The Legend of Zelda video game series continues to be one of the most beloved gaming franchises of all time. It all started with the original The Legend of Zelda, released in 1986. In the nearly 35 years since its debut, the series has become known for its complex story and mythology, which is often reflected in its extensive timeline.

The timeline of the series has become an iconic element of The Legend of Zelda lore. While it’s intricate and often hard to follow, understanding the timeline is essential for fully appreciating the story and characters of the series. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at all the major points of the timeline and how they shape the overall history and mythology of The Legend of Zelda, from beginning to end.

Background of the Timeline

The timeline of The Legend of Zelda was first established and discussed in the game’s manual for Ocarina of Time in 1998, with The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, published in 2011 and covering all released games in the series, further solidifying it and offering more detail.

The timeline is broken down into three major points: the “Adult Timeline”, the “Child Timeline”, and the “Downfall Timeline”. All these timelines and points exist concurrently, running parallel with one another, with each branch of the timeline representing a separate timeline.

The Adult Timeline

The “Adult Timeline” starts with the original The Legend of Zelda, which deals with the events of Link’s quest to save Princess Zelda from Ganon. This timeline continues with The Adventure of Link and A Link to the Past.

The Adult Timeline takes a detour with Ocarina of Time, where Link acquires the Master Sword and defeats Ganondorf, who is sealed away with the help of the Seven Sages. This detour continues with The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, both of which occur in the Adult Timeline. In Twilight Princess, Link helps save Hyrule from the power of Ganondorf, who is defeated and sealed away by the Seven Sages.

The Child Timeline

The Child Timeline is created when Link is sent back in time by the goddesses at the end of Ocarina of Time. In this timeline, Link is only a child and has to defeat Ganondorf before he can ever get the chance to become the powerful king that he was in the Adult Timeline. This branch of the timeline deals with the events of Majora’s Mask and the Oracle of Seasons and Ages.

The Downfall Timeline

Finally, the Downfall Timeline is created when Ganondorf obtains the Triforce in Ocarina of Time. In this timeline, Link loses the fight against Ganondorf, who promptly conquers Hyrule, plunging it into an era of darkness and destruction. This timeline is featured in the games The Minish Cap, Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures, and a Link Between Worlds. It is ultimately ended by the events of Breath of the Wild, where Link defeats Ganon, once and for all.

Impact of the Timeline on the Series

The Legend of Zelda timeline is a key element of the overall story and mythology of the franchise. It shapes the character relationships, plot points, and emotional elements of the games in the series, giving the player more reasons to feel connected to the characters and events in the series.

The timeline offers a unique element of continuity, allowing players to feel like their actions and decisions made in one game can have lasting consequences in another. It also allows for interesting narrative elements, such as different character motivations based on their respective timelines, as well as cleverly tying together story elements from different games.

The timeline is something that fascinates fans and players alike. There are even fans who have made it their mission to compile information and make their own theories about the timeline.

The timeline of The Legend of Zelda is an iconic feature of the series that has been in place for decades. It’s respected and highly studied by fans, due to its complexity and the influence it has on the plot and story of the games. Understanding the timeline is an important part of being a fan of the series, so it’s definitely worth studying up on.

No matter what you’re studying, be it the game itself, its lore, or its complex timeline, The Legend of Zelda is sure to provide you with a rewarding and engaging experience.

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