‘The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia:’ Inside Dark Horse’s Next Big Art Book

In 2013, a book called “Hyrule Historia” was the sixth best-selling title of the year on Amazon, right behind Khaled Hosseini’s “And the Mountains Echoed” and in front of Stephen King’s “Joyland.” But “Historia” is not a page-turning thriller or the work of an award-winning author. It is instead a compendium of art, notes, stories, and screenshots documenting twenty-five years of “The Legend of Zelda,” the long-running video game franchise that began in 1986.

Tuesday, Dark Horse publishes the third book in the series, called simply “The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia,” the most complex art book Dark Horse has ever done. For fans, these are sacred texts, making real the stories and hearsay passed down for decades. For creators, they are a window into private work never before seen, a way to share the fruits of effort necessarily stripped from, but no less essential to, the final product loved by millions. But these books have accomplished something unexpected, too: canonizing stories never built to be permanent, hemming in a gameworld known for its constant reinvention and imagination.

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