|The Legend of Zelda character|
|First appearance||The Legend of Zelda (1986)|
|Last appearance||Cadence of Hyrule (2019)|
|Created by||Shigeru Miyamoto|
Ganon,[a][b] also known as Ganondorf[c] in his Gerudo form, is a fictional character and the main antagonist of Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda video game series. Ganon is the final boss in many Zelda titles.
In the games, the character alternates between two forms: a massive, demonic boar-like creature and a tall, heavily built Gerudo, a race of humanoid desert nomads. Ganon is the archenemy of the series' main protagonist, Link, and the leader of the Gerudo. His specific motives vary from game to game, but most often involve capturing Princess Zelda and planning to conquer Hyrule and the world at large.[d][e] To this end, he seeks the Triforce, an omnipotent artifact that grants any wish its bearer desires, and usually manipulates several other villains to realize his ambitions.
In most games, he possesses the Triforce of Power, a third of the full Triforce that gives him godlike strength, boundless mystical power, and invulnerability to all but the most powerful sacred weapons, such as the Master Sword. The character has been well received by critics, becoming one of the most popular and recognizable villains in gaming.
Ganon has two basic forms that appear throughout the series: one that is his large, burly, boar-headed form, while the other is his humanoid Gerudo form. In the original The Legend of Zelda, A Link to the Past, Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, Four Swords Adventures, and A Link Between Worlds, he is depicted as a blue, porcine biped wielding either a large sword or a trident. Ocarina of Time marks the first appearance of his humanoid form, the physically imposing and armor-clad Lord of Gerudo. He displays physical traits typical of Gerudo: olive dark skin, amber eyes, and red hair. Ganondorf is around 230 cm (7 ft. 6½ in.) and is around a foot taller than Link and other characters. His Gerudo form reappears in The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess.
Ganon was originally known as "Hakkai" during development of the original The Legend of Zelda, in reference to a humanoid pig character known as Zhu Bajie (Cho Hakkai in Japanese) from the 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West. The character is given the surname "Dragmire" in the English version of the A Link to the Past instruction manual. These names have not appeared in any of the games or other manuals, though the name "Ganondorf Dragmire" is used once on the official Zelda website.
Ganon is named inconsistently throughout the series. In the Japanese versions of the first three games, his name is anglicized as "Gannon". This spelling appears in two Western releases: the original The Legend of Zelda, and the non-canonical Zelda's Adventure. Since The Adventure of Link, the name is given as "Ganon". A Link to the Past uses "Ganon", while Ocarina of Time predominately uses "Ganondorf".
For the development of Ocarina of Time, Ganon was conceived by character designer Satoru Takizawa. Takizawa had imagined Ganon as a "crooked and complex thief, who was basically an all-around abominable human being". However, script director Toru Osawa claimed that this image was "not the case". He began to speak of how Ganondorf was meant to have "parts where he is rather good", comparing him to the character of Raoh in Fist of the North Star. With this idea in mind, Takizawa created a tentative model of Ganondorf based on actor Christopher Lambert. The end result of Ganondorf was very different from this model, with three forms of the character being created: one of Ganondorf in the beginning; one of Ganondorf seven years later, with longer hair; and one of Ganon in the end. Since Ganon appeared as a boar-like creature, Takizawa decided that Ganondorf should transform into such at the end of the game, despite the opinions of other staff members. He decided on making Ganon a beast "with the feeling of a pig" to reference A Link to the Past.
Ganon / Ganondorf is depicted as the ultimate embodiment of evil. His roles range from plotting politicians to a deformed madman to a superpowered entity, sometimes in the course of a single game. Ganondorf is very arrogant, believing himself to be always in the right. Because of this, he never considers anything to be a threat and appears to put minimal effort into fighting, unless he believes it too important. Unsurprisingly, Ganondorf is often in total disbelief when he is defeated. He is not completely beyond sympathy, though; in Wind Waker, Ganondorf claims that his initial motives for seeking the Triforce and conquering Hyrule were out of jealousy for the lush lands of the kingdom, having grown up in a land where death from the elements was a common occurrence.
He is portrayed in Ocarina of Time as an ambitious, cunning manipulator, gaining the king's trust before betraying him and using Link (at the last minute) to open the Door of Time, which allows him to access the Triforce. In Twilight Princess, Ganondorf is stated as "the Scourge of Hyrule". In The Wind Waker, Ganon, trying to find Zelda, ordered a mind-controlled bird to capture twelve-year-old, blonde-haired Hylian girls.
Powers and abilities
Ganon / Ganondorf is a formidable warrior and sorcerer,[f] and he is skilled enough a swordsman to combat Link.[g] Despite his size, Ganondorf is very agile and is capable of dodging sword attacks and arrows. The Triforce of Power, a powerful artifact of the Kingdom of Hyrule, can make Ganon larger. In Ocarina of Time, he encloses Princess Zelda in a red force-field and teleports her to his castle. In Twilight Princess, He also uses the Triforce of Power to open portals.
He has also survived events as severe as having an entire castle collapse on him[h] and being impaled by a sword, due to various abilities of the Triforce of Power. Once injured, he can be quickly thrown into a portal, taking him either to the Hidden Realm, or the Gap Between Dimensions, but this is often not effective, since he can escape, either by using the Triforce of Power to open portals, or by creating an opening in a thin spot in the continuum of the Gap Between Dimensions.
Ganon first appears in The Legend of Zelda, in which he raids Hyrule with his mercenary criminal army, blockading all of the races of Hyrule—therefore keeping all help from the Hylians—before attacking Hyrule Castle and stealing the Triforce of Power. He makes no major appearance in the sequel Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. He later appeared in the Super Nintendo Entertainment System game A Link to the Past, trapped in a place called the Dark World—formerly called the Hidden Realm before Ganon was exiled in it. The game focuses on Ganon's attempt to escape from the Dark World and conquer Hyrule.
He makes a major appearance in Ocarina of Time as Ganondorf; in the chronology of the series's story, it is his earliest appearance. In Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf schemes to take the Triforce, Hyrule's National Artifact, to take over Hyrule and "reform" it.
Ganon appears in the GameCube game The Wind Waker, trying to take his revenge on the royal family by kidnapping Zelda. In Twilight Princess, Ganondorf is the catalyst to the Twilit Invasion, allying himself with the Usurper King Zant to take over Hyrule.
In the Nintendo DS game Phantom Hourglass, the direct sequel to The Wind Waker, Ganondorf appears in a cameo in the opening sequence that summarizes the plot of the latter game.
In the Nintendo Wii game Skyward Sword, the original form of Ganon makes an appearance in the game's climax, in which he is revealed to be the god known as the Demon King Demise. Heavily resembling his human form of Ganondorf, Demise is confirmed as the original incarnation of the character in Hyrule Warriors.
In the Nintendo 3DS game A Link Between Worlds, Ganon makes an appearance, though his past actions and influence greatly affect the course of events throughout the story and serves as the inspiration for Yuga. Yuga summons him back from his seal with the power of the seven sages, previously trapped within paintings by Yuga, and fuses with Ganon to become Yuga Ganon, but is defeated by Link. Ganon is mentioned by several characters and old legends, which describe his actions during the events of A Link to the Past, and his prior invasion between the events of Link's Awakening and A Link Between Worlds.
Ganondorf appears in Breath of the Wild, now as Calamity Ganon. He faced opposition when the kingdom of Hyrule uncovered their ancestors' lost technology in the form of the spider-like mechanical Guardians and four giant Divine Beasts, attempting to use them in preparation for his return. After being beaten, however, Ganondorf turned both the Guardian robots and Divine Beasts against the Hyruleans. Link was severely injured during a subsequent battle with Guardian robots in an effort to protect Princess Zelda and was placed into a hundred year-long slumber to heal. Zelda awakens Link from his slumber to stop Ganon.
Ganon appears in his "demon boar" form in two of the three CD-i Zelda titles: Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon and Link: The Faces of Evil. In Zelda's Adventure, he is a large, muscular devil-creature. In the first two of these games, he requires one hit to defeat and appears to be a sorcerer with features based on his cartoon incarnation.
Ganondorf made his first playable appearance as an unlockable character in Super Smash Bros. Melee (where he is based on his appearance in the Nintendo Space World demo, wielding the large, cleaver-like sword in one of his victory poses, though he does not actually use it in combat until Super Smash Bros. Ultimate), and reappears in all subsequent installments in the Super Smash Bros. series: Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U (both using his Twilight Princess design), and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Ganondorf's moveset was a slower, stronger version of Captain Falcon's, which is unusual for a character belonging to a completely separate series; according to series director Masahiro Sakurai, Ganondorf was a widely requested character, but development constraints prevented him to be included in the game with a unique moveset. His tall build closely matching that of Captain Falcon allowed him to be included as a clone character near the end of development. Each installment gradually made more differences between the two. Eiji Aonuma said that his design team submitted designs for Ganon based on Twilight Princess to the developers of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Ganon appears in the single-player The Subspace Emissary mode, allied with Bowser and Wario (in which, near the end they leave Tabuu's side to join the heroes when his deception is revealed, as they believed they were working under Master Hand) as well as being a servant of Master Hand. His Final Smash is his "Dark Beast: Ganon" form from Twilight Princess, in which he transforms, charges across the screen, and then warps himself back onto the stage. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Ganon's design is updated to match his Ocarina of Time appearance, and he uses his sword in certain attacks. Ganon also appears as a boss fight in the game's Classic Mode and World of Light Adventure Mode.
Ganondorf appears as a playable character in the Zelda spin-off title Hyrule Warriors, revealed to have been permanently sealed when his soul was divided into fragments and placed in separate eras in time. But one fragment of Ganondorf's soul found the Triforce's overseer, the sorceress Cia, and corrupted her, purging her light side and transforming her into a dark sorceress. She created an army to gather the Triforce pieces and use its power to open gates across time to where the rest of his soul was imprisoned. But Ganondorf's purging of Cia's light side created the White Sorceress Lana, who helps Link and Zelda. When Ganondorf regained all but one fragment of his former self, he restored his physical body so he could take the Triforce from Cia.
Ganondorf is available as an unlockable "Mystery Mushroom" costume in Super Mario Maker. He is also playable in the Nintendo Switch version of Diablo III: Eternal Collection, with the Switch version of the game exclusively offering amiibo support and additional content based on The Legend of Zelda series.
Appearances in other media
Ganon was the main villain of 1989's The Legend of Zelda cartoon, which was shown as part of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! in syndication that year. In the cartoon, Ganon was a brown-skinned anthropomorphic boar and wizard. He was in possession of the Triforce of Power, and—despite having seemingly endless abilities and magical powers—lost every chance to steal the Triforce of Wisdom. He spent most of his time living in his subterranean lair, which was located in the Underworld. He is disintegrated when attacked several times by Link's sword, Zelda's arrows, or the Triforce of Wisdom. He was voiced by Len Carlson.
In addition to the Zelda cartoon, Ganon (along with Link and Zelda) also appeared in Captain N: The Game Master, as a secondary villain in the episode "Quest for the Potion of Power". This was something of a continuation of Ganon's appearance in the Zelda cartoon. The episode uses elements from The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link. During the episode, Ganon is revived, double-crosses Mother Brain, and is killed by the reflected magic on Link's shield.
In the South Park episode "Imaginationland Episode III", Ganondorf is seen as one of many evil characters battling the good characters. In the Robot Chicken episode "Shoe", Ganon appears briefly but is killed by Link, who frees Zelda shortly afterward.
Ganondorf also makes an appearance in The Legend of Zelda manga.
Ganondorf is featured in two episodes of the long-running Rooster Teeth webseries DEATH BATTLE, facing off against Bowser from Mario in a fight to the death, with him emerging victorious. He returned to the series fighting Dracula from the Castlevania series, this time with a loss due to his opponent's superior abilities and source of power.
Ganon is one of the most recognizable and popular villains in gaming and has been met with positive reception over the years. In 2010, Nintendo Power named him the best villain in Nintendo history. In 2013, GamesRadar ranked him as the best villain in the history of video games. Nevertheless, in 2007 Andrew Gordon of Cracked.com listed Ganondorf from Twilight Princess among the six most disappointing video game end bosses, writing "We went into this battle expecting Darth Maul, and what we got was C-3PO."
GameSpot counted his appearance in Ocarina of Time among the "Top Ten Boss Fights." GameSpot also included him in "Top Ten Video Game Villains". He was the runner-up in GameFAQs' "Got Villains?" Character Battle, losing in the final to Final Fantasy's Sephiroth. GameDaily ranked him the second on their lists of "Top Ten Nintendo Characters That Deserve Their Own Games" list. and "Most Persistent Video Game Villains of All Time". GamesRadar listed him second on their 2009 list of "The Top Video Game Villains who will Never Stay Dead". IGN listed Ganon as one of the "Top 10 Characters In Need of a Spin-Off" and ranked him third in their "Top 100 Videogames Villains" list.
In addition to the characterization of the entire Legend of Zelda franchise as classist, sexist and racist, Ganondorf's status as the main villain was criticized for presenting Islam in a negative way.
- Japanese: ガノン Hepburn: Ganon
- The character's name is spelled Gannon in the original The Legend of Zelda and in the Japanese version of A Link to the Past.
- Japanese: ガノンドロフ Hepburn: Ganondorofu
- Ganon is the king of the Gerudo tribe in Ocarina of Time, and his given title as a boss in Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons is "Evil Gerudo King".
- In the Japanese versions of Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, Ganon's Gerudo form is titled 大魔王 ガノンドロフ (lit. "Great Demon King Ganondorf"); in the latter, his beast form is titled 魔獣ガノン (lit. "Demon Beast Ganon"). The North American release of Ocarina of Time uses "Great King of Evil Ganondorf" for his Gerudo form while the North American release of Twilight Princess uses "Dark Lord Ganondorf". While simply called "Ganon" in his bestial form, both Twilight Princess and Breath of the Wild call him "Dark Beast Ganon".
- He uses magic in A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, and The Adventure of Link, among other titles.
- Ganon acrobatically dodges Link's swings in The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. In the former, he dual-wields swords.
- At the climax of Ocarina of Time, Ganon causes his castle to collapse in an attempt to kill Link and Zelda.
- Nintendo. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (in Japanese). Nintendo.
Rauru: アタシたち 賢者は 六人そろえば 魔王ガノンドロフを 封印することが できるの。 ('If we, the six sages, come together, we will even be able to seal the Demon King Ganondorf.')
- Nintendo. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (in Japanese). Nintendo.
Ganon: おお...、俺は闇の魔王！！ ('Graah! I am the Demon King of Darkness!')
- Nintendo. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures. Nintendo.
Princess Zelda: King of Darkness, is an ancient demon reborn. The wielder of the trident!!
- Nintendo. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Nintendo.
The King of Red Lions: He is the very same Ganon... The emperor of the dark realm the ancient legends speak of...
- Reeves, Ben. "The Evolution Of Ganon". Game Informer. Retrieved 2020-01-09.
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The name of this man was Lord Ganondorf Dragmire, the Lord of Gerudo
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Many years ago prince darkness Gannon stole one of the Triforce with power.
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Several years after Gannon was destroyed, Link learns from Impa about another sleeping Princess Zelda.
- Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development (1991-11-21). Zelda no Densetsu: Kamigami no Triforce (Super Famicom). Nintendo. Scene: staff credits.
Level 8 Gannon's Tower
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Gannon, Lord of Darkness, has taken over Tolemac. He has stolen the treasured celestial signs and captured Link! Make haste!
- "樹の上の秘密基地". ほぼ日刊イトイ新聞. 26 Nov 1998. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
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Old Man: I assume you have caught full sight of that atrocity enshrouding the castle. That...is Calamity Ganon. One hundred years ago, that vile entity brought brought the kingdom of Hyrule to ruin. [... It] festers, building its strength for the moment it will unleash its blight upon the land once again. It would appear that moment is fast approaching...
- "E3 2016: THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD MIGHT BE THE OPEN WORLD ZELDA WE ALWAYS WANTED".
A mysterious female voice over beckons Link to "open his eyes". Link has been asleep for 100 years, a callback to Link’s previous adventures but he wakes up to some dire circumstances: the world has been ravaged in the time Link’s been asleep. The voice tells Link if Ganondorf isn't driven out of Hyrule Castle, Hyrule will lay in ruins forever.
- "Freeform exploration in the new 'Zelda' game is an NES throwback". Mashable.
The looming threat to Hyrule is equally familiar. Not long after the game starts, you learn that a being called Calamity Ganon had been trapped in Hyrule Castle for 100 years. In a seeming tie to Link's own awakening, Ganon has been gathering power and is right on the cusp of breaking loose. Should that happen, Hyrule is doomed.
- "Super Smash Bros. Melee Unlocked". IGN. 2001-11-26. Archived from the original on February 9, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-14.
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- "Ganondorf in Super Smash Bros. Brawl". Smash Bros. DOJO!!. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
- "Len Carlson". IMDb. Retrieved 2019-03-30.
- "Quest for the Potion of Power". Captain N: The Game Master. Episode 16. 1990-09-29. NBC.
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- GamesRadar Staff (May 17, 2013). "100 best villains in video games". GamesRadar. Archived from the original on May 22, 2013.
- Gordon, Andrew (December 12, 2007). "The 6 Most Disappointing Video Game End Bosses". Cracked.com. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
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