- This article refers to the friendly Zora race. For the enemy variety, see Zora.
The Zora, also known as the Zora Tribe, are a race in The Legend of Zelda series. The Zora are an aquatic folk who possess fish and amphibian like traits, including fins, webbed feet and gills, which allow them to swim and thrive underwater. Zora can come in many shapes and sizes, but are most commonly depicted as humanoids with long tail fins on their heads and finned appendages on their arms and legs. They are protectors of water.
Prior to their debut as a race in Ocarina of Time, Zoras were present in older titles as a hostile enemy. These Zora appear radically different, appearing more reptilian and more fish-like than human. Both kinds of Zora have appeared throughout The Legend of Zelda series following their debuts, with the Zora race appearing almost exclusively in the 3D console games. In Oracle of Ages, the only game where both Zora coexist, the enemy Zora are referred to as river Zora to distinguish them from the peaceful race.
- 1 Characteristics
- 2 History
- 3 Other Appearances
- 4 Trivia
- 5 Nomenclature
- 6 Gallery
- 7 See Also
- 8 References
Zora are normally found in or near large bodies of water, but very rarely stray far away from them. In Hyrule, Zora live in the Zora's Domain, a large cavernous fountain that is connected to the Zora River, which flows directly to Lake Hylia; it is common to see Zora within these areas as well. Zora, however, do not solely live in fresh water, but can also thrive in salt water, such as the Great Bay Zora of Majora's Mask and the sea Zora of Oracle of Ages. In contrast to the enemy Zora of earlier titles, the peaceful Zora appear more distinctively humanoid than monstrous. Most individuals (but not all) have fins attached to their limbs and a tail at the back of their head, making their head alone resemble a fish. However, Zora also come in various shapes and sizes, with some lacking the head fin and others, like King Zora, having a rotund appearance. Some Zora possess fins that greatly resemble the folds of clothing, such as the case with Rutela. Their skin color ranges between white, blue and gray, but few have also appeared bright red or brown as a seemingly rarer variant.
Zora lay Eggs which hatch into tadpole-like young. They could be classified within traditional animal classes at a middle point between amphibians and monotremes. Their Eggs hatch one to three days after they are laid, provided that the water they lie in is of a proper temperature, and that the Eggs that were laid at the same time are together. While they resemble tadpoles when they first hatch, they become humanoid even before reaching adulthood as seen with both Ruto in Ocarina of Time and multiple Zora children in Breath of the Wild.
Zora are known to have long lifespans, with Sidon being a child 100 years before Breath of the Wild and a young adult in the game's present. The King Zora in Oracle of Ages is the same individual in the game's past and present times, 400 years apart. Zora children age in such a way where even as young adults they can still appear to be children before reaching a growth spurt. As Zora age, they hold themselves to higher standards of speaking as a matter of pride.
Zora have a strong sense of duty for history and order. Because they do not travel far from sources of water and are protective of Zora's Domain, they have limited interaction with other races.
The Zora have maintained positive relations with the Hylians since ancient times. However, in the timeline of Hyrule's decline that bond gradually fades.
The Zora, along with Hylians and Gorons, have often be called to watch over Hyrule.
Women of their royal family have been given the crucial role of sages in times of need. In addition, when the sacred realm was sealed, the Zora were entrusted with guarding the Spiritual Stone of Water.
Zora do not have individual homes, instead sleeping in large communal pools within Zora's Domain. This seems to only apply to Hyrule's Zora, as the Zora of Labrynna and Termina do have private dwellings.
After the Imprisoning War, Hyrule fell into decline. By the era of A Link to the Past the Zora's once close relationship with the Hylians had soured. They grew hostile to outsiders, and their physical appearance changed to reflect this, turning them into enemy Zora. In this same era, friendly blue Zora still exist beyond Hyrule in the neighboring kingdom of Labrynna. Several generations later in the time of A Link Between Worlds, Queen Oren attempted to return peace between the Zora and Hylians, but they split, with half pledging loyalty to her and half rebelling in violent fashion. Despite the queen's attempts to return the Zora to their former glory, this hostile faction of Zora grow stronger over time, and by the era of The Adventure of Link, the Zora are outright monsters.
Ocarina of Time
In Ocarina of Time, the Zora all live in the Zora's Domain, located in northeastern Hyrule at the end of Zora's River, where their domain is guarded by the impassable Sleepless Waterfall. The Zora folk are responsible for guarding the Water Temple in Lake Hylia, which the Zora River flows into, as well as the Zora's Fountain, the source of the River's water, on behalf of the Royal Family of Hyrule. Due to their close servitude, the Hyrulean Zora have been allies to the Royal Family for years. Lord Jabu-Jabu, who resides in the Fountain, serves as their patron deity. King Zora leads the Zora as their monarch ruler. The latter has a young daughter, Princess Ruto, who is left in charge of preparing Jabu-Jabu's meals.
As a child, Link visits the Domain in search of the Zora's Sapphire, the Spiritual Stone that was passed down by the Zora. Link saves Princess Ruto from Inside Jabu-Jabu's Belly, after she is swallowed by Jabu-Jabu due to being cursed by Ganondorf. As a reward, she entrusts him with the Zora's Sapphire as her engagement to him.
Seven years later, after Ganondorf came into power, Morpha had caused the Zora's Domain and all of its residents to become frozen in ice. Sheik had managed to rescue Princess Ruto, who had then went to the Water Temple to save her people, but it is Link who ultimately destroys the evil inside the Temple and thus saves Zora's Domain. His efforts also awakens Princess Ruto as the Sage of Water. Although Link had defeated Morpha, Zora's Domain never recovers in-game, as Ruto explains it will take time to thaw. Only during the ending are the Zora found to be thawed.
In Majora's Mask, the Zora live in the Great Bay region of Termina, where they congregate in the Zora Hall as their home. The Zora Hall is also the home to The Indigo-Go's, a famous Zora band. The band was planned to play at the Carnival of Time in Clock Town, but suddenly had to cancel when Lulu, the band's lead singer, lost her voice when she laid some Eggs. However, the Eggs were shortly stolen by the Gerudo Pirates. Mikau, the band's guitarist, had tried to recover the Eggs, but was beaten by the Pirates and left gravely injured in the coast. Link eventually finds Mikau and pushes him to shore, but he passes away, and after being healed, his soul is encased into the Zora Mask.
Wearing the Zora Mask allows Link to transform into Zora Link in the resemblance of Mikau. Under the guise of this form, Link retrieves the scattered Zora Eggs, allowing Lulu to recover her voice and to subsequently open the way to the Great Bay Temple.
The Great Bay Temple is implied to be an important location to the Zora folk. It is said that should anything happen to the Temple, a disaster will befall the Bay and the Zora descendant of the Temple's protector. The Zora also have their own writing system.
Oracle of Seasons
Although Zora do not live in Holodrom in Oracle of Seasons, one Zora appears during a Linked Game. The Zora can be found inside the Hero's Cave, searching for a place to build a new Domain under King Zora's orders, but cannot find any place that exceeds Labrynna's seas. They will request that Link reports back to King Zora their findings by telling him a Secret, which will prompt King Zora to upgrade Link's Sword.
Oracle of Ages
Oracle of Ages features both the Zora race and enemy Zora, and distinguishes between the two as sea and river Zora, respectively. The peaceful sea Zora live in a Village in the southern Zora Seas of Labrynna. One sea Zora in the Village refers to the river Zora as "savage and vulgar", making it clear that the two groups have no social connections to each other. As in Ocarina of Time, the sea Zora's guardian is Lord Jabu-Jabu.
In the past, the Zora Seas were polluted due to a curse inflicted by Veran. The pollution had made the Zora population fall ill and disrupted their way of life. The pollution had also made the Zora King fall sick, becoming deceased in the present. His death left the Zora with no ruler ever since. This becomes an issue in Link's quest, as Link cannot enter Lord Jabu-Jabu and find his Essence of Time without the King's consent. Link purifies the ocean in the past by rescuing the Fairy Queen and cures the King's illness with a Magic Potion, allowing the Zora King to become well and survive into the present.
The Wind Waker
- Main article: Rito
Because the ethereal waters of the Great Sea could only be inhabited by monsters and Fishmen, the Zora were forced to evolve into the Rito in the events prior to The Wind Waker. The only actual Zora who makes an appearance is the spirit of Laruto, the deceased Sage of Earth, whose prayers gave power to the Master Sword to repel evil. Laruto was killed by Ganondorf's minions to dispel the Master Sword's power. Link meets her in spirit long after her death in the Earth Temple, who tells him to find her descendant and the next Sage of Earth, Medli.
A stained glass window in Hyrule Castle's basement floor depicts Princess Ruto as the Sage of Water.
In Twilight Princess, the Zora live in Zora's Domain, upstream from Lake Hylia. Many can be found down along the Zora River as well as in Lake Hylia proper, caring for and patrolling the Lake. These Zora guards wear fish-shaped helmets over their faces and carry halberds with them. The bottom of the Lake is sacred to the Zora folk, where the Lakebed Temple lies at its depths. The Zora serve as the protectors of this Temple.
When Wolf Link arrives to Telma's Bar in Hyrule Castle Town, he finds Ilia with a Zora boy who is facing death. Link travels to Lake Hylia to investigate a possibly related incident, and upon arriving in Zora's Domain, finds that it is frozen with all the Zora encased in ice. Using the Twilight Portal that opened above the Domain, Wolf Link and Midna warp a Molten Shard that fell in Death Mountain into the Domain, destroying the ice and thawing the Zora trapped inside. Shortly afterwards they are approached by the spirit of Zora Rutela. She explains that their Domain was raided by Zant's minions and herself executed as an example to her people. The absence of a ruler throws the Zora into chaos. Link is told that if he can help her save her son, Prince Ralis, and bring him back to the Domain, she will aid him in his quest.
After restoring light to the Lanayru Province, Link as a Hylian helps Telma and Ilia take the Zora prince to Kakariko Village, where Renado heals him. After Ralis is saved, Queen Rutela makes a final appearance as she guides Link to her late husband's grave. She commends Link for bringing her son to Kakariko, as the village is sacred to her people and where they are laid to rest. There she bestows him the Zora Armor, allowing him to swim underwater and reach the Lakebed Temple.
After completing the Lakebed Temple, Zora can also be found in Death Mountain's hot springs.
Breath of the Wild
In Breath of the Wild, the Zora live in Zora's Domain, located in the Lanayru region of Hyrule. One hundred years ago, the Zora were spared the damage caused by the Great Calamity. While crossing Inogo Bridge, Link meets Sidon, the prince of the Zora. He claims that they are in need of a Hylian and leads Link to the Domain. Once there, it is revealed that the Divine Beast Vah Ruta is responsible for the heavy rainfall, having been reactivated sometime before Link's arrival.
Interestingly, the Zora seen in Breath of the Wild have a range of physical features, resembling a variety of marine life. Sidon himself resembles a hammerhead shark, and the elderly Muzu resembles a manta ray. And as well, King Dorephan's appearance seems to be based on that of a blue whale. They can also be found in a variety of colors, unlike in previous games. It is unknown if the Rito are descendants of the Zora in this game, as they are in The Wind Waker.
- The Zora hatchlings are likely a visual pun on the Japanese word おたまじゃくし (Otamajakushi), which means "tadpole", but can also mean "musical note".
- While Zora do not appear in Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, several Treasures make reference to them, including the Ruto Crown and the Zora Scale, the latter of which only appears in Phantom Hourglass.
- In an interview with Nintendo of Europe, Eiji Aonuma said that he would be a Zora if he could choose to be a Goron, a Deku Scrub, or a Zora.
|Names in Other Regions|
|Russian||Зора (Zora) (BotW)|
|This table was generated using translation pages.|
To request an addition, please a staff member with a reference.
- "I'll see you back at Zora's Domain." — Sidon (Breath of the Wild)
- Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 48
- Art & Artifacts (Dark Horse Books) pg. 175 (OoT3D), 214 (OoA) & 285 (TPHD)
- "Don't think us noble sea Zoras the same as those savage, vulgar river Zoras!" — Zora (Oracle of Ages)
- "Isn't this... a Zora egg?" — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "It takes about one to three days from the time Zora Eggs are laid for them to hatch." — Professor (Majora's Mask)
- "Zora eggs are very sensitive to changes in the temperature." — Professor (Majora's Mask)
- "Zora eggs won't hatch unless all eggs that were laid at the same time are brought together." — Professor (Majora's Mask)
- "It's really terrible to be at that awkward Zora age where I'm a young woman but I haven't had my growth spurt yet." — Finley (Breath of the Wild)
- "Yep! It's a Zora thing. As we age, we hold ourselves to higher speaking standards. It's a matter of pride." — Tona (Breath of the Wild)
- "Zora take pride in a strong sense of duty and respect for the history, laws, and leadership of their people. They do not often stray far from water, so interaction with other races tends to be limited. This is especially true of Zora's Domain. Typically, the only Hylians allowed in this central hub are official messengers of the Hyrulean royal family." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 48)
- "Zora primarily subsist on fish and other marine life, and many are skilled fishers." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 48)
- "Zora can swim against the current and even up waterfalls." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 48)
- "The Zora have maintained positive relations with their Hylian counterparts since ancient times. However, in the timeline of Hyrule's decline, that bond gradually fades." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 48)
- "The Zora, along with Hylians and Gorons, have often be called to watch over Hyrule." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 48)
- "Women of their royal family have been given the crucial role of sages in times of need. And when the sacred realm was sealed, the Zora were entrusted with guarding the Spiritual Stone of Water." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 48)
- Creating a Champion pg. 117
- "By the era of A Link to the Past, the kingdom of Hyrule is in decline, and relations with the Zora have soured greatly. Their bodies changed from blue to green and they have become increasingly aggressive toward outsiders, going so far as to spit fireballs at anyone who dares tread near their waters." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 49)
- "In A Link Between Worlds, Queen Oren attempts to rule over the Zora, but they split, with half pledging loyalty to her and half rebelling in violent fashion." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 49)
- "Despite the queen's attempts to return the Zora to their former glory, this hostile faction of Zora grow stronger over time, and by the era of The Adventure of Link, the Zora are outright monsters." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 49)
- "The Zoras come from Zora's Domain in northeast Hyrule. An aquatic race, they are longtime allies of Hyrule's Royal Family." — Kaepora Gaebora (Ocarina of Time)
- "Beyond this point lies Lake Hylia. It is full of deep, pure water. The Zoras, who live all the way upstream, guard the sunken temple at the lake's bottom, as well as Zora's Fountain." — Kaepora Gaebora (Ocarina of Time)
- "Just ahead lies Zora's Domain. The Zoras serve Hyrule's Royal Family by protecting this water source. Their door will not open for anyone except those who have some connection with the Royal Family." — Kaepora Gaebora (Ocarina of Time)
- "Lord Jabu-Jabu is the patron deity of the Zoras. Princess Ruto is in charge of preparing his meals, morning and night." — Zora (Ocarina of Time)
- "You obtained Zora's Sapphire! This is the Spiritual Stone of Water passed down by the Zoras!" — N/A (Ocarina of Time)
- "You mean the Spiritual Stone of Water, Zora's Sapphire, don't you? My mother gave it to me and said I should give it only to the man who will be my husband. You might call it the Zora's Engagement Ring! All right! I'll give you my most precious possession: Zora's Sapphire! Don't tell my father..." — Princess Ruto (Ocarina of Time)
- "This ice is created by an evil curse... The monster in the Water Temple is the source of the curse. Unless you shut off the source, this ice will never melt...." — Sheik (Ocarina of Time)
- "I'm sure you've already seen it! Zora's Domain--totally frozen! A young man named Sheik saved me from under the ice... But my father and the other Zoras have not...yet..." — Princess Ruto (Ocarina of Time)
- "We meet again, Link... If you came here to meet the Zoras, you wasted your time... This is all there is... With one exception, the Zoras are all now sealed under this thick ice sheet... I managed to rescue the Zora princess from under the ice, but... she left to head for the Water Temple..." — Sheik (Ocarina of Time)
- "Zora's Domain and its people will eventually return to their original state." — Princess Ruto (Ocarina of Time)
- "You came to see the Zora band, The Indigo-Go's, didn't you?" — Zora (Majora's Mask)
- "Wear the mask with (C) to inhabit the body of a Zora. Press (C) again to return to normal." — N/A (Majora's Mask)
- "There's a rumor that the ocean is getting weird 'cause there's trouble off shore at Great Bay Temple. And they say when that happens, something bad will befall the Zora descendant who's been protecting the temple." — Tijo (Majora's Mask)
- "Can you read Zoran script?" — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "I am traveling the lands under King Zora's orders to find a new domain, but no place exceeds Labrynna's seas." — Zora (Oracle of Seasons)
- "My permission is needed to enter Jabu-Jabu, but I can't permit just anyone to see our guardian." — King Zora (Oracle of Ages)
- "The seas are filthy--koff! Koff! I can't swim in peace." — Zora (Oracle of Ages)
- "This was the palace of our ruler, King Zora, but long ago the king fell ill. Ever since, we've continued on with no king." — Zora (Oracle of Ages)
- "The Zora, unable to live in the Great Sea's ethereal waters, evolved into the Rito (page 51), who are able to fly through the skies. They deliver letters and serve to connect the islands to each other." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 69)
- "The oceans of Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks are located in a broad subtropical zone with many types of migratory fish. The Great Sea in The Wind Waker is an illusory ocean created by a torrential downpour from the heavens. Its ethereal "water" is unlike the water natural to Hyrule, and so only monsters and Fishmen are able to live there." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 65)
- "I am a Zora sage. For an age, I offered my prayers here in the Earth Temple, praying that the power to repel evil would ever remain within the Master Sword." — Laruto (The Wind Waker)
- "Hundreds of years passed, and Ganondorf, who should have been sealed at the bottom of the ocean along with Hyrule, was resurrected once again. He gave an order to his minions to attack the Wind and Earth temples, killing the two sages whose prayers gave the Master Sword the ability to destroy evil." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 124)
- "After his defeat at the hands of the Hero of Time, Ganondorf was sealed away... but not for all time. He was revived, and he returned to Hyrule in a red wrath. He attacked this temple and stole my soul, knowing that he had to remove the power contained in that enchanted blade." — Laruto (The Wind Waker)
- "You must find the one who carries on my bloodline... The one who holds this sacred instrument..." — Laruto (The Wind Waker)
- "I am a member of the Zora tribe, the proud people who care for Lake Hylia." — Zora (Twilight Princess)
- "The other Zoras are all on guard patrol at the bottom of the lake." — Zora (Twilight Princess)
- "The bottom of this lake is a sacred place for us Zoras." — Zora (Twilight Princess)
- "The Zoras are usually the protectors of Lakebed Temple, so I think they should help us..." — Midna (Twilight Princess)
- "But this is strange... A child of the Zoras... I wonder if this is at all related to the incident the soldiers were talking about in back..." — Telma (Twilight Princess)
- "Those... Those are the Zoras! Wow... This is really strange... What in the world happened? Hey... What do you want to do? We can't just leave them like this... I think all we need to do is thaw them out..." — Midna (Twilight Princess)
- "The dark ones... They raided this village and, as a message to my people, executed me before them." — Rutela (Twilight Princess)
- "When Queen Rutela is killed during the invasion from the Twilight Realm, the absence of a ruler throws the Zora into chaos." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 49)
- "Please... Would you save my dearest, Prince Ralis? If you do this thing, I will bestow upon you the protection of water." — Rutela (Twilight Princess)
- "You were right to bring him here. Kakariko Village is a sacred place for the Zora people. It is where we take our eternal rest. My husband in life, King Zora, also rests his spirit here." — Rutela (Twilight Princess)
- Creating a Champion pg. 399
- "NoE: If you could choose to be one, would you be a Goron, Zora or Deku Scrub?
EA: Zora!" — Find out some of Eiji Aonuma’s favourite things from The Legend of Zelda series in our interview!, Nintendo UK, published February 23, 2017.