The remake for The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening has just released, and we were impressed by it. The presentation and graphics of the game were excellent, and we were charmed by the story and characters. Link’s Awakening has a set of wacky supporting characters, making the game come off as surreal. This intention makes sense in the context of the game, which we won’t spoil here.
The Link’s Awakening remake reminded me how much I like some of those supporting characters, particularly Marin. Marin is the first person that Link meets on Koholint Island. She is a sweet girl with an angel’s voice; the game does an excellent job making players care for Marin. It makes the ending with her all the more bittersweet and gives the game emotional weight.
Though the Legend of Zelda rarely has complex stories, I do think the franchise succeeds when it comes to subtle pathos and emotionally symbolic themes. Since Link is usually a blank slate for players to take control of, it is up to the supporting characters to add depth to the storyline and even make Link more complex. A lot of the time these supporting characters are often overshadowed by Link and Zelda. Personally to me, they are the heart of the franchise. It is one thing to save Hyrule from Ganon. It is another thing entirely when you want to keep people you care about. Characters like Marin and Groose make the world worth saving.
The Top 10 Best Legend Of Zelda Characters
Let’s celebrate all the Zelda characters in the franchise, both major and minor. They are the ones that flesh out the world of Hyrule and make it worth saving every time.
The first quick honorable mentions go to Darunia for his sweet dance moves in Ocarina of Time. Other honorable mentions go to Ruto from the same game; she is a Zora princess (AKA fish people), and she has a crush on Link. Agitha from Twilight Princess also gets an honorable mention for being a weird bug person. Anju and Kafei from Majora’s Mask have one of my personal favorite sidequests in all of the video games, so those two characters deserve honorable mentions. I also really love Linkle’s design from Hyrule Warriors, so she gets one too. Impa and Medli barely miss out on the top ten, along with Ravio from A Link Between Worlds.
Dishonorable mentions go to Tingle because he’s Tingle. Another dishonorable mention goes to those kids from Twilight Princess. The kids in that game go through an arc and stuff, but they are annoying, and I hate how they look. Ilia from Twilight Princess also gets a dishonorable mention because she was useless, and her whole amnesia thing in the game was annoying.
Ghirahim brought something new to the franchise after decades of the same old, same old. The developers of Skyward Sword probably figured fans were tired of facing off Ganon again, so instead they fabricated their villain for the game. Though the final antagonist ends up being Ganon-like, Ghirahim served as the primary antagonist for most of the game. A weirdo and a creep, Ghirahim was a breath of fresh air to the franchise. He wasn’t like previous villains of the franchise, especially compared to Ganon, and he grew to become a fan favorite.
Link is more of a tool than a character. He’s only defining characteristics are his clothing, arsenal, and the fact he never speaks. Despite that, I wouldn’t want him to be anything other than what he is. Link has become such an icon within the gaming world, and gamers around the world love him. I love him, and he rarely shows any personality outside of being brave. Link’s personality gets reflected through his relationships with his supporting cast, which helps fully flesh out him as a character. The supporting characters serve as Link’s emotional connection to the world of the game; they have the emotional arcs that are a reflection towards Link’s character arc. He may not be the most vocal protagonist around, but I wouldn’t want him to have any other way.
This choice is two birds with one stone kind of situation. I get to add four more characters to the list, and it can still count as one entry. The champions from Breath of the Wild were a select group of heroes chosen by Princess Zelda to pilot the Devine Beasts. Each warrior is a different species than the others found throughout Hyrule. The Champions had Link and Zelda among their ranks, but we do not include them in this entry.
The Champions that we’re going to talk about are Revali, Daruk, Mipha, and Urbosa. Revali is a cocky and arrogant Rito, a species of bird people. Daruk is a Goron, a type of rock people, and he is known to get very exciting during battle. Mipha is the Zora Princess, and she is known for her gentle soul and having feelings for Link. Urbosa is a brave Gerudo Warrior; Gerudo is an all-female clan that lives in the desert. All four champions brought some personality to the game, and their ultimate demise is genuinely sad.
Zant from Twilight Princess lives in the weird balance of being both intimidating and pathetic. Zant is a Twili from the Twilight Realm, who gains immense power from Ganondorf. He uses that power to control his home Realm. In the first half of the game, he comes across as a serious-minded individual. He acts like everything is in control, and does come off as being imposing. He slowly starts to unhinge, and you see more of his real personality. Underneath his helmet is a sad, pathetic person, who acts like a child. His two personalities are in direct conflict with one another, which makes him a fascinating character. He is ultimately an immature child with the powers of a god. It makes you wonder how he could have pretended to be so calm and collective in the first half of the game.
Groose from Skyward Sword has become a fan-favorite character for the franchise, and it is hard not to see why. He was in love with Zelda and didn’t like how close Link was to her. At first he seemed like a typical bully, who looked kind of like a coward. However, throughout the game, you realize he is brave and comes to Link’s aid on several occasions. He even forms an unusual friendship with Impa, which further develops his character. He was also a vital component in the final boss battle, saving Zelda’s soulless body before it hit the ground. He grew to become real friends with Link and Zelda. His character development in Skyward Sword may be the most fulfilling arc in the entire franchise, and it is the reason why so many fans love him.
The Majora Mask in the game of the same name is one of the most iconic imagery in the entire Legend of Zelda franchise. The Mask controls Skull Kid, one of the most enduring antagonists in the series. Skull Kid is an immortal being, who is forever trapped in adolescents and is often making mischief. Given the power of the Majora’s Mask, Skull Kid receives the powers of a god. The Mask heightens all the worse aspects of Skull Kid, including his mischievous pranks and jokes.
Nevertheless, Skull Kid is still a sympathetic character in the end. Despite his prankster personality, deep down, he is a lonely being. All it wants is a friend, and there is something heartwarming in seeing Skull Kid and Link becoming friends at the very end of Majora’s Mask.
Whereas Link is generally the same character in all the games, the many different versions of Zelda have a variety of different personalities. Although at times she can be plain as Link generally is, she is also often shown to be more playful and thoughtful. At times she can be Link’s best friend and main love interest, while other times her and Link would rarely talk to each other. Sometimes she acts wise beyond her years, and other times she acts like any other normal teen girl.
Zelda’s many different reincarnations are some of the best characters in the franchise, but it is hard to decide which one is the best Zelda. Instead, I’ll highlight all the best ones that I genuinely love. First great Zelda goes to Tetra, a reincarnation of Zelda who became a sea pirate. She is spunkier than other Zelda’s. The revelation that she was Zelda’s reincarnation in Wind Waker was a genuinely good twist the first time playing through it.
Zelda in Skyward Sword is adorable, and her relationship with Link is one of the best aspects of that game. Their budding romance is legitimately uplifting, and Zelda’s bubbly personality makes it too difficult to not be in love with her yourself. Finally, Zelda in Breath of the Wild comes off as the most vulnerable and flawed Zelda in the franchise. She is someone who tried to do something different to protect Hyrule, failed at it, and is trying to redeem herself.
SPOILERS TO LINK’S AWAKENING
The girl who inspired me to make this list, Marin is the first female character that fans of the franchise fell in love with. The original Link’s Awakening doesn’t have the most elaborate or detailed graphics, and a lot of the translated dialogue is peculiar. Despite that, Marin comes off as an incredibly likable and fully realized character.
Again, Link is a new state in this game, never talking. Marin takes up that role as the emotional anchor to the story. She confides to Link about her dreams to be a seagull and fly across the world. It gets revealed she is part of the Wind Fish dream, and for Link to go home he needs to wake the Wind Fish up. When his dream ends, and Marin ceases to exist. It is one of the most bittersweet endings in the game, and the remake on the Switch only adds to the tragedy.
You can now hear Marin’s beautiful singing voice in the Switch version, and the better graphics made her appear alive. If there is any solace to the ending, it is that Marin may have gotten her wish to turn into a seagull. Still, her disappearance at the end, along with her request for Link to not forget her, is downright heartbreaking when thinking about it in hindsight. She serves as the heart of Link’s Awakening, providing the emotional component in that game that Link isn’t capable of doing.
The two video games that influenced me the most at a young age were The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Final Fantasy VIII. I already wrote in length about my love for Final Fantasy VIII, so consider this entry on Saria from Ocarina of Time being my ode to that game. Specifically, there is one moment from Ocarina of Time that has stuck with me since I was a tiny child. It is such a small scene. Nevertheless, it adds so much to the overall themes of Ocarina of Time.
Ocarina of Time doesn’t have a complex narrative, but I do believe it is rich with symbolism and metaphors. The whole game is essentially a metaphor on life and the hardship of growing up. Link starts as a child in the game, and the first part of his journey requires him to leave his childhood home and leave behind his childhood best friend, Saria.
Saria can catch Link before he leaves, giving him her prize Ocarina. It is such a small yet vital moment in the game. The scene represents how people in real life will lose childhood friends as they grow up. Since Link needs to be an empty void, it is up to Saria to fill the emotional gap. Everything we need to know about their relationship gets told through her eyes, and they never looked so sad. She represents the inherent tragedy of growing up, and she provides one of the best moments in the entire franchise.
Twilight Princess has become a divisive game for fans of the Legend of Zelda franchise. Some fans appreciate the darker and grittier look, especially compared to the cartoony Wind Waker. However, at the same time, other fans thought the game lack an engaging overworld, and a lot of the dark elements of the story felt superficial. I loved the game. I think the game oozes with atmosphere, and it provided us with what I believe is the best character in the Legend of Zelda franchise.
Midna comes to Link after the latter gets turned into a wolf for the first time. She is a small person who seems otherworldly. She offers to help Link with his quest to save Hyrule, but during those early moments with her, you can never tell if you could fully trust her. That’s what ultimately makes her a fantastic character; you have a hard time figuring out if she’s a good guy or bad guy. When you find out her backstory and motivation, you realized she was neither. She was working for her own goal.
It turns out she is the titular Twilight Princess, who was deformed by the evil Zant. She wanted to use Link to regain her domain and didn’t care for him or Hyrule. With that said, she starts caring for Link and becomes increasingly more selfless. Her sacrifice to save Link and Zelda at the end of the game was the culmination of her character arc, and she quickly gets revived to her true form. With a single tear, she says goodbye to Link with a simple “I see you later,” and it may be one of the most disheartening scenes in the entire series.
Link has had many good partners throughout the franchise, sadly though none of them have ever matched Midna. Their chemistry was amazing, and that is even though Link never talks. Midna is a character that dares to be gray in a franchise that is all about black and white. The overall uncertainty of her motivation is one of her defining aspects, and it truly makes her a standout in the entire series.