Welcome back to “Storytelling Through Sound,” a series of editorials dedicated to the analysis of the major musical themes from every Zelda game. In this edition, we’ll be discussing a very nostalgic track for me: the theme from Dragon Roost Island, as well as its legacy and symbolism throughout the entire Zelda franchise. Without any further ado, let’s jump in!


Dragon Roost Island

Once you first meet the King of Red Lions in The Wind Waker, it becomes completely clear that you’re adventure has begun. Your sister’s been kidnapped, and you’ve ventured to the Forsaken Fortress to no avail. Suddenly, a talking boat appears, and he knows how to get your sister back? How convenient! Buy a sail at Windfall, and be on your way!

As you sail westward, the peak of Dragon Roost Island peeks over the horizon, and the mountain gets taller and taller. Once you get close enough, the King of Red Lions stops you, and after a short cutscene, you are brought right to shore — and you’re greeted with an upbeat guitar strum. Thus begins one of the greatest tracks that this game — and the Zelda series as a whole — has to offer.

With its quicker tempo and smaller instrumentation, this piece feels so rustic, and yet so adventurous. The flamenco style of guitar playing, which is also present in the Gerudo Valley theme from Ocarina of Time, helps keep the tempo moving, while also providing the harmony of the tune. The tempo is pushed along even more by the only percussion instrument in the whole piece, castanets. These small, hand-held instruments, which hail originally from Mediterranean countries, provide the rhythmic backing to the aforementioned Gerudo Valley theme as well! To round out the faster side of this tune, we have an amazing upright bass line. The woody tone of the bass gives an almost jazzy feel to the piece, but the rhythm of the bass makes you want to dance. It’s incredibly effective, and this small group of instruments feels complete by itself.

However, there is one last addition that rounds out the tune. Overtop of all this rhythmic complexity, a lone pan flute plays a soaring melody. The flute plays these longer, higher pitched notes, and, because of its rhythm, the melody stands on top of everything else that’s happening. And, of course, that beautiful melody will get stuck in your head.

As a complete work, this tune is absolutely beautiful. If I had to pick a piece to sum up how it feels to play The Wind Waker, this would be the one. Even for those who have never played the game before, this melody carries a mystically nostalgic air to it. There is an indescribable epic weight to the melody that isn’t always present in later Zelda tracks.


Rito Village

As with many memorable Zelda songs, Dragon Roost Island’s beautiful melody was reimagined to carry on its legacy.

When I first played through Breath of the Wild, I was completely unprepared to see any remnants of The Wind Waker. So when I first saw Kass at a stable, I had to do a double take! A Rito? Here? No way! Imagine my surprise when I found out there’s a whole town dedicated to the Rito. I was ecstatic, and I couldn’t wait to see what they had to offer. I ended up going to Rito Village pretty late in my first playthrough, so when I heard that titular melody in this arrangement, I was nearly brought to tears. This franchise, which had offered me so much, brought back one of my favorite themes beautifully. As a hardcore fan of the series, it was a touching and beautiful moment.

Rito Village’s arrangement of the Dragon Roost Island theme takes the nostalgia factor and turns it all the way up to 11. The lush instrumentation of the introduction provides an emotional blanket for our ears. It’s gorgeous, and the rising quality of the intro’s melody helps us really get attached. Once the introduction reaches its climax, it winds back down, and boom! The guitar from the original theme returns, playing a slow version of Dragon Roost’s melody. After the first part of the melody is played by the guitar, it is given back to the flute, which played the soaring melody in the original version.

While I could talk for hours about the layers of this amazing piece of music, I feel like this particular track speaks for itself. The reference back to The Wind Waker makes this piece hit even harder. That’s not to mention the emotional impact of visiting the location at night, which offers the listener a lovely piano and guitar duet. As someone who grew up playing The Wind Waker, Rito Village feels like home to me. I could spend hours on Revali’s Landing listening to this music and admiring the beauty of the Hebra region.



Just when you thought the Dragon Roost theme had set off every emotion possible, Tears of the Kingdom takes another stab at it. As the memes of last year prove, Colgera’s boss fight theme is one of the most memorable musical moments of Tears of the Kingdom.

When I first played through Tears of the Kingdom, I decided I’d visit Rito Village first, so Colgera was my first boss in the game. At first, the sheer scale of this boss took me off guard. But then, as I fought through endless waves, I finally heard what was the fuel to my fire. At around 03:32 in the video above, you can hear it as well: the most triumphant rendition of “Dragon Roost Island,” played at full blast by a full orchestra. There are not many moments in games when I feel as if I have to pause the game momentarily to process a moment, but this one got me.

It was as if every previous incarnation of Link was cheering me on, with The Wind Waker’s Hero of the Winds at the front. Talk about a nostalgic punch in the gut! This is Zelda‘s musical identity firing on all cylinders! The part that always surprises me is that Colgera isn’t even the final boss in the game, yet it feels so epic to play through. Years of buildup, finally paying off with one epic flourish. It will never get old.



Upon a broad listen to the music of Zelda, it is evident that there are a few themes that persist throughout time. Some truly amazing themes get used only once, and we never hear them again. However, we are incredibly lucky that “Dragon Roost Island” has solidified itself as a staple of this franchise. This theme will always hold a special place in my heart, and in the hearts of other seafaring adventurers. The reuse of the theme in both Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom have finally given some merit to a location I once thought would be lost to time.

In conclusion, the Dragon Roost Island theme is a new staple for the Zelda series, and I don’t think it will be long before we hear it again.

What do you think? Does the Dragon Roost Island theme hit you right in the nostalgia? Let us know in the comments!

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