ZeldaThe Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

How Old is Zelda from Breath of the Wild? Unraveling the Mystery of Hyrule’s Princess!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been a topic of discussion and admiration since its 2017 release, not only for its gameplay and vast exploration but also for its narrative intricacies.

A common question among fans centers on the age of Princess Zelda, particularly given the game’s significant 100-year timeline gap.

In this article, we’ll sift through the clues and references presented within the game to piece together an understanding of Princess Zelda’s age during the unfolding events of Breath of the Wild. Let’s delve into the details.

How Old is Zelda from Breath of the Wild?

Determining the exact age of Princess Zelda in “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” requires delving into the game’s lore, events, and subtle hints provided throughout the narrative. It’s worth noting that while we can establish an estimated age for Zelda at the start of the calamity, her age becomes a more complex topic due to the 100-year slumber.

Pre-Calamity Age

In the recorded memories of Link in “Breath of the Wild”, we learn that Princess Zelda was 16 years old during the initial events. As Calamity Ganon’s return casts a shadow over Hyrule, Zelda stands on the precipice of adulthood, burdened by the expectations of her heritage.

Charged with awakening her ancestral power, she roams Hyrule’s vast landscapes, visiting sacred sites with Link, in hopes of unlocking her latent abilities. These efforts, however, often seem in vain.

  • Zelda’s Responsibilities: As she nears her 17th birthday, the responsibility and urgency of her royal duties become ever clearer. Zelda’s evolving relationship with Link, combined with her evident frustration over her yet-to-awaken powers, offers a deeper understanding of the challenges she faces at this age.
  • Link’s Age: Link’s role, as Zelda’s silent guardian, sees him around the age of 17 or 18. His presence is more than just physical protection; he serves as a constant through Zelda’s trials, witnessing her growth and struggles.

Post-Slumber Age

Shortly after Zelda’s 17th birthday, calamity engulfs Hyrule. The champions fall, and with the fate of the kingdom hanging by a thread, Zelda, having unlocked her powers, makes a profound sacrifice. She seals Ganon and herself within the confines of Hyrule Castle. This act commences a century-long vigil for Zelda. While her physical appearance remains that of a 17-year-old, by the conclusion of “Breath of the Wild”, Zelda is chronologically 117 years old. Her understanding and mental endurance, rooted in her continued awareness during this period, further amplify the weight of her age.

In stark contrast, Link’s experience of the 100-year interlude is akin to a deep sleep within the Shrine of Resurrection. He awakens with the same mental age as when he entered, untouched by the passage of time.

Zelda’s Personal Growth

Zelda’s narrative arc in “Breath of the Wild” is emblematic of a coming-of-age tale. Initially, her youthful impatience and challenges with Link showcase a princess struggling with her destiny. Over time, through trials and revelations, Zelda’s transformation is evident. By the game’s conclusion, she stands not just as Hyrule’s hope, but as a symbol of resilience, wisdom, and strength — a young woman who has weathered 100 years of hardship.

Breath of the Wild’s Timeline Placement

The “Legend of Zelda” series is notorious for its intricate and somewhat convoluted timeline. Over the years, as games were released, Nintendo outlined a timeline that eventually splits into three distinct branches after the events of “Ocarina of Time”: the Decline Timeline, the Child Link Timeline, and the Adult Link Timeline. Each of these branches consists of various game titles and portrays separate series of events and outcomes.

“Breath of the Wild,” released in 2017 for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U, presented a fresh approach to the series in terms of its gameplay mechanics, open-world exploration, and narrative. While it brought about many new elements, it also left fans speculating heavily about its placement in the established Zelda timeline.

During the game’s promotion and post-release, the game’s creators remained somewhat ambiguous about its precise timeline position. However, it was hinted that “Breath of the Wild” exists at a point where the different timelines converge or, alternatively, far after all the previously known events, making it a sort of culmination of all the past games. There are references and easter eggs in the game that allude to events from various titles across all three timelines.

A few indications of its timeline placement include:

  • Temple of Time Ruins: The game features the ruins of the Temple of Time, which has significant relevance in “Ocarina of Time.”
  • Locations and Landmarks: Names of locations in the game hint at past titles, such as Rito Village (referencing the Rito from “The Wind Waker”) or Lurelin Village, which has similarities to Outset Island.
  • Mentions of Past Heroes: Various dialogues and lore in the game mention heroes and events from past eras, seemingly acknowledging all the previous Links and their deeds.

Given the vast number of references to past games and the creators’ comments, it’s widely accepted that “Breath of the Wild” stands at a point where it acknowledges all previous Zelda titles, whether by convergence or by being set far into the future. However, without a definitive statement from Nintendo, its exact placement remains a topic of fan debate and speculation.

Historical Context of Zelda Games

The Legend of Zelda series, initiated by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka, is one of the most iconic and long-standing franchises in the world of video games. Since its inception in 1986, the series has taken players through a multitude of timelines, alternate realities, and adventures, all centered around the protagonist Link, the Princess Zelda, and the antagonist Ganon/Ganondorf.

To better understand Princess Zelda’s age in “Breath of the Wild”, it’s essential to look back at how her character has been portrayed throughout the various installments of the series.

Game TitleRelease YearDescription of Zelda’s RoleEstimated Age
The Legend of Zelda1986Princess Zelda splits the Triforce of Wisdom to prevent Ganon from obtaining it.Teenager
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link1987A different Princess Zelda is put under a sleeping spell.Teenager
A Link to the Past1991Zelda is imprisoned in a dungeon by Agahnim.Teenager
Ocarina of Time1998Zelda disguises herself as Sheik to aid Link. This game presents Zelda both as a child and as a young adult.Child to Young Adult
Majora’s Mask2000Zelda only has a brief appearance, recalling her time from Ocarina.Young Adult
The Wind Waker2002Known as Tetra, a pirate captain, before realizing her true identity.Teenager
Twilight Princess2006Zelda sacrifices her power to save Midna and assists Link in his quest.Young Adult
Skyward Sword2011Zelda is a childhood friend of Link, later revealed to be the goddess Hylia reincarnated.Teenager
Breath of the Wild2017Zelda fights alongside Link against Calamity Ganon and has been holding him at bay for 100 years.Young Adult (with the complexity of the 100-year interval)

The series contains many more titles, spin-offs, and alternate timelines, but the games listed above are among the mainline games where Princess Zelda plays a significant role. It’s evident that her age varies depending on the game’s story, but she’s most often portrayed as a teenager or a young adult. However, as with many elements in the Zelda series, her age can be subject to interpretation, especially in games like “Breath of the Wild”, which introduces concepts like the 100-year slumber.

Alex Henderson

Alex Henderson, known to the online gaming community as "GameMaster", brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to the world of video games. With over 15 years of experience, Alex has worked as a game tester, programmer, and designer for several top gaming companies before deciding to share his insights and reviews with the gaming community. He specializes in RPGs and adventure games, but his love for gaming knows no genre boundaries. Alex's goal is to help gamers of all levels navigate the exciting and ever-evolving world of gaming.

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