Tracking Beedle in The Legend of Zelda

With The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s March 3rd release date fast approaching, info regarding the game appears to be cropping up with increasing frequency each day. In addition to recent truckloads of details regarding dungeons and gameplay, screenshots confirmed the attendance of a minor but most definitely hoped-for character oft-seen in other Zelda games. No, not Tingle (though he may still appear). I’m talking about Beedle.


The humble, distinctive, and oddly-behaved shirtless shopkeeper that first appeared in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has made quite the name for himself since 2002, peddling assorted wares to various incarnations of Link and always accompanying sales with his trademarked, somewhat ear-piercing “THANK YOU!” At first you question it, but then you embrace it.


The character differs slightly in each game he appears – let’s revisit Beedle’s escapades through over a decade of Zelda games.

The Wind Waker


This is where it all began, the first known appearance of Beedle! This being the case, there’s nothing all that abnormal about him, save for the fact that he can be found in nearly every single grid-square of the Great Sea in the game. It’s not clear whether his boat has tremendous travel speed or if he simply employs a lot of his siblings, but that’s okay – Link is there to buy bombs, arrows, and bait for Fishman, not ask questions.


Ah, the dulcet tones of Beedle's Shop. It borrows from other Zelda shop themes too.


The Minish Cap


The Minish Cap is a game that, when I played it, I did not realize even contained the shirtless wonder known as Beedle. But alas, it’s true; he appears as a mysterious Picolyte salesman, though the residents of Hyrule Town don’t seem nearly as surprised by his showing up as Link does. Perhaps they knew something the player doesn’t.


How I never noticed the cameo as a child escapes me.


Regardless, picolyte have a number of unique uses, from boosting the rate of item-finding in the world to making hearts, fairies, or Kinstones more commonly obtainable, so it's not the snake oil scam you might expect if you judge the man by his appearance.

Phantom Hourglass


Beedle reprises his seafaring role in Phantom Hourglass, which is odd since Link and Tetra leave to discover a new land. Has Beedle decided to follow along? Regardless, he now sells ship upgrades and various rare or useful treasures. He also sinks far more effort into developing his customer membership program here, with discounts up to 40% off on all items if you score a Platinum card. Not surprisingly, this doesn’t help you when purchasing from Masked Beedle, but this is to be expected.


Seen here in Wind Waker, Masked Beedle also appears in Phantom Hourglass.

Spirit Tracks


It was only a matter of time before Beedle took flight. Interestingly enough, his solution to rendering his shop airborne in Spirit Tracks is a lot more practical than the jerry-rigged bike generator used in Skyward Sword (see below). He should’ve stuck with the hot air balloon, thought I suppose Spirit Tracks does take place several hundreds of years later. Beedle (and his ancestors?) have had time to refine their designs.


I don't want to know why the shelves are stocked with SKULLS.


Membership this time is back to being fairly stingy, requiring that Link save up individual points. That said, with enough accumulated he can acquire a full heart container that’s been stashed around back, which itself is a pretty worthwhile prize.


Skyward Sword


Skyward Sword Beedle is my favorite of the bunch. In addition to his accentuated bowl-cut hairstyle (perhaps a sign of the times, being the earliest game in Zelda’s chronology), he pedals a stationary bicycle contraption connected to spinning gears and clockwork hijinx that keep his shop powered-on and airborne. Items for sale are conventional, though you can also purchase extra slots for your Adventure Pouch, or medals with varied effects like boosting total hearts (Life Medal), or revealing locations of bugs on your map (Bug Medal).


Extra wallet space is cool, but c'mon, this is over-hyped.


 My personal favorite is the Cursed Medal; it allows for rupees and treasure to be found with ease, but in exchange Link is unable to use shields or any other items in his Adventure Pouch. Ah, the cost of riches – a bit of a King Midas conundrum I supposed. Luckily, it can be deposited in Link’s bank account and rid of when desired.


Breath of the Wild


Which brings us to Breath of the Wild. GameXplain theorized Beedle’s return when they noticed a bug-shaped backpack on a wandering merchant (you know, like a beetle), and lo and behold, reality is as expected. We don’t yet know what’s for sale or even really what this version sounds like just yet, and the lack of a trademark vehicle or mode of transportation to house a merchant’s wares is definitely peculiar. For now it seems an enormous backpack does the job, but I predict there will be more to Beedle than meets the eye at this early stage.


I see Beedle has adopted the Kronk approach to carrying things (or people).


Eiji Aonuma says Breath of the Wild’s final boss can be challenged within the first fifteen minutes, so my immediate plan is to challenge Beedle in combat and force him to reveal himself as the true enemy. I’ll report my findings in a future article.