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Breath of the Wild’s Ganon-slaying ancient hero revealed in Tears of the Kingdom

A hero of time shrouded in mystery reemerges

An image of the tapestry detailing the defeat of Calamity Ganon in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, with the word SPOILERS overlaid Graphic: James Bareham/Polygon
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Link is told of the eons-old defeat of Calamity Ganon by a massive army of Guardians, four Divine Beasts, a powerful princess with the blood of the Goddess, and her hero of time, as chosen by the Master Sword.

The identity of the hero who fought alongside the princess and the forces of Hyrule Kingdom some 10,000 years ago has been a subject of great debate for the past six years, leading some to theorize that it was Ganondorf himself — the antagonist of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom — who defeated and sealed Calamity Ganon before a major heel turn. But a major completion event in Tears of the Kingdom gives players a better look at who that hero actually was, even if the reveal leaves plenty of questions unanswered.

[Ed. note: Spoilers for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom follow.]

Players can earn a new piece of gear called the Ancient Hero’s Aspect after completing 100% of Tears of the Kingdom’s shrines. There are more than 150 shrines in Tears of the Kingdom, and completing them all — let alone finding them all — is a major hurdle. But the reward is cool. Player can get it from the Temple of Time after completing “The Shrine Explorer” side quest.

According to the Ancient Hero’s Aspect’s in-game description, “This item is said to contain the spirit of a hero who once saved Hyrule. That hero’s aura will envelop the wearer.” Here’s what that looks like:

Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

As you can see, the Ancient Hero’s Aspect aura not only gives Link another armful of Zonai technology, it fully decks him out it in it and transforms him into another species entirely. The Ancient Hero is adorned in the Zonai aesthetic that players see in constructs throughout Tears of the Kingdom and wears the long, fiery red hair depicted in the Calamity Ganon lore tapestry that Impa shows Link in Breath of the Wild. The name of that ancient hero is unknown, however — and certainly ripe for exploration in future Zelda content.

The Ancient Hero seems to be a Zonai, based on shared physical aspects with Rauru, a Zonai and co-founder of the Kingdom of Hyrule. Rauru plays a major part in Tears of the Kingdom’s narrative, both through flashbacks and as a guide during the tutorial. Hopefully, we learn more about this mysterious new hero and his ties to Hyrule’s lore in the years to come.

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