I was looking through some old posts I had made regarding the Zelda timeline, particularly as it related to the timeline presented in Hyrule Historia (due out January 29, 2013 for those of you who are interested in buying it in English!). As I skimmed through these, I realized that I had made an error.
First, though, let’s recognize that there are indeed three distinct timelines discussed in the upcoming book:
BEFORE THE SPLIT: Skyward Sword -> Minish Cap -> Four Swords -> Ocarina of Time
TIMELINE 1: Ocarina of Time -> A Link to the Past -> Oracles of Ages & Seasons -> Link’s Awakening -> The Legend of Zelda -> Adventure of Link
TIMELINE 2: Ocarina of Time -> The Wind Waker -> Phantom Hourglass -> Spirit Tracks
TIMELINE 3: Ocarina of Time -> Majora’s Mask -> Twilight Princess -> Four Swords Adventures
The error that I made, though, was in relation to what caused these timelines. Here is what seems to be the proper explanation:
When Link draws the Master Sword as a child, he is transported (in the interest of keeping things simple) to the “future.” Thus, in his own contemporary time, he is not present to defeat Ganondorf. This, apparently, eventually leads to the “Imprisoning War” that eventually leaves Ganon in what becomes the Dark World, having been sealed there by the Seven Sages. From this point, we get Timeline 1, which consists of all of the 2D games.
Once Link defeats Ganon in the future, he departs, returning to his childhood. Thus, when Ganon returns eventually in this post-apocalyptic future, no one is there to stop him and eventually the people plea to the gods to have Hyrule sealed below the seas, thus leading to Timeline 2.
Finally, the “new past” that Link returns to and warns Zelda of Ganon’s evil (thus leading to him being eventually sealed in the Twilight Realm) is what leads to Timeline 3.
Hopefully this clears things up a bit! Of course, everything will be much clearer once this book hits press in English this coming January!