Who is Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom? Iconic villain explained

Eleni Thomas
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The main antagonist in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is Ganondorf – but who exactly is he and how is he related to the wider Zelda franchise? Here’s everything you need to know about the legendary villain.

Zelda fans have been excited at the prospect of longstanding villain Ganondorf returning to the franchise since the initial teaser trailer for Tears of the Kingdom was released. In the months since we’ve had a proper look at how the character will look in the Breath of the Wild sequel, as well as hearing his voice.

If you’re what to know more about who Ganondorf is and his importance to the Zelda franchise, we’ve got you covered.

For our full thoughts on Tears of the Kingdom, you can check out our review here.


Who is Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda?

In The Legend of Zelda lore, Ganondorf is the only male Gerudo to ever appear. In Ocarina of Time, it is mentioned that he is the first male to be born of the Gerudo in a hundred years. He has been given many names throughout the franchise, the most popular being King of the Gerudo, Guardian of the Desert, Dark Lord, and the King of Thieves. Just to name a few.

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Ganondorf is the main antagonist in The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker

Ganondorf is a magic user, one whose abilities are greatly amplified due to his wielding of the Triforce of Power. Often, his mission is to secure the other two pieces of the Triforce, Courage, and Wisdom, so that he can take over the whole of Hyurle and the world at large.

In Twilight Princess, he is described by one of the Ancient Sages as the following: “His name is… Ganondorf. He was the leader of a band of thieves who invaded Hyrule in the hopes of establishing dominion over the Sacred Realm. He was known as a demon thief, an evil-magic wielder renowned for his ruthlessness… But he was blind… In all his fury and might, he was blind to any danger, and thus was he exposed, subdued, and brought to justice. Yet… By some divine prank, he, too, had been blessed with the chosen power of the gods.”

In regards to his appearance, Ganondorf’s most iconic feature is his flaming red hair. While his design has changed across various games, one thing that never has is what has now become his iconic red locks.

All Ganondorf appearances in The Legend of Zelda franchise prior to Tears of the Kingdom

Throughout the history of the Zelda franchise, Ganon has been mentioned and featured in a variety of different forms. In Breath of the Wild, Calamity Canon strikes a strong resemblance to the character, as does Demise in Skyward Sword. 

And while Ganondorf in his exact form has been mentioned in other Zelda games such as Phantom Hourglass, he has only ever appeared in three games. First in Ocarina of Time, then Windwaker, and most recently, Twilight Princess back in 2006.

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While Ganondorf may not be in Breath of the Wild, Calamity Ganon is a more wild version of the character

It’s safe to say that fans have been waiting for his return for almost two decades, with the character now finally back with his signature flaming red hair in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

Why is Ganondorf important to The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom?

Ganondorf has always posed a major threat to Link and Zelda, given that he is always wielding the Triforce of Power. As a result, the only way he can ever be defeated is by Link and Zelda combing the Triforce of Courage and Wisdom, working together to take him down before he takes over Hyrule for good.

For the first time ever, Ganondorf will also be a voiced character, with Critical Role’s Matthew Mercer confirmed to be taking on the voice of Ganondorf in Tears of the Kingdom. 

He is also the figure that introduced the Gerudo into the Zelda franchise, a race that has since become an important part of Breath of the Wild and other Zelda titles.

In Tears of the Kingdom, his return could pose trouble for Riju, the leader of the present-day Gerudo. Given that Ganondorf is often portrayed as the King of the Gerudo, his reemergence in Tears of the Kingdom could see the Gerudo turn against Link or, alternatively, be wiped out by Ganondorf in a show of power.

What does this mean for the future of The Legend of Zelda franchise?

Ganondorf’s return in Tears of the Kingdom also opens up the door for a greater connection to previous Zelda games. While Breath of the Wild is set in Hyrule and includes many races and characters from the franchise, the game was largely marketed as a way to merge the previous split timelines of the Zelda franchise.

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Ganondorf could have a larger role in Zelda moving forward

Ganondorf’s appearance in Tears of the Kingdom will likely once again fuel debates as to when and where Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom fall in the Zelda timeline, while also offering up the chance to see even more iconic locations and moments from previous games appear.

After more The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom explainers and guides? Dexerto’s got you covered down below:

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