Symbols are recurring things in The Legend of Zelda series. Information pertaining to the symbols is meant to be brief, informative and non speculative. Recurring symbols in the series will be referred to by their roles in the first games they appeared in.
- 1 Triforce
- 2 The Cross and Christianity
- 3 Hylian Script
- 4 Magic Medallions
- 5 Boss Insignias
- 6 Royal Crest
- 7 Race Emblems
- 8 Symbol of Time
- 9 Sage Emblems
- 10 Seasons
- 11 Maku Seeds
- 12 Sail Symbol
- 13 Vaati's Eye
- 14 Wind Crest
- 15 Twilight Emblem
- 16 Sky Characters
- 17 Ocean King's Emblem
- 18 Cyclone Slate Symbols
- 19 Door Symbols
- 20 Symbol of the Spirits
- 21 Temple Emblems
- 22 Stamps
- 23 Goddess Crest
- 24 Marks of the Goddesses
- 25 Gallery
- Main article: Triforce
The Triforce is the symbol of the Golden Goddesses' power and by far the most prominent symbol in The Legend of Zelda series. It has served as a major plot device in many of the games. It first appears in The Legend of Zelda, but at the time, there was only the Triforce of Power and the Triforce of Wisdom. In The Adventure of Link, a third piece of the Triforce, the Triforce of Courage, is introduced. After the game is beaten, all three pieces are shown in their now familiar arrangement. In the prologue to The Adventure of Link, the symbol of the Triforce appears on the back of Link's left hand. This becomes a regular occurrence in later Zelda titles. Depictions of the Triforce appear in many places throughout the series, such as above the Door of Time, on the Master Sword, on many of Link's Shields, on the Hylian emblem, and in the center of the Mirror of Twilight. In Ocarina of Time, the Triforce is commonly seen where Link is required to play Zelda's Lullaby to unlock secrets. Curiously, the Triforce symbol also appears in Termina, in the Stone Tower Temple, where the Goddesses are not proven to exist.
- Triforce of Power – The Triforce on top of the arrangement, representative of Din. This piece is usually possessed by Ganon.
- Triforce of Wisdom – The Triforce on the left side of the arrangement, representative of Nayru. This piece is usually possessed by Princess Zelda.
- Triforce of Courage – The Triforce on the right side of the arrangement, representative of Farore. This piece is usually possessed by Link.
The Cross and Christianity
The Cross has appeared in several early Zelda titles, primarily in The Legend of Zelda and in Adventure of Link. Although the Triforce had debuted in The Legend of Zelda, it did not initially appear as a religious icon in The Legend of Zelda series until A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time. It would seem to suggest that Christianity was initially supposed to be the intended religion in The Legend of Zelda series. However it should also be noted that in Japan, Christian symbolism is often used in a nonreligious context for aesthetic purposes; Nintendo's own Fire Emblem series also uses strong examples of Christian imagery, despite having having its own religious backdrop separate from real religion.
Two items that appear in the series very strongly hint at a form of Christianity existing in the series: the first item is the Book of Magic, which was originally called the Bible (バイブル) in Japanese releases, but its name was changed in American releases probably due to it violating Nintendo of America's, at the time, strict guidelines of mentioning religious content in their products. Despite this, the Cross can still be seen imprinted on the Magic Book's in-game cover sprite and in its official artwork. The second item is an actual Cross in Adventure of Link, which is used to make flying Moas appear visible. The Cross has also appeared engraved on the head of tombstones, on small shields and Magical Shields in both titles, and on a tall church-like building in the town of Mido. The latter example was actually modified slightly in the international release of the game to make it appear less like the traditional cross. The Wizard enemies in the game also appear to have crosses on their robes from which they look out from.
Although The Legend of Zelda and Adventure of Link were the only Zelda games that featured the Cross within them, A Link to the Past retained a number of elements used by Christian culture; the Sanctuary was originally known as a church in the Japanese version of the game, with the Sage within known as a priest. The Sanctuary itself was not changed during the localization of the game, and while it appears much like a Christian church, it depicts the Triforce as a religious image as opposed to a Cross. The game also contains a graveyard, a word especially used for ecclesiastical burial grounds. In addition, imagery of the Triforce in the manual includes distinctive halos around it. The Book of Mudora asks Link to pray in front of an ancient stone tablet to enter the Desert Palace, and during this prayer, he appears to make a cross sign on his chest with his finger before praying, a common Christian activity prior to prayer. Unusually, the Christian Cross also made an appearance in a piece of artwork of A Link in the Past created for the official Japanese Player's Guide, depicting Link kneeling in front of the crucifix, a Cross with the representation of Jesus' body, in prayer. While its canon status is very questionable, it is one of the stronger references to Christianity in The Legend of Zelda series and also seems to suggest that Link may have been portrayed as a Christian.
- Main article: Hylian Language
- Main article: Magic Medallion
In most dungeons of A Link to the Past, symbols are seen on tiles in front of doors leading to boss rooms. Just before the battles with each of the first three bosses in the Light World, a demonic-looking skull is shown on these tiles. Before Link's first fight with Agahnim, the eye insignia is seen, but before the second fight, the tiles depict a bat. The Helmasaur King, Arrghus, Vitreous, and Trinexx all have symbols before their rooms that have their likeness, but the rest of the bosses have no insignias marking their rooms. This is most likely because Mothula and Kholdstare are in rooms that Link drops into from above rather than entering through a door, and Blind the Thief is disguised at first; his boss room is not meant to obviously be one when it is first encountered.
A similar theme appear in Ganon's Tower in The Wind Waker. Symbols depicting four bosses, which Link defeats earlier in the game, are marked upon a barrier. The barrier depicts Gohma, Kalle Demos, Jalhalla, and Molgera. After Link destroys a boss a second time, that boss' corresponding insignia will glow. When all four are defeated, the barrier will reveal a depiction of Ganon before finally crumbling. All five of these symbols appear again in the rooms to the left and right directly after the barrier. Below the symbols are either switches that Link must hit in a certain order or candles that give a clue as to which order Link must hit the switches.
Identical to the former theme boss insignias appear in A Link Between Worlds in Lorule Castle before facing the main antagonist. They display a Ball and Chain Trooper, Arrghus, Moldorm and a Gigabari.
- Main article: Royal Crest
The Royal Crest depicting a Loftwing with the Triforce as its head was introduced in Ocarina of Time. It was derived from the Goddess Crest alongside the similar Hylian Crest, and is used as the crest of the royal family of Hyrule. Variations of the design appear in many places and on many objects related to the royal family and its subjects.
In Ocarina of Time, there are emblems representing the races of Hyrule. They are later shown in The Wind Waker on stained glass depictions of the Sages, each emblem above a sage of its respective race.
- Hylian Emblem – The Hylian Crest depicts a Loftwing in flight. It is nearly identical to the Royal Crest, but lacks the Triforce at the head. It appears above Rauru's stain glass depiction, so it may represent the Hylian race as a whole; not only the royal family. Since A Link to the Past, birdlike symbols like this have decorated many of Link's shields.
- Kokiri Emblem – This symbol resembles the Kokiri's Emerald. It appears on the Deku Shield. This emblem is also seen on the doors of the Forbidden Woods in The Wind Waker, and the doors of the Forest Temple in Twilight Princess.
- Goron Emblem – This symbol resembles the Goron's Ruby. It is tattooed on many Gorons and seen throughout their cities. In Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, the adult Gorons have the image on their upper arms, while the child have it on their forearms. In The Wind Waker, the Goron Emblem appears on the Traveling Gorons backpack. In A Link Between Worlds, the Goron Emblem appears on Rosso's belt buckle. In Ocarina of Time, the symbol also appears on Armos' foreheads.
- Zora Emblem – This symbol resembles the Zora's Sapphire. In Ocarina of Time, it is seen on a round, stone decoration hanging above King Zora and on the stone columns near Lord Jabu-Jabu. Lord Jabu-Jabu also wears a crown with the Zora Emblem on it. The design changed slightly in The Wind Waker, where it is visible on Medli's and Komali's pendant. In Twilight Princess, the pendant around Ralis' neck resembles the Zora Sapphire. His mother, Rutela, also wears a pendant similar in shape to the Zora Sapphire. The doors inside the Lakebed Temple also bear the Zora Emblem. In A Link Between Worlds, the Zora Emblem appears on the front of Oren's pool, on the outcrop in which the Smooth Gem is held.
- Sheikah Emblem
- Main article: Eye Symbol
- Gerudo Emblem
- Main article: Gerudo Symbol
- Original Gerudo Emblem – This is the original design for the emblem, as it appeared in the original release of Ocarina of Time, before the revisions made for later use.
Symbol of Time
In Ocarina of Time, the same symbol that is seen on the Door of Time appears on Time Blocks. These blocks either obstructed Link's path or granted him passage. Depending on which, he was required to play the Song of Time to make them appear or disappear, just like he had to play the song to open the Door of Time. Wherever this symbol is seen, time is relevant.
- Main article: Medallions
Ocarina of Time introduced the six sage emblems. These symbols are first seen surrounding the Pedestal of Time. In the Chamber of the Sages, they appear in their respective places, each with a different color. The Medallions that Link receives have reliefs of the corresponding sage emblem on them. The emblems also appear on the sites Link lands on when he plays songs to warp to temples, each symbol matching the song and the temple. They also mark six areas in Ganon's Castle; one of each represent a sage. During the opening sequence of Super Smash Bros. Melee, the sage symbols are shown around images of Link. At the Mirror Chamber in Twilight Princess, the six sage emblems are seen, but the water emblem is broken. The sages who reside here each wear a different emblem on their clothes.
- Light – Seen on tiles in the Temple of Time of Twilight Princess.
These symbols represent the seasons in Oracle of Seasons. In the game's official art, they can be seen on the Rod of Seasons. In the four corners of the Temple of Seasons, the symbols are shown on each tower of the corresponding season. Every time Link enters a new area of the overworld or he changes the season, similar symbols show what the current season is.
The symbols on the Maku Seeds in Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons are unique to the two games and both seeds have different symbols.
- Main article: Wind Crest
The Wind Crests of The Minish Cap are first seen very early on in Link's quest, but their significance is not revealed until Link finds the Ocarina of Wind. When Link plays the instrument, he can use Zeffa to warp to any one of the eight Wind Crests if its seal is broken.
- Main article: Twilight Emblem
Throughout Twilight Princess, a red symbol is normally seen marked upon enemies in the Twilight Realm. Even the Twilight Portals bear resemblance to the symbol. Some believe it to be a sign of something tainted with Zant's evil magic. Though this is partially true, the symbol may not belong only to Zant, but the Twili as a whole. The difference is that Zant's magic appears to be red, while most Twili magic gives it a bluish-green color.
Said to be part of the ancient Sky Writing of the Oocca, the Sky Characters, six of which Link can find, are found underneath Owl Statues across Hyrule. They are an essential key to reach the City in the Sky. After Link provided him with the Ancient Sky Book, it was revealed that Shad is able to read the Sky Writing, even aloud, and it is with his spoken words in the Oocca language that magic is restored to the Dominion Rod. Link could then use the rod to move the six Owl Statues. After recording the uncovered Sky Characters to the Ancient Sky Book, Link returned the book to Shad, who read them to lead Link one step closer to the ancient Oocca city.
Ocean King's Emblem
The Ocean King's Emblem is seen throughout the Temple of the Ocean King, as well as above its entrance. It's also on the Phantom Hourglass, Pure Metals and the Phantom Sword. It has only appeared in Phantom Hourglass.
Cyclone Slate Symbols
Warping in Phantom Hourglass requires symbols to be drawn on the Cyclone Slate, an item given to Link by Cylos. There are six Golden Frogs in the World of the Ocean King, each of which will provide Link with a symbol to draw on the slate. Drawing the symbol given will bring Link back to the area where the frog was swimming.
On a few occasions in Phantom Hourglass, Link must mark these symbols upon sealed doors for them to open. There is one door in the Temple of the Ocean King which requires both an hourglass shape and a Triforce shape to be drawn on it at different points. Another door, before the entrance of Mutoh's Temple, requires Link to draw a pentagonal concave polygon. The shapes Link must draw are always written on stone tablets somewhere near the door.
Symbol of the Spirits
- Main article: Symbol of the Spirits
The Symbol of the Spirits of Good, seen in Spirit Tracks, bears a strong resemblance to the Royal Crest, with the most noticeable difference being that it has an upside-down Force Gem instead of the Triforce. It is most notably seen at the top of the Tower of Spirits and depicted in the contraptions connecting the realm temples to the tower.
Spirit Tracks contains five temples in which the Temple Emblems are seen. Each temple has one symbol pertaining to it. This emblem is seen at the station entrance as well as throughout the temple it belongs to, on tiles and walls. After completing the appropriate temple, its emblem will appear on the Collection Screen.
- Main article: Stamp Book
Early on in Spirit Tracks, Niko will provide Link the task of filling his Stamp Book with 20 different Stamps to show proof that he has been around the world. The Stamps are monochromatic images representing the area they are found in. Collecting these stamps merits rewards from Niko.
- Main article: Goddess Crest
Marks of the Goddesses
- Main article: Marks of the Goddesses