Ganondorf known as the Great King of Evil or the Dark Lord, is the primary antagonist of a majority of the games in the Legend of Zelda series. Ganondorf was born a member of the Gerudo; as the only male member to be born in a hundred years, Ganondorf is made either the King of the Gerudo or the Guardian of the Desert, depending on the game. Gifted with powerful magic, Ganondorf often seeks the omniscient Triforce to grant his wish of conquering the entire world. He frequently wields the Triforce of Power, and stages coups against the Royal Family of Hyrule to take the Hyrulean Throne by force. In the English-localized game manual of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, his full name is stated to be Ganondorf Dragmire, and his alias before his incursion into the Sacred Realm is stated to have been Mandrag Ganon, meaning "Ganon of the Enchanted Thieves."
The Triforce of Power that Ganondorf often holds grants him near-immortality; the only weapons that can truly defeat him are the Master Sword, Silver Arrows, and Light Arrows. In addition to granting him power, the Triforce of Power allows Ganondorf to transform into his more powerful beast form, Ganon, reminiscent of a pig or hog. During events of the ending of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the timeline of The Legend of Zelda series is severed into three separate timelines. Thus the Ganondorf from Ocarina of Time has three different future incarnations, each eventually meeting their end at the hands of different Links, leaving uncertain futures for each Ganondorf. In addition to the character from Ocarina of Time and his three parallel future selves, Ganondorf or his monstrous Ganon form appear several more times throughout the series. It is not confirmed which if any of these incarnations are connected to the previous being, and the Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures is given a different backstory, leading to the idea that there may be multiple Ganondorfs, much like many other characters in the Legend of Zelda series who have multiple incarnations.
Ganondorf is commonly portrayed as the incarnation of pure evil, greed, and power. He is ruthless, cold, and calculating. He is also shown to have an ego, believing that only he is worthy to rule the kingdom and showing an arrogant sense of entitlement. One of Ganondorf’s most defining traits is his unquenchable lust for power. Many of his actions are driven by his unending hunger to increase his dominion over the world. In Ocarina of Time, even after having taken control of Hyrule and possessing the Triforce of Power, Ganondorf is still unsatisfied and continues to seek the other pieces of the Triforce.
Ganondorf is also a skilled strategist, as he is implied to have manipulated Link and Zelda into opening the Door of Time for him, and he also deliberately allows Link to purify the temples he has captured knowing that this will draw Zelda out into the open.
Despite his negative qualities, it has been hinted that the Ganondorf originally seen in Ocarina of Time sought to conquer Hyrule to make life better for his people, the Gerudo, as they lived a life full of suffering due to living in the desert. Although in Ocarina of Time when he does conquer the kingdom of Hyrule he never attempts to aid them, suggesting his desire for Hyrule was born out of jealousy rather than a desire to help the Gerudo. Interestingly, he seems to follow a code of honor; in Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf is amused and almost impressed when a young, helpless Link drew his weapons at him. Effortlessly knocking Link away, Ganondorf let the boy live despite his defiance, acknowledging some respect for his courage. When he knocks Link down, he will wait for Link to get up before continuing a fight. In addition, when he realizes that Zelda keeps attacking him with the Light Arrows while he fights Link in The Wind Waker, he swiftly approaches Zelda, and when he could easily cut her down, he instead puts away his sword and backhands her. He also claims at one point that he will not kill Link, and merely seeks to claim the Triforce of Courage from him.
Like that of Link, Ganondorf's personality undergoes subtle changes throughout the games. In Ocarina of Time he is wise-cracking and sarcastic, calling Link "kid" even when he reaches adulthood, calling Link's weapons "toys", saying to him "I like you, kid" before blasting him with magic, but is ultimately serious when need be. In The Wind Waker, he seems to have matured somewhat with age. He is portrayed as somewhat of a tragic villain, being altogether more solemn and less prone to wisecracks. In Twilight Princess he is similar to his persona and his portrayal in The Wind Waker (albeit regaining some of his usual cockiness). It is also implied that Ganondorf is emotionally unstable near the end of The Wind Waker, as he laughs maniacally when Hyrule is about to be flooded.
Powers and Abilities
Ganondorf is one of the most powerful characters in the series, mostly due to his frequent possession of the Triforce of Power. Even without it, his magical powers are still extremely potent. In Ocarina of Time he possessed some magical abilities before obtaining the Triforce, shown when he blasts Link with dark magic and plagues the Great Deku Tree, Dodongo's Cavern, and Lord Jabu-Jabu with monsters, as well as sealing the Dodongo's Cavern with a boulder. After acquiring the Triforce of Power, he was also able to create countless monsters, break the seal on Kakariko Well releasing Bongo Bongo, resurrect the feared dragon Volvagia, freeze several Zoras in Red Ice, fly, imprison and warp away Princess Zelda, open up a portal to another dimension, and conquer Hyrule. He also has the power to transform into a boar demon known as Ganon as well as create a copy of himself called Phantom Ganon. In addition, he has enough strength to cause an entire portion of his throne room's floor to collapse with a single punch, should it not be connected to the room below. He was also implied to have gained immortality from his possession of the Triforce of Power. He was also skilled in playing the pipe organ, as evidenced by his playing a song on it to lure Link up to the top of his castle.
In The Wind Waker, Ganondorf was shown to be powerful enough to take a blast from Valoo and survive after his full power had returned to him. In addition, even without his full power backing him when it was sealed within the Master Sword, he was still shown as being capable of generating an Endless Night and a barrier around Hyrule Castle.
In Twilight Princess, Ganondorf's power is enhanced when he draws strength from the hatred of the banished Twili people. He is also implied to wield the Triforce of Power, and may gain some abilities from his connection to Zant. The powers he displays are never definitively attributed to any one of these sources, though he gains many abilities which have the same visual effect seen when other beings use Twilight-based powers. These include the use of Twilight Portals, turning into Twilight in order to possess another person, and existing as a fiery entity in the shape of his own face. He is also able to survive an attack from Midna while she is using the Fused Shadow, and even destroys part of the powerful artifact afterwards. He was also capable of destroying one of the Ancient Sages, who were implied to be disembodied spirits, with his bare hands, shortly after surviving his execution and shattering the chains binding him to a pillar.
Ganondorf can survive attacks that would kill another being, such as his 'execution' at the hands of the Sages before the events of Twilight Princess, and his defeat at the end of some games in which he is not actually slain. The exact limits of his powers are unknown. He is also very skilled with swords, as shown in The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. Both Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess strongly imply that his surviving lethal attacks was attributed to the Triforce of Power.