Despite only appearing in one game, the impact that Demise had on the history of The Legend of Zelda echoes through just about every release. The original Demon King appeared in Skyward Sword, the game at the beginning of the Zelda timeline. He placed a very important curse on Link, though, and it's possible he may even return in Tears of the Kingdom.
Demise's backstory in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
When players first encounter Demise in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, he actually takes the form of The Imprisoned, a huge black blob that attacks from the Sealed Grounds. This is because the Sealed Grounds is where the Goddess Hylia herself sealed Demise away long before the events of the game.
Demise originally wanted the power of the Triforce for himself. This caused a war which led to Demise's imprisonment. This is also why Link needs to repeatedly beat the Imprisoned back into the seal throughout the game.
Related: 5 secrets hidden in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom gameplay reveal
Demise's appearance in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
For most of the game, Link ends up fighting an evil-doer named Girahim. This is actually the spirit of Demise's sword, similarly to how Fi is the spirit of the Master Sword. Girahim's goal in the game is to resurrect Demise.
Link seemingly stops this plan when the Statue of the Goddess is dropped on the Sealed Grounds, definitely killing the Imprisoned. Girahim actually kidnaps Zelda, though, taking her through the Gate of Time that is found in the Sealed Temple.
To save the day, Link gives chase through the Gate of Time and battles Girahim. He is ultimately too late to stop the revival of Demise, however. Demise proves to be a formidable foe, but he carries a scar on his forehead that could be from the Sealing Spike. Link plunges the Master Sword into this scar with a Skyward Strike to end the battle.
The Curse of Demise
Before perishing, Demise utters some very famous last words to Link: "An incarnation of my hatred shall ever follow your kind, dooming them to wander a blood-soaked sea of darkness for all time!"
This would imply that the future enemies of Link, most notably Ganon, are actually reincarnations of Demise. The curse also locks Zelda, Link, and Ganon in an endless struggle throughout the history of Zelda.
Can Demise return in Tears of the Kingdom?
There is a likelihood that this villain may make a comeback in the sequel to Breath of the Wild. This is because, in the original Breath of the Wild, there was a very poignant nod to Demise. Southwest of Hyrule Castle and East of the Ludlo Bog is an area called the Breach of Demise. It is an arid area with no flora present, just skulls and Bokoblins.
While the Breach of Demise is a strong reference to the nemesis of Skyward Sword, it has no real relevance int he plot of Breath of the Wild. Seeing as Tears of the Kingdom will be set in the same Hyrule, though, maybe Demise will appear there. Either way, there is a stronger implication that Ganondorf will be in the game, and he is just a manifestation of Demise's curse. So, one way or another, Demise will be affecting the plot of this game in some form.
Want more Zelda guides? Pro Game Guides has you covered with Best Zelda games to play before Tears of the Kingdom.
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Who is Demise in Zelda Lore? – Everything we know about Demise