Jump to content

IPBoard Styles©Fisana

Photo

An explanation of the decline timeline


  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 davogones

davogones

    Expert

  • Admin
  • 523 posts
  • Location:Pasadena, CA
  • Gender:Male
  • United States

Posted 13 November 2016 - 10:04 PM

Okay guys, I've been thinking about this one a TON, and I think I finally have a reasonable explanation for where the decline timeline came from. I know a lot of people think Nintendo just pulled it out of thin air, but I think it's more fun to believe that it's explainable within the rules of the Zelda universe and proceed accordingly. :) I'm so excited! Here it goes...

 

So I had several key insights during my research into this.

 

First, Hyrule Historia clearly tells that the exact same events of OoT also happened in the decline timeline, except for Link dying during the final battle. We know this is true because it tells the entire events of OoT, and then says the split happens at the final battle. In the final battle against Ganondorf, it even shows Link using the Master Sword (page 92). This eliminates some theories I've read that indicate that OoT happened differently in the decline timeline (e.g. Zelda didn't know who Link was, Link never entered the Sacred Realm or got the Master Sword, etc.)

 

The second insight I had was that in OoT, Link and Zelda were clearly trying to destroy Ganondorf. But he is essentially unbeatable. If you need a refresher of the final scene from the final battle from OoT (like I did), here's the Youtube link: https://youtu.be/87nkWPZ_UMI?t=337. Zelda tells Link "use your sword to deliver the final blow!" She clearly expects Ganon(dorf) to die after Link stabs him in the forehead with the Master Sword. But something goes... wrong. Instead of being defeated, Ganon goes on a rampage.

 

In OoT,  we see them immediately seal Ganon(dorf) in the Sacred Realm when this happens. This is the Adult Timeline version of what happened. Clearly Ganondorf didn't die, and the "final blow" was nothing of the kind.

 

My theory is that in the original, Decline Timeline, Link is suddenly killed during Ganon's rampage, and Zelda is overcome by Ganon before she can react and order the sages to seal him. So he gets the whole Triforce. Fortunately, Zelda is able to escape and order the sages to seal Ganon in the Sacred Realm. Unfortunately, much to Zelda's grief, her hero is dead. But she has the power to control time, and decided to send someone back to the exact instant that Ganon started rampaging. This way, they could seal Ganon immediately instead of waiting until Link is killed.

 

I haven't decided whether it's Zelda that gets sent back, or Rauru, or perhaps Navi. Zelda seems to be the best choice, since she is the one who orders the sages to seal Ganon at the exact moment he starts rampaging. But the problem is that whoever gets sent back disappears from the Decline Timeline. And is she disappears, so does the spirit of the Goddess Hylia that is needed to reincarnate into future incarnations of Zelda. So my next best theory is that she sent back Navi or Rauru to telepathically communicate with her and warn her about the future.

 

Can anyone think of anything that obviously contradicts this theory?

 

 



#2 Masamune

Masamune

    not here but you never know

  • Members
  • 4,347 posts
  • Location::noitacoL
  • Gender:Male

Posted 14 November 2016 - 01:46 AM

I've worked around this idea, though I think from the opposite side of it. Like you, I prefer to think of the Decline timeline as the 'original' timeline. Both the Child and Adult timelines are created as a result of time meddling, so the logical conclusion is that there must be also a timeline where no timeline shenanigans ever occur. So rather than someone being sent back to give Zelda a warning, I think of it as the entire idea of freezing Link for seven years in time is done in order to prevent the Decline timeline. Same idea, but I guess under the assumption that Rauru or the Master Sword itself (Fi?) decides to keep Link in stasis so he has a chance to defeat Ganondorf. It probably works the same way if Zelda somehow is able to send a message back to herself in the form of the dreams she talks about having at the beginning. 

 

I think the biggest problem is that the Decline timeline is basically just described as Link dying at the end of Ocarina of Time. What we're both talking about is essentially young Link taking on Ganondorf during the so-called Imprisoning War and ultimately being defeated, right? Hyrule Historia describes it like this:

 

Of all possible outcomes, Link, the Hero of Time, faced defeat at the hands of Ganondorf.

The thief obtained the three pieces of the Triforce, transformed into the Demon King, Ganon, and continued to threaten the world in future eras.

The conflict surrounding the Triforce continued without end, the blood of the gods weakened, and the kingdom of Hyrule shrank to a shadow of its former glory. 

 

It may be meaningless, but it does depict an adult Link facing Ganondorf (basically showing the final battle in Ocarina of Time). But it also goes on to describe the Imprisoning War as being a separate event that followed Zelda and the sages imprisoning Ganon. Which makes it hard to justify there being an 'original timeline' when basically it's supposed to be as simple as Link getting a game over during the final battle. In your theory, I don't know how we'd reach a similar final battle with Ganondorf with an adult Link without Zelda's future foresight. It also seems kind of odd that she would give herself premonitions of the future that effectively are what allows Ganondorf to succeed in his plot in the first place. If Zelda never had her visions of the future, Ganondorf would have had to wait a lot longer to collect the Sacred Stones from the starving Gorons and the poisoned Deku Tree and Jabu Jabu.  



#3 JRPomazon

JRPomazon

    The finest version of Myself

  • Members
  • 15,804 posts
  • Location:Massachusetts
  • Gender:Male
  • United States

Posted 14 November 2016 - 08:29 PM

Theory: The Link who faces Ganondorf fails his duty as the hero, which leads to Ganon obtaining the full Triforce and becoming Ganon, but this doesn't mean explicitly that he died. Zelda, could have been able to save Link in one fashion or another. Removing him from the conflict in order to save his life but also preventing him from taking part in the Imprisoning War. Much in spirit with Zelda's themes, this Link is sent to sleep until a time comes when he may be needed again. Meanwhile, the nation is in decline and Ganon continues his persistant terrorizing of the land until it's nothing but a wilderness taken shadow of it's former self.

 

If any of this has some bearing, Breath of the Wild could be the game that explains and justifies the decline timeline



#4 davogones

davogones

    Expert

  • Admin
  • 523 posts
  • Location:Pasadena, CA
  • Gender:Male
  • United States

Posted 15 November 2016 - 04:41 AM

This leads off into a related topic which doesn't have a firm answer: how does time travel work exactly in the Zelda universe? I've been thinking about this too, and have come to the following conclusion. Given the way time is manipulated in the various Zelda games, I would view it more as the natural laws of the universe being bent in order to manipulate the outcome, and/or rewrite history. This doesn't necessarily imply that time is "rewound" and "played back", or that every time travel incident results in a timeline split. So there isn't necessarily an "original" timeline in which no time travel occurred yet.

 

Skyward Sword, for example, clearly has the potential to create timeline splits, yet is presented in Hyrule Historia as though it all happened in one unified timeline. There are also several time travel paradoxes I've read about, essentially elements in the future that couldn't/shouldn't be there given what happened in the past. This is one reason I started viewing time travel as a "rewrite" of history using the power of the gods, rather than rewinding and fast forwarding.

 

Also, despite Zelda having the benefit of visions, prophecies, the power of the Goddess Hylia, and the Triforce of Wisdom at times, she is definitely human and not omniscient. She tries her best to save Hyrule, but makes mistakes along the way and sometimes fails. Her human frailty is part of what makes the story interesting. She isn't just playing out a preordained script that always results in victory. In fact, her plans often have unexpected consequences. (In my opinion, the Triforce seems to fall into Ganon's hands so often because Zelda / the Royal Family doesn't fully understand how it works.)

 

JR, you make a good point. Hyrule Historia doesn't actually say that Link died, only that he "faced defeat" and "lost". I'll have to think about this some more... Even if Link didn't die, Zelda would still be motivated to send somebody back in time to prevent Ganon from obtaining the whole Triforce (e.g. by sealing him earlier, before he defeats Link). Maybe she even sent Link back. It's hard to see how Link could have had time to warn Zelda in the heat of battle. We don't see anyone warning her, she just "knows" the right time to seal Ganon.



#5 TheAvengerLever

TheAvengerLever

    The Crispin Glover of LA

  • Members
  • 4,105 posts
  • Location:On Youtube.
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 November 2016 - 09:07 PM

Davo, about Skyward Sword:

The one thing that sets Skyward Sword's time manipulation from OoT is that Skyward Sword depicts it's conflict backwards. We fight and kill the beastly Demise monster and finally beat him in what we know as the Present. But then Zelda is kidnapped and taken back in Time. But since they go to the Past, everything about the final conflict there ensures that the defeat of Evil in the future stays possible. So it doesn't really cause any Timeline tangents because it revolves around this odd twist of the "self-fulfilling prophecy".

In contrast, OoT is all about going and changing the future, and the manipulation of both the "Child" timeline and the "Adult" timeline are the reason those tangents exist.

#6 davogones

davogones

    Expert

  • Admin
  • 523 posts
  • Location:Pasadena, CA
  • Gender:Male
  • United States

Posted 15 November 2016 - 09:20 PM

This was my takeaway as well from my reading of the Skyward Sword story. (Note: I haven't played the game or studied it too in-depth yet.) The ending leads you to believe that it is the "new" past that caused the "new" present to come about.

 

The paradoxes I was referring to were brought up here: http://disq.us/p/i2nggm

 

Bottom line: the "present" at the end of the game isn't fully consistent with the "past" or with the game as a whole. It's not a cleanly split timeline, nor is the present cleanly derived from the past, as you would expect if you simply pressed "fast forward" on the remote and moved forward a thousand years. Instead it's.... messy.

 

My hypothesis is that time travel is not a natural phenomena that conforms to natural laws. Rather, the power of the goddesses is used to bend the laws of nature, resulting in things that could be considered paradoxical. The goddesses created reality, and they can change reality whenever and wherever they want. Allow certain items, people, and information to move between time periods in unexplainable ways? Sure, why not.



#7 Sir Turtlelot

Sir Turtlelot

    Svartifeldr

  • Members
  • 5,193 posts
  • Location:Death Star
  • Gender:Machine
  • Antarctica

Posted 18 November 2016 - 12:17 AM

I actually made a thread about this a few years back, so let me grab a quote from my old post on the subject.

 


Personally, my explanation is somewhat based off of this guy's. The drawing the in the video also translates to my explanation, so at least give that a look.

My theory is that the three splits in OoT are due to Link's time travel. The first split is caused when Link travels between the present and the future. Obviously we all know that the future segment of OoT becomes the AT, however the present portion of OoT, does NOT become the CT. The CT timeline is created when Zelda sends Link back in time, creating a third split. The reason a second split is created and Link is not returned to the original timeline is because Link is not the one who sends himself back in time, Zelda does. And since Link no longer exists in the OT, no one is there to warn the Kingdom of Hyrule about his attack, nor is there anyone to rise against once he has taken over, leading into the original IW story from ALttP.

Essentially, my theory assumes that time travel is relative to the one who is commencing it. Link created the first split by traveling to the future, while Zelda creates the second split by sending Link to the past. Had Link done it himself, there would only be two splits, but since Zelda did it, it created a second split leading to the CT. The timeline expressed physically should like something like this:

OoT (present-game) - ALttP
\
OoT (future) - WW
\
OoT (present-ending) - MM

My apologies if this seems like incoherent rambling, since I'm not that awake right now.



#8 davogones

davogones

    Expert

  • Admin
  • 523 posts
  • Location:Pasadena, CA
  • Gender:Male
  • United States

Posted 18 November 2016 - 12:36 AM

Thanks, I gave it a careful read and I think I understand what you're saying. To re-state it, you're essentially saying that the child timeline that we play within the game becomes the downfall timeline because Link disappears from that timeline. In my mind, this is contradicted by two facts:

  1. When child Link pulls the Master Sword for the last time, he doesn't "disappear". He is sealed, seven years pass, and then he is unsealed. He's there all along, just locked away. This happens every time child Link pulls the Master Sword (within the game).
  2. Hyrule Historia makes it clear that the downfall timeline arises from adult Link fighting Ganondorf and losing. It does not arise from child Link disappearing.





Copyright © 2017 Your Company Name