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This article is about the Imprisoning War depicted in Tears of the Kingdom. For the Imprisoning War seen in A Link to the Past, go to Imprisoning War.

The Imprisoning War was an ancient conflict that serves as a major event in the backstory of Tears of the Kingdom. Occurring during the founding of the current iteration of Hyrule Kingdom, it chronicles the treacherous betrayal of Ganondorf, the ambitious leader of the Gerudo. Ganondorf, lured by an ambition to rule Hyrule for himself and desiring the power of the Zonai's Secret Stones, assassinated Queen Sonia and stole her stone for himself.

This act transformed him into the monstrous and incredibly powerful Demon King, who unleashed chaos upon the land with his new army of monsters. Despite the valiant efforts of the Sages and King Rauru, Ganondorf's overwhelming power proved insurmountable. In a selfless act of sacrifice, King Rauru paid the ultimate price to seal Ganon away, leaving an indelible mark on Hyrule's history and setting the stage for future conflicts against the forces of darkness.



The Founding of Hyrule[]

The Zonai, an ancient tribe of great significance, made a profound entrance onto the surface of Hyrule. Their arrival was met with awe and reverence by the ancient Hylian population, who initially perceived the Zonai as divine beings due to their extraordinary abilities and knowledge.

The Zonai brought with them the Secret Stones, mystical artifacts which held the power to amplify an individual's magical abilities, which granted the Zonai an unprecedented mastery over the forces of light and darkness.

Over time, however, the once-thriving Zonai civilization gradually faded away. By the time of Hyrule's establishment, the only two Zonai who remained were Rauru and his sister, Mineru, who became the last known Zonai in Hyrule.

Rauru and a Hylian priestess named Sonia, bound by their deep love and shared aspirations, joined in matrimony and together established the kingdom of Hyrule, becoming the first King and Queen. In their union, Rauru gifted Sonia a Secret Stone, which would enhance her power over the flow of time. This momentous union between the Zonai and the Hylian marked the birth of a new era, where their combined wisdom and devotion set the stage for the prosperous realm of Hyrule to flourish.

The Birth of the Demon King[]

Ganondorf transforms into the Demon King

Ganondorf transforms into the Demon King

However, the idyllic era of peace in Hyrule would soon be shattered by the treacherous actions of Ganondorf, the leader of the Gerudo tribe. Driven by his insatiable thirst for power and a hatred for the arrogant Zonai, Ganondorf coveted the Secret Stones held by Rauru and Sonia. When the might of the stones repelled a Gerudo-directed Molduga stampede, Ganondorf abandoned his brute force tactics, instead furthering his machinations through a false oath of fealty to the kingdom. While Rauru and his court were well aware of Ganondorf's deceit, the Gerudo chief's sorcerous abilities allowed him to continue manipulating the monarchy directly via an illusory copy of Zelda. On the night of a Blood Moon, he used the very same copy to distract Sonia and the true Princess, and murdered the queen by surprise to claim her Secret Stone for himself. Using the stone, Ganondorf was transformed into the fearsome Demon King, a malevolent entity of immense, godlike power. Ganondorf released his dark energy and summoned countless waves of monsters, creating an army with which to conquer Hyrule. Wielding the light of his own Secret Stone, Rauru was able to shield Zelda and the dying Sonia from the newly birthed Demon King's attack, but the sheer strength of the Gloom's assault eventually forced the monarchs flee to the Forgotten Temple via the Purah Pad's teleportation function.

The Imprisoning War[]

The conflict that ensued, known as the Imprisoning War, was a desperate battle for the survival of Hyrule. Rauru organized the leaders of the Gorons, Rito, Zora, and Gerudo—the latter of which had been betrayed by Ganondorf after he became the Demon King—and together with Mineru and Zelda, they were each gifted a Secret Stone and collectively became the Sages after taking an oath of loyalty to Rauru.

On the eve of the final confrontation with Ganondorf, Rauru bade his final farewell to the departed Sonia. Zelda, now aware of the Demon King's connection to the Calamity and the corpse she and Link found in the catacombs of the present, sorrowfully informed Rauru that the upcoming battle would not end in victory. In spite of this, Rauru assured her that he was ready to accept the necessity of his sacrifice, viewing it as both the duty of any ruler to his people, and as penance for the hubris by which he allowed the Demon King's ascension. Before departing to make final preparations, Rauru confided to Zelda his faith in the princess and her knight- believing that if the combined might of the Sages could not fell Ganondorf, Link would act as the final defense between Hyrule and oblivion.

Rarau Seals Ganondorf

Rauru and Ganondorf, after Rauru's seal

The Sages fought valiantly against Ganondorf and his dark minions, leading the Hylian army and that of the four tribes into battle against the Demon King. Despite their efforts, the might of the Demon King and his hordes proved too great for even their combined strength, and the Sages were soon backed into a corner. Realizing the need for a drastic solution during the final battle of the war, Rauru commanded the sages to distract Ganondorf, allowing him to land a decisive blow that sealed both the King of Light and the Demon King in time. As the seal began to bind the two, Ganondorf mocked Rauru's attempt to delay his inevitable conquest. The King of Light's final words foretold the arrival of Link, whose blade would seal Ganondorf's darkness and bring an end to his terror. The sealing of the Demon King marked the end of the Imprisoning War, though its effects lingered on for millennia.


In the immediate aftermath of the imprisonment of the Demon King, Mineru's physical body succumbed to the effects of Ganondorf's Gloom, though she survived by separating her spirit from her body and placing it within the Purah Pad. Zelda soon received the Master Sword from Link, who had sent the blade back through time to the era of Hyrule's founding after the Demon King had awakened in the future. Remembering that the Master Sword was capable of healing and growing stronger when bathed in sacred power, Zelda determined that the only option to defeat the Demon King in her and Link's time was for her to undergo the forbidden process of draconification, which involved swallowing a Secret Stone and becoming an immortal dragon at the cost of sacrificing both body and mind.

Zelda transforms into the Light Dragon

Zelda transforms into the Light Dragon to heal and strengthen the Master Sword with sacred power for centuries

After steeling her resolve, Zelda made the necessary preparations by requesting that the four remaining Sages guide their descendants to awaken as a new team of Sages in her time, gifted the Purah Pad to a Steward Construct so that Link could retrieve it millennia later, then swallowed her stone while holding the Master Sword tightly. The act transformed Zelda into the Light Dragon, who flew skyward and disappeared into Hyrule's skies, nourishing the decayed Master Sword for thousands upon thousands of years, giving it the necessary power to defeat the Demon King.

The concentrated power of the Sages, in honor of Zelda's final wishes, sent the land that would one day be known as the Great Sky Island into the heavens, so that it could serve as a refuge for Link in the future, safe from Ganondorf and his minions.

Shortly after King Rauru had sealed Ganondorf underground, his people constructed Hyrule Castle above the site to keep the Demon King sealed, the castle remained intact and undestroyed for ages ever since, until it was damaged for the first time during the Great Calamity 100 years prior to the Era of the Wilds.[1][2]


  1. "He was imprisoned beneath Hyrule Castle for ages, but the magic holding him weakened when the castle was damaged during the calamity a century ago, and his power has steadily been growing since. Now he has revived as a threat beyond the knowledge of any." — Character Profiles (Tears of the Kingdom)
  2. "Deep beneath this land, our mighty first ruler imprisoned the Demon King. To ensure the king's magic would hold, we erected a castle here to protect this sacred site. Without the castle in place, the site may be disturbed, allowing the Demon King's hatred and rage to be revived. The preservation of this castle is therfore tied to the prosperity of the kingdom." — Gloom's Approach (Tears of the Kingdom)