The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom ending explained

Sam Smith
Ganondorf in Tears of the Kingdom

Made it to the end of 2023’s Zelda adventure but unsure what it all means? Here’s the Tears of the Kingdom ending explained.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is the sequel to 2017’s superb Breath of the Wild and like its predecessor, it doesn’t disappoint. Unlike most Zelda games, Tears of the Kingdom follows on from the last game directly, rather than rebooting the series and being set in another era of Hyrule.

That means there’s a lot more lore and storyline to understand this time around as Tears of the Kingdom is the culmination of two games rather than one. Fear not, as we’ve broken down the finale of the game to explain exactly what’s going on in Tears of the Kingdom’s ending.

The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom
Tears of the Kingdom is the sequel to Breath of the Wild. But what will that mean for the ending?

The Demon King

To understand the Tears of the Kingdom ending, it’s important to know that the game dives deep into the past of Hyrule to tell its story – pitting Link and Zelda against a much older version of Ganon than the one they faced in Breath of the Wild. While we won’t delve too much into the previous game, it’s useful to have a basic knowledge of what happened.

At the start of Breath of the Wild, both Link and Zelda had already fought a bitter war against Ganon, killing him before both heroes fell into a deep slumber to await his return. Becoming a malevolent disembodied force called Calamity Ganon, the villain plunged Hyrule into darkness before he was defeated again.

This of course is not the first time a version of Link and Zelda has sealed away Ganon, as their battle has happened dozens of times across the ages. When Ganon appears, a princess and a warrior in green always rise to meet him. The origin of this is explained in Skyward Sword, but there have been others who’ve opposed him too.

The first king and queen of Hyrule formed an alliance between the Zonai race and the Hylians, with the Zonai King Rauru marrying the Hylian Queen, Sonia. When the reincarnated spirit of Demise, The Demon King, found a new host in the Gerudo warrior Ganondorf, the villain then terrorized Hyrule, murdered the queen, and was later killed and sealed away by King Rauru – at the cost of his own life.

While Ganondorf’s spirit would go on to manifest as Ganon many times across the ages, the original Ganondorf fused with the Demon King was still trapped beneath the kingdom. The villain is unleashed at the start of Tears of the Kingdom when Link and Zelda discover Ganondorf’s corpse and the Demon King begins his rampage all over again.

Zelda speedrunner completes game in 94 minutes Ganon trembles
Ganondorf is infused with the spirit of the Demon King.

Tears of the Kingdom ending explained

At the end of Tears of the Kingdom, Link is able to unite the various races of Hyrule to form the six Sages, and the team faces off against a now rejuvenated Ganondorf. They defeat his army and Link duels Ganondorf personally, besting the Gerudo in single combat. Refusing to lose again, Ganondorf allows the Demon King to possess him entirely and transforms into a colossal Dragon of Darkness.

With help from the Dragon of Light, who had been watching over the Master Sword since Link last used it, the two battle the Demon Dragon together in the skies of Hyrule. After they are victorious, the Demon King is destroyed and peace is restored to the kingdom.

Link, Zelda, and the Sages travel to a palace in the sky that resembles the first location where the Demon King was defeated in Skyward Sword. Here spirits of King Rauru and Queen Sonia congratulate the heroes before disappearing, leaving Hyrule in Link and Zelda’s care once again. While Calamity Ganon, Ganondorf, and the Demon King have all been destroyed, the curse of Demise means that the threat of Ganon will always rise again.

So, there you have it, the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom ending explained. For more Zelda content check out some of our guides below:

Sky Islands map in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom | All Geoglyph locations | Do weapons still break in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom? | All Great Fairy Fountain locations | All Skyview Tower locations | How to get Zelda’s Golden Horse | Best place to farm Zonaite | How to increase your inventory slots in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom | Bubbal Gem locations | Bargainer Statue locations | How to get Phantom Armor set | Where to get the Steering Wheel | How to respec Heart Containers and Stamina Vessels in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom | How to get Autobuild | How to get Hylian Shield

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