In every Legend of Zelda game released so far, Princess Zelda has always been… well… a princess. On rare occasions we have seen her either disguise herself as a different character (Sheik in Ocarina of Time) or be entirely unaware of her royal bloodline and true name (Tetra in The Wind Waker). But in both cases, she ultimately returns to her full standing as the Princess of Hyrule.

In the latest installment of the series (as of the date of this article), Breath of the Wild, players are treated to a rather different Zelda. Yes, she is still a royal princess, but rather than waiting in the high tower of her castle (sighing with frustration at how long its taking Link to complete his side quests before saving her) this Princess Zelda plays a more active role in the story.

From the outset of the game, Zelda acts as a pseudo companion character — being the one to wake Link and then offer him the initial guidance he needs to begin his journey. Later, small whispers come, warning him of the dangers of the Blood Moon and of Calamity Ganon himself. But as we recover Link’s lost memories, we are able to see so much more of Princess Zelda’s character. She is curious, precocious, head strong, and driven. Yet also, nervous, doubtful of herself, and shy to strangers and others of great authority (at least until she gets to know them.) While she remained a royal in this installment, she became so much more real for us the players.

So this begs the question (at least in my mind): What if Nintendo made a Legend of Zelda game where Zelda was not actually a princess? We’ve already seen a glimpse of what this could be like in The Wind Waker; she was a no-nonsense pirate captain, but as I said earlier, she transformed back into her royal self in the latter part of the game.

What if she were like Link, a simple commoner from a remote village? Maybe they could be childhood friends from the same village — and she is captured or driven away and we set out to save her? The fact that she is not royalty would not preclude her from being “legendary.”

What do you think? Should Zelda always be a princess? Comment below!

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