The Hyrule Archives (aka Hyrule Library or Hyrule Chronicles) is a great library of resources held in Hyrule Castle far in the future.
In far later years of Hyrule's Rule, Hyrule scholars, historians, storytellers, and others speculate how the stories fit together and in what order, or even if they exist on the same timeline or a split timeline (and debate the number of Links, and eras between them).
The concept of this in-universe archive first appeared in the the Link to the Past manual, and expanded upon in the LTTP Nintendo Player's Guide, but has later appeared and expanded upon in other guides, and websites as well (up to the release of at least the Oracle series).
The concept is even reused in the Hyrule Historia but in this case the scholars have come up with a new theory as to how the stories take place, that they are are myths and legends telling history of a split timeline. However, the scholars fail to explain how in-universe chroniclere and archivers would be aware of multiple timelines, and how those records would make it into their library.
(though even in Breath of the Wild set at least 10,000 years in the future individuals seem to be aware of legends from all "three timelines").
Up to this point, the legends of Zelda have been surrounded by myth and mystery, but now, with the help of the following information, you will be able to discover for yourself the real history of Hyrule. [...] This chronicle merely collects information that is believed to be true at this time, and there are many obscured and unanswered secrets that still lie within the tale. As the stories and storytellers of Hyrule change, so, too, does its history. Hyrule's history is a continuously woven tapestry of events. Changes that seem inconsequential, disregarded without even a shrug, could evolve at some point to hatch new legends and, perhaps, change this tapestry of history itself.-Hyrule Historia
. . . This is a telling of tales, passed on through the ages by humans . . .-Hyrule Historia
- The strategy guides suggest the archives are in Hyrule Castle.
- The original Zelda Universe (Zelda.com) website kept in a place it called The Library run by Kaepora Gaebora (the in-universe scholars there believed in a 'one link' theory, and had a completely different order for the games than the 'scholars' in the previous games)
- In Hyrule Historia's Chronology it doesn't specify exactly where the archive is held, but that the tales are passed down by humans including scholars, historians, and storytellers (the chroniclers theorize about a split timeline must have happened in their past, but do not explain how they came to the knowledge of all three timelines or even the stories from those timelines).
- According to the BOTW Hyrule Map (after translation):
Hylians pass stories of a destined time long past where multiple races lived and worked together in harmony. The Sheikah Tribe's blue aura breathed through the land and this mutual prosperity continued until a cataclysmic disaster stuck. The Hero and the Princess attempted to seal the terror which became known as the Calamity Ganon. Divine beasts awoke from four directions and deployed a mechanical army which made the King and his people fearful. They fractured Ganon's power and sealed him, but the Sheikah were banished from the land ever since.
- Breath of the Wild has a number of sources of old tales including scroll (from the special edition that also exists on the back of wall in Impa's house), a huge library within Castle Hyrule, ancient stone tablets to read, and word of mouth,the Sheikah Slate itself, etc. Some of the material originates from all three timelines, but no one ever discusses time timeline split theory.
- In Hyrule Warriors Lana, Impa, Cia, and others seem to be aware and have knowledge of many of the 'Eras" (from the Hyrule Historia) outside of their own era and these timelines/eras/universes bleed into their own 'dimension'. Including the Sky Era, Era of the Hero of Time, Era of Twilight, and the Era of the Great Sea (the latter clearly designated to be another dimension in Legends). Characters from other 'Eras' also unlockable or accessible from DLC (and have lore discussing their backgrounds based off the main timeline history). One of the more clear aspects of the story is that it's "present" appears to take place more on the Child Link timeline as there is clearly OOT, Child LInk, and Wolf Link inspired artwork inside of Cia's palace. Most of the bonus characters originate from the Child Link timeline. Hyrule Legends on the other hand also pulls characters from the Adult Link and Downfall timelines as well (and this generally clearly referred to as a different 'dimension' from the Hyrule in the game). The "Adventure Mode" is inspired by Zelda 1's artwork form the Downfall timeline.
Chronicles & Encyclopedias
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past/Prologue (LTTP Manual, this is also written from the perspective of being recorded in Hyrule's archives)
- The Legend: The Captive, Spellbound, and World's Apart (A Link to the Past backstory in the A Link to the Past: Nintendo Player's Guide in three parts)
- Hyrulean Odyssey (Link's Awakening backstory in Link's Awakening Nintendo Player's Guide)
- Legends of Zelda (Ocarina of Time Backstory in OOT Nintendo Player's GUide).
- The Legend: A Moonlight Masquerade (Majora's Mask backstory in the Nintendo Player's Guide)
- The Library (Oracle Series Backstories from Nintendo's defunct Zelda Universe Website. While this still attempts to suggest its from an in-universe perspective it. The 'scholar' theorizes there was only one link, and he offers a different order to the games than is usually accepted (although it in part mirrors the Miyamoto Order in some ways). For example placing Link's Awakening during the events of Zelda II)
- There Is a Story... (Backstory/Prologue from the game reprinted in the guide. Like he game it posits that this is a story recorded from 'long ago'. However, its placement is 'sketchier' in relation to older "scholarly' discussions)
- A Prologue to the New Adventure, 14 page booklet detailing the story from Wind Waker from the Prima's Official Guide to Phantom Hourglass Collector's Edition. Note: the guide guide itself (both premier and collector's) has a number of 'story' summary parts as well between chapters.
- The Great Hyrule Encyclopedia (originally part of the Library it was amended and expanded up to the events of The Minish Cap, though the site itself had a few more revisions beyond that, no additional material was added)
- Story: Twilight Princess Guide (backstory in the Twilight Princess Nintendo Player's Guide, only broad reference to Hyrule's 'myths and legends': "The denizens of the twilight realm, banished long ago by the three goddesses, hold the land within their grip.")
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess/Prologue (Prologue from the Twilight Princess gamecube manual. It's not clearly written from an 'in-universe' perspective, as some of the material is, but is related to this topic)
- The History of Hyrule: A Chronology, aka A Chronology of Hyrule, Land of the Gods: The History of the Cycle of Rebirth and the Triforce (Included in Hyrule Historia, the backstory of the entire Universe, includes the 'scholars' latest and best theory as they believe they have figured it out, but they warn they could always be wrong. Also refers to the archives as 'the Chronicles'. This version only includes up to Skyward Sword as far as game release order.)
- Timeline and Paintings (ALBW) (A Link Between Worlds includes a number of ingame tapestries that tell history from the Imprisoing WAr, to the events of ALTTP, to the spit of the three triforces (a variation of the story given in Zelda II's backstory, Nintendo also released a supplement 'timeline' made to look like it was written on 'scrolls').
- The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Encyclopedia, a 30th Anniversary follow-up to Hyrule Historia.
- Hyrule Compendium (the in-universe database on the Sheikah Slate, filled with much lore on Hyrule). In addition there are a few books that can be read throughout the game, diaries, and Hyrule Castle Library. There is quite a bit of material that seems to 'unify' the three 'timelines'.
- Many of the official Prima guides also have 'lore' sections as well, or come with bonus story booklets.
- The Goddess's Descent: The World of "Hyrule Warriors" (includes prologue and backstory and details about the game from the Prima's Official Strategy Guide)
- ^ This is an introduction to the history of Hyrule, told chronologically, which weaves together the numerous Legend of Zelda stories. Is it a legend? Is it an accurate history of a cycle of rebirth? There is evidence that the story of The Legend of Zelda begins with Skyward Sword. Up to this point, the legends of Zelda have been surrounded by myth and mystery, but now, with the help of the following information, you will be able to discover for yourself the real history of Hyrule.