Artwork of the Triforce from A Link to the Past
|First appearance||The Legend of Zelda (1987)|
|Appearances||The Legend of Zelda|
The Adventure of Link
A Link to the Past
Ocarina of Time
Oracle of Ages
Oracle of Seasons
The Wind Waker
The Minish Cap
A Link Between Worlds
|Use||Grants the person who touches it their wish|
- "It can only be called fate... That here, I would again gather the three with the crests... That I should lay my hand on that which grants the wishes of the beholder. That when power, wisdom, and courage come together, the gods would have no choice but to come down... The power of the gods... The Triforce! He who touches it will have whatever he desires granted!"
- — Ganondorf
The Triforce (トライフォース Toraifōsu?) is a sacred relic that reappears throughout the Legend of Zelda series. These golden sacred triangles were left behind by the three Golden Goddesses — Din, the Goddess of Power; Nayru, the Goddess of Wisdom; and Farore, the Goddess of Courage — after the creation of the land of Hyrule and Lorule. It was formed at the point where they ascended to the heavens, in a different dimension connected to Hyrule and Lorule, called the Sacred Realm, which would later be referred to as the "Golden Land." Hyrule's Triforce consists of three separate sacred golden triangles: the Triforce of Power (top), the Triforce of Wisdom (left), and the Triforce of Courage (right).
The Triforce has the power to grant the wish of whomever touches it, and molds the Sacred Realm to reflect that person's heart. The Triforce does not discriminate between "good" or "evil". However, if a person without an equal balance of power, wisdom, and courage makes a wish, the Triforce will split into its three separate parts: the piece that best personifies the wish-maker will be the only piece to remain in hand, whilst the other two will take residence in whosoever most personifies them. Reassembly is then required for such a person's wish to be granted, but does not exclude another from making the attempt.
The Triforce of Wisdom and Triforce of Power are described as "Magical Golden Triangles" that grant their holders great power. Prior to the events of the game, the evil Ganon stole the Triforce of Power and captured Princess Zelda, who split the Triforce of Wisdom into eight Shards and hid them in the dungeons of Hyrule. Link fights his way through the eight dungeons to recover the pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom. When this has been done, he must battle his way through Ganon's stronghold to defeat him and recover the Triforce of Power, as well as rescue Princess Zelda.
The Triforce of Courage is first introduced in the second installment of the Zelda series. In order to safeguard the third part of the Triforce, the King of Hyrule placed it in the Great Palace, where it could only be obtained by one who could fight his way through six other palaces to break the magical seal left by the king. In addition, his heir found himself unable to obtain all of the Triforce elements, and interrogated his sister, Zelda, on the location of the Triforce of Courage before a Magician cursed her into an eternal sleep. Guarded by the elderly Triforce Keeper, the Triforce could only be recovered by a hero capable of defeating not only the soldiers and monsters set to guard the Great Palace, but also their own shadow. Link overcomes these obstacles to complete the Triforce, and uses the power of the united relic to wake the slumbering Princess Zelda.
According to the Hyrule Historia, the reason why the Triforce was utilized by a king prior to his death was because it was relocated from the Sacred Realm to Hyrule after the events of A Link to the Past, where it was utilized by the various monarchs in Hyrule to maintain peace and stability up to the tragedy of Zelda. The same source also implies that the Magician who cursed her to sleep was either an agent of Ganon or even Ganon himself in an alter ego.
The Triforce, also referred to as the "Golden Power", is for the first time spoken of as physical manifestation of the Goddesses' power. Bestowed upon Hyrule at the moment of their departure, it lay hidden in the fabled Golden Land until the evil thief Ganondorf and his minions broke the seal and entered the hidden land. Upon murdering his companions and claiming the Triforce for his own, Ganon used its power to turn the Golden Land into the Dark World. Within the Dark World, the Triforce has the power to change the shape of anyone who enters from the outside into something that reflects his or her nature. Later in the game, the innocent and pure Link is changed into a pink rabbit. Raising an army of monsters to assault the land of Hyrule, Ganon is nearly successful in spreading his evil over all the land. However, he was stopped when the Knights of Hyrule and the Seven Wise Men sealed him in the Dark World. Still in possession of the Triforce, Ganon used the body of Agahnim to crack the seal between worlds by teleporting the Seven Maidens, descendants of the Wise Men, one by one into the Dark World, sealing them in crystals and creating a portal between the worlds.
After retrieving the Pendants of Virtue and the Master Sword, Link rescues the Seven Maidens. He eventually defeats Agahnim once more, and ultimately, Ganon is defeated as well. Instructed by the Triforce to take it with a wish in his heart, Link uses its power to cleanse the evil that had been done by Ganon; healing those who had been wounded by his evil, restoring the Dark World to the Golden Land, and restoring peace to Hyrule.
According to the Hyrule Historia, the Triforce, after Link used it to wish for the evil Ganon caused to be undone, was relocated into Hyrule from the Golden Realm, where it would frequently be used by various monarchs in Hyrule until the tragedy of Zelda.
The true nature of the Triforce is explained for the first time in minute detail. After its creation, the Triforce was kept in the Temple of Light in a place called the Sacred Realm, or the "Golden Land." Due to the fact that the Triforce will grant any wish of the one who finds it, many men tried and failed to enter the realm and touch the sacred triangles. Unfortunately, one man succeeded in doing so; an evil man by the name of Ganondorf, the Gerudo king from the desert in the west of Hyrule. Using the young boy Link, he was able to enter the Sacred Realm. Once Link opened the portal by releasing the Master Sword from the Pedestal of Time, Ganondorf was able to seize the opportunity and made his wish to the Triforce.
However, there was another tale told about the Triforce, one that stated that if a person whose power, wisdom, and courage were not in perfect harmony were to lay his hands on it, the Triforce would shatter into its three separate pieces. This person would keep the piece of the Triforce that represents their most developed quality, and the other two pieces would seek out a hiding place in the bodies of those chosen by destiny. When Ganondorf laid his hand upon the Triforce this prophecy came true, and the Triforce shattered, sending the three pieces, the Triforces of Power, Wisdom, and Courage, into the bodies of Ganondorf, Princess Zelda, and Link, respectively. The Six Sages, along with Princess Zelda, managed to seal Ganondorf and his Triforce of Power in the Void of the Realm.
The Triforce in this game appears as a decorative element on a variety of objects such as pictures, clothing, shields and saddles.
The Triforce is never referred to by name and is only seen occasionally. The Triforce appears on the Hero's Shield and on the clothes of several people; however, this could be unintentional, as the game re-uses 3D models from Ocarina of Time. The Triforce makes a notable appearance on the carvings on the tongues of the statues leading to Ikana from Termina Field and on the blocks outside the entrance of the inverted Stone Tower Temple. It is believed it was meant to blaspheme the Goddesses.
The Triforce plays an identical role in both Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons. At the beginning of the game, Link has been called by the Triforce and rides to the place it is kept. The Triforce tells Link of troubles in the lands of Labrynna and Holodrum, the lands in which Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons are set, respectively. In order to aid them, Link is transported to these lands by the power of the Triforce.
Afterwards, the Mark of a Hero appears on Link's left hand. At one point in Oracle of Ages, Link alone has the power to move a special stone emblazoned with the Mark of the Triforce, which Impa, who is under the possession of Veran, cannot touch.
After the legendary Hero of Time left the world of Hyrule, his Triforce of Courage shattered into 8 pieces, and these pieces were sealed away in in chests which were placed at the bottom of the Great Sea. Eight special Triforce Charts were drawn and hidden to stop anyone without a courageous heart from assembling it. Link eventually assembles it, and when showing it before the Gods at the Tower of the Gods, the Triforce merges with him, showing the acceptance of the Gods and thus making him the Hero of Winds.
Later, Ganondorf unites all three Triforce pieces on top of his tower at long last and tries to make a wish, but he is stopped as Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, the former King of Hyrule, presses his hand upon the golden symbol, and then asks the gods to cover the land of Hyrule completely in water and for there to be hope for Link and Tetra. The Triforce then ascends from sight as water begins to fall from the sky. It is unknown what happens to the Triforce afterwards, although the fact that Link and Ganondorf retain their Triforce marks during the final battle, and Zelda retained her Triforce mark in the aftermath of the battle implies that they may have returned to their respective owners. Seeing so, the Triforce of Power is forever sealed under the seas with a petrified Ganondorf.
Many of the Fishmen in the game humorously believe the Triforce is called the "Triumph Forks", as does Old Man Ho Ho and the Salvage Corp. It may very well be that all of the people living in and around the Great Sea that know of the treasure believe this is the treasure's name, likely through some odd misinterpretation of the Hylian language. Triumph forks has part of the word "Triforce" in it, and the two terms are pronounced somewhat similarly.
The Triforce of Power was previously shown on Ganondorf's right hand in Ocarina of Time. This is shown to be the case during The Wind Waker until he finally reunites the three pieces, where it has instead switched to his left hand.
The Triforce symbol appears on Zelda's Dress, Link's shield, and in various locations in Hyrule Castle, the Royal Valley, and the Royal Crypt. Another similar power called the Light Force also appears in this game but its exact relation to the Triforce, if any, is unknown.
The word "Triforce" is not used anywhere in the game. However, the Triforce is obviously well known since markings of it exist on the Hylian Shield and as carvings on walls. Its power is also spoken of by the Ancient Sages of Hyrule who guard the Mirror of Twilight. In the game, it is said that Ganondorf, Zelda, and Link have been blessed with the power of the Goddesses, which is strongly implied to be the Triforce by the Triforce symbols on each of their hands. Also, in a vision Lanayru shows to Link, the Triforce's creation is seen, as well as the Interlopers' attempt to take control of it. It is also shown in the vision that the Light Spirits protect the Triforce, and that once, many knew of the Triforce, and the knowledge turned them against each other, until the Interlopers eventually tried to actively take control of the Triforce with their Fused Shadows.
The Ancient Sages also state that it was by some "divine prank" that Ganondorf was blessed with the power of the gods, which, along with the Twili's anguish and hatred bleeding through the void to Ganondorf, allowed him to survive his attempted execution. When Link and Midna confront Ganondorf at the end of the game, Ganondorf claims that the magic of the Twili is nothing compared to his own power. Ganondorf then demonstrates the glowing Triforce symbol on his hand, proclaiming that he has been chosen by the gods to wield their power.
Some believe the marks on their hands are merely marks of being "chosen by the Goddesses", though the behavior of the marks seems to indicate that the actual Triforce pieces were present. The marks almost always indicate a chosen holder of the Triforce. However, one has been known to appear on the hand of a Link who did not posses a Triforce piece at the time it showed, and is not confirmed to have had a piece in the past or receive one in the future.
The Triforce symbol is seen on the wall of the hut of the blacksmith Zauz. The symbol is used to access the Sacred Crest Chamber and the final six floors of the Temple of the Ocean King. Though the actual Triforce isn't mentioned, this symbol could mean that the Temple and Zauz could have something to do with the Triforce even though they come from the World of the Ocean King. This has not been verified by Nintendo. The Triforce symbol also appears above a sea lobster on a wooden shield bought in the game. In the Temple of the Ocean King, Link must reunite the three Force Gems to their pedestals, which are in the shape of Triforce pieces.
The Triforce has been replaced with the symbol of the Spirits of Good as the mark of New Hyrule. Despite this, the Triforce design appears on Princess Zelda's dress and on the Ancient Gold Piece. Like in The Minish Cap, a force similar to the Triforce known as the Sacred Power of the Spirits, which like the Triforce was passed down through the generations of Hyrule's Royal Family, and eventually came to be stored within Zelda. Its exact origins, and relations to the Triforce, if any, remain unknown. Additionally, the symbol of the Spirits is actually almost the same as the Triforce symbol, except that it fills the inner empty triangle and removes the outer triangles. During the last scene in the prologue, when the symbol of the Spirits is shown at the top of the Tower of the Spirits, it actually forms the Triforce sign because of the tower's triangular top in its depiction.
The demon Demise also tried to take the Triforce before the events of the game for his own evil purposes, which resulted in him being sealed away within The Imprisoned by the Goddess Hylia. During the game it is revealed that only the power of the Triforce can destroy Demise. Link sets out on a quest to retrieve the Triforce. In the process he overcomes many trials that give him a balance of power, courage and wisdom. Eventually he obtains the three pieces of the Triforce in the Sky Keep and uses it to destroy Demise. This is the first and only instance of the entire Triforce being an obtainable item during gameplay. At the end of the game, the Triforce is still within Link and Zelda's possession. The Goddess Hylia expressed a desire to keep the existence of the Triforce a secret from the people of the world. Of note is the fact that the Link of this game is the only character to be chosen by all three Triforces, a feat he accomplishes by collecting the Sacred Flames.
During the game, Zelda, Hylia's mortal reincarnation, reveals that deities such as the Golden Goddesses are unable to use the Triforce; only mortals with an unbreakable spirit may wield its might. She speculates that the Triforce was created with these qualities to give hope to the people of the Surface.
Six generations after the events of A Link to the Past, the Triforce was taken by Yuga and Princess Hilda of Lorule, via the revival of Ganon (and Yuga merging with him) and the abduction of the Seven Sages and Princess Zelda.
The game also reveals that the Triforce was not created solely in Hyrule: another Triforce had also been created for Lorule; this version is upside down in appearance. Prior to the events of A Link Between Worlds, Lorule was a stable world similar to Hyrule. However, Lorule suffered through its own civil war (similar to the Hyrulean Civil War), and the Lorulean Royal Family was forced to destroy their Triforce, believing it to be a means to end their strife. However, it instead caused their kingdom to crumble and fall apart even more. Princess Hilda planned to use Hyrule's Triforce to restore her kingdom. However, she had ultimately been used by Yuga so he could remake Lorule to fit his own desires.
After Yuga is defeated, Hilda, after realizing upon a confrontation with Ravio the main reason for the Triforce's destruction, redeems herself by sending Link and Zelda back to Hyrule with the last of Ravio's Bracelet's power. Lorule's Triforce is restored shortly thereafter when Link and Zelda, acting out of pity for Hilda and Lorule's plight, wish via the Triforce to restore Lorule's Triforce.
Pieces of the Triforce
Hyrule's Triforce can be split up into three pieces, which can then be split up even further, as shown in the original Legend of Zelda game, where the Triforce of Wisdom was split into eight pieces, and in The Wind Waker, where the Triforce of Courage was split into eight pieces. When two people with a Triforce piece come in close contact, the Triforce symbol on their hand will glow and when all three are together (as seen again in both The Wind Waker and Ocarina of Time), it is possible that the Triforce will be summoned. The pieces can also glow on their own.
Triforce of Courage
The Triforce of Courage was never referenced in the original Legend of Zelda game, and it never appears or is mentioned in the television adaptation of the series (although it is shown in the Captain N series and comics by Valiant). This Triforce Piece is associated with green and the goddess Farore. This piece is the lower right triangle. Whenever a Chosen/guardian to the Triforce of Courage is specified, it is always a Link, whose crest usually appears on his left hand.
This portion of the Triforce first appears in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, where it was held in the Great Palace and had to be recovered by Link. He first had to clear six palaces and place a crystal in each, to gain entrance to the last palace and obtain the Triforce piece. With this, he could awaken the sleeping Princess Zelda.
In Ocarina of Time, the Triforce of Courage is hidden within Link when the Triforce splits into three after Ganondorf, who is an unbalanced individual, touches the sacred relic. In The Wind Waker, it is stated that when the Hero of Time left Hyrule (possibly when Zelda returns Link to his childhood), the Triforce of Courage was broken into eight pieces and scattered, to be recovered one day by another Hero deserving of its power. After restoring the power to the Master Sword in The Wind Waker, Link discovers and gathers all eight shards of the Triforce of Courage that had been stored at the bottom of the Great Sea, and enters Hyrule, submerged in a magic air chamber on the sea floor. The Hyrule Historia states that when Link returned to his childhood, he also kept the Triforce of Courage (which may be the reason for its presence in Twilight Princess), leaving the Triforce of Courage's appearance in The Wind Waker unexplained.
The Triforce of Courage may grant its holder certain abilities, though this is never canonically confirmed. In Twilight Princess, Link is implied to posses the Triforce of Courage, and appears immune to certain kinds of dark magic; when Link was exposed to the Twilight, he became a "sacred beast", Wolf Link, rather than a trapped spirit. This may instead be due to his being the hero chosen by the gods. It is also possible that the Triforce of Courage was designed as a safeguard in the event that someone, such as Ganondorf, would attain the Triforce of Power for evil; the person that gets the Triforce of Courage is given the courage and the strength to fight the Triforce of Power, as Link has always been shown to be able to defeat Ganondorf, despite the impossible odds of doing so.
Alternately, instead of giving its wielder an ability, the Triforce of Courage may reward their courage by defending them from some maledictions. This may be evidenced by how, in both The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Ganondorf kidnapped Princess Zelda remotely with magic, but didn't, and perhaps couldn't use the same technique to capture Link in either case. In the former case, Ganondorf also utilized an attack in which "waves of darkness" prevented Navi from targeting him, but the attack is largely inaffective against Link; while in the latter case, Ganondorf beat Link with his bare hands to incapacitate him before the final battle instead of utilizing a magical attack. If the Triforce of Courage does defend its wielder, however, the protection is not ubiquitous, as Link can still be hurt and killed even while wielding it, and its possible that the protection only works for magics originating from the Triforce of Power.
In the short-lived Legend of Zelda comic series, by Valiant, the Triforce of Courage, held by Link, also extended protection against certain attacks, creating a golden, pyramidal force field around him. In this interpretation of the post-game story, it is also possible for the hero to become UN-worthy of the Triforce. At one point, Link becomes tainted by greed and anger, after he snatches the Triforce of Power from Ganon and allows it to warp him mentally and physically. The Triforce of Courage, Link later learns, has left him and chosen Princess Zelda as its host. However, when Link repents of his misdeeds and sacrifices his life for the good of Hyrule, Courage returns to him and restores his life.
Although the Triforce of Courage doesn't appear in the original cartoon series, it is shown briefly in Captain N: The Game Master. There, it is a BLUE triangular prism encased in a golden frame/cage-like structure with a stylized "C," for "Courage," at the center of each face.
Triforce of Wisdom
The Triforce of Wisdom first appears in the original Legend of Zelda game. Finding its scattered pieces, hidden in dungeons throughout Hyrule, is the primary objective of the game, along with defeating Ganon and saving Princess Zelda.
Ganon/Ganondorf's primary goal, in nearly every game that features him, is to capture the remaining parts of the Triforce, including Wisdom, which will supposedly grant him limitless power to rule the land of Hyrule.
The Triforce of Wisdom is usually associated with Princess Zelda, who is traditionally Wisdom's Chosen guardian, whether it be simply guarding the physical shell of the Triforce -- such as in the original game, or The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker -- or being a living host to its power -- such as in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and possibly The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. This Triforce piece is associated with blue and the goddess Nayru. Its placement within the Triforce is at the lower left. Usually, the crest appears on the back of Zelda's right hand.
Throughout the series, the Triforce of Wisdom has been depicted in several ways, though it is always a variation of an equilateral triangle. The original in-game design for the Triforce of Wisdom was a simple triangle which alternated between flashing blue and gold. In the cartoons by D.i.C. (both in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show and Captain N: The Game Master), it was a green, glowing, gem-like pyramid or triangular prism. In the Captain N redesign, the green prism is encased within a golden frame/cage-like structure with the stylized letter "W", for "Wisdom", at the center of each side. In the Legend of Zelda comics by Valiant, Wisdom is a glowing, pale gold triangular prism. After The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the Triforce of Wisdom ceased having an individual design and became simply one of three golden triangular wedges which, combined with the other two pieces, make up the complete Triforce. It is only once Ocarina of Time was developed that the Triforce of Wisdom became associated with the color blue, and its corresponding deity, Nayru, was named.
Like the Triforce of Courage, this piece may give the user (in almost all cases, Princess Zelda) special abilities. In Twilight Princess, Zelda, who is strongly implied to posses the Triforce of Wisdom, is shown to heal Midna from her injuries after being exposed to light, at Zelda's own expense, possibly by giving the Triforce to her. Further speculation is that the Triforce of Wisdom simply enhances existing magical ability. For example, to hide from Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time, Zelda assumes an alter ego, Sheik, by magically disguising herself as a Sheikah (or, as explained in the Ocarina of Time manga, having her consciousness sealed away by Impa inside the physical body of a Sheikah boy); it is speculated that she used the power of the Triforce of Wisdom to do so. Also, in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the Triforce of Wisdom is possibly what allows Zelda to perform telekinesis (in order to move the iron gates in Ganons castle), hold Ganon at bay near the end of the battle, and send Link back in time. However, none of Zelda's powers have ever been confirmed to originate from the Triforce of Wisdom, and all of them may simply be a unique trait of the Royal Family of Hyrule, or a result of being one of the Seven Maidens, Seven Sages, or descendant thereof.
In the original game, the Triforce of Wisdom was split by Princess Zelda into eight parts, which were then hidden inside puzzle and enemy filled dungeons, in order to hide it from Ganon, who kidnapped Zelda and sent his minions after her nursemaid, Impa, who alone knew where the pieces had gone. Link had to find and clear each dungeon in order to reunite the pieces and face Ganon.
In the cartoons and comics, Ganon devised all manner of schemes to attempt to claim the Triforce of Wisdom which, when united with the Triforce of Power that he already possessed, would supposedly make him an unstoppable tyrant.
It is strongly implied, but never proven, that Zelda holds the Triforce of Wisdom during the events of Twilight Princess. The piece is speculated to have been briefly given to Midna by Zelda (though neither a physical piece nor a Triforce mark on Midna's hand is shown), in order to save Midna's life after the villainous Zant exposes Midna to the Light Spirit Lanayru's pure light, in an attempt to kill her. It revives Midna, giving her the ability to take on her physical form in the Realm of Hyrule. However, by giving it up, Zelda is made vulnerable to attack, herself (whether the Triforce was somehow protecting her, until this point, or Ganondorf simply decided she was no longer worth the trouble of keeping around, is not clear). By giving her part of the Triforce to Midna, Zelda allows Midna and Link to continue their quest to defeat Zant, as well as keeping the Triforce of Wisdom away from Ganondorf, who takes over Hyrule Castle shortly after Midna and Wolf Link set off in search of the Master Sword. Also Midna examines her hand briefly after leaving the Castle after being healed, a common gesture when looking at the Triforce piece on the back of the hand, so it is possible that Zelda did indeed transplant the Triforce of Wisdom to Midna temporarily.
In The Wind Waker, Tetra the pirate bears a necklace made from a piece of the Triforce of Wisdom; the King of Hyrule carried the other half. When the pieces are put together, Tetra is revealed to be Princess Zelda, and is given the restored Triforce of Wisdom.
In Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, for some reason, Impa has the Triforce of Wisdom; it behaves in an oracular fashion, and a few cutscenes show her looking into it rather like a crystal ball. It is also depicted as light blue rather than gold.
In the cartoon series by D.i.C. (both in the Super Mario Bros. Super Show and Captain N: The Game Master) and in the short-lived comics by Valiant, the Triforce of Wisdom is also used by Zelda to create protective force fields and even to generate attack spells, such as fireballs. The Triforce shown in these publications also speaks, typically with the voice of a wise woman, offering advice which is usually delivered as a snippet of cryptic poetry. In the Captain N interpretation, it also has a very strong telepathic and perhaps even empathic bond with Zelda, who at one point faints and is temporarily possessed by the Triforce of Wisdom when the other two pieces, Power and Courage, are stolen by the Brain's henchmen, King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard. While journeying to find the stolen parts, the Triforce repeatedly speaks through Zelda to offer Link and Captain N clues and status updates.
Triforce of Power
In the original game, the Triforce of Power was stolen by Ganon. One of the goals of the game was to defeat Ganon, thus saving Zelda and reuniting the Triforce of Power with the Triforce of Wisdom. This Triforce Piece is associated with Ganondorf/Ganon, the color red, and, after the debut of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, with the goddess Din. This piece is the top part of the Triforce, according to the crest on Ganon's hand. It is also the only Triforce piece that was not shattered at any point.
In Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf heard the legend of the Triforce and lusted after its power, primarily as a tool to subjugate the kingdom of Hyrule and expand his influence. Inadvertently aided by a young hero known as Link and the Hylian princess, Zelda, Ganondorf found his way into the Sacred Realm. Ganondorf did not know that to claim the true power of the Triforce, one must have all the three energies associated with the Triforce - Power, Wisdom, and Courage - in perfect balance. Ganondorf sought the Triforce only for its power, thus, the sacred relic was broken into three pieces. The Triforce of Power was given to Ganondorf, and Link and Zelda received the Triforces of Courage and Wisdom, respectively.
Ganondorf used the power of the Triforce of Power to throw the land of Hyrule into chaos, and eventually sought to gather all three pieces of the Triforce. However, after kidnapping Zelda and facing off against Link, Ganondorf was defeated. Zelda used the power of the Sages to seal Ganon away within the Sacred Realm. However, Ganondorf still held the Triforce of Power.
Presumably through possession of the Triforce of Power, Ganondorf gains near invulnerability, astonishing magical powers, even allowing transformation into various beastly forms, and near immortality (he has been known to live for long periods, but has also been killed while possessing the Triforce of Power, though other times he is only sealed away in some manner after his defeat). Ganondorf's appearance as a nebulous, fiery entity while in the Twilight Realm may be a form of protection from the Twilight endowed by the Triforce of Power, similar to the wolf form that Link takes when exposed to certain Twilight magic, such as the Shadow Crystal.
In the Legend of Zelda comics, by Valiant, it is hinted that the Triforce of Power actually contributed to Ganondorf's dehumanization. At one point in the story, Link manages to take the Triforce of Power from Ganon and gains incredible magical ability. As a result, many of Ganon's minions forsake him and begin to follow Link. However, he soon begins to act less and less like himself, becoming cruel, greedy, and bent on revenge against Ganon. As a result, the Triforce of Courage disowns Link, and it is soon after revealed that Link has physically transformed into something resembling Ganon's pig-man form. Most disturbing of all is the spiritual dependency which Link has now formed, and which Ganon is shown to already have, with the Triforce of Power. If Link gives up the Triforce of Power, he will die, whereas Ganon is already dying without the Triforce to preserve his life.
Interactions of Triforce Pieces
The Triforce will usually resonate when two or more pieces are in close proximity, causing the Triforce symbol on the hand of anyone carrying a piece to glow. In Ocarina of Time, this occurs when Link confronts Ganondorf, who has captured Zelda, and may be the cause of Link's health being restored before the battle. Ganondorf says at this point that the Triforce parts are resonating, and becoming one again. In Wind Waker, when Tetra, who carries a piece of the Triforce of Wisdom on her necklace, comes to help link against Ganondorf, the Triforce resonates and Ganondorf realizes Tetra's true identity. The Triforce mark also shows on the back of the hands of its holders near the end of the game, when the three are united atop Ganon's Tower.
It is possible, though never proven, that a Triforce piece is needed in order to defeat the holder of another Triforce piece. Link is directed on two occasions not to confront Ganon, who holds the Triforce of Power at the time, until retrieving either the Triforce of Courage or Triforce of Wisdom. This implies that it may be necessary or at least helpful to have a Triforce piece when confronting someone wielding the Triforce of Power. Link has never been known to defeat Ganon, when he is in direct possession of a piece of the Triforce, without possessing a piece himself.
It would appear that if the bearers of all three Triforce pieces are brought together, the Triforce can leave them and reform against the will of some of the bearers as long as they are sufficiently weakened. This is shown in Wind Waker when the Triforce leaves Ganon; who wishes to unite it, Zelda; who is unconscious, and Link; who has just been defeated. It is also possible that the holders of the Triforce may need to remain alive for it to unite, which may be why Ganon does not kill Zelda or Link in this case. This theory is never proven, and is contradicted somewhat by the Legend of Zelda, in which the Triforce of Power simply remains in Ganon's ashes upon his death, which Link then collects.
Reuniting the Triforce
If the The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker scenario is typical of a Triforce rejoining, it appears that all three of the possessors of a piece must be alive, in close proximity, and incapacitated to such a degree that the Triforce can be extracted. It is possible that Ganondorf kept Princess Zelda alive in both The Wind Waker and Ocarina of Time because she was needed alive for said unification to occur.
There is an argument about whether the Triforce is sentient or not. On one hand, it does not discriminate between good and evil, and merely grants wishes. However, a voice claiming that it is the essence of the Triforce speaks to Link at the end of A Link to the Past and at the beginning of The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons. Some theorize that the Triforce holds the conscious thoughts of the Goddesses, and while it is an ambivalent object in the sense that it doesn't have total free will, the Triforce still holds the memories and "voice" of its creators and uses it to "talk" to its wielders. When the Triforce sends Link to Holodrum and Labrynna, it appears to be acting entirely on its own and with good intentions.
Many fans believe in the concept of a "Tetraforce", or the idea that there is a fourth piece of the Triforce that fits into the gap in the center. Credence for this theory comes from the design of the Hylian Shield in Ocarina of Time, which depicts a fourth, upside-down triangle beneath the three representing the Triforce. However, Nintendo has repeatedly denied the existence of such a concept, and the fourth triangle on the Hylian Shield has been removed in later installments of the series.
Some theorize that the Light Force and the Triforce are one and the same, that the Light Force is a single piece of the Triforce (the Triforce of Wisdom), or that the Light Force is the "True Tetraforce". Reasons include the Light Force's portrayal on a stained glass window being of a single golden triangle, similar to the Triforce, which is composed of three golden triangles. Also, both can grant the user great power.
However, the Light Force does not fit the description of the Triforce in any other aspect. While the Triforce is made out of three smaller triangles (and therefore has a gap in the center), the light force is represented by a full triangle and seemingly not made out of smaller parts. The Light Force was given to the people of Hyrule by the Minish, who may have been the ones who created it. If so, it could not be the Triforce.
Some have suggested the Light Force may be another name for the Triforce of Wisdom, since Zelda is its carrier. There is controversy here too, as the Triforce of Wisdom alone cannot grant someone the powers the Light Force is shown to have. Also, Zelda would have apparently died had the Light Force been fully extracted from her, yet in The Wind Waker, the Triforce of Wisdom is taken from Zelda without harming her.
Due to the fact that the Light Force is shown as a complete triangle, many have theorized that it is the true Tetraforce. In support of this argument, many point to the fact that Vaati absorbed part of the Light Force, but was unable to get it all, perhaps taking only the fourth piece. Once Vaati is defeated, Zelda is shown emitting the three triangle shaped images from her body, perhaps relating to the three remaining pieces of the Triforce. This has been thought to be the end of the Tetraforce and the creation of the actual Triforce. In this case, the presence of the numerous three part Triforce emblems seen throughout The Minish Cap is hard to explain, as they would have been created prior the Triforce.
In an interview, Eiji Aonuma stated that the Triforce and the Light Force are not the same thing.
On a multiple occasions, the suggestion of a "fourth Triforce" has been met with complete opposition from Nintendo. Aonuma and Miyamoto have both officially said that there is no fourth piece, and even went as far as to redesign the shield in Twilight Princess for this reason. The shield was kept largely the same as the Ocarina of Time except without the upside-down triangle below the bird. Even with the mention of the Goddess of Time, official word is that there are a number of gods in the Hyrulean pantheon, many yet to be introduced. Some have even been minor characters, such as Zephos and Cyclos in The Wind Waker. As far as has been mentioned, only the three goddesses who created Hyrule have a Triforce piece associated with them.
The Triforce of Power was set to appear in the unreleased game Mystical Seed of Courage. In the game the Triforce of Power was split into eight pieces by Ganon and scattered all over Hyrule in order to prevent Link from obtaining it. If this game had of been released all three pieces of the Triforce would of been split into eight smaller pieces at some point in the series.
The Triforce makes an appearance in the spinoff game Hyrule Warriors and plays a central role in the main story. Link wields the Triforce of Courage and Princess Zelda holds the Triforce of Wisdom. The Triforce of Power however is held by the sorceress Cia who becomes corrupted by Ganondorf's influence. Cia steals Link and Zelda's (at the time in the guise of Sheik) Triforce pieces at Ganondorf's command, so that the latter can dominate Hyrule. However Cia denies him the Triforce by sending the Courage and Wisdom pieces back to their original owners while using her Triforce of Power to send Ganondorf away. Cia's defeat at the hands of the heroes meant that her counterpart Lana acquired the Triforce of Power, making her the first good aligned character to be its bearer.
Ganondorf returns with an army and leads a campaign to take all the Triforce pieces. He first reacquires the Triforce of Power from Lana and then launches an assault on Hyrule Castle to lure out Link and Zelda. The Demon King defeats his nemeses and takes their Triforce pieces. When his enemies return to confront Ganondorf, he uses the completed Triforce to transform himself into Ganon. The following fight eventually resulted in Ganon's defeat, and Link, Zelda and Lana use the Triforce to imprison Ganondorf once more.
Ocarina of Time rumors
The Triforce appears before Link in an early promotional video of Ocarina of Time. Though the Triforce makes appearances throughout Ocarina of Time, there is no way to physically obtain it within the game. However, it is rumored that at some point in the game's development, it was possible for the player to obtain the Triforce. This theory is backed up by an early promotional video released before the game was completed, which appears to show Link discovering the Triforce itself. Many video game hackers have attempted to reverse engineer the game, but there does not seem to be any way to successfully obtain the Triforce as an actual item.
There have been attempts to create faked screenshots using image-editing programs and hacked versions of the game including the famed "Overture of Sages" hoax, but these have either been proven to be false, or revealed to be April Fools' jokes.
In the original D.i.C. cartoon The Legend of Zelda, which aired each Friday as a portion of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show show, only the Triforce of Wisdom and the Triforce of Power appear. The Triforce of Courage is never mentioned or seen. The Triforces were not golden triangles, but tetrahedrons made of colored jewel-like materials, emerald-green for the Triforce of Wisdom, and ruby-red for the Triforce of Power. Both Triforces floated over a pedestal and occasionally talked in rhyme to the other characters, giving information about the current situation. The Triforce of Wisdom had a female voice and the Triforce of Power had a male voice.
In the cartoon television series Captain N: The Game Master, the characters from Zelda appeared four times and the Triforce appeared in one episode. The Triforce of Power and the Triforce of Courage were stolen at the beginning of the show but were returned by the end of the episode. Interestingly, Zelda grew steadily weaker during the course of the episode and it was heavily implied that if the missing Triforce sections were not found, she would die. The Triforce of Wisdom remained with Zelda and occasionally gave advice by talking through Zelda. The Triforces were made of some sort of jewel-like material, with gold bordering and decorations at the center of each section, which was made up of the stylized letter for the beginning of their names: P for Power, C for Courage, W for Wisdom.
In the The Legend of Zelda comic books produced by Valiant Comics in the early 1990's, the three Triforces are often mentioned. The clearest explanation of the Triforces is in issue #3, "The Power and the Price," where Zelda possesses the Triforce of Wisdom, Ganon keeps the Triforce of Power, and Link possesses the Triforce of Courage within his heart. In the story arc, Link accidentally succeeds in raiding Ganon's chambers and taking the Triforce of Power, empowering him with all of the Triforce's magic. Unfortunately, the same corruption which overtook Ganon and deformed him begins to happen to Link, as he is misusing the Triforce of Power by using it without the wisdom of the Triforce of Wisdom. The comic book adds an additional twist; those who use the Triforce of Power become dependent on it, and because Ganon no longer possesses it, he begins to die, a fate that will now befall Link should he be severed from it. The Triforce of Courage leaves Link due to this misuse and changes to Zelda, until Link realizes the gravity of the situation and the impending loss of his soul by keeping the Triforce of Power. In the end, he throws the Triforce of Power down a bottomless chasm with Ganon trailing after it. The selfless sacrifice causes the Triforce of Courage to return to Link, restoring his life.
|Ganon · Link · Old Man · Princess Zelda|
—Full list of characters
|Aquamentus · Dodongo · Manhandla · Gleeok · Digdogger · Gohma · Gannon|
|Lake Hylia · Lost Hills · Lost Woods · Death Mountain · Graveyard · Spectacle Rock|
—Full list of locations
|Level 1 · Level 2 · Level 3 · Level 4 · Level 5 · Level 6 · Level 7 · Level 8 · Level 9|
|Level 1 · Level 2 · Level 3 · Level 4 · Level 5 · Level 6 · Level 7 · Level 8 · Level 9|
|2nd Potion · Arrow · Blue Candle · Blue Ring · Bomb · Book of Magic · Boomerang · Bow · Food · Letter · Life Potion · Magical Boomerang · Magical Key · Magical Rod · Power Bracelet · Raft · Recorder · Red Candle · Red Ring · Silver Arrow · Stepladder|
|Wooden Sword · White Sword · Magical Sword · Small Shield · Magical Shield|
|Triforce of Wisdom|
|Fairy · Gerudo · Hylian|
|Dark Link · Ganon · Link · Princess Zelda|
—Full list of characters
|Horsehead · Helmethead · Rebonack · Carock · Gooma · Barba · Thunderbird · Dark Link|
|North Castle · Mountain Town of Darunia · Kasuto · Harbor Town of Mido · Hidden Town of Kasuto · Town of Nabooru · Town of Rauru · Town of Ruto · Water Town of Saria|
—Full list of locations
|Parapa Palace · Midoro Palace · Island Palace · Maze Island Palace · Ocean Palace · Hidden Palace · Great Palace|
|P Bag · 1-up Doll · Magical Sword · Magical Shield · Candle · Flute · Handy Glove · Hammer · Raft · Boots · Magical Key · Cross|
|Fairy Spell · Fire Spell · Jump Spell · Life Spell · Reflect Spell · Shield Spell · Spell Spell · Thunder Spell|
|Trophy · Water of Life · Kidnapped Child · Six Crystals · Triforce of Courage|
|Fairy · Hylian|
| Ezlo · King Daltus · Link · Princess Zelda · Smith · Vaati|
—Full list of characters
|Big Green ChuChu · Gleerok · Mazaal · Big Octorok · Gyorg Pair · Vaati Reborn · Vaati Transfigured · Vaati's Wrath|
| Castor Wilds · Cloud Tops · Eastern Hills · Hyrule Town · Lake Hylia · Lon Lon Ranch · Minish Woods · Mount Crenel · Mt. Crenel's Base · North Hyrule Field · Royal Valley · South Hyrule Field · Trilby Highlands · Veil Falls · Western Wood · Wind Ruins|
|Deepwood Shrine · Cave of Flames · Fortress of Winds · Temple of Droplets · Royal Crypt · Palace of Winds · Dark Hyrule Castle|
|Smith's Sword · White Sword · Four Sword · Small Shield · Mirror Shield · Bombs · Boomerang · Bow · Cane of Pacci · Gust Jar|
|Bottle · Flame Lantern · Flippers · Grip Ring · Mole Mitts · Ocarina of Wind · Power Bracelets · Roc's Cape|
|Elements · Kinstones · Tiger Scrolls|
|Deku · Fairy · Goron · Human · Hylian · Minish · Wind Tribe|
|Bellum · Ciela · Linebeck · Link · Ocean King · Oshus · Tetra|
—Full list of characters
|Blaaz · Cyclok · Crayk · Diabolical Cubus Sisters · Dongorongo · Gleeok · Eox · Bellum · Ghost Ship · Bellumbeck|
|Bannan Island · Cannon Island · Goron Island · Harrow Island · Isle of Ember · Isle of Frost · Isle of Gust · Isle of Ruins · Isle of the Dead · Mercay Island · Molida Island · Zauz's Island|
—Full list of locations
|Temple of Fire · Temple of Wind · Temple of Courage · Ghost Ship · Goron Temple · Temple of Ice · Mutoh's Temple · Temple of the Ocean King|
|Oshus's Sword · Wooden Shield · Boomerang · Bombs · Bow · Bombchus · Grappling Hook · Hammer · Phantom Sword · Shovel · Fishing Rod|
|Leaf · Neri · Ciela · Pure Metals · Phantom Hourglass · Spirit Gem|
|Anouki · Deity · Fairy · Gerudo · Goron · Human · Hylian · Yook|
|Anjean · Byrne · Chancellor Cole · Link · Malladus · Princess Zelda|
—Full list of characters
|Stagnox · Fraaz · Phytops · Cragma · Byrne · Skeldritch · Demon Train · Chancellor Cole · Malladus|
| Fire Realm · Forest Realm · Ocean Realm · Sand Realm · Snow Realm|
—Full list of locations
|Forest Temple · Snow Temple · Ocean Temple · Fire Temple · Sand Temple · Tower of Spirits|
|Lokomo Sword · Rail Map · Recruit's Sword · Recruit Uniform · Spirit Flute · Spirit Tracks · Spirit Train · Stamp Book · Tears of Light|
|Boomerang · Whip · Whirlwind · Bow · Sand Wand · Bow of Light|
|Anouki · Demon · Goron · Hylian · Lokomo|