The supporting Legend of Zelda characters don’t get as much love as they should, yet the iconic series wouldn’t be the same without its rich ensemble cast.
The main characters in The Legend of Zelda series are Princess Zelda and Link. However, the Legend of Zelda pantheon boasts numerous other characters in secondary, supporting roles.
Some helpful, some not so much. Either way, many are not only memorable, they’re irreplaceable.
These gems make for much of the series’ enjoyment, and these secondary characters deserve their time to shine.
Before we dive into our list, let’s take a moment to recap what we know about the series as a whole. We hope it’ll give us all perspective for the list that follows.
In a rush? Skip to the list.
The Legend of Zelda is one of the most successful video games series of all time. All games combined, the series has sold more than 100 million units.
Game Release Order
In order of chronological release, installments of the games are as follows.
- The Legend of Zelda (1986)
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (1988)
- A Link to the Past (1992)
- Link’s Awakening (1993)
- Ocarina of Time (1998)
- Majora’s Mask (2000)
- Oracle of Ages (2001)
- Oracle of Seasons (2001)
- A Link to the Past/Four Swords (2002)
- The Wind Waker (2002)
- The Minish Cap (2004\)
- Four Swords Adventures (2004)
- Twilight Princess (2006)
- Phantom Hourglass (2007)
- Spirit Tracks (2009)
- Skyward Sword (2011)
- A Link Between Worlds (2013)
- Tri Force Heroes (2015)
- Breath of the Wild (2017)
Widely beloved, The Legend of Zelda series has garnered amazing accolades, both as a whole and for individual games.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess won the title of Game of the Year by X-Play, GameTrailers, 1UP, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Spacey Awards, Game Informer, GameSpy, Nintendo Power, and IGN, among others.
In December 2011, The Legend of Zelda won the first ever Hall of Fame Award from Spike TV’s Video Game Awards and co-creator Shigeru Miyamoto accepted in person.
As if that wasn’t enough, the series also won GameFAQs Best Series Ever competition.
Our Selection Criteria
A series this expansive paired with a list this broad could quickly get out of hand.
That’s why we chose a few criteria to limit our choices and refine our focus.
Let’s take a look.
Zelda & Link Incarnations
When you think of the games, most people think of Princess Zelda and Link. Well, let’s be real, a lot of people just think of Zelda because they confuse it for Link’s name.
While the many different incarnations of Zelda and Link throughout the games make for amazing characters, that’s an entirely different article.
Today, we’re all about the 21 Best Supporting Legend of Zelda Characters (skip to the list).
Unfortunately, that leaves out different incarnations of Zelda.
Tetra from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is a badass pirate queen and would definitely be in our top five, but she eventually is awakened as Princess Zelda.
The same goes for Sheik from The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, who aids The Hero of Time on his quest to awaken The Sages.
Yup, that’s Zelda.
And Zelda from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has a completely different role and personality from the usual Zeldas. She would deserve a spot if we weren’t excluding her and Link.
Also, we’re only going to be looking at the official canon games.
Sorry, Hyrule Warriors, you can’t sit with us.
21 Best Supporting Legend of Zelda Characters
It’s almost impossible for us to rank these characters, because they’re all great for different reasons.
So, in alphabetical order, here are our picks for the best Legend of Zelda characters.
Beware, there be spoilers here.
21) Dark Link (The Ocarina of Time, various)
Not to be confused with Shadow Link, Dark Link is one of the more interesting supporting Legend of Zelda characters because he is a dark reflection of our hero.
Dark Link is not just a mini-boss battle, but actually Link having to fight against himself.
Dark Link has appeared in various Legend of Zelda games, most notably as a mini boss in The Water Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, appearing as Link’s shadow disappears when he passes by a gnarled old tree.
He’s only able to react to Link, not initiate an attack on him.
It’s an interesting character concept, and we really hope that Nintendo fleshes out the origin and purpose for Dark Link in future games.
There are plenty of fan theories, but nothing official.
20) Demise (Skyward Sword)
Demise made the list of best supporting Legend of Zelda characters because he is one of the strongest, most powerful villains in any of the games.
He is the primal god of all evil and the being that would eventually reincarnate into Ganon and start the cycle of evil that would plague Hyrule.
He was known as The Imprisoned for most of the events of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, after being sealed in The Sacred Realm by the goddess Hylia, long before the game started.
Demise is defeated by Link and Zelda and lays a curse upon them.
“Extraordinary. You stand as a paragon of your kind, human. You fight like no human 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! I will rise again. Those like you… Those who share the blood of the goddess and the spirit of the hero… They are eternally bound to this curse. An incarnation of my hatred shall ever follow your kind, dooming them to wander a blood-soaked sea of darkness for all time!”
19) Ezlo (The Minish Cap)
Ezlo is your companion in The Minish Cap. He was a Minish craftsman and sage and he was the mentor of Vaati, the big bad of this game.
Ezlo was working on The Mage’s Cap, a gift for the humans that granted wishes. Vaati stole it and cursed Ezlo. He was turned into a cap with a bird-like face.
Link rescues him and Ezlo joins him to take on Vaati, providing him advice and sass – and the ability to shrink down to the size of the Minish.
Ezlo shows a bit of naivety, never thinking that an item of great power designed to be used for good, can also be used to cause harm.
And he doesn’t seem to learn from his mistakes either, despite not knowing Zelda is pure of heart, he still forces The Mage’s Cap on Zelda’s head.
He experiences a good amount of character development through the game. When he first meets Link, he treats him like a child, thinking him foolish and being prone to anger.
But as the game progresses, Ezlo begins to realize he underestimated Link, he’s not just a some young, dumb kid running around waving a sword.
18) Fi (Skyward Sword)
Fi is a spirit created by the goddess Hylia who lives in The Goddess Sword, which Link later imbues with power to create The Master Sword.
She looks kind of like The Master Sword, and she starts out very cold. Almost robotic.
But after spending time with Link, she becomes warmer and more human.
By the end of the game, when she returns to sleep within the sword, she’s formed a lasting bond with Link.
It’s very bittersweet when she tells Link she’s experienced happiness and hopes to meet him again in another life.
17) Ganondorf (Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, The Wind Waker)
Ganondorf is a major player, and being the ultimate evil, it could be argued that he’s not really a supporting Legend of Zelda character.
But while he’s not “supportive” to the good guys, he definitely supports the series’ story and is one of the most irreplaceable characters outside of Princess Zelda and Link.
The Legend of Zelda features some wonky timeline madness, which results in different effects to some characters, including Ganon.
To recap, depending on the timeline, Link…
- … goes back to being a child, which leads to Twilight Princess
- … stays an adult, which leads to the Wind Waker
- … gets defeated by Ganondorf
We’re not going to touch on The Fallen Hero timeline.
The King of the Gerudo
For this entry we’re discussing the version of Ganondorf that appears in three specific games.
Different incarnations of Ganondorf, or his beast self Ganon, have appeared in other Zelda games throughout the series, but in the three games we’ve chosen, we’re talking about one incarnation.
Specifically, the Gerudo thief from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and what happens to him due to the timeline split that happens after that game.
In this incarnation, Ganondorf is known for his brains and his schemes.
While we do get to see his beast self, Ganon, it’s not what he’s known for.
He’s the type of evil baddie that schemes away and is usually ten steps ahead of the Hero, e.g. getting Link to gather The Spiritual Stones, then kidnapping Zelda so she leaves the Ocarina of Time for him.
All leading up to Ganondorf gaining access to The Spiritual Realm and claiming his part of The Triforce.
In the Child Timeline, Link goes back and informs the King of Hyrule and Princess Zelda of Ganondorf’s plans.
He’s arrested and eventually sentenced to execution by The Six Sages.
It fails, so they trap him in the Twilight Realm.
There he shows the ability to plot and scheme, posing as a God to get Zant to do his bidding, overthrow Midna, and try to fuse the Twilight Realm and the Light Realm and create everlasting darkness.
Link saves the day, of course, ending Ganodorf’s reign of terror.
Though according to the Hyrule Historia, his resentment and evil thoughts travelled through time and space to another adventure.
And finally, in the Adult Timeline, Link disappears. Ganondorf is sealed into the Sacred Realm, though he eventually escapes.
Unlike other times, a Hero does not appear, so the King of Hyrule and his people plead to the goddess Hylia for help.
Which she does by flooding the land to seal Ganondorf away again. Which brings us right into The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Ganondorf escapes – it’s kind of a common theme with him throughout all of the games.
He wants the complete Triforce set again, so he starts out looking for Zelda to get the Triforce of Wisdom.
He does this by kidnapping young girls, but eventually his minion kidnaps the wrong girl.
Link – no relation to The Hero of Time – heads off on a quest to rescue his sister. Ganondorf also shows the foresight to kill the sages of Earth and Wind, which causes the Master Sword to lose the power to repel evil.
Even though his schemes and plots give Link a hard time, in the end The Hero of the Winds is able to defeat him with a pretty epic sword thrust through the head.
16) Ghirahim (Skyward Sword)
We’re going to admit that one of the reasons that we consider Ghirahim to be a great supporting Legend of Zelda character is that sweet sense of style of his.
He’s got the look of an anime villain, and producer Eiji Aonuma said that they were going for a “unisex-like, genderless feel.”
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the first game chronologically in the Zelda timeline, and it’s possible that Ghirahim was actually around when the goddess Hylia created Skyloft, which means he’s been alive for generations.
He presents himself as large and in charge of the ground below and thinks very highly of himself. We have to admire that confidence.
Though he isn’t actually a person. His true form is actually the Demon King Demise’s sword.
That doesn’t stop him from having one of the best personalities of any supporting character in any of the Legend of Zelda games.
15) Groose (Skyward Sword)
Groose is someone that we didn’t like at first.
He’s full of himself and kind of a bully. He kidnaps Link’s Loftwing, trying to stop him so he can’t participate in The Wing Ceremony, all because he has a huge crush on Zelda and is jealous of her closeness with Link.
Link foils that plan, so of course Groose tries to sabotage him during the competition, which doesn’t make us like him anymore.
And then when Zelda falls to The Surface, Groose just sits in front of his mirror wallowing and blaming Link.
After getting out of his funk he follows Link down to the ground, and after hearing he won’t be the one to rescue Zelda, he eventually gets over himself and begins to help, designing a device to help fight back the Imprisoned.
He even goes so far as to stop Ghirahim at The Gate of Time, only to be tossed aside. In the end, he actually does kind of get to rescue Zelda, catching her soulless body before she suffers a fatal fall.
Groose shows a lot of character growth in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which we don’t often get to see a lot of in supporting characters in the Legend of Zelda series, and that’s why he made it to this list.
14) Hestu (Breath of the Wild)
How could we not like a happy, little dancing tree that helps us carry more stuff?
Hestu is the self-styled most celebrated dancer of The Korok Forest, who can often be found dancing around and shaking his maracas.
He just wants you to bring him the Korok seeds scattered around the world – 900 of them to be exact.
He’ll happily upgrade your inventory capacity, and once you’ve found them all, he’ll give you a gift of his own making.
It’s his poop. He hopes you like it.
13) Impa (Ocarina of Time)
Impa is another recurring supporting Legend of Zelda character, and as the princess’ bodyguard/nursemaid, we see her a lot.
But as we learn in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, she’s also a member of the Sheikah race. She’s instrumental in keeping Zelda safe from Ganondorf, first by fleeing from the castle with the young princess and then after The Sacred Realm is opened and The Triforce splits into three parts.
She plays an important role as the Sage of Shadow, helping to seal Ganon away after his defeat.
Impa has been in a lot of Zelda games. She was technically in the first two on the NES… if you read the manual that came with the games.
But to us, this incarnation is the first one where she was really badass, and so that’s why we love her.
12) Kass (Breath of the Wild)
Kass can be found roving Hyrule with his accordion, and when you find him he’ll play you a song that inevitably leads to finding a shrine.
The fact that he can be found in several places throughout the game, seeing his friendly face in the more desolate locations helps make the expansive world feel a little more cozy.
Not only is he a beautifully designed character, we really enjoy his music stylings of the theme song and other songs.
11) King of Red Lions (The Wind Waker)
The King of Red Lions is your companion in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
He’s a talking boat. After you get the sail, he’s your transport across The Great Sea. He’s one of the more interesting supporting Legend of Zelda characters, we think, because of his back story.
He’s not just any ol’ random talking boat, although that’s already pretty cool. As you play the game and the story unfolds, we discover that The King of Red Lions is inhabited by the spirit of the King of Hyrule, Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule.
Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule serves as a sort of foil to Ganondorf. Both were kings of lands long forgotten, clinging to the memory of Hyrule.
In the end, he chooses to let go of the past, and we’re truly heartbroken when he chooses to let himself drown with Hyrule, thus letting the past be washed away for good.
And then we’re left with the boat, forever silent.
10) Linebeck (Phantom Hourglass)
Linebeck starts out the game seemingly self-absorbed.
He’s smug, greedy and kind of a coward, which is a great contrast to our hero. We first meet Linebeck when Link rescues him, and he just takes off, without so much as a thank you.
Eventually Link runs into him again, though he doesn’t want to help Link find The Ghost Ship, or Tetra, until it’s mentioned about the untold riches he might find.
But when they find the ship and they don’t find the treasure, he’s surprisingly loyal and sticks with Link.
He also shows that loyalty again and an uncharacteristic bravery by confronting Bellum when Link isn’t able to fight.
Linebeck is a good example of how people can surprise you. He seemed to be highly mercenary and self-centered but came through in the end.
And when given the chance to wish for unimaginable wealth (though, to be fair, I bet he could imagine quite a bit), he instead just wished for his ship back after it was destroyed in battle.
9) Malo (Twilight Princess)
Malo is one of the children from Ordon Village, he’s sarcastic and often muttering under his breath.
He has the appearance of a young, innocent child, which makes it all the more surprising when, after being rescued by Link, he sets up shop in Kakariko Village and eventually expands his Malo Mart into Castle Town.
He’s a shrewd, calm little dude, and honestly our favorite of the Ordon children from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
While the others are freaking out, Malo continues to be calm and sarcastic.
We just have to admire that about him.
8) Midna (Twilight Princess)
Midna is your companion character in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
She’s a rude little imp that cares very little for anything other than getting The Fused Shadows.
She’s really the true ruler of The Twilight Realm and was cursed into the diminutive form by Zant, the usurper. She only rescues Wolf Link because she knows he’s the key to saving her realm.
We gotta admire her single mindedness.
She’s bossy and a bit of a know-it-all, but she really cares for her people and she’s willing to do what it takes to save the Twili. She’s snarky and adorable and really cares for the people in The Light Realm by the end of the game, particularly Link.
She sacrifices herself in an attempt to defeat Ganondorf and is later restored by the Light Spirits.
After Ganondorf’s defeat and a tearful goodbye to Link and Zelda, she shatters The Mirror of Twilight and seals herself away forever.
7) Old Man (The Legend of Zelda)
While the Old Man has one of the smallest roles in the Legend of Zelda series, he’s arguably one of the more important ones.
He plays a key role in The Legend of Zelda, that is the 1986 NES game.
You’ve seen him from the meme, “It’s Dangerous to Go Alone, Take This”
He supplies Link with his first sword, enabling him to begin his journey.
Although he’s not the most prolific supporting character, he earns his place in our list simply by being an enabler.
He enables Link to save Hyrule, starting off an epic series of games.
6) Ravio (A Link Between Worlds)
Another game in the Legend of Zelda series that features an alternate world, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds introduces us to the mirror world of Lorule, replete with its Hyrulian counterparts.
We first meet Ravio when he takes over Link’s house and displays his wares, which he allows Link to rent and eventually buy. As we progress in the game we discover that Ravio is Link’s Lorulian counterpart.
He served Princess Hilda but ran away to Hyrule when his princess plotted with Yuga to steal Hyrule’s Triforce.
He comes across Link and assists him in saving the day.
Once Yuga is defeated, Ravio is the one to talk Princess Hilda out of her plan to steal the Triforce.
Due to this, Zelda and Link make a wish on their Triforce, which causes Lorule’s Triforce to be restored, saving both realms.
We think he’s one of the best supporting Legend of Zelda characters because of the way he is able to save the day.
Even though Link did most of the work, we think Ravio is responsible for the happy ending.
5) Saria (The Ocarina of Time)
Saria is Link’s childhood friend, a member of the Kokiri who will stay children forever, while Link as a Hylian, will eventually grow up.
When Link receives his mission from The Great Deku Tree, the goodbye scene between Saria and Link is one of the more touching moments in the game. Little moments like this are what make The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time one of the best Legend of Zelda games.
It’s a bittersweet moment after she hands her ocarina to Link and he runs away, Saria watching him go, her face sad in the quiet of the forest.
You can tell Saria cares deeply for Link, but they are never meant to be.
They’re separated as children. Then again when Link finds himself sealed in the Sacred Realm. Only to meet again as Link discovers she is the Sage of Forest and needed in the Chamber of the Sages.
It’s sad that circumstances keep the two apart.
4) Sidon (Breath of the Wild)
Sidon is the prince of the Zora and brother of the Zora champion, Mipha.
He’s charming and enthusiastic, keeping his cheerful demeanor even when the Zora are suffering due to Divine Beast Van Ruta.
He’s determined to present a positive front to help keep his people happy during the dark times after The Great Calamity.
He pushes for positive relations between Hylians and Zoras. He ignores the prejudice The Zora Elders show to the Hylians. And he puts himself at great risk to slay a Giant Otorock that was keeping the fisherman of Lurelin Village from supporting their families.
He’s progressive, suave and charming, with a killer grin, which makes him very popular amongst the Zoras.With us, too.
3) Skull Kid (Majora’s Mask)
We actually first see a Skull Kid in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but it’s not until we meet one again in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask that it really gets interesting.
Skull Kids are lost children found in The Lost Woods. Although it is said that Kokiri become Stalfos when they get lost in the woods, it makes more sense if they become Skull Kids.
Whatever their origin, they tend to be mischievous little kids with little regard for adults. The Skull Kid that we meet in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask has stolen the titular mask and becomes imbued with powerful magic that brings out the worst in him.
Skull Kid is just a lost, lonely little kid who lashed out when he felt abandoned by the Four Giants who guard Termina.
It’s a poignant story and a well-written character. He causes a lot of destruction, but we really just feel for him.
And of course, most of the destruction is reversed when The Song of Time is played again.
2) Tatl (Majora’s Mask)
We’re going to be honest here.
After hearing Navi yell, “Hey, listen!” a million times, there was no way she was going to be making it on a list of best supporting Legend of Zelda characters.
But Tatl is a smarter, cooler fairy. Despite looking exactly the same, she’s a more developed character. She has a backstory.
Tatl and her brother, Tael, were the companions of the Skull Kid, but she got separated from her brother. She teamed up with Link because she has no other choice.
Also, unlike Navi, she’s really kind of rude and disrespectful to Link, until he earns her trust. Then, she works with him to save Termina.
We really enjoyed seeing the companion character having a personality. Other than just existing to point out things you already knew.
1)Tingle (Majora’s Mask)
Tingle has appeared in multiple Legend of Zelda games, but we chose his The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask incarnation because it was our first meeting of the 35-year-old fairy enthusiast.
He’s a very polarizing character. Some of us hate him, some of us think he’s just a little special.
Tingle’s got a charming boyish air about him. Although that might be because he thinks he’s a Kokiri and is waiting for his own fairy.
But Tingle’s just so constantly happy and eager to help. Tingle flies around attached to a balloon and draws maps, which he’ll sell you after you shoot him down (and he’s not even mad about it).
And, of course, don’t forget those magic words: tingle, tingle, kooloo-limpah!
Those are his. He made them up. So don’t steal them, okay?
So that’s our list of some of the best supporting Legend of Zelda characters.
Some good guys, some bad guys, and some neutral guys. People who stay the same, and people who change. Truly, the characters in The Legend of Zelda run the gamut.
If you can think of a character who deserves a spot on this list, hit us up in the comments section and let us know.
In the meantime, what’s your most fondly remembered moment with these characters?