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!

The Ancient Sages.

Something in

that title, some mystical resonance, echoes a fullness of power and

might—the same fullness of might of which those who bear the title may

boast. They control the powers of the gods, these holy prophets, and

they use those powers in their service as protectors of the sacred

lands of light and arbiters of the divine will. Theirs is a priesthood

that extends across racial limits and across the folds of time; their

deposit of fate has endured the ravages of generations and survived

within their destined blood, as the esteemed sages Laruto once imparted.


who are they, these ancient pagan clerics? How can we understand their

power and influence? What are their claims to glory? To what extent can

we trace their sagehood lineage? This article seeks to answer these

questions by looking into the pages of Hyrulean history at the sources

of their legacy.

What is a sage?

In a very

general sense, the word “sage” means simply “wise man” (or “wise

person” for you politically correct folk) from the Vulgar Latin sapere,

“to be wise.” The term is used to refer to a person revered or renowned

for his wisdom, a person sought after for a taste of his knowledge,

judgment, or experience. Examples of sages of this kind include ancient

philosophers such as Socrates or Confucius whose advice and opinions

were very often solicited for.

This same understanding can be applied to the sages of Hyrule. The Wind Waker describes Medli, the Rito earth sage, as being instructed in her duties by a mentor. In Twilight Princess, we even learn that they serve as tutors to young members of the royal family.


the Hyrulean sense, a sage is much more than a wise person who imparts

knowledge and experience, however—sages are also part of a divine

priesthood. They have the duty to pay reverence to the gods in

consecrated temples. They are stewards of magical powers which they use

for the good of Hyrule. When evil powers threaten Hyrule, they have the

responsibility to seal that evil away. Above all, it is their task to

protect the power of the gods from theft by those who seek its power

for themselves. In many ways their roles are modeled after those of the

priests of other religions, who usually are also expected to be leaders

of faith, constantly in prayer, stewards of divine power or authority,

and protectors of their people from evil influence.

What have the Hyrulean sages done?


vast majority of the sages’ doings involve aiding the legendary hero in

sealing and destroying evil, usually involving the threat of Ganon, the

King of Darkness. To reduce their history to merely this would be doing

them a disservice, however. A detailed description of each of their

prime accomplishments is outlined below.

Protection of the Triforce

The ancient sages first hit the scene long before the events of the Legend of Zelda

series. Fearing a prophecy that foretold of the potential consequences

of an evil person discovering the Sacred Realm and stealing the

Triforce, they decided to implement safeguards on the entrance to the

Sacred Realm in Hyrule to prevent such a person from using it.


someone with a righteous heart makes a wish, it will lead Hyrule to a

golden age of prosperity…If someone with an evil mind has his wish

granted, the world will be consumed by evil…That is what has been

told…So, the ancient Sages built the Temple of Time to protect the

Triforce from evil ones.

~ Princess Zelda, Ocarina of Time


constructed the Temple of Time over the entrance to the golden land and

sealed the entrance with a stone gateway called the Door of Time. The

Door of Time could only be opened with the help of the Ocarina of Time,

and only when the three Spiritual Stones appeared on the temple altar.

The Spiritual Stones were handed to the Deku Tree, guardian of the

sacred forest, the Goron elder on the mountain of fire, and the Zoran

royal family who protected the source of Hyrule’s water. In turn, the

Ocarina of Time fell into the defense of the Hyrulean royal family.


then, it could not be assumed that only a good person would be able to

unite the Spiritual Stones and use the Ocarina of Time to open the Door

of Time, so the gods commanded that the people forge a sword with the

power to repel demonic forces. The sages crafted such a blade and

infused it with the gods’ power, the blade of evil’s bane, the sword

which evil ones may never touch, which they named the Master Sword.

They placed the Master Sword in a pedestal over the entrance to the

Sacred Realm, and it served as the final key to the Triforce’s

resting-place. Only one worthy of the title of “Hero” could draw the

sword forth from the pedestal.

Two sages took up the role of

praying to the gods to maintain the power to repel evil within the

blade of the Master Sword. Without their prayers, the blade would lose

its power and be useless against demonic powers granted by the Triforce.

In these events, the sages demonstrated three important attributes:

1) The ability to influence passage to and from the Sacred Realm;
2) To beseech the gods directly to grant them power;
3) The duty to protect the Triforce from evils

The Sages’ Seals


even with all these safeguards in place, something the sages never

could have anticipated happened: the seal on the Sacred Realm was

broken by a young boy, the Hero of Time, who drew the Master Sword from

the pedestal in an attempt to rescue the Triforce from an evil threat.

He was destined to be the Hero of Time, but he was too young to wield

the Master Sword, and so he was sealed away for seven years. In that

time, Ganondorf, the evil prince of thieves, stole the Triforce of

Power from the Sacred Realm, and darkness issued from the temples in


The King of Hyrule summoned the sages in order to

stopper the flow of darkness, but the new sages were unable to hear the

awakening call because the temples had already been engulfed in shadow.

Ganondorf moved on from the Sacred Realm to Hyrule, broke through

Hyrule Castle’s defenses, and claimed Hyrule as his own, naming himself

its king. He ruled with an iron fist for seven years, but then the Hero

of Time emerged and awakened the sages.

The sages were able to

combine their powers with that of the Master Sword in order to seal

away the darkness in the temples as well as Ganondorf himself. They

pushed back the evil power all the way into the Sacred Realm and closed

the door to seal it there.


six Sages will open the sealed door and lure Ganondorf back into the

Sacred Realm. I will then seal the door to the Sacred Realm from this

world. Thus, Ganondorf the Evil King will vanish from Hyrule.

~ Princess Zelda, Ocarina of Time

We can learn more about the sages from these events:

1) They serve the King of Hyrule and are obliged to respond to his summons;
2) New generations of sages will awaken when their services are required;
3) They are able to seal away darkness and combine their powers with that of the Master Sword in order to do so

The Great Sea Sages


inevitably finds a way to escape his imprisonment in the Sacred Realm.

In so doing he is able to silence the prayers of the two sages who pray

for the Master Sword’s power, thus removing that enchantment from the

blade and rendering it useless. Without the Master Sword to oppose him

and perfectly poised to ambush Hyrule, he is once again able to conquer

the chosen land. The people pray for deliverance from his rule, and the

gods respond by flooding Hyrule and sealing the kingdom and Ganondorf

with it away at the bottom of an ocean. Even this seal proves

impermanent, however, and the time comes that the Master Sword must be


In order to do this, the new hero needed to awaken new

sages to take up the role of those who had fallen. The sages could only

be awakened by hearing the songs of awakening, played by the sacred

instruments used in prayer. With the Wind Waker baton, the hero taught

the holders of these instruments those sacred songs and in so doing

sparked the awakening magic in their veins.

While the events of The Wind Waker

do not reveal anything particularly new about the nature of the sages,

it does shed some light as to the details of prior discoveries:

1) The sages do not awaken innately but instead require an outside force to awaken them;
2) The sagehood is passed on through this ritualistic awakening ceremony, and not exclusively through blood relationships

The Arbiter Sages

Twilight Princess

introduces even more functions to the sagehood than its predecessors.

The Mirror of Twilight, the link between the light and shadow worlds,

is under their care and protection. They also exercise the role of

arbiters of the gods in Hyrule, sentencing criminals such as Ganondorf

to death and executing them by sending them to the shadow world with

the Mirror.

While the latter role still falls somewhat under the

sphere of “sealing away evil,” their vocation as judges and

executioners is a long departure from their depiction in other games,

where they serve as priests and magi. Still, they are closely

associated with the protection of Hyrule and as keepers of dangerous

magic from the hands of evil.

The sages play a very minor role in the events of Twilight Princess

themselves, being only the bearers of bad news regarding Ganondorf and

the Mirror of Twilight. They are also said to have tutored both Auru

and Princess Zelda.

Thus, our understanding of the sages’ influence increases tremendously:

1) They are arbiters of the law in Hyrule, serving as judges and executioners;
2) They command and safeguard the power to banish people to the shadow world;
3) They serve as tutors to the royal family

As a collective

We can therefore understand the sages’ roles as falling under four categories:

1) Stewards of magical powers, such as those granted by the Triforce and the Master Sword and those of the Mirror of Twilight;
2) Warriors responsible for confronting and doing away with evil threats such as Ganondorf;
3) Arbiters of the law who bring justice to captured criminals;
4) Teachers and mentors who pass on their knowledge to future generations

How has the line of sages endured throughout Hyrule’s history?

From Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker all the way to Four Swords Adventures and A Link to the Past

we see that the legacy of the sages endures in many shapes and forms,

enduring across race and invariably through blood and ritual.


the sages seem to have all been members of the Hylian race, as their

depictions in stone carvings on the walls of the Temple of Time would

indicate. They probably took on forms similar to the ones seen in Twilight Princess, ethereal avatars differing only fleetingly in the emblems emblazoned on their robes.

These emblems are shared by the multi-racial sages in Ocarina of Time,

suggesting that the sage priesthood has been passed down in a spiritual

succession from the Hylians, the ruling class, to the various peoples

of Hyrule. That these sages are based in the Temple of Light, connected

to the Temple of Time built by the ancient sages, also serves to

support this conclusion. This may have happened out of the necessity

that Hyrule band together to fight the evil threat posed by Ganondorf.

It is also possible that this was due to the fact that each of the

races developed a spiritual connection to the six attributes the sages

represent, thus inheriting the stewardship of these attributes as well.


ancient sages and their descendants numbered only six, as it would

seem, with the so-called “seventh sage” being a member of the royal

family, usually Princess Zelda. The Ocarina of Time sages lack

the avatar-forms, although this may be partially a result of

Ganondorf’s evil plaguing the Sacred Realm and preventing them from

emerging completely. (More telling, though, is the fact that the

ethereal form was not conceptualized until Twilight Princess‘s release eight years later.)

Twilight Princess

again features the six sages, who identify themselves as the very

ancient sages who have served since ancient times, although it is

unknown how literally this is meant to be taken. These sages seem to

serve the sole responsibility of guarding the Mirror of Twilight during

the events of the story itself, but also were the ones who attempted to

execute Ganon years before.

The Wind Waker features only

two sages, those who are in charge of maintaining the Master Sword. As

the ancient sages are given credit for forging the Master Sword, it

will be assumed for the sake of discussion that these sages are related

to that original group, even if they are not counted among the six

active sages. These sages pass on their powers and roles by spiritual

succession, and The Wind Waker is the only story to specifically depict such a succession. The fate of the other sages is unknown.

Phantom Hourglass,

however, suggests that they may have entered into the employ of the

Cobble Kingdom as stewards of the pyramidal temples built there. There

is a cemetery on the Isle of the Dead that houses the graves of six

sages—specifically, these sages protect the secrets of a certain

knight’s tomb, which in turn holds clues as to how to access one of the

Pure Metals. While nothing confirms their relation to the Hyrulean

sages, the Cobble people share the long ears of the Hylians, suggesting

a potential relationship. (More on this subject will be addressed in a

future article.)

Three other games make specific reference to the sages.

The Adventure of Link features towns named after some of the sages from Ocarina of Time, namely Rauru, Saria, Darunia, and Ruto. The script writer for Ocarina of Time, Toru Osawa, stated the following about the towns:


in this game Zelda is now included in the Seven Sages, the other six

have the names of the town names from the Disk System edition “The

Adventure of Link.” In the SNES edition game, the story “Long ago,

there was a war called the Imprisoning War” was passed along. A name in

the Imprisoning War era is the name of a Town later. They were like

“pseudo-secrets.” We wanted to throw these out through the entirety of

the game. That thing from then is now this.


would seem these town names were later developed as the sages’ names in

order to create an intentional reference to the Adult events of Ocarina (let alone to create a bridge between that game and A Link to the Past).

Some have suggested that the wizards in each town who give you the

magic spells needed to complete the game are sages themselves, although

this is mere conjecture.

A Link to the Past

features seven maidens of apparently Hylian heritage who are descended

from the seven sages from the Imprisoning War. These maidens are part

of sage families who all gain the sage powers through blood

inheritance, showing a radical difference from the rest of the sages

who seem to pass on their powers spiritually. Since Ocarina of Time

features the story of the seven sages, but features multi-racial sages,

it would seem that at some point the sage lineages progressed from a

spiritual one to a literal one, or perhaps existed to both capacities


Four Swords Adventures also features

maidens: six “shrine maidens” who take on the roles previously reserved

for “sages,” and the Princess, Zelda. The maidens are in all likelihood

related to those in A Link to the Past, and at least one of them is shown to have her own village (after the pattern of sage villages seen in The Adventure of Link). A Link to the Past states that the maidens have lost most of their powers, while the maidens in Adventures still possess potent magical abilities. In all likelihood, Four Swords Adventures is the first of the two, if for this reason alone.


is unknown how precisely the 2D sages factor into the timelines

established by the 3D chronology. Interpretations vary, usually

depending on whether one believes Ocarina of Time to be a

fitting telling of the Imprisoning War or not. Those who do believe it

usually also swear by Toru Osawa’s reference and claim the maidens are

spiritual successors to the original sages. Others who discount it cite

Osawa’s reference as outdated and retconned and say that the maidens

are literal successors to the ancient sages, evidenced by Twilight Princess‘s

sages being racially homogeneous. Theorists of the former class often

subscribe to the Miyamoto order, while those of the latter usually

believe the SNES hit to be a prequel to the NES classics.


article while certainly influenced by my own views does not seek to

endorse either view over the other but to present a compendium of

information that summarizes the sages of the Hyrulean continuity-verse.

It is my hope that I have accomplished this end.

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