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The Zelda Timeline is an ordering of the Zelda games as their events occur within the fictional universe. This official chronology was revealed in detail in The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, published in December 2011. Before that, it had been kept a deeply held secret,[1][2][3] even to most of the developers.[4] This was done to prevent the developers from falling into the trap of focusing on the storyline instead of the gameplay[5] and to allow for more creative flexibility for future releases.[citation needed] Before Hyrule Historia was published, the timeline was a major topic of debate among Zelda fans, owing to vague, open-ended, or absent connections between games, as well as many apparent contradictions.

The timeline was subsequently revised slightly in Encyclopedia, moving Link's Awakening to before the Oracle games and establishing that the latter feature a new incarnation of Link.

The official timeline published in Hyrule Historia


The ordering of the games is as follows. Ocarina of Time has three different endings which spawn three branched timelines.

Skyward Sword
The Minish Cap
Four Swords
Ocarina of Time
Decline Timeline Child Timeline Adult Timeline
A Link to the Past Majora's Mask The Wind Waker
Link's Awakening Twilight Princess Phantom Hourglass
Oracle of Seasons
Oracle of Ages
Four Swords Adventures Spirit Tracks
A Link Between Worlds
Tri Force Heroes
The Legend of Zelda
The Adventure of Link
Breath of the Wild (Unplaced, but still canon)

The Legend of the Goddesses and the Hero


Main article: Creation
Goddesses creating the land of Hyrule

Hyrule was created out of chaos by the three Golden Goddesses. Din, the Goddess of Power, created the land; Nayru, the Goddess of Wisdom, imbued a spirit of law; and Farore, the Goddess of Courage, created the life forms to live on the land and uphold the law. They then left their creation, leaving the Triforce, a symbol of their immense power. It lays dormant in the Sacred Realm, guarded by the goddess Hylia.[6]

Era of the Goddess Hylia

Main article: Era of the Goddess Hylia

The Demon King Demise rises up with his Demon Tribe to take the Triforce for himself. To protect the Triforce and her people, Hylia sends them both to the sky and erects a barrier of clouds to protect them from the demons which have overrun the surface. She then battles and defeats Demise with the aid of the remaining surface tribes, sealing him away.

Fearing that the seal is too weak, Hylia initiates two plans to destroy Demise for good. First she creates Fi, the spirit of the Master Sword, to aid a hero that would appear in the future. Second, in order to make use of the power of the Triforce which can't be used by gods, she surrendered her divinity, leaving herself to be reincarnated as a mortal. These two plans come into play during the Sky Era.

Sky Era

Main article: Sky Era
View of the sky and Skyloft from Skyward Sword

After the Ancient Battle, Hylia's people live in The Sky and are nearly forgotten about by the tribes remaining on the Surface over thousands of years.[7] The humans rebuild their strength and thrive on Skyloft, a series of floating islands in the sky. Gaepora founds the Knight Academy to train Loftwing-riding knights.[8]

The Sky Era spans the events of Skyward Sword. As the seal on Demise weakens, Hylia is reborn as Zelda. Demise also sends his servant Ghirahim to search for Hylia so he can break the seal. He soon discovers Zelda and forces her down to the surface, prompting Link, the goddess's chosen hero, to search for her. Zelda is rescued by Impa, who helps her discover her identity as Hylia. Ghirahim eventually captures Zelda and resurrects Demise, but Link is able to defeat him with the aid of the Master Sword and the Triforce.

With the threat of Demise gone, the Cloud Barrier dissipates, allowing the humans to return to the surface. The time between the Sky Era and the Era of Chaos is a time of peace, during which the descendants of Hylia become known as Hylians and the land becomes known as Hyrule.[9]

Era of Chaos

The Spiritual Stones within the Temple of Time
Main article: Era of Chaos

The land of Hyrule knows peace for several years until word begins to spread about the Triforce and the Sacred Realm. The power of the Triforce draws individuals and factions to struggle against each other in hopes of attaining it.

In order to prevent people from gaining access to the Triforce, the Sage of Light, Rauru, kept the relic within the Temple of Light within the Sacred Realm. Guarding the entrance to the realm was the Temple of Time, in which the pedestal to the Master Sword laid. The only way to enter the realm was to pull the Master Sword. However, the Sword was further guarded by the Door of Time, which could only be opened if one were to obtain the three Spiritual Stones.

Era of Prosperity

Main article: Era of Prosperity

The Era of Prosperity is marked by the establishment of Hyrule and consequently the Royal Family of Hyrule. This family charges itself with protecting the Triforce, and constructs Hyrule Castle near the Temple of Time to keep watch over it. The Royal Family also enforces secrecy about the Triforce.

Due to its strong blood ties to the goddess Hylia, many members of the family have special powers. Zelda, the name of the first human incarnation of Hylia, is a common name among Hylian princesses.

Force Era

Main article: Force Era

The era where both The Minish Cap and Four Swords take place. This era occurs prior to the events of the Era of the Hero of Time, which occurs throughout the time frame of Ocarina of Time.

Hero of Men

Main article: Hero of Men

After a period of peace in Hyrule, a great evil threatened the land once again. It was at this moment that the Picori descended from the sky and gave the Hero of Men the Picori Blade and the Light Force. With the power of the force and the ancient blade, the Hero of Men was able to defeat the evil forces and seal them within the chest. The story became legend and was passed down through tales of Hyrule.

The Hero of the Minish

Main article: The Minish Cap
Link from The Minish Cap

In the celebration of the Picori and the ancient tale of the Hero, Link and Princess Zelda headed to the festival. It is said that one person is allowed to touch the ancient Picori Blade each year. This year, Vaati was chosen and he intended to shatter the blade and harness the Light Force. Vaati proceeded to release the power and Princess Zelda was turned to stone in the process. However, the ancient power was nowhere to be found, and due to the seal now being broken, all the evil within the chest was released upon Hyrule.

Link was tasked with reforging the Picori Blade. To do this, he must find four unique Elements. With the assistance of the Picori and his companion Ezlo, he finds the four elements across the land of Hyrule. With the four elements acquired, Link is able to reforge the blade, and it becomes the Four Sword, the famous blade that was once wielded by the Hero of Men. However, Vaati found out about the source of the ancient power he sought after, the Light Force. The powerful mage then broke into Hyrule Castle and intended to extract the power from the dormant Princess. Link, now with the Four Sword, fought through the cursed Castle and battled with the evil sorcerer Vaati. Link defeated Vaati and he restored Princess Zelda to her original form thus saving Hyrule from the dark forces and returning peace to the land.

Vaati the Wind Mage

The Return of Vaati

Main article: Four Swords

After a brief period of peace, the wind sorcerer Vaati returned to terrorize Hyrule. Vaati sought to kidnap many people across Hyrule, mainly women, who he then imprisoned inside his new home, the Palace of Winds. One day a hero wielded the great Four Sword, hero split into four and sealed Vaati away.

One day in Hyrule, Princess Zelda detected strange occurrences within the Four Sword Sanctuary. It is at this moment that Vaati broke the seal and kidnapped the Princess. Link is tasked with proving his courage to the Fairies with the help of the Four Sword. After proving his courage, the Fairies help Link travel to the Palace of Winds. With the legendary blade, Link is able to seal Vaati once again within the sword and save Zelda.

Era of the Hero of Time

Main article: Era of the Hero of Time

Unification War

In a period where Hyrule was engulfed in conflict and war, a mother fled to the forest to escape the fires of the fierce war. She held a baby in her hand and arrived at the Kokiri Forest, it is here where she entrusted the Great Deku Tree with looking after her child. The Great Deku Tree, sensing the fate of Hyrule, decided to raise the child under the protection of the Kokiri. The Kingdom of Hyrule slowly gained order again and was unified under one name.

The Hero of Time

Main article: Ocarina of Time
Link battling Ganondorf from Ocarina of Time

The child that the Deku Tree intended to look after was a young boy named Link. Link had been experiencing strange dreams and is summoned by Navi to go and see the Great Deku Tree. After Link rids the evil deep within him, the Deku Tree tells Link about Ganondorf and the dark future that lies ahead. The Deku Tree also tasks Link with taking the Emerald of the Kokiri to Princess Zelda in Hyrule Castle. After sneaking past the guards, Link arrives at the courtyard where the Princess asks the Hero to find the other two Spiritual Stones, the Goron's Ruby and the Zora's Sapphire. After obtaining all of the stones, Link encountered Impa and Zelda fleeing from Ganondorf, the young Princess was able to toss the Ocarina of Time time to Link.

With the three Spiritual Stones and the Ocarina, Link now proceeded through the Door of Time where the Master Sword laid. After pulling the Sword from the Pedestal of Time, Link is kept in the Temple of Light for seven years as he was too young to be the Hero. However, this was the one key to the Sacred Realm and it allowed Ganondorf to enter, thus leading him to the Triforce. Due to his heart not being pure he was only able to obtain the Triforce of Power, and with this he took over Hyrule and cursed the Sages. Link is tasked by Rauru to retrieve the five medallions and awaken the Sages across Hyrule. Once he has united the medallions and the Sages, the path to Ganon's Castle is made clear and Link challenged Ganondorf.

The Decline of Hyrule and the Last Hero

Ganondorf gained the Triforce of Power and sought out Princess Zelda who had the Triforce of Wisdom. Link, who possessed the third and final piece of the Triforce, the Triforce of Courage, challenged Ganondorf to determine the destiny of Hyrule. However, the Hero of Time fails and is defeated by Ganondorf.

Subsequently, Ganondorf now had the Triforce of Wisdom from Princess Zelda and the Triforce of Courage from the defeated Link. With all of the Triforce pieces in his possession he now wielded true power. Ganondorf was now able to transform into the Demon King Ganon. In a last effort, the seven sages of Hyrule, including Princess Zelda, sealed Ganon within the Sacred Realm. Due to Ganon's heart not being pure, the Sacred Realm is transformed into the Dark World.

The Imprisoning War

Main article: Imprisoning War
Artwork of the Imprisoning War from A Link to the Past

After the Demon King Ganon was sealed within the Sacred Realm, it gave peace to the Kingdom of Hyrule. However, this peace was short-lived. Word again spread about the Sacred Realm and many people lusted for the great power hidden within. The people who entered the Sacred Realm, now the Dark World, would never return. Due to the dark evil within the Dark World, they were transformed into monsters under the ruling of Ganon. As Ganon's army grew they waged war upon Hyrule.

The King of Hyrule ordered the seven sages to seal the entrance to the Dark World to prevent Ganon's army from attacking Hyrule. With the help from the Knights of Hyrule, the seven sages were successful with once again sealing the entrance. During the battle, many Knights perished and few were left, but they were successful in their attempt and Hyrule won the war briefly. Hylians before this war were usually born with a mysterious power and distinct features such as pointy ears to hear messages from the Gods. However, after the Imprisoning War the special infused blood within the Hylian race was greatly diminished. Additionally, the Sages of this Era who were victorious became only a legend.

Era of Light and Dark

Main article: Era of Light and Dark

A Link to the Past

Main article: A Link to the Past
The evil wizard Agahnim from A Link to the Past

After the Imprisoning War, the land of Hyrule found peace once again. Soon a powerful wizard named Agahnim sought out the entrance to the Sacred Realm. After gaining the trust of the King of Hyrule, Agahnim decided to betray him. He manipulated the Soldiers, making them hostile, and tasked them with sending the remaining Maidens to the Dark World. As a result of this, Princess Zelda was locked up in the castle and sent out a message to Link and his Uncle. After finding his Uncle dead within the grounds, it was up to Link to save the Princess.

Link left the Princess in the hands of the Loyal Sage at the Sanctuary. Link then payed a visit to the Sage Sahasrahla, who told the Hero that in order to defeat the great Wizard he must obtain the Master Sword, deep within the Lost Woods. To be able to draw the ancient sword, Link must first collect the three Pendants of Virtue across Hyrule. After doing this, he confronted Agahnim in Hyrule Castle. However, the evil Wizard had kidnapped Zelda and sent her into the Dark World. Before his defeat, Agahnim, as last ditch effort, sends Link into the Dark World. Due to the appearance of the Dark World, Link transformed into a small bunny, as it was a reflection of his true heart.

After gaining the Moon Pearl, Link could explore the treacherous Dark World in his Hylian form, and with the power of the Magic Mirror, he could effectively travel to and from the dark and light world. Link must revive the Maidens, who are trapped within specific palaces across the Dark World. After doing so, it is revealed that Ganon is behind all of the events and he was simply using Agahnim. Link then battled Ganon in the Pyramid of Power and after defeating the Demon King, the Dark World vanished and peace is restored to Hyrule.

A Mysterious Dream

Main article: Link's Awakening
Marin finding Link on the shore of Koholint Island

After the defeat of Ganon, Link departed Hyrule by boat, looking for a new adventure. Upon exploring the vast seas, Link and his boat got caught up in a storm. Link woke up from is conscious state on the shore of the mysterious Island of Koholint. A local of the island's town, Mabe Village, took the Hero to her home. She revealed her name as Marin, who strikes a very similar resemblance to Malon and Princess Zelda.

After Link recovered his sword, he wanted to leave the island, but the villagers convince the Hero that there is nothing beyond the sea. A mysterious Owl told Link that in order to depart the island he must awake the Wind Fish, who lies dormant on top of the island in his Egg. In order to wake the fish, he told Link that he must obtain the Eight Instruments of the Sirens.

After finding all the instruments, Link made his way up the Tal Tal Mountain Range towards Mt. Tamaranch and the Wind Fish's Egg. The hero plays the Ballad of the Wind Fish, which was taught to him by Marin. This caused the Egg to break and it opens up to a maze-like structure. Link then fought his way through the maze and encountered Shadow Nightmares, who had kept the Wind Fish in a deep slumber in order to control the island. After Link defeated the final form of the Nightmare, the Wind Fish fully awakened and it is revealed that Koholint Island was a creation within his dreams. Koholint Island now disappeared and Link woke up in the ocean, setting sail to an unknown destination.

Twinrova's Plan

Main article: Oracle of Seasons

After the defeat of the Demon King Ganon, Twinrova plotted a scheme to revive the evil King. In order to revive him the twin sorceresses needed three flames: the Flames of Sorrow, Destruction and Despair. In order to obtain the flames, Twinrova sent Onox to the land of Holodrum and Veran to Labrynna. The young hero, Link, was guided to the location of the Triforce in Hyrule Castle. However, upon arrival he was transported to the foreign land of Holodrum.

The Adventure in Holodrum

Oracle of Seasons
Main article: Oracle of Seasons

When Link awakens in the mysterious land of Holodrum, he is greeted by Din who danced with him. However, darkness shrouded the land and Din was kidnapped by the general of darkness Onox. Upon the capturing of Din, the land of Holodrum was turned into a land of the four seasons. With the power of the Rod of Seasons Link was able to control each of the different seasons. Link must retrieve the eight Essences of Nature from their respective dungeons. After blessing the Maku Tree with the final Essence, the magical tree produced a Huge Maku Seed. With the seed, Link was able to infiltrate Onox's Castle and confront the general. Upon defeating him, the Oracle Din is now saved and the seasons return to normal. However, after the defeat, one of the flames was lit, the Flame of Destruction.

The Adventure in Labrynna

Oracle of Ages
Main article: Oracle of Ages

After the events in Holodrum, Link was once again transported at the hands of the Triforce, this time to the land of Labrynna. Link met with Impa, she leads the hero to Nayru. However, the evil sorcerer Veran possessed Impa and then proceeded to take control of the Oracle of Ages. She used Nayru's powers to travel to the past so that she could alter the events in the present. Link uses the Harp of Ages to travel through time to obtain the eight Essences of Time. This allowed Link access to the Black Tower, where he encountered Veran. Link defeated the evil sorceress, but the Flame of Sorrow was lit in the process.

The Revival of Ganon

Upon the defeat of both Onox and Veran, the Flame of Destruction and the Flame of Sorrow were lit. With one final flame remaining, Twinrova kidnapped Princess Zelda to prepare her for the sacrifice to revive the Demon King. However, Link, who now had both the power of Din, the Oracle of Seasons, and Nayru, the Oracle of Ages, challenged the evil sorcerers. After their defeat, the surrogate mothers of Ganon sacrificed themselves. However, since the ritual wasn't fully complete, Ganon appeared, but was without intellect. The Hero defeated the mindless Demon King and saved Zelda while returning peace to both lands of Holodrum and Labrynna.

Golden Era

Main article: Golden Era

After the events of both the Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons, the Demon King Ganon had been defeated. Maintaining the order of Hyrule was the King of Hyrule himself. He used all pieces of the Triforce in unity to create an era of peace in Hyrule, known as The Golden Era.

Era of Decline

Main article: Era of Decline

The Tragedy of Princess Zelda

Main article: The Tragedy of Princess Zelda
Link discovering Princess Zelda in her eternal sleep

In the backstory to The Adventure of Link, it mentioned a great King and how he intended to pass down the Triforce after his death. The King believed that after his death, the power of the Triforce would be misused, as if it were to be in the wrong hands, evil would take over Hyrule. He intended to find a successor worthy of handling the Triforce, but was unsuccessful; even his son, the Prince of Hyrule, was not to be trusted. In order to prevent the Prince from gaining the complete Triforce, he split the Triforce of Courage into three parts and hid them across Hyrule. The two successors worthy of taking the throne of Hyrule were the Prince and Princess Zelda. However, due to the King being wary of the Prince's character, he only told Princess Zelda the secret of the Triforce. The Prince took on the role of the new King of Hyrule, but due to the Triforce being incomplete, he was unable to wield the true power.

The new King was angry that he couldn't inherit the full power of the Triforce, so he searched throughout the land, but to no avail. It was then that a Wizard appeared and told the young King that the Princess knew the secret. The King demanded the location of the Triforce of Courage, but Zelda kept to her word. In a fury, the Wizard put Zelda to an eternal sleep and dies in the process.[10] However, the young King soon regretted his mistakes and lay the Princess in the North Castle. He then stated that every Princess following were to be named after Zelda. With the location of the Triforce only known by the Princess, who was in an eternal slumber, the Kingdom of Hyrule slowly decayed and eventually decreased in size.

Ganon's Invasion

Main article: The Legend of Zelda
Link staring out over Death Mountain

Following the tragic events of Princess Zelda, Hyrule was in an era of decline and it was deemed a small Kingdom in contrast to its former glory. Ganon one day invaded Hyrule Kingdom and took the Triforce of Power for himself. The current Princess at that time divided the other known Triforce piece, the Triforce of Wisdom, into eight separate pieces. The fragments were hidden across Hyrule and the Princess ordered her servant Impa, to go and find a suitable man to find the fragments. Ganon was angered by the Zelda's actions and in turn captured her.

Impa managed to escape Ganon and his evil minions, however, she found herself surrounded while in search for a suitable hero. It was at this moment that the hero dressed in green appeared and defeated Ganon's minions. Impa revealed to Link about the eight fragments of the Triforce, he then set out across the ruins that was Hyrule. Upon completing the Triforce of Wisdom, Link then set out to Death Mountain to confront Ganon. After defeating the King of Evil, the Hero saved the Princess and recovered the Triforce of Power.

Unification of the Triforce

Main article: The Adventure of Link
Ganon's minions terrorizing Hyrule

The Kingdom of Hyrule, though scared, went through a brief period of peace after the defeat of the Demon King. However, Ganon's underlings remained and they plotted to revive their master. Ganon's minions needed the blood of the Hero, more specifically the same Link who had previously defeated the Evil King.

The hero had stayed in the Kingdom in hope to restore Hyrule to its former glory. One day a strange mark appeared on Link's hand. Link, who was now sixteen, passed down this information to Impa, who in shock took him to the North Castle. They found a mysterious chamber that was yet to be opened. The hero pressed the crest against the door, thus opening the chamber. Here, Impa and Link found Princess Zelda I, who was in an eternal sleep due to the previous King's actions. Impa handed Link a scroll, which revealed the location of the Triforce of Courage within the Great Palace. She also entrusted Link with six Crystals. Link traveled to the six palaces across the land and used the crystals to remove the barrier. After clearing all six palaces, Link traveled through the Valley of Death to reach the Palace, where he was put to the test by his own Shadow. Once defeated Link obtained the Triforce of Courage and set out to reawaken the Princess. With the Triforce finally united, peace is restored to the Kingdom of Hyrule.

The Twilight Realm and the Legacy of the Hero

Link returning the Master Sword to the pedestal

After the defeat of Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time, Princess Zelda sent Link back to relive his childhood. He was sent back seven years to the point where he first met Zelda in the Castle Courtyard. The hero, who now had proof of true Courage, told the Princess about Ganondorf. Now with proof of the future events, Zelda told the Royal Family about Ganondorf's plan. With the evil from the future now behind him, the Hero of Time set off on a new adventure. Before he left, Princess Zelda gave Link the Ocarina of Time, in order to prevent Ganondorf from gaining access to the Sacred Realm. Link then proceeded to retrieve his horse, Epona, from Lon Lon Ranch before leaving the land of Hyrule to search for a past friend, Navi.

Child Era

Main article: Majora's Mask
The Skull Kid and Link

Link set out through a mysterious forest and after several months of searching he became seemingly lost. Link encountered the Skull Kid, who he saw on his previous adventure. This time he had two fairies, Tatl and Tael. The mischievous imp ordered them to attack Link and then stole Epona and the Ocarina of Time. Link chased the imp deep into the forest, where the Skull Kid then used the power of Majora's Mask to turn Link into a Deku Scrub.

The Hero of Time found himself suddenly in a mysterious parallel dimension known as Termina. This land was worried about the impending apocalypse of the Moon, which threatened to crash down and destroy the land. This was the result of the Skull Kid, who released the dark power of Majora on the land. Link befriends Tatl and then he met a familiar face in the form of the Happy Mask Salesman. He promised to return Link to his former self at one request: that he retrieved the Majora's Mask. With the help of the Great Fairy, Link encountered the mischievous imp atop the Clock Tower in Clock Town. He retrieved the Ocarina and plays the Song of Time, which took him back to the first day.

The Happy Mask Salesman taught the young hero the Song of Healing, allowing him to return to his Hylian self; however, he was angry that Link was unable to return the Mask, speaking of its destructive nature. Link sets out to the four regions in Termina, known as Woodfall, Snowpeak, Great Bay and Ikana. After saving each of the Four Giants from their respective regions, they stop the falling of the Moon on the eve third day. Link found out that the evil deity known as Majora was behind the turmoil and was simply controlling the Skull Kid. The Young Hero goes into the Moon where he defeated the ancient evil, thus stopping the Moon from falling. Link left the land of Termina on the day of the Carnival of Time and set out to once again search for Navi.

Twilight Era

Ganondorf's Execution

Main article: Ganondorf's Execution
Ganondorf's Execution in the Mirror Chamber

Several years after the events in Termina, the Demon thief Ganondorf was sent to the Arbiter's Grounds, where he was imprisoned by the Ancient Sages. This was because of the Hero of Time's knowledge of future events. On the day of his execution, Ganondorf was chained and brought to the Mirror Chamber. The Sage of Water then readied the Sword of Light and impaled the evil demon. However, due to what one of the sages called a "divine prank",[11] the symbol of the Triforce of Power appeared on Ganondorf's hand, giving him a renewed strength and therefore preventing his death. Ganondorf broke free and killed the Sage of Water, and upon this action the Sages decided that the only solution was for Ganondorf to be sealed within the banished Twilight Realm, via the Mirror of Twilight.

Zant's Invasion of the Light World

Main article: Twilight Era
Official Artwork from Twilight Princess

A loyal servant to the monarchy of the Twili, Zant was supposed to be next in line to take the throne; however, he was skipped and this role was given to Midna. Zant, distraught by this news, looked to the heavens for an answer. He found a god in the shape of Ganondorf. The demon thief promised to house his power in Zant at one request that he merge shadow with light and make darkness. Zant took this power and invaded Hyrule Castle, and he forced Princess Zelda to surrender the Light World.

In his vengeful plan, Zant cursed Midna, diminishing her power as leader of the Twili making her an imp. However, Midna encountered an imprisoned Link in Hyrule Castle. The young boy from Ordona Province had been taken into the Twilight Realm, and due to his heroic heart he had been transformed into a Wolf. With the help of Midna, Link successfully restored the light and in the process gains the remaining fragments of the Fused Shadows. After an encounter with Zant, Link revives Midna and obtains the Master Sword from the Sacred Grove.

After visiting the Mirror Chamber, Link found the Mirror of Twilight, which had been broken by the King of Shadows himself. Link investigated across Hyrule and found the three Mirror Shards deep within Snowpeak. He then traveled into the Twilight Realm and confronts Zant. After defeating the usurper King, it is then revealed that Ganondorf was behind Zant all along and that he is now reborn in the Light World. Link, with the aid of Midna, broke through the barrier of Hyrule Castle and confronted the now self proclaimed king of light and shadow. After defeating the many forms of the evil king, Link saved Princess Zelda and restored peace once again to Hyrule. The curse set on Midna was now lifted and her true form is revealed; however, upon leaving she shattered the Mirror, breaking the only known connection between the two worlds.

Shadow Era

Main article: Shadow Era
Official Artwork from Four Swords Adventures

Centuries passed since the defeat of Ganondorf in the Era of Twilight and peace returned to the Kingdom of Hyrule. The relationship between Hyrule and the Gerudos grew strong, but a new King was born among the race. This was the second coming of Ganondorf, a reincarnation of the previous evil king. Ganondorf sought out the sacred power known as the Trident, which was hidden in the Ancient Pyramid. Once he obtained it, he proceeded to bring darkness to Hyrule by stealing the Dark Mirror from the Temple of Darkness. The Mirror bore an ancient power once wielded by a dark tribe: the power to reflect the evil of the person who used it. Ganondorf used the Mirror to create a dark version of Link, known as Shadow Link, and plotted to release the seal on the powerful sorcerer Vaati.

One day in Hyrule, Princess Zelda sensed the seal on Vaati was weakening so she called upon Link and the six maidens in order to watch over the Four Sword Sanctuary. It was at this moment that Shadow Link appeared out of a portal and he trapped the six maidens within separate crystals. Link proceeded to follow his dark self into the portal and, in order to save the six maidens, he drew the Four Sword, subsequently releasing the Wind Mage Vaati. Link traveled throughout the Dark World and saved the six maidens and discovered that Ganondorf was behind the darkness in Hyrule. After defeating the second coming of the evil king Ganondorf, he seals both Vaati and Ganondorf within the Four Sword, thus restoring peace to the land.

The Hero of Winds and a New World

After the events of Ocarina of Time, Link defeated the Demon King Ganon. Princess Zelda and the other six sages proceed to seal Ganon away. Now that the Demon King is sealed, Princess Zelda wanted Link to relive his childhood, so she sent him back to the point where he first met her using the Ocarina of Time. With the Hero of Time now sent back to the previous Era, Hyrule returned to its once peaceful state.

These events create the split in the timeline and this section of the Timeline is to be known as the Adult Timeline. This Timeline continues with the following games: The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks.

Era without a Hero

Main article: Era without a Hero
The tale of the lost Hero in the prologue to The Wind Waker

The great tales of the Hero of Time and the legendary green garb he wore were passed down through many ages. However, for an unknown reason the seal that held Ganondorf weakened. This led to Ganondorf breaking the seal, and he intended to keep the promise he made to the Hero of Time before he was sealed. Hyrule once again was covered in darkness. The people of Hyrule prayed for the Hero of Time to show up once again, but he was nowhere to be seen.

Left hopeless, Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule left the fate of Hyrule with the Goddesses. The three Goddesses informed the people of Hyrule to climb to the mountaintops as they proceeded to flood and seal all of Hyrule and Ganondorf in the process. This event was known as the Great Flood. King Daphnes decided that he would remain within the sealed Hyrule. The people who were able to take refuge on the mountaintops went on to build a new civilization on the land now known as the Great Sea.

Era of the Great Sea

Main article: Era of the Great Sea
Link sailing the Great Sea

Hundreds of years passed since Ganondorf had been sealed beneath the ocean, the Demon King broke the seal and sought out to kill the two Sages, to diminish the power of the Master Sword. Ganondorf built his base of operations in the Forsaken Fortress, where he searched for Princess Zelda with the help of the Helmaroc King. King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule returned to the surface of the ocean in an attempt to stop the evil king, he took the form of a boat, known as the King of Red Lions.

On the small island of Outset, a young boy had come of age, he was gifted with the Hero's Clothes in homage to the great Hero of Time. However, the Helmaroc King kidnapped Link's sister Aryll and Link had to seek out the help of pirates and Tetra, in order to travel to the Forsaken Fortress. However, he met the powerful demon Ganondorf, who didn't see the boy as a threat, so he ordered the Helmaroc King to dump him in the Great Sea. The King of Red Lions found the young boy washed up on the shore of Windfall Island, where he teamed up with Link to sail across the vast ocean. With the help of the Wind Waker, Link found the three Pearls across the Great Sea and faced the trial of the Master Sword, within the Tower of the Gods. Link then ventured to the sealed Hyrule to draw the blade of evils bane, with blade in hand young hero then sought out to encounter Ganondorf in the Fortress. Link saved both Aryll and Tetra from the stronghold, where they encountered the evil king himself. The King of Red Lions intervened and saved both Tetra and Link from Ganondorf, revealing himself as the former King of Hyrule and Tetra as Princess Zelda. To prevent Ganondorf getting his hands on the Princess, the King kept her within Hyrule.

The hero then awakened the Sages of Earth and Wind in the form of Medli and Makar, who restored power to the Master Sword. Now with the fully powered blade, Link traveled the Great Sea in a quest to find eight pieces of the Triforce of Courage. Now that the young boy was recognised as a true hero, he returned to the sunken Hyrule. Link raided Ganon's Tower, where he impaled Ganondorf, thus killing him. Upon his death, King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule decided to break the barrier between Hyrule and the Great Sea. Daphnes decided to stay and die in Hyrule, while Link and Tetra return to the surface, where they sailed off for a new adventure.

Era of the Great Voyage

Main article: Era of the Great Voyage
Link and Linebeck sailing the seas

After Link defeated Ganondorf, he set out to explore the vast ocean with Tetra and the rest of her crew. A couple of months after they started their voyage, the ship entered the World of the Ocean King, as they wanted to investigate the myth about the mysterious Ghost Ship. It was not long until the Ghost Ship appeared and Tetra boarded ship in curiosity, however, she was taken away. Link tried to save Tetra but only found himself falling into depths of the ocean.

Link washed up on the shore of Mercay Island, where he befriended a fairy named Ciela. After speaking with her grandfather Oshus, Link sets off in Linebeck's Ship in search of The Ghost Ship. Link found the Spirit of Power and the Spirit of Wisdom, and Ciela revealed herself to be the Spirit of Courage. With the three Spirits, Link successfully located the Ghost Ship and he rescued Tetra, who had been turned into stone. Oshus revealed himself as the Ocean King and told Link that this was the work of the evil phantom Bellum, in order to defeat Bellum, Link found the three Pure Metals. Link obtained the Phantom Sword and with the help of the Phantom Hourglass, he successfully navigated through the Temple of the Ocean King. After defeating Bellum, Link and Tetra awaken next to the Pirates Ship and find out only ten minutes had passed. Link was unsure if the adventure was a dream, however, he then saw Linebeck's ship off into the distance.

Era of Hyrule's Rebirth

Main article: Era of Hyrule's Rebirth
Link and Princess Zelda on the Spirit Train

Tetra and the rest of the Pirates sailed the seas until they finally found a new land. In this new continent there stood a tall tower called the Tower of Spirits, it is here where Tetra formed the New Hyrule Kingdom. Across the land there were the Spirit Tracks, which connected the realms throughout the land.

A hundred years had passed since the establishment of New Hyrule and the railroad tracks across the land started to diminish. Princess Zelda decided to hire a young boy named Link, in order to investigate the Tower of Spirits. She gave Link the Recruit Uniform, based on the outfit that the Hero of Winds once wore. On the way to the Tower of Spirits, Link found out Chancellor Cole's true intentions, as he wanted to revive the Demon King, known as Malladus. The evil demon was sealed at the top of the Tower of Spirits and Cole ordered his assistant Byrne to take Princess Zelda to the Tower in order to release Malladus. However, the Princesses spirit stayed with Link and helped the young hero reach Anjean, who gave the pair instructions on how to restore the Tower. Link travelled across the land of New Hyrule in the Spirit Train, restoring the barriers within the temples. This allowed them to traverse to the top of the Tower where they encountered Malladus in the Dark Realm. Upon the death of the Demon King, Zelda's spirit was returned to her body and the Lokomo ascended into the heavens.


The history of the Zelda Timeline is punctuated by the addition of new games which expand, clarify, or redefine it.

TODO: These section headers are tentative.

The Beginning to Ocarina of Time

The Legend of Zelda was released in Japan in 1986, establishing the basis of Zelda lore. The Triforce of Power is one part of the magical artifact known as the Triforce. It is stolen by Ganon, a recurring enemy in the series.

Released the following year, in 1987, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was a direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda. It introduced the third piece of the Triforce, the Triforce of Courage.

In 1991, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past introduced the Golden Goddesses and the story of Creation, which are themes that later games would expand on. In addition, the Master Sword first appeared in this game.

The Wind Waker: A New World

Four Swords Saga: Side-Stories?

Twilight Princess: Expanding Both Timelines

Skyward Sword and Hyrule Historia

Breath of the Wild

While Breath of the Wild is still canon, it doesn't appear to have a definite placement on the timeline. It is meant to take place at the end of the three timelines that were split in Ocarina of Time, converging into one.

Tears of the Kingdom

Tears of the Kingdom is the sequel to Breath of the Wild.


  1. Electronic Gaming Monthly, June 2005
  2. Camp Hyrule, August 15, 2005
  3. GameTrailers, October 28, 2011
  4. Official Nintendo Magazine, July 21, 2005
  5. Game Informer, October 2011
  6. "The golden goddesses departed from the world they created and left the Triforce in care of the goddess Hylia.", Hyrule Historia, pg. 70
  7. "Only a few individuals on the Surface knew of the existence of the goddess and Skyloft. After a few thousand years, their story was forgotten and became legend.", Hyrule Historia, pg. 72
  8. "Gaepora, the keeper of the legends that had been passed down through his family, built the Knight Academy. Gaepora brought kendo training and Loftwing riding together and established the order of the knights.", Hyrule Historia, pg. 72
  9. "Created by the Golden Goddesses and protected by the goddess Hylia, the world eventually became known as Hyrule. The Hylians, descendants of Hylia, lived in Hyrule and possessed magical abilities.", Hyrule Historia, pg. 77
  10. "The Wizard. A close confidant to Zelda's elder brother, the king. He dies after using the last of his power to lay a curse upon Princess Zelda." — Hyrule Historia, pg. 104
  11. "By some divine prank, he, too, had been blessed with the chosen power of the gods." — Ancient Sages, Twilight Princess.