The Legend of Zelda is one of the most recognizable video games in the history of video games. To date, there have been fifteen official Zelda games, with the series' latest installment Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild becoming one of the most celebrated games of last year. It won multiple Game of the Year awards and breaking records with its review scores.
While not every Zelda game has been a gem (yes, that is a personal opinion), many of them feature unique stories and worlds, even if they do all contain the same characters and take place in the land of Hyrule.
When something becomes this popular, fan theories are as inevitable as the return of Ganon. They’ll be small details that people will pick up on or notice, that may link to a moment from an earlier game. Some characters share similar traits, leading fans to wonder if they are linked. Creators have confirmed that (most) of the games take place in the same world as the others, in one continuous timeline. So, it’s understandable that people would want to know why certain things happened and fill in the gaps themselves. There is also the matter of unanswered questions and missing characters.
Perhaps some of these are a little dark, or a little strange. But so are Link’s adventures! Some of these theories have been supported by creators, others not so much. So, let’s talk about these bizarre, yet strangely believable fan theories from The Legend of Zelda.
25 There Is A Fourth Piece To The Triforce
Some fans have theorized that there is a fourth piece of the Triforce that has yet to be revealed!
This is known as the Tetraforce Theory.
This is due to the empty fourth triangle in the middle of the Triforce triangle, the importance of the number four throughout the series (such as in Four Swords or the four light spirits in Twilight Princess), and an extra golden triangle seen on Link’s shield in Ocarina of Time. Series creator Shigeru Miyamoto has come out against the theory, but this hasn’t stopped fan speculation.
24 Link Doomed The Kokiri
After the first boss battle inside The Great Deku tree during Ocarina of Time, the tree gives in and finally passes away. This is quite depressing, given how important the tree is to this world and the Kokiri or “children of the forest,” as they were known. This has lead to a dark theory about their fate.
Some fans have speculated that Link’s time-hopping during Ocarina of Time, caused The Great Deku tree to never be replanted. The lead to the forests being overrun with monsters and the Kokiri being screwed! A little harsh, given he was one of them.
23 Beedle Is The Spirit Of Link’s Grandma
Now this one is interesting but creepy. You remember Beedle? That annoying shop owner in Wind Waker and its sequels?
Wasn’t it weird how he was always everywhere at once?
Always on the same island as Link, assisting him in his journey? Maybe that’s because he was his Grandma! We know Link’s grandma is magic, as she can make magic soup and needs fairy dust. So, what if she took the spirit of Beedle to assist her grandson in his mission? It doesn’t explain why Beedle was there during her depression, but it’s a cute theory.
22 The Ocarina Of Time Temples Are Remnants Of Holy Wars
That last one was cute, right? So, let’s do a dark one! The temples featured in Ocarina of Time, are dark, dangerous places, filled with traps and symbols. But they also contain a lot of magical artifacts for buildings that are so run down. Where did these temples come from? Why would such big buildings filled with treasures be abandoned?
One theory suggests that there was once a holy war in Hyrule, leading to the religion being overthrown and the temples abandoned. Leaving them to decay and rot. After the war, traps were placed in the temples to stop them from being looted.
21 Majora’s Mask Is Based On The Five Stages Of Grief
The game begins with Link wondering through the wilderness, looking for a “lost friend” and is then tasked with saving a civilization from being crushed by the moon.
Link then meets a series of characters who show signs of the first four stages.
The villagers are in Denial that the moon will fall on them, the Deku King is angry about his missing daughter, ghost Darmani tries to bargain with Link for his return, and Lulu is sad over losing her eggs. Link then climbs to the top of the tower and the stone temple and reaches enlightenment, accepting loss.
20 Navi Passes At The End Of Ocarina Of Time
So, if Link is exploring the five stages of grief, who is Link grieving for? Well, the answer to that might come at the end of Ocarina of Time. Navi, Link’s companion in Ocarina of Time, is nowhere to be seen in the sequel. Where did she go?
Well, did you ever notice that after you’ve used a fairy in a bottle, the fairy disappears into nowhere? Perhaps when small fairies fulfill their purpose, they disappear into nothingness. Perhaps, after assisting the Hero of Time with his quest, Navi had no more purpose. She just slipped away into nothing without saying goodbye.
19 Link Passes In Majora’s Mask
What if Navi is fine and Link actually has to accept his own demise?
The world that Link goes through in Majora’s Mask is actually a purgatory, forcing Link to repeat three days over and over until he can accept his fate.
Perhaps when he fell down that dark hole (something that would definitely end you in gameplay), he passed and ends up in this creepy world. The masks in the game also seem to represent characters who have already passed on.
18 Captain Tetra’s Crew Are Reincarnations Of Royal Servants
Tetra and the pirates are key characters in Wind Waker. When we board the pirate ship early on in the game, we learn that the crew serve Tetra after their last mistress passed away. We later learn that Tetra is Princess Zelda, and in the old underwater castle see a picture of a woman who looks a lot like her.
But how can that be if this castle was lost so long ago? The theory goes that, instead of real people, the pirates are reincarnations of the castle's aides. These spirits follow the royal bloodline and protect them as best they can.
17 Talon Is Mario
Talon is a recurring character in the Zelda series, first appearing in Ocarina of Time as the owner of the Lon Lon Ranch. Talon striking similarity to Nintendo’s other memorable character Mario hasn’t gone unnoticed.
He even has Mario’s “M” logo on his hat in Ocarina of Seasons. But these similarities aren’t enough for some fans. Rather than thinking of Talon as a Nintendo Easter Egg, it’s thought that he retired to become a farmer after he finally defeats Bowser. Or it could be that he comes to his farms to relax after rescuing the Princess.
16 The Zora Evolved Into The Rito
This theory was actually confirmed by Nintendo in the Hyrule Historia. Even so, it’s still being debated. It suggests the Zora are ancestors of the Rito tribe in Wind Waker.
The Zora are first seen in Ocarina of Time. After the events of this game, there was a “great flood,” resulting in the Wind Waker world.
Although you’d think the Zora would love this water world, they decided to evolve into birds for some reason.
We’re told that the Rito learn to fly when the God Valoo gives them a scale, so it’s thought that he prompted the evolution with this act.
15 Dark Link Is Demise
Dark Link is an evil shadow of Link and appears in six Zelda games, acting as the final boss in The Adventure of Link. Even 8-bit, this villain was spooky!
As the character appears in games without a backstory or any dialogue, fans have speculated themselves over his origins. One theory suggests that Dark Link is actually Demise from Skyward Sword. Both characters appear in black and have red eyes. Demise was also trapped inside the master sword, giving him a connection to Link. Demise was expelled from the blade along with what bad was in Link's heart, forming Dark Link.
14 Agitha The Bug Collector Is Zelda’s Sister
Agitha is a character that appears in Twilight Princess, giving Link the challenge that if he collects bugs for her she will pay him.
A little strange, she calls herself a Princess and lives in her Castle in Castle Town. But what if she really is a Princess?
The two of them are very similar, with their blond hair and pointed ears. Also, while Agitha clearly has a lot of wealth, let it’s not known where this wealth actually comes from. It’s possible that, maybe due to a traumatic event, she forgot who she was and lives her life as a bug collector.
13 The Gerudo Are The Twili
The Gerudo are a mostly female race that appear throughout the Zelda series. Once every hundred years, a male is born, one of these being Ganon. Ganondorf lead his people in an uprising against Hyrule, leading them to be banished, where they evolved into the Twili.
This theory comes about since the Gerudo don’t appear in Twilight Princess. Twili ally also mentions to Link that her people's king fell because of greed. This could possibly be a reference to Ganon’s fall in previous games. The Mirror of Twilight, a gateway to the Twilight world, can also be found in the Gerudo Desert.
12 The Masks (Majora’s Mask) Are Trapped Souls
Remember how earlier we discussed the symbolism of grief in Majora’s Mask? Well, what if the masks we see in the game are those who couldn’t make it through the five stages and make peace with themselves?
Each transformation mask represents someone how possible or definitely has passed on.
Darmani the Goron who appears as the bargaining ghost, the Zora musician who passes in front of you, and the Deku mask could represent the passed child of the Deku butler. Perhaps, unable to accept their own passing, these souls must say trapped forever in masks until they are released.
11 Rupees Are Units Of Energy Rather Than Physical Currency
Rupees, the money in Hyrule, are a little confusing at times. They are represented by gems, each color being worth a certain amount. However, how exactly would Link be able to carry around thousands of gems? Even if he had a special bag from a fairy. Plus, even if you find a red rupee worth twenty, you can still buy things in smaller units.
Because of this, fans have suggested that rupees, rather than being something physical, are units of energy passed to another person like money. The gems Link finds are containers that can be topped up with Rupee energy.
10 The Kokiri (Ocarina Of Time) Are The Koroks (Wind Waker)
As discussed earlier, Link’s actions in Ocarina of Time pretty much screwed over the Kokiri. In the Wind Temple, Link encounters Kokiri spirit Fado who is replaced by Korok, Makar, confirming the connection. Both races also survive due to the Great Deku Tree.
Like the Zora and the Rito, the jump is quite huge, and one can’t help but wonder what happened in-between games. So, what if the change never happened? What if the Korok always looked the way they did in Wind Waker but appeared humanoid to Link to make him feel more comfortable amongst them?
9 Super Mario 3 Is A Stage Play Being Performed In Hyrule
I can’t claim to completely understand the "Super Mario 3 is a stage play" theory, but it goes that the game is actually a stage play being performed by actors. It seems only normal that this theory would come about.
If it’s true that the game is just a stage play, perhaps it was performed in the legendary land of Hyrule?
Being a pre-internet land, Hyrule surely relied on theatre for entertainment. The theory is also supported by a Mario mask in Majora’s Mask (although this does bring into question all the other theories about the game).
8 Skull Kid Did Get Rid Of Epona
After Link runs after the Skull Kid who steals his horse, a series of unfortunate events leads to him to the adventure of Majora’s Mask. After Link runs into a tree, falls down a hole and catches up with Skull Kid, SK claims to have “gotten rid” of your horse.
Yet later in the game, you find Epona again and she’s fine. Totally fine.
First of all, how did Epona make it down that large hole? Secondly, how did the farmer know about the song to summon Epona? Sorry Link, but that’s just a horse that looks like Epona.
7 Fado From Wind Waker Is Fado From Ocarina Of Time
As mentioned, Fado is the spirit guarding the Wind Temple in Wind Waker. He tells Link that he has been playing here to please the gods but was attacked by Ganon. Now Link needs to fetch his replacement. Interestingly, in Ocarina of Time, we meet another Kokiri called Fado. Fado is a blond female Kokiri, who teaches Link to look around.
It’s perfectly plausible that the two could be related, but some fans think they are one and the same.
This is supported by both characters being blond, but also OOT Fado having uniquely colored eyes and WW Fado keeping his eyes shut (possibly to hide this).
6 The Happy Mask Salesman Is The Grim Reaper
The Happy Mask Salesman certainly isn’t human. He’s creepy, appears both charming and violent, and moves erratically. But his purpose in the game could be darker than initially thought.
This theory fits in perfectly with the stages of grief theory and the theory that Link has passed. The first thing Happy Mask Salesman says to Link is: “You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?” The same thing the game says if the moon crashes into Clock Town. He is also visible only to Link, the one who has passed and fades out at the end of the game.
5 Twilight Princess Is A Sequel To Majora’s Mask
This was confirmed by Nintendo in Hyrule Historia. Due to the time travel in Ocarina of Time, three timelines were created. In one Link fails to defeat Ganon, in another adult Link has Ganon sealed and in the third child Link protects the sacred realm.
We also know that Majora’s Mask is a sequel to Ocarina of Time. After Twilight Princess was released, fans speculated (and later learned) that it was in the same timeline. We now know that Twilight Princess took place about one hundred years after Ocarina of Time.
4 The Twili Created Majora’s Mask
The Twili (or the Gerudo) are the villains who create Midna’s Mask, or the fused shadow. Given there obviously talent for making evil masks, perhaps they were the ones behind Majora’s Mask!
The Salesman describes Majora’s Mask as “an accursed item from legend that is said to have been used by an ancient tribe in its hexing rituals.”
That certainly sounds like something a cursed race making masks would come up with. Ganon also has the face of Majora across his chest place in Twilight Princess.
3 There Is Only One Link
Given the timelines Nintendo gave us, we can almost say for sure that this isn’t true. Since there are three different timelines, there can’t possibly be one single Link.
But some fans are still insistent that there is one single Link going on quest after quest, fighting Ganon after Ganon.
This theory comes up a lot and I will say in their defense that Link has traveled through time in some games and is often granted assistance from in-game gods. Although I’m not sure why, if this is just one person, he keeps on doing it.
2 Zelda Is Fluid
This theory comes from the appearance of Shiek in Ocarina of Time. Shiek comes to Link in the Chamber of Sages, where he gives Link the quest to awaken the six sages. It’s later revealed that Shiek is actually Princess Zelda in disguise.
While some fans insist that Shiek is nothing more than a disguise, others feel differently. They propose that Zelda uses magic to transform into a male form, so as not to conform to one gender. It has also been noted that in Wind Waker, Zelda has very different mannerisms when appearing as low-fem Tetra, then when she becomes Princess Zelda.
1 All Zelda Games Are “A Dream Within A Dream”
Don’t you hate it when the season finale of a show you liked comes around, and you learn that it was all a dream? Wouldn’t you hate it more if that were true of all Zelda games?
There is actually some weight to this as (most) Zelda games begin with Link waking up.
It would also explain why the same bad guys keep trying to take over the same world. It also explains why, despite being woken up at the beginning, Link doesn’t sleep again for the rest of the game.