Continuity Theories

After studying the internal history of Hyrule for a while, your first burning intellectual question will probably be: what is the true order of the series? The answer to your question is that there really isn't one that has either been stated decisively by the creators, or been proven conclusively by fans. The games' creators have deliberately left a lot of things ambiguous and vague, to give themselves more freedom with the storylines in later games. So, there is not enough strong, conclusive evidence to support one theory or another, nor has their been a unified official word on what the order really is.

The best we can do is try to figure out where the creators were going, and then try to formulate different possible orders. There are several major theories about the order of the games: the NOA (or order, the parallel time line theory, and Miyamoto's order. I have provided a time line and a storyline summary for the relevant versions of these theories. These recount briefly the whole history of Hyrule, according to that particular theory.

For simplicity's sake, in all the continuity theories I assume several things. For example, I interpret OoT's ending a certain way (see OoT's Ending, Revisited Again), I assume that the sleeping Zelda in AoL either predates the Zelda in OoT or is the Zelda in the Oracle games, and I assume that LA comes after ALttP. One could easily, by bending the facts around, demonstrate a different theory about OoT's ending, show that the Zelda in OoT could be the sleeping Zelda of AoL, and place LA after the Oracle games. But I consider details like these to be only minor variations of a basically stable continuity theory. I only present the major, overarching theories, and leave it to you, the reader, to pursue the subject further and fill in the details with your own interpretations.

For all the time lines, I use a dating system invented by The Master of Hyrule. Dates are given in Hyrulian Reckoning (H.R.). Every date is completely my own invention. The dates are usually only there to keep the story straight, not because I know how much time has actually passed.

Without further ado, let's get on to the continuity theories!