Princess Zelda's Evolution Through The Saga

Princess Zelda's Evolution Through The Saga

Princess Zelda is a key character in The Legend of Zelda saga, named after the princess of the kingdom of Hyrule. Although she is not the main character and is not playable, as fans, we do not get tired of having to rescue her again and again with Link over time and games!

But as a result, it's not easy to always understand her story and secrets. So if you want to know more about Princess Zelda's story, it's here! Get ready, because you'll discover a lot of secrets about this famous character and her evolution... Now just sit back, get your favorite tea or coffee, and enjoy our Princess Zelda's evolution through the saga article!

Princess Zelda's appearance and age

Zelda is a princess, a young girl, usually with long blond hair and pointed ears, who is more or less the same age as Link. Her age remains more or less mysterious in most games. She can be a young child in Ocarina of Time as well as a teenager, between 16 and 17 years old, in Breath of the Wild.

Regarding her appearance, Princess Zelda typically dons a pink or white dress adorned with the royal seal of Hyrule, a fashion choice reminiscent of her attire in Twilight Princess. In Breath of the Wild (BOTW), players had the opportunity to witness her in a distinct ensemble, sporting the regal garb of the leader of the Prodigies. This variation in her wardrobe not only adds a layer of diversity to her character but also reflects the adaptability and evolution of Zelda's role across different iterations of The Legend of Zelda series.

Where does princess Zelda get her name from?

According to the book Hyrule Historia, Princess Zelda is named after the American novelist Zelda Fitzgerald. Shigeru Miyamoto (co-creator of the Zelda franchise) wanted a princess with "timeless and appealing beauty," and Zelda seemed an appropriate name for the "eternal beauty" of Nintendo's now-famous princess. Hyrule Historia actually shows her in her simplest appeal, dressed in a simple pink dress and a small tiara to distinguish her as a princess. This rather simple appearance at the beginning will obviously evolve over the episodes.

If you want more information on this subject, we recommend you check our "Why is it called the Legend of Zelda" article

Princess Zelda's amazing transformation over time

The Legend of Zelda has been one of Nintendo's most beloved franchises since its debut in 1986. Over the past few decades, the Zelda franchise has undergone major changes in its gameplay, lore and characters, especially the eponymous princess herself.

Princess Zelda has played a variety of roles throughout the series, and none of her many appearances are alike. She is perpetually on the borderline between a damsel in distress and a full-fledged heroine, though recent games have made her much more active in the well-being of her kingdom.

The transformation of Nintendo's iconic princess, arguably one of the most revered princesses in gaming history, has been nothing short of remarkable, both in character design and development. As we take a retrospective journey, let's revisit Princess Zelda's myriad appearances across the expansive Legend of Zelda franchise, tracing the evolution that has defined her iconic presence in the gaming world. From her early renditions to the latest iterations, each portrayal contributes to a rich tapestry that encapsulates the enduring legacy of Princess Zelda and showcases the unparalleled creativity and innovation that Nintendo has infused into her character over the years. Join us as we embark on a visual odyssey through the remarkable transformation of Princess Zelda, a testament to the enduring charm and timelessness of The Legend of Zelda series.

⚠️ Note: the rest of this article contains major spoilers regarding the entire Zelda series, so beware!

The Legend of Zelda: The Princess' debut

Princess Zelda first appeared in the first game of the saga in 1986. When Ganon arrives in Hyrule with the intention of stealing the Triforce and using its power to conquer the kingdom, Zelda divides the Triforce of Wisdom into pieces and scatters them in different parts of the country in order to delay him and wait for a hero to stop him. 
Other than that, she doesn't play a very active role as she is imprisoned by Ganon until Link finally comes to her rescue. And yet, her determination to protect her kingdom from evil is the main element that will characterize the princess for all her future appearances.

Zelda, the Sleeping Beauty of The Adventure of Link

Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link introduced Zelda into the royal family line. Hyrule Historia revealed that the King of Hyrule secretly hid the Triforce of Courage and passed on the Triforces of Wisdom and Power to his daughter Zelda after deeming her to be purer in heart than her brother.

In this game, Zelda is plunged into a cursed sleep that lasted for centuries due to the actions of her brother. Link is obviously the only hero who can help her. Because of her fate, Princess Zelda plays a rather minor role in the game.

Zelda's powers and role expanded in A Link to the Past

A Link to the Past is the first game in the series to establish Princess Zelda's divine heritage, giving her a more prominent role in the story. She also has telepathic powers, which allow her to contact Link when Agahnim captures her in hopes of breaking the seal and freeing Ganon.

This version of Princess Zelda is the same as the one featured in Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, although her role is relatively minor in both games.

Ocarina of Time presented Zelda in a three-dimensional aspect

The appearance of Princess Zelda in Ocarina of Time was accompanied by her biggest transformation to date. With the improved graphics capabilities of the Nintendo 64, Zelda finally got a 3D look.

Princess Zelda seeks Link's help in obtaining the spirit stones that open the sacred realm, in hopes of claiming the Triforce before Ganondorf can take it. Their plan fails and Zelda is forced toflee when Ganondorf launches his attack on Hyrule Castle. Determined to help her kingdom despite the odds, Zelda disguises herself as an individual names Sheik.

Seven years after Ganondorf's siege, Sheik assists Link in his quest to awaken the six Sages who have the power to seal Ganondorf. When the time comes, Zelda reveals herself as the princess and the seventh sage and they face Ganondort.

Zelda in the Four Swords games

Although separated by centuries, the two versions of Princess Zelda that appear in Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures have much in common.

Released in 2002, Four Swords introduced a new Princess Zelda: the latest in a long line of descendants who maintain the seal of the Four Sword. The wind sorcerer Vaati eventually breaks the seal and kidnaps Zelda to make her his wife. Link uses the power of the Four Sword to divide himself and save the princess. Together they then seal Vaati.

Zelda from The Wind Waker was more a pirate than a princess

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker may have had a controversial release in 2003, but its interpretation of Zelda mythology and the princess herself has retroactively earned the game a glowing reputation as one of the best titles in the series. Wind Waker features a new version of Zelda as a brave and headstrong pirate captain named Tetra who is unaware of her royal lineage.

Tetra helps Link throughout the game until it is revealed that she is in fact the princess of the long lost kingdom of Hyrule. Repairing the Triforce of Wisdom turns her into Zelda, and she remains in the ruined kingdom until Link obtains the Triforce of Courage. Refusing to be a damsel in distress, she helps Link in his final battle against Ganondorf by shooting light arrows at their common enemy.

The Minish Cap turned Zelda into a statue

Princess Zelda does not play a big role in The Minish Cap, as she spends most of the game as a statue. The evil wizard Vaati turns her into stone to keep her out of his way. She is saved when Link uses the Picori Blade (known as the Four Sword when imbued with the power of the four elements) to defeat Vaati and break his curse.

Twilight Princess unveiled the darkest version of Princess Zelda

The Zelda franchise took a dark turn in 2006 with Twilight Princess. Princess Zelda herself became a darker character. Without making her too stark, the developers strove to give her facial expressions that conveyed "despair and anxiety" that highlighted her newfound maturity.

Spirit Tracks explored new ways for Zelda to help Link on his quest

Daiki Iwamoto, the director of Spirit Tracks, wanted to give Zelda a more prominent role in the game. So Zelda becomes a sort of sidekick to Link, offering advice, feedback and even assistance with puzzles and combat.

Skyward Sword focuses more on Link and Zelda's relationship

Skyward Sword presents a version of Zelda that is not a typical princess, mainly because she is not a princess. Instead, she is the lovely daughter of the mayor of Skyloft.

The developers felt that making Link and Zelda strangers at the beginning of the game did not create enough emotional stakes. Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi explained that it seemed "artificial" to force players to save Zelda simply because she was a princess, so the team wanted to give them a reason to want to save her.

A Link Between Worlds continued the trend of turning Zelda into an object

Talk about an amazing transformation - in A Link Between Worlds, Zelda is turned into a painting by the evil wizard Yuga. In this adventure, Link occasionally meets Princess Hilda, Zelda's counterpart in Lorule.

A Link Between Worlds was released in 2013 and Zelda's design remains relatively similar to her former appearance. Princess Zelda's design in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is based on her appearance in A Link Between Worlds, as the developers thought that her personality in Breath of the Wild would not match with a fighting game.

Breath of the Wild highlighted the intelligence and wisdom of Zelda

Zelda plays an important role throughout the story of Breath of the Wild. Link's recovered memories depict an intelligent and passionate young woman who is sincerely devoted to her kingdom.

Zelda has discovered new ways to fight for her kingdom in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

Players can enjoy a bit of Zelda from Breath of the Wild in action in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. While Zelda doesn't have all of her powers at her disposal just yet, she is still able to use technology to fight alongside Link and the other champions (as well as many of the game's other playable characters) to combat the evil that plagues their land. Zelda is also a playable protagonist in the original Hyrule Warriors spin-off, but the events of the game are considered to be out of sync with the official timeline.

How will princess Zelda be like in Tears of the Kingdom?

What do you guys think? Feel free to comment below!

We hope you enjoyed our Princess Zelda's evolution through the saga article. 

Leave a comment