Analysis of the Timeline & Events After the Materialization of Koholint Island
This is a followup to my last blog and further explores certain characters & items with the assumption that Koholint Island was materialized as Eastern Hyrule not long after Link returned to Hyrule from his adventure in Link's Awakening. I can't summarize this any more.
This blog is an addendum to my last blog regarding how Koholint Island wasn’t merely a dream but that it materialized into an actual island that was annexed offshore to Hyrule as Eastern Hyrule (seen in Zelda II). After playing through Link’s Awakening again, I noticed more things that relate to the subject matter of my previous blog that I wanted to expand upon.
I highly encourage anyone who’s reading this addendum but hasn’t read my previous blog to go back & read it otherwise I’m sure you will be confused by what is written here. My last blog was part 3 of my Zelda Mysteries: Reading Between the Lines series of blogs where I analyze the Zelda series based on in-game events, instruction manual events/tidbits, and the overall timeline structure and create a scenario of what could have happened between the games.
The king not finding anyone worthy of the full Triforce in his lifetime:
I wanted to start out this addendum with something I did not include in my last blog but only brought up in the comments section. In the blog I mentioned how the scroll that Link reads in the Zelda II manual says the king couldn't find anyone worthy of the full Triforce in his lifetime. I said that the Link from A Link to the Past, the Oracle games, and Link's Awakening who would be alive during that king's lifetime (he made that king's return at the end of ALttP possible) was worthy of the Triforce since he's the one who destroyed Ganon & restored Hyrule & the Golden Land. In that blog, I also gave an explanation that the ALttP Link could have either died or gone on another journey before the king could make him the heir of the full Triforce upon his death. What I wanted to add in this addendum is that Link could have left to find Marin so he could settle down with her. Remember that the blog posed the possibility that Marin in fact did exist & got caught up in the Wind Fish's dream just like Link did. So it's possible later on in his life...after Koholint Island was materialized as Eastern Hyrule...that Link found Marin & her father Tarin & settled down with her to start their own family on the actual physical island of Eastern Hyrule that was once Koholint Island. After all, they were both familiar with it from the Wind Fish's dream.
Don't forget that Marin & Tarin had Hylian appearances with long ears like Link. So they could have been somewhere in Hyrule before getting pulled into the Wind Fish's dream. Therefore, what I’m saying is that following Link’s return to Hyrule after Link’s Awakening, either the king of Hyrule (after being told of Koholint Island by Link) or Link himself used the full Triforce to materialize Koholint Island into an actual island to become Eastern Hyrule (as seen in Zelda II). After that happened, Link left to find Marin’s whereabouts in Hyrule or the middle of the ocean since she too would have awakened from the dream. Eventually he would find both Marin & Tarin & bring them back to Hyrule. After reaching adulthood, Link would leave with Marin to Eastern Hyrule since that’s where they met & were familiar with based on their experience from the dream. They would settle down there & the king would lose contact with Link and would have nobody worthy left to give the Triforce to. So instead, if the king knew that Link was somewhere in the vast island of Eastern Hyrule, he could have built the Great Palace (along with all the other palaces there) and hid the Triforce of Courage in it for either that Link or the one worthy of claiming it in the future. That’s one possibility of what could have happened between Link’s Awakening and the story presented in the Zelda II manual (besides the events of The Legend of Zelda of course). This explanation does account for what the king wrote in the scrolls read by the Zelda II Link in the story presented in the Zelda II manual. Another possibility that I bring up later on in this addendum is that Link could have become cursed by the Shadow Nightmares after the materialization of Koholint Island that would have made him ineligible of inheriting the full Triforce.
So here are all the possibilities why the Link from A Link to the Past, the Oracle games, and Link's Awakening did not inherit the full Triforce from the king:
1. Link died before the king did (unlikely but possible)
2. Link left on another adventure when the king was near death & wasn't available to claim the Triforce
3. Link left to Eastern Hyrule (the former Koholint Island) to settle down & start a family with Marin, lost contact with the king & was unavailable for that reason
4. Link & his entire bloodline were cursed with the presence of the Shadow Nightmares that bound themselves to him following their return when Koholint Island was materialized
More real world characters who were trapped in the dream besides Link:
Now that I set up scenarios why the Link from A Link to the Past, the Oracle games, and Link’s Awakening would not have been available to inherit the full Triforce from the king and put the events regarding the materialization of Koholint Island & possible aftermaths of that Link in context with the timeline, there are other real world (non-dream) characters along with items seen later on in the timeline in other Zelda games that may have originated on Koholint Island found in Link’s Awakening I want to bring up & put into context regarding the timeline as well.
The Mad Batter
The Mad Batter is another character who existed in the real world & somehow got caught up in the Wind Fish's dream. In A Link to the Past he was sleeping until Link wakes him up by sprinkling Magic Powder on a strange altar found in the well by the Smithy's Shop.
After waking him up, Link gets his magic consumption halved so that his magic meter lasts twice as long. The Mad Batter returns in Link's Awakening in a similar role.
In Link's Awakening, rather than appearing just once he shows up 3 times to increase the maximum capacity of Magic Power, Bombs, and Arrows Link can carry. Just like in A Link to the Past he's sleeping until Link wakes him up by sprinkling Magic Powder on mysterious altars. So like Link and Prince Richard, the Mad Batter is yet another confirmed real world character who somehow got caught up in the Wind Fish's dream. This is more proof that all the inhabitants of Koholint do exist outside the dream and got caught up in the dream. It wouldn't make sense nor be consistent if some were dreams while others were real.
Ganon's Shadow & Agahnim’s Shadow:
In the intro of A Link to the Past, Agahnim was shown to have taken over Hyrule Castle after gaining the trust of the king. Shortly thereafter he eliminated the king & began capturing the 7 Maidens who were the descendants of the 7 Wise Men who created the seal on the Golden Land (Dark World) which Ganon wanted to escape. He was able to capture Princess Zelda in a crystal & sent her to Turtle Rock in the Dark World, which caused the seal to open half way to allow Light Worlders into the Dark World via the gate at Hyrule Castle.
This was when Link in that game has his first battle with him & upon winning gets sent to the top of the Pyramid in the Dark World. In an attempt to stop Ganon from escaping the Dark World before the part of the seal preventing Dark Worlders from entering the Light World opens, Link tackles the 7 Dark World dungeons & collects the crystals the 7 Maidens are trapped in so the barrier around Ganon's Tower can be broken. He enters the tower & works his way to the 7th floor where he battles Agahnim for the 2nd time & destroys him. Ganon's spirit rises out of Agahnim's fallen body and Link follows him to the Pyramid where his showdown with Ganon takes place. Before the battle begins, Ganon reveals that Agahnim was his alter ego:
Link ultimately destroys Ganon & acquires the full Triforce. He goes on to his respective journeys in the Oracle games & before returning to Hyrule from those journeys gets shipwrecked in a storm & ends up trapped in the Wind Fish's dream stranded on Koholint Island. After collecting the Eight Instruments of the Sirens & playing the Ballad of the Wind Fish in front of the egg on Mount Tamaranch, Link ultimately has a showdown with the Shadow Nightmares who had been preventing the Wind Fish from waking up after taking over his dreams. At first I thought the game implied that the Nightmares had taken over the Wind Fish's dream & Koholint Island for a long time, but now I'm not sure.
It may be the case that the Shadow Nightmares were brought on by Link because as the game starts and Link wakes up in the house of Tarin & Marin, it's pointed out how monsters began suddenly showing up ever since Link was found washed ashore. What's not mentioned is if the Shadow Nightmares showed up & took over the island at the same time the monsters Marin mentions showed up or if they had been in the dream for a long time before & sent those monsters after sensing Link's presence. The latter is implied but not really confirmed. We'll take a look at these 2 scenarios later on after looking further into the Shadow Nightmares themselves.
To start off with, the Nightmares talk as a collective, meaning that each form Link fights is actually a different being and the 6 shadow beings had somehow come together as a conglomerate. Below is what they say before the battle begins:
Five out of the six Shadow Nightmares are Zelda enemies that Link had encountered before. There's the Giant Zol, Moldorm's Shadow, and Lanmola's Shadow. The remaining two of these 5 have a more personal connection with Link---namely Agahnim's Shadow & Ganon's Shadow. Link destroyed both of them before, so their presence as Shadow Nightmares seems to imply that their spirits entered the Wind Fish & manifested in his dream as shadows.
Regarding Agahnim...like the physical Agahnim in A Link to the Past, Agahnim's Shadow attacks in an identical manner where he unleashes beams of 2 types at Link where one of the types can be deflected back at him.
After defeating Agahnim's Shadow & Moldorm's Shadow, Link faces off against Ganon's Shadow, who like the physical Ganon Link destroyed in A Link to the Past, wields the trident and attacks by unleashing shadow versions of Blazing Bats in this case.
The appearance of each of these 2 Shadow Nightmares is uncanny because the identical nature of their attacks in Link's Awakening when compared to their attacks in A Link to the Past is a dead giveaway that their spirits had somehow manifested in the Wind Fish's dream. So I'm saying that the shadows of Ganon & Agahnim in Link's Awakening represent the spirits of the actual characters & not some being(s) just mimicking them. Furthermore, Ganon in Zelda II is represented by a shadow version of himself immediately following his return on the Game Over screen, so this wouldn't be the first time a spirit has been represented by a shadow in a Zelda game.
The amazing thing is that his appearance on that screen, especially his glowing white/yellow eyes, is exactly the same as Ganon's Shadow in Link's Awakening. This is a big piece of evidence that shouldn't be neglected.
The aftermath had both Link & the Wind Fish waking up at the same time. Based on the arguments of this addendum & my last blog it follows up on, Link returned to Hyrule & was at least partly (if not fully) responsible for the materialization of Koholint Island as Eastern Hyrule. So with that materialization of the dream island happening, there is another unspoken aftermath regarding the Shadow Nightmares themselves. If the island itself was materialized, then why wouldn't the Shadow Nightmares also have materialized rather than being lost forever with the dream? What if this is the way Ganon was resurrected between Link's Awakening and The Legend of Zelda? We know it had to happen somehow.
Another thing regarding this mysterious aftermath: the king of Hyrule from A Link to the Past, (who according to the blog this addendum is based on is the same king who wrote the scroll that Link reads in the story listed in the Zelda II manual) stated in the scroll that he cast a spell on Hyrule so that the one who is worthy of the full Triforce will have the Triforce mark on his hand & will be able to read the ancient language the scroll is written in.
The king also made a reference in the scroll to a final guardian that the one worthy of the full Triforce would have to face in the Great Palace.
That final guardian is the shadow of the one worthy of the Triforce of Courage himself (Link). Forget about the version of him from Ocarina of Time called Dark Link because I read about his origins, which are different (plus that's a whole different Link & era in the timeline). But the one in Zelda II is literally Link's shadow. Anyone who's played the game most likely noticed various subtle appearances of Link's shadow throughout the game, like when Link loses a life while not in fairy form.
He is also seen behind Link when Link falls in a hole...like the ones in palaces, on Maze Island, or in Death Valley (where the Magic Container is).
And Link's shadow is seen every time Link defeats a palace guardian after the explosion happens & before the key to unlock the upcoming gate drops. Considering what happens at the end of the game, it's actually pretty damn creepy how the shadow is always there lurking like that & is only seen during situations where there's a lot of bright light or the other situations I pointed out.
We even see his shadow splitting off from Link just before the final battle takes place. So given that the final test Link must defeat to prove himself worthy of the Triforce of Courage is his own shadow, which is like saying Link must even be better than himself to be worthy of the Triforce of Courage, it's interesting when it's compared to the Shadow Nightmares of Link's Awakening. Assuming that Koholint Island was materialized into a real island and the Shadow Nightmares were also brought back from their demise, it's possible that the spell the wise king cast over Hyrule that caused the Triforce mark to appear on Link's hand on his 16th birthday also caused the Shadow Nightmares (except Ganon's shadow & possibly Agahnim's shadow) to infuse with Link himself and combined to form Link's own shadow. Or more likely, maybe they had already infused themselves with Link upon their return after the materialization of Koholint but before the king cast his spell. Either of these cases would mean that the bloodline of Link's family would be infected/cursed with those Shadow Nightmares (minus Ganon's shadow) until the events of Zelda II where they were expelled as Link's shadow.
This makes sense because Link would be the one who is connected to those Nightmares as he's the one who encountered & defeated them both as physical beings & later on as shadows. They would be part of his memories and if they were to infuse/attach themselves to anyone, it would be only be appropriate that it is Link & his descendants.
Going further with this concept, the subsequent return of the Shadow Nightmares and their infusing with the Link from Link's Awakening may very well be what made that same Link unworthy of inheriting the full Triforce because it was too dangerous for him to become the heir with the evil beings that had latched onto him as his shadow. So this would mean that it wasn't until the family curse was broken by the Zelda II Link at the Great Palace when the evil Shadow Nightmares that had combined to form Link's shadow were expelled & defeated that he was able & worthy to win the Triforce of Courage.
This shadow "curse" would be another explanation besides the absence of Link (as a result of dying, going off on another journey, or starting a family with Marin) as to why the Link from A Link to the Past, the Oracle games, and Link's Awakening was not deemed worthy of inheriting the Triforce of Courage as the king wrote in the scroll. It would be awesome if this would turn out to be the official explanation given by Nintendo because it would add greater depth to the Zelda mythology with Link's bloodline being cursed & it would make sense why no member of his family won the Triforce of Courage until the events of Zelda II.
I talked about the other Shadow Nightmares but haven't yet said anything about the last Nightmare Link fights, Dethl. Well, I don't have much to say about him regarding the materialization of Koholint Island as East Hyrule, but I do have an interesting observation I made.
Take a look at Dethl. He's got that one eye, he's got 2 giant tentacle arms with stumps at the end, and he's a Shadow Nightmare. Haven't we seen something like him before? Imagine those tentacle arms severed and the stumps more closely resembling fists, but with that same single eye in the center.
That's right...Bongo Bongo, who in Ocarina of Time is referred to as a Phantom Shadow Beast who was the boss of the Shadow Temple. So timeline-wise, it would work out if Dethl turns out to be the spirit of Bongo Bongo.
The big picture regarding the Shadow Nightmares
The fact that the Shadow Nightmares are present on Koholint Island when Link is also stranded in the same dream is far too coincidental. They either had taken over the island some time prior to Link's entrapment on it because they were feeding off the Wind Fish's powers to resurrect themselves or they followed Link into the dream to get their revenge by perhaps killing Link as a means of reviving themselves. Despite these possibilities, in the aftermath of their defeat, they too were brought back to reality as Koholint was materialized by the full Triforce.
The 2 scenarios in which the Shadow Nightmares entered the Wind Fish's dream:
1. The Shadow Nightmares had taken over the Wind Fish's dream a while before Link got shipwrecked & trapped in the Wind Fish's dream
a. Abstract: This is the conventional interpretation of the events leading up to Link's Awakening. It would mean that the Shadow Nightmares sensed Link's presence & sent out the monsters Marin mentioned & seen throughout the game to stop Link because they wanted to sustain the status quo & viewed Link as a threat to it.
b. Details: Since both Ganon & Agahnim had a personal connection to Link and as shadows they would maintain that connection, they could be the reason why the Wind Fish chose to trap Link in his dream. In other words, Link getting shipwrecked & ending up on the dream island wasn't a coincidence or an accident. Instead, Link was the chosen one because even while sleeping, the Wind Fish sensed that Link (& perhaps his Ocarina of Time ancestor too if Dethl is Bongo Bongo) had destroyed Agahnim, Ganon, and the other Shadow Nightmares in the real world & knew Link could do the same in the dream world to finally allow him to wake up.
c. Motive: The motive of the Shadow Nightmares regarding invading the Wind Fish's dream & keeping him in his dream was to leech & feed off the Wind Fish's powers because that is how they planned on resurrecting themselves. In the blog this addendum is based on, I brought up that the Wind Fish is a powerful god-like being, so Ganon's & Agahnim's Shadows, and perhaps even the other 4 Shadow Nightmares as well, would have entered the dream with the purpose of reviving themselves. They not only fed on the Wind Fish's power but also fed on the life forces of the other people & beings stuck on Koholint Island (like Marin, Tarin, Richard, etc). And over time as more & more people ended up on the island, it supplied more power (life force) for the Shadow Nightmares to siphon off for their physical resurrection.
2. Just as Link was shipwrecked & got trapped in the Wind Fish's dream the Shadow Nightmares followed him into the dream & took it over
a. Abstract: This is the unconventional interpretation of the events leading up to Link's Awakening. It would mean that Link & his memories brought along those monsters & the spirits that are the Shadow Nightmares with him when he ended up in the dream on Koholint Island. After all, most of the monsters in the game were enemies from other Zelda games. Then there are the Shadow Nightmares themselves.
b. Details: Since both Ganon & Agahnim had a personal connection to Link and as shadows they would maintain that connection, they followed him around lurking, just like a shadow. In this scenario the Shadow Nightmares were the cause of the storm that shipwrecked Link causing him to enter the Wind Fish's dream. In other words, Link getting shipwrecked & ending up on the dream island wasn't an accident or freak occurence but was purposely done by the Shadow Nightmares. And this would have happened while the Wind Fish was sleeping nearby to where Link's ship happened to be in the real world. He had to have been sleeping for any dream to have happened in the first place. So in this scenario the Wind Fish was sleeping & was unaware of Link's presence or the Shadow Nightmares that had been tailing Link. He wasn't able to stop them from creating the storm that shipwrecked Link. So in this case, Link was the chosen target by the Shadow Nightmares & as a result of their attack got caught up in the Wind Fish's dream which the Shadow Nightmares also entered at the same time.
c. Motive: The motive of the Shadow Nightmares in creating the storm here was to kill Link because the death of the hero is what they needed to be revived back to their corporeal forms. With the exception of the linked ending of the Oracle games, Ganon always rose when there was no Link around to prevent it, so by eliminating Link, Ganon & perhaps Agahnim & the other Shadow Nightmares would speed up their revival. When the storm didn't kill Link but knocked him out & caused him to enter the Wind Fish's dream island of Koholint, they followed him in to finish the job. And while in the dream, they took advantage by preventing the Wind Fish from awakening & feeding on his god-like powers & life force to further strengthen themselves.
Characters who made their first appearance in Link's Awakening timeline-wise:
In Zelda II, Horsehead is the guardian of the Parapa Palace, which is the first palace in the Parapa Desert Link encounters in the game. The manual of that game mentions how the king not only made the Great Palace & its guardian but the guardians of all the other palaces as well.
The palaces & guardians were created to prevent someone from placing the crystals in the 6 statues & easily shutting down the Binding Force of the Great Palace (where the Triforce of Courage was placed) & entering it. Anyway, in Link's Awakening there was something found in the Face Shrine that could have been the king's inspiration when creating Horsehead.
That's right, there were pairs of horsehead statues that Link had to throw to open certain doors. Upon landing right side up, these statues caused doors that automatically closed to open again. Even though these statues were not enemies or bosses in any way, the first thing that came to mind when first laying my eyes on them was the boss Horsehead from Zelda II. If Koholint Island was materialized, then these statues would have materialized along with everything else on the island. And if the king visited the Face Shrine on the island that would become Eastern Hyrule after its materialization, he could have been inspired by those statues to create a Horsehead guardian in their image.
Items that made their first appearance in Link's Awakening timeline-wise:
Prior to the events that caused the materialization of Koholint Island, Link did not use a Magic Rod in the branch of the timeline that contains the 8-bit & 16-bit games. The Link from A Link to the Past had a Fire Rod and an Ice Rod, both of which consumed magic needed to use them. These rods unleashed fire and ice respectively, not a burning wave of magic like the Magic Rod found in Link's Awakening was able to produce. What's more is that the Magic Rod did not require any magic meter and could be used as much as Link wanted. The same characteristics are seen in the Magic Rod found in The Legend of Zelda, which is the next game in the timeline after Link's Awakening. So if Koholint Island and its items were materialized, then the Magic Rod would be one of those items. This means that the Magic Rod from The Legend of Zelda has its origins on Koholint Island & was materialized along with the island. The only difference is that in The Legend of Zelda, the Book of Magic was needed for the rod to unleash burning magic, otherwise without it the magic unleashed didn't burn. But as in Link's Awakening, the rod could be used as many times without magic needed to power it.
Perhaps the most important item that is explained by the materialization of Koholint Island is the Magical Sword from The Legend of Zelda & Zelda II. The Magical Sword is the strongest sword Link acquires in The Legend of Zelda and is the sword he uses throughout the game in Zelda II. A trait of the Magical Sword found in both games is how it shoots beams when Link's life meter is full. Now the Master Sword from A Link to the Past also shoots beams when Link's life is full, but the difference is the beams the Magical Sword shoots are actual sword blades and NOT a ring of magic as the Master Sword shoots.
Throughout Link's Awakening, Link finds items called Secret Seashells all over Koholint Island. There are 26 of them in total, but once he collects a minimum of 20, he can bring them over to the Seashell Mansion where he obtains the Level-2 sword. Unlike the Level-1 sword when Link's life is full, the Level-2 sword is seen shooting beams. Guess what? The beams are actually blades, just like the Magical Sword shoots out!!
So I'm saying that the Level-2 sword in Link's Awakening is the Magical Sword found in the 2 NES Zelda games. Now it's true that even the Wooden & White Swords in The Legend of Zelda shoot blade beams when Link's life is full, but based on the power of the Level-2 sword from Link's Awakening & the damage it causes to enemies, it's highly unlikely that the Level-2 sword is anything but the Magical Sword out of those 3 swords.
A Final Consideration:
In the ending of Link's Awakening, the Wind Fish says something very interesting:
If we dissect what he's saying, the meaning is that Link will one day have a daydream about Koholint Island and that daydream will be the real dream world. This sounds like he's saying that though Koholint was a dream land, it won't remain as one, but the memory of Link's adventure on it will be the real dream. This is ambiguous, but it could most certainly mean that the Wind Fish knew that Koholint wouldn't remain a dream but would become something real...something to dream about so that it is no longer part of a dream realm but instead reality. Hence memories of the time Link spent there become the real dream realm.
I really enjoyed reading between these lines and bringing this corollary to everyone since there are many clues & tidbits scattered throughout the games that can creatively be put together to fit the framework of the established timeline, especially when no such timeline was intended when these older Zelda games were made. I've had a lot of fun deducing all these possibilities and coming up with tie-ins between the Zelda games that are not mainstream but I would like them to eventualy become mainstream. This has definitely been my favorite part of my Reading Between the Lines series as this addendum makes it obvious (no other part had so much to talk about that resulted in an addendum).
Be here for Part 4 of my Reading Between the Lines series as I explain the origins of a certain character based on information & scattered clues and hopefully present a very interesting perspective on the character.