I used a walkthrough to speed up the Tri-Force quest in The Windwaker. I didn't find a need to use one at any other time.
That's the only Zelda game I've beaten, so far. I am playing through A Link to the Past without a Walkthrough, though. Zelda games aren't exactly easy, and there are some real brain twisters in there. I remember being unable to progress past the forest temple in the Ocarina of Time when I was younger -- though I do plan to play through totally on my own on my full playthrough.
A lot of retro games usually have at least one point where I can't figure out where to go next. At times like those, it helps to drop the game and just do something else for a while. Coming back, you may have a fresh perspective on things, and you'll often find that whatever was holding you up wasn't as complex as you were making it out to be.
the original Legend of Zelda has some veryyy hard things to find without a walkthrough definitely. to the point that without prior knowledge it would take insane amounts of time to find through trial/experiementation with bombs
Ah, yeah. That seems to be the case with a lot of NES games I played in the past. Either they were wicked hard, or I had no idea where to go. There is an incredible sense of satisfaction that comes with discovering something for yourself, though.
I've actually never played the original Zelda. I did play Zelda 2 back in the day, but I've always figured the first one would feel too outdated after playing ALTTP and many of the newer ones.