Tears of the Kingdom Shines Bright with Princess Zelda as the True Protagonist


Princess Zelda: The Star Power Behind Tears of the Kingdom, One of the Finest Legend of Zelda Games Yet

Please note that this article includes plot details and reveals about The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

Amidst pre-release speculations, it’s disheartening to learn that Princess Zelda isn’t a playable character in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, undoubtedly disappointing some fans. Numerous rumors and fan theories had fueled hopes for Zelda’s long-awaited playable adventure. Unfortunately, players still need to resort to other games, which have had mixed results, to assume the role of the princess.

However, there’s no need to lose all hope. Although Tears of the Kingdom doesn’t offer the opportunity to play as Zelda, she remains an exceptional character within the game.

It’s worth noting that players can complete Tears of the Kingdom with minimal encounters with Princess Zelda. The game’s opening cutscene showcases her prominent role alongside Link, but their separation quickly occurs with Ganondorf’s awakening. Zelda vanishes without a trace, leaving players wondering about her whereabouts. While occasional visions of her appear throughout the game, it’s not until the final moments of Tears of the Kingdom that we witness Zelda’s physical presence again. Depending on your gameplay choices, Zelda’s appearances may serve as the bookends of a significant adventure.

However, it is revealed that Zelda embarked on her own journey during this period. Similar to Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom features hidden memories. In this installment, these memories are triggered by discovering special items known as Dragon Tears, which lend the game its title. Finding these Dragon Tears unlocks captivating cutscenes, unraveling the story of Princess Zelda following the events of the game’s opening.

And what an extraordinary tale it unfolds. Through a captivating sequence of flashbacks, we uncover Zelda’s remarkable journey as she is transported back to the ancient era of Hyrule. There, she encounters King Rauru and Queen Sonia, who reveal that her discovery of the sacred stone within Ganondorf’s tomb, combined with her inherent abilities, enabled her to manipulate time itself. Intrigued by her predicament, they extend a heartfelt invitation for Zelda to join them, offering their assistance in her quest to return to her rightful era.

As the narrative unfolds, we witness the convergence of Zelda’s arrival with a menacing onslaught led by Ganondorf and his formidable troops. Though the assault is ultimately thwarted, Zelda possesses an unwavering conviction that Ganondorf’s vow of peace to Rauru is a deceitful ploy. Naturally, King Rauru and Queen Sonia share Zelda’s suspicions, aligning their thoughts with her own.

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In the midst of this extraordinary circumstance, Zelda discovers a kindred spirit in Queen Sonia. Sharing a profound connection through their lineage and extraordinary abilities, Sonia recognizes a latent strength within Zelda, one that Zelda herself may not fully comprehend. It becomes evident that Sonia is subtly laying the foundation for what lies ahead, anticipating the destiny that awaits Zelda.

Tragedy strikes, as it often does, casting a shadow over their hopes. Despite their precautions, Ganondorf’s treachery unfolds, claiming the life of Sonia. Overwhelmed by grief, Zelda and Rauru resolve to launch a decisive counteroffensive against Ganondorf, aiming to vanquish him once and for all. However, Zelda confides in Rauru, expressing her doubts about the possibility of permanent victory. She reminds him that she and Link encountered Ganondorf in their time, suggesting that events in the past did not prevent his awakening in the future. Rauru, though disheartened, remains determined to fulfill his duty. He contemplates the peculiar circumstances: with Link existing as Hyrule’s protector in Zelda’s era and Zelda now in Rauru’s time, perhaps her presence bears a significance beyond mere coincidence.

Rauru’s theory soon reveals surprising truths. While Rauru manages to imprison Ganondorf, the malevolent king taunts him with the inevitability of his return, echoing Zelda’s earlier concerns. Rauru asserts that the warrior Link will ultimately defeat him, but Ganondorf remains unfazed. Yet, perhaps he should be concerned. The key to Ganondorf’s defeat lies with Link, who relies on the Master Sword—a weapon destroyed at the game’s outset by a dark force.

However, fate intervenes, and the shattered remnants of the Master Sword are mysteriously transported back to Zelda. Recalling the Deku Tree’s words about the sword’s ability to be restored through exposure to sacred power, Zelda conceives a daring plan. What if she undergoes a ritual that transforms her into an ancient dragon, granting her the power to not only restore the Master Sword but also endure across the ages, delivering it to Link? Mineru, the Sage of Spirit, warns Zelda against undertaking this perilous ritual. Such a transformation would bind her existence for thousands of years, blurring the line between entity and individual. What’s more, there is the possibility that she may never be able to return to her original form.

Unwavering in her determination, Zelda proceeds with unwavering resolve. Grasping the remnants of the Master Sword, she initiates the ritual that transforms her into the revered Dragon of Light. This very same legendary creature that vigilantly safeguards Hyrule throughout the epic saga of Tears of the Kingdom, and the very same dragon from which Link eventually reclaims the fully restored Master Sword. Empowered by the sword, Link confronts Ganondorf once and for all, ultimately emerging triumphant. In a remarkable turn of events, aided by the ethereal presence of Rauru and Sonia’s spirits, Zelda undergoes a miraculous transformation, returning to her true form as she plummets from the heavens. Link, swift in his reflexes, catches her in his arms, safely bringing her back to solid ground.

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In a profoundly touching moment, Zelda reveals that she had slumbered throughout this entire time, awakening only when embraced by a “warm, loving embrace” (eliciting joy from dedicated fans). In a poignant post-credits scene, Zelda addresses Link, the Sages, and all of Hyrule’s allies, earnestly requesting their assistance in forging a new era of peace and prosperity for their cherished land. Naturally, they wholeheartedly rally by her side, eager to contribute to her noble cause.

This unexpected narrative arc evokes a surprising depth of emotion, captivating audiences with its engaging storytelling. While the Legend of Zelda games have often been lauded for their compelling narratives, Zelda’s personal journey in Tears of the Kingdom stands out as something truly special. Previous series cutscenes featuring Zelda have left a lasting impact, but none have possessed the same level of vocal expression, visual presentation, and skillful direction as these. While it may not fully compensate for the absence of a playable Zelda adventure, the cinematic quality of these sequences allows us to partake in an unforgettable odyssey that authentically captures the essence of Zelda in ways previously unexplored.

The phrase “Uniquely Zelda” resounds in my mind whenever I reflect upon Tears of the Kingdom. Throughout the years, we have witnessed numerous iterations of Princess Zelda, some more captivating than others. Yet, it is often the renditions of Zelda that stand out the most—such as in Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess—that depict her as an active participant in the adventure, occasionally revealing her prowess in combat. The implicit idea behind these portrayals is that Zelda could potentially be the protagonist of her own remarkable journey, yet that opportunity seldom materializes.

However, amidst my admiration for those depictions of Princess Zelda, Tears of the Kingdom presents a rendition of the character that holds a special place in my heart. This interpretation of Zelda exudes undeniable strength, albeit measured in distinct ways.

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Zelda emerges as a rare and compelling protagonist whose unwavering desire and ability to do good are not mere shallow emotional tactics employed to elicit sympathy in lieu of a distinct personality. In this narrative, she confronts her own inner demons, engaging in battles that ultimately fortify those surrounding her. Similar to the likes of Jean-Luc Picard or Leslie Knope, we wholeheartedly believe in and rely on Zelda’s inherent goodness because it remains steadfastly authentic and genuine.

However, Zelda doesn’t hesitate to draw upon the strengths of those around her. In return, her companions understand that their own contributions will be generously rewarded. She provides us with a glimpse of the true value of our heroic endeavors, yet she remains far more than a mere reflection of our efforts. She possesses her own unique identity within the game, and we aspire to live up to the example she sets.

The revelation that Zelda is the Light Dragon serves as a truly memorable twist, but in hindsight, perhaps it shouldn’t be entirely surprising. This revelation symbolizes the multitude of ways in which Zelda has vigilantly watched over us, infusing the series with an illuminating beacon that pierces through the darkness and offers us guidance, no matter how convoluted the path may seem. While Zelda may have occasionally appeared too quiet, for too long, she has rarely been an inconsequential presence. Deep down, our desire to play as Princess Zelda stems from a greater yearning to embody her essence.

In Tears of the Kingdom, the roles are reversed—we are accustomed to rescuing Zelda, but in this instance, Zelda rescues us. She willingly makes a sacrifice to safeguard those she holds dear, fully prepared to bear the consequences of her actions. In return, we reciprocate by offering a warm embrace that brings her back to us. Once she is restored, she embraces her unique purpose: leading the noblest of souls through a time of uncertainty and boundless potential.

One day, Zelda may step into the role of a playable protagonist in a game that truly befits her character. Until then, it is remarkably delightful to witness one of the most cinematic entries in the Legend of Zelda series demonstrate why she has always been more than just a name adorning the game’s box.

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