When the timeline split in Ocarina of Time as a result of Hero of Time Link being sent back early enough to warn the king about Ganondorf's attack & prevent it from happening, it created another Link that has never been seen or the subject of any video game. This Link can be the one whose actions lead to another split that creates the 3rd branch that is being talked about in Nintendo's timeline recently presented in the newly released Hyrule Historia art book.
This blog goes on to speculate how this 2nd split that leads to the 3rd branch in the timeline that A Link to the Past, the Oracle games, Link's Awakening, The Legend of Zelda, and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link are placed in is created.
Until recently, Nintendo led us to believe that there was a split timeline with 2 branches created after the events of Ocarina of Time. One would be the timeline stemming from the future era of Ocarina of Time, which Hero of Time Link disappeared from once he was sent back further in the past than the point he left. The 2nd branch would be the timeline stemming from the point at which Hero of Time arrived in the past era of Ocarina of Time & changed history by using the Triforce mark on the back of his hand to convince the king of Hyrule, Zelda's father, that Ganondorf would attack Hyrule Castle, which led to Ganondorf's arrest & banishment.
However this all seems to have changed as a result of the Hyrule Historia art book that was just released on Wednesday in Japan, which is said to present an offical timeline.
From what has been translated of that timeline, it's apparent that besides the 2 previously known timelines branching out from Ocarina of Time, a 3rd branch in the timeline has been presented. This 3rd branch includes The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages & Seasons games, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, The Legend of Zelda, and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link in that order. The big issue is that it is currently inexplicable is how a 3rd branch is possible. What happened during Ocarina of Time that could have led to a 3rd branch in the timeline? I can't think of anything that happened in the game per se that could lead to a 3rd branch. But there has been something on my mind for a long time that I've been meaning to get to that happened not in Ocarina of Time but offscreen as a result of it that may clarify things if used by Nintendo to explain their decision. This thing that's been on my mind is something I brought up in the last paragraph of a previous blog regarding the existence of the Triforce of Courage in The Wind Waker.
Before I get to that, I want to bring up several contradictions created by improperly placing A Link to the Past after Ocarina of Time. The backstory of A Link to the Past, namely Ganon's acquisition of the Triforce & the Imprisoning War, are significantly different from the events of Ocarina of Time as they happened in the game. Here are some major differences:
- In the backstory of A Link to the Past, it's said that the way to the Golden Land, where the Triforce resided, had been lost over the centuries & it was Ganondorf who discovered its location & entered.
- While inside, he acquired the full Triforce, turned into his Ganon form, and took over the Golden Land & corrupted it to become the Dark World. He created vast armies of monsters. He then turned his attention to conquering Hyrule & sought to leave the Dark World but was unable to find an exit.
- However his monsters did find their way out & one day evil power in the form of Ganon's monsters began showing up in Hyrule.The King ordered the Dark World to be sealed to prevent further monsters & Ganon himself from showing up & the 7 Wise Men got together to form their seal as the Knights of Hyrule defended them from the attack of Ganon's monsters.
- It's clear in the original version of the Imprisoning War as told in ALttP, Ganon never found out how to leave the Dark World before the seal was created. Anyone who's played Ocarina of Time knows that nothing like this happened in that game. Instead the entrance to the Golden Land (known as the Sacred Realm in OoT) was widely known even by townfolk to be the Temple of Time & knowledge of it wasn't lost as said in A Link to the Past's backstory.
- In addition to this, Ganondorf did not acquire the full Triforce in Ocarina of Time, but only the Triforce of Power since it split when he touched it. And unlike the Ganon of ALttP's backstory, Ganondorf in OoT did exit the Golden Realm after turning it into the Evil Realm (Dark World) and returned to Hyrule & wreaked havoc.
- In ALttP's backstory, Ganon's monsters, who as I said above did make it out of the Dark World, were the ones who attacked the Knights of Hyrule as they protected the 7 Wise Men while they created their seal. This itself is the story of the Imprisoning War as told in ALttP. The OoT version of the Imprisoning War is vastly different. In OoT, the Knights of Hyrule were absent and it was instead Link who was fighting Ganon himself rather than his monsters during the Imprisoning of Ganon/Ganondorf.
- In ALttP's backstory, the ones who sealed Ganon were 7 Wise Hylian Men (males).
- Their descendents, the 7 Maidens, were also all Hylian.
- In OoT, the ones who sealed Ganon were instead 7 Sages who were of mixed species (Kokiri, Zora, Goron, Sheikah, Gerudo, Hylian, etc) and most of them were female.
- Finally, if Link in Ocarina of Time failed to defeat Ganon, which Nintendo is giving as the reason to the new 3rd timeline branch, that would mean that he had to have been sealed by the Ocarina of Time sages. The only way that Ganon would have acquired the full Triforce is if he not only killed Link but also killed Zelda & took Link's Triforce of Courage and Zelda's Triforce of Wisdom before he was sealed. Otherwise, he would have become the supreme leader of Hyrule without anyone being able to stop him. Even though killing Link & Zelda and taking their respective Triforces would be his next likely action, this would create more contradictions. It would leave the only sages to seal him the ones featured in Ocarina of Time, which makes no sense since their descendants were all Hylians and their races & most of their genders don't correspond to the 7 Wise Men. But worse than this, if Ganon killed Zelda to take her Triforce, that would mean that the 7th sage who was mandatory to seal Ganon would be dead. And if he was still somehow sealed, then it means the Imprisoning War took place before Ganon entered the Golden Land/Dark World, which is a huge contradiction to what we learned in A Link to the Past, which stated the king ordered the seal AFTER evil power began flowing from the Golden Land while Ganon was still inside & wasn't able to escape. Hell, in Ocarina of Time, the king, who had been long dead for 7 years, was nowhere to order any sealing of Ganon. So unless Nintendo thinks the backstory of A Link to the Past is something to be ignored, placing it after Ocarina of Time with the justification they gave is nonsensical.
These are the major contradictions that arise if A Link to the Past is improperly placed after Ocarina of Time. Prior to Nintendo's newly released 3 branch timeline, I assumed that A Link to the Past was placed after Twilight Princess in the Majora's Mask side of the former 2 branch timeline. This was because in that branch, the Imprisoning War never happened as it did in the future era of OoT, leaving it open for it to happen the way it was explained in ALttP's backstory. But now, with A Link to the Past being confirmed to be in a new 3rd branch, this brings up a dilemma because it made me ask what else happened in Ocarina of Time that would result in Ganondorf not obtaining the Triforce at all as was the case in the branch that Majora's Mask is placed.
Well after much consideration, I realized the thing that has been on my mind for a long time provides a potential explanation. That thing is the existence of a Link we have never seen as a result of Ocarina of Time. Let me explain:
- In Ocarina of Time, Hero of Time (HoT) Link's original childhood consisted of him being sent on a mission by the Great Deku Tree to save Hyrule. He obtained the 3 Spiritual Stones, the Ocarina of Time, and went on to pick up the Master Sword. Prior to acquiring the Ocarina of Time, Zelda with Impa on horseback had fled Ganondorf after his attack on Hyrule Castle as he wanted the Ocarina of Time so he could enter the Sacred Realm & steal the Triforce. So when HoT Link first picks up the Master Sword, Zelda is no longer in Hyrule Castle & is in hiding with Impa. And every time he puts down the Master Sword to go back to his child body during the game, he's going back to that era after Zelda fled with Impa & before Ganondorf's power seriously corrupted Hyrule to what it is in the future era of OoT.
- After collecting all the Sage Medallions, undoing the barrier in Ganon's Castle, defeating Ganondorf, and defeating Ganon as the Sages sealed him & sent him to the Evil Realm, Link is sent back in time by Zelda in the game's ending sequence as a result of her playing the Ocarina of Time.
- It's interesting because unlike all other times in the game, the time travel here does not happen in the Temple of Time. Zelda instead uses her power as a Sage as she tells Link in those same words to send him back as she plays the Ocarina. My interpretation is that the Master Sword is left behind in that future era while Link disappears & goes to the past and his body turns into a child's body. When Link is next seen, it's at the Temple of Time and he is not seen with his hands on the Master Sword & hopping back with a grunt as he does in all other times in the game when he time travels at the Temple of Time.
- My interpretation may be debated, but what is 100% certain is that Link was sent further back to the past than the point in time he left, i.e. the point he picked up the Master Sword. Proof of this is that Zelda is still in Hyrule Castle when Link arrives back in the past in the final scene of the ending sequence.
- Even though Zelda said she could send him to his original time, she really didn't do that. Link's original time was the point in his childhood slightly after Ganondorf's attack on Hyrule Castle when he showed his true intentions which is after Zelda had fled with Impa. So when we last saw her in HoT Link's original time, she had gone into hiding. Instead of sending Link back to his original time, she sent him further back, perhaps to the moment just before they first met & she told Link of her dream. After all she did feel guilty about Ganondorf acquiring the Triforce of Power and also felt guilty about pulling Link into all of it. So it's very logical she sent him back to the moment just before they met & she told him, without knowing the consequences of the time travel & how an entire new universe was created, which was only a problem because HoT Link was stuck there & her own universe no longer had a Link to protect it, as The Wind Waker revealed.
- Also, unlike every other time we see Link in the game as a child, Link in the final scene of the game is seen with the Triforce mark on the back of his left hand.
- At this point, he warns Zelda & her father (the king) of Ganondorf's exact actions, enabling them to stop Ganondorf. This is why he has the Ocarina of Time in Majora's Mask & why Zelda is not in hiding in that game's backstory & the final scene of OoT. So the sending of Link to a point in time further back than the one he last left along with Link's actions to avert Ganondorf's attack spawned a new universe, creating the first branch in the timeline. The Zelda in the last scene of OoT's ending & the one mentioned in Majora's Mask's backstory are one & the same. She is the Zelda who is native to this new universe that did not experience Ganondorf's attack that was the focus of OoT's gameplay.
So just as the new universe has its own Zelda native to it, it also has...it's own Link! That's right, since HoT Link was sent to a time earlier than the one he left, there would be an alternate version of him also there. So this means that this new universe contained 2 Links---HoT Link who was sent there and the Link who was native to that universe. The thing is, we've never seen this 2nd Link (who I will refer to for the rest of this blog as Missing Link) but by all means, he must exist.
The thing is, we don't know exactly how far back pre-split OoT adult Zelda sent HoT Link. She could have sent him back to the moment before pre-split OoT child Zelda first met HoT Link so he could regain all his time chasing down the stuff she told him about. Or she could have sent him further back, perhaps to the point where Missing Link had just been sent by the Great Deku Tree on his quest to free him of the curse Ganondorf placed on him. Or she could have even sent HoT Link back to a point before Ganondorf ever did things like curse the Great Deku Tree, block the Dodongo's Cavern, or sent his monsters to inhabit the inside of Lord Jabu Jabu. Any of these scenarios would mean that either part or all of Missing Link's entire destiny as Hero of Time in his own universe would have been derailed. If the Great Deku Tree was never poisoned in that universe, then Missing Link would have never found out about his destiny. From a creative perspective, I think it's best if HoT Link arrived at a point when Missing Link had already began his quest of seeking the Spiritual Stones so that he didn't know that Ganondorf was arrested until after meeting Zelda & finding out that a Link alien to his universe had stolen his destiny & befriended Zelda because the possibilities of creating a game on such events would make it so much more interesting. But more on this in my next blog.
My main point is that the actions of Missing Link can be a source of the 2nd split that would lead to the 3rd branch in the timeline that begins with A Link to the Past that Nintendo released in its Hyrule Historia book. Why would this make sense? Because even though Missing Link was never seen in Ocarina of Time, he is the product of the final scene of OoT's ending & what happened afterwards. And if he played any part in creating another split, it could warrant the placement of ALttP at the start of this newly introduced 3rd branch of the timeline. What does make sense is that another split caused by Missing Link can still result in Ganondorf not acquiring any part of the Triforce as he did in OoT, leaving it entirely possible for him to acquire it exactly the way he did in ALttP's backstory.
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