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Master Sword

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Majora's Mask Artwork
Master Sword
Master Sword (Ocarina of Time)
Artwork of the Master Sword from Ocarina of Time
First appearance A Link to the Past (1992)
Appearances A Link to the Past
Ocarina of Time
Oracle of Ages
Oracle of Seasons
Four Swords
The Wind Waker
Twilight Princess
Skyward Sword

A Link Between Worlds

Found (A Link to the Past)
Lost Woods
(Ocarina of Time)
Temple of Time
(Oracle of Ages & Seasons)
Linked Game secret
(Four Swords)
Realm of Memories
(The Wind Waker)
Hyrule Castle
(Twilight Princess)
Sacred Grove
(Skyward Sword)
Reforged from Goddess Sword

(A Link Between Worlds)
Lost Woods

Use Damages enemies
Repels evil
Effective against Ganon
General Onox
Demise
Most enemies
"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 and the Sword of Time, 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 Ganondorf and his demonic alternate form, Ganon. 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 and/or ending details follow.

According to The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Hylia created the Goddess Sword so that her chosen hero could one day destroy Demise if he ever was resurrected. When this sword is bathed in three sacred flames, it was forged into the Master Sword. After its creation, the Master Sword was embedded into an enchanted pedestal, and the great Temple of Time was built around it. 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. 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.

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.

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 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 The Legend of Zelda: 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.

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.

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.

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)

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. 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. Before Link can obtain it, however, 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 Triforce of Courage 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.

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

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)

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.

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.

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 cleave 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 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.

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. Fi's wish appeared to come true when a younger Link found the Master Sword at what is now the Temple of Time.

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.

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

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 four 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.

Hyrule Warriors

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 of those souls 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 replace the sword back into its pedestal.

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

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