- May 6, 2015
First and foremest is a bit of background for the YouTube audience. Assuming you know about Demise's reincarnation and the Split Timeline, then skip around to the "quote" in this post if you want to read still after watching.
We already know a lot about Ganondorf, whose appearance takes place in the Legend of Zelda in 3 Main titles: Ocarina of Time, the Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess. This means the interesting thing about Ganondorf as a character is how we can analyze him in two alternate universes, as those games span both the Adult Timeline and Child Timeline respectively.
That's what leads me to call Ganondorf's character "Three in One". Like so many other things in pairs of three in this series (three stones, three pendants, three orbs, the TRIforce...) Ganondorf's full person, what he is as a character, is really only shed light on after taking a look at all three games, and with a little help outside of the game from Skyward Sword. As his role is so important in these three games (less so in Twilight Princess as he was kind of shoehorned in, but still big nonetheless) we also learn a bit more about the world of Zelda and the franchise as a whole.
In Ocarina of Time Ganondorf is painted as a fairly simple villain. He's the dark clouds from Zelda's dreams, and really not much more than that. All the information we're given is that he's a Gerudo (the sole male born every 100 years) who has mystic powers, courtesy of Kaepora and Gaepora, and desires the whole Triforce for its ability to grant any wish. Thus, he basically fills the roll of a "bad guy archetype", as far as Ocarina of Time is concerned; killing the Deku Tree, starving the Gorons, diseasing Jabu-Jabu, reviving volvagia, freezing the zoras over, and draining lake Hylia via the water demon Morpha is just a list of some of the evil acts he did in an effort to gain the triforce.
Now in the Child Timeline, taking place after Link had gone back in time to warn the King of Hyrule of Ganondorf before his evil deeds happen, the next major appearance of Ganondorf is in Twilight Princess. We don't really meet him until the end of the game, where Zant reveals he was really just a fanatic because Ganondorf posed as a god for Zant.
We learn truly of how Ganondorf was attempted to be executed for the evil acts he committed in Ocarina of Time, prior to the events of Twilight Princess. For some reason, he has the Triforce of Power (even though Link hadn't yet opened the gate of time) and is able to survive a stab of the "warlock blade", break his shackles, and kill the sage of water with his bare hands. In a last ditch effort Ganondorf is sealed within the Twilight realm, ensuing the events that unfold.
Anyway, it's pivotal to remember that Twilight Princess happens in a universe where Ganondorf never had his chance to try out the totality of his plan, stealing the princess and luring Link to him, thus gathering all three pieces. From a story perspective, Ganondorf is shown to be trapped in his fate, and this explains why Ganondorf plays such a similar character in Twilight Princess, and doesn't really add as much to the story as he could have. Twilight Princess's look onto Ganondorf is seen as especially shallow when we compare it to Wind Waker.
In Wind Waker we actually feel for the man, the person of Ganondorf, as opposed to just seeing him as another villain like the other two games. We know that he longs for his home country, and he originally doesn't even desire to kill Link. He wants to break the shackles that bind him to his fate, and this quote is important-
Now! Let us put an end to that which binds us together! Gods! Hear that which I desire! Expose this land to the rays of the sun once more! Let them burn forth!
I know I'm not the first person to touch on this subject but I think we can mostly all agree while his means may have been evil, his intention was much more righteous in Wind Waker. It shows him more as a person, fighting for his country rather than himself. This is a stark contrast to Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess where he is really just a villain figurehead.
Now the reason behind this depth of character in Wind Waker is not just that "TP Ganondorf is poorly written in". That's a relatively true statement I'd say in my opinion, but there is a story reason. Ganondorf is clung more tightly to the bonds of Demise in Twilight Princess. We see his Triforce of Power surge in the execution scene as he breaks his shackles and kills the Sage of Water. Furthermore, in the Child Timeline he hadn't been defeated by Link after trying to lure him out, so he's still naive to the original plans he felt ensnared by Demise.
We know that Demise reincarnated into Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time. This theory is as strongly confirmed as Kaepora Gaebora being Rauru, or the "lost friend" from Majora's Mask being Navi. Thus when Ganondorf goes into Twilight Princess, he's still deep under the control of Demise. However, in Wind Waker, it seems he is much less so, considering he wants to "put an end" to the "binds" he faces of fate.
What I mention in the video is his fight with fate, and how he is always ensnared in it. I didn't want to add another layer of complexity on the video after it had already been 17 minutes, but by this fate I really meant the curse of Demise. Where in Twilight Princess he is bound to the curse of Demise in creating the cycle of hatred, Wind Waker Ganondorf breaks from this cycle. He wants to bring back the Land of Hyrule in his longing state, but after having learned from his failure in the past, he is no longer under such a trance by Demise.
This is why we don't see a Ganon-related boss after Wind Waker. Both Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks have Bellum and Malladus as final bosses. However, after Twilight Princess, Ganondorf's hatred manifests himself as Ganon in the final boss of Four Swords Adventures.
There's probably something to be said about the Defeated Timeline, but we don't see the person of Ganondorf so I don't think it has so much ground on this theory. All there is is Ganon, who was left undefeated at the end of Ocarina of Time, and continues to raid throughout the Defeated Timeline. Nothing here goes against what I've said so far.
With that I hope you understood my analysis and that I explained myself properly. In being realistic, I doubt developers paid any mind to the thought of Demise in Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, and probably not even Twilight Princess or Four Swords Adventures. However, I don't think it's too ludicrous to believe they always had some idea of an evil force that reincarnated itself- like, they had the image of Demise but no name to it yet. Regardless, that's canon now regardless of it's a retcon or not, and with this new era of canon since Skyward Sword I believe this theory ties what would otherwise be an inconsistent character across three games into a smooth continuity that actually makes sense. Thanks for watching + reading.