The Legend of Zelda has one hero (and no, it’s not Zelda): Link. But as with any entry in Nintendo’s iconic adventuring franchise, the Link of BoTW has distinctive elements that separate him from his other versions in prior games.
Throughout the years, Link has been the main protagonist and, although the timelines and realities may change, the lone champion of Hyrule remains the same, possessing the eternal Spirit of the Hero. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (BoTW) continues this tradition.
Discover the things that make The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s Link different from his namesakes. Whether it is his backstory, to his quest to protect the land against the corruption, and to the hero’s abilities that are unique in BoTW that aid him in his epic adventure, it’s all in this ultimate character guide.
The Link of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a dedicated Knight of Hyrule. Although not born to the noble cases of the kingdom, Link followed in the footsteps of his father who was also a Knight of Hyrule. However, Link rose through the ranks beyond even his father to become the Champion and designated protector of Princess Zelda.
Although not much is revealed about Link’s life, certain diary entries in the game provide glimpses to Link’s character and experiences. From Mipha’s Diary, we learn that Link traveled to Zora’s Domain along with other Hylians when he was only four years old to answer the call by King Rhoam. Already an exceptional swordsman at that age, Link would later acquire the Master Sword. He is described as a curious and energetic boy, although also reckless. However, he would become more aloof as he grew older, while still retaining his inner kindness.
Zelda’s diary expanded on the hero’s change to a more distant and silent warrior. In it, the Princess of Hyrule describes Link’s colder demeanor as a coping mechanism. Link decided he had to compartmentalize his emotions in order to do what he has to which is bear the burden of being the Champion of Hyrule, and protect Princess Zelda in the face of overwhelming odds.
And this would ultimately be the case, as Link defended Hyrule against Calamity Ganon and the Dvivine Guardians corrupted by Malice, Link suffered grave injuries. He would lay in the Resurrection Chamber in the Shrine of Resurrection for 100 years, while Princess Zelda sealed Ganon in Hyrule Castle, becoming trapped herself in order to keep the evil being at bay.
At the beginning of the game, Link awakens from his rejuvenating sleep after a century. But he suffers amnesia from the recovery. This causes Link to revert to a more lighthearted and approachable persona. One personality quirk he retains throughout the game is being a bit of a glutton, always looking for the next great meal.
Soon after reviving, the amnesiac Link is tasked by a wise Old Man with saving the world from the inevitable escape of Calamity Ganon. Given the Sheikah Slate, Link must use it to locate the Divine Beasts and collect Runes that will grant him the abilities he will need to prevent the resurgence of The Great Calamity.
Feats and flight
As a Knight of Hyrule and the chosen Champion, BotW Link displays exceptional combat prowess and multiple utility skills in the course of the game.
- Swordsmanship - Most of the melee weapons in BotW are swords, which Link excels in, particularly the indestructible Master Sword.
- Weapons Master – Although he is most skilled with a sword, BotW Link can wield other weapons expertly, such as Spears, Bows, and Shields. In Breath of the Wild, Link will be able to collect a wide variety of weapons differentiated by their construction and origins (Gerudo, Shiekah, Korok, Royal Guard, Royal, Rito, and Zora).
- Flurry Rush – In Breath of the Wild, Link can perform a series of swift strikes called a Flurry Rush when he successfully dodges an attack at the last possible second before he is hit. When timed correctly, this devastating counterattack can deal impressive damage on an enemy, much more than the standard single-tap blows.
- Marksman – BotW Link is equally deadly at range by wielding a bow. Link can fire a volley of arrows in quick succession with unerring accuracy. He is also able to wield different types of arrows, from the ordinary Wooden Arrow, to magical Fire Arrows and Shock Arrows, to the explosive Bomb Arrows, and the Ancient Arrows that are necessary to defeat Guardians.
- Strength – Link in Breath of the Wild displays immense physical strength. He is able to push large boulders that weigh tons and can generate shockwaves when he strikes down with a heavy weapon.
- Stealth – BotW Link can crouch and move slowly to avoid detection. This can be done while hostile enemies have their backs turned away from him.
- Paragliding- With a paraglider, Link can use it to drop from a great height and glide through the air over great distances.
- Horseback riding – BotW Link can tame a Wild Horse by sneaking through Stealth. Once tamed and brought to a Stable, Link can use it as a proper mount for traveling.
- Spirit Abilities – Link can call upon special blessings that have powerful effects, but require a period of time to recharge.
- Daruk’s Protection – creates a temporary barrier that protects against damage, and in some cases deflect it such as Guardian beams.
- Mipha’s Grace – can revive BotW Link to full health and increase his health for the duration.
- Revali’s Gale – controls the winds to carry Link skywards.
- Urbosa’s Fury – summons a circle of light around Link that calls lightning to strike everything with the sphere’s range.
All these Spirit Abilities take hours of in-game time to replenish. This recharging period can be reduced by upgrading the ability or through spending time in Hyrule Castle.
- Runes - By collecting certain Runes into his Sheikah Slate, BotW Link can create magical effects.
- Camera – Link can take pictures of equipment, items, and enemies he encounters. These pictures are collected into the Hyrule Compendium, providing Link with information.
- Cryosis – with this Rune, BotW Link can create ice pillars using nearby bodies of water.
- Magnesis – Link can use this Rune to attract, lift, and carry metallic objects.
- Remote Bomb – creates either a cube or a sphere-shaped bomb that can be triggered from a distance.
- Stasis – when Link uses this Rune on an object, it stands still in time. Link can strike it with his Weapon multiple times, thus generating a huge amount of kinetic energy once the static effect ends, causing it to move with great force and speed.
All these abilities are necessary for Link to accomplish tasks and defeat enemies in order to succeed in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Links to the past
If you have been a longtime fan of Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda franchise, you will no doubt know how convoluted its continuities can be. And that is most reflected on its hero, Link.
For one thing, it is generally accepted that there is only one Link. Meaning in every adventure, from the first Legend of Zelda on the NES to the Nintendo Switch’s Breath of the Wild, it has always been the same Link who embodies the Spirit of the Hero. Truly, he is the epitome of the timeless champion of good that Zelda fans have come to expect.
However, finding the linear continuity of the Zelda games has always been a challenge. There are multiple attempts to explain how each one connects to the others, and when each game falls in the actual timeline of the lore within the games. For instance, the general understanding is the SNES title The Legend of Zelda: A Link To the Past is the LAST story that all other branching timelines converge to, and every game before and after it canonically happens prior to (or in the case of A Link Between Worlds, concurrent with) the events in that game.
Thus, Breath of the Wild would technically occur before A Link to the Past. But where exactly it happens in the central timeline that connects the entire saga of The Legend of Zelda is up for even more debate. Some theories suggest it is after Phantom Hourglass (2007) while others say it is after Spirit Tracks (2009). Still others have claimed BotW is after Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (1987). And still others claim that BoTW is a variant timeline that is not directly connected to the main continuity but entirely its own, self-contained setting.
Regardless of which is the correct interpretation, it is no doubt BotW Link will be making another appearance soon. A direct sequel to Breath of the Wild (referred to simply as Breath of the Wild 2) is on the way this 2022.
Still interested in more of the best guides for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Check out our list of in-depth articles.