Legends of Zelda was a section of the The Ocarina of Time: The Official Nintendo Player's Guide that acted as a backstory for Ocarina of Time, and the three previous Zelda games. It predates Hyrule Historia in that it suggested a more 'single timeline' in which Ganon was defeated by Link each time (except for during the Imprisoning War). It claims to be from the Hylian Archives from the castle, long in the future some point after Zelda II. Another oddity is that it debates on if the links in Zelda 1, 2, 3, and OOT are the same person or different individuals (and that scholars continue to debate on the issue). The guide continues from similar described lore in the LTTP guide (The Legend) and Link's Awakening guide (Hyrulean Odyssey), and continued into the Majora's Mask guide as well. Another issue is that these later sources completely throw out the idea of an eternal sleeping Zelda, and the idea of the tradition of naming all female Princesses after the original Zelda. Instead many of them have the Zelda be the same Zelda from Zelda 1 put under the sleeping curse, and rescued by the same Link from that era (see LTTP Nintendo Player's Guide as well). Hyrule Historia restores the idea of the sleeping Zelda calling her Zelda I (First Generation as she was referred to in the Japanese manual for LOZ, see Eras) but appears to be a princess that came long after even the OOT Zelda (of course long after the pre-Kingdom of Hyrule Zelda in Skyward Sword).
Interestingly these sources and Hyrule Historia are written from the conceit of future scholars, historians, story tellers, and myth makers of Hyrule having written down theories of how, when or where and which order take place, and that these scholars seem to exist in a single future point in Hyrule's time, but somehow aware of other timelines (or at least the concept of other timelines, is just another theory as they currently understand it), and they have added their own theory of the history to the Hyrule's archives. How past Hyrule archivers were aware of multiple timelines (assuming modern Hyrulian scholars are right) is still a mystery (though even in Breath of the Wild set 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
Legends of Zelda
Much of Hylian lore has faded with the passing of years, but one story that still shines bright is The Legend of Zelda. This is no simple tale, but an incredible tapestry woven of many years and many wondrous adventures. One odd thing about the legend is that it doesn't seem to have been written in chronological order, and scholars still disagree about which events came first. We will therefore recount the legend as it was set down in the ancient scrolls and let you decide for yourself. Hear now the sag of Link and Zelda, the greatest heroes Hyrule has ever known!
The Legend of Zelda
She was a princess of the realm, as intelligent as she was beautiful, but all of Zelda's royal power could not hold back the darkling power that arose to threaten her kingdom. The name of that power was Ganon, an accursed wizard who stole a piece of the mystic Triforce, a token of good fortune from three goddesses. Ganon captured Zelda and searched frantically for the remaining pieces of the Triforce, which the princess had scattered to the far corners of Hyrule.
Before she was imprisoned Zelda sent forth her faithful servant, Impa, to seek out a hero strong enough and trustworthy enough to reunite the Triforce and break Ganon's power. That hero was Link, a selfless young warrior, who, by fortune or fate, saved Impa from Ganon's monstrous Moblin servants. Hearing of Zelda's plight, LInk braved countless dangers to recover the fragments of the Triforce, eventually battling his way to Death Mountain to confront Ganon himself. Finding that no earthly weapon could harm Ganon, Link used the legendary Silver Arrow to pierce the wizard's black heart and destroy him utterly--or so it was thought. The wise ones say that while evil can be diminished, it can never truly be vanquished, and soon an ominous shadow fell over the land of Hyrule once more.
The Triforce was said to be a token of good fortune. According to legend, it was placed in the care of Hyrule's royal family, and as long as it was kept safe, Hyrule would be peaceful and prosperous. In Ganon's hands, however, it could become an instrument of evil and destruction.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
After Ganon's defeat, a new golden age blossomed in Hyrule. There was no want, and there were happiness and prosperity in great measure. One person who did not share in this time of joy ironically, was Link. The young hero was troubled by signs of lurking danger, and his worst fears were realized when Princess Zelda was stricken by a terrifying enchantment.
A mysterious sorcerer, unable to wrest the secrets of the Triforce from Zelda, cast upon her a spell of endless, dreamless sleep. Link strode forth once more, venturing through forest and town and across the roiling sea to root out this vile fiend and bring him to justice. Link learned that the sorcerer had fled to the ancient ruin of the Great Palace. The only way to break the seal on the palace gate was to gather the shards of a magic crystal, buried for centuries within six dungeons and guarded by fearsome creatures. Undeterred by such dangers, Link fought doggedly through each palace, turning aside Moblins, Deelers and all manner of demonic enemies at every step. Already a master of sword and shield, Link also began to learn the ways of magic, to turn the weapons of his enemies against him.
After many days of toil and trial, Link finally stood before the gate of the Great Palace and ripped the final barrier asunder. He struck down the sorcerer's guardian, the cruel Thunderbird, then turned to face his ultimate foe. No challenge, no quest could have prepared Link for the horror he beheld, for the enemy he faced was non other than--himself! Given form by an unknown power, a shadowy duplicate of Link was the true architect of evil who had plagued Hyrule.
With a shrill cry, Link leapt to the attack. How long the battle raged the chronicles do not tell, but the sound of their clashing swords was like thunder, shaking the very pillars of heaven. And when their battle cries finally fell silent, it was Link who emerged the victor. Thus was Princess Zelda freed from her unnatural slumber, and the dark pall of doom over Hyrule lifted.
Little is known of Link's later adventures, but the ancient texts do say that he was ever vigilant of evil's shadow upon the land. It is also said that though the people of Hyrule revered him in story and song, Link remained humble to the last, for he knew that the most evil often comes not from without, but from within.
The Scrolls of Hyrule
Much of the lore of Hyrule was recorded by scholars and sages. While many of their scrolls have been lost or destroyed over time, some were preserved in the Hyrule Castle archives. Many people believe that there are more chapters of The Legend of Zelda yet to be discovered.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
The third chronicle of The Legend of Zelda spoke of an earlier period in Link's life, but the story did not begin with him. The roots of the tale were buried in an earlier age, in a time when Ganon was yet mortal, and he was called Ganondorf, King of Thieves. While he possessed no magic at first, Ganondorf did command a vast army. By treachery and force of arms, he gained control of the Triforce and the Golden Land in which it resided. Renamed Ganon, he directed his now-enchanted army to overthrow the rightful king of Hyrule. It was only by the magic of seven sages that Hyrule was saved from the Wizard's wrath. The seven then sealed Ganon within the Golden Land, which in time became known as the Dark World.
As the years tumbled past, the threat of Ganon was forgotten. Then there came a time of great diasters in Hyrule: fires, floods, pestilence and famine. A wondering wizard named Agahnim used his powers to end the troubles, and thus was named counselor to the king. Agahnim played the role of trusted advisor for a time but soon seized power for himself. He imprisoned the seven descendants of the seven sages, as well as the king's young daughter, Princess Zelda. As she was taken, Zelda used the powers of her mind to send out a call for help. Her desperate plea was answered by a bold boy named Link.
Unmindful of the danger, Link gathered three mystic pendants and used them to free the Master Sword, the only weapon powerful enough to stand against Agahnim's magic. Shining blade in hand, Link cut a swath through Agahnim's magical defenses, only to discover that this sneering sorcerer was merely the puppet of the dreaded ganon! The ancient wizard had finally found a way to breach the barrier between the Light World and his Dark World, and the only one who stood in his way was Link.
Using such legendary weapons as the hookshot, the Pegasus Shoes and the Magic Mirror, Link journeyed between the Light World and the Dark World, freeing the seven captives and gathering the magic crystals that would unlock Ganon's Dark Tower. In the end, Link defeated Ganon in an epic battle high atop the wizard's shadowy citadel. Many say it was the power of the Master Sword that finally proved to be Ganon's downfall. Others shake their heads knowingly and speak only of the stout heart and pure spirit of a lone, little boy.
The conflict between Ganon's army and the forces of Hyrule was called the Imprisoning War, and it was during this time that the Master Sword was forged. No warrior of that age was was deemed worthy enough to wield the sword, and it lay idle until Link claimed it.
Link used the Magic Mirror to travel freely between the Light World and the Dark World. By gazing into the depths of the mirror and picturing himself in the other world, Link could propel himself through a magical whirling vortex.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Much about the lives of Link and Zelda remains a mystery, but a new chapter in The Legend of Zelda was recently unearthed in a remote corner of the Hyrule Castle archives. It sheds some light on Link's boyhood and on the origin of the thief who would beocme the darkest sorcerer in Hyrule's history.
Link always seemed destined to be a hero. Even as a boy, his fate was bound to the fate of the Triforce. It was as if Time itself had chosen him to be its champion, and nowhere is this better shown than in this latest chronicle, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Newly discovered by Hylian scholars, this tale stretches from Link's boyhood to his early manhood. Some scholars suggest that this is, indeed an account of Link's very first adventure. Others believe that the Link and Zelda in this story may not be the same as those in the previous chronicles, and that they are perhaps ancestors of the famous pair. While these questions may never be settled, we do know that this Link and Zelda displayed the same courage and nobility as the others who have borne those honored names.
Like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, this story began long before Link and Zelda were born. In fact, it began at the very birth of the world, when three goddesses shaped this globe and breathed life into it. When their labors were done, Din, Goddess of Courage, Nayru, Goddess of Wisdom, and Farore, Goddess of Courage, created the Triforce as a token of their holy bond with the world. Where the Triforce stood became sacred ground, and the goddesses promised that as long as the Triforce endured, so would Hyrule.
In time, Hyrule flourished and became a powerful kingdom. Near Hyrule Castle lay a great, green wood, home of the Kokiri. Known as the Children of the Forest, all Kokiri had their own guardian fairies. All, that is, save one. The name of the lone Kokiri was Link.
For a time, Link had been troubled by nightmares. Every night, as the blankets of sleep enveloped him, Link would find himself in the midst of a terrible storm. He would see before him an imposing castle, its towering spires lit by lightning. A rider on horseback would race by, a terrified girl locked in her grip. A fleeting glimpse, a desperate look, then she would be gone. Another rider would appear then, cloaked in black. He would turn his smoldering gaze upon Link--then Link would awaken. And thus began one of the darkest chapters in Hyrulean history...
Like the Triforce, Kokiri's Emerald, Goron's Ruby, and Zora's Sapphire were said to be tokens of some higher power. They lay bidden from moral eyes for many centuries, but Link bore them through great peril and used them to restore justice to Hyrule.
Ocarina of Time
The Ocarina of Time was said to have the power to transport its bearer over vast distances. The ocarina was also reputed to have other fantastic powers. These powers could be tapped if particular songs were played or if the ocarina were played at certain times.
Link in Action
Link's skill in combat and his feats of strength and agility were well documented. His tecniques were reordered in great detail and passed down through many generations of warriors. We've translated the ancient Hylian texts and adapted Link's tecniques for use with our modern weapons.
According to the ancient scrolls, Link had many wonderous weapons at his disposal. Some required magic, and we've noted how much magic power was needed for each use. In addition, the things Link used only as a child are marked in yellow, and those that he used only as a young man are marked in green.
Not only do the ancient scrolls describe many of the key techniques and strategies that Link used during his quest, they also contain a lot of practical information about everyday life in old Hyrule. Anyone who would follow in LInk's glorious footsteps should read the scrolls and heed their age advice.
Swiftly Fly the Years
The Fall of Night
No Stone Unturned
Recycle Your Bottles
Your Friend, Indeed
On the Move in Hyrule
Prelude to a Quest
The World of Hyrule
Finding Perfect Harmony in Hyrule
A Hero is Born
- The Legend (A Link to the Past backstory in the A Link to the Past: Nintendo Player's Guide in three parts: The Captive, Spellbound, and Worlds Apart)
- Hyrulean Odyssey (Link's Awakening backstory in Link's Awakening Nintendo Player's Guide)
- A Moonlight Masquerade (Majora's Mask backstory in the Nintendo Player's Guide)
- The Library: Hall of Time (Oracle Series Backstories from Nintendo's defunct Zelda Universe Website)
- There Is a Story... (Backstory to Wind Waker in the Nintendo Player's Guide for the game)
- Story: Twilight Princess Guide (backstory in the Twilight Princess Nintendo Player's Guide)