Character Spotlight: Gannondorf

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Character Spotlight: Gannondorf
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Name: Gannondorf

Games: The Legend of Zelda series, Super Smash Bros. series


  • Possesses the Triforce of Power
  • Sorceror
  • King of the Gerudo
  • Shape-shifter
  • Skilled swordsman
  • Driven
  • Indomitable


Gannondorf is the more human incarnation of Ganon, the official Big Bad of the Zelda universe.  Though he’s appeared in several forms across multiple games, he’s always a large, imposing, and incredibly powerful individual.  Almost every time, it takes the combined efforts of both Link AND Zelda to bring him down.  Make no mistake, Gannondorf is a freaking powerhouse, and he’s not afraid to throw his weight around.  With his imposing build, extreme knack for destruction, and indomitable knack for coming back from the dead over, and over, and over again, Gannondorf crashes into the Tank archetype, fitting nicely into the Juggernaut class.

Let’s take a look at what makes the avatar of power tick, eh?

Power Unleashed

Gannondorf utilizes shape-shifting, spears, swords, and magic in his combat.  He’s mixed martial artist in the purest form of the word, though I don’t think we’ll see he and Link engage in mattwork anytime soon.  In emulating Gannondorf’s combat style, we want to focus less on individual styles, and more on a mindset of taking the best from every style we can, and discarding the unnecessary.  We can look to Bruce Lee for inspiration here:

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”

There are many, many hand and weapon styles out there.  I can advocate one or the other, but for Gannondorf I would instead offer some simple guidelines for your martial arts practice.

  • Spar often.  Apply everything you learn.  Techniques are great to learn, but they only have use if they hold up under actual application.
  • Use your strengths.  Exploit your opponent’s weaknesses.  If you are strong and heavy, use that.  If your opponent is short, head hunt.  If your opponent is slower, run circles around them.  You’re here to fight, not to be nice.
  • Practice.  Always.  Every spare moment you have is a time to pursue mastery in your style.  Every moment someone else is working to obtain their own Triforce of Power.  Beat them to it.
  • Be confident, without falling victim to hubris.  Confidence is a key to victory, but blind pride will cause you to overlook your own strength and weaknesses (see point # 2)

The second you start learning an art and making it your own, you are truly making your own style.  Respect traditions, but don’t let them limit you.  If you are emulating Gannondorf, then you’re interested in strength and power for their own sake.  Don’t accept limits.

The Sorceror’s Strength

So, it may go a bit against the grain of what we normally expect out of our muscle-bound badass bosses, but Gannondorf is a bit of a nerd.  No, seriously, the only way he could learn all the magic he did is by studying endlessly at the feet of Twinrova/Koume and Kotake.  This most likely involved quite a few magical tomes, scrolls, and codexes.  Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, the only way he could learn about the Triforce and The Golden Land would be by literally poring over documents as old as Hyrule itself.

Now, I realize magic as we think of it is not really something we can expect to pick up in our physics-grounded world (unfortunately), we do have some other options.  Knowledge is, as they say, power.  We’re gonna dip back into quote-land here with Arthur C. Clarke’s third law here:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Learning programming, robotics, genetic engineering, or even one of the schools of engineering will already put you significantly above the people around you in terms of understanding advanced concepts in the world.  Properly applying these concepts would enable you to do some truly fantastic things.  We’ve talked programming and hacking a bit with Aiden Pearce, here’s a few links for some other cool future-tech stuff:

MIT’s Open Courseware Intro to Robotics

Stanford’s Intro to Robotics

MIT’s Open Courseware Biological Engineering

In fact, here’s a challenge for you.  Go to MIT’s OpenCourseWare page, and make a list of five to ten courses that interest you.  Start banging them out.  Seriously, they’re there, free, and incredibly good.  Someday someone will say to you, “There’s no such thing as magic!” and you will laugh at them as your mecha-phantom-gannon-bot chases them around.

The Fated King

The Gerudo, the race and culture Gannondorf was born into, only have one male child every 100 years.  From the moment of his birth, he was fated to be king.  That is not to say his life was a pampered one, however.  The Gerudo hail from the depths of the desert, where blinding sandstorms, murderous creatures, and nonexistent water sources are an everyday fact of life.  The Gerudo survive by taking what they can from the environment around them, and stealing what they can’t get naturally.  They are warlike, combative, and extreme isolationists.

Gannondorf was raised in a culture of combat, sorcery, and above all, the constant reinforcement that he was destined to rule his people.  This combined with his culture of self-reliance and constant physical testing produced an incredibly strong and confident person, with an undeniable lust for power, and a desire to rule over all he could see, touch, and desire.  His quest for absolute power led him first to Hyrule, and then to the Golden Land itself, where he stole the Golden Power of the Goddesses…the Triforce.  However, his impure soul caused the Triforce to split into three distinct pieces, granting Gannondorf the part that resonated most with his person…the Triforce of Power.

Adversity is something everyone faces in varying degrees in their lives.  Struggles in life are a lot like the exercises we perform in our various video game character workouts here.  That said, much like exercise, if you face struggles that are too large or too numerous, you can be overwhelmed and get hurt.  Gannondorf, for all the hardships he must have endured as a youth, always had a core group of people around him supporting him and backing him, in his Gerudo clan.  They tested and pushed him, but they also trained, nurtured, and raised him.

Believe it or not, the first step to becoming more like Gannondorf is finding your own tribe.  Struggles in life are easier to face if you have people around you to help support you as you face them.  You may or may not be lucky to have these sort of people in your life.  I realize that the internet isn’t a true substitute for a real-life support group, but I greatly encourage you to come join our tribe over on the forums.  We’re a positive group of like-minded individuals, who are there to help you become the most powerful version of yourself.

In Closing

Gannondorf is a very strong archetypal character.  You can almost instantly grasp the essence of his character.  He radiates power, and an entire world quakes in fear at his actions.  This power can be intoxication, and makes it very easy to emulate him, but make sure you don’t find yourself lost in this pursuit, and turn into a pig yourself.  Gannondorf eventually falls victim to hubris, and allows a young boy to strike him down (repeatedly).  Stay grounded, remember your tribe, and continue to strive to become the most powerful person you can be.

Live boldly, change the world, and be awesome!

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace


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3 thoughts on “Character Spotlight: Gannondorf

  1. Pingback: The Gannondorf Workout | Be a Game Character

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