The Seven Sages place their seal on the Dark World
|Game(s)||A Link to the Past|
|Occurrence(s)||Ganon gains entry to the Sacred Realm, wishes on the Triforce, and attacks Hyrule. The Knights of Hyrule take the brunt of the attack from Ganon's army.|
|Resolution(s)||The Seven Sages seal Ganon inside the Dark World.|
The Imprisoning War is an event that formed the back story of A Link to the Past and is described in the introduction of the game and in the game's instruction manual. It was the first time in the series that Ganon's history was explained. It was later revealed to stem from events that occurred in Ocarina of Time. It was a conflict that ensued after Ganondorf the Demon Thief entered the Sacred Realm, also known as the Golden Land, and laid claim to the Triforce, becoming Ganon, the Demon King. Ganondorf's attainment of the Triforce tainted the Golden Land, transforming it into the Dark World and Ganondorf himself into the beast named Ganon. He launched an invasion against Hyrule with his new army of monsters, made up of people from Hyrule that came seeking the Golden Power for themselves. This invasion was repelled by the Knights of Hyrule, who gave their lives almost to the last to protect the Seven Sages as they cast a seal on the Dark World, trapping Ganon and his army inside and restoring peace to Hyrule.
History from A Link to the Past
The Discovery of the Sacred Realm
- Main article: Sacred Realm
Long ago in the land of Hyrule, legends spoke of a great power left behind by the Golden Goddesses following Hyrule's creation. Stories speaking of the Sacred Realm and the omnipotent "Golden Power" known as the Triforce that resided within it spread across Hyrule over the ages, causing a lust for the Triforce's power to grow and fester in the hearts and minds of Hyrule's people until there was nothing left in many of them but pure greed. The Triforce could not judge between good and evil and thus would merely grant the wishes of its holder.
One day, a gateway to the Golden Land of the Triforce was accidentally discovered and opened by a band of thieves skilled in dark magic and their leader, a man named Ganondorf. It was a place like no other, a realm of midday golden skies rather than blue. And there, shining down upon this world from above, was the Triforce in all its glory. A long running battle then ensued between Ganondorf and his followers to the heart of the Sacred Realm in a race to reach the Triforce first. Ganondorf fought his way past and killed all of his followers that had accompanied him into the realm along the way so that he could claim it uncontested.
Ganon's Wish on the Triforce
After the murders of his followers, Ganondorf stood over the Triforce and grasped it with blood-stained hands. A voice whispered to him, stating that if he had a strong desire in his heart to wish for it. In response, Ganondorf's laughter echoed across time and space and reached even Hyrule itself as he made a wish that he become the ruler of the world.
Thus, one of Hyrule's greatest threats was born: the King of Evil, Ganon, who now had the strength of the Triforce at his command.
The Creation of the Dark World
- Main article: Dark World
As a result of Ganondorf's wish for the domination of the world, the Triforce caused the Sacred Realm to radically change. It began to wither and die as it was transformed into a twisted copy of Hyrule that represented what Hyrule would look like if Ganondorf ruled it. Dark clouds now permanently blackened the skies. As a side-effect of this transformation, the Triforce's magic was used to cast a curse over the entire realm, one that would cause any without protection from it to transform into a shape that would reflect what is in his or her heart. The Golden Land was now the Dark World, a place of darkness and evil.
Ganon was not satisfied merely with ruling the newly-transformed Dark World however, as he sought to return to Hyrule and conquer it as well. In time, evil power began to issue forth from the portal to the Golden Land, beckoning to men from the outside to seek out the Golden Power and have their wishes become reality through its magic.
The Invasion of Hyrule
As greedy men from Hyrule entered the Dark World hungry for the Golden Power, each of them was transformed into a monster reflecting the greed within them. As a result, Ganon's army of monsters grew to a large enough proportion that he was now capable of launching an invasion against Hyrule. Many plagues began to beset Hyrule as well, causing catastrophes for the people that would precede the coming storm.
Finally, with his army now ready, Ganon launched the invasion against Hyrule, intending to fulfill his wish to be the ruler of both the Dark World and the Light World. Ganon's army swarmed from the Dark World and flooded into Hyrule, causing mass chaos and attacking Hyrule Castle. Meanwhile, the Seven Sages searched for a courageous individual that could take up a weapon that had been crafted to combat magic as powerful as that of the Triforce's, a sword that could banish evil itself, the Master Sword. However, no hero worthy of the blade could be found.
The Seal of the Sages
The King of Hyrule eventually convened the council of the Seven Sages as well as the Knights of Hyrule that served to protect the Hylian royalty and commanded them to seal the gateway to the Dark World shut in order to stem Ganon's invasion of the kingdom. Both groups would play pivotal roles in the hope of reaching this goal, with the Seven Sages bearing the responsibility of creating the seal itself while the Knights of Hyrule would protect them as they did their part to halt Ganon's invasion of the kingdom.
The Knights of Hyrule took the full brunt of the attack from Ganon's monsters, and while they fought courageously to the end, they were nearly wiped out entirely as they did their duty. Their lives were not lost in vain however, as they bought the necessary time for the Seven Sages to create their seal, trapping Ganon in the Dark World and halting the invasion. With this, the war was ended in a victory for the Light World, though it had come at a very high cost. The people of Hyrule rejoiced nonetheless at the restoration of order and peace to their kingdom, thanks to the efforts of the Seven Sages and the Knights of Hyrule. Ganon and his army were trapped in the Dark World until the events of A Link to the Past.
Timeline Placement from Hyrule Historia
In the Hyrule Historia guidebook, the Imprisoning War occurs many years after an alternate version of the events of Ocarina of Time taking place in a timeline where Link is defeated by Ganon. This is neither the Adult Timeline where Link defeats Ganon as an adult nor the Child Timeline where Princess Zelda sends Link to his childhood after he defeats Ganon, but is instead a third timeline where Ganondorf was successful in defeating Link.
After Ganondorf kidnaps Princess Zelda at the end of Ocarina of Time, Link challenged Ganondorf but was defeated. Ganondorf extracted the Triforce of Courage from Link and the Triforce of Wisdom from Zelda obtaining the complete Triforce and transformed into the Demon King, Ganon. In desperation, the Seven Sages sealed Ganon along with the complete Triforce away in the Sacred Realm.
The Imprisoning War
Hyrule enjoys a brief period of peace, but as rumors spread of the Golden Power lying in the Sacred Realm, many greedy people traveled to the Sacred Realm seeking it. There, they were transformed into monsters by the power of the Triforce and became a part of Ganon's army. Ganon's army poured forth from the Sacred Realm and attacked Hyrule in a conflict that came to be known as the Imprisoning War. The Knights of Hyrule fought off against Ganon's army, while the Seven Sages of that era sought a way to permanently seal off the entrance to the Sacred Realm. Eventually, the Sages successfully closed off the entrance to the Sacred Realm, but only after most of the Knights of Hyrule had fallen.
- The name of the Imprisoning War seems to be a play off of the end result of the conflict, which resulted in the "imprisoning" of Ganon inside of the Dark World; meanwhile, the alternate name for the war in Japan, the "Seal War", seems to be a reference to the seal cast by the Seven Sages that trapped Ganon in the Dark World and ended the war.
- The story was heavily truncated for the manual of the Game Boy Advance version of A Link to the Past and did not include such important details as Ganon seizing the Triforce or the search for the Master Sword. These details are still provided by in-game text, however.
- The English translation of the story has the sages forget where the Triforce is hidden.
- As indicated by deleted text in Four Swords Adventures, the original concept for that game would have included elements which might have made it the game in which the Imprisoning War occurred. Deleted text talks of Link not being able to wield the Master Sword, and more explicit references to the Hylians. During development, Four Swords Adventures had considerably more story than the final release, but Shigeru Miyamoto thought that the game should have a stronger focus on gameplay and the story was simplified.
- "That yearning for the Triforce soon turned to lust for power, which in turn led to the spilling of blood. Soon the only motive left among those searching for the Triforce was pure greed." (A Link to the Past manual, pg. 5)
- "The Triforce, being an inanimate object, cannot judge between good and evil." (A Link to the Past manual, pg. 5)
- "One day, quite by accident, a gate to the Golden Land of the Triforce was opened by a gang of thieves skilled in the black arts. This land was like no other. In the gathering twilight, the Triforce shone from its resting place high above the world. In a long running battle, the leader of the thieves fought his way past his followers in a lust for the Golden Power." (A Link to the Past manual, pg. 5)
- "After vanquishing his own followers, the leader stood triumphant over the Triforce and grasped it with his blood- stained hands. He heard a whispered voice: "If thou has a strong desire or dream, wish for it..." And in reply, the roaring laughter of the brigand leader echoed across time and space and even reached the far-off land of Hyrule." (A Link to the Past manual, pg. 5)
- "Indeed, the King of Evil Ganon, the one who has threatened Hyrule so, was born at this time." (A Link to the Past (JP version) manual, pg. 7)
- "This world was once the Golden Land where the Triforce was hidden. But because Ganon, the leader of the thieves, wished it, this world was transformed..." — Dark Palace Maiden (A Link to the Past)
- "And everyone who wanders into this land is changed to a shape that reflects his true nature." — Man transformed into a ball (A Link to the Past)
- "However, in time evil power began to flow from the Golden Land and greedy men were drawn there to become members of Ganon's army." (A Link to the Past manual, pg. 5)
- "After many years, an opening was found that led from our fair Hyrule to the Golden Land, where the mystical Triforce was still hidden. Many sought treasure in this place, but none returned--Only beings of great evil emerged from the Golden Land." (A Link to the Past (GBA version) manual, pg. 14)
- "Black clouds permanently darkened the sky, and many disasters beset Hyrule." (A Link to the Past manual, pg. 5)
- "Ganon's evil army swarmed from the tainted Golden Land into Hyrule and attacked the castle." (A Link to the Past manual, pg. 5,6)
- "The Sages first had to search for the existence of the Master Sword and a hero to use it. However, the situation was urgent, and Ganon's malice was enclosing on the royal palace." (A Link to the Past manual, pg. 7)
- "The King of Hyrule gathered the seven Sages to find a way to seal the entrance to the Golden Land so that his kingdom would be safe from the evil there" (The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (GBA version) manual, pg. 15)
- "As the sages sealed the way to the Dark World, the Knights of Hyrule defended them from the attacks of evil monsters. I heard that the Knights of Hyrule were nearly wiped out in that battle..." — Thieves' Town Maiden (A Link to the Past)
- "The wise men and the Knights Of Hyrule combined forces to wage war on this evil horde. The Knights took the full brunt of the fierce attack, and although they fought courageously many a brave soul was lost that day, However, their lives were not lost in vain, for they bought precious time for the Seven Wise Men to magically seal Ganon in the Golden land. All of Hyrule rejoiced at the victory that upheld peace and order over Ganon's evil and chaos." (A Link to the Past manual, pg. 6)
- "Many Years Later" (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 93)
- "The Hero of Time, Link, challenged [Ganondorf] in a battle that would determine Hyrule's very existence, and lost." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 93)
- "At last, Ganondorf found himself in the possession of the Triforce of Wisdom that dwelt within Princess Zelda, and the Triforce of Courage that dwelt in Link. His true power achieved, he transformed into the Demon King." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 92)
- "The Seven Sages of Hyrule, led by Princess Zelda, sealed Ganon and the Triforce in the Sacred Realm as a final resort." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 92)
- ". . . There were many who knew of the existence of the Triforce and the entrance to the Sacred Realm because of the events set in motion by Ganondorf. Their lust aroused, they rushed to gain access to the holy land in their quest to obtain the power of the gods. Little did they realize that the Sacred Realm had been transformed in to the Dark World by Ganondorf’s evil heart. None returned from their adventures. Instead, only the power of darkness flowed forth." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 93)
- "The king of Hyrule ordered the Seven Sages to seal the Sacred Realm. The Knights of Hyrule guarded the sages as they offered up their prayers, but demons descended upon them from within the Sacred Realm, and a fierce battle unfolded in which the majority of the combatants were killed. The entrance to the Sacred Realm was sealed once again, tight enough that it should never have been reopened." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 93)
- "Many aggressively searched for the wish-granting Triforce, but no one, not even the Hylian sages, was sure of its location; the knowledge had been lost over time." (A Link to the Past manual)
- Translation of Japanese Game Texts, Legends Alliance Forums.
- "In an example with Four Swords Adventures, I was the producer on that game, so I didn’t actually put the story for that game together—that would be put together by the director of the game. And in the end on that game, as we got closer to finishing it, of course, Mr. Miyamoto then came in and upended the tea table, and we changed the story around quite a bit at the end with Four Swords Adventures. And what Mr. Miyamoto pointed out in the case of that game was that the storyline shouldn’t be something complicated that confuses the player. It should really be kind of a guideline that helps ease the player through the gameplay process and helps them understand what it is that they’re doing. So that was one example of how the gameplay was there first, and the storyline changed all the way up until the very end." —Eiji Aonuma (GameInformer Eiji Aonuma Interview - May 17th, 2004 - Game Developer's Conference)