Welcome, weary traveler, to a new and exciting series that aims to celebrate the triumphs of female video game characters.
“Just female characters?” you may scoff. “Why not all characters?”
Good question. The answer is because I say so.
But real talk, so often female characters are either glossed over and tossed to the wayside or Rule 35’d and so overly sexualized that you don’t see a heroine anymore, but an object.
And that’s all well and good (it kinda isn’t but hey, I can’t stop you) but as someone whose gaming experience is made by well-rounded, well-written, and impactful female characters, I want to go deeper.
I want to showcase and appreciate female characters for more than just their design or their relationship to male characters. I want to celebrate what their existence has done for all gamers, but especially girl gamers, who can and will see themselves in these characters. And I want to share this celebration with people who love these characters as much as I do, or maybe even give someone else a chance to see a certain character in a new light.So, enough with the exposition, let’s get this show on the road. This is Another Castle. You know how they always say “Sorry, bro, your princess is in another castle.” Well, they’re right. They’re all here, in our Hall of Game Fame.
I struggled for a while with deciding who should be the gal to kick off this series. I knew she had to be famous and she had to be bad-ass, someone who’s been kicking ass and taking names without breaking a nail since the dawn of games.
So naturally, I chose Zelda.
Name: Princess Zelda
[Hectan: You’ve killed me!] “Good!”
-Princess Zelda, TLOZ: Ocarina of Time
Occupation: Princess of Hyrule, holder of the Triforce of Wisdom
Aliases: Sheik, Tetra
Although there are several different Zelda’s throughout the series’ chronology, one thing we can always count on no matter what timeline she’s in is that Zelda will be selfless and loyal to the people of Hyrule. She is very protective over the people she cares about and is willing to do anything to keep them out of harm’s way, which might mean sneaking out of the castle to join Link on a journey or refusing to just sit by while the final battle goes down.
She is a kind and benevolent ruler, but some Zelda incarnates have been shown to be headstrong, cunning, and even a bit mischievous, which has allowed her to get herself out of some sticky situations even without Link’s help.
Because she’s the holder of the Triforce of Wisdom, Zelda possesses good insight and judgement and often shows wisdom beyond her years.
Besides telepathy and precognition, several Zelda incarnations have shown to wield some degree of magical abilities (in fact, it’s theorized that Zelda may have used her magical skills to change her appearance when she was disguised as Sheik in OoT.) Many Zelda’s also appear skilled in archery and to some, degree, swordsmanship.
Games she’s been featured in:
The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, A Link to the Past, Link’s Awakening, Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons, Four Swords, The Wind Waker, Four Swords Adventures, The Minish Cap, Twilight Princess, Spirit Tracks, Skyward Sword, A Link Between Worlds, The Phantom Hourglass, Game & Watch: Zelda, Super Smash Bros.: Melee, Brawl, Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, Hyrule Warriors, was also featured in TLOZ Animated Series, comic, and manga
Why she rocks:
Zelda has proven on more than one occasion that although she does get kidnapped and needs to be rescued every now and again, she’s far from helpless. Zelda is resourceful and cunning – something that has saved Link’s skin time and time again while on his quest to defeat Ganondorf.
When Link doesn’t come to her rescue in Ocarina of Time, Zelda disguises herself as one of the Sheikah to escape and rescue Princess Ruto before teaching Link songs to help him through his quest.
Zelda is also very selfless and puts the needs of others and her people before her own. She will risk her own safety to make sure Link and others are out of harm’s way and she often finds it in herself to forgive others who have done her wrong before.
Why you should play her game:
Besides the fact that The Legend of Zelda is one of, if not the most popular and beloved video game series of all time? Although the games all have the same formula (Link, Zelda, Ganon, sword, Triforce,) they each have different mechanics and ways that the story unfolds.
The mythos of this world is well thought out and interesting, which really takes this game from a normal “save the princess” tale to something much deeper.
Also, it’s a classic.
Why we’re glad she’s out here reppin’ for the ladies:
Zelda is an important figure in female video game culture not just because she exists as a female, but because of her place in the mythos of the Zelda series.
Zelda, unlike many other princesses, isn’t abducted because Ganondorf wants to join the Mile-Hylian Club.
Zelda is the holder of one-third of the Triforce, of which Ganondorf needs all three in order to get his wish for world domination granted, yadda yadda, angsty male power fantasies and so on.
Ganon’s interest in Zelda is purely goal-oriented and while this is not much less objectifying, it’s, first of all, a nice change of pace, and secondly, an important break from the normal “save-the-princess-get-a-kiss” motivation of many other games (Just to be clear, I have mad love for Peach, I’m just making a point.)
Also, since Zelda is the name they give to any Hylian princess that’s born into the Royal Family, you don’t just have one Zelda spanning across different games or even across timelines. Zelda’s are an ancestry, not just a singularly occurring character, so if you want to play through the adventures of a badass matriarch whose descendants or ancestors appear throughout time and space, this is a good game for you.
Fun fact: In The Adventure of Link, it is stated that all of the princesses in Hyrule are to be named Zelda, ever since the first Princess Zelda (who, according to the Zelda timeline, is the Princess Zelda from TLOZ: Skyward Sword), so the Zelda in one game won’t be the same as another!
I hope you enjoyed my celebration of a true Gamer Hall of Famer and I hope I did Her Majesty justice.
In the meantime, do you have a fave femme fatale? Is she such a knock-out that your HP plummets to zero? Do you want a gratuitous and thorough analysis of why she should be everyone else’s favorite too?
If you answered yes to these questions, then I want to meet her and write about her! Drop me a comment with her name and what game she’s from and I’ll get to work!
I’m looking for ladies who are fearless, ferocious, and fabulous. Don’t assume that because she needs to be rescued, she’s not a good female character. We love all kinds here.
Another Castle will update weekly, which is just enough time to play all the games your new favorite character is featured in (you’ll be fine if you don’t sleep.)