The beast-like Ganon has been facing off with the heroic of Link for decades at this point, but fans of the Legend of Zelda still find it as exciting as ever. One reason for this might be the deep rooted rivalry between the iconic, green-tunic-wearing “Hero of Whatever,” and the “Great King of Evil,” Ganondorf, which is the human form of the otherworldly Ganon.
While Link is something of a blank slate in terms of characterization, Ganondorf is the exact opposite, and is often given a captivating level of nuance and ambition that fleshes him out considerably.
With our list of The Legend Of Zelda: 20 Wild Revelations About Link And Ganondorf's Rivalry, we’re going to be examining the feud between these two opposing forces, and hopefully shed some light on aspects of it that you’ve never considered!
20 They’re Both Reincarnations
One of The Legend of Zelda’s main plot devices is the cycle of reincarnation that affects those that are tied to the fate of the Triforce: Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf.
Zelda is the reincarnation of the Goddess, Hylia, Ganondorf is the manifestation of the diabolical Demise and Link is… uh… well he’s basically just housing the “spirt of the Hero,” which was from the plain ol’ dude who got wrapped up in Skyward Sword’s plot.
Even though Ganondorf is usually defeated, we at least have to hand it to him for having such an almighty force coursing through his veins.
19 Their Heights Are Practically Mirrored
A single glance is all you need to see how utterly gigantic Ganondorf is when compared to not just the Gerudo, but basically everyone in Hyrule.
Standing around an imposing 7’5”, there are none who measure up to this stature… ESPECIALLY not Link.
In fact, “Adult” Link in Ocarina of Time stands at a slightly-below-average height of around 5’7”, making Ganondorf that much more monumental.
The most interesting part of this equation, though, is that their heights are perfect mirrors of each other: Ganondorf is 7’5” and Link is 5’7”, which is fitting for such opposing forces.
18 They’re Both Musicians
Musical instruments have played a role in almost every Legend of Zelda game, starting with the use of the Recorder in the debut title.
Oddly enough, Link’s enjoyment and skills with playing musical instruments aren’t just limited to him. His arch-nemesis, Ganondorf, is known to partake in the craft.
Though Link certainly has far more variety (such as ocarinas, violins, drums, horns, and more), Ganondorf still manages to impress with his awesome pipe organ.
17 Both Make Weird Cameos
In a post-Super Smash Bros. world, it’s no surprised to see that Link and Ganondorf have popped up in some form or another in games well outside the bounds of their own series.
Aside from the obvious crossovers like Smash Bros., Link has appeared in games such as Mario Kart and even Sonic Lost World, while Ganondorf’s armor was featured in the Switch port of Diablo III.
16 They Have Eerily Similar Skillsets
While Link and Ganondorf are clearly bitter rivals fighting against one another for the sake of Hyrule, they both happen to have an oddly similar set of skills.
Not only are they gifted swordsmen, but both can use magic, teleport, transform, and more.
While that’s certainly curious in its own way, we do suppose it’s fitting given the nature of their eternal battle.
15 They’ve Both Destroyed Entire Civilizations
When it comes to morality in the Zelda games, things are generally pretty cut and dry, but there’s been a few occasions where players have questioned who is “good” and who is “evil.”
While we think of Link fighting for the forces of good against the cruel Ganondorf (who has has been all too happy to slaughter entire kingdoms), Link has, at least on one occasion, been just as destructive as his supposed nemesis.
In Link’s Awakening, Link chooses to wipe out Koholint Island and everyone on it in a display that probably made Ganondorf tear up in delight.
14 Both Wield Iconic Weapons
Despite being constantly locked in battle with each other, both Link and Ganondorf wield truly unique and iconic weapons in almost all of their shared appearances.
Obviously, the Master Sword is Link’s weapon of choice, but Ganondorf doesn’t let himself get outdone by the green-clad lad, opting to swing around blades such as the “Sword of the Six Sages,” which was actually used against him in a failed execution.
13 Ganondorf Knows His Parents. Link? Not So Much
Link and Ganondorf have their similarities, but they also have a few major differences… and this is probably the weirdest one of them all.
Link obviously had parents at some point, but he’s often portrayed as an orphan with a family member or friend acting a mentor or guardian. On the other hand, Ganondorf was directly raised by the witches Kotake and Koume, who were still alive up until Link jealously took them away.
Who’s the monster now?!
12 Both Have Travelled To A Variety Of Dimensions
The Legend of Zelda universe is home to a seemingly unending list of alternate dimensions that are almost upsettingly easy to access.
Ganondorf and Link have both set foot in a multitude of alternate realities, often having uniquely independent experiences, but they’ve also crossed the same extra-dimensional turf every now and then, too, such as the Twilight Realm.
11 Both Are Low-Tier Smash Characters
Despite hailing from a lauded franchise and being extremely popular characters in their own right, neither Link nor Ganondorf can seem to catch a break when it comes to their tier in Super Smash Bros.
In just about every entry they’ve appeared in together, they’ve shared a low (if not the LOWEST) tier, and only rarely have they been separated… but even in those cases, they’re still at the low-end of the list.
10 They're Both At The Center Of Bizarre Fan Theories
Is Link really a phantom going through the five stages of grief in Majora’s Mask? Is Ganondorf secretly a hero being framed as a villain?
These are only a handful of the countless fan theories revolving around these two characters, and, while none can really be proven, they’re still fun to think about.
9 Both Have Shadowy Doppelgängers
For many, the stand out moment of the Water Temple is when Link comes face to face with Dark Link, a shadowy, evil version of himself.
While it’s definitely an incredible moment, many tend to forget that Ganondorf has his own share of evil, phantom-like doppelgängers, namely the infamous Phantom Ganons and even one of the Nightmare’s manifestations in Link’s Awakening!
8 Both Of Their Themes Exist Within The World Of The Games
This is a difficult one to wrap your head around, but the musical scores that we associate with Ganondorf and Link also seem to exist within the world of the games.
For example, Ganondorf is playing his own leitmotif on the pipe organ during the final moments of Ocarina of Time, and certain cues associated with Link have been shown to exist, too, such as when he plays the series’ main theme in Skyward Sword.
7 Ganondorf Is Unquestionably More Powerful Than Link
While Link almost always comes out on top when it comes to battles against Ganondorf, that shouldn’t make you think that Ganondorf is weaker than the green-tunic wearing dude that beat him. In truth, it’s the exact opposite.
With Demise’s power and hatred coursing through his giant, muscular body, Ganondorf is supernaturally powerful and resistant, and he can wield devastating magic with ease.
In short, his losses can be chalked up to the influence of the Master Sword and basically nothing else.
6 Both Have Wielded The Triforce
The Triforce is the most sacred relic in the world of the Legend of the Zelda, and, as such, is incredibly hidden.
That said, it’s been discovered and used by both Link and Ganondorf on a few occasions, which is actually pretty impressive.
Although its effects have varied between instances, it’s still crazy to know that these rivals have both had a moment with the Golden Triangles.
5 Both Have Lost To Each Other
Although it’s easy to think that Ganondorf falls to Link in each and every one of their battles, it’s important to remember that the opposite has been confirmed to happen.
In fact, there is an entire timeline dedicated to Link being canonically defeated by Ganondorf known as the “Downfall Timeline.”
While Link’s victories are the norm, never forget that he’s met a terrible fate at Ganondorf’s hands before (and will likely do so again.)
4 Both Have Monstrous Alternate Forms
Ganondorf was all too happy to state (without uttering a single word) that “THIS ISN’T EVEN MY FINAL FORM!” when he morphed into the titanic Ganon at Ocarina of Time’s climax.
This transformation has happened a few other times during the series, so it’s easy to forget that Link has an ultra-powerful second form, too: the Fierce Deity. Unfortunately, Link never used the form against Ganon, but it would make for an incredible battle.
3 They've BOTH Tried To Save Hyrule
Earlier, we mentioned the generally simplistic morality of the Zelda games. One time that things weren't so simple was in The Wind Waker.
Instead of being overtly evil, the Ganondorf of The Wind Waker made Link (and even players!) question the “good versus evil” dynamic at play, as he not only did what he did to help his people, but he was even hoping to save Hyrule itself!
2 The Same Ganondorf Fights Multiple Links
While there is a cycle of reincarnation with Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf, it’s rare that the “next generation” ends up meeting one of their forebears.
That said, Ganondorf, has fought MULTIPLE Links from different eras, making him one of the only characters in the franchise to actually experience the “cycle” firsthand!
1 Link and Ganon Make A Cute Couple... According To Some Fans
Sure, Ganondorf and Link are dreaded enemies who fight against each other time and time again with the fate of Hyrule sitting in the balance… but maybe they should just, like, chill out and maybe go on a date or something?
According to a certain segment of the fanbase, this is exactly what they want to happen, as they continually “ship” Link and Ganondorf through fan fiction and fan-art.