Impa

From Gamehiker Wiki

Impa's younger self in Skyward Sword.
Impa
Species Sheikah (OoT, SS)
Hylian or Sheikah (Other Incarnations)
Hair color White
Eye color Red
Voiced by Atsuko Tanaka (2011, young version)
Masako Nozawa (2011, old version)
Debut The Legend of Zelda (instruction manual only)
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (first in-game appearance)

Impa is the nursemaid and sometimes bodyguard of Princess Zelda in various games of the The Legend of Zelda series. She has appeared in multiple incarnations similar to the different incarnations of Link and Zelda, and she is most commonly depicted as a powerful young warrior or a wise old woman. Regardless of the differences, every incarnation of Impa is known as for being a strong and determined woman who is fiercely loyal to Princess Zelda, and it is implied that all or most of the versions of Impa are part of the same family line. Two incarnations of Impa (from Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time) have been confirmed to be members of the Sheikah shadow tribe, and it is possible that other Impas are as well.

Contents

Background

Skyward Sword

Due to the nature of time travel within Skyward Sword, Impa appears concurrently throughout the game in two different forms: that of her younger self (who is from ancient times and travels to the "present" time through the Gate of Time) and that of an old woman found at the Sealed Grounds (who has lived through the ancient past to the present day). The identity of Impa's younger self was not revealed untl partway through the game, and the old woman is only revealed to be Impa during the ending.

Young Impa

Impa was actually born in the distant past during the time of the war against Demise. As part of the Sheikah Tribe, Impa was bound by her duty to serve the goddess Hylia, and under Hylia's instruction she passed through the Gate of Time to help Hylia's reincarnated form, Zelda, in her quest to awaken her memories of being Hylia. Impa traveled to the Eldin Province to help Zelda reach the second sacred spring for her last purification ritual. She arrived there shortly after Zelda had been kidnapped by monsters. Impa briefly saw Link while on her way to the Earth Temple and urged him to hasten his pace. She reached the Earth Temple first and saved Zelda by herself. Link caught up to them just after they finished the purification ritual. Impa forbade Zelda from talking to Link so that she could focus on her task, and she bluntly criticized Link for failing to be there for Zelda. Before passing through a portal with Zelda, she told Link that he could only be useful to Zelda if he managed to "summon a shred of courage" to face the trials ahead of him. She seemed to be indirectly referring to the the three trials Link faced later to empower the Master Sword and prove himself worthy of the Triforce.

Zelda's purification rituals were complete, so Impa brought her to the Temple of Time at Lanayru Region so that she could pass through the Gate of Time. Link managed to find them just as they were about to pass through the Gate, but unfortunately for them, Ghirahim arrived as well. Impa tried to hold off Ghirahim while Zelda escaped, but she was quickly wounded, and Link instead stepped up to distract Ghirahim. Impa thanked him and told him that the old woman at the Sealed Grounds would know where he should go next. Impa then passed through the Gate with Zelda and destroyed it behind them to prevent Ghirahim from following. They made their way to the Temple of Hylia, where Zelda was to go into stasis in order to strengthen the seal on Demise. Impa remained behind to watch over Zelda and acknowledged Link's growth when he arrived though the Temple of Hylia's Gate. She noticed a sunny patch of dirt in one corner of the temple and wished that something could be planted there so that Zelda would be greeted by a great tree when she awakened. Link fulfilled this wish by planting the Tree of Life there.

Everything seemed to be going well until Ghirahim suddenly came through the Temple of Hylia's Gate of Time with the freshly awakened Zelda from the "present" time. Impa was caught by surprise and quickly subdued by Ghirahim. Link soon arrived, and Impa urged him to go after Zelda. Link was successful in destroying Demise, and Impa congratulated him afterwards. She also thanked Groose for his help, regardless of his jokes. Everyone was ready to return to their own time through the Gate, but Impa reminded them that she had to stay behind. She was an inhabitant of this time, so she had to stay there in the past. Zelda protested because of how close they had grown. She did not want to leave Impa alone. Impa assured Zelda that she needed to stay to watch over the Master Sword and ensure that Demise's spirit did not awaken, as this was the nature of the Sheikah Tribe's duty to the goddess. Impa also said that she would take care of the Triforce to ensure that it remained hidden from mortal history as Hylia had instructed her. Before she left, Zelda gave Impa one of her goddess bracelets, and Impa told her that she was certain they would meet again someday. After Zelda, Link and Groose had passed through the Gate of Time, Impa destroyed it to permanently cut off the link between the two times.

Old Impa

Impa presumably carried on her duties over the following centuries and did not seem to leave the Temple of Hylia, which became known as the Sealed Temple during the present time. She became old and shrunken, and her appearance was hidden beneath a set of red robes. Impa never disclosed her identity, most likely to ensure that history happened as it should have. The only hints were that she still had her long braid, which had grown to swing like a pendulum, and the back of her robes were emblazoned with the Sheikah eye symbol. Impa watched over Zelda, who was still sleeping in the back room of the temple to maintain the seal. It is not specified what she did with the Master Sword or Triforce during the passage of time. It is also uncertain whether Impa living to such an old age was an attribute of the Sheikah or if this was a special effect that was somehow caused by Zelda's bracelet or the Triforce. One of the latter options means more likely, the mystical manner of Impa's eventual demise.

The day came when Link and Zelda's journeys actually started. After Zelda was tossed into the Sealed Grounds from Skyloft by Ghirahim, Impa was waiting for her and gave her shelter at the temple for a brief while. She told Zelda about her destiny and sent her off to begin her journey of purification. Impa also gave Link information when he arrived, but she remained vague about his own purpose. She told him that his arrival was predestined (due to either prophecy or her own memories) and that the gears of fate were beginning to turn. She also warned Link that some evil force was working in the shadows to warp Link and Zelda's shared destinies. Link would eventually return after being advised to by her past self, and Groose wound up tagging along as well. She told Link some basic information about Zelda's guardian and her name while not stating that she was the same person. Impa began to tell Link about his key to finding Zelda in the past using the Goddess's Harp and the only remaining Gate of Time, which was located there in the temple. She also taught the Ballad of the Goddess to Link. Her explanation was cut short when the seal was suddenly weakening, which caused Demise to emerge in his sealed form, known as The Imprisoned. Link had to drive the Imprisoned back into the seal with the Goddess Sword. This made Impa realize that the seal was weakening and although the Imprisoned could be resealed for now, it would eventually become too powerful for Link to handle.

Impa then finished telling Link of his task to empower the Goddess Sword with the three sacred flames so that its true power could be unlocked, at which point he could activate the Gate of Time. As Link prepared to leave for his next task, Groose lamented his uselessness, but Impa assured him that he had a role to play as well (once more likely relying on her own memories). Groose chose to stay at the temple to help Impa, whom he affectionately called "Grannie", and he also built a weapon called the Groosenator to help protect the temple from future outbreaks of The Imprisoned. The Imprisoned did break free several more times, but each time Impa was able to oversee Link resealing the monster with Groose's help. The behemoth was still growing stronger each time, so Impa knew their time was limited. Groose grew into a better person as she helped him to put aside his self-pity in favor of actually doing something to help, and Impa assured him that she did what she thought would help him reach his full potential. She still thought that Groose tended to cause trouble for those he tries to help. Impa also began to tell Link some details about Demise, but she was vague on this subject as well and said only that the demon king had to be destroyed at his source to prevent his frequent breaking of the seal. After Link made his first trip into the past and witnessed Zelda entering her slumber, the old woman assured Link that Zelda was still alive and well within her slumber, but she did not share details. All she could tell Link about the Triforce's location was that it had been hidden somewhere in Skyloft. She also protected the temple when the Faron Woods was flooded by closing off the gate to the forest.

Link was ultimately able to use the Triforce to drop the Isle of the Goddesses back into the Sealed Grounds and destroyed Demise. Zelda was able to awaken at this time, and Impa rejoiced along with Groose and Link. Their celebration was short-lived, as Ghirahim arrived and quickly snatched Zelda. Impa and Groose attempted to bar his path to the Gate, but he knocked them both out of the way with ease. He took her through the Gate to the past to revive Demise while he was still alive. Link went into the Gate and was later followed by Groose. When Link and Groose returned with Zelda while her past self destroyed the Gate behind them, the older Impa was there waiting for the victorious trio. Impa finally revealed her identity to the group by openly displaying the bracelet that Zelda had given her, and the others were overwhelmed with joy. She reminded Zelda that they did indeed meet again, and after they briefly clasped hands, Impa's body dissolved into fragments of light. Only the bracelet was left behind, and Zelda silently thanked Impa for everything she had done.

Ocarina of Time (Adult Timeline)

Impa in Ocarina of Time.

The Impa of Ocarina of Time was a Sheikah warrior in service of Hyrule's Royal Family. At some point, she sealed the shadow beast Bongo Bongo at the bottom of the Kakariko Well. Despite her rough demeanor, Impa was known to be quite kind-hearted, and she opened up Kakariko Village (formerly an exclusively Sheikah village) to the general public. This caused her to be admired by most of the villagers. Her primary duty was still looking after the wellbeing of Princess Zelda. Impa was initially the only person who believed the princess's prophetic dream, so she aided her and Link's quest to stop Ganondorf by teaching Link how to play the song of the royal family.

Impa later escaped from Hyrule Castle with Zelda to protect her from Ganondorf, and over the seven years of Link's slumber, she most likely played some role in Zelda's transformation into Sheik. Impa eventually traveled to the Shadow Temple to slay Bongo Bongo after Ganondorf freed him from his well prison, but she failed. After Link destroyed Bongo Bongo, he was brought to the Chamber of Sages with Impa. Impa had been awakened as a Shadow Sage and granted Link the Shadow Medallion. Impa told Link that Zelda was safe, and that he would soon meet her in person. The sages were able to combine their powers to create a rainbow bridge leading to Ganon's Castle, and they later sealed Ganon within the Dark Realm under Zelda's leadership. Impa traveled in the form of a purple sprite to Death Mountain with the other sages in the ending, and from their perch they witnessed the festivities at Lon Lon Ranch.

It is unknown what happened to Impa afterwards, as neither Impa nor any descendant of her's appears in this timeline.

Child Timeline

Within this timeline, Link used knowledge from the future (which became the Adult Timeline) to cause Ganondorf's premature defeat, preventing the events of Ocarina of Time from occurring in this tiemline.. This presumably caused Impa to remain as Zelda's nurse, and she did not become a sage in this timeline.

Twilight Princess

Impa does not appear in Twilight Princess, but is referenced indirectly. A woman named Impaz was shown to be the last resident of the Sheikah Hidden Village. Impaz mentions doing work for the Royal Family, similar to the work done by Impa and the rest of the Sheikah. Impaz also claimed to be named after the village's founder.

Defeated Timeline

In this timeline, Link was killed in the final battle of Ocarina of Time, and Ganon received the full Triforce. The seven sages are still able to seal Ganon away in the Dark World.

Oracles Series

Impa's appearance in the Oracle games.

Impa also appeared in both Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, which differed from other portrayals in that she had a heftier build. The timeline of the Hyrule Historia indicates that this Impa was alive during A Link to the Past, but her whereabouts during that game are unexplained (unless she already began her foreign mission). Zelda sent Impa to both Holodrum and Labrynna to protect Din and Nayru from dark forces in each respective game. She wound up being the first person Link encountered in the openings of both games. In the opening of Ages, Impa was momentarily possessed by Veran to get close to Nayru, at which point Veran left Impa to then possess Nayru.

Impa's physical prowess in these games are unknown, as she was kept out of action by convenient injuries. Her worries increased when Zelda herself left Hyrule to get a closer look at the foreign disasters in search of a way to help, but things turned out well in the end once Link had defeated Ganon again.

The NES Zeldas

In The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link Impa was shown as a seemingly decrepit elderly woman who served Princess Zelda. At the princess's request, she sought out a hero who could reunite the Triforce of Wisdom for Zelda and save her from Ganon. While traveling in the forest, she was ambushed by monsters and rescued by Link, a foreigner from unknown lands. She instructed him to gather the Triforce pieces and rescue Zelda, which he ultimately accomplished.

Some time later during Zelda II, Impa was the only one who could explain Link's strange development of a Triforce mark on his hand. She revealed that one of the duties that her family had for generations was to protect the sleeping Princess Zelda, whom had been cursed to sleep forever and was kept at the North Palace. Impa was able to give Link the six crystals necessary to break the curse on Zelda and told him about the associated legends. Thanks to Link, the sleeping Zelda was at last awakened after centuries of sleep.

Other Appearances

Other Media

  • A dark-haired and young version of Impa appeared in the manga adaptations of The Legend of Zelda and Adventure of Link.
  • Impa was included in Valient's Legend of Zelda comics, which was based on her role in the first two games.
  • Impa appears in the manga adaptation of Ocarina of Time which is identical to her game appearance except that she does not venture into the Shadow Temple, and she trains Link in swordfighting so that he could properly wield the Master Sword.
  • Impa appears in the manga versions of Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages as seen in the game, with the only notable addition being her cooking skills.

Trivia

  • Impa's name comes from the word "impart", as in to impart information, due to Impa's initial role primarily being a source of exposition.
  • Although Impa is an important part of the instruction manual stories for the NES Zelda games and is featured in official artwork, she is absent from the actual games.
  • In The Wind Waker, Impa's image is seen on one of the stain glass windows in the basement of Hyrule Castle, as she appears in Ocarina of Time, along with the other sages from that game.


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