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    Downfall Timeline Theory: The fall of Hylia and the Rise of Christianity
    • Something that had always confused me was that in the two original Legend of Zelda games, Link bore a large red cross upon his shield. At first, I summed it up to Nintendo just going for a more knightly look, but then I saw this.


      This is a piece of promotional art that was supposed to be used from A Link to the Past. TO my great surprise, it depicts Link praying beneath a Crucifix, apparently in a church, assumedly with the Virgin Mary standing next to her son. This made me very curious, even though this piece has not been canonized, I found many more Christian refences in the canon games.



      This is a collectable item found in the original Legend of Zelda. In the American copy of the game, this item was called "The Book of Power", yet in the Japanese copy of the game, this item was called the Bible.



      Then this item, from Zelda 2, allows Link to see unseen enemies.





      This is the Sanctuary, a building from a Link to the Past. It also bears a striking resemblance to a Christian church.

      Now, I'm sure you're wondering how all of these items mesh with the established religion in the Canon Timeline. Well, this is my proposal. We start with the fall of Hyrule. When Ganon defeats link the people of Hyrule begin to lose faith in Hylia. It begins with ALttP, when the Christian imagery and beliefs are blended with Hylian Religious practices. It is unknown how Christianity rose in Hyrule, perhaps with Link dying and being resurrected we get the idea of relating him to a Messiah, although this does not explain the cross imagery. Perhaps Link or some other Hylian Hero was Crucified at some point. Then we see Link explore other lands in The Oracle Games and Link's Awakening. We return to Hyrule in the original LoZ. Here, Link appears to have been raised in a Christian home and wears a Cross on his shield. He also acquires a Bible while on his journey. Then, Directly after, Link grows older and We see Churches and Crosses appear again.
    • You should take a look at this.

      In summary, Judeo-Christian elements in Japanese games shouldn't be taken too seriously.
      When the gods drave me forth to toil and assailed me with thirst and beat me down with hunger, then I prayed to the gods. When the gods smote the cities wherein I dwelt, and when Their anger scorched me and Their eyes burned, then did I praise the gods and offer sacrifice. But when I came again to my green land and found that all was gone, and the old mysterious haunts wherein I prayed as a child were gone, and when the gods tore up the dust and even the spider's web from the last remembered nook, then did I curse the gods, speaking it to Their faces, saying:—

      "Gods of my prayers! Gods of my sacrifice! because Ye have forgotten the sacred places of my childhood, and they have therefore ceased to be, yet may I not forget. Because Ye have done this thing, Ye shall see cold altars and shall lack both my fear and praise. I shall not wince at Your lightnings, nor be awed when Ye go by."

      Time and the Gods
    • Moving this to the Zelda Theory section.


      BotW Zelda in her purple Hylian Tunic, by my husband, DarkSilver.

      "Breath of the Wild: "Zelda's Redemption" Chapter 3 now up!

      After Calamity Ganon's defeat, a devastated Zelda must come to terms with her ruined kingdom, dead friends, and the resentment of the Hero who had saved her, but lost his fiancee. When all hope seems lost, she comes across a legend of a holy relic that can set things right, if she can find the ancient keys to access it. With the help of new friends, and without Link, can Zelda finally become a legend, on her own terms?
    • I'm with you, at least insofar as that I think things are more interesting if we take the 'Early Installment Weirdness' as being worth our attention. If I'm being honest (and I hate being honest about Zelda theories), it's been retconned. :(

      I can't imagine them really making another Downfall Timeline game with any of this, but I hope they do. It would be gutsy and the series' lore would be better for it. There are all sorts of questions that it would introduce -- things to think about that would hopefully never be explained by the people at Nintendo Dream. "Oh yeah... as it turns out... LoZ was a dream. That's why there are fourth-wall breaking things like Bibles in it. It's like the Yoshi doll in Link's Awakening."
    • ^That's actually my theory, one that was backed up by a particular friend of mine- the religion came from an outside land.

      However, I don't believe that it was the cause of the downfall. I think the games just used their artistic license a bit too much. Sure the series was less developed back then, but looking back on it, it's a really out of place element that I don't think much stock should be put into. It's there, but mainly for aesthetic. It doesn't seem to have had any bearing on worship of the 4 Goddesses.
    • Guinea wrote:

      Canon wise, the first mention of Christianity came from the Oracle games, from the little girl who gives Link the Shovel, thinking he's Santa Claus.

      If Christianity is a religion in the Downfall, I don't think it originated in Hyrule, but was spread there from another land.

      But I've been wrong before.
      This is possibly significant. You could write off LoZ/AoL as being the early games before the Goddesses were conceived, and you could theorize that ALttP Link's associations with Christianity (e.g. his making the sign of the cross in-game and the not-quite-canon artwork of him genuflecting before a crucifix) were conceived before the manual was written. But how would you explain a reference like that a full decade after the Goddesses became a thing?

      It's not exactly a smoking gun, but it is quite intriguing.
    • I write it up to mere booblehockey. (a made-up word I just invented)

      Basically, AlttP was, imo, a Hyrule that was all about Hylia but never outright said "Hylia is the Lord!"

      With the Oracle games, that made me wonder: who the heck is Santa in the Zelda series?! It can't be... THAT Santa, could it? Huh, I guess it is.

      The Christianity/Golden Goddess's/Hylia religious stuff is so darn crazy when you think about it all, but there it is.

      I need more time to think about this...

      Good thread!
    • ^ The way they reference Hylia in Skyward Sword seems to fit right in with the ALttP NoA translation. 'Ancient civilization of the Hylia' becomes 'Ancient civilization of Hylia'. But I'm personally not convinced that Hylia the goddess was part of the Zelda landscape before SS. I've always thought 'the Hylia' were a people (i.e. the Hylians). Can some Japanese reading ALttP fan weigh in here?
    • Guinea wrote:

      Canon wise, the first mention of Christianity came from the Oracle games, from the little girl who gives Link the Shovel, thinking he's Santa Claus.

      If Christianity is a religion in the Downfall, I don't think it originated in Hyrule, but was spread there from another land.
      I suppose it could have originated in another land. It fits just as well. Not to mention there are a few ways they could have approached Hyrule with the proposition. Like the Triforce and Golden Goddesses being turned in to or merging with the Trinity, the Hero being a form of resurrecting messiah, ect.
    • Whoa, mind blown.

      Definitely something here. I'm not that adept when it comes to real life meeting video game religions. Is there any other meanings behind the cross and crescent moon that may play a part in Hyrule's development as a country trying to establish a religion? In the same realm as the lore?

      My head hurts.
      :ghirahim: :cucco: :look: :tingle: :moon:

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Guinea ().

    • My take on it goes a bit deeper than that, but for simplicity's sake, yes, I see it as being from an outside land. Again, I don't see any correlation to the downfall though; I see it as a very minor religion with an overplayed in-game aesthetic.

      Guinea- that one's a bit more complex in my theory, for the crescent moon anyway; rather than coming from an outside land it's more like an in-universe parallel to our own. I can't really go into details as its an ongoing development for my headcanon which I'm working on with in collaboration with someone else.
    • Hyrule is surrounded by mountains and forests (except for when it's not... which is actually most of the time....:P). But the way I interpret the ALttP intro is that it's saying Hyrule is a magical land which is hidden somewhere on our planet. Why else would they mention that it's surrounded in such a fashion? (Google Earth did not exist at the time. Clearly, Shigeru Miyamoto wants you to use Google Earth to look for Hyrule.)

      But if we want to play with the idea, it goes like this: In the Middle Ages, Friar Bob gets tired of hanging around the nerdy monks at the monastery. All they do is read and write all day long. It's boring. One day, Bob announces, "I wanna go find some people to convert!" So Friar Bob and his buddy Jerry go on a journey, and after taking a shortcut through ???, they arrive in Hyrule.

      Jerry: "Yo Bob. These people have pointy ears. I think they're elves. Do we have to convert elves? What does the Bible say about elves?"
      Bob: "You're talking to me like I read that book!? I don't know. I mean, I'm sure as heck not going back to that nerd herd monastery! Let's try it!"

      And so it began. It's not native to Hyrule. The indigenous religion is the polytheism which centers around the Golden Goddesses and various tribal deities (of which Hylia, imo, would be one). The similarities between the Trinity and the Triforce are immediately noted and become a point of fascination in Hyrule. This fascination is what results in widespread conversions and the mass of Christian cemeteries we see in AoL.
      :cookiemonster:

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Happy Person ().

    • I personally think that there's two ideas that work: either the being in that first ALttP promo pic represents Hylia, and a previous chosen hero. Or a previous chosen hero of Hyrule and his mother. Judeochristian imagery is a really good way to convey the idea of religion in art, games, stories, etc. You look at that thing and go "Ohhh, that's a church! And that's a hero praying for guidance!", and it's especially prominent in early fantasy media of any sort.

      I wouldn't jump on the fridge logic bandwagon and assume because there's imagery that it has to come from real religion, and therefor Christianity exists in the Zelda series. It is an interesting idea though.

      Perhaps as time passed and history became legend, details became muddled. The people of Hyrule now worship a former hero who has become idolized, as well as his goddess/love/princess/whatever familial tie you choose to project upon them. You can actually see some details on the woman's dress that resemble that of Princess Zelda's dress, specifically the shape of a banner on the front, as well as the shaping of the skirt.

      But yeah, forgive my ramblings. I believe it's likely that worship of Hylia and a past hero are responsible for the influence and growth of religion in Link to the Past and the thematic elements of that game.
      I AM TAKANUVA, TOA OF LIGHT!

      You'll be hearing my name someday, whenever people talk about heroes - Takua!
    • Well, here are some issues I have with that, and I mentioned this representing a Hero earlier, but that means the Hero would still need to be Crucified. We have yet to see any form of crucifixion or like executions in the Zelda universe (for obvious reasons, but still). Also the figure in the promo art is near identical to Jesus Christ, and bears no resemblance to any known Links. (It's the beard really). It just looks to me that its a much farther stretch to try and claim that this was all Hylian imagery than try to explain it through some other means.

      P.S: On another note, nice to see another Bionicle fan here. Not many people held out after the last reboot.