|Some call our realm a world of shadows, but that makes it sound so unpleasant...The twilight there holds a serene beauty...You have seen it yourself as the sun sets on this world. Bathed in that light, all the people were pure and gentle...But things changed once that foul power pervaded the world...|
The Sol Shrine located in the plaza of the Palace of Twilight within the Twilight Realm
|Related place(s)||Palace of Twilight|
The Twilight Realm is the name of a parallel dimension to the realm of Hyrule. It is a world of shadows and perpetual twilight whose only source of light comes from the two sacred orbs known as the Sols that are kept in a special shrine near the plaza of the Palace of Twilight. The Twilight Realm is the homeworld of the Twili, a race of shadow-beings descended from the Dark Interlopers that were banished from Hyrule and sent to the Twilight Realm as punishment for their attempted conquest of the Sacred Realm in an attempt to seize the Triforce. In the aftermath of the Interlopers' banishment, they evolved into the Twili race. The only link between the Twilight Realm and Hyrule is a relic known as the Mirror of Twilight, which acts as the gateway between the two worlds. While Hyrule resides in the World of Light and is lit by the Sun, the Twilight Realm exists in perpetual Twilight, with the Sols acting as the Twilight Realm's equivalent of the Sun.
The Twilight Realm's name refers to it being a gloomy, hazy, yet very serene world. It is often known as a world of shadows and evil, though there is a serene beauty to the Twilight Realm, a beauty which the Hylians have seen every time the Sun sets, at the hour of Twilight.
The Twilight Realm appears to be a polytheistic society, as Midna mentions that the gods of her world were on Link's side, as symbolized the Sols fusing with the Master Sword. None of their gods are named in Twilight Princess, and it remains unclear if they pay homage to the Golden Goddesses since their ancestors were banished by the Golden Goddesses to the Twilight Realm in the first place. It is clear however that there is more than one god worshiped by the citizens of the Twilight Realm.
The Twilight Realm's full history is incomplete, leaving only a brief bit of its origins and its recent history as the only available information regarding its past. For much of its early history, the Twilight Realm was a peaceful place, until the King of Evil known as Ganondorf was banished to the realm by the Ancient Sages, where his evil influence would cause a coup of the government and cast the realm into darkness by overthrowing the true Twilight Princess and installing a puppet ruler named Zant into the position of ruler of the Twilight Realm. Zant would go on to seal away the Sols, leaving the Twilight Realm in darkness, and invade the land of Hyrule on Ganondorf's orders in order to merge the two worlds together into a single empire. After the Dark Lord's defeat however, peace was restored, and the Twilight Realm was truly free of his grip. This was made possible by the efforts of the Hyrulean Hero Link and Hyrule's Princess Zelda, before the Mirror of Twilight was shattered by Princess Midna, the Twilight Realm's rightful ruler that was restored to power. This action severed the only known road between the two worlds, destroying the only known means of travel between them to prevent similar events from happening again.
- Main article: Interloper War
At a certain point in the history of the land of Hyrule, a war broke out across the land when a group of shadowy magicians known as the Dark Interlopers learned of the mythical Triforce located within the Sacred Realm and attempted to establish dominion over it to harness the Triforce's power. To this end, the Interlopers crafted an ultimate weapon, the dark relic known as the Fused Shadow, inside which they had vested a vast amount of their magic.
When the Interlopers seemed on the verge of victory in this effort, the Golden Goddesses decided to order the Light Spirits of Hyrule to intervene and seal away the dark magic of the Interlopers to halt the war. The Light Spirits, at the order of the goddesses, shattered the Fused Shadow into four fragments (hiding three of them across Hyrule and leaving the fourth in the hands of the Interlopers) and drove the Interlopers across the land of Hyrule into the twilight. They were then imprisoned within the Twilight Realm, a prison world meant to hold those who displease the goddesses, and lost their ruler as punishment for their greedy actions that sparked the war.
In addition, the Twilight Realm's effect of causing those that dwelled within it for an extended period of time to only be able to exist as shadows outside of it took its toll on the Interlopers, dooming them to this fate as well. Over time, the Interlopers would evolve into the Twili and reestablish their monarchy that would come to rule over the Twilight Realm. The goddesses did not completely sever the Twilight Realm's connection to Hyrule however, for they left a lone link between the two worlds in the hands of the Ancient Sages, the Mirror of Twilight, which could only be shattered by the true ruler of the Twili.
The Rise of Zant
A long time after the banishment of the Interlopers to the Twilight Realm, the King of Evil Ganondorf attempted to launch an invasion of Hyrule, but he was thwarted by the Royal Family of Hyrule, who had been forewarned by Link, the Hero of Time. As a result, Ganondorf was arrested and sentenced to execution at the Arbiter's Grounds, the home of the Mirror of Twilight. Ganondorf was kept there for a time until the day his sentence was to be carried out in the Mirror Chamber atop the prison. When the Ancient Sages impaled him with the Sword of the Sages however, the Triforce of Power suddenly activated within him and prevented his death. The evil Gerudo soon broke free of his chains, obliterated the Sage of Water, and turned the blade on its owners. As a last resort, the remaining Sages activated the Mirror of Twilight to open the portal to the Twilight Realm and sent Ganondorf through it before the portal closed.
About a century later, the Twilight Realm entered a period of political instability when the throne was suddenly left vacant. One of the hawkish advisers of the Royal Family of the Twilight Realm, Zant, stood as a prime candidate to ascend to the throne. However, Princess Midna was selected as the true Twilight Princess, and Zant became enraged that he was not selected instead. He became severely depressed, and in this state was approached by Ganondorf, who masqueraded as a god. Ganondorf offered him the power to take the throne by force in exchange for his freedom from the Twilight Realm. Zant used his newfound magical abilities to curse Midna and usurped the throne of the Twilight Realm, transforming the Twili into Shadow Beasts and sealing away the Sols within the Palace of Twilight, leaving the Twilight Realm in darkness and bringing misery to the Twili. Meanwhile, Midna escaped to Hyrule with the lone piece of the Fused Shadow left in the hands of the Twili and decided to seek out the other fragments to use against Zant.
Once secured in the throne of the Twilight Realm, Zant now had the authority to open the portal generated by the Mirror of Twilight as the self-proclaimed King of Twilight. Exercising his new authority to do so, he was persuaded to attempt conquest of Hyrule by Ganondorf, whom he now released back into the World of Light in fulfillment of their bargain.
The Invasion of Hyrule
- Main article: Shadow Invasion
Zant then proceeded to launch an invasion of the World of Light itself, intending to conquer both worlds and mix shadow and light together to make pure darkness, as ordered by his "god". His armies spread Twilight all over Hyrule as they conquered each of its provinces. In this Twilight, the people of Hyrule became like spirits, unaware of what had happened to them. Eventually, Zant and his army conquered the stately Hyrule Castle, where he offered Princess Zelda, the country's matriarch and bearer of the Triforce of Wisdom, the chance to either surrender or face the deaths of her people. At this, Zelda surrendered the throne of Hyrule to Zant, and Twilight completely engulfed the country's main regions, leaving only the small annex of Ordona Province free of the grip of the King of Shadows. With this, Zant now had control of Hyrule's government and imprisoned Princess Zelda in one of the castle towers.
It was Zant's subsequent attack on the last remaining province that drew a new Hero into these events, a young ranch-hand named Link who bore the Triforce of Courage within him. Eventually, Link was captured when he entered the Twilight and was transformed into a divine wolf, dragged to the dungeons of Hyrule Castle by Zant's soldiers. Here he met Midna in her transformed state and the imprisoned Princess Zelda, who related to him the fate that had befallen the kingdom of Hyrule. Link teamed up with Midna to locate the lost fragments of the Fused Shadow to defeat Zant and free Hyrule of his power. After succeeding in reversing the spread of Twilight and finding all of the Fused Shadow fragments, the pair were confronted by Zant himself, who stole the fragments and fatally injured Midna before they could escape. Zelda sacrificed herself to save Midna and instructed the pair to find the Master Sword to combat Zant and save Hyrule before vanishing into nothingness.
After finding the sword in the ruins of an ancient temple, the pair journeyed to the Arbiter's Grounds in search of the Mirror of Twilight. There, they discovered a shocking truth: before leaving for the Twilight Realm, Zant broke the Mirror of Twilight into four shards and scattered them over Hyrule to prevent anyone from entering the Twilight Realm. It was here that the Ancient Sages appeared and related the story of Ganondorf's execution to the pair and instructed them to find the three lost fragments of the Mirror of Twilight.
The Assassination of Zant
The pair succeeded in finding the three lost fragments and restored the Mirror of Twilight, reopening the gateway between the two worlds. It was here that the Ancient Sages offered their apologies to the Twilight Princess for sending Ganondorf away into her world and causing so much misery for she and her people. With this, Link and Midna used the Mirror of Twilight to journey to the Twilight Realm, where Link succeeded in restoring the Sols to their proper shrine, restoring the normal flow of light in the Twilight Realm and causing the Twili to revert to their true forms. In addition, the power of the Sols transferred into the Master Sword, a sign that the gods of the Twilight Realm were on Link's side as well.
The pair then entered the palace to face Zant himself. It was here that Zant revealed to his unwelcome guests the truth of his relationship with Ganondorf, stating that Ganondorf was a god that had given him his power so he could merge the two worlds of light and shadow into a single empire of darkness. Link is then forced to battle Zant in several deadly skirmishes for the fate of the Twilight Realm, facing him in arenas that Link had visited throughout his adventure to defeat the King of Shadows. Despite his great magical power bestowed by Ganondorf, Zant fell to the Master Sword's evil-banishing power and lay dying upon the throne as he stated his belief that regardless of what Link and Midna did, he would be resurrected by Ganondorf. After taunting Midna by revealing to her that the curse on her would not lift until Ganondorf was vanquished, Midna used the Fused Shadow to obliterate Zant, causing him to explode in a final scream of anguish. With this, Zant's reign of terror over the Twilight Realm was brought to an end. But Midna was distressed at the raw power that she had exhibited. She was unprepared for the abilities that the Fused Shadow gave her.
The Closing of the Road Between Worlds
After the Twilight Realm was freed of Zant's iron fist, Link and Midna journeyed back to Hyrule and infiltrated the overtaken Hyrule Castle to face Ganondorf. At the top of the castle tower, they found the Throne Room being circled by dark, foreboding clouds. Inside, they found Princess Zelda's lifeless body suspended in the central hole of the Triforce statue adorning the chamber and Ganondorf himself sitting on Zelda's throne. After a brief conversation, the pair began a battle against Ganondorf for the fate of Hyrule, battling him in many different ways and forms. After Zelda was restored to her physical being, she and Link were warped away by Midna, who attempted to kill Ganondorf with the Fused Shadow, but ultimately failed. Link and Zelda then engaged Ganondorf in a horseback battle across Hyrule Field and Link engaged him in one final sword duel before impaling him with the Master Sword, killing the Dark Lord and restoring Midna to her true form as the Twilight Princess.
Link and Princess Zelda accompanied Midna back to the Mirror Chamber to bid her farewell as she returned home to resume her place as the ruler of the Twili. Zelda encouraged relations between Hyrule and the Twilight Realm to continue, stating that they are two sides of the same coin, to which the Twilight Princess thanked her for her kind words and true heart. Midna then addressed Link one final time as she shed a single tear and sent it drifting toward the Mirror of Twilight, seeming to wish to confide something very personal to him but losing the nerve at the last moment as the tear collided with the Mirror of Twilight, causing it to begin to crack and fragment. The Twilight Princess locked her gaze with Link's as she vanished through the portal back to the Twilight Realm just before the Mirror of Twilight utterly shattered, sealing off the only known road between the worlds.
The Twilight Realm is ruled by a monarchy, the like of which governs its counterpart, the World of Light known as Hyrule. The Royal Family of the Twilight Realm governs the world and all in it from the massive Palace of Twilight, situated at the heart of the Twilight Realm. The monarch is called the "King of Twilight" if he is male or "Twilight Princess" if she is female. It appears that a retiring monarch typically determines the successor, but in the absence of a selection, the people of the Twilight Realm have the power to select their next monarch. This was the case when the sitting monarch made no selection for a successor and set the stage for a succession debacle shortly before the events of Twilight Princess that resulted in Zant's candidacy for the throne and Princess Midna being allowed to take the throne with the support of her people.
The military of the Twilight Realm is not fully explained in Twilight Princess, but it appears there is indeed a military that answers to the sitting ruler of the Twilight Realm. Zant leads an army to invade Hyrule during the events of Twilight Princess, though the Twili were transformed into Shadow Beasts at the time. In their true forms however, the Twili do not appear to be very well-equipped to be good soldiers in a battle, as they do not appear to move very quickly and have body shapes that range from the very tall to the very short when Link views them after restoring the Sols, with few possessing a body frame that would be very suitable for military service. These details aside however, the fact that Zant had an army at his command suggests that the Twili do indeed keep a standing army of some kind for defense.
Little is known about the economy of the Twilight Realm or whether much of one exists. However, Link finds Rupees hidden in several places within the Palace of Twilight. This would seem to imply that, like Hyrule, the Twilight Realm also has a similar economy that uses Rupees as currency.
Technology in the Twilight Realm
The Twilight Realm is shown to be filled with examples of technology far more advanced than anything found in Hyrule or most other locations depicted in the Zelda series to date. When Link visits the Twilight Realm, he finds that most buildings are suspended in the never-ending Twilight by unseen forces, implying that the Twili have developed some means of making their structures float in the void of the Twilight Realm. As exemplified within the Palace of Twilight, there are multiple other examples of advanced technology that were made by the residents of the Twilight Realm, such as the Twilight platforms that seem to be made of pure energy, the crystal switches used to activate these platforms, the Sols, the Sol-activated staircases that appear throughout the palace, and many others. Since the Twili's ancestors were noted to be especially gifted with magic, it makes sense that the Twili themselves would continue this tradition and put that talent to use in the creation of technology that surpasses even that seen in Hyrule.
Locations and Landmarks
The Twilight Realm is only seen in brief flashbacks and only visited on one occasion within Twilight Princess, and as such, only part of it is viewed, namely the area around the Palace of Twilight. The Sol Shrine rests in the plaza of the Palace of Twilight, where the source of the Twilight Realm's light originates. When closely inspected, one can see other buildings floating in the distance, implying that the Palace of Twilight and its surroundings are only a part of the Twilight Realm, leaving much of it unexplored as the buildings seem to be suspended in midair, making it impossible to travel from the ground upon which the Palace of Twilight rests to the other structures. However, the Palace of Twilight and the Sol Shrine seem to be the two most important places in the Twilight Realm, and as such acts as the place upon which the portal generated by the Mirror of Twilight is located.
Palace of Twilight
- Main article: Palace of Twilight
The Palace of Twilight is the seat of the Twilight Realm's government and serves as the eighth dungeon in Twilight Princess. It is the home of the Royal Family of the Twilight Realm and as such is the home of Princess Midna, the rightful ruler of the Twilight Realm. It was here that one of her advisers, Zant, expelled the Twilight Princess upon his coup of the government and usurping of the throne, and he locked away the Sols within the palace walls, depriving the Twilight Realm of its only source of light and leaving the realm in darkness. He used minions such as Zant Masks, Zant's Hands, and Phantom Zant to protect the Sols and prevent Link from restoring them to their rightful place when the young hero restored the Mirror of Twilight and followed the Usurper King of Twilight into the Twilight Realm. Link obtained the Light Sword here, allowing him to cut through the Dark Fog that pervaded the palace. The Throne Room acted as the site of the final confrontation between Zant, Link and Midna. After a lengthy battle, Midna assassinated Zant using the power of the Fused Shadow, dethroning him and restoring peace to the Twilight Realm. It is also presumed that Midna returned to the palace for the remainder of her reign after she returned to the Twilight Realm and shattered the Mirror of Twilight.
The Sol Shrine is a special shrine located in the plaza of the Palace of Twilight. It is made up of two pedestals and is the rightful resting place of the Sols, located just outside of the walls of the Palace of Twilight. Here, Link restores light to the realm and has his sword infused with light, creating the Light Sword. It was here that Link returned each of the Sols once he retrieved them from the western and eastern wings of the Palace of Twilight. Once this was completed, the power of the Sols reverted the Twili to their original forms, restored light to the Twilight Realm, and transferred into the blade of the Master Sword, transforming it into the Light Sword and giving it the power to cut through the dark fog that Zant had scattered across the halls of the Palace of Twilight.
Inhabitants of the Twilight Realm
While the only natural inhabitants of the Twilight Realm are the Twili, Zant's interference caused it to become filled with monsters such as Shadow Beasts who were once Twili themselves. It is unknown whether there were any natural inhabitants of the Twilight Realm prior to the banishment of the Dark Interlopers, but the Twili are all that appear in Twilight Princess.
- Main article: Twili
The primary residents of the Twilight Realm, the Twili are a race of shadow-beings that are descended from another group of dark magicians known as the Dark Interlopers that once resided in the land of Hyrule in the past. After the Interlopers began to delve into darker magic and developed an awesome weapon in the Fused Shadow, they attempted conquest of the fabled Sacred Realm in the hope of establishing control over a much greater source of magic, the Triforce. After much bloodshed, the Golden Goddesses sent the four Light Spirits to drive the Interlopers away into the Twilight Realm, outside of which they could henceforth only exist as shadows. The Interlopers eventually evolved into the Twili race, a more humble and less selfish race than their ancestors.
In their evolved forms, the Twili are shown to be fairly humanoid beings but with some stark differences in regard to Hylians or even their dark ancestors. Their skin varies in shades of white and black, and their eyes are largely of a red hue. They can also vary in height, as some are shown to be extremely tall in comparison to Link while others are short and stout, like some of those featured near the Sol Shrine on Link's visit to the Twilight Realm in Twilight Princess. Only two Twili have shown the capacity to speak the normal Hylian dialect, those two being Midna and Zant, while the others seem to communicate through a high-pitched series of moaning sounds that are not able to be understood by Link. Aside from the mindless Shadow Beasts transformed by Zant and used to serve in his army, the general populace of the Twili appear to be very peaceful. Those that Link meets on his incursion into the realm in Twilight Princess show no hostility toward him, rather they attempt to communicate with him and do not appear violent as those that served in Zant's army.
- According to the original Japanese text, Midna mentions that the Hyruleans mistakenly believe the Twilight Realm to be an afterlife realm.
- The Twilight Realm originally had a flat, monochromatic look. This early version of the Twilight Realm was featured in several trailers for Twilight Princess before it was revamped before release.
- While the Palace of Twilight is the primary focal point within the Twilight Realm, as seen by Link in Twilight Princess, other buildings can be seen floating in the distance, though they are not able to be visited.
- "That shining sphere illuminates this world. It's called a Sol. It's like the sun of your world, Link." — Midna (Twilight Princess)
- "The Sols were like the suns that illuminate this world. Once they were lost, everyone began to transform..." — Midna (Twilight Princess)
- "Some call our realm a world of shadows, but that makes it sound so unpleasant...The twilight there holds a serene beauty...You have seen it yourself as the sun sets on this world. Bathed in that light, all the people were pure and gentle...But things changed once that foul power pervaded the world..." — Midna (Twilight Princess)
- "Tell me...Do you ever feel a strange sadness as dusk falls? They say it's the only time when our world intersects with theirs... The only time we can feel the lingering regrets of spirits who have left our world. That is why loneliness always pervades the hour of twilight..." — Rusl (Twilight Princess)
- "Amazing... The power of the Sols has been transferred to your sword... The guardian deities of my world are on our side, too! You really are the chosen one, Link... A true hero! As long as you have that sword, you should be able to repel the shadows Zant has spread!" — Midna (Twilight Princess)
- "My god had only one wish...To merge shadow and light...and make darkness!" — Zant (Twilight Princess)
- "But soon, word of the Sacred Realm spread through Hyrule, and a great battle ensued...Among those living in the light, interlopers who excelled at magic appeared. Wielding powerful sorcery, they tried to establish dominion over the Sacred Realm. It was then that the goddesses ordered us three light spirits to intervene. We sealed away the great magic those individuals had mastered. You know this magic...It is the dark power you seek...the Fused Shadow." — Lanayru (Twilight Princess)
- "What do you think happened to the magic wielders who tried to rule the Sacred Realm? They were banished. They were chased across the sacred lands of Hyrule and driven into another realm by the goddesses. It was another world entirely... The antithesis of Hyrule, where the sun shines bright. Its denizens became shadows that could not mingle with the light. Eventually, most came to call it the Twilight Realm, and from it, none could return to the world of light..." — Midna (Twilight Princess)
- "Traitors, ha! You want to know why none would call you king? It was your eyes, Zant. All saw it, a lust for power burning in your pupils... Did you think we'd forget our ancestors lost their king to such greed?" — Midna (Twilight Princess)
- "Though the goddesses forbade us to return to the world of light, they left one link between the light and the darkness. Something called the Mirror of Twilight was passed to the protectors of Hyrule..." — Midna (Twilight Princess)
- "Only the true leader of the Twili can utterly destroy the Mirror of Twilight...so Zant could merely break it into pieces." — Sages (Twilight Princess)
- "In the last scene of Ocarina of Time, kids Link and Zelda have a little talk, and as a consequence of that talk, their relationship with Ganon takes a whole new direction. In the middle of this game [Twilight Princess], there's a scene showing Ganon's execution. It was decided that Ganon be executed because he'd do something outrageous if they left him be. That scene takes place several years after Ocarina of Time." —Eiji Aonuma (Nintendo Dream: Eiji Aonuma Interview)
- "Yet...By some divine prank, he, too, had been blessed with the chosen power of the gods." — Sage (Twilight Princess)
- "But would they acknowledge me as their king? No! And as such, I was denied the magic powers befitting our ruler." — Zant (Twilight Princess)
- "It was then, in the thrall of hatred and despair, that I turned my eyes to the heavens...and found a god." — Zant (Twilight Princess)
- "Midna... Foolish Twilight Princess...The curse on you cannot be broken...It was placed on you by the magic of my god! The power you held as leader of the Twili will never return!" — Zant (Twilight Princess)
- "It was a peaceful place...until Zant took control of the Twilight Realm and transformed all of the Twili into shadow beasts." — Midna (Twilight Princess)
- "Twilight covered Hyrule like a shroud, and without light, the people became as spirits. Within the twilight, they live on, unaware that they have passed into spirit forms..." — Eldin (Twilight Princess)
- "Midna... I believe I understand now just who and what you are...Despite your mortal injuries, you act in our stead...These dark times are the result of our deeds, yet it is you who have reaped the penalty. Accept this now, Midna. I pass it to you..." — Princess Zelda (Twilight Princess)
- "Head for the sacred grove that lies deep within the lands guarded by the spirit Faron. There you will find the blade of evil's bane that was crafted by the wisdom of the ancient sages...the Master Sword. The Master Sword is a sacred blade that evil can never touch. Evil cloaks you like a dark veil...and that blade is the only thing that can cleave it." — Princess Zelda (Twilight Princess)
- "At the command of the goddesses, we sages have guarded the Mirror of Twilight since ancient times. You seek it...but the Mirror of Twilight has been fragmented by mighty magic[...]Once broken by magic, the Mirror of Twilight became fragments, which even now lie hidden across the land of Hyrule. One is in the snowy mountain heights...One is in an ancient grove...And one is in the heavens..." — Sages (Twilight Princess)
- "It was all our doing...We overestimated our abilities as sages and attempted to put an end to Ganondorf's evil magic...I hope you can find it in yourself to forgive our carelessness...O Twilight Princess." — Sages (Twilight Princess)
- "As long as my master, Ganon, survives, he will resurrect me without cease!" — Zant (Twilight Princess)
- "I...I used just a fraction of the power that's in me now...I did THAT using only a fraction of my ancestors' magic?!" — Midna (Twilight Princess)
- "We must return the two Sols to the Pedestals quickly!" — Midna (Twilight Princess)
- "Zant had his way with this place...So much has changed...I can't show myself to them, but I want to save everyone I can...Please help me, Link. Link, hurry! My people are still not true beasts. If we can defeat Zant, there still might be time to save everyone!" — Midna (Twilight Princess)
- "The Shadow World… they act like it's the otherworld or something… however, that's not so." — Midna (Twilight Princess -- Japanese version)
- "Don't you ever feel lonely for some reason as dusk falls? It's the only time when the other world and this world can intersect… It is said that the sentiments of the people of the underworld/hades, their regrets lingering in this world, are still around. That's why the hour of twilight is lonesome and dolorous…" — Rusl (Twilight Princess -- Japanese version)
|Names in Other Regions|
|Japanese||影の世界 (Kage no Sekai)||Shadow World|
|Italian||Regno del Crepuscolo|