by Nik Cabezas
Nik explores the elements of the Triforce and ideas for new ownership.
If you asked the average Zelda fan which characters are associated with each piece of the Triforce, they would most likely say that Link wields the Triforce of Courage, Zelda the Triforce of Wisdom, and Ganon the Triforce of Power. Imagine my surprise when I looked closely at the series and realized that this is the case in only a few of the games. However, while the Triforce is more often used as a whole or sometimes not at all, these connections are iconic and representative of our main characters’ qualities.
That being said, does it have to be this way? Is there a story in which the Triforce could be split apart without following this pattern? Well, to answer that, we have to look at the history of the golden triangles and why they’re set up like this in the first place.
Regarding the origin of the Triforce, two games, Ocarina of Time and Skyward Sword, tell us the most information on the subject. Using both, we can piece together that in the beginning, the three Golden Goddesses (Din, Farore, and Nayru) created the world and everything in it, and then they departed for the heavens. Before leaving, however, the goddesses created the Triforce, a set of three sacred triangles with the power to grant any desire. This was entrusted to the Goddess Hylia who, while she was also immensely powerful, could not use it.
You see, the three goddesses had created the Triforce so that it could not be used by one of their own. While the reason behind this is never confirmed, Zelda in Skyward Sword posits that it was to give the mortals of the world hope. This is important to note: since the Triforce was given to all mortals, it has a sort of neutral quality to it. Although it is a sacred power, the Triforce can be used by anyone, no matter what their intentions are. Of course, this is with one caveat.
If the person who touches the Triforce has a heart that is both pure and balanced between power, wisdom, and courage, then they shall have their wish granted immediately. On the other hand, if the person is unbalanced, the Triforce will split apart and leave the person with the piece that is most indicative of who they are. The remaining two pieces will then find owners who most embody their respective qualities, and all three pieces will need to be brought back together before the wish can be granted. The obvious example here is Ganondorf trying to use the Triforce in Ocarina of Time, only for it to break apart, leaving him with the Triforce of Power and Link and Zelda with the Triforces of Courage and Wisdom, respectively.
With all this in mind, could this pattern be broken? Not only would I say yes, but I would love to see this change in the future. Imagine if the villain of a future game, whether Ganon or not, favored cunning instead of strength and tried to claim the Triforce. After the triangles split apart, this villain could be left with the Triforce of Wisdom, along with all the corresponding abilities. This would mean that the Triforces of Power and Courage would be given most likely to the heroes of our story. In the interest of switching things up, we could see what it’s like to have a Princess Zelda who has a more reckless and gung-ho attitude, probably not too different from Tetra in The Wind Waker. That leaves the Triforce of Power for Link, who could be made into more of a typical warrior-type, almost like a mix of Link from Breath of the Wild and Link from Hyrule Warriors.
Let’s take it in another direction. Let’s say the villain isn’t insanely clever or immensely strong but instead brash or overconfident, granting them the Triforce of Courage. Following that, Link could possess the Triforce of Wisdom, while Princess Zelda could wield the Triforce of Power. Who knows? This could be a great way for Zelda to be playable.
Another detail to go off of is that the main criterion causing the Triforce to split is an unbalanced heart, which may not necessarily mean an evil one. In that sense, this pattern could be shaken up even with the characters keeping their respective qualities. For instance, if Hyrule is threatened in a future game, a desperate Princess Zelda could attempt to use the Triforce even though her heart is unbalanced. Yes, this would split the Triforce up in a familiar way, but it could also result in Zelda inadvertently powering up the villain she’s trying to get rid of.
At the end of the day, if the last few Zelda games are any indication, it’s unclear if we’ll see the Triforce split apart again. However, if we do, it would be a welcome and fascinating change of pace to see the Triforce pieces belong to other characters–or, at the very least, split apart by someone other than Ganon.
Would you like to see other characters possess pieces of the Triforce? What are your ideas for this kind of scenario? Which piece of the Triforce would you like to possess? Let me know! Follow me on Twitter at @JustShortofHero and share your thoughts.