Hyrule Castle is the seat of government of the kingdom of Hyrule and where the royal family of Hyrule including Princess Zelda live. In most games it is located near Hyrule's capital Hyrule Castle Town.
Taken from the opening of The Wind Waker:
"Long ago, there was a kingdom where a golden power lay hidden. It was a prosperous land blessed with green forests, tall mountains, and above all, it was in peace, as it had been for ages. But one day, a man of great evil lay his hands upon the golden power and attempted to satisfy his evil intentions with it. With its strength at his command, he spread darkness across the kingdom. But then, when all hope had died, and the hour of doom seemed at hand, a young boy clothed in green appeared out of nowhere. Wielding the Blade of Evil's Bane, He sealed the King of Evil away and returned the light to the land. This boy, rumored to have used the ability to travel through time to save the land was known as the Hero of Time. The boy's tale was passed down through generations, and as we speak he has become a Legend...."
Hyrule Castle was first introduced in A Link to the Past in 1991 on the Super Famicom, and in 1992 on the Super Nintendo. The sewers of the castle acted as the first dungeon of the game, where Link had to free Princess Zelda from her prison cell. Link would revisit the castle once he obtained the Master Sword. One of many rivers in Hyrule acts as a natural moat to the south. The castle has several floors. Hyrule Castle was located in the middle of Hyrule Kingdom, just as it has in every Zelda game that it has appeared in.
Hyrule Castle would reappear in 1998 on the N64 in 3D, in Ocarina of Time. In this itteration, the castle was no longer alone in the middle of the kingdom. This time, a small town known as Hyrule Castle Town resided to the south of the palace, Link having to go through the town to enter the castle. Hyrule Castle, other than the courtyard, is unable to be entered. A moat goes around the castle to the south and the east, and a natural barrier protects the west and north. The castle is heavily guarded by knights, and if one sees Link, he is immediately thrown out. When Link returns from his seven year slumber after pulling the Master Sword, he finds that Ganondorf's seige caused the destruction of the town, as well as the castle.
In 2001, while it is never referenced, or visited, we see one tower of Hyrule Castle at the end of the Ganon battle in the linked Oracle games. We see Princess Zelda of Hyrule looking out over what is pressumed to be Hyrule, on a balcony of a castle tower, which we can only assume to be Hyrule Castle.
In 2002, Hyrule Castle was once again present, however this time on the ocean floor. In The Wind Waker, we see Hyrule as it is as the floor of the Great Sea. After Link's departure from adulthood at the end of Ocarina of Time, Zelda, the remaining Hylians, and the sages rebuilt Hyrule after Ganon was sealed away. Hundreds of years passed, and Hyrule flourished. One day, Ganon reappeared, but the Hero of Time was no longer present, so there was no one to protect Hyrule. The people of the kingdom wished upon the Triforce to aid them in this dark time. In response, chosen Hylians were sent to the peaks of the tallest mountains in Hyrule, and the Triforce's magic flooded Hyrule, turning it into the bottom of the ocean. Hundreds of years passed, and one day a new hero magically entered the submerged kingdom of Hyrule, landing in the castle. Hyrule Castle was under a magical seal that kept the Demon King Ganondorf's magic under control. The Master Sword was relocated to the castle some time before the flood, and it acted as a seal of Ganon's power. This in turn caused the invaiders and time itself to freeze within the ruined, and drowned kingdom. Link came, and pulled the Master Sword, only to break that seal, causing Ganondorf to become powerful again, and time ressumed within Hyrule again. After fending off and defeating the invaiding Moblins and Darknuts that roamed the main room of the palace, Link left, only to come back, and use the True Master Sword to shatter the barrier that Ganon placed over Hyrule Castle to keep him safe from Link as his power grew in his tower to the east. The castle was located on an island in what seems to be either a large river, or a small lake.
Hyrule Castle reappeared in 2003, however briefly. In Four Swords, we never actually see the castle itself, but at the very beginning of the game, when Vaati kidnaps Zelda and Link pulls the Four Sword, we're actually in Hyrule Castle, or at least the courtyard. As seen in a future game, we learn that the Elemental Sanctuary, where the sword slept, is actually a chamber within the castle.
In 2004, Hyrule Castle reappears in a similar manor as it was in A Link to the Past, in Four Swords Adventures. The castle is still in the middle of Hyrule. While looking like the castle from A Link to the Past, it is considerably larger. After Link sneaks in, he, along with his four clones, defeat Phantom Ganon on top the roof. In defeating the phantom, Link frees the Blue Maiden, who explains the current status of his quest.
In 2005, we see Hyrule Castle in two forms. In Minish Cap, Hyrule Castle is located in north-central Hyrule, with Hyrule Field and Hyrule Town to the south. Here, we see Zelda get turned to stone by the evil Vaati, and he escapes in search for the Light Force. After the king of Hyrule, King Daltus points Link in the direction to repair the Minish Sword, it is said that he was captured by Vaati. When Link revisits Hyrule Castle for the second time, it's almost empty, and he enters the Elemental Sanctuary, adding power to the now repaired sword. Link does this four times, each time the castle becoming more deserted. The final time he enters Hyrule Castle, it has been warped by the now god-like Vaati, who pressumes himself as the new King of Hyrule. The palace is refered to as Dark Hyrule Castle by this point. After Link defeats Vaati's Wrath on the roof, the effect of the battle is the collapse of the castle. When Princess Zelda uses the Mage's Cap to wish Hyrule back to peace, a new Hyrule Castle is magically constructed where the former one once stood.
2006's Twilight Princess also contained Hyrule Castle. It can be seen from any point in Hyrule Field, which lies to the west, east, and south of Hyrule Castle, and Hyrule Castle Town, which is located directly south of the castle, just as it was in Ocarina of Time. The castle is much grander, and could be considered a palace, given it's grand stature, elegant design, and massive size. When Link first enters Twilit Hyrule and becomes a wolf, he is imprisoned in the sewers of the the twilit castle, in a similar fashion as Princess Zelda in A Link to the Past. Link returns to the area, however is only permitted to enter the town, and not the actual castle itself. After Link is cursed by Zant at Lake Hylia, he and dying Midna rush to Hyrule Castle through the sewers, gaining access to the area through a door on the upper level of Telma's Bar in Castle Town. Link goes through the same thing he did at the beginning of the game, however Hyrule Castle is no longer engulfed in twilight. Princess Zelda sacrifices herself to save Midna, and instructs Link to find the Master Sword in order to break the curse that is keeping him a wolf, even in the light. Immediately after Link and Midna leave Castle Town, Zant places a curse over the castle, surrounding it in a twilit rhombus. Link returns to the castle after returning from the Twilight Realm. Midna uses her newly found powers to destroy the twilit rhombus surrounding the palace, and Link and Midna enter. After passing through the courtyard, and graveyard outside, and the interior, Link finally makes his way to Ganondorf in the Throne Room, located in the top tower of the castle. After an intense battle with a Ganon-possessed Zelda and Pig Ganon, Midna sends Zelda and Link out of the castle, as she attempts to use her powers to banish Ganon in a similar way that she did to Zant in the Twilight Realm. Unfortunetly, she was unsuccessful, and Ganondorf essentially kills Midna. Before this is revealed, Link and Zelda watch Hyrule Castle explode, and collapse from their position in central Hyrule Field. After Link and Zelda defeat Ganondorf once and for all, and Midna is revived and returned to her world, we see dancing Hylians in the square of Hyrule Castle Town in the credits, with a seemingly untouched Hyrule Castle. There are multiple theories as to how the castle is seen after it was pressumed destroyed, the most popular being:
- When Ganondorf died, everything he caused in Hyrule was reversed, including the destruction of Hyrule Castle.
- It's seen, however not directly said, that Link, Ganon, and Zelda all have a piece of the Triforce. When Ganon died, it is thought that Zelda and Link took his piece of the Triforce, and combined it with their own to wish for Hyrule's repairs.
In 2007, while we never actually visit it or Hyrule, or hear it refered to by name, we see the chamber of the Master Sword in Hyrule Castle from The Wind Waker in Niko's picture show, depicting Zelda's awakening, in Phantom Hourglass.
Two years later, in 2009, we see a whole new Hyrule Castle in Spirit Tracks. After Link, Tetra, and the pirate crew find a new continent some time after the events of Phantom Hourglass, the Kingdom of New Hyrule is founded, and Tetra is pressumed to have assumed the role of Queen of New Hyrule. Hyrule Castle and Castle Town was built in her name in the center of New Hyrule, in the north-central area of the Forest Realm. Link visit Hyrule Castle when he attend the graduation ceremony, where he earns the title of an official royal train engineer. Zelda slips Link a note after the ceremony, asking him to sneak up to her room on the upper floor. After Link and Zelda leave the castle, and begin their quest, the only time Link is sent directly to Hyrule Castle, is when Cole attacks, sending him into a short coma. If Link returns to Hyrule Castle any time after that during the game, it is exactly how it was at the beginning of the game, minus Zelda.
We see the return of Hyrule Castle for the last canon time (until Breath of the Wild is released on the Wii U and Switch some time in 2017), in 2013, in A Link Between Worlds. Link first visits the castle at the beginning of the game, where he explains to Princess Zelda and Impa about what he saw at the Sanctuary. He returns after obtaining the Master Sword, and fights Yuga at the top, where he enters a portal to Lorule in Zelda's bedroom. Link enters Hyrule Castle for the final time in the game when he uses a portal at the top of Lorule Castle to enter a closed-off Zelda's bedroom, where he can find several fairies, that can aid him in the upcoming final battle back in Lorule.
In 2014 and 2015, we see Hyrule Castle several times in Hyrule Warriors, and it's 3DS port, Hyrule Warriors Legends. The first time we're at the castle, is the first level in Hyrule Field, where we pass through and capture several castle keeps, in order to win the battle. The next time we see the castle is as Ganondorf, who attempts to defeat Link and Zelda. At the end of the main story, we return to Hyrule Field, or what's left of it. Ganon has used the Triforce to turn it into a hellish place, known as Ganon's Tower. After capturing a couple of magical keeps, Ganon's seal is lifted, and Ganon's Tower turns into a very badly damaged Hyrule Castle.
We see Hyrule Castle other times in the Super Smash Bros. series, however they are not canon appearances.
|The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past locations|
| Light World|
|Link's House • Secret Passage • Sanctuary • Graveyard • Haunted Grove • Kakariko Village • Kakariko Village Shop • Library • Lake Hylia • Lake Hylia Shop Cave • Wishing Well • Great Swamp • Desert of Mystery • Witch's Hut • Waterfall of Wishing • Zora's Lake • Zora's Waterfall • Death Mountain • Lost Woods|
| Dark World|
|Dark World Shield Shop • Pyramid of Power • Skeleton Forest • Skull Woods • Village of Outcasts • Lake of Ill Omen • Swamp of Evil • Misery Mire|
| Light World|
|Hyrule Castle • Eastern Palace • Desert Palace • Tower of Hera|
| Dark World|
|Palace of Darkness • Swamp Palace • Skull Woods • Thieves' Town • Ice Palace • Misery Mire Palace • Turtle Rock • Ganon's Tower|
|The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap locations|
|Hyrule locations||Castor Wilds • Cloud Tops • Eastern Hills • Elemental Sanctuary • Fairy Fountain • Figurine Shop • Funday School • Great Fairy Fountain • Happy Hearth Inn • Hyrule Castle • Hyrule Castle Garden • Hyrule Castle Town • Hyrule Field • Lake Hylia • Link's House • Lon Lon Ranch • Mama's Cafe • Mayor Hagen's Lakeside Cabin • Melari's Mine • Minish Village • Minish Woods • Mount Crenel • Percy's House • Post Office • Rem's Shoe Store • Royal Hyrule Library • Royal Valley • Stockwell's Shop • Town Fountain • Trilby Highlands • Veil Falls • Western Wood • Wind Ruins • Witch's Hut|
|Dungeons||Deepwood Shrine • Cave of Flames • Fortress of Winds • Temple of Droplets • Palace of Winds • Dark Hyrule Castle|
|The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds locations|
|Hyrule locations||Death Mountain • House of Gales • Kakariko Village • Lost Woods • Sanctuary • Link's House|
|Lorule locations||Ravio's house • Thieves' Town • Misery Mire • Death Mountain|
|Dungeons||Eastern Palace • House of Gales • Tower of Hera • Hyrule Castle • Dark Palace · Desert Palace • Ice Ruins • Skull Woods • Swamp Palace • Thieves' Hideout • Turtle Rock • Lorule Castle|
|The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild locations|
|Great Plateau locations||Eastern Abbey • Forest of Spirits • Great Plateau Tower • Hopper Pond • Mount Hylia • River of the Dead • Shrine of Resurrection • Temple of Time • Woodcutter's House|
|Faron Province locations||Faron Woods • Lake Hylia • Malanya Spring|
|Akkala Province locations||Tarrey Town • Akkala Lake|
|Central Hyrule locations||Hyrule Castle Town|
|East Necluda locations||Hateno village • Hateno Ancient Tech Lab • Link's House|
|Gerudo region locations||Gerudo Town • Kara Kara Bazaar • Yiga Clan Hideout|
|Eldin locations||Great Hyrule Forest • Lost Woods • Bridge of Eldin • Death Mountain • Goron City • Southern Mine|
|Hebra Province locations||Hebra Tower • Snowfield Stable|
|Lanayru locations||Zora's Domain|
|Tabantha Frontier locations||Rito Village • Cuho Mountain • Forgotten Temple|
|West Necluda locations||Kakariko Village • Dueling Peaks|
|Dungeons||Vah Medoh • Vah Rudania • Vah Naboris • Vah Ruta • Hyrule Castle • Divine Trial|