The backstory and placement of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds was first given by Mr. Aonuma:
- Right about here. (Pointing to the Decline of Hyrule and the Last Hero branch, right between the Golden Era and Era of Decline, after Link’s Awakening and before The Legend of Zelda).”
Nintendo later released an official timeline (uploaded before the game's release). The final game offers the most detail in the form of its intro and paintings found in Castle Hyrule with plaques explaining each painting beneath them.
There are a number of confusing details that put it at odds with its own story, as well as the story of the Tragedy of Princess Zelda I, the sleeping princess, which occurred directly after the Triforce's split up. Even some of the details of events before or during the Imprisoning War are at odds with what was stated in the LTTP manual, LTTP guide, and Hyrule Historia.
In addition this article incorporates some of the related material from later 2015 timelines, that incorporates ALBW and Tri Force Heroes onto the greater timeline for completeness... ("The Legend of Zelda Series History" diagrams).
The Ocarina of Time
Story of Link, the Hero of Time, who goes between present time & 7 years ago to seal Ganondorf.
The Hero of Time loses, and the 7 Sages are sealed by Ganondorf.
A Link to the Past
When Hyrule castle is overthrown, Link sets out to rescue Princess Zelda.
Agahnim captures the Seven Sages' decendents in order to free his wicked master.
Sahasrahla tells Link to find three pendants and draw the Master Sword from its stone.
Descent into Darkness:
Link and Zedlda are banished to the Dark World by Agahnim.
In the Dark World, Link must find the Moon Pearl to regain his form.
The Real Quest Beigns:
Only Link can save the Seven Sages' descendants from the darkest dungeons imaginable.
A Link Between Worlds
A story to save 2 worlds and descendants of 7 Sages sealed in pictures.
When Yuga turns Seres into a living painting, a new Link must rise to save her.
Yuga turns Link into a painting too, but the hero's bracelet miraculously saves him.
Sahasrahla's descendent leads Link to the pendants, and thus to the Master Sword.
Descent into Darkness
After Yuga traps Zelda and escapes, Link follows him to Lorule, Hyrule's shadowy twin.
In Lorule, Link mees Princess Hilda, that world's version of Princess Zelda.
The Real Quest Begins:
Now, LInk must save seven new descendants from seven deadly dungeons.
There's more to this tale than has been told! Become the legend and solve its mysteries...
Tri Force Heroes
Few years later...
A story to rescue a princess who loves fashion but was forced to wearing a jumpsuit.
There is a legend oft told in Hyrule Kingdom.
It is the legend of the Triforce, once kept within Hyrule itself.
Said to be a gift of the gods, the Triforce could grant a wish of all those who touched it.
So of course, many wanted to get their hands on it. Wars were fought for the Triforce.
The royal family summoned the Seven Sages, who sealed the Triforce in the Sacred Realm.
But a thief of notorious repute broke into the Sacred Realm and claimed the Triforce.
With its power, he became the Demon King Ganon, who sought to dominate all Hyrule.
But just as Ganon had the kingdom in his evil clutches...
a legendary hero answered the call of Hyrule's princess.
And this hero, wielding the Master Sword, took up a quest to challenge Ganon's might.
He joined with the descendants of the Seven Sages to seal the Demon King in darkness.
The Triforce was divided into three--its tempting power out of any one person's reach.
One part stayed with the royal family, while another slipped into Ganon's possession.
Legend says that the third part found its home in the heart of the hero eternal...
And while legends come to us from the distant past, others have yet to be written...
Painting I: The Golden Triforce
This gift from the gods, Hyrule’s greatest treasure, will grant the wish of any mortal who touches it. The Triforce once stoked greed in the hearts of men. A legendary war was fought to keep it out of evil hands.
Painting II: The Sealed Triforce
To end the war for the Triforce, the royal family decided to hide it in the Sacred Realm. They summoned the Seven Sages of legend, who used their power to seal the Triforce away.
Painting III: The Demon King
The Demon King Ganon was once just a thief-until the man broke into the Sacred Realm. There he stole the Triforce and transformed himself. Then he took his evil campaign back to Hyrule.
Painting IV: : The Hero Awakens
A hero of legend arose from humble beginnings, awoken to his purpose by a princess of Hyrule. With the Master Sword, the blade of evil’s bane, he sought the descendants of the Seven Sages. Together they defeated the Demon King Ganon-and sealed him away in darkness.
Painting V: The Triforce, Split Apart
The Triforce was split into three pieces, separated forever. One piece remains with the royal family. Another piece has fallen into the hands of Ganon, sealed away with him. The third piece of the Triforce has vanished, though legend says it is hidden in the spirit of a true hero. It slumbers now somewhere in Hyrule - waiting for the time when the world needs a new hero. Note: In the ending of the game, the Triforce is inexplicably complete yet according to the tapestries it was already split up by this time.
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