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For most Legend of Zelda games, the storyline focuses on three primary players: Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf. These characters typically wield the Triforce of Courage, Wisdom, and Power, respectively. However, there is usually a fourth character who plays a large part in the fate of Hyrule – Impa.
Those new to The Legend of Zelda may not know that Impa has actually been a part of the series since the very beginning. While her role has gradually expanded over time, Impa makes a brief appearance in the very first Legend of Zelda game in 1986.
Check out our all things Impa Zelda guide below to learn all about this unique character.
Key Details Up Front
Arguably the fourth-most important character in the Legend of Zelda series, and the undeniable leader of the Sheikah, Impa is often depicted as a guide or servant for Link or the Royal Family. Often she is in direct service of Princess Zelda herself. While her role in earlier games was important, appearances in recent iterations have made her an invaluable part of the Legend of Zelda.
Impa is a member of the Sheikah Tribe, a people tasked with protecting and guarding the Royal Family and Princess Zelda. Like both Zelda and Link, the name itself remains the same through the eons while the person changes. There have been many women in Hyrule’s history to bear the name, yet none are the same. Each, however, carries the responsibility of providing aid in the ongoing battle against the evil Ganondorf.
Legend of Zelda Appearances
With the release of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Impa has been a part of nine Legend of Zelda games. This ranks her among the top of the most recurring characters in the series. Let’s take a closer look at how her role has grown.
The Legend of Zelda
If you happen to still have a copy of the very first Legend of Zelda game, take a look at the booklet that came with it. In it, Impa’s role is outlined for players. The game came out in 1986, so there weren’t any fun cutscenes. Just a scroll of text that tells the player about the game and their objective.
The events that led to this point are detailed in the instruction booklet. Ganon has invaded the peaceful land of Hyrule with an evil army. His goal is to steal the Triforce of Power, which he successfully does. Princess Zelda, the holder of the Triforce of Wisdom, splits hers into eight separate pieces and hides them from Ganon.
At this time, Zelda asks her nursemaid, Impa, to seek out a hero with the “courage to destroy the evil Ganon.” True to the request of Princess Zelda, Impa travels throughout Hyrule with Ganon’s army hot on her heels. Nearing capture, Link arrives and saves her from her pursuers.
Impa tells Link of Zelda’s request, which is the impetus for The Legend of Zelda. Link sets out to gather the pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom and defeat Ganon.
The Legend of Zelda: The Adventure of Link
Impa also appears in the sequel to the first Legend of Zelda game, The Adventure of Link. This version of Impa is very similar to the first incarnation, but her image in the booklet shows her as having white hair. However, the Sheikah are not mentioned by name in The Adventure of Link.
If you take the time to read it though, it does start the tradition of Impa and those who follow as being trusted keepers of Royal Family secrets. When the Triforce symbol appears on his hand, Link is quick to seek out Impa. She reveals to him a previous version of Princess Zelda, one who was put to sleep when she refused to give up the secrets of the Triforce.
Link receives a box of items from Impa which has been passed down from her ancestors. Within it are six crystals Link will need to access the Triforce of Courage and a scroll to help him on his quest.
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time
Ocarina of Time is the first Legend of Zelda game in which Impa begins to come into her own. It’s also the first game in which Impa gets to be on screen with either Zelda or Link. When Link encounters her in the Hyrule Castle Gardens, she is Zelda’s attendant. She instructs him on how to play Zelda’s Lullaby on his ocarina, then sends him to Kakariko Village.
Link sees her again during a cutscene when she is aiding Zelda’s escape from Hyrule Castle. The pair are on horseback, pursued by Ganondorf. It’s also implied that she protects Zelda during the seven years in which Link is in the Sacred Realm.
Later, Impa plays an integral part in the game as she attempts to defeat Bongo Bongo, an invisible creature that attacks her home village. Unable to defeat the monster, Link follows her into the Shadow Temple and awakens Impa as the Sage of Shadows. As a sage, she is one of the key players in helping defeat Ganon.
She is seen one last time during the end credits, hanging out with the rest of the sages and savoring their victory over Ganon.
Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
In Oracle of Ages, Impa is relegated to serving as Zelda’s nursemaid. However, she is tasked with more than simply sending Link out on his quest to save Hyrule. Impa is sent out by Zelda to bring Nayru, the Oracle of the Ages, back to Hyrule. Unfortunately, before she completes her mission, she is possessed by the main villain of the game, Veran.
Impa is simply a means to an end, as Veran uses her to get close to Nayru and take control of her. With her body no longer possessed, Impa is quick to assist Link as he searches for the Harp of Ages. With the harp, Link rescues Nayru, and once again saves the land of Hyrule.
Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons
Impa has a similar role in this game as she did in Oracle of Ages. Fortunately, in Oracle of Seasons, she is able to avoid getting possessed by the villain. However, she is sent out by Zelda to bring the Oracle of Seasons, Din, back from the land of Holodrum.
Before Impa can return with Din to Hyrule, the game’s villain, General Onox, attacks a group of traveling entertainings with a tornado. He kidnaps Din amidst the attack, which results in an injury to Impa. Hurt and alone, Impa is unable to complete Zelda’s request and must turn to Link for help.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Impa’s role is expanded greatly in Skyward Sword as she gets even more screen time than in the previous three games. Plus, it’s among the earliest games in the Legend of Zelda timeline, so everything you need to know about Impa is laid out for future iterations.
It’s shown that Impa is chosen by the Goddess Hylia as the chosen protector of her mortal body. The person she will protect is none other than Princess Zelda. Impa is put to the test almost immediately when Zelda plummets to the surface. There, she quickly defends Princess Zelda from the enemies that dwell there.
Throughout much of the game, we see Impa time and again protecting Zelda, much like she did in Ocarina of Time. She does this while she waits for Link to evolve into the hero of Hyrule and realize his destiny. Impa guides Link throughout two timelines.
In the first, she is a young warrior; in the second, she appears as an older woman who keeps a watchful eye on the Sealed Grounds. When Link defeats Demise, a young Impa is shown staying behind to guard the Master Sword.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Impa is once again relegated to being Princess Zelda’s nursemaid in A Link Between Worlds. Despite the negative connotations that may be associated with the position, it would appear as though only the most exclusive Sheikah are honored with it. In A Link Between Worlds, Impa has purple hair, a bit of a departure from other games she’s in.
As one of the Seven Sages in the game, Impa plays an important role. The game’s main villain, Yuga, plans to break the link between worlds and release Ganondorf by holding the Sages hostage. When Impa is rescued from Turtle Rock dungeon, she and the other Sages combine their powers. Doing so summons the Triforce of Courage, which gives Link the power he needs to defeat both Ganondorf and Yuga.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
As you play through Breath of the Wild, you learn that there are four main characters who survived the Second Great Calamity. Impa is among this group, which also includes Zelda, Link, and Impa’s sister, Purah. When Link finally arrives in Kakariko Village to speak with Impa, she is almost 120 years old. Her hair is once again white and she has managed to live through one of the most destructive periods of Hyrule’s history.
In Breath of the Wild, Impa’s Sheikah are an independent people who do not share the same role as their predecessors. For example, even though she is aware of and involved in the goings-on of the Royal Family, she is not a nursemaid to Zelda nor a servant. Even though she resides in Kakariko Village, her role plays an important part in defeating Ganondorf.
When Link leaves the Great Plateau, the first place he visits is Kakariko Village. It is here that he speaks with Impa and is given the primary directives for his quest. He must restore the Divine Beasts. She also suggests he seek out her sister, Purah, who lives in Hateno Village. Doing so will help him recover his memories.
While Breath of the Wild is the first iteration of Legend of Zelda in which Impa’s family is shown, it’s symbolic of how important she and her tribe have been throughout the history of Hyrule and how integral she’s been to bringing peace to the land.
Impa is a significant player in the history of Hyrule and many Legend of Zelda games. Here are some of the more frequently asked questions about Impa.
Question: Is Impa Zelda’s Mother?
No, Impa is not Zelda’s mother. She is a member of the Sheikah tribe who was chosen by the Goddess Hylia to protect Zelda.
Question: Is Impa a Sage?
Yes, in several games Impa is one of the Seven Sages. In A Link Between Worlds, she is the sage of shadow.
Question: What is Impa’s Role in Breath of the Wild?
In Breath of the Wild, Impa is the village elder of Kakariko Village. She gives Link guidance early on in his quest and helps him recover his memories.
Question: When did Impa First Appear in Legend of Zelda?
Impa first appeared in the original Legend of Zelda game as Zelda’s nursemaid. She has appeared in many games since then, often playing an important role.
An Ever-Growing Role
Throughout the Legend of Zelda series, Impa has played an important role. She is a protector, a sage, and a teacher. As the series progressed, her role has become increasingly significant. In many games, she is a key character who helps Link on his quest to defeat Ganon.
While her exact origins are unknown, Impa is a key figure in the history of Hyrule. She has been instrumental in defeating Ganon and restoring peace to the land. As we continue to explore the Legend of Zelda universe, it’s clear that Impa will continue to be an important part of Link’s journey.
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