Zelda Is a Big Nerd in Tears of the Kingdom and I Love It

Zelda, probably: “I’ve waited years for somebody to ask me about my theories!”

Link picking up the Master Sword
The Ultimate Guide to 'Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom'

Even after the massive reinvention of the franchise that was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom somehow manages to introduce even more new features for fans to fall in love with. While playing around with Fusing weapons and building absurd vehicles with Ultrahand make up the majority of the exciting moments, Tears of the Kingdom also makes large strides in improving some of the oldest characters in the franchise. My favorite example of this is Princess Zelda, who has become a loveable nerd in the best possible way.

The cold open to Tears of the Kingdom sees Link and Zelda exploring the depths underneath Hyrule Castle. They are hoping to find some information on a mysterious plague that has begun seeping into the land, dubbed Gloom.

Zelda is the most interesting part of Tears of the Kingdom’s opening.


It’s a deeply atmospheric opening, thanks to the torchlight that bounces off the cavern walls and the growing fear that something dark is lurking just around the corner. What the pair eventually discover are a series of ruins and relics from an ancient civilization called the Zonai. At this, Zelda becomes giddy with excitement.

“Link! This is a huge discovery!” she exclaims.

It’s incredibly endearing. In these first few minutes, Tears of the Kingdom shows Zelda constantly bursting with excitement with each new discovery she makes about the Zonai and the Imprisoning Wår, to the point she literally can’t hold it in and she makes cute little gasps when stumbling upon the next ruin. It also shows her to be more than just a princess.

The core of every Zelda game remains the same despite varying settings, artistic styles, and mechanics. It is a cyclical narrative focusing on a hero rescuing a princess from the villain. Link, Zelda, and Ganon fill each role respectively. This allows for some interesting opportunities to investigate the simple repeating story, but often it leaves Zelda in the role of the damsel in distress. Notable attempts to break out of this mold include Wind Waker’s pirate version of Zelda and Ocarina of Time’s princess who has a surprising amount of agency and growth in the story.

Zelda is a history buff who can’t stop info-dumping on Link.


But Tears of the Kingdom expands on Zelda’s fascination with ancient history and technology from Breath of the Wild, giving her a true passion that she takes joy in. Watching her go up to a ruin and then infodump everything she’s read in history books to Link is adorable. It may read like most expository text found in any game but coming out of Zelda’s mouth it just feels like someone finally getting to talk about their special interest. I would absolutely let her talk my ear off about the Zonai for hours. Look how happy it makes her!

In addition to making Zelda a more rounded character it also hilariously fleshes out Link. He really is just the kind of boyfriend who listens to his girlfriend ramble and is just happy for her. Everything he does is just so she can have a fun time satisfying her interests. When they both get to a large room filled with murals from end to end, he stands in the center like a dope watching Zelda run from end to end talking about what these murals reveal about Hyrule’s history. Wow, they are so in love.

One of the longest-running asks that fans have had throughout the franchise is for Zelda to be made a playable character. While this doesn’t satisfy that desire, it does take a step in the right direction by showing her to be a multi-dimensional character in this world. This opening demonstrates this and Tears of the Kingdom’s main narrative reinforces the idea that she is a capable person in her own right, one whom Link would not be able to survive without. She is a big nerd who loves her history, and that is just cute as all get out.

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