Analyzing Link and Zelda's relationship
Analyzing Link and Zelda’s relationship throughout time and destroying ships in the fandom one by one. (Sorry) [[None of the images are mine, BUT they are images and gifs actually taken from the games or comics. So none of it is fan art.]]
Going back to the very beginning. For those of us who geeked out around the anniversary and bought the Hyrule Historia we got a special treat of the very first Hero and The Goddess Hylia. Since we’re focusing more on their relationship rather than the story we’re going to miss a lot of spoilers, BUT there will probably be some unintentionally, so sorry.
Basically Hylia (Zelda) loved the Hero. Not in a romantic way seemingly, but in a deep caring way. She adored his courageous heart. Obviously she was sad that he gave his life to protect the people who had hurt him in the beginning of the book claiming that she had willed it to make him strong. She felt connected with him since he loved the people and the land as much as she did. She wanted to remain by his side (Take that as you will.) But she vowed to be reborn alongside him each time the Hero was needed so that they may be together so they can protect Hyrule when it is in need. (Again, that does NOT necessarily mean be with him romantically.)
SOOOO, following the Historia from the most popular games, we’re going to stay in Historical timeline order. BTW there are three time lines in the franchise, but we’ll get back to this later.
The very first time they are reborn together is in the Land of Skyloft. (Though it was one of the most recently made games, chronologically, it is the first.)
My personal guess is that since this is Zelda’s first time being a human and not Goddess she is a bit, overwhelmed. She begins the game with no memories of her previous life. Not overwhelmed in a stressed out kind of way, but in a normal overactive teenage girl kind of way. Caring, smart, and brave Zelda is the epitome of a spunky teenage girl. While Link (quiet as ever) seems to be a normal happy teenage boy. He seems more confused than running off of normal teenage boy new testosterone though, unlike his “rival” Groose. Zelda CLEARLY has a crush on Link, but she’s far too confident to just say it outright, and more so wants Link to confess to her first. Unfortunately for her and all the Zelda x Link shippers he’s a little “late to the game”. Testosterone hasn’t kicked in yet and he prefers catching bugs with his net rather than catching dates.
ONE THING that IS clear though is the deep rooted friendship Link and Zelda have in this game. There is no questioning it or trying to ignore it. They’re besties. (If that’s not perfect spouse material I don’t know what is.) From the beginning to the end Link is dead set on saving his best friend. As they both grow in the story and take their destinies seriously their bond becomes so strong even the stubborn rival Groose backs down. (Of course Groose has his growing moments too. He didn’t end up being the shallow character we all pegged him to be in the beginning.)
At the very end though Zelda admits to Link that she wants to stay on the ground rather than return to the skies and protect the Triforce. She asks Link if that’s what he’d like to do too, and being a man of few words he happily smiles at her and nods. It’s “loosely implying” that Link and Zelda will stay on the ground and get together, but of course the Zelda Franchise was never one for cramming too much unnecessary romance down our throats. (Even Princess Ruto who had the crazy fish feels for Link when they were like 11 ended up growing into a badass lady who needed Link’s help, but she did not NEED no man for her own personal benefits. Same for Nabooru who had a teasing remark for Link when she ascended to be the Sage of Spirits. It never really goes past that. HENCE why we are analyzing the details.)
Between Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time (According to the Hyrule Historia) During the Chaos Era the Sacred Realm is sealed, and during the Era of Prosperity Hyrule Kingdom is Established, quickly followed by the game events of “The Minish Cap” and “Four Swords”. Finally followed by the Hylian Civil War, which is when Link’s Mom leaves him in the care of the Deku Tree.
Oooookey dokey. See this one’s a toughie because they also came out with a Manga that went deeper into the story. Let’s just pretend the Manga didn’t occur and just focus on the game. In this game Zelda is VERY happy to meet Link, but not because she’s an 11 something year old who sees a “cute little gentleman”. She sees the Hero from her dreams. She is happy to see him and wants to immediately begin working with him but it seems only to protect her beloved Hyrule. Link could have been an f-ing gold fish for all she cared, as long as he destroys the darkness. Link only meets Zelda twice when they’re young. The first meeting where she tells him about the Darkness and then sends him on his quest, and the second where she is seen escaping from the castle. Though she did leave him a message to go with his new Ocarina it didn’t really do much for their potential relationship other than establish unshakable trust. (Which is important.)
Though Link meets Zelda again in Adult hood he doesn’t realize it’s her, since she is gender bending as a Sheikah lad. Once she reveals herself Links end of the bond grows deeper (non romantically) showing trust in his friend and gratitude.) Of course she’s taken away and when they get to each other again they work together as a team to escape the crumbling castle and destroy Ganon. They’re relationship through the whole story is very ….”friend based” (Sorry shippers) BUT when she tells Link she can send him back to his original time so he can grow up normally she seems to resent the idea herself. This means they probably won’t be able to see too much of each other since she is royalty, and no one will have remembered these events. Since the Zelda that DOES know what happened will remain as an adult and continue on from there, but as for Child Zelda, even though they meet again at the end of the credits we are unsure on whether or not Zelda actually knows who he is. Link of course chooses to go back (I use “choose” lightly) and Adult Link, The Hero, vanishes, and the people are left to wonder what became of him, while Sage Zelda remains alone.
Young Link who was brought back to his proper time, finds everything normal and no darkness. He goes to meet the Young Princess Zelda who seems to be spying on something else, but we’re left to assume that she thinks he’s some hooligan who snuck in the castle. Never getting full attention to what actually happened after the two were reunited. BUT ADULT Zelda seemed to be sad that he was leaving her. It could have been that she was just very grateful to him for all he had done, despite her mistakes, but from a Shippers point of view that was some intense hand holding.
Now here’s where the 3 time lines come in-
Timeline 1- Link fails in defeating Ganon: “A Link to the Past”, “Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons”, Link’s Awakening”, “The Legend of Zelda” and “The Adventure of Link”. (I am not going over any of these games.)
Timeline 2- Link is Triumphant and this is what occurs after being sent back in time: “Majora’s Mask”, “Twilight Princess”, and “Four Swords Adventures”. (We’ll come back to Majora’s Mask, and Twilight Princess.)
Timeline 3- Link is Triumphant and this is what happens after the Adult Link “vanished”: “The Wind Waker”, “Phantom Hourglass”, and “Spirit Tracks”.
(No one seems to know for sure or really care where “Hyrule Warriors” fits in to any of these timelines. It is official that the game IS canon to the rest of the Zelda Universe, and it was a good game don’t get me wrong. However, I think this was better left out of the timeline. Cia and Lana could have been GREAT characters with an awesome backstory….you know if Lana didn’t look like she had just fallen out of Final Fantasy’s asshole.)
So let’s jump right into Wind Waker.
For me this was a great game on its own. It fit well with the timeline and its original story, while also managing to be cute, new, and exploring great character development, all while make it “Toon-fun”
Though it had some dark undertones this was mostly a “kids-game” per say. More fun, colorful, and easier to follow. As well as enjoyable antics from all the characters. But any true Zelda fan can see why this game belongs where it is, instead of seeing it as a “Side-game”.
In the game you don’t meet Zelda at first. You meet her reincarnated/descendant (what have you) named Tetra. And this stone cold lady is a Pirate now.
She plays off that Pirates are bad and tough, and in this kid friendly version they are, BUT Zelda….Tetra seems to have a kind soft spot in her heart for everyone she cares about. Namely her shipmates, and the newest edition to the Crew, Link. Zelda has always been a girl for using her brains, but NOT much for being a good offense player when it came to actual fighting unless she was disguised as Sheik. However, Tetra, though she is quick to come up with an idea, she’s able to handle herself in tough situations that require brute strength. Even Link seems intimidated by her, and if he weren’t so set on saving his sister he might not have got on the boat with Tetra. They are separated and reunited many times through their journey, but sometimes Tetra would notice him stalking behind. Though she did not want her crew to realize she was helping this “nobody” she would leave “not so subtle” hints for him that would go over her crewmates heads. This showed that Tetra was most curious about what he would do rather than having a romantic affection for Link. But she does seem to at least care about him a little bit.
When Tetra finally is revealed as Zelda, she seems spooked, and a bit dependent on Link. I would be too. Link seemed to have a good idea of what he was doing while all the information had just been thrown at her at once.
However, once Zelda/Tetra rejoins Link in the final battle she seems to be a bit more relaxed with the information and glides through the problem like it was practically nothing. In the end she, her crew, and Link set out to find a new land and reestablish Hyrule. But yet again Zelda shippers are left with no hard evidence.
Soooooo let’s flip to the Triumphant Child timeline (#2) and head straight into my favorite game in the series, Majora’s Mask.
Now even though Ocarina left us in a weird place on whether child Zelda actually remembered him, Majora’s Mask kind of clears it up. At the beginning of the game Link remembers talking to her and even though she’s helping him they give off the “pals” vibe. Could be because they’re still really young and puberty hasn’t set in, but I’m gonna say that Zelda probably has no romantic intention for him and the same goes for Link. (But at least we have closure on the fact that Child Zelda did in fact know who he was.)
Now you may be asking yourself, “Huh, why would someone who is analyzing the relationship status between Zelda and Link analyze their relationship in Majora’s Mask? Zelda wasn’t even there!”
And you’d be right.
She WASN’T there.
But I have a far fetched theory….so far off the scale that most people will say that I’m reaching into the darkness for something that just isn’t there, but here I go anyway:
Remember at the beginning of the game when you are heading through that strange place in Lost Woods because that rascally skull kid stole your f-ing horse from under your nose? And then he turns you into a walking pile of wood? As you continue to follow him you run into a dead tree and Tatl, says something along the lines of “He looks so sad, and kind of looks like you right now.”
Well that dead stump is the Deku Butler’s (from later in the game) son who had left home some time ago. We’re left to assume that maybe skull kid killed him (probably for the same reasons he turned Link into a tree) Now, the Deku mask is the spirit of Deku Butler’s Son (let’s just call him Frank.) Just like Frank, Darmani the 3rd, and Mikau were dead and their spirits became masks that help Link transform.
If we are to believe that Skull Kid DID kill Frank he did it in the connecting place between Hyrule and Termina, the same place where he turned Link into Frank (more or less). In a sense, because Link was never able to return from Termina back to Hyrule (as far as fans are concerned), he grew up and died there. In a sense (even though he had taken back his human form) he was Frank. The Link in Hyrule since he’s missing, is presumed dead, just like Frank who is presumed missing is dead in his world. Maybe Frank went to Hyrule. I don’t know! Anyways, where does this fit in with Zelda x Link? If you read the Manga that was written to go along with the game The Deku Princess admits to being in love with Frank. There is no Deku Princess (as far as we know) in Hyrule, so why shouldn’t she be Zelda’s counterpart? And in turn why can’t Frank be Link’s counterpart? They both seemed to have arrived in their opposite worlds? Hmmmm? :]
I may have blown somebody’s mind tonight, but I’m sure I made 95% of you go, “Nuh, nuh, she’s thinking to hard.”
But whatever, it’s just a theory so do with it as you will, but for those of you desperately clinging to anything that could even possibly ship Zelda x Link, I say you accept this fan theory as unofficial canon.
FINALLY, at the last of the analyzing, here we go.
Twilight Princess. “Since nothing has come out in the time line since Twilight Princess, we’re left to assume that this may be the end of our hero’s journey, since he ultimately destroyed darkness and cut off its ties with Ganon.
Soooo, what happened between them? Did they live happily ever after and die peacefully never to be reborn because Hyrule wouldn’t need them?
Let’s just say that Link and Zelda are on the same team from the moment they meet but Zelda is so stone faced. She is a BORN dignitary and carries herself as such even in these horrible times. She has no time for her girlish heart to go a flutter, nor does Link really seem focused on that (not that he ever is.)
The only time Zelda seems relatively happy is when she and Link are saying their goodbyes to Midna.
Now we KNOW that The Twilight Realm is literally just the other side of a coin. Though it was meant as a prison originally, its inhabitants are merely now dark, but not necessarily bad. Midna is Zelda’s counterpart in the Twilight World, and judging by her tearful goodbye with Link where she didn’t finish what she was saying, we’re left to assume that she fell in love with Link. It could have been something else but it was heavily implied that she wanted to say that she loved him. She was far more expressive than the Hyrule Zelda “opposite” in appearance, and personality, but not in heart. (We can only hope.)
I’m sorry, but the evidence is clear, out of 18 games here are the results between Zelda x Link
Team Mates: 6/18
Princess Hero Relationship: 5/18
Non-existent (Possibly): 2/18
It’s a cute passing fancy that Zelda and Link live happily ever after in the end, but truthfully I appreciate how…”realistic”…in a fantasy world their relationship can stay. Zelda likes Link as a good friend, and clearly sees him as her Champion each time, but I just can’t see them ever actually getting together. The closest they ever got was in Skyward Sword when the Zelda was NOT a Princess. But being raised a Princess no matter how kind and caring, why would she marry the Guard? She’s gonna marry herself a fine as heck Prince. ALSO since half the time Link and Zelda aren’t reincarnations of themselves, their actually descendants of the originals from Skyward Sword, just given the same name….so that would mean that half the time these two are actually from the same family deep within that family tree of…keeping…blood lines….pure….(I mean, it’s possible they’re reincarnations AND descendants all at the same time, but even still, they’re related…so it’d be kind weird…..awkward family reunion for everyone….)
SO all in all, Zelda X Link, not a thing.
Continue to ship it if you wish, but I’m jumping off this ship and heading for land. Link’s a silent mystery man who will go on eluding women (and some men) for the rest of Nintendo time.