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- "Did I startle you? I suppose that is only natural. As wide as the world is, I am the only boat upon it who can speak the words of men. I am the King of Red Lions. Do not fear... I am not your enemy."
- — King of Red Lions
The King of Red Lions (赤獅子の王 Aka Shishi no Ō?) is a character from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. He is a talking boat whom Link befriends and uses to travel the Great Sea. The King of Red Lions appears after Link is cast away from the Forsaken Fortress, he acts as Link's mentor throughout the game, but eventually becomes insentient at the end. He gives advice to Link and proclaims him the "Hero of the Winds".
The King of Red Lions is actually the King of Hyrule, Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule. According to the Great Deku Tree, he was tasked by the Goddesses to search for the hero destined to defeat Ganondorf. After being thrown into the sea by the Helmaroc King, Link is eventually found and saved by the sentient sailboat, who brings him to Windfall Island. In order for Link to set sail, he must first purchase the Sail from the Windfall Island Shop. When Link reaches Dragon Roost Island, the King of Red Lions gives Link the Wind Waker.
After Link's second visit to the Forsaken Fortress, the King of Red Lions, Link, and Tetra venture to Hyrule to reveal Tetra's true identity: Princess Zelda. After Link arrives at Hyrule Castle, he cannot talk to the King of Red Lions, as he will not respond nor move for that matter, even when struck with the sword. When Link ventures inside the Castle he learns that King of Red Lions is not alive at all, but rather being controlled by the King of Hyrule.
At the end of the game, Link is seen sailing away in the King of Red Lions, but the boat seems to be only a boat at that point, considering Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule is now presumably dead. The boat's eyes are closed, showing that it is not possessed by Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule anymore. What happened to the King of Red Lions after this is unknown, although it is possible that Tetra took it on board her ship as a memento of her adventure with Link.
A boat that is designed to appear like the King of Red Lions, named the Prince of Red Lions, belongs to the Self-proclaimed Hero. It can be found in the Northwestern quadrant of Link's Sea Chart. However, it does not have the presence of Hyrule's King in it and is likely just a cameo. Interestingly, the ship has a large interior area.
During the Pirate Ship stage, the King of Red Lions will occasionally appear sailing behind the ship. He is helpful, as players can land on him if they get knocked off to the right of the ship during battle. When he arrives before the Cyclone arrives, he will be picked up along with the pirate ship.
The Pirate Ship stage from Brawl returns as a DLC stage and the King of Red Lions appears in the same manner as it did on the stage in Brawl. The King of Red Lions also appears as a Trophy and is part of The Wind Waker Trophy Box.
Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule can transform into the King of Red Lions to attack enemies in Hyrule Warriors Legends.