Hero of Time

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The Hero of Time is a recurring character in The Legend of Zelda series.(OoT | TWW)[1][2][3][4]


Ocarina of Time

Link is bestowed this title upon awakening from his seven-year slumber after retrieving the Master Sword from the Pedestal of Time.[1] By traveling through time to awaken the Six Sages and stop the King of Evil Ganondorf from conquering Hyrule, the Hero of Time's tale becomes a legend that is passed down through generations, proving to be of great relevance to both the Mythology in The Legend of Zelda series as well as the timeline in which the games take place.[5]

As a child the Hero of Time grew up in the Kokiri Forest believing that he was a Kokiri, but in reality he was an orphaned Hylian. Because the Hero of Time was not a Kokiri, he did not possess a Fairy companion, which led to him being ostracized by the majority of the Kokiri Forest, with the exception of Saria and the Deku Tree. Eventually, the Hero of Time was bestowed with a fairy named Navi by the Deku Tree to help guide him on his quest to save Hyrule.

The Legend of the Hero of Time

Ganondorf enters the Sacred Realm and claims the Triforce of Power to himself.

In the land of Hyrule, legends speak of the Triforce, the mythical Golden Power said to reside in the Sacred Realm which has the power to grant the wishes of its holder.[6][7] Ganondorf, the King of the Gerudo tribe, schemes to enter the Sacred Realm to claim the Triforce and thus rule the world.[8][9] With the unwitting assistance of a young boy named Link and Hyrule's Princess Zelda, Ganondorf is able to enter the Sacred Realm after Link retrieves the Master Sword from the Pedestal of Time.[10] However, because Ganondorf's heart was not in balance, the Triforce separated upon being touched by the King of Evil, leaving him with only the Triforce of Power and transforming the Sacred Realm into a corrupt world of evil.[11][12] The Triforce of Wisdom was then bestowed upon Princess Zelda and the Triforce of Courage upon Link, respectively.[13] Link was then put into a slumber for seven years until he matured enough to properly handle the Blade of Evil's Bane, the Master Sword.[1] Meanwhile, Ganondorf used the Triforce of Power to take over Hyrule, transforming the land into a world of monsters.[14][15]

The Hero of Time defeating Ganon, restoring peace to the land of Hyrule with the power of the Master Sword

Link eventually awakens as the Hero of Time and, using the Master Sword and the Pedestal of Time, travels through time to seek the Seven Sages, who were said to have the power to bind Ganondorf and return peace to Hyrule.[5][16] With the assistance of the Seven Sages, the Hero of Time, wielding the Master Sword, battles Ganondorf and weakens him enough to allow the Sages the time they need to bind him and throw him back into the void of the Evil Realm.[17][18] The King of Evil, with the Triforce of Power still in his hand, threatens to return one day to exterminate the descendants of the Hero of Time and the Sages to make them pay for his imprisonment.[19]

With Hyrule now at peace, Princess Zelda uses her power as a Sage to send the Hero of Time back to his own age in order to regain his lost childhood.[20] Upon his departure, the Triforce of Courage splits apart into eight shards and are scattered across the land to be found again one day by another Hero that would have need of its power.[21] The Master Sword is also left in the Hero's wake, being returned to its pedestal in turn. With this act, the Hero of Time vanishes from this branch of Hyrule's history, leaving only his legend behind.

The Hero's Fate

Before leaving the land of Hyrule, the Hero of Time warns Princess Zelda about Ganondorf's plans and what the future would unfold if the King of Evil was not stopped.[22] The princess entrusts Link with the Ocarina of Time to prevent Ganondorf from entering the Sacred Realm, and the young hero then departs from Hyrule with the ocarina in hand to seek his fairy companion, Navi. In the process, however, he stumbles into a parallel universe known as Termina, which was being threatened to be destroyed by its Moon. With the aid of the Ocarina of Time and the fairy Tatl, Link saves Termina from its imminent downfall and soon after leaves the land.

Despite this, the Hero of Time continued to lament the fact that he was not remembered as a hero after he was returned to his original time upon defeating Ganon.[23] After his death, he was unable to go to the afterlife because of the regrets that kept him tied to the world of the living, feeling regret that he was unable to pass on the lessons of his life to the younger generations. In order to ease his regrets and finally pass on his knowledge, he teaches the seven Hidden Skills to his descendant, the Link of Twilight Princess.[23][24]


The statue of the Hero of Time found in Hyrule Castle in the Adult Timeline
The statue of the Hero of Time found in Hyrule Castle in the Adult Timeline

The legend of the Hero of Time becomes of great significance in the development of the Zelda Timeline and the mythology in The Legend of Zelda series. His battle against Ganondorf marked the point in which the timeline split into three branches: the Downfall, Child, and Adult Timeline. Princess Zelda's plan with Link to save Hyrule by retrieving the Triforce resulted in Ganondorf obtaining the Triforce of Power,[25] leading eventually, in one continuity, to Link's defeat and the formation of the Downfall Timeline.[26] In the alternate continuity where Link succeeds in defeating Ganondorf, the princess sends the Hero of Time back to his original time, creating two timelines; the Child Timeline and the Adult Timeline. In the latter of the two, the Triforce of Courage is shattered and the hero in the Adult Timeline vanishes, resulting in Hyrule eventually being flooded since there was no hero to defeat Ganon once the Sages' seal broke.[27] In the Child Timeline, the Hero of Time becomes filled with regret by not being remembered as the hero that saved Hyrule from Ganondorf, eventually leading him to linger on as the Hero's Spirit in the Era of Twilight.[23]

Although Hyrule was flooded in the Adult Timeline and the memory of the kingdom vanished, the legend of the Hero of Time transcended through time. In Outset Island, it became a custom to clothe boys in green once they came of age.[28][29] A statue depicting the Hero of Time is also prominently displayed in the sunken Hyrule Castle, demonstrating how meaningful the legend of the brave boy clothed in green was to the citizens of Hyrule. When the Hero of the Wind defeated Puppet Ganon, Ganondorf compared him with the Hero of Time who defeated him hundreds of years ago.[30]


In his childhood, the Hero of Time establishes the relationships that will come to his benefit in his adult years, after pulling the Master Sword from the Pedestal of Time. Link is the one to establish his beneficial and plot-necessary relationship with Saria, and Mido's dislike for him can be attributed to this in addition to the Great Deku Tree's favor for him over anyone else, namely Mido himself.[31] The young hero also strikes up a friendship with Princess Zelda, and indirectly with Impa as well, while conversing with her about Ganondorf and the fate of her kingdom in the Hyrule Castle courtyard, after vanquishing the parasite from the Great Deku Tree. In helping Darunia reopen the Dodongo's Cavern, and saving Princess Ruto from the depths of the stomach of Lord Jabu-Jabu, Link had, unbeknownst to him, met and aided almost all of the future Sages who would, in turn, help him in his quest to save Hyrule from the Evil King Ganondorf in the young hero's adult years.[32][33] Even after returning to his childhood for the second time, he continues this by befriending Nabooru by agreeing to aid her in overthrowing Ganondorf. He is also the one that forms the initial bond with Epona and Malon.


Like with most other Links in the series, the Hero of Time is not seen speaking or emoting to a large degree in the games where he is playable. Twilight Princess and Hyrule Historia serve as the only real look into his thoughts and feelings. Even at a young age, he displayed an immense amount of bravery and skill that only grew when he became an adult. He is also shown to be very helpful to others throughout his journeys in both Hyrule and Termina, even if it wasn't related to his main quest. As the Hero's Shade, he is shown to be much sterner and blunt, telling his descendant that the latter's current skill level dishonors their bloodline upon first meeting him. He also reflected on his time as a hero, saying that the path to becoming a true hero is a long one, and that while he accepted the life as a hero, he regretted that he couldn't pass on the lessons he had learned. As he trained the Hero of Twilight in the lost arts of the sword, he reminded the latter that he must continue to improve his skill and courage so that he could become the savior Hyrule needed, as he saw his former self reflected in his descendant. Once the Hero of Twilight mastered all of the hidden skills, the shade told him that he now knew all of what it took to be a hero, and could now march forth with his vision unclouded. Even as a ghost, the Hero of Time continued to aid the land of Hyrule and its people.

Other Appearances

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Main article: Young Link
See SmashWiki's article on Young Link for more information.
SSBM Young Link Render.png
SSBM Link Artwork.png

The Hero of Time appears in his adult and child forms in Super Smash Bros. Melee. His adult form is a default character while his child form has to be unlocked. There are two ways to unlock his child form, including by playing 500 Vs. matches, or Completing Classic Mode with 10 different characters, including Adult Link and Zelda. The player will then be challenged by Young Link, and upon defeating him, Young Link will become a playable character. His appearance is based on his younger and older counterparts as seen in Ocarina of Time, since he wields the Kokiri Sword and the Deku Shield during combat as a child, and the Master Sword and the Hylian Shield as an adult. Young Link is more agile, but weaker while Adult Link is slower, but stronger. Young Link has some of the same weaponry and moves as his adult counterpart, but they are usually accompanied with a few changes, like his Hookshot and Boomerang having a shorter reach. Great Bay serves as the home stage of Young Link, and Hyrule: Temple is the home stage of Adult Link.

Both Adult Link and Young Link can choose different color tunics, including the Goron and Zora tunics, and a black tunic. When the Young Link taunts his foes, he drinks a Bottle of Lon Lon Milk, then wipes his mouth.

Young Link's special moves are the same as the adult version. He wields the Fairy Bow from Ocarina of Time as his neutral special move; however, instead of it shooting normal Arrows like Adult Link's, Young Link shoots Fire Arrows, although they do not travel as far as Adult Link's and inflict less damage. Young Link's side special move is the Boomerang. Bombs function as both Link's down special move, while the Spin Attack is their up special move as well as his {{ssb:recovery}}. Young Link's Spin Attack is weaker than Adult Link's, but it can trap nearby foes in a cyclone of slashes upon performing this move.

The Hero of Time is replaced by Toon Link and a Link resembling the incarnation in Twilight Princess in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, for his child and adult forms. Both appear as Trophies in Super Smash Bros. Melee.

# Trophy First Game / Move Description How to unlock
7 SSBM Link Trophy Model.png
The Legend of Zelda
Even in his youth, Link was already becoming the warrior who would carry the destiny of Hyrule (and many other lands) on his shoulders. His epic struggles against the forces of darkness are written in legend, and he is bound to the Princess Zelda and the archfiend Ganondorf by the awesome power of the Triforce. Complete Classic Mode as Link
8 SSBM Link (Smash) Trophy Model.png
Link [Smash]
B: Bow
Smash B: Boomerang
Burdened with a shield, a heavy sword, and plenty of equipment, Link is not a very mobile character. Nevertheless, he's skilled with the blade, and his varied supply of missile weapons makes him a powerful fighter. To master Link, you must control the pace by balancing your long-range attacks with head-to-head swordplay. Complete Adventure Mode as Link
9 SSBM Link (Smash) Trophy Red Model.png
Link [Smash]
Up & B: Spin Attack
Down & B: Bomb
Link's Bow, Boomerang, and Bombs all take time to wield, so you may want to try drawing them in midair to prevent your foes from attacking you while you're vulnerable. The Spin Attack can score consecutive midair hits, and the final slash is very powerful. Link's Bombs are his trump card, but he can't pull one out if he's carrying another item. Complete All-Star Mode as Link

70 SSBM Young Link Trophy Model.png
Young Link
The Legend of Zelda
Link's younger incarnation is often considered to be the true Link: he was a young boy in the very first Legend of Zelda game, and he has appeared as a youth in most of the subsequent games. Since his debut on the original NES in 1987, Link's appearance has changed over and over again, each time adding to the mystique of his incomparable story. Complete Classic Mode as Young Link
71 SSBM Young Link (Smash) Trophy Model.png
Young Link [Smash]
B: Fire Bow
Smash B: Boomerang
Young Link is lighter and faster than his older self, and his Kokiri sword packs less punch. Even though his Boomerang has a shorter range, he has greater control over it. He's a smaller target, and while his Hookshot has less reach than older Link's, you can still use it in midair as a last ditch attempt to grab a ledge. Complete Adventure Mode as Young Link
72 SSBM Young Link (Smash) Trophy Blue Model.png
Young Link [Smash]
Up & B: Spin Attack
Down & B: Bomb
With a youthful spring in his step, Young Link can perform amazing wall-jumps. Once he hits a wall, tap the Control stick in the opposite direction to send him leaping upward; you can practice to your heart's content in Target Test. His Spin Attack can strike multiple times even on the ground, and although it's hard to discern, so do his Bombs. Complete All-Star Mode as Young Link

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Main article: Young Link

Although his adult form remains absent from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (being replaced by the Breath of the Wild incarnation of Link) the Hero of Time reappears as Young Link. His moveset is almost identical to how it was in Super Smash Bros. Melee, with slight changes.


ZW Nomenclature Asset.png Names in Other Regions ZW Nomenclature Asset 2.png
This table was generated using translation pages.
To request an addition, please contact a staff member with a reference.


See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "The Master Sword is a sacred blade which evil ones may never touch.... Only one worthy of the title of "Hero of Time" can pull it from the Pedestal of Time.... However, you were too young to be the Hero of Time.... Therefore, your spirit was sealed here for seven years. And now that you are old enough, the time has come for you to awaken as the Hero of Time! Well, do you understand your destiny?" — Rauru (Ocarina of Time)
  2. "The Master Sword is a sacred blade that evil ones may never touch... Only one worthy of the title "Hero of Time" can pull it from the Pedestal of Time... However, you were too young to be the Hero of Time... Therefore, your spirit was sealed here for seven years. And now that you are old enough, the time has come for you to awaken as the Hero of Time! Well, do you understand your destiny?" — Rauru (Ocarina of Time 3D)
  3. "Link, do you know the legend of the Hero of Time?" — King of Red Lions (The Wind Waker)
  4. "Link, do you know the legend of the Hero of Time?" — King of Red Lions (The Wind Waker HD)
  5. 5.0 5.1 "This boy, who traveled through time to save the land, was known as the Hero of Time. The boy's tale was passed down through generations until it became legend..." — N/A (The Wind Waker)
  6. "For it is in that Sacred Realm that one will find the divine relic, the Triforce, which contains the essence of the gods..." — Great Deku Tree (Ocarina of Time)
  7. "The three goddesses hid the Triforce containing the power of the gods somewhere in Hyrule. The power to grant the wish of the one who holds the Triforce in his hands. If someone with a righteous heart makes a wish, it will lead Hyrule to a golden age of prosperity... If someone with an evil mind has his wish granted, the world will be consumed by evil...That is what has been told..." — Princess Zelda (Ocarina of Time)
  8. "This evil man ceaselessly uses his vile, sorcerous powers in his search for the Sacred Realm that is connected to Hyrule..." — Great Deku Tree (Ocarina of Time)
  9. "What Ganondorf is after must be nothing less than the Triforce of the Sacred Realm. He must have come to Hyrule to obtain it! And, he wants to conquer Hyrule...no, the entire world!" — Princess Zelda (Ocarina of Time)
  10. "Though you opened the Door of Time in the name of peace... Ganondorf, the Gerudo King of Thieves, used it to enter this forbidden Sacred Realm! He obtained the Triforce from the Temple of Light, and with its power, he became the King of Evil..." — Rauru (Ocarina of Time)
  11. "If the heart of the one who holds the sacred triangle has all three forces in balance, that one will gain the True Force to govern all. But, if that one's heart is not in balance, the Triforce will separate into three parts: Power, Wisdom and Courage. Only one part will remain for the one who touched the Triforce...the part representing the force that one most believes in." — Sheik (Ocarina of Time)
  12. "He went on to invade the Sacred Realm... Ganondorf had become the Evil King, and the Sacred Realm became a world of evil." — Princess Zelda (Ocarina of Time)
  13. "The one who holds the Triforce of Courage is... You, Link! And the other, who holds the Triforce of Wisdom... is the seventh Sage, who is destined to be the leader of them all... It is I, the Princess of Hyrule, Zelda." — Princess Zelda (Ocarina of Time)
  14. "His evil power radiated from the temples of Hyrule, and in seven short years, it transformed Hyrule into a world of darkness and monsters." — Rauru (Ocarina of Time)
  15. "But one day a man of great evil found the golden power and took it for himself... With its strength at his command, he spread darkness across the kingdom." — N/A (The Wind Waker)
  16. "The power of the Sages remains. When the power of all the Sages is awakened... The Sages' Seals will contain all the evil power in the void of the Realm... I, Rauru, am one of the Sages... And... Your power to fight together with the Sages makes you the Hero of Time! The Hero of Time, chosen by the Master Sword! Keep my spirit with you... And, find the power of the other Sages and add their might to your own!" — Rauru (Ocarina of Time)
  17. "I'm using my power to hold the Evil King! You use your sword and deliver the final blow!" — Princess Zelda (Ocarina of Time)
  18. "Ancient Creators of Hyrule! Now, open the sealed door and send the Evil Incarnation of Darkness into the void of the Evil Realm!!" — Rauru (Ocarina of Time)
  19. "YOU... CURSE YOU...ZELDA! CURSE YOU...SAGES!! CURSE YOU...LINK! Someday... When this seal is broken.... That is when I will exterminate your descendants!! As long as the Triforce of Power is in my hand...." — Ganondorf (Ocarina of Time)
  20. "Link, give the Ocarina to me... As a Sage, I can return you to your original time with it." — Princess Zelda (Ocarina of Time)
  21. "When the Hero of Time was called to embark on another journey and left the land of Hyrule, he was separated from the elements that made him a hero. It is said that at that time, the Triforce of Courage was split into eight shards and hidden throughout the land." — King of Red Lions (The Wind Waker)
  22. "Link warned Princess Zelda of what the future would bring. Hearing his words, the princess entrusted the Ocarina of Time to Link and instructed him to travel far away in order to prevent Ganondorf from entering the Sacred Realm." (Hyrule Historia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 110)
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 "Link, the descendant of the Hero of Time: [...] The spirit of Link's ancestor, the Hero of Time, teaches him his secrets. Ever since returning to the Child Era, the swordsman has lamented the fact that he was not remembered as a hero. This is the reason he passes down the proof of his courage and his secret techniques to the Link of this era, addressing him as "son"." (Hyrule Historia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 118)
  24. "Although I accepted life as the hero, I could not convey the lessons of that life to those that came after. At last, I have eased my regrets." — Hero's Spirit (Twilight Princess)
  25. "We must not let Ganondorf get the Triforce! I will protect the Ocarina of Time with all my power! He shall not have it! You go find the other two Spiritual Stones! Let's get the Triforce before Ganondorf does, and then defeat him!" — Princess Zelda (Ocarina of Time)
  26. "Ganondorf the thief obtained the Triforce of Power and managed to get his hands on Princess Zelda. The Hero of Time, Link, challenged him in a battle that would determine Hyrule's very existence, and lost." (Hyrule Historia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 92)
  27. "The people believed that the Hero of Time would again come to save them. ...But the hero did not appear." — N/A (The Wind Waker)
  28. "What became of that kingdom...? None remain who know. The memory of the kingdom vanished, but its legend survived on the wind's breath. On a certain island, it became customary to garb boys in green when they came of age. Clothed in the green of fields, they aspired to find heroic blades and cast down evil. The elders wished only for the youths to know courage like the hero of legend..." — N/A (The Wind Waker)
  29. "Today is a day to celebrate! It is the day that you become the same age as the young hero spoken of in all the legends." — Grandma (The Wind Waker)
  30. "Yes, surely you are the Hero of Time reborn..." — Ganondorf (The Wind Waker)
  31. "I, the great Mido, will never accept you as one of us! Shoot! How did you get to be the favorite of Saria and the Great Deku Tree? Huh?! Grumble...grumble..." — Mido (Ocarina of Time)
  32. "Thank you, Brother! I really appreciate what you did. I thank you on behalf of the entire Goron race! You turned out to be a real man, just as I thought you would!" — Darunia (Ocarina of Time)
  33. "Link... I would have expected no less from the man I chose to be my husband. Zora's Domain and its people will eventually return to their original state." — Princess Ruto (Ocarina of Time)