The Great Flood is the name often associated with a deluge that befell the land of Hyrule many generations after the end of Ocarina of Time in the Adult Timeline. Described in the introduction of The Wind Waker, it occurred when Ganondorf escaped from his imprisonment in the Sacred Realm and returned to Hyrule, after the departure of the Hero of Time.
Return of Ganondorf
Many generations after the departure of the Hero of Time, the seal of the Seven Sages began to weaken for an unknown reason, and Ganondorf managed to escape his imprisonment. Ganondorf intended to make good on his threat to the Hero of Time and the Seven Sages that he would escape one day to make their descendants pay for his imprisonment. As the darkness was covering the land, the people of Hyrule prayed that the Hero of Time would once again come to save them, but the hero did not appear.
The Divine Deluge
The King of Hyrule, Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, attempted to use his magic to stop Ganondorf, but failed. Left with no other choice, the people pleaded to the three Golden Goddesses. The Goddesses eventually answered the peoples' prayers, instructing those chosen to flee to Hyrule's mountaintops in order to escape the coming flood and to prevent Ganon's wish of the destruction of the land. Once the people were safely away, the Goddesses caused a torrential downpour, covering the land and turning the mountaintops into islands. The king chose to remain behind with his doomed kingdom. He split the Triforce of Wisdom into two parts and instructed the princess of that era to keep one piece and flee to the mountaintops with her servants.
Ganon's army had already infiltrated Hyrule Castle when the goddesses sealed the kingdom within an enchanted air chamber that prevented the water from destroying it. A magical seal was also cast over the Master Sword and the Pedestal of Time that froze the entire land of Hyrule and Ganon's army, freezing them in time and draining the entire kingdom of color.
The people of Hyrule would then go on to build a new civilization on the surface of the Great Sea and, with the passing of time, largely forget the memory of the old Hyrule that still existed deep beneath the waves.
- Main article: The Wind Waker
Many centuries after the initial flood, Ganondorf broke free of the seal binding Hyrule and returned, intending to reunite the Triforce pieces to reconquer the sunken Hyrule. This caused a new incarnation of Link and Princess Zelda to appear to challenge Ganondorf again, as had their predecessors. After uniting the Triforce, and at the will of the old King, the sacred pieces rise into the air and vanish as the air chamber above them begins to collapse, allowing the Great Sea to pour into Hyrule. After Ganondorf is defeated, Hyrule is completely swallowed by water, leaving Link and Princess Zelda to create a new Hyrule above the waves.
- The Goddesses flooding Hyrule to cleanse evil from the land, at the sacrifice of most life while allowing a select few to survive, is similar to many flood myths from real life.
- "The great evil that all thought had been forever sealed away by the hero...once again crept forth from the depths of the earth, eager to resume its dark designs." — N/A (The Wind Waker)
- "Once, long ago, this land of Hyrule was turned into a world of shadows by Ganon, who sought to obtain the power of the gods for his own evil ends." — Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule (The Wind Waker)
- "Someday...When this seal is broken....That is when I will exterminate your descendants!!" — Ganondorf (Ocarina of Time)
- "The people believed that the Hero of Time would again come to save them. ...But the hero did not appear." — N/A (The Wind Waker)
- "My power alone could not stop the fiend, and our only choice was to leave the fate of the kingdom in the hands of the gods..." — Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule (The Wind Waker)
- "Faced by an onslaught of evil, the people could do nothing but appeal to the gods. In their last hour, as doom drew nigh, they left their future in the hands of fate." — N/A (The Wind Waker)
- "When the gods heard our pleas, they chose to seal away not only Ganon, but Hyrule itself...and so, with a torrential downpour of rains from the heavens... Our fair kingdom was soon buried beneath the waves, forgotten at the bottom of the ocean. Yet all was not lost. For the gods knew that to seal the people away with the kingdom would be to grant Ganon's wish for the destruction of the land. So, before the sealing of the kingdom, the gods chose those who would build a new country and commanded them to take refuge on the mountaintops." — Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule (The Wind Waker)
- "The gods chose which of the kingdom's subjects would ascend to the new land, telling them to escape to the tallest mountains. They then flooded the world, sinking Ganondorf and Hyrule to the bottom of the ocean and sealing them away. Though the king was sealed along with his kingdom, the princess took a piece of the Triforce that had been broken in two by the king and managed to escape to the ocean's surface with several of her retainers." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 123)
- "By the way, boy... When you drew that sword of yours out of its resting place... Did you by chance notice how all of the monsters frozen in time down there suddenly began stirring again?[...] While that sword is indeed the blade of evil's bane, at the same time, it has long played another role... You see, it is also a sort of key... a most wretched little key that has kept the seal on me and my magic intact! By withdrawing the blade, you have broken that seal..." — Ganondorf (The Wind Waker)
- "The memory of the kingdom vanished, but its legend survived on the wind's breath." — N/A (The Wind Waker)
- "Do not fear. I will not kill you... I merely have need of the power that dwells within you." — Ganondorf (The Wind Waker)