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It's called 'The Legend' for a reason.

Link Floyd

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As I spend most of my time theorizing and researching when it comes to The Legend of Zelda series, I started to really see how much bull**** Nintendo is feeding us.

The release of Hyrule Historia was meant to explain a lot of the mystery behind the franchise as well as string all the games together in order to create a consistent story. But it's not consistent. It's a way to please casual fans and underhandedly compensate for their lack of thought that they put into the story-telling aspect.

So what I'm trying to convey is this:

We can safely assume that this timeline nonsense is inconsistent and poorly thought out. It does exist, but it isn't convincing enough for hardcore fans like me who actually care about these fictional characters and worlds.

So there's a very strong possibility that all the games in The Legend of Zelda series are not from Link's point of view, but from a third-person story teller. Think of it this way. There are many things we know about the past through historical documents and artifacts, but do we really know the FULL story? Can we comprehend what really went on? No, of course not. We are told to only believe what's written down. We can't possibly understand the true outcome of an event without actually being there firsthand.

I think the Zelda series functions similarly. It's a grouping of stories handed down from generation to generation, with bits and pieces missing or being twisted each time it moves down the line. That would explain the franchises many inconsistencies and certain things missing from each game.

And not all Zelda games represent the same exact story. There is still some flow to it, a timeline of sorts, but it can't be measured by this title being before this title, etc.

For example, you can safely say the story of Skyward Sword took place first, but it's not it's own thing. It exists as a part of this legend.

But there are a lot of Zelda games with a similar story, so you could say that one game is just a different version of another games story. As in, it's a retelling of the legend by a different generation.

I know this is a lot, but what are your thoughts on this theory?
 
Ive thought this for ages.

Theyre like ancient scrolls translated different ways by different people or like hear-say stories around a campfire that become further from the original with each new person who tells it and passes it on to the next.

Hardcore fans have come up with way better timelines than Nintendo and are still doing so even now. The HH is crap, like you say its casual canon... then there's the Hyrule Encylopedia which doesnt mention BotW at all but states that MM never happened and was all a dream that the Skull Kid had (Legend of Skull Kid confirmed).

But yeah i've seen the series as collection of translated scrolls done either incorrectly or translated by so many different cultures/people of different languages that even the same story would be wholly different kind of like ALttP and OoT.

So yeah. I know exactly what you mean and how you feel. Still doesnt stop Nintendo from holding the 'get out of jail free' card whenever they cant be bothered or screw up the continuity by accident (or on purpose).
 
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DeusMerrilyOnHigh

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I think calling it a legend and saying how these tales are just a third parties interpretations of supposed canon events is just a coping mechanism for fans who can't accept the obvious truth. Nintendo just aren't very good at creating continuity and a solid lore.

In the beginning I think they really did have an idea for a timeline, they just got lazier and lazier as they went on. And now we have an absolute mess with games shoved in places they clearly don't belong.
 
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athenian200

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It's as good an explanation as any, although I really just think that the Zelda timeline is a lost cause. Many Zelda games seem to have been created as self-contained games with no real thought to what came before, and that's why fitting them into a timeline is so hard. Even Nintendo themselves couldn't come up with a timeline that pleased everyone. I don't think Nintendo were even really trying to have a timeline until after Ocarina of Time.

That is a theme I notice in these games, though. It seems like most of the games involve Ganon, Zelda, Link, Sages, and Triforce pieces. I have wondered if many of the games are basically just different versions of the same story. In a few cases, it's very obvious where a game is meant to fit in... but in the cases where it's more generic and unclear, I think it's possible we're just dealing with an alternate version of a generic story.

Incidentally, I thought this thread was going to be about something else... the theory that "The Legend" of Zelda is actually named that way because of a 1985 movie called "Legend" from which Miyamoto supposedly drew inspiration.
 

Aku

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I've thought of it as 'legend' for a long time now. It makes it feel more magical when when you can imagine the series as tales told by a storyteller rather then literal history. Plus this way of thinking allows more freedom to mentally 'accept' new details about the histories of the main groups, no need for mental gymnastics of where this or that 'fits.'
 
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I accepted them as stories being told to us years ago... but I don't think any of them are retellings of the same story, as there are just too many differences.
The 'oral tradition' (as it's referred to by Fi) can explain more minor inconsistencies in the series (and is why I can accept the HH timeline as being correct), but would not cause such big differences between different tellings of the same story.
The only thing that's really a recurring aspect of many of the games is Link, Zelda and Ganondorf, but that's explained by Skyward Sword and it's prequel manga... they're destined to repeat themselves to an extent.
 

Aku

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I accepted them as stories being told to us years ago... but I don't think any of them are retellings of the same story, as there are just too many differences.

The only thing that's really a recurring aspect of many of the games is Link, Zelda and Ganondorf, but that's explained by Skyward Sword and it's prequel manga... they're destined to repeat themselves to an extent.
I wonder if the tale of Link, Zelda and Ganon(dorf) isn't unlike many real world tales where the the main actors mainly serve to illustrate a 'just so' story or a morality/cautionary tale, where they serve both to entertain and pass on culture and beliefs to the group and children.

There would be kernels of truth to these legends of course, but likely had fantastic details added in to 'explain' anything extraordinary (or attributed to gods, magic or Ganon) that at the time the original witnesses couldn't have understood. Plus it's possible that the original local heroes and villains in any of these actual events (that later became legends and tales) tended to be slowly forgotten, and their deeds and exploits get attributed to the main archetypal folk characters, Link, Zelda, and Ganon.
 

YIGAhim

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They even say in HH that the timeline is "subject to possible change" (or something like that).

I find it quite possible that some games like ALttP, and ALBW could quite easily be the same story that has been twisted over time, and the same thing with OoA and OoS.

The HH timeline is interesting, and definetly has thought put into it, but is made purposely to be open for interpretation, or else so many theories wouldn't exist. I do, however see your point about many things being crammed where they shouldn't, but I've come to know the HH timeline, and happen to see it as fact.

Better or not, the other timeline theories are not endorsed by Nintendo, and are clearly not true.
 

Alita the Pun

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So your saying that each game is an ACTUAL legend and we should take the games from a storyteller's point of view. I like that. Personally I tend to go more for the constructed timeline that Ninty gave us but I also really like this idea. It coincides with many other folk heroes in history like King Arthur (sword in the stone, knights of the round table, etc) or Robin Hood. These characters have many tales across time that don't necessarily align perfectly because of human error when passing the story down from generation to generation.

I like this idea because it really does seem like something out of a folk tale. "The chosen one clad in green who arises whenever an evil threatens Hyrule to defeat Ganon and save Zelda" and so on. I think of Impa from BotW and how she told the story to Link. I imagine the storytelling went much like that.

I think there is definitely something to this idea. I don't know that I would go all out on this theory but I definitely like it.
 
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I like this idea, and I will accept it. I am watching the show Vikings right now, and in the show they are telling eachother stories all the time, mostly about gods or legendary heroes. On top of that, I researched the main characters of this show (that's based in European history) and found that scholars are pretty sure that most of them existed (although some of them could be the sum of multiple real-world figures, such as Ragnar Lothbruk), but there are many conflicting theories of how they were actually like, or what they did. Does this sound familiar?

This is actually exactly what is happening in the Legend of Zelda. It's a story that is told again and again, and different elements resonate with different storytellers. This is the reason the main elements are they same: A green-clad hero has got to go through different ordeals to defeat Ganon and saving the kingdom and a princess, but details (minor and major) change everytime the story is told.

Even the timeline could be explained with this, in the sense that the timeline is also a story told by a storyteller who is extending the story by having some events repeat over and over.

Probably these events happened in a time when there was no writing, and it might have been written down later, or we are still just hearing the same story around the campfire in a future Hyrule, where there is still no writing. Or there is writing (there are books in many games after all) but different writers write different stories.
 
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My personal take on the games, lore, time line, and creation stories are a bit different. I think that the events in each game are the actual events that took place along the official time line. Where I see room to debate accuracy is in the lore, history, and what people say in general. Just because Navi says that something looks evil, shouldn't automatically mean that it is evil, it should reflect more on Navi's character. Just the same, a character saying that a deity did something, should mean more to that that world's legends/religion, and not so much that that deity really existed or did said action. (There may be evidence for a given deity, but that is because it is self evident, not because of a second hand story.)

This also goes for the 10,000 years that was supposed to happen before Breath of the Wild. It is said so often that it is easy to believe at face value. But what real evidence do we see for it? For all I know, the tale from 10,000 years ago was the recounting of the sealing war after Ocarina of Time, or even what the story enacted during Ocarina of Time became over time.
 
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I completely agree. I realize the series makes a whole lot more sense if you see it the way I'm sure its creators' intended it: as a retelling of the same legend over and over, with slight differences. The only problem is when Nintendo actually tries putting the timeline into games. Then we get weird **** like that wannabe WW Link from Spirit Tracks living with Old Man Niko and chilling with Gonzo's descendant who just happens to look and act exactly like his grandpa.
Seriously, adding **** like that into the games takes the magic away from Zelda IMO.
 
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That's very doubtful. Wind Waker is not a retelling of The Adventure of Link just as one example.
That's what I mean by slight differences. Or in this case, big differences. By the "same legend", I mean it having the same formula of most Zelda games: a hero named Link saves a princess named Zelda while preventing a villain named Ganon from taking over--which is what the Links in Adventure of Link and Wind Waker both do.
 

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