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|A Zora from Twilight Princess.|
|Debut|| The Legend of Zelda|
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Sea Zoras)
Zoras are scaly, amphibious humanoids who are most adept in the water, and they sometimes have magical abilities. The Zoras are split into separate types of creatures: the hostile monsters from the early games and the peaceful mermen of the later games. The two types have only ever been seen together in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages, where they are distinguished as being the River Zoras and Sea Zoras respectively (though this choice of habitat is not accurate in other games).
Sea Zoras are peaceful inhabitants of the ocean. Some are built to be warriors, but others are portly and less mobile. The thinner Zoras are adept swimmers. Some can shoot out their fins as boomerang-like projectiles, and other Zoras can use magic power to surround themselves with a protective shield. These Zoras usually keep to themselves and are ashamed of the actions of the River Zoras, with whom they do not associate. They lay eggs when they reproduce, which hatch as tadpole-like creatures. Zora eggs hatch under very specific conditions within several days of being laid, as they are very temperature-sensitive and can only hatch with all the other eggs that were laid at the same time.
In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time the Sea Zoras were loyal to Hyrule's king and lived in Zora's Domain, where they guarded the source of Hyrule's water. They were friendly to Link in the game and provided him with a special scale that allowed him to hold his breath longer, as well as a Blue Tunic that allowed him to go underwater without needing to breathe. They also worshiped Lord Jabu-Jabu, who was kept in the Zora's Fountain and whose feeding was a royal duty. The Zoras held the Zora's Sapphire as their treasure from the Royal Family, but when King Zora refused to give the Spiritual Stone over to Ganondorf, he filled Jabu-Jabu's belly with monsters. This caused Jabu-Jabu to swallow Princess Ruto during a feeding session, but Link was able to save her as well as Jabu-Jabu and earn the Zora's Sapphire with the renewed trust of the Zoras. During the seven years of Ganondorf's rule, Ganondorf trapped all of Zora's Domain in ice, although King Zora could be freed and Sheik had already rescued Ruto, who went on to become the Sage of Water. The rest of the Zoras were freed only after Ganondorf's defeat.
In Majora's Mask, they lived at he Zora Hall in Great Bay. There was a famous Zora band called the Indigo-Gos based there. Link could assume the form of an Sea Zora whenever he put on the Zora Mask which was left after Link put the spirit of the Zora fighter Mikau to rest. Although there was no royalty, the Zoras of Termina had a rich heritage, as Mikau was descended from Zora heroes while Lulu's bloodline was linked to the protection of the Great Bay Temple. These Zoras were endangered by rising sea temperatures that seemed to be caused by the Skull Kid, but the danger mostly seemed to apply to Lulu's Zora eggs which Link had to rescue in order to ensure that they hatched. This game also featured a wider variety of Zoras than in other games. Tijo who resembles a manta ray, while Evan has dark brown skin compared to the normal light blue skin. Sea Zoras are also seen living in the Zora Sea of Labrynna in Oracle of Ages, where they also watched over (a) Jabu-Jabu as well as the key to the Eyeglass Library. King Zora was initially dead during the present time, so Link had to go back in time and save him when he was ill in order to get permission to enter Jabu-Jabu's belly. Before that, Link had to take care of the dirty seawater that was making them ill by researching at the Eyeglass Library. King Zora also gave Link a Zora Scale as a symbol of his heroism after he accomplished all these feats. They would later seek a new domain in a linked Oracle of Seasons in which Link encounters a Sea Zora who is scouting Holodrum for a potential new domain with little success.
The Zoras were peculiarly absent from The Wind Waker, as they had evolved into the birdlike Rito tribe following the Great Flood. The ghost of a Zora sage named Laruto, who hailed from Zora's Domain, appeared at the Earth Temple seeking her successor, who turned out to be her Rito descendant Medli. The Zora tribe was also present at Zora's Domain in Twilight Princess, where they were ruled by Queen Rutela following the death of her husband. They were invaded by shadow beasts from the Twilight Realm, and Rutela protected Prince Ralis by sending him away. Rutela wound up being killed by the monsters, and Zora's Domain was once more frozen. Link and Midna were able to unfreeze the area by dropping a flaming boulder from Death Mountain into the ice. The Zoras were then free and focused on trying to find Prince Ralis and regroup. Ralis was also in danger, as Hyrule was becoming too arid for Zoras to survive in. Rutela's spirit appeared before Link, and after he ensured Ralis's safety, she guided him to the Zora Armor at her husband's grave. King Zora had been buried in Kakariko Village, because the Zoras considered it to be a sacred place, and apparently they all were buried in that graveyard. The Lakebed Temple was also shown to be their place of worship before it was overrun by evil, and they called it the Zora Temple. Link eventually liberated the temple, and Ralis returned to the Zoras to eventually be crowned king.
The river Zoras were bitter and savage Zoras who lived in the rivers and lakes of Hyrule, Koholint Island, Labrynna and Holodrum. These Zoras simply popped out of their watery homes to spit fireballs at any passerby. In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link they are also found on the plains and caves where they crawl around on the ground on all fours. The River Zoras were hunched over and more evil-looking then the elegant Sea Zoras, and their faces were more fish-like.
They also seemed to be greedy creatures. In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, their king sells flippers to Link and lets him use his waterways for 500 rupees. Despite this dealing with Link, he does not do anything to discourage his subjects from attacking Link (or vice versa). The only other River Zora to appear as a character was in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, where Link meets a Zora who is hidden in a house in the Animal Village. The creature could only be seen by using the Magnifying Lens. After the meeting, a picture was taken of the two to commemorate the event.
- In the English The Legend of Zelda manual, they were described as being 'half woman and half fish'.
- In the official artwork for River Zoras in the A Link to the Past Player's Guide, they are depicted as having a fish tail in place of legs. This is contradicted by Link's Awakening and Four Swords Adventures, which show them with legs.
- A Zora Mask appears as an item in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. The one in Ocarina is a normal mask that can be borrowed from the Happy Mask Shop, while the one in Majora's Mask contains the spirit of Mikau and transforms Link into a Zora. This is the only time that a Zora has been playable.
- When the Fairy Queen was split in two during The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, the two halves took the forms of River Zoras.
- Interestingly enough, the Zora soldiers in Twilight Princess used masks that resembled the monster River Zoras of early games.
- Following Wind Waker's example, Zoras were also absent from Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks. These games do have Ruto Crowns and (in the first game) Zora Scales as treasures, and there is also an enemy called the Geozard which is similar to a muscular version of the River Zora and is (most likely erroneously) referred to as a Zora Warrior by one of unofficial player's guides.
- A trophy for the Zora as well as a sticker using artwork from Ocarina of Time appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.