Twilight Princess vs Tears of the Kingdom – Which Has the Better Princess Zelda?

Princess Zelda vs Image

Twilight Princess vs Tears of the Kingdom – Which Has the Better Princess Zelda?

Just like the Hero of Legend himself, Link, the versions of Princess Zelda appearing in each Legend of Zelda title vary from game-to-game. Sometimes she appears as a child or teenage version of the Triforce’s sworn protector, while other times she is closer to adult age and a young monarch of the kingdom of Hyrule. Her age and appearance always match those of Link, illustrating how the two are inextricably, well…linked to one another. Since Twilight Princess in 2006, Zelda has taken on a more important role in both the story and combat of the Zelda games, gaining more agency than the traditional “damsel in distress” role she fulfills in the early games.

The latest version of Princess Zelda that appears in both Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom is somewhat of an anomaly. Not only does she provide Link with help at the outset and conclusion of his adventure, she’s missing for pretty much the entirety of each game. In contrast, Princess Zelda takes up a fair amount of screen time in Twilight Princess while also providing Link with invaluable assistance. Both of these young adult versions of the titular princess are shown to possess magical abilities, but the degree to which players get to see them in action varies.

Twilight Princess vs Tears of the Kingdom: Princess Zelda Side-by-Side Comparison

Princess Zelda vs Image

Taking a look at both versions of the Zelda series’ namesake from Twilight Princess and Tears of the Kingdom, one thing is obvious. Both of these particular Princess Zeldas are young adult rulers. Additionally, they each assist Link in his battle against Ganon, whether directly or indirectly. Outside of the obvious comparisons, the differences between these two versions of the young ruler of Hyrule might not be that apparent at first. Let’s take a look at these two versions of the princess side-by-side:

CharacteristicTwilight Princess ZeldaTears of the Kingdom Zelda
Young Adult
Has Magical Abilities
Provides Link with Assistance
Sides with the Enemy to Save Hyrule
Time Traveler
Other Game AppearancesSuper Smash Bros. seriesThe Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Becomes a Boss Enemy
Adept with a Bow and Arrow
Turns Into a Dragon
Captured by Ganon

Twilight Princess vs Tears of the Kingdom: 5 Must-Know Facts About Princess Zelda

Here are 5 must-know facts about the versions of Princess Zelda from Twilight Princess and Tears of the Kingdom:

  • The Princess Zelda players have flashbacks about and then meet in Breath of the Wild is shown to be a capable leader and a budding historian. She is just as interested in Hyrule’s ancient history and the origins of Calamity Ganon as she is in stopping him. This curiosity helps to trigger the events that initiate Tears of the Kingdom‘s plot.
  • Princess Zelda in Twilight Princess is also a young monarch of the kingdom of Hyrule who, when Zant forces her hand, must make a difficult choice. Rather than allow the kingdom of Hyrule to fall to ruin and sacrifice the lives of innocent subjects, she gives in to Zant’s demands and then locks herself inside of a tower at Hyrule Castle.
  • In both Twilight Princess and Tears of the Kingdom, Zelda is shown to have magical abilities that allow her to either heal and save others or use light magic to combat Ganon. She even turns into a Light Dragon at the climax of Tears of the Kingdom to help Link battle Demon King Ganon.
  • Princess Zelda initially helps from the shadows in Twilight Princess, donning a mysterious cloak and keeping her identity hidden. After she reveals herself to be the princess, Zelda makes repeat appearances in story cutscenes. In contrast, Tears of the Kingdom‘s version of Zelda mostly appears in flashbacks and is missing for the entire game, displaced somewhere in time.
  • While other games in the series show Zelda’s father the King of Hyrule, both Twilight Princess and Tears of the Kingdom‘s version of the princess is shown to be the lone ruler of the kingdom.

Not content to simply sit on the sidelines and watch as Link battles Ganon, both versions of Princess Zelda in Twilight Princess and Tears of the Kingdom provide Link with invaluable assitance during the final battle. The only difference is the form this assistance takes. While in Twilight Princess Zelda shoots Ganon with Light Arrows, the princess takes a different approach in Tears of the Kingdom. Link must face off against Demon King Ganon in single combat before he enters his second phase, at which point Zelda transforms into the Light Dragon to help Link fight against Ganon in his Demon Dragon form.

Twilight Princess vs Tears of the Kingdom: The Princess’ Magical Ability

As the bearer of the royal bloodline and a descendant/reincarnation of the goddess Hylia, several games in the Zelda series show Princess Zelda having magic powers. That said, the way these powers manifest is often different across each entry. In Twilight Princess, Zelda uses her magical ability to save Midna’s life, placing herself into suspended animation as a result. Ganon then uses this to his advantage and turns the Puppet Zelda against Link, making her a boss enemy. Conversely, Zelda’s use of magical abilities in Tears of the Kingdom never places her in direct harm, unless you count turning into a dragon and going toe-to-toe with Ganon as Link rides her back.

Twilight Princess vs Tears of the Kingdom: Two Young Monarchs

The King of Hyrule never makes an appearance in Twilight Princess or Tears of the Kingdom, indicating that Zelda is the sole heir and rule of the kingdom of Hyrule in both games. This could potentially explain both Princess Zeldas being headstrong and capable heroes, having gained plenty of knowledge and experience of the necessary sacrifices to achieve the greater good through their time on the throne. And in the case of both games’ Zelda, each of these young rulers makes great personal sacrifice to protect both the people of the realm and those they care for, including Link.

Twilight Princess vs Tears of the Kingdom: The Disappearing Princess

One of the most common tropes in The Legend of Zelda is that of the disappearing princess. Since the original game, Princess Zelda takes a largely sideline role, acting only as the reward for the hero at the end of their journey. Both Twilight Princess and Tears of the Kingdom flip this tradition on its head, albeit in different ways. Twilight Princess features a Zelda who, much like in the previous Zelda title The Wind Waker, takes a much more direct role in the fight against Ganon and Link’s adventure. That said, this all occurs in real-time, with the two characters interacting fairly frequently. Tears of the Kingdom places Link and Zelda in opposite directions of the time stream, with Link’s primary goal being to find Princess Zelda and find out what happened when they got separated at the game’s outset.

Bottom Line

Just like Link, it’s hard to draw a definitive line between different versions of Princess Zelda. As it stands, both of these Zelda titles are two of the best in the series, and each game’s version of both Link and Zelda are two of the series’ best. Still, if there has to be a winner, it would absolutely be Princess Zelda from Tears of the Kingdom. Without her assistance in the events that take place prior to Breath of the Wild, Link might not ever end up on his adventure to stop Ganon in the Age of Calamity timeline. Traveling back and forth through time to aid Link, discovering the myseries of the Zonai, and ultimately helping him defeat Demon King Ganon, speaks to a capable ruler and a hero all her own. It’s about time for Princess Zelda to get her own starring role in a game.

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