Legend of Zelda Timeline Explanation

Legend of Zelda timeline explained to catch you up for “Tears of the Kingdom”


Scott A. Barrows, Writer (not held hostage)

So, Nintendo is finally releasing a Canon Legend of Zelda game (that’s not a remake) for the first time in 5 years. This may be a surprise to some of you, and to others, it may just be common knowledge that most of the Zelda games follow a story or 3 stories. It’s complicated, but I’m here to break it down for you.


Before the Timeline.

Before the timelines were all scrambled up, they all had the same general story to follow. The 3 Goddesses created the Earth and then went to rest in Heaven, leaving behind a magical set of Triangles called the Triforce. The Triforce has the ability to grant wishes to the wielder, the wielder being anyone who gets their hands on it. The wish depends on the person; good intentions equal good, or positive, wish, and bad intentions equal bad, or evil, wish. To deal with all the fighting and chaos of the world, the Goddess Hylia sends all the Non-minorities of the world to live on floating islands in the sky, called Skyloft. Hylia wished to use the Triforce but was denied, so she reincarnated herself into Zelda, and takes down the demon king, Demise, with the help of her childhood friend, Link. Demise bestows a curse on Zelda and Link, saying that his spirit would continue to haunt the blood of Zelda/Hylia, and the Spirit of Link (End of Skyward Sword). The humans move down to the surface world, create a new kingdom, Hyrule, and build the Temple of Time to stay in touch with the Sacred Realm (where the Triforce is). A new Link seals himself unknowingly in the Sacred Realm for 7 years to be able to fight Ganon, the new bad guy/the spirit of Demise, after he has already taken everything over. Link defeats Ganon, and seals him in the Sacred Realm for all eternity. Zelda then sends Link back into the past to relive his childhood.

(The triforce, the mysterious triangles of power (Image credit: Wikipedia))

Defeat Timeline. 

In this timeline, Link and Zelda get defeated by Ganon, and Ganon gets banished to the Sacred Realm by the Six Sages (of said Sacred Realm). Ganon infects the Sacred Realm, turning it into the Dark World. Gannon tries to take over Hyrule, but a new Link stops him. Later in the timeline, The Dark World version of Zelda takes the Triforce to try and bring prosperity to the Dark World. Link and Zelda instead wish for prosperity for both worlds. After a good long while, everyone lives in peace, until one King of Hyrule decides to hide the Triforce of Courage, and tells only Zelda. The entitled prince gets a Wizard to put Zelda into eternal sleep because she wouldn’t tell the prince. Ganon takes over Hyrule, and the new Princess Zelda hides the Triforce of Wisdom. Ganon has the Triforce of Power. Link finds the Triforce of Wisdom, and defeats Ganon. He gains the Triforce of Power and finds the Triforce of Courage so he can bring back the old Zelda. He succeeds and continues on with life as normal.


Child Timeline. 

In the Child Timeline, Link defeats Ganon and returns to his childhood, and his Fairy, Navi, leaves him. Navi is his Fairy who guided him along his Ocarina of Time journey. He goes on a quest to find Navi and ends up getting attacked by a kid being controlled by a mask. The kid gets defeated, and Link continues his journey to find Navi. After Ganon is detained, the Six Sages banish him to the Twilight Realm. Ganon gives some of his power to a guy named Zant, who turns the princess of the Twilight Realm into an Imp. Link transforms into a wolf, and helps the Princess to regain her true form. Hundreds of years later, Ganon gets resurrected, defeated, and banished once more. That is where that timeline wraps up.

(Navi, Link’s fairy for Ocarina of Time (credit image: Wikipedia))

Adult Timeline. 

In the Adult Timeline, a new cartoon-ish Link’s sister gets kidnapped, and Link travels the seas to save her. He reassembles the Triforce of Courage, saves his sister, and defeats Ganon again. 100 years later, a new villain named Malladus, takes Zelda’s body. Link and Spirit Zelda defeat Malladus, get Zelda her body back, and this marks the end of the timeline.


Breath of the Wild. 

Breath of the Wild is a special case, as it hints that it came at the end of all the timelines. Hints of Ruto waking up as a sage leads to the Fallen Hero Timeline AND Adult Timeline. The Koroks and Rito make a strong case for the adult timeline, except there are also Zoras. Demon Ganon, the main villain for BOTW, is the villain for the Fallen Hero Timeline. The Timelines may have converged at some point, but maybe it will be explained in Tears of the Kingdom, the newest Legend of Zelda game, set to release on May 12, 2023.