Zelda in BotW is an amazing character. If I had to make a list of the 10 best characters in the LoZ games, I have a hard time imagining she wouldn’t be on it. And nearly everything I’ve seen from other people who have played the game has been bursting with positivity and appreciation for this Zelda.
However, I’m unfortunately not surprised to have eventually run across someone calling her “a miserable cunt” and a “shitty little shit bag” who is “demoralizing [Link] into oblivion” with over 100 people liking/reblogging their post.
There are a couple of things to say in response to this. For starts, Jesus christ calm down. It’s wild to me how ready people are to hate characters for almost anything (and it overwhelmingly happens with female characters–jeez I wonder why). And second, did we even play the same game? Because you know what the WORST we ever saw Zelda acting towards Link was?
That’s… that’s it. She told him she didn’t need an escort and shouted at him to stop following her. And this wasn’t just the worst that Zelda ever acted towards Link. It was also the ONLY time we saw her shouting at him or being mean to him. Was it rude/crummy/something Link didn’t deserve? Totally. Was it her being ~a miserable shitty little shit bag cunt that fucking destroyed Link’s sense of self worth~? Hell no. How the hell do you extrapolate THAT MUCH out of such a small scene?
Just to help paint a larger, and more negative picture of Zelda, let’s talk about another memory. In the first memory, which was of Zelda preforming the ceremony to appoint Link as her knight, Zelda was acting very clearly depressed during the whole thing. That would have conveyed to Link how unhappy Zelda was with him being her knight, which would have surely made Link feel shitty. So there, that’s something else people who hate this Zelda can point to. But you know what? If you want to analyze things like this, Link also made Zelda feel shitty. Oh, sure, we all know that Link made Zelda feel shitty because of her own insecurities about being a failure of a royal princess while Link had successfully become the master of the Master Sword. But Link’s own behavior also made Zelda feel shitty. We saw in the third memory that Zelda would try to talk normally with Link. Talking casually and cheerfully about making adjustments to one of the Divine Beasts because that’s what she was passionate about! But Link… would never say anything back in response. He was silent. He was her appointed knight, but he wouldn’t even talk to her when she tried to talk to him. In fact, at that point Link had NEVER spoken to Zelda, as she expressed in her diary
Imagine if their situations were reversed, and we saw Link talking to Zelda and Zelda refusing to respond to him and just staring at him with a blank expression–and then Link wrote in his diary about how stressful that was for him and how it made him feel like she thought he was a failure and hated him. The people who hate BotW Zelda would be jumping on that as an example of what a bitch Zelda was to Link. Even though when Link did it to Zelda, there’s no problem whatsoever apparently. Link was just a smol little precious angel that was cowering beneath Zelda’s “toxic belittling and dominance,” as one person described it.
(And real quick… you know who was ACTUALLY “belittling” and “demoralizing” Link? Fucking Revali. You know, the guy who would walk right up to Link and go on a giant, passive aggressive and mockery-filled rant at Link about how he’s better than Link and Link doesn’t deserve the expectations that others have of him. I still think Revali is a solid character because it’s good to have a diverse cast with varied personalities and different relationship dynamics with each other. But for crying out loud, how is anyone going to hate on Zelda for how she acted towards Link early on when Revali was there being a straight up dick with 0 tragic character motivation behind him to make us sympathetic to why he acted like such a wad?)
Of course I don’t believe that Link deserves any hate for being silent around Zelda for so long. Just like how I don’t believe that Zelda deserves any hate for the way she acted towards and felt about Link in the early memories. They were two youths who had the weight of the world placed upon their shoulders. Link’s ability to express himself was crushed by the weight of the expectations and judging eyes of everyone around him. Zelda lost her mother, was denied expressions of love from her father, was terrified that she was a failure who would doom the world to destruction because of her inability to access her powers, and was was stuck with a successful, brilliant knight who she assumed hated her and had no way of being told otherwise because HE WOULDN’T EVEN TALK TO HER.
But despite all that the two became close. Link saved Zelda’s life. Zelda reevaluated how she thought of him and even apologized for her past behavior
Zelda made an effort and kept talking to him, trying to get him to open up to her. And eventually he did, and she was able to learn the reason why he wouldn’t talk to her, or anyone, in the past. They traveled together. She examined his wounds after battle. They went out to collect specimens in the fields together. Zelda tried to get Link to lick a frog in the name of science. Link taught Zelda how to bond with her horse. They saw their home fall to Calamity Ganon and learned of the deaths of their family and friends. Their world collapsed. They fled. They defended each others’ lives, each saving the other. Zelda spent 100 years suffering alone to contain the abomination that destroyed their land while Link recovered from the injuries he gained protecting her. They fought together again. They freed Hyrule from 100 years of darkness and set out once again to rebuild their kingdom together.
But yeah. Zelda was such a cunt, right?
I mean, you can’t please everyone. That’s just to be expected. People are different. People have different attitudes and values, and like and enjoy different things, so there’s no piece of media that everyone will have the same thoughts and feelings on. It’s like how on the Nintendo eShop, BotW for the Wii U has 4719 five star reviews… and 21 one star reviews. You can’t please everyone. But again, jesus christ some people are just ready to violently hate Zelda for having extremely well developed character flaws and a rocky start to her relationship with Link that was the result of both of their individual issues clashing and preventing them from connecting and understanding each other even though they both felt nearly the exact same way. And even if you want to insist that everything bad about their early relationship was 100% Zelda’s fault alone, I wonder how Zelda could possibly make up for it… maybe putting in the effort to develop a very positive relationship with Link, saving his life just as he had saved hers, and spending 100 years in Ganon Jail would be enough to make up for it?
…nah. You’ve got to imprison yourself for at least TWO HUNDRED years to make up for telling someone to stop following you one time. Totally.