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Nightmares shall never vanish, so long as I live.
~ DethI

DethI is the main antagonist of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening and its 2019 remake. It is the de facto leader of the Nightmares and an immensely powerful Nightmare monster. The villain is often referred to as the Shadow Nightmares, or simply the Nightmare, in which cases DethI is the name given to its final form. Given that the final form is considered the real one, it has little impact.


Dethl is a shapeless black figure with shinning yellow eyes, born from fears, nightmares and shadows, who can warp and distort itself.

It can assume any aspect he wants and gains their powers and skills. In the remake, it manifests from Link's shadow, hinting that it can fuse with them. Its main form is a gigantic eye with two swinging tentacles.

DethI refers to itself as "we", implying that it is made of nightmares forming a hive-mind of sorts. Whether it can manifest in the real world, and invade more than one sleeping mind, leaving the others under the control of its spawns, remains unknown.

Being a literal living nightmare, Dethl can invade and reshape any dream. Its dominion lasts as long as the dreams it invades, so it locks its victims in slumbers. The more he controls an oneiric world, the more power it gains.

It has immense powers and influence over minds, having access to (and drawing power from) its victim's and enemies' thoughts, memories and fears. It can draw sleeping minds in its oneiric dominion and spawning lesser Nightmares.


We were born of nightmares... To take over this world, we made the Wind Fish sleep endlessly! If the Wind Fish doesn't wake up, this island will never disappear! We would have been the masters of this place... But you had to come here and disrupt our plans! Heh heh! You can never defeat us!!! Let's rumble!
~ DethI taunting Link before the final battle.

DethI is cruel, sadistic and power-hungry. It does not care for the slumbering victims it basically mind rapes, nor the oneiric beings it plagues with its spawns. It revels in its victim’s fears, using them against its enemies in battles.

It is implied that it seeks to increase such fears. In a strange twist, it seeks to save the oneiric world from vanishing if its victim were to awake. However, it clearly does it only for its gain, to keep its power over it intact.



DethI's intermediate state.

When the divine Wind Fish created a world through its dreams, DethI invaded it and locked the Wind Fish in a nightmare, swarming the island of Koholint with monsters and evil forces and plaguing the life of its inhabitants.

As Link was returning to Hyrule by sea after the events of the Oracle of Times/Oracles of Seasons games, his ship was sunk by a storm. Link then derived unconscious on a wooden debris. Soon enough, he got caught by DethI who transported him onto the oneiric Koholint Island; probably because the Wind Fish was sleeping nearby.

DethI knew that Link had defeated Ganon twice, during the course of Oracles and A Link to the Past. (This is noted when DethI transforms into Ganon during the final battle, using Link's own memories.)

As such, it put as many traps and obstacles as it could in Link's path. Yet, this proved no match for the legendary hero, who destroyed the Shadow Nightmare's spawns and collected the eight musical instruments needed to free the Wind Fish and himself from DethI's evil grasp, which DethI's spawns were keeping away.

Link eventually faced and defeated the Shadow Nightmares, after which he awoke along with the Wind Fish. The Island of Koholint faded away, leaving Link floating on a piece of shipwreck debris. The game ends as Link looks up to the heavens and sees the Wind Fish fly away into the clouds.

The Final Showdown

This island is going to disappear... Our world is going to disappear... Our world... Our... world...
~ DethI's last words after being defeated by Link.

The final battle against DethI is long and challenging, so Link must be well-prepared and have much health.

Zol Form: The first phase is by far the easiest. DethI resembles a Zol blob monster, which jumps at Link for a few times before vanishing into the ground and resurfacing somewhere else. Link must sprinkle it with the Magic Powder after its jump, three times. Any other attack simply makes it vanish.

Agahnim Form: DethI's second form resembles Agahnim and like him warps around and fires energy balls, that Link must strike with his sword (or his shovel) to send them back, four times. When it fires an energy cross that divides into four smaller spheres when hitting the wall, Link must dodge both times.

Moldorm Form: DethI transforms into Moldorm, the first boss of the game. Dethl is more resilient than the actual boss but there is no chasm he can push Link into, making the battle easier. The Shadow Nightmares run across the room and must be struck on the tail (where its real face is located) six times, or with three to four Spin Attacks. The more wounds it gets, the faster it becomes and it starts bouncing erratically on walls.

Ganon Form: DethI transforms into Ganon, wielding a double, double-edged halberd. It conjures flaming bats one after the other, hurls his halberd like a boomerang and glides away to repeat the process. Link must either charge at it with the Boots and the Sword, or strike with Spin Attacks, six times.

Lanmola Form: The Shadow Nightmares' fifth form looks like a giant Lanmola worm. It is very fast and catching up with it can be tricky, but it is very easy to defeat, taken down with but one strike of the Fire Rod.

Final Form: DethI's final form attacks by constantly swiping its tentacles. Link must jump over them with the Feather, and jump back in front of DethI, to shoot up to three arrows in its open eye, no less than fifteen times. When hit enough times, the demon becomes faster and starts swinging diagonally. In the original and recolour, but not in the Nintendo Switch remake, Link can also finish DethI off with one strike of the Boomerang, but this is much harder for the eye must be wide open.



  • In both the original and DX versions of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, DethI shares its battle theme with all of its forms except for the final one, which used the Sub-Boss theme. In the Switch remake, the final form is instead given its own unique battle theme.


           Legend of Zelda logo.png Villains

Ganon's Army
Ganondorf/Ganon (Manga) · Twinrova · Veran · Onox (Manga) · Shadow Link · Helmaroc King · Phantom Ganon · Dark Link · Lizalfos · Moblins · Phantom Ganon · Shadow Link ·

Ganon's Army (CD-I)
Ganon (CD-i) · Hektan · Glutko · Goronu · Lupay · Duke Onkled ·

Forces of the Calamity
Calamity Ganon · Blight Ganons · Astor

Demise's Forces
Demise · Ghirahim · Lizalfos · Moblins

Twilight Army
Ganondorf · Zant · King Bulblin

Cia's Army
Cia · Wizzro · Volga

Malladus's Forces
Malladus · Chancellor Cole · Byrne

Bellum's Forces
Bellum (Manga) · Cubus Sisters

Majora's Forces
Majora's Mask · Skull Kid

Hilda's Subjects
Yuga (Yuga Ganon) · Princess Hilda

Yiga Clan
Master Kohga · Sooga

Other Major Foes
Vaati · Nightmares (DethI) · Lady Maud · Magician

Other Minor Enemies
Great Moblin · Sakon · Volvagia · LD-002S Scervo · "Them" · Bongo Bongo · Link's Shadow · River Zora · Dead Hand