In my last editorial I stated that it would be interesting if Nintendo made a game in which the main protagonist was not Hylian, but a different race of Hyrule, so as to elaborate on their cultures. So I thought it would be a good idea to do a miniseries on what can be discerned from the current information on these groups.
Some things to bear in mind while reading: this is highly opinionated speculation that is in no way factual, however it is based on research from official sources. Also, these will be written assuming the reader has decent knowledge about each race, it is not my intention to write a wiki.
So with that, let’s explore the diverse people and cultures of Hyrule. First on our list, the Deku.
The word Deku can refer to a plethora of things: the people, the guardian of the forest the Great Deku Tree, a type of stick, seeds, nuts, or even enemies. This leads me to believe that Deku is the name of the genus of wood these people, creatures, and items are made of (to put it in perspective, we are homo sapiens, and we make up the human race). Further evidence of this shows that the Deku people are called “Scrubs” more often than they are called “Deku” (at least the lower classes are). Because the term “Scrub” is applied to the lower classes of Deku, it could be a derogatory term to help assert the superiority of Deku royalty, but this is just speculation. There are three different types of Scrubs: Deku Scrubs, Mad Scrubs, and Business Scrubs.
Scrubs hide underground until someone comes into view. They then proceed to shoot Deku nuts at the intruder. If said intruder gets too close, the Scrub will retreat underground and only poke its head out of the ground once he/she is a safe distance from them. We can gather from this that the Deku are highly territorial, reclusive, and value their privacy, and when they feel that privacy is in jeopardy, they have no problem resorting to violence. When defeated, Scrubs will either attempt to make a break for it and run away (rather than retreat underground again, they aren’t the brightest) or, if caught, they will try to weasel their way out by offering advice or merchandise to their assailant. This shows that Scrubs show qualities like that of con men when it comes to their survival; one Scrub even reveals the weakness of Queen Gohma to Link to save his own skin… bark… whatever!
Scrubs can not rise to royal status, however judging by similar body structures, it would appear that Deku Scrubs can become royal Guards and Business Scrubs can become royal Butlers. Mad Scrubs have green wood bodies, whereas other Scrubs have brown wood bodies. I bring this up because if you look inside Deku Palace, you’ll notice there are no green Mad Scrubs present, only brown Deku Scrubs, a Butler, and a King. Mad Scrubs appear in the shrine adjacent to the Palace, which is probably common ground for Deku in general.
I believe that this means that Mad Scrubs are outcasts of Deku society. If you also consider the fact that Mad Scrubs run faster than their brown counter-parts and almost never speak, perhaps it’s deeper than just outcasts; perhaps they are feral Deku Scrubs that are seen more as beasts by the Deku society. Think about it, would a Mad Scrub attack a Deku citizen? They attack Link while he wears the Deku Mask which turns him into a Deku Scrub, so it’s quite possible.
Apparently rank in the Deku society depends on how many branches (read, “limbs”) they have and how decorative their foliage is. Notice that Deku Guards have their head leaves stylistically trimmed, and some even have facial leaves (possibly denoting a higher rank of guard). Then the Butler (a rank up from Guard) not only has impressive head shrubs and a grassy mustache, but also has arms. But then, what separates the Deku King (who also has arms and facial leaves) from the Butler? An obvious question gets an obvious answer, that ridiculously large bulb coming out of the King’s head! The bulb could either be a crown composed of various leaves and plant-life placed upon the King’s head or it could be a natural bulb that has been growing since his birth, therefore signifying his royal heritage.
The Deku are quick to anger, and are a walking example of the phrase, “shoot first, ask questions later”. The Deku King was eager to execute the monkey he thought “kidnapped” his daughter, and the rest of his Deku subjects were on board with him, even though the monkey never had a fair trial. As mentioned above, the Deku are a territorial race, possibly the most territorial, exemplified by their tendency to shoot Deku Nuts at anyone on sight. This could be due to the fact that they are the most vulnerable of the races; one forest fire could easily wipe out an entire Deku civilization. The Deku don’t have time to make friends with “outsiders” because in their mind, their very survival could be at stake. The Deku don’t appear to have any known allies, so they must fend for themselves. It is possible, however, that the Deku don’t have allies because they feel that even that’s too much of a risk.
So what sorts of traditions and cultural assets do the Deku exhibit? We know the Deku have a marital system because the Business Scrub in Clock Town says that he wants a Moon’s Tear “as a souvenir for [his] wife”. However, how this ceremony takes place is unknown. We also know that the Deku have an affinity for music; they have a five-ended horn-like instrument called the “Pipes of Awakening” (a.k.a. the Deku Pipes). Other than that, not much else is known about their lore.
That’s all for now, stick around for next time when we talk about the Gorons! Leave a comment if you have anything to add or feel that I left something out.