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The Legend of Zelda's Official Timeline Revealed?!?


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I suppose that makes sense, if you consider a future where Link never returned from his 7 year hiatus...but is that even a valid possibility since you do return to that same timeline, just 7 years in the future? Or is there the implication that something may happen during those 7 years that would cause link not to return?

I also find it very, very hard to believe that FSA takes place in the young link timeline. PLaying through it for the first time, I'm seeing tons of connections to LttP including near identical dungeons. It really seems like it should be in the link fails timeline.

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Personally it is all rather confusing. The thing I can atleast understand as being together would have been that playing OoT up to the point of you being an adult.. Was that we got the ending where we smack down Ganon. However, Zelda gave us the option to return to our childhood before we pulled the sword. Instead of making that choice, Link moved on to Majora's Mask.. where after it finished.. Link never returned, whether he was stuck in the alternate dimension of Termina or returned to continue his search for Navi is beyond me.. But the end result was Link not fulfilling the ending of OoT which lead to Wind Waker occurring.

To me, that makes sense anyway.. Always has after playing through all the games. At that point I haven't so much as really linked a Zelda together since the first two, and Link's Awakening. Which even then had me wondering if the first happened and Link took a break from Hyrule in Awakening only to return in II to realize the nightmare he encountered that took form of Ganon as a foreshadowing of his possible return.. or if he beat Ganon in one and thwarted his attempts in II and then proceeding onto Awakening.

It just doesn't add up to me to have a time line where everything fits.. and I think I'd rather just leave it to my skepticism on how it all fits and just enjoy the game as I always have... whether they connect or not doesn't change the story telling I return for.

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The thing is that when Zelda sends Link back, it's not to the original timeline.

It's to the third part of the split, the one that includes Majora's Mask.

Consider this.

TIMELINE 1: LTTP AND BEYOND

Link, as a kid, places the Kokiri Emerald, Goron Ruby, and Zora Sapphire in the Temple of Time and pulls the Master Sword from its pedestal. This removes him from the current timeline. In this timeline, there is no Hero of Time to stop Ganon. As such, he gains the full Triforce and turns the Sacred Realm into the Dark World. This is the Imprisoning War of LttP's past. When another Hero arrives years later (during LttP) Ganon doesn't think much of it originally due to the fact that he's never faced a hero at all.

TIMELINE 2: MM AND BEYOND

Link does defeat Ganon as an adult, and Zelda sends him back to the time when he was a kid. However, the timeline he is sent back to is divergent from his original one (the original one leads to LttP). While Link goes to Termina, the sages go to seal Ganon away. These events are what are referenced by the Sages in TP (and where one of them is slain).

TIMELINE 3: WW AND BEYOND

Link remains an adult after defeating Ganon. However, when the time came for another hero, one did not appear. This leads to the flooding of Hyrule and ultimately Wind Waker's events.

As for FSA, that is one that doesn't seem to really fit where they put it...

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TIMELINE 1: LTTP AND BEYOND

Link, as a kid, places the Kokiri Emerald, Goron Ruby, and Zora Sapphire in the Temple of Time and pulls the Master Sword from its pedestal. This removes him from the current timeline. In this timeline, there is no Hero of Time to stop Ganon. As such, he gains the full Triforce and turns the Sacred Realm into the Dark World. This is the Imprisoning War of LttP's past. When another Hero arrives years later (during LttP) Ganon doesn't think much of it originally due to the fact that he's never faced a hero at all.

I just realized that this can't work, though, since Link took the master sword with him when he disappears from the timeline, yet it's there again in LttP.

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I was just thinking that myself. Logically, the Master Sword should not exist in the original branch OR the Adult Era. Not sure how to iron that one out.

Also, GlitterBerri has provided a translation of the page direct from the Youtube video. It's at http://www.glitterberri.com/uncategorized/the-real-zelda-timeline/ rather than the link I posted before.

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The Master Sword has magical time-traveling powers that let it appear in places it shouldn't be at all?

I dunno, I'm just chalking it up to anomalies caused by all dat time travel in OoT. Seriously, that's gotta destabilize the fabric of reality at some point.

Also, Link's whereabouts post-MM are as-of-yet unknown. Mebbe he returns to Hyrule afterwards and drops off the Master Sword?

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Ah, my bad.

I have no clue then. XD

I mean, for the success-adult timeline, it could be that he put it there. As for the original timeline, I do not know. Maybe...

Well, Link disappeared into the Sacred Realm upon leaving his original timeline, right? Maybe... the sword stayed in the realm for that timeline? Maybe there was a point immediately preceding when he pulled the sword that was the divergent spot, thus preserving the Master Sword to be used in all timelines?

Honestly, it's a pretty big issue, and I'm not sure how to fix it.

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From reddit:

NRpQO.png

There are quotes from the developers who said that Ocarina of Time was actually the Imprisoning War mentioned in A Link to the Past, so I think that this is how they covered their tracks after they made the ending to Ocarina split into two. So now, rather than Ocarina being the Imprisioning War, that event happens after the Hero of Time 'fails' to stop Ganon from acquiring the entire Triforce.

So basically, don't time travel kiddies.

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Why is this thread called 'official timeline' when it's yet another fan speculation? These speculations circulate all the time, I don't see what's special about this one.

In case you didn't gather as much from Gollgagh's post above, this is the real, actual, and official timeline as provided by Nintendo. It's in an art book, a picture of which is above. The fan speculation aspect is fan explanation and expounding upon the established information. In other words, fans are trying to explain the why of the timeline, not the what.

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A theory from another forum to explain the Master Sword conundrum. It's basically this:

The timeline remains the same once Link pulls the Master Sword from its pedestal and is sent to the Sacred Realm for 7 years. The timeline diverges when he goes back and drains the well in Kakariko Village. Once he returns to the future, it's an alternate future changed by the draining of the well.

This means that the timeline that Young Link is in originally that LttP fits in can have the Master Sword.

Here's my theory:

When the Master Sword is used to travel through time, Link goes with it. Perhaps the "defeated" timeline is based on if Link doesn't go with it.

What I mean is... when you return to the past, the Master Sword remains in its pedestal, right? What if it stayed there... and Link never returned to pick it up? That would explain how it exists in LttP despite him taking it with him. That also allows for MM (he does take it and later returns it) and WW (keeps it as an adult).

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So what you're saying is, when adult link returns to the past to get the lense of truth, he returns the master sword to it's pedestal and disappears from that timeline, leaving the master sword in the temple of time, which eventually becomes overrun by the lost woods in LttP?

I suppose that makes sense, but wouldn't that mean that when he goes to the 2nd future he creates when he obtains the lense of truth, that any changes he made in the 1st future wouldn't have occured in the second? I.e. Saria was never awakened as a sage, etc.? And wouldn't that also imply that he creates a 3rd future when he obtains the power gauntlets in gerudo desert?

I find the simple possibility that Link dies and fails to be more acceptable. Sure, it creates the question of "are there other timelines for every other game if Link dies", but we aren't dealing with those possibilities, just the one presented in OoT.

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I found some posts that explain it better than I ever could...

Link is not generally thought to die in canon. Usually canon in a game series relies on the player succeeding at everything. Regardless of that, though, either Link dies or he lives. If he lives, then the Classics line cannot occur. If he dies then the Child and Adult lines cannot occur. There is no logical way he can both die and live, since there is no time travel involved. This is not a split timeline like Nintendo is claiming it is, it is a boring cop-out alternate universe. Granted, it avoids almost all contradictions in the plot, but it's a cop-out none the less. It's essentially sweeping half the series under the rug and saying "those games don't really matter, that's just what would have happened if Ganon killed Link". But he didn't. Link won. It's not the worst thing Nintendo could have done, but there might have been a far better way to get the Classics line out of the way, rather than sending them into fanfic territory.

Along those lines, I've got a tricky question that pretty much alone decides whether or not there are possible legitimate explanations for the third branch of the timeline (since the current explanation seems to be a tacky "what-if" scenario). When does Link travel back to when he stabs the Master Sword in its pedestal throughout OoT? Does he travel back to the moment he first grasped the Master Sword, preventing himself from opening the Sacred Realm and allowing himself to do more things before his 7-year sleep? Or does he return to right after he opened the Sacred Realm, allowing a version of himself to do things in the past while another version of himself sleeps. Or is it that he awakens his younger self from his sleep right after he enters his slumber to do some stuff, then go back to sleep?

If the second is true, then the Master Sword time travel is theoretically separate from his seven year sleep. A time-traveling version of himself is running around while a past version of him is sleeping, and thus his MS time travel does not create any paradoxes or new timelines, as he is not changing the past, but rather going back to the period where he was sleeping, getting an item, and then jumping back to more than seven years in the future, without influencing past Link at all. If the MS returns him to before his sleep, though, or if there cannot be two Links at a certain time, then every time Link uses the Master Sword to time travel he changes his past self and a split in the timeline is created, possibly leading to the Classics line.

In short, when Link goes back in time to obtain the Silver Gauntlets and Lens of Truth, he might (depending on the answer to my question) create new futures, thus leaving his older futures hero-less and allowing for Ganon to take over. Cue LttP.

Am I making any sense? This question is kinda hard to word clearly.

It makes sense up until he has to go back in time a second time.

The first time he goes back, he just returns to the same universe. Obviously, exactly at what point in time he comes out is super relevant, but let's, for a moment, pretend it isn't.

So then he alters the present and goes back into the future, creating a new future with slightly altered elements. That's fine. But then he bonks it all up by going back again.

Now at this point, why would he jump back into the past of the original universe? If he's in an alternate future, doesn't he go into the past of that alternate future? And if he did, and he altered the elements in that present, then he creates yet another timeline when he jumps into the future again, meaning that there should be two alternate futures, an alternate past, and the original timeline.

Unless, for whatever reason, he somehow goes back to the original timeline's past when he travels back in time the second time, but why would that happen? He's jumping universes now.

I'll agree with all that. Every time Link goes back, he splits the timeline starting at wherever he comes out. Then each subsequent split is made off of the previous split. I don't see a problem in that, though. One (or both) of the alternate futures and/or the original timeline becomes the Classics line, since those no longer have a Hero of Time. The final alternate future made via Master Sword becomes the Adult timeline, since that is where Link and the sages seal Ganon. Then Zelda sends Link back to his childhood, pushing him all the way back to the original timeline (since he never traveled back that far with the Master Sword, only the original version of that past exists). He then tells Zelda about Ganondorf, thus splitting the timeline again, creating the Child timeline. I can't find any contradictions in that, except for the fact that OoT's time travel mechanics don't seem to make that much sense.

I've been trying to nail down how OoT's gameplay time-travel works, but nothing adds up. Obviously they took a gameplay-first approach, so that's understandable, but when I try to examine if the third branch of the timeline could stem from mid-game (the retrieving of the Silver Gauntlets or Lens of Truth), things just fall apart. Link has to be splitting the timeline when he makes changes in OoT's past, because not doing so would result in paradoxes like Link going back in time to plant a magic bean, which robs his future self of his incentive to go back and plant a magic bean in the first place. On the other hand, if he splits the timeline then he should have to re-conquer all the adult dungeons he already beat. Even if you say that when Link travels back in time he operates separate from his original past self in OoT (i.e. his original self is sleeping in the Sacred Realm while he changes things), he still creates motivation paradoxes. His original sleeping self would complete all the dungeons for Link in the future, but then that original past Link would have no reason to go back in time (since the first Link already changed the past for him) so there would be two future Links. All I can think of is that Link must take control of his original self when he travels back in time, but for gameplay reasons they chose to not have us repeat dungeons every time we travel back in time. If this is the canon time travel mechanic (which makes sense, given that it's the mechanic used in OoT's ending scenes), then the Classics line could actually be a legitimate split, and not just a "what-if".

Maybe that'll help a bit.

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I'm sort'a posting this to get a clear idea of it myself, so pardon any repeats from previous posts. The options for how time travel works are:

a) Every time travel creates a new timeline with a new future (so every time Link travels back in time, he'd have to redo all relevant future stuff again... and again). This creates n timelines: two of which are the adult and child timelines, and the rest being timelines where Ganon was left to rule and no Link to defeat him.

B) There's two timelines, one in which Link travels forth and back in and eventually defeats Ganon in, and one created when Zelda sends him back with the Ocarina. This is the traditional two-way split timeline.

c) The future was undone by the Ocarina, basically "it never happened". Dunno if I like split timeline idea, but this doesn't seem right, either.

As explained in A above. There's no reason there'd be a single "Link fails" timeline, there'd be a lot of "Link disappeared" timelines tho. Both the official ALttP and the WW timelines seem to stem from timelines in which Link didn't defeat Ganon.

-

btw, Skyward Sword could split the timeline in two if not three or n, depending on how the timelines and the Gate of Time work (different means of time travel than the Master Sword and the Ocarina).

They've left themselves quite a lot of openings for future games. :D

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Actually, only the LttP timeline is caused by Link failing to defeat Ganon. The WW timeline is based on if Link remained an adult after OoT (an option that isn't given in-game). Maybe... the difference between the Adult and Child timelines are if Link looks for Navi or not after being sent back to being a child. Maybe it's one where he stays in Hyrule and grows to be an adult.

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Well I think it's pretty clear what happened after MM. Link returns to hyrule and gets together with Malon. They then move south to the ordon province and make ordon ranch. It would explain not only why Link in TP has the triforce mark on his hand (he's a direct descendant of OoT Link) but also why the wolf spectre that teaches Link sword techniques claims to be his ancestor has what appears to be the same sword and shield that link gets in MM (the gilded sword, and the shield with the face on it.)

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Well I think it's pretty clear what happened after MM. Link returns to hyrule and gets together with Malon. They then move south to the ordon province and make ordon ranch. It would explain not only why Link in TP has the triforce mark on his hand (he's a direct descendant of OoT Link) but also why the wolf spectre that teaches Link sword techniques claims to be his ancestor has what appears to be the same sword and shield that link gets in MM (the gilded sword, and the shield with the face on it.)

I hadn't made that connection between the Hero's Spirit and MM...

That makes a lot of sense, actually. :3

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Actually, only the LttP timeline is caused by Link failing to defeat Ganon. The WW timeline is based on if Link remained an adult after OoT (an option that isn't given in-game). Maybe... the difference between the Adult and Child timelines are if Link looks for Navi or not after being sent back to being a child. Maybe it's one where he stays in Hyrule and grows to be an adult.

Unless my memory is really failing me, I thought that the OoT ending implied that Link didn't remain as an adult in the future. After Link defeats Ganon, Zelda sends him back to the past one last time. That seven-years-later time is what we see in the party scenes at the end of the game, with the Sages standing together; Link's already gone to the past, but Ganon's dead, so everyone's happy. That's where Wind Waker comes in: Ganon eventually gets free, but because Link wasn't there to produce descendants, the gods have to intervene and flood Hyrule. Twilight Princess follows from the other branch, where young Link and Zelda warn everyone about Ganondorf's plans and seal him away before anything bad happens.

Personally, I feel like any sort of timeline branch that presupposes Link's failure is flat-out stupid, since it sort of goes against the whole basic mechanic of the games. The only titles I can think of that had a specific "bad end" were Majora's Mask and Zelda 2...trying to shove that concept into a decade-old game that didn't address it at all just doesn't work. Messing around with individual little elements like hopping back-and-forth in time during OoT gets even worse. The concept of two timelines was well-established, at least in fanon, and had some decent reasoning behind it, so I'm not sure how pulling a third "branch" out of thin air does all that much to clarify the issue.

And obviously this is all dancing around the fact that the series was never meant to have any sort of overarching timeline at its beginning (hell, it wasn't even meant as a "series" at its beginning), so anything you come up with is going to be forced at best. :P

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