The Legend of Zelda has some of the most confusing lore out there. Seriously, from multiple timelines to games that may not even exist in the canon at all, it can get pretty dicey and twisted at times. And this is nothing against the series. I love the games. Ocarina of Time was one of the first video games I ever played (shortly followed by Pokémon Stadium, Mario Party, The Philosopher's Stone, and Barbie Mystery Cruise!) Well, I use the word "play" loosely as I was merely a toddler who had to share the console with two older step-brothers and was imposed by 90% of the game. But it still counts.
But even a life long fan like myself can admit that The Legend of Zelda games have some of the most confusing timelines in existence. But the benefit of that confusion in the modern age is that fans have come together to try and piece together the jumbled puzzle that is the Zelda lore, fill the plot holes, and solve the unanswered questions ourselves with numerous wonderful and questionable fan theories.
These fan theories range from realistic to utterly bizarre, but then again so do the games so who am I to judge. This article will recount and dissect some of the most popular fan theories associated with the games as well as poke fun at some of the more confusing aspects of the series.
So, without further ado, I present you with 15 things about the Zelda universe that are a bit more than just confusing and the 10 fan theories that attempt to make sense of it all.
25 Make No Sense: Is Wind Waker Link Canon?
The strange events and animation style used in the Wind Waker game has made a lot of fans question whether or not the events of the game are part of the main canon. Common questions speculate on whether or not the game is part of the main timeline or one of the other timelines, whether or not the Link seen in the game is the Link that we have followed through the other games or if he is a relative or another being entirely, and if the animation style is indicative of the fact that this game occurs in another dimension, a post humorous world, or in a dream-like state. Though those all sound far-reaching, they are not things foreign to the series.
24 Make No Sense: What Happens To Our Failed Games?
When we (Link) fail at stopping that cursed moon from destroying the world and we restart our mission anew, what happened in-universe? Did that simply not count? Were we granted a cosmic do-over and the events of the past three days were entirely erased from memory as if they never existed or blipped from the universe entirely? Or was everyone simply reborn after the destruction as if we were all stuck in some weird purgatory type state, doomed to relive those awful and odd events until Link finally gets it right? Like some grim sort of Groundhog day with only one possible exit?
23 Fan Theory: Remnants Of The Holy Wars
There is a theory that states the abandoned and crumbling temples that are scattered throughout Hyrule are remnants of a long since passed Holy war that shaped the world as we know it. This theory states that the temples are filled with traps for their own protection as looting was rampant during the wars and the traps were placed in order to protect the artifacts against rebels and thieves. Though there are no theories on what sparked the wars themselves nor what eventually ended them.
22 Make No Sense: Chaotic Good Heroes
Yes, Link does save the world time and time again, and we thank him for it. But how do the people of Hyrule feel about him? Is he referred to as this type of immortal god that reappears every few hundred years or so and helps the people when they are in need, waking only when danger is imminent? Do they set out clay pots as offerings to the one in green? Or is he seen as this chaotic trickster who follows danger and, though he does stop it eventually, he causes a lot of havoc in the process by destroying pottery, causing a mess, and mistreating chickens?
21 Make No Sense: The Three Links
Was it the original intent to create three separate Links/timelines or was that added in later as an attempt to unite the different games? I know that the claim is that it was always intended to be that way and to create this vast universe spanning over centuries, but was that truly the case from the start? Or was the intent simply to follow this colorful and quiet character on his adventures and, as more games were added to the collection and people searched for answers, a need to create some connection was seen?
20 Fan Theory: Reincarnation
In the earlier entries of this article, I discussed the fact that the multiple games in the series indicate some sort of immortality or reincarnation. Well, this was not a unique idea. In fact, it is a rather popular fan theory. Many fans believe that Link, Zelda, and Ganon are reincarnated between games and, as the sentient representations of the Triforce, will be drawn to each other, in whatever way that occurs, for the rest of time. Or until the fourth piece is found and their reincarnated souls can rest.
19 Make No Sense: Established Character Design
No matter what timeline or universe it is, Link is always blonde, pale, and has his little Peter Pan–esque outfit (though the colors have been known to shift over time.) This has caused many fans to question the idea of whether or not there are truly separate universes or whether the timelines simply diverged each time a main choice or action was made and the splits all run parallel. This second idea makes the most sense though it later leads to confusion over whether each Link, and the world around him, has any memory of the events that transpired previously (in their relative timeline) and whether or not we would be able to jump through timelines in the future.
18 Make No Sense: Is Link Doing Alright?
If Link does remember the events of previous games, is he doing okay? Honestly, he has been through a lot. Give the guy some space and time to recover. Does it drive him up the wall that no matter how many times he saves Hyrule, somehow, it ends up broken again? Does he just want to take a vacation from being Link and not have to feel the pressure of having the fate of the entire world rest on his shoulders? Each and every game he seems entirely unaffected by the previous events of the games- which leads me to believe that he is a reincarnation rather than a continuation.
17 Fan Theory: Who Is The Happy Mask Salesman?
Many fans believe that there is something that is just not quite right with the happy mask salesman. Many have tried to pinpoint exactly what is wrong with him but something about him just does not sit well with players. Some fans believe that the reason that he feels so creepy is that he is actually the grim reaper. If one believes the theory that Majora's Mask occurs in the afterlife and that Link has passed, then the idea that the person who initially guides him for a portion of the journey and helps him get what he needs in order to combat the tasks ahead makes the theory that he is the grim reaper make total sense.
16 Make No Sense: What Is Going On With The Timeline?
I know that the creators of the series released a lore guide for the series that breaks down the timelines/parallel events in a way that makes a semblance of sense. However, that does not cover how incredibly and intensely confusing this can be for more casual games of the series. In traditional series, each game/film/book (unless explicitly stated otherwise) that follows the last is a continuation of events that have already transpired.
Unless specifically marked as a prequel or an expansion of the established universe with a new set of characters, the events will usually follow the previous installment's story. But, in Zelda, there is no real indication whether or not they are expansions of the established universe with the same characters (that retain no memories of the previous games) or if we are simply continuing on from where we left off. And that gets confusing real fast.
15 Make No Sense: Is There A True Legend Of Link?
Link has saved the people of Hyrule's behinds over and over again. Do they recall his heroic acts? Do they tell their children of the man in green who saved their family for generations? Do they pray at the altar of Link? Are legends and stories of his brave and chaotic acts shared for generations around campfires? Is there a holiday celebrated in his honor? Judging by the way most of the citizens treat us, I am thinking that this may not be the case and that the people of Hyrule would all just rather forget about the intense events that occurred during their lives, along with the heroes that saved them.
14 Fan Theory: The Masks Contain Souls
There is a theory that states that attempts to explain the magic within the masks that Link can use in Majora's Mask. This theory states that these masks contain magical souls belonging to special beings from Hyrule who have passed on and that, when the mask is worn, the soul contained within it can temporarily possess the person wearing it. The possession gives them the power associated with the person whose soul was trapped inside of it. This could explain why it is allegedly painful to wear the masks (judging from Link's screams).
13 Make No Sense: Does Link Lose All Of His Memories?
Are all of Link's memories wiped between the games or is he simply walking around every event from his current timeline swirling around inside his head? Or, alternatively, is each and every Link an entirely different being, sort of like a Dalai Lama type situation in that he is an entirely new and unrelated being who possess the memories of his previous selves? Or, are all of those ideas entirely wrong and is he simply a new person, unrelated to the last, every time? I personally tend to follow the Dalai Lama idea, myself.
12 Make No Sense: How Is the Hero Of Legend Chosen?
If he is a reincarnated soul in a new vessel each and every game, then what decides which child will become the new hero? Is it a luck of the draw? Related to bloodlines? Is there any way for the citizens to tell if their offspring is going to become a Link in the future? Is there any way of preventing destiny once it has chosen you or is it best to accept your fate in order to not waste any time trying to fight it in order to increase your chances of winning in the end?
11 Fan Theory: The Link Defeated Timeline Aand Breath Of The Wild
In the most simple and brief explanation I can provide, here is an explanation of the three timelines. The first is the "Main timeline" where Link wins and the evil is defeated. The second is the "Link Defeated" timeline is where Link loses and evil wins. And the third timeline is the "child era" timeline where neither is defeated. This theory states that the Breath of the Wild game takes place in the Link defeated timeline where Ganon won and Link is being brought back into this timeline in order to correct the issues caused by this.
10 Make No Sense: Does Link Ever Pass?
Is Link an immortal being that has existed for all eternity who simply spends his time between crises sleeping and going about his normal life? Or does a new timeline get created every time that a Link meets his end and his consciousness is simply and seamlessly transferred to the next host and the cycle continues? Was Majora's Mask a brief insight into one of these parallel worlds where Link travels to when he is unsuccessful in his attempts to save the world and ends up passing instead?
9 Fan Theory: Who Is Dark Link?
Dark Link is the shadow version of Link that appears as an antagonist throughout the series but many fans were curious as to what he was, how he came to be, and what he represents. Many people have come to the conclusion that he represents demise and all things from the beyond. That seems like a plausible theory considering the fact that Link seems, relatively, immortal so it only makes sense that his absolute opposite would be the symbol of the afterlife incarnate.
8 Make No Sense: How Did Link Even Get To Termina?
What brought Link to Termina, the alternative universe version of Hyrule? How did he simply slip through the cracks between universes and end up somewhere where he was not supposed to be? Were we given a glimpse at the afterlife through this game? Did Link fail in his previous attempts to save the world and end up in Termina? Termina coming from the root word "terminal" meaning last stop or end. Or is the game like Wind Waker, which many believe is an alternate dream world which is not connected to the main storyline. And how did he get back to the main timeline?
7 Fan Theory: What Really Happened To The Kokiri
I will never understand the need to turn child orientated light and whimsical pieces of media into these gritty and dark tales via fan theories and creepypastas but here we are. This theory states that through his actions Link doomed the Kokiri. The theory states that during one of his many events back in time, one thing leads to another and the Great Deku tree was never replanted and the Koriri were lost because of it.
6 Make No Sense: How Do The Masks Work?
The idea that a mask contains magical powers that affect the person who wears it is not foreign to the world of fiction but it still is an utterly incredibly feat. Do the masks simply cast a spell over the person who wears them or does it temporarily change their physiology in order to create the desired effect? Is it painful? Is it instant? Are there any lasting/lingering symptoms after wearing the mask? Is there a cool-down period in which Link needs to wait before donning a new mask in case the lingering magic won't mix well together and cause adverse effects?
5 Fan Theory: The Tetra-Force
Every Zelda fan knows about the triforce but not everyone knows about the idea that a fourth piece might exist. I guess that would make it a Tetraforce, if you will. The three standard pieces of the Triforce symbolize power, wisdom, and courage which are represented by Zelda, Link, and Ganon. The fan theorized/rumored fourth piece is believed to represent love. Fans believe that it, when found, would reside in the gap in the middle of the symbol.
4 Make No Sense: How Does The Zora Tunic Work?
The Zora tunic gives anyone who wears it the ability to breathe underwater. It is literally a tank top that allows whoever wears it to breathe air under water. How does that even work? Does it cast an oxygen charm around him that acts like an air bubble that surrounds his face? Does it give Link temporary gills? Does it temporarily change his physiology to that of a human-like creature that can breathe underwater?
3 Fan Theory: The End Of Navi
Though the internet seems utterly convinced that Navi is the worst video game character of all time and that her existence is the darkest spot on the entire series, her sudden disappearance and continual absence were noted. Many fans accept that her disappearance was simply tied to the end of the game as few non-titular characters are carried over between installments. While other fans favored a darker version of events. Some fans believe that Navi had used up her magic and perished on the spot.
2 Make No Sense: Do The People Remember Us
When the citizens of Hyrule see Link wandering around, smashing their pottery, defeating zombies, and mistreating chickens, do they recognize him as the hero that saved their word dozens of times over? Do they recognize him from the previous disaster or their history books? Do they block out the memories of the dark times in order to move on and forget as if nothing ever happened or does the same force that makes the magical items and the reincarnation wipe their memories after each event?
1 Fan Theory: Stages Of Grief
There is a popular theory that states that the game "Majora's Mask" represents the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These five stages are represented by the people that Link encounters along the way through the plot of the game. The ways in which they process the threat against their world explores the classic five stages and shows the way that we each all deal with the fate that awaits all of us.