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Is BotW Link the Hero's Shade Reborn?

Spamomanospam

Captain Kick-ass
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Timeline placement theories in the Legend of Zelda series have been a colossal conversation topic for years, but recently have had a sudden surge since the massive coverage at E3 2016 of the newest entry, Breath of the Wild. One theory I've kept in mind for a while now that has not had a lot of coverage from other theorists (at least that I've seen) is that Link may be the resurrected Hero's Shade from Twilight Princess, possibly placing this game after Twilight Princess in the child timeline. This may sound like a wild theory at first, but given a chance, I believe there's at least enough evidence to speculate the possibility. Besides, I hear more clearly cockamamie theories on a regular basis, and there's no harm in at least considering this. Before I begin, I'd like to state that I do not believe this to be the case, however the idea tickles my personal fancy, and I think there's enough merit behind it to at least gain mention before the game releases in a few short days.


The Hero's Shade was a spectral swordsman appearing in Twilight Princess who taught Link his many fighting techniques. For those who may not know, he was confirmed by Hyrule Historia to be the pervious incarnation of Link from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. He was found in the form of a ghostly wolf in a plethora of places around Hyrule, but his actual resting place was not found in the game. Or was it? I believe the hero returned after his misadventure in Termina, or perhaps Link was dead during Majora's Mask in the first place. Unrelated theories aside, in the Twilight Princess's Hyrule Castle Graveyard, there is a tombstone referring to a "cursed swordsman" who rests beneath a "sacred tree." I believe this is the grave of the Hero's Shade, and if this is the case, it may have a link (heh) to Breath of the Wild's Resurrection Shrine.


As we all are aware, Breath of the Wild begins with Link coming to in a mysterious chamber, and then being set free to wander around. Nearby, you can find the Temple of Time, a ruined fountain closely resembling one from Twilight Princess, and a handful of other features suggesting the Great Plateau contains the ruins of what was once Castle Town. Could this be right where he was buried the entire time?


A key point in the story that has fans abuzz in the minuscule glint of information we have on the story is that Link has been "sleeping" for one hundred years prior to Breath of the Wild. The biggest point of contest on this matter is whether this refers to literally sleeping, likely induced by magic, or if it's a metaphorical way of saying Link was dead. This especially inspires debate due to Link's awakening (pun intended) in what is known as the Resurrection Shrine. If he was really dead this whole time, one widely accepted theory places the new title in the downfall timeline, supporters arguing this is the only time in the canon in which Link dies.


I disagree. Link is reincarnated so many times that it should be obvious that every Link dies at some point, therefore he could theoretically be any Link from any previous Zelda title. This brings me to the point of the last three paragraphs; the Hero's Shade is dead. That's not only a place in which Link is dead in canon, but he's even shown in a game, rather than being mentioned in an alternate ending to Ocarina of Time by a book released over a decade post factum. In my mind, that adds more weight to this possibility than being resurrected after the Sealing War. Hyrule Historia is an important tool for reading between the lines when it comes to the official timeline, but I believe it should be held in secondary regard to the games themselves.


My last point is by far the most contestable, however it still may support the theory to some. It comes in the form of a direct reference to Twilight Princess; Wolf Link. Immediately I know many are put off by this, as I've heard the argument that Wolf Link is a fun new feature that should but be taken into consideration because it's not really canon. That may be the case, but imagine what the implications would be from including Wolf Link in a second game would be, especially with the idea in mind that the Hero's Shade is Link in Breath of the Wild.


Link has interacted with other Links in other games, Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures, and arguably Tri Force Heroes, but in two of these cases, it was split parts of himself, and in the last it was technically other heroes named whatever your friends online decided. The only in-game appearance of Link interacting with another incarnation of the hero was between the Hero of Twilight and the Hero's Shade. This being the case, we know that the Hero's Shade has the ability to communicate with the Link through magical howling stones. If he can still do that when he's resurrected, he could theoretically be able to call the spirit of Wolf Link from any distance from a howling stone. It is even possible, with the progression of technology in Breath of the Wild, that the Shiekah Slate could be used as a summoning medium in this way.



There's my idea, and I'm well aware of a handful of places it's got flaws, but I can't think of a theory I've heard about the placement of Breath of the Wild in the timeline that doesn't. Either way, I'd love to hear opinions agreeing or disagreeing with this theory. Do you think it has merit? Find it interesting even though it's full of holes? Let me know so we can keep the conversation rolling!
 
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I think it's a bit late for this level of speculation... spoilers are already coming out that are revealing more of the backstory.
 

Ventus

Mad haters lmao
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As im playing the game, this Link doesn't seem connected to any past Link thus far. Jo memories, at Kakariko Village trying to grab the blue flame for Ms.Purah
 

Djinn

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I always had the impression that all the Links were Link reborn. That was the whole nature of the eternal cycle thing. The only real difference was that none of them were ever really direct descendants or related to past Links by family line.
 
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Other than TP Link, yes. But I think Hero's Shade is specifically OoT Link because he hasn't "passed the torch" yet.
It was confirmed in Hyrule Historia that the Hero's Shade is OoT Link from the Ganon is defeated timeline. You can read more here, it goes into more detail.

To me it seemed that the Hero's Shade was an adult when he passed, since the skeleton is larger than a child. Plus, even though TP had a darker nature, it doesn't seem to me that they would have a child's skeleton in it's place...I also assumed he was an adult because of his backstory. He regretted not being remembered as a hero, not having anyone to pass his skills onto, which seems to imply he lived a full life? At least, that he was a grown adult when he died. My point being, not he wasn't a teenager (he looks 16, 17-ish? in BoTW)

I think you theory is interesting, and definitely fun to think about, but I also don't think it really holds up. That's just me, though, and I can't say I can back my opinion up with much more than what I've said and an off feeling, but yeah.
 
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It was confirmed in Hyrule Historia that the Hero's Shade is OoT Link from the Ganon is defeated timeline. You can read more here, it goes into more detail.

To me it seemed that the Hero's Shade was an adult when he passed, since the skeleton is larger than a child. Plus, even though TP had a darker nature, it doesn't seem to me that they would have a child's skeleton in it's place...I also assumed he was an adult because of his backstory. He regretted not being remembered as a hero, not having anyone to pass his skills onto, which seems to imply he lived a full life? At least, that he was a grown adult when he died. My point being, not he wasn't a teenager (he looks 16, 17-ish? in BoTW)

I think you theory is interesting, and definitely fun to think about, but I also don't think it really holds up. That's just me, though, and I can't say I can back my opinion up with much more than what I've said and an off feeling, but yeah.
Well yes, I know HS is indeed OoT Link, I was just theorizing as to why he didn't reincarnate like all the others. And I agree he definitely wasn't a teen when he died.

Welcome to the forums, btw :)
 
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Well yes, I know HS is indeed OoT Link, I was just theorizing as to why he didn't reincarnate like all the others. And I agree he definitely wasn't a teen when he died.

Welcome to the forums, btw :)
Oh, my bad. Thank you for the welcome!
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2016
I liked the write up, very interesting speculation there. Although, I will be slightly nit-picky here.

"I believe the hero returned after his misadventure in Termina, or perhaps Link was dead during Majora's Mask in the first place".

The Link is dead theory has been debunked, there is no way it can stand any ground since there is too much evidence going against it. If you research "Link is not dead" you'll find the other side of the theory which is much more probable to the point where it's basically confirmed.
 

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