The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will have its tech, plot points, and history influenced by the Zonai and we explain if the tribe was evil and reveal what allegedly happened to them.

After Nintendo’s direct, Zelda fans were discussing what the item, Zonai Charge, could be used for, showcasing some source of power.

Developed and published by Nintendo, the action-adventure game, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a direct sequel to 2017’s Breath of the Wild, flaunting open-world gameplay in the fictional kingdom of Hyrule following protagonist and hero, Link, ally Princess Zelda, and antagonist, Ganondorf.

Who are the Zonai tribe?

The Zonai are known to be a prehistoric tribe of barbarians hailing from the Faron Region of Hyrule and occupying the Zonai Ruins which stretch to encompass the Damel Forest and the Spring of Courage.

Zonai were known to wield magic, practice savage, war-like behavior, and worship a water dragon, using a Triforce of dragons, boars, and owls to stand for courage, power, and wisdom.

The tribe’s tech will be an integral part of Tears of the Kingdom, similar to how the Sheikah tribe fuelled Breath of the Wild.

Link collecting items on a skyward plain with trees and yellow grass in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – Cr. Nintendo UK/YouTube

Were the Zonai evil?

Yes, it would appear as if the Zonai were evil as many Zelda content creators, including YouTube’s Zeltik, have theorized that the tribe followed and worshipped Ganondorf.

In the very first teaser trailer for Tears of the Kingdom, we see proof of the Zonai’s tech dwelling underground and harboring a power similar to how Ganon’s forms.

There is also evidence of the Zonai worshipping Ganon in their runes shown in several examples of the architecture in the sequel.

Furthermore, players can equip Link with the Zonai’s barbarian armor in Breath of the Wild, made up of a humanoid skull with horns and long red hair that bears a striking resemblance to Ganon. 

Other Zelda fans believe the tribe had good and evil factions, similar to Breath of the Wild’s Sheikah and Yiga clans, where the good Zonai took to the skies and worshipped the goddess Hylia and the evil ones went underground and worshipped Ganondorf.

What happened to the Zonai tribe?

In Breath of the Wild, it was implied that the Zonai clan vanished from Hyrule a long time ago, but many believe they were driven underground and became extinct there.

YouTubers HMK and NintendoBlackCrisis theorized that the Zonai were also lore keepers, alongside their barbarian nature, tasked with recording an unbiased account of Hyrule’s history – including the royal family’s dark past.

Unwilling to abolish these sins from the record, the Zonai were banished underground by the royals, in order to keep their past a secret, and it was underground where their tribe dwindled.

Ultimately, Tears of the Kingdom will likely delve into the origin story of the Zonai tribe, including their alleged downfall, similar to how Breath of the Wild explored the Sheikah tribe.

By Jo Craig – [email protected]

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom releases on May 12, 2023.

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