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The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia

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Hyrule Historia Japanese cover.jpg

The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia is a 276-page book commemorating the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda series. In order, it features a foreword by Shigeru Miyamoto, concept artwork for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the initial release of the series timeline, concept artwork for other games, a design retrospective on the main characters, an afterword from Eiji Aonuma, and a Skyward Sword prequel manga by Akira Himekawa. It was originally published in Japan by Shogakukan on December 21, 2011, and later published in North America by Dark Horse Comics on January 29, 2013. A digital Wii U version was released as part of a bundle with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.

The book is notable for material that has never been publicly released before, such as the series timeline that was previously only hinted at in interviews and lore.


This summary contains Hyrule's history as far as the book's version of events goes. Hyrule Historia notes that the chronology is subject to be rewritten with the advent of new legends.


The Era of the Creation of the World[edit]

The three goddesses create the world and leave behind the Triforce, golden triangles bearing the goddesses' power, wisdom, and courage.

The Era of the Goddess Hylia[edit]

Evil appears from beneath the land. Goddess Hylia, entrusted with the Triforce and the protection of the world, seals away the demon king, Demise. She knows that Demise will come again and she will be powerless to stop him. A goddess cannot use the Triforce, so she creates a spirit known as Fi to aid her chosen hero and gives up her divine form to unlock the power of the Triforce for her so that they might defeat Demise. She instructs Impa of the Sheikah tribe to watch over the seal after her passing.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword[edit]

Emergence of the demon king. Goddess Hylia is reborn as Zelda. Guided by Fi, Link tempers the Goddess Sword into the Master Sword and takes his place as the chosen hero. The power of the Triforce destroys Demise. However, those who share the blood of the goddess and the spirit of the hero are eternally bound to the curse of the demon.

The Era of Chaos & the Era of Prosperity[edit]

The land that the goddesses created and Hylia protected eventually came to be known as Hyrule. The humans with mysterious powers who share roots with Hylia, distinguished by their long ears, came to be known as Hylians. After a long period of peace, people began to fight over the Triforce of legend. In response, the Sage of Light, Rauru, builds the Temple of Time around the only entrance to the Sacred Realm that houses the Triforce, and seals the entrance and the ability to pass through time with the Master Sword. He entrusts three sacred stones, which act as keys to the Door of Time, to the people of the forest, people of water, and people of fire. Rauru stays within the Sacred Realm as guardian and enshrines the Triforce in the Temple of Light. Many years later, the kingdom is established by descendants of the reborn Hylia, Zelda, and they built Hyrule Castle in the center of Hyrule near the Temple of Time. Many members of the Royal Family are born with a special power, and the queen would often be named Zelda after the historical legend.

The Picori and the Light Force[edit]

The Minish gift the hero of men with the powerful Picori Blade, and the Royal Family with the sacred light force. The hero seals away the monsters plaguing Hyrule.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap[edit]

The light force is targeted by the wizard Vaati. The Four Sword is forged from the legendary sword of the Picori, and Vaati, having become a demon, is defeated by Link.

The Unsealing of Sorcerer Vaati[edit]

Peace returns as Vaati was presumed dead, but one day he suddenly reappears and kidnaps many beautiful maidens, taking them to the Wind Palace. A young boy uses the power of the legendary Four Sword to split his body into four in order to defeat Vaati. The boy seals Vaati inside the Four Sword within the Four Sword Shrine and returns the girls home to their villages.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords[edit]

A long time later, after being tricked by Vaati into drawing the Four Sword and releasing him, Link defeats him and reseals him.

Hyrule Kingdom in Chaos[edit]

Conflict among the different races continues across the land for countless eras. A woman flees to the forbidden forest with her baby in the hopes that the Deku Tree will watch over him. Sensing the child's destiny as the Hero of Time, the Deku Tree accepts, and the woman dies. Soon, the King of Hyrule quells the war and unifies the Hyrulean people under him. The Gerudo King of Thieves, Ganondorf, openly swears fealty to the King of Hyrule, but secretly plots to find the Triforce.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time[edit]

Ganondorf invades the Sacred Realm. He touches the Triforce, and the Triforce splits into three due to the imbalance in his heart. Link, chosen as the Hero of Time, wields the Master Sword and, traveling across seven years, awakens the seven Sages. The Triforce of Power that remained with Ganondorf, the Triforce of Wisdom within Princess Zelda, and the Triforce of Courage within the Hero of Time, Link, resonate once more in a decisive battle.

The timeline makes its first split here. For the branch in which Ganondorf is triumphant, see The Hero is Defeated. For the branch in which Ganondorf is defeated, see The Hero is Triumphant.

The Hero is Defeated[edit]

Link is, of all things, defeated. The King of Evil, Ganondorf, completes the Triforce and transforms into the King of Darkness, Ganon. The seven Sages, led by Princess Zelda, seal Ganon and the Triforce in the Sacred Realm as a last resort. Ganon will menace the world in later eras as the conflicts over the Triforce continue, the bloodline of the gods wane, and the kingdom is reduced in size. Thus “The Decline of Hyrule” ensues.

The Imprisoning War[edit]

Peace is short-lived as knowledge of the Sacred Realm and the Triforce spread across Hyrule, leading many greedy people to lust after its power. However, Ganon's influence has transformed the Sacred Realm into the Dark World, and those who venture there never return, with only evil coming out of the entrance. The King of Hyrule orders the seven sages to seal the entrance to the Sacred Realm. As they prepare the spell, the Knights of Hyrule protect them from the demons that pour out of the entrance. Most of the knights perish in the intense battle, but the sages complete the spell and seal the Sacred Realm once again.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past[edit]

Ganon, from within the Dark World, plots his return to the Light World through his alter ego, Agahnim, whom gains favor with the King of Hyrule and betrays him. Link, a boy descended from a member of the Knights of Hyrule, travels to the Dark World and defeats Ganon. He recovers the Triforce, and peace returns to the world.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons[edit]

Link visits Hyrule Castle and is whisked away to Holodrum by the Triforce. He defeats the General of Darkness, Onox, and rescues the Oracle of Seasons, Din.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages[edit]

Link visits Hyrule Castle and is whisked away to Labrynna by the Triforce. He defeats the Sorceress of Shadows, Veran, and rescues the Oracle of Ages, Nayru. Afterwards, it is revealed that Twinrova was behind the events of Holodrum and Labrynna, which were part of a plot to resurrect the Evil King Ganon. Link defeats both Twinrova and the revived Ganon, and later departs on a boat for a training journey.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening[edit]

Link is shipwrecked in a storm and washes ashore on Koholint Island.

The Great King and the Triforce of Courage[edit]

The Royal Family uses the Triforce to make the kingdom prosperous. Worried that the Triforce could be misused after his death, a great king hid the Triforce of Courage and cast a spell over the kingdom so that a crest will appear on the hand of the one worthy of being its bearer. When the king dies, crest did not appear on the prince's hand, and a magician close to him suggests that Princess Zelda knows the secret. When Princess Zelda repeatedly refuses to tell her older brother the location of the Triforce of Courage, the magician sacrifices his life to cast a sleeping spell on Zelda, much to the prince's horror. In his grief, the prince regretfully places Zelda in the North Castle and decrees that every female born into the Royal Family shall be given the name Zelda so that the tragedy shall never be forgotten. While he reforms himself and governs wisely as king, the glory of the kingdom decays to a smaller state as no one worthy of bearing the full Triforce appears.

The Legend of Zelda[edit]

Prince Darkness Ganon invades the small kingdom of Hyrule, stealing the Triforce of Power. Princess Zelda splits the Triforce of Wisdom into eight pieces and hides them, angering Ganon. She is captured by Ganon, and his followers pursue Impa. Impa is saved by Link and she asks the young traveller to gather the pieces, defeat Ganon, and rescue Zelda. Link does so, and stays in Hyrule to assist in the reconstruction efforts, although Ganon's underlings are still roaming Hyrule.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link[edit]

Six years later, Link notices the crest of the Royal Family appearing on the back of his left hand as his sixteenth birthday approaches. He shows Impa, who takes Link to the North Castle and the sleeping Princess Zelda I, revealing her story. Deciding to reclaim the Triforce of Courage and save her, Link takes on a series of trials left by the old king. He obtains the Triforce of Courage, hidden in the Great Palace, and uses it to awaken the sleeping Princess Zelda. The power of the gods is restored in the now-peaceful kingdom of Hyrule, and the revival of Ganon is prevented. However, it is unknown if the land thrives in a golden age or if it falls to an age of darkness in the future.

The Hero is Triumphant[edit]

Ganondorf is defeated and uses the Triforce of Power to become Ganon. Link weakens him with the Master Sword, and Princess Zelda and the rest of the seven Sages seal away Ganondorf and the Triforce of Power. Link is returned to his original time by Princess Zelda.

The timeline makes its second split here. For the branch following the Hero of Time back in the past, see Child Era. For the branch following Princess Zelda in the future, see Adult Era.

Child Era[edit]

Link, having returned to his original time, giving a notice of the future to Princess Zelda stop Ganondorf's ambitions before they can take shape. At this time, Link possesses the Triforce of Courage.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask[edit]

Link, searching for months for his fairy friend, Navi, wanders into the world of Termina.

The Demon Thief Ganondorf's Execution[edit]

Meanwhile, Princess Zelda, armed with knowledge of future events from Link, accuses Ganondorf of being complicit in the kingdom's downfall. Several years later, Ganondorf is set to be executed by six sages. However, since he was chosen by the Triforce of Power, Ganondorf staves off death and kills one of the sages. In the panic, the remaining sages use the Mirror of Twilight to exile him to the Twilight Realm. They were then given a mission from the gods to protect the Mirror of Twilight.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess[edit]

Ganondorf manages to corrupt the Twilight Realm and lends his power to Zant. The shadow beings invade the kingdom of Hyrule, and Link is caught in the confusion. Partnering with the imp Midna, Link manages to fill his role as hero and overthrow Zant. Ganondorf attempts to regain his former power, only to be destroyed by Link.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures[edit]

Hundreds of years later, despite renewed relations between the kingdom of Hyrule and the Gerudo tribe, Ganondorf reincarnates. He uses the Dark Mirror to create Shadow Links in order to break the seal on the demon Vaati, and later obtains the evil trident and becomes the King of Darkness, Ganon. With the Four Sword, Link retrieves the Dark Mirror, defeats Vaati, and seals away Ganon.

Adult Era[edit]

After returning Link to the Hyrule of seven years ago, Princess Zelda returns the Master Sword to the Pedestal of Time and closes the Door of Time. Time moves forward in this future with the Hero of Time absent, and the Triforce of Courage divides into eight units as a result.

The Era without a Hero[edit]

After the tales of the Hero of Time have become legend, Ganon and his demonic forces return. The Hero of Time does not. The King of Hyrule, Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, leaves the fate of the land to the goddesses. The goddesses instruct the chosen people to flee to the mountaintops before submerging Hyrule, along with Ganon, beneath the Great Sea.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker[edit]

After hundreds of years, Ganondorf revives again. The King of Red Lions guides Link, the Hero of Winds, along with Tetra, the pirate, to unite the Triforce. The ancient King of Hyrule uses the Triforce to wash away Hyrule under the sea, and both Ganondorf and the Master Sword are buried in the water, ending the cycle of conflict over the Sacred Realm and the Triforce.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass[edit]

Link, along with Tetra and her crew, depart for a new land. During their great voyage, they become caught up in the Temple of the Ocean King, freeing it from the grips of the monster known as Bellum.

The Early History of Hyrule's Rebirth[edit]

Continuing the great voyage, Tetra and her crew discover a continent. It is the land of the spirits of good, where the central Tower of Spirits was used to seal the Demon King, Malladus, in the distant past. Tetra establishes a new kingdom of Hyrule and makes peace with the native Lokomos. It is stipulated that soldiers would wear the same uniform as the Hero of Winds.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks[edit]

One hundred years after the founding of Hyrule, the railways surrounding the Tower of Spirits begin to disappear throughout the realms, and Malladus returns. Link and Princess Zelda defeat the Demon King. The Lokomo guardians return to the heavens, and the land is entrusted to the people of Hyrule.

Post-Hyrule Historia changes[edit]

After the release of Hyrule Historia, the timeline has been revised several times to accommodate the release of new games.

  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds takes place after Link's Awakening,[1] featuring a different Link and Zelda.
  • During development of The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, the director stated that it was undecided where the game took place in the timeline,[2] with a representative later stating that it did not take place in the timeline.[3] Upon release, Tri Force Heroes was stated to take place after A Link Between Worlds, with the main hero as the same Link.[4]
  • The official Japanese website contains the above changes and makes two more.[5] First, the placement of Link's Awakening and Oracle of Seasons/Ages was swapped. The change was presumably made in an effort to resolve a continuity error in which Zelda appears to meet Link for the first time, which would imply that they are different characters from A Link to the Past; however, there is now no explanation as to why Link is able to walk up to the Triforce in Hyrule Castle as an established hero at the beginning of the Oracle games, although the website does not directly state that it is a separate Link and Zelda. Second, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is listed at the end of each branch of the timeline, but it not explicitly connected to any of them. The game itself contains certain elements previously exclusive to each branch of the timeline. The official English website restates the former but not the latter.[6]

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (manga)[edit]

Zelda no Densetsu: Skyward Sword cover

This 32-page manga takes place prior to the events of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and depicts the goddess's chosen hero of long ago as the earliest incarnation of Link. While it is an official part of the book, it is not explicitly listed as part of the chronology.


A boy named Link plays with Groose, Cawlin, Strich, Pipit, and Fledge in Skyloft when one of them spots a red bird flying in the sky, recognizing it as a Loftwing. Link is left in deep contemplation as he thinks about its freedom compared to his own. The manga cuts to a flashback taking place thousands of years earlier, on the surface world known as the land of Hylia, during an age of fear and betrayal. A hero named Link is chained up as a prisoner in a castle. Several men approach him and inform him that Lord Dagianis, the man who had Link captured, was himself killed by the demon king, and request Link's help in repelling his army. Link is skeptical, having been told that there was no need for a powerful hero, and knowing that his sword is broken and strength has run out. One of the men reassures him that it was due to a misunderstanding and that Link's premonition of danger was true. He announces that Orville has tended to Link's blade during the past four years, who then personally presents it to Link. Link accepts his role as hero, comparing himself to a sleeping lion.

On the castle roof, Link looks down at the people who eagerly awaited his heroism, and pledges to forever join them in their fight for the land of Hylia. The people spot an approaching red bird and mistake it for a demon, shooting arrows at it. Link notices that there is someone on it, and tells them to hold their fire. The people realize that the rider is the guardian goddess of Hylia. The goddess introduces herself as Hylia, and the bird of the gods as a Loftwing. The Loftwing reminds Hylia that the humans were so fearful that they could not tell friend from foe a moment ago, and claims that the one worthy to be its rider against the demon king will not be found in the lower world. Link takes offense and affirms the Loftwing that he and his people will defeat the demon king, getting Hylia's attention. Link introduces himself to the bemused Loftwing as a knight of the land of Hylia, saying that while humans may be small next to the power of a god, there are some who boast great courage. Hylia speaks up and says that the demon king will soon ruin the surface world with the fires of destruction, and tells the humans that there is a place for them in the sky. Without a word, the Loftwing takes off to the sky.

Hylia shows Link the Master Sword, a blade created by the gods to repel evil. It contains the power to sunder the earth and act as a pillar to support the land as it floats to the sky. While it was meant for gods, she needs a human to wield it in order to exert power over the surface world, and requests it to be the land's most honorable hero. Link respectfully declines, telling Hylia that because that his honor was tarnished when he was imprisoned for a long time, he could not possibly lay hands on a sacred sword. Hylia insists, as the sword will be able to decide for itself if the one who touches it is impure. Link remarks that gods and humans both expect the same out of him, but regardless, he fights for his friends. Accepting the task, Link assists in reforging the Master Sword so that he, a mortal, can wield it. Meanwhile, Hylia desperately holds back the impending evil of the demon king, whose forces are scorching the earth. Link appears with the Master Sword to defend the humans. Other creatures of the surface world, who have an allegiance to Hylia, aid the humans in their struggle for survival.

The battle between the two armies waged over the course of seven days and seven nights. Despite the vast number of human casualties, the people continue to fight valiantly. Link encounters the demon king, who says that he may spare Link if he decides to become his servant. Link exclaims that he does not care if he lives or dies as long as he defeats the demon king, who then knocks him down for his defiance. On the ground, Link regrets that he could not prevent the carnage that his coming to his village and the rest of the beautiful land. As if on cue, the Loftwing returns to Link, revealing that he has been watching over his battle. It accepts Link as its rider, eager to fight together for eternity. Link asks the Loftwing to guide his people to the skies. With the resolve renewed, three flying dragons circle Link and the Loftwing as though offering a blessing, and a Triforce mark appears on the Master Sword. The Fire Dragon tells the hero to present the Master Sword, which contains the legacy of the gods, before the goddess. Hylia uses the Master Sword to rent the earth with a single swing, sending a piece of land with the remaining humans and the Triforce skyward, creating the floating land that came to be known as Skyloft. Link allows the Master Sword to take to the skies with it in a piercing pillar of light, staying behind on the surface at peace as he succumbs to his wounds.

Hylia confronts the demon king, stating that the Triforce rests with her devoted people in a place beyond the reach of evil. She manages to seal him away as he swears that the demons will claim that power and rule over the world someday. Hylia returns to Link, who is resting against a rock motionless. Hylia holds Link's body in her arms and laments that his imprisonment was the will of the heavens necessary to hone his unbreakable spirit and temper the Master Sword. Hylia says that Link will be its master for eternity for awakening it, crying as she regrets the suffering endured in his life despite the shared love for her land and people. She ensures that his gentle, heroic spirit will live forever, wishing to meet him again as a human rather than a goddess, and stating that they shall be reborn together when the land of Hylia faces danger. The manga cuts back to thousands of years later, with the incarnation of Link as a boy on Skyloft. Horwell is giving a lesson on the goddess to students of the Knight Academy including Link, who yawns in class much to Zelda's chagrin. Later, Link is alone outside and wonders why he often looks at the sky as if he was bored. As if answering, the red Loftwing from earlier lands in front of him. Looking at its eyes, Link can feel as though it is saying that it has waited for him a long time. The manga concludes with the Loftwing thinking to itself that it will guide Link to his destiny after being parted by such time and distance, implying that it is the same Loftwing who met the earlier incarnation of Link from thousands of years ago.


The manga's version of events differs slightly from the game's perspective in several ways.

  • During the events of the game, the Goddess Sword is not said to have been the Master Sword, suggesting that it became the Master Sword for the first time.
  • In the tradition as told in the game, Hylia created Skyloft to send the humans to safety and then joined the land dwellers in fighting the demons. However, in the manga, the battle lasted for a week before Hylia was able to create Skyloft near the end of it.
  • In the game, Demise claims that he never imagined meeting a human who dared to challenge him, and calls Link a paragon of his kind that fights like no man or demon he knew. However, according to the manga, he previously fought an earlier incarnation of Link, albeit briefly.
  • Hylia is not visibly shown to have grave injuries after the battle, which was stated in the game. In addition, she appears to want to be reborn as a human out of admiration for Link's courage in the manga, whereas in the game, becoming mortal is said to be part of her plan to utilize the supreme power of the Triforce in order to prevent the return of Demise after she realized that the seal would not hold forever, along with the creation of Fi to guide her chosen hero.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ハイラル・ヒストリア ゼルダの伝説 大全
Hairaru Hisutoria Zeruda no Densetsu Taizen
Hyrule Historia: The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia

External links[edit]