With all of the rumors of a new chronological order of the Zelda games, I thought that I'd compile a list of the holes that need to be filled in this mess of a timeline.
Ho, boy. This is gonna be a long one. Here we go.
It's no secret that the Zelda Timeline is one of the most confusing enigmas in video game history. Miyamoto's policy of "gameplay first, story second" has made one of the best franchises ever. But, it has left a bit of an mystery as far as continuity is concerned. The debate over the timeline has been existent for years, with fanboys probably giving more thought into it then Nintendo ever has. With every new game, a new set of questions arises. "Where does this game go?" "What happened to Link after that?" "Why did Ganondorf die, but now he's alive again?" So on and so forth.
Let's face it: although many have tried, none of us are going to find the answers to these questions on our own. Nintendo, on there part, has been making their recent Zelda games fit nicely into the timeline that has been confirmed. But, their are still an abundance of questions that need answering. The trick is to ask the right ones.
That's where I come in. I have been studying the Zelda timeline for an entire hour, and have come up with ten questions that I think, if answered, will help us figure this thing out once and for all!
SPOILER ALERT: I will be talking about all of the Zelda games except for the CDi games (because they are non-canon and, more importantly, abominations to mankind) and Skyward Sword (because I haven't beaten it (-.-;) sorry, and please don't put any spoilers in the comments.
But, first, let me refresh all of you on what parts of the timeline we already know about:
- Ocarina of Time is before any game in the series except for Skyward Sword. The Minish Cap is a possible exception to this.
- At the end of Ocarina of Time, after Ganondorf is Zelda sends Link back in time. This creates two timelines: Child Timeline and Adult Timeline
- In the Child Timeline, Link warns Zelda about Ganondorf's plot. Link then goes to find his fairy, Navi, and gets ambushed by Skull Kid and is transported to Termina, a city in an alternate dimension (Majora's Mask). Link saves Termina from certain doom. He leaves Termina.
- In the Child Timeline, Ganondorf is sentenced to die, but survives the execution because he was "blessed with the chosen power of the gods." He is then banished to the Twilight Realm, where he gives Zant power. Zant then attempts to overtake Hyrule (Twilight Princess). At the end of Twilight Princess, Ganondorf dies and the only link to the Twilight Realm is destroyed by Midna.
- In the Adult Timeline, the Triforce piece that Link owned was split into 8 pieces. Hundreds of years pass. In those years, Ganon breaks out of the Sacred Realm and spread terror among Hyrule. The Goddesses flood Hyrule to contain him. Hundreds of years later, Ganondorf returns and starts searching for Zelda, kidnapping Link's sister in the process (Wind Waker). At the end of Wind Waker, Ganondorf dies and The King of Red Lions destroys Hyrule. Link and Zelda leave Hyrule to search for new lands (Phantom Hourglass) and eventually find one. The land already has some history attached to it, but this is dealt with by descendants of Link and Zelda 100 years later (Spirit Tracks)
- In the original Legend of Zelda, Ganon steals the Triforce of Power, Zelda splits the Triforce of Wisdom into eight pieces and sends Impa to find someone courageous enough to save Hyrule. She finds Link (The Legend of Zelda). Link defeats Ganon, takes the Triforce of Power from his ashes and returns it to Zelda. Months later, the symbol of the Triforce appears on Link's hand. Impa leads him to the original Zelda, who is sleeping. Impa gives link manuscripts that only the future King of Hyrule can read. Link, being able to read them, learns that he needs to obtain the Triforce of Courage to complete the Triforce and wake the original Zelda (Zelda II: The Adventure of Link). Ganon's minions are trying to kill link, as putting Link's blood onto Ganon's ashes will revive him. Link gets the Triforce and wakes Zelda. They kiss. Awww.
- Original Zelda Story: Zelda's brother was to inherit the Triforce after the King of Hyrule's death. The King told Zelda where it was, but Zelda wouldn't tell her brother or his magician friend. The magician cast dark magic on Zelda, placing her in an enchanted sleep. The magician dies in the process. Zelda's brother, ashamed of what he had done, made a decree that every princess in the Royal Family must be named Zelda.
- A Link to the Past is a prequel to the first two games. In it, Ganon has already been inside the Sacred Realm by the Seven Sages. While in the Sacred Realm, he obtains the Triforce and turns the Sacred Realm into the Dark World. Agahnim, Ganon's "alter ego" tries to break him free (A Link to the Past). At the end, Ganondorf is defeated and Link uses the Triforce to restore everything to the way that it was.
- Link's Awakening features the same Link as A Link to the Past. In it, Link goes off in a boat to train. A storm destroys his boat. He has some adventures on Koholint Island, but these are all revealed to be a dream and are not important to the overall storyline.
- Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons are direct sequels to each other. Twinrova attempts to revive Ganon, who is dead, by lighting three flames. The plot eventually fails and Twinrova is killed. Piece is restored. The game ends with Link sailing off to somewhere.
- The Four Swords timeline is it's own little beast. The Minish Cap explains the origins of the Four Sword and Vaati. At the end of the game, Vaati is trapped inside the Four Sword In the first Four Swords, Link and Zelda check on Vaati's seal. Vaati breaks free, Link puts him back into the Sword. In Four Swords Adventures, Ganondorf, after betraying his Gerudo Tribe, goes to their Sacred Pyramid and steals a trident that turns him into Ganon. The trident was originally used by an evil cult called the Tribe of Darkness. They were sealed away into the Dark Mirror. Ganon steals this as well. He uses the Dark Mirror to make Shadow Links, which kidnap the seven maidens and tricks Link into pulling the Four Sword and unleashing Vaati. Ganon also unleashes the Dark World. By the end of the game, Link saves the maidens, takes back the Dark Mirror, kills Vaati, and seals Ganon into the Four Sword.
Phew! Man, that took longer than I thought it would. Well, onto the list.
10. What happens after Majora's Mask?
At the end of Majora's Mask, Link saves everyone from giant moon death and they live happily ever after.
The Hero of Time is one of the most important characters in the whole series, but his adventure seems....incomplete. Sure, the end of Majora's Mask ends Termina's conflict nicely, but what about Link? The last time we see him, he had successfully left Termina and was riding on his horse in the woods, like in the beginning of the game. So....what then?
This question might seem unimportant, if it weren't for one thing: The Hero's Shade. In Twilight Princess, this guy teaches you all of the special moves. He is also known as the Golden Wolf. Very little is known about him, except that he "accepted the life of a hero" and that he is related to Twilight Princess' Link (as he uses the phrases "our bloodline" and "my child"). The first line indicates that he is probably a Link from a previous game, most likely Ocarina of Time. But, if this is true, how is he related to Link? He couldn't have had kids, as he was only a child when he left Hyrule. The only was he could have had descendants is if he returned at one point.. Even without the Hero's Shade factor, the fate of the Hero of Time would well worth going into.
9. Is there a point to Spirit Tracks?
Wind Waker has one of the best endings of any Zelda game. Ganondorf explains his actions, the Triforce is assembled, Ganon tries to revive Hyrule so that he can rule it, the King intervenes, wishes for Hyrule's destruction, Ganondorf dies, Hyrule is destroyed, and Link and Tetra go off to new find new lands. The King asks them to make their own land and not have it be Hyrule. It was a great way to end the Adult Timeline.
Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks came out, and in those games, Link and Tetra find their new land. Which they name Hyrule.
The King is probably spinning in his grave. Or his....water....or something.
Anyway, the new Hyrule already has some issues involving Malladus and the Lokomos, but these are dealt with in Spirit Tracks by Zelda (Tetra's granddaughter) and a new Link. They aren't a problem anymore.
So, Nintendo basically made a brand new Hyrule after saying that they wouldn't. What are they going to do with it now? Does this new Hyrule eventually become the setting for older games, such as LOZ (which would actually make sense, because the Hyrule in LOZ has a coast, unlike Ocarina or LTTP's Hyrule)? If so, how did the Triforce return from old Hyrule? Last I saw of it, it had returned to....somewhere...after being used in Wind Waker.
Or, could this be where Four Swords is set? This would explain why regular Zelda things (The Master Sword, The Triforce) are absent. Also, Spirit Tracks has four distinct sections of the world, and each one can correlate to the elements used to make the Four Sword (If you count the snow area as 'water' and the ocean area as 'wind'). But, if this is true, where do the Piccori come in? How about Ganondorf and the Gerudo? Or the Tribe of Darkness that is referenced in Four Swords Adventures? Or the Seven Maidens?
Or (and this would be the easy way out) does Nintendo have a future planned for this world? It can't be the setting of the next Zelda 3DS game, as Amouma has stated that it won't be a direct sequel to Spirit Tracks.
Spirit Tracks, like Majora's Mask, is one of the 'endings' in the Zelda series, as we don't know anything about what happens afterward. But, it would be very interesting to see how Nintendo plans to use...sigh....New Hyrule.
God, I hate saying that.
8. Original Zelda? What is this?
Some of the best Zelda stories aren't told in the games, such as the Great Flood (oh, we'll get to that) and the war between the Twili and Hyrule over the Triforce. But the earliest example of this is in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. In it, Impa tells of the first Zelda, who was put to sleep by a magician. The sign of the Triforce on Link's hand shows that Link is the one that has been chosen to awaken her. Link has to do this by gathering the pieces of the Triforce together and wishing that Zelda would awaken.
Zelda II is set after LOZ, which both come after Ocarina of Time. In that game, Link has the symbol of the Triforce on his hand. Does this mean that The Hero of Time was also meant to wake the Original Zelda, but failed? And, since LOZ and Zelda II couldn't have taken place during OoT and TP (Ganon is dead at the end of those two games, but alive in TP), does this mean that TP Link is also a failure? Same with Wind Waker Link (although, this could be because the original Zelda died in the Great Flood).
Also, since the Triforce had been assembled in A Link to The Past, could've it been used to awaken Zelda instead of what it was used for? So, does this make LTTP Link a failure as well?
Also, this is "Legend of Zelda," and all Princesses have been named Zelda since. So what's the deal behind the naming of Skyward Sword Zelda? She's not a Princess! Well...not yet, maybe. Once again, I haven't beaten Skyward Sword. If this is explained in that game...well, then, I just wasted some of your time, as well as mine. Sorry.
But, if it isn't explained, then does that mean that the Original Zelda came before Skyward Sword? If so, then when?
Also, Link can read the manuscripts that only the future King of Hyrule can read. Since nothing is confirmed to be after Zelda II, where does this plotline go? Does Link become King?
I think that Nintendo's best way to deal with this question would be to make either the legend into a whole game, or a direct sequel to Zelda III. They could bring in Retro Studios and make it a sidescroller. Or top down. Or first-person. At this point, I'm just rambling on about nothing. WHAT IF IT'S ALL TINGLE'S DREAM??? Next number:
7. What happens to Ganon at the end of A Link to the Past?
At the end of a Link to the Past, Link, after defeating Ganon, gets a wish from the Triforce. He wishes for everything to be back the way that it was before Agahnim interfered.
So where does that leave Ganondorf?
Did Link kill him? Is he still in the Sacred Realm? Is the Triforce still in the Sacred Realm? Could he use Agahnim to try and break out again?
Admittedly, this question isn't as big or important as the others, but it needs to be brought up that Ganon's fate is uncertain after this game. I intend to bring up the uncertainty later in this blog. Starting....NOW!
6. Does the end of the Oracle Games match up with the beginning of Link's Awakening?
This one might seem to be an easy answer, but there is more than meets the eye. In the linked ending of the Oracle games, Link defeats Twinrova, who is trying to revive a dead Ganondorf. After this, peace is restored to Hyrule, and Link sails away to...somewhere.
This brings us into Link's Awakening, where Link starts out sailing. His boat crashes, he lands on an island, yadda yadda yadda. It's easy to see that these games are connected, right? Right?
Well....here's the thing.
In the Link's Awakening manual, it is said that Link had defeated Ganon and saved Hyrule. He went out in search of a quest of enlightenment and training. On his return from this quest, he was shipwrecked, lands on an island, etc.
This heavily implies that the Link from LTTP is the same as the Link from LA. Which would mean that the LTTP Link was also the Oracle Link. This might be possible, as Link could have saved Hyrule (LTTP), stopped Twinrova from reviving Ganon (Oracle games), went on a journey, then was shipwrecked on his return (LA).
While this theory has some issues (why does Zelda not know Link in the Oracle games?), it is the best one I could find. However, it does confirm that Link killed Ganon in LTTP, which is a bit of a problem....
5. How does Ocarina of Time connect to A Link to the Past?
The beginning of LTTP tells of the Imprisoning War, a war waged between Ganondorf and Hyrule. Ganon broke into the Sacred Realm and took the Triforce. Ganondorf then tried to rule over Hyrule, but he was stopped when the Seven Sages sealed him into the Sacred Realm.
This war sounds a lot like the events of Ocarina of Time. Even the developers admitted to having this in mind while making Ocarina. So, A Link to the Past is a direct sequel to Ocarina of Time. It deals with Ganon's imprisonment, return and death. Plain and simple, right?
If only. If only.
See, we already have direct sequels to Ocarina. These are Twilight Princess and Wind Waker. Both of them deal with Ganondorf's imprisonment, return and death. So there is no place for LTTP in the timeline, unless it's in a third dimension that was created after the ending of Ocarina of Time. That...would be insane. Three dimensions? Does Miyamoto want us to go insane?
Of course he does. That should be obvious by now.
4. Where is the Triforce in Twilight Princess?
Twilight Princess features one of the best cutscenes in the entire series. This is Ganondorf's execution. After being seen as guilty for crimes against Hyrule, he finally gets what's coming to him.
But something goes wrong.
Ganondorf survives the execution due to having been "blessed with the power of the gods."
Now, this can mean one of two things:
1. Ganondorf had already acquired the Triforce of Power. He had broken into the Sacred Realm, and then got caught by The Hero of Time in the Child storyline. But, it is never stated that Ganondorf's power is the Triforce. The same goes for Zelda and Link's power.
2. Ganondorf is the rightful owner of the Triforce of Power, chosen by the goddesses.
If the first is true, then there is an unexplained gap in between Ocarina and Twilight Princess, where Ganondorf breaks into the Sacred Realm after Link tells Zelda of his plot. How he was eventually captured and executed while he had the Triforce of Power is beyond me.
But, if the second is true...that's just messed up.
All of the Zelda games before have made it clear that Ganondorf stole the Triforce, whether it was LOZ, LTTP or Ocarina. But if the goddesses had already determined that Ganondorf was the rightful owner....why? He's evil! What was the goddesses' purpose for this?
Once again, I have the sneaking suspicion that the answer might lie within Skyward Sword, and if it does, I am sorry for wasting your time. And, please, no spoilers in the comments.
3. The Great Flood.
Yea, I said we'd come back to this.
This one is less of a question that needs to be answered, but a game that needs to be made to fill a hole in the timeline.
In the prologue to Wind Waker, it is revealed that after Ocarina of Time (in the Adult Timeline) Ganon broke free of the Sacred Realm because it weakened. He spread horror onto the land, and the people prayed to the gods. With Link gone (Zelda sent him back to the Child Timeline) the gods decided to seal Hyrule away by flooding it. The gods preserved Hyrule and The Master Sword, and the mountaintops that remained above the water became islands.
There was a rumor going on for a while that the next Zelda game (which turned out to be Skyward Sword) would focus on the flood. The rumored game, called "Valley of the Flood," would not feature a Link, which makes sense. THIS GAME NEEDS TO HAPPEN!
Just think: storywise, it would be a combination of Majora's Mask and Halo: Reach. We would already know the outcome: Hyrule is flooded and lots of people die. And it could be connected to Wind Waker, as The King of Red Lions could be a character, and we can see what happened to the Zoras (I think that they became the bird people? Maybe?) and Gorons (I think that they went extinct except for that one dude? Maybe?), where Jabun and Valoo came from, and how Zelda divided her piece of the Triforce and turned her family into pirates.
Anyway, back to the confusing stuff.
2. How many Ganons are there?
This one is very straightforward, but still deserves to be asked. We all know that there are multiple Links, Zeldas and Hyrules (stupid Spirit Tracks), but what about Ganon. It's never explicitly stated weather each new Ganon is a different Ganon, or weather the same one is present throughout the entire series.
What we do know is that the first one is in Ocarina of Time. That Ganon is also in Twilight Princess, A Link to the Past, and Wind Waker. Every other Ganon hasn't been confirmed to be in any other game. The LOZ Ganon died in that game. In the Oracle games, Ganon is dead. And in Four Swords Adventures, Ganondorf is given a brand new origin which involves the Tribe of Darkness (What is up with the Tribe of Darkness anyway? What's their deal).
Anyway, these Ganons may or may not be connected, but if we knew for sure, then that would really help clear up the timeline. For example, if Ocarina Ganon is LOZ Ganon, then LOZ has to take place before that Ganon dies in TP, WW or (maybe) LTTP. If LTTP Ganon is also Oracle Ganon, then the theory that Oracle is a direct sequel to LTTP and a direct prequel to LA is most likely true. So on and so forth.
1. Is Four Swords Canonical?
Four Swords. Those three stupid games.
A sub-series of the main Zelda series, Minish Cap, Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures are some of the hardest games to fit into the Zelda timeline. No Triforce, no Master Sword, Ganon and Zelda are present, what the Piccori or the Tribe of Darkness have to do with anything else; everything manages to be at a conflict with at least one other Zelda game.
So I have to ask: is it part of the timeline at all?
The original Four Swords was just a bonus game with the GBA. It's plot was essentially meaningless. Did Nintendo ever think of it as part of the main storyline? Or was it just, like the game itself, a bonus?
Minish Cap, as awesome as it was, didn't help either. It created a backstory that had no placement with any other Zelda game. To this day, we don't know if it's older than what used to be the oldest game chronologically, Ocarina of Time. Four Swords has always been the exception.
Even in Four Swords Adventures, when Ganon is introduced into the sub-series, he is given a different origin. The storyline of the game was even rumored to be changed by Miyamoto late in development. The game was first designed to be the Imprisoning War from LTTP, which would have been a HUGE DEAL, because it would've meant that Ocarina was not the Imprisoning War, as previously confirmed, but just something else that happened.
You see what I mean? Everything would be so much clearer if they just came out and said "This stuff isn't part of the main storyline." And it would give the games a whole new light, as people would stop trying to fit them in the timeline, like mismatched puzzle pieces.
The Zelda timeline is messed up. And was probably the worst subject for me to tackle on my first blog. Oh well. We've made it this far.
I think that the entire confusion of the timeline can be boiled down to two people: Miyamoto, whose game design policies have made this entire thing impossible to solve, and Princess Zelda.
Yea, you heard me right.
Zelda screwed up big time. This is the Zelda from Ocarina of Time, just to clarify. Ocarina is the first Zelda game in the timeline (I'LL BEAT SKYWARD SWORD SOON AND PUT IT'S SIGNIFICANCE INTO A NEW BLOG, I SWEAR!) and, since Zelda is the one that sent Link back in time, she created the Child and Adult Timelines. In the Adult Timeline, a lack of a hero caused the Great Flood (this is why we need a Great Flood game, people!) and Zelda destroyed Hyrule.
And here's the kicker: Zelda sent Link back so that he could have his childhood back. So what does Link do? He gets caught up in the execution of Ganondorf, then does off and nearly gets crushed by a moon! And what happens after that? WE DON'T KNOW!! (see #10) Did Link get back to Hyrule? Did he get his precious childhood? Or did he just spend his childhood as we saw him at the end of Majora's Mask, exploring the forest and caves?
Wait a minute. Exploring the forests and caves as a kid....why does that sound familiar? Has someone else ever done that?
OH. MY. GOD.
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