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- This article is for the character mentioned in Ocarina of Time. For the fan made movie, see The Hero of Time, for the protagonist of the series who shares this title, see Link.
The Hero of Time is a character mentioned in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. According to Rauru, when Link opens the Door of Time and removes the Master Sword from the Pedestal of Time, he attempts to take up the title of the Hero of Time. However, as he is a child, he is unable to do so and as a result he is put into a deep sleep until he has physically grown enough to awaken as the Hero of Time. The Hero of Time is apparently chosen by the Master Sword itself with the express purpose of fighting alongside the Seven Sages. Little else is known about the original Hero of Time though Sheik states that Link, when holding the Master Sword, greatly resembles the Hero of Time meaning it is possible the original Hero of Time is a past incarnation of Link from another game, possibly The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
It is never outright stated that there was another Hero of Time before the Link of Ocarina of Time appeared. Sheik's comment about Link resembling the Hero of Time can be interpreted three ways: The first is Sheik was referring to the original Hero of Time or previous incarnation of Link who held the title, however the second interpretation is that given that several characters have demonstrated the ability to have prophetic visions and dreams (Zelda and Link being notable examples), it is possible that at some point someone (such as a member of the Sheikah, a incarnation of Zelda, one of the Light Spirits, Great Deku Tree, or one of the Sages) prophesized the emergence of the Hero of Time (Adult Link from Ocarina of Time). Thus said prophecy (or prophecies) would explains why Sheik said Link resembled the Hero of Time, as he was the very person the prophecy spoke off and Sheik simply meant that Link resembles the prophesized Hero of Time. Also given the fact that Sheik is actually Zelda, it is possible that she herself may have had a prophetic vision of the Hero of Time before she encounter Link under the guise of Sheik (possibly during the seven years Link slept). The third interpretation could be that Sheik was just complimenting Link for his look, which fits the look she had in mind, meaning that aside from Link from Ocarina of time, there is no other figure referred to with said title.
Original Hero of Time: The Hero of Legend
The most likely candidate for the Hero of Time is the Link from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword as it takes place before Ocarina of Time. Given his role in the creation of the Master Sword, his role in defeating the Demon King Demise, his possible involvement in the creation of the Kingdom of Hyrule and use of time travel may have contributed to him becoming known as the Hero of Time.
Legendary Heroes of Time
Another possibility is that the Hero of Time was a title used to referred to a past incarnation or incarnations of Link that preceded the events of Ocarina of Time, who have become legendary figures that are told in Hyrule's various myths and legends.
Wielder of The Blade of Evil's Bane
It is also possible that that title is meant to be bestowed onto the one capable of removing the Master Sword from the Pedestal of Time and wield the Legendary Master Sword. Thus Sheik was simply saying that Link resembled the previous wielder of the Sword. However it is likely that this custom was forgotten or fell out of use after the Link's defeat of Ganon in Ocarina of Time, likely because the title became too closely associated with the first Link to face and defeat Ganon.