- "In a realm beyond sight
the sky shines gold, not blue.
There, the Triforce's might
makes mortal dreams come true."
- — Book of Mudora Verse
The Sacred Realm (聖地 Seichi?, Sacred Land), also referred to as the Golden Land, is a recurring location in the The Legend of Zelda series. The Sacred Realm is described as a mythical plane, or parallel world, that was created along with Hyrule by the three Golden Goddesses. It is usually portrayed as the resting place of the Triforce, an artifact representing the Goddesses' powers. Though the Sacred Realm is linked to Hyrule, the way to access it and acquire the Triforce changes throughout time.
Long ago, many people aggressively sought the coveted Triforce. War broke out between those who attempted to access the Golden Land. Eventually, the thief, Ganondorf was able to enter and acquired the Triforce. His wish was to conquer the world, and thus the Golden Land was transformed into a twisted reflection of Ganondorf's evil heart, and came to be known as the Dark World. That world was a hostile equivalent of Hyrule that was filled with monsters, and turned those within it into a form that befitted who they are at heart. Ganondorf took the form of a monstrous boar, and became known as Ganon, the King of Darkness. Evil power flowed forth from the Dark World and Ganon's monsters invaded Hyrule. The Knights of Hyrule fought against them until the Seven Wise Men were able to place a seal on the Dark World, and locked Ganon and his forces within.
After a long time passed, Ganon used his alter ego, the Wizard, Agahnim, to act in the Light World, the world that contained Hyrule. Agahnim overthrew the King of Hyrule and captured the Seven Maidens, descendants of the Seven Wise Men. Sending the maidens to the Dark World, Agahnim broke the seal, and Ganon prepared to conquer the Light World. However, the chosen hero, Link rescues the Seven Maidens from the Dungeons of the Dark World and defeats Agahnim, as well as Ganon himself. After doing so, Link touches the Triforce and wishs that all of Ganon's evil deeds to be undone. granting Link's wish, the Triforce restores the Dark World into the Golden Land, and peace returns to Hyrule.
The Sacred Realm was isolated from Hyrule by a seal that could only be opened with a unique collection of articles: The Three Spiritual Stones, which belonged to three of the races of Hyrule, the Ocarina of Time, the Song of Time, which opened the seal of the Temple of Time, the gateway to the Sacred Realm, and the Master Sword, which was created to defeat evil and could only be wielded by a chosen Hero.
Once Link meets with Princess Zelda, she tells him of Ganondorf, who plans to betray her father, the King of Hyrule. Since the King refused to believe the princess and her premonitions, Zelda turns to Link and asks him to obtain the Spiritual Stones to prevent Ganondorf from acquiring them. Once Link gains possession of the three artifacts, he sets off back to Hyrule Castle, only to see Zelda and Impa (Zelda's Guardian) flee from Ganondorf. Zelda throws the Ocarina of Time into the Castle Moat. Once Link picks it up, he goes into a dream-like state in which Zelda teaches him the Song of Time, the final key to opening the Door of Time. Link uses the Spiritual Stones along with the Ocarina of Time and Song of Time, and pulls the Master Sword from the Pedestal of Time.
Unbeknownst to Zelda or Link, the final barrier prevented evil from accessing the Sacred Realm as it could only be removed from its pedestal by the chosen hero. Thus, had Zelda not attempted to retrieve Triforce before Ganondorf, the timeline split and tragedies of the Adult Timeline could have been avoided.
Since Link was too young to wield the Master Sword as the Hero of Time, he is placed in a seven year slumber in the safety of the Temple of Light within the Sacred Realm. In removing the Master Sword, Link inadvertently removes the one thing that prevents Ganondorf from accessing the Sacred Realm and the Triforce, with Link unable to doing anything about it. As it would turn out, Ganondorf planned this from the start, as he had become aware of Link's opposition, but wisely chose to allow Link to do his dirty work.
With the Sacred Realm unsealed, Ganondorf touches the Triforce. However, since Ganondorf's heart is not balanced between the virtues of Power, Wisdom, and Courage, he is only given the Triforce of Power, the virtue that Ganondorf embodied and values most. The Sacred Realm becomes warped and twisted under Ganondorf's control, as the realm reflects the heart of the one who touches the Triforce. Only the Temple of Light at the center of the Sacred Realm remained the same. With the Triforce of Power, Ganondorf becomes the Great King of Evil and conquers much of Hyrule, though still seeking to obtain the complete Triforce.
Link awakes from his seven year sleep as a young adult. Aided by the Sage of Light Rauru and mysterious Sheikah Sheik, Link is sent on a quest to defeat Ganondorf by awakening the Seven Sages. Once Link returns to the Temple of Tome after awakening the sixth sage, Sheik approaches him. Revealing her true identity as the seventh sage Zelda, the princess tells Link of the Triforce's origin.
After finishing her tale, Zelda and Link hear an ominous laugh. The voice reveals himself to be Ganondorf, who was spying on them. Ganondorf tells Link of his plot, knowing that Zelda would eventually reveal herself to Link once she let her guard down.
Abducting the princess for her Triforce of Wisdom, Ganondorf goads Link into entering Ganon's Castle, hoping to defeat the hero to acquire his Triforce of Courage. Link however, proves superior to Ganondorf in combat, and uses the Master Sword to greatly wound him. Refusing to admit defeat, Ganondorf uses his power to make the castle crumble, hoping for his foes to perish. Avoiding the falling rubble, Link and Zelda manage to escape unharmed.
In a desperate move, Ganondorf uses the Triforce of Power to turn into the demonic Ganon. Despite being briefly separated from the Master Sword, Link manages to overcome and severely weaken him. With Ganondorf immobilized, Zelda and the other Sages banish him to the Sacred Realm and seal him within. Bitter at his defeat, Ganondorf swears to exterminate his foes' descendants.
It is revealed in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess that in ancient times, a group of Interlopers attempted to establish dominion over the Sacred Realm and secure the Triforce. In response, the Goddesses sent down the light spirits Ordona, Faron, Eldin, and Lanayru to seal them away along with their powerful magical creation, the Fused Shadow. The Interlopers were banished to the Twilight Realm, another dimension that was created by the Goddesses. Exposed to the Twilight of the realm, the Interlopers were transformed into the Twili Race. A vision of the Sacred Realm makes a brief appearance in Lanayru's retelling of these events to Link, though Link is unable to visit it himself as it plays little role in the story of Twilight Princess other than explaining the origins of the Twili.
At the very end of the game, Princess Hilda brings Link and Zelda to Lorule's Sacred Realm so the latter two could return to Hyrule via a portal. Link and Zelda end up in Hyrule's Sacred Realm with the Triforce resting on its pedestal. Using the Triforce of their world, the duo restores Lorule's Triforce.
Ocarina of Time
The backstory of A Link to the Past had many similarities to the events of Ocarina of Time. The name "Seven Wise Men" from A Link to the Past was actually a mistranslation, with the original Japanese and later English re-releases gave them the same name as the Seven Sages from Ocarina of Time. Two of Ocarina of Time's Developers, Character Designer Satoru Takizawa and Script Director Toru Osawa, even stated that the Imprisoning War and Seven Sages who were mentioned by A Link to the Past were the same events and the characters who were seen in Ocarina of Time. Despite that, there were some details which conflicted between the two accounts. Many fans considered those details to be retconed in the face of overall similarities and developer confirmation, while others maintained that the two games described separate events and characters.
The Silent Realm from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was theorized to be the Sacred Realm. In Skyward Sword, Link obtained all three pieces of the Triforce in a place which appeared to be the Silent Realm, given the area's identical appearance, method of entry, and Link's lack of items in the area. Because the stories of the Creation of Hyrule stated that the Triforce was left in the Sacred Realm, it would make sense that in Skyward Sword, which was generally accepted as the first game in the chronology of the series, the Triforce would be found in the Sacred Realm. The Silent Realm also changed to appear golden upon Link's acquisition of the full Triforce, similar to the Sacred Realm's description as the "Golden Land". However, the nature of the Silent Realm was distinctly different from that of the Sacred Realm. While both were equivalent worlds to Hyrule, the Silent Realm was a Spirit World which only Link could enter, leaving Fi, his items, and his own physical body behind. The Sacred Realm, however, was a normal physical world, which any person could enter with their own body and equipment. However it is possible that the two realms are interconnected.
Another possibility is that prior to the events of Skyward Sword Hylia may have used her divine power to transform the Sacred Realm into the Silent Realm to protect the Triforce from the Demon Tribe lead by the Demon King Demise and to test the spirit of her chosen Hero to help him grow spiritually so he would be balanced to wield the Triforce. Presumably after Demise's defeat, Hylia's reincarnation the Spirit Maiden Zelda (who had regained her memories of her life as Hylia) used her power to restore the Sacred Realm to its former state. Alternatively, Link's noble wish on the Triforce to destroy The Imprisoned may have restored it to its original state as implied when he obtains it.