The 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


Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was the first Zelda title with a true backstory beyond “the villain has taken over the kingdom; destroy him and save Hyrule.” It included a story that was to tell the origin of all princesses named Zelda. This story was

outlined in great detail in the instruction manual for The Adventure of

Link, set “when Hyrule was one kingdom,” but has been largely ignored


The “Legend of Zelda,” also called the “legend of the

sleeping princess,” begins with a great king who used the Triforce to

maintain order. The king eventually died, and his prince inherited only

part of the Triforce. Goaded by a court magician into finding the

missing Triforce, the prince interrogates his sister, the first

princess Zelda, who is rumored to have heard something about the

Triforce from the king before he died. She refuses to disclose anything

and so the magician in a fit of rage casts a sleeping spell on her. The magician is reported to have died on the spot once the spell was completed.

Prince Wizard.jpg


saddened by his sister’s curse, the prince places her sleeping body in

the North Palace on the northern continent and decrees that all future

princesses are to be named Zelda. This supposedly sets the stage for

future games by explaining why the name “Zelda” reappears so much

throughout Hyrule’s history.

In order to never forget this

tragedy, and to keep the memory alive, coming generations of girls in

the royal family were always to be named Zelda.

~ Zelda II Japanese Instruction Manual Translation, translated by Johan, Zethar-II & David Butler


the secret Zelda knew about the Triforce was presumed to be the

location of the Triforce of Courage which was hidden by the king in the

Great Palace, where it remained until The Adventure of Link. This

“Sleeping Zelda” story stood alone with the original NES titles as the

whole of Zelda canon, and so there was no need to consider it in the

surrounding context. When A Link to the Past was released on the SNES,

the game was almost universally considered a prequel to the NES games,

and so most people decided that that game’s Zelda was the Sleeping

Zelda featured in the Zelda II backstory. This placement stood

unchallenged by much of the theorizing community for over twelve years

despite having absolutely no evidence aside from the following quote:

The predecessors of Link and Zelda face monsters on the march when a menacing magician takes over the kingdom.

~ A Link to the Past, SNES game box


only notable reference to the naming tradition appeared after those

twelve years, and is not universally considered as such. It appears in

The Wind Waker when the King of Red Lions, Daphnes, names Tetra as

Princess Zelda when it is discovered that she is a princess. This is

certainly at least a surface reference, but whether or not it is a

canonically significant reference or a mere homage is unknown. If it

is, that would mean the Zelda naming tradition predates the flood,

which makes sense if we consider that Ocarina of Time was supposed to

be the very first game in the series timeline, and thus would feature

the “first generation Zelda.”

The idea that Sleeping Zelda

predates The Wind Waker is based on two facts: first, that the princess

is referred to as “Zelda” in The Wind Waker purely by virtue of her

being a princess, as if it is taken for granted that this will be her

name; this suggests a naming tradition like the one in the Sleeping

Zelda backstory; and also that the Sleeping Zelda is called the “first

generation Zelda,” which suggests that she is the very first princess

to bear that name

The magician had heard something about the

King telling only the Prince’s younger sister, the first generation

Princess Zelda, about the Triforce before he died.

~ Zelda II Japanese Instruction Manual Translation, translated by Johan, Zethar-II & David Butler


who hold fast to A Link to the Past‘s placement as a prequel to The

Legend of Zelda are also quick to discount the thought of the naming

tradition originating pre-Wind Waker, or even after Ocarina of Time‘s

Adult ending at all. However, given that the developers appear to have

given it some attention in the post-flood world, we should at least

consider how the tradition would fit in the pre-flood Hyrulean timeline.

Background for the theory: Relevant comparisons

On the Royal Family and the Triforce

Whereas the traditional

interpretation of the Sleeping Zelda story holds that the king “using

the Triforce” means he must physically possess it, this theory asserts

that instead the king of Hyrule has the divine guidance of the


The first inkling of a connection between the Royal

Family and the Triforce lies in the status of the Triforce mark as the

family’s crest. Triforce marks appear all over the world of Ocarina of

Time and latter games as a symbol of the Royal Family. This is probably

the case because the Royal Family has a special link to the

Triforce—they are the ones in charge of keeping the secret of its

location, and their sages keep it in their custody.

But the connection may be more than just one by proxy. Look at this quote from the Royal Composer Brothers:


brothers also served the Royal Family, and were assigned to study the

hereditary mystic powers of the family. Though we never could figure

out the power of the Triforce, we had almost completed our study of

controlling time with the tones of ocarinas.”

Alongside their

study of the power of music, the Composer Brothers tried to research

the Triforce as one of the Royal Family’s hereditary powers. This would

suggest that the Triforce and the Royal Family’s powers are connected,

if not one and the same.

But how could the Royal Family use the

Triforce if it is locked up in the Sacred Realm? One other game has

touched on the idea of the Triforce’s power guiding people from afar:

“The guidance of the Triforce has made you into this legendary hero!”

-Din/Nayru, Oracle of Seasons/Ages linked ending


know, of course, that Link does not physically hold the Triforce in

Oracles—it is resting in Hyrule Castle. Elsewhere the power of the

Triforce is described as “divine protection.” And this guidance comes

with a sign, a Triforce mark on the back of the chosen one’s hand. We

know the Triforce mark indicates worthiness of the Triforce in other

games throughout the series, including, namely, The Adventure of Link,

where the mark appears on the back of the hand of the one destined to

unite the Triforce and become a great king—just like the Sleeping Zelda


On the concept of 分身


is described in the Japanese version of A Link to the Past as a bunshin

(分身) of Ganon’s. The closest English words to this are “alter-ego” and

“clone.” In the Zelda series, the idea of a “bunshin” effectively means

“soul split” or “replication.” This same word is used in Phantom

Hourglass to describe Ciela (bold is the transliterated Japanese,

unbold is the Nintendo of America English localization):

力・知恵の精霊は その魔物たちに封印されたが
The spirits of Power and Wisdom were sealed by those monsters.
The spirits of Power and Wisdom were also imprisoned.

シエラは うまく分身して 逃げられたのじゃろう
But Shiera could escape by skillfully creating an alter ego (“bunshin”).
But Ciela managed to split her soul and escape.


Ciela was able to escape imprisonment by creating an alter-ego, we can

assume that Ganon was able to do the same in A Link to the Past to

escape the Sages’ Seal, thus creating Agahnim. Otherwise the game

states that the Sages’ Seal is impossible to “break” without the power

of the sages, although we see Link travel between worlds with the aid

of the Magic Mirror, so we know this not to mean that the seal is

totally impassable.

On the Sages’ Seal


in the canon of The Wind Waker is the Sages’ Seal from Ocarina of Time

that shut the entrance to the Sacred Realm said or suggested to be

destroyed. To the contrary, Ganondorf was said to have been “revived

without reason” and the “seal of the gods” that sealed Ganondorf in

Hyrule, is said to be broken (and confirmed to be intact later, with

Ganondorf’s means of escape being revealed as a portal he created).

The exact text, for reader analysis, is here:


obtained the power of the gods, planned on transforming the world into

a Makai of darkness, and was sealed by the power of the gods. The

emperor of the Makai in the ancient legend is that Ganondorf. I do not

know why the gods’ seal has broken, but, now that he has been revived,

the world has once again begun to be threatened by his evil magical


~ The King of Red Lions, The Wind Waker, translated by JacenSolo06


the Master Sword bound Ganon while he was imprisoned in the Sacred

Realm then that seal might also qualify as the “seal of the gods” and

was likely in fact broken.

The original early Sleeping Zelda theory


“great ruler” who maintains peace in Hyrule must be the King of Hyrule

who ruled in Ocarina of Time. This is not a bad assumption, given that

Ocarina describes itself as taking place when “Hyrule was one kingdom,”

just as the Sleeping Zelda story does. The king is said to have

“maintained peace in Hyrule using the Triforce,” referring not to a

literal possession and use of the Triforce but to his status as the

protector of the land. By using his kingship, intimately tied to the

Triforce, to unify the kingdom, the king “maintains peace in Hyrule”

with the help of the Triforce, his divine guide.

King Triforce.jpg


prince must be the next in line to the throne, which therefore means

that Princess Zelda from Ocarina of Time has an older brother. He

inherits the Triforce “in part,” or as the Japanese text says,

“incompletely.” We know that the Triforce was divided at the end of

Ocarina of Time, so it should come as no surprise that rather than

inheriting custody of the entire Triforce, he only inherits “part.” We

see in The Wind Waker that the king does hold “part” of the

Triforce—the shard of the Triforce of Wisdom. The “prince,” then, could

be either Daphnes or a predecessor of Daphnes.

The Sleeping

Zelda story remains precisely as is, with this background context

filling in the more vague parts of the tale, such as what “part” of the

Triforce fell to the prince. We must assume in this scenario that this

particular story does not feature the same king who hides the Triforce

in the Great Temple before The Adventure of Link. In this theory, that

king is either Daphnes (through his wish in The Wind Waker) or one of

his successors. The theory currently being presented is an expansion on

this original theory.

The Theory: Ganon is the villain of the Sleeping Zelda story


Sleeping Zelda story features a villain: the magician responsible for

the curse on the princess. This magician, as the text indicates, has a

clear interest in the Triforce, has apparently used the royal family as

a means of accessing the sacred relic, and is not above attacking the

family members for information about its location. This description

sounds rather like the descriptions of both Ganondorf’s role in Ocarina

of Time and that of Agahnim in A Link to the Past.


Ganondorf is a known criminal after Ocarina of Time, he cannot appear

in his own likeness and rally the king’s favor as the magician in the

backstory seems to have. Additionally, Ganondorf is still trapped in

the confines of the Sacred Realm by the Sages’ Seal and his evil power

remains bound by the Master Sword, so his only way out seems to be that

he should create an alter-ego to escape.

These similarities seem

suspicious, but nothing specific exists to link the magician to Ganon.

Poring deeper into the The Wind Waker texts, however, we find this


Do you sleep still? […] I can see this girl’s dreams…

~ Ganondorf, The Wind Waker


Ganondorf can read Zelda’s dreams, associating him with the magician

from the Sleeping Zelda backstory sheds some insight as to why he cast

a sleeping curse when she would not disclose information about the

Triforce. Ganondorf intended to pry into her sleeping mind to ascertain

the information by force. This is enough of an association to warrant a

closer look at how the scenario might have functionally played out

prior to The Wind Waker, with Ganon as the magician.

Before I

describe how I relate the events in detail, some preliminary

assumptions must be outlined. These assumptions, while never explicitly

evidenced in the actual texts, are derived from things we see either

in-game or in other games.

Since Ganon was able to escape the

Sages’ Seal in A Link to the Past by soul-split, we can assume he was

able escape the same seal in the same way in Ocarina of Time. However,

one key difference between Ocarina Ganon and Link to the Past Ganon is

that the former has the Triforce of Power in his hand and the latter

used the Triforce to grant a wish. That is, the first Ganon has

unlimited access to the Triforce of Power, whereas the second only had

access to its power to grant a wish.

Thus, if Ganon can use his

Triforce’s power, he can create a portal to escape the Sages’ Seal just

as he did to escape the gods’ seal. But the Master Sword was used to

bind Ganon’s power even after he was cast into the Sacred Realm, so in

order to use the full measure of his powers he must first remove the

sword’s power to seal him.

The events themselves are a

combination of those spoken of in Wind Waker‘s backstory and the

Sleeping Zelda story, identifying an alter-ego of Ganon’s as the

magician and Daphnes as the prince. The Sages’ Seal keeps the Sacred

Realm entrances and exits locked so that they cannot be infiltrated,

and the seal cannot be broken without the power of the sages. Ganondorf

himself is bound by the Master Sword, which repels his evil power

including that of the Triforce of Power and prevents him from using it

to force his escape.

The Triforce of Courage was left behind by

Link when he traveled through time and left Hyrule. The only one who

knew what became of it was the King of Hyrule, the Great King spoken of

in legend. Prior to the infiltration of the Sacred Realm, the King had

maintained peace in Hyrule by unifying the kingdom and safeguarding the

Triforce, the source of Hyrule’s natural order.

When the Hero of

Time was called to embark on another journey and left the land of

Hyrule, he was separated from the elements that made him a hero.

~ The King of Red Lions, The Wind Waker


than attempting vainly to infiltrate the Sages’ Seal by force,

Ganondorf splits his soul and creates an alter-ego which is able to

seep through the Sages’ Seal. He disguises himself as a magician and

attempts to get close to the King of Hyrule in an attempt to make a

move on Zelda in order to steal the Triforce of Wisdom. He learns that

the King knows what has become of the now-missing Triforce of Courage.

Sensing his impending death, the King tells Zelda about the Triforce of

Courage. Ganondorf, as the magician, questions the King of Hyrule in an

attempt to get the Triforce, but the King does not talk and falls

victim to a fatal curse cast by Ganon.

The prince, Daphnes, who

had expected to inherit everything, only inherits part of the Triforce

of Wisdom. The magician prompts him to search for the missing Triforce

of Courage. After learning that the King told Zelda something about the

Triforce before he died, Daphnes confronts Zelda, but like the King she

says nothing. In his rage, the magician places a sleeping

curse on Zelda in order to pry the information from her dreams.


tries to stop him, but to no avail. Zelda is put under an eternal

sleep. Ganon’s cover as a benevolent adviser to the king is blown, and

he disappears, being “thought” to have died. Zelda is enshrined in the

mountaintop palace north of Hyrule and Daphnes decrees that all

princesses shall be named Zelda in remembrance of the tragedy.


route to the Triforce of Wisdom is blocked, so he redirects his focus

and attacks the sages who maintain the Master Sword’s evil-repelling

light. With the sword’s magic gone, he now has full access to his

power, and uses it to create a portal to escape the Sacred Realm. He

launches a full-scale assault on Hyrule in order to find the missing

Triforce, and the events of the Great Flood happen.

Hyrule sunken.JPG

Consistency issues and conclusions


this theory is not perfect or infallible, like any other Zelda-related

theory. It relies on accepting certain parallels as direct references

and using the mechanics of the Zelda-verse as seen in certain titles to

explain phenomenon in other titles. However, it maintains its basis in

canonical interpretation, and so I must insist on its validity as a

theory. I encourage readers however to question its veracity.


most glaring problem that might be noticed goes thus: later in the

Zelda II manual, we hear of someone who hid the Triforce of Courage in

the Great Palace to await the time when a new king would come and left

Power and Wisdom in the kingdom to be received. Reading the Zelda II

manual as its own individual work, the most direct conclusion would be

to consider the architect of these events to be the very same king who

ruled Hyrule with the Triforce during the Sleeping Zelda story. Thus,

it would seem that there is a problem with the early Sleeping Zelda

theory in that it does not allot for the king to have hidden the

Triforce of Courage in this way.

Of the three, I have left Power and Wisdom in the kingdom. But the Triforce of Courage I have hidden for a reason.

~ The Adventure of Link instruction manual


the more recent games, however, we see that no game has provided any

context for the Sleeping Zelda story to proceed as apparently

originally intended. No game ends with anyone who could qualify as the

“first” Zelda existing alongside a king who gains the entire Triforce

and a prince to whom part of the Triforce could be handed down.


will appeal to A Link to the Past, saying that Link united the Triforce

in the ending of that game, thus explaining how the Triforce came to be

complete in Hyrule for The Adventure of Link‘s backstory. However, no

substantial connection can be drawn between the Triforce and the royal

family from that game, either in the case of the king or of the prince.

The only game to present a king possessing any of the Triforce

to date has been The Wind Waker, and he does not seem to have left

“part” of the Triforce for a prince—there does not seem to be any room

for a “prince” to speak of at all as Tetra-Zelda is the only surviving

member of the royal family.

It should be noted that while this

theory would explain the names of almost every Princess Zelda in the

series, it fails to explain the name of Twilight Princess‘s Zelda.

However, unless the Sleeping Zelda was to predate Ocarina of Time,

which most would probably argue cannot be the case, this is a necessary

problem for at least one of the prongs of the “split timeline.”


would therefore seem it is impossible for a theory about the placement

of the Sleeping Zelda to utilize the fullness of the original intent.

All theories must either renounce the king’s act of hiding the Triforce

in the Great Palace as being part of the Sleeping Zelda story or they

must deny that the Sleeping Zelda is the very first. Any theory

regarding Zelda II‘s backstory that does not include Daphnes in The

Wind Waker must assume that the king who hides the Triforce received it

in an event that is as of yet unwitnessed and unreferenced.


theory bases itself in the king’s possession of the Triforce in The

Wind Waker, both in part when he holds the shard of the Triforce of

Wisdom and in full when he wishes on the Triforce in the game’s ending.

Thus, it provides substance to support its placement of the Sleeping

Zelda myth, when a prince held the Triforce “in part” and of the hiding

of the Triforce of Courage, when a king held the Triforce in full and

left the parts to be used as a “light of hope.”

Let a ray of hope shine on the future of the world!
~ King of Red Lions, The Wind Waker


may reject the Daphnes quote shown above as evidence of a connection

between the King of Red Lions and the scroll writer. The original

Japanese, they argue, does not use the phrase “ray of hope” at all, but

instead says that the people should have a “bright future.” Thus there

is no evidence at all of a connection between Wind Waker‘s endgame

scenario and The Legend of Zelda‘s story arc.

I counter-argue

that Nintendo of America’s localization team, the one responsible for

bringing us the alternate language versions of the games, to use the

words of their supervisor, Bill Trinen, “know and adhere to the

timeline.” If Nintendo of America’s version indicates a more blatant

connection between games, this is not without reason, despite

discrepancies with the Japanese texts. For example, in Twilight

Princess, Trinen stated that his team was trying to “maintain

references to the Imprisoning War,” references which in the Japanese

version of the game were extremely watered-down but in the English

version were fresh and intact. As head of localization, Trinen

certainly has some wiggle room to apply his knowledge of the series to

his translations of the game script, and that would be true of Wind

Waker‘s ending as well.

Others will object to this theory’s

interpretation of the king’s use of the Triforce to maintain peace. The

story cannot refer to simply inheriting the divine blessing of the gods

and thus keeping order and balance in so doing, these theorists say—it

must involve the king actively using the physical Triforce’s powers to

ensure that providence is upheld. But poetic description of Hyrule’s

relationship to the Triforce is nothing new to the series—despite

resting in the Sacred Realm, “another world” as described in A Link to

the Past, the Hyrule of legend is the “land where the power of the gods

is said to sleep.” Hyrule’s relationship to the Triforce has always

been largely symbolic, and there is no reason why its monarchy’s

connections to the sacred relic cannot be also.

The creators

have cited time and again, from Toru Osawa all the way to the

mastermind, Eiji Aonuma, that the overarching chronology of the Zelda

series operates through references and “pseudo-secrets” that will only

be recognized by veteran players. Regardless of how the Sleeping Zelda

story fits into the timeline and how traditional views depict the

events, this theory seeks to assign it a greater position in the Zelda

canon than as a spiritual origin story. What other theories pass off as

meaningless homages to the classics this theory elevates as direct

reference. It fills in the background of the plot of Zelda II with

intricate connections to The Wind Waker‘s characters and uses these

connections to flesh out the overarching story.

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