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Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Timeline Problems and Solutions

Placement on Nintendo's Timeline and Problems

by Justin Berube - February 25, 2014, 9:32 am PST

A look at the placement of A Link Between Worlds on Nintendo’s official timeline and the many problems it causes.

Nintendo went out of their way to confirm their placement of A Link Between Worlds on the existing timeline presented in Hyrule Historia. For instance, Eiji Aonuma spoke very honestly about it in an interview with Spike.com revealing the following:

“Spike: Where does the game fall in the Zelda timeline? And I have Hyrule Historia for reference if you need it.

Mr. Aonuma: Right about here. (Pointing to the Decline of Hyrule and the Last Hero branch, right between the Golden Era and Era of Decline, after Link’s Awakening and before The Legend of Zelda).”

If that wasn’t enough proof, Nintendo of America’s own Twitter account Tweeted out the following image confirming Aonuma’s placement of the game on the timeline.


Now let’s look at how this timeline change fares after reviewing the lore presented in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

(Note: The following story excerpts are written on plaques beneath the paintings found within Hyrule Castle in A Link Between Worlds.)


Painting I: The Golden Triforce

This gift from the gods, Hyrule’s greatest treasure, will grant the wish of any mortal who touches it. The Triforce once stoked greed in the hearts of men. A legendary war was fought to keep it out of evil hands.

Thoughts: Just some general Triforce back-story. The war it mentions is likely the Imprisoning War that took place very long ago on this timeline.


Painting II: The Sealed Triforce

To end the war for the Triforce, the royal family decided to hide it in the Sacred Realm. They summoned the Seven Sages of legend, who used their power to seal the Triforce away.

Thoughts: This event, which clearly happens before the events of A Link to the Past, makes no sense to me. According to Hyrule Historia, Ganondorf was just sealed in the Sacred Realm along with the Triforce before the Imprisoning War. Now you want to tell me the Sages didn’t seal the Triforce before the war, and that they thought it was a good idea to seal it into the same realm as the trapped Ganondorf? Yeah, good call wise men. The Link to the Past story even stated that the Triforce was already in the “Golden Land” prior to the events of the war.


Painting III: The Demon King

The Demon King Ganon was once just a thief-until the man broke into the Sacred Realm. There he stole the Triforce and transformed himself. Then he took his evil campaign back to Hyrule.

Thoughts: How did Ganon break into the Sacred Realm if he was already sealed there before the Imprisoning War? I don’t get it.


Painting IV: The Hero Awakens

A hero of legend arose from humble beginnings, awoken to his purpose by a princess of Hyrule. With the Master Sword, the blade of evil’s bane, he sought the descendants of the Seven Sages. Together they defeated the Demon King Ganon-and sealed him away in darkness.

Thoughts: Here we are given the story from A Link to the Past. However, the ending gets changed a bit. According to this, Ganon wasn’t killed at the end of A Link to the Past, like he initially was. Instead he was sealed into Darkness. Personally, I don’t have a problem with the change since it involves something the player couldn’t see in A Link to the Past, and it may have also been another part of Link’s wish at the end of the game.

This change in the plot further, however, does create problems on the Nintendo’s Timeline. For starters, since Ganon isn’t killed in A Link to the Past there is no reason for Kotake and Koume to resurrect him in the Oracle games since he isn’t dead. So what the heck was happening in the Oracle games? I really don’t know. It quite literally doesn’t make any sense since the character wasn’t dead.

Some people may say that Kotake and Koume succeeded in bringing Ganon back in the Oracle games, but they didn’t and there was no way the Sages could have been ready to seal Ganon after Link killed him in the Oracle games. Further proof is that in a Link Between Worlds, Yuga breaks the supposed seal on Ganon, not resurrects him. So confusing.


Painting V: The Triforce, Split Apart

The Triforce was split into three pieces, separated forever. One piece remains with the royal family. Another piece has fallen into the hands of Ganon, sealed away with him. The third piece of the Triforce has vanished, though legend says it is hidden in the spirit of a true hero. It slumbers now somewhere in Hyrule - waiting for the time when the world needs a new hero.

Thoughts: Since Aonuma said this title takes place right after the “Golden Era” it is only safe to assume that the splitting of the Triforce mentioned here took place right after Link’s Awakening and directly before this game as it states in Hyrule Historia. The only real problem I have with this is that it’s confusing. This prologue tale is jumping all over the place and is still full of problems on Nintendo’s Timeline.

Additionally, at the end of A Link Between Worlds, the Triforce is found together. This also doesn’t make sense since in the “Era of Decline”, which takes place directly after this game, the Triforce needs to be split up again. Also, if this game is taking place right after the “Golden Era” where are the other important characters that should be alive at this time? Where is the new king/former prince and his wizard friend? Zelda appears to be in charge when she shouldn’t be. I don’t know what’s going on.


Quick Recap of the Problems Caused By ALBW’s Placement on Nintendo's Timeline:

· According to Hyrule Historia and A Link to the Past, Ganondorf and the Triforce were sealed in the Sacred Realm at the same time before the Imprisoning War. According to the A Link Between Worlds back-story the Triforce was sealed into the Sacred Realm after the Imprisoning War, which also happens to be where Ganondorf is trapped. Sure, give the trapped demonic beast an item bestowing limitless power.

· Ganon, supposedly, broke into the Sacred Realm even though he was already sealed there.

· Ganon isn’t killed at the end of A Link to the Past. Instead he is just sealed into darkness. Therefore it doesn’t make sense for Kotake and Koume to be trying to resurrect him in the Oracle games that take place before A Link Between Worlds on this timeline since he isn’t dead.

· The Triforce isn’t split up at the end of the game when it should be.

· Where are the characters that should be alive in this game from the “Golden Era” and the “Era of Decline”?



Bman87301February 26, 2014

To me, the idea that Link warns Zelda about Ganondorf when after returning to the past is so flawed, I cringe every time I read it. Zelda already had a premonition about Ganondorf, warned her father, and he didn't believe her. So her going to her father again after being told by Link what she already knew, doesn't make a lick of sense. In addition, Link clearly returned to the exact point when he drew the Master Sword  (the Door of Time is open and the three Spiritial Stones are present), which happened AFTER Ganondorf attacked and Impa ran off with Zelda. Not to mention, that there would be two Links present at once if he were sent back earlier. The scene at the end of the credits was simply replaying the moment where Link meets Zelda for the first time, it wasn't showing new events. I understand how easy it is to misinterpret that scene, but the other facts clearly make that the only valid interpretation. So when Link returns the Master Sword to the pedistal (which closes the seal), Ganondorf is already in the Sacred Realm, thus creating the history for A Link to the Past where Ganon has the full Triforce but is unable to return to the Light World.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterFebruary 26, 2014

Quote from: pokepal148

The ending of OOT as I think of it also makes little sense. Link's goal is to prevent ganondorf from entering the sacred realm and acquiring the triforce so let's break down the three endings

Hero falls: Link dies and ganon is sealed in the sacred realm with the triforce of power.

Future timeline: Ganon shows up again and hyrule gets flooded, again he has the triforce of power.

Link's childhood: link returns and somehow convinces the king not to trust Ganondorf when his daughter, who apparently has some gift of prophecy that people know about is unable to do so herself.

Later on the sages try to execute ganondorf and learn that he has somehow gained the triforce of power because... I dunno,

Either way he failed all three times, way to go hero.

It only makes sense if link is telling her not to open the sacred realm and to instead hide the ocarina so ganon can't reach it, even then

Bman87301March 01, 2014

Quote from: pokepal148]

No, that doesn't make any sense either since all of that already happened BEFORE the point in time that Link returned to. Now, you could argue that Link told Zelda (after enough time had passed with nothing else happening so Impa would have brought her back out of hiding) that he had sealed Ganondorf in the Sacred Realm, after which, the King sent the Sages into the Sacred Realm after him, and that's where the whole execution took place... The only problem there is that Hyrule Hystoria specifically says he never entered the Sacred Realm.

JLRTENJACMarch 22, 2014

There are a lot of ways to look at OOT's ending. I typically look at it as that Link tells Zelda of his quest, and they convince the King to come to the Temple of Time. When there, the King learns of Ganondorf's true motives and together with Link his army manages to capture Ganondorf (Perhaps because Ganondorf hasn't quite learned how to control the Power of the Gods yet, I mean, if Ganondorf were powerful enough by himself to take on the full might of Hyrule, then he would have done that instead of pretending to be loyal) and is thus taken to the arbiter's grounds to be executed (And, most likely, the Hyrule army wiped out the Gerudo while they were at it in order to quell any uprising - hence the fact that they do not exist in Twilight Princess.) However, by the time they get him to the Mirror of Twilight for his execution, he is figuring out this new power of his, and thus he is able to use the Triforce of Power against the sages.

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