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"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[1] are a recurring race in the The Legend of Zelda series. They are a reclusive tribe of humanoids that consists almost 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.

The Gerudo race have dark skin, golden eyes, red hair, and sharp bird-like nose. Gerudo warriors frequently wield glaive-like weapons and scimitars. In Ocarina of Time it is rumored they sometimes have relations with Hylian men, later confirmed to be true in Breath of the Wild.

Although the Gerudo are usually depicted as a race of marauders and thieves in the series, in Four Swords Adventures and Breath of the Wild they have turned to a life of co-existence and peace with other inhabitants of Hyrule.

Physical appearance

In general, the Gerudo possess flaming red hair, tanned skin, sharp bird-like nose, as well as painted eyelids and lips, as well as fairly skimpy attire. In rare cases, however, there were some Gerudo who possessed darker skin that appeared olive green. In Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, Gerudo including Ganondorf have golden eyes and round ears, while they have green eyes and pointed ears in Breath of the Wild. Ganondorf appears with pointed ears in The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess as well as Hyrule Warriors series.

In Ocarina of Time and to a certain extent Majora's Mask, the Gerudo have some varying wardrobe and hairstyles. The lower ranks generally had fairly short hair and had white, slightly torn slack pants and a vest with a red bra underneath. The guards likewise wore purple slack pants and a purple/red bra with a brooch on it, had their hair tied into a slight bun at the back, white cloth gauntlets with purple gloves, a purple veil near their mouth, and also carried a large spear. The Gerudo thieves likewise wore a red bra with a brooch, red slack pants, red shoes, and had golden gauntlets along their shin and forearms, a red mouth veil, a jeweled hairclip, as well a long ponytail. The head of the Gerudo Fortress, Aveil, was seen wearing a similar outfit. They also had a fairly slim, yet slightly athletic build.

In Four Swords Adventures, the Gerudo largely have red outfits and appear pale due to the 2D sprites.

In Breath of the Wild, the Gerudo were depicted as being extremely muscular as well as fairly tall people, though their attire was largely similar to past incarnations.

Culture

Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.

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, worshiping Din, Nayru, and Farore, and having differing gender roles between men and women are all blasphemous. They were also known to lack any respect for males, with the exception of the male Gerudo born within their race each century due to the latter acting as their king. However, it is implied in Ocarina of Time that they can possess enough respect for some men outside their race to grant them honorary membership to the race should they prove themselves exceptionally beforehand.

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 Four Swords Adventures and Breath of the Wild, the Gerudo race 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 men from a different race. The game also shows Gerudo children for the first time and more insight is given into Gerudo culture.

Spoiler warning: Spoilers end here.

The Gerudo Symbol

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.

Appearances

Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Gerudo (Ocarina of Time)

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.

Gerudo's Fortress

The Gerudo's Fortress

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 Arrows. 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 Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

"The pirate found you! Use Z targeting and look for your chance. You're caught if you don't win."
Tatl
Gerudo Guard (Majora's Mask)

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 (in Hyrule) who would commit such crimes. They are apparently highly technologically advanced, being in possession of such technology as motor-propelled boats and cannons.

Pirates' Fortress Interior

The Pirate's Fortress

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 Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons

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.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

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 Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

Gerudo (Four Swords Adventures)

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.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Members of the Gerudo, outside of Ganondorf, are never seen or mentioned (barring possibly Telma, see theory section below); 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. Fragments of their text can be found at the Arbiter's Grounds, which is widely theorized to be the Spirit Temple, re-purposed after the Gerudo were gone.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Riju

Makeela Riju the Gerudo Chieftain from Breath of the Wild

The Gerudo appear in the Breath of the Wild, the most notable of whom include their leader Riju and their champion Urbosa. The Gerudo mostly live at Gerudo Town in the Gerudo Desert region of the Gerudo province. Those who do not live in Gerudo Town are mostly either traders or on a quest for love. No male Gerudo are found throughout breath of the wild, excluding Ganondorf who 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 mean "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"). Though primarily used by the Gerudo, some visitors to Gerudo Town attempt to learn and speak the language. Additionally the Great Fairy Tera is shown to be familiar with the language, presumably due to having lived in the Gerudo Desert for at least a century or more, which would have likely lead to her having contact with the Gerudo at some point.

Gerudo Town laws

Men are prohibited from entering Gerudo's primary residence in Gerudo Town and it is illegal to sell male clothing in Gerudo Town, resulting in black market shops like the Gerudo Secret Club which sells male clothing to its members. However the law forbidding men in Gerudo town apparently 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 however as Lyndae has a feminine sounding name the guards may have assumed Lyndae was a female Goron (it is unclear if Goron vai actually exist as none have ever been encountered in the games though the Gerudo Guards might assume they do exist due to lack of familiarity with Goron biology). Additionally, the law forbidding shops from selling male clothing does not apply to non-Gerudo merchants as Link (disguised as a Hylian woman) is able to sell any type of armor or clothing to any merchant in Gerudo Town without any problem indicating that the law does not prevent male clothing from being sold to Gerudo merchants by traveling female merchants (or males disguised as females) or female tourists presumably due to Gerudo Town being a mecca for trade among women of various races (and any males that manage to sneak in disguise or accidentally mistaken for females). Presumably the vendors and shops in Gerudo Town are allowed to purchase male clothing from non-Gerudo, though it is illegal for Gerudo merchants to sell it themselves, leading to black market shops like the Gerudo Secret Club to meet the demand for male clothing. It is unknown why male clothing is popular among the Gerudo as male Gerudo are extremely rare, though they may wish to acquire male clothing for their boyfriends or husbands, or as gifts for men they are courting.

Additionally foreign non-Gerudo females such as 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 aquatic creatures.

However it is possible for males to enter Gerudo Town in disguise by wearing female clothing. This method is used by Vilia and Link to enter Gerudo Town. Some such as Greta, Muava, Buliara and Riju are able to figure out Link is a man, though keep it a secret allowing him to maintain his disguise. The Hylian Jules also figures out his gender though as he is a fellow Hylian she keeps his secret due to being impressed by his ability to pass as a Hylian girl to the point Jules admits she is momentarily fooled every time he approaches despite knowing his secret. Interestingly, as Riju is Gerudo Chieftain and Buliara is Captain of Gerudo Guard, they are in effect secretly permitting Link stay in Gerudo Town as long as he maintains his disguise, though this is likely due to his status as the Hylian Champion and comrade of Lady Urbosa. They may have also permitted it as Link managing to pass himself off as a vai and making it into the Riju's place would have been another embarrassment to the Gerudo Guard who had just recently failed to stop the Yiga Clan from stealing the Thunder Helm.

It should be noted that while Riju is Chieftain, she does not publicly permit Link into Gerudo Town even after he frees Vah Naboris, showing that while she is willing to bend the rules, she apparently has no intention of removing the law either partially (by openly permitting an esteemed male such as Link into Gerudo Town) or completely (by openly permitting men to enter Gerudo Town). In Urbosa's Diary, before the Great Calamity Urbosa states she taught Link the "trick" that allows men to enter Gerudo Town after Zelda abused Gerudo Town law to elude Link's protection detail forcing him to seek Chieftain Urbosa's aid implying he learned to disguise himself originally from her. Link however forgot it as a result of the Slumber of Restoration but relearned it from Vilia. Link's androgynous appearance helps him pass for female and he instinctually demonstrates bashful feminine mannerisms when Vilia complements how good he looks which may be due to training received from Urbosa to make his disguise more convincing which he presumably retains subconsciously as a result of muscle memory due the subconscious familiarity of wearing vai clothing.

It is also implied male Yiga can infiltrated Gerudo Town disguised as Hylian women through esoteric Sheikah arts similar to Zelda's Sheikah male alter-ego Sheik from Ocarina of Time. It is likely Hylian and Sheikah men capable of using magic could use magical illusions to disguise themselves or even magically transform their gender to female to work around the law as well though Link is unable to utilize this potential method forcing him to rely on a simple disguise.

Presumably this law exists to protect any Gerudo that is unfamiliar with men from foreign males who would take advantage of them or to preserve their unique culture and traditions. It is unknown if this law applies to Gerudo men, as none are shown (excluding Ganon) in Breath of the Wild. As males are extremely rare, Gerudo commonly give birth to female Gerudo. Additionally despite the law, Gerudo Town is considered a center of trade in Hyrule and many Gerudo return to work as venders to sell their wares and provide for their families often bring their daughters with them who are raised in Gerudo culture to the point some become unfamiliar with the world outside of Gerudo Town until they reach adulthood and learn more about voe and dating. Some mothers may leave their children in the care of female relatives such as grandmothers, aunts, or elder sisters.

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, as Ganon's origins as the Gerudo King are implied to have been largely forgotten. However it is stated all voe are barred from entering Gerudo Town which presumably applies to Gerudo voe as well this potentially indicates Gerudo voe no longer automatically become King by law as Gerudo Town is the center of Gerudo government and Gerudo voe would presumably be relegated to living with their Hylian fathers or live with their mothers and any female siblings at Kara Kara Bazaar.

Gerudo-Hylian mixing

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 male of a different race (presumably Hylians, Humans, and possibly Sheikah). Spera, who is one of the venders in Gerudo Town explains that most of the Gerudo vendors are married to non-Gerudo men 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, with it being presumable that 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 men 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 join one of these classes while in disguise.

Hudson

Hudson and Rhondson in Tarrey Town in Breath of the Wild

Beyond the walls of Gerudo Town, Gerudo have more freedom to interact with males 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 male travelers staying and doing business there. Rhondson even confirms the lack of Gerudo men is the main reason that she left Gerudo Town.

During the "From the Ground Up", Link is asked by the Bolson Construction worker Hudson to find a tailor for Tarrey Town. Link finds Rhondson whom is intrigued to learn about the new settlement and leaves Kara Kara Bazaar to establish Rhondson Armor Boutique in Tarrey Town. There, she sells the "Desert Voe" armor set, making it the only shop in Hyrule where it can be bought legally (This law does not apply to non-Gerudo merchants as Link can sell voe armor and clothing to any merchant in Gerudo Town without problem). During her time in Tarrey Town, Rhondson becomes smitten with Hudson and the two begin a relationship.

Eventually the two decide to get married and Hudson asks Link to find someone who can officiate the wedding after bringing him 50 bundles of wood. Link brings the Zora Elder Kapson who is qualified to officiate the wedding. Hudson asks Link to invite his boss Bolson and colleague Karson to the wedding. Link attends the wedding as well, being welcomed as a guest. This marks the first time in the Zelda series in which the marriage of a Hylian and a Gerudo is shown. After they are married, Rhondson remains in Tarrey Town to run her business and live happily with her new husband. During "A Gift of Nightshade", Link assists Wabbin in courting a Gerudo at Lover's Pond by acquiring a Blue Nightshade so Wabbin can declare his love to her. Wabbin however requests Link give her the flower for Wabbin. She agrees to meet Wabbin and she insists they both reward Link for playing the role matchmaker. Link is then rewarded a Red and Silver Rupee.

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 religion and tend to avoid stopping by Hylia's Goddess Statue, causing it to become unpolished. 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 worshiped by the Gerudo but eventually waned, possibly due to the Great Calamity which lead to the death of Lady Urbosa. It is implied Hylia may have fallen out of favor among the Gerudo in Urbosa's time as Urbosa chose to pray to the spirit of her late friend the Queen of Hyrule that Zelda would awaken her sealing powers in time before Ganon appeared, after witnessing the young Zelda's dedicated prayers to Hylia for her powers to awaken that went unanswered causing Zelda nothing but grief and lead her to resent Link due to his natural talent. Presumably the Gerudo prayed to Hylia that Urbosa and the Champions would defeat Ganon and when their prayers went unfulfilled they stopped worshipping her completely having lost faith in her or believing she had forsaken them and Hyrule.

However, Riju states that in the past the Gerudo saw the Divine Beast Vah Naboris as a god that protects them, much like how the other Divine Beasts are honored by their respective races.

The Gerudo also apparently hold reverence for heroines of the past, such as the Seven Heroines, known as guardians that once protected the region of Gerudo. To honor the Seven Heroines, the Gerudo built large statues of them that acts as a puzzle that conceals the Korsh O'hu Shrine. According to Rotana, the Seven Heroines thought by the Gerudo to be the divine protectors of their race. Each Heroine is said to have had a different power: skill, spirit, endurance, knowledge, flight, motion, and gentleness. Rotana also states that people once came from all over to seek the Seven Heroines` blessings.

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 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. In addition to Lady Urbosa and the Seven Heroines, according to Bozai, some Gerudo venerate a forgotten Eighth Heroine that is still worshiped by her faithful at the Statue of the Eighth Heroine, located in the Gerudo Highlands. Riju praying to her mother and Urbosa's spirits also well as Urbosa praying to the spirit of the Queen of Hyrule show Gerudo have a history of praying to the spirits of deceased individuals which may be related to the Gerudo's association with the Spirit Temple in Ocarina of Time.

Sand Seal taming

In order to travel through the desert, Gerudo use domesticated Sand Seals as steeds while surfing on a shield, since the desert is apparently dangerous for horses. Gerudo and Hylians can use a shield to surf behind a Sand Seal by tying a rope to their tail or harness for domesticated Sand Seals. Sand Seal Racing is a traditional sport among the Gerudo and will rent trained Sand Seals to both Gerudo and non Gerudo females. Riju's Sand Seal Patricia is depicted as an oracle who gives people who feed her fruit words of wisdom (usually along with a seal-related pun) which are translated by her caretaker (minus the seal-related pun) as Patricia can only bark like other sand seals. Link can feed other sand seals fruit as well though this has no effect save for distracting wild Sand Seals. Interestingly Patricia reveals wild Sand Seals can be stunned with bombs showing she has no problem revealing this fact. Domesticated Sand Seals are generally faster and will not flee should their rider dismount. A shield is required to surf behind them or the rider will fall down. Monsters will hostilely attack any Sand Seals they encounter though Sand Seals are invulnerable to being killed unlike Horses.

Gerudo equipment

Urbosa Artwork (Breath of the Wild)

Gerudo are shown to have a strong warrior culture and it is customary for Gerudo who have risen 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.

Normally Gerudo often carry Gerudo Scimitars for self-defense, with Moonlight Scimitars generally being used for ceremonial purposes such as festivals, though Captain Teake also wields one, which makes sense as it is stronger than the Gerudo Scimitar. Only the most talented Gerudo sword fighters carry two-handed Golden Claymores indicating Riju's bodyguard Buliara is a talented sword fighter as she carries one and will use it against Link if he attacks her knocking him down. The legendary Daybreaker shield and Scimitar of the Seven once wielded by Lady Urbosa are treasured among the Gerudo, to the point that Riju only permits Link to wield the two artifacts once he has defeated Thunderblight Ganon and freed Vah Naboris. The Daybreaker and Scimitar of the Seven can be reforged by Buliara if they break, though she will require certain materials and a specific weapon or shield to use to reforge them.

Gerudo weaponry is very ornate as Gerudo often incorporate gold or jewels in their weapons. As they are used extensively by the Gerudo that live in the desert, some enemies such as Lizalfos may wield these weapons or Link may find them in treasure chests dropped by defeated Molduga. Gerudo civilians and soldiers wielding weapons may use these weapons to defend themselves. If Link attacks these Gerudo, they will unsheathe their weapons and attack him, resulting in Link getting knocked back. Link can also take pictures of NPC weapons to add them to the Hyrule Compendium, allowing him to search for one with the Sheikah Sensor+ upgrade.

Link can find a buried treasure chest containing a Radiant Shield in a trash dump in the alley where Gerudo Town's Goddess Statue can be found. Link can remove the chest with the Magnesis Rune. A Golden Bow can be found in the Gerudo Soldier Barracks lying next to a wall near Captain Teake. Another Golden Bow spawns in a chunk of ice in the Northern Icehouse, though Link must wait till Ache is asleep as she will stop him from lighting fires while awake.

These bows occasionally respawn, though Link only has to unfreeze the one in the Icehouse once. Gerudo Scimitar can be found near where Beedle rests at night next to the Inn in Kara Kara Bazaar. Another Gerudo Scimitar can be found atop some luggage near the larger Sand Seal Rental Shop in Gerudo Town. A Gerudo Spear spawns in Padda's room which can accessed via Patricia's enclosure. A Golden Claymore spawns under a Stalnox skeleton on Satori Mountain in the Hyrule Ridge region, though Link can only obtain it when the Stalnox reanimates at night (this Claymore is not lodged in the Stalnox so Link does not need to actually defeat the Stalnox to obtain it). Fittingly, Link can also obtain a Golden Claymore via using the Ganondorf Super Smash Bros series amiibo with the amiibo Rune.

Gerudo Armaments

Gerudo Armor, Boots, & Accessories

Thunder Helm is a precious Gerudo heirloom passed down among Gerudo Chieftains from mother to daughter. The Thunder Helm makes the wearer immune to all forms of electricity and lightning, including lightning bolts produced by Vah Naboris. As a result of this power, the Thunder Helm was targeted by the Yiga Clan, who stole it from Gerudo Town. Link however manages to recover it and after freeing Vah Naboris, Riju gives Link the Thunder Helm after he manages to help the people of Gerudo Town with various problems. As the Thunder Helm covers Link's face and is traditionally "vai" helmet worn by Gerudo Chieftain and Link acquires it from Riju while in disguise it can be worn instead of the veil Link normally wears as a disguise yet still maintain the disguise of being a Hylian female. However as Link only borrows the helm it cannot be dyed or sold as it is a one-of-a-kind heirloom of the Gerudo Chieftain that once belonged to Urbosa.

The Gerudo Veil, Gerudo Top, and Gerudo Sirwal are common clothing worn by the Gerudo, which Link can purchase from Villa to disguise himself as a Hylian female (as his light skin tone and height prevents him from passing himself off as a Gerudo like Villa can). Fashion Passion also sells white dyed versions.

The Gerudo Vai Armor set grants a Heat Resistance bonus with no upgrades (as it cannot be upgraded). In addition to the Gerudo Vai Armor Set, Link can also obtain the "Desert Voe" armor set, which is Gerudo made male armor. However as Gerudo are prohibited from selling it in Gerudo Town, it can only be illegally purchased from the black market Gerudo Secret Club in Gerudo Town or legally from Rhondson Armor Boutique in Tarrey Town after managing to recruit her during the "From the Ground Up" side quest. In addition to the Desert Voe armor set, the Gerudo Secret Club also sells the "Radiant" armor set made from Luminous Stone. The "Radiant" armor set allows Link to disguise himself as an undead, once upgraded to Level 2 or higher. However it should be noted the law only forbids Gerudo from selling Voe clothing as Link can sell any armor that can be sold normally to Gerudo merchants in Gerudo Town, thus the law apparently does not apply to Hylian vai as Link is disguised as one. Additionally Gerudo merchants are not penalized for buying any Voe clothing from Link.

Additionally, Gerudo made jewelry (circlets and earrings) can be used to grant resistances and other effects to their wearer. Gerudo jewelry can be worn by both male and female genders, hence why some Gerudo buy these as gifts. However Link must aid the jeweler Isha in "Tools of the Trade" by bringing her ten pieces of Flint to craft jewelry. After bring the Flint she rewards him with either his choice of a free Ruby Circlet, Sapphire Circlet, or Topaz Earrings and reopens her jewelry Armor Shop Starlight Memories. Link must bring certain Gemstones to have Isha make jewelry. Isha's employee Cara will also reward Link with gossip about Isha such as revealing her real name is Jewel while Isha is simply an alias she uses for her job as she is sensitive about her real name due to her chosen profession as a jeweler and apparently only wears accessories when she sleeps.

The Sand Boots are a pair of boots modified by Gerudo artisans to distribute the wearer's weight allowing the wearer to move across sand more easily. As a result, Sand Boots grant Sand Speed Up effect with worn. According to Bozai, the only Gerudo capable of making them passed away, causing Sand Boots to be rare armor. By wearing his "Vai' disguise, Bozai will give Link "The Eighth Heroine" Side Quest in which Link must take a picture of the Statue of the Eighth Heroine in the Gerudo Highlands and show it to Bozai.

During the quest, Bozai lends his Snow Boots (implied to have been made by Gerudo artisans for traveling through snow in the Gerudo Highlands), to help make the task easier for Link. Once Link shows Bozai the picture he will give Link the Sand Boots as he promised, though will ask that his Snow Boots be returned as they are his only other pair of footwear. However Link can obtain these Snow Boots permanently by talking to Bozai again by wearing his "Vai" disguise (interestingly, Link can wear the Sand Boots with the Gerudo Top and Veil, which still counts as a "Vai" disguise) to take on "The Forgotten Sword" side quest, in which Link must take a picture of the statue's lost sword found at the Gerudo Summit in the Gerudo Highlands region.

Link can also purchase the Snow Boots from the Rare Armor Shop in Tarrey Town, which opens after "From the Ground Up" side quest.

Thunder Helm
Accessories
Gerudo Vai Clothing
Gerudo Secret Club Radiant Armor
Boots

Spoiler warning: Spoilers end here.

References

Although the Gerudo don't make an appearance in Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors Legends (Ganondorf nonwithstanding), they were briefly mentioned by Ganondorf. If the player as Ganondorf proceeds to rack up a significant amount of kills, Ganondorf will boast "Behold the power of a Gerudo warrior!"

Theory

Theory warning: This section contains theoretical information based on the research of one or several other users. It has not been officially verified by Nintendo and its factual accuracy is disputed.

Fate

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.

Evolution

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.

Evidence against this theory is the invasion of the Interlopers, ancestors of the Twili, which 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 humanoid race 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. However it is possible that the Interlopers were a group of Hylians, Gerudo, and Sheikah who upon being sealed in the Twilight Realm interbreed as Hylians are implied to be capable of breeding with Sheikah and are confirmed to be able to reproduce with Gerudo in Breath of the Wild. Presumably over time the three races likely homogenized into a single race due to a combination of intermixing and exposure to the Twilight Realm, which would explain the presence of Gerudo and Sheikah symbols.

Ganondorf (Breath of the Wild)

If the events of Breath of the Wild were to take place after Ocarina of Time (in the Child Timeline), it is possible that once Link told the King of Hyrule of Ganondorf`s intentions, the Gerudo rejected Ganondorf as their king and erased him from their history. This would explain the lack of any direct mention of him by the Gerudo populace in Breath of the Wild, as well as the Gerudo Champion Urbosa stating that it was an insult to the Gerudo that Calamity Ganon had been born of one of them. The reason why they chose to erase Ganondorf from their history could be because it reflected negatively on their people or to prevent the possibility of future Gerudo following in Ganondorf's footsteps or worship him as they had in the past.

It is unclear if Ganondorf's actions caused the Gerudo to end the tradition of the lone Gerudo male becoming King, though it is possible this occured to prevent another evil Gerudo King from coming to power. Additionally as it is said all voe are forbidden in Gerudo Town it is implied the Gerudo voe would be forced to live in Kara Kara Bazaar or with their Hylian fathers possibly as a precaution to keep them from seizing the throne of Chieftain by force.

Nabooru as ruler

In the Child Timeline of Ocarina of Time, the Gerudo lost Ganondorf as their ruler, which would mean they had to find a new leader in his stead. This new leader could have been Nabooru, who was second in command while Ganondorf ruled as king. If Breath of the Wild takes place after Ocarina of Time in the Child Timeline, it is possible that Nabooru is Urbosa or Riju`s ancestor, considering how it is stated that the position for female ruler is inherited from mother to daughter (Riju and her mother's exact relation to Urbosa is never specified). However, one flaw with the theory is that Nabooru when meeting Young Link referred to herself as a "lone-wolf thief", which alongside her trying to steal treasure from the Spirit Temple implied that she was not actually under Ganondorf's command, let alone his second in command during that time however it is later revealed Nabooru was captured and brainwashed to be Twinrova's puppet thus tricking the Gerudo in believing she was Ganondorf's second-in-command though it is implied this was due to Nabooru being respected among the tribe despite being a loner who saw Ganondorf as an evil man unworthy of being king. However after becoming Sage of Spirit, Nabooru may have revealed Ganondorf and Twinrova's brainwashing of her and their evil ways, taking it upon herself to become leader after Ganondorf's defeat or was chosen by her people due to her position as a Sage if Breath of the Wild occurs in the Adult Timeline. Alternatively in the Child Timeline, the Hero of Time may have helped her expose Ganondorf's evil nature and warn her of Twinrova twins preventing her from being brainwashed. Presumably the Gerudo led by Nabooru may have left Hyrule due to Ganondorf's actions explaining their absence in Twilight Princess before returning to the desert 10,000 years before Breath of the Wild and founded Gerudo Town and Kara Kara Bazaar becoming much closer to the Hylian people and other races thanks to the example set by Nabooru and possibly legends of her actions in the Adult Timeline passed down from the Hero of Time.

In Breath of the Wild, Vah Naboris and Mount Nabooru are apparently named after her. It should also be noted several mountains in Hyrule are named after famous Hylian Kings thus it is possible the Gerudo did the same to honor Nabooru who may have been the first Gerudo Chieftain and ruler of their people after Ganondorf.

Ancestor

Groose has red hair and amber eyes, similar to the Gerudo. It is possible that he is the ancestor of the tribe. If true, this would be ironic considering Groose's initial antagonistic relationship with Link, in parallel to Ganondorf being both a Gerudo and the main antagonist of the series. However Groose may have simply been a male progenitor of the tribe as Hylians and Gerudo can interbreed.

However this form of irony may have actually been intentional as Demise could have cursed Groose's bloodline in revenge for assisting Link in combating Demise's Imprisoned form. Additionally The Imprisoned may have cursed Groose's lineage to eventually bear Ganondorf the reincarnation of Demise's Hatred and may have even cursed his descendants only to give birth to males every century resulting in Gerudo being predominantly female as an insult to the masculine Groose.

However some Gerudo vai may have inherited Groose's noble qualities such as his loyal to the incarnations of Zelda (and by extension Link) as exampified by Nabooru, Urbosa, and Riju while Ganondorf, Koume, and Kotake inherited his negative traits such as envy, bullying, and pettiness as Ganondorf was envious of Hyrule's prosperity and resources while the Gerudo suffered in the desert resorting to thievery to survive as well as his antagonism towards the chosen hero. Additionally Groose arrogantly named the Surface "Grooseland" upon first visiting it which may have been warped into his descendant Ganondorf's desire to conquer Hyrule. Ganondorf's possession of Zelda in Twilight Princess may have also been a perverse reflection of his ancestor's desire to be with the Spirit Maiden Zelda in a romantic relationship.

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. However it being the result of age is refuted in Breath of the Wild which features elderly Gerudo with normal tan skin, indicating that Ganondorf and the Twinrova twins use of dark magic or evil nature to be more likely causes.

Lorulean Gerudo

Yuga Artwork

Yuga, a possible Lorulean Gerudo Voe

Due to his similar appearance to Ganondorf, it is possible that Yuga is a Lorulean Gerudo, which would also fit the idea of Yuga being Ganondorf's Lorulean counterpart. Additionally his green skin could be due to his evil heart or potential use of dark magic. The lack of any female Gerudo in Lorule in A Link Between Worlds is not surprising as it takes place in the Hero's Downfall timeline and presumably the Gerudo may have died out after the Royal Family of Lorule destroyed Lorule's Triforce or where killed off during the many wars over it that lead to its destruction, with Yuga being the only survivor. It is also possible that in contrast to the Hyrulean Gerudo, Lorulean Gerudo voe where more common in Lorule or that Lorulean Gerudo vai where rare occurrence.

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. It should be noted that this fits with Breath of the Wild implying that Gerudo and Hylian unions produce female Gerudo offspring. Malon's lack of tan skin and other Gerudo features may be due to living outside of the desert and being raised as a Hylian. Of course it is also possible that Gerudo can produce female Hylian offspring, albeit the chances being rare.

Telma

Although never explicitly confirmed as such, Telma may be of Gerudo descent due to her having similar physical features to the Gerudo, and her wardrobe also had patterns on it that resembled Gerudo symbols.

Theory warning: Theories end here.

Footnotes

  1. ^ 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."