Sometimes, a character in a series will make a big impact despite not having a big role to play. I argue that one such character is Malon, first seen in Ocarina of Time. A little girl with a big heart, a lovely singing voice, and a fervent love of animals. Despite not having a major role in the main story, Malon has stuck in fans’ minds for decades.
She’s appeared in multiple games across the franchise, and the music associated with her is iconic. Despite her small part in the adventure, she continues to influence the journey of Hyrule’s hero again and again.
Who Is Malon?
- Race: Hylian
- Family: Talon (Father)
- Friends: Epona, Link, Ingo
- Key Locations: Hyrule Castle, Lon Lon Ranch, Castle Town Market
- Related Songs: Epona’s Song
- Games: Ocarina of Time, Oracle of Seasons, Four Swords Adventure, Minish Cap
Malon is a farm girl in Ocarina of Time who lives on Lon Lon Ranch with her father, Talon, and their farmhand Ingo. As a child, she’s bold and cheerful, the true boss at Lon Lon Ranch over her airheaded father.
In the future, as a young woman, Malon’s matured and lives in fear of Ingo, who took the ranch over by force, hurting the horses if she doesn’t comply with him. However, once Ingo’s been bested, she’s merciful and chooses to forgive him, just glad that Lon Lon Ranch is returning to normal.
Malon has long red hair and blue eyes. As a child, she wears a cream dress with blue Hylian letters across the hem and sleeves that read ‘Lon.’ She also has a yellow shawl tied with a broach shaped like Bowser from the Super Mario franchise.
As an adult, a purple skirt, apron, and brown belt with a triforce logo on the buckle are added to her clothing, while the rest stays the same. Malon is one of a handful of characters that change so drastically over the time skip, alongside Link, Ruto, and Zelda.
We also know that Malon loves music and is often heard singing Epona’s theme. You learn the song from her as a child once you help her father return home and use the song as an adult to free Epona and liberate the Ranch from Ingo’s takeover.
After leaving the Kokiri Forest and exploring Hyrule for the first time, Malon is one of the very first people Link encounters on his adventure. You first meet her outside Hyrule Castle, singing Epona’s Theme. She’s only there at night, spending time in the Castle Town Market during the day.
Talk to her, and she’ll remark on your strange appearance, calling you fairy boy, and then introduce herself. She’ll then tell you that her father, Talon, has gone missing.
He left to deliver some milk crates to Hyrule Castle and hasn’t returned, but she suspects he’s just asleep somewhere. Since you seem to be going to Hyrule Castle anyway, she asks that if you see him, please wake him up. Then, to help, she gives you… an egg.
If you equip the egg to a button slot, after the next dawn, it will hatch into a Cucco that makes a loud noise when you use it. With your new alarm clock in hand, make your up to Hyrule Castle, avoiding the guards along the way. The last obstacle you’ll face before you’re inside the castle is Talon himself, sleeping in front of the entrance, much like Malon predicted. Use the Cucco to wake him up, and he’ll run off in fear of the wrath of his young daughter.
Learning Epona’s Song
Once you’ve woken up Talon (and probably met Zelda, too), you can find Malon at Lon Lon Ranch in the horse pasture. She thanks you for helping her father return home and introduces you to her friend, Epona, the horse. Epona is still a foal and very skittish, running away from you.
Speak to Malon again, and she’ll tell you about the song she’s singing. Her late mother composed it, and she’d like to sing it with you. Pull out your ocarina, and Malon will teach you ‘Epona’s Song.’ It has a few uses, but most notably, Epona will like you after playing it and follows you around Lon Lon Ranch. This will be important later.
The primary function of Epona’s Song is to summon Epona once you can ride her as Adult Link. But it has another use, too: milking cows. If you have an empty bottle equipped and then play Epona’s Song in front of a cow, the cow will be so moved that it will start producing lots of nutritious milk.
This will fill the empty bottle, which is a free healing item. A milk bottle replenishes 5 hearts and can be used twice before running out.
Reclaiming Lon Lon Ranch
When you return to Lon Lon Ranch after drawing the Master Sword at the Temple of Time, things aren’t going great. Then again, that’s the case for most of Hyrule after Ganondorf’s takeover.
Talon has been run off Lon Lon Ranch by Ingo the farmhand. Malon is still at the ranch, found inside the barn, but disagrees with what Ingo’s doing. He’s just using the ranch to suck up to Ganondorf. However, she knows he’ll take it out on the horses if she doesn’t do what he wants.
Well, we can’t let that stand.
Talk to Ingo, and he’ll offer you a chance to ride the horses for 10 rupees. Fork up the rupees, and you’ll have freedom inside the horse pen, where Epona is.
She’ll run away from you again, but playing Epona’s Song will get her to calm down and let you ride her. Returning to Ingo before your time in the pen is up will prompt him to challenge you to a race with 50 rupees as a wager.
Beating him at a race isn’t hard, although I’ve always found that controlling Epona can be a little finicky. Take time to ride around the pen beforehand and get used to the controls if necessary. The key to this is staying close to the fence and using your boosts at the right time. Beat him once, and he’ll challenge you to another race to make up for his embarrassing loss. This time, if you win, you’ll get Epona herself.
The second race is harder, but the same tips still apply. Beat Ingo again, and he’ll concede defeat and give you Epona, but he won’t let you leave the ranch, blocking your exit. You need to jump the fence to get out, which is easier said than done.
You need to boost just before hitting the hurdle, and if you time it wrong, Epona will hit the fence instead. It’s easiest to jump the fence around the ranch’s perimeter as there’s a lot of space. However, you can also jump the fence that Ingo raises to lock you in. You’ll get a different animation for your escape depending on which way you leave.
Return to Lon Lon Ranch after escaping, and Ingo will be back to the timid farmhand he was. Malon has returned to the horse field and thanks you for your help. You tell her your name again, and she remembers you from all those years ago.
She’s glad that Epona recognized you too. Ingo seems to have gone back to his “kind” self, and her father will return soon, so everything is looking up for her little ranch.
Once you’ve liberated Lon Lon Ranch, you can talk to Malon to try your hand at an obstacle course. This is a lot like the race, but it’s two laps, and you need to jump hurdles too. Malon will give you a prize if you beat the current record, which is 50 seconds. According to one of the Sheikha Stones, this record was set by Malon herself.
The obstacle course is challenging to master and comes down to your control over Epona. You’ll need to boost right before each hurdle, and missing just one will throw you off completely. Luckily, Malon isn’t a moneygrubber and doesn’t charge you for each attempt.
When you beat Malon’s record, she’ll congratulate you and present you with a prize. However, it’s too big to hand to you, so she’s sent it to your house in the Kokiri Forest. Go home, and you’ll find a cow inside. This may be a little extravagant as a prize, and I’ll forever be confused about how she got it up the ladder, but a cow means free milk whenever you want it!
It’s well-known just how influential Ocarina of Time was to the Legend of Zelda franchise. One result of that was the characters from the game showing up in future installments. Malon shows up, in person, in three other Legend of Zelda games.
Oracle of Seasons
Malon and her father run a cucco farm in Oracle of Seasons, just north of Horon Village. Talon has left Malon alone to tend to the birds, but she doesn’t know much about caring for them. As a part of the trading quest, Link can give her a ‘Cuccopedia’ in exchange for a ‘Lon Lon Egg.’
Four Swords Adventures
In this game, you find Malon stranded and in need of an escort back to Lon Lon Ranch. So it’s your job to take her home without her getting hurt. Malon only has one heart of health, so be careful; if she dies, so will you.
She’ll thank you once you return her safely, and says that while she wasn’t sure if you were reliable, she’s now realized that she was wrong. In return for helping his daughter home, Talon rewards you by allowing you to use his horses.
Malon’s final cameo is in the Minish Cap, where her father has lost the key to their home, and the only spare key is inside the house. You need to shrink and enter the house to retrieve their key. Bring it back to them, and the two will thank you. They’ll open the door, and then you’ll be able to travel through Lon Lon Ranch.
This one is interesting. Link’s Awakening was released before Ocarina of Time and featured the characters Marin and Tarin. Toru Osawa, a script writer for Ocarina of Time, said in an interview that Malon and Talon were written as references to these two characters.
This is further expanded upon in the Hyrule Historia. It’s suggested that Marin and her father are dream figures of Link’s in the game based on his real encounters with Malon and Talon. I’ll emphasize that it’s a suggestion and that this is all information from outside the games themselves.
Romani and Cremia
Malon’s further appearances are hardly limited to cameos, however. Well, sort of. Majora’s Mask was the sequel to Ocarina of Time. Mechanically they were identical, and many of the assets were ripped straight from Ocarina.
Nintendo has been very open about this. By reusing assets, the developers could focus on making Majora’s Mask a bigger, more complete game than it might have been in such a short release window. And yes, Malon’s visual assets were also reused for Majora’s Mask.
In Majora’s Mask, Malon’s child and adult sprites were split into two new characters: Romani and Cremia. These sisters run Romani Ranch, found in southwest Termina. Romani Ranch is an important location in the game: this is where Epona is being held. You also learn Epona’s Song, earn the bunny hood and Romani’s Mask, and find some pieces of heart here.
While this is only Malon in spirit, I still thought it was meaningful to her character.
Breath of the Wild
Almost everything in the Legend of Zelda series was referenced in Breath of the Wild at some point. Everything apart from Malon, apparently. I couldn’t find a single direct reference to her specifically in the game, which was bizarre considering how many games she’s shown up in. However, this doesn’t mean that she isn’t related to any references.
Most notable are the Ranch Ruins, found in the exact location in Hyrule Field as in Ocarina of Time. The only things left there are the foundations and what remains of the horse pen. Still, if you’re familiar with Ocarina of Time, it’s painfully obvious that this is the Lon Lon Ranch we know.
This ranch is also located on the Romani Plain, referencing Romani from Majora’s Mask, who shares Malon’s child sprite. In the Hebra region, you can find a place called ‘Talonto Peak.’ This is likely a reference to Malon’s father, Talon.
Strange that while Malon is forgotten, Talon gets a mountain named after him. Finally, if you meet Kass at a stable, you can hear him playing a version of Epona’s theme.
The Song of a Farmgirl
In the grand scheme, Malon isn’t that important to the Zelda franchise. While she has a notable role in Ocarina of Time, it’s minor compared to characters like Ruto or Nabooru. Regardless, Malon has wormed her way into the hearts of players with her innocent smile and pretty song. So much so that she’s seen again and again in subsequent games.
I think it’s important to remember the smaller players in the Hero of Time’s journey, as these characters remind us the world is worth saving. People live in this world; people like Malon want to be happy and can’t be if Ganondorf gets his way.
So it’s up to us to give them a chance at that happiness. And maybe take advantage of their milk stores along the way.
Malon Zelda: FAQs
Question: How Old is Malon in Ocarina of Time?
Answer: Malon doesn’t have an official age, but she is probably the same age as Link in Ocarina of Time. This makes her 9 as a child and 16 after the time skip.
Question: Is Malon a Sage?
Answer: No, Malon is not a Sage. The seven sages are Saria, Ruto, Darunia, Impa, Rauru, and Princess Zelda. Malon isn’t associated with any dungeons, instead being the character you tame Epona through.
Question: How Do I Get Epona’s Song?
Answer: You learn Epona’s Song from Malon at Lon Lon Ranch as a child. After you’ve woken Talon up in front of Hyrule Castle, you can find him and Malon back at Lon Lon Ranch.
Malon will introduce you to Epona as a foal, but she will run away. Malon will then teach you Epona’s song, which you can play to tame Epona as an adult.