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Official Zelda Timeline

This is taken from the official Zelda site at

    The legendary account of Link's adventure in Ocarina of Time begins not with his birth, but ages earlier before Hyrule even began to exist. Before, in fact, the existence of the world itself.
    Had words existed during that age, they would be unable to describe the magnitude of the vast pool of nothingness that occupied the physical world at the beginning of time. It was at the precise moment that this expansive pool of space looked at itself and wondered "What am I?" that three goddesses arrived to provide an answer to this unspoken question posed by Emptiness.
    Din, Goddess of Power, Nayru, Goddess of Wisdom, and Farore, Goddess of Courage spoke in unison saying, "You were naught."
    The pause that followed would have witnessed the birth and death of countless mortal generations, were there mortals available to live and die. Just as Emptiness exhaled a universal sigh in protest of the puzzling nature of the goddess's statement, the three deities raised their palms above their beautiful faces and stated together, "You were naught. Now you are."
    The goddesses joined hands, and through the power of an ancient magic they shaped the globe which would be the ultimate stage for a grand variety of drama, comedy and tragedy. Din filled the globe with water, stone, air and fire; Nayru sprinkled the newborn landscape with plants and animals, while Farore planted the seeds which would grow into intelligence, consciousness and magic.
    When their work was complete, Emptiness had fled away with great fear. Though the goddesses were surprised at the strange sensation of fatigue which filled their spirits, they felt the need to continue their work by creating a token to serve as a symbol of their holy bond with the new world.
    Each goddess forged her own contribution to the magical talisman: Din offered the Triforce of Power, Nayru contributed the Triforce of Wisdom, and Farore presented the Triforce of Courage. Combined, the three pieces formed the ultimate sacred Triforce.
    The ground where the Triforce stood instantly became holy territory in the fresh minds of the inhabitants of this new world. This Sacred Realm became known as the Golden Land.
    As Emptiness ran farther and farther away, the free-spirited souls which wandered this new land of High Rule eventually settled down, learned to farm, and formed the Kingdom of Hyrule. The three goddesses never strayed too far from this new world they created, and the people of Hyrule worshipped them respectfully.

    Although most of the inhabitants of Hyrule respected the Triforce, there were those audacious enough to plot to steal the relic and use its power for their own selfish ends. To protect the Triforce from falling into the wrong hands, a great Sage named Rauru planned and built the Temple of Light to guard the entrance to the Sacred Realm. Within the temple, the entry way to the Sacred Realm was barred by a complex magical seal that could only be opened by one worthy of audience with the Triforce; one who had all aspects of the Triforce in perfect balance.
    As time passed, the Triforce became a legend, and the different people of Hyrule forgot the laws and wisdom that the goddesses had left behind. Warfare and strife became common in Hyrule, as the armies of the Zora marched on the Hylians. The Gorons fought the Gerudo. It seemed every race of Hyrule was at the other's throat. Only the secluded Kokiri, sheltered by their magical forest and the Great Deku Tree, were spared the destruction of Hyrule's civil wars.
    After 50 years of ceaseless combat, there arose a Hylian King of great wisdom, courage and power. Through his brilliant military campaigns and wise diplomacy, he was able to bring the varied people of Hyrule into a tenuous harmony. Treaties of peace were signed, and prosperity once again seemed to bloom in Hyrule. But no sooner had people declared peace in Hyrule than trouble once again stalked the land.
    In the trackless desert of Hyrule, the King of the Gerudo Thieves, Ganondorf, had come across the old legends of the Triforce during his magical research. The tales told of the great power that would come to the one who possessed the sacred relic:

In a Realm beyond sight,
The sky shines gold not blue,
There, the Triforce's might
Makes mortal dreams come true.

    Another little known legend was especially intriguing to the scheming Gerudo. It provided the details on how to gain entry to the Sacred Realm. According to the story, there were three Spiritual Stones that were part of the puzzle that unlocked the Sacred Realm. He read with great interest that the Spiritual Stones were held by the Kokiri, the Gorons and the Zora. But although these were essential for opening the gate to the Sacred Realm, one item above all was necessary, and that was the legendary Ocarina of Time.
    According to this legend, that magical instrument was passed down by the Royal Family of Hyrule. Armed with this treasure map, Ganondorf set his plans into motion. With his evil minions, he rode forth from the desert, intent on using his own mystical powers and force of arms to steal the Spiritual Stones from their owners. He believed it would be easy to bully the Gorons and Zora into handing over the stones, weakened as they were by Hyrule's civil wars. He thought he could easily destroy the Kokiri's guardian tree and claim their stone.
    With the stones finally in hand, he would then use trickery to obtain the final key to the Sacred Realm. His coming audience with the King of Hyrule would be the perfect opportunity to infiltrate the mighty Hyrule Castle. Once inside, he would find out which member of the Royal Family had the Ocarina.
    He vowed that he would do anything to get the Ocarina, slay its holder if necessary, even if the holder was the King of Hyrule's young daughter, the princess Zelda...
    Meanwhile, a very special child named Link was growing up in Kokiri Forest. Even though all the other Kokiri kids -- or Children of the Forest as they were called -- had their own guardian fairies, he had never received one. Though only 10 years of age, young Link was about to find himself involved in the first of many epic adventures which resulted in great good for all the people of Hyrule.
    Link's heroic career didn't begin on a very high note, though, because Ganondorf was able to trick him into opening Raura's sealed doorway in the Temple of Light. Instead of collecting the Spiritual Stones himself, Ganondorf watched from afar as young Link traveled to Goron City and Zora's Domain, risking his life to help the troubled inhabitants there.
    Link thought he was helping Princess Zelda to protect the holy Triforce by collecting the Spiritual Stones, but after he had gathered all three magical relics he was in for an unfortunate surprise. As Link approached Hyrule Castle, he caught sight of Zelda's guardian Impa rushing Zelda to safety.
    They were being pursued by Ganondorf, but just before Zelda sped away she was able to throw the Ocarina of Time into the moat of Hyrule Castle where Link swam down to retrieve it. Link then had everything he needed to enter the Spirit Realm. He hurried into the Temple of Time and pulled the legendary Master Sword from its pedestal.
    The last thing Link remembered was opening the door to the Spirit Realm and watching as Ganondorf leapt from the shadows and placed his tainted hands on Triforce. Though Link did not witness it first-hand, Ganondorf tapped into the power of the Triforce and throned himself as the King Evil. With heavy hand, he transformed the beautiful Hylian landscape into a barren wasteland. Sadly, even the Golden Land in the Sacred Realm was stripped of its beauty. It was not long before this fallen territory came to be known as the Dark World.
    When Link opened his eyes, he immediately sensed that something was different. He lay in the Chamber of Sages before Rauru, sage to the Temple of Light. Rauru explained that Link was, in fact, the Hero of Time, but when he had pulled the sword from the stone, he had been too young to wear the mantle. His spirit was contained in the temple for seven years until he was able to wield the Master Sword and dispel the evil from Hyrule. Link felt his face and looked down at his hands. He was no longer a little boy; he had become a man.
    With the aid of Sheik, protector of Hyrule, Rauru explained to Link that it was his destiny as the Hero of Time to gather the power of the sages and seal Ganondorf in the Dark World he created forever. Link accepted his fate, and toiled ceaselessly to reach his goal. While gathering the power of the sages, he perfected his battle techniques and learned how to travel through time to revisit the Hyrule which existed when he was a youth.
    Link eventually gained access to Gannondorf's lair, and challenged the dark ruler to a final battle. During the struggle which ensued, Ganondorf's twisted use of the Triforce's power transformed him into Ganon, the true King of Evil. In the end, Link made up for his youthful mistake by striking Ganon down. The magic of the seven sages was then used to seal Ganon within the dismal landscape of the Dark World.
    After ensuring that princess Zelda was safely returned to Hyrule Castle, Link once again traveled back through time, on this occasion for the last time. It would not be the last time, though, that he laid his eyes on the evil visage of Ganon, King of Evil.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

    When Hyrule was created by the three goddesses at the beginning of time, there were certain side effects of its creation which Din, Nayru and Farore did not anticipate. As the three holy women breathed life into the world and chased away Emptiness, their potent breath slipped through tiny cracks in the folds of space and created millions of alternate worlds in the process.
    The goddesses were not upset by this. In fact, they were quite amused at the possibility of watching millions of dramas unfold rather than just one. Each world, they noticed, shared common elements but also differed in major ways. One of these worlds, called Termina by its inhabitants, is where the legendary tale of Link's second great adventure began ...
    On a dark and dreary afternoon, a lonely Skull Kid sat at the base of a tree and cried about his pitiful position in life. With no friends to talk to, he sat there weeping as a steady rain soaked his clothing and dampened his spirits. He was beginning to think that he would never cheer up when two feisty fairies named Tatl and Tael happened to buzz by.
    The two fairies, who happened to be brother and sister, decided that Skull Kid would make the perfect playmate. This greatly improved Skull Kid's mood, and the three became fast friends and were immediately inseparable.
    The happy times lasted for a long while, but eventually things took a turn for the worse. One day, Skull Kid borrowed an interesting mask from a traveling Happy Mask salesman. He didn't mean any great harm -- and perhaps he even intended to give it right back -- but little did Skull Kid know that the mask he had just swiped was the legendarily wicked relic known as Majora's Mask.
    When Skull Kid tried on Majora's Mask, he was instantly overcome by the evil power of the disguise. Skull Kid had always possessed a mischievious spirit, but while wearing the mask his pranks became more hurtful and mean-spirited. Tatl and Tael were worried about Skull Kid's behavior, but they couldn't resist tagging along with Skull Kid to see what he would do next.
    Back in Hyrule, Link had just defeated Ganon, King of Evil. After traveling through time to return to his younger days, Link set off on a personal mission to search for his missing fairy friend, Navi. Although he was proud of his accomplishments, his soul felt empty without his loyal friend Navi to share in the victory.
    Just as Link was feeling particularly low and alone, he experienced an unexpected encounter. Through some magical force unleashed by Majora's Mask, Skull Kid passed through an inter-dimensional portal and made the leap from Termina to Hyrule. Unfortunately for Link and his trusty horse Epona, he and his steed became the unwilling targets of Skull Kid's mischief.
    Skull Kid threw Link from Epona, stole the Ocarina of Time, and led the young hero on an extended chase. Link had just lost one friend, and he wasn't about to lose sight of another. His loyalty to Epona was so strong that he followed Skull Kid all the way through the inter-dimensional portal and found himself in the odd world of Termina. Link was able to catch up with Skull Kid, but Epona was no where in sight. To add insult to injury, Skull Kid jinxed Link by imprisoning him in the body of a wooden, plantlike creature called a Deku Scrub.
    Forced to cope with his strange, new form, Link the Deku Scrub also had to deal with a newly-forged alliance with Tatl. The fairy was separated from her brother by the careless actions of Skull Kid, so she reluctantly agreed to guide Link through Termina -- where everyone was a stranger, yet each individual looked like the twin of someone Link had met in Hyrule.
    The center of the parallel world was Clock Town, where a towering clock reached into the sky. Link quickly learned that Termina was in great peril due to Skull Kid's trouble-making ways. Everyone's life was in a state of disarray, and the very moon was on a collision course with the world. Link discovered that in three days, that the moon would crash into Termina and kill every last inhabitant.
    The first to greet Link when he arrived in Clock Town was the Happy Mask salesman whom the Skull Kid robbed of Majora's Mask. The mysterious businessman struck up a deal with Link: If Link could find his Ocarina and use its power of time travel, the salesman would return Link to his original form, lifting Skull Kid's Deku Scrub curse.
    Link was able to recover his Ocarina, but he had still not found Epona. Also, after learning of Termina's troubles he decided that he had to do something to halt Skull Kid and his unruly actions.
    Using the power of magical masks like he had never seen before during his adventures in Hyrule, Link was able to assume the identities and powers of other characters like a Zora and a Goron. Though he put forth a heroic effort, three days was simply not enough time to right Skull Kid's many wrongs and stop the descent of the moon.
    Link used his Ocarina to relive the same three days again and again, and was eventually able to change the courses of people's criss-crossed lives. After facing many tests of strength and courage, the Hero of Time was even able to free Skull Kid from the evil power of Majora's Mask and quiet the wrath of Majora itself.
    Once again, unfortunately, he was unable to share his victory with Navi.
    At this point, it was no longer necessary for Link to relive the three-day cycle which he had come to know so well. His spirits were lifted by experiencing new days and nights, but deep in his heart he was still saddened by Navi's disappearance.
    Link had many more adventures in the land of Termina, but eventually his heart led him back through the inter-dimensional doorway to his homeworld of Hyrule.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

    When Link returned to Hyrule after his Terminian adventure, many many years had past. Whether due to the interdimensional passage or his constant manipulation of time in Termina, hundreds of years had expired since he had first come face to face with Skull Kid.
    Link's first thoughts were for Navi, whose fairy spirit made her invulnerable to aging. How lonely she must have been throughout the years! Next, Link struggled with the idea that so much time had passed. The story of how he overthrew Ganon had become a well-loved legend, and there had been many songs written about the Hero of Time.
    Link was pleased that he had been remembered so fondly, but he was worried that the citizens of Hyrule had forgotten that the threat of Ganon was real. He slowly became comfortable with the collective consciousness of the modern Hyrule, and he settled down in the house of his great-great-great-great uncle for some well-deserved rest.
    Link spent his days exercising and studying, but there soon came a time of great disasters in Hyrule: fires, floods, pestilence and famine. A wandering wizard named Agahnim used his powers to end the troubles, and thus was named counselor to the king.
    Agahnim played the role of trusted advisor for a time but soon seized power for himself. He imprisoned the seven descendants of the Seven Sages, as well as the king's young daughter, Princess Zelda. This beautiful girl possessed the very same beauty which was exhibited by her legendary ancestor.
    As she was taken, Zelda used the powers of her mind to send out a call for help. Her desperate call was answered by Link, who instantly recognized the royal qualities of the telepathic signal. Link had saved this young girl's ancestor from certain death, and he vowed to the same for this troubled princess.
    Unmindful of the danger, Link gathered three Mystic Pendants and used them to free the Master Sword, the legendary blade which he had wielded once before and met with great success. With the comforting weight of the Master Sword in his palm, Link was able to cut a swath through Agahnim's magical defenses, only to discover that the sorcerer was merely the puppet of his ancient adversary Ganon!
    Agahnim had somehow found a way to breach the barrier between the Light and the Dark World where Ganon had been imprisoned for hundreds of long years. The only thing standing in their way was Link, whom Ganon had built up quite a resentment for over the years.
    Using such legendary weapons as the Hookshot, Pegasus Shoes and the Magic Mirror, Link journeyed between the Light World and Dark World, freeing the seven captives and gathering the Magic Crystals which unlocked Ganon's Dark Tower.
    In the end, Link defeated Ganon in an epic battle high atop the King of Evil's shadowy citadel. Ganon was once again imprisoned in his dark cell, but Link began to question the strength of the Seven Sages' seals on the Dark World.

The Legend of Zelda

    After imprisoning Ganon to the Dark World for the second time, Link was finally able to settle down for an extended period of time. He had earned great fame throughout Hyrule, and when the citizens of Hyrule compared Link to the Hero of Time, they had little idea of exactly how accurate their comparison was!
    Link met with Princess Zelda occasionally, but generally he spent his days wandering throughout Hyrule and enjoying a simple life. As the years passed, Link slowly grew up -- this time naturally. Hyrule was gradually recovering from the effects of Ganon's dark power, and Link enjoyed watching as his beloved homeland regained its confidence and beauty.
    Link also found great interest in the cultural changes which had taken place during his extended stay in Termina. During the hundreds of years he was away, the relationships between the many races of Hyrule had changed greatly. The Zoran people had become bitter toward humans, presumably because many Hylians chose to settle too close to their lakes and rivers.
    Many Zorans would actually throw rocks at Link has he walked by, which caused him to laugh quietly to himself. If these Zorans knew that he had once been a personal friend to the great King Zora, they'd certainly be more considerate!
    Link was concerned that he hadn't encountered any Gorons since his return to Hyrule, but he guessed that that ancient race had burrowed deep into the mountains which were so prominent in northern Hyrule. Link always kept an eye out for his faithful fairy friend Navi, and even though he encountered many other friendly fairies, he was never reunited with his old companion.
    Whether relaxing at home or exploring the twists and turns of the Lost Woods, Link forever had thoughts of Ganon in the back of his mind. Would the power of the Seven Sages' seals be strong enough to keep Ganon locked away in the Dark World?
    It was when Link least expected it -- on a bright, sunny day -- that his worst fears came true. Link had been exploring the central region of Hyrule when he came across an elderly woman feebly trying to fend off a gang of Moblin warriors. Link's first thought was that Ganon had returned. The King of Evil was widely known to employ rag-tag bands of Moblins to carry out his evil plans. His second thought was for the safety of the woman.
    Link made quick work of the Moblin gang, which was a great relief to the old woman. Immediately, Link realized that the woman he saved was Impa, royal servant to Princess Zelda! Link remembered the bravery of Impa's ancestor in his very first adventure, and he had actually met this woman briefly while visiting Zelda.
    Impa delivered the news which Link was hoping not to hear: Ganon had returned to Hyrule, and had sought out Princess Zelda to steal the Triforce of Wisdom. Before Ganon could reach Zelda, the wise princess shattered the Triforce of Wisdom and scattered the eight pieces throughout Hyrule. Soon afterward, Princess Zelda was once again taken hostage by Ganon.
    Link braved countless dangers to recover the fragments of the Triforce, which he had come to harbor a great respect for throughout his adventures. Link battled his way to Death Mountain to confront Ganon, and used the legendary Silver Arrow to pierce the King of Evil's black heart.
    Instead of returning to his prison in the Dark World, Ganon appeared to be utterly destroyed by the power of the Silver Arrow. His body disappeared, but the Seven Sages stated that they had not returned the evil sorcerer to the Dark World. Link knew better than to think that he had eliminated Ganon once and for all, but he felt confident that he had banished the beast to a nether-region with seals more powerful than what had held Ganon in the Dark World.
    Nevertheless, the threat of Ganon's return was never far from Link's mind.

The Legend of Zelda: The Adventure of Link

    After Ganon's defeat, a new golden age blossomed in Hyrule. There was no want, and there were happiness and prosperity in great abundance. Link was reminded of the happy times he enjoyed as a kid in Kokiri Forest, but the young hero was troubled by signs of lurking danger.
    His worst fears were realized when Princess Zelda was stricken by a terrifying enchantment. A mysterious sorcerer, unable to wrest the secrets of the Triforce of Wisdom from Zelda, cast upon her a spell of endless, dreamless sleep. Link could not believe it. Why did this beautiful young woman have to endure such hardships? He vowed to assist her once again, and promised to himself that if he were able to save her, he would never allow something like this to reoccur.
    So Link struck out once again, venturing through forest and town and across the roiling sea to root out this vile fiend and bring him to justice. While Link traveled by raft across the Great Sea to reach Eastern Hyrule, he endured a separate adventure which was just as taxing as his quest to rouse Princess Zelda. That is a different story, though, which would be better told at the conclusion of this tale.
    Link learned that the sorcerer had fled to the ancient ruin of the Great Palace, and that the only way to break the seal on the palace gate was to gather the shards of a Magic Crystal. These shards were buried for centuries within six dungeons and guarded by fearsome creatures.
    Link had seen his share of monsters, so he confidently fought his way through each palace. After many days of toil and trial, Link finally stood before the gate of the Great Palace and ripped the final barrier from its mystical hinges. He struck down the sorcerer's guardian, the cruel Thunderbird, then turned to face his ultimate foe.
    Link was struck with horror when he laid eyes on his adversary. The enemy he faced was none other than -- himself! Given form by an unknown power, a shadowy duplicate of Link was the true architect of evil. Was this Ganon in disguise? Could it be a dark version of Link from a parallel universe come to eliminate its righteous counterpart?
    Link thought back to his very first adventure, and remembered battling a similar foe deep within the Water Temple in Lake Hylia. He knew that he had eliminated foes like this before, which gave him the confidence to attack without fear. This dark version of himself turned out to be much more powerful than the creature he had faced so many years before.
    The battle raged for days, with the sound of their clashing swords ringing out through the land like thunderclaps. When their battle cries fell silent, it was Link who emerged the victor. Immediately, Princess Zelda was freed from her unnatural slumber, and the dark cloud of doom over Hyrule lifted.
    Link never found out if the mysterious sorcerer was created by Ganon, but his heart told him that the King of Evil was involved in one way or another. Link kept his promise to himself by keeping a much closer eye on Princess Zelda than he had in the past. They were both getting older, and both were justified in their simple wish for peace.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

    In his quest to rouse Princess Zelda from an unnatural slumber, it was necessary for Link to use his raft to cross the Great Sea to reach Eastern Hyrule. During the crossing, Link became hopelessly sidetracked and found himself wrapped up in a completely new quest.
    During his crossing, Link encountered a terrible storm and became shipwrecked on Koholint Island. Even though his mind was distracted by thoughts of Princess Zelda, Link's heart was touched by the plight of the people on the island.
    A young woman named Marin had found Link on the beach, and brought him to her ocean-side home to heal. From Tarin, Marin's father, Link learned that evil creatures had appeared shortly after his arrival. Then, when Link returned to the beach to retrieve his sword, an owl flapped down beside him and told him the strangest story he had ever heard.
    According to the wise old bird, Link was the hero who had come to wake the Wind Fish, which lived in a giant egg at the top of a mountain range called Tal Tal Heights. The owl told Link that he couldn't leave until that task had been completed. Link was determined to do whatever he could to assist the people and animals which lived on Koholint Island, so he set out on a quest to recover all eight Instruments of the Sirens with which he could solve the riddle of the Wind Fish.
    A portion of Link's heart was happy to participate in this adventure, because he had secretly been fearing what he would find in Eastern Hyrule. Another part of him felt ashamed for abandoning Princess Zelda. He had never before experienced contradictory feelings like this, but since his raft had been destroyed in the shipwreck he was given little choice.
    Link was surprised at the extreme danger and hostile enemies he encountered on the small island, but with great effort he succeeded in his quest to wake the Wind Fish.
    The magical effects of waking the Wind Fish caused the entire ordeal to remain forever clouded in Link's memory, and he never quite knew whether he had dreamed the entire adventure, or whether he had once again slipped into a parallel universe. Did Koholint Island truly exist?
    Many of the names of the people he met and the places he went were inspired by his very first adventure when he was just a boy. Regardless of the circumstances, the quest had seemed very real to Link and he discovered that he still had a lot of work to do when he landed in Eastern Hyrule.
    Undoubtedly, this experience had cleared Link's mind and prepared him for the epic struggle he was about to face.

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