"The Legend Of Zelda": A Timeline

Link has been around for a long time, folks. It can be tricky to keep up with the little hero’s story, so we’ve made it simple for you! Here’s the best part: A new piece of the puzzle — The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds — is available now!


This story chronicles the creation of Hyrule, Link forging the Master Sword, and the war between Demise and Hylia. In the end, Zelda stays behind and reigns over the kingdom of Hyrule.

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In this game, we learn the origins of the Wind Mage Vaati, an evil Minish sorcerer and constant antagonist throughout the course of the story.

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Four Swords was released as a bonus multiplayer game alongside the re-release of A Link to the Past. Again we see Vaati, basically being the worst. He captures Zelda, and Link has to use the Four Sword to make four copies of himself in order to take Vaati down.

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After a brutal civil war following the events of Four Swords, Link ultimately helps Zelda to defeat the evil Ganondorf — but not before Zelda sends him seven years into the future. In the end, he is returned to his original state. Ocarina of Time is chronologically significant because, at the conclusion of this game, the singular timeline we’d been dealing with splits off into three. Three timelines. Let’s pick one.

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16. So now we’ve reached…

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Link’s failure to defeat Ganondorf leaves the door wide open for that jerk to unify the Triforce and incite the Imprisoning War — a brutal battle that is described in the beginning of A Link to the Past. In this game, Link must save Hyrule by rescuing the seven descendants of the Seven Sages and, of course, defeating Ganon.

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Released together, these games mark the next chapter in the Fallen Hero timeline. Link is once again asked to rescue Zelda — she’s in danger of being sacrificed by Twinrova (a pair of nasty Gerudo witches) in order to revive the indisposed Ganon. Link ultimately prevails, defeating Twinrova, and the partially resurrected janky Ganon is easily thwarted. At the game’s conclusion, Link is seen sailing off into the horizon.

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Link’s Awakening gives interesting insight into the life and mindset of our hero, Link. Unlike most of the other games, it does not take place in Hyrule; instead, Link washes up on the shores of Koholint Island. Princess Zelda makes no appearance, but Link is rescued from the shore by a girl named Marin, who is a dead ringer for our beloved princess.

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Said to speak more to the Imprisoning War not discussed since the Oracle games, this new installment in the legendary franchise will be released in late 2013.

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Ganon has stolen the Triforce of Power and is desperate to take the Triforce of Wisdom from the kingdom of Hyrule as well. Before Zelda is captured by Ganon (again), she breaks the Triforce of Wisdom into eight fragments, hides them, and sends her nursemaid out to find our hero, Link. He then goes on to restore the Triforce of Wisdom, confront Ganon, and take him down.

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No freaky-deaky timeline switch-ups, here. This game is a direct sequel to LoZ. Link is now 16 and is called back to Hyrule to awake OG Zelda from her eternal slumber. Link needs to restore six crystals to their palaces, thus unlocking the Great Palace, where the Triforce of Courage resides. Only when the triforce reunites can Zelda finally awake. Does Link succeed? Take a guess.

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24. And now…

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This game is a direct sequel to Ocarina of Time and follows Link as he pursues the Skull Kid.

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Taking place a century after Majora’s Mask, Link finally manages to kill Ganondorf once and for all with the Master Sword. And if you’re confused as to how Link and Zelda are surviving for centuries on end — you’re not alone. Each representation of Link is a kind of spiritual ancestor.

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After the seemingly conclusive ending of Twilight Princess, hundreds of years later, we see the return of Ganondorf in Four Swords Adventures. But it’s a different Ganon. He’s different.

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29. And now…

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So here’s the thing: Centuries pass before The Wind Waker, and that era is known as “Era without a Hero” because Link isn’t around while Ganondorf comes back and assumes power. In The Wind Waker, the Gods flood Hyrule to try and put a stop to the madness. Finally, Link returns, and he’s got a brand-new look.

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Phantom Hourglass easily follows The Wind Waker, and in it, Link and Zelda have one goal: find a new Hyrule. The old one’s ruined.

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Still following the same narrative, Link and Zelda finally succeed in finding a new home, naming it New Hyrule. From here, a fresh new start to a long and storied tale will begin.

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35. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is available now!

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