OoT's Ending

You've gotten to the end of "Ocarina of Time," and beaten Ganon. The first thing you see is Ganondorf being banished to the Dark World. Then, Princess Zelda and Link are floating in the sky. Link gives Zelda the Ocarina of Time, and she sends Link back in time seven years. Meanwhile, as the credits roll, we see all the races of Hyrule celebrating in Lon Lon Ranch. Then, Link wakes up, a kid again, in the Temple of Time. In the last scene Link visits Princess Zelda, who is peering inside the window. She turns around, surprised to see him.

Every aspect of the ending that I have listed here is vague, confusing, or contradictory. We see Ganondorf spinning, and before he disappears into the fog he vows to eliminate the Sages' descendants. But wait a minute! Ganondorf was destroyed! He came back to life as Ganon! In later games, he always comes back as Ganon, not Ganondorf. Why then does the ending choose to show him as Ganondorf instead of Ganon? Does the Triforce change him back into Ganon once he is stuck in the Dark World? Or does he transform himself into Ganon permanently after being imprisoned in the Dark World? OoT does not say.

In the next scene we see Zelda and Link. Why they are not standing on solid ground is a mystery. Are they really only communicating telepathically? Link gives Zelda the Ocarina of Time, and she plays her lullaby to send Link back in time. This is odd; why didn't she play the Song of Time to send Link back in time? Can she only use her Sage power while playing the lullaby? This isn't true; she was able to disguise herself, stun Ganon, and help seal him the Dark World without playing the Ocarina. Was the song merely symbolism? In other words, could she have simply sent him back in time without playing the song? Probably, but OoT does not say.

Next we see a celebration in Lon Lon Ranch. There's nothing wrong with this... except for one little thing. What are the Kokiri doing there? It is well known that if the Kokiri leave the forest, they will die. Is this what eventually happens? Is this why there are no Kokiri in ALttP? OoT does not say.

Now Link is a kid again, and he goes to see Princess Zelda. What happens here? Either: A. Princess Zelda is snooping on her father again to make sure he's alright. She either a) knows about the Imprisoning War, or B. knows about Link because she told him to get the Sacred Stones. She is pleasantly surprised to see him again. Or... C. This is a replay of a scene we've seen before. Zelda has never seen Link before, and is surprised at the intruder. Again, OoT does not say.

Now for the real conundrum: how do people know about the Imprisoning War? Everyone has been sent back in time, to "before" the Imprisoning War occurred. There are three possible situations here. A. Hyrule has been returned to its previous state exactly. Nobody has any knowledge of what happened, and nobody knows about Link and the Seven Sages. Ganon(dorf) has been sealed in the Dark World, so to everyone concerned it appears that Ganondorf has simply disappeared. B. Everyone remembers what happened, and is grateful to Link for saving them. Everyone knows exactly what happened to Ganon(dorf). Or... C. Only a select number of people remember what happened. This could be either Zelda and Link, or just Link, or maybe another set of people.
Only case C can satisfactorily explain everything. In Case A, nobody remembers anything. How then could the legend about the Seven Sages and the Imprisoning War be passed down? In Case B everyone remembers. This would be an intriguing possibility if it were not for Darunia's son Link. Back in time, Darunia's son Link wasn't born yet. In the future, he helped Link gain access to Death Mountain Crater. Shouldn't he be able to remember his role in helping win the Imprisoning War? Impossible; the events described happened "after" his birth. Darunia's son is not likely to be born remembering what "happened" in the future. In Case C, only a select number of people remember what happened. It would make sense for only the king of Hyrule, Zelda, Link, and the Sages to remember what happened. Or, in an extreme case, perhaps everyone who lived in the past remembered, but anyone born after that time, such as Darunia's son, didn't remember.

You see now how little OoT really explains. Much of this is simply speculation and inference based on facts. Perhaps the next game, Zelda: Gaiden, will explain these inconsistencies. I personally don't find this very likely, but one can always hope.