Hilarious alternative name found for the link in an old novel

An old novelization of The Legend of Zelda has come to light, revealing that protagonist Link once had a hilariously mundane name.

An old novelization of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has been unearthed, revealing that Link once had a very different name. A link to the past was the third Zelda game, and notably introduced the Master Sword to the series. The legendary weapon has since become iconic, and its first appearance was even subtly referenced in breath of the wild.

A link to the past is a true classic. In many ways, the game played a fundamental role in the development of The Legend of Zelda as players know it today. Along with the Master Sword, it was the first game to introduce parallel worlds to Hyrule, a concept that is now a recurring theme in the series. Originally released in Japan on SNES in 1991 (then released in 1992 for America and Europe), its popularity has sustained in part through a series of re-releases. The most recent of these was on the Nintendo Switch via Nintendo Switch Online’s SNES Virtual Console. Long-time series fans are still creating content based on Link to the pastwhich is clear evidence of their appreciation for what he has accomplished.

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As part of its popularity, A link to the past even received a novelization in 1992. This book, written by Katsuyuki Ozaki, was a relatively obscure release, having never made it outside of Japan. However, a devoted fan, History of Hyrule, managed to track down a copy, with the intention of digitizing the book for posterity. Among these pages is a set of character profiles; Zelda is of course present, as is the evil wizard “Agunim”, whose name is officially rendered as Agahnim. And then there’s the heroic protagonist in green known to gamers everywhere, whom Ozaki apparently chose to name Paul, which is as incongruous a detail as Link’s pink hair in the game.


“Paul” sports the familiar blonde hair and signature green tunic from his works, along with a truly massive shield hanging from his back. He holds an impressive sword in his hands, and is every inch the hero of The Legend of Zelda. Except, apparently, for his name. Why exactly the hero of Ozaki’s novel is called Paul instead of Link is a mystery at this time, though the most likely reason is simply a case of creative license. The change is as baffling as it is funny, though it’s worth noting that this isn’t the only time Link’s name has led to some amusing confusion in The Legend of Zelda. The name isn’t the only quirk present in the text, either. According to History of Hyrule, “Paul” is the “descendant of Hylia”, an idea that predates the similar origin story now established for Zelda as the mortal incarnation of the goddess Hylia.


It seems ridiculous today to think of the hero of Hyrule as being called Paul. The name sounds completely incongruous in the fantastic setting of The Legend of Zelda. Of course, since this was the brainchild of a Japanese writer in the 90s, that probably wasn’t the original intention. The classic ‘sword and sorcery’ depiction of Hyrule in the 30-year-old A link to the past borrows western themes and design ideas, so a western name for the hero isn’t entirely unreasonable in that regard. But either way, “Link” certainly seems like the most fitting option for the iconic hero’s name.


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Source: History of Hyrule/Twitter

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Irene B. Bowles