following article contains descriptions of fanmade theories. It only
reflects the opinions of the writer and of the architects of said
theories, and not ZeldaInformer as a whole. That said, enjoy the
Echoes of wars in early Hyrulean history have
oft pervaded the Legends of Zelda, and so most Zelda scholars accept
that Hyrule once endured a period of great political and social unrest
unrelated to the conflicts against Ganon. Yet many mysteries still
exist with respect to the nature of these wars: which peoples were at
odds, when the battles began and ended within the framework of
documented events, as well as how many lesser legends can be tied to
these events. Here are assembled all such accounts, arranged and
discussed in the order in which they were unearthed, offering
similarities and differences and a theoretical picture of this dark
chapter of Hyrule’s past.
A Link to the Past
brought a story of bitter conflict and strife to the table. We hear
accounts of a Sacred Realm created by goddesses where the Triforce
dwelt. The Triforce was no longer a strange artifact with “untold
mystical powers”—it was now the heirloom of the gods who made the
world, bestowed with their essences, and possessing the power to grant
wishes. Unfortunately the American manual translation completely
butchered the original meaning of this story, but thanks to a pair of
translations provided by ZeldaLegends, we can ascertain the real
meaning. Below appears a faithful reconciliation between the two
Here in Hyrule remain
many ruins of the Hylian folk, and the region is very much tied to
myth. Even here, old traditions echo about the Triforce. “The golden
power lies somewhere descended from the heavens. He who claims it as
his own will have his desires granted by the gods.” Many people claimed
that golden power as their own, and competed in their searches for the
Sacred Realm. Reports surfaced that it was hidden beneath the relics of
the desert, inside the graves of the race of people in the mountains,
but no one found it. Longing soon became greed, and blood was often
shed for any information. Friendly people had to live in unrest.
story gave more relevant information than the original legend’s
prologue, although it does not seem to be related to the Age of Chaos
in any way. While the presentation is still too vague to properly place
the onset of these events with respect to the Creation, the fact that
the two are shown as part of one fluid narrative would suggest that the
wars here referenced are among the oldest events relevant to the
history of the Sacred Realm and the Triforce.
the wake of the Great Flood myths and the stories of the Twilight most
people have completely disassociated the conflicts here from the Hylian
Age. Perhaps this is done with sound reasoning. After all, these
accounts here do reference the Hylian people as part of history.
However, this is notably from a present-day perspective, as indicated
by the use of the present tense when referring to the “ruins of the
Hylian folk.” The narratives regarding the conflicts are told in past
tense, and as such we cannot know whether they are attached to the
Hylian Age or not.
I think the key in ascertaining when these
events took place lie in observing the unique context. The conflicts
are a hunt for the Sacred Realm, in response to an old legend about the
Triforce which can only be a derivative of the original Creation myth.
Additionally, these events are placed as coming immediately before the
Imprisoning War, during which the Triforce is stolen from its resting
place in the Sacred Realm, where it was placed by the goddesses.
Here the question of whether the Imprisoning War is actually represented in the Hero of Time myth of Ocarina of Time comes into play. This topic is addressed in full here and discussions and opinions can be found here,
but the two main views are summarized in a couple sentences here for
those not interested in reading eight pages on the subject.
view holds that the Imprisoning War story is the telling of the sages’
seal cast during the finale of the Hero of Time legend, with the Sacred
Realm seal remaining intact all the way until the sacrifice of the
The second class of theorists opts to say that Ocarina of Time has been disconnected from the Imprisoning War narrative, which has been reestablished as a part of A Link to the Past‘s independent story.
is up to individual theorists to determine how they interpret the
facts. Both interpretations raise inconsistencies. From here and
beyond, this article will deal with the first view.
Here lies Hyrule’s bloody history of greed and hatred…
Ocarina of Time‘s
story both echoes and represents the events surrounding the Imprisoning
War. This is verifiable through comments made by the writers of these
events and by the proceedings of the game itself. Looking back to A Link to the Past, we see that Ocarina‘s
story, like the Imprisoning War narrative, also features a set of
bitter conflicts occurring before Ganondorf’s seizure of the Triforce
from the Sacred Realm:
Some time ago, before
the King of Hyrule unified this country, there was a fierce war in our
world. One day, to escape from the fires of the war, a Hylian mother
and her baby boy entered this forbidden forest. The mother was gravely
injured… Her only choice was to entrust the child to the Deku Tree,
the guardian spirit of the forest. The Deku Tree could sense that this
was a child of destiny, whose fate would affect the entire world, so he
took him into the forest. After the mother passed away, the baby was
raised as a Kokiri.
war was used as a plot device to establish Link’s origins as a Hylian
and to explain to the player how Link came to reside in the Kokiri
Forest. In this sense, this story is unrelated to the previous war
stories. However, its placement is relatively the same as that of the
wars of A Link to the Past‘s backstory compared to Ganondorf’s
invasion. Since the fighting is still going on when Link is an infant,
we know that it lasted until at most ten years prior to the start of Ocarina of Time.
wars also occurred before the country was “unified,” which evokes the
references to a time when Hyrule was “one kingdom” spoken of in The Adventure of Link. Thus, Ocarina
keenly mirrors both the squabbles over the Sacred Realm before the
Imprisoning War and the period in which Hyrule was (or rather became)
one kingdom prior to the Sleeping Zelda story. Ocarina‘s depiction of the pre-wars, however, fails to describe the cause and nature of these wars, so the parallel with A Link to the Past is imperfect.
Thus, we must look to another source for confirmation of this connection.
Twilight Princess: The Prolonged Wars
Twilight Princess, too, features a war that occurred in a time period that must have been some time prior to Ocarina. The description of the war provides the missing elements that were not present in Ocarina‘s story:
For ages, the people lived at ease, content in mind and body… But soon,
word of the Sacred Realm spread through Hyrule
and a great battle ensued… Among those living in the light,
interlopers who excelled at magic appeared. Wielding powerful sorcery,
they tried to establish dominion over the Sacred Realm
Japanese translations have surfaced that name the “Sacred Realm” as in
fact being the “holy land of Hyrule,” thus tremendously altering the
meaning of the underlined parts of this text. However, using the
visuals for the story as a reference, the story still seems to be about
a squabble over the Triforce and the Sacred Realm. Twilight Princess, then, can still be seen, despite translation errors, as providing context for an event that originated prior to Ocarina of Time that further cements its position as the Imprisoning War of A Link to the Past‘s backstory.
Even if there was any doubt as to the link between the Shadow Clan and Ocarina‘s conflict, there is still another connection that all but substantiates it:
you heard the legend of the “Shadow Folk”? They are the Sheikah…the
shadows of the Hylians. They say they swore allegiance to the King of
Hyrule and guarded the Royal Family. But with the long peace, no on has
seen a Sheikah around here for a long time.
Do not misinterpret “Shadow Folk” as meaning the same as “Shadow Clan.”
The “Shadow Clan” is the group that assaulted Hyrule in the Prolonged
Wars; the “Shadow Folk” are the Sheikah who serve the Royal Family.)
They say that Princess Zelda’s nanny is actually one of the Sheikah, who many thought had died out.
belonged to the tribe that protected the Hylian royal family long ago.
They worked in secret, so they lived in a lonely, forgotten place. But
I heard that tribe dwindled in the prolonged wars…
quotes tell us that the Sheikah have all but disappeared with the long
peace, which must have begun at the end of the fierce war described by
the Deku Tree. The Gossip Stone clarifies that their disappearance has
led many to believe that they have died out. This parallels the
description of their fate in Twilight Princess—Gor Coron of the
Gorons heard the rumors that the Sheikah died out. Since both wars
feature this same tribe being supposedly exterminated while also taking
place in the same relative period, there is enough evidence to conclude
that they are one and the same.
While the Shadow Clan that attacked Hyrule is never specifically addressed in either A Link to the Past or Ocarina of Time, their addition does nothing to harm the connections between these games’ battles and those referenced in Twilight Princess.
They serve as a supplementary addition to the story, an enemy whose
motives and deeds are clear to us. Given that no other real
descriptions of who fought in the conflicts exist, this revelation
sheds some light on the nature of the struggles. It still seems
apparent, however, that many people and not just the members of the
dark tribe sought to take the Triforce.
element of the conflicts remains unexplored: the Mirror of Twilight
said to remain as the last link between the World of Light and the
shadow realm inside which the Shadow Clan was sealed.
In Twilight Princess
the mirror is described as cursed, posing a threat to anything that
comes in contact with it. Indeed, we see the peaceful Yeta grows ill
after she discovers it and eventually transforms into a monster, and
elsewhere we find that other vile creatures have emerged from exposure
to its power.
These elements are eerily evocative of another dark mirror in Hyrulean history: the Dark Mirror referenced in Four Swords Adventures. The Dark Mirror is said to have the power to bring the wickedness in people’s hearts to life, which we see in action in Twilight Princess as already described. It also spawns evil creatures—in Adventures we encounter the Shadow Links and Armogohma from Twilight is heavily implied to have been created by the magic of the mirror.
The mirror’s connection to a shadow tribe also parallels the description of the mirror in Four Swords Adventures:
ago, a dark tribe invaded Hyrule. They were defeated and imprisoned
within the mirror. The tribe’s mirror prison was then secreted away and
hidden in the forest temple to sever its connection to this world.
dark tribe that invaded Hyrule brings forth grim reminders of the
Shadow Clan from the Prolonged Wars. Their imprisonment in a dark
mirror only underlines the parallel. It seems clear that the writers of
Twilight Princess took this concept of a mirror-bound tribe and expanded its lore considerably.
But what of the sole disparity? Four Swords Adventures states that the mirror was sealed in the forest temple to cut it off from the world, while Twilight Princess
shows the mirror in action at the Arbiter’s Grounds. Doesn’t this serve
as a strong contradiction that opposes the idea of the two mirrors, and
thus the two tribes, being the same? Not if we consider that the mirror
in Twilight Princess was only used to execute people at the Arbiter’s Grounds after the Child ending of Ocarina of Time.
the Gerudo Desert, there once was an execution place at which a certain
big criminal was punished. As I heard, that big criminal was sent to
the other world by means of a cursed mirror kept at the execution
place, and so on… Nowadays that execution place is shut down, and even
the road leading to the desert is cut off. The desert which was
separated from the world… left behind at that place was the mirror
and the grudge of the deceased…
first glance, we read that the Mirror was “kept at the execution
place,” but on the other hand, we also know that the execution place
was used for a “certain big criminal,” that criminal being Ganondorf.
Given both his unique nature and that of his crimes, the Mirror may
have been used at the Arbiter’s Grounds solely to execute him. The
mirror was then “left behind” in the cursed desert and the Grounds were
condemned. This explains why, in Twilight Princess, it is no longer kept at the temple where it can be found in Four Swords Adventures.
The wars in A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, and Twilight Princess
are all one and the same. The conflict involves the people of Hyrule
competing over the Triforce which rests in the Sacred Realm, happened
before the kingdom became one country during the Hylian Age, and ended
with the Sheikah all but disappearing. In the midst of the conflict a
shadow clan emerged with great mastery of dark powers, and was
subsequently sealed. The conflict ended within a decade of Ocarina of Time with the King of Hyrule unifying the kingdom.
The mirrors from Four Swords Adventures and Twilight Princess are one and the same. After the Adult ending of Ocarina of Time,
the Mirror remains in the same temple where it was originally sealed.
The Child ending results in the Mirror being used to seal Ganondorf in
the Twilight Realm and as such it is moved to the Arbiter’s Grounds and
“left behind” there indefinitely.
A compilation of the “Prolonged Wars” is found below, and details the elements presented to us in each game:
Here is gathered Hyrule’s bloody history of greed and hatred…
ages, the people lived at ease, content in mind and body. But soon,
word of the Sacred Realm spread throughout Hyrule. “The golden power
lies somewhere descended from the heavens. He who claims it as his own
will have his desires granted by the gods.”
claimed that golden power as their own, and competed in their searches
for the Sacred Realm. Reports surfaced that it was hidden beneath the
relics of the desert, inside the graves of the race of people in the
mountains, but no one found it. Longing soon became greed, and blood
was often shed for any information. Friendly people had to live in
Among those living in the light, interlopers who
excelled at magic appeared. Wielding powerful sorcery, they tried to
establish dominion over the holy land of Hyrule. A great battle ensued.
It was then that the goddesses ordered the three light spirits to
intervene. They sealed away the great magic those individuals had
The interlopers, in turn, were banished, chased across
the sacred lands of Hyrule and driven into another realm, a world of
shadows. The goddesses left behind but a single link between the worlds
of light and shadow: the Mirror of Twilight, which passed into the
hands of the protectors of Hyrule. The mirror was then secreted away
and hidden in the temple to sever its connection to this world.
the midst of the violence and bloodshed, a Hylian mother and her
newborn baby boy wandered into the forbidden Kokiri Forest. The mother
was critically injured and soon passed away, and the Great Deku Tree,
sensing the boy was a child of destiny, whose fate was intertwined with
that of the entire world, took the child in and raised him as a Kokiri.
The boy’s name was Link.
The conflicts ended when the King of Hyrule unified the kingdom.
I hope you enjoyed the article and I hope I have offered a greater understanding of the background conflicts of the Zelda series that are unrelated to Ganon. Please tune in soon for the follow up article about the Ancient Sages!