Artwork of Urbosa, Notable Gerudo from Breath of the Wild
Desert of Doubt
The Gerudo are a race of thieves in The Legend of Zelda series. They live in a harsh desert that bears their name. The climate of the desert has made the Gerudo tough and resourceful. They are warriors by reputation, feared and respected in the countries they inhabit. Due to a unique biological quirk, the race consists almost solely of females. A single male Gerudo is born into the tribe every hundred years. This male is destined by Gerudo law to become their king. Ganondorf is the only Gerudo male to have appeared in the series.
The Gerudo as a race have appeared in Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Four Swords Adventures and Breath of the Wild. In The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, Ganondorf is the only Gerudo and Twinrova are the only Gerudo in Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages.
The Gerudo are a desert-dwelling folk, being indigenous to the Gerudo Valley where they congregate in the Gerudo's Fortress in Ocarina of Time, appear to lead nomadic lives in the Desert of Doubt in Four Swords Adventures, and live as merchants in Gerudo Town in Breath of the Wild. The exception to this is Majora's Mask, where the Gerudo live along the coastal Great Bay. A rather peculiar aspect of the Gerudo is that the race consists almost entirely of women, with a male being born only once every hundred years. This male is destined to become their king. When there is no male to be their king, the Gerudo are led by a chief with the position passed on from mother to daughter. The exact nature of this phenomenon is never explained. It is known, however, that 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. This is also the case in the era of Breath of the Wild, and they also wed their boyfriends. Married Gerudo do not typically live within the walls of Gerudo Town, but they enter to sell their wares at the market.
Gerudo are known to have the following traits: dark skin, amber eyes, red hair, and a sharp bird-like nose. Their skin color, however, has been shown to come in two tones: a common light brown and an olive-greenish variation seen on Twinrova and Ganondorf. Gerudo in Breath of the Wild generally have green eyes instead of amber. In Breath of the Wild, the Gerudo use mushrooms found in the Gerudo Desert to keep their skin beautiful. Gerudo vary between having round ears and pointed ears. The Gerudo in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask have rounded ears, while the Gerudo in Breath of the Wild have pointed ears. Matching the rest of the Gerudo, Ganondorf has rounded ears in his first appearance in Ocarina of Time. This design reappears with rounded ears in Super Smash Bros. Melee. However, Ganondorf's ears are pointed in all further appearances, including The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. His design in Twilight Princess reappears with pointed ears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U. His non-canon iteration in Hyrule Warriors also retains pointed ears.
Generally, the Gerudo have been shown to be a reclusive race that does not take well to outsiders on their territory, which in Hyrule constitutes the whole desert area. Even when they are more open to other races in the era of Breath of the Wild, they still do not allow males to enter their towns, to the point it is illegal to sell men's clothing. In spite of this, the Gerudo appreciate talent when they see it and do accept non-Gerudo among their ranks if they manage to prove themselves. Being a warrior race, they are well apt at combat, and have been shown to use weapons such as glaives and dual scimitar swords. Some members of the race have also been shown to possess magic, namely Ganondorf and the Gerudo witch Twinrova.
Archery and skilled horseback riding are highly regarded in Gerudo society. They also use Sand Seals, animals native to the Gerudo Desert Gateway, to get around the desert. Sand seals are not exactly ridden; rather, one surfs on a shield behind the animal while a rope keeps them tethered to it.
Due to differences in religion, the people of Hyrule believe the statue depicted by the Gerudo in the Desert Colossus is of an evil goddess. According to Muava in Breath of the Wild, the Gerudo no longer believe in the Goddess Hylia. The Gerudo do believe in some sort of afterlife, from where their ancestors watch over them.
The Gerudo have their own writing script, referred to as Gerudo Typography. This writing is found extensively on the architecture of the Gerudo's Training Ground and Spirit Temple in Ocarina of Time, and their unique language is heard throughout Breath of the Wild.
Ocarina of Time
In Ocarina of Time, the Gerudo live in the Gerudo Desert, specifically within the Gerudo Valley, which is located in the northwest of Hyrule. The Gerudo are well known for their reputation as a band of thieves, and many express fear of them. In spite of this, they are known to visit Hyrule Castle Town to seek boyfriends there. The Gerudo keep a tight security of their domain. In order to reach the Valley, Link must first cross a bridge over a deep river gorge flowing to Lake Hylia. In the past, it is heavily guarded by several Gerudo and a gate. In the future seven years later, these defenses are gone; instead, the Gerudo have decided to simply destroy the bridge to prevent outsiders from reaching their domain.
After the bridge lies Gerudo's Fortress, the stronghold that the Gerudo inhabit. Gerudo Guards patrol the area throughout the large stone structure, which inside contains several cells used for imprisoning anyone who attempts to trespass on their territory. Gerudo Valley ends with a huge gate that the Gerudo use to ensure no one enters the Desert without their approval. They had also created themselves two training courses; the Horseback Archery Range and the Gerudo's Training Ground. Despite this hostile outset, they do accept outsiders within their ranks, provided that they first prove themselves worthy.
Ganondorf, being the lone male at that time, is their king and "god". His second-in-command is Nabooru, who is highly respected by the other Gerudo, but rebels against Ganondorf because she does not approve of his ways. Nabooru herself also has an unnamed vice commander, who keeps watch over the Gerudo's Fortress while Ganondorf and Nabooru are gone. The Gerudo witches, Koume and Kotake, together known as Twinrova, are said to also rule the tribe from afar.
Link first encounters the Gerudo tribe during his younger years, when the Gerudo's tight security at the bridge took away any chance of proceeding into their domain. Seven years later however, the broken bridge becomes an obstacle easily passed with the Hookshot (Or optionally, with Epona). On the other side, he meets the Carpenters' Boss, who informs Link that his workers have gone missing after they had left to join the ranks of the Gerudo and requests that he look for them. Accepting his request, Link heads into the Gerudo's Fortress. There he manages to bypass the Gerudo Guards and finds the first Carpenter, now a prisoner in their Fortress. Before he could set him free, a Gerudo Thief appears and challenges Link to a battle. Link manages to defeat her and went on saving the remaining three Carpenters, battling another Gerudo Thief each time. After saving all of the Carpenters, he is then approached by Nabooru's appointed leader, who compliments him on his success and gives him the Gerudo Token, which allows him to freely move within the Gerudo territory. This also allows Link to participate in the Gerudo training courses.
Link's membership also gives him access to the Gerudo Desert, allowing him to finally reach the Spirit Temple. Playing the "Requiem of Spirit" learned from Sheik, Link returns to the Temple as a child, where he meets Nabooru. Her plan is to infiltrate the Spirit Temple, which acts as a hideout for Ganondorf and his minions, and do whatever she could to sabotage their plans. To do that she needs the Silver Gauntlets, a treasure kept in a part of the Temple that she is too big to enter. Impressed with Link's attitude, she requests he help her by retrieving the Gauntlets for her. However, Link never manages to hand them to Nabooru, as she is spotted by Twinrova and taken away. Link travels through time again and returns to the Temple with the Silver Gauntlets as an adult. Deep inside the Temple, he encounters Twinrova again and an Iron Knuckle. Link defeats the Iron Knuckle and reveals that it is in fact Nabooru, brainwashed into servitude of Ganondorf for the past seven years. Her regained freedom is cut short when Twinrova decide to abduct her again, to which Link follows the two and battles. Though strong and utilizing their "Double Dynamite Attack", the Gerudo witches lose to Link. As such, Nabooru could awaken as the Sage of Spirit.
In Majora's Mask, a tribe of Gerudo known as the Gerudo Pirates live in the Great Bay of Termina, specifically in Pirates' Cove, in a stronghold called the Pirates' Fortress which they keep heavily guarded. They are reputed to be fierce and frightening. They do not appear to have a male king nor is one ever mentioned; instead they are commanded by the Gerudo Aveil.
Prior to Link's arrival to Termina, they had stolen Lulu's Zora Eggs while she had slept. The Pirates had stolen her Eggs as they were informed by the Skull Kid that they are a clue to reaching the Great Bay Temple, which is said to house a treasure. But the Pirates had lost three of the seven Eggs to the Deep Pythons of Pinnacle Rock, leaving them with only four while they frantically try to recover them before the Zoras can. When Lulu's friend, Mikau, came to get the Eggs back, the Pirates beat him up such that he dies of his injuries. When Link found the dying Zora, Mikau begged him to finish what he started and return the Eggs to the Marine Research Laboratory. Link accepts and heads to the Pirates' Fortress. Using his newly acquired Zora Mask, he manages to infiltrate the Fortress and bypass the first group of guards. Deep within the Fortress, Link overhears a conversation between Aveil and one of her underlings about how they discovered the Eggs and lost three of them. Link scares Aveil and her underlings away by shooting a Giant Bee hive hanging from the ceiling, allowing him to retrieve one of the Eggs and the Hookshot the Pirates stole from the Fisherman at the Coast a long time ago. Making use of his new tool, Link explores the rest of the Fortress in search of the remaining three Eggs. In doing so, he comes face to face with three Pirate swordswomen, each of which guards another Egg.
After Link retrieves the Eggs and takes them to the Marine Research Laboratory, the Gerudo begin to search for the Zora in green responsible. However, they never find him. Later, as Link enters the Great Bay Temple, the Gerudo Pirates attempt to follow suit on a boat, only to get capsized by the cyclone surrounding the Temple.
Koume and Kotake also appear in Majora's Mask, though they are not explicitly referred to as Gerudo in this game. They live in the Southern Swamp, where they respectively host the Boat Cruise and own a Potion Shop.
During the game's ending, the Gerudo Pirates are last seen heading off somewhere on a boat, only to head back immediately afterward.
Four Swords Adventures
After Ganondorf's failed execution at the Arbiter's Grounds, the Gerudo were driven out of their home in the Gerudo Desert. They found a new home in the Desert of Doubt in the southwest corner of Hyrule and began working to restore their ties to the Hylians by denouncing former leader. As a result, they are no longer hostile to outsiders, and have a good reputation in Hyrule. They appear to lead nomadic lives, as they live in tents. The Desert's Pyramid is a sacred and holy place to the Gerudo, as it houses the Trident, a relic containing enormous power. It is forbidden in Gerudo law for anyone to enter the Pyramid.
Ganondorf was the Gerudo's guardian. However, he hungered for power, and had entered the Desert in search of the fabled Pyramid, and in doing so had violated his people's laws. Though the Gerudo were aware of his lust for power, they assumed he would not make it far and would perish along the way. Following his departure, the Gerudo had closed the passage to the Desert to prevent others from also seeking the Pyramid. Against their belief, Ganondorf had successfully reached the Pyramid. When he had touched the Trident, he was transformed into Ganon, the King of Darkness. Ganon became directly responsible for all of the events that would transpire thereafter, as his theft of the Dark Mirror had spawned the Shadow Links, one of which had tricked Link into releasing Vaati. While Ganondorf is frequently mentioned by the Gerudo, he is never seen in his Gerudo form in-game.
When the Links enter the Gerudo village in search of the Purple Maiden, they are initially denied access to the Desert due to Ganondorf's violation. However, upon learning of their quest, the Gerudo reopen the gateway so they could pass.
Breath of the Wild
The names of the Gerudo and Gerudo Desert were likely chosen based on the enemies introduced in The Adventure of Link and A Link to the Past, the sand-dwilling Geldarm (ゲルドアーム, Gerudoāmu) and Geldman (ゲルドマン, Gerudoman). One page in the Hyrule Historia,  showing the Gerudo Typography, implies that Nintendo originally intended for the Gerudo to be translated as Geldo. The Germanic name element ger means "spear".
|Names in Other Regions|
海賊 (Kaizoku) (MM)
|ChineseSI||格鲁德族 (Gélǔdé Zú)||Gerudo Clan|
|ChineseTR||格魯德族 (Gélǔdé Zú)||Cerudo Clan|
|FrenchEU||Les Gerudos||The Gerudos|
|SpanishEU||Pirata Gerudo||Gerudo Pirates|
- "We Gerudo have no tolerance for unfinished business." — Urbosa (Breath of the Wild)
- "Gerudos are beautiful and brave... They are just so fascinating!" — Green Carpenter (Ocarina of Time)
- "Ganondorf, leader of the Gerudo, the people of the desert, once again swore fealty to the king of Hyrule." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 84 (OoT))
- "THE GERUDO: NOBLE THIEVES OF THE DESERT" (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 45)
- "The Gerudo people live in a harsh, unforgiving desert that bears their name." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 45)
- "Sweltering days and bitterly cold nights in the Gerudo Desert mean that the Gerudo are as tough as they are resourceful." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 45)
- "AAAAAAAAAAAH! A GERUDO!!!! Wha-? A mask? Why do you have a mask like that?!" — Man in Hyrule Castle Town (Ocarina of Time)
- "A kid like you may not know this, but the Gerudo race consists only of women. Only one man is born every hundred years... Even though our laws say that lone male Gerudo must become King of the Gerudo, I'll never bow to such an evil man!" — Nabooru (Ocarina of Time)
- "Once every 100 years, a special child is born unto my people. That child is destined to be the mighty guardian of the Gerudo and the desert. But this child, its heart grew twisted with every passing year. The child became a man who hungered for power at any price." — Gerudo (Four Swords Adventures)
- "This town is led by our fantastic chief, Lady Riju. She became chief after her mother, our old chief, passed away." — Fegran (Breath of the Wild)
- "They say that Gerudos sometimes come to Hyrule Castle Town to look for boyfriends." — Gossip Stone (Ocarina of Time)
- "It's pretty typical of married vai to live outside these walls, really. But we come back to sell our wares, of course!" — Spera (Breath of the Wild)
- "His sharp, bird-like nose is characteristic of the Gerudo." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 148)
- "Just between us... The Gerudo keep their skin so beautiful thanks to the mushrooms that grow here." — Ardin (Breath of the Wild)
- "Pirates' Cove ahead. Tourists are not welcome." — Sign (Majora's Mask)
- "It is an old tradition here that only vai are allowed within the walls. Voe are strictly forbidden." — Merina (Breath of the Wild)
- "Despite it being illegal to sell voe clothing in this town, there is a high demands for such things." — Greta (Breath of the Wild)
- "I've seen your fine work. To get past the guards here, you must have good thieving skills. I used to think that all men, besides the great Ganondorf, were useless... but now that I've seen you, I don't think so anymore! The exalted Nabooru, our leader, put me in charge of this fortress. Nabooru is the second-in-command to the great Ganondorf, King of the Gerudo Thieves. Her headquarters are in the Spirit Temple, which is at the end of the desert. Say, you must want to become one of us, eh? All right, then! You're in from now on! Take this. With it, you will have free access to all areas of the fortress!" — Nabooru's Second-in-Command (Ocarina of Time)
- "In Gerudo society, those who have great skill in horseback riding and archery are well respected. How about trying horseback archery at the Gerudo's Fortress? If you have a horse, a Gerudo from the fortress will set up your challenge." — A Carpenter (Ocarina of Time)
- "I am the Gerudo master of horseback archery! On top of that, I'm the Gerudo master of horseback riding! Want to try horseback archery for 20 Rupees?" — A Gerudo (Ocarina of Time)
- "Sand seals are animals native to the Gerudo Desert Gateway." — Frelly (Breath of the Wild)
- "Beyond Gerudo Fortress and past the Haunted Wasteland are a goddess statue and the Spirit Temple. Because of differences in religion, the people of Hyrule say the Desert Colossus depicts an evil deity. Thieves loyal to Ganondorf and Nabooru use it as a base of operations, and experiments in brainwashing using magic are conducted there." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 45)
- "Oh, the Goddess Statue has been here since before I was even born. No one here really believes in that stuff anymore, though, so they tend to avoid stopping here." — Muava (Breath of the Wild)
- "I believe that Lady Urbosa and our other ancestors must be looking down on us in shame right now." — Riju (Breath of the Wild)
- "Link! Wait up, buddy! Hoo hoo! Head south from here to reach Lake Hylia's full, rich waters. If you go west, you'll find Gerudo Valley. There's a hideout of a gang of thieves on the other side of the valley. Well, you're free to go anywhere you want! Ho ho ho...hooo!" — Kaepora Gaebora (Ocarina of Time)
- "I am a master craftsman. Those Gerudo thieves...they broke the bridge. I want to fix it, but all of my workers are gone! They said working as carpenters isn't cool, and they went to the Gerudo's Fortress to become thieves..." — Mutoh (Ocarina of Time)
- "Hey, rookie! Are you going into the desert? I'll open this gate for you, but... You can't cross the desert unless you pass the two trials." — Gerudo gatekeepr (Ocarina of Time)
- "They say that Gerudos worship Ganondorf almost like a god." — Gossip Stone (Ocarina of Time)
- "She's just a little girl, but she commands a lot of respect among the Gerudo, Kotake..." — Koume (Ocarina of Time)
- "It could be said that the sisters, who have lived for over four hundred years, rule the tribe from behind the scenes." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 90)
- "The Gerudo's Fortress is located beyond this gate. A kid like you has no business there." — Gerudo (Ocarina of Time)
- "Hey, you! If you're going to the fortress, would you mind finding out what my workers are doing over there?" — Mutoh (Ocarina of Time)
- "I have no idea where you come from, but you must have a lot of guts to make it past all the guards around here! All of my fellow carpenters are imprisoned somewhere in here. If you can get us out of here, we'll repay the favor somehow! But be careful! There're sure to be Gerudo guards somewhere around here.... Woo! Watch out!" — Ichiro (Ocarina of Time)
- "Gerudo Thief - When she drops her guard, attack! If you don't defeat her, you'll be captured!" — Navi (Ocarina of Time)
- "From now on, you're free to come and go as you please through the gate to the desert. You'll find the Spirit Temple, where the exalted Nabooru lives, out there in the desert." — Nabooru's Second-in-Command (Ocarina of Time)
- "You obtained the Gerudo's Membership Card! You can get into the Gerudo's training ground in their hideout." — N/A (Ocarina of Time)
- "Gerudo Training Ground - Only registered members are allowed!" — Sign (Ocarina of Time)
- "Ganondorf and his minions are using the Spirit Temple as a hideout. Only the Silver Gauntlets will allow me to sneak deep into the temple. Once there, I'm going to steal all the treasure inside and mess up their plans! How about it? Will you do it?" — Nabooru (Ocarina of Time)
- "I want to ask you a favor... Will you go through this tiny hole and get a treasure that's inside? The treasure is the Silver Gauntlets." — Nabooru (Ocarina of Time)
- "By the way... I really messed up... I was brainwashed by those old witches and used by Ganondorf to do his evil will... But isn't it funny? That a person like me could turn out to be the Sage of Spirit! And now, I'm going to fight them as one of the six Sages! Heh heh... I'm going to pay them back for what they did to me!" — Nabooru (Ocarina of Time)
- "Oh! Baby, listen to me. I don't wanna beg. Gerudo Pirates! They stole that girl's eggs. I went to stop the Gerudo Pirates, then pow and bam! I got knocked down, and here I am! Baby! If I die like this... Even if I die... It won't be in peace... That's for suuure! Somebody, please rescue her eggs before the pirates take their toll. Oh, somebody, somebody, please heal my soul." — Mikau (Majora's Mask)
- "The security at the Pirates' Fortress is tight. Sneaking in is no easy task. If you're set on meeting those beautiful pirates, try going to the valley on the other side of town!" — Fisherman at Great Bay (Majora's Mask)
- "The Pirates' Fortress usually is closed off by an iron gate, so you can't get in from here. And even if you did get in, it's not like the pirates would welcome you." — Zora near Pirates' Fortress (Majora's Mask)
- "Those female pirates are so frightening, they could scare a crying baby into silence..." — Fisherman (Majora's Mask)
- "Such a terrible thing has happened today that I don't even know where to begin writing. I heard a sound late at night, and when I opened my eyes, I saw strangers in my room. I tried to fight, but they were able to steal my precious eggs. It seems I lost consciousness after that." — Lulu's Diary (Majora's Mask)
- "Wait!!! The Zora eggs are the only clue we have about that dragon cloud floating over the bay... If what that strange, masked one says is true... And if we can get our hands on the treasure that lies sleeping in the temple in that dragon cloud... Then we can spend the rest of our lives living the good life! So get a move on and go find them! Now!!!" — Aveil (Majora's Mask)
- "I heard that the pirates were attacked by sea snakes near the creatures' lair. It seems they dropped something precious there. Don't you wonder what it was, Mikau?" — A Zora (Majora's Mask)
- "Silence! That's why the Zoras can't send for any help! Now that the eggs are gone, the Zoras should be frantically searching for them. If we don't hurry, the Zoras will get to them before we do! There are four eggs here now. Hurry! Go find the other three eggs before those sea snakes eat them!" — Aveil (Majora's Mask)
- "See, it was long ago when I used to use this thing called a Hookshot to catch fish off the coast... But I was attacked by these pirates, and they took it away with them. They say...it's a legendary treasure. And I just happened to swipe it from the bottom of the sea, so I hold no grudge against 'em." — Fisherman at Great Bay (Majora's Mask)
- "The pirate found you! Use Z targeting and look for your chance. You're caught if you don't win." — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "The pirates were just looking for a Zora dressed in green clothing. Isn't that you? It sounded like the pirates had some unfinished business to settle with you... Did you do something?" — A Zora (Majora's Mask)
- "When Ganondorf is then executed in Twilight Princess, the Gerudo are driven out of the desert altogether. They find a new home in the Desert of Doubt in Four Swords Adventures, and work to foster a more positive relationship with the Hylians, condemning the actions of their former leader." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 45)
- "Welcome. It's been a long time since we've seen any travelers here. This village is our home. We are the dwellers in the desert, the Gerudo tribe. The village is in a bit of an uproar contending with a man who broke our laws. We can't do much for you, but make yourself at home." — A Gerudo (Four Swords Adventures)
- "The Gerudo honor the desert. They are trustworthy and pure of heart. I cannot imagine one of them is the King of Darkness..." — Red maiden (Four Swords Adventures)
- "The pyramid is sacred to our people. To have a criminal such as him enter... His presence stains its holy ground." — A Gerudo (Four Swords Adventures)
- "We grant you power to ruin the world. The power of darkness. Evil spirit of magic trident. You are the King of Darkness." — Inscription (Four Swords Adventures)
- "Curse that Ganondorf! He broke our laws and left for the pyramid... I don't know what he plans, but I am worried..." — A Gerudo (Four Swords Adventures)
- "Tell me, travelers, what brings you to these borderlands? Hmm... I see... You come on word of the maidens, eh? Yes, this Ganondorf you speak of is a member of the Gerudo. But his intent is unknown to me. He has flouted the law and fled for the pyramid. To reach the pyramid, one must first pass the trial of the Desert Temple. The villain Ganondorf will no doubt draw his last breath failing this trial. We've blocked the road to the desert to keep other fools from coming. But considering the crisis in Hyrule, we've no reason to stop you brave lads. Go to the entrance of the village and speak to the guards at the gate." — Gerudo leader (Four Swords Adventures)
- "The man that defeated us is also the same man who created that shadowy imp. A man from the desert wastes... He is not Vaati." — Red Knight (Four Swords Adventures)
- "Gerudo alphabet" (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 90)
- Given Name GER, behindthename.com.
|The Races of the Zelda Universe|
|Ancient Robot · Anouki · Bokoblin · Bulblin · Cobble · Dark Interlopers · Demon · Deity · Deku Scrub · Fairy · Garo · Gerudo · Goron · Ho Ho Tribe · Human · Hylian · Keaton · Kikwi · Kokiri · Korok · Lokomo · Minish · Moblin · Mogma · Monkey · Nightmare · Oocca · Parella · Rito · River Zora · Salona · Sheikah · Skull Kid · Subrosian · Tokay · Twili · Watarara · Wind Tribe · Yamatami Tribe · Yeti · Yook · Zora · Zuna|