|“||Take a good look at where you now stand, for this place will serve as your tomb for eternity!||„|
|~ Demise taunting Link before their final battle.|
|“||You fight like no man or demon I have ever known. Though this is not the end. My hate... never perishes. It is born anew in a cycle with no end!||„|
Demise the Demon King, also known as The Imprisoned in his depowered state, is the main antagonist of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and the master of Ghirahim.
He is the primal King of Evil of the Zelda universe, said to have conquered Time and to be the source of all monsters. He is the original incarnation of Ganondorf, the main antagonist of the franchise, and the indirect cause of every evil that ever threatened Hyrule. Demise is the demonic counterpart of the Golden Goddesses, the Supreme Deities of the Legend of Zelda franchise. Fi (the spirit of the Goddess Sword) states that his aspect changes following the era and the people who see him, likely taking the most frightening form possible.
However, the aspect under which he is seen during the final battle might very well be his real one, as he appears as this at the very moment he is fully reborn.
In the beginning of time, after the Golden Goddesses Din Farore and Nayru shaped the world and returned to Heavens, leaving the Triforce behind, Demise appeared from the depths of the earth. Since he coveted the newly created world for himself, he sought the Triforce to surpass the Golden Goddesses and pry the world from them.
However, the Goddess Hylia, patron of life and keeper of the Triforce, established mankind (which was powerless against Demise) on floating islands in the sky, where she hid the Triforce and the Goddess Sword: a weapon potent enough to destroy the King of Evil.
After this, she led the five other races of the world (probably Dekus', Kokiris', Gorons', Zoras', and Fairies') in a war against Demise's forces and held them at bay. Hylia eventually sealed Demise away; reducing him to a gigantic monster who would later be known as the Imprisoned. A Sealing Spike marked his prison in the Sealed Grounds, at the bottom of a great pit behind Faron Woods. (However, she was too severely wounded and had to reincarnate herself as a human.)
After Demise's imprisonment, the spirit of his sword, Ghirahim, vowed to free his master. Once the seal began weakening, Ghirahim set out to revive Demise, using the soul of Zelda, Hylia's reincarnation in human form.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Demise appears in the beginning of the game, when Link, the protagonist Chosen Hero of the Goddess, has a prophetic dream in which he devours his childhood friend Zelda, Hylia’s human incarnation. He spends most of the game sealed away, with Ghirahim trying to capture Zelda, and Link trying to save her. After Hylia's servant, Impa, escapes with Zelda into the past, through a Gate of Time in the Sealed Grounds, the seal on Demise breaks and he escapes, in his weakened state. However, Link defeats him and reseals him below the Sealed Grounds.
Demise later escapes again twice, but each time Link is able to seal him up, helped by a fellow human named Groose. After many trials, Link manages to empower the Goddess Sword, turning it into the series’ iconic Master Sword, and then to collect the three fragments of the Triforce. As the Imprisoned was about to escape a fourth time, Link made a wish to the Triforce, causing the sky island where the Statue of the Goddess was located to fall over the Sealed Grounds and crush Demise, completely obliterating him.
However, Ghirahim captured Zelda and traveled to the past. By performing a ritual, he gave her soul to Demise, who was able to return to power. Demise transformed Ghirahim back into a sword and remarked Link, who was facing him without fear. Pleased by such a prospect, Demise told him that if he wished to fight him, he should enter his own dimension away from any distractions; otherwise, he could just wait for Demise to destroy the entire world. Before the battle, Groose is sent by a Impa to inform Link that Demise was still absorbing Zelda's soul and had not yet regained his full power. Giving the hero a window of opportunity to defeat Demise.
When Link finally defeats Demise for good, before disintegrating into black smoke, the Demon King praises Link's valor but cast a curse so that his hatred would be reincarnated to torment Link and Zelda's descendants forever. What remained of Demise's consciousness was absorbed into the Master Sword, to decay over time until there was nothing left. But millennia later, Ganondorf would be born and would eventually become the new Demon King.
Powers and Abilities
As a god, Demise is unfathomably powerful, being able to warp reality, mostly to twist and corrupt his surroundings. He can exit the normal world towards a dimensional void, which he most likely created himself on the spot, leaving dimensional gateways leading to it. He also spawned each and every monster and demon in the Zelda world, and turned his giant black sword into an extremely powerful, sentient demonic being.
Demise can shape-shift as he pleases, as evidenced by Fi’s comment, and, under his less powerful monstrous form, he displayed the ability to alter his aspect and to levitate. He wields control over the elements, being able to cause a thunderstorm and to channel and control lightning and can cast curses impossible to lift, among many, many other feats of magic. Additionally, he has incredible physical strength, speed and reflexes, even in his large and clumsy-looking monstrous form, and exceptional skill with weapons, with a brutal yet expert fighting style.
Finally, Demise is eternal and can only be harmed by a weapon especially created by the Goddesses to fight him. At full power, even being felled by this blade was not enough to fully destroy it, and his spirit had to be sealed inside to be fully obliterated. Even then, his curse eventually reincarnated him. (Although in the game he says that his hatred will reincarnate, Hyrule Historia states that Ganondorf is the reincarnation of his full self.)
Battles against the Imprisoned
The Imprisoned appears as a gigantic, black, scaly demon with a large mouth full of sharp fangs. He tries to walk up the spiral ramp leading to the Sealed Temple, to reach Zelda and devour her soul to fully return.
Link must defeat him before he reaches the Temple, otherwise, the game is over. Link must beware the demon's stomping feet, which cause a shockwave of dark and red energy that must be dodged, and attack his toes until they are destroyed.
Once all of his toes are destroyed, Demise will fall over, and Link must use an ascending vertical strike to hammer the Seal Spike into his head. Once Link does this three times, Demise is resealed inside the spike, and the seal is completed by striking it with a Skyward Strike.
The second battle is similar, except that the Imprisoned now has arms and can climb the cliff-walls to reach the Temple faster, and whenever he stomps he the ground, it causes a shockwave of dark and red energy that must be dodged.
However, this battle is considerably easier because Groose has built a catapult called the Groosinator. When he calls Link, the player can switch to him, and catapult a giant bomb at Demise to stun him, giving Link time to attack his toes, stopping him from climbing, or, if he is down, keeping him down for longer. Once again, Link must destroy the demon's toes until he falls over and attack the spike, three times.
The Imprisoned now has a short tail which will damage Link if he touches it, and a dark halo over his head that enables him to fly. The demon will try to fly towards the Temple, but a hit with the Groosinator makes him fall at the bottom of the pit.
In the third phase, the Imprisoned causes a cave-in that blocks Groose off from his store of bombs. He must use the catapult to project Link at the Imprisoned's head. Once on top of the demon's head, Link must drive the Seal Spike back into his head to end the battle.
The first phase of the fight is quite easy: Demise attacks by striking with his sword or by delivering punches. Link must react to his blows with a shield bash, staggering him long enough for Link to attack him. If hit enough times in succession, Demise will fall to the ground and Link can attack him repeatedly.
After enough hits, the battle becomes much harder. The Demon King causes a destructive thunderstorm and can raise his sword to the sky to charge it with lightning. He can strike wing his sword, charge, or use an attack similar to Link’s Skyward Strike technique, which hurls a disc of lightning. Most of his attacks do two hearts of damage, and Link takes damage if he attacks Demise when he is electrified.
Link can attack Demise when he is not electrified, or he can raise his sword to the sky to charge his sword with lightning. This is best done when Demise is doing the same, although it can happen at any random point in the battle. Once Link uses this lightning-charged Skyward Strike, Demise will be stunned and lose his lightning charge, allowing Link to attack him repeatedly (beware for Link's attack will be cancelled out if Demise unleashes his own at the same time).
After enough hits, Demise will be knocked down, and Link must finish him with a Killing Blow. If Link does not immediately use it, Demise will get back up, although it will not take many hits to knock him down again.
Fitting his role as the Demon King, Demise is greedy, cruel, vicious, diabolical, manipulative, traitorous, and lacking in compassion, comparing mortals as being weak. Even though he apparently prides himself for his power, his thirst for power made him seek the Triforce, all while hurting and murdering innocent beings in his quest. He is also very hateful and objectionable of the Goddess Hylia, whom he somewhat begrudgingly respected. However, despite this, Demise has some honor, agreeing to duel Link when challenged by him, and also taking his loss with stride while cursing the hero. He also seems to anticipate Link with some amusement, and states after his defeat that Link stands out as a paragon among the humans; he also admits that Link far surpasses him in the original Japanese version of the game.
Demise shares several traits with his next life Ganondorf; namely the calm and collected attitude, the condescending confidence, voice and fighting style. His goal (which would later be that of Ganondorf) is to take over the entire world and turn it into a dark and hellish place fitting his own designs.
Unsurprisingly for the King of Evil, Demise is cruel, violent, scornful and ruthless in battle. He has a very low opinion of humans, regarding them as fearful and uninteresting insects. However, he holds Hylia in high regards and is very favourably impressed when someone stands before him without fear. He enjoys the prospect of a challenge, which he sees as an entertainment. In stark contrast with Ghirahim, Demise is stoic, collected and his praises to Link are genuine.
Demise respects his opponents, even complimenting Link as a paragon among humans after his defeat; though he clearly resented it, cursing him and Zelda before dying as a revenge. He also remains extremely confident in his abilities, being certain to overcome any challenge; though such arrogance is justified by his overwhelming power.
Demise is a demonic entity with a humanoid appearance. His skin is made of what looks like black scales, and in some parts bare with pale gray. He is very muscular, with thick arms and neck. He wears a long brown cape around his waist, embroidered with gold in a triangle pattern and held by a belt. His head is covered in flames in place of hair, and has a white, glowing scar on his forehead from what could be the spike embedded in his head while being The Imprisoned. However, it is worth noting that according to Fi, Demise appears differently to everyone who sees him.
The sword that he wields resembles a corrupted version of the Master Sword, its hilt being the same general shape, but with a different design to the quillons or "wings" that make up the handguard, the Triforce engraving being inverted, the blade being significantly larger with a flamberge-esque edge, and being an overall darker color.
In other media
Demise makes a cameo as one of the giant bosses fought in Hyrule Warriors, under his aspect of the Imprisoned. Ghirahim performs a ritual to bring him from the Skyward Sword era to stall the protagonists in their war against Cia. During the boss battle against the Imprisoned, Ghirahim taunts the heroes stating that his true lord has returned and that all will cower before him.
The battle against the Imprisoned is very similar to the ones fought in Skyward Sword. The demon attacks by stomping, and by emitting a succession of dark shockwaves or lightning blasts from his feet. The heroes must destroy his toes until he falls over and repeatedly strike the spike on his head. The more he gets wounded, the faster he becomes, and he will start attacking by gliding.
When the Imprisoned starts levitating over the temple and concentrating dark energy in his mouth, the heroes must rush into the temple and use the Groosinator to blast him and make him fall, before he can destroy the temple with his darkness breath.
Hyrule Total War / Hyrule Conquest
In the popular fangame, Demise is summoned by Sages as a weapon, along with many of his kind. He and other Druthulidi eventually revolt and turn on the Sages and each other, forcing the Sages to call for the help of Majora. Demise himself spends eons hiding from the purges underground.
After resurfacing, Demise brainwashes and enslaves the various Blins and starts a campaign against the newly formed Kingdom of Hyrule, before being defeated by Hylia. He taunts her, as she had brainwashed the innocent Hylians into worshipping her, and attempted genocide on the Blin kind, causing more damage to Hyrule than Demise could ever do. Demise flies away from Hyrule for several millennia.
Upon returning, Demise is angered that the war is not over and chooses the young Moblin Ganon as his champion who will start another campaign. Though fierce, Ganon is eventually slain by Zelda the Harsh, forcing Demise to call for a truce, lest they choose to destroy him. He participates in the battle of Hylia Marine, where he stands on the side of Hylians and Zora against the Gerudo, Fairies, and the traitorous Yiga, whose leader, Bongo, was secretly possessed by Dethl.
Demise spends a hundred years with his people in the Moblin Wastelands, before Hylia reinstates herself as the Goddess again. Full of fury, Demise colludes with Ganondorf and lays waste to Hyrule, secretly planning to sacrifice him to revive his old champion. Angered at this knowledge, Ganondorf betrays him and stabs him with the Master Sword, killing them both in fire.
Super Smash Bros. series
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Demise appears as a Trophy and is part of the Skyward Sword Trophy Box.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Demise appears as himself and his imprisoned form as Spirits, both Shield-type primaries. As the Imprisoned, his Spirit Battle is a timed Stamina battle against a giant dark King K. Rool with Ghiriham as an Assist Trophy spawning. He moves slow and has super armor, but does not attack. When equipped, he decreases the fighter's speed. As Demise, he can be summoned by using cores of the Imprisoned and Ghiriham.
- The name "Demise" is a synonym for "death", and more generally for the end of something. In the original Japanese version, he is known as "Shuuen no Mono", which can be translated the Harbinger of Demise, or the Personification of the End.
- Demise is based on Kronos and Tartarus, due to the fact he has conquered time, like Kronos and is the source of evil monsters, like Tartarus.
- Demise shares the same voice actor as Ganondorf. His final form looks similar in appearance and size to Ganon. The way he is defeated is similar to Ganondorf's defeat on Twilight Princess. Which makes sense considering that he is Ganondorf's original incarnation.
- Demise is the source of all evil in The Legend of Zelda universe.
- It is unknown if Demise has any connection to the Demon King, Malladus, in Spirit Tracks, but it seems likely as he is the source of all monsters and evil. However, it is quite clear that despite sharing his title "Malladus" is inferior to Demise. Demise's successor's Ganon's Japanese title "the Great Demon King" somehow emphasize this point.
- Nintendo has stated that a possibility for the prequel for Skyward Sword is open so either we may not be seeing the last of Demise or an even more ancient evil will be introduced.