This is one of my older articles dedicated to explaining all the magical mysteries of the Zelda series; everything that has confused and debated players about the way that magic works. I have not written an explanation for every magical power, because in many cases there is nothing more to say than what is clearly established in the games. For example, everything that we know about the Ocarina of Time and the Wind Waker is clearly explained in the games; they have no purpose over the course of the timeline and there are no origins to establish. There is no mystery surrounding them to solve.
The Triforce and the Sacred Realm
According to creation stories, the world of Hyrule was made by three golden Goddesses. Din, the goddess of Power, formed the red rock. Nayru, the goddess of Wisdom, brought the laws of nature. Farore, the goddess of Courage, created all the living things that would inhabit this world. With their work completed, the goddesses returned to the heavens to watch over Hyrule. At the point in time and space where they departed from the world, a relic made of three golden triangles was left behind; the Triforce. The three golden triangles that make up the Triforce embody the three virtues of the goddesses: Courage, Wisdom and Power. And just as the three virtues of the goddesses created peace for the people of Hyrule, the Triforce maintains that state of order, serving as the basis of Hyrule’s providence as the goddesses intended.
However, the Triforce also gives power to the deepest desires of any individual who touches it, in effect granting the holder’s deepest wish. The Essence of the Triforce is a voice that speaks to the hearts of the people who approach it. Just as the gods had made the world in the image of their hearts, the Triforce can remake the world and its inhabitants into an image of the holder’s heart. The Triforce is only concerned with the three virtues that it maintains, so it cannot judge the nature of benevolence and evil. Neither can it control its own effect on Hyrule. This means that evil hearts can use the Triforce to destroy the goddesses’ creations, just as benevolent hearts can use it to protect the goddesses’ creations.
When someone takes the Triforce and their wish becomes active, no one else will be able to have their own wishes granted until the holder loses the Triforce. When this happens, the holder’s wish also ends and the Triforce returns to its original place and purpose, until someone else appears to claim it. Of course, if the holder is immortal, or gains immortality as part of the wish, then the wish remains active indefinitely. This makes the Triforce more dangerous in evil hands, because their hearts desire power and they can gain immortality as a consequence.
The location of the Triforce’s resting place is most commonly known as the Sacred Realm, a parallel dimension to the world of Hyrule. The power of the Triforce flows into Hyrule through various gateways leading to the Sacred Realm, such as the elemental temples in Ocarina of Time. However, the Sacred Realm also reflects the desires that an individual has when they are empowered by the Triforce. Even with a single piece of the Triforce, the Sacred Realm transformed into the reflection of Ganondorf’s evil heart, generating evil power. When the individual whose heart is reflected by the Sacred Realm dies, then the Sacred Realm returns to its original state until someone else claims the Triforce.
Explaining how the Sacred Realm connects to Hyrule is a confusing issue, because the gateways appear to change in each game. Both Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past feature a main entrance to the Sacred Realm, in the Temple of Time and Hyrule Castle’s gate respectively. The passage was not completely functional in A Link to the Past, and people who entered were not able to leave. In Twilight Princess, the Temple of Time no longer appears to be connected to the Sacred Realm. The power of the Sages in Ocarina of Time also allowed Link to travel directly from the Sage temples to the Chamber of Sages within the Sacred Realm. Ganondorf’s evil power was also able to flow into Hyrule through the Sage temples. In A Link to the Past, there were magical portals that let Link travel to the Sacred Realm from Hyrule, but not return. It is very possible that these portals are related to the Sage temples, since evil power could flow through them as well, infecting the young boy in Kakariko Village.
In Ocarina of Time, the Triforce pieces were separated from each other when Ganondorf tried to make his wish. In the possession of the three characters chosen by destiny; Link, Zelda and Ganondorf, the pieces acted differently to the Triforce as a whole. The three pieces didn’t reflect their holders’ hearts, but provided them with power to reflect the character traits they represent. Link was provided with power to reflect his courageous nature, Zelda was provided with power to reflect her wise nature, and Ganondorf, as the man who touched the Triforce, was given the virtue that he most believed in; Power. As such, the Triforce of Power gave strength to the object of his power, which was his evil magic; the power of Darkness.
But one question that has arisen is why the Triforce splits in Ocarina of Time, but not in A Link to the Past’s back story. We are told in Ocarina of Time that according to legend, the Triforce would split if the person who touched it lacked the balance of Power, Wisdom and Courage in his heart. This came true in Ocarina of Time, but not in A Link to the Past’s back story, despite that an evil man called Ganondorf touched the Triforce in both events. Three explanations have been provided for the discrepancy. The first is that the Triforce was only destined to split during Ocarina of Time, as part of the legend prophesising the Hero of Time. The second is that Ganon in A Link to the Past shares the same soul as Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time, and so the Triforce will no longer split in his hands. The third is that Ganondorf in A Link to the Past possessed a balance of the three virtues. But since it was Ganondorf’s lust for power that made him imbalanced in Ocarina of Time, then Ganondorf in A Link to the Past must have possessed an imbalanced heart as well. This leaves destiny as the only explanation for the single Triforce split.
Light and Darkness: An Introduction
The war between Light and Darkness has been a central crux in the Zelda mythology since the release of Ocarina of Time, becoming much more prominent with the release of Four Swords Adventures and Twilight Princess. Light and Darkness are contrasting forms of magic that serve as metaphors for moral values. Light represents everything good about the world and human hearts; acting as the protection of Hyrule and its people. Darkness represents all the forces of evil in the world, feeding off the destruction and suffering in Hyrule and using that energy to conquer the world that Light protects. Through this symbolism, Light and Darkness are absolutes that change the entire world with their presence. Where there is love, there is happiness and peace. Where there is greed, there is malice and destruction. This can give human emotions a semi-physical presence in Hyrule, where they can change people who come into contact with them.
The power of Light is the embodiment of benevolence in Hyrule; magic that grows strong in the presence of benevolent human emotions, such as love and kindness. In other forms, the power of Light is a creation of the three goddesses, with the purpose of banishing the Darkness that brings destruction to the world. Light was first established as a form of magic when the Light Arrows were revealed in Ocarina of Time, as part of the change in the Zelda mythology.
In Twilight Princess, it was revealed that Hyrule was bathed in Light magic to protect it. The sources of this magic are the four orbs of Light that are protected by the Light Spirits; Ordon, Faron, Eldin and Lanayru. Without the orbs of Light, the Sun’s rays cannot reach Hyrule, and the kingdom becomes shrouded in darkness. The Light Spirits were also tasked by the goddesses with sealing the dark magic of the Twili’s ancestors away, which they did by hiding the Fused Shadows from human reach.
There are two main weapons of Light in the current mythology; the Master Sword and the Light Arrows. But before Light magic was established in Ocarina of Time, the Silver Arrows were the only weapons that could kill Ganon, because silver possesses demon-killing properties in European folklore. The Master Sword did not originally have the power to harm Ganon either, although that could be because Ganon had already taken the whole Triforce. Ocarina of Time established the Master Sword as the weapon needed to kill Ganon, in the place of the Silver Arrows. The Light Arrows were introduced in a supporting role, with the ability to stun Ganon but not hurt him.
The Master Sword is a weapon that was forged by ancient sages for the destined Hero to banish evil in Hyrule. Its power to repel evil comes from the light granted to it by the goddesses, and the Sages’ prayers to the goddesses in the Earth and Wind Temples maintain that power. Before the Hero can wield the Master Sword, the goddesses demand that the Hero proves his strength and courage, which often requires the acquisition of three magical stones. The Master Sword has also served as the key to various seals. When the Temple of Time was built, also by the ancient sages, the Master Sword was placed there as the key to entering the Sacred Realm. This was because if evil people were able to take the spiritual stones and the Ocarina of Time, they would still be repelled by the Master Sword’s power. Then, in The Wind Waker’s back story, the Master Sword was also used by the goddesses to hold the seal on Ganondorf and his magic in Hyrule.
Because the nature of Light corresponds with benevolent human emotions, Link and Zelda act as the human representatives of Light in Hyrule. Link is blessed with the extraordinary courage and determination of his bloodline, which he uses to rescue the people he loves when they are taken by the forces of Darkness. As Link embarks on his quest to save them, he discovers that not only his friends and family are in danger, but the whole kingdom needs to be saved from Darkness. Link’s spirit is strong enough to face the challenge, and this is what defines him as the Hero. Princess Zelda is blessed with the wisdom of Hyrule’s royal lineage, the power of prophecy and the ability to sense approaching evil. As a Sage, she also possesses their power as well. But what makes Zelda especially important is her place in the people’s hearts. As Hyrule’s princess, Zelda is symbolic of the people’s hope for salvation from evil. If Zelda falls captive, the people fall into insecurity and then despair. The forces of Darkness can then prey on the people’s sadness. If Light is to be sustained in Hyrule, Zelda must be protected.
The Hero’s Spirit in Twilight Princess tells us that Link’s bloodline carries the power of Courage, and we can deduce from this that the Knights of Hyrule are of the same bloodline as the Heroes. The power of Wisdom, on the other hand, is passed down among the bloodlines of the Sages. Zelda is the strongest of the Sages and their leader, and her power is carried by the bloodline of Hyrulian Royalty. The appearances of Link and Zelda over the course of the timeline is then ordained by destiny; they appear to fight a rising tide of evil. Of course, a Hero did not appear in the back story to The Wind Waker, but this could be because Ganondorf had broken the Master Sword’s power by killing the Sages. There is nothing to suggest that destiny did not choose a Hero to appear against Ganondorf in The Wind Waker’s back story.
Despite the namesake, the Light Force from The Minish Cap is not made of the power of Light. It is made of a different magical energy called life force, which is explained in the section dedicated to life force.
The power of Darkness is the embodiment of evil in Hyrule. As such, it is magic that grows strong in the presence of evil human emotions, such as greed and malice, and then reflects that power to bring further destruction and suffering upon the world. Darkness also exists as an absence of Light, so it takes control where the Light fades. By blotting out the Light that protects Hyrule, Hyrule can be transformed into the Dark World, just like the Sacred Realm in A Link to the Past. In Twilight Princess, this Darkness took the form of Shadow Crystals, items that blotted out the light with their presence.
The origins of Darkness are currently unexplained in the series. One possibility is that it is the manifestation of evil in human hearts; an offshoot of the free will that the goddesses gave humanity. In the creation story of Twilight Princess, it was told that the goddesses gave all humans equal power and happiness, but in their greed, the humans fought and killed each other to take the Triforce. It was in the midst of this fighting that a tribe emerged wielding dark powers, thoroughly corrupted by their own lust for power. Alternatively, the goddesses could have made Darkness at the same time as Light, to create equilibrium between the two forces. The human heart is incomplete without both benevolence and evil to balance it, and this balance takes form as Light and Dark magic.
Although Darkness takes many forms in the Zelda series, it has only one true master; Ganon, the Demon King of Darkness. Where Ganon’s power spreads, the land and people are consumed by evil. In the true form of a monstrous pig, Ganon’s only desire is for the total conquest of Hyrule and the world around it. Ganon was originally a human named Ganondorf; the king of the Gerudo tribe of the desert, who lived as thieves. Just as Link and Zelda are human representations of light and benevolence, Ganondorf was the human representation of darkness and evil, which eventually led to the loss of his human form and his disassociation with the tribe he once led. Miyamoto once referred to him as the representation of greed, which is not only his defining trait as a character but almost certainly the trait that caused the Triforce to split in Ocarina of Time. The origins of Ganondorf’s greed and hatred were briefly explained in The Wind Waker, when Ganondorf brought back memories of how the wind brought death and misery to the Gerudo Tribe, but life and prosperity to the Hyrulians. Ganondorf’s people were not protected by the goddesses, so Ganondorf defied them and attempted to take Hyrule for himself. In his judgments, Ganondorf was almost certainly influenced by the Gerudo witches who raised him, Koume and Kotake. No doubt they were also responsible for teaching him the evil magic he used to curse the peoples of Hyrule.
Since his parallel deaths in Twilight Princess and The Wind Waker, there have been two other incarnations of Ganondorf in the timeline; both of them leaders of the Gerudo tribe. One incarnation became the Demon King in the back story to A Link to the Past and was later revived to appear in the original Legend of Zelda. The other incarnation became the Demon King in Four Swords Adventures, when he found an ancient trident that contained the power of darkness. It is currently unknown whether these incarnations are different souls reappearing, like Link and Zelda, or whether it is the same soul being reincarnated after death. But for the moment, the fact that Ganon’s soul can be brought back from death, as shown in Zelda II and the Oracle games’ finale, suggests that we are seeing the same soul in every game.
The object that gave Ganon his power and true form in Four Swords Adventures was a trident that contained the power of Darkness. This dark Trident was hidden within an ancient pyramid, which was built by the ancestors of the Zuna tribe as a tomb for Gerudo warriors. Although the Trident became lost from Gerudo legend, many warriors before Ganondorf were drawn to the power within the pyramid and died trying to reach it. Next to the Trident stood a stone tablet with writing in an ancient language, which said whoever should take the Trident would become the King of Darkness. In the Japanese translation, the “King of Darkness” title is reserved for Ganon, implying here that the Trident was reserved for Ganon’s possession. By whom it is unclear. The importance of the Trident is that Ganon was depicted wielding it in A Link to the Past and in the final battle of the Oracle games. This tells us that even after death, the Trident became a permanent accessory to Ganon’s own evil power.
The Dark World is the dominion of Ganon; land and sea that has been transformed by dark magic and monsters. The Dark World first appeared in A Link to the Past, when the Sacred Realm filled with dark magic to reflect Ganon’s evil heart. The Triforce’s power also transformed everyone who entered the Dark World into reflections of their own hearts. In Four Swords Adventures, the Dark World appeared again, but this time it was transforming Hyrule itself. Had Ganon defeated Link in Four Swords Adventures, the Dark World would have blanketed Hyrule. Princess Zelda said herself that Vaati was trying to turn Hyrule into a dark world, before it was revealed that Ganon was actually the cause of the spreading Darkness. Although the power of the Triforce can dispel the darkness from the Sacred Realm, the Dark World can keep its form in Hyrule even after Ganon dies, as is evidenced by the Underworld in Zelda II, then known to the Japanese as the World of Spirits.
In A Link to the Past, Ganon was forced to take on another form; the wizard, Agahnim. In the game’s back story, Ganon was trapped in the Dark World because he could not find a way back into Hyrule. Then when the Sages sealed the passage to the Dark World from Hyrule, Ganon found himself unable to create his own portal to Hyrule. So Ganon split his soul, sending a fragment of his mind and magic into Hyrule in the guise of Agahnim. The Ocean King did the same thing in Phantom Hourglass, creating the old man Oshus to escape Bellum’s grasp in the Temple of the Ocean King. As Agahnim, Ganon secretly brought about seemingly natural disasters upon Hyrule, and ended them in order to gain the King’s favour. In the name of the King, Agahnim called the descendants of the Sages to Hyrule Castle, where he sacrificed them to break the Sages’ seal. Agahnim was defeated by Link at the end of the game, and he re-united with Ganon’s soul for the final battle.
Servants of Darkness in Hyrule
Vaati is a dark character whose identity has changed quite strongly in each of the three games that he’s appeared in. In the original Four Swords game, Vaati was simply an evil wind mage, who took pleasure in kidnapping maidens and making them his property. At that time, Vaati was never properly connected to Darkness, nor did he appear to want dominance over Hyrule. But in The Minish Cap, Vaati was given new origins and a new purpose for evil. He began his life in the alternate dimension of the Minish; a realm populated by a tiny people who excelled in magic. Vaati was an apprentice to a sage called Ezlo, and stole Ezlo’s wishing cap to obtain powerful magic. Vaati then stepped through the hundred year portal to Hyrule, and set to work on finding the Light Force; a source of limitless magical power. Upon discovering that Zelda possessed it, he extracted most of the Light Force before Link interrupted the process and defeated Vaati with the Four Sword. But questions have since arisen as to how Vaati’s defeat leads into the back story of Four Swords. Was Vaati killed in the final battle? Did he keep the power of the Light Force after his defeat? Where did his wind powers come from? Are the two characters entirely different altogether? These questions have yet to be answered, although one suggestion is that since Vaati’s appearance as a wind mage is the form he took after draining the Light Force from Zelda, that he was able to revive himself with the Light Force’s power.
Four Swords Adventures took place after Four Swords and also abandoned Vaati’s obsession with kidnapping maidens for personal pleasure. Four Swords Adventures also introduced Vaati as the King of Darkness, until Ganon replaced him when he took the magical Trident. This cements the fact that Vaati wields the power of Darkness, which may or may not be sourced from the remaining power of the Light Force that reflected his evil heart. Vaati’s defeat in Four Swords Adventures once again suggests he died, since he vanished in a puff of smoke, but it is not impossible that Vaati will return in a future episode of the Four Swords series.
The Fused Shadows was a relic introduced in Twilight Princess, which possessed the combined dark magic of an ancient tribe. When the tribe tried to use their magic to find and control the Sacred Realm, the goddesses called upon the Light Spirits to seal the Fused Shadows away. The tribe was then sealed within the Twilight Realm, changing their form to become the Twili. One piece of the Fused Shadows was left for the Twili as a reminder of their ancestors’ greed. Midna inherited that piece and wore it as a helmet in her imp form. Many players have connected the power of the Fused Shadows to the Twilight Realm, but it is very unlikely that they are related. The sealing of the Fused Shadows predates the tribe’s first-known connection to the Twilight Realm and the term “shadows” can refer to Darkness in the Zelda mythology, which appears to be the case here as the Fused Shadows is undoubtedly an evil power. When the Darkness within the Twilight Realm invaded Hyrule, the Fused Shadows responded to its presence and transformed into evil monsters. The Fused Shadows possessed tremendous power, but it was destroyed when Midna used it to fight Ganondorf, who later crumbled the relic in his hand.
The Twilight Mirror was an object created by the goddesses to connect Hyrule with the Twilight Realm. After the Twili’s ancestors were sent through it into the Twilight Realm, the mirror was left in the charge of the Sages, who used it as part of their execution rituals. But the Twilight Mirror had acquired an evil power, and when Zant broke the Twilight Mirror and scattered the shards around Hyrule, they transformed into evil monsters, which Link had to defeat to return them to their original forms. The source of the mirror’s evil appears to be the malice of the criminals that were executed in the Arbiter’s Grounds, for that malice filled the grounds with evil power as well.
Destiny has played a pivotal in the console Zelda games since A Link to the Past, with every game featuring a prophecy of the Hero destined to save Hyrule from evil. The architects of destiny are the goddesses, who have often been responsible for the arrival of a Hero to fight evil. The use of destiny serves two main purposes in the series; the first being to emphasise Link’s existence as the saviour of Hyrule. To be chosen by destiny sounds much more impressive than to become the Hero by chance, and it creates a new meaning behind Link’s abilities to fight the greatest evils in the world. The other purpose of Destiny is that it can be used to explain why events only occur in one game and not in others. One of the reasons why events in the timeline are rarely connected is because the developers want the freedom to work with new ideas, but without getting tied to the events that occurred in previous games. By tying an event to a single prophecy, the developers don’t have to consider that event in the future.
For example, Young Link in Ocarina of Time was not old enough to wield the Master Sword, so he was sealed away for seven years, when he grew up to become an adult. But it was not necessary for Link in The Wind Waker to be an adult in order to wield the Master Sword. In other words, the developers were not forced to make the Hero of Winds an adult for him to wield the Master Sword, and neither does this prevent future Links from wielding the Master Sword as younger boys. Link’s wolf form in Twilight Princess was also said to be a specific symbol from Twili prophecy, the “divine beast”, which means that without the prophecy, future games don’t have to include wolf gameplay, even if the Twilight Realm does make an unexpected return to the series. After all, if Zelda was able to keep her human form in the Twilight Realm, why not Link? With this in mind, destiny can explain why the Triforce split in Ocarina of Time, since Link and Zelda were said to have been chosen by destiny to receive their pieces. The Wind Waker also established that the goddesses can shape people’s destinies, such the King of Hyrule, who was given the destiny of finding the Hero of Winds. This opens up the potential for other characters to change in order to fulfil destined events, and could explain to some degree how the Heroes come to be chosen. As long as the characters and events are connected to destiny, we have more versatility regarding their position in the storyline.
The Sheikah Tribe
The Sheikah tribe are a race of ninja folk that possess a strong connection to Darkness in Ocarina of Time. But this connection has been a confusing one and many players have mistakenly believed that the Sheikah were once an evil tribe, before they swore allegiance to the Hyrulian Royal Family. In fact, all the evidence tells us quite the contrary. At the time when the Oocca left the land of Hyrule, the Hyrulian Royal Family entrusted the Sheikah with the Sky Book, which proves that the Sheikah were loyal to the Royal Family long before any known dark tribe appeared. Over the many years in which the Sheikah were active in Hyrule, they have sealed the kingdom’s evil magic within the Shadow Temple and guarded it from outsiders. It was the power of these evil spirits that the Sage of Shadow commanded for the benefit of Hyrule. A common point of debate is the meaning of the Sheikah symbol, given that it appears in various places throughout the series, but it’s actually very simple. The eye is always depicted in places associated with evil, such as Agahnim’s robe and the Fused Shadows, which tells us that it is the Evil Eye. Since the Sheikah fight evil, as does Princess Zelda, their symbol depicts the Evil Eye crying, as if evil is being hurt. This reinforces the Sheikah’s identity as warriors against evil, not worshippers of evil.
The world of Hyrule is made from a variety of different elements, which are embodied as magical powers by different deities. These elemental deities are immortal, and have the ability to reincarnate when killed.
The Great Deku Tree is the wise deity that embodies the power of forests and earth, and is also the guardian of Kokiri Forest. The Great Deku Tree was reborn after his death at the beginning of Ocarina of Time, appearing as the Deku Tree Sprout so that he could continue his protection of the forest throughout time. The Great Deku Tree has referred to Kokiri Forest as the “source of life” in Hyrule, which tells us that his power is vital for the survival of all living things in the world. The Deku Tree is also the creator of the Kokiri tribe, who were once simple forest spirits before he turned them into children. When Hyrule was flooded in The Wind Waker’s back story, the Kokiri transformed into the Koroks and continued to live with the Deku Tree in the newly created Forest Haven.
Jabu-Jabu is the deity of water in Hyrule and the guardian of Zora’s Domain, which is the source of all of Hyrule’s water. Jabu-Jabu has only been seen in the Young Link era of Ocarina of Time. Zora’s Domain has also been referred to as the “source of life” which reflects the Great Deku Tree’s words because living things cannot survive without water to drink. In The Wind Waker, Jabu-Jabu was replaced by a similar deity known as Jabun; it is unknown as to whether they are the same spirit or different spirits.
Valoo is the dragon deity that controls the skies. His power is granted to the Rito tribe in the form of scales that allow them to grow wings and fly across the Great Sea.
Cyclos and Zephos are the two deities that embody the power of wind. Their power controls the winds and can create cyclones.
Although the Sages in Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess have been connected to the elements, it is important to recognise that these connections don’t follow any strict rules in the timeline. For example, in Ocarina of Time, the Sages were connected to the elements by their distinctive races: the Forest Sage was a Kokiri, the Fire Sage was a Goron, the Water Sage was a Zora, and so on. But in Twilight Princess, the Sages stood atop pedestals depicting the elements, but they were all clearly Hylian, even though they had ghostly appearances.
The Twilight Realm was first revealed in Twilight Princess, as a dimension akin to Hyrule. Just as Hyrule is bathed in the Light magic of the Light Spirit’s orbs, the Twilight Realm is bathed in the Twilight magic of the Sols. The animal forms of the Light Spirits can only be seen when they hold their orbs of Light, but we never get to see the guardian deities of the Twilight Realm because they sacrifice their physical forms to give the Sols’ power to the Master Sword.
The introduction of Twilight to the Zelda series redefines what we understand about Shadow, and plays on metaphors about shadows in the real world. In previous games, Shadow was connected to Darkness because they both refer to an absence of light; they only form in places where light doesn’t shine. But there is a contradiction in this connection, because shadows cannot be formed without light to shine on objects. As Zelda says, “Light and Shadow are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other.” So if shadows are actually the product of light, not the absence of light, then they have to exist as something other than Darkness, which is where Twilight comes in. In the real world, twilight is a time of day when sunlight is reflected onto the land after the Sun has sunk below the horizon. As a physical entity, twilight is basically reflected light; light that does not shine from the source. Since shadows form in places where the light cannot reach, the light that is reflected into these shadows is Twilight.
This then explains the relationship between Hyrule and the Twilight Realm. When light shines on a coin, a shadow is formed on the underside. Light shines on Hyrule and the Twilight Realm represents the shadowy underside. The magic of Twilight is simply a less-powerful form of Light magic, which is why the Sols repel Darkness with their presence. Yet because shadows cannot form where light shines, Twilight cannot exist where Light fills the land. This is why the Light Spirits’ light was stolen by the shadow beasts before Twilight filled the land of Hyrule. When the Light was restored to Hyrule, the Twilight was banished by its presence.
But to complicate things, Ganondorf’s dark power had adversely changed the nature of the Twilight Realm before it invaded Hyrule. When Zant stole the Sols and blocked their light, the Twilight Realm kept its unique nature but became wholly evil. In that Dark Twilight, the Twili began to transform into shadow beasts under Zant’s command. It took the retrieval of the Sols to restore the Twilight Realm to its natural order. Although the Master Sword can repel Darkness, as it demonstrated when it repelled the Shadow Crystal that shrouded Link, it appears to be useless against the Dark Twilight. Until the Sols’ power was given to the Master Sword, it could not repel the Shadow Crystals within the Twilight Realm. This suggests that it takes the cumulative forces of Light and Twilight to fight the cumulative forces of Darkness and Twilight. Ganondorf himself appears to have adopted Dark Twilight as his power, creating portals that Midna and the shadow beasts used to teleport around Hyrule. During the battle with Puppet Zelda, Midna said that the Sols’ power would allow the Master Sword to deflect Ganondorf’s magic, which reinforces the argument that his magic has incorporated Twilight.
This then brings us to two last questions. The Twili’s ancestors obviously did not become spirits when they were banished to the Twilight Realm by the goddesses, so how did they become Twili? Midna suggests that this transformation took place gradually as the tribe lived in the Twilight Realm, where the people became accustomed to living without Light. A good analogy would be to imagine a tribe living in caves for generations, becoming physically accustomed to the semi-darkness that they are surrounded by. Just like the tribe would not be able to look at the sun after coming out of their caves, the Twili cannot stand to be in the presence of powerful Light magic. This was why Midna was forced into Link’s shadow when the light was restored to Hyrule. At least until Zelda gave her protection from the Light by sacrificing her own power.
And if the Dark Twilight over Hyrule caused Link to instantaneously transform into a wolf, then why did he not transform when he first entered the Twilight Realm proper? The Master Sword could not protect Link in the Dark Twilight, so that is not the answer. The simplest explanation is that unlike all the transformations in Hyrule, the transformations in the Twilight Realm are not instantaneous. Although the Hyrulians quickly became spirits, the Twili did not immediately become shadow beasts; the beasts that Link found when he first entered the Twilight Realm were not fully formed. We can take this as a suggestion that Link would not have been in any danger of transforming unless he spent a long time within the Twilight Realm proper.
Life force is a new form of magical energy that was first properly introduced in Phantom Hourglass. Every living thing in the world possesses sacred life force, and individuals with a larger life force correspondingly possess more physical and magical strength. The physical embodiments of life force are triangular Force Gems, and in Phantom Hourglass, the life force of the Ocean King took the form of the Sand of Hours. Life force has no alignment with the forces of light and darkness; it merely gives power to whoever possesses it. However, since it is a sacred power, evil beings can gain the unholy ability to drain the life force of others. People without life force become lifeless stone, although they can be revived if their life force is restored to them.
Life force has previously appeared in Four Swords Adventures and The Minish Cap, although it got lost in the English translation. The Four Sword is powered by Life force and the Light Force is a powerful Force Gem. Both items were forged by the Minish people; a race that lived in another dimension. The Minish could enter Hyrule through a portal that opened every one hundred years, and used that passage to bring the Hyrulians the Four Sword and Light Force to fight the evil in Hyrule. In the possession of Princess Zelda, the Light Force reflected her benevolent heart and maintained peace in Hyrule. Vaati’s ritual to drain the Light Force from Princess Zelda mirrors Bellum’s draining of Tetra’s life force, leaving both characters as stone.
Interestingly, the power of the Light Force went unnoticed in the possession of Princess Zelda, and Vaati, who was seeking the Light Force, did not even recognise it when she used her power in front of him. “The princess who holds the power of light... That mysterious power is said to flow in the veins of every royal lady in your family ever since that day when it was gifted to your people.” The simplest explanation for this is that Hyrulian princesses are all naturally gifted with Light magic or a strong life force. It was established in Phantom Hourglass that Tetra had a strong life force, so it could be related to Zelda’s power.
But what became of the Light Force after Link killed Vaati? In Four Swords, Vaati appeared in the form that he became after taking most of the Light Force, which suggests that he still possessed that part of the Light Force as a wind mage. As for Zelda’s remaining part of the Light Force, the power of it, combined with her wish using Ezlo’s cap, was able to restore peace to Hyrule. “The hat is falling apart. It's overflowing with the power of life! The hat has the power to turn the thoughts of its wearer into reality. Vaati's heart was filled with evil, and that was reflected in what he became. But it seems that Zelda's pure heart, coupled with the hat's power... ...has created a miracle!”
The life force in the Four Sword powers its special ability to repel evil. But when the Minish forged it, it did not yet possess the power to split the holder into four copies, so it went by a different name; the Picori Blade. When Vaati broke the Picori Blade, the four elements of earth, fire, water and wind were infused with the blade to restore its evil-repelling power, and to grant it the splitting power of the Four Sword. In Four Swords Adventures, Vaati was able to drain the Four Sword of its life force with his evil magic. This began Link’s quest to recover force gems to restore the sword’s power. After Ganon was sealed within the Four Sword, it was laid to rest in the Four Sword Sanctuary and we have yet to know what became of it.
This is just a guess but i think the shadow temple in Oot is a reference to greek mythology. It seems like the underworld, with torture chambers and even the ferry to another world! (Charon's Ferry). You also get in through a graveyard. Since this is about mythology of Zelda, I just wanted to mention that.
Why would it suprise anyone that temples often reference the ancient mythology, especially Greek and Celtic legends. Those references have always been there, read the Epic of Gilgamesh and you can spot a good many ideas shared between that story and Zelda