OoT's Ending, Revisited

If you've read my original article on this topic (OoT's Ending, 9/12/99), you know what my thoughts are about Zelda 64's confusing ending. The problem is that Link is sent back in time at the end. How, then, do later generations know about the Imprisoning War? And why are certain details about the Imprisoning War different in OoT?

My old theory stated that when Link was sent back in time, he and certain other people remembered the alternate future and recorded it. It also said that accounts of the Imprisoning War in ALttP are different from actual events in OoT because people forgot about the details. However, in a recent message board and e-mail exchange between myself and Fryguy, I've been forced to re-think the ending again.

Fryguy had a mad theory that when Link is sent back in time at the end of the game, he goes back to BEFORE he had ever time-traveled, but at the same time another copy of himself is resting in the Chamber of Sages. The original Link leaves Hyrule so his destiny doesn't change, and seven years later the second Link wakes up, the same thing happens again, and the second Link is sent back in time, disappearing forever.

I, of course, thought this theory way too complicated and radical, and defended my own theory with vigor. Fryguy made me think, though, how an ending incorporating certain aspects of his theory might be possible. In doing so, I stumbled across a nice, tight theory that explains nearly everything. Read my new version of OoT's ending below, as well as my comments on it, and feel free to talk about its merits/downfalls/validity/etc. on the message board by clicking here.


OoT's Ending and Beyond

At the end of the game, Zelda sends Link back in time by a different route. Instead of Link putting the Master Sword back into the Temple of Time, Zelda plays Zelda's Lullaby to send him back in time. She is sad, because she knows that when Link wakes up, he will be at a point of time before Zelda had ever met him, after the Deku Tree's death.

Link wakes up in front of the Master Sword. The Door of Time is closed, but light streams through the windows. Link plays a warp song on his Fairy Ocarina to get out of the Temple, since the Door of Time is closed, and goes to see Zelda.
Link finds Zelda in the same position as before, looking in at Ganondorf. Link tells her all about the future he has seen and experienced, and tells her what will happen if he tries to wield the Master Sword. Both agree that he should leave the Master Sword alone, and that he should warn the Sages about Ganondorf. Zelda gives him the Ocarina of Time to guard, so that Ganondorf can't take it, and Link gets the other two Spiritual Stones. Thus, Ganondorf's plot fails, since he is unable to enter the Sacred Realm, and Link departs a great peacekeeper. Link tames Epona and finds adventure in Talmina, saving it from an ominous moon.

However, "one day, quite by accident, a gate to the Golden Land of the Triforce was opened by a gang of thieves skilled in the black arts." In seven years time, Ganondorf builds up his power and Hyrule is beset by disasters. "As The Seven Wise Men searched for a valiant person to wield the Master Sword [i.e. Link], Ganon's evil army swarmed from the tainted Golden Land into Hyrule and attacked the castle. The wise men [who now don't need to be awakened from their temples because they were forewarned about Ganondorf] and the Knights of Hyrule combined forces to wage war on this evil horde."

Luckily, Link, who is now old enough to wield the Master Sword, returns to Hyrule just in time and fights with the Knights. While he defeats Ganondorf and fights Ganon, "the Knights took the full brunt of the fierce attack, and although they fought courageously, many a brave soul was lost that day." The Knights, and Link, buy "precious time for the Seven Wise Men to magically seal Ganon in the Golden Land." This wins the Imprisoning War, and "all of Hyrule rejoiced at the victory that upheld peace and order over Ganon's evil and chaos" by celebrating in Lon Lon Ranch.

Link puts the Master Sword in the Lost Woods in case Ganon one day causes more trouble for Hyrule. He reshapes the Spiritual Stones into Pendants of Virtue, and hides them in dungeons. Unfortunately, moving the Master Sword leaves many gateways to the Dark World open, and over four generations the other two pieces of the Triforce (Wisdom and Courage) leak into the Dark World. Many go into the Dark World looking for the Triforce, but, unbeknownst to all of them, Ganon has the whole united Triforce in his grasp and is using it to turn anyone who enters the Dark World into a reflection of their heart. Ganon, thirsty for conquest and vengeance, schemes to escape from the Dark World and conquer both worlds by kidnapping the descendants of the Sages and using their power...


Nice, eh? I think a few things deserve an explanation, though. Link can't be sent back to after he's gotten the Ocarina of Time from Zelda. Otherwise Zelda wouldn't be in the castle at the end of the game - she'd still be hiding from Ganondorf. Therefore Link is sent back to before Ganondorf tries to steal the Ocarina of Time. He can't be sent back to before the Deku Tree dies - Link is shown with a Deku Shield and the Kokiri Sword in the ending. It is therefore already too late to save the Deku Tree, if he hasn't died yet. I like the idea that Link is able to meet Zelda again for the first time and prove to her that he knows about the future, which is why I put Link in this time frame.

One thing that this theory doesn't explain is why, in the ALttP manual, it states that the Master Sword was made by the people of Hyrule after Ganondorf entered the Sacred Realm (this clearly isn't the case - it was made centuries before, when Rauru helped build the Temples of Light and Time). Despite this discrepancy, I think that the theory that the events in OoT are only an alternate future has great potential and merit.

If there are aspects of this theory that you don't agree with, make sure you debate them on the forums by following the link at the top of the page.