Characters’ Court #1: Ganondorf v. Link
Edited by Natasha Hayes and Matthew “Retrograder” VanDeZande
Art by Brianna Collins
In the first installment of this new series, we look at an alternate ending to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The primary narrative of the game shows Link going back in time and preventing Ganondorf’s plans from ever coming to fruition. In this alternate reality, Link remained in the future. Ganondorf is later able to escape the seal put on him by the Seven Sages, and rather than attempting to battle Link once again, Ganondorf decides to take him to court …
Cast of Characters:
Scene 1: Opening Statements
Ganondorf: (Approaching the bench) Your Honor, I am here today to plead my case to you. One man (he indicates to Link, who sits quietly) unlawfully and unjustly took everything from me and falsely imprisoned me. His actions caused me to lose everything that I held dear, and I deserve retribution. Princess Zelda had disappeared, and her father was too distraught after this event to be an effective king. So I managed the throne for him and did a wonderful job guiding Hyrule over these past seven years, until Link took it upon himself to ruin everything. What gave him the right to attack and overthrow me? Were it not for my benevolent guidance, this land would have been left with no leader! (He pauses, taking a deep breath) Link here, who, mind you, had not been conscious for much of my reign, instead decided that I was not fit to be king. There was nothing equitable about this decision. Over the course of this case I will prove to you that Link was unjust in his coup d’état and that because of this, I deserve reparation in the form of having my kingdom returned to me!
(Ganondorf returns to his seat, smirking proudly. Link’s Lawyer stands and approaches the bench)
Link’s Lawyer Your Honor, we are here today asking the question: should my client, Link, be held responsible for the downfall of Ganondorf, and should Ganondorf be compensated because of this? The answer to if Link is responsible for the downfall of Ganondorf is a resounding yes. Link, the HERO OF TIME, defeated an evil king and brought peace to the world. We all lived through Ganon’s seven-year rule, and we all know what misery reigned. The land became infested with monsters. Hell, before being sealed away Ganondorf turned into a giant pig-like monster himself, as a manifestation of his evil heart. That leads me to the second part of the question, should Ganondorf be compensated for what he believes to be a wrong done to him? The simple answer is no. Link saved the land of Hyrule from this evil and has returned it to peace and serenity. Would you not call that just instead of wrong? To compensate a vile man who nearly destroyed our world would be a travesty of justice. With that in mind, I ask you to do the right thing, and rule in favor of my client at the end of this case.
(Link’s Lawyer returns to his seat, doing his best to avoid the scathing looks from Ganondorf and his Lawyer)
Scene 2: Direct Examination for the Plaintiff
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: (He leans casually against his table) Can you please state your name for the court?
Ganondorf: I am Ganondorf, a wizard, the former King of Hyrule, and King of the Gerudo.
(The court boos, The Judge silences them quickly, Ganondorf and Ganondorf’s Lawer are unperturbed)
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: Can you tell the court what happened the night that you became king?
Link’s Lawyer: Objection, Your Honor, question invites a narrative answer.
The Judge: Overruled.
Ganondorf: It was my second visit to the castle since I had arrived in Hyrule. The first visit was uneventful. However, on my second visit Princess Zelda and her guardian, Impa, ran away for reasons unknown to me. Due to this, and to the king’s subsequent despair, the land of Hyrule was left without a ruler. Being the gracious and generous man that I am, I took it upon myself to lead the kingdom.
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: What else happened upon your ascension to the throne?
Link’s Lawyer: Objection. Narrative.
The Judge: Overruled, Counselor.
Ganondorf: I followed a small boy, whom I later learned to be Link, to the Temple of Time, where I found the all-powerful Triforce. By that point, Link had been frozen in time. I realized that to be a truly great king I needed the Triforce’s power. With it, I had also hoped to save Link from his suspended state. However, when I touched the Triforce, and it split into three, leaving me with only the Triforce of Power. (He looks thoughtfully at the back of his hand, where the Triforce of Power glows dimly) I spent my years as ruler searching for the remaining two pieces, so that I might reassemble the Triforce and be the greatest king in Hyrule’s history.
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: (He acts touched by Ganondorf’s sentiment for a moment, and makes sure the court can see before turning back) Is it true that Hyrule became infested with monsters during your reign?
Ganondorf: (Looking down) Yes, sadly this is true.
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: How can you claim to be such an excellent king, yet let this happen?
Ganondorf: It was the result of unfortunate circumstances. My subjects were unsure of me at first after Zelda’s disappearance, which made it harder for me to do my job and keep the land safe. Also, the Triforce of Power attracted these monsters and evil creatures to my land. However, I worked diligently to rid the land of these beings, and I truly believe their numbers were dwindling throughout my reign. I did know, however, that I could not defeat all of them without the completed Triforce.
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: So would you say that everything you did was for the best interest of the kingdom?
Link’s Lawyer: (Sitting forward, becoming agitated) Objection, Your Honor! He’s leading the witness.
The Judge: Overruled. Mr. Dorf, you may proceed.
Ganondorf: Of course it was in the kingdom’s best interest! (He looks out into the courtroom, making eye-contact with onlookers) Every action I took was towards this goal.
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: Now, can you tell me about the preface to your battle with Link?
Link’s Lawyer: (He stands abruptly) NARRATIVE!
The Judge: Sit down, Counselor!
Ganondorf: Eventually, I learned that Link held the Triforce of Courage and that Zelda held the Triforce of Wisdom. I knew then that I had to speak with them and retrieve the pieces. I learned of Link’s quest to awaken the sages, and following his trail led me to Zelda. I had Zelda escorted to my castle so that we could talk, and she refused to give up her part of the Triforce. In order to prevent her from absconding with it, therefore dooming Hyrule to prolonged troubles, and I imprisoned her in crystal. (He looks out towards the court again, and speaks reassuringly) She was unharmed, and this was meant only as a temporary measure until I could convince Link to hand over his part of the Triforce as a sign of good faith. Link, however, stormed my castle and attacked me without so much as a single word.
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: And now can you tell us about the battle itself?
Ganondorf: Link and Zelda defeated me after a long and arduous battle. I would have been willing to accept my defeat, but then they destroyed my castle! The Triforce of Power in combination with my anger at the situation then caused me to undergo a transformation, and the battle began anew. Link was once again able to defeat me, but then he, Zelda, and the sages falsely imprisoned me.
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: Why do you consider this a “false imprisonment”?
Link’s Lawyer: (Losing hope) Objection, speculative.
The Judge: Overruled, Counselor.
Ganondorf: As I said, everything I did as king was for the good of Hyrule. Link and Zelda decided I was evil and actively worked to spread this false narrative throughout the kingdom. They unjustly attacked me and ended my reign over my kingdom. This was not their decision to make, and I want my kingdom back, so I can lead it to even greater heights than before.
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: Thank you, no further questions.
Scene 3: The Cross-Examination of Ganondorf
Link’s Lawyer: (He quickly drinks a cup of coffee before slamming it back down to the table and aggressively approaching Ganondorf) Isn’t it true that you are the king of a group of thieves known as the Gerudo?
Ganondorf: (Acting taken aback) I am King of the Gerudo, but I find it highly insulting that you call us thieves.
Link’s Lawyer: Is it not also true that the Triforce broke because you did not have the correct balance within yourself to control it?
Ganondorf: Yes, but I have worked to correct that over the past seven years.
Link’s Lawyer: But it is true that you did not have the necessary courage or wisdom to hold the entire Triforce, correct?
Ganondorf: … Yes.
Link’s Lawyer: You admitted earlier that the land of Hyrule became infested with monsters during your reign, correct?
Ganondorf: Yes, but…
Link’s Lawyer: Your Honor, I ask you to instruct the witness to answer in yes or no format only please.
Judge: Yes or no only, please. Keep that in mind, Mr. Dorf
Ganondorf: Yes, this is …
Link’s Lawyer: You also imprisoned Princess Zelda, correct?
Ganondorf: Yes, but …
Link’s Lawyer:On top of all of that, is it not true that you transformed into a giant pig-esque monster, as a manifestation of what was truly in your heart?
Ganondorf: Well… Uh… Yes but…
Link’s Lawyer: No further questions.
Scene 4: Direct Examination of the Defendent
Link’s Lawyer: (Standing back at his table, looking hopefully at Link, who sits on the witness stand) Can you please state your name for the court?
Link’s Lawyer: (Slightly confused) Moving on, can you please tell the court about your first interaction with Zelda and its relation to Ganondorf?
Link’s Lawyer: Um, okay. Can you tell the court about the night that the Princess disappeared?
Link’s Lawyer: (Becoming visibly frustrated) What about if you tell the court of your infiltration of Ganon’s castle and the rescue of the Princess?
Link’s Lawyer: Permission to treat the witness as hostile.
The Judge: Your own client, Counselor?
Link’s Lawyer: YES.
The Judge: (He sighs) Alright, go ahead.
Link’s Lawyer: Isn’t it true that you were able to retrieve the Master Sword and become the true Hero of Time?!
Link’s Lawyer: Isn’t it also true that you awakened the powers of the Seven Sages to defeat the villainous Ganondorf?!
Link’s Lawyer: Isn’t it also true that Ganondorf, a user of vile magic, transformed into a being of pure evil known as Ganon during your fight with him?!
Link’s Lawyer: For the love of all that is holy, will you please say something, anything?!!
Link: Well, excuuuuuuse me, princess.
Link’s Lawyer: (His mouth hangs agape in astonishment) Wha … what?
Judge: (Looking thoroughly confused) Did your client just call you princess?
Link’s Lawyer: … I think he did. (He sighs, his shoulder droop, and he returns to his seat) No further questions.
Scene 5: The Cross-Examination of Link
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: (Smugly smiling) Would you please tell the court if you think that your attack on Ganondorf was justified? Answer truthfully.
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: I believe that silence speaks volumes. Isn’t it true that the moment you and Zelda met that you conspired against my client?
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: That speaks magnitudes as well. Isn’t it also true that you invaded Ganondorf’s home and attacked him, unprovoked?
The Judge: Link, if you refuse to answer one more question, I will hold you in contempt of court and have you arrested.
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: Thank you, Your Honor. Now, isn’t it true that you destroyed my client’s castle, proceeded to imprison him under no authority but your own, and usurp him?
The Judge: That’s it. I hold you in contempt. Bailiffs, take him to jail!
(Link looks frantically back and forth as guards appear and drag him away)
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: (Watching the spectacle, smiling) No further questions, Your Honor.
Scene 6: The Would be Direct Examination of Defendant’s Witnesses (Zelda and the Sages):
Link’s Lawyer: Your Honor, at this time, we would like to call either Zelda or any of the Sages to the stand, but they have been mysteriously imprisoned in crystal, much like Ganondorf did to Zelda earlier.
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: Is that an accusation I hear?
Link’s Lawyer: Why yes it is! Your client is sabotaging our case!
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: You have no proof!
Link’s Lawyer: He has done this exact thing before, it’s obvious that he is the culprit!
The Judge: (Sighing) Without any proof, I have to side with the Plaintiff here. I’m sorry, but you must make your case without these witnesses.
Link’s Lawyer: (In utter disbelief) H… How… Fine. We will win this case without them.
Scene 7: Closing Statements
Link’s Lawyer: (He approaches the bench dejected and desperately trying to salvage his case) Your Honor, to be perfectly honest, this case has not gone as planned. My client refused to speak.
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: Except to insult you.
The Judge: Be quiet, Counselor.
Link’s Lawyer: (He sighs) I don’t know why or what Link’s motivations were. (He turns and glares and Ganondorf) On top of that, it seems pretty clear that Ganondorf imprisoned all of our witnesses except …
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: Objection.
The Judge: Sustained.
Link’s Lawyer: (Calming down) But even with all of that adversity, I know that our side is in the right. Ganondorf allowed our great land to become downtrodden and dangerous. You lived through those seven years of Ganondorf’s rule. I did as well, as did everyone watching this case. From that experience, you know that most of what Ganon said in this case during his opening and direct was a lie, and that he is truly a despicable man. Our odd little hero, Link, saved us from having to live through the despair that Ganondorf brought upon this world. So please, I ask you to find the defendant not guilty, and to deny Ganondorf’s claim for the throne of Hyrule. (He returns to his seat, feeling proud)
Ganondorf’s Lawyer: (Approaching the bench, unshaken by the previous statements) Your Honor, throughout this case you have heard from only two witnesses. One, Ganondorf, gave a truthful account of the unjust trials and tribulations he was put through by Link. The other, Link, would not answer a single question posed to him, and is now in jail due to contempt of court. It is clear who the “villain” is here, and it is not my client. My client had this kingdom unjustly ripped away from him, and he deserves to have it returned. Ganondorf has been nothing but cooperative and truthful today, and thus I ask, nay, I beg of you to bring down the correct verdict. A verdict in favor of the Plaintiff and the restoration of his rightful role as King of Hyrule. (He returns to his seat, satisfied)
Scene 8: The Verdict
The Judge: What the defense said in their closing is true. I lived through these seven years of Ganondorf’s rule. They were the worst seven years of my life, and seemingly of everyone’s lives for that matter. He ruined our great land and brought darkness and evil to the forefront. Even if the defense had a difficult time with their case, that does not erase these past memories and experiences. I know that Ganondorf lied and tried to deceive me throughout this entire case. With that in mind …
Ganondorf: (Mutters something under his breath, his Triforce glows briefly)
The Judge: … I find in favor of the Plaintiff, and I restore the throne to the mighty and powerful King Ganondorf!
Who would have thought that Link could have lost what seemed to be such an open and shut case? It seems as if the power of evil can actually triumph at certain times. Join us next time on Character Court, as we throw canon out of the window and examine what would happen in cases between some of our favorite fictional characters!