Zelda: Why Zora’s Domain Keeps Freezing

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The Zora have always been a mysterious species in the Legend of Zelda series. Here’s Why Zora’s Domain gets frozen in Ocarina and Twilight Princess.

Even though they’ve been around since The Legend of Zelda on the NES, the Zora are one of the most mysterious species in the franchise. Their design and role in the series have constantly fluctuated, and it’s likely going to stay that way. After being monsters early on, they were established as important NPCs in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but they’ve still gone through multiple changes since. One recurring theme the Zora seem to have maintained in the series, though, is the freezing-over of Zora’s Domain.

In the first game, Zora were green water monsters that shot projectiles at Link from the safety of the water. The precise location of their spawns was unpredictable, which made them obnoxious to deal with. Some Zelda games, like A Link to The Past, continued this trend, but Ocarina of Time turned them into the iconic, majestic fish folk they’re known as today. However, in The Wind Waker, it’s revealed they evolved into the bird-like Rito race – often cited as a Zelda plot hole, considering both the Zora and Rito live on in Breath of the Wild.

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The Zora’s apparent inconsistencies are mysterious occurrences in the Zelda timeline, complete with their own lengthy explanations, but they are consistently associated with ice, especially in Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time. In both of these games, Zora’s Domain becomes completely frozen over, and Link is tasked with restoring their home to its former glory. If there’s anything the Zora are especially susceptible to, it seems to be severe cold, but it’s never revealed why this is a recurring issue.

How Zelda’s Zora Are Connected With Ice In Each Game

Zora's Domain Theme is #1

In Ocarina of Time, Link returns to Zora’s Domain after his seven-year slumber to discover the entire place is completely frozen. Sheik reveals to Link that Morpha, the monster residing in Ocarina of Time‘s infamous Water Temple, is the source of the icy curse and that this ice will only thaw after it’s been vanquished. In Twilight Princess, Link discovers Zora’s Domain is frozen over while attempting to restore the light to the Lanayru Province. He uses a giant molten rock from Death Mountain to destroy the ice and save the Zora. He’s then informed by the ghost of the Zora Queen, Rutela, of her fate. She was publicly executed by the Shadow Beasts in front of her people. The realm was most likely frozen over as a measure to prevent anyone from reaching the Light Spirit to destroy the Twilight in the area.

This theme of ice is also associated with the Zora race in multiple other Zelda games. In A Link to the Past, the Light and Dark Worlds are like two sides of the same coin, and the Dark World version of Lake Hylia is frozen over, with an entire dungeon resting at its center. It might not be the home of the Zora in that game, but Lake Hylia is typically been associated with the fish-like species in other games. Majora’s Mask doesn’t take place in Hyrule, but its Ice Arrows are obtained in the Great Bay Temple, which is another moment in the Zelda series where the Zora and ice come together. Regardless of why Nintendo chooses to continue this The Legend of Zelda tradition, it seems likely that the Zora race will continue to be connected with the theme of ice.

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