The reason why every princess is named Zelda explained in Hyrule Historia

In every Zelda game there is a princess of the land carrying that name. Some of us have wondered just why it is that in each era there is a princess named Zelda. But those familiar with the blacksheep of the Zelda franchise, The Adventure of Link, already had the answer.

They will remember that the backstory presented in the instruction manual states that after the tragedy of the sleeping princess, all royal born females were to be given that name. This, however, leaves a problem when we take the timeline into consideration and see that a great many princesses were named Zelda before her. Those who wondered if this could possibly be reconciled or if it was a mistake on Nintendo’s part can rest assured that the answer has at long last been resolved on page 105 in Hyrule Historia.

The tome of knowledge explains that while it’s true that many royal females were named “Zelda” after the legendary one featured in Skyward Sword, it never became a stipulation that they all must be until the tragedy spoken of in The Adventure of Link‘s backstory. Until then it was a matter of choice.
The actual passage (as translated on GlitterBerri’s site) from Hyrule Historia reads:

The First Princess Zelda
Even in the past, there had been princesses named ‘Zelda’ after the legend, but the Princess Zelda of this time was the first Princess Zelda of the stipulation of always using the name Zelda. Every princess born afterwards shall be named Zelda.”

Now we can finally set one oft-debated piece of Zelda trivia to bed, and thank Nintendo for having at last made good sense of it.

Source: GlitterBerri

  • Zachattack8888

    Cool! I still need a copy of this book really bad. :/
    Thanks for keeping us updated with the information from the book, Zelda Universe!!
    May the Goddesses be with you.

  • somecrazyguy

    i already knew this since skyward sword came out.

  • Zelda is always an intriguing character, no matter what form she takes. Especially to her last role in SS.

    • X-factor

      You mean her first 😉

  • @TheBoDelicious

    Stop hating on the Adventure of Link!

    • bastian

      Who is hating on The Adventure of Link? This article certainly isn't, because I wrote it and I LOVE TAOL.

  • Callin

    Wouldn't that only apply to AoL's timeline, though? In the other two it's still a choice?

    • Twilit_Dragon

      Did you even read this article??? What a douchebag ;/

      • Chris Jones

        Well, no he aint a douchebag, as Adventure of link happened in one side of the timeline, if Link failed in OOT. So in the timeline that happened if he suceeeded in OOT, not all princesses would have been named zelda. if you read this along side the timeline like i did, it makes sense.

    • Flyingshyguy

      The "Sleeping Zelda" happened before the timeline split

      • MoldyClay87

        No… it happened in "The Era of Decline", which happens AFTER Link's Awakening and BEFORE Zelda 1.

        The legend from AoL only affects Zelda 1 in the "Failed" timeline.

  • While playing SS, I thought for sure that they were setting up SS's sleeping Zelda to end up being the sleeping Zelda from AOL…but I guess it's be kind of depressing if SS Link failed to wake her up and wait until the complete end of the timeline before she was awakened 😛

  • OoTFan1225

    People are fighting over a time line?Nintendo has already said that there is no timeline.They have said every game Link dies but a new kid/young man(for SS and TP) rises and takes his ancestor,Link,place.

    • motovres

      This goes without saying, but someone must: WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN? THE TIMELINE IS OUT DUDE!

    • MoldyClay87

      Besides the fact that that never happened, and that several games make it obvious that it's the same Link as a previous game, you have to be trolling or live under a rock.

      Nintendo released the official timeline.

  • Ashmic

    So they're all named that because of the skyward sword one?

    • MoldyClay87


      Basically all of the Zeldas are named after the original Zelda, but it is just by chance. There's not "oh, you have to name your princess 'Zelda'".

      But then sometime between Link's Awakening and Zelda 1, the Zelda from Zelda 2 gets put under a spell and the King of that era decides that it is now a rule that all Zeldas from then on MUST be named Zelda.

      However, as far as the games go, that 'rule' has ONLY affected the Zelda from the original NES game.

      • X-factor

        That doesn't sound right… I thought the original Zelda from Zelda 1 was put to sleep by a magician before, if not at the beginning, of Zelda 2. And the Prince that was to be king made the law and it only affected the second Zelda which was in Zelda 2, since Zelda 2 came after 1 not only technically but also chronically. Am I wrong?

        • bastian

          Think about it this way: A Link to the Past occurs, then Link's Awakening, then the BACKSTORY to TAoL, then the events of TLoZ, and then finally the events of TAoL.

          • X-factor

            Ah, thanks Bastian, It all makes sense now 🙂

  • MoldyClay87

    Unfortunately, the headline and people not reading properly is leading to people not comprehending the confusing wording (and the fact Nintendo keeps referring to it as "The First Zelda") saying that the Legend from Zelda 2 explains why ALL of the Zeldas are named so, even though it ONLY explains the Zelda in "The Legend of Zelda".

    I know the article here outlines it, but I saw that people on GoNintendo weren't grasping the explanation.

    The "First Zelda" tragedy happens between LA and Zelda 1, so it doesn't affect any of the other Zeldas in the other two timelines or the Zeldas leading up to Link's Awakening.

    The Historia basically says "Yeah, there were other Princess Zeldas named after SS Zelda, but those were all by chance. This Zelda started a tradition (that lasts -one- game) of always naming the princess Zelda"

    In case people still don't get it.

  • veeronic

    …. we've known this for 20 years.

  • LastCenturion

    I already came to this conclusion years ago. It was never going to be possible to have AoL's BS before ALttP.

  • ijuin

    Skyward Sword establishes that Zelda is the incarnation of Hylia, and it is implied that all of the Zeldas and Links who fight great evils are likewise incarnations/reincarnations of the ones from Skyward Sword. How this works when there are two generations of Zelda or Link living at once is not clear (e.g. Tetra being the grandmother of the Zelda in Spirit Tracks–are they both the incarnation of Hylia, or does the younger only take on this mantle when the older dies, or what?).

    Anyway, this all means that any girl who is the true incarnation of Hylia will be Zelda, even if she is not an actual princess (e.g. like Tetra).

    • Red Bear LuX

      Think of it more as a metaphorical reincarnation. Not an ACTUAL this is the same person born again reincarnation.

      I don't know if anyone watches or reads Naruto, but sort of like the 'Will of Fire' how it is passed on from generation to generation. Each Link and Zelda although not all related to one another possess qualities that the Triforce responds too.

  • LinkofAges

    Wow. That's amazingly simple and genius. I just wish that they said that it was fate or destiny that every time Hyrule was in danger, the princess of these former games were named Zelda.

  • Jara

    It would have been so easy for them to say the sleeping Zelda was the one from Skyward Sword, who was for some reason never rescued by Link, and have the prince who started the tradition be Groose or something. But of course, they gotta go with a lame reason instead.

    • Well in the AoL backstory they say that the Prince conspired with the Wizard to get the information about the Triforce from Zelda….and I really doubt after SS's events that Groose would turn towards evil to get power…not to mention I'm assuming that the Prince and Zelda were brother/sister, which was pretty much not the case with Groose/Zelda (if it was the things Groose say about Zelda are pretty awkward to say the least o_O)

  • zeldafan69

    My thought to the fact that on the other two timelines the Zeldas are named Zelda out of chance:
    Could it be that a Zelda is born around the time when evil seems to stir gain instead of it just being a coincidence? And those are the only events the games detail? If that is so, that means that in between the games, the princesses aren't necessarily named Zelda, right? Sorry, I'm just brain-farting right now… :S