The Sleeping Zelda

Originally written by davogones on 8/28/99

"Zelda II: The Adventure of Link" is a classic Zelda game. As Link, you must put six crystals in six statues in different palaces in order to unlock the Triforce of Courage and awaken Princess Zelda. If you are killed, Ganon will return and conquer Hyrule once and for all. On the surface this sounds like any other story, but actually it goes much deeper than this.

In the previous Zelda game, "The Legend of Zelda," Link must recover eight scattered pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom that Princess Zelda hid, and rescue Princess Zelda from Ganon's clutches. Now, in "The Adventure of Link", Link must wake up Princess Zelda because she is under a sleeping spell. What's wrong with that?

The Zelda in "The Legend of Zelda" is not the same one in "The Adventure of Link." They are different people. The manual for the game proves this. When Impa takes Link III to the North Castle, we are told that "only the descendants of the Impa family knew how to open the door." The sleeping Zelda had been sealed inside the room, but not during Impa's lifetime. When Impa tells Link "the legend of Zelda," of how the sleeping Zelda had been put under a sleeping spell, she specifically says that the events happened a long time ago. These two points show that the two Zeldas could not possibly be the same person.

Which Zelda could this mysterious princess be? Well, we know that there are three Zeldas. The first one is featured in "Ocarina of Time," and helps seal Ganon in the Dark World. The second one is featured in "A Link to the Past," and is sent into the Dark World by Ganon's alter ego, Agahnim. The third one is in "The Legend of Zelda," and we have already established that the sleeping princess cannot be her.

The sleeping princess can either be Zelda I or Zelda II. We are given four clues to her identity: 1) the sleeping Zelda's father used "the Triforce" to keep the peace, 2) the prince could inherit the Triforce only in part, and searched for the missing pieces, 3) after Zelda was put to sleep, the prince "ordered that every female child born into the royal household shall be given the name Zelda," and 4) when the scroll was sealed in the room with the sleeping princess, all three pieces of the Triforce were in Hyrule.

The "Zelda II" manual says that "a great ruler maintained the peace in Hyrule using the Triforce." We cannot deduce the sleeping princess' identity from this information, because the manual doesn't specify whether the king ruled with the whole, united Triforce or with only part of it. If the sleeping princess were Zelda I, the king ruled with the Triforce of Wisdom and Courage, since Ganon held the Triforce of Power. If she were Zelda II, the king ruled with the whole Triforce, since Link had recovered it.

The "Zelda II" manual also says that after the king died, "the prince of the kingdom should have become king and inherited everything, but he could inherit the Triforce only in part. The Prince searched everywhere for the missing parts, but could not find them." If you take these words literally, you could deduce that the king ruled with all three pieces of the Triforce. It could be argued that if the king had ruled with only two pieces, the manual should read "...he could inherit only half of the Triforce. The Prince searched everywhere for the missing part, but..." However, this is hardly proof. One half of what the king ruled with could also be called "part" of it. Furthermore, the prince might have known about the Triforce of Power (but not about Ganon), and looked for that missing part too. It cannot be determined from this clue whether the king ruled with the whole Triforce or with only two pieces.

The only solid fact we have is that every princess after the sleeping Princess Zelda was named after her. This is the point of "the legend of Zelda;" every female in the royal family is named after her. This explains why Zelda I, II, and III all share the same name. It would then be logical to say that Zelda I is the sleeping Zelda. The matter is not closed, however. It can be argued that Zelda II was named Zelda by luck or coincidence. I reject this hypothesis, and you will too after asking yourself this question: is it more likely that A) Zelda I lived and died, Zelda II was put under a sleeping spell, and then every princess after that was named after Zelda II; or cool.gif Zelda I was put under a sleeping spell and every princess after that was named after her. Yes Sylvia, B is the right choice.

This may not be strong enough evidence for you. In fact, it doesn't fully convince me. I'll ask another question, in the same style: is it more likely that A) After the king is kicked off the throne by Agahnim, Link recovers the Triforce and returns peace to Hyrule. A few years later, a wizard, not sent by Ganon because he is dead, but striking a very close resemblance to Agahnim, befriends the king. The king ignores the wizard's resemblance to Agahnim, and, ignoring the past, puts his trust in him. After the king dies, the wizard, apparently trying to steal the Triforce, tells the prince about Zelda II. Zelda II, not recognizing someone who looks exactly like Agahnim, or perhaps too lazy to try to escape this time, simply stays silent and waits for the wizard to put a sleeping spell on her.

Or is it more likely that ... cool.gif Ganon was sealed in the Dark World by Zelda I. In an attempt to steal the other two pieces of the Triforce he sends his alter-ego (a wizard who looks just like Agahnim) to befriend the king and steal the other pieces of the Triforce. However, the king dies, and his son inherits only one piece of the Triforce. The wizard had heard the king tell Zelda I about the Triforce, and with the prince's help tries to get the information from her. Zelda I refuses to divulge the information, and the wizard "dies" casting a sleeping spell on her. (Actually he escapes into the Dark World, a la Agahnim years later). Years later, after the event had been forgotten, Ganon tries the same tactic by sending Agahnim. That's right, Sylvia, B is the right choice.

So, by seeing which story is more probable, we've established that the sleeping Zelda is Zelda I. But, what about the scroll that was locked in the room with Zelda? Whoever wrote the scroll claimed that all three Triforce pieces were in the kingdom, but that he/she had hidden the Triforce of Courage for a reason. This flies in the face of our conclusion. After Zelda I was put to sleep, Ganon still had the Triforce of Power, and the other pieces were somewhere hidden. In "Link's Awakening," Ganon, still sealed in the Dark World, has all three pieces of the Triforce. The Triforce of Courage could not have been hidden, and remained hidden until "The Adventure of Link," as the scroll claims.

There is a way around this. For example, there is no proof that the scroll was written right after Zelda I was put to sleep. It could have been written centuries later, and then sealed in the room with Zelda I. In fact, this is the only way it could have happened. After Link II recovered all pieces of the Triforce from Ganon, the united Triforce could have been used to awaken Zelda I. However, there was a good reason to hide the Triforce of Courage, and this didn't happen. Whoever hid it, however, left the other two pieces in the kingdom. Years later, Ganon came back to life and stole the Triforce of Power (in "The Legend of Zelda") and Zelda III split up the Triforce of Wisdom into eight pieces. In "The Adventure of Link," Link III recovers the Triforce of Courage and uses the united Triforce to wake Zelda I up.

I could wrap up the article here, but there are a few more points to consider. Just out of curiosity, what happened to Zelda III? Link III saves her in "The Legend of Zelda," but in "The Adventure of Link" she is no where to be seen. Maybe she was just too busy dealing with Hyrule's problems, and didn't have time to get involved. Just out of curiosity, when Zelda I awoke, how did she recognize Link III? Easy, Link III grown-up looks a lot like Link I grown-up. Lastly, just out of curiosity, what happens to Zelda I? She has been awaken, but it's been a couple hundred years. Is she heir to the throne, or is Zelda III? Is there a rivalry between them? The Zelda comics show the exploits of only Zelda III and Link III, so apparently Zelda I never got involved in adventure after she woke up.