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Timeline Discussion

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Official Timeline:
Just for reference, here's an image:

Obviously, this is a straight copy of the Hyrule Historia timeline, simplified for usage here.
The proposed inclusions of ALBW and ALBW BS has caused some discussions of discrepancies in the BSs, creating heated debate after heated debate. Even so, other mismatches have caused plenty of head-scratching and confusion (It's super effective!!), prompting theorists to outright reject this timeline as valid, despite its "official" status. I, too, have several bones to pick with this sequence of events.


In the image above, the games and eras of the Zelda series released to date are grouped by "sagas" or related themes, along with the potential BSs tied to the games. They are grouped as follows:
[*]Imprisoning Saga: Basically, this timeline revolves around the ImW, and the installments that spawn from that event, namely ALttP and ALBW. LA is included, because the BS states that Link had just defeated Ganon and is trying to find himself - although honestly, this can just about allow LA to follow a large number of games in the series. (AST is also there, because it takes place in roughly the same Hyrule, just six years after ALttP.)
[*]Hero of Time Saga: The Hero of Time Saga, which also includes the Hero of the Sky, the Hero of Winds, the Hero of Twilight, and the Hero of Spirits, but these are grouped together because of their traceable involvement with the Hero of Time legend. SS, for example, is the definite precursor. MM and TP are confirmed entries (well...) in the Child Timeline, and TWW, PH, and ST are most definitely part of the Adult Timeline. For the sake of discussion, TWW, PH, and ST are grouped elsewhere under the Hero of Winds Saga label.
[*]Four Sword Saga: The Four Sword Saga, which definitely stands apart from the rest of the series owing to the focus on a blade that is not the Master Sword, and a divine power that is not the Triforce. Also, the FSA Ganondorf UNDOUBTEDLY has a different origin story than the more infamous one from OoT.
[*]Original Saga: Here's the original LoZ and its black-sheep sequel AoL, along with BSZ. (On a side note, though, AoL might be related to the Adult Timeline, due to the references to the Sages of the EHT.)
[*]Hero of Winds Saga: See Hero of Time Saga note above.

There are also included some outliers, whose direct placement cannot be easily rectified: OoX. OoX has some references to OoT and MM characters, but also items and circumstances from LA (due to the similar gameplay engines, items, etc.).
ALBW, for reasons easily found on the internet, is also an outlier because of the BS: Ganon broke into the Sacred Realm and got the entire Triforce, THE FIRST TIME. Then Seven Sages AND the Princess of Hyrule AND the Hero of the era manage to fight against Ganon, take back the Triforce, and seal the Evil King away "into darkness". This is obviously not congruent with any other game yet released in the series.
And now, with the inclusion of Tetra and the King of Red Lions in Hyrule Warriors Legends, it is unsure where HW will actually be placed.
We also have the (as of yet) unreleased games of TFH and the still untitled Zelda Wii U.

On the subject of inconsistencies, how about that line from Dangoro in the Goron Mines in TP regarding the Hero's Bow? It used to belong to the hero of the Gorons... but who was it? The Hero of Time 1) found the Fairy Bow in the Forest Temple as an adult, therefore taking place in the Adult Timeline, and 2) was not remembered as a "hero" in his lifetime (c.f. the Hero's Shade). So... why is this line here?
The more useful solution, to me at least, is another break in the timeline, somewhere, somehow. Listing off the time-travel games in the series, we can see where discussion and justifiable timelines can be injected.
[*]OoT = Already been done. That's why we have the split timeline, right? But I still have some questions that need to be answered, especially as to the particulars of the ending...
[*]OoA = Not really a huge factor into the rest of the series, seeing as the changes to the past become limited to the past... of the distant nation of Labrynna, not Hyrule.
[*]TP = Such a minor trip into the past Temple of Time, only to retrieve a Mirror Shard. Link never leaves the Temple to influence the outside world, and the Master Sword's seal remains intact, preventing any changes inside from affecting the rest of Hyrule outside those walls. (BTW, it is not sure whether the Hyrule outside is EoC Hyrule or post-OoT Hyrule, and ultimately it doesn't matter.)
[*]SS = This game has only recently been released, but theorists have failed to see that there is a fundamental change that occurs to the timeline within this game, and I want to delve deeper into it in order to resolve or avoid this controversy...

Ocarina of Time timeline discussion

Listed are the major chapters and sequence of events, chronologically, throughout the game in "canon" order. That is, this is the order that Nintendo recommends the game be played, even though there is a bit of possibility to deviate and go through some of the Adult-era Temples in different order. More on that later.
Added onto this panel, in colors, are other points that I feel should be discussed and answered, based on two questions:
[*]1. At the end of the game, to what point in the past does Zelda return Link? (see green, orange, blue, and red sets of lines above)
[*]2. Does time-traveling count as a major change during the Shadow and Spirit Temple quests? (see black and pink sets of lines above)

Question 1: At the end of the game, to what point in the past does Zelda return Link?

This is a question that has no clear answer, but there are three distinct possibilities outlined in orange, blue, and red on the chart.
[*]Orange Possibility, shown by the Triforce symbol: Zelda sends Link back to a point just before he met her
This possibility makes the most sense if one takes the snapshot of Link in Zelda's courtyard as the definitive moment of the final cutscene, but the rest of the cutscene - AND THE GAME - needs to be clarified. First off, Link appears in the Temple of Time and the Door of Time closes as he leaves the Master Sword's chamber. Could easily be a magical manipulation of the future projected into the past - thanks, Princess - or could be more of a story-telling tidbit thrown in for dramatic emphasis. But the major problems with this possibility is that this means that 1) Dodongo's Cavern hasn't been cleared, 2) Jabu Jabu's Belly hasn't been cleared, 3) Bongo Bongo's seal is preserved, and 4) Nabooru's fate is unknown. Either Link has to quest to assist Darunia and Ruto and Nabooru anyway, with the foreknowledge of what to do, or the struggle against Ganondorf becomes burdensome enough to cause the Gorons' extinction and the Zoras' loss of the royal line. Either way, it could explain why Link himself was not present for the important event of Ganondorf's execution.

[*]Blue possibility, shown by the Sword symbol: Zelda sends Link back to the point before he first opened the Door of Time
This idea is more in line with the appearance of Young Link in the Temple of Time, but this one has its own problems. Namely, Link has possession of the four keys to unlock the Door of Time, but Impa and Zelda were being chased off by Ganondorf, likely still affected by bloodlust after killing the King of Town Hyrule (implied event). How Link meets up with Zelda in the courtyard again is confusing, to say the least, as it would mean she came back despite the danger from Ganondorf. I am personally of the opinion that Link took some time to return the three Spiritual Stones to their respective owners (giving Saria the Kokiri Emerald?), allowing Ganondorf to see that his gambit failed and he retreated, allowing Impa and Zelda to return to Hyrule Castle. THEN Link tells Zelda specifically that their own plan was flawed, that Ganondorf was planning on letting them gather the keys to the Door of Time, just to usurp the Triforce once the Door was open. Link offers to return the Ocarina of Time to Zelda, but she lets him keep it, allowing the events of MM to happen. Oh, and Bongo Bongo's seal is still intact, and we have no idea what happens to Nabooru. Maybe Ganondorf retreated to the Gerudo Desert, and Nabooru took the chance to overthrow him and let him get turned over to Hyrulean authority, leading to his eventual execution attempt?

[*]Red possibility, shown by the Rupee symbol: Zelda sends Link back to the point just after he last traveled forward in time
In accordance with time-travel Rule #4, Link could have just been sent back to the point just after he last traveled forward. According to the 'canon' sequence of events, this means that Link succeeded in drying up the Kakariko Well, which could be a factor leading to Bongo Bongo's release later. If the events of the future are any indication, Bongo Bongo pretty much laid waste to Kakariko Village. If Impa, being warned by Young Link due to foreknowledge, was ready to battle the Phantom Shadow Beast, then the battle could've been a bit more violent... leading Kakariko to a destroyed state. Hmm, that sounds like that would explain what happened to Old Kakariko (the Hidden Village) in TP. Unfortunately, this possibility also means that Nabooru is captured by the Sorceress Sisters Twinrova, being brainwashed into serving Ganondorf. It is therefore unknown how Ganondorf then gets caught, and what happens to the could-have-been Sage of Spirit. Of course, the returning of the Spiritual Stones and the Ocarina of Time from the Blue possibility may still apply here. But still we must ask ourselves, what happens to Nabooru? And how does Ganondorf get caught to be executed?

There is one other sub-question to be asked, a "what-if?" question that might have earth-shattering implications:

Question 1-1: When does Ganondorf enter the Sacred Realm?

The three above possibilities (Orange, Blue, Red) would be valid solutions depending on the assumption that Adult Zelda was wise enough (and we hope so, being the bearer of the Triforce of Wisdom!) to send Link back to a point before Ganondorf enters the Sacred Realm. But what if she didn't? I mean, even though she bore the Triforce of Wisdom, she made several mistakes, such as revealing her identity to Link, letting herself be caught, putting together a plan that let Ganondorf enter the Sacred Realm (as the Joker says:
--- Quote ---It's all "part of the plan".
--- End quote ---
), etc.
We don't know exactly when Ganondorf passes by the hero-in-stasis and enters the portal to the Golden Land. It could have been one minute after Link opened the Door of Time; it could have been one hour, one day, or even a year! (I might interject that he could also easily enter while Link keeps the Door of Time open while questing to Kakariko Well or the Spirit Temple...) The point is, that this opens up the possibility that Zelda sends Link back in time, and he arrives... after Ganondorf already entered the Sacred Realm. The Door of Time is sealed shut while the Gerudo King is still ON HIS WAY to the Triforce chamber, and the access to the Golden Land is closed... Ganondorf is effectively stuck inside the Sacred Realm with the Triforce, but no way of getting out.

No. No way of getting out.
Is that hard to understand? He can't leave the Sacred Realm if the door is shut! Oh, you want me so prove he couldn't? Well then, I invite you to play a completed game of ALttP. Travel throughout the entire Dark World, and see if you can find a way to make it to the Light World without using items. I'll wait here...


...You done yet? Did you find any place that lets you travel from Dark World to the Light World? No? Only through the use of the Magic Mirror?
Hmm. Guess what Ganondorf didn't have in his possession?
You could say that now he's... SEALED in the Dark World!
Indeed, Ganondorf might have received the Triforce in full, but being trapped in the Dark World, he could only his influence to spread his evil in the Light World, remotely. Indeed, the BS for ALttP (the SNES manual version) distinctly depicts this circumstance, allowing me to just flat-out say that this newer possibility - represented by purple and by the ALttP depiction of Ganon in the chart above - leads to the 'Imprisoning Saga' and the ImW.


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