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“My country lay within a vast desert. When the sun rose into the sky, a burning wind punished my lands, searing the world. And when the moon climbed into the dark of night, a frigid gale pierced our homes. No matter when it came, the wind carried the same thing... Death. But the winds that blew across the green fields of Hyrule brought something other than suffering and ruin. I coveted that wind, I suppose.”
The Gerudo are a recurring race in the The Legend of Zelda series. They are a tribe of thieves that consists entirely of women, save for one man, that, according to legend, is born every hundred years, who is destined to become the king of the Gerudo. They have dark, tanned skin, golden eyes and red hair. In the manga, they appear mostly as Arab harem-style figures. Also, in the manga, the female Gerudo have less distinguished noses than they do in the game series. They are known to have relations with Hylian men, with whom they form relationships or simply use for procreation.
The Gerudo as they've thus far appeared held the following looks: round ears, a prominent nose, tanned skin, yellow eyes and red hair. Which of these are actually unmistakable Gerudo traits is unknown due to their small established role throughout the series. A few characters have appeared in otherwise Gerudo-less games who at minimum seem to reference the race, but who lack various elements shown on established Gerudo. As such, any variations to their appearance can not be considered of value to pinpointing the Gerudo race.
The tanned skin has been shown to come in two variants: a common light brown and an olive-greenish version seen on Twinrova and Ganondorf. Though the latter are special cases, their specific skin color was never remarked on, suggesting it is not something out of the ordinary among the Gerudo. Additionally, Twinrova had white hair rather than red, which seems to be the result of old age. Recent games have made some adjustments to Ganondorf's look, changing his nose from "long" to "big" while his ears have become slightly pointy - far from Hylian-like, but still less round than what they have once been. Whether this has any significance for the Gerudo race as a whole is unknown.
The most known aspect of Gerudo physiology is that the race consists of almost solely women, with a male being born only once every hundred years. The exact nature of this phenomenon is never explained, leaving many questions unfortunately unanswered. For instance, there exist at least two tribes of Gerudo: is a male born in each tribe, or does each tribe have to wait their turn before it gets to bear the male child? Regardless, at least during the Ocarina of Time era the lack of males among the Gerudo is countered by them taking boyfriends from other human races.
Some members of the race have been shown to possess magical skills. Given the focus the Gerudo put on physical training, this seems to be either a rare or otherwise unused ability. Furthermore, Gerudo might be able to reach a very high age, though the only suggestion to this was related to Twinrova, not exactly a most standard example of a Gerudo.
The Gerudo have an Arabic theme to them and seem to be based on the Amazons, a "real world" tribe of warrior women. Being a warrior race, they have been shown to use weapons such as glaives, dual scimitar swords and bow and arrows. In Ocarina of Time, they are capable equestrians, while they prefer the use of boats in Majora's Mask due to their role as pirates.
Generally, they have been shown to be a somewhat reclusive race that does not take well to outsiders on their territory, which in Hyrule constitutes the whole desert area. Though not without nobility, they've mostly been depicted as thieves to the other races. The Gerudo appreciate talent when they see it and do accept non-Gerudo among their ranks if they manage to prove themselves.
The Gerudos are one of the most striking races from Hyrule, although it is unknown if they truly originated here. Like the Kokiri, they are highly unusual, mostly in the fact that 99.9% of the population is female. A male Gerudo is only born once every one-hundred years, leaving the Gerudo to travel from their isolated communities to towns and villages to find a mate with whom to reproduce with. They are easily recognizable from their olive skin and bright red hair. Gerudos always have amber eyes and their noses are extremely pointed. Their clothes are crafted from light silks and muslins in bright patterns and colours and they also have a love for jewelery.
They inhabit a hot desert in the far southwest of Hyrule. Gerudos are used to travel and many also live lives as pirates upon boats. They worship a deity they called The Great Goddess and many lived in great fortresses. In these modern times, the Gerudos now live in the country of Benlucca, which is deep into the Gerudo Desert. It is known that the evil wizard Ganon was born originally as Ganondorf, and was King of the Gerudos hundreds of years ago. When he was banished to the Dark World for his evil doings, he became the twisted, pig-creature Hyrulians are familiar with. But not all Gerudos were bad; The Town of Nabooru is named after the Gerudo Princess who helped Hyrule fight against Ganondorf.
These beautiful women tend to be thieves by trade, and also fearless warriors. They also have a natural aptitude for magic. These days most Gerudos work as dancers and entertains, though some have fallen into a more depraved life than others, selling their bodies to live. Others find work as guards and warriors, since their skills in swordplay and archery are not easily matched.
They are the olive or dark-skinned peoples that dwell in the deserts of old Hyrule. What makes the Gerudo unique is that their population is made up of all women, and that there is only one man born into the Gerudo's ranks every one-hundred years. This particular characteristic has two effects: one beign that it forces the Gerudo to seek out non-Gerudo mates in order to keep thier numbers at a sustainable number, and secondly it always keep a certain threat over the entire race's head that they could be wiped out if no willing mates could be found.
The Gerudo are natural thieves and often excel at this particular craft, in fact using the superior agility that comes in tandem with this skill to further their battle prowess. Along with their superiority in war, the Gerudo society is very warlike in its ethos, valuing the strong over the weak, and utilizing their isolating terrain to keep themselves apart from the other "decadent" races, like the Hylians.
An Isolated Tribe
Since the very beginnings of Hyrule the Gerudo Tribe has always been particularly taken to a mysterious urge to separate themselves from the other races and tribes of the world. In the age of the Imprisoning War, they dwelled in the Gerudo Desert, across the canyon formed by the Zora's River on its way to Lake Hylia, as such giving them a perfect demarcation to keep outsiders away from their land. To further reinforce this point, the Gerudo warriors mantained a fence on the only bridge crossing the chasm, and introduced a zero-tolerance policy on any non-Gerudo infiltrators—if they caught an outsider in their lands, they would typically be thrown into jail.
This particular isolation worked all well and good as long as the entire tribe stayed out of trouble. Unfortunately for the pragmatists amongst them, the Gerudo were cursed when Ganondorf Dragmire was born into the tribe as their sole King and Sovereign Leader. And thus, once he was of an age where he could assume the mantel of his divinely granted position, Ganondorf worked tirelessly towards causing trouble for the other races of Hyrule.
The Favored Son
In the aftermath of the Great War Between the Races, the Gerudo were herded (much to their chagrin) under the banner of the Hylian Royal Family and joined the Kingdom of Hyrule. Ganondorf was suddenly no longer a sovereign royal and more or less a local governor with authority derived not from a serpent goddess, but rather from a fat, jolly old Hylian miles away in his lofty castle. While this insult proved a slap in the face of the Gerudo, and more importantly, Ganondorf’s ego, it also provided the young Sand King a wonderful idea—namely, that a united and centralized Hyrule was ripe for conquest if one could overcome the central authority at Hyrule Castle.
Therefore, Ganondorf sought to gain the trust of Hyrule’s King, and by extension the Royal Family. He joined the King’s inner circle of advisors (which gave him access to the archives of the Hylian scholars, a fatal mistake in the end) and lost no chance to feign allegiance to this man that he hated so much. With his prestige and access secured, Ganondorf learned of the location of the legendary Triforce, and what followed is history.
One can imagine that, having just endured a long and painful war caused by the Gerudo king, the sand people were suddenly not looked upon as fondly as they may have been years earlier. It is therefore feasible that, rather than face the hostility of their neighbors, the Gerudo exiled themselves away from Hyrule and toward a new land where they would face less hostility. Nevertheless, even if they did remain (and this scenario is equally plausible, if only because one of the seven Sages that brought down Ganondorf’s regime was Nabooru, herself a Gerudo), the sand people would be forced to move in light of Ganondorf’s break from his seal and the terrible ruin he rained upon Hyrule, which culminated in the Great Flood.
During the events of Four Swords Adventures, the Gerudo are encountered once more in the Desert of Mystery, in the southwest corner of Hyrule. There they have built a small camp of tents and shanties, a striking contrast to the vast complex that was Gerudo Fortress. Unfortunately for them, the accursed King of Evil returned to their tribe, as the next born male child. When he finally reached the age where he could oncemore enact his plans against the Hyrulian Crown, Ganondorf and a group of his acolytes fled deeper into the desert and began defacing the ancient Pyramids of the desert in search of ancient, evil artifacts which could help their cause. Ganondorf found the power he sought within the Dark Tribe’s lost Trident of Power, which then in tandem with other Dark Tribe artifacts, Ganondorf unleashed a horrible torrent upon the Kingdom. Only through the valiant efforts of Link and the Four Sword was Ganondorf sealed away once more, this time to be imprisoned in the Dark World (which he had perverted centuries ago from the once-idyllic Sacred Realm).
A Twice-Scorned Tribe
How many times must the male heir of the Gerudo, in whom so much hope is invested, betray the trust and ambitions of his people? Ganondorf, having struck twice against his own people, and twisting their loyalty to achieve his own evil aims, must have surely soured the Gerudo against the concept of the male child being the destined King.
By the time of A Link to the Past, which followed FSA only by a few years, the Desert of Mystery is devoid of any trace of the Gerudo tribe. It seems as if the entire lot of them packed up and left once more. Perhaps this time they went to a far-off island where they could not harm another nation with their progeny?
No one knows for sure what happened to the Gerudo people. Unlike the other races which evolved, moved away to known lands, or went into hiding, the Gerudo simply disappeared without a trace.
And thus, history lips betray two different tales of these enigmatic sand amazons—the first being of a tribe of thieves and warriors who followed their evil king in his march of conquest, the other being an accursed nomadic peoples who contributed to the rescue of Hyrule from the clutches of Ganondorf during the Imprisoning War. The former lives on in every breath Ganondorf takes, the latter in the white brick structures of Nabooru Town.
Length: 7 Years
Outcome: Kingdom of Hyrule victory
- Hylian Knights
- Seven Sages
The Imprisoning War was the war fought during the seven years when Ganondorf Dragmire ruled Hyrule. Many people died during this war, and many more suffered. It was dubbed the Imprisoning War since the denizens of Hyrule were practically imprisoned during Ganondorf's rule. The Imprisoning War ended when Link, the Hero of Time, with the help of the Seven Sages, defeated Ganondorf and locked him in the Sacred Realm. Accounts of the war have been exaggerated or altered since, so all stories of it are most likely false or contain bare threads of truth.
Roots of the War
Following the end of the Great War, the land of Hyrule was reorganized by the victorious Hylians into a quasi-federal monarchy where the Hylian royalty assumed the throne for the newly-birthed Kingdom of Hyrule. The Hylians in turned ruled the other nations that participated in the war, to varying degrees. Some races, like the Zora and Sheikah took to the novus ordo with gusto, pledging themselves to he service of the Hylian regime. The Gorons did so as well, but not with the same amount of enthusiasm as the other two. The Kokiri did not enter the equation of the new kingdom, mostly because they neutrally avoided the conflict of the Great War, and moreso because the Hyrule government could not enter the Kokiri Forest and therefore could not reasonably enforce their rule there.
The Gerudo took to the new regime with a passionate hostility, but nevertheless begrudgingly swore fealty to Hyrule. Their young and impetuous King, Ganondorf Dragmire, personally served as ambassador from the desert to the capital in Hyrule Field, yet ordered that no one be allowed to enter Gerudo territory if not a Gerudo themselves, leading to the only bridge crossing the canyon into the desert to be closed off.
Ganondorf's loyalty, however, was not as honesty given as it seemed to the Hylian King. He used his ambassadorial position in the Hyrulian court to access the Castle's secret archives where the writings of the ancient Sages and other Triforce scholars were kept. There he learned the formula for entering the Sacred Realm and what items he would need to procure. The only problem with this success was that he could not outright take the keys he needed from those who possessed them, as it was necessary for him to mantain some semblance of peacefulness to the Hyrulian government.
Opening the Door of Time
Ganondorf decided the best way to achieve his aims was by proxy, to let someone else gather up the Spiritual Stones, open the Door of Time, and provide the path to the Sacred Realm. This proxy Ganondorf soon found in Link, and in order to appeal to the boy's sense of good and duty thereof, he put the three holder races of the Spiritual Stones--the Kokiri, Gorons, and Zora--in peril so that they would require Link's heroic services.
The plan worked like clockwork as Link expunged each of the three dire situations the Gerudo king had cast upon his three targets. The Great Deku Tree's infestation was quashed, but yet it was too late for the arbor deity as it soon passed. The Gorons were luckier and the Dodongo King? was defeated. The Zora's patron deity was also delivered from evil by the boy hero. With all three evils seemingly overcome, Link had gathered the three Spiritual Stones. Now, it was time to hatch the final phase of his place.
The First Shots Fired
Using his position in the Castle, Ganondorf snuck in a small bandit force of Gerudo thieves loyal to him. After nightfall, they struck, attacking the Castle in a diversionary tactic meant to force the Royal Family's hand. Fearing the safety of his daughter, the King sent Princess Zelda to flee the Castle in the care of her nursemaid and tarry to safety at the hidden Sheikah camp in the mountains south of the Castle. In the escape, Zelda tossed the Ocarina of Time--the last key to the Door of Time--into the Castle moat for Link to find. Now, the boy Hero had all the keys necessary to open the Door.
As Link approached the Door of Time, Ganondorf lurked in the shadows, waiting for the boy to open the door so he could strike and enter the Sacred Realm first. But, to his surprise, as Link walked through the door and grabbed the hilt of the Master Sword, and pulled the blade from its pedestal, he vanished into thin air, and all that remained was a glowing portal, the entrance to the Golden Land?.
Bounding up the steps and across the threshold to that portal, Ganondorf quickly lept in to the divine land. What he had sought was beyond.
Hours later, Ganondorf returned to Hyrule, bearing the Triforce of Power on his hand, and at the command of a newly summoned army of monsters. His forces quickly overwhelmed Hyrule's defense, levelling the Castle Town, slaying the Hylian Knights, and murdering every inhabitant that did not manage to escape, including the King of Hyrule himself.
Resistance is Crushed
To prevent resistance to his rule by the Loyal Races, Ganondorf used his new power to inflict terrible suffering on them. On the Kokiri, he used the weakness derived by the death of their patron deity to send a plague of Deku Babas and Mad Scrubs upon the forest, sending the Kokiri into hiding. On the Gorons he resurrected the ancient enemy of that race, the dragon Volvagia who would slowly but surely eat all of the mountain-dwelling folk. To the water-inhabiting Zora he inflict a particularly cruel evil, freezing Zora's Domain in one swift stroke, locking away most of the race under the ice that now filled the Domain.
With each of those three races quashed, and the Sheikah long gone as any tangible force, and the Gerudo firmly under his own command, there could be no threat to his rule, Ganondorf thought. And, for seven long years, that was indeed true.
Coming of the Hero
Seven years to the day he drew the Master Sword from the pedestal of time, Link awoke in a strange place he had never seen before. Standing before him was an aged and portly man, identifying himself as Rauru, the Sage of Light, and promptly informing Link that the boy Hero was no longer a boy. Rather, he had been sleeping for seven long years, so that he could mature and bear the Master Sword into battle against the King of Evil, who now controlled all of Hyrule. Rauru charged Link with awakening the remaining six Sages and calling them to his side at the time of the final battle.
As such, link travelled through forest and volcano, under water, and into the house of the dead, and across the blinding desert deep into the heart of Ganondorf's homeland, awakening a new Sage as he went. When Saria, Darunia, Ruto, Impa, and Nabooru were at his side as full sages, he was confronted by the mysterious young Sheikah man who had shadowed Link his entire adventure--Sheik. The Sheikah revealed to Link that he was none other than Princess Zelda and that the time had come to end Ganondorf's black reign.
However, she was soon captured by Ganondorf from the interior of the Temple of Time and spirited away to Ganon's Tower.
Undaunted, Link travelled to the Tower and climbed its soaring heights to the very pinnacle when the King of Evil dwelled. A fight ensued, and ultimately good prevailed and Link (with the help of Zelda) struck down Ganondorf, and his transformed facade (Ganon). The Sages stepped in at the point of victory and cast Ganondorf into the Sacred Realm and locked the door behind him, so that the King of Evil might never escape.
Peace had finally be restored to Hyrule after seven long years.
Hyrule laid in ruins after the War has passed and many years were spent rebuilding the damage Ganondorf has wrought. Nevertheless, the people of Hyrule venerated their hero, Link, and built statues in his honor and sang songs of his victory over evil down through the generations.
Ganondorf was indeed locked away, but he still possessed the Triforce of Power and therefore was in possession of the tools that would aid his escape. This would pose a disaster for the Kingdom in the coming decades.
Also known as the War of Five Armies, or the War of the Triforce.
It was a massive war that erupted almost a decade before the birth of Link I, the Hero of Time. In the conflict every race was pitted against the others. Each one believed that the other was hiding the Triforce, and so they fought, with the exception of the Sheikah and the Kokiri. Before the war, Hylia and Sheikah had gotten along peacefully. However, due to their mysterious ways of living and their slowly rising population, the Hylia focused their attacks on the Sheikah at their main base, Kakariko Village. Seeing how it they had literally obliterated 11 of the original 13 Sheikah clans, the Sheikah bound themselves through dark spells to help the Hylia and serve the Royal Family in their time of need, becoming the elite soldiers of the Army of the Hylia. In return, the remaining Sheikah were granted the lands under Death Mountain and the Sheikah Pass. This took place halfway through the war.
The war devastated the land of Hyrule and the bloodshed was only ended when the King of the Hylia forced another alliance among the Zora and Goron, and through this took the Gerudo Desert as a territory, thus forging the Kingdom of Hyrule. But for the next year, small battles continued to erupt within the newly found kingdom.