Zelda fans pleasantly surprised by Tears of the Kingdom theory that actually makes sense

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
(Image credit: Nintendo)

We're in the part of the hype cycle for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom where longtime series fans take the absence of regularly distributed information about the game as a chance to start spinning up increasingly absurd theories about the content of the game - and now everybody's been pleasantly surprised by one theory that actually makes a lot of sense.

We know that in Tears of the Kingdom, Link is going to lose most of the abilities and power-ups he collected in Breath of the Wild because, well, that's how video games work. Many of the Tears of the Kingdom trailers prominently feature a sequence where Link is attacked by the corrupted energy pouring out of what appears to be Ganondorf's corpse. It engulfs Link's right arm, and is likely the reason he ends up with that weird, inhuman limb throughout the rest of the game.

"Okay theory time," one top post in the Tears of the Kingdom subreddit begins, citing the moment Link's arm is engulfed. "This is when all that we collected in BotW is taken away. The hearts, stamina wheels and champion abilities. It would also be very cool to see Ganondorf use something like Urbosa's Fury or Daruk's Protection!"

Ok theory time. This is when all that we collected in BOTW is taken away. The hearts, stamina wheels and champion abilities. It would also be very cool to see Ganondorf use something like Urbosas Fury or Daruks Protection! from r/tearsofthekingdom

Broadly, everyone's onboard with that idea. "Number 1 most sane and probable theory on this whole sub," as one commentor calls it. "This is the most believable theory I’ve seen yet," another says. There's some debate about the champion abilities, though - as yet another commentor notes, "The champion abilities left when the champions left. That's at the end of BotW, you see them look on with King Rhoam and then they all twinkle away."

You might detect a note of exhaustion with the state of Zelda theorycrafting in those comments, and that feeling seems to be taking hold across the community. The breaking point might've been when a wild idea from the Breath of the Wild days about Ganon being the ancient hero who, uh, defeated Ganon started to resurface, and since then, people finally seem to be willing to calm down and wait to see what TotK has in store. At least, that's the impression you get casually scrolling through these discussions.

The "Ganondorf is the Hero" theory is just the zelda communities Flat Earth theory from r/tearsofthekingdom
Fan theories are part of the fun of fan culture. Let's not criticise people for having them. from r/tearsofthekingdom
Remember the good old days when we went crazy over rock swirls? from r/tearsofthekingdom

I've said it before in an explainer about the distinction between Ganon and Ganondorf, and I'll say it again here - Zelda lore is a bit of a mess. Nintendo's more than willing to retcon just about anything if it serves a new gameplay idea, and efforts to piece together the series story into something coherent are better considered as fun diversions than anything else.

Find out why The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures is an oft-overlooked GameCube standout.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.