Remember the Tetraforce? This is my take on it.

  • Alright guys, I just realised that I haven't shared here, in my own frigging Zelda Community, the most embarrassing to admit theory I've had for a long time. It is not embarrassing because I think it doesn't hold any water, it is just that as soon as I mention it is my way to explain the inverted Triangle in OoT's Hylian Shield, people just assume I will go off the rails to fan-fic land to make sense of it. I will not. Just stick with me.


    But first get a coffee and some biscuits, this might be a long ride. I want to be as thorough as I can. I will try to spice things up with some images and humour but the coffee will surely help. :lengua:
    Alternatively just check my Hyrule/Zelda Amino version.






    Origin of the Tetraforce theories


    Just skip this chapter (go to my next post) if you lived through the sprout or are familiar with the whole ordeal.


    This is OoT's Hylian Shield:


    OoT came out on November of 1998, back then the Internet was something that was still being 'adopted' in some homes, there wasn't a real unifying network around and contacting Japanese people fluent in English to translate the gossips was not easy to do. The internet was a weird place segregated from the 'real world'. Websites and communities were expensive to maintain so forums were either really crappy looking (and thus you knew they were from novices) or vBulletin. vBulletin was king on established communities. It was on those forums where people could look way too deep into things and the Zelda Franchise was still young, only five games out (try to count all of zelda games with one hand now).


    We were more gullible, because it would take longer to discard theories. Some people made very compelling arguments (that made sense at the time) and others claimed crazy things that the only way to disprove were basically to try them out. Rumours like that you could obtain the Triforce, or taht there was a way to access the hill on the left side of Hyrule Castle, things like that. There were also an immense amount of theories and the websites loved getting fan-mail about them.



    Tetraforce.


    Sounds dumb.It is TRIforce for a reason, right? Well, yeah. Although some people think the name has a slightly different meaning. The biggest thing people used to defend this was the original NES game.

    The Legend of Zelda introduced the Triforce as two pieces: Power and Wisdom. Ganon had the Power and Zelda had Wisdom, which she separated in 8 fragments and hid them in different dungeons. Link fights in each dungeon to retrieve the fragments one by one. This means that Triforce could be a short way to define those "Tri-sided Force Gems", at the very least until the second game, Adventure of Link introduced Courage.


    If Nintendo introduced a new piece once before, why was it so unthinkable they could add a new one, even if it wasn't outright spelled in the game. That fourth piece would complete the Triforce in its glorious bigger Triangle shape.


    From here theories just became more bizarre as new games were introduced. However the usual rationalization was the following "There is a deity for each piece, therefore there must be a 4th Goddess. We must find her!"


    Many remembered the lady on the Gerudo temple, thinking she might be some forsaken Goddess for the Hylians and the key for the riddle.


    Majora's Mask arrived and with it the concept of a Goddess of Time and the idea that "Time" most likely is this elusive fourth piece. However the Oracle games gave detractors some ammunition when the Oracle Nayru was given the ability to control time, strongly hinting that the Goddess of Time was in fact another name to call the Goddess that left the Wisdom piece. Another thing to mention is that Phantom Hourglass seems to attribute Farore as the Goddess of Time and Courage. So feel free to place your bets on which of them is the Goddess of time, or make a new thread right here.


    By the Time the Wind waker was about to be released, people were growing tired of the theories and many stopped taking them seriously, but some thought "Tetra" must be some sort of hint. Why else would you name Zelda's Alter ego tetra?



    I mean, other than "tetra" being a type of fish? For a lady that spent her days commanding a Pirateship on the sea, I think it kind of makes sense. Even if they called said fish differently in japan (I don't know. No speak Japanese) it still could be the same reasoning. It is not unheard of Nintendo taking inspiration outside of japan. Zelda's name in itself is an example of this.


    In general, the Tetraforce theory is pretty much beaten down over and over and mostly just called upon to mock it and discredit it. It has become a circle of the same arguments and at this point has become a tiresome thing for many.


    Nintendo, aware of the whole thing, has taken out the extra piece from the designs of the newer zelda games featuring a Hylian Shield taht came up afterwards to avoid confusion. I have no links to provide but people also seem to parrot often that Nintendo has denied in several occasions the existence of a Tetraforce.



    Maybe is time to just forget the damn mystery of inverted Triangle and let it die already.


    Sure. Just not before I share with you a personal "fannon" I've had since Ocarina of Time.




    The possible meaning of the inverted triangle


    Perhaps it makes little sense to swim against the tide about something like this. The inverted triangle appeared in one game and for all we know it could have been a last minute addition.


    It wasn't. During the years there has been beta screenshots taht let us seen the progress as the game was being developed. Ocarina of Time was a huge project in its time and it took years to be completed. However even from early designs it seemed like that inverted Triangle must have been a requirement.



    Even then it seemed the inverted triangle could fit inside the Triforce. I don't think this is coincidence.
    On the other hand, I admit I have no explanation for the silver ornaments at the top and I am not going to obsess over them for this theory. I just want to focus on the Golden Triangle "puzzle".


    The answer for this puzzle lies in the last words Sheik entrust to Link before revealing that spoiler that by now should not be a spoiler.


    Quote from Sheik


    "The Triforce... the sacred triangles... it is a paradise that weighs the three forces: Power, Wisdom, and Courage. If the heart of the one who holds the sacred triangles has all three forces in balance, that one will gain the True Force to govern all.


    But, if that one's heart is not in balance, the Triforce will separate into three parts: Power, Wisdom, and Courage. Only one part will remain for the one who touched the Triforce... the part representing the force that one most believes in. If that one seeks the True Force, that one must acquire the two lost parts. Those two parts will be held within others chosen by destiny, who will bear the Triforce mark on the backs of their hands."



    This didn't come out of the blue, the importance of a kind heart is something openly expressed in different Zelda games. This is because the only requirement to possess the complete Triforce is to have the forces they represent balanced in your heart. It doesn't matter if you have evil or good intentions.


    For me the design on the shield was meant to be a visual representation of this idea.


    Each side of the triangle means to show the balance of the forces in the heart of the bearer. A balanced heart would be the equilateral triangle. A heart that relies more in only one of the forces would have an asymmetrical shape; it'd be an scalene triangle. If you tried to force that misshapen triangle inside the Triforce's hole you would just end up "breaking" it.


    Ganondorf's "unbalanced" heart broke the Triforce, so he remained only with Power. If he wanted to gain Courage and Wisdom, he would have to manually locate and extract them from the other bearers.


    That elusive 'force' is nothing else than the balanced heart. As Sheik puts it, this makes the "True Force".



    As you see, no Goddesses or anything to suggest a tetraforce was used to explain this triangle. I gave you in-game material and, at least to my knowledge, it holds well even against other games that came after it.


    If Nintendo denies a Tetraforce is because they never intended it as such. I really believe that although that inverted triangle was important to Nintendo to keep using it almost all the way till the finalised product they never intended to mean there was a fourth force (or deity) to seek.


    Even in beta, they always showed the Triforce as the Triangle we know.






    Thank you for reading all the way (or skimming, is not like I can tell) and let me know what did you think. Am I nutz or does this explanation makes sense to you?

  • It makes sense to me. The idea of a fourth piece seems completely arbitrary and made up, but your explanation makes sense. Not sure there's much else to say - the person seeking the triforce can be represented as a piece trying to fit into the middle of the triforce. Yep. Makes sense to me. I wish I had some in-depth and enlightening commentary... any takers?

  • It makes sense to me. The idea of a fourth piece seems completely arbitrary and made up, but your explanation makes sense. Not sure there's much else to say - the person seeking the triforce can be represented as a piece trying to fit into the middle of the triforce. Yep. Makes sense to me. I wish I had some in-depth and enlightening commentary... any takers?


    I appreciate your comment. I think that you actually commented even if it wasn't something fancy is a lot more encouraging than receiving not comment at all, hahah.
    Glad it made some sense. :)

  • I have thought about this a lot myself. I never played the Oracle games, but for me, it seemed that the fourth piece was most likely for the Goddess of time as mentioned in Major's Mask. I never believed that it was truly canon, but I did wonder if this fourth piece became the Ocarina of Time itself, only under disguise by some strange series of events. Curiously, the Ocarina of Time's greatest power seems to come forth in Termina, where the Goddess of time is mentioned and revered the most.


    I had a theory that when the Three Goddesses created Termina by accident. . . they had not only made several strange copies of places and things that existed in Hyrule- but also people which were doomed to mirror Hyrule's inhabitants for centuries. The Feirce Deity may have been some mirror image of the First Link mentioned in Skyward Sword. . . The Goddess of Time, I came to believe must have been some parallel to the Goddess Hylia who was also mentioned in the same game.


    I realize that there is a lot of conjecture here, but. . . It's still neat to think about. OOT and MM are the two Zelda games I have played the most. I also played them when I was young enough to really enjoy them, but also understand some of the deeper themes portrayed within both games.


    If I had to guess, I would say there was some connection between the Goddess of Time. . . Hylia, the Ocarina of Time and other elements in Termina that would comply with this "fourth piece"- If it were to be canon. And I'm pretty sure it's not, but I still support the idea. If that's alright to support an idea that probably won't ever be used by the Zelda Staff.


    We know the original inhabitants of Ikana certainly thought. . . something of Tri force. I am disappointed that MM3D removed all that. It had so much lore going for it. . . especially with the sacred light arrows and all which the Ikanites apparently had kept for ages inside the Stone Tower.