Don’t worry, “Link’s death” doesn’t spoil the ending of the most recent Zelda title, or give away some great secret about one of the past Zelda games. Instead, it refers to an article recently published over at IGN called “When Link is Dead.” The article examines the newly released official timeline to the Zelda series, as seen in Hyrule Historia. While the timeline itself doesn’t contain major spoilers, the article at IGN does–it gives away the ending to Skyward Sword. However, if you have already completed Skyward Sword, or if you don’t mind the final boss scenario being revealed, head on over to IGN and read this interesting article which analyzes the effects of having a third split in the timeline in which the Hero of Time fails. If you want the basic rundown of the article, but don’t want Skyward Sword to be spoiled, hit the jump below and read on for a spoiler-free summary.
For years, fans have been sure that the ending to Ocarina of Time created a “split timeline.” There was the adult timeline, in which the Hero of Time defeated Ganon as an adult and then was sent back in time by Zelda. Hyrule, protected from evil, continued on with Zelda but without Link. Then there was the child timeline, in which the Link who was sent back in time somehow warned Zelda and the Hylian royal family about Ganondorf’s intentions, thus preventing the events of Ocarina of Time from happening.
Then came the third split, presented in Hyrule Historia. The games which followed in that timeline occurred in the realty in which the Hero of Time was defeated. Whether he was killed by Ganon in the final battle, or, as the article at IGN playfully suggests, he was lost in the Water Temple, we just don’t know. All we know is that games such as A Link to the Past and and the original The Legend of Zelda occur within this universe.
Lucas M. Thomas, writer of “When Link is Dead,” examines the possible ramifications of having this third split in the timeline. Many theorists may suggest that if the Hero of Time failed, who’s to say that the Hero of Winds didn’t also fail in an alternate timeline, or Twilight Princess’s Link, or any of the other Links? While some may have claimed that an official timeline would put an end to the great era of the timeline debate, perhaps this has only opened a new chapter of timeline theorizing. What if, instead of “winning the game,” Link was killed in Skyward Sword? Could this mean that there could be yet another split in which none of the other Zelda games take place?
Of course, the above is all just speculation. Many others will claim that there are only three splits, and that these three possible timelines cover all possibilities. The real point of the article is that the age of theorizing is not dead, and that, well, it’s a little strange that so many games take place in a reality that cannot be achieved by the player in-game. One thing is definitely for sure–Zelda fans will still have a lot to argue about for many years to come. What do you think about there being a split in the timeline in which the Hero of Time is defeated?