River Zoras (川ゾーラ Kawa Zōra?), also known as Zolas, are recurring enemies in the Legend of Zelda series. They are a subspecies of the Zora race. Except for the Zora King in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, a lone Zora in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, a Zora in Kakariko Village in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, and Queen Oren and her servants in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds this sub-species of Zora is not shown to communicate with other races or have any sort of defined society, though the Zora King's title would imply he is their ruler, and the appearance of Queen Oren shows that the River Zora may function under a more primitive version of the Sea Zora's government . River Zoras will attack Link on sight (aside from those just mentioned). They attack by popping out of the water and spewing a ball of energy at Link. A small whirlpool or other disturbance is often seen in the water before they appear, giving Link a warning one is about to attack. It is revealed by Queen Oren that their aggression towards people is because they are very territorial. While Sea Zora tend to resemble salt-water sharks or ocean mammals, River Zoras resemble fresh-water lake and river fish.


The Legend of Zelda

A River Zora from The Legend of Zelda

River Zoras are identified in the game's manual as Zola, which is a mistranslation (see below). They appear in lakes as random monsters. Little is known about this race other than they take a disliking to humans. They are, supposedly, a separate species of Zora which came to be in later games. The fireballs that are shot by these creatures can only be blocked by the Magical Shield.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

A River Zora from The Adventure of Link

River Zoras behave much differently than in other games. They are land-dwelling and heavily armored, although they still attack by shooting energy balls at Link. They can be found in eastern Hyrule in caves, deserts, roadways, and bridges. Though they are primarily quadrupedal, they are capable of standing up on their hind legs to shoot fireballs at Link. Their armor is strong enough to withstand sword attacks; the Fire Spell is necessary to defeat them. Even then, they are extremely tough, requiring three sword attacks at Link's full strength.

Although they are called Zora in the Japanese release of The Adventure of Link, they are never officially named in the North American version of the game. They are frequently unofficially referred to as "Basilisks".

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

A River Zora from A Link to the Past River Zora pop up from the water and shoot fireballs at Link, which can be blocked with the Red or Mirror Shield. Some of the Zora found at Zora's Lake will jump onto shallow water and run after Link, but will not spit fire balls while they do so. The walking Zoras can be knocked over and stunned by a single hit, and defeated if damaged more. This is the first time River Zoras are shown to have feet, as opposed to the fish like tail seen in their artwork from the very same game. River Zoras play their largest role when Link visits the Zora King at the waterfall at the end of Zora's Lake. Although the King aids Link in his quest by selling him flippers and allowing him to use the warping Whirlpools, the normal River Zora continue to harass Link throughout the rest of the game. They can also be found in various streams and in Lake Hylia. They can be destroyed with a wide variety of weapons, including the Bombos Medallion and other long-range weapons.

In the Dark World, Zoras take the shape of a strange, one-eyed fish, also known as Ku.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

"Zolas: When you're in water, these creatures pop out and spit fireballs at you. Fight them with the Sword, dive or use your Shield."
Link's Awakening guide

The River Zora of Koholint Island play the same role as in the original. However, one friendly Zora can be found in the Animal Village. He can only be seen using the Magnifying Lens, and when talked to acts surprised that Link can see him, and will take a picture with Link in the DX re-make.

They are called Zola in the official Link's Awakening guide.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages

A River Zora from Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons

River Zoras perform their usual antagonistic function in these games. In Oracle of Ages, a Zora in the Zora Village provides the first link between the civilized Zora and the enemy River Zora, saying "Don't think us noble sea Zora the same as those savage, vulgar river Zora! You're in the wrong place if you want to complain about being attacked by a river Zora."

Notably, if Link wears the Blue Holy Ring, he will not take any damage from a River Zora's attacks.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

A River Zora can be spotted in a water hole in Kakariko Village. He is friendly, unlike other River Zoras, and asks Link to help him catch ten fish and put them in his mouth in sixty seconds. Also, some River Zoras appear as enemies, attacking in the same manner as in previous games. In The Swamp, some will hide under Lily Pads. When one of these Zoras bursts out of the water, it launches anyone on the Lily Pad, allowing access to higher or more distant areas. In the Hyrule Castle stage of the level Whereabouts of the Wind, the Queen of Fairies is split into two halves resembling River Zoras. One Zora, who will ask Link to try to get 10 fish in his mouth, may be found in Kakariko Village.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

There are certain creatures called Zora Warriors, which are encountered throughout the game. They attack by spitting fire balls at Link, like ordinary River Zoras, but they also have swords and shields, which makes fighting them substantially harder. Link finds them in caves and sometimes on boats.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Zora Warriors reappear in this game. There is also a stronger version called the Mighty Zora Warrior. The Ruto Crown reappears, but the Zora Scale does not.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Although River Zoras still continue to act as enemies in the game, they are given a slightly bigger role, as well as a more helpful role overall. They are ruled by Oren, who repays Link for returning her Smooth Gem by supplying him with the Zora's Flippers. She also gives an explanation for the River Zora's antagonistic behavior in the games, as they are apparently very territorial, and although the River Zoras are technically allies of the Hylians, they attack anyone who comes into their territory, even ignoring Oren's command to stand down.

Other appearances

BS The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets

Subseries warning: This article or section contains information on a subseries within the Legend of Zelda series and should be considered part of its own separate canon.

Like in A Link to the Past enemy River Zora will attack Link and King Zora can be found at Zora's Lake. Unlike in A Link to the Past, when it is raining enemy Zora can walk on land and shallow water in order to pursue Link.

Subseries warning: Subseries information ends here.

Non-canonical appearances

Non-canon warning: This article or section contains non-canonical information that is not considered to be an official part of the Legend of Zelda series and should not be considered part of the overall storyline.

The Legend of Zelda animated series

A River Zora appears in the third episode "White Knight". Ganon commands three Tektites, two Moblins, and a single River Zora to kidnap Princess Zelda.

Non-canon warning: Non-canonical information ends here.

Behind the scenes

The name "Zola" is actually a transliteration error. In Japanese, the "R" and "L" phonemes are indistinguishable and as such only register as one phoneme. The standard way to transliterate this phoneme into Romaji (roman letters that stand for Japanese syllables) is with the "R", not the "L". Thus, names like "Lara" and "Zelda" become "Rara" and "Zeruda" respectively. In the original Legend of Zelda, the Japanese word is more accurately "Zora". However, the name was rendered as "Zola" even in the Japanese manual. In later games, it was consistently re-translated as "Zora".


See also