- "Zelda" redirects here. For information about the disambiguation page for other subjects named "The Legend of Zelda", see The Legend of Zelda.
Artwork of Princess Zelda from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
|First appearance||The Legend of Zelda (1986)|
|Latest appearance||The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (2023)|
Princess Zelda, often shortened to Zelda, is one of the main characters of The Legend of Zelda series. It is also the name traditionally provided to princesses born into the Royal Family of Hyrule. As such, there are several incarnations of Princess Zelda throughout the series. She first appeared in the debut game, The Legend of Zelda. The various Princess Zeldas are usually in possession of the Triforce of Wisdom, which grants them the ability to control certain psionic powers.
Although she is the series' titular character, Link is the actual main protagonist. Zelda, like Link, appears in various incarnations throughout the series. In some games, Link and Zelda are childhood friends. There are a few The Legend of Zelda games that Zelda does not appear in, such as The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. Princess Zelda sometimes has the role of damsel in-distress but to a lesser extent than Princess Peach of the Super Mario series.
Series creator Shigeru Miyamoto named Princess Zelda after a real world person, Zelda Fitzgerald. This was because he liked the sound to "Zelda" and described Fitzgerald as "a famous and beautiful woman from all accounts".
The Legend of Zelda series
The Legend of Zelda
In the backstory for The Legend of Zelda, Ganon attempted to conquer Hyrule and stole the Triforce of Power. Zelda feared he would also steal the Triforce of Wisdom, so she broke them into eight pieces and hid them in various parts of Hyrule. At the same time, Zelda sent her nursemaid, Impa, to find a courageous hero who would save Hyrule. Ganon discovered Zelda's plan, so he kidnapped her and locked her away in his lair, Death Mountain. Meanwhile, Impa found a young man named Link, who was willing to confront Ganon and rescue Princess Zelda.
In the game itself, Zelda does not appear until the ending, after Link defeats Ganon. The game ends with Link and Zelda holding up both of the Triforces.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
The Princess Zelda of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is a different character than the one in the first game. In the backstory, the King of Hyrule used the Triforce to maintain peace throughout Hyrule until his death. The prince was supposed to inherit the complete Triforce but only received a part of it. Sometime before his death, the king told a secret about the Triforce to the prince's sister, Zelda.
One day, the magician informed the prince about this, so they went to interrogate Zelda about where the complete Triforce was located. She refused to tell them, even as the magician threatened to put her into eternal slumber. The magician cast the spell on Zelda, even against the prince's wishes, causing her to fall into endless sleep. The prince felt a lot of grief over what happened, so he put Zelda into a room of the North Castle, hoping that she would be awoken someday. To ensure that the incident would not be forgotten, the prince gave a royal order declaring that all females born into the royal family were to be named Zelda.
Every time the player starts the game, Link starts in a room of the North Castle where Zelda lies. He goes on an adventure to retrieve the Triforce of Courage from the Great Palace, because Princess Zelda can only be awoken by the complete Triforce. Like the first game, Zelda only has an in-game role in the ending. After Link wakes up Zelda, she calls him a true hero. The game ends when curtains drop in front of Link and Zelda as they embrace each other, presumably to kiss.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
At the start of the game, Zelda is imprisoned in the dungeon of Hyrule Castle. Using telepathy, Zelda calls for Link's uncle to help her and then for Link. Zelda is imprisoned in floor B3 of Hyrule Castle. Link's uncle was unsuccessful at defeating the Ball and Chain Trooper guarding Zelda's cell, although Link manages to rescue Zelda and evacuate with her to the Sanctuary, where she stays for a portion of Link's adventure. Once Link has obtained the Master Sword, Zelda is kidnapped by Agahnim's henchmen and sent to the Dark World in Agahnim's final ritual to break the seal between the Light World and Dark World, allowing Ganon to rule over both worlds. Zelda is later rescued by later at Turtle Rock. Once Link has freed Zelda and the other six maidens, they break the barrier around Ganon's Tower, allowing Link to enter.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Zelda learns in a dream that the Gerudo King of Thieves, Ganondorf, is targeting the Triforce and that a boy from the forest will become the hero who saves the world. However, unable to convince her father, the king, she takes matters into her own hands, granting Link the Ocarina of Time, which allows him to manipulate time. Zelda's nurse Impa arranges to disguise her as a Sheikah named Sheik and saves her from Ganondorf's clutches when he storms Hyrule Castle. Seven years later, Ganon is sealed and Zelda sends Link back to the world of seven years ago.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords
Princess Zelda is tasked with protecting the Four Sword in the Sanctuary. The blade has the Wind Sorceror Vaati sealed within. When Vaati breaks the seal and returns to Hyrule, the demon attempts to make the princess his bride, stealing her away to the Palace of Winds. Link uses the Four Sword to save her.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
The Wind Sorceror Vaati escapes his seal. Link, wielding the Four Sword, defeats Vaati and a form of Ganon with the aid of Zelda's magic.
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Zelda and Link are childhood friends, even though Zelda is from a royal family unlike Link. At the start of the game, Zelda goes to Link's house and asks Link if he wants to go with her to the Picori Festival, to which he agrees. At the festival, Zelda excitedly checks out the different attractions. She also becomes the winner of a lucky prize draw and picks a shield for a prize and gives it to Link. Both of them go to Hyrule Castle so that Link can deliver it to the Smith's Blade.
During the swordfighting award ceremony, the winner Vaati reveals his evil intentions by breaking the Picori Blade and opening the Bound Chest in search of the light force. Vaati is aware of Princess Zelda's mystical powers, so he creates a spell that turns her to stone. Link tries using his shield to defend Zelda, but he is unsuccessful because the dark energy ball pushes him aside. In Hyrule Castle, King Daltus assigns Link to find a way to return Zelda to normal, which marks the start of his journey.
In the Elemental Sanctuary, once Link obtains the Four Sword, he can enter a secret room revealing that the light force is within Princess Zelda. Vaati immediately finds out, so he takes Zelda to the roof of Dark Hyrule Castle and plots to extract the light force from her. If the bell rings three times, the whole light force is extracted from Zelda, and the player receives a Game Over. After defeating Vaati's second form, Link uses the Four Sword's beam to return Zelda to normal. Dark Hyrule Castle starts to collapse, so Link and Zelda both try and escape from the falling debris. When they reach the Minish Door, Link is confronted by Vaati's third and final form, but he manages to defeat Vaati entirely. The Mage's Cap is released, and Ezlo turns back into his usual Minish form. Following Ezlo's advice, Zelda puts on the Mage's Cap and wishes for Hyrule to return to normal. Just before the Minish Door closes, Ezlo says goodbye to Link and Zelda and leaves.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
When Hyrule is invaded by the army of the Twilight Realm, Zelda is asked to choose between surrender and the destruction of her people. The princess chooses to surrender in order to save her people. Accepting subjugation, she wears a black robe. She comes to meet the princess of the Twilight Realm, Midna. Together, they overcome the ancient grudges between the light world and the Twilight Realm to help Link stop Ganondorf, with Zelda and Midna both nearly sacrificing themselves in the process.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
When Zelda's body is stolen as a vessel for the revival of the Demon King Malladus, Zelda manages to keep her soul. Able to possess the armor of Phantoms and fight, she journeys alongside Link to stop Malladus from bringing terror to Hyrule.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Before the kingdom of Hyrule and the royal family exist, the goddess Hylia is reborn as a mortal to the headmaster of the Knight Academy. She regains the power of the ancient goddess, awakens the hero, Link, and bears the fate of protecting the world from demons. Afterwards, she decides to settle on the surface world, and it is implied that Link stays with her. According to Hyrule Historia, her descendants found the kingdom, build Hyrule Castle in the center of Hyrule near the Temple of Time, and become the Royal Family of Hyrule.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Taken away to the parallel world of Lorule, the princess is turned into a painting in a plot to possess the power she holds. Zelda is freed, and together with Link, she saves both Hyrule and Lorule from a dark path.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Throughout The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the princess is trapped in Hyrule Castle, keeping Calamity Ganon at bay. She is seen throughout numerous memories Link recalls in the game, taking place before the Great Calamity. They show her attempting to unlock her sealing power from the goddess springs, while keeping an interest in scholarly pursuits such as the Guardian excavations. Her father, King Rhoam, encourages her somewhat aggressively to continue trying to find the sealing power, knowing that Calamity Ganon is soon to return. After her visit to the final spring, the Spring of Wisdom, Calamity Ganon awakes and triggers the Great Calamity, and Zelda manages to unlock the sealing power while trying to protect a dying Link from the renegade Guardians, before he is taken to the Shrine of Resurrection and she returns to Hyrule Castle to use the power on Calamity Ganon.
At various portions of the game, Zelda telepathically speaks to Link. Among various other things, she warns him every time a blood moon reaches its apex. Notably, this is the first main-series game to have her voice acted. In the English version, she is given a heavy British accent. In the King's Study in Hyrule Castle, it is revealed that her mother died when Zelda was six years old, and that her constant studying may have been to try and make up for that.
Once Link reaches the sanctum of Hyrule Castle, Zelda loses her hold on Calamity Ganon and the fight commences. After Calamity Ganon is defeated, it becomes Dark Beast Ganon, and Zelda grants Link the Bow of Light to defeat it, while causing weak spots of light to appear on its body. Once Ganon is defeated with the Bow of Light, Zelda is ejected from its mouth, and she uses her sealing power to shrink the remaining malice into nothingness. At the end of the game, Link and Zelda are shown in front of the ruined Hyrule Castle, while the spirits of King Rhoam and the four Champions look at them one last time before disappearing.
The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda series received its own animated television series with The Legend of Zelda, produced by DiC Entertainment. It aired under the The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! syndication, with the animated Mario segments running Monday through Thursday, and being replaced by Zelda segments on Fridays. The Zelda segments still received an accompanying live-action Mario and Luigi short. The series revolved around Link and Princess Zelda protecting the Triforce of Wisdom from Ganon. Cynthia Preston (credited as Cyndy Preston) voiced Princess Zelda in the series.
Captain N: The Game Master
Link and Zelda appear in Captain N: The Game Master, borrowing their appearance and personality from the aforementioned Legend of Zelda cartoon. Cynthia Preston (credited as Cyndy Preston) returned to voice Princess Zelda in the series.
Super Smash Bros. series
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Game & Watch Gallery 4
In Game & Watch Gallery 4, Zelda appears in the Zelda Game & Watch game, which is playable in the Museum after unlocking enough stars. This game is a remake of the Zelda Game & Watch game in which Link must battle monsters, including dragon bosses, in order to collect pieces of the Triforce and thus free Zelda.
Super Mario Maker
Zelda appears as a Mystery Mushroom costume in Super Mario Maker. It can be unlocked by scanning her respective amiibo or randomly by completing the 100 Mario Challenge on Expert difficulty or higher. She retains her The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess appearance from Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U in this game.
Additionally, costumes based on Sheik and Tetra are also available, both of which involve Zelda as part of their poses.
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, Zelda is one of three main playable characters. Near the beginning of the game, Cadence has the choice to awaken Link or Zelda. If Zelda is awakened from Octavo's spell, she will become the next playable character; if Link is awakened, she can be found asleep in Kakariko Village later in the game. Zelda plays a bit differently from Cadence and Link, utilizing Din's Fire and Nayru's Love as the default shoulder button moves. Regardless of the player's action, she appears during the final confrontation with Ganon, and thanks Cadence for her assistance when Ganon is defeated.
Relationships with other characters
In the games, Zelda and Link are close friends. In the television show and the Philips CD-i games, Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, Link has romantic feelings for Zelda, but she does feel the same about him. If Zelda is not the damsel-in-distress, she often accompanies Link during his adventures. In some of the games, Zelda helps Link battle the final boss, usually Ganondorf.
There have been a few hints of romance between both of them. In the ending for Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, after Zelda is awoken, it is presumed that she and Link are kissing behind the falling curtains. In the linked game for the Oracle games, the true ending sequence shows Zelda lightly kissing Link on the cheek, causing him to swoon as hearts float above his head. In separate interviews, Eiji Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto have not denied the possibility of a future relationship between Zelda and Link.
In manga, the romantic relationship between Link and Zelda is more obvious than in the games. In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time manga, this is shown by manga's dialog and Link's inability to stop thinking about Zelda. In a scene of the childhood chapters, Zelda kisses Link, causing him to react in excitement. In the adult chapters, there is a scene of tenderness between Link and Zelda, which is quickly interrupted when Ganondorf kidnaps Zelda. The last page of the manga shows that Link and Zelda are very close, because she cries in joy when Link visits her in the castle courtyard.
The Nintendo Comics System issues has a few direct romantic moments between Link and Zelda and some of the first overall. Their romance slowly develops throughout the issues. Both stories of issue 1, He Also Serves and Missing in Action, end with Zelda denying Link a kiss. Both stories of issue 3 reveal Zelda's romantic feelings for Link. In the first story, The Power, Link and Zelda are about to kiss, but are interrupted by a Wallmaster and two Darknuts. At the end of issue 3's The Price, Zelda tells Link that she loves him, thinking that he was asleep. Link then asks loudly what she meant about loving him, but Zelda denies. The strip ends with them arguing back and forth. Lastly, issue 6's two-page short story, The Perfect Date, are about Link and Zelda dating.
Captain N: The Game Master has a few moments where Zelda kisses Link. These are the earliest instances in official media where Zelda is shown to be kissing Link.
- For this character's image gallery, see Gallery:Princess Zelda.
Names in other languages
|Princess Zelda; Referred to as simply 「ゼルダ」 in-game|
|Spanish||Princesa Zelda||Princess Zelda|
|French||Princesse Zelda||Princess Zelda|
|Dutch||Prinses Zelda||Princess Zelda|
|German||Prinzessin Zelda||Princess Zelda|
|Italian||Principessa Zelda||Princess Zelda|
|Portuguese||Princesa Zelda||Princess Zelda|
(Referred to as simply "薩爾達" or "塞尔达" in-game)