2011's Hyrule Historia ushered the idea of a formal timeline for The Legend of Zelda away from the darkest corners of Internet discussion and into officially sanctioned print form, finally quieting fans who spent years searching for some logical way to connect 25 years of narratives Nintendo never meant to connect.
More than a decade ago, The Wind Waker did an excellent job of waving away inconsistencies in the series by establishing The Legend of Zelda as a sort of oral tradition in the vein of Beowulf; each entry -- aside from the direct sequels -- stood as a different interpretation of the same basic premise, with the various "storytellers" changing bits here and there as they saw fit. Before Hyrule Historia came along, figuring out how these games fit into a chronology was as fruitless as asking "Does 'Thumbelina' take place before or after 'The Little Mermaid' in the Hans Christian Anderverse?"
As it stands, the timeline presented in Hyrule Historia isn't exactly airtight; the book even presents the "a wizard did it" clause up-front to calm any possible nerd rage that could erupt over contradictions and inconsistencies. Even worse, the recurring problems of Hyrule make its people look incredibly inept at handling the resurrection of evil they should honestly be better prepared for after the dozenth time Ganon pops up like some pig-shaped Whac-A-Mole. Hylians finally getting it together would probably mean the end of The Legend of Zelda as we know it, but it certainly wouldn't hurt their cataclysm survival rate to keep the following advice in mind.
1. Quit sealing things away so conspicuously
Yes, that Master Sword sure looks cool planted in the middle of a bucolic Lost Woods grove, and no one will argue the Temple of Time isn't an architectural wonder. But seriously, Hyrule, you aren't doing yourself any favors by making the catalysts for your utter destruction so ostentatious and/or accessible. Want to seal the door to some immense and indescribable power? Hey, idiots -- maybe you could make the items used to open it a little more inconspicuous? Some families in our modern age are known to hide an extra house key within a fake rock or plastic lump of dog poop, not on a front porch pedestal accented by spotlights, lasers, a fog machine, and a boombox blasting Madonna's "Open Your Heart." If you're still hell-bent on making unique, elaborately crafted medallions to open the way to Hyrule's History Eraser Button, go ahead and do it, but drop those suckers into a volcano instead of sending them away to locations that match their respective insignias. You'll be glad you did.
2. Get a head-start on this whole "Ganondorf" issue
The Kings of Hyrule have a real knack for trusting obviously evil wizards (who even dress and look the part), so we can only assume centuries of inbreeding have removed the slightest notion of responsibility from the royal family's brains. It's a little too late to turn the clock back on that particular issue, but the Kingdom of Hyrule would do well to remember that evil wizards are, in fact, evil -- maybe the Hylian equivalent of a Post-It Note would work? And, for the love of all that's holy, keep your eyes on those Gerudo people; I'm not suggesting the Kingdom take up some sort of racial profiling program, but when you have a matriarchal society whose very existence makes no sense -- one male born every 100 years? -- it's probably a good idea to check in on them every decade or so, just to make sure they're not harboring the next great evil to threaten Hyrule. Four Swords Adventures literally begins with a new Ganondorf being born to the Gerudo people -- who was asleep at the switch there?
3. Worship some better goddesses
The various goddesses of Hyrule take an incredibly hands-off policy when it comes to protecting the land they created, with their most notable post-creation intervention being the "flush and forget" plan which trapped most of Hyrule under a vast ocean prior to The Wind Waker. Most of the time, they're content to have a mortal accomplish the tasks they could easily do themselves, and even then, they're not very grateful. In Skyward Sword, even though Link stands as humanity's only hope, the goddesses still make him perform a series of petty tasks before granting him the power necessary to save the world. Imagine for a minute that you come home to find all of your possessions stolen. You call the cops, and when an officer shows up to your door, you make him do 50 one-handed push-ups before letting him him. This is the kind of respect the goddesses show their loyal subjects, and if you ask me, those Hylains desperately need to rethink their faith. Ganon's reliance on the powers of untold evil seems to work out pretty well for him.
4. Quit naming princesses "Zelda"
Being a member of royalty involves following a number of increasingly arbitrary decisions, and Hyrule doesn't differ much in this department. According to the official timeline, the period between Link's Awakening and The Legend of Zelda saw the official mandate that all future Hylian princesses take on the name of Zelda, because one king got all Triforce-crazy and put a sleep-curse on his sister -- presumably the "original Zelda," even though several came before her -- and then felt pretty bad about it. But just think about the events following The Adventure of Link; after saving the current princess six years prior, Link rescues the original, takes her home, and... then what? Regardless of what happens, Link's looking at an awkward first couple of months. More importantly, ditching the Zelda name altogether would probably result in those stupid prophecies finally coming to an end -- after all, what self-respecting hero or villain would want to take part in "The Legend of Gertrude" or "The Legend of Doris?"
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