A Link to the Twilight Princess

Right now, I have the biggest gamer score here!

This article contain spoilers for:

  • Terminator (movie)
  • Back to the Future (movie)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

The goal of this article is not to establish a time line for the Zelda games. I tried doing that and failed because I simply could not fit A Link to the Past (aLttP) anywhere between the existing games. Instead, what I managed to do was to fit Twilight Princess (TP) somewhere, and since this is the Zelda franchise we are talking about, I’m proud of my achievement.

After finishing TP, I honestly had no idea on how to fit it into the storyline, considering certain aspects of its story contradicts other games. Below I’ll try to fit TP in a way I can eliminate as many plot holes as I can – then you see if you support my conclusion or not.

The 2 Laws of Time Travel

Before we start, I wanted to make sure you guys are familiar with the two rules, or theories, of time traveling: the Terminator Rule and the Back to the Future Rule.

1. The Terminator Rule

Just like in the Terminator movies, this law involves the idea of destiny and that you cannot change it. In the movie, there is a war between the rebels and the evil computer. The evil computer sends a robot to the past (the Terminator) to kill the future mother of the rebels’ leader. However, by doing that, it started a chain of events that actually was what allowed the leader to born in the first place. Therefore, by this law, nobody can change the present by altering the past.

By using this law, there is necessarily only a single timeline in the Zelda games.

In Ocarina of Time, Link would have defeated Ganondorf in the future and then disappeared while the present version of Ganondorf starts breaking havoc in Hyrule… only to be defeated by Adult Link 7 years later. Then Adult Link would return to the past, become Child Link again, and actually witness the downfall of Hyrule into Ganondorf’s hand because, like in the Terminator movies, one cannot dodge fate.

2. The Back to the Future Rule

Here, every time we change the past, we alter the future. Just like in the first Back to the Future movie, where Martin goes to the past and ruins the moment his parents met each other, thus affecting the future he is from and placing him under the risk of disappearing!

In this law, time is like a tree: branching out into various possible alternative futures.

By using this law, there are 2 endings in Ocarina of Time (plus countless more if you consider that each time Link went to the past in Majora’s Mask and Oracle of Time). One ending results with Ganon sealed in the future and the other with Link and Zelda meeting at the Castle Garden before Ganondorf touched the Triforce (if it was after Ganondorf touched the Triforce, Zelda would have fled the castle with Impa, which would contradict the final scene of OoT).

Why do people like to split the timeline?

There are no rights or wrongs in here. We split the timeline simply because there are too many plot holes in the Zelda franchise. The more we split the games’ timelines the more each game will look independent from each other – and the more independent they get the easier it becomes to simply dismiss the franchises’ plot holes.

Ocarina of Time only suggests there could be 2 timelines, but there could be way more. A 3rd possible timeline could take place in one of the multiple branches from Majora’s Mask in which the crash of the moon happens. In this 3rd timeline, Link never returns (and neither does his descendants) to Hyrule thus allowing for Ganondorf to break free and Hyrule to be flooded. Wind Waker, therefore, could be in an isolated timeline altogether.

Chit chat is over. Let’s get to the point:

Some aspects of story in TP specifically annoyed me. Ganondorf seemed like he was thrown at the last minutes for the game never once directly mentions the events of Ocarina of Time.

But even worse is that Zant had the potential to be an awesome villain just by himself. The Midna/Zant relationship could open new possibilities to the franchise… a potential lost when they decided to throw Ganondorf in there. And and started re-telling the same story A Link to the Past did, in which Ganon uses a puppet to control Hyrule.

Considering we have previously witnessed an amazing intro in the Wind Waker, the fact there were so few references to OoT was very annoying. But there were references. Two of them, in fact. Had there not been any, we could easily set TP apart and treat it as an independent Zelda game the same way The Minish Cap and Link’s Awakening are. Those two direct references were the picture of the Fisherman in the Fishing Lake and the Temple of Time.

All the other references are too undistinguished. Just play the game again and you will be surprised: it doesn’t contain the word Triforce at all! They talk about goddess powers, but that’s it. Neither the Hero of Time is mentioned in TP. Instead they talk about a more generic legendary hero. Why, those references are so pedestrian that if it weren’t for the fisherman picture and the Temple of Time, I could have easily assumed that the game is a sequel of The Minish Cap (that also contains a goddess power in the form of the Minish Light and a legendary hero), not Ocarina of Time.

Next, let’s take a look of what is coherent and what is not with the other Zelda games.

What is Coherent in the Twilight Princess?

A. The Master Sword

Twilight Princess serves as a bridge between Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past because it explains how the Master Sword ended up in Lost Woods (although I still cannot place aLttP after TP due to other factors).

B. What happened to Gerudos and Sheikans

Twilight Princess also explains why Gerudos and Sheikans cannot be fond in the older games. The Gerudos apparently disbanded and joined the rest of society – the bar owner Telma is hinted to be a Gerudo descendant (the ear phenotype difference between Gerudos and Hylians could be explained by miscegenation) – meanwhile the Sheikans are either still in hiding or will go extinct after Impaz pass away.

C. The Hyrulean Equivalent of the Majora Tribe

In the game Majora’s Mask, everything in Termina is derived from Hyrule. Even Tingle was originally the Terminean version of Link. The final mystery from Majora was what was the Majora Tribe equivalent in Hyrule? The Gerudos? Ganondorf? No, the equivalent is the Twili tribe. Consequentially, the Fused Shadows is the parallel for the Majora’s Mask itself – a head accessory that unlocks tremendous power.

Also notice how the mutated Midna resembles Majora’s Incarnation. It was good that Aonuma decided to make the Twili’s magic resemble the magic from Majora’s tribe. It was one of the few mysteries TP answered instead of complicating even more.

And What is Not Coherent?

Ah… here things get sticky!

A. Why there were no mentions of a Hero of Time?

Wind Waker supposedly took place after a longer period of time from Ocarina than TP did and yet people still refer to the Hero of Time in that game but not in TP! Could the Legendary Hero mentioned in TP be completely unrelated with OoT’s Hero of Time (Adult Link)?

B. Why do Sages try to seal Ganondorf in the Twilight Realm in the first place?

In all the other games, Ganondorf ends either dead of sealed away. So why would the Sages go through the trouble of bring him back just to lock him somewhere else? Besides, how could the Sages not be aware that Ganondorf was blessed with the chosen power of the gods? Aren’t they Sages!? That stuff Sages are supposed to learn in Hyrulean Hystory 101!

C. Lastly, why does Ganon not recognize the Link archetype in TP?

In Wind Waker, we see an older Ganondorf that instantly recognizes Link’s green tunic and the Master Sword. However, the younger Ganondorf in TP does not. Instead, he does the complete opposite. He acts as if he never seen anyone wearing that tunic before!

As you could see, the Ganondorf from Twilight Princess appears to be a completely different from the Ganondorf we faced in Wind Waker. So, what if they were different? Alas, different versions?

This Article is now reaching CRITICAL MASS!

There is only one scenario that allowed me to explain all these questions. In this scenario, there was never a Hero of Time, Ganondorf was never sealed, never fought Link nor invaded the Sacred Realm, and therefore, never touched the Triforce.

That scenario is the ending of Ocarina of Time for Child Link, if you consider a split timeline and the Back to the Future rules.

In that ending, Adult Zelda sends Link further back in time: Ganondorf was still inside the Castle pledging allegiance to the King and Zelda has not fled the castle yet. Now, assume the children were able to warn the Kind and avoid all the rest to occur. Which means that Ganondorf is arrested before he could invade the Sacred Realm, touch the Triforce or even fight Link (who was probably in his adventure in Termina by then)?

If the Ganondorf we fought in TP was this one, then all the questions are explained.

  • Why there were no mentions of a Hero of Time? Because there was none. Link went to Termina and never saved Hyrule.
  • Why do Sages try to seal Ganondorf in the Twilight Realm in the first place? Because he was first arrested for plotting against the King
  • How could the Sages not be aware that Ganondorf was blessed with the chosen power of the gods? How could they know? Ganondorf never actually touched the Triforce and became the Dark Lord in this scenario.
  • Why does Ganon not recognize Link in TP? Because Ganondorf was probably brought down by Hyrule knights and Sages, not Link.

Which brings me to the main claim of this article:

Ganondorf does not have the Triforce in Twilight Princess.

What what? Yeah, that’s right! In TP, he doesn’t have the piece of power or the actual Triforce!

Remember what was said when you first meet the sages and Ganondorf is mentioned for the first time:

“He was the leader of a band of thieves who invaded Hyrule in the hopes of establishing dominion over the Sacred Realm.
He was known as a demon thief, an evil-magic wielder renowned for his ruthlessness…But he was blind…
In all of his fury and might, he was blind to any danger, and thus was exposed, subdued, and brought to justice.

Yet… By some divine prank, he, too, had been blessed with the chosen power of the gods. His abiding hatred and lust for power turned to purest malice…Perhaps that evil power has been passed on to Zant…”

Notice how while Ganondorf had hopes of establishing dominion over the Sacred Realm, it’s never stated whether he actually succeeded. Notice that he had been blessed with the chosen power of the gods, but wasn’t Link also chosen? Remember there is also no reference in TP to whether or not Ganon had the Triforce before the game started. In fact, the very word Triforce isn’t uttered at all!

Oh yeah? What about the Triforce on his hand?

The Triforce in his hand only means he was chosen by the gods, not that he has the Triforce.

The proof is in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, where Link, in the beginning of the game, receives the same mark at his 16th birthday – but he only collects the Triforce of Courage at the very end of the game.

Oh yeah? OH YEAH? But Ganondorf needs at least one piece of the Triforce to transform into Ganon! What about that?

And who’s to say that Dark Beast Ganon in TP is actually the Triforce transformed beast? Remember that in TP, Link can also transform into a into a Dark Beast (the wolf) and you never know if he truly have the Triforce of Courage!

Considering Ganondorf has Twili-like powers (as shown when Ganondorf turns into Twilight matter and possesses Zelda’s body) and was also chosen by the goddesses, the Dark Beast Ganon could simply be that Ganondorf transformed himself into an animal – in his case, a boar of sorts – the same way Link does.

Also note that Dark Beast Ganon has white markings along his sides and arms (the scar made by the Sages excluded) that almost exactly mimic those Link possesses in wolf form.

In the end, we can in no way conclude Ganondorf had the Triforce in TP.

This absence, however, allows us to explain many of the game’s incoherences.

What do you think?


  1. Tom

    Trying to understand the “Zelda mythos” hurts my brain.

    After reading everything I could find about the topic, I think it’s a lot easier to call it like it’s Final Fantasy (and that each world is separate, just using some characters with the same names) and leave it at that. It’s so much easier, and makes my brain hurt a lot less.

  2. Frank

    Dear Fernando,

    I really do want to support your theory that Ganondorf never got the Triforce. So I’m about to gather all the evedince. There must be a meaning to the fact, that the triforce never was mentioned explicitly as in oot or ww and there must be another meaning to the twilight power/ the power of darkness, because this is the center of this games storyline!

    1. Triforce

    The game only refers to “chosen by the gods” to Link and Ganondorf(and Zelda) and that the twili wanted to obtain the “power of the gods” by creating the fused shadow. So these few hints do nothing to inform the gamer what is going on and what purpose this “power of the gods” really has or any other legendary tale about it. This could mean, that the Triforce is not necassary in tp, because it is not the object anymore that ganondorf wants to obtain and the plot is created upon. Think of it: In all other games he wants to get the other pieces( like the windwaker or ocarina of time) from the respective inheritors, but in Twilight Princess he has no intentions on doing so, he just wants to throw Hyrule into darkness,as an act of his revenge for being punished. In the final part of oot when Zelda, Ganondorf and Link come together in ganons castle, their triforce shards do(!!!!) resonate by making their handmarks blinking. But in zeldas throne room in tp nothing of that kind ever happened. Even then, when midna restored zeldas life energy. So I really believe, that ganondorf and the other two do not hold the triforce shards!!!!
    Now why does Ganondorf think of himself to be so much superior to the twili or why does Zant think of Ganondorf as a god, when Ganondorf never got the triforce of power? There must have happened something that enhanced his power?!

    2.The power of twilight/ darkness

    The twili got punished very gently by the gods and light spirits when they got sealed in the twilight dimension, even having the chance to visit hyrule again via mirror of twilight. And Ganondorf? He had to be chained and executed very brutal with a sword. Didn’t ganondorf wanted to obtain only dominion over the sacred realm, just like the twili once did?! Why punish him then that hard??! So he must have done something very very bad in the meantime -but what? Maybe he did murder the kokiri(they do not appear again in twilight princess) or he destroyed the castle and castle town and the temple of time-which would explain why the temple is located that far from the new hyrule castle?There is no evidence for this… but he must have done something for being punished that hard! And he must have gathered great power to do it, or nobody of the sages would fear him that much to try to kill him.
    This is important: remember where Ganondorf got imprisoned! At the Arbiters grounds in the chamber of the sages, where the Mirror of twilight is located! And there he is chained to the dark twilistone and(!) the mirror is also above the sand! So why is it above the sand, when ganondorf should be sentenced to death in the first place?! Sealing him away was only a helpless act of the sages?
    When entering that room, you must use the spinner to dig up the mirror! So why is the mirror there not covered under sand?
    My theory is, that ganondorf climebed up Arbiters ground and found the mirror, which enhanced his natural super evil power. He wanted to find a way to get acces to the sacred realm, maybe he heard about the mirror which connects two worlds, but unfortunately it was not hyrule with the sacred realm. Instead the mirror gave him more power of darkness and fuled his evil magic! Remember what the three shards did to yeta, or the dragon, or armoghoma- now think of the whole mirror’s energy!!!! I really think, that he mutated,too, and he is secretly one of those who also are chosen to hold the power of the gods. So I believe ganondorf must have become very dangerous in an instant. Luckily those sages could bind him to the glowing chains immediately and try to erase him before he could do anything more. (But we know that this activated his status as a chosen one, infusing him with even more power!!!)

    • Wow! Such enthusiasm! Such passion! That’s always nice to see!

      There were some good new evidence you found about the Triforce I never noticed: the fact the signal on their hands don’t resonate is particularly telling! The reason why Ganondorf never mentions reuniting the pieces indeed adds a lot to the theory: assuming none of them have the Triforce, assuming this game happens immediately after OoT and assuming this Ganondorf never came close to invading the Sacred Realm (the Sages’ speech only tell that he tried), we could conclude that the Triforce is still united somewhere in the Sacred Realm.

      About the harshness of Ganon’s punishment. They were simply punished by different entities. The Twili were punished by the gods (and assuming the gods also created them, it’s understandable why they would be forgiving with their own creations), but Ganon was punished by the Kingdom of Hyrule under representation of the Sages. Perhaps Zelda is like the Red Queen with her lack of mercy. 😛

      But the mirror theory has too much speculation yet. The shards do contain power, but that power was removed from Yeta when Link took it away. The mirror might be buried in the sand for the same reason Zant broke it: for nobody to reach his throne. Could the mirror have boosted Ganon’s power? It could, but there is no evidence of that. We never knew exactly where Ganon’s original powers ended and where the “power of the gods” began.

      I mean, Link was a mere hylian and the “power of the gods” allowed him to turn into a wolf. Maybe the effects were more powerful in Ganon simply because he already was a powerful fella to begin with. Both powers are also similar in the sense that they were both only activated when their carriers faced adversity: Link by entering into the Twilight Kingdom and Ganon by being stabbed.

      Besides, I think it would be quite foolish of the Sages to use the mirror to send criminals away when the very same mirror could eventually boosts someone’s power.

      About the Kokiri, I don’t give them much importance. They could have mutated into something else a la Wind Waker or they could be still there but Link simply never found them. They are, after all, a cautious and secretive race. Also, Link also never finds a Deku Tree in TP, and if there was a place for you to find some Kokiris is near a Deku Tree.