The Legend of Zelda probably has one of the most complicated timelines of all video game series. The video games tell the stories of various versions of Link and Zelda throughout the ages. Some are clear, direct sequels to one another, others are seemingly completely independent. Yet, in the end, all games are connected. Our The Legend of Zelda Timeline will explain exactly how.
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It wasn’t until the release of The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, the series’ own encyclopedia, that we could finally figure out the complete, official timeline of The Legend of Zelda. Hyrule Historia explains the timeline actually breaks down into parallel timelines, although they all reconnect with the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The timeline can be divided into the following era’s.
Era of Creation
This first era actually consists of multiple eras, including the Era of Hylia, Sky Era, Era of Chaos, Force Era and the Era of the Hero of Time. Yet for clarity we’ve put all those different eras together under the name Era of Creation. since they cover the origins and early history of Hyrule, the Triforce, and the recurring characters in the series. These eras lay the foundation for the events and lore of the subsequent games in the series.
The following games take place in this era, in chronological order:
After the events of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the timeline splits into three different braches: The Fallen Hero Timeline, the Child Timeline, and the Adult Timeline.
Fallen Hero Timeline
In this timeline, Link is defeated by Ganon, leading to a decline in Hyrule’s fortunes. The games in this timeline feature various incarnations of Link and Zelda facing the threat of Ganon and other villains.
After Link defeats Ganon in Ocarina of Time, he is sent back to his childhood. In this timeline, Ganondorf’s plans are foiled early on, leading to his eventual execution. The games often revolve around Link and Zelda’s attempts to prevent the return of Ganondorf or deal with other dangers.
In this timeline, Link defeats Ganon and leaves behind the future Hyrule. The kingdom is eventually flooded due to the people’s inability to stop Ganon’s return. The games in this timeline feature Link and Zelda exploring the flooded world and working to restore peace and order.
Era of the Wilds
The three different branches somehow reconnect once again in the Era of the Wilds. The Era of the Wilds comprises the events of Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom. This era takes place in a distant future in which Hyrule has fallen into ruins, and the kingdom’s history has been mostly forgotten. The games in this era focus on a new incarnation of Link and Zelda as they face the threat of Calamity Ganon and work to restore the devastated world.
There are numerous spin-off games featuring Link and Zelda. Although they sometimes have some relations to the main games, or draw inspiration from the main games, they are not considered canon. To give a complete overview of the series, here is a list of the most important and recent spin-off games:
Tie-in media and manga
Over the years, multiple tie-in media and manga are released based on the The Legend of Zelda videogames. Although they draw inspiration from the games, they are not considered canon and might deviate from the video games. To give a complete overview of the series, here is a list of tie-in media and manga based on The Legend of Zelda:
This The Legend of Zelda Timeline has been composed with as much care as possible. Nevertheless, an error may have crept into our chronological order. Are you an even bigger The Legend of Zelda fan than we are? Please contact us and tell us what we did wrong!