A Twilight Portal, a good example of the use of portals within the Zelda series.
|Game(s)|| The Legend of Zelda|
A Link to the Past
Ocarina of Time
Oracle of Ages
Oracle of Seasons
The Wind Waker
Four Swords Adventures
The Minish Cap
|Comparable Object(s)|| Flute|
Ocarina of Time
Ocarina of Wind
A Portal is a magical gateway that usually serves either as a mode of transportation or a means of transformation within the Zelda series. There have been multiple examples of portals seen throughout the series, ranging from the original The Legend of Zelda all the way to Phantom Hourglass, and there have been multiple uses unique to each kind featured throughout the series. They can serve as gateways to other worlds or dimensions as seen in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, as methods of quick transportation as seen in Twilight Princess, or as a means of transformation in order to explore new places or things as seen in The Minish Cap. The use of portals has steadily grown as the series has progressed, and new uses for them have been known to be developed with each new addition to the series.
Portals have many uses throughout the series, assisting Link along in his quests against evil by enabling him to meet his needs. At times, he must perform certain tasks to make certain portals available to be used. Typically however there two main uses for portals that have repetitiously been applied throughout the series thus far: transportation and transformation.
Of all potential uses to which portals have been put throughout the series, none has been more prevalent than the ability of transportation. Dating all the way back to the original The Legend of Zelda, portals have served as methods of transportation or gateways to permit entry into certain places. This ability has constantly been reused with the development of new games, with portals of varying power and ability acting as methods of quick transportation for Link to places he seeks to reach. They have also been known to be used for transporting Link out of the various dungeons he investigates throughout the series, thus saving the time of having to trek all the way back through the dungeon to reach the exit once the objective has been achieved. Portals have also served as modes of transportation for Link to enter new worlds or dimensions that otherwise would be unreachable by foot or any other mode of transportation for that matter.
In Oracle of Ages, Time Portals are able to transport anything anywhere in time. They are opened either when Nayru creates them or when the Tune of Echoes is played using the Harp of Ages. In Oracle of Seasons, various portals scattered across the overworld are used to travel between the worlds of Holodrum and Subrosia.
In Twilight Princess, Red Portals are created by Zant's evil magic and send Shadow Beasts to fight Link. Once the Shadow Beasts are defeated, the portal then turns blue. These portals can be used by Midna to Warp Link to any other blue portal location across Hyrule quickly and easily. Zant can also create portals to summon various Twilight Monsters, and it is implied that Ganondorf may use them to teleport.  They also bear the Twilight Emblem.
Another use for portals that has arisen in the series (though largely on only one occasion) has been to transform Link in some manner from his normal form, or in this case his size. This was first exhibited in The Minish Cap, where certain objects found throughout the Overworld turned out to be portals that would allow Link to shrink to the miniscule size of the Minish in order to explore the world the way they were able to. Though they did not really change Link's body in any way in the end, the portals featured at the end of the adult dungeons in Ocarina of Time and each dungeon in Twilight Princess both caused a physical change for Link that included such things as being encased inside a crystal or transforming into Twilight matter in order to be warped out of the dungeon. It remains to be seen whether any new aspects of the end-dungeon portals will be developed for future games, or whether there will be other transformation features.
A portal created by Midna after completing a dungeon
- "This icon marks gaps in the currents of time used to travel between the past and present. You must give power to these portals before you can enter them." (Oracle of Ages manual, pg. 23)
- "If you play that tune, you will unlock the powers of the Time Portals found across this land." — Nayru (Oracle of Ages)