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"The Master Sword is a sacred blade which evil ones may never touch.... Only one worthy of the title of "Hero of Time" can pull it from the Pedestal of Time...."
Rauru

The Master Sword (マスターソード Masutā Sōdo?), also known as the Blade of Evil's Bane, the Sword of Time and the Sword of Resurrection, is a recurring sword in the Legend of Zelda series. It is imbued with the power to vanquish evil. In many games, it is said to be the only sword capable of defeating the malevolent Ganon (Ganondorf, depending on the game) when he has the Triforce of Power. It is directly related to the legend of the Hero of Time and has become one of the most iconic symbols of the Legend of Zelda series, often appearing in other video games. Additionally, the Master Sword has been featured in several Zelda games' logos.

History

Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.

In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, it is revealed that the Master Sword was originally the Goddess Sword, a sword created by the goddess Hylia to be used by her chosen hero to defeat Demise and his minions when they had resurrected. Once Hylia had sealed Demise, she created Fi, an artificial spirit which acts as the avatar for the Goddess Sword, to guide her chosen future hero in the future. The Goddess Sword was then placed inside the Statue of the Goddess, in the floating city of Skyloft.

Centuries later, before the Wing Ceremony, Fi manifests in Link`s dream and warns him of the events about to unfold. Before he can hear all of Fi`s words though, Link awakens from his slumber. Later on, during the Wing Ceremony, Link and Zelda are hit by a black tornado while riding on their Loftwings. Zelda is snatched by the tornado, while Link falls to the ground unconscious. In his unconscious state, Link sees Fi once more, who calls out to him. This is followed with Link dreaming of himself failing to save Zelda from falling into a demonic monster`s mouth.

Awakening in a bed, Link learns from Gaepora that his Crimson Loftwing saved him and carried him back to Skyloft. Asked by Gaepora of Zelda`s whereabouts, Link explains the events that transpired, much to Gaepora`s shock. After explaining everything, Link is told by Gaepora to continue resting. Once Gaepora leaves the room however, Link hears a mysterious voice calling out to him.

Following the mysterious voice`s presence, Link is led inside the statue of the Goddess. There he finds the Goddess Sword in its pedestal, followed with Fi appearing from the sword. Introducing herself to a surprised Link, Fi explains to him that he is the hero chosen by Hylia to save the world, before assuring him that Zelda is still alive, to his relief.

Telling Link that he will need to embrace his role if he wishes to save Zelda, Fi instructs him to pull the Goddess Sword from its pedestal. Link willing obliges and proceeds to do so, raising the sword high in the air. Fi then acknowledges Link as her master, with the Master Sword brightly shining in Link`s hand.

Suddenly, Gaepora calls out to Link from behind, surprised at the situation. He then tells Link of the legends of Hylia, Skyloft`s origins, and the Master Sword. Realizing that Link is the chosen hero mentioned in the legends, Gaepora questions how the young man will leave Skyloft when the barrier below prevents him from doing so. In response, Fi gives Link the Emerald Tablet and gives him instructions to creating a small rift within the barrier. Upon doing so, Link learns that he is now able travel down to the surface.

Changing into his newly attained knight uniform, Link goes down to the surface carrying the Goddess Sword with him. During his time at the surface, Link learns from Impa that when the Goddess Sword is bathed in three sacred flames, it will be reforged into a sword of tremendous power. Each time Link bathes the Goddess Sword in one of the flames, the sword becomes empowered and changes its form. Once having bathed it into all three flames, the sword turns into the Master Sword, allowing Link to activate the Gate of Time.

Later on in the story, after Link travels to the past to reunite with Zelda, the Master Sword is blessed by the latter and changes into its final form, becoming the True Master Sword. Becoming an even more powerful weapon, the Master Sword is used by Link to defeat Demise in their duel. Impressed with Link, Demise highly praises him. In his last breath however, Demise states that his hatred and the curse of the Demon Tribe (in the Japanese version) will be reborn in a cycle without end as it evolves, cursing those with the blood of the goddess and the spirit of the hero. After Demise's body dissolves, his residual consciousness is absorbed into the Master Sword to dissolve over time.

After returning to the present, Link is told by Fi to return the Master Sword back into its pedestal, while also telling him that doing so will cause her to fall into an eternal slumber. Encouraged to do so by a saddened Zelda, Link places the holy sword back into its resting place. He then hears Fi's voice, where she tells Link that she feels happiness for all that he had done and graciously thanks him.

At some point after its creation and Demise's defeat, the Master Sword was embedded into an enchanted pedestal, and the great Temple of Time was built around it to serve as a barrier to the Sacred Realm where the legendary Triforce rested.

Ultimately, the sword and pedestal were both sealed inside a private chamber protected by a mighty stone barrier. Only one worthy of the title of "Hero of Time" could pull the sword from the pedestal and unlock its true power. Presumably this was done to prevent the Triforce from being used for evil just in case the Door of Time was bypassed, as it would be impossible for anyone other than the chosen hero to do so. For many ages, the Master Sword lay hidden in its chamber, awaiting the time when the Hero spoken of in the prophecy would come to claim it.

Legends

In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, its origins are explained through an ancient legend which states that when the people of Hyrule began to suspect that the Triforce's power had fallen into the wrong hands, they used fine steel to forge the Master Sword and adorned its hilt with gold and rare jewels. This heavily contradicts the Master Sword's origin shown in Skyward Sword, as it is stated that Hylia was the one who created the Goddess Sword, with the only Hylians shown to have had a hand in turning it into the Master Sword being Link and Zelda.

During The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Princess Zelda states that the Master Sword was crafted by the wisdom of the Ancient Sages. However, no sages are shown having a role in the sword's creation during Skyward Sword.

It is likely that the true origins of the Master Sword have become obscured over time, explaining the varying accounts of its origins in games predating Skyward Sword. However in Breath of the Wild, the Great Deku Tree is shown to be somewhat aware of its true origins, though this is likely due to having existed for many years and/or due to his status, as well as his association with Hylia through the seven unnamed Sword Monks that serve her and oversee the trial to awaken the Master Sword's true splendor. It should be noted that its true origins becoming obscured would not be surprising given Skyward Sword occurs long before the foundation of the Kingdom of Hyrule and it is likely that many myths and legends of the Master Sword's origins came into existence due to its legendary status and association with countless incarnations of the hero.

Design

The Master Sword is a double-edged longsword with no fuller and a purple or blue hilt, although on the box art of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the hilt is golden. The sword's crossguard is noticeably large and elaborate in relation to its pommel, and is reminiscent of the seal of Hyrule's Royal Family. The blade possesses a ricasso, although Link is never portrayed using it. The Triforce is engraved on the base of the blade, and embedded in the crossguard is what appears to be a yellow gemstone. In some games, the sword could be tempered with/magically enhanced and given slightly different appearances, such as a rust-red blade as well as even a golden blade and green straight hilt. Likewise, it can also be enhanced via Master Ore, with similar results.

In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, the state of the gem and crossguard seems to be indicative of the sword's power; when Link first acquires the unawakened Master Sword, the gem in its crossguard is dark, and the guard itself seems to have retracted toward the grip. Only once the sword has been restored to its full power does its hilt regain its signature appearance, and its blade again radiates a mystical light. This theory is reinforced in Skyward Sword during the forging of the Master Sword. The Unpowered Master Sword and the Fully Powered Master Sword have a retracted and an outstretched wing crossguard, respectively.

Abilities

More than mere steel, the Master Sword holds the power to repel those aligned with evil. The magic of the Master Sword also seems to prevent it from ever being physically damaged. In Twilight Princess, the Temple of Time falls into ruin over the centuries, but the Master Sword and its pedestal both appear untouched by the ravages of time when Link discovers it in the Sacred Grove. Though never actually depicted in the series, it is implied that those aligned with evil are incapable of even touching (or wielding) the Master Sword as long as it possesses the power to repel evil and it is this that prevents evil beings from stealing the sword from Link. However it is shown that other people besides Link who are not aligned with evil, such as Princess Zelda (and her various incarnations) are capable of touching, picking up, and holding the Master Sword after it has been removed from its pedestal by Link. Princess Zelda held the sword shortly before the final confrontation with Ganondorf in The Wind Waker, and Princess Zelda placed the Master Sword in its pedestal after Link is placed in the Shrine of Resurrection in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Additionally, the Master Sword sometimes holds the power to unleash a mighty beam to smite enemies. It also has the ability to release the power of the Bombos, Ether, and Quake Medallions seen in A Link to the Past. The Master Sword also seemingly protects its user from evil auras, curses, and transformations. After obtaining the Master Sword in Twilight Princess, Link is no longer involuntarily transformed into his wolf form, except under the influence of the Shadow Crystal Fog within the Palace of Twilight. The Master Sword is also capable of absorbing energy in various forms, ranging from electricity to the Sols, in order to augment its attacks. In Skyward Sword, it inherits the Goddess Sword's ability to unleash Skyward Strikes and is likely related to its ability to unleash Sword Beams depicted in games that take place after Skyward Sword.

The Master Sword also has the ability to dispel magical barriers that other weapons and items are ineffective against. In A Link to the Past, Link must use the Master Sword to destroy the barrier blocking the entrance to the top level of Hyrule Castle to progress through the dungeon, and confront the evil wizard Agahnim. In The Wind Waker, Link finds himself blocked by a magical barrier that encompasses all of Hyrule Castle. A single strike with the fully-restored Master Sword causes the entire barrier to shatter like glass.

Along with these abilities, the Master Sword can also seal evil, as it not only managed to seal away the remains of Demise, but also managed to petrify Ganondorf entirely (including his swords) when Link stabbed him in the forehead with it in The Wind Waker. This sealing power can affect time itself, as Link in Ocarina of Time used it to time travel.

One unexplained aspect of the Master Sword is its scabbard, which somehow always mysteriously appears on Link's back upon obtaining the Master Sword from its pedestal. Though unconfirmed, it is likely that the scabbard itself is magical in nature and linked to the sword itself. In Skyward Sword, the Goddess Sword's scabbard changes along with the Goddess Sword every time it is bathed in the sacred flames until it is transformed into the Master Sword and its scabbard, reinforcing the idea the Master Sword and its scabbard share a mystical connection to one another.

Despite these impressive abilities, the Master Sword is not flawless. For example, in Ocarina of Time, if the user were to be deemed too young to wield the Master Sword, they would be sealed until they mature enough. Also, in The Wind Waker, the Master Sword relied on the prayers of the Sages of Earth and Wind to activate its full power making it incapable of stopping Ganondorf when the sages were killed. It was however shown that the successors of the previous sages can fill in their place and help reactivate the Master Sword's true power. The Master Sword also seemingly cannot be permanently upgraded, as it seems to revert back to its original form upon being placed back in its pedestal. It can however be downgraded permanently unless someone or something remedies it.

In Breath of the Wild, the blade of the Master Sword can be worn, rusty, and attract lightning during thunderstorms. However it is apparently capable of repairing damage over time, as it is shown completely restored to its original undamaged state one century after the Great Calamity. When originally found by Link, the sword is stuck in its pedestal, which requires Link to have the correct "strength" to pull the Master Sword, being thirteen hearts. If he were to try and pull the Master Sword from its pedestal, while lacking the strength to do so, the Master Sword will slowly drain Link`s hearts until he either lets go or dies as a result. Despite boasting the Goddess Hylia's power, the Master Sword's power is not unlimited and will become temporarily unavailable for ten minutes if used too much on enemies not completely affiliated with the Calamity, such as Bokoblins. 

It is unknown why the Master Sword sometimes has different abilities and restraints, although it is likely because of game restraints. An alternative reason could be because its abilities and restraints just differs between each wielder.

Appearances

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

"The Hero's triumph on Cataclysm's Eve
Wins three symbols of virtue.
The Master Sword he will then retrieve,
Keeping the Knights' line true.
"
— Inscription upon the Master Sword's pedestal
Master Sword (A Link to the Past)

According to Hylian legend, The Master Sword can only be wielded by someone brave, honest and strong. The Hylians embedded the blade in a stone monument deep within the Lost Woods, then awaited the day that a worthy warrior would come to claim it. According to the legend, only the true hero, who descends from the Knights of Hyrule, could earn the three Pendants and remove the sword from the stone.

An ancient Hylian message was inscribed on the stone monument that held the Master Sword. Only one well-versed in the Mudoran would be able to translate the script. Decoy swords were also hidden in the woods. They fooled some but paled in comparison to the real thing.[1]

The Master Sword rests in the Lost Woods of northwestern Hyrule. There are many Fake Swords in the forest, and the real one is in a grove. In the grove, there is a pedestal with the master sword in it and ancient Hylian inscribed on it. During the game, Link must obtain the Master Sword in order to defeat the Dark Wizard Agahnim. Before he can wield the sword, however, Link must obtain three Pendants of Virtue from three temples throughout the land. Link does so, defeating Agahnim and ultimately Ganon himself with the sacred blade. At the end of the game, it is stated that after Link placed the Master Sword back into its pedestal, it rested there for eternity, never to be used again. This was however, been proven wrong as of the timeline being revealed. Strangely, even if Link has upgraded his sword to the Tempered Sword or the Golden Sword, when it is placed back into the pedestal, it is shown to be the normal, unaltered Master Sword.

The Master Sword deals twice the damage of the Fighter's Sword, and can fire sword beams when Link's health is full. It also allows Link to obtain and use the Bombos, Ether, and Quake Medallions. Notably, the Master Sword cannot damage Ganon without use of the Spin Attack. Later in the game, Link can upgrade it to the Tempered Sword by bringing it to the Dwarven Swordsmiths. The Tempered Sword can be further upgraded to the Golden Sword by throwing it into the Mysterious Pond at the base of the Pyramid.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Link and the Master Sword (Ocarina of Time)

Artwork of Link pulling the Master Sword from the Pedestal of Time in Ocarina of Time.

The Master Sword resides in the Temple of Time, where it serves as the final key to opening the gateway to the Sacred Realm, resting place of the Triforce. The blade is said to be legendary within the game, indicating that it has attained mythical status in the eyes of Hyrule's people, apparently having been wielded by the original Hero of Time. Before Link can obtain it he must collect the three Spiritual Stones and obtain the Ocarina of Time. When Link pulls the sword out of the Pedestal of Time, Ganondorf, the Gerudo King of Thieves, enters the Sacred Realm and seizes the Triforce. Because Ganondorf's heart is not in balance, the Triforce splits into three parts, leaving Ganondorf with the Triforce of Power. Link and Navi, meanwhile, enter a seven-year slumber until Link is old and mature enough to wield the Master Sword in the fight against Ganondorf, now the King of Evil.

At the end of the game, with evil defeated, Link again lays the Master Sword to rest in its chamber. It seems that the Master Sword later lost it's ability to seal its user if they are deemed too young to wield it, as some of the other incarnations of Link were able to wield it despite being preteens. It also seems that the Master Sword in the Adult Timeline lost some of its powers as well, as it required the prayers of the Sages of Earth and Wind to activate its full power.

The Master Sword deals twice the damage of the Kokiri Sword. As seen in the battles with Phantom Ganon and Ganondorf himself, the blade is able to rebound dark magic back at enemies in a version of Dead Man's Volley. The blade also possesses the ability to transport its wielder back and forth through time via the Pedestal of Time, allowing Link to alter events in both times, and to conquer trials in one time branch that he could not in the other.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons

Master Sword (Oracle of Ages & Oracle of Seasons)

The Master Sword is the second and final upgrade to the Wooden Sword. It can only be obtained in a Linked Game, by delivering a certain secret between games in addition to completing that game's trading quest. Upon completion of the first of either of these tasks, Link's Wooden Sword is upgraded to the Noble Sword. Once the remaining objective is finished, the Noble Sword becomes the Master Sword.

In Oracle of Ages, Link must tell King Zora the secret from the Zora in the Hero's Cave in Holodrum, and complete the trading quest by having Patch repair the Broken Sword. King Zora will give Link a secret in return, which can be used to upgrade his sword in Oracle of Seasons by speaking to Farore.

In Oracle of Seasons, Link must tell the Old Man beneath Tick Tock's Clock Shop the secret from the Old Hag in Lynna City, and complete the trading quest by playing the Phonograph for the music-loving Deku Scrub. The Old Man will give Link a secret in return, which can be used to upgrade his sword in Oracle of Ages by speaking to Farore.

The Master Sword deals four times the damage of the Wooden Sword, and is entirely blue. It is the one of the two swords (the other being the Biggoron's Sword) that can damage General Onox and Ganon without use of the Spin Attack; in combination with the Red Ring, the sword can kill any non-boss enemies in one strike, aside from Blue Lynels, which would require two. It is possible that this Master Sword is not the same as the one that appears in other games: three of the four methods of acquiring it entail it being made from an existing sword, which does not share the Master Sword's traditional origins. However, the fourth method of obtaining it does involve pulling it from an unnamed pedestal in the Lost Woods, similar to how it is found in A Link to the Past and Twilight Princess.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords

The Master Sword appears as a secret weapon in the Anniversary Edition for the Nintendo 3DS and the DSi. It is obtained after completing the Realm of Memories, a bonus area added to the Anniversary Edition that features locations from previous Zelda games. The Master Sword can shoot sword beams when Link is at full health.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

"But then, when all hope had died, and the hour of doom seemed at hand... a young boy clothed in green appeared as if from nowhere. Wielding the blade of evil's bane, he sealed the dark one away and gave the land light."
The Wind Waker prologue
Master Sword (The Wind Waker)

Artwork of the Master Sword from The Wind Waker

The Master Sword rests in a hidden chamber beneath Hyrule Castle, located deep beneath the waves of the Great Sea. When Hyrule was flooded at the climax of the Great Flood, the Master Sword and the Pedestal of Time became the lock and key for a seal that would keep Hyrule and all in it—primarily Ganondorf and his army—frozen in time at the bottom of the sea. Only when the sword is drawn again can the seal be broken, and Hyrule reawakened. When Link claims the blade, he awakens Ganondorf's minions from their ancient slumber, unknowingly releasing the King of Evil's full power once again. He tries to cut down Ganondorf, but the villain is completely untouched and gloats that the sword's power is gone.

The Wind Waker Ganondorf Ganondorf turned to stone (Render)

Link later learns that before he was sealed beneath the waves, Ganondorf caused the Master Sword to lose its power to repel evil by slaying the Sages of Earth and Wind. Link must awaken two new Sages in order to restore that power. With this done, he is able to break the magical barrier protecting Ganon's Tower inside Hyrule. Link then battles Ganondorf atop his tower, and after a long and hard-fought battle, thrusts the Master Sword into the Dark Lord's forehead. Ganondorf then turns to stone, with the Master Sword remaining stuck in his forehead—presumably for all time. As the waters of the Great Sea overtake Hyrule per Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule's wish, he bids Link and Zelda to "live for the future," and elects to pass with his kingdom while Link and Zelda are delivered safely to the surface.

In this incarnation, the Master Sword is notably smaller than other versions of the blade. This was likely simply a technical decision by the developers, given Link's diminutive size in The Wind Waker, although it is possible that the Master Sword is actually able to magically adapt to the size of its user an ability that may have added in response to the Hero of Time being sealed away for seven years due to being too young to wield it at the time of its removal from its pedestal in Ocarina of Time which resulted in the Adult timeline in which The Wind Waker takes place.

In the Japanese version, however, the game only specifies that drawing the Master Sword released Ganon's minions from their slumber, without even implying that it also sealed Ganon's powers.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Master Sword (Twilight Princess)

The Master Sword sleeps in the ruins of the Temple of Time, presumably the very same temple where the Hero of Time set the sword at the end of his adventure in Ocarina of Time. However, the temple has fallen into disrepair, and the surrounding area is now a deep forest.

After Zant curses Link, forcing him to remain as a wolf, Princess Zelda explains that only the Master Sword can cure the evil that cloaks him. Upon touching the blade, Link changes back into a Hylian. If he uses the Hawkeye to look closely at the pedestal, Link can see some small Hylian writing that translates to "Master Sword Master Sword". When he returns to the Sacred Grove later on, Link momentarily inserts the Master Sword into its pedestal to gain access to the Temple of Time as it was in its prime. Inside the restored temple, Link again briefly inserts the Master Sword into its pedestal, this time revealing a hidden path to the dungeon portion of the temple.

Later in the game, Link returns the Sols to their proper place in the Twilight Realm, and their power merges with the Master Sword. This transforms the blade radically as long as it remains within the Twilight Realm: it radiates golden light fiercely, cuts through Shadow Crystal Fog, and defeats Twilit enemies with a single blow. However, inside any of the indoor portions of the Palace of Twilight, the sword has a fainter bluish glow as opposed to the bright golden light the blade emits outdoors. In the final battle against Ganondorf, Link uses the Ending Blow to impale the King of Evil with the Master Sword. After Ganondorf's defeat, peace reigns once again, Link places the sacred blade back into its pedestal during the end credits. This mirrors the endings of Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past, in which the Hero returns the sword to rest, where it awaits the day when it is needed to battle evil once again.

This incarnation of the Master Sword is noticeably longer than the Master Sword of Ocarina of Time, more closely fitting the description of a longsword.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Master Sword (Skyward Sword)
Master Sword Artwork (Skyward Sword)

Initially, the Master Sword is called the Goddess Sword, which rests in a pedestal within the hidden chamber inside the Statue of the Goddess, on the floating island of Skyloft. The sword is sentient, and projects its spirit in the shape of an A.I.-like female humanoid named Fi. Fi contacts its predestined owner, Link, in response to the disappearance of Zelda, and to the weakening and inevitable breaking of Demise's seal on the Surface. After leading him to the sword pedestal, Fi informs Link that in order to save Zelda, he must verify his identity as her master and wield her.

As the game progresses, the Goddess Sword is purified and tempered by three sacred flames, each of which physically and spiritually transform the sword, altering its shape and granting it new powers, until it becomes the nearly-completed "Master Sword". Finally, it is blessed by Zelda, the mortal incarnation of the Goddess Hylia, and thus transforms into what the game refers to as the "True Master Sword", which is the incarnation whose appearance most closely resembles that of the Master Sword in other games. Oddly enough, despite its in game description stating that Link is the only one who can wield the Master Sword, if Link replays the first fight with Ghirahim in the Lightning Round he is still able to steal the True Master Sword from Link, though this is most likely the result of a game mechanic or the Ghirahim (and other enemies) fought in the Lighting Round is simply a creation of Lanayru that tests Link's abilities.

Later on in the game, while Link is searching for Eldin's part of the "Song of the Hero", he is ambushed by Bokoblins, and the Master Sword is briefly taken from him. He is then able to recover it at the Volcano Summit, where Fi apologizes for the ordeal.

At the climax of the game, Demise is absorbed into the sword. After absorbing the remains of Demise, the Master Sword is placed within the Sealed Grounds, to allow time for the fiend to be completely dissolved within the blade. This, however, signifies the end of the partnership between Link and Fi as she enters a hibernation cycle, but not before saying goodbye as well as hoping to meet him again in his next life. This may have been a nod to the other incarnations of Link who wielded the Master Sword. The Master Sword later seems to have gained an age restriction to its user as shown Ocarina of Time, until it later lost said restriction in further sequels.

A gameplay mechanic reintroduced in this game is the sword beam; the Goddess Sword has the ability to absorb and release energy from the heavens, known as a Skyward Strike, which is unleashed as a wide sword beam. Initially, these beams have very limited range, and only half the attack power of a regular sword slash, though they are able to knock down opponents. Once the sword is tempered into the Goddess Longsword, the damage a Skyward Strike deals is doubled along with the sword's regular attack power. Once the sword attains its final form as the True Master Sword, the range of Skyward Strikes vastly improves, the time needed to charge the attack is dramatically decreased, and the beam does more damage than before. Unlike in other games with sword beams, Link does not need to be at full health to activate the Skyward Strike, but must first charge his sword by raising the blade high above his head and aiming it skyward, causing it to flash, signaling it is ready to discharge. In the game's Hero Mode, the Skyward Strike behaves from the beginning like the True Master Sword's version of the attack in a regular game, and when the Master Sword is forged, the charging time for the Skyward Strike is completely removed, as Link can simply raise his blade and instantly charge it.

Another mechanic exclusive to the True Master Sword is its ability to break through enemy guards, most notable during the Horde Battle. Whenever weaker enemies such as Bokoblins guard against Link's attack, their guard is broken and they are thrown off balance, leaving them open to another attack.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Master Sword (A Link Between Worlds)

The Master Sword lies in the Lost Woods where Link left it at the end of A Link to the Past. the Pendants of Virtue again being required to pull it from the pedestal. It is required to break the seal on Hyrule Castle, and fires beams at full health similarly to A Link to the Past. If the blade and two chunks of Master Ore are taken to the Hyrule Blacksmith, he upgrades it to the Master Sword Lv2, which deals twice the damage the Master Sword deals. If Link then takes the upgraded sword and two more chunks of Master Ore to the Lorule Blacksmith, he will upgrade it to the Master Sword Lv3, which does twice as much damage as the Master Sword Lv2.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

"Whether skyward bound, adrift in time, or steeped in the glowing embers of twilight, the sacred blade is forever bound to the soul of the hero."
Zelda
BOTWMasterSword

The Master Sword in its pedestal in Breath of the Wild

In Breath of the Wild, the Master Sword of Resurrection can be found resting on its pedestal, directly south of the Great Deku Tree, within Korok Forest in the Great Hyrule Forest. Princess Zelda gives Link the Master Sword in his quest to defeat Calamity Ganon. However, it is revealed to Link that if a person who is deemed weak attempts to draw the Master Sword from the pedestal, they will slowly lose their life. Link must be powerful enough to be able to draw the blade from its resting slumber and have at least thirteen hearts in order to collect it. Temporary yellow heart containers obtained from staying at inns, stables, or from eating "Hearty" food dishes do not count, thus Link must obtain Heart Containers by trading Spirit Orbs obtained from Shrines to Goddess Statues for Heart Containers or trade by trading any Stamina Vessels to the Horned Statue in Hateno Village to obtain the required number of Heart Containers to obtain the sword. Link must also travel through the Lost Woods to reach Korok Forest where the Master Sword rests, though he can activate the nearby Keo Ruug Shrine make return trips to Korok Forest easier. Unlike past games, once Link has the required number of hearts to remove it, he can travel to the forest to obtain the sword at any point after leaving the Great Plateau.

Though it is referred to as the Master Sword of Resurrection in some official material related to Breath of the Wild, it is known as the Master Sword in-game. It is also referred to as the Sword of Legend ("My Hero"), The Hero's Sword ("The Hero's Sword"), though it is commonly refer by most Hylians and Princess Mipha in her Mipha's Diary as the The Sword that Seals the Darkness. However Zelda and the Great Deku Tree refer to it as the Master Sword. Interestingly, it is never referred to by its traditional title the Blade of Evil's Bane indicating said title has fallen out of use.

A heavily-weathered Master Sword resting in its pedestal appears briefly at the end of the 2016 E3 trailer and also in the game's logo with the Silent Princess flower. The European and Japanese collector editions as well as the North American master edition releases contain a statue of the Master Sword with a Silent Princess.

Story

Before the Great Calamity, Link had already been chosen by the Master Sword by his teenage years, and was an accomplished knight whom was promoted to Captain of Princess Zelda's Royal Guard after defeating an out of control Guardian with a simple Pot Lid and Perfect Guard. Link had previously used it to perform a Spin Attack as a killing blow slaying a Lynel from Ploymus Mountain that was threatening Zora's Domain and Princess Mipha, who had followed link during his hunt for the beast. However, Zelda initially resented Link's talent and how easily he fulfilled his role. In one memory Zelda even once noted that according to legend, an ancient voice resonated inside the blade and asked if he was proficient enough at wielding the sword to hear it but the memory ends before Link can give an answer. But after Link uses the sword to stop a Yiga Footsoldier from killing Zelda with a Vicious Sickle during an assassination attempt near Kara Kara Bazaar, Zelda apologized for her early behavior towards him and the two become close with Zelda realizing Link silently carried his burden of being the hero despite his talent and having been a gifted prodigy with a sword since the age of four. Zelda grew to admire Link's dedication to his knightly training and duties, but she began to worry about his well being as his courage occasionally caused him to be reckless, a trait he had since childhood according to Mipha's Diary. Though the Champions prepared for Ganon's return, they underestimated him and the Great Calamity left Link and Zelda the only surviving Champions. Link wielded the Master Sword, which glowed due to Ganon's influence within the Guardians, and protected Zelda the best he could destroying several before the Master Sword's true power faded. But he refused to flee or leave Zelda's side as it was his duty as her Royal Knight, ignoring her pleas to leave her behind. However, Link succumbed to fatigue and Zelda shielded him from a Guardian, awakening her sealing powers that removed Ganon's influence shutting them down. Nevertheless, Link succumbed to his injuries and was near death. As Zelda cried beside him, the Master Sword glowed emitting the same sound it made in the past when its spirit ancient Fi spoke from within the sword (or when her spirit manifested or returned to the blade). Zelda who could now hear spirits like her grandmother due to her awakened powers, and was apparently informed by the sword that Link could be saved, reminding Zelda of the Shrine of Resurrection she and the Sheikah had uncovered. Found by two unnamed Sheikah warriors, Zelda insisted Link be taken to the Shrine, a task later given to Purah and Robbie. Zelda took possession of the Master Sword, guided by its ancient voice that she still had a role to fulfill. She planned for it to be eventually reclaimed by its master as only he could wield it properly.

A century later, Link eventually learns that the Sword that seals the Darkness is hidden beyond the Lost Woods. Many have foolishly sought the blade, often unaware that it can only be wielded by a chosen hero. There were, however, those who delusionally believed they are the current incarnation of the hero, the Hylian Champion who was believed to have perished during the Great Calamity. The Lost Woods were a formidable barrier to all who sought the sword, save for its chosen Link who later found it in Korok Forest under the Great Deku Tree's protection, though he recognized Link as its former master and warned that the blade would test him to ensure he was strong enough to wield it against evil. Through the monk's trials and offering Spirit Orbs to Hylia, Link regained enough strength to remove the blade from its pedestal.

Breath of the Wild Blade of Evil's Bane Zelda holding the rusty Master Sword (Recovered Memory 18 Cutscene)

Princess Zelda holding the weathered Master Sword in Breath of the Wild

Upon obtaining the Master Sword, Link will gain a new memory. Unlike the other memories in this game, this one does not belong to Link, rather it is a vision of Princess Zelda. In this later one, she tells the blade its master will return for it even if the Slumber of Restoration robs Link of his memory she is sure he will find it. She then speaks with The Great Deku Tree and reveals that the sword spoke to her and told her that her destiny was not finished. The Great Deku Tree senses her dedication. She attempts to have him give Link a message but he politely refuses stating it would sound better if it came from her directly. She then places the sword in its pedestal, thus guarded by The Great Deku Tree and the Koroks for a century, waiting for Link's return. Zelda then leaves to seal herself and Ganon in Hyrule Castle allowing the rest of the kingdom to survive and rebuild while unbeknownst to her, her late father's spirit has chosen to stand guard over the sleeping Link and guide him when he awakens to make up for his failures as a King and father, guiding him to the Shrines that would play a crucial role in Link reclaiming the sword. In the memory, the Master Sword is shown to be heavily-weathered and rusted, but one hundred years later, the sword looks completely repaired. Like Link recovering from his injuries inside the Shrine of Resurrection, the Master Sword had presumably repaired itself over the years. After the memory ends, the Great Deku Tree reveals it was a vision of the past and longs to see the Princess's smile once more as he compares it to life giving sunlight. He and the Koroks warn Link against over relying on the sword's power. The Deku Tree also notes its true origins as a holy blade crafted by divinity, as Hylia played a key role in creating its original form the Goddess Sword and was the architect of the Hero of Skyloft's quest to forge it into the Master Sword, which acquired its true power after being blessed by Hylia's mortal reincarnation. The sword is the only weapon in Breath of the Wild that can be qualified as indestructible though it loses power if overused forcing it to recharge its power becoming temporarily unusable. It has its own special extra slot in Link's inventory as well.

Several travelers encountered by Link are searching for the legendary blade, despite only usable by the chosen hero. Traysi also writes a "Rumor Mill" article about it entitled "The Sword That Seals The Darkness", which Link can read at Rito Stable. Humorously, Yolero who works at the Wetland Stable mistakenly believes the hero's legendary weapon to be a Torch called the "Master Torch" which he believes to have found causing him to believe himself to be the legendary hero chosen by the "Master Torch", failing to realize it is just an ordinary torch and if Link shows him the Master Sword, he will mistakenly believe its a an off-brand knockoff of his "Master Torch" and continues to mistakenly believe his torch is the hero's legendary weapon. In the Side Quest "My Hero", Aliza at Outskirt Stable longs to meet the Hero. However she will not accept Link is the hero unless he proves it by claiming the Sword of Legend another name for the legendary Master Sword. Once he has acquired it Link can return to Aliza who will accept he is the hero and thankful she can write meeting him of her bucket list rewards him with a rare Star Fragment. However she notes that Link isn't really her type though is thankful to know the hero of legend really exists. This makes Aliza one of the few Hylians alive that are aware of Link's heroic status as most are unaware he exists in the present day. This is one of the few side quests that require the Master Sword be obtained.

Attributes

Masterswordbotw

The Master Sword in the Korok Forest

The Master Sword has a base strength of 30 damage, however, its true holy splendor is awakened in the presence of evil and while Link is in certain areas and near certain enemies, such as Ganon, the blade glows with a characteristic blue aura which effectively serves as game's iteration of the "True Master Sword" as it represents the Master Sword's full powered state. In this true state, the Master Sword's damage is doubled, bringing its strength to 60 damage, making the Blade of Evil's Bane the most powerful single-handed weapon in the game. Due to Calamity Ganon's power permeating throughout Hyrule Castle the Master Sword will enter is true state within all areas of the Castle though it will only activate in the Hyrule Castle Town Ruins when near Corrupted Guardians. Like all other weapons, it has durability and can be rendered unusable after extensive use. Its durability increases slightly in its "True" glowing state. However, unlike other blades, it does not break completely nor disappears from Link's inventory, and has the ability to auto-repair itself to gradually recover its lost durability after some time, restoring itself back to its original, fully repaired condition. All Corrupted Guardians trigger the Master Sword's true state when Link is near them due to them being under Ganon's control and the four Scourges of the Divine Beasts which are artificial phantoms of Ganon that corrupt the each one of the Divine Beasts. Interestingly it does not react to Malice pools or "Silver" class enemies. It does not react to Guardian Scouts within Shrines as they are the only Guardians that remain uncorrupted.

Furthermore, when the Master Sword is in its true state and has its holy power awakened, its durability is increased slightly, though it can still lose power and must recharge as all the state does is increase its durability which if the sword is used sparingly in this state makes it seem like it doesn't require a recharge. Its "health" is automatically restored to maximum at the beginning of the fight with Calamity Ganon. Like all metal weapons, bows, and shields, it attracts lightning during thunderstorms thus Link must either wear the Thunder Helm or Unshockable "Rubber" armor set to protect himself from lightning strikes if he wishes to wield it during thunderstorms. The Master Sword has its own special slot in the weapons inventory thus Link does not need a free space open to carry it. However the Master Sword cannot be mounted on the any of the weapon mounts in his house. The Master Sword cannot be removed from Link's inventory once obtained (with the exception of "Stranded on Eventide" and "EX Trial of the Sword") nor can he be disarmed of it if hit by a Shock Arrow or electric attacks, thus making it immune to the disarming effect of Shock damage. Link can also take a picture of the Master Sword with the Camera Rune to add it to the Hyrule Compendium.

Ancient Voice

According to legend, the Master Sword resonates with an ancient voice which is later revealed to be true as the sword speaks to Zelda after she awakens her powers. This voice is strongly implied to be from the sword's dormant ancient spirit Fi, who apparently lost her ability to manifest her spirit due to entering an eternal slumber to seal Demise's remaining consciousness hence its name The Sword that Seals the Darkness however Breath of the Wild implies her consciousness is still aware indicating her eternal slumber refers to her spirit form being permanently dormant similar to how Zelda's latent sealing power is refered to as a Slumbering Power referencing its status as simply being dormant. However in Fi's case her dormancy is apparently eternal and her spirit can only communicate to the Princess of Hyrule when her sealing power is awaken and she can hear spirits. It is implied Link can at least sense Fi's mood as the sword is described to delight at being reunited with her current "Master" referencing Fi's wish to be reunited with her original master again in another life at the end of Skyward Sword. However the spirit is never identified by name nor does the player actually her speak to Zelda though the sound effect from Skyward Sword that is made when Fi manifests, returns to, or starts speaking within the sword, along with the sword's blade glowing all point to or reference Fi indicating she is speaking to Zelda who can apparently hear her due to her implied familial relationship to Hylia's mortal reincarnation as Princess Zelda and previous incarnations of the Princess are said to have the blood of the Goddess by both Impa and Kass which also is the explanation for Zelda's latent sealing powers which are divine in nature though require pray and dedication to Hylia as well as apparently selflessly caring for the chosen hero as Zelda struggled to awaken them despite years of training and dedication until she selflessly tried to shield the injured Link during the Great Calamity. Presumably this is because her powers are meant to work in conjunction with the Hero wielding the Master Sword.

Master Sword Beam
Main article: Sword Beam

Unlike the other weapons in the game, the Master Sword cannot be "tossed" at enemies. Instead, it will fire Sword Beams, provided that Link is not injured and his health is full of red hearts (yellow extra hearts are not counted). These beams resemble the slash waves produced by the Skyward Strike. Like elemental magic casted by rods, each Master Sword Beam Link fires reduces its durability. Additionally the more Heart Containers Link has the further Link's Master Sword Beams can travel.

Several Hero's Clothes armor sets are based on Link's traditional green tunics from any games, they all grant a set bonus that increase the power of Link's Master Sword beams, though only after being upgraded to Level 2 or higher.

The Master Trials DLC

""Hm? What's this? A voice beckoned you here? I see. So the time has come. I shall now tell you all I know about the arduous trial that awaits you. The sword you have reunited with...the Master Sword...it has yet to realize its true splendor. This trial shall test your courage to ensure you are worthy of this splendor. It is called the Trial of the Sword. It will challenge you as you have never been challenged before. All of your weapons and armor will be sealed away. You must face your enemies without the tools you've come to rely on. Once you have tempered your soul and proven your wisdom and courage by completing the Trial of the Sword...the Master Sword shall truly be yours!"
Great Deku Tree
Main article: EX Trial of the Sword
Breath of the Wild EX Trial of the Sword True Master Sword (Cutscene)

The splendor of the "True" Master Sword unlocked permanently after completing the Trial of the Sword

As part of "The Master Trials" DLC, a new side quest is unlocked called "EX Trial of the Sword" in which Link is directed by a mysterious voice to speak to the Great Deku Tree about a glorious trial. After returning to Korok Forest and approaching the Master Sword's pedestal, a cutscene is triggered where the Great Deku Tree informs Link that the Master Sword has not yet reached its true splendor and that the trial will test him to ensure he is truly worthy of this splendor. As the Deku Tree explains the trial behind Link, the Koroks playfully act out the Hero taking on the trial finding a weapon and using it to slay monsters all portrayed by Koroks.

During the trial, the weapons, armor, materials, cooked food, and Champion abilities Link currently possesses are sealed and he must face enemies without the tools he has come to rely on making the trial similar to the "Stranded on Eventide" shrine quest as it forces Link to rely on his Runes and items obtained during the trial. However he retains the Sheikah Slate, Runes, and Key Items including the Paraglider though the Travel Medallion and Amiibo Rune are unusable. Additionally Link cannot summon his horse equipped with the Ancient Saddle by Whistling during the trial. Link however can use any weapons or items he finds during the trial. The Master Sword is also removed from his inventory though as it is used to access the Trial of the Sword.

To start the trial Link must place the Master Sword back in its pedestal and is transported to Trial of the Sword location in an illusionary Shrine which is made up of 45 floors. Link is unable to access the trial if the Master Sword is in its "recharge" state.

After completing all 45 floors, he finds the Master Sword in a pedestal surrounded by seven unnamed Sheikah Monks responsible for the preparing the trial and now deem Link worthy of the fully awakened Master Sword. They then disappear, having fulfilled their duty, leaving Link to pull out the now fully awakened Master Sword, which causes the sword to remain permanently in its true state allowing Link to use its full power at all times.

Other appearances

Subseries warning: This article or section contains information on a subseries within the Legend of Zelda series and should be considered part of its own separate canon.

Hyrule Warriors

Link Master Sword (Hyrule Warriors)

Promotional Render for Link's Master Sword moveset

Hyrule Warriors Legendary Blade of Evil's Bane Master Sword (with Hylian Shield)

The Master Sword appears as the strongest sword weapon in Link's arsenal. It also serves as a plot device for the story mode of Hyrule Warriors. When Ganondorf's soul was split into four fragments, one fragment was sealed by the Master Sword in the Temple of the Sacred Sword. The sorceress Cia manages to release three of the soul fragments from across the periods of Hyrule's history, but the Master Sword holds the fourth fragment in place until Link raises it from its pedestal. The sword reaches its full power when Link realizes that he has his friends and allies to help him out, as the initial power of the sword leads to Link becoming reckless and overconfident in battle.

Over time, the sword's absence weakens the seal binding the last soul fragment, eventually allowing Ganondorf to be fully resurrected. The sword plays a major role in the final defeat of Ganondorf before Link and Princess Zelda return it to its pedestal.

Hyrule Warriors Liberation of the Triforce Link & Zelda return the Master to its Sacred Pedestal (Cutscene)

Link and Zelda returning the Master Sword to its pedestal in the Temple of the Sacred Sword in Hyrule Warriors

The Master Sword is unique among Link's weapons, as no duplicates of it can be obtained. Despite is similarities to the Hylian Sword type, the Master Sword has its own unique type that lacks different weapon levels. The Master Sword has one skill which will remain locked until the player unlocks all other weapons and types for each character, at which point it can be unlocked by killing 25,000 enemies with the weapon. The Master Sword will then receive the skill "Evil's Bane" which will give an extra 200 points towards the Master Sword's base attack making the Master Sword the strongest weapon in the game with a base attack of 500. If the skill is not yet unlocked the Master Sword will have a base power of 300.

Like the Hylian Sword type, the Master Sword has a Light Elemental Attribute. Its moves are identical to the Hylian Sword's, but with some modified to be larger or more effective, usually when Link is at full health.

Hyrule Warriors Legends

Hyrule Warriors Legends Link Master Sword & Hylian Shield (Render)

Promotional Render of Link wielding the Master Sword from Hyrule Warriors Legends

The Master Sword returns as a unique weapon for Link and its role remains unchanged. However in addition to its Evil's Bane skill, it gains a second skill that increases its base power to 900. The Evil's Bane skill also now only requires 10,000 enemies to unlock it, though still requires that all weapons and types (save for the new Level 4 and DLC weapons) be unlocked. In order to unlock its second skill, all Level 4 (plus-grade) weapons must be unlocked and then Link must defeat 25,000 enemies with it to unlock the skill.

Interestingly, despite returning the Master Sword to its pedestal following Ganon's defeat, Link can still select the Master Sword in the Wind Waker storyline, that takes place after Ganon's defeat.

Subseries warning: Subseries information ends here.

Non-canonical appearances

Non-canon warning: This article or section contains non-canonical information that is not considered to be an official part of the Legend of Zelda series and should not be considered part of the overall storyline.

Soulcalibur II

"A magic sword and shield that have accompanied Link on many adventures and helped him repeatedly save the land of Hyrule. This journey is no less dire, and Link once again goes into battle equipped with these items, this time in another world. These are well-balanced arms for Link."
— Weapons Gallery description
Master Sword and Hylian Shield (Soul Calibur II)

The Master Sword, along with the Hylian Shield, appears as Link's standard weapon in the Nintendo GameCube version of Soulcalibur II. In the game, it is Link's most balanced weapon.

Super Smash Bros. series

Link wields the Master Sword in battle in all Super Smash Bros. games. A trophy depicting the Master Sword can also be won in the Adventure Mode of Super Smash Bros. Melee. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Toon Link uses the Master Sword from The Wind Waker. In the Subspace Emissary mode of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Link pulls the Master Sword from the Pedestal of Time in the first cutscene he appears in. Link wields the Ocarina of Time version of the weapon in Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee, and wields the Twilight Princess version in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U.

Mario Kart 8

The Master Sword appears in the Temple of Time in Hyrule Castle on Hyrule Circuit. Link also briefly pulls it out when performing a trick, and pulls it out and taunts with it when he is selected on the character select screen.

Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2

Bayonetta Hero of Hyrule

Bayonetta wielding the Master Sword as part of the Hero of Hyrule costume set

In Bayonetta 2 and the Wii U version of Bayonetta, the titular character can equip the Master Sword by using the Hero of Hyrule costume set. It will remain in its scabbard in normal play but will replace the Shuraba if Bayonetta is using that weapon. Additionally she may perform the Spin Attack, a property not normally available to the sword. The Master Sword can also be obtained as a standard weapon in both games where it will function the same way as it would when using the Hero of Hyrule costume regardless as to how Bayonetta is dressed. As a result of overwriting the Shuraba weapon, Bayonetta will wield the sword like a katana, a vastly different style to how Link naturally uses the weapon.

One Piece: Super Grand Battle! X

One Piece Super Grand Battle! X Roronoa Zoro Link (Costume)

Roronoa Zoro wielding the Master Sword in One Piece: Super Grand Battle! X

In One Piece: Super Grand Battle! X, using a Link amiibo will unlock a Link costume for Roronoa Zoro which comes complete with Master Sword and Hylian Shield. In the game, while wearing the Link outfit Zoro wields the Master Sword in his mouth as part of his Santoryu (three-sword style) fighting style.

Non-canon warning: Non-canonical information ends here.

Theory

Theory warning: This section contains theoretical information based on the research of one or several other users. It has not been officially verified by Nintendo and its factual accuracy is disputed.

Sealing Ganon's powers

In A Link to the Past, shortly after Link pulled the Master Sword via the Pendents of Virtue, Zelda was abducted by Agahnim's forces, also killing the keeper of the Sanctuary. As Ganon was later revealed to be one and the same with Agahnim (the latter acting as his light-world avatar), it's possible that removing the seal was ultimately responsible for Zelda's location being exposed to Agahnim due to it unsealing at least a large part of Ganon's powers. This was further supported in the English version of The Wind Waker and Hyrule Warriors, which involved Ganon regaining his powers upon the seal encompassed via the Master Sword being broken by Link.

Ultimate Sword's connection

In the concept art for Link's Awakening, the Ultimate Sword bears a striking resemblance to the Master Sword, barring that the hilt was colored gold instead of blue. As it was found in the dream world known as Koholint Island, it is likely that the Ultimate Sword was that world's equivalent to the Master Sword.

Magical Sword

Although unconfirmed, it is possible that the Magical Sword formed the basis for the Master Sword, as it is the third, final, and most powerful sword in the game. Some fans believe them to be one and the same. However their designs differ and they are depicted as different weapons in Soulcalibur II and Hyrule Warriors, though it is unknown if this applies to the main series as the Magical Sword and Master Sword have never been depicted together in the main series. One possibility is that the Magical Sword is a reforged Master Sword created in the Hero's Downfall Timeline sometime between the events of A Link Between Worlds and the first The Legend of Zelda. Similarly, the opening of The Adventure of Link depicts what is assumed to be the Magical Sword embedded on a Cliffside, similar to how the Master Sword is inserted onto a pedestal.

Possible inspiration

The Master Sword may have been inspired by the Sword in the Stone of the Legends of King Arthur, as both were swords that were embedded in stone until its chosen wielder could pull it out.

Theory warning: Theories end here.

Gallery

Notes and references

  1. ^ LTTP Nintendo Player's GUIdge, pg 39

See also