In each game there is almost always a different incarnation of Zelda. Some exceptions apply as certain titles are sequels to others––some examples of this include Majora's Mask being a sequel to Ocarina of Time and Phantom Hourglass being a sequel to The Wind Waker. Even so that's still a lot of princesses and with that I am bound to like certain incarnations more than others. As a result, here are my favorites and why.
#5: The Minish Cap.
The Minish Cap is one of my little known favorite games and this Zelda is one of my favorites and so she has earned a spot on my list. This is one of the few games I've enjoyed where Link and Zelda have been friends since childhood and the way she acts is adorable. I love it. She's rather hyper for a princess and is always on the go when the two of them go to the festival together. My favorite moment is strangely when Zelda wins the game and chooses the shield as her prize and won't change her mind about it. I think it's cute. Despite her hyperness she can also be calm and collected when she needs to be which is cool too.
#4: A Link Between Worlds.
A Link Between Worlds is one of my favorite games for a number of reasons, a lot of which involve Zelda. The biggest thing, however, is at the end of the game. Zelda holds no anger or hate toward Princess Hilda for trying to steal the Triforce because she understands why she did so; she wanted to save her kingdom of Lorule from oblivion which was a result of her world's Triforce being destroyed. When Link and Zelda are returned to their own world they make a wish on their world's Triforce to restore the Triforce of Lorule so that her world would be saved. I thought it was absolutely incredible and I may have cried a little.
#3: Twilight Princess.
I am ashamed to say I have never completed Twilight Princess. However, I have spoiled myself enough to know the ending of it and I find she is one of my favorite incarnations. Even though her appearance is relatively small she has one of the hugest impacts on the game. Some shining moments for me include when she surrenders Hyrule Castle to Zant instead of fighting and sacrificing herself in order to heal Midna. Both things take a ton of strength and wisdom to be able to do and although some people may think poorly of her for her actions with the former I think otherwise. It's not easy to surrender and knowing what it may cost.
#2: Hyrule Warriors.
I'll admit that I only love this incarnation of Zelda purely because of her design. From the first moment I had seen artwork of her it was love and it was pretty much what made me want to make this site to begin with. I'm sure my opinion will change once I am actually able to play this game, but from what I know of her so far I am sure I will love her even more. Hyrule Warriors Zelda is unique, too, in that she can fight, taking action rather than waiting for a hero to save her, and that she is actually a playable character (not counting Super Smash Bros.). I think it's awesome and I hope I'll be able to play this game some day soon!
#1: Ocarina of Time.
I think Zelda from Ocarina of Time was the incarnation I was first introduced to, and, as a result, is easily my favorite out of them all. To me she feels like the most realistic incarnation I think because she makes a lot of mistakes, all of which having serious repercussions––such as Ganondorf gaining access to the Sacred Realm and the Triforce, and the splitting the time ways. To top things off she takes full responsibility for her actions and admits her mistakes. It is all too easy to blame others for things and for her to not do so is amazing in my book. I love her so much because of that.
Honorable mentions include Zelda from Oracle of Ages/Seasons, A Link to the Past and Skyward Sword, just because I felt the need to include them here somewhere but don't have much to say on them.