Top 10 Best Legend Of Zelda Characters
The Legend of Zelda franchise is one of the most iconic games for many reasons, but its massive cast of unforgettable characters is undoubtedly one of the greatest. The names you’ll no doubt be familiar with may be the most well-known, but even characters that only appear in one game can resonate across generations, bringing joy and fear in equal measure to gamers around the world. While there are too many great choices to single out, we think the ten in this list are some of, if not the best, in the entire Legend of Zelda series.
Top 10 Best Legend Of Zelda Characters
There are dozens of small considerations when choosing the best Legend of Zelda characters, but our main ones were: how recognizable a character is, how much they impact the community, and what impact they have on the franchise canon. We present them in alphabetical order for convenience.
note: There will be significant story spoilers for any Zelda games in which the characters appear. Read at your own risk.
To say that Demise is important to the Legend of Zelda narrative is to do the word “important” a disservice. Though he only appeared in Skyward Sword, his influence on the story is undeniable thanks to that game’s position as the beginning of all three Zelda timelines. While Demise has a relatively generic “evil demon lord” design and his early boss fights as The Imprisoned weren’t a community favorite, he just couldn’t fight on par with the pure Master Sword and Link, the Goddess’ chosen hero. He even corrupted the legendary blade and cursed Zelda, Link and the entire world into an endless loop of suffering. In short, without Demise there would be no Ganondorf, no endless cycle of hate and (for retcon reasons) no Legend of Zelda.
Every great story needs its villain, and while Ganon is the more recognizable villain, Ganondorf is the more interesting one. His introduction to Ocarina of Time was one of the gaming highlights. While he was completely irreplaceable in this game, few enemies in our medium could match his awesome theme song, sheer willpower, and hard-hitting final boss fights. Then we got Wind Waker and we saw that Ganondorf was more than a bloodthirsty tyrant, capable of growth, subtlety, and really moving emotions. Still no doubt evil, but only because the universe had treated him and his people badly, it seemed, and what he did (he said) he did in their service. The only reason he fights to the death at the end of Wind Waker is because he has nothing left to lose and because literal centuries of hope and planning were dashed at the final hurdle.
Link may not be quite up to Mario’s notoriety, but he remains one of gaming’s most iconic characters, with an almost unblemished roster of masterpieces. He has traveled through time, transcended dimensions, and faced gods, demons, giant mechs, and the incarnations of intangible concepts, always using his wits and endless courage to overcome them. Allowing us as players to enjoy these adventures is one of history’s greatest gifts, and with the series showing no signs of slowing down or declining in quality, hopefully we have decades to discover.
Midna occupies an odd middle place in the Zelda franchise. She’s not exactly a heroine, but she’s no villain either. The lines between good and evil have been clearly drawn in many previous entries. It was easy to tell who was good and who was bad, and while some of the games asked questions about the nature of such things when introducing a character, it was pretty clear which side of the line they fell on. Midna straddles that line, working with Link out of convenience rather than altruism, something of a theme in Twilight Princess. Her sophistry and slow character development only add to her charm.
Mipha, the first of two Breath of the Wild characters on our list, isn’t the only one to offer Link a romantic rival, nor is she the first soft-spoken supporting female character with ties to Link. However, she is one of the most popular for her sincerity, beauty, devotion, and (albeit unseen) badassery with a trident. The ability she grants in-game has undoubtedly also saved many gamers’ bacon when they needed help most. Mipha’s similarities and significant differences to Princess Ruto from Ocarina of Time also play a role here. Those who played the earlier title no doubt have memories of these interactions, and those who would play after Breath of the Wild Ocarina can see that Mipha is a solid continuation of the characterization that this franchise is at its best.
Malon’s role in Ocarina of Time was relatively small, but her impact was huge. Exploring Hyrule would have been a completely different experience if Malon hadn’t taught us Epona’s song. Her leadership of the castle town of Hyrule and her cheerful demeanor were among the brightest points in the first children’s part of the game and seeing how the rule of Ganondorf worked for her. Ingo was undoubtedly abusive and watching her realize that the person who set her and her favorite horse free was Link was utterly heartwarming. She later appeared in Majora’s Mask as Romani/Cremi, as well as in Oracle of Seasons, Four Swords Adventures, and The Minish Cap.
While Saria didn’t have much else Present in Ocarina of Time as Malon, her impact was felt just as easily. In fact, she gave Link his first ocarina, taught him one of his first songs, and was his first and only true friend growing up. Her happiness, sadness, and sense of duty endeared her to the community, both in 1997 and throughout. Her song is still one of the most popular Zelda tunes, both in terms of in-game composition and enjoyment outside of the game, and her loyalty to Link despite what happened was truly touching. She only appeared in one game in the series, but she made an impact on fans new and old.
Yes, we’re cheating a bit here, but Nintendo has considered Zelda and Sheek as both separate characters and the same person for many of their non-series titles. Sheek is also one of Zelda’s most active incarnations, using abilities and skills not seen in any of her other appearances, including stealth, deception, and outright deception to achieve her goals. The character’s physicality is also unique, being flung around by Bongo Bongo and rescuing Ruto from under the ice, two tasks that require incredible physical and mental strength. Many of the songs she teaches are well remembered by the community as well, and the reveal at the end of the game was a revelation on par with Aerith’s death in Final Fantasy VII, albeit for different reasons.
There is little that can be said about Sidon without mentioning its sheer positivity and joie de vivre. The fact that his teeth shine during his power pose is the icing on the cake. It was also impossible not to see him all over social media as more and more players were able to meet him. His positivity was also notable for the dour nature of Breath of the Wild itself, where the end of the world was visible from every corner of Hyrule. Despite all of this, Sidon never wavered in his hope for the future and the certainty that Link was the man his sister always thought he was.
The franchise’s namesake may not appear in every title, but when she does, every action she takes has meaning and value, changing the fate of those around her. No two Zeldas are ever the same, some are former cheeky pirates, deposed monarchs, terrified teenagers or kings caught in the crossfire. Link may be the face of the Legend of Zelda, but the person who gives the series its name has almost always been its heart. In many ways, Zelda’s performance mirrors the events and tone of the game, making her return to the stage all the more enjoyable. Both because of and despite these shifting portrayals, she’s a fan-favorite character thanks to her consistent aesthetic and indomitable will.
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