Hey guys! It’s been a hot second since the last Inspiring Characters, and finally I am here with the next one! This time we’re going to do a deep dive on the Hero of Hyrule, Link! This may or may not get confusing, but there are actually multiple versions of Link. Obviously there are different games, but sometimes the Link we see is not the same. In other words, the Link we see in Skyward Sword is not the same Link as the one we see in Twilight Princess. Like I said, it’s confusing! However, this won’t stop me from breaking down what makes this kid so inspiring, but it does mean that I will be taking examples and stuff from multiple games. Oh, and it will totally affect the way I go about it. If you remember in past Inspiring Characters posts, I always do a little section where I tell the characters’ stories. Since Link has a story for every game he’s in, I’m going to do my best to paraphrase. I mean, they basically all have the same layout, right? Let’s hope so… (MAJOR Spoiler Warnings!)
Long Story Short
Here goes nothing…
Everyone knows how the story goes. We have the damsel in distress, Princess Zelda. The big bad, Ganondorf. And, of course, we have our hero, Link!
Except sometimes our damsel in distress can take care of herself. Sometimes Link is just a little boy. Legend of Zelda may have the same layout for each story, but it makes tweaks here and there, and us Nintendo fans can’t stop coming back to it even though it’s now 35 years old.
Let’s start at the beginning.
The first video game in the official timeline is Skyward Sword. Link is a teenage boy in a school for aspiring knights. It’s the only Zelda game not to include Ganon, and it’s also one of the only games in the series where Link and Zelda are actually in somewhat of a relationship. This is the first Link, and this is the first Zelda. In this game, we find out where all these different Zeldas and Links come from!
Basically, Zelda is the human form of the goddess Hylia, and she pretty much reincarnates over and over again. The same can be said for Link. As he is the Hero of Time, he is reincarnated with the gift of the Triforce of Courage. At least…this is the way I understand it. Sometimes Link appears as a little boy, as he does in Majora’s Mask, Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, etc. Other times, he’s a young man, as he is in Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. And, you know, he even appears as a super old guy who just looks young in Breath of the Wild.
With that being said, Link reincarnates over and over again to save Hyrule from Ganon, who is also reincarnating. Fun stuff, right? Anyway, throughout the timeline, Link is constantly defeating Ganon.
We get Link vs. Ganon in every game. We know Link is always going to win, so what makes him so inspiring? Well, that’s just it. Sometimes he doesn’t win.
Breath of the Wild let’s us see Link be defeated, and the results aren’t pretty. At the brink of death, he is put into a chamber where he can sleep for a century in order to heal. Oh yeah, and he’s like, one of the only ones who survived the Calamity. Zelda herself ended up becoming trapped in Hyrule Castle to hold Ganon back from completely obliterating Hyrule. 100 years later, Link awakens, and he gets a second chance to defeat his age old opponent.
But this isn’t the only time he is defeated. In Majora’s Mask, child Link is forced to try and save the world from being crushed by the moon. Every time he fails, time rewinds, and he must start again. In the Twilight Princess manga series, Link is mortally wounded by Zant, and almost dies as a result.
Not to mention that saving the princess and defeating Ganon comes with hefty costs, like in Ocarina of Time when he has to give up his childhood, and he goes into the future so he can fight Ganon.
I do have to admit that a lot of times, Link doesn’t have much personality. I mean, what do you expect? In the entire series, Link has never spoken a single word. However, actions speak louder than words. Link continuously puts his life on the line and makes sacrifices to rescue people he doesn’t even know.
What Makes Link So Inspiring
I mentioned how Link makes a lot of sacrifices to save Hyrule, and while that is pretty inspiring on it’s own, there’s something else I what to talk about.
Let’s go to the world of the Twilight Princess manga series.
The Link we see here is, as much as I hate to admit it, a spoiled brat. He complains A LOT. While he’s a friendly guy, and he helps people out, he just has this dark side, which is actually amazing since it gives the character we know and love flaws, which makes him into a three dimensional character!
However, that doesn’t make it easy for people to get along with him. Throughout the series, ESPECIALLY after getting the Master Sword, Link begins to be very prideful. And what do we all know about pride? It comes before the fall, and Link fell HARD. While fighting a large amount of enemies, Link finally decides that he doesn’t need anyone to help him. He’s powerful enough to like, you know, go fight Ganon RIGHT NOW because he’s got the Master Sword and who can be more powerful than him? He becomes so full of himself that his companion, Midna, just ditches him, which I couldn’t even blame her for.
So here’s Link, just getting worse and worse as he defeats monster after monster on his own. He feels so powerful and like he can take on the world by himself. And then it happens. The sword starts to become a little heavy. Someone touches his shoulder, and when he turns around its…well, himself.
Dark Link made his first appearance in the game Adventure of Link. He has appeared multiple times throughout the series, and I am IN LOVE with this moment in the manga. Link is so full of darkness now that it has manifested into another being. These two duke it out, and it’s just not a pretty fight (although the art was just incredible!). Next up, Zant, one of the main villains of Twilight Princess, shows up to teach Link a little lesson. It’s safe to say that Link learned it well…
In the next volume (Vol. 7), Link is fighting for his life under the care of an orphan kid. This volume is by far my favorite, as we got to see Link at his most vulnerable. As he healed, Link had to deal with his dark side coming to haunt him, and ohhhhh goodness, this was expertly executed! Link was able to defeat his darkness, and he realized that he can’t save Hyrule all by himself, even with the Master Sword!
Link was able to make mistakes and learn from them. I feel like a lot of times we try as hard as we can not to mess up, and when we do, we quit. Every time Link fails, he could just go on home. But he doesn’t. He learns from his mistakes and starts over. I want to be able to do that too!
Another reason why Link is inspiring can be found in Breath of the Wild. One of my favorite memories is watching one of the Breath of the Wild trailers with my Dad and some of my siblings. There is a moment at the end of this trailer that showed Link, beaten and bruised, on his knees, but trying to get up to protect Zelda. Seeing that scene, my Dad and myself both shout “GET UP!” It was so strange to see the her of Hyrule being beaten. And seeing him get up to keep fighting — to protect Zelda — is, to me, one of the highlights of Breath of the Wild. He’s tired. he’s been fighting to protect the princess and stop the Calamity for days. And even though the odds are stacked up against him, he still gets up after he’s been knocked down.
What would happen if we not only learned from our mistakes, but got back up when life got us down? Instead of giving up, we could accomplish amazing, crazy things! And you know what else? 100 years later when Link is awakened from his sleep, he didn’t really have to go and stop Ganon. He was suffering from amnesia, and really didn’t even know who Zelda was anymore, or anything that had happened. He could have just gone on his way. But he didn’t, of course. Heroes don’t let stuff like that slide by.
I want to be like that! We may not have Link’s Triforce of Courage, but we do have something much better to help us on our quest; the Lord’s strength!
Greatest Moment –
I believe Link’s greatest moment to be when he pulls the Master Sword from the stone. I mean, this scene happens in every game, and it’s iconic now! Playing the game and finally getting to this moment is such a reward!
Not to mention that getting the Master Sword in Breath of the Wild can literally kill Link if he’s not ready…
Greatest Quote –
“Hya hyaa HYAAAA!” – Link (Legend of Zelda)
Alright, alright, you knew I was going to do it! I have this section in every Inspiring Characters post, and you couldn’t expect me to leave Link out just because he never speaks? Him yelling while swinging his sword around with have to do!
Some Fast Facts About Link –
– The Triforce was divided into three separate triangles, the Triforces of Courage, Wisdom, and Power. Link was bestowed with the Triforce of Courage, which gives him what he needs to beat the odds.
– In Twilight Princess, it is because of the Triforce of Courage that Link can turn into a wolf. If he was a spirit with the rest of the world, who would save Hyrule? Beating the odds as always thanks to the Triforce!
– Link is left-handed. However, there area couple instances in which he holds his sword with his right hand, as he does in Twilight Princess. This is because, according to Eiji Aonuma, it fits better with the game’s controls.
– Despite popular belief, Link is not mute. He gestures with his hands when he speaks to others, but not in a way that suggests he is trying to communicate without words. Also, the game gives options on what Link should say, as in Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild. And, of course, he speaks in the manga comics and in the dreadful Legend of Zelda TV show, which showed why it’s a bad idea to give the hero of Hyrule a voice. “Well, excuuuuuse me, Princess!”
– In regards to the fact above, Breath of the Wild was the first time (unless I am forgetting a game) the characters of Legend of Zelda were given voiced lines. Of course, Link was left out from this.
– Link’s relationship with Zelda is different in every Zelda game. This is most likely because they are a different Link and Zelda in nearly ever game. In Skyward Sword, Link and Zelda are more romantically involved, while in Twilight Princess they had never even met before Ganon started trashing Hyrule. In Breath of the Wild, Link was Zelda’s personal bodyguard.
– Because it is nearly always a different Link, he has different family members in different games. In Wind Waker, Link lives with his grandma and little sister. In Ocarina of Time, he was raised by a talking tree. In Breath of the Wild, it was mentioned that Link had a father who was a knight.
– Link also had a different companion in each game. Navi, Fi, and Midna are a few examples, respectively from Ocarina of Time, Skyward Sword, and Twilight Princess. However, Fi is the only one that is implied to always be with Link, as she is the Master Sword itself.
– In Twilight Princess, Link runs into a golden wolf, who turns out to be the Hero’s Shade. The Hero’s Shade’s identity is actually the Link we know from Ocarina of Time. Because the memory of that Link was lost to time, Shade became a bit bitter, which is why he is somewhat hostile towards Link. However, when he sees how virtuous Link is, he trains him to swordfight.
– In Breath of the Wild, Link often reads through people’s diaries, including that of Princess Zelda’s. A funny jab at Link, it is mentioned in her diary that Link is quite a glutton.
– Link is quite adaptable when it comes to musical intruments. He can play the ocarina, the flute, and even the harp. In fact, Wind Waker shows he if pretty deft with a conductor’s baton as well.
– According to Shigeru Miyamoto, Link’s full name is “Link Link”, which is not surprising considering Nintendo’s trend with full names. Mario’s full name happens to be “Mario Mario”, after all. Also, as for his race, he is Hylian, a sort of human/elf hybrid.
And that finally does it for the long overdo Inspiring Characters: Link! Link has been such a big part of my life beginning at a young age, and it’s one of the things that will always revert me back into a little kid (you should have seen me bouncing around like a toddler when they showed the Breath of the Wild 2 trailer at E3…)! Tell me how LInk has inspired you in the comments below! As always, God bless you all and have a wonderful weekend!
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