The Legend of Zelda
- This article details the fandom of the general Legend of Zelda franchise. For the fandom of the original 1986 game, see The Legend of Zelda (1986 video game).
|Name:||The Legend of Zelda|
(ゼルダの伝説, Zeruda no Densetsu)
|Abbreviation(s):||Zelda, TLoZ, LoZ|
|Creator:||Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka (Nintendo)|
|Date(s):||1986 - present|
|Medium:||Video game (NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, Gamecube, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Wii U, Switch), cartoon, comic|
|Country of Origin:||Japan|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
The Legend of Zelda (ゼルダの伝説, Zeruda no Densetsu) is one of Nintendo's longest-running and most popular series. Set in a magical world, the Zelda games generally follow the adventures of three characters (or incarnations thereof): the protagonists Link, Princess Zelda, and the antagonist Ganondorf.
While each game is different, the general plot often revolves around the Triforce, a mystical artifact left by the three goddesses that created the world of Hyrule. Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf each embody one of the three parts of the Triforce: courage for Link, knowledge for Zelda, and power for Ganondorf. In attempts to obtain the Triforce, or at least a piece of it, Ganondorf captures Zelda, and it is Link's fate to rescue her by defeating the villainous Ganondorf.
Some games leave this basic plot behind: Majora's Mask (2000), for example, takes place in a land called Termina, and Ganondorf and Zelda never make appearances during the span of the game.
Main Series Games
- The Legend of Zelda (1986)
- The Adventure of Link (1987)
- A Link to the Past (1991)
- Link's Awakening (1993)
- Ocarina of Time (1998)
- Majora's Mask (2000)
- Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages (2001)
- Four Swords (2002)
- The Wind Waker (2002)
- Four Swords Adventures (2004)
- The Minish Cap (2004)
- Twilight Princess (2006)
- Phantom Hourglass (2007)
- Spirit Tracks (2009)
- Skyward Sword (2011)
- A Link Between Worlds (2013)
- Tri-Force Heroes (2015)
- Breath of the Wild (2017)
- Link: The Faces of Evil (1993)
- Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon (1993)
- Zelda’s Adventure (1994)
- BS Zelda no Densetsu (1995)
- BS Zelda no Densetsu: Inishie no Sekiban (1997)
- Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland (2006)
- Tingle’s Balloon Fight (2007)
- Link’s Crossbow Training (2007)
- Irozuki Tingle no Koi no Balloon Trip (2009)
- Hyrule Warriors (2014)
- My Nintendo Picross: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2016)
- Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer (2019)
- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (2020)
Spin-off games are not considered canon, and do not tend to receive the amount of attention or fandom significance of main series games. Exceptions include Hyrule Warriors, which has lead to a fan theory about the unification of the games' three timelines (see fan theories below) and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which functions as a prequel to Breath of the Wild, although it contradicts the canon of the game.
Most self-identified Zelda fans have not played or enjoyed every installment in the series. Many fans tend to favor one game or subseries over others. For example, the top-selling Breath of the Wild stimulated a lot of fan activity among both new and returning fans, leading to the rise of a BotW-specific fan community distinct from others in the series' 30-year history.
The release of Ocarina of Time, one of the most popular and well received games in the Zelda series, coincided with the growing use of the Internet in homes. Websites blossomed, some on free hosts like Geocities and Angelfire and some with their own domains. Hyrule: The Land of Zelda was a massive resource for fans and their forums nurtured an active community.
- Lady Juliet
- Imagine Dragons - The band have made their love of Zelda clear, to the extent that at the Game Awards 2014, the group performed the track 'Great Fairy Fountain' and their song 'It's Time' alongside The Legend of Zelda composer Koji Kondo.
- Robin Williams - Named his daughter Zelda after the fictional princess. In 2011 he appeared with her in a series of ads for the 3DS port of Ocarina of Time.
Fan theories and fanon
Fan theories on the games are common due to the series' expansive lore.
The canon games exist on a branching timeline, with three paths depending on the fate of Link in Ocarina of Time. The Decline Timeline follows Hyrule after Link's death, the Adult Timeline follows Hyrule after Link's success, and the Child Timeline follows an alternate version of Hyrule after Link is sent back in time following Ganondorf's defeat.
An official version of the timeline was published in 2011 in The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, and slightly updated in 2017 in The Legend of Zelda: Encyclopedia. Prior to this, the chronology of the series was held secret by the developers and was a popular topic of discussion and fan theories.
See "[The Legend of Zelda fandom] The Zelda Timeline (s)" by Historyguy1
Breath of the Wild's place on the timeline remains unclear. Officially, the game is placed far after the events of the other games in the series; however, the developers have deliberately left it ambiguous which of the three timelines it follows. Series producer Eiji Aonuma has explained that the team behind Breath of the Wild had "realised that people were enjoying imagining the story that emerged from the fragmental imagery we were providing. If we defined a restricted timeline, then there would be a definitive story, and it would eliminate the room for imagination, which wouldn’t be as fun." Aonuma and director Hidemaro Fujibayashi have also stated that the timeline is constantly changing, which they view as "new information and truths being uncovered" rather than contradicting or changing canon.
As a result, timeline theories continue, especially regarding Breath of the Wild's placement, as the game features hallmarks of each of the three timeline branches. Some fans have theorised that this means the timelines have merged at some point after the rest of the games in the series but before Breath of the Wild. There are various theories about how this could have occurred; one such theory suggests that Hyrule Warriors should be considered canon, as it features a merge of the timelines within the events of the game. Other fans feel that trying to create a definitive timeline is pointless or contradicts the wishes of the creators, and that the games should instead be considered as occasionally referencing each other but ultimately independent of one another.
The Legend of Zelda fandom is prolific in terms of fan works. Archive of Our Own (AO3) has over 10k works listed for the fandom as a whole, just over 4,000 of which are tagged for the game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, as of February 2020, are the next most prolific with a bit over a thousand works on AO3 each. Most fanworks for this series, however, are on other, often older platforms—Fanfiction.Net currently hosts just over 31 thousand works in its Legend of Zelda category, and there are many websites devoted entirely to the series, or even specific subsets of the series.
Common tropes include a mute or selectively mute Link, crossovers between different incarnations of Link, and many more.
The most popular pairing across fanworks for most titles in the franchise is Link/Zelda. Some games have other, game-specific popular pairings, such as Link/Sidon from Breath of the Wild, Link/Sheik from Ocarina of Time, Link/Midna from Twilight Princess and Ghirahim/Link from Skyward Sword.
- "The Chess Match" by Pasht
- "My Inner Life" by Link’s Queen, an infamous self-insert fic sometimes compared to "My Immortal"
- Linked Universe AU  by jojo56830
- "Link and the Links" AU  by naomiskyeart
- A Tale of Two RulersTumblr, Webtoons by FigmentForms
- Zelda's LullabyTumblr, Webtoons by Jemma M. Young
Fan Films and Videos
- The Legend of Zelda: The Light of Courage, a fan film parody adaptation of an infamous badfic by the same name
- The Zelda CDi Reanimated Collab! 
- The Legend of Zelda ReAnimated Series 
- Majora's Mask - Terrible Fate  by Ember Lab
Events and challenges
- "[The Legend of Zelda fandom] The Zelda Timeline (s)" by Historyguy1
- "[The Legend of Zelda Fandom] A Colombian Teenager "Finds" the Triforce in 1999" by Historyguy1
- "[Legend of Zelda fandom] Cel-da" by Historyguy1
Theories and speculation
- TV Tropes
- Know Your Meme
- Zelda Dungeon (previously Zelda Informer)
- Zelda Legends
- Link's Hideaway 
- Hidden Triforce 
- Zelda Temple 
- Zelda Central 
- Zelda Capital 
- Portal to Hyrule 
- Hyrule.Net 
Communities and archives
- Icy Brian's RPG Page: Legend of Zelda category
- RPGamer 
- Legend of Zelda at FanFiction.Net
- Tumblr: sacredflames, zeldacosplayworldwide, https://sacredflames.tumblr.com/, https://sheik.tumblr.com/, https://trifource-blog.tumblr.com/, https://triforce-princess.tumblr.com/, https://zelda-tunes.tumblr.com/, https://legend-of-confessions.tumblr.com/, https://the-legend-of-zelda-series.tumblr.com/, https://fuckyeah-thelegendofzelda.tumblr.com/, https://zeldauniverse.tumblr.com/, https://elfzelda.tumblr.com/, https://zelda-informer.tumblr.com/
- The Legend of Zelda & Related Fandoms at Archive of Our Own
- The North Castle
- ZG Fanfiction (archive for the ZeldaGuide fansite)
- Zelda Fan Game Central 
- Pixiv: #ゼルダの伝説
- Reddit: r/zelda, r/TrueZelda
- Koji Kondo and Imagine Dragons Play Zelda Suite to End the 2014 Game Awards (December 2014) - ZeldaDungeon
- Patrick Shanley, "Zelda Williams Recalls Growing Up Playing the Video Game Her Father Named Her After", Hollywood Reporter, March 10, 2017
- Caleb Reading, "Robin Williams' Ads For 'Legend Of Zelda' Are Still Magical, Three Years On", Uproxx, August 12, 2014
- Lloyd, R. Eiji Aonuma explains ambiguity of Breath of the Wild's timeline placement in Creating a Champion book, Zelda Dungeon, 22 November 2018. (Accessed 9 June 2021.)
- Schreier, J. Breath of the Wild gets official placement on the Zelda timeline, but there are shenanigans, Kotaku, 6 August 2018. (Accessed 9 June 2021.),