Hyrule (ハイラル Hairaru) is a fictional land portrayed in The Legend of Zelda video game series created by Nintendo and industry legend Shigeru Miyamoto. It is often used to refer to the Kingdom where the Royal Family of Hyrule presides, as well as sometimes the surrounding lands and world not governed by them.
The kingdom of Hyrule is the setting in which most of the Zelda games take place. Commonly, Hyrule is seen in the middle of the map, with its neighboring states surrounding it.
- 1 Hyrule in the series
- 2 Fate of Hyrule
- 3 Demographics and government
- 4 Hyrulean geography
- 4.1 Recurring locations
- 4.2 In Ocarina of Time
- 4.3 In The Legend of Zelda
- 4.4 In The Adventure of Link
- 4.5 In A Link to the Past
- 4.6 In The Wind Waker
- 4.7 In Twilight Princess
Hyrule in the series
The land of Hyrule, first depicted in The Legend of Zelda, released in February of 1986 for the Famicom Disk System, was the mythical backdrop for the adventures of a boy-to-hero character, Link. Link battles his way through different areas and terrains of Hyrule and through eight dungeons. The player's quest in Hyrule was to reassemble the Triforce of Wisdom and rescue Princess Zelda who was being held captive by the evil Ganon.
In later editions of the Zelda series of games (for all Nintendo consoles to date, minus the Virtual Boy) more characters and mysteries of the land of Hyrule were unveiled and explained.
Many of the designated areas of Hyrule have appeared through the series, notably The Lost Woods, Death Mountain, and Lake Hylia. Several games in the series take place away from Hyrule: Link's Awakening (Koholint Island), Majora's Mask (Termina), The Great Sea in The Wind Waker (though technically is still Hyrule), and Oracle of Ages/Oracle of Seasons (Labrynna and Holodrum respectively).
Formation of Hyrule
Hyrule was formed by the goddesses Din, Nayru, and Farore (see The Three Goddesses). According to Hylian legend, Din created the physical geography of the realm, Farore the flora and fauna, and Nayru gave the laws of physics. Once the goddesses had completed their tasks, they departed for the heavens, and left behind them three golden triangles. Into these, they gave their power to govern all things; this became known as the Triforce. The Triforce resided in another realm from Hyrule known as the Sacred Realm.
Fate of Hyrule
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It is important to note that as described in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, the land of Hyrule was flooded by "the gods" some time after the happenings of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Some people were ordered by "the gods" to take refuge on the mountaintops of Hyrule, which appear to be islands in The Wind Waker. At the end of the game, Link sails with Tetra and her pirates to explore. However, Link's exploits in the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass have him tied up in finding and rescuing Tetra. What will happen to Link and Tetra and whether or not they will establish a new Hyrule during or after the course of the game is currently unknown.
On the other hand, the king in The Wind Waker states, "But that land will not be Hyrule; it will be your land." Still, the Deku Tree in the same game states, "Forests have great power; they can change one tiny island into a larger island. Soon, a day will come when all the islands are one, connected by earth and grove."
Thus, at this time, it is not known if every game takes place in the same Hyrule, and therefore, there may in fact be more than one Hyrule, just as there are more than one Zelda and Link throughout the series. However, regardless of how many incarnations of Hyrule there are, they all share mostly the same locales as each other, though these locales sometimes are re-arranged with each title.
Why locations move is uncertain, but it is most likely to keep the games interesting and unpredictable. Its also possible that, as a 'legend', the stories told in the games are passed down over however many generations and become blurred, and the games are simply different peoples' interpretations of the tale over many generations.
Demographics and government
There are several separate races in the Kingdom of Hyrule and its surrounding lands.
The Desert Wasteland and Gerudo Valley, found in west Hyrule in Ocarina of Time, is governed by the Gerudo, an almost purely female race. Despite this, (implied by a Gossip Stone outside of the Temple of Time) Gerudo manage to procreate by coming into Hyrule Market Town. Only one male is born every hundred years according to Nabooru, the Lone Wolf Thief, Second-in-Command of the Gerudo and Sage of Spirit in Ocarina of Time. This male is then proclaimed as the Gerudo's king, and is venerated in what appears to be leader worship rituals, but the Gerudo are really more of a dictatorship, as apparent by Nabooru's remarks in Ocarina of Time where she is defiant and says she will never bow to such a wicked man. Though in some instances The Desert Wasteland and Gerudo Valley would be considered part of Hyrule, many Gerudos seem to be unfriendly to outsiders and may be considered an individual nation. Though they may not welcome outsiders, the Gerudo recognize power, as seen in Ocarina of Time when Link single-handedly took the fortress by storm and rescued the carpenters. Shortly after, he was discovered by the current leader of the Fortress and was accepted into the Gerudo as an honorary member. As in Twilight Princess the tribe of the "Gerudo" does not make an appearance, but the Gerudo Desert is home to the legendary Mirror of Twilight, and a prison for those such as Ganondorf.
Making their home inside of mountains and underground are the Goron race. They usually reside in a locale known as Goron City. They mine rocks from caves for their race to eat. Goron City itself is usually an intricate labyrinth set inside Death Mountain, which is connected to the Fire Temple in Ocarina of Time. The Goron government is a monarchy, with the Chief (also known as "Big Brother") ruling over the other Gorons who build passages throughout their domain. There have been several leaders of the Goron Tribe throughout the series, most notably Darunia, the Sage of Fire. In Twilight Princess, the Gorons have become more advanced, as they had made the innards of Death Mountain into a mining site. In The Wind Waker, three traveling merchants are seen that are clearly of the Goron race, although they are never referred to as such. It is possible that the lack of land (and therefore rocks), may have resulted in near-extinction of the Goron race by the time of The Wind Waker.
The forest to the southeast in Ocarina of Time is governed by the Great Deku Tree, who watches over a realm of children that will never grow up called the Kokiri. The Kokiri are forest elves (or spirits) who take the form of children and are given life by The Great Deku Tree. There are notable Kokiri throughout the series, including Mido, a bully; Saria, the Sage of Forest and Link's friend; and Fado, Sage of Wind, who was killed by Ganondorf some time before the Great Flood. After the Great Flood, the Kokiri were transformed into the Koroks, though it is not explained how this exactly happened.
The Zora are an aquatic race who dwell in the waters of Hyrule, sometimes in caverns. According to Nintendo of America, Inc.'s 1995 Online Interactive Adventure, the Zora were the first sentient beings to gain intelligence in Hyrule, but there is no conclusive evidence this is an official sentiment of the Zelda Team. In Ocarina of Time, the Zora are guardians of the waterways in Hyrule, and throughout the series they control passages in the waters that warp travelers to other locations. The Zora are a monarchy, ruled over by a being always known as King Zora, though it is not known if that is his true name, and occasionally a queen or prince in a king's absence. They usually worship a deity from a bloodline of whales. In Ocarina of Time, Lord Jabu-Jabu was worshiped. In the Wind Waker, Jabu-Jabu also appears, though he has changed his name to Jabun to conceal his identity from Ganondorf. However, in Twilight Princess, there is no mention or sign of a deity such as Jabu-Jabu, although there is reference to rituals carried out in the underwater Zora temple. Other notable Zora are Princess Ruto, daughter of King Zora in Ocarina of Time and Sage of Water; and Laruto, Sage of Earth, who was killed by Ganondorf some time before the Great Flood, and Ralis, the orphaned Prince from Twilight Princess. It is believed by some that the Zora evolved into a race known as the Rito because Medli, a Rito in The Wind Waker, carries the same bloodline as Laruto, a Zora.
The "bird people" from Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker are called Rito. The Rito are actually "wingless" creatures who have existed for some time in The Wind Waker and worship the Sky Spirit Valoo, a giant dragon who presides over Dragon Roost Island, the Rito's homeland in The Wind Waker. The Rito gain their wings by confronting Valoo and taking a scale from him. Allegedly then, the Rito will magically gain their wings. Thus, this gives rise to debate as to whether or not the Rito are an evolved race, stemming from the Zora because of the connection between a Rito named Medli and a Zora named Laruto, or whether they are merely Hylians (the Rito have pointed ears) who survived on and are granted the ability to fly by a higher power. To be clear, if the Zora evolved into the Rito, they did not evolve into a winged species - the Rito are naturally wingless and are born that way. There is no clarification that only Rito can grow wings thanks to Valoo, and even then, if true, there is no knowledge if the Rito are biologically enabled to grow wings or if it is just Valoo's discretion. Notable Rito are Prince Komali, son of the Chieftain, Medli, Prince Komali's caretaker and Sage of Earth, and Quill, a Rito Postman who helps Link in The Wind Waker on his quest.
Korok are the small plant-like creatures that inhabit Forest Haven in The Wind Waker. The Deku Tree revealed that the Korok are actually a new form of the Kokiri formed from having to live in the water. Each year, they perform a ceremony in which the Korok children play music for the Deku Tree, and he grows new seeds. The Koroks then take them off to islands on the Great Sea in the hopes they will grow more land to re-unify the disconnected people and lands. The most notable Korok is Makar, a violinist and Sage of Wind, and a descendant of Fado, a Kokiri.
The Picori, called the Minish by their own kind, are small beings that inhabit Hyrule, but came originally from another realm. They are very small and only reveal themselves to children, and their sole purpose in Hyrule is to make Hylians happy. Minish speak their own language, but with the help of a Jabber Nut, anyone can understand them. There are several Minish sages, the most famous being Ezlo. Other notable Picori are Vaati, Ezlo's apprentice who became one of the prominent villains of Hyrule, Ferari and Melari. The Minish are said to be responsible for the hearts and rupees that appear in pots, bushes and rocks, as well as the creation of many magical items in Hyrule. They are also responsible for creating Armos Statues. Finally, they were the forgers of the blade that would ultimately be reborn as the Four Sword.
Sheikahs are a tribe who served to protect the Royal family of Hyrule. They seem to have a connection with death and the afterlife, and are sometimes referred to as the shadow people. In "Ocarina of Time", Princess Zelda disguised herself as a male Sheikah, taking the name Sheikh and practising the art of the Sheikah people, which appear to be based on those of Japanese ninjas: the Sheikah are athletic, agile and able to sneak up on people without being heard or seen. Both Sheikh and Impa (a notable Sheikah who, in "Ocarina of Time" served as both Zelda's attendant and the Sage of Shadow) possess the ability to apparently disappear (or perhaps teleport) by creating a bright flash to distract those around them.
Twili are beings that reside in the Twilight realm, which is actually an antithesis of Hyrule. Midna, the Twilight Princess, is sent to Hyrule to find a person who would save both worlds, which happens to be Link. This all takes place in Twilight Princess. The Twili were actually once Hylians, however, prolonged exposure to the Twilight Realm resulted in them becoming pale humanoid creatures, entirely different from the race known as Hylians today. They have, as stated by Zant at the end of Twilight Princess "become empty of emotion". This suggests that the Twili, while they had evil ancestors, are a very peaceful race.
Deku are plant-like creatures that can be friends or foes. Deku Scrubs are enemies who shoot nuts at intruders. Business Dekus sell and trade. Deku can be found everywhere in Hyrule. They do not seem to be ruled over by anybody in particular and there is not a Deku sage. However, in Majora's Mask the Deku King rules over all the Dekus of Termina. As Termina exists on a separate but parallel plane to Hyrule, however, it is unknown but highly improbable that this monarchy extends into Hyrule. Also, in Ocarina of Time there is a secret underground place in the Lost Woods where a group of Deku Scrubs preside under an Elder as he is referred to. Also, in the temple within the Great Deku Tree, there are at least three Dekus who refer to Queen Gohma (The arachnid boss) as their queen.
Hyrule Royal Family
The Hyrule Royal Family itself rules the land to the north of Hyrule, and has a large army of soldiers to protect itself. The king rules the land, and his daughter, Princess Zelda, is next in line to the throne. The Hylian Royal Family live in Hyrule Castle in Ocarina of Time but once Ganon takes over, only the fate of Princess Zelda is known.
In Ocarina of Time
The land of Hyrule in the time of Ocarina of Time is very diverse. The landscape is dominated by a large volcanic mountain range and its principal volcano, Death Mountain, in the northeast of the country.
Immediately east of Lake Hylia is a large woodland area, known as the Lost Woods. The major water source in Hyrule is the Zora's River, which starts at Zora's Fountain, flows through Hyrule Castle Town, and into Gerudo Valley, which ends at Lake Hylia.
See also Places in Ocarina of Time.
Human activity in Hyrule has been somewhat limited. There is evidence of farming, by the Magic Beans of OoT and MM, and the Gasha Seeds of OoS and OoA, though the latter are in other lands, but the Bean salesman says they aren't selling very good. The Hyrulean economy, judging from the state of Hyrule Castle, seems fairly strong, but dependent on fisheries and trade.
Several settlements have sprung up around Hyrule, the capital being Hyrule Castle Town, with the other major settlements being Goron City, Gerudo Fortress, Kakariko Village, Kokiri Forest and Zora's Domain. There is a great amount of trade between three of the settlements, however the Gerudo Fortress and Kokiri Forest are largely secluded. Goron City is also separated from the other settlements, being high atop Death Mountain and unreachable by many citizens.
In The Legend of Zelda
By the time of The Legend of Zelda, the features of Hyrule have been significantly rearranged. Death Mountain is located in the north, as before, but the major body of water (possibly Lake Hylia) is now in the center of the land, the Lost Woods is in the southwest, a graveyard is in the far west, and the desert regions are in the northeast. A large portion of the map in the southeast is woods, and there are no obvious plains. The large anthropormorphic tree near the center of the map (the entrance to the first dungeon) may be a deceased Deku Tree (or rather, the Deku Tree may have been based on it). The reason there are no towns is because Ganon's creatures have swept the land. In the actual "Legend of Zelda" (Not the game, respectively), it is said that once Ganon's army invaded, all the settlements and people moved North, above Death Mountain. In The Legend of Zelda: Adventure of Link, the Link from the previous game traveled north, coming to different towns, and a whole new area of Hyrule. Hence, the map at the top of the page.
Curiously, there is little sign of human habitation in the Hyrule of this age. There is no Hyrule Castle, and all the people Link encounters are elderly, and live in caves or dungeons. This is probably simply because at the time this game was released, they chose not to spend effort including such elements. In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, which occurs immediately afterward chronologically, towns were introduced to the series for the first time. In-universe, a likelier reason for the absence of such habitations as Kakariko Village and Hyrule Castle would be possible warfare or conquest by Ganon, perhaps explaining why the center of Hyrulian government was relocated to the far north by the time of Zelda II. This may have led to near-total depopulation (the cemetery in the first game lies directly upon the site of Kakariko Village in A Link to the Past), as people moved away from Hyrule or died in the wars, or were even transformed into monsters, as Ganon has had a fondness for such acts. Another theory is that this version of Hyrule exists after the Great Sea featured in Wind Waker has receded, leaving only geography and no evidence of structures in this region. None of these theories have been definitively confirmed or refuted by the games' producers.
Races and governments
The only friendly creatures encountered in The Legend of Zelda are humans, in the form of old men, old women, and shopkeepers. There is a race known as the Zola which resemble and indeed have broken away from the Zora race from Ocarina of Time and Oracle of Ages; however, in this game they serve as water-dwelling enemies and have no evidence of government.
In The Adventure of Link
|thumb|180px|left|A map of the Western Continent of Hyrule during The Adventure of Link. The games LoZ, LttP, OoT, FSA, WW, MC, TP, and PH all take place in the southwest corner of the map.]] In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, the geographic features of the first game (and most subsequent games) are found in a relatively small area in the southwest corner of a more expansive Hyrule. Notably, Death Mountain, Spectacle Rock, the western graveyard, and Lake Hylia are apparent, and do not seem to be inhabited. The expanded Hyrule is divided by sea into two main continents (called the Eastern and Western Continents) and supports at least eight towns. Five of the towns bear the same names of sages from Ocarina of Time (Rauru, Ruto, Saria, Nabooru, and Darunia). Another town, Mido, shares the name of a bossy character in Ocarina of Time's Kokiri Forest. Since Ocarina of Time takes place before Zelda II, the implication is that the towns are named after these characters. The namesake of Old and New Kasuto (the remaining towns) is unknown.
In A Link to the Past
In A Link to the Past, Hyrule's geography has changed once again. Death Mountain is still in the north, but the Lost Woods have moved to the northwest corner of the map. This was the first Zelda game to feature Hyrule Castle in its entirety, and it is the central point of Hyrule. Lake Hylia is located in the southeast of Hyrule, and there is a large desert (possibly Gerudo Valley) in the southwest. Kakariko Village is located to the west between the Lost Woods and the desert. Zora's River is located in the northeast of Hyrule. Finally, the ruins of another palace lie in the east of the land. Some have said that if the map is turned 45 degrees clockwise, it bears a striking resemblance to the map of Ocarina of Time.
In The Wind Waker
In the time of The Wind Waker (set chronologically after the events of Ocarina of Time), Hyrule has long since been flooded, and now lies beneath the ocean, with only a collection of mountaintops remaining above the water. These form an archipelago that later became known as The Great Sea, in a manner similar to Atlantis.
In Twilight Princess
In the latest Zelda game, Twilight Princess, many locations are kept from Ocarina of Time and other games, although they have been completely redone. Hyrule Castle and Castle Town now sit in the middle of the map, surrounded by Hyrule Field, which has been broken up into multiple locations. Other locations include Kakariko Village and Death Mountain to the east, Ordona Province and Faron Woods to the south, Zora's Domain to the north, and Lake Hylia, Gerudo Desert, and Peak Province to the west. Zora's River (which is only accessible through minigames) runs from Zora's Domain to Lake Hylia through a very deep gorge that partially surrounds the eastern section of Hyrule Field. Lake Hylia itself lies far below the western section of Hyrule Field. Notably, Lon Lon Ranch is absent from this game, and the Temple of Time, which in Ocarina of Time was located in the Castle Town to the North, is now found in ruins in the Faron Woods to the south-west of the map. Also there is a level extremely similar to the Deku Tree and all of the doors bear the same symbol as the Deku Shield in Ocarina of Time.
It should be noted that for control reasons the east and west directions in the GameCube and Wii versions of the game were inverted, as the Wii version of the game had to be mirrored from the original GameCube version because Link was originally left handed.