Link may be the chosen hero of the gods in the Legend of Zelda games, but the swordsman often relies on the help of others. Whether it’s teaming up with Princess Zelda to beat Ganon or drawing upon the power of his Granny’s special soup, much of Link’s power derives from those who support him in his never-ending quest to defeat the evil that threatens Hyrule.
Enter the sages: a mysterious group of characters who have supported Link in several games in different forms. As recurring characters, the sages have appeared in games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Now, they return in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Their reintroduction into a mainline Zelda game represents a return to a classic Zelda trope, but their seemingly sudden appearance brings up questions over their role in Tears of the Kingdom and beyond. Here, we broke down the history of the sages in the larger world of The Legend of Zelda and the most recent game.
Who are the sages in the wider Zelda lore?
As mentioned above, the sages are a recurring group of characters seen in several Zelda games. Similar to other regular characters like Link or Zelda, the sages function like a character archetype that the developers can adapt and slot into entirely separate stories in different timelines. As a result, the sages in one game aren’t necessarily the same exact characters in another, but they might fulfill similar roles or purposes.
In the larger Zelda lore, the sages’ roles generally entail the protection of the Triforce and supporting Hyrule’s royal family. The sages can trace their lineage back to the earliest days of Hyrule. As the origin story goes, goddesses descended upon Hyrule and gave life to the land. When they did this, they also left behind a legendary source of power known as the Triforce. The place where the goddesses left the Triforce became known as the Sacred Realm, and the ones tasked with protecting the Sacred Realm became the sages.
In Zelda lore, early Hylians possessed magical powers. Over time, many Hylians lost their connection to these magical powers. The exception to this included the sages and the royal family, so the sages are notable for their special powers and ties to the Hyrule royal family. One notable example includes Rauru, a sage who aided Link in Ocarina of Time, and now Tears of the Kingdom.
[Ed. note: The rest of this article contains spoilers for the story of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.]
Who are the sages in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom?
While the role of the sages varies from game to game, the characters come back in a big way in Tears of the Kingdom. At the start of the game, Zelda gets transported to Hyrule’s ancient past, where she meets the original sages of Hyrule. We don’t know all of their names, but the sages we meet are Rauru (the first king of Hyrule), Sonia (the first queen of Hyrule), Zelda (who stands in for Sonia), Mineru (Rauru’s sister), as well as a Goron, a Gerudo, a Rito, and a Zora.
In that time, Rauru and the sages fight Ganondorf in what is known as the Imprisoning War after the villain kills Sonia and takes her secret stone, a magical power-enhancing object that each sage possesses. The sages and Rauru can’t beat Ganondorf, but the king does manage to seal him away. Afterward, Zelda goes from sage to sage and asks them to rise up and fight alongside Link when the time comes thousands of years later. They agree, and all that’s left is for the time to pass.
Enter Link and our journey in Tears of the Kingdom. Ganondorf rises again, and it’s up to Link to fight him. Link then travels from region to region to meet and awaken those reborn as the new sages. We won’t list them all to avoid the worst spoilers, but the main ones include Tulin, Sidon, Makeela Riju, Yunobo, and Mineru/her Zonai robot. Each of those sages has a connection to a particular element and uses that power to help Link in his journey.
Whereas in other Zelda games, the sages play more of an advisory role or largely serve to advance the plot and give Link a long chain of quests, the sages in Tears of the Kingdom lend Link their power in a very literal sense. Playing the mainline quests will awaken each character as a sage, and allow them to lend a special elemental power to Link. For example, Tulin as the Sage of Wind harnesses the power of wind gusts, whereas Sidon has the unique ability to deploy water shields and attacks. The sages swear an oath of loyalty to Link and manifest avatar versions of themselves that allow Link to call on their power anywhere he goes.
Taken together, the sages play a central role in Tears of the Kingdom by being a driving force both behind the larger story and in how you play the game.
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