Ganondorf: The Tragic Villain?

By Eric Kooistra
November 29, 2018

For all those that know about The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, you know of its twist at the end. “My hate…never perishes. It is born anew in a cycle with no end! I will rise again! Those like you… Those who share the blood of the goddess and the spirit of the hero… They are eternally bound to this curse. An incarnation of my hatred shall ever follow your kind, dooming them to wander a blood-soaked sea of darkness for all time!”

With Skyward Sword at the start of the Zelda timeline, this confirmed that Ganondorf, The Gerudo King is the reincarnation of Demise. Yes, Ganondorf has done many horrible things, but is he really to blame? Take Ocarina of Time for example. Ganondorf wanted to rule Hyrule. But what if I told you it wasn’t just conquest? All the other races lived happily in their respective lands. The Gorons had plenty of rocks to eat, the Zora thrived in caves and lakes of water, The Kokiri and Deku had lush green forests to frolic in, and the Hylians had a beautiful field to travel through. But what of Ganondorf’s people? The Gerudo? Barren wastelands with intense heat from the sun. Nothing could grow in such a place. Like any person in this situation, he felt wronged! Why must he and his people live and die in the desert? His plan was simple… Ally himself with the King of Hyrule. This however was a ploy to take the lands of Hyrule for himself! But you may be confused.

Why am I bringing this all up if I claim Ganondorf is not all that bad? Simple. He wanted to help his people. He just went too far in the end. Had he been reasonable, there is a chance he may have not only saved his people, but also became a good guy. Sadly, this can be chalked up to Demise’s curse. Ganondorf is Demise reborn. Forever doomed to be consumed by evil.

Wind Waker tried to paint Ganondorf in a lighter fashion. His goals were for his people here as well. Although it was his fault the people of Hyrule had to beseech the Goddesses in the first place, one simple quote he makes is far from wrong… “Your Gods destroyed you!” The Goddesses had indeed by flooding the world in an effort to stop Ganondorf. They went as far as to drown the old Hyrule to the bottom of the sea. Surely the Goddesses could have done something far less drastic? We sadly may never know… Even as the Triforce is taken from him by King Daphnes as he makes the wish to drown Hyrule further, Ganondorf just laughs. Yes, laughs! Realizing his dreams have all been in vain. Even as Link thrusts the Master Sword into his head, he just smiles and says “The Wind… Is blowing…” Really makes you feel sorry for him no? Ganondorf just can’t seem to catch a break it seems. Demise surely will forever haunt Ganondorf for eternity.

But what Calamity Ganon you ask? Surely the worst fate for Ganondorf yet. An utter abomination of Guardian machinery, malice, and a face resembling a skull. He now clings to life it seems… Thousands of years literally stewing in his malice, he is a shell of his former self. Although not outright stated or confirmed by Nintendo, Demise’s curse seems to be the likely cause for Calamity Ganon. It’s truthfully a horrible way to live. Forever cursed to live on. To oppose the Goddess Hylia and her champion, eternally reborn.

All in all, no matter how you look at it, Ganondorf is by far one of the most tragic villains in gaming history! What does the future hold now though? Can Ganondorf’s humanity ever be restored? Is he doomed to utterly come back every time to fail miserably? Perhaps… But time will only tell.

I thank you for your time in reading all of this. Here’s hoping Ganondorf will catch a break from Demise’s curse. Maybe a game could show Ganondorf’s past life to him in a vision or dream. Realizing he is the way he is due to a curse, he would surely reject it and perhaps try and do good. Who’s to say? Perhaps he is loved far more than ever due to being tragic rather than just your typical villain?

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