Canon Questions: How Large is Hyrule?

Hyrule World Map v1

(Click to view the full-resolution version!)

Ever since I played Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and then went back to play the other games in the series, I’ve wondered about the relative size of Hyrule (both the kingdom and the world). Part of this is because Zelda II shows us a massive landscape, yet condenses all of our journey in the original Zelda (and thus, most every other Zelda game) down into a few tiles at most.

The map included here at the top of this article is one I drew up myself using NES-era graphics in order to represent some of the wider realm of Hyrule. This is actually being done for a fan game I’m working on called The Legend of Zelda: Sword of Moria as a way to help me visualize areas as I create them, but it’s factually accurate as best I can make it to the wider areas of Hyrule. Despite being incomplete (expect a completed map sometime later on!), this shows you Tolemac in the far south, Old Hyrule (where most games take place) just above it (based on A Link to the Past‘s landscape), the Gerudo Desert area, the Death Mountain area, Calta Canyon and Calatia, the western part of North Hyrule (from Zelda II, which is theorized to be a future Labrynna), and the small peninsular Principality of Arcadia (mentioned in one of the Nintendo Adventure Books).

The first question I always have is this: if we accept that the small region in Zelda II called “Death Mountain Area” is where most of the games take place, why is it that this area (which we explore in the original game) is largely abandoned by the later stages of that timeline? The only answer I’ve been able to come up with (and friends of mine agree with) is that sometime after A Link to the Past, Ganon’s forces effectively overrun that region of the world in their maddening quest to obtain the Triforce. By then, it seems that the seat of government for the Kingdom of Hyrule has moved into a distant land north of Death Mountain, possibly where Labrynna once was, and Old Hyrule has fallen mostly into ruin.

In the Oracle games, we see the lands of Holodrum and Labrynna. These lands bear a striking resemblance to East Hyrule and West Hyrule from Zelda II, but this was likely done on purpose. Since there were originally going to be three games on the Game Boy Color that would stand together as a multi-part retelling of the two NES classics, this similarity makes sense. If we accept that as a canon fact, then since Zelda II is much later in the timeline, these areas were obviously absorbed into the greater kingdom of Hyrule, which by that time was a vast and powerful state with multiple towns and areas under its control.

We also know from official maps that the Link of the two NES games comes from a kingdom west of the mountains called Calatia – a region which gets focused on in some of the comics. In one of the Nintendo Adventure Books, Ganon takes the form of a knight from a distant kingdom called Moria, though no information is provided as to what that land is like or where it is in the first place. Then, in the cartoon, we meet a prince from a neighboring country called Arcadia (featured on my own map).

Oh, and let’s not forget about Gamelon, Koridai, or Tolemac – all three locations from the CD-i Zelda games (which, yes, are licensed products!). Gamelon appears to be an island not far from Hyrule, since the King’s brother is that land’s ruling duke. Koridai has no specific location other than being an island somewhere, but Tolemac is described as being “south of Hyrule” and appears to be a small island realm.

Beyond these locations, we’d need to start talking about parallel worlds and the like, so I’d prefer not to have to get into Termina or the Ocean King’s Realm in this article.

But, to answer the question posed here, Hyrule as a world appears to be fairly large. Most of the games appear to be set on a rather large continent (or two, if we consider East Hyrule to be an island-like continent) and its surrounding islands, and the region from most games is rather small in this very large scaled land. Even then, I’d wager we’ve only seen a small portion of the overall world.

If you like fan maps, let me leave you with this one linked here, which shows the areas of Zelda and Zelda II in a very artistic form. I think you’ll like it!

2 thoughts on “Canon Questions: How Large is Hyrule?

  1. I know this is an old post, but there’s there’s a few more lands as well. There’s Calatia, featured in The Valiant Comics. Moria was not a real location, but most likely a nod to Lord of the Rings’ Moria. There’s also the unnamed Elven Nation neighboring Hyrule seen in the Legend of Zelda I manga from the 1980’s. I didn’t know about Arcadia up until now.

    There seems to be no official map of Calatia, only a map of Hyrule pointing to where Calatia is. The closest thing to an official map would be the interpretation of Calatia as its own small continent northwest of Northern Hyrule- featured in Mitsukara’s Zelda Classic Quest- The Adventure of Link and Zelda: Panoply of Calatia- which is based upon the Valiant Comic and greatly expanded upon. There was also a quest being made by Allaweh (who seems to have vanished from the web) called Sword of Moria which would have its own take on Calatia. Panoply of Calatia also had an unused map that was cut of a region resting above Calatia.

    • Well, I am “Allahweh” and I have not vanished from the web! However, regarding “Sword of Moria,” while it had become fairly expansive in my own builds as it progressed (several large overworld areas and counting), there was so much more I wanted to do with the game and ultimately felt it would be better to build a new project sometime. So, hopefully that will be something in the cards one day!

      Meanwhile, you’re right. Moria as referred to by Charles of Moria was a fictional place he invented. Arcadia, though, was a kingdom that a prince came from in the animated series. Then there’s Hytopia from “Tri Force Heroes” and I recall reading that it was very vaguely said to be “north of Hyrule.”

      Anyway, I do think though that the map we see in Breath of the Wild combines many regions of Hyrule seen in different games into a larger, unified geography. For instance, Necluda/Faron seems to be roughly where Zelda 1 might have taken place (and A Link to the Past too, perhaps), and Akkala perhaps where Zelda 2 was (or at least part of Zelda 2). I like this idea, and think then that these other regions we’ve talked about here could still very well be outside of Hyrule as we see. Though, if Akkala is roughly where Zelda 2 is, that would mean Calatia was west of it, which would put it in the area where Central Hyrule is in “the present” of Breath of the Wild. Interesting.

      Panoply of Calatia is a very solid quest, and thanks for even knowing about Sword of Moria! I’m flattered people knew about it (it did look cool, didn’t it?), so I would like to make sure to revisit it with a bigger project that actually gets finished one day! 🙂

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