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How old is Link? It’s... complicated

He’s how old? And they gave him a sword?

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Link taking in a vista Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Throughout the years, Link from The Legend of Zelda has taken on a variety of forms. From the baby-faced child in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker to the moodier, more mature look in Twilight Princess, Link has always seemed rather young. That said, his actual age is pretty ambiguous. Similar to other video game heroes, like Mario, Link hasn’t aged all that much throughout the years. As the hero of time, he is more of an archetype than a person — both ageless and not.

Although the games themselves often don’t specify Link’s exact age, there are a few reasons why his age might matter. For starters, fans of the series might want to understand it so they feel more comfortable deciding on preferred romantic pairings for Link. His age also informs his character, as many of the Zelda games center around coming-of-age stories wherein Link also discovers his power during an adolescent period. Here is what we know about Link’s age.

Link holds out his sword in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Image: Nintendo via Polygon

How old is Link from The Legend of Zelda?

On one level, there is no actual right answer to the question. Link isn’t a single individual. “Link” is the name given to a hero chosen by the goddesses to rise up against evil. The Link we know is more like a narrative archetype of a character in a decades-long series, than any specific person. Because of this, Link does not have a single age or design. However, thanks to developer interviews, official guides, and context given in games, we can pin down at least a few more concrete answers if we want to know more about how old Link was in a specific game.

It’s safe to say that Link is generally on the younger side and under the age of 18, regardless of his incarnation. Hyrule Historia says that Link is 10 years old in the first game, The Legend of Zelda. In Adventure of Link, the hero is age 16. In an interview, Eiji Aonuma said the Link in Twilight Princess is 17. According to an Iwata Asks with the development team from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time cited by Zelda Wiki, the Link in Ocarina travels between the ages of 9 and 16.

Link faces off with a dragon right before his entry to the Spring of Wisdom in Breath of the Wild Image: Nintendo via YouTube/GTS13

How old is Link in The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild?

Unlike in most Zelda games, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild does give us a pretty solid age for Link via a few hints. For starters, a memories cutscene describes Zelda turning 17, so it’s likely Link could be a similar age, due to the similarities in their designs. However, we also get another more concrete hint about his age. In the same scene, Zelda mentions that someone needs to be at least 17 years old to climb Mt. Lanayru and visit the Spring of Wisdom. In Breath of the Wild, Link climbs Mt. Lanayru and visits the spring, suggesting he’s at least 17. If we then factor in the fact that Link wakes up from a 100-year-long slumber at the beginning of the game, Link would roughly be 117 years old.

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