The Races and The Great Flood
Written by: The King of Hyrule
Though not mentioned specifically in any Zelda game this far, The Great Flood was one the largest changing forces in the Zelda series. All of Hyrule was affected by the flooding, races were forced to evolve, and people had to be relocated. During the Great Flood, all of Hyrule was flooded, and many things were lost, including some races. So what happened to those races? First, let me give you a quick rundown of the events of the Great Flood.
Ganondorf, after Twilight Princess, survives and hides away and builds up his army until the Hero of Hyrule died. He then launched an attack on Hyrule Castle. The King of Hyrule, in deciding how to save his kingdom, ordered all of the races of Hyrule to evacuate to the mountaintops. As the fighting continued, the people of Hyrule made their way out of Hyrule. The King of Hyrule then touched the Triforce and called on the gods to flood the land of Hyrule. As the rain began to fall, Ganondorf abandoned his army and followed the races to the mountaintops. The Dark Army then broke through the ranks of Hylian soldiers and began to ravage Hyrule Castle. Seeing this, the gods completely froze the kingdom of Hyrule so that it could not be destroyed. The rain continued to fall until all the land was covered, all except the mountaintops.
Over time, civilizations formed on the mountaintops, and the mountaintops became islands. The memory of the world beneath the waves became nothing more than a mere fairy tale to be lost in the folds of time.
This is where The Wind Waker comes in, taking place on those islands that were once the mountaintops of Hyrule. But there is a problem. New races appeared after The Great Flood. Where did these races come from? The simplest answer is to say that the gods created more races after the flood. However, this is very unlikely because races are missing from The Wind Waker that existed before The Great Flood. Knowing this, the most obvious answer is this: certain races evolved in order to survive the flood.
Most all of the races survived The Great Flood. The following is a list of the races that didn’t:
- The Zoras
- The Gorons
- The Kokiri
Now here is a list of the new races that appear in The Wind Waker:
- The Rito
- The Korogs
But wait, there are less new races in The Wind Waker. Does that mean that a race was killed off in the Flood? No. This is very important, so pay attention: there is a land outside of the Hyrule we see in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. This is proven by what we see in the opening of the NES Legend of Zelda game, in which Hyrule is described as a “world” and a “kingdom.” The sea is more vast in The Wind Waker than the game allows us to see, which is proven by the map in Phantom Hourglass, the sequel to The Wind Waker. So what happened to the extra race that disappeared from The Wind Waker? (By the way: that race was the Gorons.) It is simple: the Gorons did evacuate Hyrule kingdom. However, they managed to climb a different mountain that was further away from the rest of the mountains of Hyrule. We know this because the Gorons are present in Phantom Hourglass. (This also explains the extra races in Phantom Hourglass – the Anouki and the Yetis/Yooks because they always existed, but on the outside of the kingdom of Hyrule, so they were unknown to us before. Besides the Anouki and the Yetis/Yooks, this proof can be used to prove that the gods did not keep creating races, but created them widespread.) So though the Gorons were not in The Wind Waker, they did survive the Great Flood.
Onto the other two races: the Zoras and the Kokiri. Both races evolved into new forms because of the Great Flood, so each missing race corresponds with a new race: the Zoras to the Rito and the Kokiri to the Korogs.
First, lets cover the Kokiri race. It has been known since Ocarina of Time that the Kokiri forest was a magical forest, and it is known that the Kokiri could not leave the forest or they would die. So what was the Great Deku Tree supposed to do to do when the King ordered the evacuation of Hyrule? The Great Deku Tree did the only thing he could do: raised the borders of Kokiri forest. He did this by growing new trees and extending those trees high enough as to be above the water when Hyrule flooded. The trees grew so dense that the forest was literally impenetrable, so thick that it would even keep out the water of the coming flood. This is proven by the very thick forestry surrounding the forest in The Wind Waker. (Link must fly in using a Deku Leaf because there is no other way to enter.) He then used branches, leaves, and other forest things to make a solid ground for the Kokiri to live on. So the Kokiri never had to leave the forest, but still survived the flood.
So that explains how they survived the Great Flood, but not when they evolved. They did not evolve to survive, so to speak, but instead evolved to become more like the forest. They could not grow old or die, and they were forced to always live in the forest, so sometime in the 600 or so years from the Great Flood to The Wind Waker, the Kokiri turned into the Korogs simply because they were “becoming one” with the forest.
Finally, the Zoras. Since The Wind Waker’s release, people have gestimated that the Rito were in some way related to the Zora, which is a very logical connection. According to legend, the Zoras could only survive in fresh water, which is what Zoras Fountain was. But the Great Sea, the result of the Great Flood, was a salt-water sea. The Zoras were forced to evolve because they would have been unable to survive otherwise.
But they did not evolve on their own. A large dragon-like bird had taken up residence in Death Mountain that the Zoras scaled to survive the flood. The dragon’s scales were found to produce wings on animals, so, overtime, a large ritual was built around the dragon. When coming of age, the Zora child would approach the dragon and take a scale. Over the next few weeks, the Zora grew full-fledged wings. During the centuries between the Great Flood and The Wind Waker, the Zoras evolved further on their own, growing fur and other things to protect the Zoras in the sky. The Zoras took up the responsibility of being the mail carriers of the Great Sea. They took the name Rito in honor of their new job and forms. However, the many years affected the Rito’s past, and soon the remnants of the race ever being water-dwellers disappeared, and the people forgot all about it.
Overall, no races were lost in the Great Flood, and every new race can be explained simply by examining their past. Using this method, you can discover the origins of most every race in Zelda. Many races evolved over time, producing new looks and abilities, but all have common roots in the kingdom of Hyrule.