While The Legend of Zelda generally bears a coming-of-age theme that echoes through most of its installments, some of them have successfully grasped the concepts of tragedy, death, and darkness. Some of their backstories are even heart-wrenching enough to make you cry. Here are 10 Zelda characters whose backgrounds and endings that will break your heart… for your sad hour.
10. Saria (Ocarina of Time)
While Saria has always appeared as a fun-loving Kokiri and Link’s best friend, her story ends in tragedy. She had grown so much with Link only to remain in the Sealed Realm as the Forest Sage at the end. She’s basically separated from her beloved for eternity because of her duties, which Mido later tells to Link. “But I… I made a promise to Saria… If Link came back, I would be sure to tell him that Saria had been waiting for him… Because Saria… really… liked…” Mido never finishes his sentence, but it’s obvious that Saria really liked Link and wanted to know right away when Link returned to Kokiri Forest.
9. Revali (Breath of the Wild)
Revali is one of the most commonly misunderstood characters in Breath of the Wild because of his arrogant exterior, but underneath, he shakes because of pressure and self-criticism. He is his own harshest critic and a full-on perfectionist. He’s also the only Champion not born with a special power: he had to work laboriously to obtain Revali’s Gale and master his archery talents. And after all his life’s work, some emotionless knight named Link basically rips the opportunity he’s been waiting for to be the Hero of Hyrule away from him just because of the Master Sword.
8. Skull Kid (Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask)
Skull Kid is a kid who doesn’t have friends. Like the other Skull Kids in Ocarina of Time, he has always been a loner who deeply desires friends, which is why he originally made friends with Link and the Four Giants. The only problem was that all of them eventually left him. The only thing left to do was for Skull Kid to purchase Majora’s Mask to keep him company; instead, the mask possessed him and caused him to wreak havoc on Termina. As a cursed child who wants friendship more than anything else, Skull Kid is a doomed character who we can’t stop feeling sorry for – and neither can Link.
7. Dorian (Breath of the Wild)
Dorian is one of Impa’s guards in Breath of the Wild who originally appears stoic and calm, only to hide his tragedies and dark backstory. During the “Stolen Heirloom” shrine quest, Dorian reveals that he used to work for the Yiga Clan, but fell in love with a local woman on a spy mission to Kakariko Village and defected from the Yiga. His two daughters Koko and Cottla were born soon after. However, the Yiga tracked him down and killed Dorian’s wife, threatening to also take his daughters’ lives along with her later on.
To hide their mother’s death, Dorian forces himself to lie to his kids that their mother is merely hiding. This is why Cottla runs around playing hide-and-seek with her mother, but Koko, his older daughter, knows the truth. Finding out Dorian’s tragic history only makes you feel a stronger desire of revenge against the Yiga Blademaster at the quest’s end.
6. Marin (Link’s Awakening)
In Link’s Awakening, Marin’s that lovely girl who takes Link into her house along with helping him access one of the dungeons. She loves singing to the seagulls, but most of all, she hopes for a life of exploration outside of Koholint Island, and that’s where it gets tragic.
We all know that Marin never gets to embark on this dream journey she speaks of. She’s only a figment of Link’s imagination in his dream, causing her to disappear along with the other inhabitants of Koholint Island (except for the Wind Fish) when he awakens. She was a character we had grown to love even more than the early Princess Zeldas, and she had left before we knew it in the blink of an eye.
5. Urbosa (Breath of the Wild)
As the Gerudo Chief and the close friend of the late Queen of Hyrule, Urbosa is likely the most mature Champion who dedicated her life to protecting Princess Zelda. She did everything she could to assist and encourage Zelda in her awakening of her sealing power. However, all of her efforts proved futile in the end; Zelda was unable to harness this power until after Thunderblight killed Urbosa. She was Zelda’s motherly figure and got nothing back for everything she did. And when her efforts did pay off, she was already dead and would never get to see her little bird soar.
4. Midna (Twilight Princess)
The Twilight Princess Midna has a tragic backstory that her snappy imp form prevented us from seeing. She lost everything to Zant, and after helping Link and Zelda conquer Ganondorf, she made the eternal decision to break the Mirror of Twilight, ensuring Hyrule and the Twilight Realm would never see each other again. Midna essentially lived in a twilight of gloom for her whole life and cursed herself to loneliness for Link’s sake, sacrificing herself for Hyrule’s safety. She recognized that her world would only cause trouble for Hyrule and made the willing choice to die tragically.
3. Lulu and Mikau (Majora’s Mask)
Lulu and Mikau are without a doubt one of Zelda‘s most tragic couples. To start the domino effect of their tragedies, the Indigo-Go singer gave birth but lost her cherished voice in the process, and a Gerudo pirate stole her eggs shortly after to make things worse. Fellow band member Mikau then resolved to recover both his beloved friend’s voice and her eggs. However, later on in the story, Link finds Mikau dead on the shore and tries to revive him with the magical Song of Healing, but the song is unable to work in this rare occurrence. He then is left no choice but to bury Mikau’s body with his fishbone guitar as the headstone.
In the end, Link returns Lulu’s eggs and voice, fulfilling Mikau’s mission, but the tragedy of her lover’s death brought her to tears. It’s a heartbreaking example of sacrifice that ends up in gain, but in truth, it is much more loss than gain.
2. Mipha (Breath of the Wild)
The Zora Princess Mipha was a sweetheart, but fell victim to her own vulnerability when she realized Link never returned her romantic affection for him. She and Link are Breath of the Wild‘s Romeo and Juliet: two people who know they can’t truly be together, but dream of living out their days with each other. Mipha already knew that she and Link could never be together, as she was a Zora and he was a Hylian, but she nevertheless dedicated her time to making his engagement ring (the Zora Armor), which she never even got to give to him in the end.
Her sadness does not only revolve around Link, though. Before becoming the Zora Champion, she made her father, King Dorephan, a promise to return home safely as his precious daughter; we all know that she could not keep it, though. This leaves Dorephan and her little brother, Sidon, seething in guilt 100 years after Mipha’s death. She dies before she can speak to her family or Link ever again and is doomed to endless tears as she is trapped in the Divine Beast Vah Ruta.
1. Zelda (Breath of the Wild)
Breath of the Wild‘s Zelda brings a tragedy of her own to The Legend of Zelda as the most desperate Zelda out of all of the Zeldas yet. She’s devoted her entire life to awakening her sealing power, only for it to stubbornly refuse to awaken until the last moment. She reasonably blames herself for Calamity Ganon’s overtaking of Hyrule for her inability to save them with her legendary powers. The pain of the Champions’ and her father’s deaths flows out freely in the “Despair” memory, showing her breaking down and crying in Link’s arms.
She then traps herself in Hyrule Castle to hold back Ganon’s power for 100 years, all alone, waiting for Link to awaken and help her in her greatest time of need. She sacrificed her powers for Hyrule, and with her family and friends all gone, she has no choice but to leave the role of princess, leave her past behind, and embark on a new journey alongside Link. Which, by the way, is where BOTW 2 picks up.