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One of the unique things about the Zelda series are the many races of creatures in each game. There are multiple races that exist, each with their own special abilities and characteristics. However, it can be confusing for people who are new to the series, so here’s a guide on all of them!
There are 11 predominant races in the Zelda universe: Hylian, Sheikah, Zora, Rito, Gerudo, Goron, Kokiri/Korok, Twili, Minish, Kikwi, and Humans.
Each race plays a role in the overall plot of their game. Some races are extinct in certain areas but re-emerge when needed during dungeon quests. Each race has its own primary language – usually custom to them – which is used throughout their community. The languages are runic for the Twili race, the Hylian language for the Hylians, a modified version of the Goron tongue for the Gerudo and Sheikah, and the Zora language for both of them.
Beyond character roles in the story, each race has a signature trait that defines them. Some races are very prominent in one particular game but not another.
The following list will give a run-down on each race, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses in terms of appearance, location, abilities, game appearances, and more.
Hylians are the most abundant race in all of Hyrule. They are characterized by their pointy ears and high intelligence. They are predominantly found throughout the kingdom, however, they tend to live in larger cities like Castle Town, Kakariko Village, and Skyloft.
One of their special traits is that Hylians can communicate with the Goddesses through prayer. They are also more resilient to certain forms of magic than other races, like Twilight, for example.
Hylians can usually be found wearing tunics, robes, or dresses. Depending on their social status in society, they tend to wear either darker colors (common folk) or brighter colors (nobles).
When it comes to the Zelda games, Hylians are usually portrayed as having a hold on magic or being able to use it in some way. Although they are not the only ones who can use magic, they tend to be better at it than other races throughout their history.
Well-known Hylians are Link, Zelda, and the Knights of Hyrule.
The Sheikah are a very ancient race that had been around since before the existence of the kingdom of Hyrule itself. They had a close relationship with Hylians for generations, serving as guardians to them and helpers throughout society. Their physical appearance is similar to Hylians, with pointy ears, but they tend to wear more traditionally-colored clothing that covers their eyes. This is supposed to represent the Sheikah’s common desire for anonymity and lack of being noticed by the world around them.
Most Sheikah have also been known as very skilled assassins and spies throughout history, most notably during the Hyrulean Civil War that divided the kingdom into two groups. The Sheikah were also presumed to be extinct at one point due to mass genocide by the Hylians after the war, but they did manage to survive and remain in hiding. However, during the events of Ocarina of Time, their tribe re-emerged and helped Link defeat the Demon King, Ganon.
Well-known Sheikah are Impa, Impaz, and Sheik. Link finds them to be cheerful, yet mysterious people.
The Zora are a race of aquatic people that live in the ocean or other watery areas around Hyrule. They can usually be found living underwater rather than on land, so they do not usually wear shoes and prefer to swim to get around.
Zora are known for their extreme resilience to water, which makes them the perfect race for exploring underwater locations throughout the Zelda world. Although they can swim well in open areas of water, Zora usually stay away from deep-end locations such as oceans and seas.
Their skin is blue and they have fins on their arms and legs, making them look more fish-like than human. They also have long ears that point upwards from the top of their heads, which looks a little unusual compared to most other races in Hyrule. This is because Zora originally evolved from ocean life instead of evolving from primates like Hylian humans did.
Well-known Zora are Princess Ruto, King Zora, and Prince Sidon. Link meets these characters during his adventures in the watery areas of Hyrule.
Introduced in The Wind Waker, the Rito are a race of bird people that live in volcanic areas. Most tend to stay in their volcano homes and dedicate themselves to maintaining it throughout the years. They do not usually engage much with outsiders, but they can be very friendly when approached carefully.
They have brownish-tan-colored skin and resemble a humanoid bird. Their wings are usually white on the outside and yellow on the inside, making them perfect for gliding around in the air. They have pointy ears like Hylians, but their hair is more similar to bird feathers than hair.
Most Rito live peacefully on the island of Dragon Roost, where they help take care of the Great Valoo. They are born as independent creatures that can fly shortly after birth, making them very similar to birds in some ways. However, they grow up over time and eventually learn how to use their wings better with age before becoming fully-grown adults at about 40 years of age.
Well-known Rito are Medli, Komali, and Quill. Link finds them especially helpful due to their ability to fly, allowing them to reach places that most other races cannot explore.
The Gerudo are a race of desert people that live in the desert regions throughout Hyrule. They have been known to be mostly composed of female warriors, but their numbers have diminished over time due to wars and other factors that have made them a very small population nowadays. Despite this, they still remain a unique group in the world with their own culture and beliefs.
Most Gerudo women wear clothing that completely hides their face and body, but it is made of very thin fabric to help them cope with the hot desert climate in Hyrule. As a result, they tend to be very agile due to their lightweight outfits and because they are not weighed down by heavy clothing all the time. Their fighting style is also very intense and powerful since they do not wear much armor at all.
Well-known Gerudo are Ganondorf, Nabooru, and Ganon. Link finds these characters in many different Zelda releases. In fact, Ganon is the single most popular recurring enemy in the series.
The Gorons are a race of rock people that live inside volcanic mountains throughout Hyrule. They tend to be larger than other races in the world even though they are about the same height as Hylians, but their physical strength is much greater than that of both Hylians and humans. Gorons have been known to come down from their mountains occasionally to trade goods with other races, but not too often. They prefer to stay inside their homes in order to protect themselves from the outside world.
Despite their size, Gorons are actually a very peaceful race who only wish to have fun. They are happiest when they are eating, especially rocks which is how they gain most of their physical strength in the first place. However, Gorons who live on Death Mountain (the location of Dodongo’s Cavern) tend to be more violent than other tribes because of all the volcanic eruptions happening there.
Well-known Gorons are Darunia, Biggoron, and Medigoron. Link encounters these characters in Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Oracle of Ages, and Oracle of Seasons.
The Kokiri are a race of forest children who have been known to interact with Hylians from time to time. They live in the forests near Link’s home throughout his childhood, and they all have Deku Tree Sprouts growing on their backs that become their guardian fairies when the children become teenagers. They hardly ever leave the forest, but they will sometimes visit Link’s House to congratulate him on his success as an adult.
Kokiri are small and very light, which allows them to run quickly through the vegetation in their forest. Their clothing is mainly green and brown with leaves and other plant materials used as decorations, and they tend to be a little taller than Hylians. However, they are physically weaker than Hylians and other races like Gorons.
Well-known Kokiri are Saria and Mido. Link encounters them on his journey to Kokiri Forest after he leaves the Great Deku Tree for the first time.
The Twili are a race of shadow people who have been banished from Hyrule to the Twilight Realm by the Golden Goddesses. They were once a tribe that was filled with evil and darkness, but after being defeated they turned into a peaceful group of creatures that mainly try to prevent others from entering their realm through portals. The only connection between them and their previous forms is that they still retain some of the powers that they used to have.
The Twili are humanoid creatures with long, black hair and glowing red eyes. They usually wear dark clothing made of thick fabrics, which are very strong in order to protect them from attacks when they leave the Twilight Realm to find a new portal back home. Their fighting style is a form of magic that they use to either attack their enemies with fire and shadow or defend themselves with darkness.
Well-known Twili are Midna and Zant. Link meets these characters when he enters the Twilight Realm in order to defeat Zant and save Midna from his evil curse.
The Minish are a race of tiny people who live to serve the Wind and Earth Spirits inside the Minish Woods. They normally remain hidden from everyone, but they will come out for a Hylian or other race if they ask very nicely. The Gatekeeper, Carlov, is also known as a Minish even though he is actually the same size as everyone else.
Minish are very light and small, so they can easily hide inside of flowers and other vegetation in the forest to remain out of sight from others. They typically wear green and red clothing with leaves and grass used for decoration or protection against the elements. They tend to be shorter than Hylians but slightly taller than Kokiri, and they are typically stronger than both races.
Well-known Minish are Festari and Carlov. Link meets these characters in Minish Village after he completes the Fortress of Winds as a child, and again as an adult after reassembling the Earth Element from Vaati’s Palace.
The Kikwi are a race of plant-like people that live deep within the forest. They are shy and peaceful creatures, but they know how to defend themselves against intruders who try to harm them or violate their homes without permission.
Kikwi are small humanoids with light green skin and brown eyes. Their leafy clothing is used for both decoration and protection from the elements, but their main defense comes from a large leaf that is attached to their back which can be used as a shield. They are slightly taller than Gorons and Deku Scrubs, but they are much shorter than Hylians or Minish.
Well-known Kikwi are Bucha and his son, Leaf. Link meets them in Deepwood Shrine after getting rid of the dark clouds that were surrounding it, and again in the forest when he is searching for Zelda’s remains.
Humans are a very common race that dwell all around Hyrule and other areas, such as Termina. They come in various sizes and shapes, but they typically share the ability to speak and think on their own. You can distinguish humans by their round ears, which are different from the many pointy-eared beings in Zelda games.
Humans can range from kind and generous to evil and sinister, depending on an individual’s personality. You know, kind of like actual humans.
Well-known humans in the Legend of Zelda games are Ashei, Beth, and Colin. Link meets them in Hyrule Castle after the water drains away, and again at Snowpeak Ruins to defeat Ashei’s father.
If you want to learn more about races in the Legend of Zelda games, these frequently asked questions might help you out.
Question: What Race is Link From?
Answer: Link is a Hylian that stays true to the heroic qualities of his people. He’s an adventurer knight, always willing to take on a quest to save Zelda.
Question: What Race are Most of the Characters From?
Answer: Humans and Hylians are the two main races in The Legend of Zelda, but many other creatures also play an important role in the story and gameplay.
Question: How Tall is Link?
Answer: When he is a child, Link is short enough to stand inside of a Deku Scrub if he tries. As an adult, he can reach up to five feet or so depending on his current form.
Question: How Old is Link?
Answer: When Link first meets Zelda, he is ten years old. By the time he defeats Ganon and sets sail for the Great Sea, he is around twenty years old.
Question: How Tall are Gorons?
Answer: In Twilight Princess, when Link is a wolf he can walk through the Gorons without having to duck down. However, if he’s in his normal Hylian form then he would have to bend over quite a bit.
All the races described in the Legend of Zelda games are very fascinating. Hylians are the humanoids Link comes in contact with the most often, because he is one and that’s where he’s from. However, the others can prove very useful in many of his other adventures.
Continue reading more about Zelda’s races: