Wind is an element that has played a prominent role in The Legend of Zelda series, particularly in The Wind Waker. Over the course of the years, it has played different roles storyline-wise and gameplay-wise. These roles include being a helpful element, being an obstacle, and having a symbolic value.
Role in the Series
Wind as a Symbolic Element
The game where wind takes the biggest role is The Wind Waker. It is given sacred value by two Wind Gods: Zephos and Cyclos, both lending Link their respective wind-related powers. There is also a temple dedicated to this element, the Wind Temple (whose puzzles and obstacles make use of it), as well as a melody, the Wind God's Aria. Also, when Link retrieves the Triforce of Courage, he is chosen by the gods as the Hero of Winds.
Historically, however, wind has been revered since centuries ago: When Hyrule was still a living kingdom, Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule used the titular Wind Waker to conduct the sages as they prayed to, among other things, keep the Power to Repel Evil within the Master Sword. A common quote among the sages back in the day was to wish the "wind of fortune" to blow with one. There is also a race that has a fixation towards wind and sky, the Rito. Although they were wingless in the past, over time they developed wings so that they could subsist through the steep terrain of Dragon Roost Island. Their guardian deity is the Sky Spirit Valoo.
Ganondorf, before battling Link and Princess Zelda, tells the former that, during the time of Ocarina of Time, he used to covet the lively wind blowing on Hyrule, rather than the harsh weather conditions under which he and his people lived.
Besides The Wind Waker, few The Legend of Zelda games make use of wind as a major theme. One of these games is Twilight Princess, where Link finds the Gale Boomerang, which houses the power of the Fairy of Winds. In Phantom Hourglass, the Temple of Wind not only features wind-related puzzles as well, but is also located on an island filled with windy geysers and gusts blowing from varying direction.
Wind as a Gameplay Element
Gameplay-wise, wind plays two roles: As an obstacle, and as an ally. In several The Legend of Zelda games, fans often blow wind intensely to make Link's exploration more difficult, or even impossible if he doesn't have an item to counter the eolic force (such as Iron Boots). Wind doesn't always have to come in the opposite direction to Link's to be constituted as an obstacle (in Twilight Princess, a gust of wind may drag Link to a side-placed bottomless pit in the City in the Sky; in The Wind Waker the small cyclones on the sea abruptly change the position of the King of Red Lions as Link tries to sail towards an island). As an ally, wind can favor Link's movement, either to reach more quickly to a place or even to an otherwise inaccessible spot; another benefit is that, when expelled from whirlwinds, wind can help the young hero to take flight (either as Deku Link in Majora's Mask, or with the Deku Leaf in The Wind Waker).
During the events of The Wind Waker, Link receives the titular baton from the King of Red Lions, and shortly afterwards learns the Wind's Requiem from Zephos. This melody allows the young hero to manipulate the direction of the wind's flow, which significantly favors his sea travel, as well as his flight with the Deku Leaf, and reveals chests pinpointed by wind insignias on the ground. A second song, the Ballad of Gales, allows Link to warp from one island to another by creating a cyclone surrounding the King of Red Lions, and is taught by Cyclos.
Several other items in the series have exhibited eolic properties as well. The Deku Leaf, in addition to helping Link fly, can also create gusts of wind able to activate fan-shaped switches, move wooden elevators and obstruct enemies; the Gale Boomerang serves a similar purpose in Twilight Princess, thanks to the cyclone surrounding it, as does the Whirlwind in Spirit Tracks. The Swift Sail, introduced in The Wind Waker HD, manipulates the wind to automatically blow in the direction Link is sailing.
Relationship with Forests
Over the course of the series, there has been an overlap between the elements of forest and wind. In Ocarina of Time, the Forest Temple was originally intended to be the Wind Temple, as evidenced by various beta features and quotes from interviews with the developers, but it was changed in the final version of the game. That said, there are various remnants of the temple's original purpose. Namely, the Forest Medallion has an emblem reminiscent of a hurricane, which can also be seen through the temple's doors. Also, when Navi tells Link to go to that dungeon, she gives a hint on the type of evil influence roaming Kokiri Forest; and it's also hinted that Fado, not Saria, was going to be the Sage of the temple, thus the Sage of Wind.
Furthermore, although Farore is commonly associated with forests, her signature spell is Farore's Wind; in addition, the Forest route of Ganon's Tower is actually wind-themed. In The Wind Waker, the Wind Temple does make an appearance but, conversely, it has a few elements brought from the Forest Haven, namely the grass on the ground, the usage of the Deku Leaf, and some of the enemies being originally from Forest Haven; its sage was a male namesake of Fado, also a Kokiri, before being succeeded by Makar, a Korok from the aforementioned Forest Haven. The Forest Temple of Twilight Princess and the dungeon of the same name in Spirit Tracks both house a wind-related item (the Gale Boomerang and the Whirlwind, respectively). In Majora's Mask, the Woodfall Temple corresponds to Deku Link, who has the ability to fly. Also in Twilight Princess, the giant Deku Baba who first appears on the aforementioned Forest Temple, appears in the City in the Sky as well.
Wind and Music
The majority of musical instruments Link has played (or at least had) through the games are wind instruments. The list includes the Fairy Ocarina, the Ocarina of Time, the Ocarina of Wind, the Flute, the Recorder, the Horse Call, the Horse Grass, the Hawk Grass, the Strange Flute, and the Spirit Flute.
Wind-generating statue on the Gale Isle (The Wind Waker)
Fan from the Shadow Temple (Ocarina of Time)
Link (Hero of Winds in The Wind Waker)
- "That Wind Waker you hold was used long ago to conduct us sages when we played our song to call upon the gods. In those days, it was always the king who conducted for us..." — Fado (The Wind Waker)
- "May the wind of fortune blow with you" — Laruto (The Wind Waker)
- "My country lay within a vast desert. When the sun rose into the sky, a burning wind punished my lands, searing the world. And when the moon climbed into the dark of night, a frigid gale pierced our homes. No matter when it came, the wind carried the same thing... Death." — Ganondorf (The Wind Waker)
- "But the winds that blew across the green fields of Hyrule brought something other than suffering and ruin. I coveted that wind, I suppose. It can only be called fate." — Ganondorf (The Wind Waker)
- "An evil wind is blowing from the direction of the Forest Temple." — Navi (Ocarina of Time)