Posted on January 09 2018 by Michaela El-Ters
The notion of Zelda having an alter ego to adopt and a new persona as a form of protection became a recurring idea in Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker through the popular Sheik and Tetra, and even Twilight Princess had scrapped designs for Sheik as well. Despite simply being alter egos for Zelda, Tetra and Sheik are among some of the strongest, most celebrated female characters in the series as a result of their personality or combat prowess. While these characters are popular, and justifiably so, the fact that they are alter egos make their roles in the stories they inhabit not nearly as impactful.
Tetra, a strong and independent pirate, has very clear and defined goals. She knows what she wants and strives to do whatever it takes to get them. She’s spunky and tough, making her a worthy leader of her motley crew. Tetra stands out in the series as one of the most unique characters, but once she becomes Zelda, she loses these core aspects of her personality completely before immediately becoming kidnapped. Similarly, Sheik, while playing an important supporting role to Link throughout Ocarina of Time, also loses this agency and strength when she reverts back to Princess Zelda and is subsequently captured. I love Sheik’s character, but at the same time, she isn’t given a lot of opportunities to develop as a unique individual or facet of Zelda’s personality prior to her reveal and abduction. Hyrule Warriors may not be a canon installment in the Zelda series, but the formula remains the same, with Zelda managing to escape and assist Link in the form of Sheik before revealing her identity in a scene that offers little pay off and instead allows Cia to gain the power she needs to wreak havoc across Hyrule. The novelty of the alter egos just isn’t there anymore, and if anything, they end up being liabilities rather than characters who can truly hold their own in the story.
Unfortunately, it seems that the purpose of the alter egos – protecting Zelda from harm – becomes pointless once the facade is dropped, making their roles in the story less meaningful when it’s thwarted by the narrative. For these reasons, it makes me wonder how important it is for Zelda to adopt an alternate persona. After all, her character has become far stronger in recent installments like Breath of the Wild, so much so that an alter ego would take away from this valuable character development. With this in mind, I think future games can easily get away without including an alter ego for Zelda to have. What do you think? Do you want Zelda to have other alter egos in future Zelda games? Let us know in the comments!
Feature art by Nijuuni