— Old Man, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Calamity Ganon (Japanese: 災難ガノン Calamity Ganon) is the main antagonist of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and the form taken by the main antagonist of The Legend of Zelda series - Ganon - in that game. Unlike Ganon and Ganondorf, the Calamity Ganon lacks a physical form, and all remaining inhabitants of Hyrule treat the being as genderless; though Urbosa states that the Calamity Ganon once took the form of a Gerudo, showing that its time as Ganondorf is still remembered by some.
The Calamity Ganon is a being created of pure malice, though wishes to regain a physical form as it hibernates in a cocoon-like object within the Sanctum of Hyrule Castle. Link faces off against the incomplete physical form of Calamity Ganon in the penultimate battle of the game. It is not stated how long the Calamity Ganon has lacked a physical form, though legends state that the Calamity Ganon existed at least 10,000 years prior to Breath of the Wild. 100 years prior to the aforementioned game, the Calamity Ganon possessed the Guardians and Divine Beasts created by the ancient Sheikah and used them to wreck havoc and destroy the kingdom; this event was known as The Great Calamity.
It is also unknown as to how the Calamity Ganon was created and why Ganon/Ganondorf shed their physical forms. Due to the current ambiguity surrounding the placement of Breath of the Wild within the Zelda timeline, several people have come up with different theories depending on which of the three timelines the game takes place in. One of the most common theories is that Breath of the Wild takes place in the far future of the Child Timeline, and that Calamity Ganon was created when Ganon left his physical form to escape from the Four Sword.
Throughout Breath of the Wild, the Calamity Ganon takes on three different appearances, while a fourth is shown when speaking about its previous attacks on Hyrule. This does not count the four wraith-like creatures that the Calamity Ganon creates to take control of the four Divine Beasts (Waterblight Ganon, Thunderblight Ganon, Fireblight Ganon, and Windblight Ganon).
When Link first sees the Calamity Ganon upon activating the tower located on the Great Plateau, the Calamity Ganon appears as a black and red mist that circles around the towers of Hyrule Castle. The front of this mist takes on a vague boar-like shape, with tusks and at least two of its feet visible as it flies around the castle. This black and red appearance is present in all forms of the Calamity Ganon, as well as the pools of Malice located around Hyrule.
The first form the Calamity Ganon takes when fought in the Sanctum of Hyrule Castle - "The Scourge of Hyrule Castle" - is described as an "abomination". This form is vaguely arachnid in appearance, though its body is shaped similarly to that of a worm's, albeit covered in Malice. It has several thin appendages protruding from its back that seem to be made out of the same ancient technology as the Guardians, and several of these appendages have various Guardian-like weapons attached to them. Its three arms - that, like its body, are covered in Malice - are different widths; its left side has two thin arms, while its right side one large one that wields a red blade. Its head has a red mane surrounding it and two glowing yellow eyes in roughly the centre of its head.
The second form the Calamity Ganon takes when fought in Hyrule Field - "Hatred and Malice Incarnate" - is known as Dark Beast Ganon. Dark Beast Ganon is a large boar-like creature not unlike the appearance Ganon takes in Twilight Princess. Its body is covered entirely in Malice, though two lines of pink flames cut through its back and one through its facial area. Two other smaller orange flames protrude from the bottom of its "head", which resemble tusks.
When spoken about in legends, a heavily stylized piece of artwork appears. This piece of artwork depicts the Calamity Ganon as a large bipedal dragon-like creature drawn as if made out of black and red smoke. Unlike its appearance in Breath of the Wild, this depiction of the Calamity Ganon has two clear legs with hooked feet, and two arms of equal size tipped with three red claws each. Its face is mostly red, with its eyes and nose being the only part of its head not drawn in red. A small black flame is drawn off the top of the head of the Calamity Ganon, while the red of its head is drawn in a similar shape in front of it.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017, Wii U / Switch)
- Though technically the same being as Ganon and Ganondorf, all inhabitants of Hyrule only refer to the Calamity Ganon by its full name. The monks that inhabit the Sheikah Shrines littered around Hyrule are the only exceptions, opting to calling it "Ganon" instead. Zelda also does so during the final battle against Dark Beast Ganon.