The science behind a video game character: Zelda’s Gorons [Part 2]

The rough and tumble Gorons from Death Mountain have been a dominant species in Hyrule for many years. A big reason for their survivability is their massive physique and their unique diet (read this blog post to learn more about Goron anatomy and nutrition). But perhaps the biggest factors are their physical adaptations and their rise to intelligence. From their rolling ball form to their social interactions with other species, the Goron will continue to ride the top of the food chain for many years to come.

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Living on Death Mountain comes with a mountain of challenges. Burning lava slides down its slopes frequently. Thick, hot, smoky air is a constant hazard. Towards the top of the mountain where the Gorons reside the temperature fluctuates from deathly hot during the day to unbearably cold at night. On the dorsal side of a Goron, just beneath their skin, is a thick layer of silica-rich cement which serves as protection and insulation. When the temperature is unbearably hot or cold, the Gorons roll into a ball and rely on their insulation layer to maintain normal body temperatures.

goron rolling

 

Despite their high tolerance to extreme temperatures, there are still elemental hazards they cannot handle. If flowing lava blocks their path, they will either wait it out or find a new path. If extremely cold temperatures cause their body temperature to drop too much, they will make a special dish called “lava soup” (a unique blend of bomb flowers, Goron spice, and water) to warm them up and cure illnesses like the common cold. Natural hot springs are also a common way for Gorons to warm up and soak in essential minerals that their body needs to function, especially sulfur and phosphorous.

Besides the elemental concerns, Death Mountain comes with unique predators that the Gorons have to compete with. From fire-breathing Dodongos to blood-thirsty Moblins, the Gorons needed some key defensive adaptations to earn its place on the mountain. The Goron’s ‘go to’ adaptation for defense is its rock-hard ball form. In this ball form, Gorons can travel quickly, upwards to 20 mph, from location to location. They are nearly invincible when travelling at high speeds in ball form. Since the cement-like dorsal side of the Goron is impervious to fire, puncture, and brute force, the Goron will morph into ball form whenever it senses danger. Plus, a massive impervious Goron-boulder rolling towards any kind of enemy is a great defense. In this ball form, Gorons look like harmless boulders and will sometimes stay put. When an unsuspecting foe climbs on the camouflaged Goron, it will use its powerful stomach muscles to spring upward, launching its enemy high into the air. Some Gorons have even developed a mutation which causes silica spikes to shoot out of their backs as they tuck their arms and legs in, forming a ball. Nothing like a sharp boulder barreling down a mountain to deter enemies.

Stone Smasher Weapon

 

Besides natural defenses, some Gorons train to be strong, skilled, and formidable warriors. They train by lifting heavy boulders, fighting dodongos, and sumo wrestling. Highly developed biceps, triceps, and leg muscles are more common in trained warriors while highly developed forearm and abdomen muscles are common in all Gorons (see my previous post). Gorons will also craft sturdy body armor and huge warhammer-like weapons from forges made with local lava flows.

Despite their slow speech and overall sedentary lifestyle, Gorons are one of the more intelligent creatures in Hyrule. They are very social creatures, learning and developing in family and tribal units. They also have tribe elders, or patriarchs, that lead the species. The leaders of Goron tribes are usually more muscular, having gone through combat training, with special tribal tattoos on their bodies. All Gorons have a generic tribal tattoo, usually on their arm. Certain tattoos may also indicate a special skill or knowledge gained. For example, a Goron knowledgeable in a scientific field like archaeology has intricate tattoos that cover its stomach, arms, and legs. Some evidence suggests that tribal leadership is in their genes and that longer, more pronounced facial hair is the physical trait represented by the leadership gene.

gorko

 

Goron elders and leaders may occasionally get challenged by other Gorons for the right to lead the tribe. If the challenge is agreed upon by the majority of Gorons, then the elder will sumo wrestle the challenger for the right to lead the tribe. Gorons maintain their muscle mass well into their old age so elders can remain unbeaten for many years. If an outsider (non-Goron species) wants to be accepted by the Goron tribe, they will usually be required to sumo wrestle against a predetermined Goron in order to gain acceptance. Even though Gorons have extreme acceptance rituals, legend has it that they were once rescued by a Hylian boy wearing green garb who defeated a huge dodongo threatening the lives of multiple Gorons and preventing them from harvesting rock food. Needless to say, that mysterious Hylian boy did not need to sumo wrestle to gain acceptance from the Goron tribe. Other legends tell of a Hylian who entered a Goron tribe to help them, but still had to sumo wrestle one of the elders to gain acceptance into the tribe.

Goron Darunia

 

Gorons may seem rigid and unaccepting, but actually they are quite friendly and openly visit with non-Goron species. A big part of a Goron’s livelihood is within the trade industry. In fact, a large percentage of Gorons mine for precious gems and dig for explosive bomb flowers to trade or sell to other intelligent creatures. Some Gorons even leave the tribe and their mountain homes to become traveling salesmen. Besides trading and selling goods, Gorons also sell their services to Hylians who need mountain roads created, boulders removed, or rock walls destroyed.

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The fact that Gorons have maintained similar genetic traits for hundreds of years means that they are one of the more dominant species in all Hyrule. Though occasional mutations appear in the species, such as the giant mutation found in gigantic Gorons who are appropriately named “Biggorons,” the classic rock’n and a roll’n Gorons will likely remain a top species in the Hyrule ecosystem for years to come.

Gorons

 

 

**ABOUT THE RIGHTS AND INTERPRETATIONS OF THIS POST: Most of the images and characters in this blog post are the property of Nintendo. I do not own the rights to these images or characters in this story. However, the science in this blog post is not found in the Nintendo video games and is simply a creative interpretation of how these creatures could actually exist. This story is fictional. I hope you enjoyed my creative interpretation!

**Leave me a comment if you would like to see more scientific interpretations of other video game characters. Or just let me know how you think I am doing as a science writer, storyteller, and entertainer!

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