The Three Golden Goddesses

Please note that the following article is a theoretical piece which is based solely upon the opinions and insights of the author. It cannot be verified as truth or ‘canon’ within the Zelda universe, and therefore does not reflect the views of Zelda Informer as a whole. With that said, enjoy the read.

Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, the two most recent installments to the handheld Zelda series, are commonly met with the criticism of being irrelevant and redundant in light of the overall series. Some fans write off the validity of these two DS titles, labeling them as ‘casual’ – all about style and without any real substance. These claims are entirely unfounded. Just look at what Spirit Tracks did for the New Hyrule timeline theory, which suggests that a new Hyrule is founded post-flood, allowing for the placement of games on the adult arc of the timeline. In this case Spirit Tracks confirmed what had long remained just an assumption, or theory. Without question, Spirit Tracks has earned its place as a part of the Zelda series.

Force gems were a concept that was briefly touched upon in the Four Swords saga, but it was Phantom Hourglass that expanded upon them and Spirit Tracks that went even further. In retrospect, some still question how relevant force gems are to the overall Zelda series; with many writing them off as just a new aspect introduced to produce further games in the series. What many don’t realize is that force gems are much more significant to The Legend of Zelda series than many give them credit. Force gems have actually been an integral part of the Zelda series since its inception in 1986, and both Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks help us to better understand the nature of this series staple known as the Triforce.

Force Gem of The Spirits of Good

Life Force and Force Gems

In Phantom Hourglass Oshus informs Link that “every creature in this world possesses a sacred power” and that this power is known as “life force”. As is the case with Bellum, life force became an issue of conflict. Bellum sucks the life force out of others which, in turn, weakens them. In one instance, the Ocean King’s powers were severely depleted, and in another, Tetra was turned to stone. Some may even argue that Ganon’s state at the conclusion of The Wind Waker was due to the removal of his life force.

As Phantom Hourglass progresses, we learn that the “Sand of Hours is a physical manifestation” of life force. The Sand of Hours is the powdered, or ground-up form, of force gems. Therefore we are aware of three forms that life force can take. The spiritual, or non-physical, form where it dwells within someone; and the two physical forms: the sand of hours and force gems. Bellum teaches us that life force can be taken, but Spirit Tracks shows that it can also be given.

Throughout Spirit Tracks Link receives force gems from others as a showing of thanks for favors he does them. One such instance is after he saves Carben from the miniblin pirates. Carben explains more about life force, which he refers to as energy. He says that “when a person’s heart is especially happy or grateful… his energy levels become particularly strong”. This means that the amount of life force in an individual is not constant. It varies depending on how they feel, and when in a strong positive emotional state an excess is generated, that can be bestowed upon others and also used for certain purposes. A similar situation also occurs with Anjean who cannot help Link directly, but does give him a force gem as thanks.

Force gems are noted for having special powers and abilities. As “energy”, the life force powers the Spirit Tracks that keep a seal on the evil Malladus. The force gems given to Link by Carben and Anjean make additional tracks appear. It can also be noted that to power the main Spirit Tracks Link collects large force gems from the temples. These gems are said to be from the Spirits of Good.

There are other notable powers observed from force gems. In Spirit Tracks they have the ability to warp Link and his train, and in Four Swords Adventures they empower the titular blade. Also in Four Swords Adventures, and the DS title battle modes, we observe force gems of different sizes, strengths and colors. Although the DS multiplayer isn’t canon, the notion of varying strength force gems is also observable in the games’ storylines. There are the force gems from the Spirits of Good, and the most powerful force gems of all: The Triforce. Now that we’ve refreshed on all of the background of force gems, we can better inspect the idea of the Triforce as three force gems.

Carben's Energy

The True Force

There is a room in Phantom Hourglass’s Temple of the Ocean King with a large Triforce marking on the floor. To progress deeper into the temple, Link must carry three large force gems and place them in the Triforce marking, where they light up and the door opens. It was here where the potential connection between force gems and the Triforce first became apparent to me; persuading me to investigate further.

In Ocarina of Time Sheik speaks of the three united Triforce pieces as the “true force”, and it really is not absurd to think of that as the ‘true life force’. As we know, life force also manifests itself physically in force gems. Although not identical in shape, both force gems and the Triforce pieces share similar triangular shapes. Furthermore, even though force gems vary in color, they are most commonly golden yellow – like the Triforce.

Looking at the properties of the Triforce, it shares the characterizing traits of life force in that it is both physical and spiritual. Take the finale of The Wind Waker or Link collecting the shards of the Triforce of Courage as some instances of many where we see the physical or ‘force gem’ nature of the Triforce. Again in The Wind Waker where the Triforce of Courage dwells within Link, or more prominently in Ocarina of Time where Link, Zelda and Ganondorf each possess a piece, we see the Triforce becoming a part of the holder’s life force. We know that life force can enter a being, dwell within a being, and also leave. The Triforce demonstrates all of these.

In Ocarina of Time, The Great Deku Tree tells young Link the creation story of Hyrule. He ends the tale by saying that the “three golden goddesses… their labors completed, departed for the heavens. And golden sacred triangles remained at the point where the goddesses left the world.” The Triforce is obviously none other than a portion of each of the goddesses’ life force. The Triforce of Power, Wisdom and Courage are portions of the respective life forces of Din, Nayru and Farore. Just as the temple force gems in Spirit Tracks are from the Spirits of Good, the Triforce is from the three golden goddesses. That aspect is fairly obvious, leaving the more relevant question of why the goddesses left their life force behind.

The A Link to the Past manual refers to the Triforce as a symbol of the god’s strength. As “a small but powerful portion of the essence of the gods… which was to guide the intelligent life” of Hyrule. Having completed creating the world, the gods were pleased with their work, and going by Spirit Tracks, this means that their life force would have been especially strong at this stage. The goddesses left behind a part of their life force to guide and protect Hyrule. The King in The Adventure of Link backstory demonstrates one scenario of where the Triforce served this purpose, but more commonly in The Legend of Zelda series, the Triforce is misused. It lends a portion of the goddesses’ power to its holder, allowing them to demonstrate amazing feats of power, wisdom and courage.

The Triforce


Spirit Tracks and Phantom Hourglass should not be cast aside and overlooked when piecing together the intricacies of the Zelda universe. In fact, those who scrutinize the DS titles as much as any other Zelda title will develop a much more sophisticated knowledge of the Zelda mythos than those who don’t. In the case of the Triforce, looking to the DS installments can help us to truly understand the nature of this series staple.

Viewing the Triforce as force gems comprised of life force from the goddesses furthers our comprehension of what exactly the Triforce is, why it exists, and what it can do. When the goddesses departed for the heavens, they didn’t abandon the people. They left behind a part of themselves to be with the people, similarly to the Biblical Holy Spirit that guides believers when the father and son cannot be amongst them. When the golden goddesses were no longer in the world of Hyrule, they left behind their gratitude to guide the inhabitants of Hyrule.

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