25 Best Legend of Zelda Characters (From All Games)

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The Legend of Zelda is one of the longest-lived and most popular Action/Adventure franchises in gaming history.

Part of what makes it so popular is how colorful the Zeldaverse is.

The enemies, locales, and characters are all vibrant and diverse. They all pull you into their world and make you want to experience everything it has to offer.

After over 25 years of games, there are countless characters in the annals of Hyrule history – but they’re not all the same. Some of them stand tall among others, symbols of excellent writing and character design.

Let’s take a look at some of the best.

 

25. Navi

Navi from Legend of Zelda

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

If there’s a divisive topic among Zelda fans, it’ss whether Navi is as annoying as some people describe her to be.

The Great Deku Tree summoned this tiny fairy to guide and protect Link while he lived in the Kokiri Forest – and that she did.

Sure, she may have been a tad overbearing.

But she taught us the controls to the game and provided (more or less) useful tips whenever consulted. Give the fairy some credit!

 

24. Agahnim

Agahnim Legend of Zelda character

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Much like Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time, Agahnim first approaches the royal family under the guise of a helpful force.

His heroic deeds land him a title, prestige, and a position as the King’s advisor. From there, he spreads his evil roots.

Eventually this menacing and mysterious wizard moves to undo the seal keeping Ganon in the Corrupted Shadow Realm.

It’s then revealed that Agahnim is none other than Ganon, or rather, an avatar of the demon lord able to move freely outside his eternal prison.

 

23. Vaati

Vaati Legend of Zelda screenshot

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords

Vaati is one of those villains that keep on giving – he was present throughout the entire GBA saga of games, and he remains relevant in the hearts and minds of anyone who played them.

His most exciting appearance is probably in TLoZ: The Minish Cap, where his origins are explained.

What makes Vaati such a perfect villain is how despicable he is.

Whenever he appears in your path, you really feel like he’s actively trying to stop you – and laughing about it too. This contrasts with, say, Ganon, who seems to be carefully grooming you to be a hero that can defeat him.

 

22. Agitha

Agitha from Legend of Zelda

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Not everyone will remember Agitha.

But I thought she was too adorable – and helpful – to leave out.

This little Hylian girl calls herself the Princess of Bugs and seems to have a deep connection to the exoskeleton-clad creatures. She dresses in Gothic-style clothing with a butterfly motif and holds balls for bugs to attend.

In-game, she’ll upgrade your wallet in exchange for Golden Bugs, a collectible spread all across TLoZ: TP’s Hyrule.

 

21. Medli

Medli Legend of Zelda character

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Our next spot goes to my video game childhood sweetheart, Medli.

Half cutie, half bird, this adorable member of the Rito tribe – the evolved, airborne descendants of the Zora – is the apprentice attendant of the dragon god Valoo.

As such, she’s extremely responsible and hard-working. But also kind and caring toward those around her.

She’s eventually revealed to be the Sage of Earth, which is why she accompanies Link to the single most terrifying place in the Great Sea – the Earth Temple.

I appreciated the company.

 

20. Fi

Fi Legend of Zelda screenshot

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Fi is one of the best companions Link could ask for – and she was the first chronologically to fulfill that role.

This blue statue of a woman is the spirit that resides within the Goddess Sword – a little part of the Goddess Hylia herself, tasked with protecting the blade and guiding the hero who wields it.

Fi acts a bit cold and robot-like toward Link at first, but her desires and feelings are slowly revealed throughout their adventure.

This makes the scene where she finally goes to sleep within the sword specially heart-wrenching.

 

19. Ruto

Ruto from Legend of Zelda

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

When we first meet her, Ruto is the tomboyish, somewhat selfish princess of the Zora tribe.

She’s fated to become the attendant of the Zora patron deity Lord Jabu-Jabu, something she doesn’t seem all that interested in at first.

After the seven-year time-skip where Link is frozen in the Sacred Realm, Ruto changes a lot.

She’s now the responsible and reliable ruler of the Zora populace. Still, her youthful feelings for Link burn deep within her.

 

18. Saria

Saria Legend of Zelda character

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Much like Ruto, Saria is one of Link’s childhood heartthrobs – a Kokiri girl that grew close to him during his stay in the Kokiri Forest.

Their story takes a turn for the gloomy as the game progresses.

After saying their goodbyes at the beginning of Link’s adventure, they’d never be truly reunited.

Saria is later revealed to be one of the Sages with the power to seal Ganondorf in the Sacred Realm, but this also means she must abandon the physical world. A bittersweet victory.

 

17. Linebeck

Linebeck Legend of Zelda screenshot

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

Some characters are dashing from the moment we meet them. But others need a bit of time before they show their worth.

At first, Linebeck is nothing more than a treasure hunter obsessed with riches.

This greedy and cowardly man is so egocentric, he even named his seafaring vessel after himself!

Still, his travels with Link serve to temper his spirit, eventually helping him overcome his cowardice when push came to shove. In the end, he’s an unlikely hero.

And a lovely one at that.

 

16. Skull Kid

Skull Kid from Legend of Zelda

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Most villains in The Legend of Zelda are clear cut.

They’re dastardly, selfish, and evil, without much explanation as to why.

Skull Kid is different.

Like all Skull Children, this mischievous woodland spirit started his life as a child that got lost in the Lost Woods. Abandoned in ancient times by the Giants that protect Termina, Skull Kid is little more than a lonely child in need of a friend.

Regrettably, he was alone until coming into contact with power far beyond his understanding in the form of the Majora’s Mask.

 

15. Demise

Demise Legend of Zelda character

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

A much more traditional villain is Demise. Rather, he’s the origin of villain traditions in Hyrule – and the metaphorical “father” of Ganon.

Despite looking ridiculous in his first few appearances as The Imprisoned, this dark being is a primal force of evil and rebellion motivated by little more than a thirst for power and destruction.

At the end of TLoZ: Skyward Sword, he’s sealed away for good with the help of the Master Sword and Link.

But his hatred becomes a curse upon the world.

Much like Link and Zelda, Demise will also come back time after time in the form of Ganon.

 

14. Ezlo

Ezlo Legend of Zelda screenshot

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

Link’s companions can come in many shapes and forms.

Sometimes they’re fairies, sometimes a sword – and in The Minish Cap, it’s a green bird-hat.

Ezlo is a profoundly likable character that always knows just the right thing to say. Besides great dialogue, Ezlo can provide support in the form of advice, useful background info, and even turn himself into a parachute if the situation calls for it.

He may not look it, but this cap is a pretty tragic character.

He was turned into a piece of clothing by his own disciple – Vaati – who wielded the Mage’s Cap Ezlo had created himself as a gift to the Hylians.

 

13. Mipha

Mipha from Legend of Zelda

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Another tragic character is Mipha, the Zora’s ultra-cute Princess and one of the Champions sealed within the corrupted Divine Beasts.

She may look adorable. But Mipha is a skillful fighter.

Regrettably, this ends up working against her. As she’s chosen to pilot the Divine Beast Vah Ruta before Calamity Ganon corrupts it.

Her spirit is eventually freed from the ancient mecha by Link. But she’s already long gone from this mortal plane.

After giving her childhood friend Link her healing powers in the form of Mipha’s Grace, she moves on and leaves us with a bittersweet feeling in our chest.

 

12. Tetra

Tetra Legend of Zelda character

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

I love pirate girls.

Be it in One Piece or Bodacious Space Pirates, I can’t shake the feeling that the tricorn hat and captain’s coat looks better on women than it does on hairy men.

Well, Tetra doesn’t really have any of these staple pirate items, but she’s still a capable captain with a crew that loves her.

She’s a total bad-ass, and may come across as cold-hearted at times.

Still, she’s a caring girl that follows the “tsundere” stereotype to a T. This hidden loving nature hints at Tetra’s secret: she’s actually the reincarnation of Princess Zelda.

 

11. Sheik

Sheik Legend of Zelda screenshot

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Speaking of Zelda’s secret identities…

Our first impression of Sheik is that of a mysterious ninja-esque warrior belonging to the Sheikah tribe.

She helps Link understand Time’s true meaning and provides guidance and support in his quest to stop Ganon once and for all.

So much wisdom in one person should have alerted us to her real identity, considering Zelda carries with her the Triforce of Wisdom.

 

10. Ghirahim

Ghirahim from Legend of Zelda

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

One of the most entertaining villains in Zelda history is Ghirahim, a flamboyant and narcissistic demon lord with a penchant for theatrics.

He doesn’t look all that menacing at first glance, with his delicate frame and fluid movements.

But he’s actually a sadistic prick obsessed with resurrecting Demise to acquire his power.

As the game progresses, more of his lunacy is revealed through his cruel acts and the ease with which he loses his composure when things don’t go his way.

 

9. Happy Mask Salesman

Happy Mask Salesman Legend of Zelda character

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

He may not quite count as a villain, but the Happy Mask Salesman is one of the most sinister and mysterious characters in the entire Zelda franchise.

This creepy individual makes his first appearance in Hyrule, peddling his wares to all who care for some masks, including Link.

I didn’t suspect anything other than general creepiness until I saw him in the intro for Majora’s Mask. Like Link, he seems to have traversed the space between Hyrule and Termina, which is no small feat.

Plus, he’s the original owner of the Majora’s Mask.

Wherever did he even get it from?

 

8. Groose

Groose Legend of Zelda screenshot

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Other than having the best pompadour hairstyle in Skyloft, Groose is also one of the strongest & most capable students in the Knight’s Academy along with Link.

This gives birth to a rivalry only made worse by the fact that Groose has a crush on Zelda, who’s more interested in spending time with our blonde boy.

After several failed attempts at making Link’s life harder, Groose gradually accepts he’s not meant to be the hero in this story.

So he forges his own path by working with Impa to protect the Sealed Grounds.

There’s nothing quite like good character development to make me fall in love with a character.

 

7. Tingle

Tingle from Legend of Zelda

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

The thing with great characters in video games is that they don’t really have to make sense.

They just need to be memorable and lovable – two things Tingle excels at.

This tiny green-clad middle-aged man with dashing facial hair is one of the weirdest characters in the Zeldaverse.

Not only does he fly on balloons, but he’s a master cartographer, and the creator of a unique form of magic only he knows how to perform.

Tingle, Tingle, Kooloo-Limpah!

 

6. King of Red Lions

King of Red Lions from Legend of Zelda

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

If you’re looking for a sturdy, dependable ship to sail the Great Sea, you need look no further than the King of Red Lions.

This talking ship was instrumental in Link’s adventure to rescue his little sister and, eventually, save the world from Ganon’s reawakening.

He serves as a guide for the young hero, as well as his vehicle.

As if being a talking ship wasn’t weird enough, it’s eventually revealed that the boat is being controlled by the King of Hyrule himself, who’s astral-projecting into the vessel from his place in the frozen Hyrule beneath the waves.

His disappearance by the end of the game is a profoundly moving moment. And it’s one I’m not forgetting anytime soon.

 

5. Ganon

Ganon Legend of Zelda character

Seen first in: The Legend of Zelda

Much like Link and Zelda, Hyrule’s cyclic story wouldn’t be complete without Ganon – an ambitious soul possessing the Triforce of Power, locked in an eternal battle with the Goddess and the Hero.

Sometimes he’s a giant pig demon lord, others a strong leader for the Gerudo desert tribes.

One way or another, power ends up corrupting him absolutely. Which leads him to brew terrible plans to take over the land.

 

4. Impa

Impa Legend of Zelda screenshot

Seen first in: The Legend of Zelda

Impa is the name given to several members of the storied Sheikah tribe, who’ve taken it upon themselves to accompany, guide, and protect every reincarnation of the Goddess.

Where there’s a Zelda, there’s also an Impa.

These characters command the respect of those around them.

Be it the Old Woman in Skyward Sword, the Elder of Kakariko Village in Breath of the Wild, or Princess Zelda’s attendant in Ocarina of Time – they’re all just as reliable and key to the story.

 

3. Link

Link from Legend of Zelda

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda

Despite the game being called “The Legend of Zelda” rather than “The Tale of Link” or something of the sort, this blonde hero is the true main character.

There are as many Links as there are games, all of them with different backgrounds and personalities that set them apart.

The one in Wind Waker is adorable, the one in Twilight Princess is a stoic bad-ass, and so on.

However, they’re all brought together by the courage and grit needed to become a Hero – making him the best vessel for the Triforce of Courage.

 

2. Midna

Midna Legend of Zelda character

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

One of the most beloved characters ever to grace our screens is Midna, a small mischievous imp with a significant role in the story of TLoZ: Twilight Princess.

This mysterious gal is a member of the Twili – the denizens of the Twilight Realm – and, in fact, she’s their princess.

Think of it as a dark and edgy version of Princess Zelda.

She’s adorable in her imp form, and jaw-dropping in her more “human” one – but what draws us to her is her fun, even if a bit acidic, personality.

 

1. Princess Zelda

Princess Zelda Legend of Zelda screenshot

First seen in: The Legend of Zelda

It’s only fitting that the top spot on our ranking went to Zelda.

I mean, her name is in the title of every game.

Link only has, like, one game with his name on it!

That said, Zelda has done a lot to earn our appreciation and respect.

Despite being a damsel in distress during her first appearances, the times have since changed.

And so has Zelda.

Nowadays she’s a pirate captain, a bad-ass ninja, and a strong and imposing ruler.

Despite being trapped in an endless cycle of repetition that sees her kidnapped, again and again, she presses on – and with each incarnation, her inner strength grows.

And we love her for it.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.