Companions Over the Years

POSTED ON:  September 16, 2023

by: teacuptomes

With The Legend of Zelda series being over 35 years old now, our hero Link has traveled through Hyrule - and even other lands! His first few adventures were solo - lonely dangerous explorations of countryside fallen to the overtaking of the Demon King, Ganon.  Through Hyrule’s Overworld, transformed as a rabbit in the Dark World, were often his solo adventures. We don’t even see NPCs until his second adventure - the RPG-esque Zelda II: Adventure of Link. These little lives pepper Link’s adventures from there on out - with their own lives and difficulties that Link assists in side quests. All to save Hyrule, Princess Zelda and the Triforce from Ganon and his other evil counterparts.

But even more prevalent in Link’s adventures was the addition of companions to his journeys. We start seeing companions in Link’s travels with Ocarina of Time’s Navi: a companion fairy assigned to the assumed-Kokiri Link. She did her best - aiding in the game’s ground-breaking mechanic of z-targeting, with helpful quips for a potential enemy weakness, or a clue to how to progress for a lost player. Unfortunately, this did end up leading to the fanbase having a mixed reaction to her. Some love her, and some have a more… negative response to the little blue orb. 

We see several more companion fairies in the Zelda franchise: Majora’s Mask’s Tatl, and Phantom Hourglass’s Ciela. They lead us on their own stories as well - complex and parts of a whole that lead to the beloved lore of the Zelda series. 

The earlier companions had smaller roles - a little piece slotted into a side story. But as the Zelda series grew and evolved, so did the companions’ roles in the story.

Our first major player in the plot-involvement side of companions is the King of Red Lions; as many players learn that he is the lost sunken land of Hyrule’s ruler, King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule. King Daphnes is the ruler of a fallen Hyrule drowned by the gods to rid the hero-less land of the great evil after it’s unsealed. King Daphnes takes on the form of a boat named the King of Red Lions, and our sweet child Link rides through the Great Sea in his boat, obtaining a couple of sail upgrades away, and making use of the Clawshot items to fish up items from the Hyrule’s sunken surface.

In the sequel to Wind Waker, the DS’s Phantom Hourglass has the companion Linebeck - a cowardly sea captain with very typical pirate habits of loving gold and having spurned partners that try to kill you. Linebeck grows a spine over the course of the game, coming into his own place quite well, and proving to be a seaworthy captain.

We have Ezlo, Link’s cursed hat companion in Minish Cap; so much to the point the name of the game is who Ezlo is. Minish Cap is a charming, underrated title that the beloved adversary Vaati hails from.  Ezlo had been cursed, taking on the form of the titular Minish Cap. He provides Link with a grandfatherly wisdom to their progress. However, with Capcom on the payroll for creation of Minish Cap, it is likely a slim chance before we see hair or tail of the titular Minish again.

Ezlo was not the last cursed partner. We have a fan favourite, memorable partner in Midna, from Twilight Princess. Our favourite imp starts the game off as a snarky, snide character that slowly warms up to her Link. She’s a major player in our plot - and being the titular Twilight Princess. Midna ruled over her people of the Twili, and traveled with Link through a land covered in walls of twilight, altering anyone human and Hylian into spirits, paused from further movement. Midna was cursed by the game’s antagonist, Zant. 

For those with love-hate relationships with the fandom, we have Fi - known for her repetitive assistance in Skyward Sword. Her irritating occurrences were given the ability to skip over with Skyward Sword HD. Fi is the spirit of the Goddess Sword, a blade crafted by the goddess Hylia to be used by her Chosen Hero, Link. After battles and trials, Link hones the Goddess Sword into the Goddess White Sword, the Goddess Longsword… and finally, an unblessed Master Sword. It reaches its full potential after Zelda reveals the truth to her best friend and blesses the blade to meet her full potential of the Sword of Evil's Bane. 

At the end of Fi and Link's battles, ending the Demon King Demise, Fi enters a sleep to seal Demise away and truly eradicate him. Fast forward to an unknown era in the future - the legend has faded to myth and forgotten, only mere remnants left to time. The land of Hyrule is settled by the Zonai, an ancient race that descended from the heavens, and for even more time for that to pass, at least ten thousand years. Hyrule is a ghost of its former self, ruined lands with the surviving peoples rebuilding little oases amongst the Great Calamity’s decimation.

Companions in this time are smaller parts, fragments of selves - a power or avatar - that accompany our hero in Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom. They are the parts of Champions that lost their lives to the unsealed Calamity and avatars of new Sages. 

As for the future of Zelda, who will be our companions? Will they be only small parts of a whole, or major consequences of the events that start off the battle that Link does need to fight? Only time will tell. I personally hope that they’ll be beloved additions to the current cast of colourful companions.