Who is Darunia?

CameronApril 27th, 2013 by Cameron

Darunia is the patriarch of the Gorons in Ocarina of Time, and after getting through several major situations, he finds that he is the Sage of Fire. As the leader of the Gorons, Darunia is forced to make a couple of difficult decisions, but thanks to interventions from Link, the Gorons pull through. Now, let me dive deeper as I put Darunia under my magnifying glass.

After Impa instructs Link to go to Kakariko Village to look for the second Spiritual Stone, Link finds his way up to Goron City, the inhabitants of which are suffering from starvation, as their only source of food, Dodongo’s Cavern, was sealed off by Darunia due to the increasing monster population. Ganondorf visits the Gorons not long before Link and offers to open Dodongo’s Cavern and purge it of monsters, on the condition that Darunia give him the Spiritual Stone of Fire. Darunia refuses to hand the stone over, and Dodongo’s Cavern remains closed. I think it’d make more sense, not to block the Cavern to stop the monsters from getting out, but to block it so that no Goron was killed in trying to get something to eat and then being attacked by a monster. However, the only explanation given is that Darunia sealed the Cavern due to the monsters, and no further detail is given, so it’s up to the player to decide which of those two possibilities are more likely, whether they are both factors, or if there’s an entirely different third option.

Darunia is a great and wise leader, making each decision depending on his perception of the greater good. He saw Ganondorf for what he was, an evil man seeking power, and to rule the kingdom, and knew that he could never get the Spiritual Stone, even if he were to somehow claim the others. Despite knowing that his people would starve, he let Ganondorf leave without opening the Cavern, in the hopes that a messenger from the Royal Family would be able to help them out.

However, during this starvation, the Spiritual Stone looked more and more appetizing to the starving Gorons. As a result, Darunia was forced to take the stone and lock himself in his room with it, awaiting the Royal Messenger. Upon discovering that the messenger was a mere boy, Link, Darunia was against the idea of giving him the Spiritual Stone. Link returns later and plays for him the song that he loves so much, Saria’s Song, having heard it echo from the Lost Woods into Goron City. While Link has found his way onto Darunia’s good side, Darunia still does not give him the stone.

I’m not surprised by this at all, and I’d be surprised if somebody else was surprised by this. If you were left in charge of a stone that was a mechanism in the lock that kept a golden power from those with evil in their hearts, you wouldn’t give it to a little boy, either, would you, because who knows what he’s going to do with it, or whether or not he is actually trying to use it to get that golden power, or has other ideas in mind? From Darunia’s point of view, Link could well be trying to manipulate him, attempting to get the stone by playing the song that he loves so very much.

Thus, Darunia gives Link a challenge, and only after succeeding would he grant Link the Spiritual Stone of Fire: unblock the entrance to Dodongo’s Cavern and purge it of the monsters within. I can’t help but wonder what was going through Darunia’s head when he assigned Link this duty? A nine-year-old boy with a cute little dagger against flaming bats, large, bipedal lizards, small exploding ones, and an incredibly large one that breathes fire, all while navigating a dimly lit, magma-filled cave? Which one do you think is going to win? I’d put my money on the cave and everything inside it.

But Link is no ordinary nine-year-old, and, luckily for Darunia, he pulls through, and proves that the task was actually quite easy, and could easily have been accomplished by Darunia himself, or another brave Goron. So why didn’t Darunia do it himself? Admittedly, there are some sections a Goron would have trouble getting through, but overall, it could be done. Particularly when it becomes obvious that it only would’ve taken one bomb flower to open the cavern in the first place. I like to think that Darunia, as adamant as he was that a messenger would come, planned from the beginning that he would get the messenger to purge Dodongo’s Cavern of the monsters within to prove the worth of the messenger.

Anyways, Link saves the Gorons, and Darunia asks him to become his Sworn Brother. Link agrees, and to symbolise their new relationship, Darunia gifts him with the Goron’s Ruby, the Spiritual Stone of Fire. Darunia then calls for other Gorons to come and thank Link, but they end up traumatizing him, and sending him running off screaming.

Seven years later, Darunia has had a son, whom he named Link, after the Hero of the Gorons. However, the Gorons now face a new predicament, as Ganondorf has locked the Gorons up in the Fire Temple, readying them to be fed to Volvagia. Darunia goes to the Fire Temple with the intention of freeing his people and ridding the mountain of Volvagia once and for all. Link catches up with him in the Temple, and Darunia tells Link to free the Gorons while he deals with Volvagia. For the sake of a dungeon, Nintendo made it happen this way, but I feel, realistically, Darunia would’ve gone to the aid of his people, and he would’ve let Link defeat the menace that Volvagia posed.

I’ve always wondered where those who would become Sages went, when they disappeared into each of their respective dungeons. I forgot to go into this in my editorial on Saria, but now that I’ve remembered it here, where did Darunia go? I assumed that, without the legendary hammer, he was defeated by Volvagia, but then what? He can’t have just been cast off to the side, otherwise we would’ve seen him. There’s always the possibility that he was eaten by Volvagia, but when Volvagia started exploding, he ascended to the Chamber of the Sages, though Volvagia is rather skinny and wouldn’t have digested anything that quickly, so the most likely idea is that he gets submerged in magma, and, being a Goron, isn’t as quickly molten down by it, and survives to be awakened once Volvagia is defeated.

Now a Sage, Darunia thanks Link for killing Volvagia and freeing his people, and grants him the Fire Medallion, adding his power to Link’s. Despite the fact that in the final game, the Medallions have no practical use, I like to think that the Medallions add to Link’s personality and reflexes, where the Forest Medallion adds to Link’s courage, and the Fire Medallion could add to Link’s determination, but who knows?

Now it’s time for your opinions: Darunia, wise leader or powerful idiot? Why do you think he sealed off Dodongo’s Cavern? Why do you think he chose to take on Volvagia without the hammer? What are your opinions on the effects of the Medallions in-game? Let me know in the comments. AND, after somebody expressed interest in it last week, do you think that I should take a look at Rauru?


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  • http://www.facebook.com/erik.ingvoldsen Erik Ingvoldsen

    I thought Darunia was being sarcastic when he suggested it. XD

  • Nick Holmes

    Wait, Young Link is 9? I always thought he was 12. I don’t remember any part of the game explicitly stating that, though.

    • Jakeford

      hmm I thought he was 10 because he is suppose to be 17 (that’s suppose to be the mature age where you can get the master sword) when he awakens 7 years later so then 10 + 7 =17. That’s my reasoning and I have heard from other articals that he is 10

      • Nick Holmes

        I could easily be confusing this with other games. I distinctly remember Link from Wind Waker being twelve, and that was the “coming of age” where he put on a green skirt and pranced around in the unseasonable summer heat. I just assumed that it would be the same. I also remember reading somewhere that link from Twilight Princess was 17 and the Adult Link from Ocarina Of Time struck me as a bit older, 19 if I did the math right.

        • http://www.facebook.com/pkunhardt Philip Kunhardt

          You see, though, the Hero that Wind Waker remembers is Adult Link, not Young Link. So the Hero of Time being 12 would have to be Adult Link, making Young Link 5.

          • Midna’s Sister

            Five would be… Unrealisticly odd. o3o due to the fact a five-year old would die in two minutes against a Withered Deku Baba.

          • http://www.facebook.com/pkunhardt Philip Kunhardt

            Maybe. But when I was 5, I was adventuring and exploring and doing stuff that Young Link did (though not killing monsters).

          • Midna’s Sister

            Mm, that is my point; he’d sooner stap himself with his own sword or drop the Sheild on his toe than kill a mouse.

          • http://www.facebook.com/pkunhardt Philip Kunhardt

            Dunno about that. When I was 5, I was running around with sticks pretending they were swords blazing with magical power. But that’s just me.

      • Nikokiri

        I agree with you!

      • Lucas

        Hmm, you see, In a Interview (for Iwata Asks I think) Miyamoto revealed that the Skyward Sword link was the oldest link ever made(don’t remember how many years though), and Ocarina of time adult link had 16 years, so , if he sleeps 7 years, yep child link had 9 years.

      • Midna’s Sister

        Yes, that is my theory.

    • The Missing Link

      I always thought that he was thriteen. Or was that in Majoras mask. Hmmm don’t know oh well

      • http://twitter.com/mikejcsauer Mike Sauer

        Thought he was 11 in majoras mask lol. But at the time I only applied my age to him. I was 6 in 98 when oot came out so in my head at the time he was 6 or 7. ;p then in majoras mask in my head he was 8 because that’s how old I was. I mean, clearly this probably isn’t true. Not to mention majoras mask is only months after oot.

        • Nick Holmes

          I get the feeling that his age doesn’t matter, and that he’s just a young hero who saves the world… a lot… Regardless, I still can’t shake the feeling that I’ve read their ages somewhere. Probably from Super Smash Bros. as I know that’s where I learned Wind Waker Link’s age. There was also an article I saw earlier that I should have looked at. It had something to do with Link from Ocarina Of Time. It was probably on some page like 38 or 57 or something, those are the ones left in my history.

    • Nick Holmes

      It seems that Link’s age in each game is less consistent than the series’ timeline. Still good to see all the theories though!

  • Nikki

    I think Darunia was a wise leader. I think he decided to seal off Dodongo’s Cavern because he didn’t want the monsters that were in there to get up to where the Goron’s live and destroy their caves as well. I think he decided to take on Volvagia without the hammer because that was his duty as a leader and to protect/save his son and people. As for the medallions, I was never sure what effects they had in the game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lleppien Logan Leppien

    I couldv’e sworn it was Ganondorf who sealed Dodongo’s Cavern, Not Darunia.

    • Nick Holmes

      I think it was Ganondorf who put the Dodongos in the Dodongo’s Cavern. Either that or the Gorons named it after the monsters inside and many years later realized that there were monsters inside. “But suddenly, Dodongos appeared in the Dodongo’s Cavern”, while stupid, makes a bit more sense that Ganondorf planted them there. Although I do recall Ganondorf sealing something off, I don’t remember what, but I don’t think it was Dodongo’s Cavern.

      • sageofpages

        Zelda wiki and Zelda Dungeon wiki both state that Ganondorf sealed Dodongo’s Cavern, after Darunia refused to give him the Goron’s Ruby. Zelda wiki also adds it was Ganondorf who brought the Dodongos back to life.

        If Darunia is a wise leader or powerful idiot, I think he’s both. Seeing him dance to Saria’s song is definitely the idiot part, but an endearing idiot none the less, as well as the part where he almost had his Gorons smother or crush Link with a Goron group hug. He’s a wise leader by not just giving the Spiritual Stone of Fire to Ganondorf to save his people and by placing his faith in Link even if he was a kid.

        As for why Darunia confronted Volvagia without the hammer. He was descended from the legendary hero who defeated Volvagia previously and probably didn’t know where the hammer was located so he was just taking his chances hoping his lineage might be enough to take on Volvagia without the hammer.

        For the effects of the Medallions, story wise they contain a Sage’s power, which is said to come from the spirits of that particular element. The spirit medallion is a little confusing because it’s element is spirit so the power of the spirits of spirit, I don’t know, maybe its desert or sand spirits.
        And it might be interesting to see what you can come up with for Rauru.

    • oozy the wolf

      exactly!

      • Nick Holmes

        Just as well that I have a save file about three minutes away from Death Mountain. I’ll look into this as soon as I can.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pkunhardt Philip Kunhardt

      It was.

  • VikzeLink

    The reason he didn’t need the hammer: His fists hits like hammers

  • oozy the wolf

    he may be a sage but i still hate him for ordering his friends to hug him to death

  • anonymous

    The Popsmith dressed as him once(except misspelled as “Dirunia”. Homestar sang Saria’s song and he danced to it. The same year, Strong Bad dressed as masked Skull Kid the same year and commented about how the evil moon crashing into the earth is a “totally un-frustrating way to play a video game.”
    http://www.homestarrunner.com/ween09.html

    That’s all I can tell you about Darunia other than he likes to dance to hot music that also gives Link hints and has enough self-control to prevent himself from eating a gold-wrapped cherry flavored Jolly Rancher.

  • Snorlitax

    As usual, a very interesting read. Here’s my feedback:
    Most of the first part, referring to Darunia sealing the cave, somehow clashed with what I remembered. I thought that it was Ganondorf who had sealed the cave and filled it with monsters, so even if the Gorons could enter, they’d be killed. It also took me a while to remember that Darunia was aware the Royal Family’s messenger would come, or at least hoping that one would show up. Now, this is probably due to my failed memory, and you’re probably right about all this (after all, you did the research, not me). To aid people like me, I think it would be great if you peppered the editorials with quotes from the game, to support your arguments and refresh the memory of the readers.

    Now, on to your questions:
    Darunia, wise leader or powerful idiot? — I think he’s quite good. Though it definetely takes balls to starve your people in pro of the better good.

    Why do you think he sealed off Dodongo’s Cavern? — Maybe it was more convenient to have the monsters all in one place (even the most un-convenient place of all) than have them running all around Death Mountain Trail, with the risk of entering Goron City.
    Why do you think he chose to take on Volvagia without the hammer? — He probably didn’t know a specific item was required. But I agree with you: why didn’t he went to search for his people instead of trying to kill Volvagia?
    What are your opinions on the effects of the Medallions in-game? — I don’t remember much (it’s been a while since I played OoT) but I think yes, they’re pretty useless =P

    Do you think that I should take a look at Rauru? — If you want, yes, it would be an interesting read.

    • Cameron

      That’s a good idea about using quotes. In response to those other people who say Ganondorf sealed Dodongo’s Cavern and placed the Dodongos in there, that’s what I was thinking, until I remembered a Goron saying that Dodongo numbers had started multiplying rapidly, which could’ve been Ganondorf, and then Darunia sealed the cavern so that Gorons wouldn’t get killed if they entered, and so that the Dodongos couldn’t get out, and then Ganondorf offered to open it and rid of monsters in exchange for the Gorons ruby.

    • serialmom1964

      Darunia does in fact know about the hammer. He makes a comment to Link that he ‘doesn’t have the legendary hammer’ but he decides to go anyway. Knowing this, the question of why he goes into the temple without it has always gotten to me. Link never sees Darunia as he makes his way through the temple, and he never shows up even as Link takes on Volvagia. It really makes no sense. At the same time, Link needs something to do in this temple, so it only makes sense that he has to discover and release all of the Gorons. I think the developers were just trying to find a way to get Darunia out of the Temple! XD It would have been better to have Darunia simply tell Link that he can’t do anything without the ‘legendary hammer’ and could Link find it and save his people.

      • Darunia18

        I always thought that Darunia went in there without the hammer not because he actually thought he could kill Volvagia, but because he was trying to hold him off as long as he could so he didn’t go out and eat more Gorons, because Darunia knew that Link would be able to find the Megaton Hammer.

        • serialmom1964

          That’s possible. It seems like a surprise to Darunia that Links shows up in the temple in the first place, but he could feel that since Link as a child was able to clear out Dodongos Cavern, he would have no problem taking care of the Volvagia issue.

          • Darunia18

            Exactly! He was probably saying to himself something like, “Well, we are all going to die anyways, so might as well try to hold him off for awhile,” and then Link came and so Darunia had more confidence and was able to run inside because he knew Link could stop Volvagia, after he found the Hammer, that is.

  • RenaldoBush

    I’ve never thought of him as an unintelligent character, just a very comedic one.

  • Beauts

    I think Darunia is a wise leader. He puts himself at risk to save his people- sure, it led to a famine for the Gorons, but he was expecting a messenger from the royal family to put things right, so I think this was pre-arranged somehow, or he (as Saria is demonstrated to have in some senses, as well as Zelda, and they’re both Sages…. not to mention, Kaepora Gaebora/Rauru and Nabooru… ) he has a sort of psychic intuition about things like this. They all seem to know what is best for their people in some ways through supernatural means.

    The same thing is demonstrated when he goes to the Fire Temple. I don’t think that naturally he would have gone to save the Gorons and made Link fight Volvagia… the game did it the way that made sense; Link had saved the Gorons before and became a hero to them, and Darunia is descended from the original vanquisher of Volvagia.

    As for the power of the medallions, I have a theory, though I haven’t refined it much:

    You don’t see the Sages once you enter their temple until you see them in the Chamber afterwards; however, they are nearly always trapped or ensnared by the evil Ganondorf has placed on the temple (Saria is trapped by monsters, Darunia disappears when going to fight Volvagia, Ruto disappears into the temple ahead, maybe lost or trapped, Impa goes ahead to try and defeat Dead Hand/Bongo Bongo again and Nabooru is kidnapped by Koume and Kotake). I think that their powers/essence is absorbed into the boss.

    The definition of sage is a wise person who see’s the world in balance… the Hero of Time must awaken them by defeating them, proving himself to be destined to be more powerful than a single sage, simultaneously ridding the place of evil. This would also go some way to prove himself a worthy adversary to Ganondorf, and thus they give their power to him.

    Anyway, end of theory, onto a side point: the code of OoT shows that the medallions were originally going to have powers that were scrapped, though it’s suggested that the Fire Medallion was going to be the same power as Din’s Fire, water as Nayru’s Love, Farore’s Wind for the Forest (though this is another discussion about whether the forest temple was originally going to be wind based).

    I would love some speculation on Rauru btw.

    Okay okay sorry for the essay. I’m enjoying these insights into the Sages.

  • Lupine Hero

    I always thought that a Goron hammer should be bigger than that. It’s barely bigger than the Master Sword!

  • npatoray24

    i love the one goron in the center where the gorons ruby was placed said he was so hungry and just wanted to “lick” the stone lol

  • http://twitter.com/mikejcsauer Mike Sauer

    After finding out about the original use of the medallions, it always bugs me so much when I it’s brought up lol. I wish the 3DS remake implemented them. They’re updating wind waker with new gameplay elements, even though it may just be with the controller, but I would have liked to see some medallion implementation. Even if they were just spells and sword ability enhancements. Since I think that’s what they were anyway, right? And you could combine them or new spells. WHY was that not in there!? When I was little I always wondered what they were really for. And my neighbors at the time, older than me so they looked into things, would always try to figure out why they couldn’t be equipped because they had heard they were supposed to be.

    Also, I’m pretty sure ganondorf sealed the cavern.

    LASTLY, I always believed Saria, Darunia, ect. Had to die in order to be awakened as the sage. Since you never come in contact with them afterward. Like for example, the credits. They’re flying around like spirits.

    • http://twitter.com/mikejcsauer Mike Sauer

      Also, darmani in majoras mask made me believe it was true that they were in fact killed because of his appearance. Since its a parallel world or something.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ariana.worl Ariana Faith Ellen Worl

      I agree with the part about the sages dying. I always wondered about how they get to the chamber of sages, but the idea of them dying makes a lot of sense, especially after the Forest and Water temples, when Saria and Ruto are talking to you. The way they both talk is so final, like when Saria says that it’s destiny that they can never live in the same world. It’s actually really sad now that I think about it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000022420157 Luke Kavanagh

      Wasn’t it a plot point in Wind Waker that dead sages couldn’t do anything?

    • Darunia18

      The medallions’ original use was just to warp across the world. They were replaced by the ocarina songs, which is why it was removed.

  • Darunia18

    I believe that Darunia is one of the greatest characters ever. The unique combination of his wise leadership and strange Goron goofiness molds him into a great character that I loved so much, I made him my username as of a few years ago, and also to show my love for Zelda and see who would actually catch it :D

  • fad

    I hope your not the guy that decoded Navi. If so, GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!!!!!!!! Darunia didn’t seal off dodungo cavern!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003298020387 Alan Da Cruz Nascimento

    Darunia, wise leader ▬ choosing not to engage their people and wait for help from his overlord, the king. In my view, Darunia was already waiting for royal help, some may have sent an emissary, which reminds me of the Goron in a shop in the market. Anyway, the king is he ‘broter’!

    Why do you think he chose to take on Volvagia without the hammer? ▬ For honor? For glory? for a distraction for Link search(although he did not know is there)? Fell in a wrong chamber?

    What are your opinions on the effects of the Medallions in-game? ▬ Energy? some Goron said that the locket provia energy torches and that jar-mechanism?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ariana.worl Ariana Faith Ellen Worl

    Personally, I think that maybe the medallions were supposed to have an actual purpose, like the ones in A Link to the Past, but they just took it out. But when I was younger and first started playing it, I thought that, though they didn’t actually increase your health, magic, or anything, there was an idea that they added to his mental stamina and endurance. Like, you’ve just gone through this temple and defeated all these monsters, including a big and somewhat scary boss, and at the end you get transported to this Chamber of Sages. So when you come face to face with the sage, the medallion seems to be more of a symbol of how the sage is on your side and is going to fight with you, like how they help you get into the castle. To me, if I was going on this kind of adventure, these medallions would be a good reminder that it’s not just you fighting by yourself and your time and effort isn’t in vain.

    I don’t know if anyone else feels the same way, but that’s what I think of the medallions.

  • zeldabosses

    gorons need government or something.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jack.lawson.58 Jack Lawson

    You diffidently should take a look at Rauru! It’ll probably be brief but there’s plenty to discuss.

  • Beardless Dwarf

    Darunia was a wise leader but probably a bit too headstrong (no pun intended) and thought that Link could free the other Gorons. Also Darunia probably didn’t use the hammer against Volvagia as he probably thought his fists would be strong enough to do something like that.