In Ocarina of Time, it is said that Ganondorf takes the Triforce, later it explains that the Triforce split in order to prevent him from having it, and left him with the Triforce of Power because that is what he most desires. But then, how do Link and Zelda get their pieces of the Triforce? Does Link receive the Triforce of Courage and it makes him courageous? Or does he receive it because he's courageous?

Furthermore,if we assume that the Triforce gave power to Ganondorf because that's what he wanted and then distributed the other two in such manner as was necessary to destroy him we have solved the issue in Ocarina of Time, but what about the rest of the games? In Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, it seems as if they had their pieces of the Triforce all along, almost as if it is hereditary, but this does not match with the fact that at the beginning of Wind Waker it specifically states that the world is in the condition that it's in because there was no Hero of Time, which is not possible if the Hero of Time is simply a descendant of the Hero of Time.

Also, it cannot be hereditary, because even though it has never been confirmed, one of the iterations Link and Zelda (Phantom Hourglass,Skyward Sword) probably got married and had kids, given that Link and Zelda are not related, they can't both be descended from those two.

To sum up everything I just said, if the Triforce(s?) is/are not hereditary, how do they end up in the people they do?

While "Destiny" is by far the most common answer, and is technically correct, this question is more "Is there another, more thorough explanation"

  • 4
    I feel like I'm seeing six or seven separate questions here. Can you be more clear about what you're asking? (Breaking up the text into paragraphs may help too.)
    – Cloudy
    Apr 28, 2014 at 17:57
  • @PanicBomb hmm, you're right, I'll see what I can do
    – Devon M
    Apr 28, 2014 at 18:18
  • 2
    I see a further issue here - it varies from game to game, or game to TV show, or game to TV show to manga. In short, there are many Legends of Zelda, and they don't all follow the same rules on who get which Triforce when.
    – Zibbobz
    Apr 28, 2014 at 18:24
  • 1
    This seems like a fan speculation question. I think those are considered off-topic here... not certain, though.
    – Brilliand
    Apr 28, 2014 at 18:34
  • Okay, found some information: meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/8473/… - it seems the proper answer to this question is "no explanation is given in-game" (if indeed that is the case).
    – Brilliand
    Apr 28, 2014 at 18:39

4 Answers 4


This is how I understand it:

  1. Ganon gets the triforce (somehow) and wishes for power. He gets only the Triforce of Power
  2. The Triforce of Wisdom and Courage are now seperated and go to a suitable canidate. Courage goes to a person capable of great courage, wisdom to the person who is the wisest
  3. The Triforce yearns to be complete and have its pieces together. Ganondorf knows this and feels the need to combine the pieces. Most games revolve around this theme. I believe Wind Waker had some dialogue by Ganondorf about the triforce pieces wanting to combine together again
  4. Link beats Ganondorf/Ganon and restores peace.

One of two things then happen:

1) The Triforce is then combined again, later to be split before the next game or

2) It remains broken and Ganondorf is sealed away somewhere (The twilight realm, the sacred realm). The Triforce of Wisdom and Courage lay dormant and are passed down the line either through genetics or to the next suitable candidate, it's rather unclear which.

How does the triforce pieces choose their next candidate is summed up as it goes to "those that are most courageous/wise" and may not necessarily be direct descendants to previous owners. I don't believe anywhere in the lore is it stated that Link and Zelda make babies although it is heavily suggested.

  • your answer applies to one or two games,for example, in Twilight Princess, Ganondorf simply has the Triforce of power, he has never come in contact with it. And while you are probably correct that the Triforce of Courage goes to one capable of great courage I do not recall at any point it being mentioned or demonstrated that any incarnation of Zelda has great wisdom. Also, I said above that it has never been confirmed that they "make babies"
    – Devon M
    May 13, 2014 at 7:13
  • The entire Zelda series is a giant mess. You can't actually trace all the games together because they will randomly use "Multi-verse" like resets and simply say "Ok, here is Ganon, Zelda, and Link, in a completely different scenario." But they don't make this obvious, so it is super confusing once you have played more than a few...
    – Nelson
    Oct 12, 2016 at 1:43

Some Possibilities that have been mentioned are that they could:

  1. Be hereditary
  2. Go to the one worthy of it
  3. Go to the one who wants it

Each one individually does not fully answer the question,but what if all three are true?

The Triforce of Courage is given to Link as one capable of great courage. And to a certain extent (as established by canon) "destiny" plays a role. (It is explained in Skyward Sword that "the hero" is destined to rise to defeat the evil)

Ganondorf gets the Triforce of Power in one of two ways. First, he gets it because above all else he desires power. This is how he gets it in Ocarina of Time, but the others are not as clear, in other games he appears to simply "have" it. But, it is established that Ganondorf does not actually "die" at the end of Ocarina of Time, and that he is simply locked away, to return later, which he does. Most likely he simply never lost the Triforce of Power

That leaves only the Triforce of Wisdom, the piece with the least information regarding it. It is unlikely that it goes to one with or capable of great wisdom as it would then be extremely unlikely to end up with the 10 year old Zelda in Ocarina of Time. The reincarnation theory is also unlikely, as unlike every Link and Ganondorf, each Zelda is vastly different. Therefore what is most likely, is that, like the Ocarina of Time, and Zelda's Lullaby, the Triforce of Wisdom is passed down the unbroken royal line across the centuries.


When Ganondorf tries to take the full Triforce, because he has an imbalance in the three elements of the Triforce which heavily weighs towards Power, (as an Avatar of Demise) he isn't seen worthy of the whole Triforce and therefore only gets the piece which resonates with him the best: Power. As a result, the other two pieces go to those with the strongest Wisdom (Zelda, who some could say is the Avatar of Hylia) and Courage. (Link)

If the Triforce remains split, then the pieces would try to remain with those who has the strongest of their element. This is more often than not someone descended from the previous bearer of the Triforce piece.

On a aside note, the same could be said about the Loruleian Triforce, and its elements. If someone tried to grab it with an imbalance of the elements, it is likely it too would split up, and the two remaining pieces going to those with the strongest of the element the piece they get has.


The triforce is split because that's what happened in Ocarina of Time. before this the Triforce was whole and as stated by Zelda in the Temple of Time (before she was captured by Ganondorf). someone had to have an equal balance of Power, Wisdom and Courage in order to gain it. if someone didn't possess a balance of all 3 then the Triforce would split going to those who were destined to be strong in each aspect.

  • Ganondorf = Strength
  • Zelda and her decedents = Wisdom
  • The Verious Links = Courage

You may be asking how what happens in Ocarina of Time relates to the other games. the reason being is that Ocarina of Time is a focal point of the timeline split in the series, and that there is a common lore to the series as confrimed in the Hyrule Historia,

a 276-page book featuring official artwork of The Legend of Zelda series as well as the history of the Zelda universe

bellow is page 69 of Hyrule Historia


the three timelines shown are

  • The Child Era: The Events after Ocarina of Time where Zelda sends Link back in time after defeating Ganondorf so he can reclaim the years he lost while he slept in the sacred realm. Link tells Zelda about Ganondorf's plans and the Royal Family is prepared and Ganondorf is subsenently captured. there are theories as to what happened here which lead to the Triforce becoming split such as that Ganondorf was captured inside the Temple of Time.

  • The Adult Era: The events after Ocarina of Time where Zelda didn't send Link back in time where Ganondorf breaks out of the sealed Sacred Realm (or the Dark World as it's named in A Link to the Past, hinted by the Sage of Light when Link wakes up in Ocarina of Time) and the gods flood Hyrule to stop Ganondorf because a new Hero never came after The Hero of Time never returned.

  • The Hero Defeated Era: Ganondorf defetes Link and takes the remaining Triforce peices becoming the Demon King Ganon, but the Sages seal him in the Dark World but only later seal up the Dark World itself. this is why in this timeline when you see the Triforce (end of A Link to the Past/start og Oricle of Seasons/Ages) the Triforce is 3 seperate triangles rather than the combine one shows in Ocarina of Time

alot of this comes from the wikia which itself is cited by an ING article

  • This is just super confusing. I'll rather just think of each game as completely separate entities.
    – Nelson
    Oct 12, 2016 at 1:44
  • @Nelson you can think that if you want but it wont change the reality that this (or atleast the image) was found within an official Zelda Artbook. unless another came out later correcting anything your thinking will be wrong. anyway even without the image there is proof in the series of continuations. Windwaker -> Phantom Hourglass. Ocarina of Time -> Majora's Mask
    – Memor-X
    Oct 12, 2016 at 1:48
  • What's confusing I think is this "The hero is defeated timeline". I guess a better way to imagine that, is to take the "Back to the future" example". The question is what happens to the original timeline from where it starts, is it gone ? Where is Marty in this one ? What happens to the timeline where Young Link was taken and "sent" to the future ? This is the hero is defeated timeline.
    – Fana
    Oct 12, 2016 at 15:20
  • @Fana if you look at things like Dragonball Z, Stargate and the Nasuverse (Fate/Stay Night, Tsukihime) it's that when a split in the timeline occurs due to a change which will alter the future (ie. Dragonball Z Cell travels back in time to wait for the Androids, Stargate Ba'al travels back in time and interfears with the stargate being transported to the US) then each becomes their own parallel world with their own timeline carrying on from the split.
    – Memor-X
    Oct 12, 2016 at 21:37
  • (cont.) the timeline where Young Link was taken and "sent" to the future is the Adult Era where the world just continues on from Link's battle with Ganondorf, the hero is defeated timeline is a "what if Link lost the final battle (and didn't have any faeries in bottles)" and the Child Era is caused by Link (and Zelda) preventing the future. what Back to the Future showed was that the future is malleable but most cases i see in games and tv is that the future is fixed and by deviating from it you create a parallel world with it's own set future.
    – Memor-X
    Oct 12, 2016 at 21:37

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