The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s story goes to some wild places, especially in its epic finale. There are some legitimate surprises and tricky callbacks, and we’re here to break down exactly what happened and what it means.
Right off the bat, a huge spoiler warning! This is going to go into full detail about what happens at both the end of the story and what is revealed in cutscenes and flashbacks on the way to getting there. Turn back now if you don’t want to know!
If you haven't played Tears of the Kingdom yet, check out our spoiler-free review and go from there.
Even if you have finished Tears of the Kingdom, you might be pretty confused about what the heck is going on depending on how much of its main quests you completed. The “Dragon Tear” questline in particular shines a lot of light onto the whereabouts of Zelda, the Master Sword, and Ganondorf himself, so if you’re confused by the ending but didn’t collect all of those you may want to just go back and do that.
What Happens at the End of Tears of the Kingdom?
That all out of the way, the end of Tears of the Kingdom sees Link descend into the chasm underneath Hyrule Castle to confront Ganondorf, The Demon King – an evil Gerudo king from the time of Hyrule’s founding who was sealed away by King Rauru (the Zonai who gave Link his fancy new arm) and six sages until he was able to escape at the start of this game.
If you played through the main quest that sends you to address anomalies in each major town, you will likely have gathered five sages of your own to help in the fight, each with their own Zonai Secret Stone that amplifies their power. If you didn’t gather the sages, you’ll have to face off against the boss fights from each of their respective quests (just like Breath of the Wild if you skipped the Divine Beasts), otherwise they’ll show up just in time to let Link focus on Ganondorf while they hold off those bigger enemies.
When Link finally comes face to face with Ganondorf, he is in a weakened mummified state from being sealed away for so long, but has been able to recover enough power since his return to quickly regain his regular, musclebound form. After a first encounter, he’ll then use the power of his own Secret Stone to level-up even further into his glowing Demon King form. It’s when you defeat this form too that things start to get weird.
The Dragon Tear Questline
Explained in some of the memory cutscenes in Tears of the Kingdom is the forbidden act of eating a Secret Stone, which causes the one who does it to permanently transform into an immortal dragon, losing much of their own mind in the process. Ganondorf, realizing he isn’t going to beat Link, does exactly that as a last ditch effort to destroy Hyrule, turning into a dragon and pulling Link high into the sky.
Fortunately, Link isn’t alone, and the Light Dragon swoops in to help him out. This part can get confusing or play out slightly differently depending on what you’ve done before facing Ganondorf. Visiting all of the Geoglyphs to view the memories will also unlock one final memory, making clear exactly what happened to Zelda: the Secret Stone she found at the start of the story sent her back in time to the founding of Hyrule, stranding her there with no way back.
There she helped Rauru face Ganondorf the first time and eventually received the broken Master Sword from Link, which transported itself back in time to her to recover its energy. The Master Sword needed centuries to recover its energy and Zelda didn’t know how to get home, so she also ate her Secret Stone, becoming the immortal Light Dragon and embedding the Master Sword in her forehead so that it could absorb her light energy and grow stronger than before over the course of thousands of years.
That means that, theoretically, Zelda has been flying around as the Light Dragon with the Master Sword through all of Breath of the Wild (and maybe the rest of the Zelda games, depending on timeline shenanigans), but was always too high in the sky to ever be seen. This is also confirmed by the room you and zelda enter near the start of the story, which is covered in wall carvings telling the story of the Demon King. Its final panels are covered by destructible rocks, but when you return to fight Ganondorf you can blow them up and see that the history of Zelda taking the sword and becoming a dragon was already literally written in stone from the beginning.
You can recover the Master Sword before the final fight with Ganondorf and learn all of this, but if you don’t have it yet then dragon Zelda will swoop in to help Link and let him take it right at the end (without the stamina requirement you’d normally have to surpass). From there the two of you work together to defeat the dragon Ganondorf, eventually destroying the Secret Stone in his forehead and causing him to explode in glorious fashion. But supposedly Zelda would still have to stay a dragon forever – if it weren’t for the help of Sonia and Rauru’s spirits. Sonia has power over time and Rauru has the power of light, and Zelda has a bit of both as their descendant, which they explain makes her special in a way that allows her to be transformed back into a Hylian. (Sorry to the other three dragons.)
And that’s it, Hyrule is saved and Zelda is rescued! However, if you did do all of the main story quests before this final confrontation, you’ll be treated to one final cutscene after the credits that shows the Link, Zelda, Purah, and the sages up in the sky at the Temple of Time together. Mineru, the spirt sage, had been keeping her spirit alive since ancient times to help defeat Ganondorf, but she explains that it’s finally time for her to move on as well, making for one last goodbye at the end of the story.
There’s a whole lot of other easter eggs and intricacies to this story, and the implications for larger Zelda lore are pretty substantial, but that’s this chapter closed for now. Ganondorf is finally, fully defeated, Zelda is back in her time after living for thousands of years as a dragon, the Master Sword is recovered, and a new team of sages has taken up their mantles to protect Hyrule.
But that’s not quite all, as reloading the save file with a star on it that’s created right before the final boss will let you keep playing with a couple of new perks, including a number telling you how many more of each quest type there are and a completion percentage tracker on the map. So you might have saved Hyrule once, but now it’s time to find all the shrines, lightroots, and koroks you left behind!
And for help with everything Tears of the Kingdom, take a look at ourTears of the Kingdom Walkthrough and Guide. Our experts recommend you start here:
- 16 Things to Do First in Tears of the Kingdom
- 14 Things Tears of the Kingdom Doesn't Tell You
- How to Uncover the Full TOTK Map
- How to Expand Your Inventory in TOTK
- PSA: Your Old BOTW Save Unlocks Something Cool in TOTK
Tom Marks is IGN's Deputy Reviews Editor. He loves card games, puzzles, platformers, puzzle-platformers, and lots more. You canfollow him here.
Sonia has power over time and Rauru has the power of light, and Zelda has a bit of both as their descendant, which they explain makes her special in a way that allows her to be transformed back into a Hylian. (Sorry to the other three dragons.) And that's it, Hyrule is saved and Zelda is rescued!Who is the corpse in Tears of the Kingdom? ›
As Link and Zelda draw closer to the source of the dark energy, they discover a ghastly sight: the mummified corpse of Ganondorf posed in an eternal scream of pain, held in place by a single glowing hand.How do you get the Master Sword in Tears of the Kingdom? ›
Method #1 - Find all of the Dragon's Tears
Once you've collected all 11, you'll be told the location of a final 12th Tear, in the Akkala region. Head to the Rist Peninsula, and get the final Tear, which will reveal the location of the Master Sword.
Yes, Tears of the Kingdom is a sequel to 2017's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. BotW is set in a future Hyrule, in which Link is faced with defeating Calamity Ganon, a manifestation of Ganondorf's evil energy which has corrupted Hyrule Castle and trapped Zelda.What is Tears of the Kingdom going to be about? ›
The sky. Mysterious floating islands have suddenly appeared in the skies above Hyrule. Link must use his newly-acquired abilities to navigate the islands and unlock the secrets they hold.Is Ganon a good guy in Tears of the Kingdom? ›
Ganondorf is the main antagonist of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, also known as the Gerudo King, and seeks to conquer the kingdom of Hyrule.Is Ganondorf evil in Tears of the Kingdom? ›
That all out of the way, the end of Tears of the Kingdom sees Link descend into the chasm underneath Hyrule Castle to confront Ganondorf, The Demon King – an evil Gerudo king from the time of Hyrule's founding who was sealed away by King Rauru (the Zonai who gave Link his fancy new arm) and six sages until he was able ...Is The Master Sword Unbreakable in Tears of the Kingdom? ›
Retrieve Master Sword From Shrine
Grab the Master Sword from the In-isa Shrine. Load the In-isa Shrine autosave and head back to where you placed the boulder (you'll need to break through the wall again) to find the unbreakable Master Sword on the ground.
Thankfully, the Master Sword does not break in Breath of the Wild. Instead, its power will drain, and you will have to wait for it to recharge before using it again. For whatever reason, if you lose the Master Sword, the player will get the message: “The Master Sword has returned to the forest.”Can you get the Master Sword back? ›
Complete 20 shrines and you should have enough to pick up the sword of legend. The quickest way to retrieve the fixed Master Sword is to land on top of the Light Dragon (one of four majestic Dragons that roam the map). The Master Sword is lodged in the Light Dragon's head.
There is no evidence from Nintendo that Zelda is over after Tears. And killing a popular franchise at (arguably) its peak seems unwise.Why is Tears of the Kingdom $70? ›
Bowser goes on to say that the price "reflects the type of experience fans can expect" in that specific game. That implies that Tears of the Kingdom will be an especially large and content-filled game. That'll actually be a change from Breath of the Wild, which was extremely large, but not particularly deep.How old is Link in Tears of the Kingdom? ›
It's also worth keeping in mind that Link wakes up from a 100-year-long sleep at the start of Breath of the Wild's story. So, he may actually be closer to 118 years old by the beginning of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.Which Ganon is in Tears of the Kingdom? ›
How to defeat Phantom Ganon - The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Phantom Ganon stands between you and the Great Deku Tree. Our guide will show you how to defeat him and clean up the Lost Woods.What is the main goal of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom? ›
The game's story follows Link's efforts to assist Princess Zelda in preventing Ganondorf from destroying Hyrule. Tears of the Kingdom was conceived after ideas for Breath of the Wild downloadable content (DLC) had exceeded its scope.Why did they abandon the kingdom? ›
Ironically, as most of the Kingdoms fighters were killed in the attack on Gavin's outpost, there are not enough people to defend the Kingdom, the survivors thus abandoned it and joined up with the Hilltop.Who is mutated Ganon? ›
Mutated Ganon is the final boss of the EX Guardian of Remembrance scenario, where it automatically has Terrako as an ally, and is possibly the strongest boss in the game.Is Ganon the gerudo King? ›
His original human form known as Ganondorf is the king and the only male member of the Gerudo in Ocarina of Time and Four Swords Adventures.Who is the main villain in Botw? ›
Demon King Ganondorf, also known as Calamity Ganon or simply Ganon in his imprisoned state, is the main antagonist of the "Era of the Wilds" series within The Legend of Zelda franchise, consisting of the 2017 video game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, its 2023 sequel The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom ...Who is the most evil Zelda villain? ›
While Ganondorf usually serves as the villain of the Zelda franchise, the antagonist of Breath of the Wild is more abstract. Calamity Ganon is the primal form of evil that existed long before the story begins.
3 Ganondorf (Twilight Princess)
Following in the footsteps of The Wind Waker's Link, Twilight Princess' Link is more than comfortable plunging his sword deep into Ganondorf's abdomen, leaving the Prince of Darkness writhing in agony as he succumbs to a slow, painful death.
However, from Skyward Sword, we know that Ganondorf is an incarnation of Demise's hatred of the gods of Hyrule, and in Breath of the Wild, we can see the hatred and fear in his eyes for Zelda when she prepares to seal him away as Dark Beast Ganon at the climax.What is more powerful than the Master Sword? ›
These are the Fierce Deity Sword and the Great Fairy Sword. While neither has a reputation quite as lofty as the Master Sword, both are extremely powerful magical great-swords capable of dealing more raw damage than the Master Sword.Why is the Master Sword so powerful? ›
During the game, the Master Sword is upgraded by blacksmiths in Hyrule and Lorule after Link collects master ore from various locations, making it a more powerful weapon. The Master Sword makes a prominent appearance in Breath of the Wild (2017).Does the Master Sword last forever? ›
The Master Sword does not break, but it does run out of energy. It takes 10 minutes to recharge. The Master Sword has an attack power of 30 which jumps to 60 when Link is fighting Calamity enemies. The weapon throw is replaced by a beam attack usable only when Link has full hearts.Can a Yiga pick up the Master Sword? ›
However, the Yiga Clan must be a bunch of secret jacked superheroes, because they can pull the Master Sword in Breath of the Wild no problem, it turns out.What is the strongest weapon in BotW? ›
The Master Sword is one of the most powerful weapons found in Zelda BOTW. Its durability is infinite as it never breaks.What happens if you use the Master Sword too much? ›
Instead of shattering and being lost forever, the Master Sword loses energy. After extended use, the Master Sword will run out of energy and will explode as if it were breaking. Instead of being gone, it sits in your inventory and is unusable until it recharges.Does the Trial of the Sword ever save? ›
You will not be able to save once you start. Once you're in the trials, remember to take out the most dangerous enemies (ie: ranged enemies) first before going after the rest. Use your weapons wisely! The Woodcutter's Axe is perfect for destroying crates and barrels, but not effective in regular combat.Where does the Master Sword go when it breaks? ›
The Master Sword breaks, but it doesn't break like any other weapon in Breath of the Wild. Instead, its power drains. After several minutes, you can use it again.
The Master Sword is around equivalent in damage to a Dragonbone Sword, making it extremely valuable to have. However, there can only be one Master Sword in the world at a time, and once summoned, take care not to lose it as you will not be able to get it again from another chest.What happened to Link's arm in Tears of the Kingdom? ›
The first thing that many Zelda fans agree with is that Link doesn't lose his arm, according to what we saw in all the trailers. Instead, it seems Link's arm gets corrupted by some sort of energy or magic.What is the last game in the Zelda timeline? ›
Breath of the Wild
Not only the latest entry in the Zelda games order it's also the most recent game in the Zelda timeline. Breath of the Wild is set at the end of all three timelines, converging the series after the split following Ocarina of Time.
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will be 38 percent bigger than BOTW as file size revealed. This is going to be a big game for Nintendo. It's hard to overstate the impact that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild had on the larger gaming community, going on to inspire whole new methodologies in development.How much is the full price of Tears of the Kingdom? ›
A portion of the Nintendo community was angry about the increased price of Tears of the Kingdom, and the recent remarks by Bowser may spark some more debates. Fortunately, the $70 price tag for Nintendo Switch games appear to be limited to Tears of the Kingdom in 2023 thus far.Is Tears of the Kingdom a sequel to Age of Calamity? ›
Tears of the Kingdom is a direct sequel; however, if you hoped to learn more about Breath of the Wild's past, Hyrule Warriors: Age of the Calamity fills that void.Will Tears of the Kingdom have durability? ›
Tears of the Kingdom has improved upon various mechanics of the game, including combat, however, it also retains quite a lot of stuff, such as weapon durability.Is Link reincarnated? ›
In Zelda lore, Link is the reincarnated soul of a hero, chosen by the goddess Hylia to protect the kingdom of Hyrule from Ganon and save Princess Zelda whenever the need arises.Does Link ever get married? ›
15 The Legend Of Zelda: Wedding Bell Blues
The reward for rescuing Zelda and completing the Triforce? Becoming King of Hyrule and marrying Princess Zelda herself. Despite the fact the two have no connection, this Link ends up becoming King of Hyrule after saving Zelda, marrying her in the process.
|Christy Neal||Lily Neal Lincoln Neal Lando Neal|
Dubbed the King of Evil, Ganondorf (also known as Ganon) is supposedly the reincarnation of hatred, malice, and pure evil. His goals usually involve attempting to take over Hyrule or to destroy Hyrule, depending on the game.Why is Ganon in a cocoon? ›
After destroying the castle and laying waste to Hyrule, Calamity Ganon decided to wrap himself up in a cocoon of Malice, cutting himself off from the outside world. The main aim of this was to help Ganondorf regain his physical form... something that ended up succeeding to an extent.What is the hardest Ganon? ›
The different mini-bosses Link has to face are Thunderblight Ganon, Fireblight Ganon, Waterblight Ganon, and Windblight Ganon. Each one is located in a different Divine Beast and while none of them are easy, Thunderblight Ganon is definitely the toughest.Who is the villain in Zelda Tears of the Kingdom? ›
Ganondorf has appeared as Ganon in multiple The Legend of Zelda entries, and the original Ganondorf that was fused with the Demon King is featured in Tears of the Kingdom. Link faces off against this enemy in the new title.Is Zelda alive in Breath of the Wild? ›
If you're a fan of this iteration of the pair, we have good news. While Zelda and Link were incapacitated for about 100 years each during the events of these games, she didn't die in Breath of the Wild either.Will there be a DLC for Tears of the Kingdom? ›
Zelda Tears of the Kingdom was one of the most hyped games for 2023 and now it is finally here. But there is more to come! A hidden detail on the official website has already confirmed DLC for the game.What is the goat creature in Tears of the Kingdom? ›
Mountain Goats are a fairly uncommon creature type in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. They're defensive and a little skittish, but they're pretty slow-moving animals. Learn where to find Mountain Goats, tips for hunting them, and what materials can be recovered from them in TotK with this creature guide.What happens to the Divine Beasts in Tears of the Kingdom? ›
Technically speaking, the Divine Beasts aren't completely removed from Tears of the Kingdom. Assuming you have the right amiibo, that is. If you scan a Daruk, Mipha, Revali, or Urbosa amiibo, you might receive helms themed after their respective ancient automatons. However, that's it.What's the difference between Ganon and Ganondorf? ›
What is the difference between Ganon and Ganondorf? It's very simple: Ganon is used to refer to the villain's beast form and Ganondorf is used to refer to his human Gerudo form. That's it! The distinction between the two is confirmed in The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia entry for Ganondorf.