Despite being portrayed as more of a strong and silent protagonist, The Legend of Zelda’s Link has a solid family unit in several of the franchise’s games. This February marked 35 years since The Legend of Zelda made its debut on the Nintendo Entertain System, and in that time, Link has saved the Kingdom of Hyrule from many perils time and time again. From sealing Ganon away in the Sacred Realm with the aid of the sages and Princess Zelda herself in Ocarina of Time, or by forcefully striking Malladus the Demon King with a sword in Spirit Tracks, Link is shown to be relentless in his quest to rid the world of evil.
The Legend of Zelda recently moved away from its silent characters and included voice acting in Breath of the Wild’s cutscenes. This break from the norm, while a little clunky at first, was nonetheless a welcome change to the famously-restrained storytelling mechanics of previous Zelda games. One key character, however, retained their voicelessness – The Hero of Time himself, Link.
But just because he is a silent character with little more than a few grunts or sighs to his repertoire does not mean that The Legend of Zelda’s Link is closed-off and alone – quite the contrary. Along with a steadfast alliance to the game’s eponymous Princess, Link also has several family members present in a considerable number of the series’ titles.
While A Link to the Past, the third game in The Legend of Zelda series, is most famous for introducing Link’s iconic weapon the Master Sword, it is also the first game in the series to mention Link’s family. In A Link to the Past, players are introduced to Link’s unnamed Uncle. Link is living with his Uncle at the start of the game before they both independently set off for Hyrule Castle.
Unfortunately for these two chaps, however, Link’s Uncle is mortally wounded and left to die in Hyrule Castle during the game’s first chapter. When the game is completed, however, Link is able to revive his Uncle, along with restoring peace to Hyrule.
In 2003’s The Wind Waker, Link is shown to be enjoying island living with his Grandmother and his little sister, Aryll. In the opening chapters of the game, Link is presented with a green tunic, or “Hero’s Clothes,” from his grandmother as part of his coming-of-age ceremony for his birthday. Before the celebrations can begin however, Aryll is snatched up by the Helmaroc King, a gigantic bird working under the orders of Ganon to find “girls with long ears.”
Thankfully, Link is able to save his sister, along with several other kidnapped girls, from the clutches of the Helmaroc King. He then goes on to vanquish Ganon once more (after several other trials and tribulations) and concludes the game on a fulfilling note.
The next time that Zelda players are introduced to a member of Link’s family is in 2004’s The Minish Cap for the Game Boy Advance. The twelfth entry to the Zelda series portrays Link as the grandson of Smith, a Hylian swordsmith and a friend of King Daltus. Smith is instrumental in setting Link on his course within The Minish Cap, as it is he who suggests sending Link to seek out the Minish after Princess Zelda is turned to stone by Vaati.
Throughout the game, Link can return to Smith’s house, where his grandfather will be dutifully making swords or offering direction as to where Link should venture next on his quest. He acts as the Kaepora Gaebora of The Minish Cap, just much less annoying.
Perhaps the member of Link’s family with the most tragic tale is Twilight Princess’ Ancient Hero, or The Hero’s Spirit. The Hero’s Spirit comes to Link in the form of the White Wolf and provides training for the battles within Twilight Princess by teaching Link seven hidden skills. While it is never stated outright in the game itself, the Ancient Hero is in fact the Hero of Time from Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask.
Despite his efforts within the two aforementioned games, however, the Ancient Hero is bitter about how events transpired. He was never remembered for his heroic deeds due to being sent back to his childhood at the end of Ocarina of Time. In order to appease his regrets, he instead passes his knowledge on to Twilight Princess’ Link, as Link is his descendant. Which generation of descendant Twilight Princess’ rendition of Link is, however, is not specified.
While they are not present in any The Legend of Zelda games physically, Link’s parents do also get a mention in both Ocarina of Time and in Breath of the Wild. After Link defeats Phantom Ganon within the Forest Temple of Ocarina of Time, the Deku Tree Sprout appears where the Great Deku Tree once stood. The Deku Tree Sprout tells Link that he is not Kokiri, but Hylian, and that that is the reason that Link has grown up during the seven years his spirit was sealed away. The sprout then tells Link how his mother fled to the forest when a civil war broke out in Hyrule, but she was gravely injured during the flight. Knowing that she would not survive, Link’s mother entrusted her small child to the Great Deku Tree to watch over before she died.
Meanwhile, in Breath of the Wild, the family dynamic that gets most focus within the game is that of Princess Zelda and her father King Rhoam, but Link’s father receives a passing mention. When sheltering from a rainstorm (a more than regular occurrence within Breath of the Wild) Zelda makes the comment that Link’s path mirrors his father’s, and Zelda remarks how Link has dedicated himself to “becoming a Knight as well” strongly suggesting that Link’s father was a Knight before him.
While not part of the video game The Legend of Zelda franchise per say, Link’s father is also mentioned in the Ocarina of Time manga. Here, it is stated that Link’s father perished in Hyrule’s civil war, the same war that saw Link’s mother flee to the forest, as mentioned in the Ocarina of Time game.