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Paya is a character in The Legend of Zelda video game series, introduced in 2017's Breath of the Wild and returning in 2023's Tears of the Kingdom. She is the Chief of Kakariko Village in Tears of the Kingdom and gets very shy and flustered around Link. Since her first appearance, she has become a fan favorite, leading to a slew of fan art, memes and other depictions.
Paya first appeared in Breath of the Wild, released on March 3rd, 2017. She is the chief of Kakariko Village and acts very flustered and shy around Link. She is named "Paya" due to the papaya-shaped birthmark on her butt.
The Paya fandom began almost instantly after the game was released. For example, on March 5th, 2017, Tumblr user jdplayerlikestodraw posted an early fan art of the character, gaining over 320 notes in six years (shown below).
Over the following years, Paya remained a fan favorite, as fans often emphasized her apparent crush on Link in fan art. For example, on April 9th, 2017, Tumblr user tauberpadraws posted art of Paya being embarrassed by Link's "immodest" outfit, gaining 16 notes (shown below, left). On August 29th, 2019, Twitter user @legend7749 drew Paya and Link in an anime style, gaining over 300 retweets and 1,600 likes in four years (shown below, right).
Fan art for Paya grew in prevalence again after the May 2023 release of Tears of the Kingdom. On May 16th, 2023, Twitter user @koyoriin posted artwork of Paya, gaining over 1,400 retweets and 8,100 likes in less than 24 hours (shown below, left). On May 15th, user @SadaGrier posted art, gaining three retweets and seven likes in a similar timeframe (shown below, right).
 Tumblr – jdplayerlikestodraw
 Tumblr – tauberpadraws
 Twitter – legend7749
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