Technically, Zelda is 117 years old in Breath of the Wild, but with the appearance and physiology of a 17-year-old girl. How this curious distinction has come about, however, will need some extra explaining. In this article, I’ll be running through exactly how and why there is this discrepancy between Zelda‘s biological age and her appearance, and I’ll also cover some other related pieces of information you’ll likely find interesting!
Why Doesn’t Zelda Look Old?
Similarly to Link, Zelda was kept in a sort of stasis during the destruction of Hyrule at the hands of Calamity Ganon. This event occurred 100 years before the game’s events when both Zelda and Link were 17 years old.
Her ageless form is thought to be due to the magic she uses to conceal Gonon within Hyrule castle. During the penultimate battle with Ganon, Zelda’s only option was to sacrifice herself to contain the evil that threatened to destroy the land. While she was successful in trapping him, she also remained suspended.
She effectively sealed herself and Ganon away from time, cutting herself off from Hyrule and the Great Plateau.
Magic is also the reason Link doesn’t age. Zelda and the Sheikah secured Link’s body in the Shrine of Resurrection, whereby the cave’s Slumber of Restoration feature was triggered to essentially freeze him as he is and heal him over time.
The theory is also consistent with how Zelda operates in the other games. She saves both herself and Link by time traveling to another realm in Twilight Princess, and similarly to in BotW, she travels to the past to prevent the actions of Ganon on the present timeline in Skyward Sword.
Where Does this Information Fit Within The Legend of Zelda’s Timeline?
The Zelda timeline is complex enough as it is, but Breath of the Wild is actually the most hotly debated entry in the series. The Hyrule Historia is the official lore guide for the series, and because it was produced before Breath of the Wild was released, fans have had to piece together the BotW timeline themselves from information on the other games.
There are three known timelines established in the franchise: The Child Era, The Adult Era, and The Fallen Hero Era. Breath of the Wild is thought to be a culmination of all three. How this works is currently unclear: we don’t know how Zelda’s 100-year stasis slots into the broader plot timeline, or if this version of Zelda is acutely related to past iterations. Nevertheless, the answers to these questions will likely be revealed in the events of the next game.
If you’re looking for an in-depth guide to help you understand the timeline, check out our own rundown here on the site!
Question: Do you get to Play as Zelda in Breath of the Wild?
Answer: While BotW’s Zelda is definitely the most fleshed-out iteration of her in any Legend of Zelda title, unfortunately, we don’t get to play as her in this game. This version of Zelda is playable in Hyrule Warriors, though.
Question: Will the Upcoming New Zelda Game, Tears of the Kingdom, Feature the Same Iteration of Zelda?
Answer: Yes. As far as we know, Tears of the Kingdom is a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild featuring the same iterations of Link, Zelda, and other major characters. The exact plot is yet to be elucidated, but I’m sure we’ll get a better idea closer to the game’s launch (March 2023).
Question: Why is Zelda Voiced in Breath of the Wild but Link is Not?
Answer: While Zelda has a significant amount of spoken lines in BotW, Link remains as mute as he’s ever been. The reason for this is rooted in his relationship with Zelda, which is expressed in her diary found in Hyrule Castle. According to an extract, Link remains silent as he deems it necessary to stay strong and bare any burden. Minda also makes reference to Link’s speechlessness, believing that he is lost for words because of her beauty.
How Old Is Zelda: Conclusion
I hope you enjoyed this article covering the information surrounding Zelda’s unusual age. If you want to learn more about Breath of the Wild’s world and history, be sure to check out our other BotW articles here on the site!