You know that song “Power” by Kanye West? Well, Yeezy may not have known it at the time, but he was writing about the baddest dude in all Hyrule.
Although it’s not likely Ganondorf will make an appearance in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword — after all, Ocarina of Time was an origin story of sorts for the character — he’s still the seminal villain of the series, and I fully expect parts of the story will point to the Gerudo King’s lineage.
Speaking of the Gerudo, the best way to truly understand the man who eventually becomes the King of Evil and wielder of the Triforce of Power is to take a look at his roots. While the various releases over the years have jumped through the series’ chronology, there are indisputable facts regarding Ganon’s origin.
A lesson in Ganon vs. Ganondorf
First, for those of you who may not have played any of the 8- or 16-bit games in the series, we’ll need to clarify a couple of things. Even though you fight Ganon, the boar-like monster who wields a trident at the end of each game, you know Ganondorf as the wielder of the Triforce of Power. Well, it wasn’t until The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past that we even knew Ganondorf existed. Until then, Nintendo referred to Link’s nemesis as Ganon.
We won’t get into specifics on timelines here — there are enough theories to fill a week’s worth of posts alone — but knowing Ganon is Ganondorf’s boar form, and the villain constantly looks like this throughout the NES and SNES titles, it should be safe to assume the first three Zelda games released are the last in the chronology. You see, an easily overlooked character in A Link to the Past mentions that the Golden Power — the Triforce — reflects what’s in a person’s heart.
In fact, much of the lore behind the Triforce in the SNES Zelda title refers to a person’s intentions and how the Power of the Gods interprets that.
The best explanation for Ganon’s consistent presence in the first three Zelda games is that by this time in the series’ history, the Evil King’s heart is so twisted he can never return to human form. At least that’s my take on it.
Funnily enough, Ganondorf yearns to rule the world while Ganon is hell-bent on destroying it whenever he’s around. Then again, I guess you’d be pretty peeved if you looked like this all the time:
Origins of a Gerudo King
The story of how Ganondorf became the King of Evil is a twisted rags-to-riches story of sorts. Legend has it that every 100 years, the Gerudo clan — an all-female race of thieves — is begat a male destined to lead them. And, of course, the lone wolf Gerudo birthed years prior to the beginning of Ocarina of Time grows up to be a power-hungry maniac. With immediate status as king of his clan, Ganondorf is free to do whatever he damn well pleases, including thieve, pillage and plunder.
But it appears there’s only one thing the King of Thieves really wants: the Triforce. So, in order to obtain the three golden triangles, Ganondorf begins a campaign to retrieve the three sacred stones by poisoning the Great Deku tree, blocking off Dodongo’s Cavern and … filling Jabu-Jabu with electrified jelly fish? To each his own, I guess.
With these relics and the Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf would be able to open the Door of Time and claim the Golden Power. He could go through all the trouble of getting all these items himself, but what’s the harm in letting a 7-year-old do the work and claiming the prize after the little fairy opens the door? In some countries you’d call that a brilliant tactic.
So Link opens the door to the Sacred Realm, gets himself sealed away for seven years and Ganondorf goes on to claim the Triforce. Who knew world domination could be so easy?
Well, you know how the story ends: Ganondorf claims Hyrule Castle as his own, invades all Hyrule and lives happily for seven years until Link comes back and just ruins everything. And I mean everything.
Now that you’ve ruined our lives we’re going to banish you. Kthxbai.
Ocarina of Time ends with Ganondorf being banished to the void between realms. The last time we see him in the game, he’s floating through nothingness and cursing those who have banished him. You can tell he’s yelling because the text is in all caps. Unless you use proper capitalization when you name your character, that is. Then he just kind of mutters it.
Ganondorf’s banishment is much more entertaining in Twilight Princess. Whereas Link, Zelda and the six sages merely cast light on Ganon in order to defeat him at the end of Ocarina of Time, the sages impale Ganondorf with a longsword and send him through an interdimensional portal in the Twilight Princess re-telling of the scene.
Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself, then!
Once he’s served a fair sentence in the Twilight Realm, Ganondorf convinces some chump named Zant to cross back over into Hyrule, wreak some havoc and help him come back. I don’t think many video game villains have given me nearly as many chills as the Gerudo King, and Zant’s description of Ganondorf as his god is right up there on my list of all-time creepy-yet-supremely-amazing moments from the Zelda series.
Yet another epic battle between good and evil, power and courage, ensues — this time featuring a puppet Zelda and a fight on horseback through Hyrule Field — and Ganondorf finds himself with yet another sword shoved through his chest. You know what they say: “Impale me once, shame on you. Impale me twice, shame on me.”
While Ganondorf’s portrayal in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess is almost akin to that of a Hylian Antichrist — his primary goal is to obtain the Triforce and rule the world while all the country’s citizens suffer — his monologue at the end of his Gamecube appearance paints a fairly different picture of the character.