- This page is about the character. For the boss, see Zant (boss).
Zant, the Usurper King
|First appearance||Twilight Princess (2006)|
King of Twilight
King of Shadows
King of Darkness
- "Zant. That's the name of the King of Darkness who cast this pall of shadows over your world. He's very strong. You would be nothing to him in your current state... But Zant will never be my king! I have nothing but scorn for his supposed strength."
- — Midna
Zant (ザント Zanto?) is the secondary antagonist in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. A Twili, Zant gains mysterious power and usurps the throne of the Twilight Realm. Using his newfound power, he invades Hyrule and plagues it with matter called Twilight.
Zant, in a way, takes evil to a new level, seeing as he disfigured his own people into Shadow Beasts and turned Midna into an imp-like creature. Judging by the fact that he deliberately held her in the light of a light spirit and did not even seem to mind, he is clearly willing to do anything and everything possible to ensure his rule. Although he is instilled with Ganondorf's evil magic and seems to retain a calm deposition, when confronted by Link later in the game, he takes on a wild and insane persona. Despite this, he proves himself a formidable foe in battle.
From the beginning, Zant was unusual among the Twili. While most of his people seemed to have accepted being sealed in the Twilight Realm, Zant harbored a burning desire to conquer the World of Light in revenge for what was done to his kind. A candidate to become the next ruler of the Twili, Zant was passed over in favor of Midna due to his apparent lust for power. Angered, Zant fell into a crazed depression. During his torment, he was approached by Ganondorf, who was sealed in the Twilight Realm after surviving his execution at the hands of the Ancient Sages. Ganondorf posed as a god to Zant, offering him power, immortality, and a chance to seize the throne of the Twilight Realm. Zant, unaware that Ganondorf was just using him to escape imprisonment in the Twilight Realm, accepted, and donned a monstrous metallic mask as a symbol of his ascension to power.
Zant, with his newfound powers, placed a curse on Midna, transforming her into an imp. With Midna out of the way, Zant was free to usurp the throne and proclaim himself the new King of Twilight. Under his rule, the light of the Sols was sealed away, leaving the land dark. Zant then crafted most of the Twili into a new race known as Shadow Beasts, dark beings bent to his will. In conjunction with the remaining monsters of Ganondorf's army, Zant opened a portal to Hyrule and began a conquest of the land. After a series of successful campaigns, Zant's army assaulted Hyrule Castle directly. The Hyrulean Soldiers defending the Throne Room were immediately defeated in the ensuing battle, and Princess Zelda was forced to abdicate the throne to Zant to save the lives of her people. Zant proceeded to cover the provinces of Hyrule in Twilight, turning the inhabitants into helpless spirits.
While the Hyrulean people live without knowledge of these events, a young man named Link is thrust into the conflict from his ordinary life in Ordon Village, becoming the one hero destined to defeat Zant and Ganondorf and bring light back to Hyrule. He teams up with Midna, ignorant of her past with Zant. The two evade the villain multiple times, lifting the Twilight from the provinces of Hyrule, as well as retrieving the shards of Fused Shadows. However, after they retrieve the fourth and final Fused Shadow, Zant appears and curses Link into his wolf form, while exposing Midna to the light of the Light Spirit Lanayru. However, he is unable to fully defeat Midna because Lanayru teleports her and Link near Hyrule Castle. Zant then takes the Fused Shadow pieces with him, except for the one that Midna wears.
After Link breaks Zant's curse with the Master Sword, he and Midna travel to the Arbiter's Grounds in western Hyrule to find the Mirror of Twilight, a portal to the Twilight Realm. Unfortunately, upon arriving at the Mirror Chamber, they find that the mirror has been broken by Zant. However, as he is not the true ruler of the Twili, he was unable to completely shatter the mirror, instead sending pieces to three dungeons in the realm of Hyrule. Link and Midna eventually gather the Mirror Shards and travel to the Twilight Realm. After restoring the Sols and infusing the Master Sword with their light, the two break into the Palace of Twilight and confront Zant. After a fierce battle, Zant, with his dying breath, tells them that he will be revived by Ganondorf as long as his god lives. Zant then tries to destroy Link and Midna in one last effort, but Midna is overcome by the power of the Fused Shadows and uses her hair, which splits into three giant spears, to impale Zant.
After Ganondorf's ultimate defeat at the hands of Link, Zant's neck is shown snapping in a vision—seemingly indicating that with the defeat of Ganondorf, Zant also dies one final death.
For most of the game, Zant is calm and aloof, standing straight and speaking in a cold, sinister voice. An aspect of this persona is Zant's extreme arrogance, exemplified when he curses Midna instead of simply killing her, and later, when he sets Stallord on Link and leaves without waiting to see if the creature is victorious. However, when confronted with the face of defeat, Zant's behavior becomes extremely erratic, and his voice changes to a much higher pitch.
In combat, he fluctuates between his two personae. When on an erratic tangent, his movements, such as hopping up and down and hitting his head against the floor, are awkward and almost comical. The music that accompanies Zant's several stages could itself be seen as reflective of his mental state: the first five tracks are remixes of previous boss or mini-boss music played at increasing speed, culminating in the sixth track, which is a haphazard mix of the first five played much faster. Additionally, the screeches Zant lets out as the battle progresses become higher and higher pitched.
Zant wears a tall metal helm with unnerving lizard-like facial features, which can be retracted to reveal his face. He also appears to wear a balaclava that covers his neck and head, but not his face, explaining the yellowish color of his head and neck, unusual among the Twili.
Oddly, Zant has a mark on his robe that bears a striking resemblance to the Gerudo symbol. He is seen wearing this in the scene right before he meets Ganondorf, disproving the theory that he wears it because of his allegiance to the King of Evil.
Zant possesses a wide array of magical abilities from the start of the game, thanks to Ganondorf. What powers he possessed before, if any, are unknown. He can exist in the Light World without being harmed or requiring the protection of someone's shadow, unlike most Twili. Zant can create portals similar to Midna's, and move between the world of light and the Twilight Realm without the use of the Mirror of Twilight. He can also create Shadow Beasts and phantoms of himself, teleport, and perform telekinesis. Zant's powers appear to be quite potent, as he displays the ability to overcome one of the sacred Light Spirits and humiliate Midna without even raising his arms. He can also corrupt areas of the Light World with Twilight and even seemingly manipulate reality—creating a giant version of his helmet to combat Link, altering his own size greatly, and apparently duplicating several boss arenas that Link had previously visited.
In battle, Zant can float and even swim freely through air and water. He also seems to possess superhuman strength, as he is able to tilt the arena merely by jumping when impersonating Dangoro's fight, a feat that looked as if it strained even the huge Goron himself. His primary attack comes in the form of purple energy balls that he fires rapidly. Link can strike these with his sword, but they merely explode on contact, making them ultimately unrelated to Dead Man's Volley. Later in the battle, Zant utilizes two cleaver-like blades with which he maniacally flails about, sometimes employing a high-speed, heavily damaging spinning attack. Another of Zant's skills is his dumbfounding flexibility.