The Legend of Zelda is a gaming franchise that has withstood the test of time. With the first game being released in 1986, the latest game (Breath of the Wild) debuted March 3, 2017.
The protagonist of the series has always been Link, an elvish-like boy who is tasked with saving Hyrule. However, in Hyrule Warriors: Legends, there appeared to be a female version armed with crossbows and a hooded tunic called Linkle. There has been some debate surrounding the initial introduction of Linkle into The Legend of Zelda universe. Though the game she appears in is not strictly canon, and her role is not confirmed to be a reincarnation of the Hero, many who called for a female version of the main character did so because they felt it was time for an empowering female to be in the series.
Whether Link needs to be gender bent in a future reincarnation is beside the point, because the one thing that The Legend of Zelda is not lacking in, is female characters in awe-inspiring roles. There are already quite a few heroines here that can hold their own, as The Legend of Zelda franchise has consistently portrayed women who were both relatable and straight-up badass.
Here are 10 female characters from The Legend of Zelda who are tough as nails.
Having a series named after you when you’re not the main character proves you’re a force to be reckoned with. A princess born into the Royal Family of Hyrule, Zelda is a kind and loving individual who is bestowed in some versions with the Triforce of Wisdom, and in one lifetime is even the mortal incarnation of the Goddess Hylia.
While she does often require Link’s aid in their many reincarnations, possessing the Triforce of Wisdom is no small feat. At times armed with light arrows or other powerful weapons, in battle situations she is calm and collected, understanding her role as a princess and leader of her people.
When backed into a corner in storylines such as The Ocarina of Time, she is not afraid to go undercover as Sheik and continue to protect Hyrule from the shadows. Inherently wise, she knows how to handle leading her kingdom while still remaining in touch with her softer side.
Hands down, Impa has proved herself to be the most skilled warrior across the entire series. As a member of the Sheikah tribe, Impa is trained in several deadly martial arts and sworn to protect the princess she serves. Practical and straightforward, she does not shy away from coming down harshly on the protagonist when she feels he is not performing to his true potential.
While not strictly human or easy to fit under a label, Fi can be most accurately described as a female sword soul. Analytical and calculating, when paired with the Hero of the Skies she is the brains of the duo—and literally tough in her physical form as a sword as well. Originally introduced as the Goddess Sword, Fi evolves alongside her young charge, eventually transitioning into the coveted Master Sword.
Saria is a friendly and thoughtful member of the Kokiri Tribe, destined to awaken as the Sage of the Forest. Despite her youthful appearance, we witness her inherit maturity by how she always has time to pay attention to her friend Link, knowing full well that he is not really one of their tribe. She gives Link his first Ocarina before he leaves on his quest, and values their friendship despite the fact that he is forced to ultimately leave her behind in his journey. Even without meaning to, she is constantly a helpful character, such as her sharing the location of her special spot in the Lost Woods of the Kokiri Forest (which turns out to actually be the entrance to the Forest Temple). Along with the rest of the sages, she helps seal away the evil Ganondorf, bringing a time of peace to Hyrule.
5. Princess Ruto
As the princess of the Zora tribe, Ruto was doted upon in her childhood, leading to a somewhat self-centred outlook on life. But once her people are faced with true danger, she fulfills her role as The Sage of Water, helping to seal away the main villain of the series. Ruto returns as a playable character in Hyrule Warriors, where her power to control water makes her a great asset during fighting.
Her contributions as one of the Seven Sages elevates her to such a degree in Hyrule’s mythology that she even has a town named after her.
Nabooru is proof that it’s not where you’re from, but your actions that define your character. Despite coming from the same tribe as the villainous Ganandorf, Nabooru opposes his rule, and openly plots against him. She works with the Link to steal a legendary Gerudo treasure that would jeopardize the antagonist’s plans.
Even though she is originally introduced as a thief, Nabooru considers herself chivalrous and righteous in her decision making. By the end of Ocarina of Time, she is revealed to be the Sage of Spirit, ultimately getting her wish to help put away Ganandorf for good.
Midna was The Princess of the Twilight realm and has everything taken away from her—her lands, her title, even her true form. Despite that, she puts a plan into motion that will save both her own realm and that of the Hero of Twilight.
Midna doesn’t let her cursed form stop her from fighting to reclaim her throne from the usurping force of King Zant. She rescues the imprisoned protagonist, and enlists him in helping her regain control of the kingdom. Though she is quite snippy and mischievous, she becomes an important force in the story as she trains Link and helps break the curse plaguing their joint lands. In either form—imp or Twili, her powers to control shadows, energy and teleportation make her one of the more versatile characters in the game.
Introduced in Wind Waker, Medli is a young Rito, with part-bird and part-human characteristics. Kind-hearted and sincere, she becomes a good friend to Link along his travels. Her small figure shouldn’t fool you, because she takes on a host of challenging tasks, including taking care of a dragon! Valoo—the dragon deity—is the patron guardian of her race, and she takes her responsibility as his attendant very seriously.
Having trained since a young age to fulfill her destiny as Valoo’s attendant, she eventually awakens as the Sage of Earth, aiding in several crucial endeavors such as restoring the Master Sword, helping Link through the Earth temple and using her harp’s power to repel evil.
A famous dancer, Din is unabashedly free spirited and outgoing. As the Oracle of Seasons, she controls the four seasons of the land of Holodrum. Not only does she rescue the Hero after finding him sprawled unconscious on the side of the road, but she further aids the protagonist by providing him with a charm that will increase his attack strength.
Named after one of the three creators of Hyrule, she has some big shoes to fill.
Tetra is unique among the different versions of Princess Zelda as her character is a departure from previous incarnations. A series of events led to her becoming the leader of a band of pirates, spending her life sailing the open seas. Tomboyish and unruly, Tetra is not burdened with the decorum expected of a young princess, and gallivants about to her heart’s content.
Though her true form is technically that of Princess Zelda, she ultimately reverts back to her persona of Tetra, choosing to live the swashbuckling life of a pirate.
It’s always important to push for more representation, but lets remember not to dismiss the amazing female characters we do have!