- "It's me, your fiancée, Ruto! Princess of the Zoras! I never forgot the vows we made to each other seven years ago!"
- — Princess Ruto
Ruto, Princess of the Zoras (ルト姫 Ruto-hime?, ) is a character from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Heir to the Zora throne, Ruto is the sometimes rebellious daughter of King Zora XVI of the Zoras. During Link's quest to defeat Ganondorf, she helps him more than once, and later turns out to be the Sage of Water.
Being one of the Seven Sages, Princess Ruto became a legendary figure in Hyrule's mythology to the point where a town was named after her, which appears in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Stained glass windows depicting her and the rest of the Seven Sages also appear in the cellar of Hyrule Castle in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, there is also a valuable item called the Ruto Crown.
Young Ruto is a Zora, and has many of the telltale features of such. She has blue skin, webbed feet, and fins. She also, like most Zoras, is not shown with visible clothes. She does have several defining features, however. Her head resembles a hammerhead shark, having a hammerlike shape and eyes on the sides. She also has womanly features. She has the small build of most female children. Her facial features are those of a generic Zora: purple eyes and webbed ears.
Adult Ruto is very similar to Young Ruto, but with a few differences. She has purple, crystal-like earrings and more extravagant fins. Her body as a whole seems to have significantly grown, to the point where she is about the same height as a mature Zora.
While in Jabu-Jabu's Belly, Princess Ruto is treated as an unbreakable carryable after talking to her. She holds down switches, damages enemies when thrown, and hampers Link's abilities when carried. If thrown against a wall, Ruto will give a subtle cry of pain. If she is thrown or dropped in a pool of water, she will disappear and respawn at the main room of the dungeon, having presumably drowned. If dropped from a harmful height or carried off of one, she will let out a long scream. If Link leaves a room and Ruto is not on a blue switch, she will respawn back at the main room. If she is on a switch, she will stand up and scold link upon his entering of the room. Ruto is not usable in any other location than the first half of Inside Jabu-Jabu's Belly through any means other than glitching her out.
Like Link and Princess Zelda, Princess Ruto was born during the Hyrulean Civil War, being the offspring of King Zora XVI and an unknown Zora woman. Her mother likely died some time after the Hyrulean Civil War since Ruto noted that the Zora's Sapphire was her "mother's stone" and that her mother had told her to give the stone to the man who would become her husband one day. Going by that assumption, Princess Ruto would be around age ten in the past and around seventeen in the future. Being a princess, Ruto has a sacred duty to feed Lord Jabu-Jabu, the patron deity of the Zora race. While feeding a customary fish to Lord Jabu-Jabu, Princess Ruto was swallowed whole by the water spirit. Apparently, Ruto was used to this, as according to her, she had been exploring Jabu-Jabu's belly since she was a young child. Eventually when she was swallowed, Ruto managed to lose the Zora's Sapphire, the Spiritual Stone of Water. Not only that, but Ruto noticed strange and hostile creatures that had taken root within the innards of Jabu-Jabu. Shortly after, a Letter in a Bottle, written as a plea for help pertaining to Ruto's current whereabouts was eventually carried down to Lake Hylia.
During his quest to find the Spiritual Stones, Link, still just a pre-teen, dives into the waters of Lake Hylia and finds the bottle with the message. He shows the note to King Zora XVI, who allows him to enter Zora's Fountain to help find her. Link uses a fish to enter Lord Jabu-Jabu. Inside, he finds Ruto, who tells him about the situation. Despite this, she acts rather cold and callously towards Link. Link carries her, and together, the two manage to find Zora's Sapphire up on a ledge. Link throws her up on the platform, but it turns out to be a trap. The platform rises and takes her up and out of sight, where she is attacked and kidnapped by Bigocto. After defeating the monster, Link chases after her and encounters Barinade, the boss of the dungeon. After Barinade is defeated, Ruto appears at the dungeon exit point, complaining about the time it took for Link to find her, blushing. Outside, Ruto acknowledges Link's courage and presents him with Zora's Sapphire. Ruto tells Link that whomever is given the Zora's Sapphire is pledged to be her husband, similar to an engagement ring. So, after she gives Link the Zora's Sapphire, Princess Ruto subtly proposes marriage to Link. Link does not understand, but accepts the stone regardless and continues on with his quest.
After Link is sealed away in the Sacred Realm, he awakens and is given a new quest; to awaken the Seven Sages. Link eventually returns to Zora's Domain and finds that almost everything has been encased in ice. He braves the trials of the Ice Cavern and the mysterious Sheik tells him about the curse that now plagues Zora's Domain. He proceeds to explain that he managed to save Princess Ruto from being encased under the thick ice as well. Link dives deep beneath Lake Hylia and enters the Water Temple. In the temple, he meets Princess Ruto, who is happy to see him again. However, the two do not have much time to talk, and Ruto relays some information about the temple to Link before she disappears. After Link defeats Morpha, he is transported to the Chamber of Sages where he discovers that Princess Ruto is indeed the Sage of Water. Ruto, initially scolding Link for making her wait so many years for him, proclaims that she still loves him. However, she also explains that the two cannot be together, so she postpones the engagement until her duties as a sage are over and gives Link the Water Medallion. She and the other sages eventually help Link seal away Ganon and restore peace to Hyrule.
During the celebration that follows, King Zora XVI can be seen mourning the fact that he may never see his daughter again. Ruto makes a final appearance overlooking the peaceful, joyful land from Death Mountain together with the other sages. She at some point probably had a child which led to Oren's birth in the Fallen Hero timeline. It is also possible that she is the ancestor of Prince Ralis in the Child Timeline.
- "Long, long ago... In a past more distant than even the Great Calamity or the creation of the Divine Beast Vah Ruta... There was a Zora princess named Ruto. We know that she was an attendant to the Zora patron deity and that she was a fair and lively girl, beloved to all. Around that same time, an evil man with designs on ruling the world appeared, bring disaster upon Zora's Domain. It is said that Ruto awoke as a sage facing this foe alongside the princess of Hyrule and the hero of legend. Her achievements are remembered not only by the Zora, they are forever etched in the history of Hyrule. The Divine Beast Vah Ruta, built ages later to face off against Calamity Ganon, was named in honor of Ruto. That the Zora princess-my sweet daughter Mipha-was chosen to pilot Ruta is surely the work of fate."
- — The Sage Princess Ruto
In Breath of the Wild it is revealed that the story of Princess Ruto and her role in Hyrule's history is well known and the fifth Zora Stone Monument that records the History of the Zora actually directly mentions Princess Ruto and her role as the Sage of Water. It also reveals that the Divine Beast Vah Ruta was named in honor of Princess Ruto. King Dorephan felt that his daughter being chosen as Vah Ruta's pilot must have been a work of fate similar to Ruto's role as the Sage of Water. Interestingly, like Princess Ruto, Mipha has romantic feelings for Link and even wished to marry him.
- "When Cia opened a portal to the era of the Hero of Time, a princess other than Zelda rose up and decided to aid the Hero, making it the second time she would answer Hyrule's call for help. As a princess of the Zoras, Ruto is at home in the water, ruling over Zora's Domain at the point where the Zora's River flows into Lake Hylia. While her refined speech may initially convince enemies and allies alike that she's stuck up and snobby, her actions as a warrior instantly remind those on the battlefield why she's so beloved."
- — Ruto, Zora Princess, Historical Entry Tutorial Bio
Princess Ruto appears as a playable character in the spinoff game Hyrule Warriors. Her attacks mostly consist of water, she fights using her Zora Scale moveset, which allows her to summon water to damage her enemies. Interestingly, in certain Legends Mode scenarios (The Sacred Sword, War of Spirit, Shining Beacon, and Liberation of the Triforce) she will replace Princess Zelda as the Hyrulean Forces allied commander if Zelda or Sheik is selected by the player.
After the Gate of Souls is opened to the Era of the Hero of Time, Ruto ends up abducted by Darunia of the Gorons and held prisoner at Death Mountain, due to Zelda's (actually Wizzro in disguise) influence. She is eventually rescued by Impa, Sheik (actually Zelda in disguise), and several Hyrulean forces attempting to seal the Gate of Souls, after being notified by Navi about Ruto's abduction. Ruto, after being saved, then notifies them of what had transpired, and then leads their forces to the Water Temple in Lake Hylia to stop "Zelda." She manages to access the temple after draining water from the lake, although when trying to draw out water from inside the temple itself, she ends up trapped, forcing Impa, Darunia, and Sheik to complete the task for her. She eventually retires from the battle, although she re-enters it after Wizzro summons a King Dodongo against Darunia's forces while fighting Sheik and Impa in his Zelda disguise. This was the second time she aided Hyrule since she helped the original Hero of time.
She later joins up with the rest of the group after the Gates of Souls are all sealed, and plays a vital role, alongside Darunia, in taking down one of the barriers at the Master Sword's temple, although they have to contend with ghostly guardians attacking them after being tricked by Wizzro (posing as Lana). She continues the fight against Cia until her downfall at the Valley of Seers, with Ruto and Darunia returning to their time.
However, she alongside the other allies across the ages later return after Ganondorf uses the weakened seal from Link pulling the Master Sword earlier to regain his full strength, and conquers both Hyrule and the Triforce. She then participates in the final fight against Ganon before again returning to her own time.
Ruto has unlockable recolors of her standard outfit based on Lulu (Master Quest DLC) and Queen Rutela (Twilight Princess DLC), which serve as her alternate outfits. The Zora Mask also appears as Ruto's unlockable Majora's Mask DLC outfit.
In certain Adventure Mode or Challenge Mode scenarios, a Dark shadowy doppelgänger of Ruto called Dark Ruto appears as enemy units. Like most dark doppelgängers, Dark Ruto plays no role in the main story. Dark Ruto uses the same moveset and drops the same Materials as Princess Ruto.
- Silver Materials - Ruto's Earrings
- Gold Materials - Ruto's Scales
Ruto returns as a playable character. In addition to the main story, she also appears in Linkle's Tale: Powers Collide, defending Lake Hylia (alongside Darunia, Goron Forces, and Linkle) from the Dark Forces lead by Volga.
She also has a new unlockable recolor of her standard outfit based on Laruto.
During the childhood chapters, Princess Ruto is swallowed by Lord Jabu-Jabu on purpose because the husband her father presented was not acceptable to her. She gives Link, whom she has grown fond of, the Zora's Sapphire after he saves her life. She has a huge crush on Link and truly believes that they are meant to be married.