I like Fyxe's theory, but one thing about it puzzles me: Link takes the master sword out of the pedestal as a child and takes it into the sacred realm with him. He emerges from the Sacred realm in the Temple of Time with the master sword. Link places the sword back and takes it out many times. Finaly Zelda,uses the ocarina to send Link back in time. Link then places the master sword back in the temple of time. My question then is: If Link placed the master sword down after he drew it for the first time, why is it not in the temple when he emerges from the sacred realm? This then makes me wonder where the master sword is after zelda sends Link back using the ocarina, it is not in the temple, and Link takes it with him to the past. That would mean that there is no master sword in the future after OoT, but we see the Master Sword in TWW.
Yes, this is a bit of a puzzle, one that I cannot answer completely because I cannot remember the cutscenes perfectly - when Link awakes and first meets Rauru, does he have the Master Sword? Or does he have it when he returns to the Temple of Time? I vaguely remember it being only in his hand after he returns back to the Temple of Time, but I may be wrong.
There are two ways of looking at it...
1 - The Master Sword, being the very object that is creating the time travel, is beyond time. When Link travels from the future to the past, he does not take the sword with him - the sword remains in the future, probably always returning to the pedestal. Now, when Link travels back to the past for the last time and then leaves the Master Sword behind the Door of Time, we could simply argue that it remains there for seven years, then when Link finally reaches the right age and is released from the Sacred Realm, it finds it's way, due to destiny, to being in his hand. L'il bit of magic there, maybe Rauru places it in his hand now he's old enough.
2 - If Link does indeed take the Master Sword back into the past when Zelda sends him back, we may want to make the assumption that there are two Master Swords for the time being. Namely, one that travelled to the Sacred Realm with Link, and remains there with Rauru watching over both Link and the Master Sword, and the other that Link has just taken back and uses to close the path between times. But, that doesn't make much sense - how can he use the Master Sword from the future to close the pathway from the past? That's like locking a door from the outside. Also, what does this new Master Sword do for seven years? Presumably it must be removed, probably by Ganon, otherwise it would be there when Link wakes up, but then what happens to it? Where does it go? Is it stuck in a pedestal in the Lost Woods somewhere? Gah, who knows.
Stick with idea 1 for now. Less complicated.
See, time travel is stupid. (Quantum theory is stupid!) But to address people's points...
Don't get me started on quantum theory. Scientists shouldn't be philosophical.
The simple was meant to be a tad sarcastic. Only a tad, though.
If Link travels in spirit alone (as is suggested by his aging) then the mind jumps are caused by the time travel. It's not to make things convenient. They only happen when he draws/drops the Master Sword, and one last time when his mind is displaced by his child self. His child spirit does enter his adult body; we see this.
This is confusing somewhat and I have a problem with this - when does his child spirit inhabit his adult body? Link is sealed for seven years, unconscious, and when he wakes up, his body is seven years older but his mind has not experienced those seven years (although presumably it has a natural maturity he did not have as a child, which would give a reason for Link being sealed in the first place). There's no adult body to inhabit - it is the same body, it has just been sitting around, probably not in physical form, no, but it has been sitting around in the Sacred Realm for seven years. The whole reason for this is because his body was not old enough. Just because he's there in spirit doesn't mean the body no longer exists - it's probably not in physical form to save it from coming to harm. But it's still there, aging as Link naturally would, waiting for seven years. Rauru makes no indication that Link has taken over the mind of an older version of himself - indeed, if he has done, there's a big, big, big problem with this, which is...
Why the hell would the Sacred Realm put a child's mind into an adult body that already has a fully mature adult mind that could do the job anyway? It seems extremely convoluted and renders the whole thing unnecessary.
And since time travel only affects spirits in this theory, Zelda sending him back will only send his consciousnes back, leaving his body behind. So it makes sense this is where the displaced spirit ends up - it's the closest point in time Link's body doesn't have a spirit.
What about every time Link places the Master Sword back and returns briefly? Does the adult body just lie there without a mind? Where the heck is the adult mind during all this anyway? Isn't it pissed off that he isn't the one kicking Ganon's butt? And for that matter, what the hell has it been doing for seven years while Ganon takes over? I always thought the implication behind Majora's Mask is that Link never returns to Hyrule, maybe he's still searching for Navi, maybe he dies, who knows.
Looking at the way the well works, Link ought to wake up for the first time as an adult with the Lens of Truth, but still have to go back and get it as a child at some point in the game. If the items did work this way then most of the problems with the mind swap theory above are ironed out. And the well implies that it does work this way, so I assume the reason it doesn't actually happen this way is down to gameplay.
True enough, but you could argue that about *anything*, really. Why is he sealed for seven years? Gameplay. Why can't you learn the Song of Storms as a child? Gameplay. The whole time travel nonsense in the first place is all about gameplay, but that doesn't mean it doesn't make sense. The thing is, they *could* have done it in Monkey Island fashion if they wanted to, but for gameplay issues, time travel works in a particular way in OoT - namely that items can be taken from the past to the future and visa versa. This heavily implies a physical form of time travel, and while you can come up with ways for it to work otherwise, it's somewhat convoluted and generally seems to defy the laws of the game world.
Yes, I know time travel is impossible in real-world physics but in OoT/MM we see Link travel through time and that's why we are debating it right now. In order for time travel to be possible you need an origin and a destination timeline otherwise i) nothing will happen. Or ii) you'll get paradoxes.
OH NO PARADOXES. We already know OoT has paradoxes, the whole windmill thing is a circular paradox, but who cares, that's what happens when you have time travel. Just because you get a paradox doesn't mean the universe will explode. Doesn't mean you need more than one timeline.
Adult Zelda for that reason was filled with regret for 'tampering' with the Sacred Realm (OoT ending). Likewise just how many versions of Termina were destroyed before Link finally managed to defeat Majora? Kinda puts whole 'Good Vs Evil' thing into perspective for us, doesn't it?
Except that bit of plot is something you've added as fanfic. At no point in either game do any characters worry about the possibility of many other timelines being doomed to failure - so we can assume this isn't an issue. In Majora's Mask, there is only one Termina, nothing happens to the Termina Link leaves - Link is not the only thing going back in time. He and Tatl are the only ones experiencing it, but essentially EVERYTHING is going back in time. Haven't you ever seen 'Groundhog Day'?
The problem with multiple timelines can be explained thus...
Your friend invents a time machine. You watch them travel back in time. In doing so, they create an alternate timeline. But, in effect, he has not therefore travelled back in time. He has merely travelled to an alternate reality. In this form of time travel, it would be impossible to ever meet yourself time travelling. You wait for your friend to return from the past, but he never does, yet in another reality, he does return from the past. There is no reason why he *couldn't* of returned from the past in the original timeline, yet he doesn't. The original timeline therefore makes no sense, and for the original timeline, the existence of a time machine and a person have suddenly ceased for no reason.
Just because science fiction has lept on the idea of multiple timelines doesn't mean it has to be so. This form of time travel is not actual time travel, it's travelling between realities. There's nothing to suggest this is necessarily the type of time travel used in either OoT or MM.
Showsni made that mistake too. We're talking about Zelda, not real-world physics.
You're the one who brought up the whole conservation of matter thing in the FIRST place, for heck's sake. ¬.¬
That's the predestination paradox again and has nothing to do with the multiple timeline theory. You've underestimated the significance of simply taking any object, like a banana, out of one universe if someone was meant to eat it or slip on it later that day - you have just caused a paradox. If you killed yourself you would still continue to exist within that timeline because you have just created a new timeline, one in which you do not exist in it's future. But you're now trapped in this alternate world and can never return to your original timeline. Trying to undo this (stop you from killing yourself) would just create another new timeline again so you're stuck.
Again, why are you arguing about the basis of time travel in science fiction when I'm not even arguing about multiple timelines in the first place? Multiple timelines DON'T HAVE TO EXIST. They're messy and rely on the assumption that the universe can just create multiple realities at will, and is effectively 'reality travel' rather than 'time travel'. ACTUAL time travel would not involve multiple timelines, but you wouldn't be able to change the past. It could very much lead to predestination paradoxes, but that's just what happens when you live in a world where time travel is possible.
And no Fyxe, the conservation of mass-energy is CONCRETE. Time-travel therefore is impossible and exists only in science-fiction (and Zelda).
Sorry, I didn't realise you were Mr. Hawking. And last I checked, yes, time travel is impossible, but I'm arguing about a world in which time travel exists, and who are you to say that the mass-energy thing would actually be thrown out of whack by time travel? Time travel might not affect mass-energy in the slightest, it would probably have ways of redressing the balance naturally, if it existed.