When asked who their hero is, one may reply simply with an inspirational figure, but what truly defines a hero? As defined by the dictionary, a hero is a person of remarkable bravery; however, a hero consists more of than just sheer bravery. Bravery amounts to nothing unless accompanied by courage, honesty, a strive for justice, and a pure heart with intentions to spread wellbeing. Similar to Hyrule, our world is a corrupt, immoral breeding ground for evil and darkness. We have no equivalent to Link and his handy dandy Master Sword, but every person can do their part by being a beacon of hope. Link was chosen by the goddesses for a very specific reason: to drive out evil from Hyrule and restore the peace that once existed among its inhabitants.
Link has been portrayed many times as an ordinary individual who leads an eventless life, but just so happens to be whipped into a plot that leads him finding his true destiny as Hyrule’s chosen hero. Accepting this role may have been difficult to fathom for some, but Link faced his calling with no hesitation or arguments; although, rushing into a situation with arrogance isn’t a heroic act. An arrogant Link would lead to a dead Link. Driven by the desire to not only rescue Zelda from the clutches of evil but also to lead the people of Hyrule to a time of prosperity, Link throws himself in the face of danger on countless occasions as an unselfish act. A hero mustn’t thrust himself blindly into the fray. They must serve a purpose that leads them towards a life of putting the needs of others before they’re own personal desires. The Triforce embodies everything that a hero believes in—courage, wisdom, and power.
Courage, simply, doesn’t come as an inherent trait; it must be learned. Focusing on Wind Waker, imagine the situation Link is put in: Your little sister, who you love dearly, has just been kidnapped because a bunch of pirates’ leader was abducted by a bird on steroids. Even in his childish form, Link doesn’t hesitate to rescue his sister. Infiltrating the evil’s fortress weaponless, he pushes on because of the love for his sister. A hero shouldn’t need a weapon—be it a gun, sword, or microwave—to be courageous in their journey to spread goodness.
Courage isn’t the absence of fear, but rather conquering one’s fear. Young Link was surely shaking in his boots when encountering Ganondorf for the first time, but at that point his destiny was much greater than just bringing his sister back home. Conquering his fear, traveling the Great Sea, and reassembling the Triforce, Link took on the role as the Hero of Wind with a humble spirit and true courage. The voyage of a hero isn’t complete after just one lone event. They must live their entire life continuing their acts of charity in order to fulfill the true role of a hero. Link does exactly this as he sets sail with Tetra, discovering new lands and thwarting evil as he encounters it.
Imbued with the Triforce of Wisdom, Zelda leads the Hylians through desolate times under her reign as princess. Zelda sometimes collaborates with Link in his journeys to lend her wisdom, specifically during Spirit Tracks. Zelda acts as Link’s guide in Spirit and lends her advice throughout his adventure. I really enjoyed that aspect of the game in which we see Zelda actually have a greater role than getting kidnapped so Link can save her. Contrary to that, I found Fi’s wisdom and insight to be slightly irritating as most did.
Whether it is Fi, Minda, Zelda or any other guide Link encounters, it is necessary sometimes for a hero to seek the advice of others. Working together, a hero needs someone who can back them up and provide aid; only a fool would run and face danger alone. Cooperation is a vital skill needed for someone to earn the status of a hero. Time and time again, Link requires more than just himself to accomplish a task. A wonderful example of this is fulfilled during Wind Waker when Medli and Makar team up with Link to complete the Earth and Wind Temples, respectively. These tasks would have been strictly impossible without the aid of Makar and Medli. Imagine what would happen if Link was a selfish, conceited moron who blindly approached his quest; we might actually be playing “The Legend of Groose”.
According to the Sages in Twilight Princess, Ganondorf possesses the Triforce of Power by a “divine prank.” His intentions are pure evil in nature. Ganondorf seeks the destruction of the world and receives pleasure by watching innocent victims suffer under his reign. If he wished, Ganondorf could utilize this divine power to restore peace throughout Hyrule rather than destroy the very land he resides in. Greed shaped Ganondorf into the demon we know and love today. Perhaps granting him the Triforce of Power was a mistake by the Goddesses, or maybe he began his life in the same position as Link until he discovered his almighty power.
Power and greed are a destructive combination that has the power to corrupt a hero into a villain. True heroes will use their power for noble deeds, which is an act Ganondorf has clearly not practiced. There is a reason Ganondorf does not possess the Triforce of Courage or Wisdom. It’s actually quite simple: he is neither courageous nor wise. The only trait he possesses is power. He uses his minions to do his evil acts and falls at the hand of Link every time they meet. Link, on the other hand, was meant to be the true bearer of the complete Triforce. Looking back at A Link to the Past, Link uses the assembled Triforce to restore the Dark Realm back to its former glory as the Sacred Realm and restore the peace of Hyrule, once again portraying the heroic quality of destroying evil until it’s banished forever. In reality this will never be possible; therefore, there will always be a constant call for a new hero to arise and take the role as protector of Hyrule.