- "My power alone could not stop the fiend, and our only choice was to leave the fate of the kingdom in the hands of the gods... When the gods heard our pleas, they chose to seal away not only Ganon, but Hyrule itself...and so, with a torrential downpour of rains from the heavens... Our fair kingdom was soon buried beneath the waves, forgotten at the bottom of the ocean."
- — Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule
The Great Sea is a recurring location in The Legend of Zelda series. It is the setting of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. It is a vast sea that covers the kingdom of Hyrule after it was flooded by the gods to protect it from Ganondorf. In order to survive the flooding, Hyrule's population was forced to quickly settle on the kingdom's mountaintops, and centuries afterward, the memory of Hyrule and the land below the sea was eventually forgotten, though the legend of the Hero of Time was still remembered, especially by those on Outset Island.
After sealing away Ganondorf in the Sacred Realm, the Hero of Time became a legend. He then left Hyrule. Either because he was sent back, or because Ganon was sealed away still in possession of the Triforce of Power, Link's Triforce of Courage was split into eight shards that were scattered across the land.
Eventually, Ganondorf manages to escape and proceeds to wage war against Hyrule. Despite the land being overrun by his army, the Hero of Time did not appear. The king, Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, was unable to stay their forces and left Hyrule's future to the gods. As a result, the gods intervened and sealed both Ganondorf and his army within Hyrule by freezing them in time with the Master Sword. In order to ensure their imprisonment, the gods then cast torrential downpours to flood Hyrule, burying Ganondorf and his army underwater along with Daphnes, and thus creating the Great Sea.
To avoid Ganon's ultimate wish to completely destroy Hyrule, select individuals from Hyrule's races, "those who would build a new country", were instructed to flee to the mountaintops and rebuild civilization upon the mountaintops-turned-islands. In addition to civilization, races also underwent major changes over the following centuries; both the Zora and Kokiri evolved in order to adapt to the new environment, resulting in the creation of the Rito and Koroks, respectively. The Gorons, however, appear to have dwindled to the point of near extinction, or perhaps left the area. A few traveling merchants are the only Gorons seen during the events of The Wind Waker.
Despite the divine efforts, Ganondorf manages to escape the seabed, albeit without the majority of his powers due to the Master Sword still locking them away. He begins a search for the remnant pieces of the Triforce so that he may wish for Hyrule to be his. Although there is still no Hero of Time to combat the returning King of Evil, a new hero would be born on Outset Island. As a safeguard against Ganondorf's circumvention of the flooding, Daphnes had taken the Triforce of Wisdom and broken off a piece to be made into a pendant for his daughter's descendants, keeping the remainder with himself, presumably in the area of the castle sealed away from Ganondorf's discovery. Ganondorf, thusly unable to locate either the hidden Triforce of Wisdom or the shattered Triforce of Courage, but knowing that Princess Zelda and her line were connected to the Triforce of Wisdom, focuses on finding her descendants by sending out his Helmaroc King to gather suspects, specifically young girls with pointed ears. During this search, the Helmaroc King inadvertently draws the attention of the new Link after accidentally kidnapping Link's sister, Aryll.
However, Ganondorf uses this to his advantage and manipulates Link into opening the passage into Hyrule and drawing the Master Sword, which releases both his power and his army. As the Triforce of Wisdom is reformed by Tetra and her ancestor, Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, Link is left to restore the Master Sword's power and reform the Triforce of Courage. Upon restoring both the Master Sword's power and the Triforce of Courage, Link's newfound power opens the path to Ganondorf's Tower under the ocean. It is here that the Triforce is united and Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule uses its power to make the barrier over Hyrule collapse and allow the sea to flood. In a final duel atop Ganondorf's Tower, Link, with assistance from Zelda, defeats Ganondorf after stabbing him in the forehead with the Master Sword, turning the King of Evil into stone as Hyrule is flooding.
With his final words, Daphnes apologizes to Link and Zelda, telling them that instead of looking to the past, they should look toward a bright future and a land that will be their own. With the last of his power, Daphnes seals Link and Zelda within bubbles, allowing them to float to the surface while he and Hyrule are drowned by the flooding water.
Windfall Island is home to the only major town on the Great Sea. However, a large pirate base did exist in the far northwest until being taken over by Ganondorf. A large tower, the Tower of the Gods, is erected in the center of the ocean, but barring that, there is not much else except for the small settlement on Outset Island. There may have once been a similar settlement on Greatfish Isle, but if so, it was destroyed before Link ever visited.
The governments of this time are not very powerful nor large, usually limited to local governments consisting of a village mayor or elder, such as the Rito Chieftain. The reason for this is that there are very few people in the post-flood world, although there are still many diverse races living in and around the Great Sea.
Triforce in the Great Sea
Link can connect six islands in the Great Sea to make the shape of the Triforce: Dragon Roost Island, Forest Haven, Greatfish Isle, Eastern Triangle Island, Southern Triangle Island and Northern Triangle Isle. This is done by connecting the Eastern, Northern and Southern Triangle Islands to make a small, upside-down triangle, and connecting Dragon Roost, Forest Haven, and Greatfish Isles to make a larger triangle. Both of these triangles together form the Triforce. It also shows this in-game in The Wind Waker. When Link goes to Tetra's room on her ship, there is a picture that has this Triforce shape on it. Also, the three islands where the spirits live are in correct position to the Triforce, based on which pearl the three spirits guard. Jabun, who protected Nayru's Pearl, lived on Greatfish, which is where the Triforce of Wisdom should be. The Great Deku Tree, who protected Farore's Pearl, lives on Forest Haven, which is where the Triforce of Courage should be. Valoo, who protected Din's Pearl, lives on Dragon Roost, which is where the Triforce of Power should be. The empty triangle in the center is occupied by the Tower of the Gods.
Humans are now much more common than in previous games, differentiated from true Hylians by their lack of the latter's pointed, elf-like ears. They work and live in small merchant vessels around the ocean, but are mainly based in Windfall Island, where they trade with the other races around the Great Sea. Although Humans are far more common than before, the majority of the Great Sea's inhabitants are still of Hylian descent.
The Rito, an avian race descended from the Zora, have developed a strong culture on Dragon Roost Island. They appear to be beaked humanoid beings until they are given scales by the Sky Spirit Valoo. Once a Rito receives a scale from Valoo, he or she grows wings. The Rito serve as the postmen of the Great Sea, are fairly populous, and have a strong relationship with the Hylians.
The Koroks, a plant-like evolution of the Kokiri, live on Forest Haven with the Great Deku Tree. Under the orders of the Great Deku Tree, the Koroks move throughout the Great Sea, planting seeds sprouted from the Tree in the hope that the seeds will create forests and allow the islands to expand in size. Before leaving to plant the seeds, the Koroks take part in an annual ceremony, and return to Forest Haven for the following year's ceremony. They also used to live in the Forbidden Woods, which is settled across from Forest Haven.
Several pirate groups have sprung up around the Great Sea. One did have a large base at the Forsaken Fortress before being taken over by Ganondorf. They plunder the ocean in search of treasure, of which there is certainly an abundance. One group of pirates is led by a young girl named Tetra. She has some knowledge of the ancient past of Hyrule and is searching for a way to recover these ancient and valuable relics.
Creatures called Fishmen live in the Great Sea. They are quite knowledgeable about the area they dwell near, being able to mark it down on a map and pass information about it. They like Beedle's All-Purpose Bait, though they tend to get sick of it.
The Great Sea's waters are inhabited by creatures such as Gyorgs, Octoroks and Big Octos, making travel extremely dangerous. Seagulls and unfriendly Kargarocs inhabit the skies, and crabs live in some sandy areas. Seahats inhabit smaller islands in clusters. In addition, certain islands around the Great Sea are famous for their ChuChu population. Much of the rest of the wildlife consists of various monsters, some perhaps set loose by Ganondorf to keep watch over certain areas. Despite several characters in the game stating that the Great Sea has no Fish, some characters in the game are described as fishermen. However, this could mean that they hunt the monsters in the Great Sea rather than actual Fish.
While traveling the Great Sea, Link can happen upon all kinds of interesting things: Items appear at random, places to explore crop up, and other more important (or dangerous) events occur. Two of the more random and "unimportant" of the special events are Rupee Barrels and Light Rings. Light Rings are stationary spots where treasure can be found.
Rupee Barrels are generated randomly as Link sails around and are marked by a large barrel floating in the water with a Rupee floating above it. These Rupees come in a variety of the normal colors and are collected by sailing or jumping over them. The barrels either appear individually or part of a mini-game of sorts. Occasionally, two barrels with white flags will rise out of the Sea; if Link sails between them, a game will start where Rupee Barrels of increasing value appear. The game ends when Link misses one of the Rupees or does not sail fast enough to reach the next barrel.
The Great Sea is mentioned on the character synopses for several of the characters introduced in the Legends related character expansion pack.
The Great Sea appears as a new map in Adventure Mode. The Era of the Great Sea is represented by two stages: Forsaken Fortress (merged with Dragon Roost Island, Star Island, and Windfall Island) and a merged version of the Wind and Earth Temples.
The Great Hyrulean Sea (aka as the Great Sea) is the name for the sea that lies between Western Hyrule and Eastern Hyrule, and east of Lesser Hyrule/Death Mountain) during the Age of Chaos (Era of Decline) in some sources.
- "There's lots to see and do across the Great Sea, and it's easy to become lost..."
- — The Phantom Hourglass guide
- "A wide variety of extraordinary beings inhabit the many islands of the Great Sea. Some even live in the sea itself. Many of these beings are kind hearted, willing to aid link in his quest to banish evil and save his lost friend. Others are villainous and cruel, yearning to stop the young hero in his tracks."
- — The Phantom Hourglass guide
According to Phantom Hourglass, and its guide, the sea of the World of the Ocean King's realm is also known as the Great Sea. It further talks about various characters, Races, and enemies who live on this Great Sea. During the ending the 'great sea' is mentioned by Ocean King also states that it takes place in a section called the Great Sea.
- "If not for you, I'd have been sealed up forever. This sea would have fallen into desolation and evil. You saved me and the great sea."
- — Ocean King (Oshus)
According to the official soundtrack CD two pieces also give names for the sea, track 37 is "The Great Sea", and track 27 is "Danger in the Great Blue Sea" (these are the pieces based on "Ocean" (track 31), "The Great Sea is Cursed" (track 65), "Maritime Battle" (track 32) and The Second Maritime Battle (track 33) from Wind Waker). Hyrule Historia describes the Waters of the Ocean King as being a great sea.
- "Waters of the Ocean King: A great sea composed of four territories. It is a world located at the heart of the ocean, with no landmasses big enough to be called continents."
- — Hyrule Historia
- "We decided on a desert that used to have plant life and a great sea."
- — Fujibayashi (director) and Shimizu (designer), from Hyrule Historia
According to the developers, the site of the Lanayru Sand Sea was once the site of a great "ancient sea". The manga for Skyward Sword also refers to the Sky Realm as the "Great Sea of the Clouds".
The "ancient sea" is mentioned on the Rock Salt item in-game description from Breath of the Wild. This may be a reference to the "Great Sea" or "Ancient Sea" from The Wind Waker, or more probably a reference to the "Ancient Sea" mentioned in Skyward Sword on the Ancient Sea Chart.
The Great Sea is specifically mentioned in the in-game descriptions of the items obtainable with the amiibo Rune associated to the Toon Link and the Toon Zelda amiibos. These items include the Tunic of the Wind, Cap of the Wind, Trousers of the Wind, Sea-Breeze Boomerang, Hero's Shield, etc.
The sea appears to be mentioned in Zelda's speech in the knighting ceremony but only in the Japanese, French and German versions making with a reference to A Link to the Past.
Judging by the location of the Ocean Realm in New Hyrule, it can be assumed that it is far to the north of the Great Sea, but there is no evidence to support this other than this speculation. Another possibility is that the Ocean Realm is an unseen and unexplored part of the Great Sea depicted in The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass.
It is stated that the Forest Trees grown by the Koroks are intended to create more land and forests. It is also suggested that in the future the Forest Trees could lead to the islands of the Great Sea merging to create a new land.