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The best Zelda characters

From the silent hero of time to a floating clown, here are our picks of the best Zelda characters across its near 40-year history on Nintendo consoles.

A group of Zelda characters posing in front of a green background

For almost 40 years, The Legend of Zelda has graced every Nintendo console since its inception on the NES. Now that’s a long time, so it’s no surprise that there’s a plentiful cast of colourful Zelda characters. There’s no specific order to this list. It’s simply who we believe are the best characters in the Legend of Zelda franchise.

If you’re wondering when the outstanding game The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker is coming to Nintendo Switch, check out our guide speculating on a potential Winder Waker Switch port. Although, if grand a scale adventure doesn’t tickle your fancy or your youngsters are craving some more gaming action check out our picks for the best Switch games for kids. You can also check out our Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom review to get the full deep dive on the latest game in the franchise.

Now, here are our thoughts on the best Zelda characters.

Zelda characters - an image with four different kings from The Legend of Zelda

The King of Hyrule

It’s hard to pick just which king of Hyrule (the world Legend of Zelda often takes place in) is our favorite. Whether it’s King Rhoam from Breath of the Wild, a controversial character where most of what is wrong with the land of Hyrule when you start your adventure comes down to his faulty decisions and avarice.

Or maybe you prefer the jolly, lighthearted King Harkinian, who warms your day with a welcoming “My boy!” you probably know this Zelda patriarch better from his influence on internet culture when YouTube was on the rise. Or maybe you prefer him as a boat. That’s cool too.

Zelda characters - Tingle leaping with his arms in the air next to text that says "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker"

Tingle

The map-giving, balloon-floating clown of Hyrule, and self-proclaimed fairy, Tingle, comes soaring in as our next entry. He’s as flamboyant as he is floaty, often putting a humorous spin on a dark situation to the point where his involvement in a game can seem controversial if not clashing with the design and setting.

With a sparkly dance and song, Tingle assists Link, more often than not, with a helpful map or treasure chart. Just try to forget that we found him in jail in Wind Waker. Just what was he locked up for?

Zelda characters - Impa from Hyrule warriors leaping against a black background with flames dancing

Impa

Impa is a member of the Sheikah tribe, a group with ties to the Hyrule royal family, serving as their bodyguards and sometimes maidens. Impa offers wise guidance to Link on his adventures, often detailing the point of his quest and the stakes at hand. Impa has many interpretations, but her appearances in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Hyrule Warriors, and Age of Calamity are our favorites.

While Impa being the wise instructor is interesting, her involvement as a cool kickass warrior who lives up to the Sheikah name is always much more appealing.

Zelda characters - Tetra wielding a dagger standing next to text that says "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker"

Tetra

When the land of Hyrule and the kingdom is all but forgotten, the sassy pirate captain Tetra enters the scene in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker as a descendant of Princess Zelda. The amount of sass she gives Link while he tries to save his sister makes her such a memorable character and a nice change of pace to the generic “princessy” vibe Zelda usually comes with.

The biggest shame of her character is that when Tetra embraces her role as Princess Zelda, she sits on the sidelines with a severe lack of sass for the remainder of the game. A bit of a waste if you ask me.

Zelda characters - Ganon from Tears of the Kingdom in a combat pose against a black background with grey swirls

Ganon

There are only a few instances where Ganon, or Ganondorf, isn’t the main antagonist. He’s so recognizable with such a fierce reputation that you know exactly what you’re in for when he enters the fray. He’s a cruel individual who continually resurrects in his goal to take over the world.

That is when he’s not kidnapping a princess like another certain Nintendo villain we all know and love, bringing all that is good and true to ruin unless you stop him. Whether he’s a giant pig monster or a Gerudo with a jawline that won’t quit, Ganon is the villain that every gamer knows.

Zelda characters - Zelda standing against a blue and gold background next to text that says "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild"

Princess Zelda

The stoic princess of Hyrule has gone from a damsel in distress to a powerful warrior who is wise beyond her years. It’s hard to ground where Zelda stands as a character sometimes, but she’s always there and faithful to the forces of good when push comes to shove. Though her character in one of the latest mainline Zelda titles, Breath of the Wild, shows a young wide-eyed princess with a lot to learn, which translates into some interesting moments in the sequel, The Tears of the Kingdom.

Zelda characters - Link from Breath of the Wild shooting a bow and arrow

Link

The hero of time himself, Link, is one of the most iconic videogame protagonists of all time. Wielding the triforce of courage, one of Link’s best character traits is that you can consider him a blank slate to implicate yourself upon. Such as in Wind Waker, where Link is a no-name descendant, reluctant to adventure.

Or in Breath of the Wild, where Link holds a high position of responsibility as the personal guard of Princess Zelda. The story of each individual game often leans into who Link is as a person and a hero and builds from there. Whether he lives up to the expectation of his ancestors is on you. To learn even more about him, pop by our BotW Link article.

If you want to know how this famous protagonist fares in his latest adventure, make sure you check out our The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom review, where we claim that “there’s nothing like it on the Switch.”

Zelda characters - Sheik from Smash Bros. standing next to a bright star

Sheik

A strange warrior watches over and assists Link on his adventure in Ocarina of Time, setting him off on his adventure, teaching Link songs on their trusty harp. Sheik is there to direct Link whenever he’s in need of it on his adventure through Hyrule. It’s not just the in-game features of Sheik that make them interesting, it’s also the mystery surrounding the character throughout, as we have no idea who this person is in Ocarina of Time with no prior mention of them.

The mystery remains until the game’s finale, where Sheik reveals themself to be Princess Zelda in disguise. It’s a very interesting twist that not only benefits Zelda as a character but also makes Sheik stand out in one of the best Zelda titles ever released.

There you have it, our favorite Zelda characters from the iconic Nintendo series. If you’re ready to dive into the new Zelda game, check out our Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom geoglyph locations, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom korok locations, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom old map locations, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom armor locations, and Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom depths guides.