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Conquer yourself!
~ Navi, giving information to Link about his doppelganger.

Dark Link, also known as Link's Shadow, is a major antagonist in The Legend of Zelda franchise.

He is an evil doppelgänger of Link, usually found within dungeons. His battles often symbolize Link overcoming the darkness within himself. He is the second-most recurring villain in the series behind only Ganon himself, surpassing even Vaati.

Though there are slight differences in how each piece of media presents him, Dark Link is one of the most enigmatic characters in the entire series, lacking any clear origin story whatsoever.


This history of the Dark Link entities is organized into the latest "official Zelda timeline". This may change completely in the future, as the timeline given is merely meant as an example, and there have been official timelines before it.

Unified Timeline[]

The Unified Timeline refers to events before the split in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and thus occurs in every timeline, the split happens in the final battle with Ganon.

Ocarina of Time[]

Dark Link appears in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as a mini-boss in the Water Temple, as he was sent there by Ganondorf. Here he copies Link's attacks move-for-move. For every hit Dark Link takes, his attacks become increasingly more aggressive, as well as him becoming more opaque and less transparent.

In the manga, Dark Link comes out of the well in Kakariko Village and attempts to kill Link; he is able to match Link, but is defeated after Link uses a new skill. The two then have a horseback battle, with Dark Link using his own Dark Epona. Link and Epona manage to defeat Dark Link and Dark Epona after a brief battle.

Downfall Timeline[]

This is an alternate version of events that happens if Link is defeated in his battle against Ganondorf during the events of Ocarina of Time, leading to the Imprisoning War described in A Link to the Past's backstory.

A Link to the Past[]

After braving the Palace of the Four Sword and destroying the four entities guarding it, Link faces off against four Dark Links, which each wear a different colored tunic: Green, Orange, Blue, and Purple. After they are defeated, the curse on the four sword is broken.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages[]

Four Dark Links are created by Veran in the final battle against her. These Dark Links do not attack and die in one hit, though they are dangerous obstacles that move opposite of Link and can hurt him if he makes contact.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link[]

Long ago, the King of Hyrule used the full triforce to ensure a golden age upon Hyrule. However, when age started to catch up with the King, the monarch realized his son was an unworthy heir as the the mysterious court Magician had corrupted the boy's ambition and now he selfishly aspired to rule Hyrule at any cost.

Fearing the repercussions of his son or the magician getting their hands on the full Triforce, the King entrusted the Triforce of Courage to a humble sage who would hide the Triforce of Courage in the Great Palace and create monster guardians to ensure only a hero that was truly worthy could obtain the Triforce. Only the King's daughter was told the location of the Triforce of Courage.

When Link destroyed the Thunderbird and reached the end of the Great Palace, he encountered the sage with the Triforce of Courage. The sage was unsure Link was worthy and as a final test waved his staff to bring Link's Shadow to life, filled with all of Link's inner evil.

Link's Shadow was defeated and destroyed by Link, symbolizing the hero overcoming his inner demons. With Link's victory, the sage knew he was the hero he had waited all these years for and entrusted the Triforce of Courage to him.

Child Timeline[]

This is the timeline where Link was sent back to the past and was able to warn the Royal Family of Ganondorf's treachery, leading to the events of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess' backstory.

Twilight Princess[]

He also makes a small cameo in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess in a flashback, where Dark Link is used to represent evil beings named the Dark Interlopers. It is unsure if they are separate entities or the same being.

Adult Timeline[]

This is the timeline where Ganondorf was sealed after ruling Hyrule and subsequently defeated by Link; he eventually escaped, leading to the backstory of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks[]

Dark Link appears after Link manages to get to the end of the Take 'Em All On game in Castle Town. He attacks using a copy of Link's sword, bombs, and bow and arrows.

Other Media[]

Manga and Comics[]

Yuu Mishouzaki manga[]

In the manga adaptation of Adventure on Link by Yuu Mishouzaki, Link's Shadow is instead the alternate form of Ganon, the result of his followers sprinkling Link's blood on his ashes. Shadow appears as an ashen-skinned version of Link, with pointed teeth and slit pupils.

Valiant Comics[]

In the Valiant comics adaptation, Link's Shadow is known simply as Shadow. He is a shapeshifting monster created by Ganon and exactly resembles Link in his regular form. In addition to being able to take the form of Link, Shadow also takes Zelda's form.

Ran Maru[]

In the Maru Ran manga, the existence of Link's Shadow is foreshadowed in a Nightmare Link has about Hyrule under the Magician and Ganon's rule, in the dream, Ganon's top general bears Link's face.


Link's Shadow coming to life from his reflection in the Ran Maru manga.

When Link's Shadow's appears in person, he is created from Link's reflection in the mirror by the Sage guarding the Triforce who explains only someone who can conquer the evil inside their heart is worthy of the Triforce.

When the bloodthirsty clone comes into existence, he immediately engages Link in a bloodthirsty battle, keeping the hero on the defensive due to the evil creation's knowledge of Link's mind due to being the evil within him. He psychs Links out by mentioning all his friends that died on his journey for the Triforce and gains the advantage, announcing his intent to use to the Triforce to rule Hyrule.

Link's sentient Parrot friend, Watto, intervenes to save Link, but the Shadow knocks him to the floor. Link's Shadow then stabs the wounded Watto, killing him in cold blood. Enraged Link attacks his double and bisects the evil twin. However Link's Shadow still lives, taunting Link that he can never be defeated, but Link says so long as there is a Hyrule to protect, he can purge his heart of evil thoughts and when he looks in the mirror, he will see only himself.

With Link's resolve, Link's dark doppelganger disintegrates. When Link's Shadow is destroyed by Link, the Triforce's guardian revives Watto and grants Link the Triforce of Courage.

Link's Shadow's appearance in the manga is similar to the hero's but with black clothes, baggy eyes and a unhinged grin.

Akira Himekawa's Ocarina of Time[]

Dark Link is a minor antagonist in Akira Himekawa's manga adaptation of Ocarina of Time. He initially appears as a shapeless shadow that rises from Kakariko Village’s well, replacing Bongo Bongo. After copying Link's appearance, the apparition attacks Link. Dark Link copies every one of Link's moves, but the hero realizes that his enemy's knowledge doesn't cover techniques he has yet to try. Link mimics a backflip he had seen Impa do earlier, allowing him to cut Dark Link. Dark Link manifests a Dark Epona and jousts against Link and Epona. Link cuts off Dark Link's hand and runs him through with the Master Sword, ending him for good.

Akira Himekawa's Twilight Princess[]

A version of Dark Link first appears in the sixth volume of Akira Himekawa's manga adaptation of Twilight Princess. A phantom hero created by Link’s newly acquired egotism derived from his possession of the Master Sword, Dark Link matches Link blow for blow in their duel. When Link finally manages to run Dark Link through, he hallucinates that he has impaled himself, leading Dark Link to sneer at and mock him. When Link is shown recovering from Zant's attack, Dark Link appears and taunts him again before disappearing.

Super Smash Bros.[]

Dark Link is a boss in the event "Link's Adventure" in event mode in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Albeit completely black, he reprises this role in Super Smash Bros. Brawl in the event match "Dark Link Duel" and in the Co-Op version of the event match he is featured alongside a "Dark Samus" fighting against Link and Samus. From Super Smash Bros. Brawl onward in the series, Dark Link is one of Link's alternate costumes, as well as an alt costume for both Young Link and Toon Link.

See Also[]


  • Dark Link's health in Ocarina of Time depends on how many Heart Containers Link has when fighting him.


           Legend of Zelda logo Villains

The Demon King's Army
Demise | Ghirahim | Ganondorf/Ganon (Shadow Era | Calamity Ganon | Era of the Wilds) | Twinrova | Phantom Ganon | Vaati | Zant | King Bulblin | Malladus | Chancellor Cole | Yuga | Princess Hilda | Astor
Scaldera | Koloktos | Tentalus | Bilocyte | LD-003D Dreadfuse | Gohmas (Queen Gohma | Marbled Gohma) | Gleeoks | King Dodongo | Barinade | Volvagia | Dark Link | Morpha | Bongo Bongo | Helmaroc King | Kalle Demos | Jalhalla | Molgera | Lord Bullbo | Shadow Link | Moldorm | Blind the Thief | Onox | Veran | Facade | Vire | Byrne | Blight Ganons | Yiga Clan (Master Kohga | Sooga) | Colgera | Moragia | Sludge Like | Mucktorok | Queen Gibdo | Seized Construct
Minions & Monsters
Demons | Blins | Lizalfos | Gerudo Tribe | Darknuts | Phantoms | River Zoras | Chain Chomps | Lynels | Cheep Cheeps | Pokeys | Spiked Beetles | Guardians | Hollows

Palace Guardians
Barba | Thunderbird | Link's Shadow

Koholint Island
Nightmares (DethI | Moldorm | Genie | Slime Eye | Angler Fish | Slime Eel | Facade | Grim Creeper and Evil Eagle | Hot Head) | Shadow Link | Moblins (Moblin Chief) | Gohmas | River Zoras | Goombas | Boos | Piranha Plants | Bombites | Mask-Mimics | Cheep Cheeps | Bloopers | Pokeys | Spinies

Majora | Skull Kid | Odolwa | Goht | Gyorg | Twinmold | Sakon | Gorman Brothers | "Them" | Dynalfos | Gerudo Pirates (Aveil) | Igos du Ikana | King's Lackeys | Garo (Garo Master) | Gomess

World of the Ocean King
Bellum | Phantoms | Blaaz | Cyclok | Crayk | Cubus Sisters | Jolene | Gleeok | Miniblins

Lady Maud | Moldorm | Shadow Links | Moblins | Aeralfos

Other Foes
LD-002S Scervo | The Magician | Dead Hand | The Interlopers | Death Sword

Hyrule Warriors
Ganondorf's Forces (Ganondorf | Zant | Ghirahim | The Imprisoned | Helmaroc King | Phantom Ganon) | Dark Forces (Cia | Wizzro | Volga | Lizalfos | Blins) | Yuga

Cadence of Hyrule
Ganon | Octavo | Shadow Link | Shadow Zelda | Bass Guitarmos Knights | Gleeokenspiel | Gohmaracas | Wizzroboe | King Dobongo | Synthrova | The Necrodancer | Blins | River Zoras | Lynels | Daira

Ganon (Ocarina of Time | A Link to the Past | Yū Mishōzaki | Twilight Princess) | Agahnim (Ataru Cagiva | Shotaro Ishinomori | Akira Himekawa) | Kholdstone | Onox | Bellum | Demise | Zant | King Bulblin

Ganon's Army (CD-I)
Ganon | Gibdo | Iron Knuckle | Three Witches | Wizzrobe | Hektan | Omfak | Goronu | Harlequin | Militron | Glutko | Lupay | Duke Onkled