Let's take a look at Zelda, the Princess of Hyrule, in all her interpretations. For over 25 years, the Legend of Zelda has featured Zelda, Princess of Hyrule, best known simply as Princess Zelda who plays an integral role in the history of Hyrule.
Just as there are multiple Links, there are multiple Zeldas throughout the series. Generally close in age to her respective Link, Zelda is most often portrayed as a child, but has been portrayed as an adult on several occasions.
Similar to Princess Peach, Zelda began her role in the Legend of Zelda series as that of a damsel in distress, the ultimate goal and reward for the player controlled Link. As a affiliate of the royal family of Hyrule, Zelda is very much simply a princess in so much that she lives in a castle and gets taken hostage quite often.
However, where the character of Princess Zelda becomes truly fascinating is her evolution later in the series. Rather than simply a kidnapped prize, Zelda would actually aid in the development of the narrative (in her role as a prophet or as one of the seven legendary sages) or even take part in it.
In this physical assistance, Zelda disguises herself as a ninja-like guise called Sheik. She crossdresses as the male ninja so that she is able to guide Link both without Link know it is her, but also to avoid being taken hostage by Ganondorf, the game's primary antagonist. In her ninja concealment, Zelda teaches Link new skills that guide him on his quest.
Zelda as a character is able to do something that few video game characters are truly capable of, she develops over time (otherwise the character remains relatively the same, only changed by the experience within the story.) In Zelda's case, it is not the plot, but seemingly the increasingly important inclusion of a strong female character within gaming that leads to her development. Zelda is able to break the traditional princess construct in helping the game's hero on his quest.
The self reflexive nature of Zelda's development as a character allows her to take a position that no other video game character (male or female) has been able to achieve as of yet.
As technology progresses, so does the world of Zelda, adopting new style and changing the look of our damsel in distress. Join us, as we take a closer look at Zelda and her many interpretations over the years.
What's your favourite version of Princess Zelda?