If you know anything about The Legend of Zelda lore than you will know that it is truly impossible to know more than the basics unless you dedicate your entire life to the study and research of the lore. Sure, you can play every single game and own every single lore book. But memorizing every page of the Hyrule Historia will only get you so far. Which is why The Legend of Zelda series is the perfect breeding ground for fan theories and fiction. There is no way to confirm whether or not any of the vast multitudes of theories that exist online are true because no one understands enough of the lore to definitively confirm anything. And in a way, that is kind of beautiful.
No one can tell you that your detailed and beautiful fan theories are weird or fake because no one can prove either way whether or not they are true. The Legend of Zelda was created for the fans with the biggest and wildest imaginations. And that is wonderful. So, in the spirit of this wonderful theory loophole that The Legend of Zelda’s highly convoluted, overlapping, and confusing lore has created, I decided to share with you, the people of the internet, some of the best (and more questionable) Zelda fan theories that the world wide web has to offer. So sit back, relax, and be prepared to question everything you know about The Legend of Zelda as I take you through twenty-five of the most popular fan theories surrounding it.
25 The Interlopers
This theory has a few layers to it. The first layer is the fact that the Interlopers that are alluded to in Majora’s Mask could be a version of the ancient ones/related to the Twili race. This theory states that, whoever these people may be, might be the ones who created Majora’s Mask. This creation could be the reason as to why they were banished to the Twilight Realm in the first place. I don’t know about you, but I think that creating such a thing might warrant such extreme levels of punishment.
24 The Fourth Piece
Now, I don’t know about you, but this theory is absolutely fascinating to me. This theory states that there may be a secret fourth piece to the Triforce. If this theory is true, we might have to start calling it the quad-force or tetra-force. This theory states that the little triangular shaped hole in the middle of the Triforce was once home to a fourth piece and that it will be found eventually (while others believe it was lost to time). Many have speculated over what that piece would symbolize.
23 Soul-Filled Masks
This theory states that each and every mask that exists within the Majora’s Mask game actually contains a piece of a lost soul trapped within it. This theory goes with the “Five Stages of Grief” theory mentioned later in this article as it states that those who were unable to make it through the stages found themselves trapped within the masks forever. When Link wears the masks, he is temporarily possessed by the soul trapped within the mask, who helps him accomplish his task.
22 The Three Wielders
One staple of The Legend of Zelda series is that Zelda, Link, and Ganondorf always seem to find themselves pitted against each other in one form or another.
There is a theory that attempts to explain this.
This theory says that these three are reincarnated versions of the original three wielders. It is important to note that this theory is not that outlandish as it has been confirmed that both Ganondorf and Zelda are the products of reincarnation. Not as bizarre as it sounds.
21 Origins Of The Hero's Shade
Fun fact: This theory was confirmed by the release of the Hyrule Historia. This theory explains that the Hero’s Shade (who acts as a sort of mentor to Link in the game Twilight Princess) is actually an incarnation of Link himself. This theory states that the Hero’s Shade is a combination of the child version of Link from both Majora’s Mask and Ocarina of Time, who was depressed over the idea that his life might end without him even being recognized as a hero since he was unable to pass on his skills.
20 The Single Link Theory
This theory states that there is only one Link. Just one. That the Link that appears in each and every single Legend of Zelda game is the same Link. Honestly, if that is true then that poor lad cannot catch a single break. Every time that he finally settles down, he has to get up off his bottom and save the world once again. By the third time, I’d lock my doors and let Hyrule fend for itself. This theory is supported by the idea of multiple timelines and time travel which were introduced in Ocarina of Time.
19 Legend Of The Oocca
There are few things as scary as these monstrosities. I mean, look at that. Utterly spooky. And because of their odd, bizarre, and downright unsettling appearances, fans of all shapes and sizes have come up with dozens of theories in order to give some explanation as to what these creatures might be, or have been in another life. Some fans claim that these creatures were originally part of an advanced race that de-evolved into these bird like creatures after their homeland was wiped out. Others believe that they were the pets that belonged to the people of this race.
18 Darkest Origins
Dark Link is in the house! But where did he come from? Nega Link is spooky and relatively silent in each and every one of his appearances.
And the combination of his constant appearance as well as his absent backstory has caused a lot of fans to fill in the blanks themselves.
One theory has stated that Dark Link is actually Demise from Skyward Sword due to the similarities in their design. Others claim that he is the physical manifestation of Link’s guilt/conscience.
17 Inhuman Salesmen
This eerie theory explains that the bizarre salesman who appears in Majora’s Mask isn’t exactly human. Many believe that he is either a ghost or the grim reaper himself. This theory is backed by both the “Five Stages of Grief” and the “Link is deceased” theories which will appear later in this article and claim that the salesman is there to help you through your journey to the afterlife. Whether or not this theory is true, it is important to state that every single thing, especially the happy salesman, are literally some of the most spooky things I have ever seen.
16 Energized Economy
This theory states that Rupees, which can be seen and used throughout all of the games in the Legend of Zelda series, are actually units of energy rather than an outright form of currency. The theory explains that the sheer amount of rupees that Link can carry around at one point would be physically impossible if they were actual gems. So, some fans believe that these rupees exist as a unit of energy that can be transferred to other people in order to purchase items and services.
15 Play With The Skull Kids
This theory simply states that the slightly creepy, adorable, and bizarre skull kids which appear in both Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask are the same race/people. That is just a nice, lovely, and simple theory. No secretly deceased or inhuman characters, no cursed objects, no grief or loss metaphors. Simply a happy reunion of a few similar characters and familiar faces. It’s nice and simple theories like this one that bring me true joy. More of these please, and less of the “it was all a dream” ones, thank you.
14 Link Defeated Timeline
For those of you who are not aware, the game Ocarina of Time established three main timelines: Link Defeated (where Ganondorf wins,) Ganondorf is sealed, and Scared Realm Remains Protected. This theory states that the entire Breath of the Wild game occurs within the “Link Defeated” timeline. This theory is backed up by the fact that Ganondorf exists in his “Link Defeated” form (or a version of that form) as the lore states that he gave up his mortal form in this timeline.
13 Criminal Carpenters
I have said it before and I will say it again. Majora’s Mask is one of the most spooky games ever created. I cannot believe that a team of developers sat down and decided that this hodgepodge of horrors was the perfect way to entertain children.
There is a theory that states that that infamous mask was created by the villains from Twilight Princess.
And, I know what you’re thinking. But Zooey, Twilight Princess came out after Majora’s Mask. I know that. But according to the Zelda timeline, Twilight Princess actually occurs before Majora’s Mask. Like I said, convoluted.
12 Mask Of Twilight
Fun fact! This theory was actually confirmed when Nintendo released the comprehensive guide to The Legend of Zelda lore entitled the Hyrule Historia. Note: I dropped this book on my foot once and it was outrageously painful. This theory simply states that Twilight Princess exists as a sequel to Majora’s Mask. This was confirmed by the three timeline theory which was revealed by the presence of time travel in Ocarina of Time. See what I said about convoluted and complex?
11 Oh, The Gerudo
There is a theory that states that Ganondorf’s actions caused the people of Hyrule to panic and that panic resulted in each and every innocent member of the Gerudo being banished permanently. They do not appear in some later games; however, a similar race with a similar backstory describing a king whose greed led to their downfall appears and many fans have connected the two. This theory states that the banished Gerudo became what we know as the Twili. That is an absurdly fascinating theory.
10 A Game Within A Game
Nintendo is a major fan of easter eggs and hiding references to their other games throughout the worlds and backgrounds of their products. Some fans noticed that several masks, resembling characters from the Super Mario series, could be found throughout the Majora’s Mask game and began to speculate whether they were simple easter eggs or if they had another purpose. Some fans believe that these masks show that Super Mario is a play that is oft-performed in Hyrule and that these masks were the costumes used.
9 An Old Man's Secret
Now, it is important to state that this theory was confirmed after the release of the long-awaited game, Breath of the Wild. However, when all we had was a trailer and our own imaginations, fans went buck-wild trying to figure out the true identity of that mysterious old man.
Everyone had a theory, but only one ended up being confirmed by the actual gameplay.
It turns out that the correct theory was the one that stated that the mysterious old man was actually the king of Hyrule in disguise. His appearance is accompanied by a sped-up version of the castle theme.
8 The Cliche Dream One
Some theories are incredibly complex and creative. They take so much insight and imagination to create that it is utterly impressive that a human mind was able to come up with something so intricate and brilliant. And other theories are so dull and cliche that literally every single piece of media has it applied to it at one point or another. This theory is one of the latter. Some people believe that each and every Legend of Zelda game is a dream within a dream and that every game just delves deeper into a sleeping Link’s psyche. Cool, I guess.
7 Ding Dong! The Wicked Fae Has Passed!
This theory may delight some of the more cynical fans of the series. It states that Navi did not make it past the end of her respective game. Many people did not mind her adorable and repetitive attempts to help Link throughout his mission in Ocarina of Time. While others wanted to reach through their screens and give her the old fly swatter treatment. Well, fans of the latter method rejoice for this theory claims that her sudden disappearance was due to her short life span reaching its end.
6 Same Woods, Different Name
This theory claims that the Lost Woods and the Sacred Grove are the same location, just with different names due to shifting public perceptions over time. For those of you who don’t know, the Lost Woods are a section of Hyrule which exists in a majority of the games within the series. In the briefest of summaries, these woods are impossible not to get lost in (or at the very least very difficult to navigate) and anyone who finds themselves lost for just a bit too long will find that they have been turned into a monster.
5 Remnants Of The Holy Wars
This theory states that the holy temples, which can be seen scattered throughout the game Ocarina of Time, are actual tangible leftovers from the holy wars that occurred long before the time of the games. Some fans have speculated that Hyrule was taken by a large holy war and that the temples were abandoned afterward.
This is why they exist in such a dilapidated state yet are still filled with such special items.
Some have even suggested that the traps were an effort to keep the enemies out of the temples during the war.
4 One, Two, Three, Four, Five
This theory explains that the plot of Majora’s Mask is supposed to mirror the classic psychological principle of the five stages of grief. While Link travels across the digital landscape that makes up the game in order to stop the world from being crushed under the weight of that looming (and spooky) moon, he finds his time being occupied by many citizens dealing with unique problems of their own. This theory suggests that each one of these citizens reflect one of the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance).
3 Tetra And Her Pirates
Warning: spoilers for a very dated game coming up ahead. So, at the end of Wind Waker, we find out that Tetra, the beloved pirate that helped us through our journey, was actually Zelda the whole time. That revelation led a lot of people to wonder what that secret meant for her pirate friends. Some believed that they were reincarnations/different versions of the royal servants that once served Zelda and exist to protect her, in whatever form or incarnation that she will appear as.
2 Of Course That Is A Theory
Are ya ready kids? I can’t hear you! Oh, what is the most cliche theory? Link is deceased! What theory is so dull no one should believe? Link is deceased! If deceased protagonists is something you wish, then play Majora’s Mask for a twist! Alright, I have made my distaste for the “blank was secretly deceased the whole time” theories but it is important to note that each and every single piece of media will be saddled with this theory eventually.
1 Who Ya Gonna Call?
This theory attempts to solve, explain, and uncover the true identity of the Ghost Hunter that appears in Ocarina of Time. This character appears after the Hyrule castle town meets its maker and the odd character decides that the rubble is the perfect place to open a shop. This theory states that the Ghost Hunter’s true identity was that of the Hyrule soldier who occupied roughly the same location before the fall. Another theory suggests that the child who plays amongst the graves in Kakariko grew up to become the Ghost Hunter.