Zant

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Zant
Zant.png

Title

Usurper King
King of Twilight[1]
King of Shadows[2]

Race

Gender

Male

Games

Location

Zant is the secondary antagonist of Twilight Princess, although for most of the game, he appears to be the main villain. Zant is a part of the Twili race, a race that was banished to the Twilight Realm as a result of their ancestors attempting to seek domain over the Sacred Realm. Zant claims himself to be the King of Twilight, but his power is a false one, as Midna is the rightful leader. During the beginning of the game, Zant seems to be a steady figure, barely showing any emotion or weakness. However, during the boss fight he unravels, showing his true personality.

Origins

Dark Interlopers
Zant is a descendant of a group of sorcerers named the Interlopers. This tribe excelled in shadow magic and intended to use the power of the Fused Shadow to seek domain over the Sacred Realm.[3] However, the three Light Spirits of Hyrule intervened, taking the Fused Shadows and breaking them into four separate fragments.[4] With the power of the Fused Shadows gone from their grasp, the tribe was left powerless. They were chased across the lands of Hyrule and were driven into another Realm by the Light Spirits. Over time the Interlopers eventually evolved into a peaceful tribe known as the Twili.

The Twili race became gentle creatures and over time a monarchy was established in order to lead the tribe. Zant had been a loyal servant to the monarchy of the Palace for many years.[5] He was meant to be next in line to ascend the throne, but it was Midna, chosen by her father, the former king of the Twilit Kingdom, as the true leader, now to be known as the Twilight Princess.[6][7] As his indignation of the royal clan of the kingdom grew,[8] Zant, distraught by this news, looked to the heavens for an answer.[9] It was at this moment that he was gifted a mysterious foreign power by his supposed god.

This power was gifted to Zant by Ganondorf, who had previously escaped his imprisonment in Arbiter's Grounds. Due to his failed execution, the remaining Sages decided the only option now was to seal Ganondorf into the Twilight Realm. Ganondorf housed his power into Zant at one request, that he merge light with shadow, therefore creating complete darkness.[10] Zant took this power and usurped the throne of the Twilight Realm. With this false power, Zant turned the realm's inhabitants into mindless Shadow Beasts and Midna into an imp.[11] Zant then proceeded to invade Hyrule Castle and force Princess Zelda to give up the throne. In a plan to shroud the Kingdom in Twilight, the King of Shadows sent out the devilish Shadow Beasts and ordered them to steal the light from the provinces across Hyrule. The Kingdom now became a world suspended in perpetual Twilight.[12]

Story

Spoiler Alert! This section describes a subject that is sensitive to plot development.
Link gets caught up in Zant's evil plot during the end of the prologue. King Bulblin and his army of Bulblins invade the safety of the Ordona Province, attacking Link and its inhabitants. Link later on wakes up after being left unconscious, realizing that both Colin and Ilia have been taken. Link proceeds to head over the bridge and onto Faron Province, but instead he is faced with a curtain of Twilight. A Shadow Beast then drags the young hero into the Twilight-filled province of Faron, thus starting the events of the main plot.
Zant invading Hyrule Castle
Link first hears about the whereabouts of Zant when escaping his imprisonment in Hyrule Castle. Midna assists the young hero in reaching the tower where Princess Zelda resides. She tells Link about how Zant invaded the safe confines of the castle where she was forced to give up the throne.[13] Zelda also explains to Link how Hyrule is covered in perpetual Twilight, and all of its inhabitants have turned into helpless spirits, who know only fear.[14] Later on in the game, after restoring the light to Faron Province, the Light Spirit, Faron, tells Link about a dark power that lies in the Forest Temple.[15] This is a fragment of the Fused Shadows, and Faron tells Link that he must use this dark withered power to defeat the King of the Shadows, Zant.[16]

Link first encounters Zant after collecting the third and final piece of the Fused Shadow from the Lakebed Temple.[17] Zant halts Link and Midna as they exit. The Light Spirit, Lanayru, tries to intervene, but Zant once again steals the light, thus restoring Twilight to the province. Zant also takes the Fused Shadows from Midna, calling them an old and withered power, proclaiming that his power is new and was granted to him by his god.[18] Wolf Link tries to attack Zant, but, in the process, Zant uses his dark powers to curse Link, meaning he is now suspended in beast form. The Usurper King then goes on to tell Midna of his desires, and that darkness and light will meet at last while asking the cursed imp to join him on his quest.[19] After Midna refuses to aid Zant, he manipulates the Light Spirit Lanayru to return Midna to the Light World, leaving Midna an inch away from death.[20]

Later on in the plot, Link and Midna find the whereabouts of the Mirror of Twilight, hidden within Arbiter's Grounds. This is the only connection to the Twilight Realm, so Link has to pass through the grounds to reach the Mirror Chamber. Upon navigating through the dungeon, Link finds the remains of a skeletal being covered in sand. Zant appears and is surprised that the young hero has made this far, he then explains to Link that this is the last time they shall meet alive.[21] The King of Shadows then pulls out the Twilight Sword and thrusts it into the skull of the remains. This brings the seemingly dead being to life and this is the fourth boss of the game, Stallord. Upon defeating Stallord, Link makes his way up to the Mirror Chamber where he finds the mirror broken. The Ancient Sages tell the young hero that this was the work of a dark power that once resided within the demon thief Ganondorf.[22] The Sages also tell Link that they previously sealed Ganondorf within the Twilight Realm and that this could be the source of Zant's power.[23]

Palace of Twilight
After collecting the three Mirror Shards, Link and Midna are now able to access the Twilight Realm and confront Zant. Upon entering the realm, Link has to restore the two Sols to the plaza. Each Sol is found on the opposing ends of the Palace. Once the Sols have been returned to their original position it powers up Link's Master Sword. The Master Sword now becomes the Light Sword and it allows Link to clear up the shadows that block the entrance to Zant's Palace.[24] Link advances to the northern palace where he confronts Zant. Upon entering the throne room, Zant explains his hatred for the Light World, saying they trapped his people like insects in a cage.[25] He also explain his frustrations with not becoming king and how he was gifted power by his god, Ganondorf, who was ultimately using Zant.

After Link defeats Zant, he explains that the curse set up on Midna cannot be broken. This curse was put on her by his god, Ganondorf, who is now reborn in the Light World. Zant proclaims that as long as he lives, Ganondorf shall resurrect him.[26] It is at this moment that Midna wields the complete power of the Fused Shadow to ultimately kill Zant. However, after the defeat of Ganondorf, Zant can be seen snapping his neck upon Ganondorf's death. This could be seen as symbolism of the betrayal.

Boss

Zant boss fight
Zant is one of the longer boss fights in Twilight Princess and the battle itself is composed of six stages. Each stage of the fight takes place at a different boss battle location, including the Forest Temple, Goron Mines, Lakebed Temple, and more.[27]

First Stage

The first stage takes place in the Boss room from the Forest Temple. This battle is very similar to the Diababa boss battle from earlier on in the game. Zant hovers around the boss room firing dark energy blasts at Link. Link has to block these attacks using his Shield, and then he can equip the Gale Boomerang and target Zant. This brings Zant down to the surface, leaving Zant prone to attack. After a limited time, Zant warps away, thus Link repeats the original process.

Second Stage

The second stage takes place in the Goron Mines mini-boss room and is reminiscent of the Dangoro boss fight. Zant repeatedly stomps the surface, which wobbles the platform. Link can equip the Iron Boots in order to stay grounded, leading Zant to attack with dark energy blasts. Link simply blocks these with his shield. Once Zant gets tired, Link unequips the boots and attacks Zant.

Third Stage

In the next stage, Zant replicates the Morpheel boss battle from the Lakebed Temple. In this area, Link equips both the Iron Boots and the Zora Armor so he can stay grounded underwater. Zant first appears in a giant version of his helmet. After appearing, he again uses his blast attack. Link can equip the Clawshot to grab Zant and the attack him when he is close. During the next phase, Zant appears in several giant masks, and once targeted Link uses the clawshot and attacks Zant once again.

Forth Stage

The next stage takes place once again within the Forest Temple. However, this time it is Ook's stage. Similar to Ook, Zant leaps from platform to platform and he then, once again, powers up his blast attack. Link can avoid the attack and roll into the bottom of the platform to knock Zant down. Zant is then prone to attack. Link has to repeat this process in order to initiate the next stage.

Fifth Stage

The fifth stage takes place in the boss room of Blizzeta, seen in Snowpeak Ruins. This time Zant increases in size to create a giant version of himself. Link has to use the same tactic that he used against Blizzeta by looking at the reflection on the ice. After dodging Zant, Link equips the Ball and Chain and strikes the gargantuan Zant. This causes Zant to repeatedly decrease in size, Link has to carefully navigate the slippery surface in order to attack the injured Zant.

Final Stage

The final stage differs from the others as this time Zant does not replicate a previous boss and the fight itself takes place in the courtyard south of Castle Town. The Usurper King, this time, draws out two blades from under his arms and proceeds to attack the young hero. Zant has two distinct attacks. The first attack includes Zant charging at Link with his twin blades, which Link has to dodge and attack from behind. Another one of Zant's attacks is his spin attack. Link can utilize his shield to repeatedly block Zant's attack. After a while, Zant gets tired from spinning, leaving him open to attack. Zant also warps many times in the duration of this battle, making it harder for Link to go on the offense and evade his attacks. After dealing enough damage, Zant falls to his knees, thus ending this boss battle.

Non-Canon Appearances

This section describes a subject that is or may be outside the core Zelda canon.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Zant Trophy SSBB.png

Zant makes a small appearance in Nintendo's flagship fighting game, Super Smash Bros. Brawl. In this game, Zant can be unlocked randomly in the form of a trophy, along with a brief description on the villain himself: "The self-proclaimed king of twilight. Zant is the ringleader scheming to cover Hyrule in twilight. Zant long served under the royal family of the Twilight Realm. Ganondorf grants great power to Zant in exchange for his allegiance, and Zant makes it his ultimate goal to become the supreme leader of both light and dark."

Zant can also be obtained in the form of a sticker, which in the Subspace Emissary can give any given The Legend of Zelda character a plus seven increase in weapon attacks.

Hyrule Warriors

Zant is a playable character in Hyrule Warriors. He wields dual Scimitars and attacks by slashing them at his foes. His combos are reminiscent of his move-set in Twilight Princess like when he enlarges himself to several times his size to stomp on his enemies. He can also summon a Zant Mask or a Zant's Hand to attack his foes. Zant's antics and wacky personality are transferred as well, signified by his over the top animations and play style. In Legend Mode, he is on the side of the villains, but he can only be unlocked by completing the correct mission in Adventure Mode.

Trivia

  • Zant plays a similar role to Agahnim from A Link to the Past and Ghirahim from Skyward Sword, as he plays the role of a puppet to the main antagonist.
  • Within the boss battle against Zant, each stage replicates a previous boss, using similar items and strategies.
  • During the death of Ganondorf, Zant appears before Ganon and snaps his neck. This could be interpreted as a break in the bond of power that the two shared or a symbol of revenge.
  • Zant is the first notable villain to actually give Link a Heart Container after his defeat.
  • Zant is one of the taller members in the Twili, which could indicate that he is one of the more dominant members of the tribe.

Gallery

References

  1. "This power is granted to me by my god! It is the magic of the King of Twilight, and you WILL respect it!" — Zant, Twilight Princess.
  2. "Besides, we have to do something about Zant, the one who thinks he is the king of shadows..." — Midna, Twilight Princess.
  3. "Among those living in the light, interlopers who excelled at magic appeared. Wielding powerful sorcery, they tried to establish dominion over the Sacred Realm." — Lanayru, Twilight Princess.
  4. "It was then that the goddesses ordered us three light spirits to intervene." — Lanayru, Twilight Princess.
  5. "And all of it was the fault of a useless, do-nothing royal family that had resigned itself to this miserable half-existence! I had served and endured in that depraved household for far too long, my impudent princess." — Zant, Twilight Princess.
  6. "When Midna's father—the true Twilit King—chose not to name Zant as his successor, the evil shadowling became maddened by an uncontrollable rage." — Prima Games Twilight Princess Strategy Guide, pg. 16
  7. "Once in the Twili king's entourage, Zant was furious that Midna's father (the king) didn't appoint him to succeed." — Prima Games Twilight Princess Strategy Guide, pg. 419
  8. "This resentment against the royal clan of the Twilit Kingdom grew until a malevolent spirit bestowed a magical power to Zant." — Prima Games Twilight Princess Strategy Guide, pg. 419
  9. "And why, you ask? Because I believed I would be the next to rule our people! THAT is why! But would they acknowledge me as their king? No! And as such, I was denied the magic powers befitting our ruler. It was then, in the thrall of hatred and despair, that I turned my eyes to the heavens...and found a god." — Zant, Twilight Princess.
  10. "I shall house my power in you... If there is anything you desire, then I shall desire it, too. My god had only one wish... To merge shadow and light...and make darkness!" — Ganondorf, Twilight Princess.
  11. "It was a peaceful place...until Zant took control of the Twilight Realm and transformed all of the Twili into shadow beasts." — Midna, Twilight Princess.
  12. "Wait! This guy isn't an enemy, [Link]." — Midna, Twilight Princess.
  13. "Listen carefully... This was once the land where the power of the gods was said to slumber. This was once the kingdom of Hyrule. But that blessed kingdom has been transformed by the king that rules the twilight... It has been turned into a world of shadows, ruled by creatures who shun the light. The kingdom succumbed to twilight, but I remain its princess..." — Princess Zelda, Twilight Princess.
  14. "Twilight covered Hyrule like a shroud, and without light, the people became as spirits. Within the twilight, they live on, unaware that they have passed into spirit forms... All the people know now is fear... Fear of a nameless evil..." — Princess Zelda, Twilight Princess.
  15. "A dark power rests in the temple deep within these woods. It is a forbidden power. Long, long ago, I and the other spirits of light locked it away." — Faron, Twilight Princess.
  16. "Because of its nature, it is a power that should never be touched by any who dwell in the light. But this world weeps beneath a mantle of shadows, and so there is no choice... You must match the power of the king of shadows." — Faron, Twilight Princess.
  17. "The dark power that you seek is within the sleeping Lakebed Temple in Lake Hylia..." — Princess Zelda, Twilight Princess.
  18. "How dare you?! Are you implying that my power is...our old magic? Now THAT is a joke! This power is granted to me by my god! It is the magic of the King of Twilight, and you WILL respect it!" — Zant, Twilight Princess.
  19. "No matter how much you may desire otherwise, you will never be more than a shadow in their world. You cannot consort with their kind! But if we can make their world ours, Midna...light and darkness will meet at last. Our tribe will take back their realm...and sweet darkness will blot out this harsh light! And that, Midna, is why... I need you. Not just for me, but for all of our people... Lend me your power." — Zant, Twilight Princess.
  20. "So be it... I will return you to the light world you covet!" — Zant, Twilight Princess.
  21. "You still live... How astonishing. No wonder some call you "hero." But this is truly a bittersweet reunion... Truly! For I fear this is the last time I will see you alive!" — Zant, Twilight Princess.
  22. "At the command of the goddesses, we sages have guarded the Mirror of Twilight since ancient times. You seek it...but the Mirror of Twilight has been fragmented by mighty magic. That magic is a dark power that only he possesses... His name is... Ganondorf." — Ancient Sages, Twilight Princess.
  23. "By some divine prank, he, too, had been blessed with the chosen power of the gods. His abiding hatred and lust for power turned to purest malice... Perhaps that evil power has been passed on to Zant..." — Ancient Sages, Twilight Princess.
  24. "Amazing... The power of the Sols has been transferred to your sword... The guardian deities of my world are on our side, too! You really are the chosen one, [Link]... A true hero! As long as you have that sword, you should be able to repel the shadows Zant has spread!" — Midna, Twilight Princess.
  25. "The people of our tribe...a tribe that mastered the arts of magic... were locked away in this world like insects in a cage." — Zant, Twilight Princess.
  26. "Midna... Foolish Twilight Princess... The curse on you cannot be broken... It was placed on you by the magic of my god! The power you held as leader of the Twili will never return! Already he has descended and been reborn in this world... As long as my master, Ganon, survives, he will resurrect me without cease!" — Zant, Twilight Princess.
  27. "Zant transports Link to the Forest Temple, Goron Mines, Lakebed Temple, and other locations of previous battles against bosses." — Card Description, Zant Twilight Princess Trading Card