A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Legend of Zelda is an '80s cartoon that centers on a likable female heroine who prefers to be in on the action rather than waiting in the wings for protection from her male counterpart. Indeed this is no damsel in distress, and she follows up by standing firm against his repeated efforts to claim a kiss he feels he earns by coming to her aid. Each episode follows a villain's new attempt at stealing a powerful magical object, which leads to fighting between the two sides, but there are no injuries or deaths to speak of. There is some name-calling ("idiot," for instance) and similar language ("shut up") that you may not want your kids repeating.
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What's the story?
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA tells the story of the tug-of-war over the powerful Triforce of Wisdom entrusted to Princess Zelda (voiced by Cyndy Preston) and coveted by the evil sorcerer Ganon (Len Carlson), who already owns the Triforce of Power. Link (Jonathan Potts) is Zelda's resident hero who comes to her aid when Ganon and his minions attempt to steal the Triforce or kidnap her. Together with the fairy princess Spryte (Tabitha St. Germain), these saviors of Hyrule must fend off one attack after another to keep the kingdom's people safe from Ganon's nefarious plans.
Is it any good?
Based on an '80s video game, The Legend of Zelda is a mostly formulaic 13-part series with few surprises that's equally short on worrisome content for kids. The good-versus-evil plot yields many conflicts with some tepid violence, but, because injuries are rare and the characters simply disappear rather than dying in the traditional sense, it's not likely to upset even younger kids.
Probably the most notable aspect of the story is the testy relationship between Link and Zelda, which is so unusual for this genre that it's almost comical. Not only is Zelda strong and defiant in her own right, which challenges traditional gender roles, but viewed against Link's relative neediness -- and his inability to take "no" for an answer on the kissing issue -- she often comes across in a more favorable light. Especially given that this series is more than two decades old, it's a surprising win for female heroines.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about heroes and heroines. Who is the hero in this story? Does it change with different episodes? Could either Link or Zelda succeed against Ganon on his or her own? Why or why not?
Kids: Zelda and Link have an important responsibility to the people of their kingdom. What responsibilities do you have at home and at school? What are the repercussions of not fulfilling your duties? How does this affect people other than you?
How does the violence in this show compare to what you see in more modern shows? Have you ever watched a series or movie with violence that scared you? Could these kinds of exchanges happen in real life?
Why does Link continue to pester Zelda for a kiss after she's said no? What would you do if something like this was happening to you in real life? Is it OK for someone to continually ask you to kiss or hug them after you've said no?
Themes & Topics
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