Site Information & FAQs | About the Site and Webmaster


The Very Basics:

My name is Melora Hart and you can find my contact information here. The first version of History of Hyrule went up in 2002. In 2004 my health was failing so I took it down with the intention of returning to it as soon as I could. That took 7 years. It was a wonderful coincidence that I relaunched the site on the same day Hyrule Historia was announced in Japan. (Because if you know me, you know how dedicated I am to the art of Zelda.) I did a lot of the coverage and breaking news for that, helped translator's get the files they needed, got the art online for people to use for whatever, led the campaign to get it localized, and did everything I could to help people import it, find it, buy it.


I built the whole of the current site with the exception that my good friend, TML, helped get the main page and frames functioning in a way that would not break, and he got some cool code working so that the layout would reflect the time of day and seasons. (...because my programming skills extend about as far as the use of tables.) I had help with the main layout image and, if you're an artist, would still like help with it!


[I love doing Zelda art for fun.]


About Me:

I've been playing Zelda for about as long as it's been possible for an American kid to do so, it goes all the way back to when my cousin showed up with his gold cart in 1987. I grew up with arcade games in the basement but still bummed that I wasn't able to own the boy's toys that I loved as much as my girl toys. (If you didn't know, its simply a fact that He-Man was made to ride on My Little Pony.) I use to sit out lunch in the library so I could save the money to buy my games and systems and.... it didn't hurt that I love to read... Which I find to be wonderful and lucky because I'm actually severely dyslexic. That does happen to mean that I don't like to write publicly, I get pretty bad anxieties about it, but... since I had to come online to help in the Zelda community I've at least gotten pretty comfortable when I feel like I can write like I'm simply speaking with friends. AKA: I'm usually good over email, just not for making news posts or writing articles. I use to be ashamed of my dyslexia, I bring it up now just for anyone who was like me! It really does get better once you can learn how you need to learn.


[From my baby book. At one year old I was already sitting to draw for hours. I was drawing complete people and full feature faces at two]



My Art and Health

I've been drawing since I was one and love it more than almost anything. I went to college for it, I've had some wonderful apprenticeships, and turned down some industry dream jobs simply to be freelance; I'm pretty serious about it. I prefer doodling but classical oil painting is what I would say I would do professionally. A couple of years ago I suffered nerve damage in my elbows and had to go without my arms for a while. A few surgeries later and I can use them most of the time, with major limitations... but I can't draw like I could. I did get pretty good at art with my non-dominate hand. (I never give up. Well, usually...) It also means I've had to skip out on the Wii and any DS game that uses a stylus. Bummer. Now I got the nerve problems in my leg too, but I'll keep doing what I can do. The biggest issue there is that I miss adventuring in the woods but... that's why it's great that I love gardening. Losing my legs is like nothing compared to losing my arms's just that it's nearly impossible to go without both on the bad days.


[My Garden]


When I took the original History of Hyrule down in 2004 it was because my adrenal glands had likely almost stopped working and my thyroid was screwing up. The problems this caused with my blood sugar would often leave me blind in one of my eyes. After a few years that started to resolve, but then I had a stroke-like event (it was either a complex migraine or a TIA) and that took a toll on on my memory and ability to think, and it's also when I started to get really severe and frequent light-sensitivity migraines. I had to live without looking at anything for almost a whole year afterwards. At least I finally got to listen to a lot of DVD commentary?


[I kind of love forests]


Then I started to feel really healthy! I felt great for the first time in my life. I no longer caught every cold going around, for a month at a time, every other month- and I just generally felt amazing and full of energy. I started to work on the site again, just behind the scenes stuff and things for other Zelda people, I got back to art, and I got back into the woods. That all fell apart when I got a new house and used a power sander. 


[mri of my elbow and the day after my second nerve surgery]


So, did you know, some people are not meant to use power tools? It's amazing that you only find this out after you see doctors and they say "I see a lot of people for this. I wish those DiY home improvement shows would go off the air." In only 3 days I had caused so much inflammation that I knew something was pretty wrong. I stopped. I did a year of physical therapy thinking that giving up on that was the worst thing I could do. It wasn't. The physical therapist had misdiagnosed the problem and thus caused further damage. The inflammation had rubbed away the nerve sheath and scar tissue took its place. After another year of just trying to rest my arms, and sleeping in this ridiculous arm brace that I still have to use sometimes, only the left arm had improved. I couldn't even use my right arm to pick up a glass of water. I couldn't even move it a hair without feeling like I was being stabbed by electricity. So I went in for surgery, with a neurosurgeon out of state, and that went amazingly well, I'd say it was back to being 100%, until 6 months after the operation when I heard a "pop" as I went to pull my hair back. My subcutaneous tissue had ripped apart and the nerve was floating freely, hitting the bones at my elbow. It hurt and I was back to being bedridden again. We waited to see if it could heal on its own, it didn't, and that tissue couldn't be sewed up again. I went back for another surgery and this time we had to move the nerve. It didn't go as well. Don't get me wrong, it's certainly better than it was without the operation- but it never healed all the way. My arm still feels thick and kind of painful and it sprains incredibly easily if I move it the wrong way. I can lift about 4lbs with it. I can't move my elbow enough to doodle. Every few days I can use it well enough to paint, because the motions are smoother and less rapid... but it's hard to improve at art if you can't sketch or do thumbnails for your bigger works. One of the worst parts is that, to stay sane, I just had to shut my mind off. I couldn't act on any creativity during that time. I couldn't read, I couldn't listen to music, I couldn't look at art. If I did any of those thing I would get inspired and that was the worst torture I could imagine. Part of me being an artist is that I have ideas in my head that I HAVE to get on paper. It's a compulsion and if I can't get them down I start to feel exceptionally miserable and anxious and crazy. So... That's all I could do to make it through. Well, that, and hanging out with my lovely Chicken. Seriously.


On top of all this, besides the fact that the same damaged happened in my leg after a semi-emergency surgery on my abdomen, I've suffered 3 more TIA's or Complex Migraines and each one seems to take a further toll on my ability to communicate and remember things. So that sucks, and I feel like a huge idiot now, and I wonder when my next one will be and how much more of myself I'll loose... but, meh, life goes on, I'll just keep doing whatever I can do.


[I got to be pretty decent with my non-dominate hand. Oil on Canvas. It's just not as gratifying to use the other hand. One feels like a dance, one feels like a job]



About The Site and Why I Do It:

I loved adventuring and stories about dark, harsh, lands, like how fairy tales and myths are meant to be; so I loved the original legend of Zelda and it's open world. In the 90's the NP LttP players guide blew my mind and changed my world. (And we could mention that it was for one of the best games of all time.) I loved how it was laid out, I loved the art, I love how it creatively expanded on the world. Then one of my friends stole it and I couldn't find another copy. That was okay. It WAS awesome, I can understand why they'd want it that badly. I just wished that everyone had access to the things they wanted. This forms a lot of what I think to this day and the philosophy behind the site: When things are made available, most people will want to buy them to support them. But first they have to be there to buy. And if we can't even buy them, why should we be deprived of them? I will always work to get things officially published, localized and sold. I want publishers and artists to make all the money they can. But... If something is not for sale any more... then it might appear on the web for people to keep loving. (I will remove anything an artist asks me to remove though. I respect your wishes as a creator even if I personally wish and hope you'd feel differently.)


[If you like the site, or anything I've done online involving Zelda, you can thank this art and this guide]


When the internet started to be born I loved that I could find Zelda art on it. I started looking for the Terada art from the NP guide. I still missed it, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Time would pass and I still couldn't find the art online. Ocarina of Time started getting made, more Zelda site's were born: still no Terada art. Oot came out, lots of coverage for it, and then for MM, but still no Terada art. I also noticed the older games still didn't have very robust coverage either and they were my favorite! Zelda Legends was a great site, Zelda Dungeon was being born, and I loved (Made my first wallpapers for them, I was so honored when Andrea posted them) ....but there still seemed to be a gap when it came to the stuff I was truly drawn to. Finally I just looked for the guide one day on ebay, actually paid about $100 for it, and decided I'd make my own site for the stuff I loved and wanted to see the most. In 2001 I started making my niche site and I decided I would keep it limited in that that way too. I knew couldn't do everything myself, and other sites were already doing an amazing job with their newer stuff, so I'd just focus only on what I loved. The old games. The art. The rare publications. Plus, I do better work when I love what I'm working on. Soon after I made the site I discovered there was Zelda manga and learned about doujinshi, 4koma, the books and novels.


I use to be incredibly shy about my art. After I opened my site I naturally wanted a forum for it. It was a pretty good one (Main rule: mutual respect.) Being an art lover part of my forum naturally became an art forum. Having an art forum meant that the artists there started encouraging me to share my art. It's thanks to them that I became comfortable with posting any of it online, and generally, letting anyone else see what I do. So, when I lost my ability to do art myself I decided that instead of doing nothing I would try to encourage others to do some of the art ...that I would like to see. So my Christmas and Birthday presents that year were the prizes I gave away for the calendar contest I decided to host.


In 2002 I opened History of Hyrule.

I opened History of Hyrule on May 22, 2002. I had done a few months of prep work and thought I could get away with hosting it on Angelfire (which, funny enough, is still live) if I split it between two sites: one for games and art, the other for the larger manga pages. It got popular enough, quickly enough, that I was killing the bandwitch and had to buy a real hosting account and a real domain name. The layout didn't change but I made the move and combined the two.


I started it mostly with tons of the official art for the first 4 games, game help for the first 4, fanart, wallpapers, and the manga.


The hits were decent, I was surpassing 500 a day pretty soon, (1600+ when I closed 2 years later) which seemed remarkable for what I expected back then. But even though that was far over the hit requirement to be listed as an affiliate on several of the big name Zelda sites, most ignored my emails asking if I could even be on their general link lists. It seemed like news and newer games is all they would consider legit, and I covered neither. Some would just steal my content after I asked if I could be added to their list and then claim it was their own while publicaly bashing my site as pointless. It's not that it mattered that much, it was just dishearting. Then other things would happen like, one of the major site's webmasters kept saying my site wasn't a real Zelda site, another chastized its own forum members, again saying to not to mention my site as a "real" Zelda site, when it got the majority of the comments for it to be featured as the most creative as well as the best newcomer in their annual awards. (Both years in a row I think?) There were ranting screeds against female webmasters and the fanworks, often directly mentioing me and my other friend's sites. Here's one of the more lovely ones posted to one of the biggest sites of the time by their webmaster:


Art/Comic Sites - These are Zelda sites usually run by female webmasters who think that by posting pretty artwork, or original works, or by getting up images of anything Japanese (like the manga), they're "individualistic" or something. These sites rarely even focus on anything to do with Zelda except the fan works behind the series. These sites also have heavy debates on romance in the Zelda series, the usage of artwork by fans, the translated manga, and anything else to do with art or fan works. These sites also think they are "better" than everyone else somehow, and are generally prone to psuedo-intellectuals. This is basically your off-the-wall corner coffee shop on a college campus style site. If you aren't like them, you're just stupid and unworthy. Examples: Indie Zelda, infinite number of Zelda romance sites, Cosplay sites, forums posing as sites, TF, History of Hyrule.


(By the way, that guy? Heh. He went on to rip off my whole gallery for their gallery. I only ever asked that people include a link back to the source, anywhere on their page, if they wanted to use any of art I had put online. SO MUCH TO ASK.) That was, you know, all kind of a bummer. I'm glad it looks like those days are done for the whole community. I'm glad art is getting love, that older games get love, and that the fans actually do seem kinder to eachother. (Seriously!) And that people understand why everyone wins when stuff is sourced. So, anyway, I did what I did without much promotion and it's why Zelda Legends and were not only my two favorite sites before I became involved, they were afterwards as well; because their webmasters were such amazingly kind and generous people. I met more great webmasters after them, and am so thankful for that. I'm still friends with most of them to this day. But all that was one of the reasons I had a different way of running my site and of working my link list. I decided would only have a featured affiliate list for people who helped me, or made major contributions to the community, (it's the only way I could thank some of them) and then I had a major list going for every site I could find where they'd all be featured equally. No one was ever excluded because I wanted everyone to have a chance to find all the other, maybe smaller, amazing sites out there.


[Plus, I've just always loved videogames]


History of Hyrule was one of the first zelda sites, like Noth Castle and Zeldart, that featured fanart like the real content it is. FYI: Like you'll see in that rant I posted above, that was one of the odd things we fought against at the time: fanworks use to get bashed constantly by some bigger webmasters as unworthy junk. WTH. I'm so glad to see how times have changed. I think Indie Zelda, Louisa's site, helped a lot with that, and cosplayers like Adella and PikminLink brought the love to the mainstream community. Or maybe it's just me that feels that way.


Ugh. So, fanart was supposed to be a HUGE component of the newer version of History of Hyrule.... but health and life and other content took over all my free time. And I realized... now that we have Tumblr, DeviantART groups, and a dozen other sites that do it better than I could ever hope too, I don't really think my method was going to work. But if I could write better I'd certainly get back to doing the artist features I started with!




I don't think I normally brag but I'm going to do a tiny bit on my about page because, well, I guess it's okay to sometimes express pride even if it's over silly stuff; I've had a lot of help and there are a lot of people who have worked parallel to me that I can't thank enough for their contributions~ especially because I enjoy what they've done to no end and the people who work to provide content are my heros! As for me, though it's been mostly behind the scenes, we can start all the way back in 2001- when I made the leap from lurker to get involved with other Zelda fans online.


If you enjoy any art on the web from the first 5 games, I was a major player in getting most of that online and in high res. I did a lot of WW, some TP, and basically all of the HH art that one can find. Go to any wiki image page and you'll see a ton of what I did, credited or (likely) not. I worked with other sites to beef up their galleries, still do. I'm obsessive about art. I will not be happy until I find every peice of Zelda art in existance. And though I would still like to do all the buying and scanning for my gallery, so I don't feel like a mooch, I gave in to better logic a few years ago: now I and other fans just use whatever we have among us has the best image to start with. You see: some guides, where most of the old art is found, have crappy print jobs even if they're technically the same book. In that regard, Mases of Zelda Dungeon, and Evelyn Jade of Zelda Europe, are invaluable people and I'm still working with both of them to make sure we have the most complete collection of art possible.


But, let's see... My guide scans allowed translators to figure out a ton of real bestiary names for the series; official names hardly existed for a lot of bad guys before then. I edited for Annie, who did the original Himekawa fan translations. I got tons and tons scans of manga online. I also cleaned and typeset as much of it as I could before I and Annie left and Zelda Infinite took over. (Hey! A lot of other great people were doing these things too, I'm not alone, I'm not special, but I'm just happy that I was able to contribute.) I spearheaded more than a few efforts to get the manga out of japan in a legit way, organizing campaigns to write to publishers and the like. And even though the Himekawa women had told Annie that they wanted it to happen, and their publisher said that would never would, its now in public libraries in large cities and small towns all over the globe. (Never give up!) Like I said above, my site came back online the day Hyrule Historia came out in Japan and I worked hard to get that brought out in every language we could. I did a lot of the news coverage and fact checking for that. I did everything I could to help people get actual copies. I did everything I could to help with fan translations before they realized it would be a good move to localize it. You know I was told that was was pointless? That Nintendo would never bother with releasing such a niche book outside of Japan because there would be no money in it... yet I had the honor of being the first person to post about it climbing the ladder on basically every countries amazon that sold it amazon, becoming #1 in the US for weeks over 50 Shades of Gray for weeks. Heh. Yessss.




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