I will wrap up this article by summarizing the new theory, since reading my three pages of commentary might have been more confusing than helpful. At the end I compare the new theory to my two previous ones, and try to answer any more objections I could think of.
Basically, my new theory postulates the following:
- When Ganondorf got the Triforce of Power, the Sacred Realm became a world of evil, not the Dark World. This world was filled with Ganon's evil power, which he used to create monsters and cause disasters in Hyrule. After Ganon sent all his evil power out of the Sacred Realm, he was the last to leave, and he closed the door after him. The Sacred Realm was left a void, and only the Temple of Light remained.
- Ganondorf attacked Hyrule Castle twice, once before he got the Triforce, in an attempt to get the Ocarina of Time, and once after, in which his army conquered Hyrule Castle. Ganondorf participated in the first attack, but merely coordinated the second attack. Later historians took events from both of these battles and combined them into one Imprisoning War. This is because, in the point of view of somebody who didn't live in the time of OoT, it appears that Ganondorf attacked Hyrule Castle (the first attack), and then he was sealed (the end of OoT). Therefore, the Imprisoning War is fiction, but based on solid facts.
- At the end of OoT, the entire land of Hyrule ruled by Ganon, the Dark World, is sealed in the void of the Sacred Realm. When Zelda sends Link "back in time," all the good people of Hyrule move with him to the Light World, not back in time. The OoT past becomes the Light World, and the OoT future becomes the Dark World. The people's movement from Dark World to Light World isn't time travel, but a warping from one world to another. The Light World and everything in it is in appearance like the OoT, but in reality everybody in the Light World lived through the seven years of the OoT alternate future. In effect, everybody has seven extra years of life.
- Later historians didn't understand that time travel brought about the Light and Dark Worlds. Therefore, when they heard legends and accounts from the OoT past and OoT alternate future, they tried to combine them into the history of the Light World, where they don't always fit in.
- Everyone in ALttP who says that Ganon turned the Golden Land directly into the Dark World when he got the Triforce is mistaken. They weren't there to see it, so the only logical position they can hold is that the "world of evil" that Ganon created was the Dark World. In reality, Ganondorf created his Dark World out of the raw material of Hyrule, and at the end of OoT it was sealed in the emptiness of the Sacred Realm.
Here is a visual explanation of how the theory works. The images are time lines. An arrow means that there is more history, not shown on the time line. A dot means that there is no history beyond that point. Right to left represents past to present.
Before OoT's Ending
After OoT's Ending
Note that, in the second picture, the two histories do not intertwine at all. The fact that the two time lines appear to be displaced is unimportant. The important thing to note is the common point on the far right of both time lines, where the history of both Light and Dark World begins. Before this point, in the Light World, we have the OoT past history. Before this point in the Dark World, we have the OoT alternate future history. Notice how a later historian, looking only at the history of the Light World, would only see the OoT past history, and then immediately the Light World history. He wouldn't see the OoT alternate future as such; to him, everything either happened in the Light World or the Dark World.
I may need to explain in more detail why time paradoxes don't exist in my new theory. (I'm talking about schemes in which some people remember the events in the OoT future, or almost everyone, or just Link, or just Zelda, or whatever. There needs to be some consistent system for a theory to be credible). My new theory eliminates time paradoxes because, at the end of OoT, Hyrule isn't really sent back in time. Rather, Hyrule is split into the Light and Dark Worlds. The life forms of Hyrule (normal people and monsters), which were once stuck in a dark future created by Ganon, now have a choice. They can remain in the Dark World with Ganon, or they can be transported to the Light World. When the people of Hyrule move to the Light World, they do not travel back in time. They change form so that they are the same as they were seven years previously. This is how everybody can appear to have traveled back in time, yet remember everything that happened in the alternate future.
This, unfortunately, means that some people who move from the Dark World to the Light World, like Link son of Darunia, will cease to exist. But that's just the way it goes. Splitting the world into two isn't perfect. When Darunia's son is born, little Link will have fantastic stories to hear about how his double helped in the effort against Ganondorf. But little Link never did these things; his Dark World alter ego, which no longer exists, did these things. The idea that some people would cease to exist may seem kind of morbid. But, I'm sure the goddesses already thought about this before they did it. Consider this: would you rather have little kids experience the dark and evil OoT future, or only have them hear stories about it? If everyone born during the OoT alternate future ceased to exist in the Light World, so much the better for them.
A further explanation of the mindset of the people of ALttP might also be helpful. The people in the ALttP time period didn't know that the Dark World was once an alternate future of Hyrule, or that most of the events of OoT in fact happened in an alternate future. Given only the bare facts, they would have to somehow fit these events into the history of the real world, or the Light World, by placing OoT future events into the timeframe of the OoT past. In their eyes, the history continuum from the OoT past to the Light World is the only history around. If events really did occur, they must have either occured in the OoT past or the Light World. Thus, we have the accounts given in the ALttP manual and ALttP itself, in which events that happened in the alternate future of Hyrule are hopelessly mixed up with events that happened in the OoT past/Light World historical continuum. Furthermore, the ALttP people don't realize that the events that happened in the alternate future of OoT really did happen in what was now the Dark World. Thus, events that they thought happened to their land of Hyrule really didn't; they happened in the Dark World, and the effects of these events can clearly be seen in the Dark World's makeup.
The New Theory Compared
To the Old Ones
As already mentioned in the overview, my two previous theories had grave problems. The first theory, which has Link being sent back in time and Ganon remaining sealed, has time paradoxes. These paradoxes are caused by ambiguity about who remembered the events of the alternate future: after all, how did an account of the Imprisoning War survive if nobody remembered the events?
The second theory, which has all the events of the alternate future erased, so that everything happens again somewhat differently, has different problems. It requires extra theories and assumptions, and generally complicates matters instead of simplifying them. It makes OoT seem like a huge waste of time: what was the point of it all, if it didn't really happen? Additionally, it leaves several questions unanswered.
The new theory has none of the problems of the old. Time paradoxes don't exist, and the extra theories that go along with it are all supported by the facts, and actually explain the facts instead of making them more confusing.
My new theory, of course, is not perfect. Much is based on a few ambiguous quotes. In order for the theory to be true, the Dark World could not have existed until after the end of OoT. Yet several OoT quotes say that Ganondorf turned the Sacred Realm into a "world of evil." Other times, this "world of evil" is referred to as a void, or as the Evil Realm. The only way to work around this is to say that the Evil Realm is not the Dark World. The evidence for this kind of set-up would be very weak if it were not for the Oracle games. This setup explains what the "Dark Realm" is - it is the "void of the Evil Realm," the tainted Sacred Realm, Ganondorf's "world of evil." But it is far from proven what exactly the Dark Realm is. For all we know, the Dark Realm might be the Underworld.
Despite its weak points, I still feel very strongly that my new theory is much better than the old ones. For one thing, it is very clear-cut. There is no messing around with confusing time travel theories. And it explains so many things that the old theories didn't.
More Questions and Objections
You say that the "world of evil" that Ganondorf created in the OoT alternate future was not the Dark World, but the tainted Sacred Realm. Isn't it possible that this "world of evil" is simply the Dark World, and Ganondorf was sealed there at the end of the game?
Yes, yes, this is entirely possible. But this ignores the main point of my theory, and raises old problems. The main point of my theory is the remarkable similarity between the OoT future and the Dark World. It seems almost like the Dark World is merely the OoT future, centuries later.
If you ignore this similarity, and say that Ganondorf was sealed in his tainted Sacred Realm, then you are merely advocating my first theory about OoT's ending. If Ganondorf was sealed in a tainted Sacred Realm, this means that the OoT alternate future simply disappears. This means that everybody, at the end of OoT, really does time travel to the past. And this introduces ugly time paradoxes, as I've explained before.
And besides, my theory, exactly as I have stated it, is the only way to resolve some difficult quotes. The tainted Sacred Realm, or the Evil Realm, is referred to as a "void." It was once a world of evil, but most recently it was a void, an empty place. It was empty because Ganondorf took all the evil with him when he came back to Hyrule and closed the door behind him. Why would Ganondorf bother to create a world of evil, and then leave it all behind? Just for fun, or for practice? It seems like a waste of time to me. If Ganon wanted to rule a world of darkness, why bother creating one for himself, and then abandoning it?
Okay, but I still have a nagging suspicion that your theory would still work if Ganon had simply turned the Sacred Realm into the Dark World right when he got the Triforce.
Okay, let's look at it your way. Let's say that Ganondorf has just gotten the Triforce of Power. He now turns the Sacred Realm into the Dark World. After leaving the Dark World behind, Ganon rules Hyrule. But now, why does Rauru call the Sacred (Evil) Realm a "void"? A void is still an emptiness, not an evil world. It's no good saying that the Rauru is referring to something else; Rauru prays for Ganon to be sealed in the "void of the Evil Realm," which according to you should be the Dark World! Yes, in ALttP Ganon is in the Dark World, not in a "void."
I think that we are merely confusing terms. Very well, Ganondorf turned the Sacred Realm into the Dark World. But the fact remains, and I emphasize, all of Ganondorf's evil power was taken from the Sacred Realm and moved to Hyrule. This is what left the Sacred Realm a void. So even if the Sacred Realm was once the Dark World, in a few years Hyrule became the Dark World, and the Sacred Realm was left a void. At the end of OoT, Hyrule becomes a Light World again, and the Sacred Realm contains Ganon's Dark World. So you see, what I have been calling the "tainted Sacred Realm" i.e. Ganondorf's "world of evil," is what you are calling the Dark World. Let's not confuse the terms. Whether Ganondorf's "world of evil" was similar to the later Dark World is unimportant, because it ceased to exist for several years.
Your theory doesn't explain how Ganon got the whole united Triforce in ALttP, when he only had the Triforce of Power in OoT.
The beauty of my theory, or any theory for that matter, is that it simply doesn't matter how, or even if, Ganon got the whole Triforce. The other two pieces could have slipped into the Dark World in any manner imaginable, but let's look at another possibility.
Let's say that Ganon didn't really control the whole Triforce at all. This is how it could work. Consider the Temple of Light, the resting place of the Triforce. It was originally in the center of the Sacred Realm. After Ganondorf split the Triforce, the Sacred Realm became a world of evil, but the Temple of Light remained. After Ganondorf returned to Hyrule, he left a void, but still the Temple of Light remained. After Ganon and his Dark World were sealed in the void, the Dark World and the Temple of Light remained, but as separate entities. The Temple of Light was not in the Dark World, but outside of it, in the void (the "gap between dimensions," if you will, or the Dark Realm). Now, given that, what would happen to the Triforces of Wisdom and Courage after Zelda and Link die or give the pieces up? Probably the safest thing to do would to let the pieces return to their resting place in the Temple of Light, out of Ganon's reach. But Ganon feeds on ignorance, spreading the lie that he holds the whole, united Triforce. After Link destroys Ganon in ALttP, the Triforce of Power, which Ganon has held for centuries, returns to the Temple of Light. (It does not spring out of his ashes, as in LoZ, because there are no ashes to spring out of. Ganon has been completely destroyed.) At this point, the Triforce is reunited, and the Golden Land or Sacred Realm is restored. So a staircase leading to the Temple of Light appears, and Link walks up it and claims the united Triforce.
This is of course just pure speculation, but it's as likely as the other possiblities, namely that (1) the united Triforce, held by Ganon, returned to the Temple of Light after Link destroyed him, or (2) Ganon kept the united Triforce in the Temple of Light.
So whether the Sacred Realm is a paradise or a world of evil depends on the "heart of one who enters it?" That doesn't make much sense. Shouldn't the Golden Land have changed immediately into the world of darkness when Ganondorf entered it, then? If more than one person enters it, does a majority decide what the Sacred Realm will be like? This is almost as bad as the time paradoxes.
This is, of course, a difficult concept. But the theory is only based on one obscure Sheikah legend. It's possible that the theory assumes that whoever enters the Sacred Realm is obviously after the Triforce. Once they get the Triforce, the Sacred Realm will be changed to reflect their heart. The Sacred Realm is a mirror that reflects the heart insofar as it depends for its existence on the Triforce, and therefore whoever controls the Triforce indirectly controls the Sacred Realm.
Whether the legend seems to be saying that the Triforce bearer will directly change the Sacred Realm himself is a matter up for debate. I have before assumed that the Triforce bearer doesn't directly control the Sacred Realm, but my theory remains intact if the other case is true. If Ganon did turn the Sacred Realm into a world of evil by an act of his own will, then, in the context of my theory, he created not the Dark World, but something else. He created a world filled with evil things, not an evil world.
I still don't believe your theory. At the end of OoT, Zelda says very clearly that she is sending Link back in time, not that she is sending him to the Light World.
I realize that this is a difficult sticking point in the theory. But it's not an impossible obstacle. In appearance, moving to the Light World was very much like time travel. Everything took the form of the OoT past. But in function, the warping was something very much different, since everybody really did live through seven years of Ganondorf's rule. Zelda appears to not understand this completely. And can we blame her? After all, she wasn't the one who split the worlds; she merely sealed Ganon inside the Dark World after the goddesses banished him. To the best of her knowledge, or better yet to the extent of her ignorance, she really does think that she is sending Link back in time. As she says herself, she wants Link to regain his lost time, and return to the way he is supposed to be. On the other hand, she isn't entirely ignorant: she does know that doing this will "close the road between times." So don't take Zelda's words as absolute proof that she sent Link back in time. The golden goddesses were involved in the splitting of the world, so much is out of the knowledge of even the Sages.
At what exact point in time was the Light World restored to? Right when Link first drew the Master Sword? Before any of the events of OoT? After Ganondorf got the Triforce?
While this is up in the air, my best guess is that the Light World was restored to the very ending point of the OoT past, i.e. after Link had woken up several times to get the Silver Gauntlets and Eye of Truth, etc. But it doesn't really matter. What's important to know is that Hyrule was restored to some semblance of the OoT past. All of the alternate history is remembered, so at what exact point the Light World is restored to doesn't matter.
There is some evidence, however. In ALttP, accounts say that many Knights were slaughtered in the Imprisoning War. And Link is the last of the bloodline of a waning line of Knights. Therefore, it's logical to assume that many Knights really were slaughtered sometime in the OoT past/Light World time line. This would place the Light World history after Ganondorf's first attack on Hyrule Castle.
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