Image via Nintendo YouTube

Zelda Lore – The History of Ganondorf

No slammin' the Ganon.

Tons of Zelda fans went wild upon seeing the return of Ganondorf in the final trailer to The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Although he appears more often in demon form as Ganon, Ganondorf is often recognized as Link's greatest adversary. To truly appreciate his grand return, fans would do well to brush up on his history within the franchise.

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Who is Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda?

The main nemesis that Link has fought throughout most of the series is Ganon, the huge red demon pig that appears in many titles, Breath of the Wild included. Ganondorf is the spirit of Ganon put into human form. Together, they embody the curse that Demise put on Link way back at the beginning of the timeline in Skyward Sword.

My hate never perishes. It is born anew in a cycle with no end.

Demise - Skyward Sword

As a human, Ganondorf was actually born to the Gerudo. The Gerudo people are typically only female, but one male birth happens every 100 years. Life was very tough for young Ganondorf, so tough that it fueled his desire to one day take over Hyrule, which he saw as a much richer kingdom.

Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time

Image via Nintendo

The first time Ganondorf is ever seen on screen is in Ocarina of Time, where he has an audience with the King of Hyrule. Link discovers this when he sneaks into the courtyard and finds a concerned Zelda, who recognizes the evil spirit that lies within Ganondorf.

As a result, Link is set on his quest to recover the Spiritual Stones from the Kokiri, Goron and Zora peoples. He then enters the Sacred Realm via the Temple of Time, but Ganondorf follows along and makes a grab for the Triforce. He only manages to get the Triforce of Power, but that's still enough to take over Hyrule.

Later in the game, after Link sleeps in the Sacred Realm for seven years, he travels to five more temples and makes a final confrontation against Ganondorf. At first, Ganondorf looks defeated, but then he transforms into Ganon form. This is where the infamous timeline split occurs.

Related: Who is Malon? – Zelda Lore

Basically, if Link fails to kill Ganon, the Seven Sages seal him away, which begins the Fallen Timeline. Ganon stays Ganon throughout this branch of the timeline, though. Ganondorf specifically makes appearances in the Adult timeline (which happens after Link beats Ganon) and the child timeline (Where Link is sent back to warn the Hyrule Kingdom about Ganon, preventing his takeover.

Ganondorf in The Wind Waker

Image via Nintendo

In the Adult Timeline, Ganon breaks free after many years. This time, though, there is no hero to defeat him, so the Gods flooded Hyrule to stop Ganon from causing havoc. He would still stay alive, though, later kidnapping Princess Zelda under the guise of Tetra in The Wind Waker.

At the end of the game, Ganondorf gets pretty close to using the full Triforce, but the King of Hyrule appears first to wish away all of Hyrule. Link would later plunge the Master Sword into Ganondorf, turning him to stone.

Ganondorf in Twilight Princess

Image via Nintendo

In the Child Timeline, Ganondorf gets sent away to the Twilight Realm by the Seven Sages. Ganondorf gets put on trial before the Mirror of Twilight, where he ends up killing one of the sages. This is what causes them to exile Ganondorf.

Once in the Twilight Realm, Ganondorf makes a play at power by making a deal with Zant, a would-be ruler of the Twilight Realm. Zant agrees to this deal, which gives him dominion over the Twili in exchange for invading the Kingdom of Hyrule.

Related: Who is Mipha? – Zelda Lore

Link and Midna try to reclaim Hyrule by collecting the Fused Shadow, but Zant ends up interfering as they collect the last piece. This sends them on another quest to pick up the shards of the Mirror of Twilight, which gives them the power to head to the Twilight Realm, defeat Zant, and then return to defeat Ganondorf.

When they finally confront Ganondorf in Hyrule Castle, Ganondorf starts by using an evil spirit to take over Zelda's body. After that is defeated, Ganondorf goes straight into Ganon form, which Link and Midna defeat as well. The final fight occurs in the middle of Hyrule Field, where Link bests Ganondorf in a sword duel.

Ganondorf in Tears of the Kingdom

Image via Nintendo

The return of Ganondorf is certainly a big deal to anyone who has played Breath of the Wild. Link was able to defeat Calamity Ganon in that game, but it looks like the remains of Ganondorf were placed somewhere else in Hyrule. Whatever forces are able to bring Ganondorf back to life should be pretty influential to Zelda lore.

Want more Zelda guides? Pro Game Guides has you covered with Zelda TotK – Who is Rauru in Zelda Lore?

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Shane Foley
Shane Foley is both a huge gamer and a Contributing Writer at Pro Game Guides. He's been gaming ever since the Nintendo 64 came out, and he knows everything there is to know about Pokémon, Fire Emblem, Zelda, and several other Nintendo franchises.

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Zelda Lore – The History of Ganondorf

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