|Mirror of Twilight|
The Mirror of Twilight upon activation
|First appearance||Twilight Princess (2006)|
|Use||Transporting an entity to the Twilight Realm|
- "The words of the sages... Do you remember them? Only the true ruler of the Twili can destroy the Mirror of Twilight. Zant could only break the Mirror of Twilight into shards... He couldn't utterly shatter it. That's proof of his false kingship."
- — Midna
The Mirror of Twilight (陰りの鏡 Inri no Kagami?, Shade Mirror) is a quest item from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The mirror was created by the Golden Goddesses — Din, Nayru, and Farore — to banish the Interlopers to the Twilight Realm for attempting to establish dominion over the Triforce using dark magic. The descendants of the banished Interlopers came to be known as the Twili. The Mirror serves as a link between the Twilight Realm and Hyrule, allowing beings to travel between the two worlds. It is housed at the top of the Arbiter's Grounds, where it was used in past ages to banish criminals convicted of crimes against Hyrule or the Royal Family to the Twilight Realm.
Seeking to put an end to the tyranny of Zant, the Usurper King of Twilight, Link and his Twili companion Midna travel west to the Gerudo Desert, the location of the Arbiter's Grounds, an ancient prison that holds a "cursed mirror." In times long past, the prison had been used to banish convicts to a realm of shadows, never to return. Midna, a resident of the Twilight Realm spoken of in the stories of the mirror, reveals that this is the Mirror of Twilight. Midna makes it clear that if they are to reach the Twilight Realm, they require the use of the mirror.
Link and Midna eventually reach the top of the Arbiter's Grounds, where the Mirror of Twilight is held. However, they find that the mirror has been broken, with only a single fragment remaining in the Arbiter's Grounds. The Ancient Sages appear before the pair and relate the tale of a failed execution they themselves conducted in the chamber in which they now stood; long ago, the evil Ganondorf, the Gerudo King of Thieves, was to be executed for his acts of treason against the Royal Family of Hyrule. However, as the Sage of Water stabbed Ganondorf through the chest with the Execution Sword, Ganondorf broke free of his chains, and in the split-second that followed, murdered the Sage of Water. The frightened sages were left no choice but to activate the Mirror of Twilight and send him into the Twilight Realm. Back in the present, the sages reveal that the usurper Zant attempted to shatter the mirror to prevent anyone from entering the Twilight Realm and challenging him there; as he was not the true king of Twilight, however, the Mirror merely broke into fragments. Fearing that the Mirror might be restored, Zant sent three of the mirror's four shards to three separate locations around Hyrule: one in the snowy mountain heights, one in an ancient grove, and one in the heavens. Link and Midna travel in search of the mirror shards in order to restore the mirror and enter the Twilight Realm.
After traversing Hyrule and beyond, Link and Midna recover the three lost Mirror Shards and return them to their proper place in the Mirror Chamber atop the Arbiter's Grounds. The three shards recombine with the fourth shard still left in the mirror's stand to restore the Mirror of Twilight. The mirror is then activated, projecting a portal to the Twilight Realm onto the large stone in front of it. The Ancient Sages reappear and beg Midna for her forgiveness, revealing Midna's identity as the true Twilight Princess and rightful ruler of the Twilight Realm. Using the Mirror, Link and Midna journey into the Twilight Realm and defeat Zant inside the Palace of Twilight; however, as they believe their battles against evil to be over, Zant reveals the truth of his relation to Ganondorf. Presenting himself as an omnipotent god, Ganondorf had bestowed upon Zant great powers, which allowed Zant to overthrow Midna, a plot Ganondorf devised in order to escape from the confines of the Twilight Realm and return to Hyrule. With Zant defeated, Link and Midna enter Hyrule Castle, and confront Ganondorf in the castle's throne room. Link, with the help of Midna and Princess Zelda, defeats Ganondorf and saves Hyrule. Free of the curse cast by Zant and Ganondorf's power, Midna is restored to her true form as the Twilight Princess, and returns home to the Twilight Realm to govern the Twili race; as she departs, she exercises her power as ruler of the Twilight Realm to utterly shatter the Mirror of Twilight using one of her tears, thus preventing similar tragic events from occurring again by sealing the only known road between the two worlds.
The Mirror of Twilight sits atop the Arbiter's Grounds in a private chamber of its own known as the Mirror Chamber. When activated, it projects the image etched into the mirror's surface onto the slab of rock it faces, forming stairs for a being to step up onto if they voluntarily wish to enter the Twilight Realm. The Mirror of Twilight appears to be composed of two components within the game:
- The Mirror of Twilight itself; which acts as a sort of "projector" that emits an extraordinary light that forms the portal that links the Twilight Realm and Hyrule to each other.
- The large black Stone where the portal forms; the mirror shines onto this enormous black slab of stone to form the portal to the Twilight Realm. It was this very slab of rock that Ganondorf was chained to during his failed execution conducted by the Ancient Sages. When the image on the mirror is projected onto the stone, it appears just like a giant Twilight Portal and functions in a similar manner.
A Mirror Shard is a fragment of the shattered Mirror of Twilight, shattered by Zant to prevent Link and the Twilight Princess Midna from following him to the Twilight Realm. Altogether, there are four shards of the mirror resting in four locations:
- The Mirror Chamber atop the Arbiter's Grounds; this shard still rests in the mirror's stand and is there when Link and Midna first learn of the mirror's shattered state.
- The Snowpeak Ruins at the summit of Snowpeak; this shard was sent all the way to the top of Snowpeak Mountain, where it was found in the snow by a yeti named Yeto, who gifted it to his wife Yeta, who fell ill as a result of the Mirror Shard's influence.
- The Temple of Time in the Sacred Grove; this shard was sent back through the flows of time into the ancient Temple of Time as it had stood in the days of the ancient Hero of Time, where it was placed under the guard of a gigantic arachnid who tapped into the Mirror Shard's power and lurked at the temple's heart.
- The City in the Sky located in the heavens; this shard was sent into the heavens, all the way to the ancient City in the Sky, the home of the fabled Oocca race. A fierce dragon took possession of the shard and tapped into its power to wreak havoc on the city and its inhabitants.
Loopholes in the Mirror's Limitations
Despite the mirror's destruction at the hands of Midna, there may be other ways of traveling between the two worlds, as Midna mentions several times that she and Link may meet again. Zant is able to travel between the two worlds, apparently without the use of the mirror, and may even do so during the time that it was shattered. There is speculation that the Triforce may somehow be related to travel between the two worlds, as Zant's power was potentially borrowed from the Triforce of Power, supplied by Ganondorf. In addition, there is also speculation that the sitting ruler of the Twilight Realm has the authority or ability to travel between the two worlds as pleased without the aid of the mirror. Eiji Aonuma has stated that if voices for Midna to return grow loud enough that she may make another appearance. Midna may also make another appearance in the "adult timeline", in which the events of Twilight Princess never took place and the Mirror of Twilight presumably remains intact.
In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, there is a large round mirror found in the Spirit Temple that grants Link access to the chamber of the temple's boss, Twinrova. There are some physical similarities between this and the Mirror of Twilight. This mirror is also housed in the place theorized to have eventually become the Arbiter's Grounds.
Some fans believe the Spirit Temple was the original home of the Mirror of Twilight following the end of the Hyrulean Civil War and that it was kept there until the Gerudo fell out of grace with the Hyrulean Royal Family. After Ganondorf's unsuccessful attack on Hyrule Castle following the child timeline ending of Ocarina of Time and his subsequent capture, the Gerudo as a race became outlaws to the kingdom of Hyrule and were forced to disappear due to their standing with the Hyrulean government. This is supported by what appears to be the ruins of a fortress seen near the entrance to the Gerudo Desert in Twilight Princess, about where the Gerudo's Fortress should have been, which appear to have been destroyed either by invasion, time, or both. This would account for their race's disappearance by the time of Twilight Princess as well as the Arbiter's Grounds' identical location and similar appearance to the Spirit Temple. As a result, their Spirit Temple is theorized to have been seized and renovated to hold enemies and prisoners of the Royal Family of Hyrule, and the Mirror of Twilight was rediscovered during the seizure and renovation of the temple. This is supported by Eiji Aonuma's statement that Ganondorf's execution took place several years following the end of Ocarina of Time. The Arbiter's Grounds were also shown to have been completed at the time of Ganondorf's execution. After the temple's renovation and renaming as the Arbiter's Grounds, the Mirror of Twilight was put to use banishing those prisoners not sentenced to death by the King of Hyrule to the Twilight Realm, where the Interlopers had been banished in the past. The mirror in the Spirit Temple, aside from being a round mirror, does not resemble the Mirror of Twilight, and would have to have undergone some modification before its appearance in Twilight Princess.
The Mirror of Twilight may have some relation to the Dark Mirror from The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures. The Dark Mirror is a round mirror and was also noted to have been used to banish a dark tribe, making its origin almost identical to that of the Mirror of Twilight. In Four Swords Adventures, Ganon uses the Dark Mirror to create Shadow Link. In a cutscene from Twilight Princess, the Interlopers, depicted as Dark Links, are banished to the Twilight Realm by the Ancient Sages using the Mirror of Twilight. The makers of Twilight Princess may have intended this as a reference to the Dark Mirror. The fact that the Mirror of Twilight had to have existed in both timelines (Adult and Child) provides a reason that the mirror could make this other appearance despite its destruction at the end of Twilight Princess. It is also possible that all three aforementioned mirrors are one and the same.