River Zoras (川ゾーラ Kawa Zōra?), also known as the Zolas, are recurring enemies in the Legend of Zelda series. They are a subspecies of the Zora race. Except for the Zora King in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, a lone Zora in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, and a Zora in Kakariko Village in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, this sub-species of Zora is not shown to communicate with other races or have any sort of society, though the Zora King's title would imply he is their ruler. River Zoras will attack Link on sight (aside from the two individuals just mentioned). They attack by popping out of the water and spewing a ball of energy at Link. A small whirlpool or other disturbance is often seen in the water before they appear, giving Link a warning one is about to attack.


The Legend of Zelda

Zora (The Legend of Zelda)

In the original Legend of Zelda, River Zora are identified in the game's manual as Zola, which is a mistranslation (see below). They appear in lakes as random monsters. Little is known about this race other than they take a disliking to humans. They are, supposedly, a separate species of Zora which came to be in later games. The fireballs that are shot by these creatures can only be blocked by the Magical Shield.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

River Zora (The Adventure of Link)

River Zoras in Zelda II behave much differently than other Zoras. They are land-dwelling and heavily armored, although they still attack by shooting energy balls at Link. They can be found in eastern Hyrule in caves, deserts, roadways, and bridges. Though they are primarily quadrupedal, they are capable of standing up on their hind legs to shoot fireballs at Link. Their armor is strong enough to withstand sword attacks; the Fire Spell is necessary to defeat them. Even then, they are extremely tough, requiring three sword attacks at Link's full strength.

Although they are called Zora in the Japanese release of Zelda II, they are never officially named in the North American version of Zelda II. They are frequently unofficially referred to as "Basilisks".

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

River Zora (A Link to the Past) River Zora pop up from the water and shoot fireballs at Link, which can be blocked with the Red or Mirror Shield. Some of the Zora found at Zora's Lake will jump onto shallow water and run after Link, but will not spit fire balls while they do so. The walking Zoras can be knocked over and stunned by a single hit, and defeated if damaged more. This is the first time River Zoras are shown to have feet, as opposed to the fish like tail seen in their artwork from the very same game. Zoras play their largest role when Link visits the Zora King at the waterfall at the end of Zora's Lake. Although the King aids Link in his quest by selling him flippers, the normal River Zora continue to harass Link throughout the rest of the game. They can also be found in various streams and in Lake Hylia. They can be destroyed with a wide variety of weapons, including the Bombos Medallion and other long-range weapons.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

The River Zora of Koholint play the same role as in the original. However, one friendly Zora can be found in the Animal Village. He can only be seen using the Magnifying Lens, and when talked to acts surprised that Link can see him, and will take a picture with Link in the DX version.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages

River Zora (Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons)

River Zoras perform their usual antagonistic function in this game. In Oracle of Ages, a Zora in the Zora Village provides the first link between the civilized Zora and the enemy River Zora, saying "Don't think us noble sea Zora the same as those savage, vulgar river Zora! You're in the wrong place if you want to complain about being attacked by a river Zora."

Notably, if Link wears the Blue Holy Ring, he will not take any damage from a River Zora's attacks.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

In Four Swords Adventures, a River Zora can be spotted in a water hole in Kakariko Village. He is friendly, unlike other River Zora, and asks Link to help him catch ten fish and put them in his mouth in sixty seconds. Also, some River Zora appear as enemies, attacking in the same manner as in previous games. In The Swamp, some will hide under Lily Pads. When one of these Zoras bursts out of the water, it launches anyone on the Lily Pad, allowing access to higher or more distant areas. In the Hyrule Castle stage of the level Whereabouts of the Wind, the Queen of Fairies is split into two halves resembling River Zora.

Behind the scenes

The name "Zola" is actually a transliteration error. In Japanese, the "R" and "L" phonemes are indistinguishable and as such only register as one phoneme. The standard way to transliterate this phoneme into Romaji (roman letters that stand for Japanese syllables) is with the "R", not the "L". Thus, names like "Lara" and "Zelda" become "Rara" and "Zeruda" respectively. In the original Legend of Zelda the Japanese word was clearly "Zora". The translators, however, put in the nonstandard "L" in place of the "R". The name "Zola" appears in no source other than the manual for The Legend of Zelda.


See also

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