Thirty years ago, a Princess split the Triforce of Wisdom into eight pieces in a desperate attempt to save her land. Thirty years ago, that same Princess was kidnapped by the Prince of Darkness. Thirty years ago, one young hero raised his first sword, embarked on his first adventure, and saved the world for the first time. Over the course of the past thirty years, the Legend of Zelda series has consistently introduced memorable characters, and that’s what has brought us all to this article today.
Link. Zelda. Ganon/dorf. You know them, so I’m not going to waste an article explaining who they are to you. Of course they’re memorable, they’re the most common and well-known characters in the franchise. No, for this article we’re going to take a look at the other memorable characters from the games, the characters that have continued to make the mysterious lands, and the journey through those lands, truly engaging. The ones who have made their mark – for better or for worse. In no particular order (except the last one, who is the best), here are the 10 most memorable characters from The Legend of Zelda.
I did say for better or worse, and love him (unlikely) or hate him (that’s more like it), Tingle is one of the most memorable characters from the franchise. He was certainly odd when we met him in Majora’s Mask, even more than all the other odd people walking around. The moon is falling, people! Why aren’t you freaking out? Ahem, anyway. As odd and annoying as Tingle was, he at least felt appropriate for the game in which he appeared. However, the fact that anyone in their right mind went “we should bring him back for more games” or, even worse, “we should give him his own spin-offs” is beyond comprehension. Tingle, Tingle, kooloo-limpah!
I know, I know. I said no Zelda. But when I think of Tetra, Zelda isn’t really the first thing I think of. Tetra, the spunky pirate captain from Wind Waker is tough as nails, and is surprisingly deep as a character. Sure, she has her selfish moments, but she’s also quite compassionate. Once it’s revealed that Tetra is the newest incarnation of Zelda, she embraces her role with the same courage that Link has time and time again. So, while technically Tetra is Zelda, I still consider her to be way cooler than the franchise’s titular haver of legends.
HEY HEY. LISTEN. HEY LISTEN. HEY. HEY. WATCH OUT. Navi was annoying as sin, and I just wanted her to shut the hell up. No, Navi, I don’t want to listen to you. But despite the fact that I wanted to snatch up that little flying dot of light and throw it into Lake Hylia, she was pretty useful – for newcomers. She provided tips, on both navigation and battling new and mysterious enemies, but her constant nagging for attention, particularly when you’ve played the game once or twice or fifty times, made her a worthy contender for the “Most Annoying Character in Franchise History” award.
“Remember that there is another world bound to this one.” Midna is, hands down, one of the most interesting characters from any of the franchise’s games. Her role as a character was pivotal, with the entire story of Twilight Princess depending on her growing and strengthening bond with Link. What began as a selfish arrangement organically developed into a legitimate friendship of the heartstring-tugging variety. She’s super bossy and delightfully sarcastic, but beneath all that is a heart of gold.
Often referred to as “Oh Crap, Not The Owl Again,” Kaepora Gaebora is arguably the single most frustratingly annoying character in the entirety of The Legend of Zelda‘s history. Kaepora Gaebora’s purpose in Ocarina of Time was to give you helpful tips on what to do – you know, the exact same thing Navi was doing. Most people button mash through his speeches – when that option is available – but it’s as if the developers knew this would happen, and just to screw with players they snuck in a “Do you want to hear this again?” If your timing isn’t perfect, you’ll end up repeating the entire process. And even if you manage to hit “no,” he’ll go on a bit longer, and this time you can’t skip the text. And you can’t walk past him, either. Absolutely no part of any of this is optional. I hate that stupid owl…
Happy Mask Salesman
Like most characters from Majora’s Mask that were pulled from Ocarina of Time, the first appearance of the Happy Mask Salesman was unimpressive, although certainly odd. Link could borrow masks from him, sell them to random people scattered throughout Hyrule, and return with the money. Hylia help you if you didn’t return with that money, though. Following the events of Ocarina, we move on directly to Majora’s Mask, where the Salesman’s role is greater, and far more mysterious. It’s clear that he’s a magical being, but even more clear is the fact that he’s completely off his rocker crazy.
Would you have known that it was dangerous to go alone if this fella hadn’t told you? Probably. I mean, there were enemies everywhere, a Princess was missing, and you were going to eventually enter into battle against a pig-man-villain. That’s certainly not the safest career path. But this dude was good for more than just stating the obvious – he was also one of the most memorable The Legend of Zelda characters. The Old Man gave us our sword, of course, but he also rose to internet meme stardom years later. “It’s dangerous to go alone, take this” has been used for everything from key holders to marriage proposals, and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
You know the one. The one that is about to hit the world and kill everyone in three days? Yea, that’s the one. The Moon was the primary antagonist in Majora’s Mask, along with the progression of time, of course. Sure, moons appear in lots of video games, but this one was unique – mainly because of that creepy ass smile and menacing glare. The moon became one of the single most iconic parts of Majora’s Mask, with Skull Kid playing the bridesmaid.
Linebeck’s appeal is in how flawed a character he really is. Not from a design perspective, rather he’s a wonderful depiction of a flawed human being. He’s a selfish coward, self absorbed, unapologetically greedy, and absolutely freaking hilarious. In real life I’d probably hate this guy, but he was one of the best parts of Phantom Hourglass. As time goes on, you learn that this weirdo is pretty charming, and far from irredeemable. He didn’t pull it off with as much style as Midna, but he definitely had his own Jack Sparrow-esque charm.
Duh. You didn’t think we were going to forget about Link’s trusty steed, did you? Ocarina of Time on its own was a revolutionary title, but it also introduced us to one of the most famous horses in all of gaming, Epona. We meet the horse as a youngin’, but after jumping forward in time, we’re able to win (let’s be honest, “rescue” is way more accurate) her from Ingo. Epona served as a swift mode of transportation, as well as assistance in clearing big jumps, but also turned into a beloved character. From then on out, it was Link and Epona, and games without her felt like they were missing something important.
Did we miss your favorite character? Sound off in the comments and let us know!