Ladies in video games have come a long way from Pauline getting manhandled by Donkey Kong in his self-titled arcade game. Yet, still, the trope of the damseled woman is one of the staples of video games, and her love at the end of a heroic rescue is the ultimate reward for the hero du jour. One of the series that suffers a lot from this is the Zelda franchise. It’s true that Link and Zelda don’t always have an implied romantic relationship, or that Zelda just sits there waiting for Link to come and beat Ganon in any of his incarnations. However, the minds behind Zelda seem adamant against creating a game that gives Zelda a more active role—or even makes her the protagonist—and thus she inevitably becomes a victim in each and every game.
As the wielder of the Triforce of Wisdom, Zelda is intelligent and cunning, so it really is a shame that players only get to see the tip of what this really entails, even though they do get to see how Link’s Courage and Ganon’s Power work. Today’s webcomic Web Crush finally gives Zelda the spotlight she deserves, and in, perhaps, one of the most unlikely of ways.
I’ll get this out of the way first: yes, I am ZelGan shipping trash, so honestly finding such an excellent comic that caters to me is a gift. But, I digress. FigmentForms’s comic A Tale of Two Rulers throws the typical Zelda mythos on its head. After cycles and cycles of reincarnation, war, and recovery, Princess Zelda has gotten tired of her Kingdom and its people’s continuous suffering. In an attempt to break this cycle once and for all, she turns not to the legendary hero of time, but the prince of the Gerudo himself, Ganon (in this case, Ganondorf). Putting pride behind her, she offers him an alternative to fate: instead of allowing war to engulf both their kingdoms, the two of them will marry and broker peace through political maneuvering and compromise. Ganon is understandably wary—the Gerudo and the others in his kingdom have been persecuted by the Hylians for eons, and even a marriage with the princess wouldn’t guarantee any benefits for him or his kingdom. As they talk, though, they decide that it would be worth a shot, despite their mutual suspicion and distaste.
What also makes this story interesting is that Link’s reincarnation isn’t some random nobody waiting out in the boonies of Hyrule until it’s time for them to take up their shield and sword for some noble cause. Rather, they are implied to be Rinku, Zelda’s daughter, who is an amazing character in her own right. Zelda adores her daughter, but Rinku is honestly such a little shit. She runs around playing pranks on people and going on her own adventures, and is probably one of the only people in the Hylian court to barely fear Ganon (which he not-so-secretly loves).
While the relationship between Zelda and Ganon is tenuous at first, they are slowly growing to understand each other better and truly do seem to want peace for their lands. This doesn’t mean that their subordinates aren’t on the lookout for any reason to dissolve this idealistic plan, however. In Ganon’s camp in particular, his underlings Ghirahim and Vaati don’t really see the point in trying to play nice with the Hylians when it’s obvious to them that this scheme is just a bullshit trap.
A Tale of Two Rulers has all the makings of an epic tale in every sense of the word, and waiting for the weekly Monday updates is seriously suffering when it leaves off on a particularly tense page. If you have any interest in Zelda, or any interest in tales of fantasy, I’d highly recommend taking some time out of your day to catch up. And if you’re a fan, maybe consider checking out FigmentForms’s Patreon as well, as they more than deserve support for putting out such a fantastic work of art.