The History Of Vaati In The Zelda Series

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The Legend of Zelda series has spawned some of the most iconic characters throughout gaming, and with incarnation and tradition being such strong themes throughout the series, characters tend to show up in different places all across the timeline.


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One aspect that has remained relatively consistent is the hero-villain dynamic between Link and Ganon, but there have been some noticeable replacements for the series antagonist throughout the series. These villains can be a refreshing change of pace from Ganon, and one often-forgotten recurring villain is Vaati.


Who Is Vaati?

Zelda Minish

In some of the Zelda games in the early to mid-2000s, Vaati appeared as a recurring villain.

He appeared in three separate games — Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures, and The Minish Cap — only to be relatively forgotten after this era of the series ended.

Despite Vaati’s three appearances, his Hylian form is only seen once, with him appearing as more of a vengeful spirit in his other appearances.

His Hylian form is seen in The Minish Cap, as well as his Minish/Picori form, and other monstrous forms throughout his boss encounters.

Vaati started innocent but was corrupted by power, making the sole focus of his personality his desire to grow stronger and stronger, and his powerful willpower to achieve this goal.

He manifests his desire for more power by empowering himself using magic, making him one of the most powerful magic users in the series’ history.

He uses magic to accomplish amazing feats like using spheres of energy as weapons, transforming into different forms depending on the situation, and being able to petrify and transmute people at will.

He was also shown to be able to improve his magical abilities by absorbing power from other characters.

His power over magic is so strong, he is often referred to as Sorcerer of the Wind.

Vaati In The Minish Cap

Link And Ezlo With The Minish in TLOZ: Minish Cap.

While The Minish Cap is Vaati’s last appearance in a mainline Zelda game in release order, in chronological timeline order, it is his very first appearance.

This is also the game where you learn the most about Vaati and his origins.

At the start of The Minish Cap, Link first sees Vaati after having won a sword fighting competition, and he is receiving his prize of meeting Zelda and seeing the ancient Picori Blade.

However, Vaati has malicious intent, and he breaks the Picori Sword, petrifies Zelda, and sets free all the evil spirits the blade had been keeping at bay. Throughout the adventure to save Zelda from her petrification, Link meets a talking hat called Ezlo.

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Ezlo is at first reserved about his origins, but he eventually opens up. He reveals to Link that, while Vaati appeared to be a Hylian like Link and Zelda, he was once actually a Minish, and so was Ezlo.

Ezlo was also a magician, and Vaati was his apprentice, but over time, Vaati became obsessed with power as he witnessed the evil within the hearts of men.

Vaati learned from the other Minish and Ezlo that the Minish had worked alongside the Hylians to give them great power in the form of the Picori Blade as well as the Light Force.

As the portal between the tiny Minish realm and Hyrule was about to open, Ezlo had been working on a gift for the humans — a mage’s cap that would be able to grant wishes to its wearer.

But before he could gift it, it was stolen by Vaati, who used its power to turn into a more powerful sorcerer that could take the form of a Hylian (the form you meet Vaati in at the beginning of the game).

Before leaving for Hyrule, Vaati spited his old master by transforming him into a living cap. Vaati then set off for Hyrule to seek the Light Force hoping to wield its power, leading up to the point where Vaati petrified Zelda.

Vaati adjusting his cloak in the Minish Cap the video game

This is why Vaati broke the Picori Blade, thinking it was sealing off the Light Force, but this was not the case.

To continue his search for the Light Force more efficiently, he impersonated the King of Hyrule to not have anything hold him back.

This is also why he petrified Zelda, both, so she wouldn’t uncover his disguise, and because he knew she wields a power that would be able to defeat him.

Throughout the game, Vaati learns that the source of the Light Force will be revealed if the Picori Blade is reformed. Since Link and Ezlo are working to reform the blade so they will be strong enough to beat Vaati, he lets them continue their journey.

The blade is eventually rebuilt after being infused with four different elements. This turns it into the Four Sword that is used in Four Swords and its sequel.

After this, Link and Ezlo reach the Elemental Sanctuary, where they find out that the Light Force was being kept inside Zelda the whole time. Vaati, who had been hiding in their midst, thanks Link and Ezlo before knocking them out, so he can find Zelda without interruption.

After waking up, Link and Ezlo find Zelda, but Vaati has already been able to siphon some power from her, and uses this to turn into a more powerful form, Vaati Reborn.

But, this form is defeated by Link, which causes Vaati to transform into his original boss form from the Four Swords games.

Eventually, Vaati’s final form is defeated, with Link using a cloning power reminiscent of the multiple Links in Four Swords, making this a call-back release-wise, but foreshadowing timeline-wise.

He laments how he could be defeated, and the mage’s cap he used to get his power is destroyed.

Vaati In Four Swords

The four Links in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords holding swords

In the official timeline, Four Swords is in the middle of Vaati’s appearances, but it is the first time he shows up in release order.

Vaati is shown to not have any memories of his life in previous entries in the timeline, but is still acting as an evil mage, who before the events of the game had kidnapped maidens from Hyrule and took them away to his castle in the sky.

This did not carry on for long, as a hero wielding the Four Sword appeared and vanquished the mage.

vaati in four swords adventures zelda villains

The hero used the power of the blade to split himself into four, and then sealed Vaati away inside the Four Sword itself. This powerful sword was then kept out of reach in the Four Sword Sanctuary.

However, over time, the seal weakened and Vaati managed to escape the sword and the sanctuary, and immediately returned to his old habits, this time kidnapping Princess Zelda herself and taking her away to his palace.

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Like before, a hero, this time Link, needs to use the power of the Four Sword to split himself into four separate heroes to be powerful enough to take down Vaati.

By the end of the relatively short adventure, the four Links manage to make their way to Vaati’s castle, and manage to seal him away once more inside the Four Sword.

During Vaati’s boss encounter, he takes two different forms, the first being a possessed suit of armour, and the second being his classic boss form with his floating giant eye.

Vaati Four Swords Adventures

Four Swords Links surrounded by enemies

While it is Vaati’s final appearance in the official in-universe timeline, Four Swords Adventures is Vaati’s second overall appearance.

Four Swords Adventures does not directly follow Four Swords in the Zelda timeline.

Four Swords Adventures was created as a follow-up to the original Four Swords, this time as a standalone adventure on the GameCube.

In Four Swords Adventures, a different Link from the original Four Swords is manipulated by Ganondorf and tricked into freeing the Four Sword, and this ends up being what frees Vaati, taking a similar form to his boss appearance.

Unlike Vaati’s two other appearances, while he is still a major villain in the story, this time Ganondorf is pulling the strings and fulfilling the role of the main antagonist.

Throughout the narrative of Four Swords Adventures, Ganondorf manages to get into contact with an item called the Royal Jewel, which he curses, and uses this power and Vaati’s darkness to steal other Force Gems from Hyrule, which he used to make himself even stronger.

Vaati is presented as Link’s only enemy throughout most of the game, but he eventually surmises that Ganon is manipulating Vaati.

Using the power of the Four Sword and splitting himself up again, the four Links are able to defeat both Vaati and Ganondorf, sealing both of them inside the Four Sword this time.

Could Vaati Return?

Vaati the wind mage attacks in Minish Cap artwork

The Four Sword last appeared at the end of Four Swords Adventures in the Child timeline strand of the Zelda timeline.

However, it and Vaati are both still sealed away in this timeline, and both others, since The Minish Cap and Four Swords take place before the timeline split.

So, it’s unlikely Vaati could return, unless a new timeline (or timeline branch) were to be created.

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