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Impa's artwork in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
|First appearance||The Legend of Zelda (manual only)|
Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon (in-game)
|Latest appearance||Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition|
|Species||Hylian (pre-Ocarina of Time media)|
Sheikah (Ocarina of Time onward)
|Other form(s)||Unknown (Impa)|
Impa is a recurring character in the The Legend of Zelda franchise. Introduced as Princess Zelda's haggard old nursemaid, Impa has gone through many different interpretations over the years. Generally, however, she has the duty to protect or otherwise take care of Zelda or offer information or quests. Her name comes from the word "impart," alluding to the latter of these. Starting with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, she has been depicted as a member of the Sheikah tribe, and acts as its most prominent member. Her appearances vary between depicting her as a frail old woman and a fit, vaguely aged warrior, with some more variance in between.
The Legend of Zelda series
The Legend of Zelda
In The Legend of Zelda, Impa appears in the manual's backstory. She unsuccessfully tries to protect Zelda from Ganon and his forces, and is then attacked herself before being rescued by a young boy named Link. Seeing how capable she is, she tells him of Zelda's plight and that she had split the Triforce of Wisdom into eight Triforce fragments before her capture. She is depicted with red hair under a large robe and a long, toucan-like nose.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Impa is once again a manual-only character. When an older Link discovers a Triforce-shaped mark on the back of his hand, he goes to her for advice. She sees it as a sign of a prophecy, and tells him a story of how a previous Princess Zelda was put to sleep by a curse that can only be broken with the complete Triforce, including the Triforce of Courage hidden in the Great Palace. Her design has been changed, now having a small nose, gray hair, and light blue eyes.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Impa has been revamped completely. She is now depicted as a fit, masculine, middle-aged warrior of the Sheikah tribe, and has red eyes and white hair that would go on to become defining characteristics of the race. She is the owner of Kakariko Village, yet spends all her time at Hyrule Castle, watching over Zelda. She initially appears briefly in a prophetic dream of Link's, where Zelda and her are escaping the castle on horseback while being pursued by an ominous figure. Later, after Link meets Zelda for real, she teaches him Zelda's Lullaby, escorts him from the castle and town, and shows him the way to Death Mountain before vanishing with an item that makes a bright flash, the first thing showing that Sheikah are ninjas. Later, Link's nightmare comes true, and she takes Zelda to safety from Ganondorf.
In the intervening seven years, Zelda has herself disguised as a Sheikah named Sheik, likely with the help or direction of Impa. Impa herself is not mentioned until after Link has obtained at least four Medallions and goes to Kakariko Village, where it is revealed she is the Sage of Shadow, now fighting the monster in the Shadow Temple. Link does not actually see her again until after defeating the monster, at which point she appears in the Chamber of Sages and tells him that Zelda is safe and he will see her again soon. In Ganon's Castle, she, like the other Sages, appears in one of the wings after dispelling the specific corresponding barrier, then after Ganon is defeated to seal him in the Sacred Realm. Her last appearance is looking over Hyrule on Death Mountain's peak with the other Sages other than Rauru.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons
In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, Impa is depicted as a very large woman. She initially appears as part of the Troupe of Performers. If the player is playing a linked game going off Oracle of Ages, she will recognize Link and immediately tell him the truth about how they are using it as a way to protect Din, though otherwise, she will simply tell him they are performers. After Onox attacks and flings all the performers away with a tornado, she is injured and tells Link he must rescue her instead, going to an empty house to recuperate.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages, Impa is the first person Link meets, being menaced by some Octoroks. After Link drives them away, she has him move a triangle-marked rock blocking the way to Nayru. However, it is soon revealed that Impa is being possessed by Veran, who goes on to possess Nayru. After this, she stays at Nayru's House for the rest of the game. At a certain point, she tells Link she feels a draft, leading to a hidden room where the Harp of Ages is kept.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
While Impa does not directly appear in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, a stained-glass representation of her Ocarina of Time design is on display at Hyrule Castle, along with the other Sages from that game.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Impa does not appear in the final version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. However, concept art for an "Old Man Impa" was made for the game, showing a male version of the character was considered. The final instead has an old woman named Impaz appear in the Hidden Village.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Impa appears in two forms: one as an extremely thin and nimble ninja who guides Zelda throughout the land in order to perform her duties, and the other being the mysterious old woman in the Sealed Temple. The young Impa is first seen partway up Eldin Volcano on a bridge, and she frees Zelda from Ghirahim inside the Earth Temple, before leading her to the Earth Spring behind it. When Link catches up, she glares at him and admonishes him for failing to protect Zelda himself so far. She next appears at the ruined Temple of Time, where she and Zelda go through a Gate of Time, with her destroying it in the process in order to lose Ghirahim. When Link manages to later go back to the past version of the Sealed Temple, he finds Impa there with Zelda. Once the game is complete, she stays at the Temple to watch over the past version of Zelda, thereby eventually becoming the old lady, who herself seems to ascend directly to the afterlife in the present.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Impa is depicted as a short old lady, similar to her earliest depictions, though she still has red eyes. She is first shown leading Link to Zelda to tell her about Yuga's attack on the Sanctuary. She is later turned into a painting due to her being a Sage (implied to be descended from Ocarina of Time's Impa). She is rescued from Turtle Rock.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Impa is depicted as a very short old woman who resembles Impaz. She is the leader of Kakariko Village and lives with her easily flustered granddaughter Paya. Once Link meets her, she instructs him to travel to Hateno Village to meet her older sister by four years Purah, who can help upgrade the Sheikah Slate to full power. Once Link has done so, she instructs him to conquer the four Divine Beasts and find the areas shown in the gallery of his Slate to help restore his lost memories. Once Link has every memory in the gallery, she tells him the way to the final memory, which took place the moment Link was struck down 100 years before and when Zelda's sealing power finally activated. Additionally, once Link has helped every Sheikah in the village with all their problems, she will allow him access to the "Sheikah heirloom," which is in fact a Shrine Key.
Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
In Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, Impa makes her first on-screen appearance. In the opening, she tells Zelda that the Triforce of Wisdom promises King Harkinian will return safely from his journey to Gamelon, though it does not specify when. Much later, after Link has disappeared as well, Zelda wakes her up in the middle of the night and they travel there too. Impa's role in gameplay is essentially the same as Gwonam's in Link: The Faces of Evil, in that she gives advice in various areas if spoken with, though she uses the Triforce of Wisdom to do so.
Hyrule Warriors series
In Hyrule Warriors, Impa is again a warrior, having a design between her Ocarina of Time and younger Skyward Sword designs, with the former also appearing as an alternate costume. She has two weapons, the Giant Blade and the Naginata, which are capable of different attacks. In the story, she initially helps during the first battle, being surprised at Link's skill. She is taken by surprise when Zelda disappears. Later, when Sheik appears and aides the party, Impa remains skeptical, as no one in her tribe has that name. She keeps a close eye on Sheik until she reveals herself to be Zelda, traveling to the Era of the Hero of Time when Cia successfully opens up portals of time. She remains a primary playable character throughout the story afterwards. If defeated as an enemy, she can leave behind a weapon, Impa's Hair Band, or more rarely, Impa's Breastplate.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
In Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, the younger version of the Impa from Breath of the Wild appears as a playable warrior, closely resembling Paya. She wields a kodachi in battle, and her special ability is to use magic seals to create copies of herself to fight alongside her. In the story, she is Zelda's attendant and very often in battle, while her and Terrako have a sort of feud creating many of the game's gags.
Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda
In Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda, Impa appears as a minor character, using a design similar to in Skyward Sword and Hyrule Warriors. She is found in Zelda's chamber if Cadence chooses to awaken her instead of Link. If Zelda speaks to her, she gives her the telescope.
In DLC for the digital release and the base version of the physical release, Impa wielding her naginata is a playable character in All-Character Mode.
Names in other languages
- The Legend of Zelda characters
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link characters
- Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon characters
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time characters
- The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons characters
- The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages characters
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword characters
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds characters
- Hyrule Warriors warriors
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild characters
- Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda characters
- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity warriors