Lex's Zelda Timeline 3.0

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    The Legend of Zelda TimelineWritten and compiled by Alex Plant of ZeldaInformer

    Based on the articleA Legend and a Timeline

    Disclaimer: This is by no means an authoritative document. It has no official connection to Nintendo, includes no

    special insider knowledge, and the timeline ideas discussed herein are only fan theory, and may not be accurate.This is simply the work of a longtime fan for his fellow fans, meant to be enjoyed, learned from, discussed and

    debated as such. Additionally, I often cite content from Nintendo's various publications and titles. Any suchcontent is property solely of Nintendo and used by me only for educational purposes.

    Version History

    Ver 3.0 Begun 26 Jun 2010; finished 30 Jul 2010; edited for publication 31 Jul 2010

    Ver. 2.0 Begun 17 Jan 2010; unfinished, updated to Ver. 3.0

    Ver 1.0 Begun Feb 2007; finished Apr 2009

    About Timelines

    Timeline theories are the end result of most theorists efforts to piece together the puzzle that is theZelda seriesstoryline. Whatever time and research they put into deciding how elements of the series fit together, whatever

    ideas and concepts they come up with and connect, all of them can be put to the ultimate use of determining how

    the series fits together as a whole.

    Traditionally Hyrulean scholars have examined theLegend of Zelda as a historical narrative. Under this view, the

    various stories are themselves solid fact and therefore to piece them together into a single body of works means

    that their chronological relationships to one another must be set in equally unmovable stone. Amidst a sea of

    evolving and oftentimes conflicting tales, however, grows a deep-seated skepticism that perhaps what these

    stories put forth as truth is not in fact the truth at all, but just what they have always advertised themselves to be:

    the stuff of legend.

    One needs only to look at the magical powers attributed to the titular princess herself. With each new story it

    seems her magic has a different origin altogether. The earliest tales gave the credit to the all-powerful Triforce or

    the bloodline of the Hylians; more recent stories have cited various spiritual groups such as the Picori or theancient spirits of the Lokomo. Since reason dictates that these stories cannot all be equally true at once, we must

    conclude that some of them must result from some craft of fiction. This by itself is not particularly troubling, but

    given that this curious case of contradiction is far from an isolated incident, others including the many origins of

    the hero's green garb, the numerous alternate versions of popular stories such as the Imprisoning War, and the

    ever-changing landscape of Hyrule itself, the possibility that we to take these accounts as truly historical seems to

    have all but diminished into obscurity.

    If we take the stories as mythological, however, we find that a world of possibilities has opened up for us. The

    problems of conflicting legends are not problems at all but rather the natural result of a greater epic narrative

    being handed down and continued by future storytellers who may see individual stories differently. This use of

    creative license is particularly evident when examining the origin tale Ocarina of Time, which started as aretelling of the Imprisoning War backstory that set the stage forA Link to the Pastbut has since spawnednumerous sequels derived from its additions to the original tale. These sequels, rather than adhering to the

    established chronology of the classic tales, offered their own individual resolutions to the Ocarina story.

    Of course it is still quite evident that these stories draw heavily from a collective narrative tradition, featuring

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    common threads such as Link the hero, the Master Sword, the kingdom of Hyrule, Princess Zelda, and Ganon, as

    well as a common mythical history centering on the three goddesses and the Triforce. We can compare this greater

    heritage to that of Ancient Greece, where we can see that while each city-state had legends and stories of its ownabout various gods and heroes they all generally accepted the Olympian pantheon. Similarly, the Romans adapted

    the collective of Greek myths into a new creation which, while based in a common set of stories, took on a life of

    its own.

    The Greek stories were not without contradiction, either, often especially in the cases of mythical genealogies.Various stories cite Aphrodite as the mother of Eros; others offer their own possibilities. Some versions of the

    Hercules myth say that Hera is his mother; others say he is a bastard child of Zeus. The stories of many of the epic

    heroes vary based on the storyteller as well.

    But despite the many different and divergent stories, the Greek tales do have a chronology of sorts. They begin of

    course with the creation of the world, continue to the feud between Chronos and Zeus, into the age of the

    Olympians, and so on. Naturally this is an oversimplification of the story, for there are many other legends that

    fall in the interim, but the general picture is clear. In much the same way, even though it does not depict historical

    fact, theLegend of Zelda still has its own general chronology.

    This model divides the overall mythos into five distinct story arcs (listed here in order of their debut): the Classic

    tales, the Ancient tales, the Child and Adult tales, and the Four Sword tales.

    The Classic tales are the very first entries in theLegend of Zelda, and provide the building blocks for many of the

    stories to come. The Ancient tales arc set out to expand the origin stories set down in the classics but has since

    spawned numerous sequels with their own spins on how the history of Hyrule followed from there. The Child and

    Adult tales tell the stories of what happened after Link returned to the past as a child and what happened after he

    defeated Ganon as an adult at the end ofOcarina of Time, respectively. The Four Sword tales foray into their own

    story of the Four Sword, a blade that has the power to split its wielder into four beings.

    Even though Ocarina tells the backstory of both the Classic tales and the split stories, no conclusivedetermination has surfaced indicating whether any relationship exists between these stories and the Adult or Child

    tales. Like with the Classic tales it has also so far been difficult to determine the relevance of the Four Sword tales

    to the other story arcs. Until reasonably demonstrated otherwise this model will consider the Classic and FourSword tales as standalone arcs.

    Under the traditional historical model, these arcs often intersect with one another, and stories in newer arcs oftenbutt heads with those maintained by the classic arc, making it hard to decipher the overall timeline. Treating the

    various arcs as separate legends reveals the most telling advantage to the mythology model: there is no ambiguity

    as to the chronology of the various arcs. Each arc is for the most part self-contained, preventing other arcs from

    interfering with their established progression. This is particularly important for the Classic and Four Sword arcs.

    The style in which I present my timeline is one that I have coined for the purposes of telling the timeline as

    though it were a real mythical narrative. As much of the story summary text as possible is directly cited from the

    source, with material filling in the gaps where appropriate. You will probably recognize many quotes from

    characters and stories from officially-recognizedZelda legends as you read. At times, several quotes from varying

    sources are compiled seamlessly to provide as complete a picture of the information essential to the timeline as


    Though the release order of the stories often differs from their relative timeline placements, I will present the

    stories themselves in sequential order in order to most fairly depict their narrative progression. Please read the

    introductions to each individual story for detailed information regarding their original release and the

    determination of their chronological placements.

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    The Ancient Tales

    The Ancient tales chronicle the ancient history common to all legends, such as the creation of the Triforce and the

    forging of the Master Sword. It is during the Ancient tales era that Ganon makes his debut and becomes the Evil

    King. The Ancient tales are characterized by the fact that their stories set the stage for all the other story arcs,

    while the other tales usually have a linear impact limited mostly to their direct sequels.

    These stories begin with the Creation of the World, where the gods build the world and leave behind the Triforceto govern it. From there, the tale continues to the works of the ancient sages to protect the Triforce from evil ones,

    namely the construction of the Temple of Time and the creation of the Master Sword. Then follows the Prolonged

    War among greedy people who hope to claim the Triforce, which lasts all the way to the start ofOcarina of Time,when Ganondorf enters the Sacred Realm and claims the Triforce.

    Creation Ancient Sages Prolonged Wars Ocarina of Time

    The recently-announced Skyward Swordis also set in the ancient era, telling the story of the Master Swords birthin more detail. Aonuma has confirmed that the new title will fall before Ocarina of Time, thus setting it as theoldest full legend in the chronology. Until we can see it for ourselves, however, we know little about where

    Skyward Swordfits into the full picture of the ancient myths, which only allows us to place it relative to Ocarina:

    Skyward Sword Ocarina of Time

    As you can see, currently only two full legends feature as Ancient tales as defined above. The rest are common

    legends which we often hear in several of the main entries in the story. The story summaries for such commonlegends will feature several accounts drawn from their various references throughout the entire body of myths,

    presented in the order in which the accounts appeared.

    When drafting this document, I was somewhat compelled to include The Minish Cap among these stories due tothe many symbolic origin stories it presents. I decided instead to include it alongside the other Four Sword tales

    because of its close continuity with those stories. Let it be known, however, that I acknowledge The Minish Capspotential to be one of the Ancient tales.

    The Creation of the WorldAlso known as The Genesis Preface1

    Placement: At the very beginning of everythingText Source(s): The History of Hyrule (A Link to the Past's instruction manual), Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess

    Despite setting the stage for the series, Hyrules creation myth did not appear in the first twoLegend of Zeldaentries, which gave only sparse information about the history of its world and characters. WhenA Link to the Pastfinally revealed the fantasy lands origins it shunned the heavy Christian influence of the original tales in favor of

    an entirely new religion and culture. There were many gods in Hyrule, and the Triforce was now not only a

    magical relic, but a holy creation marking the covenant between the creator goddesses and their creation.

    Ocarina of Time slightly expanded the myth, identifying the goddesses by name, and Twilight Princess followed

    suit by adding that they bestowed power to all who lived in the world they had created. However, the content of

    the original story has remained more or less untouched by any of the tales that followed. Perhaps the upcoming

    Skyward Sword, set to be the earliest full myth among the Ancient tales, will retell the story more ambitiously.

    The Creation in The History of Hyrule

    According to the Hylian scrolls, the mythical gods descended from a distant nebula to the world and created order

    1 The fictional text from which the story as told inA Link to the Pastwas cited.

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    and life. The Goddess of Power dyed the mountains red with fire and created land. The Goddess of Wisdom

    created science and wizardry and brought order to nature. And the Goddess of Courage, through the kindness of

    her strong heart,2 created life: the animals that crawl on the land and the birds that soar in the sky.

    The goddesses breathe order and life into the world

    After finishing their work the goddesses left the world, but not before creating a symbol of their strength: a golden

    triangle known as the Triforce. They left the Triforce to guide the intelligent life on the world of Hyrule.

    The Triforce had the power to bestow three titles which gave the person who received them great powers: TheForger of Strength, The Keeper of Knowledge, and The Juror of Courage. From its hiding place in the so-

    called Golden Land where the gods placed it, the Triforce beckoned people from the outside world to seek it in the

    hope that someone worthy of these titles would find it.

    The Creation in Ocarina of Time

    Before time began, before spirits and life existed, three golden goddesses descended upon the chaos that was

    Hyrule: Din, the goddess of power; Nayru, the goddess of wisdom; Farore, the goddess of courage. Din, with her

    strong flaming arms, cultivated the land and created the red earth. Nayru poured her wisdom onto the earth and

    gave the spirit of law to the world. Farore, with her rich soul, produced all life forms who would uphold the law.

    The goddesses depart for the heavens

    The three great goddesses, their labors completed, departed for the heavens. Sacred golden triangles remained at

    the point where the goddesses left the world: the Triforce. Since then, the sacred triangles have become the basis

    of our world's providence. And the resting place of the triangles has become the Sacred Realm.

    The Creation in Twilight Princess

    When all was chaos, the goddesses descended and gave order and life to the world. They granted power equally to

    all who dwelt in the light, and then returned to the heavens. The lands where the goddesses descended came to be

    known as the Sacred Realm.

    2 The English and Japanese texts are synthesized here for accuracy

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    The Ancient SagesAlso known as The Construction of the Temple of Time and The Forging of the Master Sword

    Placement: Generations before Ocarina of TimeText Source(s): TEMPLE OF TIME: Ocarina of Time; MASTER SWORD: The History of Hyrule,A Link to the Past

    After the creation, the next event in the grand history of the Triforce and the Sacred Realm involves the ancientsages, the priestly protectors of Hyrule. The ancient sages chronicle has two major components: the story of the

    Temple of Time and the origin of the Master Sword. While these tales first appeared separately, the creation of

    both the temple and the sword is credited to the ancient sages, and as such, since these two elements share a

    pivotal role in safeguarding the entrance to the Sacred Realm, the both stories appear together here.

    Skyward Swordpromises to depict the origin tale of the Master Sword in more detail. Although we know little

    about the content ofSkyward Sword, should the information it presents prove to conflict with what I suggest here,I intend to revise my chronology of the Ancient tales to fit.3

    The Construction of the Temple of Time

    If someone with a righteous heart makes a wish, it will lead Hyrule to a golden age of prosperity. If someone withan evil mind has his wish granted, the world will be consumed by evil. So, the ancient sages built the Temple of

    Time to protect the Triforce from evil ones. The entrance was sealed with a stone wall called the Door of Time.

    The Door of Time and the Spiritual Stones

    The Forging of the Master Sword

    The Triforce itself cannot judge between good and evil. That is because only the gods can do that. However, it

    could not be assumed that only a good person would get their hands on the Triforce. For that reason, the people of

    Hyrule were told by the gods to make a sacred blade which evil ones may never touch that would repulse any evil

    that may kidnap the Triforce.4

    This mighty weapon became known as the blade of evil's bane or the Master Sword. It was so powerful that only

    one who was pure of heart and strong of body could wield it. According to the tales handed down by the Hylians,

    only the Hero who has destroyed three great evils and won three crests can wield the sword.

    3 Frankly, I consider this possibility to fall somewhere in the realm of very likely.4 A translation of the Japanese text is used here for accuracy

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    Skyward SwordRelease date: Early 2011

    Platform(s): WiiDirector/Writer: Hidemaro FujibayashiPlacement: Generations before Ocarina of Time

    Even though we have known about the impending arrival of the nextZelda epic for quite a while, only recently

    have we heard or seen anything about it. We know very little so far, save for that Skyward Swordbegins in acloud-borne realm known as Skyloft, and that the titular Skyward Sword, which later becomes the Master Sword,will lead Link on a quest to the evil-filled lands below the clouds. The mysterious female figure first seen in last

    years promotional artwork has been said to be a personality attached to the sword. Aside from these small tidbits,

    most of the storys internal workings remain unknown.

    Link faces off against a Stalfos

    Recently Aonuma confirmed that the game is set before Ocarina of Time, but with this confirmation came adisclaimer:

    This title [Skyward Sword] takes place before Ocarina of Time. If I said that a certain title was 'the first

    Zelda game', then that means that we cant ever make a title that takes place before that! So for us to add

    titles to the series, we have to have a way of putting the titles before or after each other.

    Other than its chronological relationship to Ocarina of Time, however, we can still only guess how SkywardSwordwill relate to the other Ancient tales. As stated elsewhere, what we see in the final product may ultimatelyrequire that I change my current chronological setup for the Ancient tales. In any case, expect that this section will

    expand as we learn more.

    The Prolonged WarsPlacement: Fighting continues until less than a decade before Ocarina of TimeText Source(s): The History of Hyrule, Ocarina of Time,Four Swords Adventures, Twilight Princess, Spirit Tracks

    Stories of ancient struggles among the people are among the most common myths in the entire Hyrule

    legendarium. We hear several times of a period, not long after the beginning times, when wars break out among

    the people. This always marks the beginning of a period of greed and strife, of bloodshed and betrayal, and ofwicked magic and monsters.

    The first mention of ancient conflicts appeared in the History of Hyrule backstory toA Link to the Past, andexplained that the legends of the Sacred Realm spurred many to hunt for it in their greed, leading in turn to

    violence. Ocarina of Time, too, sets war in the background of the story of the Sacred Realm. More recently,FourSwords Adventures introduced a dark tribe that threatened the land and was sealed away by a dark mirror, and

    Twilight Princess expanded this story to connect to the infamous rivalries over the Sacred Realm. Spirit Tracksoffers a similar view of the coming of darkness, but throws the rise of the evil Demon King into the mix.

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    When taken together, these stories common threads allow them to be easily reconciled, with each story told and

    resolved in its own way. Regardless of this divergence, however, it is clear these stories all fall from the same

    narrative tree. The discrepancies are surely due to the storytelling needs of the various myths to which theseparticular accounts belong.

    The Prolonged Wars in The History of Hyrule

    If it were only a symbol of the gods, the Triforce would be coveted by many. But a verse from the Book of

    Mudora (a collection of Hylian legends and lore) made the Triforce even more desirable:

    In a realm beyond sight,The sky shines gold, not blue.

    There, the Triforce's mightMakes mortal dreams come true.

    The Triforce shines from its resting place

    Many aggressively searched for the wish-granting Triforce, but no one was sure of its location.5 Some said the

    Triforce lay under the desert, others said it was in the cemetery in the shadow of Death Mountain, but no one ever

    found it. That yearning for the Triforce soon turned to lust for power, which in turn led to the spilling of blood.

    Soon the only motive left among those searching for the Triforce was pure greed.

    The Prolonged Wars in Ocarina of Time

    In the midst of the violence and bloodshed, a Hylian mother and her newborn baby boy wandered into the

    forbidden Kokiri Forest. The mother was critically injured and soon passed away, and the Great Deku Tree,

    sensing the boy was a child of destiny, whose fate was intertwined with that of the entire world, took the child in

    and raised him as a Kokiri. The boys name was Link.

    The Prolonged Wars in Four Swords Adventures

    Long ago, a dark tribe invaded Hyrule. They were defeated and imprisoned within the Dark Mirror, which reflects

    the darkness in peoples hearts. The tribe's mirror prison was then secreted away and hidden in the forest temple

    to sever its connection to this world. That Dark Mirror must never fall into the hands of those with evil hearts.

    The Prolonged Wars in Twilight Princess

    For ages, the people lived at ease, content in mind and body. But then, word of the Sacred Realm spread

    throughout Hyrule, and a great battle ensued.Among those living in the light, interlopers who excelled at magic

    appeared. Wielding powerful sorcery, they tried to establish dominion over the Sacred Realm. It was then that the

    goddesses ordered the three Light Spirits to intervene.

    5 Edited for consistency with the Japanese manual

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    A representation of the shadow clan that tried to conquer the Sacred Realm

    They sealed away the great magic those individuals had mastered, and the tribe was banished, chased across the

    sacred lands of Hyrule and driven into another realm, a world of shadows. The goddesses left behind but a single

    link between the worlds of light and shadow: the Mirror of Twilight, which passed to the protectors of Hyrule.

    The Prolonged Wars inSpirit Tracks

    This is a tale from long ago. Its the tale of the first settlers of this land. In the beginning, the people followed the

    spirits of good, and all was peaceful. But that era of peace soon came to an end. The evil Demon King rose to

    power, destroying everything in his path. The spirits of good had no choice but to face him in battle. The war thatensued seemed to last an eternity, and much blood was shed. Finally, the spirits subdued the Demon King, though

    they could not destroy him. Their powers were greatly depleted.

    The Demon King's prison beneath the Tower of Spirits

    With their remaining power, they buried the Demon Kings spirit in the ground. They built shackles to imprison

    him and a tower that acted as a lock. These shackles cover the land to this day. With their power drained, the

    spirits of good returned to the heavens. Suddenly bereft of both demons and spirits, this land was entrusted to us.

    The Imprisoning WarAlso known as the Seal War6

    Placement: Some years after the Prolonged WarsText Source(s): The History of Hyrule

    In the History of Hyrule narrative, the Imprisoning War was at the center of the story, and explained the origins

    of the evil Ganon and his dominion, the Dark World. Continuing directly from the Prolonged Wars accounts, it

    particularly focused on Ganons theft of the Triforce and his consequential rise to power, and inevitably his

    sealing. The Imprisoning War was the first look at many now-staples of the series: Ganons origins as a career

    thief, the chief importance of the Master Sword as a tool to battle evil, and of course the sages and the Knights of


    The story ofA Link to the Pastof course picked up right where the Imprisoning War left off, with Agahnim trying

    6 Seal War is a literal translation the Japanese name for the Imprisoning War that has gained common usage.

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    to break the seal in order to free Ganon. Ocarina of Time later retold the story in more detail, casting Link as thedriving force behind the events and introducing the division of the Triforce among its chosen wielders. After

    Ocarina of Time, however, it seemed as though this original story track had all but passed away, as sequels TheWind Wakerand Twilight Princess each developed their own take on the aftermath. To this day, this new direction

    for the story has brought about much confusion about the relevance of the Imprisoning War to the series at large.

    As already discussed, however, looking at theZelda series as a series of legends allows for some degree of

    contradiction and the coexistence of an otherwise inordinate number of alternate storylines. Thus the ImprisoningWar can maintain its original purpose and integrity even while Ocarina retells it and The Wind WakerandTwilight Princess ignore it.

    Story Summary

    One day, quite by accident, a gate to the Golden Land of the Triforce was opened by a gang of thieves skilled in

    the black arts. This land was like no other. In the gathering twilight, the Triforce shone from its resting place high

    above the world.

    In a long running battle, the leader of the thieves fought his way past his followers in a lust for the Golden Power.

    After vanquishing his own followers, the leader stood triumphant over the Triforce and grasped it with his blood-

    stained hands. He heard a whispered voice: "If there is anything you desire, then I shall desire it too." And inreply, the roaring laughter of the brigand leader echoed across time and space and even reached the far-off land of

    Hyrule. The name of this king of thieves is Ganondorf but he is known by his alias, Ganon. Indeed, Ganon the

    Evil King, the one who has threatened Hyrule, was born at this time.7

    I do not know what Ganon wished for from the Triforce. However, in time evil power began to flow from the

    Golden Land and greedy men were drawn there to become members of Ganon's army. Black clouds permanently

    darkened the sky, and many disasters beset Hyrule. The lord of Hyrule sent for the seven sages and the Knights of

    Hyrule, and ordered them to seal the entrance to the Golden Land. The sages first had to search for a valiant

    person to take up the Master Sword, but as they did so, Ganon's evil army swarmed from the tainted Golden Land

    into Hyrule and attacked the castle.8

    The Knights of Hyrule battle against the demons

    The sages and the Knights of Hyrule combined forces to wage war on this evil horde. The knights took the full

    brunt of the fierce attack, and although they fought courageously many a brave soul was lost that day. However,their lives were not lost in vain, for the sages completed the seal nonetheless.

    All of Hyrule rejoiced at the victory that upheld peace and order over Ganon's evil and chaos. This war, which had

    claimed many lives, became known as the Imprisoning War in stories told in later centuries.

    7 Part of the Japanese text omitted from the English translation is included here8 The English and Japanese texts are synthesized here for accuracy

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    Ocarina of TimeAlso known as The Imprisoning War

    Release date:November 23, 1998Platform(s): Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii Virtual Console, Nintendo 3DSDirector/Writer: Toru OsawaPlacement: A few years after the final cessation of the Prolonged Wars and the unification of Hyrule; a few generations

    beforeA Link to the Past

    Ocarina of Time has gained a tremendous amount of well-earned credit as one of the best crafted adventures notjust of theZelda series but ofallvideo games period. The acclaimed entry was also one of the most eagerly-awaited, with several years in development, the second-longest cycle afterSkyward Sword. But beyond its criticaland hype-inducing impact, the story made tons of waves as far as the overarching chronology as well.

    Ocarina is a prequel toA Link to the Past, and thus to the entire series at the time. Shigeru Miyamoto commented

    on the timeline at the time in an interview9in 1999:

    Ocarina of Time A Link to the Past, then comes the original and The Adventure of Linkin turn.

    More than that, however, Ocarina is a close retelling of the Imprisoning War narrative. It depicted very directlythe rise of Ganondorf, the birth of the Dark World, and the creation of the sages seal spoken of inA Link to the

    Past. The script writer forOcarina, Toru Osawa, as well as the character designer, Satoru Takizawa, explained therelationship in a series of staff interviews:10

    Osawa: In this game there are seven sages, but six of those appear in the NES gameAdventure of Linkastown names. We were hinting that the names of the sages in the era of the Imprisoning War spoken of in

    the SNESZelda game became town names in The Adventure of Link. The events from that time became

    what we have today.

    Takizawa: The story in Ocarina of Time isn't actually original, it deals with the sages' Imprisoning Warfrom the Super Nintendo'sA Link to the Past.

    Despite all ofOcarinas recent sequels, none of which fully embrace this original plotline, the official word on the

    story11 still lays claim to a connection to the Imprisoning War:

    There's an expansion to a similar folk tale to be told inA Link to the Pastas a gimmick pleasing to thosewho have enjoyed the series so far.

    Ocarinas most significant legacy, however, is as the founder of the split timeline, which has spawned most of the

    major stories to appear since its creation.12

    Story Summary

    Ganondorf, the leader of the Gerudos who hail from the desert far to the west, ceaselessly used his vile, sorcerous

    powers in his search for the Sacred Realm. With his followers, he stole from women and children, and even killed

    people. In the forest of Kokiri, he placed a death curse upon the guardian spirit of the forest, the Deku Tree; onDeath Mountain, the ancestral home of the Gorons, he sealed off the Dodongos cavern rock quarry, resulting in a

    rock famine that threatened the very existence of the mountain people; he poisoned the water spirit Jabu-Jabu,

    who resided in Zoras Fountain, the sacred water source guarded by the Zoras.

    Two individuals foresaw the coming danger: Princess Zelda of the Hylian royal family, the princess of destiny,

    9 Miyamoto;Dengeki64, 199910 Osawa, Takizawa; 199811 Ocarina of Times Japanese Virtual Console game summary; 200712 See The Split Timeline on pages 22-23.

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    and the young Link, the boy without a fairy. The Deku Tree, as he neared death, decided that the time had come

    for Link to accept his destiny, and so he sent Navi the fairy to summon and guide him. In order to test young

    Links courage, the Deku Tree bade Link venture inside his hollow and break Ganondorfs curse. Link did sowithout hesitating, but, of course, his efforts were fruitless; the Deku Trees death was sealed before he even

    began. With his last breath, the Deku Tree bestowed upon Link the spiritual stone of the forest and entreated him

    to travel to Hyrule Castle to seek an audience with Princess Zelda.

    Link and Zelda: The Children of Destiny

    Zelda told Link of her dreams, that she had seen him come from the forest and break through the veil of darkness,

    bearing hence a green and shining stone, accompanied by a fairy. She also warned Link of Ganondorf and his evilintentions to steal the Triforce of legend, and insisted that Link track down the other spiritual stones so that they

    might get to the Triforce first and put an end to his plot. Link set out for Death Mountain and Zoras Domain,

    where he assisted the Gorons and the Zoras in quelling the calamities that Ganondorf had wrought in his pursuits

    and they bestowed upon him the other two stones.

    He then returned to Hyrule Castle to inform Zelda of his success just in time to witness the second half of his

    dream come to pass: Ganondorf attacked Hyrule Castle in an attempt to steal the Ocarina of Time, and Zelda was

    forced to flee in order to keep the sacred relic from Ganondorfs hands. She passed on the Ocarina to Link as she

    made her way from the castle.

    Link made his way to the Temple of Time and used the four keys to open the Door of Time. Behind it lay the

    Master Sword, the blade of evils bane, resting in the Pedestal of Time. Link withdrew the blade, unlocking thegateway to the sacred lands. But then something no one could have anticipated happened: the Master Sword,

    though it accepted Link as its master, the chosen hero, sealed him away in the Sacred Realm.

    Though the Door of Time had been opened in the name of peace, Ganondorf used it to enter the forbidden Sacred

    Realm. The Triforce, the sacred triangle, is a balance that weighs the three forces: Power, Wisdom, and Courage.

    If the heart of one who holds the sacred triangle has all three forces in balance, that one will gain the True Force

    to govern all, but if that one's heart is not in balance, the Triforce will separate into three parts. Only one part will

    remain for the one who touched the Triforce, the part representing the force that one most believes in. If that one

    seeks the True Force, that one must acquire the two lost parts. Those two parts will be held within others chosen

    by the gods, who will bear the Triforce marks on the backs of their hands.

    When Ganondorf the King of Thieves laid his hands on the Triforce in the Temple of Light, the legend came true.The Triforce separated into three parts, and only the Triforce of Power remained in Ganondorfs hand. The

    strength of the Triforce of Power enabled him to become the King of Evil. He went on to invade the Sacred

    Realm, and it became a world of evil. But his dark ambitions were not satisfied. To gain complete mastery of the

    world, Ganondorf started looking for those chosen by destiny to hold the two other Triforce parts.

    His evil power radiated from the temples of Hyrule, and in seven short years, it transformed Hyrule into a world

    of monsters. There was a prophecy: When evil rules all, an awakening voice from the Sacred Realm will callthose destined to be sages, who dwell in the five temples. Together with the Hero of Time, the awakened ones will

    bind the evil and return the light of peace to the world. Because of the evil power in the temples, however, the

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    sages could not hear the awakening call from the Sacred Realm.

    It was after these seven years that Link emerged as the Hero of Time, holding the mythical Master Sword. He setout to awaken the sages: one in the deep forest, one on the high mountain, one under the vast lake, one within the

    house of the dead, and one inside the goddess of the sand. He used the power of the Master Sword to travel back

    and forth through time in order to succeed in his quest, and together the sages seals contained all the evil power

    in the void of the realm. Then Link turned his sights to Ganon's Tower for the final battle.

    Link faces the King of Evil

    Without a strong, righteous mind, Ganondorf could not control the power of the gods, and so he was subdued at

    Links hands. The sages, their power now awakened, cast the evil incarnation of darkness into the void of the Evil

    Realm. Princess Zelda herself, the leader of the sages, then sealed the gateway, and thus Ganondorf the dark lord

    vanished from Hyrule. Zelda then instructed Link to lay the Master Sword to rest and close the Door of Time, and

    returned him to his original time.

    The Classic Tales

    The Classic tales are the original stories that make up the Hyrulean legends. Many of the stories they introduced,

    such as the creation myth, the stories of early bloodshed over the Sacred Realm, as well the origins of the Hylians,

    the Master Sword, and Ganon, would eventually become the Ancient tales we know today.

    A Link to the Pastbegins this chronicle, following from the sealing of Ganon in the Imprisoning War. Next fall the

    Oracles stories, which describe Link's adventures in other lands in order to stop the resurrection of Ganon. At theend ofOracles, Link departs again from Hyrule on a seafaring voyage, leading toLink's Awakening, where he

    shipwrecks on a mysterious island called Koholint. Next comes The Legend of Zelda, the first-ever entry in themythology, which features another epic struggle against the wicked Ganon, leading finally to The Adventure of

    Link, which has Link reunite the Triforce in order to restore his kingdom to its former splendor.

    A Link to the PastOraclesLink's Awakening The Legend of ZeldaThe Adventure of Link

    Even though they are not the first stories in theLegend of Zelda myth from a fictional chronology perspective, itis crucial to develop a working understanding of the Classic stories because most of the other stories have their

    roots in the stories set down in the classics. It is especially important to note a certain quirk of the Classic stories:

    namely that they contain very little in the way of an internal plot, instead telling their core stories mostly through

    exposition of the scenario and leaving the rest up to interpretation.

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    A Link to the PastAlso known as Triforce of the Gods13

    Release date: April 13, 1992Platform(s): Super Nintendo Entertainment System, GameBoy Advance, Wii Virtual ConsoleDirector/Writer: Takashi Tezuka/Kensuke TanabePlacement: During the time when Hyrule was one kingdom, generations prior to The Legend of Zelda

    There have been many prequels throughout the history of theLegend of Zelda series, but the first of them wasA

    Link to the Past. As it chronicled many of the Ancient tales, from the creation all the way to the Imprisoning War,

    A Link to the Pastis perhaps the most significant story in terms of its contributions to the general Hyrulean

    mythos. The story was also rich with references to the original fantasy world, from Ganons stronghold on Death

    Mountain to the maze-like Lost Woods, which retained a sense of familiarity despite a strong degree of novelty.

    Aside from close ties to the origin tales, there is little to connectA Link to the Pastchronologically to its

    predecessors, save for the descriptive text that adorns the back of the storys official packaging:

    This time, the stage is set long before Links adventures, during the era when Hyrule was one kingdom.

    It is admittedly somewhat vague whether or not the placement indicator long before Links adventures refers to

    this story preceding that ofThe Legend of Zelda, or to the Imprisoning War preceding Links adventure inA Link

    to the Past. However, it is clear from more recent and more direct statements thatA Link to the Pastis definitelyset as a prequel to the originals, so perhaps both meanings hold equal weight.

    Story Summary

    The land of Hyrule healed its wounds and the people lived in peace for a long time. So it is no surprise that no one

    was prepared for the new disasters that struck Hyrule. Pestilence and drought, uncontrollable even by magic,

    ravaged the land. The king of Hyrule ordered an investigation of the imprisoned Dark World, but the Sages seal

    was apparently intact. The people had nothing else to do but pray to the gods.

    He offered rewards for anyone who could find the source of these troubles. In answer to these summons a stranger

    named Agahnim came and quelled the disasters with a previously unseen form of magic. As a reward, the king

    gave him a new position as chief adviser and heir to the Seven Sages. The masses proclaimed him their hero.

    Once more, peace appeared to have returned to Hyrule.

    Agahnim the evil priest

    Left in charge of the country, Agahnim began to govern Hyrule in place of the King and abuse his political power

    as he saw fit.14 Of late, rumors have traveled their whispering path with alarming frequency; rumors saying

    Agahnim planned to remove the King and take the crown for himself; rumors of strange magical experiments in

    the castle tower at night. He cast spells on the soldiers and kidnapped young maidens descended from the Sages in

    order to break the seal. This destiny fast approached the final maiden, the princess, Zelda.

    13 Triforce of the Gods is the Japanese subtitle for this story.14 Part of the Japanese text omitted from the English translation is included here

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    The only weapon potent enough to defeat Agahnim was the legendary Master Sword. Legends say only the Hero

    who has won the three Pendants could wield the sword:

    The Hero's triumph on Cataclysm's Evewins three symbols of virtue.

    The Master Sword he then retrieves,

    keeping the Knight's line true.

    That hero was supposed to emerge from the bloodline of the Knights of Hyrule who had aided the seven sages

    during the battle against evil in which the sages seals were cast. But the Knights had nearly been wiped out in

    that battle, and so it was thought that the hero would never rise again. Luckily, Link was the last remaining

    member of their bloodline, the one destined to become the legendary hero, and he managed to obtain the three

    pendants from the temples in Hyrule and found and withdrew the Master Sword from its resting place in the Lost


    Link draws the Master Sword

    But Link claimed it too late, and by the time he arrived to challenge Agahnim at Hyrule Castle, the priest had

    already offered Zelda to the Dark World, thereby breaking the sages seal, and opened a gate to link the worlds.

    Link then learned that Ganon, the evil King of Darkness, had rediscovered the sacred land and claimed the

    mystical Triforce. Ganon had wished to conquer the world, and so demonic power transformed the sacred land

    into the Dark World. After building up his power, Ganon had planned to go on to the light world to completely

    fulfill his wish, but he was unable to return from there. Now that the sages seals were broken, however, it was

    only a matter of time before evil power covered the land. If Ganon was allowed to return to the world of light,

    nothing would be able to stop him. As long as he remained in the enclosed space within the Dark World, however,

    Hyrules hopes remained as well.

    Using a magical mirror, Link traveled between the worlds of light and darkness and rescued the maidens from evil

    monsters in palaces scattered throughout the Dark World. With their power, he was able to penetrate the barriersurrounding Ganons Tower in the Dark World. He ascended the tower, where he again discovered the priest

    Agahnim. This time he managed to defeat Agahnim, who finally revealed himself as possessed by Ganon.15

    15 According toAncient Stone Tablets, an apocryphalLegend of Zelda story, Agahnim was a priest possessed by Ganon

    rather than simply a magical alter-ego as the story originally suggested.

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    Link and Ganon face off in the final battle

    Ganon fled to the Pyramid of Power, now ready to make his way to the world of light, but Link was hot on his

    heels. Armed with the legendary Silver Arrows and the Master Sword, he faced off with the King of Darkness.

    With the Silver Arrows, he was able to deal a fatal blow to Ganon and recover the Triforce. Thus the Dark World

    vanished, and thus did Link become the new master of the Triforce of legend.

    The Oracles SagaAlso known as Fruit of the Mysterious Tree16

    Release date: May 14, 2001Platform (s): GameBoy ColorDirector/Writer: Hidemaro FujibayashiPlacement: Some time beforeLink's Awakening

    The Oracles saga has been one of the most confusing entries in the entireLegend of Zelda epic so far due to anincredible lack of clarity about the storys relationship to other titles. Originally the saga was set to have three

    installments, with the first being an updated retelling ofThe Legend of Zelda, but eventually these plans fell by

    the wayside leading to a completely different story arc. Now christened the Triforce trilogy, the stories were

    supposed to each deal with one of the forces associated with the Triforce: Power, Wisdom, and Courage. This

    idea, too, faded away as the creators found it too complicated to create a trilogy of stories that could be told in any


    The result was the Oracles games, a two-in-one adventure that began with independent stories but ultimatelyculminated in a battle to stop the revival of Ganon. Along with it came a slew of references to pastZelda legends.The artwork drew heavy inspiration fromA Link to the PastandLink's Awakening, while there were more than a

    handful of character cameos from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, and the mark of the hero evokedmemories ofThe Adventure of Link. These oftentimes conflicting references, coupled with a lack of any real

    background to the villains, left Hyrulean scholars confused as to what place the Oracles chronicle had in thetimeline.

    Only one word of commentary has survived, and the source is rather dubious:

    Back in the early stages of development, yes, we did say toDengeki64 that these games shared the sametimeline withLink to the Past. However in the Oracles endings there's a scene that shows Link setting sail

    into the sea and it gives light to a connection toLink's Awakening.

    The aforementioned scene certainly evokes memories of the prologue toLinks Awakening, which had previouslyestablished itself as a sequel toA Link to the Past, corroborating the presumed connections to both. However, a

    major point of contention raised by many theorists is that when Princess Zelda encounters Link, she introduces

    herself by name as though they have never met before. Were Oracles connected toLink to the PastandLinks

    Awakeningas described, Link should already know Zelda, since the two fought Ganon together.

    16 Fruit of the Mysterious Tree is the Japanese subtitle for this story.

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    Looking at this particular case as a mythological hiccup, however, we can see that even though a couple pieces of

    the puzzle, cameos, as it were, did not receive the greatest of care and discretion, the overwhelming trend fits

    perfectly with the implied intent of the story.

    Oracle of Seasons Story Summary

    One day in Hyrule, a strange force drew Link deep within Hyrule castle, where he found the Triforce resting,

    glittering brilliantly as it awaited him. Link, accept the quest of the Triforce! Suddenly, Link was enveloped in acircle of light, and the next moment, he vanished.

    When Link awoke, he found himself in a forest he had never seen. Confused, he looked around blankly at the

    unfamiliar surroundings. He heard pleasant music and laughing voices echoing from deep within the woods. Link

    followed the inviting voices until he came upon a traveling troupe of actors. He was immediately struck by the

    beauty of a young woman who was dancing about in circles. When the girl noticed Link, she smiled brightly, took

    him by the hand, and he reluctantly began to dance.

    Link meets Din, the Oracle of Seasons

    Unfortunately, this blissful moment did not last long. The sky suddenly went dark, and there was a loud crash of

    thunder, followed by a resounding, thunderous voice, which declared itself as the voice of Onox, General of

    Darkness, and claimed Din as the Oracle of Seasons.

    Then a great tornado dropped from the sky and drew near Din, as if to engulf her. Link was blown back by the

    tornado as he struggled against its awesome force, and Din was swept away in the wind, and then strange things

    began to happen throughout the land. When Onox carried off the Oracle of Seasons from the land of Holodrum,the seasons fell into chaos and the land was deprived of the bountiful gifts of nature. Life was slowly being

    drained from the land, and all living things began to wither. And so Onox set in motion his plan to gather the

    power from the withering land and create a world of total darkness.

    Link claimed a sword and shield and started on a quest to restore Holodrum. He found the mystical Rod of

    Seasons and used its power to change the seasons, along with the power of the eight Essences of Nature, to defeat

    the evil General Onox and rescue the Oracle of Seasons. Holodrum was saved, and the seasons returned to

    normal. But this would not be the end of Links adventures.

    Oracle of Ages Story Summary

    Link awoke one day to find himself deep in a strange forest. As he started to walk through the woods, he heard

    cries for help coming from just up ahead of him. Link hurried toward the voice, only to find a group of monsters

    surrounding the woman who was screaming. When the monsters saw Link, they immediately fled.

    The woman who had been attacked was none other than Impa, nurse to Hyrule's Princess Zelda. Impa said she had

    come to the forest to search for a singer named Nayru, and she requested Links assistance. Despite the strange

    look she gave him, Link could not refuse her request.

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    As they traveled even deeper into the forest, they found a young woman singing. Invited to sit by the group of

    animals that listened to the girl's song, Link joined in the circle and let the beautiful song fill his ears and

    penetrate his heart. This was surely Nayru, the singer Impa was searching for.

    Nayru, the Oracle of Ages, singing in her grove

    Just then, Impa erupted in a cackling laugh and a frightening shadow lifted from her body. The shadow called

    itself Veran, Sorceress of Shadows, and began swooping about the forest before flying straight into the body of the

    frightened singer. Her face became veiled in shadow, and her bright smile had vanisheda piercing, evil gaze had

    replaced it. Veran had taken over Nayrus body, and before vanishing into the ether, she declared that she planned

    to thrust the world into an age of darkness.

    It was soon revealed that Nayru was actually the Oracle of Ages who controlled time in this land of Labrynna.

    When the Oracle was kidnapped, the flow of time in Labrynna was distorted, and strange things began to happen.

    Verans plan was to travel to the past and gather power from the sorrows of the people of Labrynna so that she

    could create her age of shadows. Link set out to stop her, and, in his trials, he found Nayrus Harp of Ages, used it

    to travel back in time and restore Labrynnas past, and with the eight Essences of Time at his command defeatedVeran atop her Black Tower. Labrynna was saved from Verans plan to spread the power of the Dark Realm and

    begin a new age of darkness.

    But soon thereafter Princess Zelda was kidnapped by the evil Gerudo witches, Twinrova. Twinrova had used

    Onox and Veran to light the Flames of Destruction and Sorrow. Now, with Hyrules princess captured, the Flame

    of Despair burned, and she would be sacrificed to complete the dark rites of the Gerudo. The Evil King Ganon

    would return!

    Link defeated Twinrova and halted the completion of the rites that would have revived Ganon. Since they could

    not sacrifice Zelda in their final rite, the powers of darkness could only revive a mindless, raging Ganon, whom

    Link had defeated with the guidance of the Triforce and become a legendary hero. Now hope and peace could

    return to the hearts of the people.

    Links AwakeningAlso known as Island of Dreams17

    Release date: August 1, 1993

    Platform(s): GameBoy, GameBoy ColorDirector/Writer: Takashi Tezuka/Kensuke TanabePlacement: Six years afterA Link to the Past18

    Link's Awakeningbroke new ground amongZelda stories since it did not take place in Hyrule, did not featurePrincess Zelda or the Triforce, and yet still found a way to mesh in elements fromA Link to the Past. Like the firstside story,Adventure of Link,Link's Awakeninginvolved Link's adventures following the most recent defeat ofGanon. This time, however, there was a twist, as a tumultuous storm thrust Link into the dream world of Koholint

    17 Island of Dreams is the Japanese subtitle for this story.18 Ancient Stone Tablets is set six years afterA Link to the Past.

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    The quirky landscape and inhabitants of Koholint seemed eerily similar to the Hyrule ofA Link to the Past,complete with telling landmarks such as the Rooster's Windmill and Turtle Rock. A number of monsters also

    appeared: the Moldorm, Lanmola, and Armos Knights, as well as nightmarish shadows of Agahnim and Ganon.

    Besides these homages, however, there was little to indicate the timeline placement ofLink's Awakening. Thestory's release not long after that ofA Link to the Pastseemed fairly telling, but because Koholint Island was only

    a dream world, the story was self-contained, having no importance to the main Hyrule tales. Until the statedrelationship to the Oracles,19 the only direct indicator appeared in the apocryphalAncient Stone Tablets.

    When approached and spoken to, the enigmatic Cukemen would sometimes say that the Hero cannot leave the

    dream. SinceAncient Stone Tablets was set a few years afterA Link to the Past, it was clear the hero was Linkand his dream was the events ofLink's Awakening. This reference is consistent with most of the indicators of

    Link's Awakening's placement, but the relevance ofAncient Stone Tablets comes into question since the story didnot receive an international release and has been left out of most official compendiums.

    Because of the scarcity of solid and accessible information about its spot in the timeline, the placement ofLink'sAwakeningis still a subject of debate amongst theorists. This theory, however, relies on the weight of the

    evidence, all of which points to continuity withA Link to the Pastand the Oracles tales.

    Story Summary

    But the people of Hyrule were still apprehensive. They feared the dangers that could arise from Ganons ashes.

    Ever vigilant, Link left on a journey of enlightenment, in search of wisdom that would help him better be able to

    withstand the next threat to his homeland.

    After months of difficult but fruitful travel, Link was returning home to Hyrule when a squall suddenly struck his

    ship. Link valiantly fought off the waves, but a lightning bolt reduced his ship to splinters. Link drifted with the

    wreckage of his ship, and awoke in the care of: Zelda? No, Link discovered, he was on Koholint Island, in the

    care of a woman named Marin.

    In the distance, on Koholints central mountain, loomed a gigantic egg. Link learned from a mysterious owl that inorder to get off the island he had to recover eight sirens instruments and awaken the Wind Fish sleeping in the

    giant egg. The owl also gave him a warning: The isle of Koholint is but an illusion. Human, monster, sea, sky, a

    scene on the lid of a sleeper's eye. Awake the dreamer, and Koholint will vanish much like a bubble on a needle.

    A tablet describing the true nature of Koholint Island

    Link gathered the instruments from all over Koholint and approached the egg, and when he played them before it,it opened to admit him. Inside he challenged DethI, the ruler of a band of demons known as the Nightmares. DethI

    took on the forms of many of his most powerful enemies, but Links courage persevered, and he defeated the


    19 See The Oracles Saga on pages 15-17.

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    With DethI gone, the Wind Fish awoke, and it spoke to him: I am the Wind Fish. Long has been my slumber. In

    my dreams, an egg appeared and was surrounded by an island, with people, animals, and an entire world! But,verily, it be the nature of dreams to end! When I awaken, Koholint will be gone. Only the memory of this dream

    land will exist in the waking world. Someday, thou may recall this island. That memory must be the real dream


    The two dreamers awoke, and Link found himself adrift off the coast of Hyrule, the Wind Fish flying overhead.His adventures on Koholint were finally over. A seagull passed by, and he wondered what became of Marin when

    the Wind Fishs dream ended.

    The Legend of ZeldaAlso known as The Hyrule Fantasy20

    Release date: August 1987Platform(s): Nintendo Entertainment System, GameCube, GameBoy Advance, Wii Virtual Console

    Director/Writer: Shigeru MiyamotoPlacement: Some generations afterA Link to the Past

    The Legend of Zelda was the firstZelda story to emerge. Like many of the other stories of its time, it was verysimple as far as its plot, describing first the mythical Triforce and its respective parts and then immediately

    proceeding to its theft by Ganon, the Evil King. It also introduced the infamous Link, that swordsman in greenwho always challenges Ganon whenever he appears, as well as the beautiful Princess Zelda. Though we only have

    a very limited picture of Hyrule as conceptualized during the creation ofThe Legend of Zelda, we know that italso featured the recognizable Death Mountain and Lost Woods, which would later become staples for the series.

    Story Summary

    The world entered an Age of Chaos. Among this chaos, in a tranquil little kingdom in the Hyrule region, thelegend of the Triforcegolden artifacts holding untold mystical powerswas handed down over generations.

    One day, a dark army attacked the peaceful kingdom and seized the Triforce of Power. This army was led byGanon, a powerful warlock bent on reigning over a dynasty of fear and darkness. Fearing his nefarious designs on

    the throne, Zelda, the princess of Hyrule, split the Triforce of Wisdom into eight fragments and scattered them

    throughout the realm to keep them out of Ganons reach. She then commanded her trustworthy nursemaid, Impa,

    to flee the castle and seek a champion with the courage to battle Ganon. Ganon, infuriated by the news of Impas

    escape, imprisoned the princess, and ordered a horde of henchmen to hunt down the elderly nursemaid.

    Link comes to Impa's aid

    Desperately running through forests and mountains, Impa fled for her life. Just as her strength began to fail, Impa

    found herself surrounded by Ganon's underlings. She was certain all hope was lost, but a young lad appeared and

    20 The Hyrule Fantasy is the Japanese subtitle for this story.

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    drove off the wicked attackers, saving her from a fate worse than death. The boy explained that his name was

    Link, and that he had stumbled across Impa and her attackers as she traveled through the area. Grateful for his

    assistance, Impa told young Link the story of Princess Zeldas predicament and Ganons vile grip on the kingdom.

    Upon hearing this heart-wrenching tale, Link vowed to save Zelda, but he knew that as long as Ganon held the

    Triforce of Power, he was a fearsome foe that could not easily be defeated. In order to vanquish him, Link set out

    to travel the land to collect the scattered Triforce fragments.

    He set out first to the withered tree on an island in the middle of Hyrule's largest lake, where he found a

    boomerang and an ancient bow. Next he wandered the eastern forest, where he earned a magical boomerang. His

    journeys took him west to the Moblin woods, where he found a small raft. With his raft in hand, he returned to the

    lake and drifted out to another large island, where he found a magical stepladder. Then he headed to the north and

    climbed the Lost Hills to another underworld dungeon, where he found the recorder.

    Link's journey leads him to every corner of Hyrule

    A strange force then called him through the Lost Woods and to Hyrule's graveyard, where he found a magical

    sword and wand. An abandoned fairy fountain drained at the sound of his recorder, revealing a seventh

    underworld dungeon containing an ever-burning candle. The last underworld labyrinth was in the eastern woods

    beneath a tree, and there Link found a key that could open any door as well as a book of spells for his wand.

    With the eight shards in hand, he approached Spectacle Rock at the very height of Death Mountain and fusedthem into the Triforce of Wisdom. With the Triforce of Wisdom, he was able to bypass Ganon's barriers and claim

    the mighty Silver Arrows, which he used to slay Ganon and become the Hero of Hyrule.

    The Adventure of LinkRelease date: December 1, 1988Platform (s): Nintendo Entertainment System, GameCube, GameBoy Advance, Wii Virtual Console

    Director/Writer: Tadashi SugiyamaPlacement: A few years afterThe Legend of Zelda

    As the first sequel in theLegend of Zelda epic and a side-story detailing Link's adventures after defeating Ganon,

    Adventure of Linkgave its audience the first look outside of the fantasy kingdom's borders. Set in the northernterritory of Hyrule, on a large continent bordering the Death Mountain range, this story chronicled Link's

    adventures to find the hidden third fragment of the Triforce, the piece of Courage, in order to awaken an ancient

    princess from her eternal slumber.

    Through the story of the Sleeping Princess, The Adventure of Linkalso had the first-ever ancient backstory seen inthe series and gave the first-ever indication of what has since become one of theLegend of Zelda's most cherished

    features: multiple incarnations of Princess Zelda. It also made reference to days of yore, before the Age of Chaosthat left the world divided, when Hyrule was one country. Most of the games to follow take place in that era.

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    Story Summary

    Though the hero, Link, defeated Ganon and rescued Princess Zelda, Hyrule remained plagued with evil. In thepassing seasons, the powers that Ganon had left behind, as well as his remaining underlings, were causing chaos

    and disorder throughout the kingdom. Ganons servants hoped to revive their master by sacrificing Link and

    sprinkling his blood on Ganons ashes.

    One day, as Link approached his sixteenth birthday, a strange mark shaped like the crest of the kingdom appearedon the back of his hand. The worried Link consulted Impa, Princess Zelda's elderly nursemaid. Shocked and

    frightened, Impa took Link to the North Castle to explain the legend behind the mark. Only the descendants of the

    Impa family who had served under the king knew how to open the door to the North Castle. On an altar in the

    middle of the room lay a beautiful woman, the sleeping Princess Zelda. Impa began to explain the legend of

    Zelda: Long ago, when Hyrule was one kingdom, a great ruler maintained peace in Hyrule using the Triforce.

    After the king died, the prince of the kingdom should have become king and inherited everything, but he could

    only inherit the Triforce in part. The prince searched everywhere for the missing parts, but could not find them.

    Impa shows Link the Sleeping Princess

    A wizard close to the king said that, before he died, the king had said something about the Triforce to the

    younger sister of the prince, Princess Zelda. The prince immediately questioned the princess, but she revealed

    nothing. The wizard threatened to cast the princess into eternal sleep if she did not talk, but, still, Princess Zelda

    said nothing. The wizard, fighting off the startled prince, cast his spell. The princess fell on that spot, entering a

    deep sleep, and at the same moment the wizard collapsed, too.

    In his grief, the prince placed the princess in the North Castle. The prince hoped that someday Zelda would

    awaken from her slumber. So that this tragedy would never be forgotten, he ordered every female child born into

    the royal household be given the name Zelda.

    From the stand next to the sleeping princess, Impa gave Link six crystals and a scroll with the same crest as the

    one on his hand. She explained that the items had been given to her ancestors by the King and handed down for

    generations in their family for when a time of need would come. The scroll, which contained the key to uniting

    the Triforce, was written in an ancient script that only those with the crest would be able to read.

    Link examines the King's scroll

    Link glanced at the scroll doubtfully, but found that he understood the words as clearly as if they were being

    spoken to him. The scroll revealed that the key to unlocking the Triforces power was uniting all three: Power,

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    Wisdom, and Courage. The king had left Power and Wisdom in the kingdom, but had hidden Courage, because

    only an individual with a strong character and special inborn qualities could use it without disastrous results.

    Because the king had not found such a person during his reign, he cast a spell on Hyrule so that the crest wouldappear on the chosen one. But, if it were used beforehand, the Triforce would produce many evils.

    The scroll went on to reveal that the Triforce of Courage was in the Great Palace in the Valley of Death on thelargest island in Hyrule. To enter the Great Palace, however, Link would fight have to fight the guardians

    protecting each of the six temples in Hyrule, place the crystals in crystal statues, and undo the binding forceprotecting the Valley of Death.

    Surely with the Triforce of Courage Link could awaken Princess Zelda from her eternal slumber. With a magical

    sword in his left hand and a magical shield in his right, he set off alone on his travels. At that very moment,

    Ganons underlings were calling up new allies from the realm of evil and working devilishly towards the revival

    of their leader. With the help of Power and Wisdom, and with his magical sword, Link set out to journey across

    the land.

    After wandering the harsh deserts, thick bogs, and rough mountains of the west continent and unlocking the three

    seals there, he found a ferry that took him to the east. There he traversed a deep maze, found a way to walk across

    the sea, and awoke a fierce demon in order to release the remaining seals. With the seals broken, he walked

    through the treacherous Valley of Death and into the Great Temple, where he fought his own shadow.

    Link battles Shadow Link

    After a battle that shook the world, the Triforce of Courage came into his possession. With the full Triforce at his

    disposal, Link awakened the Sleeping Princess and brought an end to the Age of Chaos, and the kingdom of

    Hyrule was restored to its original glory.

    The Split Timeline

    Previously a subject under intense debate, now commonly accepted as the authors authoritative word, the split

    timeline is the fruit of time travel in Ocarina of Times ending. At the end of that story, Princess Zelda sends Linkback in time to make up for the loss of his childhood years in the fight against Ganon. This resulted in two

    endings: one where Ganon is defeated by the Hero of Time, and one where Link laid the Master Sword to restand closed the Door of Time as instructed by Zelda. This caused the road between times to disappear, therebyseparating the two histories into separate timelines.

    The idea of different storylines following the two endings was first posed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma

    during an interview in the spring of 2002,21 just following the release ofThe Wind Wakerin Japan:

    Question: Where does The Wind Wakerfit into the overallZelda series timeline?

    21 Aonuma, Miyamoto; GamePro, March 2002

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    Aonuma: You can think of this game as taking place over a hundred years afterOcarina of Time. You cantell this from the opening story, and there are references to things from Ocarina located throughout the

    game as well.

    Miyamoto: Well, wait, which point does the hundred years start from?

    Aonuma: From the end.

    Miyamoto: No, I mean, as a child or as an...

    Aonuma: Oh, right, let me elaborate on that. Ocarina of Time basically has two endings of sorts; one hasLink as a child and the other has him as an adult. This game, The Wind Waker, takes place a hundred

    years after the adult Link defeats Ganon at the end ofOcarina.

    Miyamoto: This is pretty confusing for us, too. (laughs) So be careful.

    Some fans may notice that, in this transcript, Aonuma and Miyamoto never expressly confirm that the twoendings lead into different histories. There was even a story released by this time that followed the Child ending

    and took place while Link was still a child, Majora's Mask, and its events are referenced in The Wind Waker. So

    the idea of two endings could perhaps have meant that there are two points in history that can be considered theending ofOcarina of Time, with any number of sequels stemming from each. This quote by itself, whilecertainly intended to express the idea of two parallel histories, did not fully convey that idea.

    Four years later, Twilight Princess appeared and Aonuma yet again made mention of the different endings ofOcarina of Time. Previously, we had heard that Twilight Princess was to fall in between Ocarina and Wind Waker,

    but the tides of its development had shifted. Instead, the new story was to fall after the Child ending, and would

    follow a different course of history that stemmed from Link's return to the past. He described the scenario in some


    Question: When does Twilight Princess take place?

    Aonuma: In the world ofOcarina of Time, a hundred and something years later.

    Question: And The Wind Waker?

    Aonuma:The Wind Wakeris parallel. In Ocarina of Time, Link flew seven years in time, he beat Ganon

    and went back to being a kid, remember? Twilight Princess takes place in the world ofOcarina of Time, ahundred and something years after the peace returned to kid Links time. In the last scene of Ocarina of

    Time, kids Link and Zelda have a little talk, and as a consequence of that talk, their relationship with

    Ganon takes a whole new direction. In the middle of this game, there's a scene showing Ganon's

    execution. It was decided that Ganon be executed because he'd do something outrageous if they left him

    be. That scene takes place several years afterOcarina of Time.

    Among theorists, these two alternate histories became known as the Child Timeline and the Adult Timeline,or in this case the Child tales and Adult tales. These twin story arcs make up the bulk of the major legends

    released since Ocarina of Time.

    22 Aonuma;Nindori, January 2007

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    The Child Tales

    The Child tales explain what took place after Link returned to the past at the end ofOcarina of Time. Hisconversation with Princess Zelda changes the course of history, and with peace ensured for Hyrule's future, Link

    sets out on a journey to find a lost friend, dragging him into the bizarre world of Termina and the events of

    Majora's Mask. Meanwhile, Ganondorf is apprehended and banished to the Twilight Realm by the sages, leadingto the events ofTwilight Princess about a hundred years later.

    Ocarina of TimeMajora's Mask Twilight Princess

    So far the Child story has built heavily off of the elements set down in Ocarina of Time, with one side-story

    following Link's adventures as a child and Twilight Princess exploring the Ancient tales in more depth whilesimultaneously setting down the alternate course of Ganondorf's history in the new timeline. It remains to be seen

    whether the Child timeline will forge beyond these few first steps as its parallel stories in the Adult history have

    done. Nevertheless, just as light and shadow are two equally-important sides of the same coin, so too are the Child

    and Adult stories alternate sides of the same timeline.

    Majoras Mask

    Release date: October 26, 2000Platform(s):Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii Virtual Console

    Director/Writer: Eiji Aonuma/Mitsuhiro TakanoPlacement: A few months after the Child ending ofOcarina of Time

    AfterOcarina of Time's unparalleled success among its audience, rumors of a possiblegaiden, or side-story,began to flow. This new story would follow Link out of Hyrule on yet another trip through time, and have him

    transform into various figures using magical masks. Thus, Majora's Maskbecame the first (of many) sequels to

    Ocarina of Time.

    The story was a sandbox, and how Link would interact with the denizens of the wonderland-world of Termina

    was left largely up to the audience to decide. Would Link work to heal all the sorrows plaguing the land, or would

    he focus only on defeating the Skull Kid and recovering the stolen Majora's Mask?

    Delving into all of the sideplots introduced by the Bomber's Notebook, while it would certainly prove interesting,

    is not necessary to convey the core story of Termina and its place in the timeline, so this section focuses mainly on

    the story of the imp and the four giants, and Link's quest to set their troubles to rights.

    Story Summary

    This tale is from long ago when all the people weren't separated into four worlds like they are now. In those timesall the people lived together, and the four giants lived among them. On the day of the festival that celebrates the

    harvest, the giants spoke to the people:

    "We have chosen to guard the people while we sleep... 100 steps north, 100 steps south, 100 steps east, 100 stepswest. If you have need, call us in a loud voice by declaring something such as 'the mountain blizzard has trapped

    us' or 'the ocean is about to swallow us.' Your cries shall carry to us."

    Now there was one who was shocked and saddened by all this: a little imp. The imp was a friend of the giants

    since before they had created the four worlds. "Why must you leave? Why do you not stay?" The childhood friend

    felt neglected, so he spread his anger across the four worlds. Repeatedly, he wronged all people.

    Overwhelmed with misfortune, the people sang the song of prayer to the giants who lived in each of the four

    compass directions. The giants heard their cry and responded with a roar. "Oh, imp. Oh, imp. We are the

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    protectors of the people. You have caused the people pain. Oh, imp, leave these four worlds! Otherwise, we shall

    tear you apart!"

    The giants depart to the four lands

    The imp was frightened and saddened. He had lost his old friends. The imp returned to the heavens, and harmony

    was restored to the four worlds. And the people rejoiced and they worshiped the giants of the four worlds like


    Each year, the season of harmony begins when the sun and moon are in alignment. Paying homage to the way that

    nature and time both tirelessly progress, the Carnival of Time is when the peoples of the four worlds celebrate that

    harmony and request fruitfulness for the year. For ages, people have worn masks resembling the giants who are

    the gods of the four worlds. Now, it has become a custom for each person to bring a handmade mask to the

    Carnival of Time.

    It is said that if a couple united on the day of the festival and dedicated a mask as a sign of their union, it would

    bring luck. The centerpiece of the carnival is the clock tower, and on the eve of all the festivities, the doors to its

    roof are opened. From atop the clock tower roof, a ceremony to call the gods is held and an ancient song is sung.All of these festivities for the Carnival of Time are held so that the people may ask the gods for a rich harvest in

    the year to come.

    In the land of Hyrule, there echoes a legend held dearly by the royal family that tells of a boy who, after battlingevil and saving Hyrule, crept away from that land that had made him a legend. Done with the battles he once

    waged across time, he embarked on a secret and personal journey in search of a beloved and invaluable friend

    with whom he parted ways when he finally fulfilled his heroic destiny and took his place among legends.

    Princess Zelda, with whom he had become close friends, gave him the Ocarina of Time with a promise that, if he

    used it in time of need, the Goddess of Time would come to his aid. She also told him that she knew, deep in her

    heart, that no matter where his journey led him, their paths would someday cross again.

    While in the midst of his new journey, an imp wearing a mystical mask appeared by chance before Link. Hidden

    within that mask was a mysterious power that not even he understood. The imp took Epona, the faithful young

    horse that had journeyed with Link throughout his adventures, and placed a curse on Link that transformed him

    into a Deku Scrub. As he gave chase, a young fairy named Tatl, one of the imp's friends, joined him.

    Link's pursuit of the imp led him into the mysterious world of Termina, a kind of parallel world that was similar toand yet different from the land of Hyrule, where he heard a frightful rumor that in just three days, the moon would

    fall from the heavens onto that land.

    Clock Town rested at the heart of the world, and Link learned that heading any direction from there would take

    him to the mysterious regions beyond. The centerpiece of Clock Town, the clock tower, was the symbol of the

    town and the center of activity, as the townsfolk were busy with preparations for the annual carnival, despite the

    ominous rumors. The people Link met there looked vaguely familiar at first glance.

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    Link arrives in Clock Town in the center of Termina

    First he met the Happy Mask Salesman, who begged that Link recover a precious mask that the imp had stolen

    from him. The mask was called Majora's Mask. It was an accursed item from legend that was said to have beenused by an ancient tribe in its hexing rituals. An evil and wicked power was bestowed on the one who wore the

    mask. According to legend, the troubles caused by Majora's Mask were so great that the ancient ones, fearing such

    catastrophe, sealed the mask in shadow forever, preventing its misuse. The tribe from the legend had vanished, so

    no one knew the nature of the mask's power. Link had to retrieve the mask before something horrible happened. Inreturn for his help, the Mask Salesman offered to restore Link to his original form.

    With only three days until the moon fell, Link first set out to recover his Ocarina, stolen by the imp, and once it

    was back in his possession gratefully took advantage of the divine protection of the Goddess of Time,

    manipulating the flows of time in order to stop the moon from destroying Termina. As promised, the Mask

    Salesman returned Link to his human form, teaching him a song that could heal sorrowed souls. From there, Link

    resolved to travel to the four lands, the Southern Swamp, Northern Mountain, Western Ocean, and Eastern

    Canyon, in order to unite the four giants who rested there.

    From Tael, Tatl's younger brother, Link learned that the imp had already set disaster upon the four lands: poisonedwaters flowed from Woodfall, the Gorons on Snowhead were in the grips of an unusually fierce cold snap while

    the Zora tribe also suffered from severe environmental changes, and the Ikana Kingdom had fallen victim to aterrible curse that annihilated its people. After defeating four demons and awakening the giants, Link played the

    song to summon the gods to the Clock Tower to confront the imp and the power of Majora's Mask, obliteratingthat accursed moon and saving Termina from ruin.

    Twilight PrincessRelease date:November 19, 2006Platform(s): Wii, GameCubeDirector/Writer: Eiji Aonuma/Aya Kyogoku

    Placement: A hundred years afterOcarina of Time's Child ending

    As one of the most anticipatedZelda stories of all time and a spiritual successor to Ocarina of Time, TwilightPrincess had large shoes to fill when it arrived on the scene. With a controversial setting and scenario to match

    that of its predecessor, it did all this and more. Though Aonumas conversation about Twilight Princess hasalready been discussed in some detail,23the story summary in this section will expand on that scenario using as

    much text cited directly from the source as possible.

    Bear in mind that Twilight Princess is primarily Midna's story, and focuses on her road to redemption from thecurse placed upon her by Zant. As such, Midna plays a much larger role in the core story than previously-

    mentioned partners such as Navi, Tatl, and even Zelda.

    23 See The Split Timeline on pages 22-23.

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    Story Summary

    When Link returned to the past, he traveled to Hyrule Castle and warned Princess Zelda of what he feared would

    come to pass. With the knowledge of Ganondorfs invasion of the Sacred Realm exposed before he can attack

    Hyrule, he was subdued and brought to justice in an attempt to put an end to his evil magic.

    But Ganondorfs abiding lust for power turned to purest malice and, realizing they were no match forGanondorfs power of the gods, the sages were forced to seal him away in the Twilight Realm using the Mirror of

    Twilight. Little did they know that, in the Twilight Realm, the greedy Zant sought out power such as that which

    Ganondorf possessed.

    After being denied the kingship of the Twili, Zant, in a thrall of hatred, encountered Ganondorf, who appeared to

    him as a god, Ganon, who bore power with which Zant could become a king. As long as Zant obeyed him, Ganon

    promised to revive Zant without cause. And so Ganons evil power was passed on to Zant.

    Ganondorf pierced by the sages' sword

    The Mirror of Twilight was fragmented by this mighty magic. Only the true leader of the Twili can utterly destroy

    the Mirror of Twilight, so Zant could merely break it into pieces. Once broken by magic, the Mirror of Twilight

    became fragments, which lay hidden across the land of Hyrule. Zant, now a king of darkness, transformed the

    blessed kingdom of Hyrule into a world of shadows, ruled by creatures who shun the light. Zants goal was thathis tribe might take back the world of light when light and darkness met at last and darkness blotted out the light.

    The Light Spirits in Hyrule had had their light stolen by fell beasts, and the entire kingdom was reduced to a

    netherworld ruled by the cursed powers of darkness.

    Twilight covered Hyrule like a shroud, and without light, the people became as spirits. Within the twilight, they

    lived on, unaware that they had passed into spirit forms. All the people knew was fear, fear of a nameless evil. The

    blight would not stop with Hyrule. Before long, the entire world of light would fall into the hands of the king who

    ruled the Twilight. To save the land from the king of Twilight, the lost light had to be recovered. The three light

    spirits who had lost their light needed to be revived. There was but one who could revive them and redeem the

    land: the hero chosen by the goddesses.

    Those transformed by twilight usually cannot recover their original forms, but a young man named Linktransformed into a blue-eyed beast. It was a sign that the powers of the chosen one, the powers of the ancient hero

    chosen by the gods, rested within him, and that they were awakening. Link had need of the forbidden power thatthe spirits of light locked away: the Fused Shadow. Because of its nature, it was a power that should never be

    touched by any who dwell in the light. But the world wept beneath a mantle of shadows, and so there was no

    choice; he had to match the power of the king of shadows.

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    Link and Midna battle shadow beasts in the Twilight

    With the help of an imp named Midna, he restored light to the three Light Spirits and gathered the Fused

    Shadows. Even with the power of the Fused Shadow behind them, however, Link and Midna were no match forZant. The evil power granted Zant by his god was too powerful to overcome. In a show of his might, Zant

    mortally wounded Midna. In his wolf form, Link bore Midna to Hyrule Castle to seek the aid of Princess Zelda,

    who bestowed her power upon Midna in order to save her from death. Before she passed her power to Midna,

    however, Zelda bade Link collect the Master Sword, the blade of evils bane, the only sword that could cleave the

    evil power that threatened the land and shrouded Link in darkness.

    After he drew the Master Sword from the pedestal in the Temple of Time, as the hero of old once had, Midna

    asked him to help her find the Mirror of Twilight. Midna was a descendant of the Twili, the tribe that was

    banished to the Twilight Realm. The Mirror of Twilight served as the link between the worlds of light and shadow

    that might help her to save her people from Zant. Together they traveled to the Arbiters Grounds in the ancient

    desert, where they discovered only a single shard of the Mirror. The sages told them of what transpired at that

    place during the execution of Ganondorf and charged Link with recovering the shards of the Mirror before their

    dangerous power wrecked havoc on the land.

    Link and Midna gathered the shards of the Mirror of Twilight and returned them to Arbiters Grounds,

    reassembling the ancient relic. The sages revealed Midnas true identity as the princess of the Twilight Realm,

    transformed into an imp by Zants evil magic, and apologized for unleashing Ganondorf on her world. Midna then

    confessed to Link that she had intended to use him to help her save the Twilight Realm alone, but that over timeshe had decided that the world of light deserved to be saved, too.

    She and Link entered the Twilight and confronted Zant, breaking the curses on all the Twili in the process. After