June 22, 2013

Hyrule's History Part I: From the Raw Beginning to the End of Skyward Sword

About a year ago I began looking at the chronology of the Zelda games after Nintendo released their book “Hyrule Historia” in Japan for Zelda’s 25th anniversary. I want to pick this up again and just start at the beginning. Dark Horse comics got the rights to publish the book here in the USA, so I picked up my copy because I am an absolute Zelda nerd. Here is the way to read this guide:
References to sources end with a parenthesis in the paragraph, referencing to a foot note with the source.
Text in red is pure conjecture.
Anything not cited comes directly from the Zelda games themselves, unless otherwise stated within the sentence or paragraph.


The very first part of the saga is labeled The Legend of the Goddesses and the Hero by Nintendo (1). From many of the games it has been explained how Hyrule was formed. Three golden goddesses Din, Nayru and Farore descended from the skies to create the Earth. Din created the rocky earth. Nayru filled the skies with wisdom and gave law and governance to the world. Farore created all life forms so that they would uphold the law and live.

When the goddesses departed the world that they made, the impact point of departure left behind the sacred Triforce. Because it was left behind by the gods, the Triforce became a source of spiritual guidance for the world. The artifact itself is a living, animate object: but it has no sense of morality or ethics. Any person, good or evil that has the forces of power, wisdom and courage in balance can make a wish on the artifact, and that wish will become true if the forces are in balance. 

If those forces are not in balance, the triforce will split into three pieces; and the hopeful wisher is left with the triforce piece that is the strongest. The other two pieces then reside in those “chosen by destiny” (1). Hyrule Historia is contradictory in its explanation: for one part says Hylia decides who gets the Triforce pieces, and another portion, including game references say that destiny chooses. Perhaps Hylia is the one who guides this destiny (1).

Sometime before their departure, the goddesses created a sub-goddess named Hylia. She was given the task of protecting the triforce and ensuring that only those most worthy could access the sacred triangles. The pieces have a peculiar rule about them: no deity at the level of a god, including Hylia- can use the artifact, meaning that the gods of old and any additional gods are demonstrated to be impotent to a degree. No one knows why the goddesses left behind the Triforce (1). Hylia’s realm, the Sacred Realm as it will eventually be called, becomes the final resting place of the Triforce.

Many forms of life began to walk the earth: from humanoids to monsters and demons. The epitome of all evil, Demise, sought the power of the sacred triangles and began ravaging the Earth with his hoards of demons. A whole bunch of people and other humanoids were slain in the conflict that Demise started: a level of destruction that has not been seen since.

To save the remaining humans on the Earth, Hylia sent a large chunk of land (with other chunks) skyward along with the Triforce so that Demise could not reach it. Before sending the land upwards, Hylia created the Goddess Sword and enshrined it within a pedestal for her chosen hero. At this time, Fi, the sword’s spirit was created. She would search for the hero of destiny and call to him. This hero would carry out Hylia's will and attempt to put an end to Demise, who is the embodiment of all evil. Hylia created a barrier between the Earth and the Sky so that nothing could go between the two places. 

In a show of force that would prove that the gods many not be immortal either- Hylia banded together with the remaining humanoids on the planet to defeat the hordes of demons and seal Demise within a sort of prison. The power of a god, or at least a sub-god seems limited because Demise was powerful enough to weaken Hylia. To be able to use the triforce to defeat Demise, Hylia sacrificed her divinity to be reborn as a mortal so that she could use the golden triangles. The Sheikah tribe became the guardians of Hylia’s reincarnation, and were given the duty to watch Demise’s seal.

3000-4000 years later Many eras later, Hylia’s reincarnation was born in Skyloft to an unknown mother and Gaepora of Skyloft. She would be named Zelda. Hyrule Historia claims that Hylia sent the Loftwings up to Skyloft to be used by humans (1). Hyrule Historia is also vague in saying ‘a few thousand years’ passes between Hylia’s sacrifice and the birth of the very first Zelda (1). Hylia’s deeds became legend, and were all but forgotten by the people living in the paradise of Skyloft (1). 

The demon lord Ghirahim, who served Demise- scoured the surface for the goddess after Demise felt her presence when Zelda was born (1). Ghirahim rose demon hordes under his banner and once again began to terrorize the surface. Eventually he found Zelda- not only was the seal on Demise weakening but the barrier between the sky and the earth was weakening as well. Ghirahim was able to penetrate the barrier with a tornado and pass Zelda through this barrier to the surface. By capturing her, he could use the power of the goddess Hylia to resurrect Demise.

To fulfill his destiny as the chosen hero, Link was guided to the Goddess Sword by Fi. Just as Hylia gave her sailcloth to her chosen hero by legend, a sail cloth was given to Link by Zelda, which he used to parachute down to the surface in search of his childhood friend (1). An old woman named Impa of the Skeikah tribe saved Zelda and told her of her destiny. To fulfill and recall her powers, Zelda traveled around the surface with Impa (from the past, who we will call ‘past Impa’) to cleanse her body for the task at hand. 

Ghirahim attempted to capture Zelda, but was foiled multiple times by Impa and Link. To prepare Link for his destiny, Fi instructed the hero that he must search for Zelda. During his journey Link was given the Goddess Harp so that he could empower the Goddess Sword with three sacred flames, which, when blessed by the Goddess would turn the sword into the Master Sword. After Zelda gives Link the Goddess Harp, she makes her escape with past Impa to an ancient time thousands of years in the past, right after Hylia sacrificed herself and sealed Demise.

When the Gate of Time became functional again in the Sealed Grounds, Link traveled to the past to talk to Zelda. She told him that she would stay in the past, sealed and sleeping for thousands of years in order to keep a lid on Demise’s weak seal. This is how the seal managed to hold for all of that time.

Link returned to the future with the Master Sword and opens the way to the Triforce with the Ballad of the Goddess and a gem earned from the trials pre-ordained for him by the Goddess. Link entered Sky Keep and was found worthy, through trials in the sacred realm to wish upon the Triforce. One by one he gathered the pieces of the triforce in the Sacred Realm. Link made a wish on the Triforce and wished for the Goddess statue to return to its rightful and original place (1). The Triforce glowed and accepted his wish.

The Isle of the Goddess fell completely off from Skyloft (with the Triforce) and made a B-line towards the Sealed Grounds. Just as the Imprisoned pops out of the seal for a final time, the entire Sky Keep comes crashing down on its head- filling the gaping hole in front of the Sealed Grounds and re-completing the temple of Hylia proper.

Demise was dead in this time, but he was still alive in the past and the Gate of Time was active. Ghirahim captured Zelda and took her back to the past. He attempted to slow Link down as much as possible while he syphoned the power of the Goddess to resurrect Demise. After losing in a battle to Link, Ghirahim was successful and was absorbed back into his original form- Demise’s weapon. Demise had been resurrected, but Zelda was still alive.

Demise ripped open a portal to another realm and challenged Link to a fight to the death, instead of outright killing him on the spot. Link accepted, and with the Master Sword managed to defeat Demise and seal him within the Master Sword. The demons of the surface retreated, but not before Demise swore that his hatred, once fully gone would be reborn in a never-ending cycle (1). 

Link, Zelda and the inhabitants of Skyloft all descended to the peaceful surface, where the Kingdom of Hyrule was established by Zelda’s descendants. Zelda had the power of the goddess, but with each successive generation, descendants of Zelda had less and less magical powers inherited from their ancestor. They became known as the Hylians. At the end of the Skyward Sword video game, the Triforce is seen assembled at the statue of the Goddess.

(1) Hyrule Historia. Nintendo. Dark Horse Comics (c) 2013
Updated 6/22/2013 to fix grammatical errors and highlight one portion that ends up being conjecture.

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