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The Hyrule we get to explore in Breath of the Wild is expansive and detailed. Notable among those details are the hints at an older history. We’ve seen the evolution of Hyrule all the way from the first incarnations of Link and Zelda in Skyward Sword, but the Leviathan bones suggest a history beyond even that.
The three Great Skeletons, also known as the Leviathan bones, are landmarks across Hyrule in Breath of the Wild. Spread across the extremities of the map, they’re a mysterious curiosity of the game. Let’s demystify them as much as possible, looking at where they can be found and why you might want to find them.
The Great Skeletons
There are three of these landmarks. You’re unlikely to stumble across them in your travels unprompted, as all three are found at the very edges of the game. You can see two of them on the map once you’ve filled it in, but the final one is underground and requires some serious searching. Here they are, listed in order of how easy they are to reach:
- Eldin Great Skeleton — in the Eldin region, north of Death Mountain at the very north-northeast
- Gerudo Great Skeleton — in the Gerudo desert in the southwest corner
- Hebra Great Skeleton — in the Hebra region, under Hebra North Summit, in the far northwest
Now you know where the skeletons are, but why would you want to know? A good question with multiple answers, but the most obvious is the quest surrounding them.
Location: Serenne Stable, Woodland Region
Quest Giver: Akrah (Garshon, Onya)
Reward: Gold Rupee (300 rupees)
Requirements: Camera rune, extreme temperature managing equipment
‘Leviathan Bones’ is a side quest you pick up at the Serenne Stable. This stable is located on the road leading north through the Woodland region towards the Hebra mountains.
At this stable are three brothers, all scientists (so they call themselves), who are studying the extinct race of Leviathans. They each have a different idea about how they went extinct and want your help gathering evidence to support each of their theories. Akrah believes their extinction was caused by a volcanic eruption, Garshon thinks it was a great drought, and Onya an ice age.
To do this, they want you to ‘draw a picture’ of each skeleton found in the far reaches of Hyrule. The whole thing doesn’t need to be visible in the image, but it must include the skull. Once you have the pictures, show them to each of the brothers.
Once all three have received the evidence to support their contradictory hypotheses, you’ll be rewarded with a gold rupee.
Of course, ‘draw a picture’ translates to photographing them with the camera rune, which requires you to have reached Hateno village and received this upgrade from Purah. Once you have this, all that stands between you and those pictures is actually finding the things. The brothers know the approximate locations of the leviathan remains, but locating them can be a little tricky.
This quest is hardly the biggest incentive for finding the skeletons. You’ll be visiting Hebra and the Gerudo desert, so you may spend more than ten times the reward on gear to reach them. However, locating the skeletons is rewarding in and of itself, so let me take you into details of where and how to find them.
Eldin Great Skeleton
The easiest to reach of the three. The Great Eldin Skeleton is found north of Death Mountain, on the flat stretch of land between the volcano and the sheer drop into the abyss across the top of the map. If you look at the map after unlocking Eldin Tower, you can see it clearly.
You don’t need any special equipment to get there. The skeleton is outside the radius of extreme heat surrounding the volcano, so if you go from Akkala, you can walk there without any issues. Well, aside from the octoroks you’ll encounter along the way.
It’s not the closest shrine, but the Gorae Torr shrine (home of one of the gut check challenges) is the most convenient spawn point for getting to the skeleton.
Befitting its status as the easiest to find, it’s also the least exciting of the three skeletons. There’s very little of note to see around it. A camp of monsters hides within its ribcage, and defeating them can net you a flameblade and a great flameblade. Aside from that and the photo, there’s nothing much the game expects you to take from the area.
But the game doesn’t dictate what we find interesting or not. This skeleton has one significant feature — it’s the morning spawn point for the dragon Dinraal.
This means that you can use the Eldin Great Skeleton as a point to farm dragon parts to upgrade armor or unlock the Shrine of Power. In the early morning, around 8 am, Dinraal flies low over the skeleton, allowing easy access to its rare collectible parts.
Gerudo Great Skeleton
It takes more effort to reach the Gerudo Great Skeleton than the other two. However, I still consider this the second easiest to access. In fact, it’s arguably the easiest to find for the ignorant player because the game wants you to see this landmark.
The Gerudo Great Skeleton is in the very southwest corner of the map. It’s the final thing in that direction you reach before the map ends. You can’t find it until after Vah Naboris is reclaimed, thanks to the dust storms the divine beast kicks up. And you have to navigate your way there without a map or a compass. Despite that, it’s still relatively easy to find.
Catch or rent a sand seal and take it in a straight line southwest of Gerudo Town. You’ll get there without much trouble, although you’ll probably run into a Molduga if you’re unlucky. If that happens, keep moving; you’ll lose the beast eventually. You’ll know you’re close if your sheikha sensor is detecting shrines, as it’ll activate once you’re in range.
The Gerudo Great Skeleton is a lot more interesting than the other two. It’s home not only to a shrine and a sidequest (separate from Leviathan Bones) but also to one of the four great fairy fountains.
Great Fairy Fountain
This fountain belongs to the oldest of the four fairy sisters, the Great Fairy Tera. Her status as the oldest is reflected in her mannerisms, her attitude suggesting that she’s more grounded than her sisters. She sometimes greets you in the Gerudo style too, and appears to have a chronic cough since she keeps inhaling the water she lives in.
As with any other Great Fairy Fountain, you can upgrade your armor after you’ve bought your way in. Since this is the hardest of the fountains to reach, this is likely to be the last one your average player finds. If this is you, you’ll have to pay 10,000 rupees to access it. While it’s the hardest to track down, it’s also the most accessible for subsequent visits, as there’s a shine directly opposite it.
Like the other fountains, you’ll find unique items around it. Growing in the area is cool, warm, and electric safflina, three plants you can use to make cold, heat, and shock-resistant foods. And, of course, regular fairies fly around the area if you don’t have many in your inventory. They’re handy, reviving you with 5 hearts if you hit 0 health in battle.
Hawa Koth Shrine
The Hawa Koth shrine is also under the Gerudo Great Skeleton. Like most other shrines across the Gerudo Desert, the puzzle inside is themed around electricity. It’s straightforward, requiring you to bring a power source across a trapped bridge to complete a circuit. You’ll also have to collect a cog from a neighboring room using the magnesis and stasis runes.
This shrine will allow you to teleport to this corner of the map whenever you need to. This will be useful not only for accessing the fountain and the skeleton itself but also navigating the desert. It’s a large area, and having this kind of waypoint is helpful, especially if you’re looking to collect Molduga guts and upgrade the radiant gear.
The Search for Barta (Side quest)
Yes, there is also a side quest related to this skeleton! As I said, this is the skeleton that the game really wants you to find, and this side quest will take you out there if your curiosity doesn’t. It’s also one of the quests you must complete to finish ‘The Thunder Helm,’ given to you by Riju.
If you’ve calmed Vah Naboris (as you have to if you want to access the skeleton), you’ll recognize Barta as the soldier captured by the Yiga Clan in the main quest. She’s off getting into trouble yet again. Her superior, Liana, will task you to find her after she’s gone searching for Leviathan Bones. It’s a hazardous part of the desert, passing through Molduga territory, so she could be in danger.
You find Barta out by the skeleton, near its skull. She’s delirious and
overheated, asking for a Hearty Durian, muttering it repeatedly. If you give her one (you can buy them in Gerudo Town), she’ll hurry back, worried about getting chewed out. Return to Liana, and you’ll see that Barta has returned safely. For your troubles, Liana rewards you with a silver rupee.
Hebra Great Skeleton
While this isn’t nearly the hardest skeleton to reach, it’s annoying to find if you don’t know where to look. The Hebra Great Skeleton is underneath the Hebra North Summit. Yes, underneath a mountain. Thanks to this, you can’t see the skeleton on a map.
Aside from the conspicuous double doors blocking the way through to the cave, the game doesn’t indicate its location or even existence. The only reason you might know it’s somewhere in the area is the Leviathan Bones quest, or you’re tracking shrines.
Oh well, if you’re here, you don’t need to worry about all of that. I’ve done the tricky bit for you. This is how you get to the skeleton (and the shrine underneath it).
At the northernmost point of Hebra, you’ll find the Hebra North Summit mountains. Immediately right of the marker on the map, the mountains pinch in. This is where you’ll find the entrance to the cave. I’ve marked it on the map above.
To open the cave doors, you need to roll a snowball into them at speed. At the top of the incline leading to the doors are two giant snowballs, just small enough to be picked up. Halfway up the slope, you’ll find a small pool of water.
Use cryonis on it to create a platform for the snowball to roll over (one ice pillar is enough). Now pick up one of the snowballs and drop it down the slope, so it rolls over the ice pillar and straight into the doors. If you’ve done it correctly, a small cutscene of the doors being knocked over will play, and you’ll have access to the cave.
Inside is the skeleton as well as the To Quomo shrine. This shrine is a blessing, rewarding you for getting into the cave (and finding it in the first place). Inside the shrine is a Royal Claymore. Unfortunately, despite being the most difficult to find, unlike the other two, you’ll never have a reason to do so outside of the shrine and the Leviathan Bones quest.
Question: How many leviathan bones are there?
Answer: There are three leviathan bones, or great skeletons, across Hyrule in Breath of the Wild. One in Hebra, one in Eldin, and one in the Gerudo desert.
Question: Where are the three leviathan bones?
Answer: The Leviathan bones are found in the far reaches of the Wasteland, Herba, and Eldin regions. The Gerudo Great Skeleton is across the desert in the far southwest corner of the map. The Eldin Great Skeleton is north of Death Mountain. And the Hebra Great Skeleton is in a cave underneath North Hebra Summit, the northernmost mountain range in Hebra. The entrance to this cave can be found on the south face of the mountain range, just right of the summit’s label on the map.
Question: How do I reach the Gerudo leviathan bones?
Answer: You cannot reach the Gerudo leviathan bones until you’ve defeated Thunderblight Ganon and reclaimed Vah Naboris. Once you have, the dust storms across the desert become navigable and you can reach the skeleton. There are multiple ways to do so, but the most straightforward is to take a sand seal from Gerudo Town and head southwest in a line. You will probably run into a Molduga on the way, but if you speed past, you can avoid fighting it.
A Slice of Hyrulean History
The Great Skeletons of Hyrule aren’t interesting only for what they have to offer us as players but for how they enrich the game world of Breath of the Wild.
This incarnation of Hyrule is old, with histories dating back a thousand years, and the Leviathan bones only add to that feeling of age. Worldbuilding details like the Great Skeletons make the land feel lived in; like it exists beyond the scope of the screen.
Of course, the Leviathan bones and the quest of the same name are just as fun from a gameplay perspective. These huge landmarks are a treat to find, especially the Hebra Great Skeleton, hidden away under a mountain. The quest, too, gives you an excuse to explore the furthest reaches of the game. It incentivizes you to see what you can find away from the well-trodden path.
In all, it’s well worth setting out to find the Leviathan bones. A golden rupee may not be a great reward for finding them, but the journey on the way to collecting it, I think, is reward enough.