Why Zelda's Legend?

"Zelda? That's the guy in the green hat and skirt, right?"

This is the joke we have all heard, hated, and then of course repeated throughout the years. The games are all part of the Legend of ZELDA series, and the main character is not Zelda, it is Link. We're used to this. It makes sense to all us Zelda fans, and we just know to correct or ignore people when they make the mistake. I guess it could be worse. It's not like the games are named after one of the series' villains (I'm looking at you, Metroid).

Jokes aside, when you do really think about it, why is it named that? Why is the series named after someone often seen as only the damsel in distress? Well, the short and easy answer is Shigeru Miyamoto's explaination of the origins of the name:

"Zelda was the name of the wife of the famous novelist Francis Scott Fitzgerald. She was a famous and beautiful woman from all accounts, and I liked the sound of her name. So I took the liberty of using her name for the very first Zelda title."

It's pretty underwhelming, but this is how the series got its name. That's pretty often the case when creating something. Someone will just like the way something sounds, or how it looks or how "cool" it is to them.

The only problem is this isn't enough for a lot of people. I of course speak of nerds, who have nothing better to do than to speculate on pointless theories. I of course speak of myself. Hey, at least I can be honest about what I am.

Allow me to prove my point about my nerd status. I've thought about the origin of the name for some time now, and I think I finally have found a canonical point in the series' narrative that gives an actually satisfying explanation as to why Zelda is so pivotal.

That explanation would by way of the goddess Hylia.

As revealed in Skyward Sword, Zelda is in fact the human reincarnation of the goddess, who was sent to act as a protector of the Triforce and the mortal beings living in Hyrule.

It was during and soon after a long war with the Demon King Demise and his armies that Hylia began to understand what she needed to do in order to save her subjects.

Though Hylia was able to defeat Demise and seal him away long before the events of the Skyward Sword, she herself came very close to being destroyed. Her power was dwindling, and knew full well that the seal placed on Demise would break eventually, and that nothing short of the Triforce would be able to stop him. So in order to guarantee Demise's, well, demise, Hylia set in motion a plan to obtain the power of the Triforce, create a weapon that could banish evil, and summon a hero that could wield both.

The first step in her plan was to create the weapon that would be used to battle Demise. She forged the Goddess Sword and created Fi, who would reside within the sword and guide the hero in his quest to imbue the blade with the power to repel evil, and to claim the Triforce itself.

The next step was to create a way to gain access to the Triforce. Hylia knew the hero would need her help to find and weild the power of the goddesses, but she was also aware this power could not be harnessed by a deity. So Hylia gave up her status as a divine being and transferred her soul into the body of a mortal, in order to ensure she and her chosen hero would be able to summon the Triforce's power. This is how and why Zelda came to be.

The final part of her plan was to leave clues behind for the hero to follow, in order to face challenges that would test his worth, and to find the Sacred Flames, which would be used to turn the Goddess Sword into the Master Sword. Once the hero had faced all the presented trials and obtained the Blade of Evil's Bane, he would be considered worthy by the goddesses to obtain the Triforce.

So what all does this mean? It means Hylia, who is now Zelda, orchestrated everything. She set in motion the events that repeat themselves in every era of Hyrule's history. Without her, the hero would never have first been found, his ties to Triforce, the Master Sword and Zelda would have never been forged, and Spirit of the Hero, which is to say the timeless call to action of a worthy individual, would have never existed. Demise would have taken the Triforce for himself, and destroyed all of Hyrule.

This is why it is called the Legend of Zelda. Hylia is Zelda, and this is her enduring legacy. I guess that means calling the series Legacy of Zelda would be more accurate, but, going back to what Miyamoto said, "Legend" just sounds better.

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