- "Once upon a time, long ago, the Koroks took on human forms, but when they came to live on the sea, they took these shapes. Now they fear people... but to me, they will ever be my cherished little children."
- — Great Deku Tree
The Koroks, also known as the Forest Spirits, are a race from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Their home is the Forest Haven, and they evolved from the Kokiri species. In Breath of the Wild, they are native to the Great Hyrule Forest and most live around the Great Deku Tree in Korok Forest where they assist him in guarding The Sword That Seals The Darkness since it was entrusted to them by the Princess of Hyrule herself during the Great Calamity. They also share a very close relationship to fairies.
Most of the Koroks spend most of their lives far away from Forest Haven, planting the seeds of the Great Deku Tree; they only return to Forest Haven once a year for the Korok Ceremony, held when the Great Deku Tree bears the seeds that they will transplant near and far across the Kingdom of Hyrule. The only Koroks who do not leave are Makar, who plays his little leaf violin at the ceremony in preparation of becoming the Sage of Wind, and Hollo, who studies potion-making to concoct brews from Boko Baba Seeds.
In Breath of the Wild, the Koroks live in Korok Forest under the Great Deku Tree at the center of the Great Hyrule Forest region. During the side quest "The Lost Pilgrimage", it is shown that young Koroks take the Korok Trial to reach the Daag Chokah Shrine located in northwest portion of the Great Hyrule Forest which is part of the Lost Woods as a rite of passage. It is also implied that some Koroks like Tasho and Oaki are related and that some of them may actually be the grandchildren of the Great Deku Tree.
While Koroks are not shown to be capable of fighting themselves, they can craft shields and weapons much like the Kokiri. They use forest materials such as wood and vines to create them such as the Forest Dweller's Bow, Forest Dweller's Shield, Forest Dweller's Spear, and Forest Dweller's Sword. Additionally the eponymous Boomerang was originally a throwing weapon used by the Koroks indicating that Koroks may have used these weapons in the past. Also the Boomerang is the only Korok made weapon constructed with metal though it is non-conductive and non-magnetic. It is unclear if Koroks can eat or if they can what their diet consists of. However at the Spore Store and General Shoppe they sell mushrooms and cooking ingredients indicating they are aware of what Hylians eat. Presumably this knowledge may have been passed down from the time they where Kokiri who presumably had a diet similar to other humanoid races such as Hylians, Humans, Gerudo, and Shiekah. Koroks are apparently really capable woodworkers and building with natural materials as their "Forest Dweller" series weapons are pretty strong despite being made wood and natural materials. Though they are rarely seen or encountered by Hylians, Koroks have had good relations with the Hylian people considering the weapons they make and how friendly they are towards Link. However Koroks are rarely seen interact with Hylians other than Link and other races even though they may live around them secretly. Link is a special case given his heroic status and the fact Koroks that know of his status respect him, presumably due to the influence of the adopted honorary Kokiri, the Hero of Time and other heroes the Koroks may have encountered in their history. In fact, most that know treat him like an honored guest when he visits Korok Forest. As Koroks wear no clothing unlike their Kokiri ancestors, Hetsu and presumably most Koroks are not bothered by Link walking around armorless as Hetsu even humorously encourages this behavior in a childish manner. This however fits with them being more at one with the natural world and differences in social customs regarding modesty.
Most of the background Koroks in Korok Forest are shown to flee from Link when he walks near them, while the ones aware of Link's status as a Champion and the chosen hero treat him with respect. It is also implied that they aided the Great Deku Tree in guarding the Master Sword until Link returned to reclaim it. Though the Kokiri are never mention directly in Breath of the Wild, Koroks are referred to as children of the forest (or simply "forest kids") and are depicted as playful and child-like much like the Kokiri with one Korok playing hero while the others pretend to be monsters the Korok playing hero defeats, which occurs during the Deku Tree's description of the Trial of the Sword. Koroks also play games and pranks though sometimes their pranks go too far or come off as bullying such as when a group of Koroks took Hestu's Maracas and took out the instrument's Korok Seeds before allowing monsters to take the maracas. However bullying behavior is not unheard of among the Kokiri as shown by Mido's childhood relationship with the Hero of Time and most of the male Kokiri whom he tended to bully or boss around, thus the bullying of Hestu is not surprising due to his abnormally large size for a Korok presumably causing him to be bullied for being different much like the Hero of Time for his initial lack of a Guardian Fairy as only the Deku Tree was aware he was an adopted Hylian orphan. Fortunately Link comes to Hestu's assistance and the Koroks that took the seeds decide to play with Link by hiding throughout Hyrule rewarding him with Korok Seeds he can trade to Hestu to expand his inventory. These Koroks are shown have little fear of monsters and can be found in extreme conditions from freezing cold to volcanic areas one would think the plant-like Koroks could not survive in but do. Some even are found in dangerous places no other race or person besides Link would dare travel to such as Hyrule Castle and Hyrule Castle Town Ruins. This is contrast with other Koroks in Korok Forest, however it fits with the Great Deku Tree, Kokiri, and Koroks association with the Goddess of Courage Farore as their courage resembles the Hero Link who is often viewed as the embodiment of the virtue of courage given his association with the Triforce of Courage. Koroks still associate with fairies despite no longer requiring Guardian Fairies and fairies live atop the Great Deku Tree in Korok Forest. According to the Hylian child Ena, her male fairy friend told her about a big forest kid who can increase a person's inventory if one is nice to them referring to Hestu. Given the accuracy of Ena's information it is likely true indicating Fairies are aware of Hestu's ability presumably through friendly relations between Koroks and fairies which is likely influenced by their Kokiri ancestor's bond with their guardian fairies. However there is one veiled reference to the Kokiri in the description of the Trousers of Time which are said to have been made by people who made their home in the forest.
Koroks have small bodies that are about the size of a young human child. These bodies appear to be made of wood, and their faces are marked by what are either leaf-like structures or masks of varying colors, shapes, and sizes. Due to their light frame, they can easily fly with the assistance of a special sprout on the tops of their heads that is used like a helicopter's dorsal propeller, though they are only capable of flying for a short period of time.
In Breath of the Wild, Koroks are resilient as they can be found all over Hyrule and can endure a variety of conditions from desert heat, cold, and even the scorching volcanic temperatures of Death Mountain. Some Koroks like Chio and Hestu can be taller than Hylians like Link. According to Hestu, people cannot usually see Koroks, Link is a rare Hylian capable of seeing them. However Traysi's Rumor Mill article on Koroks implies that the ability to see them may not be as rare as Hestu implies.
The Koroks were once the human-shaped Kokiri, but when Hyrule was transformed into the Great Sea, they took on a more plant-like appearance. The Great Deku Tree says in the game, "Once upon a time, long ago, the Koroks took on human forms, but when they came to live on the sea, they took these shapes." Fado, the Sage of Wind and a Kokiri, is closely connected to Makar, his replacement as sage. Interestingly, the Kokiri never grow up, and the Great Deku Tree refers to the Koroks as "my cherished little children". The Koroks also have an optimistic, perhaps childlike disposition, a trait they share with the Kokiri. Similarly to the Kokiri, Koroks do not take lightly to outsiders, and in many cases are afraid of them.
The Koroks are first encountered by Link in Forest Haven, hiding in the branches of the Great Deku Tree. After Link defeats the ChuChu attacking the Great Deku Tree he is introduced to the Koroks who come out of hiding. Aware that Ganondorf has returned, the Great Deku Tree agrees to give Link Farore's Pearl after the Korok Ceremony, however he is informed that Korok Makar had ended up in the Forbidden Woods and asks Link to travel their and rescue him. After the Deku Tree gives Link the Deku Leaf, the Koroks help by teaching him how to fly with it and direct him to an area where he can jump off to fly to the Forbidden Woods. Link reaches the Forbidden Woods which he is informed used to be home to the Koroks' but was now overrun by monsters. Link manages to rescue Makar, who had been swallowed by the plant monster Kalle Demos. After rescuing Makar, Link is given Farore's Pearl following the Koroks ceremony. Most of the Koroks leave to plant the seeds to grow Forest Trees on various islands across the Great Sea while Makar and Hollo remain behind in Forest Haven with the Great Deku Tree. During his travels, Link learns that the Forest Trees planted by the Koroks are withering and require Forest Water to grow healthy. After meeting the ghost of the Kokiri Wind Sage, Fado, Link travels to Forest Haven and awakens Makar as the current Sage of Winds by conducting him to play the Wind God's Aria. Link and Makar then travel to the Wind Temple in order to restore the power to repel evil to the Master Sword. Link defeats Molgera and the power to repel evil is restored to the Master Sword.
In this game, there are numerous unnamed Koroks who can be found hiding all around Hyrule. In a similar way to a mini-game, Link can try to find them by solve different sorts of puzzle, and obtain a Korok Seed from each of them which is similar in concept to hunting Gold Skulltula or Imp Poes though the Koroks are friendly NPCs instead of enemies. There are 900 Korok Seeds to collect, however as a result Koroks appear all over Greater Hyrule even in places few dare venture to such as the Great Plateau, Hyrule Castle, and Hyrule Castle Town Ruins. This makes Koroks one of the most numerous races in all of Hyrule along with Hylians and Sheikah. Presumably their large numbers are due to Hyrule being a fertile land full of forests and wildlife compared to the Great Sea. During The Master Trials DLC in "EX Strange Mask Rumors", Link can obtain the Korok Mask based on Makar which detects hidden Koroks making find Korok Seeds easier. During "The Priceless Maracas" Side Quest, Link encounters Hestu, an abnormally large Korok taller than a Hylian. Surprised Link can see him, Hestu asks Link to recover maracas, an instrument filled with Korok Seeds. A group of Hestu's fellow Koroks took Hestu's Maracas as a prank. Link is tasked with recovering them from a Bokoblin camp overlooking Lake Siela next to the path leading to Kakariko Village. However upon returning them Hestu discovers the Koroks removed the maracas' Korok seeds preventing him from playing them. Hestu requests Link acquire the Korok Seeds from Koroks hiding throughout Hyrule. After he brings Hestu some seeds, he reveals he can expand Link's Weapon, Bow, and Shield inventory. Hestu does this a few times before leaving to return to Korok Forest. Link encounters him several more times before Hestu finally reaches Korok Forest where he remains.
When Link discovers the Korok Forest after navigating the fabled Lost Woods, the home of the Koroks under the protection of The Great Deku Tree, he finds notable named Koroks who provide several quests, item shops, and Hestu. He also discovers the Koroks and Great Deku Tree have been guarding the legendary Master Sword since he was injured during the Great Calamity at the request of Princess Zelda herself. As a result most of the named Koroks recognize Link as the Hylian Champion and Hero Chosen by the Master Sword, causing them to refer to him respectfully as "Mr. Hero". Acquiring all 900 Korok Seeds, Hetsu rewards Link with Hestu's Gift in recognition for his achievement though it is simply a key item that acts as a trophy for collecting every Korok Seed. Hetsu's Gift is based on the Kin no unko (Golden Poop?) a good luck charm in Japan. Hetsu's Gift it is stated to be a gift of friendship from Hetsu that smells pretty bad.
The eponymous Boomerang was originally developed by the forest dwelling Koroks and are the only Korok-made weapons that incorporate metal. All other Korok armaments of the "Forest Dweller" series are made of wood and burn like all wooden armaments though they are among some of the finest wooden armaments in Hyrule with the exception of the "Dragonbone Boko" and "Dragonbone Moblin" series. However their strength is impressive considering their natural materials showing the Koroks are expert carpentry and wood working. For example the Forest Dweller's Shield is the strongest wooden shield in terms of defense and durability that it exceeds that of the Dragonbone Boko Shield which is reinforced with fossilized bone and Soldier's Shield which is a non-conductive metal shield with a wooden core. This implies the Korok inherited their shield making knowledge from their Kokiri ancestors who once crafted unbreakable (as they could only be destroyed by fire or eaten by Like Likes) yet still flammable Deku Shields allowing them to craft the best wooden shields. While it is implied Forest Dweller's Swords were originally crafted for clear vines and grass, they are as sharp as any metal blade and can even ironically cut down trees at the cost of reducing its durability. While the Dragonbone Boko Spear and Dragonbone Moblin Spear have greater attack power than the Forest Dweller's Spear it outshines both by having superior durability thanks to its craftsmanship. The Forest Dweller's Bow is a wooden multi-fire bow that can fire three arrows using only one arrow as ammunition while in contrast the Yiga Clan Duplex Bow can only fire two. This puts the Forest Dweller's Bow in the same category as the Great Eagle Bow and three "Lynel" series bows and it even outshines the standard Lynel Bow in durability while being equal in durability to the Mighty Lynel Bow with only the Savage Lynel Bow and Great Eagle Bow surpassing it in durability. This only speaks to the Koroks' level of craftsmanship.
Though not Korok made the Korok Leaf is named after them as they appear commonly throughout Hyrule and can create gusts of wind like the Deku Leaf though do so without the aid of magic power. Korok Leaves function more like a tool for sailing rafts though can be used as a makeshift weapon. The Korok Mask is the only armor directly associated with the Koroks and is believed to house a spirit which reacts to hidden Koroks making adorable Korok-like sounds indicating the mask's spirit may be that of a Korok though this is an unconfirmed rumor.
Korok-Related Key Items
Forest Dweller's Series
Though Koroks do not appear, they are referenced in the Wind and Earth Temples stage which features Korok Trees (the trees grown by Makar in The Wind Waker) and by the Korok Mask, a Fairy Clothing option for Companion Fairies.
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, a painting of a Korok can be seen inside the blacksmith's shop.