Riju (ルージュ Rūju?) is a character from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. She is a descendant of the royal line of Gerudo Chieftains that took over after Urbosa the Gerudo Chieftain and Champion died fighting during the Great Calamity and is the leader of the Gerudo people a century after the Great Calamity, governing from Gerudo Town in the Gerudo Desert region of Hyrule within the province of Gerudo.

Riju is very young for a chieftain, having been thrust into her position of power prematurely after her mother, the previous chieftain, passed away unexpectedly. Her diary reveals that her full name is Makeela Riju. She has a Sand Seal pet named Patricia and a personal bodyguard named Buliara.

Riju is voiced by Elizabeth Maxwell in the English version of the game.

Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.


Background History

Riju is the daughter of the late Gerudo Chieftain who lead the Gerudo before her however following her passing the young Riju inherited the throne with only her bodyguard and adviser Buliara to guide and prepare her. She has a domesticated Sand Seal named Patricia who was a gift from her late mother and is also a Sand Seal oracle who provides prophecies and words of wisdom when feed fruit.

She and her mother are part of the royal line that succeeded Lady Urbosa, the Gerudo Chieftain from a century prior who lead the Gerudo before the Great Calamity and was a close friend and ally of of the Royal Family of Hyrule being good friends with Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule's wife and Princess Zelda's mother the Queen of Hyrule who died suddenly when Zelda was six years old causing Urbosa to befriend and watch over the young Zelda. Though Urbosa chose to become a Champion against her people's wishes as they feared for her safety she was regarded as a great heroine and leader following her death who confronted Calamity Ganon to uphold Gerudo honor due to being aware of Ganon's Gerudo origins as the ancient Gerudo King of Thieves, Ganondorf. Thanks to Urbosa's lasting influence on her people, Riju and her family line remained loyal to the fallen Hyrulean Kingdom as she was aware of legends that the Hylian Champion and Hero Chosen by the Sword That Seals The Darkness survived the Great Calamity. She also respected Princess Zelda who had saved Hyrule from the Great Calamity by sealing Ganon in Hyrule Castle.

As Gerudo Chieftain, Riju inherited the Thunder Helm an ornate Lightning Proof helm traditionally worn by Gerudo Chieftains and the Gerudo Champion's equipment which included the mightiest Gerudo made shield the Daybreaker and the sacred Scimitar of the Seven the mighty Gerudo sword of Seven Heroines, the legendary divine protectors of the Gerudo people, both of which had become treasured relics of the Gerudo tribe.

However some Gerudo are uneasy due to her young age and inexperience causing Riju to doubt herself at times though she remains determined to be a good leader like her mother and Lady Urbosa. Unfortunately Vah Naboris appeared after a century of dormancy and Riju took it upon herself to investigate it herself though while returning home her Sand Seal Patricia was spoken by a monster causing Riju to have an accident and was found by Buliara who blamed herself and afterwards refused to leave her side. To make matters worse the evil Sheikah Yiga Clan lead by Kohga stole the Thunder Helm which both Riju blamed upon themselves while trying to convince the other it was not their fault.

She keeps a diary called the Chief's Diary which can be found in her bed chamber on the second floor of her palace above the throne room. She also has a stuffed toy Sand Seal in her bed chamber as well.

Meeting the Hylian Champion

Fortunately for Riju, Princess Zelda who had fought alone keeping herself and Ganon sealed within Hyrule Castle telepathically awoke Link who had finally healed after a century of slumbering in medical stasis within the Shrine of Resurrection upon the Great Plateau. After meeting Sheikah Elder Impa, Link is directed by her as per Zelda's instructions that he free the Divine Beasts to seek out the leaders of the four races connected to each Divine Beast including the current Gerudo Chieftain to learn more about Vah Naboris which had been piloted by Gerudo Champion Urbosa. Unfortunately Link being a Hylian "voe" (man) was denied entry into Gerudo Town as per traditional Gerudo law that permitted only "vai" (women) of all races within its walls. However Link learns that the guards can be fooled if he disguises himself as a Hylian vai by wearing Gerudo vai clothing he acquires from disguised Hylian merchant Vilia in Kara Kara Bazaar.

Riju can first be found on the main floor of the throne room in Gerudo Town. There, when spoken to by Link, she will ascertain that he is the Hylian Champion that was rumored to have been put into a deep sleep one hundred years ago upon recognizing the Sheikah Slate once owned by Princess Zelda. However she and Buliara soon realize Link is a Hylian voe disguised as a Hylian vai due to Urbosa, Mipha, and Zelda being the only female Champions and Zelda the only female Hylian among them. However she stops Buliara from throwing him out for violating Gerudo law out of respect as he is a comrade of Lady Urbosa and the personal knight of Princess Zelda, both great women whom Riju respects. However she simply allows him to remain in Gerudo Town while disguised thus he must continue to dress in vai clothing with Riju and Buliara simply bending the law by ignoring his violation as long as he maintains his disguise while allowing him to be kicked out if he removes his disguised while in Gerudo Town. When Link offers to help her defeat Vah Naboris, she at the insistence of her bodyguard and adviser Buliara tells him he must first prove his worth, and prove that without a doubt he is a Champion, and suggests that he reclaim the stolen Gerudo heirloom, the Thunder Helm, from the Yiga Clan, to prove this as it is required to approach Vah Naboris as only the helm can endure Vah Naboris' lightning.

Notably, Riju is the only one of the four central leaders in the main storyline who does not mention Link having the Master Sword should he have retrieved it beforehand. However her bodyguard notes he lacks it should he speak to her before completing "The Hero's Sword".

Assaulting Vah Naboris

After Link completes this task, Riju can be found on the second floor of the throne room building. Once she and Link talk, and she is given the Thunder Helm, Riju tells him to meet her at the South Outpost outside of Gerudo Town, where they will launch their assault of Vah Naboris from.

At the South Outpost Riju can be found on the lookout dock, accessible from a ladder. She gives Link 20 Bomb Arrows and tells him the plan of battle before they then depart to take on the Divine Beast.

During the fight Riju protects Link from getting electrocuted by Vah Naboris by using the Thunder Helm, and guides him through the sandstorm to the Divine Beast's location. After Vah Naboris has been successfully brought down, she wishes Link luck as he charges ahead to infiltrate it.

Return to Gerudo Town

After the Divine Beast has been freed and Urbosa's freed spirit takes control of the beast to support Link, Riju can once again be found on the main floor of the throne room in Gerudo Town. For the rest of the game she can be found here, although sometimes she is in her bedroom or with her Sand Seal Patricia instead.

Riju and Buliara thank Link by rewarding him with Urbosa's Daybreaker and Scimitar of the Seven which Buliara a capable blacksmith in addition to her role as bodyguard and adviser can reforged for Link when they break. However she still requires Link to disguise himself as a Hylian vai to visit or remain in Gerudo Town.

Related Side Quest

Main article: The Thunder Helm

Additionally Riju will give Link a side quest that involves him assisting her people in dealing with their problems in four side quests:

Once all four are completed, Riju will allow Link to borrow the Thunder Helm to wear as head Armor which grants the Lighhtning Proof bonus which makes Link immune to lightning and can be worn in place of the Gerudo Veil while in Gerudo Town as it is classified as Vai armor due to being traditionally worn by female Gerudo Chieftains.

Personality and abilities

Despite her young age, Riju is very wise and cares greatly for the safety of her people. She is well aware that many Gerudo doubt her ability to govern, and is determined to prove them wrong. In comparison to other members of her race, Riju also does not seem to be as intolerant of voe (men) being within Gerudo Town's walls as she allows Link to stay when she and Buliara realize Link is a voe in disguise, though she apparently still wishes to uphold tradition and rule of law as she allows Link to maintain his disguise as a Hylian Vai and does not use her position to repeal or remove it as Link must continue to disguise himself to enter Gerudo Town even after freeing Divine Beast Vah Naboris, showing that while she is willing bend the rules by allowing Link to remain in Gerudo Town while disguised out of respect for his status as a Champion and comrade of Lady Urbosa, she has no intention removing it either partially (like how the Hero of Time was given the Gerudo Membership Card in Ocarina of Time allowing him to access Gerudo's Fortress without being arrested for entering Gerudo territory) or entirely for the Hylian Champion's sake. However she shares this trait with hear predecessor from a century prior, Urbosa who's diary reveals she even taught Link the trick he would relearn from Vilia a century later when Zelda abused Gerudo Town law to allude her appointed knight Link's protection detail. Riju may have also wished to spare the Gerudo soldiers another insult to their honor following their failure to protect the Thunder Helm, as Link deception being discovered would have likely reflected poorly on the soldiers' ability to keep voe out of Gerudo Town and ability to enforce the rule of law.

As shown by Riju's bedroom she is still a teenage girl at heart despite her current responsibilities as her room is filled with stuffed toy Sand Seals and she has bed covers and pillows with a Sand Seal design on them. Due to her youth and inexperience as a leader she trusts her bodyguard and adviser Buliara who is fiercely loyal and protective of Riju though respects Riju's judgement to the point she agreed to Riju's decision to maintain Link's secret. She is also smart enough to deduce Link's true gender thanks to her and Buliara's of knowledge history. Riju is a very skilled Sand Seal rider, being able to maneuver around obstacles in the desert with great ease which is further augmented by Patricia being more agile than other Sand Seals. However she still had an accident when Patricia was spooked by a monster while they were returning home following an investigation of Vah Naboris though Riju avoided serious injury and was found by Buliara. When she and Link assault the Divine Beast Vah Naboris, she is the one who leads the charge through the sand, with Link following close behind her. She is also quite brave as it is revealed that she went to investigate Vah Naboris on her own in her diary and managed to avoid the sandstorms and Vah Naboris' lightning. However this caused her bodyguard Buliara to worry about her safety which was only made worse when her sand seal Patricia was spooked by a monster causing Patricia to head directly towards Vah Naboris, which was the last thing Riju remembered before she awoke to find a worried Buliara standing over her. Though she is determined to prove herself a capable leader, she occasionally doubts herself and even felt that the theft of the Thunder Helm happened because she was not yet ready to be chief. She blames the theft of the Thunder Helm on herself seeing it as a sign of her failing as a leader even refuting Buliara feelings it was her own fault and not Riju's. However Riju may have felt guilty as Builara refuses to leave her side after the incident with Vah Naboris thus Riju believes her recklessness lead to the theft as had she been more cautious then Buliara might not have been so focused on protecting her as the retired Captain of the Guards states the Yiga would have failed had Buliara been on the frontlines when the helm was stolen.

As the chieftain of the Gerudo and descendant of the royal line, Riju is also capable of wielding the power of the Thunder Helm. She mastered its power instantly upon using it for the first time. In many respects she is similar to both Lady Urbosa and Nabooru as she is loyal to the Kingdom of Hyrule even one hundred years after it had fallen during the Great Calamity, as she opposes Ganon and the Yiga Clan, though the latter is likely due to their attack on Gerudo Town and theft of the Thunder Helm. After Vah Naboris is freed, she offers to lend Link the Thunder Helm provided he assist her people in dealing with various problems thus allowing her to aid both Link and her people once more.

Like most Gerudo, Riju respects Lady Urbosa greatly as it was out of respect for Link being Urbosa's comrade that she allowed him to remain in Gerudo Town and assisted him in entering Vah Naboris. In her diary asked both her mother and Urbosa for spiritual guidance, showing she holds Urbosa in the same high regard as her mother the previous chieftain. Ultimately, by assisting Link she allows him to defeat Thunderblight Ganon which frees both Vah Naboris and Urbosa's spirit, thus proving herself a capable leader and ally. Presumably following Dark Beast Ganon's defeat, she continue to aid Link and Princess Zelda in rebuilding Hyrule possibly bonding with Zelda over their shared backgrounds as both are young women who lost their mothers and forced to lead their people through difficult times despite their own youth and doubts in their ability to do so. Additionally both could relate to and support each other with Riju looking up to the wiser and experienced Zelda who has lived for 117 years (though is physically 17 due to her age being halted, though mentally she is much older due to having been conscious while sealed with Ganon for a century) while Zelda may wish to be there for Riju as Urbosa was there for her after her mother died understanding Riju's situation better than anyone. Riju herself was able to recognize the Sheikah Slate as once belonging to the Princess which caused her to view Link as an ally showing she respects Zelda presumably due to possibly being aware of Zelda's bond with Urbosa through Urbosa's Diary and the Princess sealing Ganon in Hyrule Castle allowing Hyrule to rebuild and remained loyal to the fallen Kingdom of Hyrule.

Spoiler warning: Spoilers end here.


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