The Great Calamity is an event from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This event serves as the main historical context of the game. It corresponds to the disaster caused by Calamity Ganon throughout Hyrule that occurred one hundred years ago before Link's awakening from his long sleep inside the Shrine of Resurrection. After he awakens and leaves the Shrine, Link discovers a ruined Hyrule, in which are several ruined locations such as the Temple of Time and Hyrule Castle, which is currently controlled by Calamity Ganon who is being held under seal by Princess Zelda.
Calamity Ganon first emerged in the distant past. Ten thousand years before the events of Breath of the Wild, Ganon transformed into a monstrous creature of pure Malice known as Calamity Ganon. He ravaged Hyrule before being sealed away by the chosen Hero wielding the blade that seals darkness, and by the princess with divine powers. He was defeated thanks to an army of autonomous mechanical Guardians and four massive mechanical animal constructs called the Divine Beasts. The Ancient Sheikah tribe developed these machines with their unique technology, to help the Royal Family of Hyrule.
According to the Sheikah Cado, his tribe had long been heralded as people of great wisdom since their ancient technology became the key in sealing Calamity Ganon ten thousands years ago. Their technology was at first praised as the power of the gods. However, the people of Hyrule began to fear it as a threat to the kingdom. As a result, the Sheikah became outcasts and was forced into exile. Although most Sheikah chose to cast off their technology and live simple lives, others fostered hatred towards the kingdom of Hyrule, leading them to swear allegiance to Ganon. This resulted in the creation of the Yiga Clan, who dedicate themselves to eliminating all who stand against Ganon.
Ten thousand years later, and one century before Link's awakening inside the Shrine of Resurrection on the Great Plateau, it was foretold by the fortune teller that the return of Calamity Ganon was inevitable. This prophecy drove King Rhoam of Hyrule to create an archaeology team to search for the fabled Ancient Sheikah's technologically-advanced relics. King Rhoam decided to act in accordance to their ancestors' plan and excavated the relics, including the Guardians and the four Divine Beasts. The Sheikah still loyal to the Royal Family including Impa, Purah, and Robbie assisted them in studying this ancient technology. They recovered the mechanical army, and were successfully able to reactivate and use them. Zelda assisted them in their research due to her interest in science as she had trouble awaking her powers. Many believed them to be simply a legend but their discovery made this legend a reality for them.
Realizing this, the King selected the hero chosen by the Master Sword, a young recruit of the royal army named Link. He was appointed as the personal knight of his daughter, Princess Zelda. King Rhoam then formed a group of exceptionally skilled warriors referred to as Champions. He requested each race of Hyrule choose a Champion, and four elite warriors were selected from across the kingdom, Mipha the Zora Champion, Daruk the Goron Champion, Revali the Rito Champion and Urbosa the Gerudo Champion. They were tasked with the duty of piloting the Divine Beasts to assist the Hylian Champion, the knight Link, and to use them against the demon.
The final key to defeating Calamity Ganon was the divine sealing powers of the royal family's bloodline who are said to possess the blood of the Goddess, and the recent death of Hyrule's Queen saw this immense duty fall to her only surviving daughter. As she was now sole bearer of their birthright, the King charged Zelda to focus on mastering her control over the Divine Power to the exclusion of all else, and duly appointed Royal Knight Captain Link as her personal knight and bodyguard to ensure she stayed safe.
The Great Calamity
At some point it was discovered that Link was the current incarnation of the Hero when he was chosen by the legendary Master Sword to be its wielder and thus destined to be the Hylian Champion who would play a key role in the battle with Calamity Ganon due to his ability to wield the Blade of Evil's Bane a weapon that had been used to defeat Ganon countless times in the past. While the other Champions piloted their race's respective Divine Beast, Zelda was sent on a pilgrimage under Link's protection, praying to statues of the goddess Hylia for the power to defeat Calamity Ganon. Link protected Zelda despite her taking her frustrations out on him due to her mistaken belief that Link never experienced any hardship and Link's silence made her assume he despised her due to her inability to awaken her powers, when he reality he understood the burden she was dealing with better than anyone. However Zelda would later apologize to Link for her harsh treatment after he saved her from an attempted assassination by the Yiga Clan who presumably wanted to eliminate the Princess of Hyrule due to the threat she would pose to Ganon's return if she managed to awaken her powers. As a result, Zelda became more friendly and respectful towards Link. During this preparation period, the Champions bonded with each other, with Zelda growing especially fond of Link once she realized their similarities as people burdened with tremendous legacies to live up to.
However, Zelda was unable to unlock her power in time, and all of this preparation proved to be in vain. Calamity Ganon was prepared for Hyrule's attempt to repeat history and proved to have learned from his previous defeat by using his near limitless dark power. Recalling the threat these enemies posed, Ganon reappeared and created four phantom embodiments of himself representing the elements of fire, water, thunder, and wind, tasked with corrupting and taking control the Divine Beasts, and killing four of the Champions and imprisoning their spirits in the process.
Calamity Ganon used his own dark power to take control of the Guardians against the people of Hyrule, destroying Hyrule Castle Town and the countless settlements across Hyrule. King Rhoam was killed and the remaining soldiers and Knights of Hyrule who survived were helpless against the Guardian onslaught. Link was confronted by an army of Guardians at Fort Hateno, valiantly defended both the Fort and Princess Zelda wielded the Master Sword. Despite destroying countless guardians, his strength and skill were not sufficient to overcome their numbers and he was gravely injured.
With the heroes' defenses crumbling, and even Link overwhelmed by the renewed assault, Zelda finally unlocked her power and saved Link from the fatal blow. She requested her Sheikah allies Impa, Purah, and Robbie, to send him in the Shrine of Resurrection on the Great Plateau, where he was placed in the untested Slumber of Restoration which lasted for the next one hundred years. Zelda then returned the battle-damaged Master Sword to its pedestal in front of the Great Deku Tree. As she revealed to the Great Deku Tree, the Master Sword told Zelda that her destiny was not finish. Zelda eventually used her Divine Power to seal Ganon and herself within Hyrule Castle.
After the fall of Hyrule during the Great Calamity, and the seal of Calamity Ganon in Hyrule Castle by Princess Zelda, the surviving people of Hyrule recovered and settlements like Hateno Village where rebuilt.
Though the Royal Family of Hyrule and Champions had fallen, the Zora Royal Family lead by King Dorephan and his surviving child Prince Sidon continued to lead the Zora for the next 100 hundred years due to Zora's aging at a much slower rate than Hylians and other races. The Zora people tried to honor the late Zora Champion Princess Mipha by sending her Lightscale Trident but her spirit spoke to them and told them to not grieve just remember, causing the Zora to venerated the Lightscale Trident and created the Champion Festival as a day of remembrance and celebration of Mipha's life, with a memorial statue of her being constructed in Zora's Domain. Other Champions where honored or remembered by their people. Link's defense of Fort Hateno would be remembered by the people living in the Necluda region and Hateno Village, though he is believed to have died heroically fighting during the Great Calamity as his survival was not well known. A large stone carving of Daruk can be found in Goron City and his descendant Yunobo inherited Daruk's Protection ability. A landing platform in Rito Village was named Revali's Landing in honor of the Rito Champion. Though Lady Urbosa lacks a monument or memorial in Gerudo Town, she is remembered by the Gerudo Chieftain Riju and Gerudo children 100 years after her death. Impa, Purah, and Robbie decided to split up to survive long enough to aid Link whenever he woke up. While Impa remained behind to lead the Sheikah in Kakariko Village, Purah took up residence in the Hateno Ancient Tech Lab, while Robbie constructed the Akkala Ancient Tech Lab in an old lighthouse in Deep Akkala. The three Sheikah survived for the next 100 years keeping in contact by letters. Impa would send other Sheikah to aid them in their research, such as Jerrin and Symin. Robbie would end up marrying his assistant Jerrin and the two had a son together. Purah attempted to reverse her age with an experimental rune but it backfired and she ultimately ended up in the body of a six year old girl. Impa would have a granddaughter named Paya who grew up into a shy young woman who helped care for her elderly grandmother and prayed for their village's protection. The Yiga Clan came under the leadership of Master Kohga and from the Yiga Clan Hideout in Gerudo Highlands attack Gerudo Town and stole the Thunder Helm pasted down among Gerudo Chieftains, resulting the Gerudo becoming dedicated to restoring their honor and the elimination of the Yiga Clan.
Princess Zelda is remembered for her heroic sacrifice in sealing Calamity Ganon in Hyrule Castle, though only a few people are aware she is still alive as she sealed herself along with Ganon to maintain the seal, though this effectively made her both Ganon's jailer and prisoner as she had to remained sealed with him in the Castle to prevent his escape, though her powers occasionally faltered such as when Ganon's power reaches its peak during at midnight on a Blood Moon and shortly after Link activates the Great Plateau Tower, though Zelda manages to restore it before Ganon is able to escape. Even though he was sealed, Ganon influence could still be found in Hyrule, such as pools of Malice that had been created when water had been sullied during the Great Calamity, corrupted Guardians who patrolled Hyrule Field, the ruins of Hyrule Castle Town, and Hyrule Castle itself, turning those areas into no man's lands where few dared ventured and those that did are implied to have perished. Additionally every Blood Moon, Ganon would resurrect any slain monsters, Yiga, or Guardians. His forces would also annihilate the surviving soldiers and Knights of Hyrule who had fled Hyrule Castle and regrouped at the Akkala Citadel, an imposing fortress equipped with cannons and giving them the high ground, though they fought valiantly and managed to take out several Guardians presumably using the fortresses cannons, as nearby Torin Wetland is littered with the remains of broken and defeated Guardians, though ultimately the Akkala Citadel reduced to ruins that were patrolled by Guardian Skywatchers and its cannons become derelict and inoperable. However the Divine Beasts became dormant during the 100 years Link slept only to reawaken once Link awoke from his slumber and began rampaging against the people they once protected. Princess Zelda (via telepathy), the spirit of her father, and Impa guide amnestic Link after he awakens and reveal to him his past and quest to free both the Divine Beasts, Princess Zelda, and ultimately Hyrule by destroying Calamity Ganon and his phantoms. However Link must contend with various dangers of Hyrule such as wild animals, monsters, corrupted Guardians, the Yiga Clan, and even the Divine Beasts. Fortunately, Link acquires Zelda's Sheikah Slate, a powerful Sheikah artifact that proves vital in his quest and allows him to access Sheikah Towers, Shrines, and technology. Additionally it allows him to meet the Sheikah Monks who inhabit the various Shrines in found all over Hyrule and serve the Goddess Hylia by testing the hero's skills. Hylia herself aids Link when he prays to her statues, trading Heart Containers or Stamina Vessels for Spirit Orbs obtained from completing the Monks' trials and guides him to shrines hidden in the three springs that Zelda visited during her pilgrimage. Using pictures stored in the Sheikah Slate Link's memories are restored and he reclaims the Master Sword from Korok Forest in order to use it to defeat Calamity Ganon. With the aid of allies such as King Dorephan, Prince Sidon, Riju, Yunobo, and the Rito Teba Link is able to free the Divine Beasts and the Champion's spirits who grant him their special abilities and retake control of the Divine Beasts so they may fulfil their duty as Champions. Once the Divine Beasts are freed and Link regains the Master Sword, he infiltrates Hyrule Castle to confront and defeat the evil Calamity Ganon to restore the Kingdom of Hyrule and save Zelda.
It is possible, although not clear, that this may be what caused Link's death in the possible "Hero Dies and Fall" branch of the timeline split in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time; however, this may also be a new installation that splits either much earlier or much later in one of the other timelines. Another possibility may be none connection to any timeline splits due to the lack of time travel in Breath of the Wild since it occurs after the events of Ocarina of Time. Another possibility is that it takes place in a unknown forth timeline that may have resulted from the events of Ocarina of Time.
The timeline branch that Breath of the Wild takes place is unclear as there are several reference to all three timelines. However what is known is that it occurs after the events of both Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time.
Events in The Legend of Zelda series
|Age of Burning Fields · Creation of Hyrule · Great Calamity · Great Cataclysm · Great Flood · Peace Agreement · Shipwreck · Slumber of Restoration|
|Great War of Ikana · Hyrulean Civil War · Imprisoning War · War of the Bound Chest|
|Carnival of Time · Champion Festival · Hyrule Festival · Korok Ceremony · Picori Festival · Picori Festival Tournament · Wing Ceremony|
|Autumn · Spring · Summer · Winter|
|Blood Moon · Endless Day · Endless Night · Graduation Ceremony · Horde Battle · Jam Session · Lunar Phases · Oasis Flight · Restoration Ceremony|
|Bad Uncle Rupee's Ashen Rupeeland · Destruction of Termina · Game Over|