Magic and Mythology

Magic and Mythology

A Bombers Guest Article by James Hurvid (Raien)


article is dedicated to explaining all the magical mysteries of the

Zelda series; everything that has confused players and created debates

about the way that magic works. I have not written an explanation for

every magical power, because in many cases there is nothing more to say

than what is clearly established in the games. For example, everything

that we know about the Ocarina of Time and the Wind Waker is clearly

explained in the games; they have no purpose over the course of the

timeline and there are no origins to establish. There is no mystery

surrounding them to solve.

The Triforce and the Sacred Realm


to creation stories, the world of Hyrule was made by three golden

goddesses. Din, the goddess of Power, formed the red rock; Nayru, the

goddess of Wisdom, established the laws of nature; and Farore, the

goddess of Courage, created all the living things that would inhabit

this world. With their work completed, the goddesses returned to the

heavens to watch over Hyrule. At the point in time and space where they

departed from the world, a relic made of three golden triangles was

left behind; the Triforce. The three golden triangles that make up the

Triforce embody the three virtues of the goddesses: Power, Wisdom and

Courage. And just as the three virtues of the goddesses created peace

for the people of Hyrule, the Triforce maintains that state of order,

serving as the basis of Hyrule’s providence, as the goddesses intended.

Triforce from Ocarina of Time

The Triforce, as depicted in Ocarina of Time.


the Triforce also gives power to the deepest desires of any individual

who touches it, in effect granting the holder’s deepest wish. The

Essence of the Triforce is a voice that speaks to the hearts of the

people who approach it. Just as the gods had made the world in the

image of their hearts, the Triforce can remake the world and its

inhabitants into an image of the holder’s heart. The Triforce is only

concerned with the three virtues that it maintains, so it cannot judge

the nature of benevolence and evil. Neither can it control its own

effect on Hyrule. This means that evil hearts can use the Triforce to

destroy the goddesses’ creations, just as benevolent hearts can use it

to protect the goddesses’ creations.

When someone takes the

Triforce and their wish becomes active, no one else will be able to

have their own wishes granted until the holder loses the Triforce. When

this happens, the holder’s wish also ends and the Triforce returns to

its original place and purpose, until someone else appears to claim it.

Of course, if the holder is immortal, or gains immortality as part of

the wish, then the wish remains active indefinitely. This makes the

Triforce more dangerous in evil hands, because their hearts desire

power and they can gain immortality as a consequence.


location of the Triforce’s resting place is most commonly known as the

Sacred Realm, a parallel dimension to the world of Hyrule. The power of

the Triforce flows into Hyrule through various gateways leading to the

Sacred Realm, such as the elemental temples in Ocarina of Time.

However, the Sacred Realm also reflects the desires that an individual

has when they are empowered by the Triforce. Even with a single piece

of the Triforce, the Sacred Realm transformed into the reflection of

Ganondorf’s evil heart, generating evil power. When the individual

whose heart is reflected by the Sacred Realm dies, then the Sacred

Realm returns to its original state until someone else claims the


Explaining how the Sacred Realm connects to Hyrule is

a confusing issue, because the gateways appear to change in each game.

Both Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past feature a

main entrance to the Sacred Realm, in the Temple of Time and Hyrule

Castle’s gate respectively. The passage was not completely functional

in A Link to the Past, and people who entered were not able to leave. In Twilight Princess, the Temple of Time no longer appears to be connected to the Sacred Realm. The power of the Sages in Ocarina of Time

also allowed Link to travel directly from the Sage temples to the

Chamber of Sages within the Sacred Realm. Ganondorf’s evil power was

also able to flow into Hyrule through the Sage temples. In A Link to the Past,

there were magical portals that let Link travel to the Sacred Realm

from Hyrule, but not return. It is very possible that these portals are

related to the Sage temples, since evil power could flow through them

as well, infecting the young boy in Kakariko Village.

Sacred Realm Triforce

The Sacred Realm, and the Triforce within, from A Link to the Past’s Manual.

In Ocarina of Time,

the Triforce pieces were separated from each other when Ganondorf tried

to make his wish. In the possession of the three characters chosen by

destiny; Link, Zelda and Ganondorf, the pieces acted differently to the

Triforce as a whole. The three pieces didn’t reflect their holders’

hearts, but provided them with power to reflect the character traits

they represent. Link was provided with power to reflect his courageous

nature, Zelda was provided with power to reflect her wise nature, and

Ganondorf, as the man who touched the Triforce, was given the virtue

that he most believed in; Power. As such, the Triforce of Power gave

strength to the object of his power, which was his evil magic; the

power of Darkness.

One question that has arisen is why the Triforce splits in Ocarina of Time, but not in A Link to the Past’s backstory. We are told in Ocarina of Time

that according to legend, the Triforce would split if the person who

touched it lacked the balance of Power, Wisdom and Courage in his

heart. This came true in Ocarina of Time, but not in A Link to the Past’s

backstory, despite that an evil man called Ganondorf touched the

Triforce in both events. Three explanations have been provided for the

discrepancy. The first is that the Triforce was only destined to split

during Ocarina of Time, as part of the legend prophesying the Hero of Time. The second is that Ganon in A Link to the Past shares the same soul as Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time, and so the Triforce will no longer split in his hands. The third is that Ganondorf in A Link to the Past possessed a balance of the three virtues. Since it was Ganondorf’s lust for power that made him imbalanced in Ocarina of Time, then Ganondorf in A Link to the Past must have possessed an imbalanced heart as well. This leaves destiny as the only explanation for the single Triforce split.

Light and Darkness: An Introduction

The war between Light and Darkness has been a central crux in the Zelda mythology since the release of Ocarina of Time, becoming much more prominent with the release of Four Swords Adventures and Twilight Princess.

Light and Darkness are contrasting forms of magic that serve as

metaphors for moral values. Light represents everything good about the

world and human hearts; acting as the protection of Hyrule and its

people. Darkness represents all the forces of evil in the world,

feeding off the destruction and suffering in Hyrule and using that

energy to conquer the world that Light protects. Through this

symbolism, Light and Darkness are absolutes that change the entire

world with their presence. Where there is love, there is happiness and

peace. Where there is greed, there is malice and destruction. This can

give human emotions a semi-physical presence in Hyrule, where they can

change people who come into contact with them.


Light Arrow Ocarina of TimeThe

power of Light is the embodiment of benevolence in Hyrule; magic that

grows strong in the presence of benevolent human emotions, such as love

and kindness. In other forms, the power of Light is a creation of the

three goddesses, with the purpose of banishing the Darkness that brings

destruction to the world. Light was first established as a form of

magic when the Light Arrows were revealed in Ocarina of Time, as part of the change in the Zelda mythology.

In Twilight Princess,

it was revealed that Hyrule was bathed in Light magic to protect it.

The sources of this magic are the four orbs of Light that are protected

by the Light Spirits; Ordon, Faron, Eldin and Lanayru. Without the orbs

of Light, the Sun’s rays cannot reach Hyrule, and the kingdom becomes

shrouded in darkness. The Light Spirits were also tasked by the

goddesses with sealing the dark magic of the Twili’s ancestors away,

which they did by hiding the Fused Shadows from human reach.

Light Spirits Twilight Princess

The Light Spirits in the finale of Twilight Princess.


are two main weapons of Light in the current mythology; the Master

Sword and the Light Arrows. Before Light magic was established in Ocarina of Time,

the Silver Arrows were the only weapons that could kill Ganon, because

silver possesses demon-killing properties in European folklore. The

Master Sword did not originally have the power to harm Ganon either,

although that could be because Ganon had already taken the whole

Triforce. Ocarina of Time established the Master Sword as the

weapon needed to kill Ganon, in the place of the Silver Arrows. The

Light Arrows were introduced in a supporting role, with the ability to

stun Ganon but not hurt him.

The Master Sword is a weapon that

was forged by ancient sages for the destined Hero to banish evil in

Hyrule. Its power to repel evil comes from the light granted to it by

the goddesses, and the Sages’ prayers to the goddesses in the Earth and

Wind Temples maintain that power. Before the Hero can wield the Master

Sword, the goddesses demand that the Hero proves his strength and

courage, which often requires the acquisition of three magical stones.

The Master Sword has also served as the key to various seals. When the

Temple of Time was built, also by the ancient sages, the Master Sword

was placed there as the key to entering the Sacred Realm. This was

because if evil people were able to take the spiritual stones and the

Ocarina of Time, they would still be repelled by the Master Sword’s

power. Then, in The Wind Waker’s backstory, the Master Sword was also used by the goddesses to hold the seal on Ganondorf and his magic in Hyrule.


the nature of Light corresponds with benevolent human emotions, Link

and Zelda act as the human representatives of Light in Hyrule. Link is

blessed with the extraordinary courage and determination of his

bloodline, which he uses to rescue the people he loves when they are

taken by the forces of Darkness. As Link embarks on his quest to save

them, he discovers that not only his friends and family are in danger,

but the whole kingdom needs to be saved from Darkness. Link’s spirit is

strong enough to face the challenge, and this is what defines him as

the Hero. Princess Zelda is blessed with the wisdom of Hyrule’s royal

lineage, the power of prophecy and the ability to sense approaching

evil. As a Sage, she also possesses their power as well. But what makes

Zelda especially important is her place in the people’s hearts. As

Hyrule’s princess, Zelda is symbolic of the people’s hope for salvation

from evil. If Zelda falls captive, the people fall into insecurity and

then despair. The forces of Darkness can then prey on the people’s

sadness. If Light is to be sustained in Hyrule, Zelda must be protected.

Master Sword Twilight PrincessThe Hero’s Spirit in Twilight Princess

tells us that Link’s bloodline carries the power of Courage, and we can

deduce from this that the Knights of Hyrule are of the same bloodline

as the Heroes. The power of Wisdom, on the other hand, is passed down

among the bloodlines of the Sages. Zelda is the strongest of the Sages

and their leader, and her power is carried by the bloodline of Hyrulian

Royalty. The appearances of Link and Zelda over the course of the

timeline is then ordained by destiny; they appear to fight a rising

tide of evil. Of course, a Hero did not appear in the backstory to The Wind Waker, but this could be because Ganondorf had broken the Master Sword’s power by killing the Sages.



power of Darkness is the embodiment of evil in Hyrule. As such, it is

magic that grows strong in the presence of evil human emotions, such as

greed and malice, and then reflects that power to bring further

destruction and suffering upon the world. Darkness also exists as an

absence of Light, so it takes control where the Light fades. By

blotting out the Light that protects Hyrule, Hyrule can be transformed

into the Dark World, just like the Sacred Realm in A Link to the Past. In Twilight Princess, this Darkness took the form of Shadow Crystals, items that blotted out the light with their presence.


origins of Darkness are currently unexplained in the series. One

possibility is that it is the manifestation of evil in human hearts; an

offshoot of the free will that the goddesses gave humanity. In the

creation story of Twilight Princess, it was told that the

goddesses gave all humans equal power and happiness, but in their

greed, the humans fought and killed each other to take the Triforce. It

was in the midst of this fighting that a tribe emerged wielding dark

powers, thoroughly corrupted by their own lust for power.

Alternatively, the goddesses could have made Darkness at the same time

as Light, to create equilibrium between the two forces. The human heart

is incomplete without both benevolence and evil to balance it, and this

balance takes form as Light and Dark magic.

Twilight Princess GanondorfAlthough Darkness takes many forms in the Zelda

series, it has only one true master; Ganon, the Demon King of Darkness.

Where Ganon’s power spreads, the land and people are consumed by evil.

In the true form of a monstrous pig, Ganon’s only desire is for the

total conquest of Hyrule and the world around it. Ganon was originally

a human named Ganondorf; the king of the Gerudo tribe of the desert,

who lived as thieves. Just as Link and Zelda are human representations

of light and benevolence, Ganondorf was the human representation of

darkness and evil, which eventually led to the loss of his human form

and his disassociation with the tribe he once led. Miyamoto once

referred to him as the representation of greed, which is not only his

defining trait as a character, but almost certainly the trait that

caused the Triforce to split in Ocarina of Time. The origins of Ganondorf’s greed and hatred were briefly explained in The Wind Waker,

when Ganondorf brought back memories of how the wind brought death and

misery to the Gerudo Tribe, but life and prosperity to the Hyrulians.

Ganondorf’s people were not protected by the goddesses, so Ganondorf

defied them and attempted to take Hyrule for himself. In his judgments,

Ganondorf was almost certainly influenced by the Gerudo witches who

raised him, Koume and Kotake. No doubt they were also responsible for

teaching him the evil magic he used to curse the peoples of Hyrule.

His parallel deaths in Twilight Princess and The Wind Waker, did not mark the end of his existence, as there have been other appearances of Ganondorf in the timeline since then. In Four Swords Adventures,

Ganondorf was again born to the Gerudo tribe. This time he became the

Demon King when he found an ancient trident that contained the power of

darkness. Another appearance occured when Ganon became the Demon King

in the backstory to A Link to the Past and was later revived to appear in the original Legend of Zelda1.

It is currently unknown whether these incarnations are different souls

reappearing, like Link and Zelda, or whether it is the same soul being

reincarnated after death. However, the fact that Ganon’s soul can be

brought back from death, as shown in Zelda II and the Oracle games’ finale, suggests that we are seeing the same soul in every game.

The object that gave Ganon his power and true form in Four Swords Adventures

was a trident that contained the power of Darkness. This dark Trident

was hidden within an ancient pyramid, which was built by the ancestors

of the Zuna tribe as a tomb for Gerudo warriors. Although the Trident

became lost from Gerudo legend, many warriors before Ganondorf were

drawn to the power within the pyramid and died trying to reach it. Next

to the Trident stood a stone tablet with writing in an ancient

language, which said whoever should take the Trident would become the

King of Darkness. In the Japanese translation, the “King of Darkness”

title is reserved for Ganon, implying here that the Trident was

reserved for Ganon’s possession, though by whom it is unclear. The

importance of the Trident is that Ganon was depicted wielding it in A Link to the Past and in the final battle of the Oracle games. This tells us that even after death, the Trident became a permanent accessory to Ganon’s own evil power.


Dark World is the dominion of Ganon; land and sea that has been

transformed by dark magic and monsters. The Dark World first appeared

in A Link to the Past, when the Sacred Realm filled with dark

magic to reflect Ganon’s evil heart. The Triforce’s power also

transformed everyone who entered the Dark World into reflections of

their own hearts. In Four Swords Adventures, the Dark World appeared again, but this time it was transforming Hyrule itself. Had Ganon defeated Link in Four Swords Adventures,

the Dark World would have blanketed Hyrule. Princess Zelda said herself

that Vaati was trying to turn Hyrule into a dark world, before it was

revealed that Ganon was actually the cause of the spreading Darkness.

Although the power of the Triforce can dispel the darkness from the

Sacred Realm, the Dark World can keep its form in Hyrule even after

Ganon dies, as is evidenced by the Underworld in Zelda II, then known to the Japanese as the World of Spirits.

Agahnim Official ArtIn A Link to the Past,

Ganon was forced to take on another form: the wizard, Agahnim. In the

game’s backstory, Ganon was trapped in the Dark World because he could

not find a way back into Hyrule. Then when the Sages sealed the passage

to the Dark World from Hyrule, Ganon found himself unable to create his

own portal to Hyrule. So Ganon split his soul, sending a fragment of

his mind and magic into Hyrule in the guise of Agahnim. The Ocean King

did the same thing in Phantom Hourglass, creating the old man

Oshus to escape Bellum’s grasp in the Temple of the Ocean King. As

Agahnim, Ganon secretly brought about seemingly natural disasters upon

Hyrule, and ended them in order to gain the King’s favour. In the name

of the King, Agahnim called the descendants of the Sages to Hyrule

Castle, where he sacrificed them to break the Sages’ seal. Agahnim was

defeated by Link at the end of the game, and he re-united with Ganon’s

soul for the final battle.

Servants of Darkness in Hyrule


is a dark character whose identity has changed quite strongly in each

of the three games that he’s appeared in. In the original Four Swords

game, Vaati was simply an evil wind mage, who took pleasure in

kidnapping maidens and making them his property. At that time, Vaati

was never properly connected to Darkness, nor did he appear to want

dominance over Hyrule. But in The Minish Cap, Vaati was given

new origins and a new purpose for evil. He began his life in the

alternate dimension of the Minish; a realm populated by a tiny people

who excelled in magic. Vaati was an apprentice to a sage called Ezlo,

and stole Ezlo’s wishing cap to obtain powerful magic. Vaati then

stepped through the hundred year portal to Hyrule, and set to work on

finding the Light Force; a source of limitless magical power. Upon

discovering that Zelda possessed it, he extracted most of the Light

Force before Link interrupted the process and defeated Vaati with the

Four Sword. But questions have since arisen as to how Vaati’s defeat

leads into the backstory of Four Swords. Was Vaati killed in the final

battle? Did he keep the power of the Light Force after his defeat?

Where did his wind powers come from? Are the two characters entirely

different altogether? These questions have yet to be answered, although

one suggestion is that since Vaati’s appearance as a wind mage is the

form he took after draining the Light Force from Zelda, that he was

able to revive himself with the Light Force’s power.

Vaati Official ArtFour Swords Adventures took place after Four Swords and also abandoned Vaati’s obsession with kidnapping maidens for personal pleasure. Four Swords Adventures

also introduced Vaati as the assumed King of Darkness, until Ganon

replaced him when he took the magical Trident. This cements the fact

that Vaati wields the power of Darkness, which may or may not be

sourced from the remaining power of the Light Force that reflected his

evil heart. Vaati’s defeat in Four Swords Adventures once again

suggests he died, since he vanished in a puff of smoke, but it is not

impossible that Vaati will return in a future episode of the Four Swords series.

The Fused Shadows was a relic introduced in Twilight Princess,

which possessed the combined dark magic of an ancient tribe. When the

tribe tried to use their magic to find and control the Sacred Realm,

the goddesses called upon the Light Spirits to seal the Fused Shadows

away. The tribe was then sealed within the Twilight Realm, changing

their form to become the Twili. One piece of the Fused Shadows was left

for the Twili as a reminder of their ancestors’ greed. Midna inherited

that piece and wore it as a helmet in her imp form. Many players have

connected the power of the Fused Shadows to the Twilight Realm, but it

is very unlikely that they are related. The sealing of the Fused

Shadows predates the tribe’s first-known connection to the Twilight

Realm and the term “shadows” can refer to Darkness in the Zelda

mythology, which appears to be the case here as the Fused Shadows is

undoubtedly an evil power. When the Darkness within the Twilight Realm

invaded Hyrule, the Fused Shadows responded to its presence and

transformed into evil monsters. The Fused Shadows possessed tremendous

power, but it was destroyed when Midna used it to fight Ganondorf, who

later crumbled the relic in his hand.

Mirror of Twilight Shard PieceThe Twilight Mirror was an

object created by the goddesses to connect Hyrule with the Twilight

Realm. After the Twili’s ancestors were sent through it into the

Twilight Realm, the mirror was left in the charge of the Sages, who

used it as part of their execution rituals. But the Twilight Mirror had

acquired an evil power, and when Zant broke the Twilight Mirror and

scattered the shards around Hyrule, they transformed into evil

monsters, which Link had to defeat to return them to their original

forms. The source of the mirror’s evil appears to be the malice of the

criminals that were executed in the Arbiter’s Grounds, for that malice

filled the grounds with evil power as well.


Destiny has played a pivotal role in the console Zelda games since A Link to the Past,

with every game featuring a prophecy of the Hero destined to save

Hyrule from evil. The architects of destiny are the goddesses, who have

often been responsible for the arrival of a Hero to fight evil. The use

of destiny serves two main purposes in the series; the first being to

emphasize Link’s existence as the savior of Hyrule. To be chosen by

destiny sounds much more impressive than to become the Hero by chance,

and it creates a new meaning behind Link’s abilities to fight the

greatest evils in the world. The other purpose of destiny is that it

can be used to explain why events only occur in one game and not in

others. One of the reasons why events in the timeline are rarely

connected is because the developers want the freedom to work with new

ideas, but without getting tied to the events that occurred in previous

games. By tying an event to a single prophecy, the developers don’t

have to consider that event in the future.

The Wind Waker Link Official ArtFor example, Young Link in Ocarina of Time

was not old enough to wield the Master Sword, so he was sealed away for

seven years, where he grew up to become an adult. But it was not

necessary for Link in The Wind Waker to be an adult in order to

wield the Master Sword. In other words, the developers were not forced

to make the Hero of Winds an adult for him to wield the Master Sword,

and neither does this prevent future Links from wielding the Master

Sword as younger boys. Link’s wolf form in Twilight Princess

was also said to be a specific symbol from Twili prophecy, the “divine

beast”, which means that without the prophecy, future games don’t have

to include wolf gameplay, even if the Twilight Realm does make an

unexpected return to the series. After all, if Zelda was able to keep

her human form in the Twilight Realm, why not Link? With this in mind,

destiny can explain why the Triforce split in Ocarina of Time, since Link and Zelda were said to have been chosen by destiny to receive their pieces. The Wind Waker

also established that the goddesses can shape people’s destinies, such

the King of Hyrule, who was given the destiny of finding the Hero of

Winds. This opens up the potential for other characters to change in

order to fulfill destined events, and could explain to some degree how

the Heroes come to be chosen. As long as the characters and events are

connected to destiny, we have more versatility regarding their position

in the storyline.

The Sheikah Tribe

Sheikah SymbolThe

Sheikah tribe are a race of ninja folk that possess a strong connection

to Darkness in Ocarina of Time. But this connection has been a

confusing one and many players have mistakenly believed that the

Sheikah were once an evil tribe, before they swore allegiance to the

Hyrulian Royal Family. In fact, all the evidence tells us quite the

contrary. At the time when the Oocca left the land of Hyrule, the

Hyrulian Royal Family entrusted the Sheikah with the Sky Book, which

proves that the Sheikah were loyal to the Royal Family long before any

known dark tribe appeared. Over the many years in which the Sheikah

were active in Hyrule, they have sealed the kingdom’s evil magic within

the Shadow Temple and guarded it from outsiders. It was the power of

these evil spirits that the Sage of Shadow commanded for the benefit of

Hyrule. A common point of debate is the meaning of the Sheikah symbol,

given that it appears in various places throughout the series, but it’s

actually very simple. The eye is always depicted in places associated

with evil, such as Agahnim’s robe and the Fused Shadows, which tells us

that it is the Evil Eye. Since the Sheikah fight evil, as does Princess

Zelda, their symbol depicts the Evil Eye crying, as if evil is being

hurt. This reinforces the Sheikah’s identity as warriors against evil,

not worshipers of evil.

The Elements


world of Hyrule is made from a variety of different elements, which are

embodied as magical powers by different deities. These elemental

deities are immortal, and have the ability to reincarnate when killed.


Great Deku Tree is the wise deity that embodies the power of forests

and earth, and is also the guardian of Kokiri Forest. The Great Deku

Tree was reborn after his death at the beginning of Ocarina of Time,

appearing as the Deku Tree Sprout so that he could continue his

protection of the forest throughout time. The Great Deku Tree has

referred to Kokiri Forest as the “source of life” in Hyrule, which

tells us that his power is vital for the survival of all living things

in the world. The Deku Tree is also the creator of the Kokiri Tribe,

who were once simple forest spirits before he turned them into

children. When Hyrule was flooded in The Wind Waker’s backstory, the Kokiri transformed into the Koroks and continued to live with the Deku Tree in the newly created Forest Haven.


is the deity of water in Hyrule and the guardian of Zora’s Domain,

which is the source of all of Hyrule’s water. Jabu-Jabu has only been

seen in the Young Link era of Ocarina of Time. Zora’s Domain

has also been referred to as the “source of life” which reflects the

Great Deku Tree’s words because living things cannot survive without

water to drink. In The Wind Waker, Jabu-Jabu was replaced by a

similar deity known as Jabun; it is unknown as to whether they are the

same spirit or different spirits.

Valoo is the dragon deity that

controls the skies. His power is granted to the Rito tribe in the form

of scales that allow them to grow wings and fly across the Great Sea.

Cyclos and Zephos are the two deities that embody the power of wind.

Their power controls the winds and can create cyclones.

Wind Waker Elemental Deities.png

The Deku Tree, Jabun and Valoo from The Wind Waker.

Although the Sages in Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess

have been connected to the elements, it is important to recognize that

these connections don’t follow any strict rules in the timeline. For

example, in Ocarina of Time, the Sages were connected to the

elements by their distinctive races: the Forest Sage was a Kokiri, the

Fire Sage was a Goron, the Water Sage was a Zora, and so on. But in Twilight Princess,

the Sages stood atop pedestals depicting the elements, but they were

all clearly Hylian, even though they had ghostly appearances.


The Twilight Realm was first revealed in Twilight Princess,

as a dimension akin to Hyrule. Just as Hyrule is bathed in the Light

magic of the Light Spirit’s orbs, the Twilight Realm is bathed in the

Twilight magic of the Sols. The animal forms of the Light Spirits can

only be seen when they hold their orbs of Light, but we never get to

see the guardian deities of the Twilight Realm because they sacrifice

their physical forms to give the Sols’ power to the Master Sword.

The introduction of Twilight to the Zelda

series redefines what we understand about Shadow, and plays on

metaphors about shadows in the real world. In previous games, Shadow

was connected to Darkness because they both refer to an absence of

light; they only form in places where light doesn’t shine. But there is

a contradiction in this connection, because shadows cannot be formed

without light to shine on objects. As Zelda says, “Light and Shadow are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other.”

So if shadows are actually the product of light, not the absence of

light, then they have to exist as something other than Darkness, which

is where Twilight comes in. In the real world, twilight is a time of

day when sunlight is reflected onto the land after the Sun has sunk

below the horizon. As a physical entity, twilight is basically

reflected light; light that does not shine from the source. Since

shadows form in places where the light cannot reach, the light that is

reflected into these shadows is Twilight.

This then explains the

relationship between Hyrule and the Twilight Realm. When light shines

on a coin, a shadow is formed on the underside. Light shines on Hyrule

and the Twilight Realm represents the shadowy underside. The magic of

Twilight is simply a less-powerful form of Light magic, which is why

the Sols repel Darkness with their presence. Yet because shadows cannot

form where light shines, Twilight cannot exist where Light fills the

land. This is why the Light Spirits’ light was stolen by the shadow

beasts before Twilight filled the land of Hyrule. When the Light was

restored to Hyrule, the Twilight was banished by its presence.

Palace of Twilight

The Palace of Twilight, within the Twilight Realm.


to complicate things, Ganondorf’s dark power had adversely changed the

nature of the Twilight Realm before it invaded Hyrule. When Zant stole

the Sols and blocked their light, the Twilight Realm kept its unique

nature but became wholly evil. In that Dark Twilight, the Twili began

to transform into shadow beasts under Zant’s command. It took the

retrieval of the Sols to restore the Twilight Realm to its natural

order. Although the Master Sword can repel Darkness, as it demonstrated

when it repelled the Shadow Crystal that shrouded Link, it appears to

be useless against the Dark Twilight. Until the Sols’ power was given

to the Master Sword, it could not repel the Shadow Crystals within the

Twilight Realm. This suggests that it takes the cumulative forces of

Light and Twilight to fight the cumulative forces of Darkness and

Twilight. Ganondorf himself appears to have adopted Dark Twilight as

his power, creating portals that Midna and the shadow beasts used to

teleport around Hyrule. During the battle with Puppet Zelda, Midna said

that the Sols’ power would allow the Master Sword to deflect

Ganondorf’s magic, which reinforces the argument that his magic has

incorporated Twilight.

This then brings us to two last

questions. The Twili’s ancestors obviously did not become spirits when

they were banished to the Twilight Realm by the goddesses, so how did

they become Twili? Midna suggests that this transformation took place

gradually as the tribe lived in the Twilight Realm, where the people

became accustomed to living without Light. A good analogy would be to

imagine a tribe living in caves for generations, becoming physically

accustomed to the semi-darkness that they are surrounded by. Just like

the tribe would not be able to look at the sun after coming out of

their caves, the Twili cannot stand to be in the presence of powerful

Light magic. This was why Midna was forced into Link’s shadow when the

light was restored to Hyrule. At least until Zelda gave her protection

from the Light by sacrificing her own power.

And if the Dark

Twilight over Hyrule caused Link to instantaneously transform into a

wolf, then why did he not transform when he first entered the Twilight

Realm proper? The Master Sword could not protect Link in the Dark

Twilight, so that is not the answer. The simplest explanation is that

unlike all the transformations in Hyrule, the transformations in the

Twilight Realm are not instantaneous. Although the Hyrulians quickly

became spirits, the Twili did not immediately become shadow beasts; the

beasts that Link found when he first entered the Twilight Realm were

not fully formed. We can take this as a suggestion that Link would not

have been in any danger of transforming unless he spent a long time

within the Twilight Realm proper.

Life Force

Phantom Hourglass Official ArtLife force is a new form of magical energy that was first properly introduced in Phantom Hourglass.

Every living thing in the world possesses sacred life force, and

individuals with a larger life force correspondingly possess more

physical and magical strength. The physical embodiments of life force

are triangular Force Gems, and in Phantom Hourglass, the life

force of the Ocean King took the form of the Sand of Hours. Life force

has no alignment with the forces of light and darkness; it merely gives

power to whoever possesses it. However, since it is a sacred power,

evil beings can gain the unholy ability to drain the life force of

others. People without life force become lifeless stone, although they

can be revived if their life force is restored to them.

Life force has previously appeared in Four Swords Adventures and The Minish Cap,

although it got lost in the English translation. The Four Sword is

powered by Life force and the Light Force is a powerful Force Gem. Both

items were forged by the Minish people; a race that lived in another

dimension. The Minish could enter Hyrule through a portal that opened

every one hundred years, and used that passage to bring the Hyrulians

the Four Sword and Light Force to fight the evil in Hyrule. In the

possession of Princess Zelda, the Light Force reflected her benevolent

heart and maintained peace in Hyrule. Vaati’s ritual to drain the Light

Force from Princess Zelda mirrors Bellum’s draining of Tetra’s life

force, leaving both characters as stone.

Interestingly, the

power of the Light Force went unnoticed in the possession of Princess

Zelda, and Vaati, who was seeking the Light Force, did not even

recognize it when she used her power in front of him. “The princess

who holds the power of light… That mysterious power is said to flow

in the veins of every royal lady in your family ever since that day

when it was gifted to your people.” The simplest explanation for

this is that Hyrulian princesses are all naturally gifted with Light

magic or a strong life force. It was established in Phantom Hourglass that Tetra had a strong life force, so it could be related to Zelda’s power.

But what became of the Light Force after Link killed Vaati? In Four Swords,

Vaati appeared in the form that he became after taking most of the

Light Force, which suggests that he still possessed that part of the

Light Force as a wind mage. As for Zelda’s remaining part of the Light

Force, the power of it, combined with her wish using Ezlo’s cap, was

able to restore peace to Hyrule. “The hat is falling apart. It’s

overflowing with the power of life! The hat has the power to turn the

thoughts of its wearer into reality. Vaati’s heart was filled with

evil, and that was reflected in what he became. But it seems that

Zelda’s pure heart, coupled with the hat’s power… …has created a


Four SwordThe life force in the Four Sword powers its

special ability to repel evil. However when the Minish forged it, it

did not yet possess the power to split the holder into four copies, so

it went by a different name; the Picori Blade. When Vaati broke the

Picori Blade, the four elements of earth, fire, water and wind, were

infused with the blade to restore its evil-repelling power, and to

grant it the splitting power of the Four Sword. In Four Swords Adventures,

Vaati was able to drain the Four Sword of its life force with his evil

magic. This began Link’s quest to recover force gems to restore the

sword’s power. After Ganon was sealed within the Four Sword, it was

laid to rest in the Four Sword Sanctuary and we have yet to know what

became of it.


1This assumption is based on the facts that A Link to the Past explains Ganon’s origins, and was designed to prequel the original Legend of Zelda.

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