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Ganondorf

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This article is about the recurring antagonist of the Legend of Zelda series. For this character's alternate form, see Ganon.
Ganondorf
Ganondorf Artwork (Ocarina of Time)
Artwork of Ganondorf from Ocarina of Time
First appearance Ocarina of Time (1998)
Appears in Ocarina of Time
The Wind Waker
Twilight Princess
Title(s) Gerudo King of Thieves
King of Evil
Dark Lord
Prince of Darkness
Sex Male
Homeland Hyrule
Hometown (Ocarina of Time)
Gerudo Valley
(Four Swords Adventures)
Gerudo Village
Kindred (Ocarina of Time)
Koume and Kotake (surrogate mothers)
Race Gerudo
Alternate form(s) Ganon
(A Link to the Past)
Spoiler: Agahnim (alter-ego)
"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?, Hylian GHylian AHylian NHylian OHylian NHylian DHylian OHylian RHylian F), known as the Great King of Evil or the Dark Lord, is the primary antagonist of a majority of the 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 omniscient 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 Master Sword, Silver Arrows, and Light Arrows. In addition to granting him power, the Triforce of Power allows Ganondorf to transform into his more powerful 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 is severed into three separate timelines. Thus the Ganondorf from Ocarina of Time has three different future incarnations, each eventually meeting their end at the hands of different Links, leaving uncertain futures for each Ganondorf. In addition to the character from Ocarina of Time and his three parallel future selves, Ganondorf or his monstrous Ganon form appear several more times throughout the series. It is not confirmed which if any of these incarnations are connected to the previous being, and the Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures is given a different backstory, leading to the idea that there may be multiple Ganondorfs, much like many other characters in the Legend of Zelda series who have multiple incarnations.

Attributes

Personality

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.

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.

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 lived a life full of suffering due to living in the desert. Although in Ocarina of Time when he does 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. 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 need 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.

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 one of the most powerful characters in the series, mostly due to his frequent possession of the Triforce of Power. Even without it, his magical powers are still extremely potent. 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 the 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 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.

In Twilight Princess, Ganondorf's power is enhanced when he draws strength from the hatred of the banished Twili people. He is also implied to wield the Triforce of Power, and may gain some abilities from his connection to Zant. 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.

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.

Appearances

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Ganondorf is mentioned in the back story of the game and by one of the Seven Maidens. He was depicted as a king of thieves who managed to break into the Sacred Realm and obtain the Triforce. The power of the Triforce changed him into a beast and from that point on he became known as Ganon.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Young Link and Ganondorf

Artwork of Ganondorf and Link from Ocarina of Time

Ganondorf is the primary antagonist; an evil Gerudo mystic seeking the omnipotent Triforce, Ganondorf attempts to obtain the Spiritual Stones of Forest, Fire, and Water, which serve as keys to the Sacred Realm, where the Triforce rests. Using his unspoken magical powers and hordes of evil minions, Ganondorf attempts to wrest control over the Spiritual Stones from the leaders of the Kokiri, Goron, and Zora races. After the Great Deku Tree, leader of the Kokiri, refuses to give Ganondorf the stone, the evil Gerudo places a death curse on the wise tree. To blackmail Darunia, leader of the Gorons into giving up the Goron's Ruby, he fills Dodongo's Cavern with evil creatures and seals the entrance with a boulder, his plan being that the Gorons will eventually give him the stone in order to prevent death from starvation. Finally, to obtain the Zora's Sapphire, Ganondorf sends parasites that infect Lord Jabu-Jabu, the Zora's guardian deity, in hopes of stealing the stone from Princess Ruto, who frequently visits Jabu-Jabu.

Link, a Hylian youth who lives among the Kokiri, has increasingly troubled dreams as Ganondorf comes 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 placed on him, as well as the evil Ganondorf. He asks Link to venture inside him and defeat the originator of the wicked curse, Queen Gohma. Link successfully does so, but the tree reveals that he had been doomed to die before Link had even begun his quest. After explaining the creation of Hyrule and the Triforce, the wise tree then asks Link to meet Zelda, princess of Hyrule in Hyrule Castle. Link is also given the Spiritual Stone of Forest, not fully understanding its true purpose yet, and the Great Deku Tree withers. 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 is convinced that together, they can manage to get to 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 they disappear out of sight, Zelda throws the Ocarina of Time into Hyrule Castle Town's moat. Suddenly, Ganondorf appears before Link, their encounter being a fulfillment of Link's nightmares. Link attempts to confront Ganondorf, but is easily defeated by a blast of magic from Ganondorf, who then continues to chase after Zelda. Link dives into the moat to recover the Ocarina of Time, and as he touches it, Princess 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. As he touches the sword, he fulfills an ancient prophecy regarding the Hero of Time, destined to battle great evil. However, since he is too young to be the hero, he is taken away and sealed within the Temple of Light for seven years. The path to the Triforce is left open, and Ganondorf sees his chance to take the Triforce and personally thanks Link for opening the Door of Time for him; however, as he touches it, the Triforce shatters into three pieces; Power, Wisdom and Courage. As Ganondorf's inner balance of power, wisdom and courage is not fully balanced, the Triforce he values most is left in his hand. The pieces of Wisdom and Courage are secretly given to Zelda and Link, respectively. While not being able to obtain the full power of the Triforce, Ganondorf usurps the throne of Hyrule and transforms the once peaceful land into a wasteland of fear and horror. During this time, he revives an evil dragon named Volvagia and plans 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. He 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, the events that occurred explained to him by Rauru, the Sage of Light. To defeat Ganondorf, Link must awaken the Six Sages who hold the power to seal Ganondorf away. Link completes the dungeons of the ruined future Hyrule and awakens all the sages, many of whom he already knew. After the awakening of the final sage, Link is summoned to the Temple of Time. Here Sheik, a mysterious Sheikah who had aided him throughout his quest to awaken the sages, reveals her true identity to be that of Princess Zelda. Zelda presents Link with Ganondorf's weakness, the Light Arrow. However, the two are discovered 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 that Zelda would reveal herself afterwards. Link breaks the seal on Ganon's Tower and confronts Ganondorf at the top of the tower. Ganondorf commands Link to give him the Triforce of Courage. After a fierce battle, Ganondorf appears to have been defeated, with Zelda briefly pitying Ganondorf for his fate and implying that he largely was killed because he was unable to control the Triforce. Unfortunately, with his last ounce of strength, Ganondorf attempts to bring down his castle onto Zelda and Link, who narrowly escape before the castle collapses. As they believe to have won, however, a noise is heard from the rubble, revealing itself to be Ganondorf, who uses the power of the Triforce of Power to transform into Ganon. Ganon knocks the Master Sword out of Link's hands, forcing Link to weaken him with his other weapons until he can retrieve the Master Sword. Afterwards, Link weakens a rejuvenated Ganon with the Master Sword until Zelda manages to use her power to hold him, allowing Link to deal the killing blow. The Seven Sages then work together to seal Ganondorf away. However, Ganondorf claims that he will return, as long as the Triforce of Power is in his hand, and also vows that when he does return, he'll exterminate Link, Zelda, and the Seven Sages' descendants. This was the first game where he appeared as a human figure.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Ganondorf Wind Waker

Ganondorf is the primary antagonist of the game. A long time prior to the events of the game, Ganondorf somehow managed to break the seal placed on him and, once more, attempted to establish dominion over the land of Hyrule. To this end, he seeks to recover the two other Triforce pieces and to make a wish to the Triforce that Hyrule be given to him. To find the descendant of Princess Zelda, who held the Triforce of Wisdom, he sends 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 are imprisoned within Ganondorf's new lair, the Forsaken Fortress. In addition to this, Ganondorf sends monsters to islands all around the Great Sea to prevent the descendant of the hero who had sealed him away from ever foiling his plans. To further secure himself against the coming of the hero's descendant, he orders two of his minions, Jalhalla and Molgera, to kill the sages of the Wind Temple and the Earth Temple, whose prayers give the power to repel evil to the Master Sword.

Eventually, the Helmaroc King comes to Outset Island, where lives the young boy Link, who has come of the age when young boys are given green garments. The Helmaroc King has 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. He 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 and 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 raise the fabled Tower of the Gods from the depths of the 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, resides. Jabun escapes to a cave on Outset Island, which is eventually discovered by Link and the King of Red Lions. After obtaining the final pearl, Link proves 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 appears before the tower. Using the portal to safely travel to the very bottom of the Great Sea, Link finds himself in a castle where time has stopped. Beneath the castle, he finds the chamber in which the legendary Master Sword rests. Taking the sword, Link travels once more to the Forsaken Fortress; however, Ganondorf's safeguards prove useful when it is revealed that the sword holds no power over Ganondorf without the prayers of the Wind and Earth Sages. Tetra arrives to aid Link, distracting Ganondorf, but is herself taken. As Ganondorf prepares to squeeze the life out of her, his Triforce of Power resonates, revealing her true identity to be that of Zelda's descendant and holder of the Triforce of Wisdom. Before Ganondorf has the chance to take the Triforce, Link, Zelda and the kidnapped girls are rescued by Valoo, a great dragon whom Link befriended earlier. Valoo sets Ganondorf's lair on fire, but Ganondorf escapes, retreating into his tower in the sunken land of Hyrule.

Ganondorf in Flames

Ganondorf as depicted during the King of Red Lions' expository speech

Link leaves Zelda safe in the chamber beneath Hyrule Castle, and awakens the descendants of the sages, restoring the Master Sword. To make his way back into sunken Hyrule, Link gathers the shards of the Triforce of Courage. However, Zelda is taken away by Ganondorf to his domain. Link destroys the barrier Ganondorf had placed around the entrance to Hyrule Castle to prevent Link from reaching the temples by way of Hyrule. Inside Ganon's Tower, Link battles Ganondorf's minions once more. Inside the tower, Ganondorf reveals part of his motives for conquering Hyrule. Ganondorf's conquest of Hyrule would have succeeded, as the legendary hero who had defeated him did not appear. Praying for the aid from the gods, the gods answered the people's prayers by flooding the land, creating the Great Sea. After the destruction of Ganondorf's puppet form, he retreats to the top of the tower. When Link confronts him again on the roof, Ganondorf finally explains 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, he coveted the friendlier winds that blew across Hyrule. His personal quest had been born of a desire to bring his people to lush Hyrule.

Ganondorf forcibly reassembles the Triforce, however, as he is 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, wishing that Hyrule be flooded, preventing Ganondorf from ever attaining his true wish as well as bringing a future to Zelda and Link instead of clinging onto the past. 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 Arrow to attack Ganondorf, but is knocked out. Link defends himself against Ganondorf's attack until Zelda reawakens; working as a team, they use the Master Sword and Light Arrow to weaken the Dark Lord. When Ganondorf is at his weakest, Link plunges the Master Sword deep into his forehead, which turns him into stone. Immediately prior to his petrification, however, he 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.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

Ganondorf is eventually revealed to be the primary antagonist. When Link arrives at the Forest of Darkness, the Deku there have become his followers. More is revealed about him in the next area, the Desert of Doubt. The Gerudo there tell 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, his heart grew twisted with each passing year, and he became obsessed with obtaining power at any cost. The Gerudo now shun him because he disobeyed their laws and fled to the sacred Pyramid. There, he took the Trident and was transformed into Ganon by its dark magic.

After Link defeats Vaati in his palace, the Tower of Winds starts to crumble, and Link and Zelda travel down the tower back to Hyrule. However, they are attacked by Ganon. After he is defeated he is sealed within the Four Sword.

According to Hyrule Historia, the resentment and evil thoughts of Ganondorf's past life also appeared in the game, manifesting through the Dark Mirror into the Shadow Links.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Ganondorf (Twilight Princess)

Ganondorf is eventually revealed to be the primary antagonist. It is strongly implied that he holds the Triforce of Power. As punishment for his crimes, he was to be executed by the Ancient Sages of the Mirror of Twilight at Arbiter's Grounds. The Water Sage attempts to carry the execution out, stabbing Ganondorf with the Warlock Blade, leaving a glowing, open wound on his chest. However, Ganondorf remained alive, presumably through a combination of the Triforce of Power and the anguish and the hatred of the Twili bleeding through the void of the Twilight realm, escaped, and killed the Water Sage with his bare hands. With their execution a failure, the Sages sealed Ganondorf away in the Twilight Realm, the Warlock Blade going 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 takes him up on his offer and through him, Ganondorf is able to escape to Hyrule when Zant launches a military campaign to cover all the land in Twilight.

Seeking to defeat Zant, Link and Midna eventually make their way to the top of the Arbiter's Grounds, where the Ancient Sages explain what happened to Ganondorf. They reassemble the Mirror of Twilight and travel into the Twilight Realm, wherein they manage to defeat Zant. Zant reveals the truth about how he came to meet his "god" before Midna slays him. Link and Midna travel to Hyrule Castle, where Midna uses the restored Fused Shadow to remove the Twilight barrier placed around the castle. Inside the castle's Throne Room, Link and Ganondorf meet. He possesses Princess Zelda's lifeless body and attacks Link, but Midna manages to purge Ganondorf's soul from Zelda's body, restoring her to life as well. Ganondorf then transforms into Ganon, but is defeated by Link in his wolf form. As Ganon is wounded, Midna attempts to battle him herself, while teleporting Link and Zelda to Hyrule Field.

A short while later, a huge explosion is heard in direction of the castle, and Ganondorf reappears, holding Midna's Fused Shadow helmet and crushing it in his hand. Ganondorf summons his mount and sends ghost riders after Link to stop him. He is eventually defeated by Zelda's Light Arrows and Link's sword. His steed defeated, Ganondorf confronts Link in a one-on-one duel, wielding the very sword meant for his execution. Seeing an opening in Ganondorf's defence, Link impales him with the Master Sword; as Ganondorf bellows a blood-curdling moan, and vows that regardless of his loss, it won't end, as the history of light and shadow "will be written in blood", the Triforce symbol on his hand fades away before, in a vision, Zant's neck cracks and he dies, standing in place.

According to Hyrule Historia, after his death, the resentment and evil thoughts of Ganondorf travelled through time and space, manifesting through the Dark Mirror into the Shadow Links in Four Swords Adventures.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

Phantom Hourglass Prologue (Part 5)

Ganondorf kidnapping Tetra

While Ganondorf never directly appears in the game, he is mentioned by Niko. While Niko is giving the synopsis of The Wind Waker, Ganondorf is shown in two slides, one as he is kidnapping Tetra, and in another battling Link. While Niko is describing Ganondorf his theme can be heard.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Ganondorf does not appear in Skyward Sword, but Eiji Aonuma has stated that the game still touches on why he is present in Ocarina of Time. After Link defeats Demise, the latter threatens that he will rise again and places a curse on the bloodlines of both Link and Zelda, in which his hatred will 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 Demise takes when encountered by Link bears a striking resemblence to Ganondorf himself.

Non-canonical appearances

Non-canon warning: This article or section contains non-canonical information that is not considered to be an official part of the Legend of Zelda series and should not be considered part of the overall storyline.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time manga

Ganondorf's role is overall the same as in the game. However, his first appearance has him eavesdropping on Link and Zelda in the Hyrule Castle courtyard, as well as, while apologizing for his eavesdropping, implying that he may have sent the Gerudo after Zelda while the latter was disguised in Hyrule Castle Town. He later appears after Link gets the Zora's Sapphire, where he attempts to corner Zelda and Impa at the burning castle while stating that Zelda "will experience eternal sleep with her father" in it, implying that he had by that point murdered her father. He also ends up stealing Link's Fairy Ocarina, under the mistaken impression that it was the Ocarina of Time. He does not realize this mistake until seven years have passed, upon which he crushes the ocarina in his hand.

He also has Sheik serving him. When Ingo failed to ensure 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 imprisons Zelda inside a crystal, and takes her to his castle. During the inevitable fight with Link, Ganondorf uses a sword with magical powers to overpower him, and seeks to finish him off with his ultimate spell. Link is able to use the Spin Attack to deflect the spell back at him, stunning him long enough for Link to cut him down. A wounded Ganondorf then attempts to bring the castle down on Link and Zelda; when this fails, he turns into Ganon. Ganon is able to knock the Master Sword out of Link's hand, but Zelda is able to throw it back to the hero; he promptly cuts off Ganon's tail, brings him down to his knees with a vertical slash, and thrusts his sword into the beast's face. Invoking the power of the sages, Zelda is able to seal Ganondorf away.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons

Ganondorf Artwork (Oracle of Ages and Seasons)

Concept artwork of Ganondorf as he would have appeared in Oracle of Ages and Seasons

Concept art included in the Hyrule Historia contains concept artwork of Ganondorf in the section for Oracle of Ages and Seasons, implying that Ganon was originally intended to appear in his human form for part of the game. No mention of Ganondorf as a human remains in the final version of the game.

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Ganondorf is 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 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.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

"...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 (Super Smash Bros. Brawl)

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 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.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U

Ganondorf (SSB 3DS & Wii U)

Ganondorf makes his third appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series in the upcoming game for 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.

Hyrule Warriors

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.

Ganondorf wields a pair of massive greatswords in conjunction with his dark magic. His moveset appears to combine elements of three characters from Koei's other works: Musashi Miyomoto and Nobunaga Oda from Samurai Warriors, and Lu Bu from Dynasty Warriors.

Ganondorf (Hyrule 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, Ganondorf influences her 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. Although his quarry escapes once again, 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.

Non-canon warning: Non-canonical information ends here.

Spoiler warning: Spoilers end here.

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