Monday, September 15, 2014

How many alternate worlds does Zelda have!? [Spoilers]

It's a pretty common thing for games to have a dark world, parallel world, or some such, but the Zelda series really takes it to the extreme. I should have realized it earlier, but when A Link Between Worlds had the parallel world of "Lorule" and I knew that A Link to the Past similarly had a dark world version of Hyrule, it got me thinking... Just how many alternate worlds are there in the Zelda series!? It turns out that the land of Hyrule is just part of a complex interconnected multiverse and that's not even taking into consideration the multiple timelines which I won't be counting as separate worlds for the sake of this article. Anyway, let's dig into this. Zelda wiki ahoy!

1. Hyrule and its surrounding areas
This one's a freebie. If you know anything about the Zelda series at all, you ought to know that the games typically take place in the kingdom of Hyrule. It's the home world, the default, the usual, neutral, normal world of Zelda. There are also surrounding regions that are part of the same world, but outside the kingdom of Hyrule such as the world of the Ocean King (Phantom Hourglass), Holodrum, and Subrosia (Oracle of Seasons). Hyrule seems to be the most important place in the world, however, as it contains connections to most of the known alternate worlds, including the Triforce's resting place, and is where the goddess Hylia incarnate, Princess Zelda, resides. Note that some also refer to Hyrule by the [way better] name of "Grooseland".

2. The Sacred Realm (aka The Golden Land) (aka The Dark World) (A Link to the Past)
The Sacred Realm is the area/world created when the three goddesses of creation finished creating and left some of their power in the Triforce for the created world. It's not super clear how the Sacred Realm is connected to Hyrule except that Link inadvertently lets Ganondorf into it when pulling out the Master Sword in the Temple of Time during Ocarina of Time. Since the power of the Triforce can be used according to the heart of whoever touches it, Ganondorf's evilness transformed the Sacred Realm into the Dark World as seen in A Link to the Past. There's also a dark world in Four Swords Adventures which is probably the same place, but might not be - who even knows any more.

3. The Wind Fish's Dream (Koholint Island) (Link's Awakening)
This world is unique in that it consists only of an island (Kingdom Hearts anyone?) and really only exists as the dream of the Wind Fish. Seemingly, Link is the only real world person in this dream world and it's unclear how he got there in the first place. Unfortunately, this world was short lived, as it and everyone in it (except for Link and the Wind Fish itself) ceased to exist once Link woke up the Wind Fish at the end of the game.

4. Termina (Majora's Mask)
Termina is another weird one. Link gets there by falling down a rabbit hole, so to speak, and the place definitely seems to be not just a part of Hyrule's world, but a whole new parallel world since its inhabitants are alternate versions of the people of Hyrule. The strangeness of Link's coming and going to Termina makes me question whether the place really exists at all. Maybe Link just hallucinated the whole thing... Maybe Link was dead the whole time!?

5. The Minish World (Minish Cap)
A brief glimpse of the Minish World. (Source)
The Minish World is the world from which the tiny race of Minish (aka Picori) came. Next to nothing is known about their world apart from its existence, and considering its only connection to Hyrule is through a door that appears once every 100 years, it's likely to stay that way. I mean, what are the chances that the place where the door appears will still be uncovered after another 100 years? It'll probably be forgotten about and have a wall built over it during the next Hyrule Castle renovation or be blocked by storage boxes or something.

6. The Twilight Realm (Twilight Princess)
The Palace of Twilight (Source)
The Twilight Realm, not to be confused with the Dark World or the parts of Hyrule that were shrouded in twilight during Twilight Princess, is the alternate world that the Twili race is from. It is a world of perpetual twilight and all of its small bit of light and life comes from two orbs called Sols. The Twili who live there are descendants of the Dark Interlopers who attempted to invade the Sacred Realm and capture the Triforce in ancient times but were banished by the goddesses to the Twilight Realm. As of the final events of Twilight Princess, this world's one known connection to Hyrule has been severed, meaning that the unrequited love of Midna for the postman will never see its conclusion.

7. Silent Realm (Skyward Sword)
Lanayru Desert's Silent Realm (Source)
In Skyward Sword, Link has to enter the Silent Realm at a few different locations in order to undergo some trials. This one maybe shouldn't even count toward this list because there's a possibility that the Silent Realm is the same place as the Sacred Realm, but also because it isn't even a physical world. Instead, the Silent Realm is a purely spiritual world that Link's spirit is transported to at certain points. For all we know, the Silent Realm(s) could be pocket universes limited only to the spaces taken up by the trials or may just be manifested inside Link's head during these times.

8. Lorule (A Link Between Worlds)
If there's a true parallel world in the Zelda universe, Lorule has to be it. It's essentially identical to Hyrule down to the locations and people (though they certainly have variations) and we can assume that Lorule also has surrounding lands just like Hyrule does. It even has/had its own Triforce, which makes me question whether it had its own set of golden goddesses as well... On top of that, since it is said to have its own version of the Sacred Realm, it seems possible and even likely that Lorule may have its own version of all of the other parallel worlds mentioned up to this point.

9. Lorule's Sacred Realm (A Link Between Worlds)
As I just mentioned, Lorule is confirmed to have its own version of the Sacred Realm as the resting place of its Triforce. One can assume that it's pretty darn similar to its Hyrule counterpart and can similarly be altered by one who touches the Triforce.

10. Wherever the Goddesses Went
I had to read between the lines for this one, but we know that after the golden goddesses created Hyrule and the surrounding world (or all worlds?), they departed from the earth and left the Triforce behind. But that leaves one question: Where did they depart to? Another world? Outer space? Heaven? No one knows, but I have a theory. Perhaps they entered into our universe and exist in every gamer who plays a Zelda game, enacting their divine influence on Hyrule in that way and helping the world be saved again and again. I've certainly heard crazier fan theories.

Did I miss any? Do you have a better fan theory? If so, let me know in the comments! Also, here's a shout out to the TV series Fringe for having practically the same plot as A Link Between Worlds.
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