If you’re a hardcore Legend of Zelda fan but are unsure how all the games fit together, don’t feel bad. Time is convoluted and Zelda’s history has been reworked multiple times by its creators. However, things are now more organized.
Table Of Contents
Breakdown of All Timelines and How They Connect
Up until 2011, there was no concrete information about The Legend of Zelda timeline. Before this point, everything was fan speculation. However, that year, The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia was released on the 25th anniversary of the franchise, which gave gamers a clear, albeit somewhat primitive, explanation of the series chronology.
Although, in 2017, shortly after the franchise’s 30th anniversary, The Legend of Zelda: Encyclopedia was released, which updated a lot of the chronological information that was in The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia.
The information in this article and on the graphic above, including the timeline placement of Breath of the Wild, was created based on the information in these 2 books as well as details given during Breath of the Wild‘s gameplay.
With that said, it should be mentioned that the creators of The Legend of Zelda have stated that the timeline is still somewhat open to interpretation, as can be seen on page 10 of The Legend of Zelda: Encyclopedia.
The Original Timeline
At the beginning of time, three Golden Goddesses created the world. This world would later be known as the land of Hyrule, where the Kingdom of Hyrule would later arise.
During this Era of Creation, each of the three Golden Goddesses formed a different part of the world. The Goddess of Power, named Din, formed the earth. Afterward, the Goddess of Wisdom, Nayru, gave order to the earth. Following this, Farore, the Goddess of Courage, bestowed life to the world.
When the world was complete, the Golden Goddesses ascended back into the heavens. At the place upon earth where they departed, the Triforce was created.
The Triforce, whose three pieces each represented the power of the Goddesses, was an avatar for their collective powers. Whoever possesses the Triforce would have their heart’s desires granted.
The place where the Triforce was created then became the Sacred Realm (sometimes called the Golden Land). The Sacred Realm is a pocket dimension that can only be accessed through the Temple of Time.
When someone enters the Sacred Realm, it will appear differently depending on the virtue of the individual. If the individual is pure of heart, the Sacred Realm would appear like a wondrous paradise. However, if the individual is evil, it would appear as a chaotic hellscape.
The Era of Hylia
When the three Golden Goddesses left earth, they entrusted the Triforce to the Goddess Hylia, whose exact origins are unknown. After an unspecified amount of time, the Demon King Demise arose from a fissure in the earth along with hordes of minions.
Demise wished to take the power of the Triforce for himself. As such, he and his army of monsters attacked the earth. Whether or not Demise and his minions were created by the Golden Goddesses—or another force—is not known.
When the Demon King attacked, the Goddess Hylia created a floating land above the earth. Here, she sent the humans and the Triforce. Between the new floating land and the earth, Hylia created a barrier of clouds to protect those above. This floating land would later become Skyloft.
After safely securing the humans and the Triforce, the Goddess Hylia and the remaining earth races fought against the Demon King and his hordes of monsters.
The forces of good were able to defeat Demise and his army. However, the Demon King was not slain—only sealed away. Furthermore, Hylia was gravely wounded in the conflict.
Knowing that Demise would not remain sealed away forever, the goddess renounced her divinity so that she could reincarnate later in mortal form. This would allow her descendants to face Demise in the future with greater power.
Additionally, as another plan to thwart Demise’s future plans, Hylia created the Goddess Sword. This sword would later be taken up by her chosen hero, who would defeat Demise and save the world.
The Events of Skyward Sword
Thousands of years later, the Goddess Hylia was reborn as Zelda of Skyloft. At the beginning of the game, the princess gets kidnapped by Ghirahim, a servant of Demise.
However, Impa, a warrior sent through time by Hylia in the past, rescues Zelda. Together, they flee from Demise’s minions through the Gate of Time. However, in the process, the gate shatters.
In order to combat this threat, Link, a childhood friend of Zelda, begins his quest to empower the Goddess Sword. He is led by Fi, the spirit of the Goddess Sword, towards the Sacred Flames. After tempering the Goddess Sword in the three Sacred Flames, it becomes the Master Sword.
Link uses the Master Sword to activate the second Gate of Time, which sends him into the past where he finds Zelda. Here, Zelda places herself into a deep slumber in order to strengthen the seal on Demon King Demise.
Afterward, Link returns to the present to gain the power of the Triforce. However, also in the present, Ghirahim kidnaps the sleeping Zelda and takes her back into the past, where he uses her soul to revive Demise.
Following Demise’s revival, Link battles him and defeats the Demon King. Link then seals Demise away in the Master Sword. Though, as the Demon King gets imprisoned, he utters a curse that will see him reincarnated. His reincarnations would become known as Ganon, the embodiment of Demise’s eternal hatred.
This sets in motion a cycle of Ganon reappearing throughout the ages to seek power, only to be thwarted by the Hero of Time and Goddess Hylia’s respective incarnations.
At the end of the game, Link places the Master Sword in the Sealed Temple. Zelda, and the inhabitants of Skyloft, then descend to earth and found the Land of Hyrule.
The Era of Chaos
Many years later, knowledge of the Triforce’s power spreads across the land. Following the descent of Zelda and Skyloft’s people to the earth, the Triforce was placed back into the Sacred Realm. An evil group, known as the Interlopers, sought to steal the Triforce from the Sacred Realm.
To protect the Triforce, a sage named Rauru went about creating many defenses for it. Rauru created a Temple of Time to enclose the Sealed Temple, which was the only way into the Sacred Realm. This was to protect the Master Sword, which is the key to entering the Sacred Realm.
The sage then created the Temple of Light and sealed the Triforce within it—along with himself. Now, the only way to access the Triforce was to connect the Temple of Time and the Temple of Light. This would only be possible with the Master Sword.
The Interlopers were banished to the Twilight Realm by the Spirits of Light, who were created by the Golden Goddesses. There, the fiends would remain for many ages.
The Era of Prosperity
Many years after the Interlopers were defeated, Zelda’s descendants founded the Kingdom of Hyrule. These descendants became the kingdom’s royal family and presided over the lands. They built their castle—Hyrule Castle—near the Temple of Time.
Generation after generation of the royal family protected the land and the Temple of Time. However, peace is only the time between conflicts. Soon, a new threat emerged to threaten the world.
The Era of Force
The Era of Prosperity ended when an evil race attacked Hyrule, which began the Era of Force. During this conflict, the Minish descended from the heavens to save mankind and the land of Hyrule. The Minish, known to humans as the Picori, brought with them the Picori Blade and the Light Force to defeat the evil ones.
The Picori Blade and Light Force were given to the Hero of Men—the reincarnation of Hylia’s chosen hero. With these mighty weapons, the Hero of Men sealed the evildoers into the Bound Chest. Afterward, this era’s Zelda absorbs the Light Force into herself, which gets passed down to her descendants.
After the Hero’s victory, the event was then commemorated every year with a festival: the Picori Festival. During this celebration, there would be a tournament of combat. The winner of each tournament was given the reward of being able to touch the Picori Blade. This sets in motion the events of the next game in the series.
The Events of The Minish Cap
One hundred years after the Hero of Men sealed away the evildoers, a greedy Minish named Vaati wins the Picori Festival tournament with the aid of the Mage’s Cap. Afterward, Vaati destroys the Picori Blade, which releases the evil ones from the Bound Chest.
As evil runs rampant around Hyrule, Vaati then seeks out this age’s Zelda and takes the Light Force from her. In the process, Zelda gets turned to stone and Vaati becomes a mighty winged demon.
This age’s Link, who is a blacksmith’s apprentice, gets commissioned by King Daltus to reforge the Picori Blade and revive Zelda. Link teams up with the Minish, including a sage named Ezlo, who, together, use the Four Elements to recreate the legendary blade. However, it is now called the Four Sword. Link uses the Four Sword to defeat Vaati.
After Vaati’s defeat, Zelda returns to her normal form. She then uses the power of the Mage’s Cap, which was taken back from Vaati, to undo all the destruction caused by the freed evil ones.
The Events of Four Swords
A few generations later, Vaati somehow reappears to wreak havoc. The demon, now without any memories from his life as a one of the Minish, takes the Palace of the Winds for his own and dubs himself the Wind Mage.
The fiendish Wind Mage goes about abducting maidens until he is sealed away by an unnamed hero. The hero forces the demonic Vaati into the Four Sword and places the blade into the Four Sword Sanctuary.
However, Vaati, yet again, breaks free from his seal. Although, this time, his rampage takes place during the events of the game. After gaining his freedom once more, Vaati kidnaps this generation’s Princess Zelda. This generation’s Link, who sees Zelda get abducted, draws the Four Sword from its pedestal.
After drawing the legendary blade, Link splits into four separate Links—each with different colored clothes. Together, the four Links work together to gather three keys to unlock Vaati’s palace: one from the Sea of Trees, one from Talus Cave, and one from Death Mountain.
When all three keys have been obtained, the four Links storm Vaati’s palace and rescue Princess Zelda. Afterward, the demonic Wind Mage gets sealed, once more, into the Four Sword before it is placed back into its pedestal within the Four Sword Sanctuary. Following Vaati’s imprisonment, the Links merge back into one being and the game ends.
The Era of the Hero of Time
After many years of peace, war erupts in the Kingdom of Hyrule that sets its people against one another. This event is known as the Hylian Civil War. Little is known about this war except that it lasted a long time. However, there are hints from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time that point to Ganondorf and the Gerudo being at the heart of the conflict.
Following many years of strife, an unnamed king of Hyrule was able to finally reunite the land. Although, after this, races besides Hylians became a rare sight. The Zora, the Gorons, and the Kokiri very much kept to themselves after the unification.
At the tail end of the Hylian Civil War, a wounded woman carrying her baby fled to the Kokiri Forest. Here, she entrusted her child to the Great Deku Tree before she passed away from her injuries. This child is this generation’s Link, who would one day grow up to become the Hero of Time.
The Events of Ocarina of Time
A few years after, the frail peace shatters as Ganondorf and the Gerudo set out to take the Triforce. At the beginning of Ganondorf’s conquest, he curses the Great Deku Tree in an attempt to take the Kokiri’s Emerald.
This results in the mighty guardian dying, however, in their final moments, the Great Deku Tree sets a young Link on the quest to stop Ganondorf.
Somewhat shortly after beginning his quest—aided by the fairy Navi—Link meets a young Princess Zelda. Together, they head into the Temple of Time to claim the Triforce before Ganondorf can do so.
However, as Link draws the Master Sword, he gets sealed within the temple by the Seven Sages for seven years. This is in order for the young Link to mature into his adult form: the Hero of Time.
During Link’s slumber, Ganondorf manages to seize the Triforce and takes over Hyrule. He corrupts the land and fills it with monsters. Additionally, Ganondorf’s entry into the Sacred Realm warps this pure place into one of sinister dark energy due to Ganondorf’s evil heart.
Although Ganondorf was able to claim the Triforce, it splits into three parts. Ganondorf retains the Triforce of Power, while Link inherits the Triforce of Courage, and Zelda gets the Triforce of Wisdom.
After much adventuring, Link and Zelda finally gain the power to defeat Ganondorf. Together, Link, Zelda, and the Seven Sages are able to seal Ganondorf into the Dark Realm, although their nemesis manages to let loose one final vow to return one day before he is imprisoned.
Although the canonical ending to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time from the player’s perspective is Link’s victory over Ganondorf, all of the time-hopping creates parallel universes. This results in the original timeline getting split into three separate ones.
The first is the timeline where Ganondorf defeats Link and ushers in an era of darkness. This is known as the Fallen Hero Timeline, which encompasses the following Legend of Zelda games (listed in order of timeline occurrence):
- A Link to the Past
- Link’s Awakening
- Oracle of Seasons/Ages
- A Link Between Worlds
- Tri Force Heroes
- The Legend of Zelda (the first game in the franchise)
- The Adventure of Link
The second timeline is where Link is victorious over Ganondorf, however, at the end of Ocarina of Time, when Link gets sent back to his childhood years, another split occurs. The two timelines that emerge from this split are called the Child Timeline and the Adult Timeline.
The Child Timeline contains the following games (listed in order of timeline occurrence):
- Majora’s Mask
- Twilight Princess
- Four Swords Adventures
And the Adult Timeline follows the remaining main series games not yet mentioned (listed in order of timeline occurrence):
- The Wind Waker
- Phantom Hourglass
- Spirit Tracks
The Fallen Hero Timeline
Following Link’s defeat at Ganondorf’s hands, the latter manages to obtain the Triforce of Courage and the Triforce of Wisdom. With no other choice, Zelda and the Seven Sages seal Ganondorf, as well as the completed Triforce, into the Sacred Realm. However, since the Sacred Realm was warped by Ganondorf’s evil heart, it became the Dark World.
The Imprisoning War
Years after Ganondorf and the Triforce were sealed away, the gate to the Dark World somehow reopened. From this dreaded dimension, Ganondorf’s hordes of demons rushed into Hyrule. This resulted in the Imprisoning War, where countless lives were lost against the forces of evil.
However, eventually, the Seven Sages of this time period were able to seal the gate to the Dark World once more. Though, at this point, the prolonged war left the Kingdom of Hyrule poor and decrepit.
The Events of A Link to the Past
After the Imprisoning War, there was peace in Hyrule for a while. However, all too soon, terrible events started to take place across the land. The king of Hyrule issued a plea for someone to step forth and stop these disasters.
It was at this time that the wizard Agahnim appeared to quell the disasters with mysterious magic. But Agahnim’s true colors were soon revealed. Shortly after becoming the chief advisor of Hyrule, Agahnim brainwashed the soldiers of Hyrule, killed the king, and sent six of the Seven Maidens (descendants of the Seven Sages) into the Dark World.
It is then revealed that Agahnim sought to free Ganondorf (now called Ganon) from the Dark World by forcing all Seven Maidens into this sinister realm. As Agahnim is about to send the last of the Seven Maidens, Princess Zelda, into the Dark World, the Princess sends out a telepathic cry for help.
This cry for help reaches Link and his uncle nearby. Link’s uncle went on ahead to heed the call, however, met his end in the process. In his final moments, Link’s uncle gives the young hero a sword and shield before urging him to rescue Princess Zelda.
Link manages to rescue the Princess and bring her to safety before setting out on his quest to retrieve the Master Sword. However, upon returning to Zelda with the Master Sword, Link finds that Agahnim has sent Zelda into the Dark World. Link defeats Agahnim, who turns out to be Ganon’s alter ego, but the hero also gets sent into the Dark World.
While in the Dark World, Link manages to free the Seven Maidens, defeat Ganon, and restore Hyrule to peace after obtaining the Triforce.
The Events of Link’s Awakening
After Link restores Hyrule to peace, he sets off on a journey to get stronger in order to face future disasters that may threaten Hyrule. On a seafaring voyage, Link’s ship gets destroyed by a storm, and he ends up on Koholint Island.
Throughout exploring Koholint Island, Link discovers that the island is actually a dream created by a powerful being known as the Wind Fish. Learning that the only way off the island is to wake the Wind Fish and end the dream, Link sets out to do so.
The hero collects the eight Siren Instruments and uses them—as well as the Ballad of the Wind Fish—to enter the Wind Fish’s Egg. Here, he is able to defeat the Nightmares that are keeping the Wind Fish in a dreaming state.
Afterward, as the Wind Fish awakens, Link is sent back to the waking world. Now freed from the dream realm, Link is able to put together a raft made from the remains of his ship and sails back to Hyrule.
The Events of Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages
In a tightly-woven story, Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages are closely connected. However, it should be mentioned that the events of Oracle of Seasons happen first.
These events begin when Twinrova, a pair of witches who are Ganon’s surrogate mothers, set out to revive their son. This involves them beginning a ritual that requires the sacrifices of three specific individuals to light Three Flames.
In Oracle of Seasons, Twinrova commands Onox to kidnap the Oracle of Seasons—Din—from the land of Holodrum. Link gets sent to Holodrum to defeat Onox and rescue Din.
Throughout his adventures here, Link gains the Rod of Seasons, which he uses to collect the eight Essences of Nature. Afterward, Link defeats Onox and saves Din from a grisly fate. However, somehow, the first Ritual Flame still gets lit.
After Link’s victory, he is sent to Labrynna, where he must thwart Twinrova’s next ritual. Here, Link’s quest is to defeat the Sorceress Veran who seeks to sacrifice the captured Oracle of Ages: Nayru.
In a similar manner to the previous game, Link must progress through Oracle of Ages by using the Harp of Ages to collect the eight Essences of Time. In another parallel to Oracle of Seasons, Link manages to save the Oracle Nayru, however, the second Ritual Flame gets lit anyway.
At the end of Oracle of Ages, Twinrova kidnaps Princess Zelda and they seek to light the third Ritual Flame by sacrificing her. Thankfully, Link rescues Zelda before she meets her demise. Unfortunately, Twinrova sacrifice themselves to light the third Ritual Flame and summon Ganon from the Dark World.
However, due to the ritual not being completed properly, Ganon appears as a crazed monster instead of his true form. Link manages to defeat the malformed Ganon, and, afterward, leaves Labrynna.
The Triforce Splits
Somehow, after Link sends Ganon back to the Dark World, the Triforce splits. The Triforce of Power gets sent to Ganon in the Dark World while the other two pieces seemingly enter the hearts of Link and Zelda. Link inherits the Triforce of Courage and Zelda inherits the Triforce of Wisdom.
The Events of A Link Between Worlds
Many years after Link defeats Ganon, a wizard named Yuga appears and turns this age’s Seven Sages and Princess Zelda, into paintings. Afterward, Yuga returns to their home dimension of Lorule. This age’s Link follows Yuga into Lorule. He does so with the help of a magical bracelet given to him by the merchant Ravio.
After Link enters Lorule, he finds that it’s a parallel dimension to Hyrule. Before he can stop Yuga, he manages to free Ganon and merges with him. Hilda, Zelda’s counterpart in Lorule, holds back the combined Yuga and Ganon while sending Link to free the Seven Sages.
Link does so, which awakens the Triforce of Courage within himself. However, as he returns to Princess Hilda, she reveals that it was her plan all along to free Ganon to obtain the Triforce of Power. Hilda also mentions that she now possesses Zelda’s Triforce of Wisdom.
Lorule once had its own Triforce, although it was destroyed long ago. Afterward, Lorule started to fall apart. Hilda tells Link that she needs the Triforce from Hyrule to restore Lorule.
Hilda commands Yuga to take the Triforce of Courage from Link, although the hero defeats Yuga. Enraged, Hilda tries to take the Triforce of Power from Yuga, but, in a turn of events, Yuga instead takes the Triforce of Wisdom from Hilda and becomes much more powerful.
Despite this, Link and Zelda manage to defeat Yuga once more. At this point, the merchant Ravio appears and reveals that he is Link’s Lorule counterpart. Ravio pleas with Hilda to see reason, which she does.
With the last of the magical bracelet’s power, Link and Zelda return to Hyrule and reforge the Triforce. Upon doing so, Link wishes for Lorule’s Triforce to be restored, which sets things right in the parallel dimension.
The Events of Tri Force Heroes
On an adventure away from Hyrule, Link enters Hytopia. Here, he learns that an evil witch has placed a curse on this kingdom’s monarch: Princess Styla. Link is then recruited into the Witch-Hunting Brigade, whose main goal is to defeat the evil witch Lady Maud who cast the curse upon Princess Styla.
Together with a couple of similar-looking heroes, Link collects the pieces for the Lady’s Ensemble. After gaining the final piece by defeating Lady Maud, they complete the Lady’s Ensemble, which frees Princess Styla from her curse.
The Era of Gold
After the Triforce gets reunited in A Link Between Worlds, the Kingdom of Hyrule enters a very prosperous period of time known as the Era of Gold. With the power of the Triforce, generation upon generation of Hyrule’s monarchy has wonderful and bountiful reigns.
However, after centuries, an unnamed king of Hyrule develops doubts about the worthiness of his son. As such, this king hides the Triforce of Courage so that his unworthy son cannot get it.
The sole person he confides the location of the Triforce of Courage to is his daughter, this age’s Princess Zelda. And, as such, the Triforce gets split once again.
When the aging king passes away, he casts a spell that will allow a worthy heir to the Triforce of Courage to claim it. This spell will cause a crest to appear on the body of a worthy warrior in the future.
The Era of Decline
After the king passes away, his unworthy son ascends the throne with only the Triforce of Power in his possession. The prince-turned-king sends his Magician to question his sister Zelda about the location of the Triforce of Courage. However, the princess does not tell them the location.
The Magician gets furious at this and curses Princess Zelda into an eternal slumber, which results in the new king taking her Triforce of Wisdom. All females born into the royal line also get named “Zelda”, leading to the new king’s sister becoming Princess Zelda I.
Due to the king’s poor ruling ability, Hyrule’s borders begin to shrink. This results in this age becoming the Era of Decline.
The Events of The Legend of Zelda
Decades later, Ganon somehow, yet again, breaks his seal and returns to Hyrule. He claims the Triforce of Power from the weak king, however, before Ganon can claim the Triforce of Wisdom, a younger Princess Zelda interferes. This Zelda splits the Triforce of Wisdom into eight pieces and scatters them across the land.
Seeking to find a hero who can defeat Ganon, Zelda sends her nursemaid Impa to search for one. Afterward, Ganon imprisons Princess Zelda and sends his minions after Impa.
While traveling, this age’s Link comes across Ganon’s minions attacking Impa. The hero defeats the thugs and learns all that has happened from Impa. Following this, Link begins his quest to collect the eight pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom.
After delving through eight dungeons to recover all the pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom, Link heads to Death Mountain to confront Ganon in a final showdown. Using the Triforce of Wisdom, the Magical Sword, and Silver Arrows, Link is able to defeat Ganon. Following Ganon’s defeat, Link gets the Triforce of Power.
The Events of The Adventure of Link
However, after defeating Ganon, peace does not immediately return to Hyrule. Link spends the next six years defeating Ganon’s remaining minions while empowered by the Triforce of Power and the Triforce of Wisdom. Then, upon his sixteenth birthday, a glowing Triforce-shaped crest appears on Link’s left hand.
When Impa sees this, she brings Link to the sealed chamber containing Princess Zelda I. Link is able to break the seal on the doorway, which proves he is the hero destined to claim the Triforce of Courage. Although now able to enter Princess Zelda I’s chamber, the princess remains in a deep slumber.
Afterward, Impa tells Link all about the old king’s spell and the prophecy surrounding the young hero. The nursemaid then entrusts Link with six magical crystals and instructs him to take them to each of the six Palaces and defeat their respective guardians.
She then mentions that he needs to set each magical crystal into a statue beyond each Palace’s guardian. This will open up the way to the Great Palace, within which lies the Triforce of Courage. Only then, when the Triforce is complete, will the curse on Princess Zelda I be lifted.
Link does as instructed and eventually clears through the Great Palace by defeating his final foe: a shadow version of himself. Afterward, the hero collects the Triforce of Courage and returns to Princess Zelda I. He reunites the Triforce and awakens the sleeping monarch, which finally returns peace to Hyrule.
The Child Timeline
At the end of Ocarina of Time, Link gets sent back to the past. Here, he warns Princess Zelda about Ganondorf’s invasion. This results in Hyrule’s forces being ready for the Gerudo assault, which lets the forces of good triumph.
Following Ganondorf’s defeat in this timeline, the fiend gets sealed in the Twilight Realm. Link then leaves Hyrule in search of Navi, who disappeared around the time Link got sealed in the Temple of Time.
The Events of Majora’s Mask
During his search for Navi, Link gets lost in a forest. It is here where Link meets the Skull Kid, who is wearing the eponymous mask of the demon Majora. Skull Kid then steals Link’s horse before disappearing into the parallel dimension of Termina.
The fiendish Skull Kid then seeks to bring the moon down upon Termina to destroy it. Link has three days in order to prevent the catastrophe. Thankfully, the Hero of Time is able to return to the first day by playing the Song of Time on the Ocarina.
Link travels around Termina and uses the four Transformative Masks to set free the Four Giants. On the third day, the Four Giants are able to stop the moon from crashing into Termina by holding it up.
With the disaster now averted, Link leaves Termina to continue his search for Navi. However, he is never seen again, and, upon his death, Link becomes the Hero’s Spirit.
The Events of Twilight Princess
After getting banished to the Twilight Realm, Ganondorf begins a plot. He seeks out Zant, who serves the Twilight Realm’s royal family, and gives him his power. This leads Zant to usurp the throne from Midna, the Twilight Princess, and then lead a force of Shadow Beasts into the Light World.
Zant and his minions take over Hyrule and steal the light from the Spirits of Light, which merges the Light World with the Twilight Realm. Following this, Princess Zelda gets imprisoned in the now enemy-occupied Hyrule Castle.
Midna meets Link; a simple ranch hand. Due to the power inherited from his ancestors, Link is able to transform into a wolf when he encounters Twilight energy instead of suffering a worse fate.
Together, Link and Midna return light to Hyrule, which restores Link to his normal form. Their powers, combined with the training Link receives from the Hero’s Spirit, allow them to collect the pieces of the Fused Shadow and defeat Zant in battle.
However, Zant turns the tables by cursing Link back into wolf form with the Shadow Crystal. Zant then steals the Fused Shadow and gravely injures Midna. Thankfully, after bringing Midna to Zelda, Hyrule’s Princess is able to heal the Twilight Princess.
Next, Midna and Link travel to the Sacred Grove to seek out the Master Sword. The Master Sword lifts the curse from Link and the duo then gathers the pieces of the Mirror of Twilight.
Afterward, Link defeats Zant and Midna kills him with the Fused Shadow’s power. Link then goes on to defeat Ganondorf with the Master Sword. At the end of the game, Midna returns to the Twilight Realm and shatters the Mirror of Twilight, preventing the Light World and Twilight Realm from reconnecting.
The Events of Four Swords Adventures
Centuries after Ganondorf was defeated in Twilight Princess, he is reincarnated into the Gerudo Tribe. This new Ganondorf steals the Trident from the Ancient Pyramid and the Dark Mirror from the Temple of Darkness. With these mighty weapons, Ganondorf is able to create powerful demonic minions.
Ganondorf then sets out to free Vaati from the Four Sword and creates Shadow Link to aid him in this pursuit. Although Zelda and the Six Maidens try to stop them, Shadow Link thwarts their seal renewal. Furthermore, Shadow Link scatters the Six Maidens across Hyrule.
In order to fight Shadow Link, the real Link draws the Four Sword from its pedestal, which releases Vaati, in addition to splitting Link into four separate warriors. As the freed Vaati wreaks havoc, Ganondorf corrupts the Four Knights of Hyrule into Big Dark Stalfos.
To gain the power to defeat their mighty enemies, the four Links track down and defeat the four Big Dark Stalfos and take a magical jewel from each of them. Afterward, the quartet of Links travels to the Tower of Winds, where they slay Vaati and imprison Ganondorf into the Four Sword.
The Adult Timeline
In this split from the Child Timeline, when Link gets sent back in time at the end of Ocarina of Time, the Triforce of Courage does not get sent back with him. As such, the Triforce of Courage shatters and the Link of this age does not remain as the Hero of Time.
Due to no longer being the Hero of Time, Link disappears instead of searching for Navi, creating the Adult Timeline.
However, Ganondorf still gets sealed into the Dark World by the Seven Sages—along with the Triforce of Power. Princess Zelda in this Timeline retains possession of the Triforce of Wisdom.
The Great Flood
Link fading out of this timeline led to the Era Without a Hero. As such, when Ganon inevitably returned, there was no one who could truly defeat him. In the age when Ganon returned, Hyrule was led by King Daphnes. The king, seeing no other option, pleaded to the heavens for aid, which answered violently.
In order to stop Ganon, the Goddesses drown the world in the Great Flood. Thankfully, before the flood swallowed the world, the Goddesses warned the people of Hyrule to relocate to the tops of mountains, which later became islands. The Great Flood turned the world into one known as the Great Sea. During this transition, Ganon was submerged along with the Triforce of Power.
As for the Triforce of Wisdom: it was split in half. The first half was kept by King Daphnes, who stayed in Hyrule as the Great Flood washed over the world. The other half was given to King Daphnes’ daughter, this age’s Princess Zelda.
Zelda was able to get to a mountaintop and was able to pass down her half of the Triforce of Wisdom to her daughter. This tradition continued with this half of the Triforce of Wisdom getting passed down from mother to daughter generation after generation.
The Events of The Wind Waker
Somehow, Ganon is able to resurface centuries after the Great Flood. Afterward, he bends the Helmaroc King to his will and commands the mighty bird to seek out girls with pointed ears. This is Ganondorf’s attempt to find this age’s Princess Zelda and the Triforce of Wisdom.
The Helmaroc King kidnaps a girl named Aryll, who is the sister of this age’s Link. When Link begins his journey to rescue his sister, he meets a ship called the King of Red Lions, which was sent to him by the Goddesses. Link later meets Tetra and her pirate crew.
With the help of his allies, Link gathers all of the Goddess Pearls, which opens the way to sunken Hyrule, where they meet King Daphnes. Here, Link also finds the Master Sword. With it, he’s able to rescue his sister, however, the Master Sword no longer has the power to repel evil. As such, Link is not able to defeat Ganon.
Link and Tetra return to Hyrule, where they learn that King Daphnes is also the King of Red Lions. Following this, King Daphnes joins his half of the Triforce of Wisdom with the half held by Tetra, who is a descendant of Princess Zelda. Link then goes on a quest to restore the Triforce of Courage.
When Link returns, he learns that Ganon has kidnapped Tetra and has taken the Triforce of Wisdom. He rushes to Ganon’s Tower, where the pieces of the Triforce reunite. Before Ganondorf can make his wish, King Daphnes does so and wishes for Hyrule to disappear.
Link and Tetra are able to defeat Ganon and then return to the surface while King Daphnes disappears along with Hyrule. The game ends with the duo sailing off into the Great Sea in search of a new continent.
The Events of Phantom Hourglass
As Link and Tetra are sailing across the Great Sea, they follow a rumor about disappearing ships. This leads them to a ghost ship. As Tetra boards the ghost ship, she is abducted by it and Link falls into the ocean during his attempt to rescue her.
Link washes up on Mercay Island, where he meets a fairy named Ciela, her grandfather, Oshus, and a sea captain named Linebeck. Together with Ciela and Linebeck, Link sets out to find Tetra.
This leads the trio to the Temple of the Ocean King, where Link uses the Phantom Hourglass to navigate its trials. Link is then able to rescue the Spirits of Power, Wisdom, and Courage (the latter of which is Ciela).
A bit later, Link is able to find the ghost ship, though Tetra has been turned to stone. Her life force has been drained by a sea monster named Bellum.
To defeat Bellum, Link gathers three Pure Metals in order to forge the Phantom Sword. After collecting the Pure Metals, Oshus mentions that he is actually the Ocean King. Following this, Oshus uses the Pure Metals and the Phantom Hourglass to create the Phantom Sword.
With this mighty new blade, Link is able to defeat Bellum and restore Tetra’s life force. Defeating Bellum also allows Oshus to turn back into the Ocean King. The game then ends with Link and Tetra sailing off to continue their search for a new continent.
The Era of Hyrule’s Rebirth
Eventually, Link and Tetra find a new continent. They begin to set up a new kingdom, which they call New Hyrule. On this land, there are tracks that cover much of the area, which are Spirit Tracks. At the center of New Hyrule is the Tower of Spirits.
It’s later revealed that both the Spirit Tracks and the Tower of Spirits were created by the Lokomo. The Lokomo built these structures in order to seal away a powerful demon named Malladus.
Despite the sinister history of this land, New Hyrule grows and thrives for many years.
The Events of Spirit Tracks
About a century after New Hyrule is founded, the Spirit Tracks begin to disappear. This age’s Princess Zelda, who is a descendant of Tetra, heads to the Tower of Spirits to investigate.
However, along the way, Chancellor Cole, who serves the royal family, turns out to be a traitor. Cole, along with his ally Byrne, separates Zelda’s soul from her body. They intend to use Zelda’s body as a vessel for the Demon King Malladus in order to revive them. At the same time, the Tower of Spirits also gets fragmented.
This age’s Link, who is an engineer, learns what has happened and seeks to help. He and the spirit of Zelda travel to four temples around New Hyrule to restore the Spirit Tracks and the Tower of Spirits. Along the way, they are aided by the Lokomo and gain both the Bow of Light and the Lokomo Sword.
After restoring the Spirit Tracks and the Tower of Spirits, Link and Zelda’s spirits ascend the latter to confront Malladus, who has taken over Zelda’s body. Malladus flees into the Dark Realm, but Link and Zelda chase them down and do battle with the fiend.
With the power of the Bow of Light and the Lokomo Sword, the heroes are able to defeat the Demon King. This allows Zelda’s spirit to return to her body. Afterward, the game ends after the Lokomo leave New Hyrule in order to return to the heavens.
The Great Calamity
The franchise picks up tens of thousands of years after the events of all timelines. At this point, the events of all previous timelines have become obscure myths. As such, which timeline the following Legend of Zelda games takes place in is up to player interpretation.
However, history began to be recorded properly again around the time of The Great Calamity. This event was when a powerful fiend known as Calamity Ganon appeared 10’000 years ago to threaten the land of Hyrule.
In response to this threat, the Sheikah Tribe invented Guardians and the Divine Beasts, which were all incredibly powerful and advanced machines. This age’s Link (who wielded the Master Sword) and Zelda were able to use the Guardians and Divine Beasts to seal Calamity Ganon under Hyrule Castle.
Following Calamity Ganon’s defeat, Hyrule fell into decline and the Guardians—as well as the Divine Beasts—were buried and forgotten underground.
Approximately 9’900 years later, a prophecy telling of Calamity Ganon’s return was foretold. This age’s Zelda urged the people of Hyrule to dig up and restore the Guardians and Divine Beasts to face this threat. They did so, and, this age’s Link also obtained the Master Sword from its resting place in Korok Forest.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go well, as Calamity Ganon was able to possess all the Guardians and Divine Beasts, rendering them useless. In the battle, Link was gravely injured and forced to sleep in the Shrine of Resurrection.
Following this, Zelda returned the Master Sword to Korok Forest before facing Calamity Ganon by herself. She was able to seal the fiend, however, without the Master Sword, she needed to imprison herself along with Ganon to maintain the seal.
The Events of Breath of the Wild
About 100 years later, Link awakens in the Shrine of Resurrection. With the Sheikah Slate left for him by Princess Zelda, he’s able to return to his former power—albeit without any memories of the past.
At the same time, Zelda’s seal on Calamity Ganon has weakened greatly. Both Link’s awakening and Ganon’s growing power have awoken the Divine Beasts, who are still corrupted by Ganon’s influence.
Link begins his journey and eventually retrieves the Master Sword from the Korok Forest. He then cleanses the Divine Beasts of Ganon’s influence and, together, they fight Calamity Ganon at Hyrule Castle.
After defeating Calamity Ganon, the monster transforms into Dark Beast Ganon. While still trapped, Zelda summons the Bow of Light, which Link is able to use to greatly weaken Dark Beast Ganon. This lets Zelda break free, and, once she does, she is able to seal Ganon away properly.
Following their victory, Link and Zelda begin working together to rebuild Hyrule. This sets the stage for the sequel to Breath of the Wild, which is currently scheduled to be released sometime in the spring of 2023. Furthermore, this sequel will allegedly take place directly after the events of Breath of the Wild.