of the Sheikah, allowing her to hide in plain sight for seven years while she awaits Link's return. Impa is eventually revealed to be the Sage of Shadow, who must guard the Shadow Temple.
In the Oracle games, Impa is an agent operating in Zelda's employ, sent to the lands of Holodrum and Labrynna to bring the Oracles to safety in Hyrule.
Not much is known about Zelda's family; they are rarely mentioned or seen in-game. The king and the prince who were related to the cursed Zelda in The Adventure of Link are never even named—their actions merely provide an explanation for Zelda's fate and the Triforce's condition. The return of the King to Hyrule Castle is seen briefly in A Link to the Past's end sequence. The next time we hear of a royal relative is young Zelda's mention of her father in Ocarina of Time, but this is brief and he makes no appearance.
In The Wind Waker, Zelda's relations consist of a deceased mother who previously led her band of pirates, and an ancient ancestor who often takes the form of a talking boat. The first significant relationship shown is with King Daltus, father of Zelda in The Minish Cap. When Zelda is turned to stone, he is desperate to find a way to save her. The quest to do so also requires Link to communicate with the spirit of another royal ancestor, King Gustaf.
Shigeru Miyamoto has stated that Zelda's name was inspired by Zelda Fitzgerald. The name Zelda is generally believed to be Germanic in origin, meaning "gray fighting maid" or "woman warrior" and derived from the Old German Griselda ("dark battle"). Another possible origin is the Old English word selde ("companion"). Additionally, it is a Yiddish name meaning "happiness" or "luck".
It is noteworthy that Zelda's name can be associated with the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet, delta, which is shaped triangularly like the Triforce: the Dhimotiki (modern Greek) word for δέλτα (delta) is dhelda (pronounced IPA /ðel.da/), which is typically transliterated to katakana as zeruda. The name Tetra, meanwhile, is a numerical prefix meaning "four".
- ^ From an interview with Eiji Aonuma, the director of Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess:
- Interviewer: We have received several emails in which our readers ask: Will Zelda and Link ever be involved (romantically)? [laughs] I'm sorry, but we had to ask.
- Eiji Aonuma: [laughs] Good question. Well, as you already know, we are now dealing with a teenage Link, and as you know, teenagers are very emotional beings, so there are definitely possibilities of seeing Link showing his feelings towards the princess. But honestly, we don't know what the future holds.
- ^ From an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, conducted by Famimaga 64:
- Interviewer: Does Link have a girlfriend?
- Miyamoto: If it was Princess Zelda, it would be great. However, this time Navi [the fairy] is jealous of Zelda. So within the story, Navi feels something for Link.
- ^ Sharp: GYAAAAH! I'M DEAD AGAIN! What? You again? Somehow, you remind me of...Princess Zelda...Hmm... Since you may have some connection with the Royal Family, I will tell you a little more of our tale.
- ^ Impa: The song I just taught you has mysterious power. Only Royal Family members are allowed to learn this song. Remember, it will help you to prove your connection with the Royal Family.
- ^ Zelda: What's your name? Link: ...Link... Zelda: Strange, it sounds... familiar.
- ^ http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Griselda
- ^ http://www.babynamewizard.com/namipedia/girl/zelda
|Ganon · Link · Old Man · Princess Zelda|
—Full list of characters
|Aquamentus · Dodongo · Manhandla · Gleeok · Digdogger · Gohma · Gannon|
|Lake Hylia · Lost Hills · Lost Woods · Death Mountain · Graveyard · Spectacle Rock|
—Full list of locations
|Level 1 · Level 2 · Level 3 · Level 4 · Level 5 · Level 6 · Level 7 · Level 8 · Level 9|
|Level 1 · Level 2 · Level 3 · Level 4 · Level 5 · Level 6 · Level 7 · Level 8 · Level 9|
|2nd Potion · Arrow · Blue Candle · Blue Ring · Bomb · Book of Magic · Boomerang · Bow · Food · Letter · Life Potion · Magical Boomerang · Magical Key · Magical Rod · Power Bracelet · Raft · Recorder · Red Candle · Red Ring · Silver Arrow · Stepladder|
|Wooden Sword · White Sword · Magical Sword · Small Shield · Magical Shield|
|Triforce of Wisdom|
|Fairy · Gerudo · Hylian|
|Dark Link · Ganon · Link · Princess Zelda|
—Full list of characters
|Horsehead · Helmethead · Rebonack · Carock · Gooma · Barba · Thunderbird · Dark Link|
|Western Hyrule · Eastern Hyrule · Lesser Hyrule · Maze Island|
—Full list of locations
|Parapa Palace · Midoro Palace · Island Palace · Maze Island Palace · Ocean Palace · Hidden Palace · Great Palace|
|P Bag · 1-up Doll · Magical Sword · Magical Shield · Candle · Flute · Handy Glove · Hammer · Raft · Boots · Magical Key · Cross|
|Fairy Spell · Fire Spell · Jump Spell · Life Spell · Reflect Spell · Shield Spell · Spell Spell · Thunder Spell|
|Trophy · Water of Life · Kidnapped Child · Six Crystals · Triforce of Courage|
|Fairy · Hylian|
|Link (x4) · Princess Zelda · Vaati|
—Full list of characters
|Deguchitato · Derazoru · Gouen · Vaati|
|Chambers of Insight · Sea of Trees · Talus Cave · Death Mountain · Vaati's Palace · Hero's Trial · Realm of Memories|
—Full list of locations
|Bomb · Boomerang · Bow · Bow-Wow · Four Sword · Shield|
|Armor Seed · Fairy · Gnat Hat · Heart · Heart Container · Magnetic Glove · Pegasus Boots · Razor Seed · Roc's Cape · Rupee · Pegasus Seed · Small Key|
|Golden Key · Hero's Key · Medal of Courage · Silver Key|
|Link (x4) · Princess Zelda · Six Maidens · Vaati|
—Full list of characters
|Phantom Ganon · Helmaroc King · Stone Arrghus · Jalhalla · Dagtail · Frostare · Big Dodongo · Vaati · Ganon|
| Whereabouts of the Wind · Eastern Hyrule · Death Mountain · Near the Fields · The Dark World · The Desert of Doubt · Frozen Hyrule · Realm of the Heavens|
—Full list of locations
|Bomb · Bombos Medallion · Boomerang · Bow · Fire Rod · Four Sword · Lantern · Magic Hammer · Quake Medallion · Shield · Slingshot|
|Blue Bracelet · Carrot · Force Gem · Force Fairy · Heart · Heart Container · Moon Pearl · Pegasus Boots · Power Bracelet · Roc's Feather · Shovel · Small Key|
|Knight Mark · Letter · Magic Book · Royal Jewels · Vaati Barrier|
|Gerudo · Goron · Hylian · Zuna|
| Ezlo · King Daltus · Link · Princess Zelda · Smith · Vaati|
—Full list of characters
|Big Green ChuChu · Gleerok · Mazaal · Big Octorok · Gyorg Pair · Vaati Reborn · Vaati Transfigured · Vaati's Wrath|
| Castor Wilds · Cloud Tops · Eastern Hills · Hyrule Town · Lake Hylia · Lon Lon Ranch · Minish Woods · Mount Crenel · Mt. Crenel's Base · North Hyrule Field · Royal Valley · South Hyrule Field · Trilby Highlands · Veil Falls · Western Wood · Wind Ruins|
|Deepwood Shrine · Cave of Flames · Fortress of Winds · Temple of Droplets · Royal Crypt · Palace of Winds · Dark Hyrule Castle|
|Smith's Sword · White Sword · Four Sword · Small Shield · Mirror Shield · Bombs · Boomerang · Bow · Cane of Pacci · Gust Jar|
|Bottle · Flame Lantern · Flippers · Grip Ring · Mole Mitts · Ocarina of Wind · Power Bracelets · Roc's Cape|
|Elements · Kinstones · Tiger Scrolls|
|Deku · Fairy · Goron · Human · Hylian · Minish · Wind Tribe|
|Bellum · Ciela · Linebeck · Link · Ocean King · Oshus · Tetra|
—Full list of characters
|Blaaz · Cyclok · Crayk · Diabolical Cubus Sisters · Dongorongo · Gleeok · Eox · Bellum · Ghost Ship · Bellumbeck|
|Bannan Island · Cannon Island · Goron Island · Harrow Island · Isle of Ember · Isle of Frost · Isle of Gust · Isle of Ruins · Isle of the Dead · Mercay Island · Molida Island · Zauz's Island|
—Full list of locations
|Temple of Fire · Temple of Wind · Temple of Courage · Ghost Ship · Goron Temple · Temple of Ice · Mutoh's Temple · Temple of the Ocean King|
|Oshus's Sword · Wooden Shield · Boomerang · Bombs · Bow · Bombchus · Grappling Hook · Hammer · Phantom Sword · Shovel · Fishing Rod|
|Leaf · Neri · Ciela · Pure Metals · Phantom Hourglass · Spirit Gem|
|Anouki · Deity · Fairy · Gerudo · Goron · Human · Hylian · Yook|
|Anjean · Byrne · Chancellor Cole · Link · Malladus · Princess Zelda|
—Full list of characters
|Stagnox · Fraaz · Phytops · Cragma · Byrne · Skeldritch · Demon Train · Chancellor Cole · Malladus|
| Fire Realm · Forest Realm · Ocean Realm · Sand Realm · Snow Realm|
—Full list of locations
|Forest Temple · Snow Temple · Ocean Temple · Fire Temple · Sand Temple · Tower of Spirits|
|Lokomo Sword · Rail Map · Recruit's Sword · Recruit Uniform · Spirit Flute · Spirit Tracks · Spirit Train · Stamp Book · Tears of Light|
|Boomerang · Whip · Whirlwind · Bow · Sand Wand · Bow of Light|
|Anouki · Demon · Goron · Hylian · Lokomo|