I’m sure most of us had a crush on a fictional character when we were kids, and for me, Link was my prince charming. Of course, I went through several different fictional crushes, but Link was the most meaningful one. What little girl didn’t dream about a dashing hero who will fight for her? That’s how it all started, but little did I know that a silly little crush would come to play such a huge part of my life.
The first Link I was introduced to was the angular Nintendo 64 model in Super Smash Bros. He always intrigued me, and although I wanted to learn more about him, lets face it, those graphics were never really that attractive. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I was a shallow six-year-old. If he wasn’t handsome, he was a no-no. If you have read my article on Ocarina of Time, you’ll know that I had stopped my interactions with the Legend of Zelda for a while before picking it up again (due to the scary stalchildren), and it wouldn’t be until the Wind Waker where I would see Link again. He was a lot cuter this time around, and not only that, but this was the game that he made me smile the most. He was cheerful, funny, and brave, and I absolutely adored him. I’d always imagine being there with him as he sailed across the oceans with his friends, but it wasn’t until I started paying more attention to Super Smash Bros Melee that I made up my mind about the Hylian hero. With the graphics updated, Link was no longer the pixelated man I once knew as a six-year old. He was incredibly handsome, and with good looks and a great personality, it was then that I decided I needed to end my “relationship’” with Zatch Bell’s Kiyo Takamine and start my journey with Link. There was only one thing in standing in my way — Zelda.
Playing the Wind Waker, I knew that there was a relationship between Link and Zelda. Whether we see it as romantic or not is up for the player to decide, but with all the Disney movies I’ve seen, I knew that the brave hero and the beautiful princess always live happily ever after. I was so jealous. I wished I was Zelda, especially when the artwork for her Twilight Princess design came out. She looked beautiful and strong; a perfect match for Link. It was so unfair! I knew from the start that my relationship with Link was only pretend, but that actually worked to my advantage. I simply decided to pretend to be Zelda. An easy fix! It was all in my head, and I never told a soul, so why not go for it? Everyone I knew just saw regular old me, but in my imagination, I was the princess of Hyrule. I did, however, try for the longest time to get my school friends to call me Zelda, but the nickname never caught on. When I played Twilight Princess, after beating the main story, I would travel Hyrule, pretending the saved Zelda was by Links side, going on silly adventures. Every episode of any television show I replaced the main characters with Link and Zelda, and it would be their (or rather our) story. Two of my best childhood friends and I also made up a game called ‘Stranded’ where we would pick Nintendo characters who would get stranded on a deserted island (or the middle of the ocean, depending on whether we were in the pool or not). I was always Zelda, waiting for Link to come and save us. That was the only time I could admit my feelings for Link aloud without anyone ever suspecting anything. When one of my friends pretended to be Link, we even had an island wedding, though Kirby did try and ruin it — I tell you, the drama was intense. Every night before I went to bed, I laid there thinking of my own new adventures that Link and I would embark on together throughout the Zelda universe. Eventually the world expanded, introducing new characters from other games like Fire Emblem, each one bringing a new story to explore. I know it sounds weird, obsessive, and maybe even little crazy (okay, a lot crazy — cut me a break, I was a kid), but little did I know that this was just my creative side starting to blossom.
These adventures of mine would last about a year or so, slowly becoming just fluffy fan fiction stories of Link and Zelda. I never stopped pairing them together in each new game that came out, but after a while, I eventually stopped trying to get between them. I no longer thought of myself as Princess Zelda, though I always found her quite the role model. Her kindness helped me become a more compassionate person, and Link’s bravery helped me become more outgoing, standing up to bullies who made fun of me and my friends because we were “nerds who liked baby stuff”. Many of their adventures still linger into my memory from time to time; In fact, some of those stories inspire the journeys of my own characters in the screenplays and stories I now write as an adult. Link is such an inspiration to me as a writer. He is a timeless character; a man of little words, but shows such bravery and true strength through his actions. He’s strong, kind, and everything that I think children and adults alike should look up to as a role model.
Though Link and I are now “broken up”, I know there’s always going to be a special place in my heart for him. People may make fun of you for loving a fictional character so much, but the truth is, in moderation, they can help us become better people. They teach us lessons, show us how to be kind, and even bring people together. As for me, Link helped bring out my creative side, and encouraged me to create my own characters and share their stories that I hope will one day touch people’s hearts as Link and the Legend of Zelda has touched mine.