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!
If you were to thumb through the pages of a Hyrulean History Book, chances are you would come across a chapter or two involving one of Hyrule’s many great wars. And if you were to ask any one of Hyrule’s residents, they would surely tell you that their nation’s history has not exactly been peaceful. On first glance, nothing seems to be out of the ordinary regarding the Fierce War, one of the many great battles spread throughout Hyrule’s past. Taking a closer look however, reveals that there may be more to this mysterious conflict.
The Fierce War was first mentioned in Ocarina of Time. A majority of the information came from the Deku Tree Sprout, who after introducing himself, clears up a question that had surely been plaguing Link’s mind:
“Hey, have you seen your old friends? None of them recognized you with your grown-up body, did they? That’s because the Kokiri never grow up!
Even after seven years, they’re still kids!
You must be wondering why only you have grown up! Well, as you might have already guessed, you are not a Kokiri! You are actually a Hylian! I am happy to finally reveal this secret to you!”
Although the Sprout’s intention was to reveal Link’s true destiny, in doing so, he introduced the Fierce War in a sort of roundabout way. During his monologue, he mentions a massive battle that ended shortly before the start of Link’s quest:
“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. And now, finally, the day of destiny has come!”
From the sprout’s quotes, one can draw two things. The first being that Link was put under the care of the Great Deku Tree when his mother escaped the heat of battle and orphaned him on the outskirts of the Lost Woods. The second being that the war took place shortly before the King of Hyrule unified the country (from which the name Unifying War was coined, though the two names refer to the same event).
Not all information regarding the Fierce War came from the Deku Tree Sprout however. Parts of Ocarina of Time also tell us that the mysterious Sheikah were thought to have been exterminated during the years of seemingly endless warfare.
Twilight Princess shed new light on this battle when it referenced a great war – coined the Prolonged Wars by fans – that occurred after word of the Sacred Realm spread throughout the land of Hyrule. Like the Fierce War mentioned in Ocarina of Time, it is believed that the Sheikah became extinct as a result of the warfare. Due to the similarities, many believe that both the Fierce and Prolonged Wars are actually one in the same. If the two wars really are synonymous, then the war would seem to have both a beginning and an end. The war began when the inhabitants of Hyrule grew greedy with the thought of the riches promised through the legend of the Sacred Realm; the war’s ending, of course, came when the country was unified under its great King.
While the battle seems to have a start and finish, those who actually participated in the decades of bloody warfare isn’t immediately obvious. Being the cornerstone of Hyrulean civilization, the war seems to have been centered around the King and the Royal Family. The two races known for certain to be close to the Royal Family are the Zora, the fish-like creatures of the domain to the east, and the Sheikah, the mysterious founders of Kakariko Village. The Zora are described as having a history of close relations with the Hyrulean Royal Family, and the Sheikah, before their extermination, were also close on very close terms with the King, evidenced by Impa’s role of guarding Princess Zelda. Darunia, the Goron leader, states how the King of Hyrule and him are Sworn Brothers, so the Gorons and the Royal Family being close seems rather obvious. Finally, before launching his attack on the Sacred Realm, Ganondorf and the Gerudo are depicted by Zelda as having a “sworn allegiance to the king”. The only race known to have been excluded from the conflict was the Kokiri, sheltered by the Lost Woods in the southern region of Hyrule.
With the given information in mind, it’s obvious that the Zora and Sheikah were allies of the Royal Family and Hylian Knights during the Fierce War. The nature of the Goron’s participation in the war is unclear, although it’s very likely that they were also on the side of the Crown. And with the Kokiri being completely away from the battles, hidden safely away in the comforts of the Lost Woods, the only race that remains is the Gerudo¯the tribe of thieves who reside in the western desert. As Ocarina of Time progresses, we learn that the leader of this race, Ganondorf, isn’t exactly the most trustworthy apple in the tree, and his “sworn allegiance” turns out to be about as fake as a Dodongo-skinned handbag. All of this being said, it may certainly seem plausible that the war could have been waged against the Gerudo; they are the only race who has a shaky alliance with the Royal Family.
In Ocarina of Time, we are told that every one-hundred years a male Gerudo is born into the tribe, thusly becoming their king. Decades before the events of Ocarina, when word of the Sacred Realm was being passed throughout the land, a previous Gerudo King and the band of followers grew greedy. The tribe of thieves then knew what they must do: find a way into the legendary Sacred Realm and ultimately obtain the mythical Triforce. Much to the Gerudo’s demise however, the rest of Hyrule would have nothing to do with such thievery. But the adamant King and his followers would not have their attempt to gain the essence of the Goddesses – the Triforce of legend – be thwarted so easily. The Gerudo decided to use brute force to break into the Sacred Realm, causing the Fierce War to erupt¯the band of thieves from the western desert versus the Royal Family of Hyrule and its loyal allies: the Zoras, Gorons, and Sheikah.
The brutal conflict lasted for what seemed like an eternity. As a result of protecting the Royal Family, the Sheikah were eliminated by the forces of the Gerudo. The people of Hyrule grew tired of the conflict and wanted the fighting to cease, and the King knew the only way out was to unify the country as a whole. But the persistent King of the western desert refused to swear his allegiance before obtaining the Triforce. And the war continued.
While the current King and his army continued to fight for their ultimate goal, the Gerudo’s soon-to-be leader was away from the conflict hatching a new, more reasonable plan. Instead of trying to fight his way into the Sacred Realm, Ganondorf – the future King of Evil – would gain the trust of the Royal Family, and use this trust to gather information on the items need to enter the Sacred Realm.
Eventually, the King of the desert grew old and died, and Ganondorf took lead of the Gerudo. Upon becoming their leader, he put his plan into action, signing a treaty with the King of Hyrule, swearing his tribe’s allegiance to the Royal Family. With Hyrule finally as a whole, the war could finally come to an end; the country was unified.
If all of this is true, that the Fierce War was really a battle between Hyrule and the Gerudo, then what other evidence is there that could support such a claim? A handful of Hyrule’s citizens seem to suggest a post-war hatred of the western thieves.
First off, King Zora notes that the Gerudo Mask gives him chills, showing his negative feelings towards them, possibly due to what occurred some time ago during the Fierce War.
Secondly, and possibly the strongest remark suggesting this abhorrence, can be found in a quote from another leader of one of Hyrule’s races. This time, it’s from Darunia, head of the Goron tribe. Approaching him while wearing the Gerudo mask reveals his opinion of their tribe, and while the often stubborn Darunia isn’t exactly known for his way with words, his feeling here is clear – he doesn’t like them! In the given context, it’s very likely that he’s still infuriated with the Gerudos defiance of his Sworn Brother, the King of Hyrule, during the time of the Fierce War.
On a smaller level, the last piece of evidence comes from your average Castle Town Market resident. The mere sight of a Gerudo nearly scares him half to death, hinting again at the loathing that all of Hyrule seems to have in common with the thieves of the western desert.
When Ganondorf became the commander of his people, surely he thought his strategy would work. After years and years of brutality, the mighty ruler would emerge and seemingly lead his people to salvation. Once the nation’s trust was gained, he would put forth his plan to acquire the Triforce from the arcane Golden Land. In the end however, Ganondorf failed, and was banished in the land that he and his ancestors so genuinely coveted.
“When this seal is broken….
That is when I will exterminate your descendants!!
As long as the Triforce of Power is in my hand….”