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: The Sacred Realm

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

literal translations.

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.

~ A Link to the Past Japanese Instruction Manual Translation, translated by Johan & Zethar-II, compiled by Lex


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.

Unfortunately in

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

seven maidens.

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.

Ocarina of Time: The Fierce War

Here lies Hyrule’s bloody history of greed and hatred…

~ Shadow Temple inscription, Ocarina of Time

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.

~ The Great Deku Tree Sprout, Ocarina of Time


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


~ Light Spirit Lanayru, Twilight Princess



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.

~ Shikashi, Ocarina of 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.

~ Gossip Stone, Ocarina of Time


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…

~ Gor Coron, Twilight Princess


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.

Four Swords Adventures: The Dark Mirror


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.

~ White Maiden, Four Swords Adventures


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…

~ Auru, Twilight Princess (Japanese translation)


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.”

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


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!

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