In the Legend of Zelda series, a recurring character that appears in a few of the titles is Dark Link. After reading the wiki a few quotes stand out:

"Conquer yourself" - Navi

Dark Link is never described as one of Ganon's servants; the more likely scenario is that it was a final test left by the King of Hyrule who hid the Triforce of Courage. [The Adventure of Link]

Though in later titles, the appearance of Dark Link just becomes more vague.

Now, we can all agree that Link (aside from an uncontrollable need to destroy all pottery) is a pretty good guy. He'll go to extreme ends just to return seemingly valueless items, just to make people happy, he'll put his life on the line for the defense of others, and above all else, he is the owner of the Triforce of Courage, which certainly says something about his character.

So this could lead to a few outcomes:

  1. Due to his squeaky clean reputation (I mean, no one even really seems to care about the pottery anyway), there is a lot missing from his character. Due to some form of outside force, Dark Link was born from this.
  2. There are always two sides to a coin. In this case, Hyrule, and Lorule. From the synopsis of A Link Between Worlds:

    The game is set in the two kingdoms: Hyrule, a location used in many past Zelda games, and Lorule, a new kingdom that acts as dark twin to Hyrule

    This seems like the more likely scenario, and much easier to explain, but does this explain Dark Link's re-appearances throughout most of the series?

So where exactly did Dark Link come from, and why does he keep appearing?

  • 9
    Zelda isn't exactly known for its consistency between games.
    – Powerlord
    Apr 6, 2016 at 1:22
  • @Powerlord so you're saying there is likely more chance that there isn't a purpose or origin of the character, than there actually being one?
    – Ben
    Apr 6, 2016 at 1:25
  • Exactly. Dark Link had a purpose in Zelda 2, but not really in Ocarina of Time or further appearances.
    – Powerlord
    Apr 6, 2016 at 1:26
  • Well that's just incredibly lame :(
    – Ben
    Apr 6, 2016 at 1:27
  • 4
    Why the downvotes though? The question is well researched, on topic and relevant. Just because there is no proper answer, doesn't mean the question deserves downvotes...
    – Davy
    Apr 6, 2016 at 7:15

2 Answers 2


There is a possibility that Dark Link actually may have come from the Corrupted Sanctuary, or Sacred Realm.

If we have a look at the Timeline, Ocarina of Time is the First Chronological appearance of Dark Link. Sure, this event seems out of place. Dark Link appears in the Water Temple, in a random room (probably one of the saving graces of that entire place). Doesn't really make sense. But thinking about it - When Link drew the Master Sword, His soul was sealed in the Sacred Realm.

In that time, Ganon also took control of the Sacred Realm. His corruptive influence could very well have created a "corrupt" version of Link as well, while his soul was floating around in that evil place.

This would explain why he is found in later games - Link to the Past, Four Swords Adventures, and Spirit Tracks, for example, but not in any previous editions - Skyward Sword, Minish Cap, and Four Swords.

To further support this, this article, which speculates on Dark Link's origins, breaks down the orginal Japanese titles for some of the in-game names:

In Adventure of Link and Ocarina of Time the world from which the monsters come is called Makai in the original Japanese. This is a portmanteau of the words Maou, meaning demon king or devil, and Sekai, meaning world. Makai therefore roughly translates to Demon World: specifically one in possession of a Maou to be in charge and often a Mazoku: a tribe or army of lesser evil who inhabit the world. In Ocarina of Time it is stated that the role of Maou is fulfilled by Ganondorf as Daimaou (Great Demon King) and that the location of the Makai is the corrupted Sacred Realm.

At this point, the mechanics of the game can also be speculated on, looking at Dark Link in OoT, he acts as an almost literal copy of Link, copying your moves, parrying with his own sword, and can only be hit with a weapon that he cannot mirror (like the Megaton Hammer or the Biggoron Sword). In later editions, he acts more independently - as if he has learned, and grown since this first encounter.

So, we have a possible idea of how he came about. As for what he is, well, his appearances in other games might lead into that.

In a few other games, Dark Link is actually called "Shadow Link". In several games he actually appears from the shadows, and even directly from Link's shadow, like in the Adventure of Link. In Oracle of Ages, he (or multiple copies of him) are summoned by Veran - the self-professed "Sorceress of Shadow", and in Twilight Princess, Midna will often hide in Link's Shadow as well, similar to the way that Dark Link did in Adventure of Link. All this points to the possibility that Dark Link, created from the Corruption of the Sacred Realm, using Link's Soul as a template, is a Shadow Creature.

Now, as for Dark Link's purpose.

In OoT, his appearance is random. There is no trigger, and his appearance is out of place. It is very likely that this is simply the Copy, lost and looking for answers, drawn to the Original. But in future editions, he is often summoned by others, as a form of test. Over the ages, Dark Link has grown; developed. Fighting oneself can serve many purposes - as a metaphorical obstacle of one's dark side, or a purifying act of one's soul in order to claim the power of the Triforce.

All of this, unfortunately, however is all speculation.


Shadow link is a test from past hero's because his first real appearance according to the Zelda timeline is Zelda ocarina of time in which link is to face himself. This was another test sent by the sages not really part of the plot. Hints why the room you fight him in is completely vacant except for a tree upon which he stands. He becomes a bigger role in Zelda II because of the kings and sages relationship. I know this because on the timeline if you follow all the ones without a previous link he usually appears. On the occasions he doesn't there was no link before the next links time which if you notice frequently occurs in the fall of hyrule timeline.

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