- This article is about the recurring antagonist of the Legend of Zelda series. For this character's alternate form, see Ganon.
- "He was the leader of a band of thieves who invaded Hyrule in the hopes of establishing dominion over the Sacred Realm. He was known as a demon thief, an evil-magic wielder renowned for his ruthlessness..."
- — Ancient Sage
Ganondorf (ガノンドロフ Ganondorofu?, ), known as the Great King of Evil or the Dark Lord, is the primary antagonist of the majority of games in the Legend of Zelda series. Ganondorf was born a member of the Gerudo; as the only male member to be born in a hundred years, Ganondorf is made either the King of the Gerudo or the Guardian of the Desert, depending on the game. Gifted with powerful magic, Ganondorf often seeks the omnipotent Triforce to grant his wish of conquering the entire world. He frequently wields the Triforce of Power, and stages coups against the Royal Family of Hyrule to take the Hyrulean Throne by force. In the English-localized game manual of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, his full name is stated to be Ganondorf Dragmire, and his alias before his incursion into the Sacred Realm is stated to have been Mandrag Ganon, meaning "Ganon of the Enchanted Thieves."
The Triforce of Power that Ganondorf often holds grants him near-immortality; the only weapons that can truly defeat him are the Triforce itself, the Master Sword, the Silver Arrows, the Four Sword, and the Light Arrows. In addition to granting him power, the Triforce of Power allows Ganondorf to transform into a beast form, Ganon, reminiscent of a pig or hog.
During events of the ending of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the timeline of The Legend of Zelda series was severed into three separate timelines. Thus the Ganondorf from Ocarina of Time had three different future incarnations, each eventually meeting their end at the hands of different Links at some point. While most incarnations of Ganondorf were the same individual, it was explained in Hyrule Historia that the one who appeared in Four Swords Adventure was the reincarnation of the one that appeared in Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time.
He is commonly voiced by Takashi Nagasako.
Ganondorf was mentioned in the back story of the game and by one of the Seven Maidens. He was depicted as the King of Thieves who managed to break into the Sacred Realm and obtain the Triforce. The power of the Triforce changed Ganondorf into a beast and from that point on, he became known as Ganon.
Link collected the two remaining Spiritual Stones, but, as he returned to the castle, he saw Zelda riding away from the castle together with her nursemaid, Impa. Before they disappeared out of sight, Zelda threw the Ocarina of Time into Hyrule Castle Town's Moat. Suddenly, Ganondorf appeared before Link, their encounter a fulfillment of Link's nightmares. Ganondorf demanded that Link tell him the direction that Zelda went, though Link refused. Link attempted to confront Ganondorf, but was easily defeated by a blast of magic from Ganondorf, who then continued to chase after Zelda. Link dove into the moat to recover the Ocarina of Time, and, as he touched it, Zelda appeared before him in a vision and taught him the "Song of Time". With all the required keys to the Sacred Realm, Link ventured within the Temple of Time and found the chamber where the legendary Master Sword rested. As he touched the Master Sword, Link fulfilled an ancient prophecy that regarded the Hero of Time, who was destined to battle great evil. However, since he was too young to be the Hero of Time, Link was taken away and sealed within the Temple of Light for seven years. The path to the Triforce was left open, Ganondorf saw his chance to take the Triforce, and personally thanked Link for opening the Door of Time for him; however, as he touched it, the Triforce shattered into three pieces: Power, Wisdom, and Courage. As Ganondorf's inner balance of Power, Wisdom, and Courage was not fully balanced, the Triforce that he valued most was left in his hand. The Triforces of Wisdom and Courage were secretly given to Zelda and Link, respectively. While not being able to obtain the full power of the Triforce, Ganondorf usurped the throne of Hyrule and transformed the once peaceful land into a wasteland of fear and horror. During that time, Ganondorf revived an evil dragon named Volvagia and planned to commit genocide against the Gorons by feeding them to it, with the intention of cowing the other races to his rule, and also intended to use Volvagia to spark an eruption of Death Mountain to wipe out Kakariko Village. Ganondorf also trapped the Zoras under a thick sheet of ice in Zora's Domain (and presumably froze King Zora XVI in Red Ice), as well as drained Lake Hylia with a water demon named Morpha, and he spread his evil influence to the Forest Temple.
Seven years later, Link awakened within the Chamber of the Sages, the events that occurred were explained to him by Rauru, the Sage of Light. To defeat Ganondorf, Link must awaken the Six Sages who held the power to seal Ganondorf away. Link completed the dungeons of the ruined Future Hyrule and awakened all the sages, many of whom he already knew. After the awakening of the final sage, Link was summoned to the Temple of Time. Here, Sheik, a mysterious Sheikah who had aided him throughout his quest to awaken the sages, revealed her true identity to be that of Princess Zelda. Zelda presented Link with Ganondorf's weakness, the Light Arrows. However, the two were discovered by Ganondorf, who took Zelda away to His Castle. Ganondorf also implied that he suspected that Zelda would aid Link in some fashion, and that he allowed Link to restore the temples knowing that Zelda would reveal herself afterwards. Link broke the seal on Ganon's Tower and confronted Ganondorf at the top of the tower. Ganondorf commanded Link to give him the Triforce of Courage. After a fierce battle, Ganondorf appeared to have been defeated, with Zelda briefly pitying him for his fate and implied that he largely was killed because he was unable to control the Triforce. Unfortunately, with his last ounce of strength, Ganondorf attempted to bring down his castle onto Zelda and Link, who narrowly escaped before the castle collapsed. As they believed to have won, however, a noise was heard from the rubble, which revealed itself to be Ganondorf, who used the Triforce of Power to transform into Ganon. Ganon knocked the Master Sword out of Link's hands, which forced Link to weaken Ganon with his other weapons until he could retrieve the Master Sword. Afterwards, Link weakened a rejuvenated Ganon with the Master Sword until Zelda managed to use her power to hold him, which allowed Link to deal the killing blow. The Seven Sages then worked together to seal Ganondorf away. However, Ganondorf claimed that he would return, as long as the Triforce of Power was in his hand, and also vowed that when he did return, he would exterminate Link, Zelda, and the Seven Sages' Descendants. That was the first game where Ganondorf appeared in his Gerudo form.
- "My country lay within a vast desert. When the sun rose into the sky, a burning wind punished my lands, searing the world. And when the moon climbed into the dark of night, a frigid gale pierced our homes. No matter when it came, the wind carried the same thing... Death. But the winds that blew across the green fields of Hyrule brought something other than suffering and ruin. I coveted that wind, I suppose."
- — Ganondorf
Ganondorf was the primary antagonist of the game. A long time prior to the events of the game, Ganondorf somehow managed to break the seal that was placed on him once more, and attempted to establish dominion over the land of Hyrule. To stop his nefarious plot, the beings of Hyrule prayed to the Golden Goddesses, which made them flood the land which created the Great Sea, thus impeding Ganondorf's plans. After some time had passed, Ganondorf somehow broke out of his imprisonment once more, and continued to do malicious acts of destruction.
To find the direct descendant of Princess Zelda, who held the Triforce of Wisdom, Ganondorf sent his loyal minion, the Helmaroc King, to kidnap all young, pointy-eared girls living on the islands of the Great Sea. After being captured, the young girls were imprisoned within Ganondorf's new lair, the Forsaken Fortress. In addition to that, Ganondorf sent monsters to islands all around the Great Sea to prevent a descendant of the Hero of Time who had sealed him away from ever foiling his plans. To further secure himself against the coming of the hero's descendant, Ganondorf ordered two of his minions, Jalhalla and Molgera, to kill the Sages of the Wind Temple and the Earth Temple, whose prayers gave the power to repel evil to the Master Sword.
Eventually, the Helmaroc King came to Outset Island, where the young boy, Link, lived, who came of the age when young boys were given green garments in memory of the Hero of Time. The Helmaroc King had kidnapped the young pirate leader, Tetra, and Link traveled into the forest to save her, and successfully did so. However, as they left the forest, Link's sister, Aryll, was taken by the Helmaroc King in Tetra's place. Link traveled with Tetra and her pirates to the Forsaken Fortress. Link managed to sneak his way into the dungeon cells, but was discovered. Link caught a brief glimpse of Ganondorf, just before he was thrown far away from the island by the Helmaroc King at Ganondorf's command. Floating and unconscious, Link was discovered by the King of Red Lions, a talking boat who became his ally and companion.
The King of Red Lions and Link worked together to obtain the three Pearls of the Goddesses, which when gathered, raised the fabled Tower of the Gods from the depths of the Great Sea. After Link collected the pearls of Din and Farore, Ganondorf used his evil magic to destroy Greatfish Isle, where the spirit Jabun, holder of Nayru's Pearl, resided. Jabun escapeed to a cave on Outset Island, which was eventually discovered by Link and the King of Red Lions. After he obtained the final pearl, Link proved himself to truly be of the legendary hero's lineage by braving the many perils within the Tower of the Gods. After the defeat of Gohdan, a portal appeared before the Tower of the Gods. Using the portal to safely travel to the very bottom of the Great Sea, Link found himself in a castle where time had stopped. Beneath the castle, Link found the chamber in which the legendary Master Sword rested. Taking the Master Sword, Link traveled once more to the Forsaken Fortress with some indirect aid from Tetra's Pirates, and even managed to take out the Helmaroc King once and for all. Ganondorf then met the boy face to face and, after he commended him for making it as far as he did, revealed that removing the Master Sword's seal ensured his full power returned, and cited how time had resumed and his forces were reactivated as the proof; however, Ganondorf's safeguards proved useful when it was revealed that the Master Sword held no power over Ganondorf without the prayers of the Wind and Earth Sages. Tetra arrived to aid Link, and distracted Ganondorf, but was herself taken. As Ganondorf prepared to squeeze the life out of her, his Triforce of Power resonated, and revealed her true identity to be that of Zelda's descendant and (partial) holder of the Triforce of Wisdom. Before Ganondorf had the chance to take the Triforce piece, Link and Zelda were rescued by Valoo, a great dragon whom Link had befriended earlier. Valoo set Ganondorf's Lair on fire, but Ganondorf escaped, and retreated to his tower in the sunken land of Hyrule.
Link left Zelda safe in the chamber beneath Hyrule Castle, awakened the descendants of the sages, and restored the Master Sword. However, Ganondorf, anticipating that Link would work to restore the Master Sword and presumably deducing where Zelda was being hidden, proceeded to call all of his monsters back to his tower from the Forsaken Fortress and left it abandoned, which one of the fishmen noticed and later relayed to the King of Red Lions. To make his way back into sunken Hyrule, Link gathered the shards of the Triforce of Courage at the behest of the King of Red Lions, as the latter anticipated that Ganondorf was at his endgame. However, Zelda was taken away by Ganondorf to his domain. Link destroyed the barrier that Ganondorf had placed around the entrance to Hyrule Castle to prevent him from reaching the temples by way of Hyrule, and fought the evil monsters that lurked there. Inside his tower, Ganondorf revealed part of his motives for conquering Hyrule.
After the destruction of his puppet form, Ganondorf retreated to the top of his tower. When Link confronted him again on the roof, Ganondorf finally explained the reasons for his ambition to conquer Hyrule: his homeland, the Gerudo Desert, had been a harsh, barren place, with its winds often bringing nothing but misery and death to his people, either hot searing winds by the day or piercing cold gales at night. When he learned of Hyrule's lush nature, Ganondorf coveted the friendlier winds that blew across Hyrule. Ganondorf's personal quest had been born of a desire to bring his people to lush Hyrule.
Ganondorf forcibly reassembled the Triforce. However, as Ganondorf was about to make his wish, Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, the former King of Hyrule who had taken residence within the King of Red Lions, touched the Triforce before him, and wished that Hyrule be flooded, which prevented Ganondorf from ever attaining his true wish as well as brought a future to Zelda and Link instead of clinging to the past. After a fit of hysterical laughter at his failure, Ganondorf attacked Link and Zelda as water began to cover Hyrule. Zelda attempted to use the Light Arrows to attack Ganondorf, but was knocked out. Link defended himself against Ganondorf's attack until Zelda reawakened. Working as a team, Link and Zelda used the Master Sword and Light Arrows to weaken Ganondorf. When Ganondorf was at his weakest, Link plunged the Master Sword deep into his forehead, which turned him into stone. Immediately prior to his petrification, however, Ganondorf briefly referenced the wind that often plagued the Gerudo with some amusement. Link and Zelda escaped to the surface while Ganondorf and Hyrule were flooded once and for all.
Oddly, even though the Triforce of Power was explicitly shown leaving Ganondorf to reform the Triforce, Ganondorf during the final battle was shown to still have the Triforce of Power mark on his hand. This was later retained in Wind Waker HD.
Ganondorf was eventually revealed to be the primary antagonist. When Link arrived at the Forest of Darkness, the Deku became his followers. More was revealed about him in the next area, the Desert of Doubt. The Gerudo told Link that as the sole male born to the tribe every hundred years, Ganondorf was to be the guardian of the Gerudo and the Desert. However, Ganondorf's heart grew twisted with each passing year, and he became obsessed with obtaining power at any cost. The Gerudo shunned Ganondorf because he disobeyed their laws and fled to the sacred Pyramid. There, Ganondorf took the Trident and was transformed into Ganon by its dark magic.
After Link defeated Vaati in his palace, the Tower of Winds started to crumble, and Link and Zelda traveled down the tower back to Hyrule. However, they were attacked by Ganon. After he was defeated, Ganon was sealed within the Four Sword.
Ganondorf was eventually revealed to be the primary antagonist. It was strongly implied that he held the Triforce of Power. It was explained in Hyrule Historia that when the Hero of Time was sent back into the Child Timeline, he immediately warned Zelda and her father about Ganondorf's plots, and thus stopped the Gerudo's actions in the Adult Timeline from ever occurring. That instead led to the Gerudo to be charged for his crimes, and with the sentence being execution by the Ancient Sages of the Mirror of Twilight at Arbiter's Grounds.
The Water Sage attempted to carry the execution out, and stabbed Ganondorf with the Warlock Blade, which left a glowing, open wound in his chest. However, Ganondorf remained alive, presumably because of the Triforce of Power, and killed the Water Sage with his bare hands. With their execution a failure, the Sages sealed Ganondorf away in the Twilight Realm, and the Warlock Blade went with him. Inside the Twilight Realm, he eventually gained a servant through Zant, a member of the Twili Race who had been refused the throne of the Twilight Realm. Posing as a god, Ganondorf pretended to offer his powers to Zant, without specifically mentioning any requests outside of merging the Twilight Realm and the Light Realm to create eternal darkness. Zant took him up on his offer, and through him, Ganondorf was able to escape to Hyrule when Zant launched a military campaign to cover all of the land in Twilight.
Seeking to defeat Zant, Link and Midna eventually made their way to the top of the Arbiter's Grounds, where the Ancient Sages explained what happened to Ganondorf. Link and Midna reassembled the Mirror of Twilight and traveled into the Twilight Realm, where they managed to defeat Zant. Zant revealed the truth about how he came to meet his "god" before Midna slayed him. Link and Midna traveled to Hyrule Castle, where Midna used the restored Fused Shadow to remove the Twilight barrier that was placed around the castle. Inside the castle's Throne Room, Link and Ganondorf met. He possessed Princess Zelda's lifeless body and attacked Link, but Midna managed to purge Ganondorf's soul from Zelda's body, which restored her to life as well. Ganondorf then transformed into Ganon, but was defeated by Link in his Wolf Form. As Ganon was wounded, Midna attempted to battle him herself, while she teleported Link and Zelda to Hyrule Field.
A short while later, a huge explosion was heard in direction of the castle, and Ganondorf reappeared, holding Midna's Fused Shadow Helmet and crushed it in his hand. Ganondorf summoned his Mount and sent ghost riders after Link to stop him. He was eventually defeated by Zelda's Light Arrows and Link's Master Sword. His steed defeated, Ganondorf confronted Link in a one-on-one duel, and wielded the very sword that was meant for his execution. Seeing an opening in Ganondorf's defense, Link impaled him with the Master Sword. As Ganondorf bellowed a blood-curdling scream, and vowed that regardless of his loss, it wouldn't end, as the history of light and shadow "will be written in blood", the Triforce symbol on his hand faded away before, in a vision, Zant's neck cracked and he died, while standing in place.
According to Hyrule Historia, after his death, the resentment and the evil thoughts of Ganondorf traveled through time and space, and manifested through the Dark Mirror into the Shadow Links in Four Swords Adventures.
While Ganondorf never directly appeared in the game, he was mentioned by Niko. While Niko gave the synopsis of The Wind Waker, Ganondorf was shown in two slides, one as he kidnapped Tetra, and in another battling Link. While Niko described Ganondorf, his theme could be heard.
- "You fight like no man or demon I have ever known. Though this is not the end. My hate... never perishes. It is born anew in a cycle with no end!"
- — Demise
Ganondorf did not appear in Skyward Sword, but Eiji Aonuma had stated that the game still touched on why he was present in Ocarina of Time. After Link defeated Demise, the latter threatened that he would rise again and placed a curse on the bloodlines of Link and Zelda, in which his hatred (and the curse of the Demon Tribe in the original Japanese version) would be reborn and attack their descendants in an endless cycle. Especially in light of Aonuma's statement, that likely means that Ganondorf, and by extension, Ganon, is the personification of Demise's hatred. That was further evidenced by the fact that the form that Demise took when he was encountered by Link bore a striking resemblance to Ganondorf himself.
Ganondorf's role was overall the same as in the game. However, his first appearance had him eavesdropping on Link and Zelda in the Hyrule Castle Courtyard, as well as, while he apologized for his eavesdropping, it implied that he may have sent the Gerudo after Zelda while the latter was disguised in Hyrule Castle Town. Ganondorf later appeared after Link got the Zora's Sapphire, where he attempted to corner Zelda and Impa at the burning castle while stating that Zelda "will experience eternal sleep with her father" in it, which implied that he had, by that point, murdered her father. He also ended up stealing Link's Fairy Ocarina, under the mistaken impression that it was the Ocarina of Time. Ganondorf did not realize that mistake until seven years had passed, upon which he crushed the ocarina in his hand.
Ganondorf also had Sheik serve him. When Ingo failed to ensure that Epona was supplied to him, Ganondorf initially intended to have him executed for his failure, although he relented after Koume and Kotake instead suggested that they brainwash him. Ganondorf eventually imprisoned Zelda inside a Crystal, and took her to his castle. During the inevitable fight with Link, Ganondorf used a sword with magical powers to overpower him, and sought to finish him off with his ultimate spell. Link was able to use the Spin Attack to deflect the spell back at Ganondorf, which stunned him long enough for Link to cut him down. A wounded Ganondorf then attempted to bring the castle down on Link and Zelda. When that failed, Ganondorf turned into Ganon. Ganon was able to knock the Master Sword out of Link's hand, but Zelda was able to throw it back to the hero. Link promptly cut off Ganon's Tail, brought him down to his knees with a vertical slash, and thrust his sword into the beast's face. Invoking the power of the Sages, Zelda was able to seal Ganondorf away.
Concept Art included in Hyrule Historia contained Concept Artwork of Ganondorf in the section for Oracle of Ages and Seasons, which implied that Ganon was originally intended to appear in his human form for part of the game. No mention of Ganondorf as a human remained in the final version of the game. Ganondorf's design was largely similar to his appearance in Ocarina of Time, only he instead wore black-and-red robes with a raised collar, a belt depicting a fanged skull, as well as wearing a vest similar to his outfit from Ocarina of Time, as well as pointed shoes.
It was possible that he was intended to be the main villain for the cancelled The Legend of Zelda: Mystical Seed of Courage, which was intended to be a sequel to both Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons.
Super Smash Bros. Series
Ganondorf was a playable character for the first time in Super Smash Bros. Melee. To unlock him, the player must beat Event Match #29 or play 600 VS. Mode matches. His moves are almost exactly the same as Captain Falcon's, but he is slower and more powerful. His FAir and UpTilt are some of the few moves that are different. His physical appearance is based on the design used in the Space World 2000 Demo, and wields the same sword used in the demo in one of his victory poses, even though he doesn't use it in battle.
- "...My designers did work on the designs for Sheik and Link and Ganondorf. So they submitted the initial designs, and so it would fit in the Smash Bros. Brawl environment, they’ve had to tweak some of the designs. But Sakurai has brought those altered designs to NCL. We’re working very closely with the team of Smash Bros. Brawl to make sure the characters look their best."
- — Eiji Aonuma
Ganondorf is based off of his appearance in Twilight Princess. His moves remained largely the same as in Melee, though some are visually different. However, his Gerudo Dragon (side-B) has been replaced by the Flame Choke, which knocks enemies downward instead of upward. His final smash is a horizontal charge as Beast Ganon.
In the storyline, Ganondorf uses the Ancient Minister to drop Subspace bombs on the world, "erasing" it and transporting it into Subspace. He serves under Master Hand, and Bowser, the main antagonist of the Super Mario Bros. Series, is Ganondorf's right hand man. Eventually, the Ancient Minister (later revealed to be a ROB unit) turns on Ganondorf, refusing to fight the heroes when confronted by them on the "Isle of the Ancients" stage. However, Ganondorf takes control of all the R.O.B.s, forcing them to attack the Ancient Minister and then proceeding to have them detonate multiple Subspace bombs at once, generating an explosion so great and tearing a hole so large that the entire island is permanently consumed. Ganondorf and Bowser pilot a titanic gunship into the real world via this hole, using it against the alliance of heroes arriving to take the villains down. The gunship is destroyed when Kirby flies the Dragoon through the hull. Retreating back into Subspace, Ganondorf betrays Bowser, turning him into a trophy. Ganondorf soon learns that Master Hand, whom he was apparently going to betray for more power (though this is difficult to determine since the only lines of dialogue in the entire story are spoken by Solid Snake, Ike, and Captain Falcon), is only a puppet being controlled by a higher being, Tabuu. Ganondorf attempts to attack Tabuu alone, but is easily subdued with a single hit and turned into a trophy (though his attack does succeed in inadvertently freeing Master Hand from Tabuu's control). Later on, the trophy of Ganondorf is attacked by a revived Bowser in retaliation for his earlier betrayal before being revived himself by, ironically, none other than his arch-enemies Link and Zelda, who convince him to help them and the rest of the playable fighters in the final battle against Tabuu.
Ganondorf does not use the sword he had in Twilight Princess, even though his appearance is based off of his Twilight Princess design. However, the sword is seen in one of Ganondorf's taunts, where he takes it out of its sheath just to inspect it, and possibly show it off, then immediately returns it. In his regular form, Ganondorf does not have the chest wound that he had in Twilight Princess, though it is present when he turns into Ganon. Strangely, it is more purple in color than in Twilight Princess.
Ganondorf appears on two stickers. One depicts his artwork from Ocarina of Time and gives a +29 bonus to darkness attacks, and the other depicts his artwork from The Wind Waker and gives a +33 bonus to darkness attacks. Ganondorf is the only one who can use these stickers.
- "The Great King of Evil who plots to steal the Triforce from the Sacred Realm and rule Hyrule. When Link reveals the secret entrance to the Sacred Realm, Ganondorf gains entry and acquires the Triforce of Power. With it literally in hand, his only concern is Link and Zelda stopping him."
- — Ganondorf (Ocarina of Time) Trophy Description
Ganondorf makes his third appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series in this game for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. He retains his Twilight Princess design he had in Brawl, and his chest wound where he was struck with the Warlock Blade is now present. His move set remains mostly the same, including his final smash. However, he is able to use the Warlock Blade as a custom move to his Warlock Punch. Other popular custom moves include Flame Wave, Dark Vault, and Wizard Dropkick. Interestingly during one of Pit's special conversions (which occur by preforming Pit's down taunt on the Palutena's Temple stage while fighting Ganondorf), the goddesses Palutena and Viridi both claim that like Link and Zelda, there are multiple incarnations of Ganondorf, however given the non-canon nature of the Super Smash Bros. series, these claims are dubious at best.
In the Wii U version, there is a Toon Ganondorf Trophy, while the 3DS version features a Ganondorf Ocarina of Time 3D Trophy.
For unknown reasons, an unfinished model of Ganondorf exists in the game's coding, along with unfinished models of Impa and Sheik. The name of the files indicates that they may have been planned to appear in the Swamp Fishing Hole and Ocean Fishing Hole, but were scrapped. It is possible that he would have been a Terminan counterpart of Ganondorf.
Ganondorf appears as a playable character in the spinoff game Hyrule Warriors. His appearances from Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess will be available as alternate costumes via downloadable content. His primary appearance in the game is a mixture between his appearance in Twilight Princess and Demise, which is briefly referenced by Ghirahim in the conclusion of Ganondorf's first chapter in the story mode and also shares Demise's title, The Demon King. Ganondorf's 3rd-level weapons are the Swords of Demise, further showing the connection.
Ganondorf wields a pair of massive Great Swords in conjunction with his dark magic. His moveset appears to combine elements of three characters from Koei's other works: Musashi Miyamoto and Nobunaga Oda from Samurai Warriors, and Lu Bu from Dynasty Warriors.
In Hyrule Warriors, Ganondorf is revealed to be the one responsible for Cia's corruption, and thus acts as the true main antagonist of the game. In the backstory, his soul had been split into four fragments and sealed across time and space by a previous incarnation of the legendary hero. By corrupting Cia and removing the light from her heart, Ganondorf influences Cia to collect the Triforce and open the Gate of Souls, linking it to the dimensions where three of his soul fragments are sealed. This releases the soul fragments from their prisons, restoring the Demon King's physical body.
Upon regaining his body, Ganondorf attacks Cia, attempting to claim the Triforce from her. He is defeated and trapped between dimensions, but this allows him to attack the Hyrulean Army when they battle Cia at the Temple of Souls. Because of his arrival, Zelda was forced to order a retreat of the Hyrulean Army. Although his quarry escapes once again and he was driven off by Link due to his own powers not having been fully restored, Ganondorf has a backup plan - by drawing the Master Sword from the Temple of the Sacred Sword, Link inadvertently weakened the seal on the final fragment of his soul. By the time Cia falls, the seal has broken completely, allowing Ganondorf to escape his prison, his complete strength restored.
With his full power once again at his disposal, Ganondorf begins establishing a power base in Gerudo Desert for the battles ahead. Summoning Zant and Ghirahim to assist him, he launches an attack on the monster settlement in the desert, earning their loyalty by defeating their commanders (Gohma, King Dodongo, Manhandla, and several Aeralfos). With an army behind him, the Demon King attacks the Valley of Seers, claiming the Triforce of Power from Lana despite heavy resistance. With the Triforce of Power, Ganondorf leads his army in besieging Hyrule Castle itself, drawing out Link and Zelda to fight him. Despite the heroes' best efforts, Ganondorf eventually defeats his recurring nemeses and claims the complete Triforce, using it to summon legions of monsters to subjugate all of Hyrule.
Unfortunately for Ganondorf, Zelda is able to lead the remnants of her army to Gerudo Desert, where Lana summons allies from across the dimensions to help the Hyrulean Army defeat Zant and Ghirahim. With Ganondorf's power base cut out from below him, Zelda is able to lead an attack on his tower - actually Hyrule Castle, transfigured by the power of the Triforce - where Ganondorf is preparing a ritual to empower himself even further. By retaking the castle, the heroes manage to weaken Ganondorf enough to defeat him, but the Demon King uses the Triforce to transform into his Ganon form. In response, Zelda summons the Light Arrows to bring the dark beast down, forcing him to expel the Triforce from his body. Before Ganon can recover, Link, Zelda, and Lana each claim a piece of the Triforce and use its combined power to defeat him once and for all. With Ganon defeated, Hyrule is restored to normal, returning everyone to their proper timelines.
Ganondorf will also appear in Hyrule Warriors Legends for the 3DS. In addition to his Great Swords, he gains a Trident as his new alternative weapon moveset. The game will also feature a new alternate costume based on the clothes he wore in The Wind Waker, which is fitting given the appearance of various The Wind Waker characters (Tetra, Toon Link, Medli, and Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule) appearing as playable characters in Hyrule Warriors Legends.
Ganondorf is commonly portrayed as the incarnation of pure evil, greed, and power. He is ruthless, cold, and calculating. He is also shown to have an ego, believing that only he is worthy to rule the kingdom and showing an arrogant sense of entitlement. One of Ganondorf’s most defining traits is his unquenchable lust for power. Many of his actions are driven by his unending hunger to increase his dominion over the world. In Ocarina of Time, even after having taken control of Hyrule and possessing the Triforce of Power, Ganondorf is still unsatisfied and continues to seek the other pieces of the Triforce. It was also shown that Ganon does not possess a balanced amount of power, wisdom, and courage as evidenced when the Triforce split in three pieces when he tried to wield it. It is heavily implied that Ganondorf's unquenchable desire for power and his overall character was the result of his being the reincarnation of Demise, or more specifically, his hatred and malice.
Ganondorf is also a skilled strategist, as he is implied to have manipulated Link and Zelda into opening the Door of Time for him, and he also deliberately allows Link to purify the temples he has captured knowing that this will draw Zelda out into the open. This knack for strategy was similarly demonstrated in Wind Waker, where he murdered the original Sages of Wind and Earth specifically to ensure the Master Sword lost enough of its power to not be able to kill him, as well as his using the opportunity presented by Link trying to restore the Master Sword to raid and abduct Zelda from Hyrule Castle. The best demonstration of his strategic skills, however, came about during his final fight against Link and Zelda in the same game, where he managed to quickly disable Zelda upon realizing the threat she posed with the Light Arrows, but after the latter regained consciousness, he proceeded to both evade her light arrows as well as parry all of Link's attempted parries.
Despite his negative qualities, it has been hinted that the Ganondorf originally seen in Ocarina of Time sought to conquer Hyrule to make life better for his people, the Gerudo, as they apparently lived a life full of suffering due to living in the desert. In Ocarina of Time, when he manages to conquer the kingdom of Hyrule, he never attempts to aid them, suggesting his desire for Hyrule was born out of jealousy rather than a desire to help the Gerudo--but Princess Zelda suggests that the reason he was defeated was due to his inability to properly control the Triforce of Power, implying that he may have been corrupted by its influence. Interestingly, he seems to follow a code of honor; in Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf is amused and almost impressed when a young, helpless Link drew his weapons at him. Effortlessly knocking Link away, Ganondorf let the boy live despite his defiance, acknowledging some respect for his courage. When he knocks Link down, he will wait for Link to get up before continuing a fight. In addition, when he realizes that Zelda keeps attacking him with the Light Arrows while he fights Link in The Wind Waker, he swiftly approaches Zelda, and when he could easily cut her down, he instead puts away his sword and backhands her. He also claims at one point that he will not kill Link, and merely seeks to claim the Triforce of Courage from him.
Like that of Link, Ganondorf's personality undergoes subtle changes throughout the games. In Ocarina of Time, he is wise-cracking and sarcastic, calling Link "kid" even when he reaches adulthood, calling Link's weapons "toys", saying to him "I like you, kid" before blasting him with magic, but is ultimately serious when he needs to be. In The Wind Waker, he seems to have matured a lot more with age. He is portrayed as a tragic villain, being altogether more solemn and less prone to wisecracks. In Twilight Princess, he is similar to his persona and his portrayal in The Wind Waker, but appears to be more emotionally stable, although his hatred does drive him towards almost insane extremes, and he appears to have some of his usual cockiness from Ocarina of Time. The Sages also mention that Ganondorf, due to being blinded by rage and his own might, ended up caught, subdued, and promptly executed, implying that he was extremely reckless in his actions and planning.
It is also implied that Ganondorf is emotionally unstable near the end of The Wind Waker, as he laughs maniacally when Hyrule is about to be flooded, and knowing that his plans that have taken centuries of trial and error have finally come to a dramatic end, he shows a more tragic side that seems to contrast his attitude in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, making Wind Waker the first game to truly delve deeper in to Ganondorf's personality, which has changed significantly in his old age.
Powers and Abilities
Ganondorf is shown to be very powerful in the series, mostly due to his frequent possession of the Triforce of Power. In Ocarina of Time, he possessed some magical abilities before obtaining the Triforce, shown when he blasts Link with dark magic and plagues the Great Deku Tree, Dodongo's Cavern, and Lord Jabu-Jabu with monsters, as well as sealing Dodongo's Cavern with a boulder. After acquiring the Triforce of Power, he was also able to create countless monsters, break the seal on Kakariko Well and releasing Bongo Bongo, resurrect the feared dragon Volvagia, freeze several Zoras in Red Ice, fly, imprison and warp away Princess Zelda, open up a portal to another dimension, and conquer Hyrule. He also has the power to transform into a boar demon known as Ganon as well as create a copy of himself called Phantom Ganon. In addition, he has enough strength to cause an entire portion of his throne room's floor to collapse with a single punch, should it not be connected to the room below. He was also implied to have gained immortality from his possession of the Triforce of Power. He was also skilled in playing the pipe organ, as evidenced by his playing a song on it to lure Link up to the top of his castle.
In The Wind Waker, Ganondorf was shown to be powerful enough to take a blast from Valoo and survive after his full power had returned to him. In addition, even without his full power backing him when it was sealed within the Master Sword, he was still shown as being capable of generating an Endless Night and a barrier around Hyrule Castle. Having apparently learned from his previous battles with the Hero of Time centuries earlier, Ganondorf relied more on his physical power, sword fighting skills, and minions like Helmaroc King and Puppet Ganon to deal with his enemies. In his final battle with Tetra and the Hero of Winds, Ganondorf relied entirely on his swords fighting skills, which where shown to be superior to those possessed by the Hero of Winds, who required the assistance of Tetra to stun Ganondorf with Light Arrows, in order to by pass Ganondorf's defenses. He was also able to teleport people towards his castle from afar or at the very least cast illusions, as demonstrated with his revelation that he had already abducted Zelda from her safe haven. Like in Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf was able to fly, as demonstrated shortly after Link beat Puppet Ganon.
In Twilight Princess, Ganondorf implied to wield the Triforce of Power, and may gain some abilities from his connection to Zant. Like Link's wolf form, he transforms into a different form when exposed to the magic of the Twilight Realm, though in his case he takes the form of a burning head made of golden fire (possibly due to the protection of the Triforce of Power, as the Golden Goddess of Power, Din is commonly associated with fire), which he takes during his banishment within the Twilight Realm and was the form he was in when he first approach Zant and likely contributed to Zant's view of Ganondorf as a god. The powers he displays are never definitively attributed to any one of these sources, though he gains many abilities which have the same visual effect seen when other beings use Twilight-based powers. These include the use of Twilight Portals, turning into Twilight in order to possess another person, and existing as a fiery entity in the shape of his own face. He is also able to survive an attack from Midna while she is using the Fused Shadow, and even destroys part of the powerful artifact afterwards. He is also capable of generating a barrier powerful enough to require the Fused Shadows to fully dissipate (especially evident after Link left Hyrule Castle and a pyramidal barrier was erected), and was also capable of transfiguring various entities, such being especially evident with his turning Midna into an imp-like creature via Zant. In addition, he can also bestow entities with immortality as well as guaranteed revival from death so long as he himself doesn't perish beforehand, as evidenced with Zant. He can create Phantom Riders as well, as evidenced by his fight with Link. He was also capable of destroying one of the Ancient Sages, who were implied to be disembodied spirits, with his bare hands, shortly after surviving his execution and shattering the chains binding him to a pillar. He is also demonstrated to shatter chains binding him with minimum effort, as evidenced by his first actions shortly after surviving his execution. His overall strength seems to rival Link, as evident in their sword battle where they pitted their strength against each other in a sword lock.
Ganondorf can survive attacks that would kill another being, such as his 'execution' at the hands of the Sages before the events of Twilight Princess, and his defeat at the end of some games in which he is not actually slain. The exact limits of his powers are unknown. He is also very skilled with swords, as shown in The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. Both Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess strongly imply that his surviving lethal attacks was attributed to the Triforce of Power.
Ganondorf's appearance varies throughout his appearances in Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess, although in general, he is depicted with flaming red hair, gold eyes, a head brooch, and dark-colored skin that sometimes appears to be green (a trait he shares with his adoptive mothers Koume and Kotake).
In Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf is shown to be extremely muscular, with black shoulder armor, hand gauntlets and knee armor with gold spikes and a gold jewel, as well as brown outer armor with intricate designs throughout most of his body as well as white desert arm, leg, and chest cloths with blue and red lines on them. His face also has a long beak-like nose, with his eyebrows being directly connected to his hair. He is shown to have yellow irises like the other Gerudo, only he also has red-colored pupils. He is also in some cinematics depicted with a cape similar in design to the cloths on the other designs. However he originally wears a short mini cape on the back which he wears during his first encounter with Link. Character artwork also depicts him with a dagger, although he never actually uses it in-game (however it does appear on his Ocarina of Time inspired "Era of the Hero of Time Armor" in Hyrule Warriors). Even before gaining the Triforce of Power and becoming Ganon, Ganondorf was already significantly large, being about 230 cm (7 ft. 6½ in.) according to the Hyrule Historia. After seven years had passed, his Gerudo form had some slight differences, namely his red hair was longer to shoulder length, his green skin is more apparent, and his eyes become significantly more demonic by having his sclera glow yellow and his irises turned red. In addition, he also wears a red cape with intricate gold lines as well as golden tassels at the bottom during his battle with Link, as well as possessing earrings.
In The Wind Waker, Ganondorf is shown having a red beard, and his red eyebrows that are separated from his hair. His nose is also significantly shorter, though still somewhat beak-like comparable to the Rito. In addition, he also wears a black Kimono-style cloak with orange lines near the arms comparable to wings and talons, as well as a pattern on the back showing what resembled a bird. He also wears a red outer shirt at the front with a belt similar in nature to his other cloths in Ocarina of Time, with a marking that's divided with red on the right and blue on the left. He also wore yellow shoes. He also carried with him two Long Swords with a golden handle and a tassel at the end.
His appearance in Twilight Princess is a mixture between his Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker appearances. He wore armor similar to his Ocarina of Time self, yet his face was similar in appearance overall to Wind Waker, albeit having a flatter nose. His design featured dark green cargo pants possessing red and black lining, as well as dark gray shin armor and boots with white edges. In addition, his upper body was covered in dark gray armor with white lining, a cloth on his neck similar to his appearances to the chest cloth in Ocarina of Time, gold jewels on the collar, shoulder, and gauntlets (which now encompass his arms rather than just the back of his hands), plus some rubies, as well as possessing finger-less gloves. His head brooch now is stylized with lines reaching to the back of his head, resembling a crown of sorts, and his hair also is placed in curls to the back, with the back of his head containing a dark blue skull-cap with yellow linings. Because of the botched execution against him, he also bore a glowing white wound on his abdomen. Just before he was sealed into the Twilight Realm shortly after his botched execution, Ganondorf's eyes glowed yellow with him demonstrating visible tusks on his lower jaw. Early concept art for Twilight Princess depicted him in a radically different appearance, where his thumb, knuckles, forearm, shoulders, lower eyelids, and portions of his neck are lined with red hair as well as forming a slight beard, with his hair forming small dreadlocks. His armor was also comparatively miniscule, only being composed of shoulder armor, a breast plate, gauntlets, armored boots, and shin armor, with it exposing portions of his body, and possessing a cape and a cloth mini belt. Overall, however, the design bore a closer resemblance to his Ocarina of Time appearance, save for his nose being slightly shorter and squatter. It is also to be noted that the breastplate in this concept art has similar eyes to that of Majora's Mask.
His default appearance in Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors Legends contains elements of his appearances from The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, along with a little bit of Demise mixed in as well. Like Demise, he wears a cape around his waist, though with the addition of cargo pants and armored boots. One his upper body he wears ornate blue armor with gold trim & red pearl-shaped jewel. He also wears a pair of gold colored gauntlets which cover his arm from his elbow to his fingers. The armor covering his finger are have claw-like appearance. There are also tufts of fur round the certain unarmored sections of his outfit . He wears a spiked crown on his head resembling the one from Twilight Princess which is connected to the red jewel on his forehead. He also has a beard and long mane of red hair that stops at his waist. His overall appearances resembles a feudal warlord, which is fitting given the game's setting. His Hyrule Warriors design (which is known as the "Standard Armor" costume in-game) also has several recolors that can be unlocked as alternate costumes.
In addition to his default costume, Ganondorf has several costumes modeled after his appearances in Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and The Wind Waker.
|Link (x4) · Princess Zelda · Six Maidens · Vaati|
—Full list of characters
|Phantom Ganon · Helmaroc King · Stone Arrghus · Jalhalla · Dagtail · Frostare · Big Dodongo · Vaati · Ganon|
| Whereabouts of the Wind · Eastern Hyrule · Death Mountain · Near the Fields · The Dark World · The Desert of Doubt · Frozen Hyrule · Realm of the Heavens|
—Full list of locations
|Bomb · Bombos Medallion · Boomerang · Bow · Fire Rod · Four Sword · Lantern · Magic Hammer · Quake Medallion · Shield · Slingshot|
|Blue Bracelet · Carrot · Force Gem · Force Fairy · Heart · Heart Container · Moon Pearl · Pegasus Boots · Power Bracelet · Roc's Feather · Shovel · Small Key|
|Knight Mark · Letter · Magic Book · Royal Jewels · Vaati Barrier|
|Gerudo · Goron · Hylian · Zuna|
|Bellum · Ciela · Linebeck · Link · Ocean King · Oshus · Tetra|
—Full list of characters
|Blaaz · Cyclok · Crayk · Diabolical Cubus Sisters · Dongorongo · Gleeok · Eox · Bellum · Ghost Ship · Bellumbeck|
|Bannan Island · Cannon Island · Goron Island · Harrow Island · Isle of Ember · Isle of Frost · Isle of Gust · Isle of Ruins · Isle of the Dead · Mercay Island · Molida Island · Zauz's Island|
—Full list of locations
|Temple of Fire · Temple of Wind · Temple of Courage · Ghost Ship · Goron Temple · Temple of Ice · Mutoh's Temple · Temple of the Ocean King|
|Oshus's Sword · Wooden Shield · Boomerang · Bombs · Bow · Bombchus · Grappling Hook · Hammer · Phantom Sword · Shovel · Fishing Rod|
|Leaf · Neri · Ciela · Pure Metals · Phantom Hourglass · Spirit Gem|
|Anouki · Deity · Fairy · Gerudo · Goron · Human · Hylian · Yook|