Link & Zelda’s relationship has gone through a lot over the years. From their childhood romance in Skyward Sword to the hate-turned-intimacy of Breath of the Wild, fate has always bound the knight and princess to each other – to start a Zelink ship. Here are 10 big moments of Link and Zelda’s relationship, revisited in one article.
10. The Legend of Zelda: An Arranged Marriage
So, the very first Legend of Zelda didn’t have much of a story as future Zelda games did. This ensures Link and Zelda didn’t have much of an established connection here, but Link is nevertheless wed to Zelda. Wait, what? As a reward for completing the Triforce and saving Hyrule, Link becomes the King of Hyrule and marries Princess Zelda, a girl he doesn’t even know. Now that’s weird.
9. Adventure of Link: Sleeping Beauty
If the Legend of Zelda and Zelda II are in chronological timeline order, Link should already be married to the Zelda he knows, but the second game complicates things by introducing a second Zelda. This second Zelda is fast asleep for the majority of the game before Link finally comes to be her Prince Charming. He proudly kisses her with no thought for the Zelda he already married, which causes some both serious moral and story issues. Spades for spades, a 16-year-old Link just dumped his newlywed wife. And Nintendo never solved this problem? Oh, well.
8. Link to the Past & Link’s Awakening: Not-So-Secret Feelings
It isn’t until Link’s Awakening (the game that chronologically follows A Link to the Past) that we learn of Link’s secret feelings for Zelda. ALTTP is unique since Link is the one sending the love to Zelda, while it’s usually Zelda sending it to him. Link’s Awakening confirms that Link really did have some kind of love for the princess, which Marin acts as the mental manifestation of. “Is this your big chance?” the in-game description of Marin asks Link, signifying Link has always wanted to take her/Zelda on a date. Link is also incredibly attentive as he sits on the beach with her, and ends up happily seeing an image of her in the sky after Koholint disappears.
7. Ocarina of Time: Falling In Love With the Hero
Like many other girls in the Zelda series (Paya, Ruto, Mipha, Saria, etc.), OOT’s Zelda ends up falling in love with Link as an adult. After witnessing his heroics and handsomeness, she can’t help herself but fall head over heels for the gorgeous Link. Those sideburns! They get everyone, don’t they? Zelda never shows these feelings to Link, but they are heavily implied. She also clearly appears sad when she sets Link off with the Ocarina of Time.
6. Twilight Princess: Professional Business Colleagues
First things first, Zelda and Link are not hostile or cold to each other in Twilight Princess. It’s just that they aren’t necessarily as friendly as they are in other Zelda games, and even farther from being lovers at all. Honestly, if Midna wasn’t there to bring the two together to defeat Ganondorf, Link and Zelda would have never even worked together in battle. The two of them play extremely restricted roles in TP: Zelda as a princess and Link as the hero. Besides, Ilia takes the place of Link’s love interest already and Midna as his main ally, so there’s no room for Zelda to be Link’s lover.
5. Wind Waker: Just Partners
With Tetra replacing the real Princess Zelda for the majority of Wind Waker, Nintendo certainly doesn’t set the two up for any kind of romantic relationship. They are merely partners. Tetra is certainly is friendly with Link, but that doesn’t mean they’re in love by any means. In fact, most of their dialogue involves two people with a common goal who care for each other’s safety. Even as Princess Zelda, she and Link don’t show any romantic affection towards each other, preventing WW from tying any knots.
4. Minish Cap: Childhood BFFs
The Minish Cap sets Zelda and Link up as childhood BFFs, like in Skyward Sword. The story portrays then in a cute and even awkward relationship with Zelda clearly in love with Link. Additionally, Zelda and Link almost act in the roles of Jasmine and Aladdin at the beginning of the game. She urges him to take her to the Picori Festival so she can immerse herself in the fun. This is notably one of the first times where Zelda and Link don’t play the roles of the typical princess and knight, but instead retain their friendship above all.
3. Spirit Tracks: Equals
It’s common knowledge that the Zelda cycle is Ganon/some other villain imprisoning Zelda and Link having to go rescue her. But Spirit Tracks took a much-needed spin from that: Link teams up with Zelda’s spirit as equals, and she never gets captured during the entire length of the game. Instead, she helps him by possessing dead Phantom soldiers and protecting her green-clad knight. Even better, you can play as both of them! The toon couple are so cute together, I don’t see why we can’t have just one more canon game with multiple playable characters.
2. Skyward Sword: Lovebirds
Skyward Sword is one of the unique Zelda games where both Zelda and Link are passionately in love with each other. And it’s not the typical one-sided relationship where Link never passes the love back: he smiles more than ever when he’s with this Zelda! They are complete lovebirds (or should I say love-loftwings) here, and his love for her is what drives Link to go down to the surface in search for her. And guess what! He and Zelda finally marry each other as they become the King and Queen of Hyrule. Willingly, by the way.
1. Breath of the Wild: It’s Complicated
In Breath of the Wild, Link and Zelda are literally willing to die for each other because of their tight mutual affection. They’ve spent so much time together and empathize with each other like best friends. The “Zelda’s Awakening” memory particularly highlights this, as Link “dies” trying to protect the princess, and she finally awakens her sealing power because of her love for Link.
However, we can’t forget that they started out in bad blood when they first met. Zelda was insistent she didn’t need an escort, not least a silent one, which is evident in the properly titled “Zelda’s Resentment” memory. She was also genuinely and constantly frustrated at Link’s natural talent, while she struggled to awaken her sealing powers, assuming that Link despised her just as she did him. Things only changed when Link saved her from the Yiga Clan and Zelda finally decided to help Link open up to her.
Now, 100 years later, Link is the only friend she has left: her family, Urbosa, the Champions, and everyone else she’s ever known is dead, leaving lots of development room for her and Link’s relationship to bud in BOTW 2.