Warning: Lots of plot spoilers for Breath of the Wild follow, proceed at your own risk.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been out for more than a month now, and I think I’ve put almost (if not over) 100 hours into the game. I’ve been playing every damn day for quite some time, I’ve got like 90-something Shrines (only thirty left to go!) and I’m six heart containers shy of maxing out. I’ve found the hidden springs of Power, Courage, and Wisdom, collected every goddamn piece of armor in the game (save for the exclusive Amiibo stuff and the last armor set – which I’m close to attaining), and I’m well on my way to completing the last handful of Side Quests in my log.
What dawned on me recently, however, is that not once in the game is the single most important relic in the Legend of Zelda series mentioned. Y’know, this one:
Yeah, the Triforce is absolutely nowhere to be found in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The item is not spoken of whatsoever in any of Link’s memories, nor is it mentioned in any hasty context as it usually is. Longtime fans of the series and casual fans alike can recognize the iconic triangles instantly. Ganon, in Ocarina of Time, had already secured the Triforce of Power, and pursued Link and Zelda for their respective pieces. In Wind Waker, there are many shards of the Triforce that need to be collected. Shit, the “Sacred Realm” where Ganon was banished to in OoT and many other Zelda games isn’t even mentioned – but it’s obvious that the primary “power” at the crux of Hyrule’s fate this time is that of the Sheikah – not the holy relics we’ve searched for in previous titles.
All of that being said, we do see Zelda bear the Triforce mark on the back of her hand in Breath of the Wild, with all three pieces illuminated. It is possible that Zelda began the clash against Calamity Ganon with all three pieces of the Triforce intact, making them that much harder to wield. Zelda, Link, and Ganon could seemingly call up the shiny triangles on their hands at-will in Ocarina of Time, leading me to believe that somehow (depending on where in the timeline BotW takes place) Ganon’s power has eclipsed that of the sacred relic. I mean, there are three HUGE dragons just flying around Hyrule, all representative of the three goddesses who created the damn world, and all of them are powerless to even contribute to the fight against Ganon?
It is, however, possible that Zelda “awakened” each piece of the Triforce within herself, one by one, from praying at the aforementioned springs of Power, Courage, and Wisdom (which we see in the various Memories). It seems that while blinded by her own frustration and immaturity, Zelda never realized that she received any power at all until it awoke all at once, conveniently when everything had already gone to shit. This would also offer a baseline explanation as to how Zelda could’ve held Ganon’s destruction in check for an entire fucking century, all without aging a day.
This begs the question I’ve been asking since before the game’s release: Where does Breath of the Wild fall in the Zelda timeline? I stand by my statement that this game is a top-three achievement for Nintendo, hardware or software, and the fact that the game’s story and gameplay had me hooked to the point that I’d forget about one of the most iconic MacGuffins in gaming history certainly says something about the undeniable masterpiece that Breath of the Wild truly is. Maybe we’ll find out more about the Triforce’s place in the Breath of the Wild timeline in the game’s upcoming expansion, but until then – I’m totally content with perfection Nintendo’s already given us.