- This page is about the character. For the boss, see Zant (boss).
- "Zant. That's the name of the King of Darkness who cast this pall of shadows over your world. He's very strong. You would be nothing to him in your current state... But Zant will never be my king! I have nothing but scorn for his supposed strength."
- — Midna
Zant (ザント Zanto?, ) is a prominent villain in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, serving as Ganondorf's principle follower. A Twili, Zant gains mysterious power and usurps the throne of the Twilight Realm. Using his newfound power, he invades Hyrule and plagues it with matter called Twilight.
Zant is a merciless, cruel, cold and unstable individual seeing as he disfigured his own people into Shadow Beasts and turned Midna into an imp-like creature. Judging by the fact that he deliberately held Midna in the light of a Light Spirit and did not even seem to mind, he is clearly willing to do anything and everything possible to ensure his rule. Although he is instilled with Ganondorf's magic and seems to retain a calm disposition, when confronted by Link later in the game, he takes on a wild and insane persona. Despite this, he proves himself a formidable foe in battle.
From the beginning, Zant was unusual among the Twili. While most of his people seemed to have accepted being sealed in the Twilight Realm, Zant harbored a burning desire to conquer the World of Light in revenge for what was done to his kind. A candidate to become the next ruler of the Twili, Zant was passed over in favor of Midna due to his apparent lust for power. Angered, Zant fell into a crazed depression. During his torment, he was approached by Ganondorf, who was sealed in the Twilight Realm after surviving his execution at the hands of the Ancient Sages. Ganondorf posed as a god to Zant, offering him power, immortality, and a chance to seize the throne of the Twilight Realm. Zant, unaware that Ganondorf was just using him to escape imprisonment in the Twilight Realm, accepted, and donned a monstrous metallic mask as a symbol of his ascension to power.
Zant, with his newfound powers, placed a curse on Midna, transforming her into an imp. With Midna out of the way, Zant was free to usurp the throne and proclaim himself the new King of Twilight. Under his rule, the light of the Sols was sealed away, leaving the land dark. Zant then crafted most of the Twili into a new race known as Shadow Beasts, dark beings bent to his will. In conjunction with the remaining monsters of Ganondorf's army, Zant opened a portal to Hyrule and began a conquest of the land. After a series of successful campaigns, Zant's army assaulted Hyrule Castle directly. The Hyrulean Soldiers defending the Throne Room were easily subdued by the beasts in the ensuing battle. Princess Zelda raised her sword in defense, but Zant threatened to kill all of the inhabitants of Hyrule if she did not comply with his order to give up the throne. Zelda dropped her sword as a form of surrender and abdicated her throne to Zant to save the lives of her people. During this assault, the castle was set on fire and twilight came out of the castle, turning the watching residents of Hyrule Castle Town into hopeless light spirits.
While the Hyrulean people live without knowledge of these events, a young man named Link is thrust into the conflict from his ordinary life in Ordon Village, becoming the one hero destined to defeat Zant and Ganondorf as well as bring light back to Hyrule. He teams up with Midna, ignorant of her past with Zant. The two evade the villain multiple times, lifting the Twilight from the provinces of Hyrule, as well as retrieving the shards of Fused Shadows. However, after they retrieve the fourth and final Fused Shadow, Zant appears and permanently curses Link into his wolf form, while exposing Midna to the light of the Light Spirit Lanayru. However, he is unable to fully defeat Midna because Lanayru teleports her and Link near Hyrule Castle. Zant then takes the Fused Shadow pieces with him, except for the one that Midna wears.
After Link breaks Zant's curse with the Master Sword, he and Midna travel to the Arbiter's Grounds in western Hyrule to find the Mirror of Twilight, a portal to the Twilight Realm. Unfortunately, upon arriving at the Mirror Chamber, they find that the mirror has been broken by Zant. However, as he is not the true ruler of the Twili, he was unable to completely shatter the mirror, instead sending pieces to three dungeons in the realm of Hyrule. Link and Midna eventually gather the Mirror Shards and travel to the Twilight Realm. After restoring the Sols and infusing the Master Sword with their light, the two break into the Palace of Twilight and confront Zant, who explained his motives in an erratic rant. After a fierce battle, Zant, with his dying breath, tells them that he will be revived by Ganondorf as long as his god lives, and also reveals that Midna cannot return to her original form because he used Ganondorf's magic to turn her into an imp. Zant then makes one last crazed moan at them, but Midna is overcome by the power of the Fused Shadows and uses her hair, which splits into three giant spears, to impale Zant. Zant flails wildly, inflates, and explodes.
After Ganondorf's ultimate defeat at the hands of Link, Zant appears in his vision, snapping his own neck.
For most of the game, Zant is calm and aloof, standing straight and speaking in a cruel, sinister voice. An aspect of this persona is Zant's extreme arrogance, exemplified when he curses Midna instead of simply killing her, and later, when he sets Stallord on Link and leaves without waiting to see if the creature is victorious. Whenever he makes an appearance, a screeching noise could be heard, which is heavily implied to be the result of his helmet. Despite his animosity towards Midna for being chosen over himself, he nonetheless extended an offer for her to join him in his bid to merge the Twilight Realm with Hyrule. However, when confronted with the face of defeat, Zant's behavior becomes extremely erratic, wild, and unexpected, then his voice changes from a bold tone to a much higher pitch. A flashback depicting Zant's encounter with Ganondorf implies that the latter was his true personality, as he was seen slamming his fists and head on the pavement in anger over being denied kingship after running out. He also implies in his rant to Midna right before fighting Link that his insanity stemmed from his being the only Twili to express any emotion, and holding disgust towards the rest of the Twili for suppressing their emotions and the royal family for such being the case. According to Yoshiyuki Oyama, the more erratic characterization had been included at the last minute to give a more comical element to the confrontation and add more characterization.
He also has a pronounced hatred of light-worlders, largely stemming from his ancestors being exiled to the Twilight Realm eons ago. Ironically, however, a large part of the reason he managed to usurp the kingship as well as nearly take over the light world was because of a lightworlder.
In combat, he fluctuates between his two personae. When on an erratic tangent, his movements, such as hopping up and down and hitting his head against the floor, are awkward and almost comical. The music that accompanies Zant's several stages could itself be seen as reflective of his mental state: the first five tracks are remixes of previous boss or mini-boss music played at increasing speed, culminating in the sixth track, which is a haphazard mix of the first five played much faster. Additionally, the screeches Zant lets out as the battle progresses become higher and higher pitched.
Zant wears a tall metal helm with unnerving lizard-like facial features, which can be retracted to reveal his face. His actual face has a flat nose, a tattoo on his forehead, giant red and yellow eyes, and a mouth that looked carved up. He also appears to wear a balaclava that covers his neck and head, but not his face, explaining the yellowish color of his head and neck, unusual among the Twili. He also has red hair, which can be briefly seen underneath the top of his balaclava near the top of his head. The robes' sleeves were long enough to completely obscure his hands. However, his hands were seen only once, right before resurrecting Stallord, which had them being red and almost skeletal.
Oddly, Zant has a mark on his robe that bears a striking resemblance to the Gerudo symbol. He is seen wearing this in the scene right before he meets Ganondorf, disproving the theory that he wears it because of his allegiance to the King of Evil.
Zant possesses a wide array of magical abilities from the start of the game, thanks to Ganondorf. What powers he possessed before, aside from the standard powers of a Twili, are unknown. He can exist in the Light World without being harmed or requiring the protection of someone's shadow, unlike most Twili. Zant can create portals similar to Midna's, and move between the world of light and the Twilight Realm without the use of the Mirror of Twilight. He can also create Shadow Beasts and phantoms of himself, teleport, and perform telekinesis. Zant's powers appear to be quite potent, as he displays the ability to overcome one of the sacred Light Spirits and humiliate Midna without even raising his arms. He can also corrupt areas of the Light World with Twilight and even seemingly manipulate reality—creating a giant version of his helmet to combat Link, altering his own size greatly, and apparently duplicating several boss arenas that Link had previously visited. Just prior to his demise, he claimed that he could be resurrected without cease so long as Ganon himself was still alive.
In battle, Zant can float and even swim freely through air and water. He also seems to possess superhuman strength, as he is able to tilt the arena merely by jumping when impersonating Dangoro's fight, a feat that looked as if it strained even the huge Goron himself. His primary attack comes in the form of purple energy balls that he fires rapidly. Link can strike these with his sword, but they merely explode on contact, making them ultimately unrelated to Dead Man's Volley. Later in the battle, Zant utilizes two scimitars with which he maniacally flails about, sometimes employing a high-speed, heavily damaging spinning attack. Another of Zant's skills is his dumbfounding flexibility.
- "As the portal to the Era of Twilight opened, the land was once more subjected to the fearsome Usurper King, the Twili who brought both the Twilight Realm and Hyrule to their knees. Zant earned his reputation and title when he stole the throne from Midna, the Twilight Princess. Immediately after doing so, he cursed her and set about invading the land of Hyrule. While Zant is usually able to keep his regal composure, all of his grace and calmness melts away when he become flustered. This can make him very dangerous indeed."
- — Zant, Usurper King Historical Entry Tutorial Bio
Zant appears as an antagonist and playable character in Hyrule Warriors. He fights using his Scimitars moveset. He can also summon Zant Mask, Zant's Hand, and Phantom Zants to attack enemies during certain attacks. His unlockable Master Quest DLC outfit is a Shadow Beast recolor of his standard outfit, his unlockable Twilight Princess DLC outfit is a Phantom Zant Recolor, and his Majora's Mask DLC Mask outfit is the Circus Leader's Mask.
Shortly after the Gate of Souls are opened by Cia, the evil sorceress forms an alliance with the Twilit Usurper King, also cursing the true ruler, Midna, into an imp form in the process. After Midna returns, having recently formed an alliance with Agitha and Lana, she explains who Zant is when he gives orders to attack them. He eventually summons Argorok to deal with Midna's forces, forcing them to request the aid of the Great Fairy to ground Argorok long enough to vanquish it. After it is defeated, Zant becomes irritated and vows to personally enter the battle. He eventually confronts them, although he ends up defeated, causing Midna to curse him for letting his greed get the better of him and bury himself in a dark pit.
Zant, alongside Ghirahim, later ends up revived by a fully rejuvenated Ganondorf, enlisting their aid in conquering Hyrule. Before attacking Gerudo Desert, the two are warned that if they fail or disobey him, he will send them back to the netherworld. He runs into some trouble with King Dodongo, one of the monsters' enemy commanders, and requests Ganondorf's aid, causing Ganondorf to mock him for his status as a king. After eventually defeating all three commanders, Zant praises Ganondorf's prowess and his godhood. Zant and Ghirahim later accompany Ganondorf to the Valley of Seers to hold off Lana's escape long enough for his master to steal the Triforce of Power from her. After successfully doing so, Zant participates in the battle of Hyrule Field to retrieve the other shards from their respective owners. During the battle, he opens up an alternate route to the main castle, and eventually pursues Link after he recovers from his fight with Ganondorf.
After Ganondorf successfully retrieved the remaining Triforce shards, Zant, as well as Ghirahim, were tasked with guarding their primary fortification in Gerudo Desert from the heroes who are trying to fight back. As such, Zant, alongside Ghirahim: came up with a strategy to send decoys to fight the Hyrulean Forces, both to wittle down their forces and to fake their own deaths to overwhelm them, while also using the unforgiving climate of the desert to their advantage. However, the heroes ultimately prevailed, with Zant and Ghirahim being defeated after the Hyruleans deduced the plot.
Zant returns as a playable character and plays the same role in the main story as he did in Hyrule Warriors. He also has a new Gohdan recolor of his Standard Outfit.