Twilight Realm

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The Twilight Realm is a recurring location in The Legend of Zelda series.[1] It is a parallel world that exists behind the Light World,[2] and is enveloped in perpetual dusk. Following the Battle for the Sacred Realm, it became the home of the Twili. The only link between the Twilight Realm and Hyrule is a relic known as the Mirror of Twilight, which acts as the gateway between the two worlds.

Features and Overview

Twilight Princess

History

The Twilight Realm's full history is unclear. All that is known of the Twilight Realm's history are vague hints of its origins, myths recounted by the Light Spirits and what recent political history Midna chooses to divulge. For much of its early history, the Twilight Realm was a peaceful place; this soon changed when the King of Gerudo, Ganondorf was banished to the realm by the Ancient Sages. Here, he would use his influence to initiate a coup d'état and overthrow Princess Midna, installing Zant into the position of ruler of the Twilight Realm. Zant would go on to seal away the Sols leaving the Twilight Realm in darkness.[3] However, with Ganondorf's defeat both Hyrule and the Twilight Realm were free of his grip. The Mirror of Twilight was shattered by Midna. This action severed the only known gateway between the two worlds, destroying the only known means of travel between them to prevent similar events from happening again.

Origins
Main article: Interloper War
The Dark Interlopers

At an uncertain point in the history of Hyrule, a war broke out when a group of powerful mages coveted the Triforce. Located within the Sacred Realm, they attempted to invade and harness the Triforce. To this end, the Interlopers used an ultimate weapon, the dark relic known as the Fused Shadow, inside which they had vested a vast amount of their magic.[4]

The Golden Goddesses ordered the Light Spirits to intervene and seal away the dark magic of the mages to finish the war.[4] The goddesses chased the interlopers across Hyrule, banishing them to the Twilight Realm.[5] The Light Spirits shattered the Fused Shadow into four fragments (hiding three of them across Hyrule and leaving the fourth in the hands of the Interlopers) to prevent its future misuse. Nevertheless, the goddesses did not completely sever the Twilight Realm's connection to Hyrule; the Mirror of Twilight remained in the location where the interlopers were sent into exile.[6]

The Rise of Zant
Zant, the Usurper King of Twilight

Shortly after the events of Ocarina of Time, the Gerudo King Ganondorf attempted to stage a coup but was thwarted by the Royal Family of Hyrule, who had been forewarned. He was promptly arrested and sentenced to death at the Arbiter's Grounds.[7] Ganondorf remained imprisoned until his sentence was to be carried out in the Mirror Chamber atop the prison. However, after the execution the Triforce of Power suddenly activated and prevented his death.[8] He broke free of his chains, killing the Sage of Water and turning the blade on its owners. As a last resort, the remaining Sages activated the Mirror of Twilight in order to open the portal and banish him.

Centuries later, the Twilight Realm entered a period of political instability when a succession crisis took place. Zant used his magical abilities to curse Midna and usurped the throne of the Twilight Realm.[9][10] With this, Midna fled to Hyrule with a lone piece of the Fused Shadow left in the hands of the Twili and sought out the other fragments to use against Zant.

The Invasion of Hyrule
Main article: Shadow Invasion
Zant invades the Throne Room of Hyrule Castle

Zant then proceeded to launch an invasion of Hyrule, intending to envelope it in Twilight.[11] His armies spread the twilight all over Hyrule as they conquered its provinces, and the people of Hyrule became like spirits, unaware of what had happened to them.[12] Zant and his army conquered Hyrule Castle, where he offered Princess Zelda the option to surrender and spare her people.[13] With this, Zelda surrendered to Zant, and twilight almost completely engulfed the country, leaving only the Ordona Province relatively unaffected.

Link enters the Twilight-covered Faron Province


Eventually, Link was captured while approaching the twilight and was transformed into a divine wolf[14][15], and dragged to Hyrule Castle's dungeon by Shadow Beasts. Here Midna would coerce him into aid her in finding the lost fragments of the Fused Shadow in exchange for his freedom. After dispelling the Twilight and finding all of the Fused Shadow fragments, Zant confronted the pair in Lanayru's Spring; where he would turn and fatally injured Midna. Link traveled to Hyrule Castle, where Zelda would sacrifice herself to save Midna.[16]

After finding the Master Sword in the ruins of an ancient temple, the pair journeyed to the Arbiter's Grounds in search of the Mirror of Twilight. They soon discovered that Zant broke the Mirror of Twilight into four shards and scattered them over Hyrule to prevent anyone from entering the Twilight Realm.

The Assassination of Zant
Zant is assassinated by Midna

The pair succeeded in finding the lost fragments of the Mirror of Twilight, and reopened the gateway. With this, Link and Midna used the Mirror of Twilight to journey to the Twilight Realm. The pair then entered the palace to face Zant himself. Link was then forced to battle the usurper in several deadly skirmishes. Despite his great magical power, Zant lost. After revealing to Midna that the curse on her would not lift until Ganondorf was subdued,[9] she used the Fused Shadow to finally obliterate Zant. Zant's reign of terror over the Twilight Realm was brought to an end, with Midna discovering the true potential of the fused shadow.[17]

The Closing the Road Between Worlds
Midna destroying the Mirror of Twilight

Link and Midna returned to Hyrule and infiltrated the usurped Hyrule Castle to find Princess Zelda's lifeless body in suspended animation and Ganondorf on the throne. Midna attempted to kill him with the Fused Shadow, but ultimately failed. The pair then engaged him in a horseback battle across Hyrule Field and Link engaged him in one final sword duel before impaling him with the Master Sword, killing the Dark Lord and restoring Midna to her true form.

Link and Princess Zelda accompanied Midna back to the Mirror Chamber to bid her farewell as she returned home to resume her duties as the ruler of the Twili. Zelda encouraged relations between Hyrule and the Twilight Realm to continue. Midna then shattered the Mirror of Twilight, sealing off the only known passage between worlds.

Governance

Zant, the Usurper King of Twilight

The Twilight Realm is governed by a monarchy, similar to the Kingdom of Hyrule. The Royal Family of the Twilight Realm governs its territory and all in it from the massive Palace of Twilight, situated at the heart of the Twilight Realm. It appears that a retiring monarch typically determines the successor. However, in the absence of a hereditary ruler, the people of the Twilight Realm have the power to select their next monarch.

Military
A Shadow Beast
A Shadow Beast

During his brief reign, Zant created an army of transformed Twili, the Shadow Beasts, and used them to launch an invasion of the kingdom of Hyrule. It is not known whether the Twili monarchs possessed an army before Zant usurped the throne.

Theology

The Twilight Realm is a polytheistic society.[18] While no gods are named, wolves are known venerated animals.[14]

Economy

Little is known about the economy of the Twilight Realm or whether much of one exists. However, Rupees are hidden in several places within the Palace of Twilight which indicates that there is a use for them; monetary or otherwise.

Technology

Link stands on a moving platform, an example of Twili technology

The Twilight Realm is shown to be filled with examples of technology that far surpasses anything found in Hyrule or most other locations featured in The Legend of Zelda series to date. Most buildings are suspended in the infinite Twilight by unseen forces, implying that the Twili have developed means of allowing their structures to float in the void of the Twilight Realm. As exemplified within the Palace of Twilight, there are multiple other examples of advanced technology that were made by the residents of the Twilight Realm. The vast majority of these apparatuses found are powered by Sols, and operated by motion or touch activation.

Geography

Locations and Landmarks

The Twilight Realm is seen in flashbacks and visited briefly in Twilight Princess. The only known landmark is the Palace of Twilight, a palatial complex of dark, angular monoliths sequestered from the surrounding area by the giant levitating stones it rests on. The layout consists of five large buildings and one main promenade.

When closely inspected, one can see other buildings floating in the distance, implying that the Palace of Twilight and its surroundings are only a part of the Twilight Realm; however, it is impossible to travel from the main grounds to these other structures.

Palace of Twilight
Main article: Palace of Twilight
Palace of Twilight

The Palace of Twilight is the seat of the government and serves as the eighth dungeon in Twilight Princess. It is the home of the Royal Family of the Twilight Realm and as such is the home of Princess Midna. Link can obtain the Light Sword here, allowing him to cut through the Dark Fog that pervades the palace.[18]

Sol Shrine

The Sol Shrine is a special shrine located in the plaza of the Palace of Twilight. It is made up of two pedestals and is the rightful resting place of the Sols, located just outside of the walls of the Palace of Twilight.[19]

Population

Inhabitants of the Twilight Realm

While the only noted inhabitants of the Twilight Realm are the Twili, Zant's interference transforms them into Shadow Beasts.[10][20] It is unknown whether there were any natural inhabitants of the Twilight Realm prior to the banishment of the Dark Interlopers.

Twili
Main article: Twili
Midna, the Twilight Princess and an example of a Twili

The primary residents of the Twilight Realm, the Twili, are a race of shadow-beings that are descended from another group of sorcerers referred to as the Dark Interlopers that once resided in the land of Hyrule in the past. After much bloodshed, the Golden Goddesses chased the Interlopers across Hyrule and banished them to the Twilight Realm. Over time, the interlopers of legend eventually became the Twili.[5]

Twili are humanoid beings, with some stark differences in regard to Hylians, or even their dark ancestors. Their skin varies in shades of white and blue, with black patches. Eye colors can range from yellow to orange to red. They vary widely in height, as some shown are extremely tall in comparison to the average Hylian while others are short and stout; however, it is entirely possible that these shorter individuals are children. Only two Twili appear fluent in the Hylian language, those being Midna and Zant. The other Twili communicate through an unintelligible series of high-pitched moans.

Other Appearances

Hyrule Warriors



Twilight Princess (Himekawa)



Trivia

  • In the original Japanese text, Midna mentions that Hyruleans mistakenly believe the Twilight Realm to be an afterlife realm.[21][22] In addition, the Japanese expression "守護神" that is used for the "guardian deities" of the Twilight Realm, can be used to refer not only to animate but inanimate entities as well.[18][23] It is possible that Midna is referring to the Sols which appear to be inanimate.
  • Unused dialogue in Twilight Princess suggests that Midna was originally intended to be the last remaining member of the Twilight Realm's Royal Family.[24]

Nomenclature

The Twilight Realm's name refers to it being a gloomy, hazy, yet very serene world. It is often seen as a world of shadows and evil, however there is a serene beauty to the Twilight Realm, a beauty which is said the Hylians see every time the Sun sets.[25][26]

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

References

  1. Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 30
  2. Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 28
  3. "That shining sphere illuminates this world. It's called a Sol. It's like the sun of your world, Link." — Midna (Twilight Princess)
  4. 4.0 4.1 "But soon, word of the Sacred Realm spread through Hyrule, and a great battle ensued...Among those living in the light, interlopers who excelled at magic appeared. Wielding powerful sorcery, they tried to establish dominion over the Sacred Realm. It was then that the goddesses ordered us three light spirits to intervene. We sealed away the great magic those individuals had mastered. You know this magic...It is the dark power you seek...the Fused Shadow." — Lanayru (Twilight Princess)
  5. 5.0 5.1 "What do you think happened to the magic wielders who tried to rule the Sacred Realm? They were banished. They were chased across the sacred lands of Hyrule and driven into another realm by the goddesses. It was another world entirely... The antithesis of Hyrule, where the sun shines bright. Its denizens became shadows that could not mingle with the light. Eventually, most came to call it the Twilight Realm, and from it, none could return to the world of light..." — Midna (Twilight Princess)
  6. "Though the goddesses forbade us to return to the world of light, they left one link between the light and the darkness. Something called the Mirror of Twilight was passed to the protectors of Hyrule..." — Midna (Twilight Princess)
  7. "In the last scene of Ocarina of Time, kids Link and Zelda have a little talk, and as a consequence of that talk, their relationship with Ganon takes a whole new direction. In the middle of this game [Twilight Princess], there's a scene showing Ganon's execution. It was decided that Ganon be executed because he'd do something outrageous if they left him be. That scene takes place several years after Ocarina of Time." —Eiji Aonuma (Nintendo Dream: Eiji Aonuma Interview.)
  8. "Yet...By some divine prank, he, too, had been blessed with the chosen power of the gods." — Sage (Twilight Princess)
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Midna... Foolish Twilight Princess...The curse on you cannot be broken...It was placed on you by the magic of my god! The power you held as leader of the Twili will never return!" — Zant (Twilight Princess)
  10. 10.0 10.1 "It was a peaceful place...until Zant took control of the Twilight Realm and transformed all of the Twili into shadow beasts." — Midna (Twilight Princess)
  11. "My god had only one wish...To merge shadow and light...and make darkness!" — Zant (Twilight Princess)
  12. "Twilight covered Hyrule like a shroud, and without light, the people became as spirits. Within the twilight, they live on, unaware that they have passed into spirit forms..." — Eldin (Twilight Princess)
  13. "It is time for you to choose: surrender or die. Oh yes, a question for all the land and people of Hyrule... Life? Or death?! " — Zant
  14. 14.0 14.1 "In our world, we've long believed that the Hero would appear as a divine beast." — Midna (Twilight Princess)
  15. "O brave youth... In the land covered in twilight, where people roam as spirits, you were transformed into a blue-eyed beast..." — Faron (Twilight Princess)
  16. "Midna... I believe I understand now just who and what you are...Despite your mortal injuries, you act in our stead...These dark times are the result of our deeds, yet it is you who have reaped the penalty. Accept this now, Midna. I pass it to you..." — Princess Zelda (Twilight Princess)
  17. "I...I used just a fraction of the power that's in me now...I did THAT using only a fraction of my ancestors' magic?!" — Midna (Twilight Princess)
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 "Amazing... The power of the Sols has been transferred to your sword... The guardian deities of my world are on our side, too! You really are the chosen one, Link... A true hero! As long as you have that sword, you should be able to repel the shadows Zant has spread!" — Midna (Twilight Princess)
  19. "We must return the two Sols to the Pedestals quickly!" — Midna (Twilight Princess)
  20. "Zant had his way with this place...So much has changed...I can't show myself to them, but I want to save everyone I can...Please help me, Link. Link, hurry! My people are still not true beasts. If we can defeat Zant, there still might be time to save everyone!" — Midna (Twilight Princess)
  21. "The Shadow World... they act like it's the otherworld or something... however, that's not so." — Midna (Twilight Princess, Japanese version)
  22. "Don't you ever feel lonely for some reason as dusk falls? It's the only time when the other world and this world can intersect... It is said that the sentiments of the people of the underworld/hades, their regrets lingering in this world, are still around. That's why the hour of twilight is lonesome and dolorous..." — Rusl (Twilight Princess, Japanese version)
  23. Jumbie, Translation of Japanese Game Texts , Legends Alliance Forums, published June 29, 2008, retrieved March 6, 2016.
  24. GlitterBerri, Unused Text , The Cutting Room Floor.
  25. "Some call our realm a world of shadows, but that makes it sound so unpleasant...The twilight there holds a serene beauty...You have seen it yourself as the sun sets on this world. Bathed in that light, all the people were pure and gentle...But things changed once that foul power pervaded the world..." — Midna (Twilight Princess)
  26. "Tell me...Do you ever feel a strange sadness as dusk falls? They say it's the only time when our world intersects with theirs... The only time we can feel the lingering regrets of spirits who have left our world. That is why loneliness always pervades the hour of twilight..." — Rusl (Twilight Princess)