|Name:||Zelda; Sheik; Tetra|
|Occupation:||Princess of Hyrule; Pirate captain (WW, PH)|
|Relationships:||Link (friend, champion, love interest); Ganondorf (mortal enemy); Midna (friend, ally)|
|Fandom:||The Legend of Zelda; Super Smash Bros.|
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Zelda is the titular character in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda video game series. She appears in several incarnations throughout the series, generally as the princess of Hyrule's royal family, an ally of the protagonist Link, and the bearer of the Triforce of Wisdom.
Zelda appears in a supporting character in nearly all The Legend of Zelda media, and has appeared as a playable fighter in every installment of Super Smash Bros. from Melee onward. However, despite being the Zelda series' titular character, she notably does not appear in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening or The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
Perhaps more than any other recurring character in the series, Zelda has shown the most variety between her various incarnations—from the classic proper princess archetype of earlier games, to the warrior-poet Sheik in Ocarina of Time (1998), to the rough-and-tumble Tetra in The Wind Waker (2002), to the serious and composed would-be Queen in Twilight Princess (2006).
Zelda appeared in the three spin-off CD-i Philips games, two of which featured her as the playable protagonist.
Reception and Popularity
Zelda is widely considered an iconic character by the gaming community.
In 2009, Zelda was voted the third greatest female character in the games on Nintendo systems by the Official Nintendo Magazine. In 2011, readers of Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition voted Princess Zelda as the 31st-top video game character of all time.
Many fans have expressed desire—ranging from wistful wishing to angry demanding—for Zelda to take on a more active, action-oriented role in the series. Although Zelda appeared as the playable protagonist in two of the spin-off CD-i games, these games have been largely ignored by both Nintendo and the fanbase due to their infamously poor reputation.
Before the release of Hyrule Warriors, a popular rumor spread that the new incarnation of Zelda would be a queen rather than a princess. Some were disappointed when that turned out not to be the case.
Fanon and Tropes
Many fic writers and fan artists may enjoy reimagining Zelda in a more action-oriented role. This often manifests in role reversal AUs in which she is the heroic adventurer, and Link is the prince in need of rescue.
Zelda's Ocarina of Time alter ego, Sheik, is sometimes treated as a separate male character distinct from Zelda, and Link/Sheik may be portrayed as a m/m pairing.
Link/Zelda (ZeLink) is Zelda's juggernaut pairing, likely because their relationship is the most significant and recurring of any of her relationships depicted throughout The Legend of Zelda media. Pairings between Link and Zelda's various alter egos—such as Sheik (Sheik/Link), Tetra (TeLink), and Hylia (HyLink)—may be treated to some degree as distinct from ZeLink.
In a sample of 990 The Legend of Zelda stories published to FanFiction.Net between 13 October 2013 and 13 November 2019, Zelda was overwhelmingly listed in the site's pairing filter with Link (88%), distantly followed by Ganondorf (4%), Midna (2%), and several other characters—Dark Link, Impa, Vaati, Princess Hilda, Ghirahim, Mipha, and Volga—each at around 1%.
- Link/Zelda (ZeLink)
- Ganondorf/Zelda (ZelGan)
- Midna/Zelda (MidZel)
- Samus Aran/Zelda
Example Fan Works
Archives and Communities
- Archive of Our Own: Zelda (Legend of Zelda) tag
- TV Tropes
- Reddit: r/ZeldaIsCute
Sites and Shrines
- Wikipedia. Princess Zelda. (Accessed November 2020.)
- Official Nintendo Magazine. "Leading Ladies". 12 September 2009. (Archived 15 June 2012.)
- Marchiafava, Jeff. "Guinness Names Top 50 Video Game Characters Of All Time" published to Game Informer on 16 February 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
- phantomstatistician. Zelda's FanFiction Shipping Chart 2013*-Present posted to Tumblr on 13 November 2019. (Accessed November 2020.)
- phantomstatistician. Samus' FanFiction Shipping Chart 2013*-Present posted to Tumblr on 7 January 2019.