Just last week, Nintendo surprised us with the reveal of a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch this video before reading! (Also, where the heck have you been?)
What in the name of Hylia is even happening in this trailer? Well, that’s why we’re here! I have a few ideas on what could happen in the sequel to Breath of the Wild based on both this trailer and the events of past games. Please note that this is pure speculation and a result of me thinking too much about what could come next.
WARNING: Spoilers for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild ahead!
The one thing everyone seems to take away from the trailer is the corpse at the end that comes back to life. Given the context clues, this is obviously Ganondorf. For one, Ganondorf is always portrayed as a male gerudo (a race of all women), and if you take a look at the jewelry, the tapestry, and even the red hair, all signs point to this corpse belonging to a male Gerudo, or Ganondorf. We also know that Ganondorf existed in whatever timeline Breath of the Wild is on because Urbosa, the gerudo Champion, explicitly says “It was written that The Calamity Ganon once adopted the form of a gerudo.” Which Ganondorf is she referring to? Who knows? One guess is Ocarina of Time‘s Ganondorf, since that is the earliest appearance of Ganondorf as a gerudo and it’s where the Zelda timeline splits. But this could easily be the Ganondorf from Twilight Princess, given the music from the trailer and Twilight Princess being one of the later stories on the timeline. I honestly don’t agree with either of those theories.
So what does this mean? Zelda and Link are exploring underneath Hyrule Castle and come across Ganondorf’s dead body, so clearly they know that some secret is being held down there. But why the heck is it Ganondorf’s corpse? I wonder how bad it smells. Anyways, let’s travel back and pin point a few key elements that support my theory before pushing too far ahead.
The Sheikah Tribe knows of the Curse of Demise
For those of you unfamiliar with The Legend of Zelda timeline, Skyward Sword sits at the top, being the earliest record of events that we know of to date. In the story, we learn that Demise was sealed away by the goddess Hylia until the events of the game begin to unfold. Demise returns and reigns terror upon the land below Skyloft (this land goes on the be Hyrule in later games) until he is ultimately defeated by Link. Upon defeat, Demise states:
“My hate… never perishes. It is born anew in a cycle with no end! I will rise again! Those like you… Those who share the blood of the goddess and the spirit of the hero… They are eternally bound to this curse. An incarnation of my hatred shall ever follow your kind, dooming them to wander a blood-soaked sea of darkness for all time!”
And to add to that, Impa says something to Zelda immediately after the battle that suggests that Impa will not only fulfill her duties to the Royal Family, but also pass down the legend so that her successors will do the same.
“His spirit must not reawaken. He must never be allowed to threaten the world again. This is the nature of the task given to my tribe. As a member of the Sheikah, the goddess’s chosen guardians, I gladly welcome this duty.”
In order to protect Hyrule from Demise’s curse, Impa’s knowledge of the events from Skyward Sword were passed down for thousands of years. Even when the curse’s power came to fruition multiple times again, Zelda’s sealing power and Link’s Master Sword were always there to keep it at bay, and of course, the Sheikah were there to guide them in some form. But what if, in Breath of the Wild, the Royal Family and the Sheikah Tribe take some drastic measures to prevent the cycle from continuing?
The Great Calamity
Remember when I mentioned that Urbosa spoke about Calamity Ganon having taken the form of a male gerudo? Well, what if she wasn’t talking about a Ganondorf of the past games? What if she’s speaking of a Ganondorf that we haven’t encountered: one that the Royal Family had tried to keep a secret for thousands of years.
Imagine being a part of the Royal Family or the Sheikah Tribe: the only two groups of people in Hyrule that know of the curse of Demise, only to find out that a male gerudo was born? Obviously, the entire world would not see this as the beginning of a horror story. They have no idea. The Royal Family and the Sheikah Tribe know what’s about to happen, though. What if the Royal Family sent the Sheikah to kidnap and/or assassinate this gerudo before he could come to power, then took the body and sealed it away beneath Hyrule Castle: a place where no one would be able to find it; a place where only the necessary people can access it.
Meanwhile, the Sheikah tribe created the Guardians and the Divine Beasts, ancient technology crafted in order to protect Hyrule from the curse of Demise as a failsafe. Both of these things end up backfiring in the end: the pure hatred of Ganon (or Demise) pierces through the seal for being murdered in cold blood. Coming back with a vengeance and unable to utilize his body (Ganondorf), Calamity Ganon was formed. However, with the help of the Guardians and the Divine Beasts (and the princess and a mysteriously unnamed warrior), Calamity Ganon was sealed. This last part is confirmed in-game through Kass’s story of the Great Calamity.
The Second Great Calamity and the Yiga Clan
The second Great Calamity is obviously the story that is unfolding in Breath of the Wild. 100 years before the game’s setting, Calamity Ganon returns, this time littering the world with Malice (a dark red, poisonous substance), which takes over the Sheikah’s Guardians and Divine Beasts. Thousands of people die, including four of the five Champions of Hyrule (the only one left living was Link). Link was put into a chamber to sleep until he could one day reawaken and save Hyrule from Calamity Ganon (which ended up being 100 years later, aka the time that Breath of the Wild takes place).
So, Calamity Ganon was defeated for a second time, all is good, right? Wrong.
In that long, 100 years of Link being in a deep slumber, the Sheikah were shunned in Hyrule due to their technology failing and killing thousands. Impa and her comrades still remain loyal to the Royal Family, however some of the Sheikah Tribe become bitter and go rogue. These ex-Sheikah form the Yiga Clan and dedicate their lives to serving Calamity Ganon. The really bad thing about this? The Yiga Clan knows all of the secrets of the Royal Family– including where the corpse of Ganondorf is. This is why Zelda remained sealed in the castle for 100 years: not only to protect her people, but also to protect her family’s secrets, research, and name. She could not let the Yiga Clan get to Ganondorf.
The Zonai and What Comes Next
We have Malice: a source of evil and power represented by the color red– the Triforce of Power. We have the Sheikah technology: a source of wisdom and protection entrusted by the Royal Family and represented by the color blue– the Triforce of Wisdom. Now let’s look at the trailer! So what’s that green stuff floating around? Well, it must be the key to what’s keeping Calamity Ganon sealed and unable to release his full potential: it literally is connected to a weird looking hand that is holding onto him. What’s so interesting about it though? When the camera hovers above the corpse, giving a straight-down, overhead shot, the green substance is in a spiral. This spiral has been seen everywhere in Breath of the Wild, but not explained in the slightest:
That’s right, it’s the symbol of the Zonai. The Zonai are an ancient tribe that have seemingly (and unexplainably) disappeared some time before the Second Great Calamity. They resided in the Faron region and have some ties to the Sheikah, seeing as their symbol appears a lot in, on, and around Sheikah shrines.
However, I think the most interesting thing that connects the Zonai to this story is the Barbarian armor. The description of the armor says “Armor once favored by an ancient warlike tribe from the Faron region. The war paint bolsters your fighting spirit and raises your attack power.” Obviously, this is speaking of the Zonai, considering what we get from context clues about their past. However, if you take a look back at the imagery from Kass’s story of the First Great Calamity, you’ll notice that the warrior looks like he’s wearing the Barbarian Armor, and not plaid in the Champion’s tunic. Does that mean that Link has some connection to the Zonai? Well, he does absorb the green stuff into his hand, so I can only assume so! There it is! The Triforce of Courage.
Here we are! I think Breath of the Wild‘s sequel will detail what happened to the Zonai, and possibly their return. I would assume that their return will happen in order to complete the Triforce, which never even appeared in Breath of the Wild. Then and only then can Calamity Ganon and/or Ganondorf be sealed for good. But what happened to the Zonai in the first place? People have been drawing parallels to the Twilight Realm, but I think this is probably a coincidence. I guess only time will tell!