In order to defeat the latest Big Bad, Link has to find a balance between courage, wisdom, and power, which he acquires throughout the many dungeons! (The Triforces don't give the attributes to their wielder, but are rather given to them because they have those attributes.)
And learning to use tactics and ranged weapons instead of just running in and bashing at things with your sword (at least in the 3-D era games) is scaling back Courage just enough to not be Stupid Brave, and having the wisdom to use only as much courage as you have power (and skill, which is sort of a combination of power and wisdom... Well, learnedness) to back it up? ...Interesting. Incidentally, in Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker, when Zelda participated in the final battle, Zelda had gained courage and power from Impa's training/being Sheik and confronting Ganondorf/being Tetra, respectively. While Ganondorf hid out in his castle and kept making stupid mistakes. This goes well with the interpretation that Ganon(dorf) keeps throwing the Triforce out of balance, because he's not balanced (being the person trying to acquire it). —JET 73 L
In Skyward SwordLink is able to obtain the full Triforce (first time this has ever been shown to happen in the 3D era if I'm not mistaken). And it's explained that it's because of the trials he was put though during the game (in the dungeons and temples), which helped him gain/acquire and balance all three Triforce virtues. So while Courage may be the virtue he holds the most in abundance at the start, it's though his adventures that he's able to gain the other two virtues and balance all three. It's just that Ganondorf is usually the one who gets to the Triforce first, causing it to split because his heart doesn't have that balance... and doing so before Link goes though the trials (again, all the dungeons and temples) that would allow for Link to receive the whole Triforce.
The Triforce split apart because Ganondorf's heart was unbalanced (had somebody of a pure heart got it first, then they could have gotten it whole). I always thought each piece went to the person who valued that respective virtue the most. Ganondorf wanted absolute power, so he received the Triforce of Power. Zelda was a Princess and was likely learning how to properly rule a country, and therefore held Wisdom in the highest regard. Link, as evidenced by the carving on his tree-house in Ocarina of Time, was always willing to find the Courage to stand up against evil. Just because he received the Triforce of Courage doesn't mean Link wasn't strong nor smart, it just meant that he believed being brave was the most important thing. Throughout his trials, he realized that, while having the courage to stand against evil was all well and good, one also needed the power to fight it and the wisdom to outsmart it. By the time he reached the Triforce, he believed that all three virtues were equally important and therefore was able to put the Triforce back together. The whole Dark World mess was simply the Triforce granting Ganondorf's wish to have a realm to rule, twisted by his selfish desires, and had no correlation to the virtues he believed in.
It has been confirmed that the Legend of Zelda universe's timeline is split up into three parts: A Link to the Past is a timeline where Ganondorf was victorious; Majora's Mask was the beginning of the timeline of the Child!Link, where the Sages capture Ganondorf and imprison him in the Twilight Realm; Wind Waker takes place centuries after the Adult!Link timeline. The brilliance comes when you realize what happened in Ocarina of Time, and the symbolism of it: the Triforce was split into three pieces. Just like the Triforce, the timeline split into three pieces, each timeline corresponding with a specific character, and a specific Triforce piece: A Link to the Past is the "Triforce of Power/Ganondorf" Timeline; Wind Waker is the "Triforce of Wisdom/Zelda" timeline, and Majora's Mask is the "Triforce of Courage/Link" timeline.
I agree with the overall analysis, but not with the particular splitting of the timeline. I prefer to look at the events that brought each timeline about. Consider the following:
The Rise of Ganon timeline obviously represents the ascendency of the Triforce of Power. Ganondorf had a plan, he executed his plan, and he crushed the Hero of Time. He won, and his Triforce is ascendant.
The timeline through Wind Waker represents the ascendency of the Triforce of Courage. Why? Because to create this timeline, the Hero of Time, the bearer of the Triforce of Courage, actually fought and defeated Ganondorf. Thus making that Triforce piece ascendant. Look at Wind Waker: what's the major thing you have to do before you get to fight Ganondorf? Put the Triforce of Courage back together.
The timeline through Majora's Mask represents the ascendency of the Triforce of Wisdom. Why? Because it represents the success of Zelda's original plan. Remember: she wanted to stop Ganondorf before he was able to steal the Triforce. And thanks to time-traveling Link, she did. It was the wisdom of the child Zelda who was able to safeguard the realm of Hyrule.
There's more to support the first take, actually. Take note: the Wind Waker timeline gives central focus to Zelda and Hyrule. She's the one who leads here, the one with the most earnest control, as both a captain and princess. This continues even later down the line with Spirit Tracks, wherein the plot is centered around Zelda's ghostly state and the curse plaguing New Hyrule. In the Majora's Mask/Twilight Princess timeline, however, Link is now the focus—not Zelda, not Ganondorf. In Majora's Mask, they don't even exist there—it's about Link getting to the bottom of a great evil he uncovered alone. In Twilight Princess? His friends from the village become kidnapped, and later his companion Midna is suffering, giving him personal motivation...and again, Zelda and Ganondorf are almost entirely in the background. As for the "Hero Dies" timeline, well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Ganondorf won and rules through power, giving him and the Triforce of Power prominence in that timeline.
I thought it was odd for Nintendo to pull the whole Demon revives Demon King using Zelda's body plot thread two games in a row (Spirit Tracks and Skyward Sword). Then I realized that they were both the first game in their respective land. New Hyrule had to imprison and later kill off a Demon King before prospering just like Old Hyrule did.
When you finally get to fight Ganondorf in Ocarina Of Time, chances are you won't defeat him on the first try. So what happens when you get a game over? Simple, you've just created the alternate part where the Downfall Timeline takes place!
Linking in to this, the first three games released, Link to the Past, Legend of Zelda, and Adventure of Link, are all in the same line after the timeline split. This line is the "fail" line. Another term for "fail" is "not win"; as such, the only reason these games took place is because you hadn't yet beaten Ganon in Ocarina of Time, because it hadn't been made yet.
Now pretty much Jossed due to the announcement of a new game in the Defeat timeline.
Even accounting for the split timeline, the events of later titles that occur in the past don't necessarily match the background history given in earlier titles. But remember the series is called the Legend of Zelda. Even though they often draw on real history, legends often distort the facts of these events. The backstory of the earlier games are telling the mythologized version of the history shown in the later titles.
Why is it that in A Link to the Past the Master Sword is no longer able to destroy Ganon by itself, even though in all the other games it's the only weapon that can kill him? It's not because the sword is less powerful (in fact, the Golden Sword upgrade may be the most powerful sword in the franchise). It's because Ganondorf was able to claim the entire Triforce when the Hero of Time was defeated and is at his most powerful. Even the Master Sword's enchantments against evil is unable to counter the power of the Triforce, and it takes the Incorruptible Pure Pureness of silver against evil to finish him off.
After the NES Legend of Zelda games, we were introduced to denominations of rupees. Green is 1, blue is 5, red is 20, purple is 50, silver is 100, and gold is 200. I believe purple and below are the same size. So it begs the question, if Link has a wallet of fixed size, how come he doesn't toss the lesser value rupees away and stuff his wallet full of ones of higher denomination? Never mind the loose change problem, since most of Hyrule seems to sell their stuff in multiples of 10. -Xenol
Obviously, the name Link holds the symbolism that different persons with different personalities from different ages and different cultures can still be extrememly similar if they have at least one important thing in common; in each Link's case, they have a big sword and the courage to do heroic things with it. (And the urge to chop grass or throw chickens, needs confirmation). This gets more important when three timelines 'Link' to the Ocarina of Time, proving that one Link can inspire three different generations. And like any other link, it's possible for all three to, one day, connect to a single chain at the end...
Moreso now than ever, actually. Three timelines as a result of OoT: Wind Waker (Wisdom), Majora's Mask (Courage), and ALttP (Power). Note when Nintendo released the Hyrule Historia, in the timeframe of the game holding the series' origins. What console title came before this? Why, Twilight Princess. ...But wait, Ganondorf died in that game. ...And in Wind Waker...and in the original Legend of Zelda... Ganondorf has lost his Triforce piece and been slain in every single timeline. All loose ends have been tied up, so...what happens now...?
Well...all except for one. In the Wind Waker and Link to the Past timelines, the Triforce was restored. The only one that it hasn't been restored in yet is, well...the Majora's Mask timeline, which could be seen as the one that reflects the hero of the series...
There's always been an emphasis on how dangerous it is to use power without wisdom and courage, but the Triforce is also stated repeatedly to be a True Neutral object, so it always bugged me that there was this background message that power=bad while wisdom and courage=good. But then I looked back at Ocarina of Time and realized that wisdom and courage played just as much of a role as power in sparking the main conflict of the series. Look at the events that led to the Triforce being split. Zelda was wise to see what Ganondorf wanted and to try to preempt him, but she lacked the power to act against him and she lacked the courage both to act for herself and to look at herself and examine how she might be wrong. Link had courage to spare as he went about collecting the spiritual stones, but he lacked the power to really change anything in what was going to happen, instead playing right into Ganondorf's hands, and he lacked the wisdom to figure that he might not actually be doing the right thing. Wisdom without power or courage and courage without wisdom or power are what led to Ganondorf getting the Triforce. This changed in the Time Skip because they did grow through their experiences. Zelda gained the courage to face herself and her failings and to take action for herself instead of sending someone else to do her dirty work, while Link gained the wisdom to see where he went wrong and to know when to back off instead of charging forward, while both gained the power to put all of this into real action and change. But Ganondorf didn't change. He has gained no wisdom or courage from his experience. So the series really does a better job than it looks in showing that it really is all about human weakness causing these things instead of some divine force. - Rainbow Phoenix
With the newly released official timeline with the Hyrule Historia, we find out that Four Swords Adventures takes place after the timeline split, and takes place in the Child Timeline, whereas Minish Cap and Four Swords took place before the timeline split. Vaati was defeated for good in Four Swords Adventures. But that's only in the Child Timeline. Vaati is still sealed in the Adult Win Timeline and the Adult Lose Timeline. The Adult Win Timeline has pretty much left Vaati behind under the ocean in Old Hyrule. However, the Adult Lose Timeline still takes place in Hyrule, and with Ganon dead for good in that timeline (unless his minions get Link's blood when he finally dies of old age, if they're still around), that leaves a main antagonist spot wide open for Mr. Wind Mage.
In relation to the timeline Fridge Brilliance above, the "defeated hero" timeline could have come about because when Link goes back in time, he seals the Door to the Master Sword. This could mean one of two things: he never went into the future (which isn't quite so bad), or, possibly, his future self that was locked in there never got out. Sealing the Door of Time doomed one version of Link to float in a timeless void forever.
Since the "defeat" timeline involves Ganon getting the complete Triforce, it's not likely he was sealed there like that forever. However, the Oracle games create a different type of Fridge Horror that explains the timeline - the Twinrova sisters are alive. You fight them as an adult in OoT and they unambiguously die. The bit about being sealed away for 7 years because you weren't ready to wield the Master Sword? Age wasn't a problem in Wind Waker. All these facts hint at this: Link was allowed to try fighting Ganondorf with the Master Sword as a child, failed, and someone went back in time, prevented Link from leaving the Temple of Light, and allowed him to grow up so he'd be strong enough to win. This means they allowed a ten year old boy to face the King of Evil, and he suffered for it.
The things Link, especially his younger incarnations, goes through are quite horrifying in retrospect.
In the "defeated hero" timeline we have Zoras as an enemy, but no sign of the Gorons or Kokiri. This means either the Kokri and Gorons are in hiding, or worse yet were exterminated or driven from Hyrule by Ganon. Meanwhile, the Zoras were either turned hostile or corrupted/enslaved by Ganon. Since this is the case during A Link to the Past, the Imprisoning War may have led to the genocide of two entire races!
Fortunately, the Gorons show up in the Oracle games, as do Deku Skrubs (the other "missing race"). The Kokiri, however, are not. Also, they don't show up in the Child Timeline either, so whatever happened to them happened in two timelines?
It was heavily implied that in the Child Timeline, the Kokiri became the monkeys from Twilight Princess. However, it's still fairly likely that they were wiped out in the Downfall Timeline, given what information we currently have from the games and the Hyrule Historia, but the 3DS sequel to A Link to the Past may shed some light on their fate.
Ever stopped to think about how the Hyrule of the original game is so different to the great kingdom we see in its predecessor games? In OoT especially, we see a vibrant, diverse Hyrule, home to multitude of settlements and races, while ALttP at least had towns and palaces. In LoZ, instead of anything resembling an actual kingdom, the overworld is instead a vast wilderness home to a variety of monsters and beasts that will attack any human they see on sight. The only people you ever meet live alone in caves and don't dare to venture outside without some kind of weapon ("it's dangerous to go alone..."). Damn near the only evidence you have that civilization ever existed are the dungeons - decaying ruins of an bygone age, forgotten by the people of Hyrule and now belonging to the same creatures that wander the overworld. No towns, no cities, no palaces, not so much as a farm. Obviously, something must have happened between events of ALttP and LoZ — some kind of terrible war so bad it caused the downfall of civilization itself.
This interpretation, of course, needs you to forget about or ignore Adventure of Link, which takes place only a couple years after the original LOZ, and has numerous towns and palaces. The original LoZ took place in a small corner of the whole of Hyrule.
Hyrule Historia mentions reconstruction efforts between the events of LoZ and AoL.
Even that aside, the scope of all the villages in LA are a little beyond what only two or three years of reconstruction would bring. And the map for LoZ is actually in AoL, in the southern end of the map. So LoZ only took place in a small part of Hyrule. It's like saying something set in the backwoods of Alabama in 2015 means that the United States went under sometime between now and then.
Four Swords Adventures At first, the story seems to be a retelling of the game's plot, with some changes for the sake of the narrative: (1) Link is a hero who thinks he is too cool to work with others. (2) Some Cloning Blues are thrown in for drama Link when is separated into four, each with a different personality, and none of them happy about working as a team. (3) The Links are separated in order to show more of the game's dungeons in fewer pages. (4) Vio's betrayal allows the authors to showcase one of the battlefields from Vs. mode. (5) All four Links finally work together to defeat the Big Bad. (6) They become one again, but now with a better understanding of how to work on a team. On the surface, a good but not exact retelling of the game. Here's where the Fridge Brilliance comes in: I noticed the picture above the author's notes at the end of the manga showed both authors playing the game; one was drawn with a happy look on her face, reminiscent of Red Link, saying "I'll leave this part to you..." to the other author, who wore an aggravated expression not unlike Blue Link when stuck babysitting Red Link. "Some of the situations in the manga might be on what happened between the authors while they were playing," I thought. With this in mind, I found another way to read the story: it follows four friends as they play through Four Swords Adventures. (1) Each player has played Zelda games before, and are used to playing as Link completely on their own. (2) Not being used to working with others in a Zelda game, the players get in each other's way and grumble about how it was easier to play single-player Zelda games. (3) The players each take a turn playing the game on their own, at first glad to be rid of the other players, but come to realize that it is hard to play Adventure Mode solo. (4) Three of the players want to go back to multiplayer Adventure Mode, but the other (Vio) wants to play Vs. Mode instead. (5) All four players work together to beat Adventure Mode. (6) Each player goes on to play single-player Zelda games again, but now they function as a team in multiplayer games.
The infamous "Grumble, Grumble..." screen suddenly makes sense when you realize that's not what the monster's saying, it's the sound his stomach is making. He's hungry, so naturally the solution is to give him food.
Supposedly, the line "Dodongo dislikes smoke" refers to the need to use bombs on the Dodongos by letting them eat two of them. However, by exploding a bomb in front of a Dodongo, Link can stun the creature with the smoke of the explosion and kill them with sword strikes, which is a way that requires only one bomb and always leaves bombs for Link to pick up from the Dodongo. Dodongo dislikes the smoke from the bomb more than the bomb itself!
Why aren't there any servants in the entire castle? One episode surrounds the idea of Link being forced to clean the castle (and him playing sick to get out of it); if there were servants who did the cleaning, the crisis for the episode could have all been avoided.
True. However, you're applying logic to a show that is clearly devoid of it.
Apply Fridge Horror for a second. Where do the minions in the CD-I games come from? Other than the Triforce Of Power, which doesn't have the requisite abilities elsewhere and is merely providing the raw energy and firepower, where would we get the material for the Evil Jar?
To be brutally honest (And to undermine the point) they gave up with Ganon's consistent attacks and moved to less targeted cities and less important castles. They just couldn't HIRE anyone because nobody wanted the job.