- “I did not steal enough power from the Hyruleans. My blood boils, heroes! It seethes at the sight of you! I thirst for destruction! For the pure release of rage, the power of wrath!”
- —Ganon, The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
Ganon's artwork from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
|Counterparts||Shadow of Ganon|
Calamity Ganon (malice)
Magician (manga adaptation)
|First appearance||The Legend of Zelda (1986)|
|Latest appearance||Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda (2021)|
Ganon, sometimes spelled Gannon in the intros of earlier titles, is a demonic boar creature and the main antagonist of the The Legend of Zelda franchise, along with his alternative form of the Gerudo Ganondorf. Ganon first appears in The Legend of Zelda. He is the King of Evil and holder of the Triforce of Power. Ganon has repeatedly sought the whole Triforce and threatened balance in Hyrule, sometimes shown transforming from the basic form of Ganondorf, and other times being depicted as Ganon throughout the game. Ganon's size, design, and overall intelligence varies drastically, sometimes sharing Ganondorf's calculating mind, and sometimes being a mindless force of destruction. In all appearances, however, his primary motivation is an unending desire for an increasing amount of power.
The Legend of Zelda series
The Legend of Zelda
In The Legend of Zelda, Ganon, Prince of Darkness is introduced as a large cyan pig creature. Prior to the game's events, Ganon has stolen the Triforce of Power. Princess Zelda believes him to also be after the Triforce of Wisdom, which she divides into eight Triforce units and scatters them throughout each dungeon. As a result, Ganon takes Zelda hostage in Death Mountain behind Spectacle Rock.
Ganon is the final boss and fought inside Level-9, Death Mountain. He awaits beneath one of the "eyes" of the dungeon's skull-shaped map. When confronted, Ganon warps around the room while invisible, shooting fireballs. Link must strike Ganon with the sword repeatedly (taking only four hits with the Magical Sword), causing him to become brown and petrified. While Ganon is in this state, he is vulnerable to a Silver Arrow attack, which defeats him. If Link is not quick enough, Ganon flashes and returns to his initial blue form, and all of his health is restored which effectively restarts the battle. Upon being hit by a Silver Arrow, Ganon crumbles into a pile of ashes and relinquishes the Triforce of Power. Link then rescues Princess Zelda.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
In the backstory of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, following after the events of The Legend of Zelda, Ganon's minions attempt to revive Ganon with the help of some new monsters from the underworld. He can be resurrected when Link's blood is sprinkled on his ashes, so Ganon's minions seek Link to restore Ganon, acting as the primary threat outside of the palaces.
While Ganon is part of the main storyline, he does not physically appear in the game itself. When Link loses all his health, the player gets a Game Over, and Ganon is resurrected. In the original Japanese Family Computer Disk System release, this is accompanied by a black screen and a roar, while in the overseas Nintendo Entertainment System version a silhouette of Ganon is shown, accompanied by an audio clip of an evil laugh from Ganon.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Some time prior to the game, Ganon, formerly Ganondorf, was sealed within the Sacred Realm by the seven sages due to his obtaining the Triforce. However, his power corrupts it, twisting it into the sinister Dark World, changing its inhabitants into twisted reflections of their souls, and filling the land with evil monsters. He still plots to take over the Light World, and uses his alter-ego of the wizard Agahnim to open the gateways between fully. After Agahnim is defeated in Ganon's Tower, he turns into a bat and flies to the pyramid, before then becoming Ganon.
Ganon is capable of many new attacks due to the addition of a trident, but generally just uses one per phase of the battle. For the first phase, he throws his trident at Link and warps to a new location, with the weapon traveling back to him. After enough hits, he spins his tridents to conjure a circle of small flames, which he then stretches outward before returning them, followed by turning them into Firebats which fly at Link. Next, he spawns a Firebat to rapidly spiral out from him while dropping flames. During this phase, he will sometimes jump, creating a shockwave powerful enough to stun Link and destroy the floor along one of the four walls. During his final phase, he puts out the two torches in the room, turning himself invisible, while warping around and shooting a single Firebat quickly in Link's direction. When Link relights the torches, Ganon will become visible again and shield his eyes with his cape before warping again. If hit when visible, he becomes blue and petrified, allowing Link to hit him with a Silver Arrow, though he recovers from his paralysis afterwards. After enough arrows, Ganon is destroyed, and the path to the Triforce's holding place opens.
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Ganon does not directly appear in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. However, the Shadow of Ganon, one of the forms the Shadows take is a silhouetted version of him, likely based on Link's own experience. It is capable of his basic attacks from A Link to the Past.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Ganon appears at the end of the game, after Link and Zelda escape the crumbling Ganon's Castle. Ganondorf rises from the rubble and allows the power of the Triforce of Power to consume him completely, transforming him into Ganon, before he knocks away the Master Sword. Here, he is depicted much taller and leaner than previously, and is green with long horns resembling tusks. He also wields two giant swords capable of destroying pillars and other remaining pieces of the castle. His weak point is his glowing, crystalline tail. He can be stunned by hitting him in the face with Light Arrows, allowing Link to circle behind and hit his tail. Any other sort of arrow will simply make him shake his head confusedly. Link is also capable of rolling between his legs, also making his look around in confusion. After enough hits, he will be stunned, and Link can retrieve the Master Sword. After several more hits, Zelda uses her power to hold him in place, allowing Link to strike the finishing blow to the head.
During the game's development, Ganon was intended to be even larger, and Link would climb atop Ganon to fight him. This was scrapped because the player would be unable to see Ganon during the battle. The idea was reused for the Super Mario Galaxy boss, Megaleg.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages
- “Gwoh hoh hoh! Gwah hah hah... Destroy...all... Kill ALL!!!”
- —Ganon, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages
Throughout both The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages, Twinrova attempts to revive him by sowing discord across Holodrum and Labrynna through Onox and Veran tampering with the powers of the oracles Din and Nayru, causing magical flames to light. However, the last stage of the plan, sacrificing Princess Zelda's pure soul, was thwarted by Link, so they sacrifice themselves instead. This revives him, but renders him simply a mindless destructive beast bent on destroying absolutely everything. Likely as another result of his improper resurrection as well as lack of the Triforce of Power, he is much weaker than normal, able to be defeated without any sacred weapons, though unless Link has the Master Sword or a power-boosting ring, Spin Attacking is required to damage him.
Ganon alternates between attacking and teleporting. At the beginning of his battle, he is capable of three attacks. He can shoot a large, slow ball of energy followed by a quicker one on each side of it, can use his trident to shoot four energy balls in different directions and each split into three smaller ones, and can swing directly with his trident. After enough damage is dealt, he begins sometimes immediately teleporting away or doing an attack involving summoning a massive ball of energy, attempting to stun Link by slamming the ground, and shooting the ball at him. Sometimes, he will briefly take Link to a swirling void where he attacks incessantly and walks rather than teleporting; additionally, the players movement controls are reversed. After he is attacked enough, he briefly regains his mind before dying again.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
A stylized Ganon appears in the backstory of the game, and his Ocarina of Time design appears on a stained glass window. However, Ganondorf does not ever turn into Ganon in gameplay, although either Ganondorf or a duplicate turns into Puppet Ganon.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
In The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, a reborn Ganondorf steals the trident from the pyramid in the Desert of Doubt and becomes Ganon, then steals the Dark Mirror from the Temple of Shadow to create evil clones of Link called Shadow Links. He then uses a Shadow Link to scatter and imprison the shrine maidens and force Link to free Vaati, whom Ganon uses as a cover while going about his own evil plans in the background. He also defeats the Knights of Hyrule and turns them into Big Dark Stalfos as well as brainwashes Hyrule's soldiers. Ganon then begins trying to cover all of Hyrule in darkness.
He is first directly mentioned by the Deku Scrubs in the Lost Woods, who follow him (albeit incompetently) while considering Vaati "old news." However, his presence is hinted as early as Hyrule Castle due to Phantom Ganon's appearance. He also has the Deku Scrubs start remaking the temple into a monument to him. The Red Maiden imprisoned in the temple recognizes the name Ganon's similarity to Ganondorf's, but doubts a connection as she cannot see why a desert nomad would be leading forest monsters, nor how someone from the "trustworthy and pure of heart" Gerudo tribe could be a King of Darkness. Regardless, they go to the Gerudo settlement in the Desert of Doubt and learn the truth.
Ganon's presence is very heavily shown in the Palace of Winds, which uses his leitmotif as background music and is filled with statues and reliefs with his likeness. Once Vaati is defeated and the palace begins crumbling, Ganon reflects on how pathetic Vaati ended up being and his anger at not gaining enough power, promising to obliterate the heroes with the trident. He then escapes the tower as a cloud of pure darkness and begins destroying the Tower of Winds, which the Links and Zelda are descending. When they reach the bottom, he destroys the floor, sending them to the basement. Zelda awakens first, and upon noticing the cloud of darkness, attempts to use her sealing power on it, but finds that the overwhelming feeling of destruction it is giving off is too much. Ganon then uses his power of darkness to imprison her and assumes his corporeal form, resembling his A Link to the Past artwork, but even larger and with purple clothes instead of red.
Ganon can be damaged by attacking him with the Four Sword. At first, Ganon teleports around while spinning the trident, occasionally shooting beams of lightning in various directions at once from it. Sometimes, he sends the Links to a void in the Dark World, where they need to defeat some Stalfos and a Sutarunakku before facing a Big Dark Stalfos. When they are defeated, the battle with Ganon resumes and any further attempts to send them to the Dark World will result in them escaping immediately. After enough hits, Ganon will start to sometimes teleport instantaneously in a huge flash of light before throwing his trident, which leaves behind a trail of blue fire, and teleporting away where it follows him and he catches it. After several more hits, Ganon falls to his knees and vanishes in a flash of light, with the seal over Zelda breaking. Zelda uses the remainder of her power to make a magical ball of light, which she tells the Links to fire an arrow through it to seal away Ganon. Ganon then returns, and the Links continue to battle him to stall for time while Zelda prepares the ball of light. Ganon is now surrounded by a bright red aura, protecting him from direct hits while continues to teleport around, occasionally shooting several large green balls of magic at the Links and Zelda, which can be avoided or knocked away with the sword. After enough hits from returned shots, Ganon's aura disappears and he falls to his knees again while the ball of light begins circling him. The Links must fire arrows through it, causing him to be trapped in a huge cluster of light. The shrine maidens then surround him while the Links hold up the Four Sword, sealing him within the blade.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Ganondorf becomes Dark Beast Ganon after Midna removes him from Zelda's body after fighting Possessed Zelda. Here, he is a quadruped with no anthropomorphic qualities, and several of his boar-like traits are combined with lion-like traits. He charges around and warps between various portals he conjures. Wolf Link must meet him head-on, allowing Midna to use her hair to throw him, and allowing Link to attack his underside, which still has the wound from the Sages' Sword. After he is defeated, Zelda summons the power of the four Spirits of Light to create the Light Arrows, and a horseback battle with Ganondorf commences.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Ganon initially appears in silhouette in a nightmare Link has in the beginning of the game. He is also shown in several pictures in Hyrule Castle, retelling the backstory and events of A Link to the Past. It is revealed that rather than dying, Ganon had been "sealed away in darkness," with the Triforce of Power following. Later, Ganon is restored by the Lorulean sorcerer Yuga (himself indicated to be Ganondorf's counterpart) after the latter captures the Seven Sages. However, he is then fused with Yuga into Yuga Ganon, with the latter taking control, and then trapped by Princess Hilda. It is somewhat indicated that before and while he is battled at the end, Ganon starts to take control of or at least have a greater influence on the fusion.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Some amount of centuries before the game, Ganon fully became one with his hatred and became pure physical malice, taking a giant ghastly form known as Calamity Ganon, which is treated as more of a sentient natural disaster than a sapient villain. Eventually, Calamity Ganon manages to lay waste to Hyrule by turning their various ancient automated weapons against them. At the end of the game, once Calamity Ganon is defeated, it becomes Dark Beast Ganon, an enormous boar-shaped mass of malice, before making one last ditch effort to destroy the remains of Hyrule. In this state, Ganon shoots powerful burning lasers from its mouth. Link must use the Bow of Light that Zelda entrusts him while riding on the descendent of her horse to shoot the spots of light that Zelda creates on Ganon's body to damage it. Once it has taken enough damage, a split forms on the top of its head, which opens and closes to reveal the core of its being, represented as a large cluster of Eyes of Malice. Link must use the updraft caused by Ganon's lasers' fire to rise far enough to shoot into the core, defeating it in one shot. Once this happens, Zelda is ejected from its mouth, and Ganon assumes its ghostly boar shape, before Zelda uses her sealing power to shrink Ganon and its malice into nothingness.
Link: The Faces of Evil
- “In the darkest nightmare hour, when not moon nor sun has risen, I take Zelda with my power! I shall keep her in my prison!”
- —Ganon, Link: The Faces of Evil
Ganon (here depicted as a green bulldog-like monster) and his minions seize the island of Koridai, building huge monuments of their faces across it to act as strongholds, known as the Faces of Evil. Midway through the game, Ganon kidnaps Zelda in her sleep. Once Link confronts Ganon, Ganon offers to have Link join him, promising that his resulting Face of Evil would be the greatest in Koridai, and promising to kill him if he refuses. However, Link throws the Book of Koridai at him, sealing him into a burning pit as he screams in protest.
Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
Ganon attacks Duke Onkled (who later submits to him out of cowardice) in order to draw out King Harkinian and Link. Once Zelda confronts him, he becomes infuriated that she brought light into his lair, and attempts to kill her with lightning magic. Zelda then seals Ganon away with the Wand of Gamelon, which draws chains around him and then drags him into the Book of Koridai once more.
Gannon appears as the final boss, having captured Link and attacked Tolemac. Here, he resembles a beige ogre-like monster with huge horns. He appears after all the shrines are completed and all the Shrine Keepers (except Ursore) are re-fought. Gannon repeatedly teleports to random locations around the battlefield, shooting an array of four projectiles downwards whenever he appears. He can be defeated with enough hits from the Wand. After he is defeated, he turns into a tornado and then dissipates, and his lair shatters from existence.
Super Smash Bros. series
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Ganon appears as a part of Ganondorf's Final Smash, Beast Ganon. In the Final Smash, when Ganon transforms into Ganon, he charges across the screen. Ganon is designed after his appearance in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Ganondorf has a different Final Smash, Ganon, The Demon King, which also involves him transforming into Ganon. Ganon's appearance was updated to resemble his appearance from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
In both Classic Mode and in the Adventure Mode: World of Light, Ganon is fought as a boss. In Classic Mode, he is the final boss in Link's, Young Link's, Toon Link's, and Zelda's respective routes. Ganon is also a part of Sephiroth's Classic Mode route but not as a final boss. As a boss, Ganon's weak point is his tail, much like in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. However, Ganon is a lot more nimble, is able to quickly leap around fighters, and has many heavily-damaging attacks.
In Nintendo Land, a hand-crafted representation of Ganon is the villain of the "Battle Quest" mode. He resembles a large, strong version of the Moblins in the game, with sharp teeth and ornate armor. He wields two tridents, with the one in his left hand twirling most of the time. He first appears as the boss of the ninth quest, Raid on Ganon's Castle, and his fight is accompanied by an arrangement of Ganondorf's battle theme from Ocarina of Time. To attack, he teleports a ways from the players, conjures three consecutive spiked balls with Sentrobe-like divots in them and launches them at the players, with the divots marking which way they must be slashed to destroy them. After they are gone, Ganon teleports in close to attack with his trident, which can be blocked with the shield. The players must then attack him until he teleports away again, repeating the process until he is defeated.
In the Extra quests, Ganon appears even more. He first reappears in a rehash of the first battle in the third Extra quest, Death Mountain Path. In the final Extra quest, Ganon's Last Stand, he appears as a generic enemy partway through the level. Finally, a version of him wearing armor appears as the final boss, with the music now being arranged from Ganon's battle theme from Ocarina of Time. Aside from taking more hits to defeat him, this battle plays out the same as the previous ones.
Ganon is the final boss, and has all of Ganondorf's intelligence. He is huge and has a gorilla-like stance, and is capable of using many of the same attacks the game's other bosses use, with the same weaknesses to each. Once each has been exploited, he becomes vulnerable to the Light Arrows whenever his forehead gem glows, stunning him and allowing stronger attacks to be performed on him. The Boss DLC pack for the original version contains a bonus mode where the player controls Ganon with the trident as he destroys hordes of smaller monsters. This mode is not present in Hyrule Warriors Legends, but it is in Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition.
Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda
In Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda, Ganon appears as the final boss. In the present, Octavo used the extreme methods of the Golden Lute in order to gain power ahead of Ganon's arrival; however, thanks to the actions of Cadence, Link, and/or Zelda, he is defeated in the future. Ganon rules over Hyrule Castle and has statues of himself replacing the goddess statues. He freezes one or two of the heroes before the battle, and plays his organ to summon evil power and enemies. He will also stop playing in order to fight himself, surrounding himself with a force field that must be broken as he attacks with the trident. At the end of the battle, Cadence, Link, and Zelda get into place to use the Triforce to defeat him.
In Skull Kid's story, once Skull Kid gains access to the castle with the Bongos and Synth, he confronts Ganon. However, it is then revealed that the Skull Mask he attained at the beginning was evil and using him to find someone "worthy" of its power. Ganon puts on the mask, becoming Skull Ganon, whom Skull Kid must seal away with the Triforce by himself.
Appearances in other media
The Legend of Zelda animated series
In The Legend of Zelda cartoon, Ganon starred as the primary antagonist. He appears initially as a somewhat-generic cloaked sorcerer, but is depicted as a beige pig sorcerer in later episodes. Throughout the cartoon, Ganon's goal is to steal the Triforce of Wisdom from Link and Zelda. He is capable of summoning monsters from a magical jar. Ganon was portrayed by the late Len Carlson.
Captain N: The Game Master
Ganon appeared in the episode "Quest for the Potion of Power" of Captain N: The Game Master. He borrows his appearance and personality from The Legend of Zelda TV series, and is also portrayed by Len Carlson.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (comic)
In the comic adaptation of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past by Shotaro Ishinomori, Ganon has essentially the same role as in the game. He is first shown communicating to Agahnim through his shadow to tell him that Link is approaching, having breached the seal of the castle. He is not seen again directly aside from in backstory until the end of the penultimate chapter, where he rises from the ashes of Agahnim's ghost. He then begins to fight Link, knocking him down before picking him up with his Trident, gloating at Zelda when she raises Roam's crossbow at him. While he is distracted, Link chops the trident in half with the Master Sword and leaves a huge gash across Ganon's front, paralyzing him. Zelda then fires and arrow, and through the combined energy of Link, Zelda, Roam, and the maidens, it is transformed into a Silver Arrow, killing him and releasing the Triforce for Link to claim.
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tip: "Ganon appears as the final boss in The Legend of Zelda. In that title, he looks more beast than human, making him a sharp contrast to Ganondorf."
- For this subject's image gallery, see Ganon/gallery.
Names in other languages
|Ganon (rendered as "Gannon" in early games)|
- Coincidentally, both Ganon and Bowser had their designs partially derived from the Chinese folk tale Journey to the West, with Ganon being based on the humanoid pig character Zhu Bajie and was originally going to be named after it ("Hakkai", after its Japanese name "Cho Hakkai"), while Bowser was partly based on the Ox King Gyū-Maō.
- Yoshiaki Koizumi, Nintendo Power Volume 225.
- Iwata Asks | Bonus 1: Ancient Documents from 1985 | Iwata Asks - The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks | Nintendo. Nintendo UK. Retrieved March 1, 2022.