- "A kid like you may not know this, but the Gerudo race consists only of women. Only one man is born every hundred years..."
- — Nabooru
The Gerudo are a recurring race in the The Legend of Zelda series. They are a reclusive tribe of thieves that consists entirely of women; however, every hundred years, a man who is destined to be their king is born. This has seemingly changed at some time though, at least in the Child Timeline. They have dark tanned skin, golden eyes and red hair. Gerudo warriors frequently wield glaive-like weapons and scimitars. In Ocarina of Time it was rumored they sometimes have relations with Hylian men, though this is later confirmed to be true in Breath of the Wild.
From the many appearances by the Gerudo race throughout the games, many aspects of their culture and society can be deduced from their behavior. Their culture is extremely different from that of the Hylian race, and it is likely that their societies developed very independently of each other. Those born into Gerudo society typically have little respect for the Hylian people, and the only men they ever truly revere are the males born into their tribe every hundred years. They usually seem to show distaste for Hyrulean culture, as in their eyes living in separate, wooden houses, worshipping Din, Nayru, and Farore, and having differing gender roles between men and women are all blasphemous.
In Gerudo culture, the tribe is usually seen all living together in large forts and blockhouses, sometimes in tents. Their main deity is the Goddess of the Sand, and women fulfill any role in society from architect to warrior. The Gerudo are highly devout worshippers of the Sand Goddess, as they have constructed a huge monument both on the exterior and interior of the Spirit Temple in the middle of the Haunted Wasteland.
By the events of Breath of the Wild, Gerudo no longer bear animosity towards the other races of Hyrule, and no longer resort to thievery to survive, as they now engage in foreign trade. However they still adhere to their strict rules prohibiting "Voe" (males) from entering their primary residence. It is elaborated that due to the Gerudo rarely producing male offspring, when they become of age, it is not uncommon for them to travel outside of Gerudo Town in seek of a Voe of a different race. The game also shows Gerudo children for the first time and more insight is given into Gerudo culture.
The Gerudo Symbol
The Gerudo Symbol is a symbol used to represent the Gerudo tribe. Originally, it looked like a crescent moon and a star, similar to an Islamic symbol, but was changed due to the controversy it caused. The new symbol was first seen in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, and was retroactively implemented into re-releases of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time such as the Collector's Edition and the Virtual Console re-release. Interestingly, both symbols are freely used in the Chinese iQue release.
The symbol is often found on many objects, such as moveable blocks, Foot Switches, and the Mirror Shield, in addition to being a regular fixture of the Gerudo's Fortress and the Spirit Temple. It also appears on the clothing of Ganondorf, as well as several antagonists who follow orders from the Gerudo, such as Zant.
Link's first encounter with the Gerudo occurs when he is a child; after meeting with Princess Zelda in the Castle Courtyard, she tells him that she was spying on a meeting her father is having as they speak. She allows Link to look through the window, where he sees Ganondorf, the Gerudo King of Thieves swearing allegiance to the king. Ganondorf notices Link, but Princess Zelda remains confident that he is unaware of their intentions to thwart Ganondorf's evil plans to conquer Hyrule. Link goes on a quest to retrieve the Spiritual Stones, so that he and Zelda may open the Door of Time before Ganondorf manages to do so.
Unfortunately, as Link returns to Hyrule Castle Town with all three Spiritual Stones, he finds that Ganondorf has launched an attack on Hyrule Castle and taken control. Zelda is forced to escape, just managing to provide Link with the Ocarina of Time needed to open the Door of Time. Ganondorf appears shortly thereafter, and casually knocks Link down with a spell as he attempts to chase after Zelda. Other members of the Gerudo may also be encountered when Link is a child, guarding the bridge leading to their fortress in Gerudo Valley. Link can also obtain a Gerudo Mask, which will elicit amused responses from them. When Link awakens from his unnatural slumber seven years later, he eventually travels west to the land of the Gerudo, where the Spirit Temple is found.
At the request of the carpenter Mutoh, Link travels to the fortress in search of his workers who had given up clean living to try and become Gerudo themselves. He manages to sneak through the fortress completely undetected and defeat the Gerudo Thieves guarding the keys to the Carpenters' cells. Upon having rescued the fourth and final carpenter, Aveil, the Gerudo Third-in-command, appears and commends him for his skills. Having gained the respect of the Gerudo, he is given a Gerudo Membership Card, making him an honorary member of their tribe. He is thus able to pass through the gate to the Haunted Wasteland. He bypasses the trials there, and is led to the Desert Colossus by a Phantom Guide. Additionally, by being an honorary Gerudo, Link is allowed to try his hand at Horseback Archery and obtaining the power of Ice Arrows by braving the many trials of the Gerudo's Training Ground.
Upon entering the Spirit Temple itself however, he finds that he is completely unable to progress through the temple itself; as he exits, Sheik appears and advises him to return to the Spirit Temple of seven years ago. To aid him in returning to the Desert Colossus as a child, Sheik teaches Link the "Requiem of Spirit". Link restores the Master Sword to its pedestal and is returned to the past. Inside the Spirit Temple, Link meets Nabooru, Ganondorf's direct subordinate, who does not approve of his brutal methods and plans to interfere with his plans by taking the Silver Gauntlets from inside the Spirit Temple. However, when she finds that she is much too big to pass through the small passageway into the temple, she recruits Link to recover the Gauntlets for her, in exchange for a "reward" she does not explain in detail. Link successfully retrieves the gauntlets from its resting place. Shortly thereafter, he witnesses the abduction of Nabooru by Koume and Kotake, the evil witches who served as surrogate mothers to Ganondorf. Link is left with no choice but to travel seven years into the future again, and complete Nabooru's plans on his own.
Link navigates the Spirit Temple, and in an antechamber to the lair of Koume and Kotake, he comes across an abnormally big and strong Iron Knuckle. Upon its defeat, the Iron Knuckle sheds its armor, revealing it to have been Nabooru all along, brainwashed by Koume and Kotake. Suddenly, the evil witches reappear and spirit Nabooru away yet again. Link defeats both Koume and Kotake, and their combined form in battle, awakening Nabooru as the Sage of Spirit destined to aid Link on his quest to save Hyrule. In addition, defeating Koume and Kotake also resulted in the Gerudo being freed of their influence. In the Temple of Time, Sheik reveals "his" true identity as Princess Zelda, the Seventh Sage. She then presents him with the Light Arrow, the only weapon that can harm the King of Evil. Unfortunately, Ganondorf has been keeping watch over them, and chooses this moment to seal Princess Zelda inside a crystal and take her away to his castle, challenging Link to go there and face him in battle.
Nabooru and the other five Sages are able to create a bridge for Link to cross the lava pool above which the previously unreachable Ganon's Castle floats. Inside Ganon's Castle, Link finds that Ganondorf's stronghold is under the protection of Six Evil Barriers; for every barrier Link destroys with the Light Arrow, its respective sage appears before him. Link battles Ganondorf atop his tower, and manages to defeat him, freeing Zelda. However, with his last breath, Ganondorf attempts to bring the castle down on them, but they manage to escape as the castle crumbles around them. Ganondorf invokes the power of the Triforce of Power to transform into a great beast and knocks the Master Sword out of Link's hand. Link is forced to battle him through other means, and sufficiently weakens him to the point where he is able to retrieve his sword. After Ganon sustains more damage, Zelda uses her power to render him defenseless, allowing Link to strike a mortal blow. Ganondorf is sealed away by the Sages, and peace is returned to Hyrule. As all the races of Hyrule, among them the Gerudo, celebrate their regained freedom, five of the sages watch over the land from the vista of Death Mountain.
- "The pirate found you! Use Z targeting and look for your chance. You're caught if you don't win."
- — Tatl
The Gerudo are a tribe of pirates, led by Aveil, that reside within a great fortress in the Great Bay region of Termina. Little is known about the Gerudo Pirates; whether or not they share the genealogy of their Ocarina of Time counterparts is unknown, but only female pirates are ever seen. Their methods appear to be more cruel and uncaring; they are not above hurting a woman and her children in the pursuit of treasure, and mortally wound Mikau. Nabooru in Ocarina of Time claimed that Ganondorf is the only Gerudo who would commit such crimes. They are apparently highly technologically advanced, being in possession of such technology as motor-propelled boats and cannons.
Prior to the events of the game, the Gerudo Pirates stole the eggs of Lulu, lead singer of the all-Zora band, The Indigo-Go's. Lulu's lover and bandmate Mikau was mortally wounded by the Gerudo while trying to save the eggs; Link is able to heal his sorrows with the "Song of Healing", and his spirit is sealed inside a mask that allows Link to transform into a Zora at will. Link is able to complete Mikau's task for him by sneaking into the fortress and defeating the guards protecting the eggs. He then returns the eggs to the Marine Research Lab, where the hatchlings teach him the "New Wave Bossa Nova". Link plays Lulu the song, restoring her voice, and awakening a Giant Turtle that can guide him to Great Bay Temple. When arriving at the Great Bay Temple, some Gerudo pirates end up blown away by the winds surrounding it.
Koume and Kotake, though it is never stated whether they are Gerudo, run a Potion Shop and boat cruise in the Woodfall region. They never act hostile towards Link, and at one point, he even helps one of them.
The only members of the Gerudo race in the Oracle games are Koume and Kotake, known collectively as Twinrova. Using General Onox, Veran, and Princess Zelda, they are able to light the Flames of the Dark Rites, thus resurrecting Ganon. When Twinrova light the Flames of the Dark Rites, they refer to Ganon as King of the Gerudo.
Ganondorf is the only Gerudo who appears in this game. He makes reference to the harsh conditions the Gerudo had to live in, resulting in his ambition to obtain the Triforce. No traces of past Gerudo civilizations can be found on any part of the Great Sea.
The Gerudo are guardians of the desert. Unlike previous incarnations, they are not thieves and are described as honorable, trustworthy and pure of heart. They live in the Gerudo Village in the Desert of Doubt. Ganondorf, one of their own, broke Gerudo law through his evil deeds, and traveled to their sacred Pyramid. A Gerudo elder speculated that Ganondorf had perished there, but Link later discovers Ganondorf to be alive, transformed into Ganon through the power of the Trident. The villager Gerudos do not like the heat of the desert, but they have grown accustomed to it.
Members of the Gerudo, outside of Ganondorf, are never seen or mentioned; however, the name of their tribe lives on in the name of the desert in which they lived, the Gerudo Desert. The Ancient Sages state that Ganondorf led them in an invasion of Hyrule in an attempt to establish dominion over the Sacred Realm. The Arbiter's Grounds are widely theorized to be the Spirit Temple, re-purposed after the Gerudo were gone.
The Gerudo appear in the Breath of the Wild, notable Gerudo including their leader Riju and their champion Urbosa. The Gerudo mostly live at Gerudo Town in the Gerudo Desert region of the Gerudo province. Young Gerudo girls and Gerudo women are taught that falling in love and reproducing with non-Gerudo men, Hylian men, is necessary for the survival of their race, because as with the rest of the series, the Gerudo in Breath of the Wild are almost all female. It is also implied that no male Gerudo currently exist during the events of the game and Ganondorf only appears in his monstrous demonic forms Dark Beast Ganon and Calamity Ganon.
Language of the Gerudo
In Breath of the Wild, the Gerudo are shown to have their own unique language, for the first time, the Language of the Gerudo has been given translatable words. For example, the Gerudo word for "females" is "Vai" and while the word for "man/males" is "Voe". Other words include "Vaba" which means "grandmother", "Vehvi" which means "child", and "Vure" which is implied to means "bird" as a Gerudo child uses it to describe a female Rito visiting Gerudo Town, presumably due to being unfamiliar with Rito. Common Gerudo greetings include "Sav'saaba" and "Sav'otta", while "Sav'orq" is Gerudo for "good-bye". "Sarqso" is an expression of gratitude ("thanks" or "thank you").
Gerudo Town laws
Voe are prohibited from entering Gerudo's primary residence in Gerudo Town and it is illegal to sell voe clothing in Gerudo Town, resulting in black market shops like the Gerudo Secret Club which sells voe clothing to its members. However the law forbidding voe in Gerudo does not apply to Gorons as Lyndae is permitted to enter the town. This exception is probably due to the non-human nature of the Goron race.
Additionally foreign non-Gerudo vai such as female Hylians, Rito, and Sheikah are permitted. No female Zora appear in Gerudo Town, though this is more likely due to the desert being too inhospitable for them and would presumably be permitted as well were they able to survive the desert conditions, which is unlikely as being away from water too long is potentially fatal for Zora. However it is possible for voe to enter Gerudo Town in disguise by wearing vai clothing. This method is used by Vilia and Link to enter Gerudo Town. Due to his skin tone, Vilia is able to disguise himself as a Gerudo vai, while Link is only able to fool the Gerudo into thinking he is a Hylian vai, though some such as Greta, Muava, and Riju are able to figure out he is a voe, though keep it a secret allowing him to maintain his disguise.
Presumably this law on voe may exist to protect Gerudo unfamiliar with voe from foreign males who might take advantage of them and/or to preserve their unique culture and traditions. It is unknown if this law applies to Gerudo voe like Ganondorf as no Gerudo males currently exist in Breath of the Wild (Ganon's original Gerudo form is also absent). As males are extremely rare, Gerudo commonly give birth to female Gerudo.
It is also revealed that during periods where there are no male Gerudo, the Gerudo are lead by a female chief, a position inherited from mother to daughter, as Riju inherited it when her mother passed away. It is unknown if the law of Gerudo male becoming King still exists or not.
It is elaborated that due to the Gerudo rarely producing male offspring, when they become of age, it is not uncommon for them to travel outside of Gerudo Town in seek of a voe of a different race (presumably male Hylians, Humans, and possibly Sheikah). Spera one of the venders in Gerudo Town explains that most of the Gerudo vendors are married to non-Gerudo voe and it is common for married Gerudo to live outside Gerudo Town with their husbands, though they return to Gerudo Town to sell their wares and make a living, though it often means she doesn't get to see her husband that often, showing that the law is hard on married Gerudo. The Gerudo vendors apparently take advantage of living outside its walls to obtain goods they cannot obtain in the desert. Several of the Gerudo vendors are also shown to be mothers and presumably their daughters usually stay with their mothers when they sell their wares in Gerudo Town. It is unclear if Gerudo children have any contact with their fathers. Due to little contact with voe unless they leave Gerudo Town, Gerudo are educated about them at school so they may be better prepared if they choose to see out a suitor. Link can even sit in on one of these classes.
Beyond the walls of Gerudo Town, Gerudo have more freedom to interact with voe and do business with them. As a result, some Gerudo leave town to do business in Kara Kara Bazaar, where they are free to trade and mingle with voe travelers staying and doing business there.
Religion and folklore
It is revealed that the Gerudo currently have very little interest in religion. Muava indicates that they no longer really believe in that stuff and tend to avoid stopping by Hylia's Goddess Statue, which shows signs of neglect as it is dirty and not well maintained. However Muava apparently takes pity on the statue as the Gerudo often tend to avoid her as well, so she keeps it company by sitting next to it. Muava reveals that Hylia's statue has been in Gerudo Town since long before she was even born. Hylia may have once been worshipped but eventually waned, possibly due to the Great Calamity which lead to the death of Lady Urbosa.
They may have also stopped worshiping the Goddess of the Sand as well as there are no signs of her within or outside the city. However Riju states that in the past the Gerudo saw the Divine Beast Vah Naboris as a god that protects them. The Gerudo also apparently hold reverence for heroines of the past such as the Seven Heroines which they honored in the past by building large statues of them which also acts as a puzzle that conceals the Korsh O'hu Shrine. Lady Urbosa is still respected in Gerudo Town, even one hundred years after her death. Young Gerudo like Pearle look and try to emulate her. Moreover Riju asks Lady Urbosa and her mother to give her strength to lead her people. Pearle is even shown to be aware of Lady Urbosa's history as she tells Link that Urbosa once saved the town from an evil ghost and Pearle goes on patrols to make sure no more bad monsters show up despite her young age.
Sand Seal taming
In order to travel through the desert, Gerudo have domesticated Sand Seals native to the Gerudo Desert Gateway which they use as transportation by having them pull them while surfing on a shield as the desert is apparently dangerous for horses. Sand Seal Racing is a traditional sport among the Gerudo and will rent trained Sand Seals to both Gerudo and non Gerudo vai.
Gerudo are shown to have a strong warrior culture and it is customary for Gerudo who have rose to the rank of captain to be presented with a Radiant Shield. Gerudo guards and soldiers commonly wield Gerudo Spears. The design of Gerudo Shields has changed over time to match the Gerudo's sword-and-shield fighting style. Golden Bows are used for both warfare and hunting. Gerudo women often carry Gerudo Scimitars for self-defense and Moonlight Scimitars are generally used for ceremonial purposes such as festivals. Only the most talented Gerudo sword fighters carry two-handed Golden Claymores.
The Gerudo are nowhere to be found in Twilight Princess, with the exception of Ganondorf himself, yet evidence that they once existed is plentiful. Their name lives on in the name of the Gerudo Desert where they lived, and a set of ruins near the entrance to the Gerudo Desert appear to have once been a structure built by human hands. These ruins are right about where the Gerudo's Fortress should have been and appear to have been destroyed by invasion, time, or both. The Arbiter's Grounds, themselves theorized to be the Spirit Temple, bear many striking similarities to the Spirit Temple and are in a similar geographical location. Exactly what happened to the Gerudo is unknown, but certain clues given in the game can lead one to deduce what possibly happened.
The Ancient Sages appear in the Mirror Chamber atop the Arbiter's Grounds after the defeat of Stallord, and reveal to Link that Ganondorf and his followers attempted to establish dominion over the Sacred Realm, but failed. Ganondorf was captured and sentenced to death; however, the Ancient Sages merely managed to wound Ganondorf, who managed to kill the Sage of Water in retaliation. Left with no other choice, they used the Mirror of Twilight to seal him away in the Twilight Realm. With their insurrection having failed and their leader gone, it is possible that the Gerudo grew to be hated by the other denizens of Hyrule; as a result, they could have been targets of an attack by Hylian military forces and driven out of Hyrule outright, accounting for the ruins of what is ostensibly their fortress. They also may have been banished into the Twilight Realm through the Mirror of Twilight, as is done with certain criminals, or imprisoned within the Arbiter's Grounds.
If the Gerudo were extirpated from the desert, either through an invasion or banishment to the Twilight Realm, the other Hyruleans could have claimed the Gerudo's revered Spirit Temple, renamed it the Arbiter's Grounds, and used it as a prison and to house the Mirror of Twilight. The time between Ganondorf's and the Gerudo's betrayal and Ganondorf's execution is all the time the other Hyruleans would have had to convert the Spirit Temple into the Arbiter's Grounds, given the that the Arbiter's Grounds were shown to be completed by the time of Ganondorf's execution. The Arbiter's Grounds themselves are filled with Poes and ReDeads, presumed to be spirits of former inmates, possibly former members of the Gerudo race if they were held there.
The timeline presented in the Hyrule Historia places Four Swords Adventures, in which the Gerudo are still present in Hyrule, after the events of Twilight Princess. In this timeline, this theory would have to be false, or else some Gerudo would have had to remain and repopulate Hyrule later, or another population entirely such as the one in Termina would have had to immigrate. Although, it is entirely possible that the Gerudo tribe lived out far enough in the desert in Twilight Princess so that they wouldn't make an appearance.
One possibility is that, after their betrayal under Ganondorf's rule, the Gerudo were banished to the Twilight Realm by the other Hyruleans, thereafter evolving into the Twili. This theory is supported by the fact that the Mirror of Twilight, the gateway to the Twilight Realm, is found in the Gerudo Desert. Midna's dialogue before stabbing Zant, regarding how their people lost their king to greed, may be a reference to Ganondorf.
The Gerudo symbol can also be seen on Zant's throne and cloak, even before he submitted himself to Ganondorf. Also, Midna has red hair, just like the Gerudo, though it is unknown whether red is a typical Twili hair color or not. Lastly, since the gender of most of the Twili is unknown, they may all be female except for Zant. This may explain why Zant felt he deserved to be king; a single Gerudo male is born every one hundred years and made the leader of the Gerudo, and Zant would have been born approximately one hundred years after Ganondorf. However, it is just as likely that not all the other Twili are female.
Further evidence against this theory includes that the invasion of the Interlopers, the ancestors of the Twili, was said to have happened during the Hyrulean Civil War, which was over for a number of years prior to Ganondorf's invasion of Hyrule Castle. Furthermore, Ganondorf does not speak of the Twili as if they are his people but seems to imply they were already in the Twilight realm before he was banished there.
Additionally, the Gerudo would have no way to reproduce on their own while isolated from the rest of the world. They would require another population of humans alongside them to provide males, as they do with Hylians under normal circumstances. While this makes it unlikely that the Gerudo who followed Ganondorf in his attack on Hyrule are the Interlopers who started the Twili race, this does not preclude the possibility that those Gerudo were banished to the Twilight realm and intermingled with the existing Twili. This could explain the presence of the Gerudo symbol in the Twilight Realm later on during the events of Twilight Princess. The part written above about the Hyrule Historia disproves most of this theory though.
Another possibility is that some of the Twili (such as Zant and Midna) could be descended from Gerudo members of the Interlopers (as it is implied by Lanaryu's vision that the Interlopers may have been members of different tribes who wielded dark magic) or the Interlopers where a tribe of Gerudo that the existed during the time of the Hyrulean Civil War who at the time may have been lead by Ganondorf's predecessor (another male Gerudo born in the hundred years before Ganondorf).
Groose has red hair and amber eyes, similar to the Gerudo. It is possible that he is the ancestor of the tribe. If true, it would be ironic considering Groose's initial antagonistic relationship with Link (as series main antagonist Ganondorf is a member of the tribe).
Unique Skin Pigmentation
Interestingly, certain Gerudo such as Ganondorf, Koume, and Kotake (as well as the witches' merged form Twinrova) all possess greenish-brown skin. As all of them are evil magic wielding Gerudo, indicating that it may be either a reflection of the evil in their hearts or a side effect of their using black magic.
Another possibility is that the pigmentation is sign of age, as both Koume and Kotake are quite elderly. While Ganondorf and Twinrova appear younger than Koume and Kotake, it is possible that the Gerudo gain the pigmentation once they reach a certain age (which would indicate that all the other Gerudo encountered in the game have not yet reached this age). It is also possible that Ganondorf and Twinrova appear younger due to the use of magic.
Malon and Talon
Malon is shown to have red hair similar to that of the Gerudo. In addition, if Link wears the Gerudo Mask and speaks with Talon, the latter will mention that the mask reminds him of Malon's mom before deciding against it, implying that Malon may be of Gerudo descent.
- ^ Both Gerudo and Gerudos have been used as the plural form, so both are considered correct. However, Twinrova, Gerudo themselves, refer to the tribe as simply "the Gerudo."
|Link (x4) · Princess Zelda · Six Maidens · Vaati|
—Full list of characters
|Phantom Ganon · Helmaroc King · Stone Arrghus · Jalhalla · Dagtail · Frostare · Big Dodongo · Vaati · Ganon|
| Whereabouts of the Wind · Eastern Hyrule · Death Mountain · Near the Fields · The Dark World · The Desert of Doubt · Frozen Hyrule · Realm of the Heavens|
—Full list of locations
|Bomb · Bombos Medallion · Boomerang · Bow · Fire Rod · Four Sword · Lantern · Magic Hammer · Quake Medallion · Shield · Slingshot|
|Blue Bracelet · Carrot · Force Gem · Force Fairy · Heart · Heart Container · Moon Pearl · Pegasus Boots · Power Bracelet · Roc's Feather · Shovel · Small Key|
|Knight Mark · Letter · Magic Book · Royal Jewels · Vaati Barrier|
|Gerudo · Goron · Hylian · Zuna|