Artwork of Princess Ruto as an adult
|First appearance||Ocarina of Time (1998)|
|Title(s)||Princess of the Zoras|
|Kindred||King Zora XVI (father)|
- "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 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, at one point, even becomes his fiancée.
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.
Like Link and Princess Zelda, Princess Ruto was born during the Hyrulean Civil War to 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 boy, 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 is given the honor of carrying 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. 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 regardless.
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.
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.