Zelda Chronology: Part 2
Before I get started with Part 2, let me address something I kinda talked a little about last time, but probably not enough. I mentioned how, after killing Agahnim, you see this image of Ganon float out of his body, then it turns into a bat that you take off after. There seems to be some confusion about that, since you’d think that would mean Ganon had been possessing Agahnim all that time…but then when you face Ganon, he says that Agahnim was his “alter ego”…So then Agahnim WAS Ganon that whole time? But wait, in the Japanese version, Ganon calls Agahnim his “bunshin”, which means clone or replica… … …So what the flipping hey is he?! Is he Ganon’s replica, his follower, his alter ego, his other half that he split from himself to help further his own goals??? I don’t know, and frankly it shouldn’t really matter. Either way, Agahnim was a bad mother flipper that caused a lot of the stuff that went wrong in ALTTP. And really, figuring that one out is the least of my concerns today…
Oh, and one more thing: I WILL address the sequel to ALTTP, Link’s Awakening, at a later date. Just letting you know that while I am skipping it for now, I have not forgotten it. Part of the reason I’m not doing it now is because Ocarina of Time’s story is so involved and the continuity issues surrounding it are so vast that I honestly have more than enough to talk about without discussing that.
So yeah, in 1998, a whole 6 years after ALTTP came out in North America and Europe, the next major title in the franchise came out for the Nintendo 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This game proved to be one of the absolute best of the series, and many proclaim it to be THE best Zelda game ever. However, one thing it would make all the more complex and difficult to understand is the chronology, and it can really be summed up in a quote taken from an interview with the series’ creator, Shigeru Miyamoto.
“Ocarina of Time is the first story, then the original Legend of Zelda, then Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and finally A Link to the Past.”
…HUH?!?! There is no frigging way that ALTTP came last! Like I said before, the only way the chronology makes any sense thus far is if it occurred before Zelda I and II on the NES. Remember, the King of Hyrule had decided to keep the Triforce of Courage separate from the other two pieces. That would mean he’d have to have had all three to begin with. And how did he obtain them? Well, one could suggest that at the end of ALTTP, Link left the completed Triforce that he’d taken from Ganon with the Royal Family. Heck, you could even submit that the Zelda in ALTTP is the one who was placed under the sleeping spell and awoken in Zelda II, though that is debatable and I’m sure someone has evidence proving otherwise.
One thing that CAN be agreed on is that Ocarina of Time occurred before any of the games thus far. Satoru Takizawa, the Character Designer of Ocarina of Time, has gone on record as saying that the plot of Ocarina of Time is in fact the enactment of the Imprisoning War, where Ganon first obtained the Triforce. It’s at this point I should note that one year after Miyamoto said that ALTTP took place last in the chronology, he took part in another interview where he said that it took place BEFORE Zelda I and II and after Ocarina of Time. Whether he made a mistake during the first interview or changed his mind (because I have trouble believing he had all this planned out from the start) is immaterial. Bottom line, if you string all of this together, you can therefore come to the conclusion that Ocarina of Time is the first of these games. Oh, but don’t sigh yet, we haven’t even gotten into the story.
The game starts off in a forest filled with children who never age called the Kokiri, each with their own fairy partner (insert your own Peter Pan joke here). However, there is one boy who does not have a fairy, is generally not accepted by the others save for his best friend Saria, and finds himself having nightmares regularly about a Princess being pursued by an evil man in black. This boy is once again named Link, the Princess is another Zelda, and the man in black is Ganondorf Dragmire, the thief who will eventually become Ganon. Anyway, the forest’s guardian, a giant sentient tree known as The Great Deku Tree sends a fairy named Navi to Link and instructs them to come see him immediately. It seems that Ganondorf cursed the Tree, and Link goes inside him (gross) to traverse what is the first dungeon of the game and beat the monsters inside. Unfortunately, the Tree’s too far gone to be saved, but has enough time to tell Link a little more about Ganondorf, instruct him to go to Hyrule Castle, and grant him a green emerald called the Spiritual Stone of Forest before passing on.
Link leaves the forest, despite claims that any of the children that left the forest would die, and heads to Hyrule Castle to speak with Princess Zelda. Of course, since commoners can’t simply walk up and seek an audience with the child Princess, Link and Navi sneak into the castle and speak with Zelda, who has also seen Link her own dreams (aw, they dream about each other, how cute). We also learn that Ganondorf is in the castle, and thus are told a bit more of the back-story: It seems that Ganondorf comes from the Gerudo Desert, and is trying to gain enough favour with the King of Hyrule to obtain the keys necessary to cross over to the Sacred Realm and obtain the Triforce. So Link and Zelda come up with the plan to get the keys first, which turn out to be the three Spiritual Stones. Link already has the Forest stone, which leaves him to obtain the Fire stone from the Gorons and the Water stone from the Zoras. So he travels to the homelands of the two races, meets Darunia of the Gorons and Princess Ruto of the Zoras by travelling to new dungeons and helping out their races, and is thus rewarded with the Spiritual Stones, though apparently the Spiritual Stone of Water was given to him as a symbol of their “engagement”, much to Link’s lack of understanding (insert your own Goku and Chi-Chi joke here). That leaves one last requirement: The Ocarina of Time, an instrument held by Princess Zelda.
Link returns to Hyrule Castle, only to witness Princess Zelda fleeing with Ganondorf in hot pursuit, just like Link had seen in his dreams, but not before Ganondorf blasts Link down for fun and Zelda tosses the Ocarina in a moat for Link to obtain. With the Ocarina and the Spiritual Stones, Link goes to the Temple of Time, where he places the stones on a pedestal and plays the Song of Time on the Ocarina of Time, as instructed to him by Zelda via telepathy. This opens a massive door that leads to a sword sticking out of a pedestal, which Navi identifies as the Sword of Evil’s Bane, the Master Sword. So how did it end up having its pedestal in the Lost Woods in ALTTP? I…have no idea. Anyway, Link pulls it from the pedestal, but it locks him away in the Sacred Realm as Ganondorf shows up and passes him by, taking the Triforce.
7 years pass by in the game before Link finally wakes up in the Temple of Light within the Sacred Realm, now a teenager (and with one ear pierced for some reason). Anyway, here we meet the first of the Seven Sages: Rauru, Sage of Light (yeah, try pronouncing THAT one!). Apparently only the one true Hero of Time could wield the Master Sword, and since Link was too young when he pulled it, he was put to sleep until he was old enough. We find out that when Ganondorf touched the Triforce, it split into three pieces and he only managed to obtain the Triforce of Power while the other two went to people worthy of the divine powers of Courage and Wisdom. Why did this happen? I’ll cover it in Wind Waker. The point is, Ganondorf got all pissed and turned Hyrule into a Hell of its former self while hunting down the people with the remaining pieces. Rauru gives him the Light Medallion and tells him to meet the other five Sages to obtain the remaining Medallions in order to stop Ganondorf for good. And I know what you’re thinking, that only makes Six Sages, but we’ll get to that later.
So Link and Navi go around Hyrule, aided by a ninja-like ally named Sheik, and enter five temples that the Sages are supposed to be occupying but are now contorted into dangerous labyrinths filled with Ganondorf’s monsters. He also finds that he can travel back and forth through time by placing the Master Sword back in order to access certain areas. So once again, he has to go through dangerous puzzles and defeat horrifying monsters before awakening each Sage, who all turn out to be people he knew previously (The Forest Sage is Saria, the Fire Sage is Darunia, the Water Sage is Ruto, the Shadow Sage is Zelda’s nurse hand Impa, and the Spirit Sage is Nabooru, a Gerudo woman whom Link aided). Along the way, Link finds out that he’s NOT a Kokiri, but a Hylian, and that his dying mother left him under the care of the Great Deku Tree when he was a baby. But right now yer probably wondering who the Seventh Sage is. Well, upon gaining all six Medallions you are confronted by Sheik in the Temple of Time, who reveals his true identity to be…
…Princess Zelda! That’s right, this Zelda is both a cross dresser AND a ninja, and to top it all off, she’s also the last Sage, the Sage of Time. It’s also revealed that when Ganondorf claimed the Triforce of Power, the Triforce of Wisdom went to Zelda while the Triforce of Courage went to Link. Unfortunately, Ganondorf must have security cameras in the Temple of Time, since he snatches up Zelda in a pink crystal cage thingy. You go to Ganondorf’s Castle, which is in the ruins of Hyrule Castle and floating in the air above a moat of lava…Subtle. The other Sages form a bridge of rainbow light for you to go in, and you know the pattern here, right? Solve the puzzles, kick some ass, get to the boss. You fight Ganondorf, only in this game you don’t use Silver Arrows, you use Light Arrows. Why’d they change it? Well, the answer is: WHO CARES?! These things are frigging awesome!
Anyway, Link defeats Ganondorf and saves Zelda, but the castle starts caving in around you. The two escape as the castle somewhat comically crumbles down and flattens out PERFECTLY! However, Ganondorf emerges from underneath and transforms into that beast you love to hate, Ganon. A pretty heart-pounding battle later and Link emerges victorious as the Seven Sages proceed to lock Ganon away in the Sacred Realm, all the while he curses out your name and vows to kill your descendants. However, Zelda feels guilty for having gotten Link involved in all of this, and uses the Ocarina of Time to send him back to the past to relive his childhood that was taken away by these events. So you go back in time, Navi leaves you…for some reason…and Link goes to meet Zelda to tell her of all that’s happened. The end…kinda.
Okay, this is obviously a really awesome story that keeps you entertained from start to finish. The only downside? Well, it is FILLED with plot holes, so let’s go over them…
First off, in ALTTP, the Seven Sages were shown to be Seven Wise Men. Sure, Rauru fits that description in both personality and appearance, but there’s only one other guy in that group that really ain’t all that smart, and the others are all women that really aren’t that old! The only conclusion I can come to is that the accuracy of the details pertaining to the Imprisoning War could have been a bit off, but even that’s a stretch since we clearly see their descendants are all Hylian women. Well, Darunia was a Goron, Ruto was a Zora, Nabooru was a Gerudo, and Saria was a Kokiri. What, all of those races eventually ended up marrying and mixing genealogy with Hylians? That’s a little creepy to think of, especially since Gorons are essentially big rock people and the Kokiri are supposed to be children that never grow up…Gross…
Next issue: In ALTTP, when you defeat Ganon, he has ALL THREE pieces of the Triforce! Now how the heck did THAT happen??? Yes, he still has the Triforce of Power in the end of OoT, but Zelda kept the Triforce of Wisdom, and we’ll talk about what happens to the Triforce of Courage next time. Now I should note that there IS an event in one of the next games, Wind Waker, that sees the Triforce pieces brought back together, but trust me, the events of that game just muck things up even further as far as continuity with ALTTP goes.
There are other issues, like where did the Gorons, Kokiri, Zoras, and Gerudo go between now and then, but those do get explained…kinda. Also, note that the Zoras ARE in ALTTP, but they look less like the majestic humid amphibians of OoT and more like some kinda horror movie swamp monsters. Apparently there are actually two species of Zora, the friendly Sea Zoras and the hostile River Zoras.
There’s more to talk about in terms of how much Ocarina of Time changed the chronology of the games, but for now, there’s really only one thing to note: Remember that in the ending, we see Link go back in time, as well as see the characters of the future piece their world back to a state of normalcy. This, among a VERY lengthy list of evidence, has given rise to the popular theory (I personally think it’s a fact, but that’s my opinion) that from here on out, the chronology actually splits in two. And we’re gonna get to that in the next Jyger’s Rant, when we look at Majora’s Mask and Wind Waker.
…I’m not gonna have any hair left by the end of this, am I?