The following article is only a theory, and is not meant to be taken as anything more than that. It only reflects the opinion of the writer, and not ZeldaInformer as a whole. That said, enjoy the article!
At first, it would seem obvious that Link from Ocarina of Time was the first hero in Hyrule’s history. It has been stated several times by the developers that Ocarina of Time was the first story in the Zelda timeline (see footnotes), but could it be that a hero existed long before it? Was there in fact a hero before Ocarina of Time? Throughout this article, I will try to prove to you that there was a hero before the events of the Nintendo 64 classic.
We’ll start off with two quotes from in game text in Ocarina of Time: one from Sheik and the other from Kaepora Gaebora. Both seem to speak of what would appear to be a hero who existed long ago.
Let us begin with the quote from Sheik. After awakening in your adult body in the Temple of Time, she has this to say: “As I see you standing there holding the mythical Master Sword, you really do look like the legendary Hero of Time.”
This quote seems to suggest either that adult Link (1) looks more suitable to fit the title “legendary Hero of Time” or that (2) Link actually looks like this previous hero in his adult body. Calling Link legendary before even beginning the adult portion of his quest wouldn’t make a lot of sense, therefore it’s likely she meant the second option.
Now onto the quote from Kaepora Gaebora, who some feel is a reincarnation of an ancient sage, possibly even Rauru, the sage of light. The wise old owl has this to say: “Even I thought the tales of a boy who could travel back and forth through time was merely a legend.” The actual meaning of this sentence is unclear, as Kaepora Gaebora could have been referring to what Link had accomplished in the Spirit Temple prior to his monologue. A more plausible answer however, is that Link’s deeds reminded him of a previous hero. After seeing Link travel through time to solve a part of the Spirit Temple, he remembered the tales he had heard of a boy who had done it all before, possibly the same “legendary Hero” mentioned by Sheik. It certainly fits better than the first reason, as it’s unlikely these “legendary tales” were referring to Link from Ocarina of Time, as his journey was yet to be completed when this was said.
Just who is this supposed hero? One can’t be entirely sure, but whoever he is, he seems to be mentioned again throughout Twilight Princess. Twilight Princess’s precise placement in the timeline is disputed by fans, most likely because the only reason we have towards its place is a developer quote. And in the Zelda series, developers have been very fickle about the timeline, and one can’t always be sure they know exactly what they’re talking about. Nevertheless, as quoted by Eiji Aonuma, the director of Twilight Princess, in volume 211 of Nintendo Power:
NP: How is Twilight Princess connected to Ocarina of Time?
EA: Twilight Princess was developed with Ocarina of Time as its starting point, so there are aspects of the story that are based on Ocarina of Time. The main connection is that Twilight Princess is set [some hundreds of] years after Ocarina of Time.
Despite the concern over the authenticity of developer quotes, as well as the numerous changes of Twilight Princess’s place in the timeline throughout its development, many go with this placement, as it was said by Eiji Aonuma right around the time of the games release.
Onto the point however. Throughout Twilight Princess, an ancient hero is mentioned several times. Whether it’s the tunic you wear, or the bow you receive in the Goron Mines, they are both said to of been used by an ancient hero. Along with this, a quote from Renaldo, the Shaman of Kakariko Village:
“In Hyrule, countless tales are told of the ancient hero…and your deeds bring them to mind.”
There’s that word again. No matter which definition of ancient you’re using, they all refer to something that took place a countless amount of years ago. If Eiji Aonuma’s quote is to be believed, that Twilight Princess is set about a hundred years after Ocarina of Time, then the word “ancient” doesn’t seem befitting. Even though “about a hundred years” in the Zelda Universe usually is more than a hundred years, why use the word ancient? The word would better describe something from thousands of years ago, not hundreds, and that’s why I feel the legendary hero spoke of by Sheik and Kaepora are one in the same with the ancient hero mentioned in Twilight Princess.
To further prove this claim, we will look at a theory from fellow Bomber Seran Aileron regarding the Temple of Time. He suggests that the temple may have been used to worship the Hero of Time, much in the same way that the Jewish Messiah was worshipped throughout the Judeo-Christian religion. While I agree that the Temple of Time is somehow connected to the Hero of Time, I believe they’re connected in a completely different way. Instead of the Temple being built to pray for Hyrule’s savior, it’s possible that the temple built to worship an already existing hero during that time.
Thousands of years before the events of Ocarina of Time, Hyrule may have been saved by this supposed hero, and after completing his quest, had a temple erected in his honor. This hero would soon be called “the Hero of Time”, and if everything said so far is to be believed, then it’s likely that the temple was named after him as well. If you think about it, why else would the Temple of Time be called what it is? If its only use was to enter the Sacred Realm, why call in the Temple of Time? I would say it’s because the temple, and everything else thats name is followed by “of time” for that matter, were named after the same legendary hero spoke of by Sheik, Kaepora Gaebora, and Renaldo.
If the temple was indeed built and/or named after him, it would certainly shine light on the origins of the Master Sword as well. Sometime after Hyrule was saved, and knowing the prosperity wouldn’t last forever, this Hero’s sword would of been placed in the temple, and whoever could pull if from the pedestal would be the one destined to do what its master did thousands of years earlier.
The pieces of information I’ve gathered may prove little by themselves, but when looked at as a whole, hopefully things make more sense. I don’t exactly know what this may prove, but I found it interesting and I hope you did too. Who knows, maybe we will see a game detailing these events sometime in the future!
November 19th 1998, from Nintendo Power Source:
NP: Where do all the Zelda games fall into place when arranged chronologically by their stories?
Miyamoto: Ocarina of Time is the first story, then the original Legend of Zelda, then Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and finally A Link to the Past. It’s not very clear where Link’s Awakening fits in—it could be anytime after Ocarina of Time.
Hyrulean Hotspots: The Temple of Time – By Seran Aileron