Legend of Zelda Timeline – Explained Quickly And Easily

There is no doubt that Legend of Zelda is one of the most popular series in the world. It has millions of fans all across the world. But since the release of the first game in 1986, there have been over a dozen different games in the series. Of course, during the first few releases, no developer was thinking about the Zelda timeline. Back then, games were released only for fun, and not much was thought about them.

However, as time passed by, many simple adventures turned into a world that is rich with lore, and Legend of Zelda is one of many. It took years for the developers to release some kind of official information about the Zelda timeline. Even then, not all of the games have been included in the timeline. Still, without further ado, let’s help you understand how the Zelda timeline works.

Legend Of Zelda Timeline Explained


Creation of Hyrule

The Legend of Zelda timeline commences with the world’s creation by three Golden Goddesses, shaping it as it would be known to the Hylians. Din, the Goddess of Power, forged the planet with her might. Nayru, the Goddess of Wisdom, instilled it with order and reason. Farore, the Goddess of Courage, breathed life into this new realm. Upon completing their divine work, the Goddesses ascended to the heavens, leaving behind the Triforce, a symbol of their respective strengths.

However, as balance emerged, so did the looming threat of disorder. The Triforce was entrusted to Hylia, another deity, who guarded it vigilantly. Yet, tranquility was disrupted when the malevolent Demon King Demise and his army sought to shatter the peace.

Faced with this dire threat, Hylia gathered survivors of Demise’s onslaught. He guided them to safety beyond the protective veil of clouds she had conjured. She charged them with the sacred duty of safeguarding the Triforce while she redirected her attention to the Earth below, determined to confront the impending turmoil.

Defeated and fatally wounded by Demise, Hylia made a sacrificial choice. She renounced her divine powers, hoping to be reborn as a mortal capable of wielding the Triforce when Demise returned. Before her passing, she created the Goddess Sword and its guardian, Fi, to aid the hero destined to assist her in banishing Demise once more.

Read Also: How to Duplicate Items in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Zelda Timeline Before The Split

The earliest game in the timeline that serves as the origin of many games is Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. This is then followed by Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, which is a prequel to Ocarina in Time. Naturally, the next game in line is one of the most loved games in the series, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

What makes Ocarina of Time an important title in the timeline, if not the most important one as it helps legend of Zelda timeline explained in a much easier way. During Ocarina of Time, two outcomes unfolded.

The first outcome is where Ganon defeats Link, which starts the so called “Decline Timeline”, while the second outcome is when Link defeats Ganon. Of course, the Zelda timeline would not be known to be so complicated if this was it, as the second outcome can lead to the “Child Timeline,” as well as the “Adult Timeline.”

Decline Timeline

After Link’s defeat in the Ocarina of Time, the Decline Timeline begins, and this is where you can find the following titles: A Link To The Past, Link’s Awakening, A Link Between Words, and Tri Force Heroes. After these four titles, we finally reach the point in the timeline where the original two games take place: The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link.

Child Timeline

In the timeline where Link is sent back to his childhood in Ocarina of Time and Ganondorf’s plot is stopped, we have the following titles take place: Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess, and Four Swords Adventures.


Adult Timeline

In the timeline where Link is an adult, Ganon has been sealed away, and Hyrule is sealed with it, which leads to the Great Flood. Here, The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, and Spirit Tracks take place, finishing the official timeline.

Now, you may be wondering where the newer games come in. According to the developers, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Legend of Zelda: Windwaker comes into the timeline somewhere in the distant future of the Adult Timeline. Where exactly? It is not known, as they said this was left to the player’s imagination.

Read Also: Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Review

Quick Zelda Timeline Chart

If you did not feel like reading through the whole article, here is a quick Legend of Zelda timeline chart that you can check out:

Main Timeline

  • 1. Skyward Sword
  • 2. The Minish Cap
  • 3. Four Swords
  • 4. Ocarina of Time -> Splits into three possible timelines

A. The Decline Timeline

  • 5A. A Link to The Past
  • 6A. Link’s Awakening
  • 7A. A Link Between Worlds
  • 8A. Tri Force Heroes

B. The Child Timeline

  • 5B. Majora’s Mask
  • 6B. Twilight Princess
  • 7B. Four Swords Adventures

C. Adult Timeline

  • 5C. Wind Waker
  • 6C. Phantom Hourglass
  • 7C. Spirit Tracks
  • 8C. Breath of the Wild
  • 9C. Tears of the Kingdom
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