You know, every now and then I have a crazy idea. Now normally, I would just try to ignore it until it eventually goes away. But not this time. For this week’s edition of HTHIHGTIZIHPTW, also known as How The Heck Is He Going To Incorporate Zelda In His Post This Week, I will be trying to make sense of the Zelda timeline. For those of you unaware of the Zelda timeline, it essentially contains the chronological order of each Zelda game. Now you wouldn’t that it would be that crazy until you remember that Zelda is a franchise that deals with time in multiple games. Due to this, one game in particular in fact, the timeline actually splits off into three separate timelines. If that doesn’t complicate things enough, the latest game in the series drastically affects the entire timeline. So I thought I would try to do an analysis on this timeline to see if I can try to make some sense of why the timeline is so strange. Do realize that a lot of this is going to be speculation that I do not have concrete evidence for so bear that in mind. With that being said, just hear me out and see if you have ever thought something similar. That is if anyone else was bored or insane enough to try to put this to writing. Hopefully there is at least someone. Anyone? Okay moving on to the biggest title responsible for this mess, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
For those reading you are not familiar with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, it was the first 3D Zelda that forever changed the way we think about Zelda and would influence games that followed after for decades to come. Of course the timeline is included when I say that. As I mentioned earlier this is where the timeline splits into three. I will give a little bit of plot background so you can understand how each timeline came to be. The game’s first half involves you, Link, trying to get to the Sacred Realm before Ganondorf in order to protect the Triforce from him and save Hyrule. Unfortunately due to the fact that this is a poorly thought out plan, you end up allowing Ganondorf access to the Triforce unhindered and he absorbs the Triforce of Power with the other two pieces, the Triforce of Wisdom and the Triforce of Courage, go find those worthy of wielding them. In an unsurprising twist, princess Zelda gets the Triforce of Wisdom while you get the Triforce of Courage. After finally defeating Ganondorf in his beast form, Ganon, he is sealed away and you travel back to make sure that Ganondorf cannot enter the Sacred Realm, thus giving you the moniker of The Hero of Time. That is a pretty short synopsis I know, but it is all that we need to look at the timelines. Now, two of the timelines stemming from the events of this game are the Child era and the Adult era. The Child era is the timeline taking place when you go back in time to prevent Ganondorf from entering the Sacred Realm whereas the Adult era is when after you have sealed Ganon, the hero has disappeared and the world lives on remembering your legacy as The Hero of Time. The third timeline is actually kind of crazy as that timeline only exists if you die and fail in your quest, allowing Ganon to reunite the Triforce and corrupt the Sacred Realm. He eventually gets sealed in that realm by seven sages which leads to the events of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the preceding game in the series. That’s right, every game in the series before this one, was on the worst possible timeline. Yikes. Now that we’ve gotten the background out of the way, time for some theorizing.
Now the question we need to ask here is why does this game split itself into three different timelines? It isn’t as if each time Link dies another alternate reality is created so what is so special about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I believe the answer lies in the Triforce, or more accurately the splitting of the Triforce that takes place in this game. This is the first time we see the Triforce getting split and it remains split in each timeline with the sole exception of the one where Ganon wins and pieces it back together. Although it that timeline it still doesn’t manage to stay together for the whole timeline and becomes split multiple times after Ganon puts it back together. My theory is that splitting the timeline caused time to become unstable and caused rifts allowing for different timelines to form. After all, gathering the Triforce seems to be the most consistent theme in each timeline and no matter which timeline you end up on, the Triforce never stays together. It would also help explain how the pieces of the Triforce can consistently stay with the same individuals across timelines. What is interesting to note is that while the Triforce of Courage does not have a fixed owner in the other two eras with it usually having to be found or earned, in the Child Era timeline the Triforce of Courage awakens on the embodiment of courage of that era. The Triforce always remains whole no matter what timeline we are on. As for why evil always comes back to haunt the same people in each timeline, I could just say because videogames but thankfully The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword gives me a better explanation. The bad guy of that game places a curse on Zelda and Link so that those who inherent Zelda’s bloodline and Link’s courage will be forced to fight the incarnation of his hatred throughout time. No matter what timeline, Zelda and Link will always be locked in a battle of good vs. evil until the end of time.
Now speaking of the end of time, I would like to draw attention to the end of the timeline, or should I say timelines since every timeline end at the same place: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This honestly makes no sense no matter how you try to explain it, unless you believe that at some point the timelines end up converging into one timeline once again. Now if we were to go off of my theory, the only way for this to take place is that in each timeline the Triforce is reunited and the Sacred Realm is restored. Then if would be possible for the other timelines to converge into one singular timeline. From what I can see from the final game in the timeline, so far it looks as though the full Triforce exists within Zelda as seen in one of the flashbacks. It was said that the reason the Triforce split in the first place was due to evil coveting its power so it is possible that good people from all different timelines could potentially keep the Triforce connected long enough to stabilize the timeline that went out of sync due to the events of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. After all, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild does seem like a combination of different aspects of many Zelda games from different timelines from the art style to the combat to even the exploration. I obviously don’t have any proof for this since what I describe takes place in a game that does not exist yet. However, it is very likely that the Triforce, the most powerful object in the land of Hyrule would be responsible for both the shift in the timeline and its inevitable correction. It is possible something else could be the cause of everything or Nintendo decided not to bother trying to make sense of things at some point, but at least give me credit for trying to make sense of this mess. Anyway, that’s all I got. Let me know if you think any of this makes sense to you. If not, well thanks for at least hearing me out.