Just What Exactly Does the Triforce in Zelda Do?

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Just What Exactly Does the Triforce in Zelda Do?

Yahtzee tackles the Zelda series of games and examines the mystical artifact Triforce to find out just exactly what its purpose is in the games.

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Actually, secondary question -- what's the Triforce made from? It looks like a metal of some kind, so is it magical in the same way that isotopes are radioactive? And if so, does magic have a half-life?

I figured it was like the gold that the One Ring was forged out of; started out mundane, but was infused with magic and became something greater than it's mundane elements.

As for the powers of the Triforce itself, the Wisdom piece supercharges Zelda's spells, the Power piece supercharges Ganondorf (in Twilight Princess he used it to either come back from the dead or survive execution) and the Courage piece protected Link in TP from becoming a lost soul. That fits with the point of the Triforce; it doesn't grant you sudden miraculous powers, but it gives you greater ability to express what is already inherent within you. It's one of those things where you have to accept that isn't a placebo, because you're never going to get a scientific test saying that it gives you a 53% increase in mana.

I could believe that Ganon needed the triforce if Hyrule ever seemed to have an army composed of more than like, 10 guys.

"Futile exercise to critique Nintendo's tentpole franchises"? I'm pretty sure the fans of said franchises feel it's futile to try and explain their opinions to Yahtzee as well at this point. I imagine that's the real Batman-Joker dichotomy.

To be honest i haven't played many of the Zelda games that exist, but from Ocarina of Time isn't it stated that the Triforce is either the power left behind by the godesses who created the world?

Maybe they could take that spin on it: The Triforce used to have immense power, but as time has gone on only the legend persisted while its power dwindled and by the end of WindWaker it really could just be a hunk of shiny metal, or as Link uses it; just as a symbol to let him enter the sunken Hyrule.

It would be an excellent twist if, at the end of a particularly brutal and epic Zelda adventure, the Triforce is assembled and didn't do anything and all that suffering was for nothing.

But Nintendo definitely doesn't have the balls to pull that off.

Before the Hyrule Historia made the timeline continuity canon, there was an interesting fan theory that the Zelda games were all the same story told through the lens of different cultures. I agree that creating the official continuity detracted from many of the games.

You know, I never played windwaker. Most of the zelda games I played actually seemed to have very little at all to do with the triforce. It was there, it was a thing, sometimes you had to collect parts of it, but I always remember the hard part being obtaining the silver arrows or the hammer or variously colored pajamas.

I guess it was at the end of link to the past, like, instead of the kickass orgy with the 8 lovely ladies, you get this stupid triangle thing.

Speaking of the Triforce, it is kind of jarring that some of the Zelda games treat the Triforce as some kind of ethereal power represented by magical emblems, while others treat it as a tangible object.

Few spoilers:

Link to the Past has a wish made on the thing bring a few characters back from the dead, in addition to the rest of the "make things better" effects seen in the credits. It also vaporizes the Imprisoned in Skyward Sword. And A Link Between Worlds has it re-create its counterpart in the other world.

I figure the only one that could be hand waved away is maybe the Skyward Sword one. Then again, why didn't the island fall before then?

Lvl 64 Klutz:
Speaking of the Triforce, it is kind of jarring that some of the Zelda games treat the Triforce as some kind of ethereal power represented by magical emblems, while others treat it as a tangible object.

Not really? I mean, there's those pendants that represent the same virtues, but the gold triangles are still a thing.

Wait, you mean the hand crests? That means a particular piece resides in that person. So it's more of a tangible thing that can become ethereal.

The idea of the Triforce having a sort of magical radiation is interesting. Especially when you consider that in Link to the Past, it mutated everyone who entered the dark world into some other form.
Also, the idea of the Triforce having lost its power and now being useless would make for an interesting reveal in a Zelda game, but I doubt Nintendo would go there.

Invadergray:
Before the Hyrule Historia made the timeline continuity canon, there was an interesting fan theory that the Zelda games were all the same story told through the lens of different cultures. I agree that creating the official continuity detracted from many of the games.

Totally agree. I always believed that the different games were different versions of the same basic legend myself (I've got a degree in folklore, so I actually came to that conclusion on my own and only found out there was a fan-theory floating around on the internet later, but whatever). It really does detract from the games to have them all in the same continuity because, A) it bogs you down in trying to figure out how each new game fits into the established timeline, and B) the games were obviously not created with an actual timeline in mind, so suddenly linking (no pun intended) them so many years after the fact creates a lot of plot holes.

What did the Triforce ever do?

-In Link Between world, it restored a whole parallel world who was decaying and about to die.

-In Link to the past, it brought back dead people that Ganon's minions had killed to the life and undo all the evil Ganon had do.

-In Skyward Sword, it killed Demize (at least it killed its Imprisoned form in present times, the one where he look like a giant Scally Thumbs monster). Ghirahim had to go back in time before his master was killed by the triforce to sacrifice Zelda and reawoken Demize when he was not killed yet (don't ask about the time paradox that might have caused).

-in Zelda 2, it is used to break a spell and awake Zelda from her eternal slumber.

It's worth mentionning that Ganon almost never get the full triforce but only the shard of power, this shard alone is able to maintain him alive while other have to reincarnate to come back and kill him. (when a person of evil intention touch the Triforce for the first time he only get one shard and the two other go to the one it fit the most). To have the full Triforce, the one with evil intention has to hunt down and take the two other shards. This is what happens in wind Waker where he finally reunite the Triforce and its only after the reunification porcess that he can get his wish (the king outrun him while he was gloating).

The only time Ganon really get in full possession of the Triforce was before Link to the past and at this point the only way to stop him was to seal him in the sacred realm where the Triforce is usually stored when not possessed by bearers. This way he couldn't affect Hyrule's world.

Well, Ganon was already sealed in the Sacred Realm at the time. Hilariously, when he (apparently) wished to rule the world, the Triforce gave him dominion of the world he was in at the time. Should've wished to be unsealed, mate.

He also gets the full thing in Hyrule Warriors, but doesn't seem to make any wishes.

Invadergray:
Before the Hyrule Historia made the timeline continuity canon, there was an interesting fan theory that the Zelda games were all the same story told through the lens of different cultures. I agree that creating the official continuity detracted from many of the games.

That theory never even held on a single legs. It couldn't even work with Zelda 2 who was a direct sequel and had Ganon dead already, killed in the first game.

Windwaker'shyrule castle and its stained glasses clearly indicate that it took place after the event of OOT. Same with Majora Mask, who can't in no way be a different take on OOT, but is a clear sequel and Twilight Princess, who required the banishement of Ganon in OOT for it to be able to happens.

Also, Link to the past is about Ganon getting free from his sealing while OOT is about how he was imprisoned in the frist place.

No one ever considered that "it's just the same story just retold differently" seriously

Enlong:
(...)

I figure the only one that could be hand waved away is maybe the Skyward Sword one. Then again, why didn't the island fall before then?

Why could it be hand-waved? Also, I don't think the Island could have killed the imprisoned by just falling on him. To land a deadly blow, it needed to have additional punch granted by the Triforce, but that's just my take on it.

Enlong:
Well, Ganon was already sealed in the Sacred Realm at the time. Hilariously, when he (apparently) wished to rule the world, the Triforce gave him dominion of the world he was in at the time. Should've wished to be unsealed, mate.
(...)

Never thought of it that way. I actually like that interpretation.

How do I delete post?

Isn't it the thing that forces Link, Zelda and Ganon to repeat their battle over and over again throughout time? They should really try to destroy it at some point. So Zelda doesn't have to spend the majority of her lives captured, Link doesn't have to walk through endless corridors just to collect the same crap he's already collected several times over, and maybe Ganondorf doesn't have to keep being humiliated by a tights wearing elf kid who get's yelled at by fairies.

I too really liked the "a legend being told differently" theory.

Just coming from my years of observation, what I think:
The Triforce does grant wishes, but since it is made from the essence of the Goddesses, to wield its full potential, you need to be a god yourself.

Now Ganondorf might have delusions of godhood, but he isn't a god. That is why having possession of the Triforce couldn't get him out of the Dark World in a Link to the Past. Its like being an infant, banging away at the keyboard of a computer. You can't even comprehend what this object is capable of.

So yeah, it might grant the rudimentary wishes of the mortals holding it, as long as they are very simple wishes, but it won't give you omnipotence if you are just a mortal.

Just my two cents.

crypticracer:
Isn't it the thing that forces Link, Zelda and Ganon to repeat their battle over and over again throughout time? They should really try to destroy it at some point. So Zelda doesn't have to spend the majority of her lives captured, Link doesn't have to walk through endless corridors just to collect the same crap he's already collected several times over, and maybe Ganondorf doesn't have to keep being humiliated by a tights wearing elf kid who get's yelled at by fairies.

Lorule tried that (In Link Between world), it didn't turn for the best. Turn out the triforce is some kind of fundation without which the whole world fall apart and start to decay and slowly die.

I too really liked the "a legend being told differently" theory.

I really don't see how you could have made it work in the first place anyway. Even before Historia, there was many hint in each game of previous games having happened beforehands, making it just one story with different take just doesn't work.

Mcoffey:
It would be an excellent twist if, at the end of a particularly brutal and epic Zelda adventure, the Triforce is assembled and didn't do anything and all that suffering was for nothing.

But Nintendo definitely doesn't have the balls to pull that off.

Hmm...

Ganon: "HAHAHA! The Triforce is mine!"

Nothing happens.

Ganon: "... c'mon. Glow or something. DO SOMETHIIIIIIII-"

Master sword intervention through skull.

Mike Pothier:
Just coming from my years of observation, what I think:
The Triforce does grant wishes, but since it is made from the essence of the Goddesses, to wield its full potential, you need to be a god yourself.

(...)

Interesting, but Skyward Sword state the exact opposite of that. Hylia turned into a mortal, Zelda, precisely because Gods can't use the power of the Triforce. The Triforce is an exclusive gift of the Goddesses to the mortals.

I am reminded of an old young-adult sci-fi novel by the name of Interstellar Pig, in which the titular MacGuffin is supposed to be an all-powerful doomsday device set to destroy all but whatever civilization happens to possess it when it goes off. When the protagonist finally gets hold of it, the device tells him that it's the other way around and will destroy humanity unless he gets rid of it - at which point he realizes it's nothing more than a data recorder that seeks to be passed from one alien race to the next as often as possible.

More troubling is the question of what happens to the Triforce AFTER the end of each game. Ok, Ganon's beaten, then Link and maybe Zelda get to party with the Triforce for a few minutes before everything goes back to normal.

And then what? Does the Triforce just float around for a while granting everyone's wishes? Does it explode and the pieces fly out into the world like the dragon balls? Does it re-embed itself back into Link, Zelda, and Ganon? Why?

Invadergray:
Before the Hyrule Historia made the timeline continuity canon, there was an interesting fan theory that the Zelda games were all the same story told through the lens of different cultures. I agree that creating the official continuity detracted from many of the games.

I'm pretty sure Nintendo confirmed it previously. Wind Waker seems to act like that's the case.

Am I the only one who actually wondered this in the past and did research? Yeah, the powers of the Triforce are vague at best, but it's not as if it actually does nothing at all. For one, it allowed Ganondorf to turn into the giant boar monster in so many games that he's in, such as OoT and Twilight Princess. It also allowed him to single-handedly take over Hyrule, so obviously that entails some sort of immense power along with the change in shape. The Triforce of Wisdom supposedly gives Zelda divine Wisdom and healing capabilities. The Triforce of Courage, however, seems to do the least of all three. At best, it's some sort of almighty shield, protecting against dark magic, such as in Twilight Princess, when Link turns into a wolf instead of a spirit. Not to mention that we've actually seen proof that it actually DOES serve a sort of purpose, just not in Wind Waker beyond the whole ocean thing. Yahtzee, I love your work. You're funny as hell, and damn if you don't have a way with words. But for the love of God, or whatever you believe in, at the very least look it up on Google and skim the results. Don't just assume that it does absolutely nothing.

The games that to me, contain the most sensible and interesting storylines without contradicting each other have always been OoT, WW, and TP. The Triforce's power is those pretty much makes sense. Keep in mind that Ganon hasn't always just sought the Triforce. In OoT he *got* it. And as soon as he touched it, it broke into pieces and bound itself to the Big Three. In my opinion, even though OoT wasn't the first game, that event resonated forward and backward in time to ensure that the three pieces were always bound to Link, Zelda, and Ganon. After all, Ganondorf is a mostly regular human with a basic origin in OoT--but in most other games he's always been around. Link and Zelda get reincarnated, Ganon just keeps coming back to life--even in continuities where he didn't actually get the Triforce. Twilight Princess takes place after young Link and young Zelda stop Ganondorf from ever seizing the Triforce--and when the court tries to execute him he somehow still has it and cannot be killed. Between that and the pig monster it's pretty apparent what Power does. Wisdom is a bit more ambiguous in those games--Zelda can shoot Light arrows, turn into Shiek, and....open doors to get out of Ganon's tower.

It's hard to say what Courage does because we only ever see Adult Link while he has it (in TP he's born with it). We take for granted video game stuff like hurling mighty rocks, surviving sword blows, and leaping great distances. But who knows if that's not the power of Courage? We certainly don't see a lot of NPC's pulling that kind of stuff--Link is the only one able to accomplish much of anything, so he's clearly more powerful than average humans.
As for why Ganon keeps seeking the other two pieces? He doesn't believe that he's not worthy--he thinks it's just a fluke that he broke it the first time. He'd never actually get the Triforce to properly serve him. The reason he has to be stopped is because of the destruction he wreaks in pursuing it.

Wow, good question. I always assumed it had been answered in previous Zelda games. I mean my first was Ocarina, and since I was told its basically the same game as the previous ones, I assumed maybe content had been cut. Like maybe Mr. I am Error knows whats going on but he didn't make it into Ocarina. Or some little fairy dipshit explained the Triforce is actually the key to the bearer bonds lock-box and whomever holds it is the richest man in the kingdom.
Do none of the Zelda games really cover the triforce? Isn't that like figuring out Peach and Bowser have been in a relationship this whole time, and they merely roll-play the kidnapping to give their sex life a little more spice? And poor stupid Mario is the only one who doesn't know, but because Peach was his high school crush, no one has the heart to tell him she's moved on to big turtle monster dick...

I always thought that the goal of assembling the Triforce was to take away the power of the three individuals (Link, Zelda, Ganondorf) and amalgamate them into one source. i.e. Ganondorf is afraid of Zelda and Link stopping him so he attempts to gather the Triforce pieces together to stop the prophecy from fulfilling.

Thanatos2k:
More troubling is the question of what happens to the Triforce AFTER the end of each game. Ok, Ganon's beaten, then Link and maybe Zelda get to party with the Triforce for a few minutes before everything goes back to normal.

And then what? Does the Triforce just float around for a while granting everyone's wishes? Does it explode and the pieces fly out into the world like the dragon balls? Does it re-embed itself back into Link, Zelda, and Ganon? Why?

It really depend from one game to an other. It's either separated in shards and in this case get inherited from generation to generations, or it lays complete in the Sacred realm, or, before Skyward Sword, when the Sacred realm didn't exist yet, just secured in 3 separated shards in a safe place.

If we take Hyrule Historia as a guideline, you can actually make yourself an idea of the Triforce's Journey.

-some time after the events of Skywayrd Sword, the Sacred Realm is created and the Triforce is sealed there to prevent evil doers from laying their hands on it. The Triforce remains full in the sacred realm up until...

-Ocarina Of time. There Ganondorf manages to enter the Sacred Realm, touch the Triforce who disperses between, Link, Zelda and Ganon. At the end of Ocarina of Time, in the Adult time line, Ganon is sealed in the sacred Realm, while still having the shard of power, while Zelda keep the the shard of wisdom. Link is send back in time, which create the child timeline, meaning the adult Timeline is without an hero to bear the shard of Courage. It results in the shard of courage of the adult timeline being shattered in several pieces.

1.In wind Waker, (adult timeline), as the hero's soul has been removed from that timeline, a new hero has to be found who will gather the pieces of the shard of Courage. Zelda's descendant, Tetra, has inherited of the Shard of Wisdom and Ganondorf, still in possession of his shard of power, managed to escape from the sacred realm, which lead to the submersion of Hyrule. At the end of Wind Waker, the Triforce is reunited, and in the games following in that timeline, the Triforce is no longer seen. It probably remained in old Hyrule when it was submerged and still lay there complete in that timeline.

2.in the childhood Timeline, the hero is sent back in time there as a child, just before Ganondorf put his hand on the triforce. Child Zelda and Link managed to make him be caught red handed by Hyrule's authorities, which lead to his failed execution and thus his banishment to the twilight world, because he still managed to get his hand on the triforce and get the Shard of power. Zelda thus got the shard of Wisdom and the Hero's soul got the shard of courage. Thus there is a Chosen one when the events of Twilight Princess happens.

-In Twilight Princess, the Hero is the chosen and thus inherited of the Shard of Courage and Zelda inherited of the shard of Wisdom. Ganon is still in possession of the shard of power and managed to escape from the twilight world. He is killed by Zant and thus has the shard of Power no more.

-It's worth noting that while the Triforce does not appear in Four Swords Adventures, it's not the same old ganondorf, but a new reincarnation of him that is the big bad and becomes powerful after acquiring the trident, an old powerful weapon of his previous namesake. While not mentioned, This new Ganon might have inherited of the Shard of Power, while Link and Zelda inherited of their own shard.

3. (watch out, this one is a bit more complex)in the defeated timeline, OOT Ganon defeat Adult Link and manage to have the 3 shards and the complete Triforce, but get sealed in the sacred realm by the seven sages. Ganon thus has entire dominion over the Sacred Realm and is in possession of the entire Triforce.

-In Link to the past, Ganon almost manages to escape but is stopped by Link in the Pyramid. There, in the room behind lies the completed Triforce, Link use it to wish all the wrong right and bring people back to life. The Triforce remains complete in the Sacred realm and Link get back to Hyrule and put the Master Sword to rest.

-In the Oracles, a new Link mange to find the Sacred realm where he find the triforce, still being there since A Link to the past. He touches it but thing goes south and he get teleported back in Hyrule. After defeating Ambi and Onox, it is revealed that the Twinrova sisters where trying to resurrect Ganon (after he was killed in Link to the past). Link stops the resurrection process, and Ganon is sealed has a ghost. Somehow, he is sealed with his Shard of Power, probably managed to get it back when Link screwed up with the triforce at the beginning of the game, making the attempt of his resurrection possible in the first place(this is a bit more of a speculation from my part, but it explains why he has his shard of Power in Link Between Worlds). the two other Shard probably went to Zelda and Link.

-In Link Between Worlds, Zelda and Link have inherited from the shard of Wisdom and Courage while the ghost of Ganon still has the shard of Power. Yuga unseals the Ghost of Ganon thanks to the descendants of the Seven Sage (lets note here that the paintings seen in the Castle in Link Between Worlds are a mix of the events of OOT and Link To the Past warped up in a single story, being that the telling of the actual full events might have been a tad too overconvoluted to tell to new players). Yuga manages to absorb the Ghost of Ganon (who was never much reactive anyway) and thus get the shard of Power, while also stealing the shards of Wisdom and Courage from Link and Zelda. Yuga is killed (with the ghost of Ganon as well), the Triforce reunited and brought back to the sacred realm where it is used to restore the triforce of Lorule. The Triforce of Hyrule remains in the sacred realm.

-in Zelda 1, a new reincarnation of Ganon manages to get The triforce of Power. Zelda, in possession of the shard of Wisdom, breaks it in 8 pieces Link will have to collect before defeating Ganon (playing game2 of Zelda 1 allows you to obtain the shard of Power on the end credit).

-In Zelda 2, it is revealed Link is a potential bearer of the Triforce and must take a journey to recover the 3rd shard of the Triforce, the shard of courage, to awoke a different Zelda from an eternal slumber. The back-story of Zelda 2 teach us that that Zelda, untrusty of her brother, took away the Triforce (possibly from the Sacred Realm where her brother could access it?), Wisdom and Power remaining in Hyrule (where later, Ganon from Zelda 1 and the Zelda from Zelda 1 managed to get their hand on respectively), while she hid the Triforce of Courage that Link must now recover, to awoke the princess who, because she refused to say where she had hidden it, was cursed for it. This mean this princess existed in a time set between Link Between World and Zelda 1 and she is far from being the first princess, despite being told to have started the tradition to name every Princess Zelda. At the end, Link get the Shard of Courage, reunite it with the shard of Power and Wisdom he already have and use its power to awoke the Princess and get smooched. No words, tough of what happened to the Zelda of Zelda 1.

(made corrections for Zelda 1 and 2 that I had completely wrong, graphologies. Thanks to Oskuro and CaitSeith for pointing that out)

And, this, people, is what happens to the Triforce in Zelda.

Thanatos2k:

Invadergray:
Before the Hyrule Historia made the timeline continuity canon, there was an interesting fan theory that the Zelda games were all the same story told through the lens of different cultures. I agree that creating the official continuity detracted from many of the games.

I'm pretty sure Nintendo confirmed it previously. Wind Waker seems to act like that's the case.

Uh? It doesn't. Quite on the contrary, the Stained glasses in Wind Waker clearly indicate that the event of Wind Waker took place AFTER OOT and thus can't possibly be the same story retell.

Also, I don't think Nintendo made any confirmation of this. Especially as as early as Link to the Past, Shigeru said that third instalment took place before Zelda 1 and 2.

GUIGUI:

Thanatos2k:

Invadergray:
Before the Hyrule Historia made the timeline continuity canon, there was an interesting fan theory that the Zelda games were all the same story told through the lens of different cultures. I agree that creating the official continuity detracted from many of the games.

I'm pretty sure Nintendo confirmed it previously. Wind Waker seems to act like that's the case.

Uh? It doesn't. Quite on the contrary, the Stained glasses in Wind Waker clearly indicate that the event of Wind Waker took place AFTER OOT and thus can't possibly be the same story retell.

Also, I don't think Nintendo made any confirmation of this. Especially as as early as Link to the Past, Shigeru said that third instalment took place before Zelda 1 and 2.

I think you misinterpreted my post. I meant that Nintendo confirmed the timeline continuity canon before Hyrule Historia.

Well, a long time ago (like 20 years ago) I read a comic book of Nintendo characters including Link from Legend of Zelda (the "excuuuuuse me princess one. Does that count?). In one event, he actually manages to get his hands on the triforce of power. He gains a number of powerful spells, and a following of monstrous minions, and completely dominates Ganon, but because he used it without the triforce of wisdom (power without wisdom) it corrupts him and nearly turns him into Ganon, to the point where he kidnaps Zelda and tries to force her to surrender the triforce of Wisdom. Even when she expresses her distress over his change in behavior by admitting that she loves him, he responds: "I don't want love. I want more POWER!"

So, I guess each of them gives you what their name implies. Power gives you power (see above), wisdom gives you boundless knowledge and wisdom (and some less-destructive spells), and courage gives you an unshakable resolve.

It makes sense since Link has the triforce of Courage, and never fears anything or gives up, and can counteract some of Ganon's spells through sheer force of will, while Zelda has the triforce of Wisdom and is always speaking cryptically and possesses arcane knowledge (she's basically Merlin in a dress), and Ganon is, well, Ganon. You've probably seen what he can do.

The Zelda IP is what you get if you tried to string every Mario game ever made into a single continuity - messy and dissonant, to begin with.

Mcoffey:
It would be an excellent twist if, at the end of a particularly brutal and epic Zelda adventure, the Triforce is assembled and didn't do anything and all that suffering was for nothing.

But Nintendo definitely doesn't have the balls to pull that off.

I think I will be one of the few I would like this ending.

I wanted to bring an example an awesome RPG, but it is a giant spoiler, so let just say in one RPG the big twist is the Good God of the world was dead and only the Evil God had survived.
However in the whole game your mission was to seek help from the good God......oops XD

Thanatos2k:

I think you misinterpreted my post. I meant that Nintendo confirmed the timeline continuity canon before Hyrule Historia.

Sorry.

Invadergray:
Before the Hyrule Historia made the timeline continuity canon, there was an interesting fan theory that the Zelda games were all the same story told through the lens of different cultures. I agree that creating the official continuity detracted from many of the games.

I could not agree more. However, I refuse to call it canon.

I find myself at odds with other fans of Zelda who have eaten up the Hyrule Historia as gospel truth. It's an afterthought; a retcon. It unifies plots that were not intended nor written to be chronologically linked (a passing reference/homage to previous works is not an anchor from which you can link two stories), and trying to do so is to disrespect the previous works. The Hyrule Historia was an interesting read but it really bothers me that they retconned a bunch of details in and now every Zelda thereafter goes out if its way to reinforce the retcon. Spelling out the whole reincarnation thing is a particularly lazy approach, too. I always enjoyed the concept of the Zeldas as an evolving *Legend*: one story branching into many different variations with each retelling- one single event has been told and retold so many times over the ages that many variations evolved in parallel and have grown to reference each other. I like to imagine that, as I play each Zelda, the "Legend of Zelda" is a bona fide legend within the context of the world you're in and you discover that there is some truth to the legend, but you never find anything as droll as the specific number of times the legend repeated itself and the exact order everything happened in so that any shred of mystery is smothered to death. The end of Skyward Sword really hammered home that every single story is linked by reincarnation and that these exact events are doomed to repeat themselves forever.. I just found this to be really fan servicey and it completely undermined any mysterious "Legend"-ary feel Zelda once had. No actual Legend (Zelda included) holds up to undue scrutiny and it's far better enjoyed without connecting every single dot.

EDIT: As yahztee mentioned, just about every Zelda is so separated by time that it hardly matters if they're chronologically linked or not: each game is it's own story. The focus during development (before skyward sword) is on the game's world itself, not some continuity. If anything they threw in a few details as fanservice to try and get fans to come up with their own theories, but never designed the Zeldas in any actual contiguous fashion. Why do you all pay more attention to the details that supposedly Link the Zeldas together, than to the portrait of Mario in OoT, or the Mario mask in MM? I'm sure at the time, they sprinkled in all these little references for fun, and that's all the thought that went into that. Now, they tried to shoehorned in continuity where it was never intended and I for one do not appreciate it.

GUIGUI:

Invadergray:
Before the Hyrule Historia made the timeline continuity canon, there was an interesting fan theory that the Zelda games were all the same story told through the lens of different cultures. I agree that creating the official continuity detracted from many of the games.

That theory never even held on a single legs. It couldn't even work with Zelda 2 who was a direct sequel and had Ganon dead already, killed in the first game.

Read above. I could easily say that yes there are some direct continuities and the rest are variations of the same story, however it's perfectly reasonable to say that all of them have evolved from one single story. One story spread across the world, retold and evolved over the ages in different, isolated locations, and reunited centuries later in very different forms. Someone trying to make sense of all the incredibly different variations might think they were chronologically ordered events that actually occurred in all the different regions of the world. He might even come up with something as silly as the continuity from Hyrule Historia! Heh, I kid, I kid.

Lvl 64 Klutz:
Speaking of the Triforce, it is kind of jarring that some of the Zelda games treat the Triforce as some kind of ethereal power represented by magical emblems, while others treat it as a tangible object.

Yeah, I myself just ignore all the parts of WindWaker and the other games that treat the triforce like a trinket anyone can dig up with a boat and map. It's a symbolic representation of the virtues of three people, dammit! It has no physical form that can be thrown around like an empty beer can, or worse, broken into pieces (seriously wtf windwaker)! When the three people are in the same room I'll buy that it can manifest into an object that grants wishes, but as a manifestation of virtues within three people it cannot be *taken*. This would explain why it's in Ganondorf's interest to kidnap but not kill Zelda: to lure Link into the same room and with the three of them, allow the triforce to manifest into the wishmaking gizmo.

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