- This article is about the recurring antagonist of the 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 Dragmire  (ガノンドロフ Ganondorofu?, ), known as the King of Thieves, the Great King of Evil, the Emperor of the Dark Realm, 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 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 usually 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 are the same individual, it was explained in Hyrule Historia that the Ganondorf who appeared in Four Swords Adventures was the reincarnation of the one that appeared in Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time.
He is commonly voiced by Takashi Nagasako.
Ganondorf is mentioned in the back story of the game and by one of the Seven Maidens. He is 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.
This is the first game where Ganondorf appears in his Gerudo form. Ganondorf is the primary antagonist of the story: an evil Gerudo mystic who seeks the omnipotent Triforce. Striving to obtain the Spiritual Stones, which serves as keys to the Sacred Realm, Ganondorf attempts to wrest control over them from the leaders of the Kokiri, Goron, and Zora Races. When each leader refused to give in, Ganondorf responded by tormenting them and their people. It is unknown why none of these races ever bothered to tell the King of Hyrule about Ganondorf's crimes. It is implied by Darunia that the Gorons at least did attempt to tell the king about what happened, but was largely ignored.
Link, a Hylian youth who lived among the Kokiri, had increasingly troubled dreams as Ganondorf came closer to achieving his goal. One day, a fairy by the name of Navi awakens Link and brings a request from the Great Deku Tree that he go see him. The Great Deku Tree explains to Link about the curse that was placed on him, as well as the evil Ganondorf. The Great Deku Tree asks Link to venture inside him and defeat the originator of the wicked curse, Queen Gohma. Link successfully does so, but the Great Deku Tree reveals that he had been doomed to die before Link began his quest. After explaining the Creation of Hyrule and the Triforce, the Great Deku Tree asks Link to meet Princess Zelda at Hyrule Castle. Link travels to Hyrule Castle and meets with the prophetic Princess Zelda, who had foreseen their meeting in her dreams. She explains to Link that along with the Spiritual Stones, the Ocarina of Time as well as the "Song of Time" are needed in order to enter the Sacred Realm. Zelda was convinced that together, they could obtain the Triforce before Ganondorf and stop his evil plans.
Link collects the two remaining Spiritual Stones, but, as he returns to the castle, he sees Zelda riding away from the castle together with her nursemaid, Impa. Before disappearing out of sight, Zelda throws the Ocarina of Time into Hyrule Castle Town's Moat. Suddenly, Ganondorf appears before Link, their encounter a fulfillment of Link's nightmares. Ganondorf demands Link tell him the direction that Zelda went, and is met with refusal. Amused by Link's courage, Ganondorf casually knocks him away with dark magic, before chasing after Zelda.
After recovering, Link dives into the moat to recover the Ocarina of Time, and, once he touches it, Zelda appears before him in a vision and teaches him the "Song of Time". With all the required keys to the Sacred Realm, Link ventures within the Temple of Time and finds the chamber where the legendary Master Sword rests. By touching the Master Sword, Link fulfilled an ancient prophecy that regards the Hero of Time, who is destined to battle a great evil. However, since he was too young to be the Hero of Time, Link is sealed within the Temple of Light for seven years. The path to the Triforce left open, Ganondorf sees his chance to take the Triforce, and personally thanks Link for opening the Door of Time for him.
Ganondorf reveals to Link that he was aware of Zelda's plot from the start, and was waiting for Link to open the Door of Time. However, when Ganondorf touches the Triforce, it shatters into three pieces: Power, Wisdom, and Courage. Since Ganondorf's inner balance of Power, Wisdom, and Courage was not fully balanced, the Triforce piece 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 awakens within the Chamber of the Sages and seeks out the seven sages required to defeat Ganondorf. In his journey, Link also undoes most of the evil Ganondorf plagued upon Hyrule, with Ganondorf quietly observing the young Hylian's actions. After the awakening of the final sage, Link is summoned to the Temple of Time. At that location, Sheik, a mysterious Sheikah who aided him throughout his quest, reveals her true identity to be that of Princess Zelda. Zelda presents to Link the Light Arrows. Immediately afterwards, the two are ambushed by Ganondorf, who takes Zelda away to His Castle. Ganondorf also implies that he suspected that Zelda would aid Link in some fashion, and that he allowed Link to restore the temples knowing Zelda would reveal herself afterwards. Link breaks the seal on Ganon's Tower and confronts Ganondorf at the top of the tower. After a fierce battle, Ganondorf appears to be defeated, leaving him shocked at he could be defeated, as well as suffering from extensive enough injuries that he was forced to vomit up blood.
Zelda briefly pities him for his fate, and implies that his supposed demise came from not having control over the Triforce. Unfortunately, with his last ounce of strength, Ganondorf attempts to bring down his castle onto Zelda and Link, who narrowly escapes before the castle collapsed. Just when they think they have won, however, a noise is heard from the rubble, revealing itself to be Ganondorf, who used the Triforce of Power to transform into Ganon. Ganon knocks the Master Sword out of Link's hands, forcing Link to weaken Ganon with his other weapons until he retrieves the Master Sword. Afterwards, Link further weakens a rejuvenated Ganon with the Master Sword. Zelda then assists Link by using her power to hold Ganon at bay, allowing Link to deal the final blow. The Seven Sages unite their powers to seal the defeated Ganondorf away. Furious of his defeat, Ganondorf declares that he would return, as long as the Triforce of Power was in his hand, and vows to exterminate Link, Zelda, and the Seven Sages' descendants when he does return.
- "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 is the primary antagonist of the game. A long time prior to the events of the game, Ganondorf somehow manages to break the seal that was placed on him, and attempted to establish dominion over the land of Hyrule once again. The people of Hyrule believed that the Hero of Time would stop him again, but he did not return. So to stop his nefarious plot, the people of Hyrule prayed to the Golden Goddesses, which made them flood the land which created the Great Sea, impeding Ganondorf's plans. After some time had passed, Ganondorf somehow broke out of his underwater imprisonment, though his power was somewhat diminished due to the Master Sword's influence. He was referred to in ancient texts referring to this event as the "emperor of the dark realm."
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 successor to the Hero of Time who had sealed him away from interfering with 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 travels into the forest to save her, and successfully does so. However, as they leave the forest, Link's sister, Aryll, is taken by the Helmaroc King in Tetra's place. Link travels with Tetra and her pirates to the Forsaken Fortress. Link manages to sneak his way into the dungeon cells, but is discovered. Link catches a brief glimpse of Ganondorf, just before he is thrown far away from the island by the Helmaroc King at Ganondorf's command. Floating in the ocean while unconscious, Link is discovered by the King of Red Lions, a talking boat who becomes his ally and companion.
The King of Red Lions and Link work together to obtain the three Pearls of the Goddesses, which when gathered, raises the fabled Tower of the Gods from the depths of the Great Sea. After Link collects the pearls of Din and Farore, Ganondorf uses his evil magic to destroy Greatfish Isle, where the spirit Jabun, holder of Nayru's Pearl, resided. Jabun escapes to a cave on Outset Island, which is later found by Link and the King of Red Lions. Despite this drawback though, Link successfully obtains the final pearl. By doing so, Link gains access to the Tower of the Gods, leading him to the Master Sword. Taking the Master Sword, Link travels once more to the Forsaken Fortress with some indirect aid from Tetra's Pirates, and takes out the Helmaroc King once and for all. Ganondorf then meets the hero face to face and, after he commending him for making it as far as he did, reveals that removing the Master Sword's seal also returned his full powers, and cites how time resuming and his forces reactivating as proof; however, Ganondorf's safeguards proved useful when it is revealed that the Master Sword held no power over Ganondorf without the prayers of the Wind and Earth Sages. Tetra arrives to aid Link, and distracts Ganondorf, but is promptly overwhelmed. Just as when Ganondorf is about to squeeze the life out of her, Ganondorf's Triforce of Power resonates, and reveals Tetra's true identity to be that of Zelda's descendant and (partial) holder of the Triforce of Wisdom. Before Ganondorf has the chance to take the Triforce fragment, Link and Zelda are rescued by Valoo, a great dragon whom Link befriended earlier. Valoo sets Ganondorf's Lair on fire, but Ganondorf escapes, and retreats to his tower in the sunken land of Hyrule.
Link leaves Zelda safe in the chamber beneath Hyrule Castle, awakens the descendants of the sages, and restores the Master Sword to its former glory. However, Ganondorf, anticipating Link's actions and presumably deducing where Zelda was being hidden, proceeds to call all of his monsters back to his tower from the Forsaken Fortress. The now abandoned fortress is noticed by the fishmen and later relayed to the King of Red Lions. To make his way back into sunken Hyrule, Link gathers the shards of the Triforce of Courage at the behest of the King of Red Lions, as the latter anticipates that Ganondorf was at his endgame. However, Zelda is taken away by Ganondorf to his domain. Link destroys the barrier that Ganondorf placed around the entrance to Hyrule Castle, and defeats the evil monsters that lurked there. Inside his tower, Ganondorf reveals to Link part of his motives for conquering Hyrule.
After the destruction of his puppet form, Ganondorf retreats to the top of his tower. When Link re-confronts him on the roof, Ganondorf fully explains the reasons for his ambition to conquer Hyrule: his homeland, the Gerudo Desert, was 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 reassembles 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, touches the Triforce before him, and wishs that Hyrule be flooded, preventing Ganondorf from ever attaining his true wish as well as bringing a future to Link and Zelda. After a fit of hysterical laughter at his failure, Ganondorf attacks Link and Zelda as water begins to cover Hyrule. Zelda attempts to use the Light Arrows to attack Ganondorf, but is knocked out. Link defends himself against Ganondorf's attack until Zelda reawakens. Working as a team, Link and Zelda use the Master Sword and Light Arrows to weaken Ganondorf. Once Ganondorf is severely weakened, Link plunges the Master Sword deep into Ganondorf's forehead, turning the madman into stone. Immediately prior to his petrification, however, Ganondorf briefly references the wind that often plagued the Gerudo with some amusement. Link and Zelda escape to the surface while Ganondorf and Hyrule are flooded once and for all.
Oddly, even though the Triforce of Power was explicitly shown leaving Ganondorf to reform the Triforce, the final battle showed Ganondorf having the Triforce of Power mark on his hand. This was later retained in Wind Waker HD. This hints each Triforce piece returned to its host after Daphnes stated his wish, which could explain why he was able to take blows from both the Master Sword and Light Arrows without immediately perishing.
As written in the Hyrule Historia, the Ganondorf in Four Swords Adventures is chronologically the second Ganondorf in the Child Timeline. This also marks the first time Ganondorf is introduced as a different character from the one in Ocarina of Time.
At first only mentioned by some characters, Ganondorf is eventually revealed to be the primary antagonist within the story. When Link arrives at the Forest of Darkness, the Deku are shown to be Ganondorf's followers. More is revealed about Ganondorf in the next location, the Desert of Doubt. The Gerudo tells 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. If Link is lost during the Desert of Doubt level, Ganondorf can be heard laughing in the background, implying that he may have caused the sandstorm.
After Link defeats Vaati in his palace, the Tower of Winds starts to crumble, with Link and Zelda traveling down the tower back to Hyrule. However, they are attacked by Ganon. When Link defeats him, Ganon is sealed within the Four Sword.
The same Ganondorf from Ocarina of Time, albeit in a different timeline from the Adult Timeline, he is also the main antagonist in Twilight Princess. For unknown reasons, this Ganondorf seemingly wielded the Triforce of Power like his other counterparts, despite not gaining access to the Sacred Realm in this timeline.
It is 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 Sword of the Six Sages, 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. Inside the Twilight Realm, he 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 make their way to the top of the Arbiter's Grounds, where the Ancient Sages explains to them what happened to Ganondorf. Later on, Link and Midna reassemble the Mirror of Twilight and travel into the Twilight Realm, where they defeat Zant. Zant reveals how he came to meet his "god" before Midna slays him. Link and Midna go to Hyrule Castle, where Midna uses the restored Fused Shadow to remove the Twilight barrier that is placed around the castle. Inside the castle's Throne Room, Link and Ganondorf meet each other. Ganondorf possesses Princess Zelda's lifeless body and attacks Link, but Midna manages to purge Ganondorf's soul from Zelda's body, restoring her life as well. Ganondorf then transforms into Ganon, but is defeated by Midna and Link in his Wolf Form. Seeing the Demon King wounded, Midna sends Link and Zelda to Hyrule Field for their safety before attacking Ganondorf with all her might.
A short while later, a huge explosion is heard in direction of the castle. The mist clearing away, Ganondorf ominously reappears holding Midna's Fused Shadow Helmet, crushing it in his hand. Riding his Mount and summoning ghost riders, Ganondorf fights the heroes on a horseback duel. Despite his demonic powers, Ganondorf is promptly overpowered by Link's Master Sword and Zelda's Light Arrows.
Impressed with Link, Ganondorf challenges him on a one-on-one duel, using the very sword that was meant for his execution. Proving himself superior to Ganondorf in strength and swordsmanship skills, Link triumphs in their battle and lands a fatal blow on his foe. Bellowing a blood-curdling scream, Ganondorf bitterly remarks that regardless of his loss, this was not the end, as the history of light and shadow "will be written in blood", the Triforce symbol on his hand fading away before, in a vision, Zant appears and cracks his own neck in a mocking way, while standing in place. His final words showcasing his insanity, Ganondorf finally meets his demise.
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.
Unlike in most other 3D Zelda games, Ganondorf is not voiced by Takeshi Nagasako in this game. He is instead voiced by Hironori Miyata, who gave him noticeably higher-pitched and raspy, though still menacing vocals.
While Ganondorf never directly appears in the game, he is mentioned by Niko. When Niko gives the synopsis of The Wind Waker, Ganondorf is shown in two slides, one when he kidnaps Tetra, and in another battling Link. When Niko describes 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 does not appear in Skyward Sword, but Eiji Aonuma stated that the game still touches 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, this likely means that Ganondorf, and by extension, Ganon, is the personification of Demise's hatred. This is 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 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 also appears 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 also features 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. In addition, although he himself does not appear in the new Wind Waker storyline due to his defeat beforehand, his phantom from the Wind Waker era acts as the central antagonist for the storyline.
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.
Ganondorf largely has the same role as in the game, although his being banished into the Twilight Realm by the Ancient Sages is depicted in a significantly more graphic manner, where it shows his skin and flesh being violently ripped off his bones as he is sealed away. His influence on Zant was also indirectly alluded to in the prologue.
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.
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 Up Tilt 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 does not use it in battle. Ganondorf also has a brief appearance in the opening for the game, where his hand is seen alongside Link and Zelda's hands, with their respective Triforce marks.
- "...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. Before joining them, he also was seen charging an attack against them, but ultimately relents, implying that even he realized that siding with them was ultimately in his best interests.
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 Sword of the Six Sages is now present. His move set remains mostly the same, including his final smash. However, he is able to use the Sword of the Six Sages 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.
Ganondorf makes his fourth appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series in this game for the Nintendo Switch. Unlike in his prior appearances, the basis for his appearance in this game is not his appearance from Twilight Princess, but instead a mixture between his standard appearance from Ocarina of Time and his King of Evil appearance from the future timeline of the same game.
Ganondorf is commonly portrayed as the incarnation of pure evil, greed, and power. He is ruthless, cold, unscrupulous, manipulative, 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. 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 in Skyward Sword that Ganondorf's evil nature stemmed from being a reincarnation of the Demon King Demise as well as being a product of his curse. In Four Swords Adventures, Ganondorf's arrogance is such that he even refers to the Links as "worms" and "maggots", and also refers to the then-recently defeated Vaati as a "useless cur." Aside from his arrogance, Ganondorf is shown to be a "sore loser", usually swearing revenge or refusing to admit defeat when bested in battle.
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 its true power, as well as using the opportunity presented by Link trying to restore the Master Sword to 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, and when she regained consciousness, proceeded to evade her shots as well as parry Link's blows.
It has been hinted that the Ganondorf originally seen in Ocarina of Time sought to conquer Hyrule out of jealousy, as he 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 his own people, despite them living in the same conditions as he once did. He even resorts to mind controlling certain Gerudos to ensure absolute loyalty, reinforcing the notion that his desire for Hyrule was born out of jealousy and not a desire to help his people. However, once Link initially defeats Ganondorf, Zelda briefly expresses pity and speculates that his death was caused in part due to failing to control the Triforce due to an imbalanced heart.
Interestingly, Ganondorf seems to follow a code of honor; in Ocarina of Time, he 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 The Wind Waker, when Ganondorf realizes that Zelda keeps attacking him with the Light Arrows while he fights Link, he swiftly approaches Zelda, puts away his sword and backhands her, instead of outright killing her. He also claims at one point that he will not kill Link, and merely seeks to claim the Triforce of Courage from him.
In Ocarina of Time, he is confident, wise-cracking and sarcastic, calling Link "kid" even after seven years, calling Link's weapons "toys", and making remarks such as "I like you, kid" before blasting him with magic, but is ultimately serious when he needs to be. Ganondorf always cracks a smile, even in the most dire of circumstances, showcasing a pleasure in destruction and a confidence that never dies, even when the odds are against him.
In The Wind Waker, Ganondorf seems to have matured with age. He is portrayed somewhat as a tragic villain, being altogether more solemn and less prone to wisecracks. He also expressed some grudging respect for Link's courage after the latter managed to not only infiltrate the Forsaken Fortress again, but also dispose of the Helmaroc King. Despite this, he still longs to cover the entire world in darkness, even after his actions led to the destruction of Hyrule, and places a curse upon the Great Sea to keep it in a perpetual state of terror. It is also implied that Ganondorf is emotionally unstable throughout the events of The Wind Waker, spending the early course of the game kidnapping young girls in a desperate attempt to find the Triforce of Wisdom, lacking the overtly evil nature of his previous appearance, and laughing maniacally when Hyrule is about to be flooded.
Knowing that his plans that have taken centuries of trial and error have finally come to a dramatic end at the climax of The Wind Waker, Ganondorf shows a more tragic side that seems to contrast his attitude in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. Having dedicated his life to controlling a kingdom that was now destined to disappear alongside his body, in his final moments, Ganondorf still smiled, and even chuckles briefly when sensing the wind from Gerudo Desert blowing. This may imply that he had come to terms with his defeat, and was actually content with how things had ended.
In Twilight Princess, Ganondorf's personality is more closely linked to his Ocarina of Time persona, as Ganondorf has, in this timeline, faced less hardships and overall appears to be younger and more emotionally stable, even possessing some of his 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 own actions and planning.
While arrogant, Ganondorf is able to recognize others when they prove themselves, and will show some respect towards such individuals. In the Wind Waker, Ganondorf showed a begrudging respect to the Hero of Time, as well as referring to Link as his reincarnation. In Twilight Princess, Ganondorf challenges Link to a duel, which indicates that he sees him as a worthy adversary.
Powers and Abilities
Ganondorf is shown to be very powerful in the series, mostly due to his frequent possession of the Triforce of Power. Even without the Triforce of Power though, Ganondorf is still a powerful Gerudo with potent magical abilities, able to use dark magic with ease. He is often shown to possess titanic strength, with few characters in the franchise able to match or surpass him. His most infamous ability, however, was his ability to transform into the boar-like demon known as Ganon, which generally required the use of the Triforce of Power.
Ocarina of Time
In Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf plagues the Great Deku Tree, Dodongo's Cavern, and Lord Jabu-Jabu with monsters, somehow managing to tame these dangerous creatures. After acquiring the Triforce of Power, he was also able to 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 can also generate waves of darkness that were potent enough to prevent fairies such as Navi from even getting close to him, let alone target him, and he seems to have at least some degree of reality-warping powers, as evidenced by how he transformed his throne room into a battle arena when fighting Link. 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. He also implies when being sealed away that the Triforce of Power is also capable of allowing him to break the seal in the future.
The Wind Waker
In The Wind Waker, even without his full power backing him when it was sealed within the Master Sword, Ganondorf was still shown as being capable of generating an Endless Night and a barrier around Hyrule Castle. His full power was such that he could survive a direct flame blast from Valoo unscathed, which had been powerful enough to set the top portion of the Forsaken Fortress on fire. 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 were shown to be superior to those possessed by the Hero of Winds. It was the assistance of Tetra, who stunned Ganondorf with Light Arrows, that the Hero of Winds managed to pass Ganondorf's defenses. He also possessed at least a degree of mind-reading abilities, as he was shown to read Zelda's dreams about "oceans as far as the eye can see".
In Twilight Princess, Ganondorf is 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) referred to in Hyrule Historia as "Ganondorf's Malice". His "Ganondorf's Malice" form can also be accessed in the Light World, as evidenced by his transforming into this state shortly after his Ganon form was felled, and was also capable in this state of withstanding even a direct blow from Midna's Fused Shadow form's trident, which was potent enough to completely obliterate Hyrule Castle.
The powers he displays are never definitively attributed to any source, though he has many abilities seemingly Twilight-based in nature. These include the use of Twilight Portals and turning into Twilight in order to possess another person. He is also capable of generating a barrier powerful enough to require the Fused Shadows to fully dissipate, and was also capable of transfiguring various entities, 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 does not perish beforehand, as evidenced with Zant.
Ganondorf can also create Phantom Riders as well, and was fully capable of horseback combat, 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 duel where they pitted their strength against each other in a sword lock. His physical strength was also such that he could crush the Fused Shadows with his bare hands, as evidenced by his actions to Midna's helmet prior to his horseback duel with Link and Zelda. Ganondorf also gifted Zant with many of his abilities (though Ganondorf is never shown using them) - including altering his size or changing the terrain he fights in.
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 olive-green skin (a trait he shares with his adoptive mothers Koume and Kotake).
Ocarina of Time
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.
The Wind Waker
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.
It is likely that Ganondorf is alluded to in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Upon freeing the Divine Beast Vah Naboris, Urbosa states that it is believed that Calamity Ganon once took on the form of a Gerudo male.
- ^ a b c The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
King of Red Lions: I suppose you [Link] saw him... The shadow that commands that monstrous bird [Helmaroc King]... His name is...Ganon... He... who obtained the power of the gods, attempted to cover the land in darkness and was ultimately sealed away by the very power he hoped to command. He is the very same Ganon... The emperor of the dark realm the ancient legends speak of...
- ^ The Legend of Zelda: An Online Guide to the World of Hyrule.
|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|