You may not know it, but each of the Divine Beasts takes its name from a previous Zelda character. Their names are actually some of the best reminders of Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker. From the little Rito harp player on Dragon Roost Island to one of the first chiefs of the Gerudo, Breath of the Wild’s inspirations are full of surprises!
Vah Ruta – Princess Ruto
Before the beloved Mipha was crowned princess, another Zora from Ocarina of Time played the role: none other than Princess Ruto. Her name is a close derivative of Mipha’s Divine Beast, Vah Ruta’s. Ruto also fell in love with Link and gave him the Zora Sapphire, a tradition that showed who each princess’s husband would be (what is it with Zora princesses and Link?). Mipha apparently also prayed to Ruto for guidance during the time she was a Champion.
Vah Rudania – Darunia
If you haven’t already noticed from the heading, the letters R and d are simply switched around to form “Rudania” from “Darunia.” Darunia was the Goron leader from Ocarina of Time. After his passing, he left a legacy behind: the lake where one of the Gorons asks you to defeat an Igneo Talus in BOTW is named Darunia Lake, of course in remembrance of him. Did Daruk ever meet him? That’s another question… Gorons are too old.
Vah Medoh – Medli
Players of The Wind Waker are sure to know Medli, the humble little Rito servant on Dragon Roost Island who turned out to be (spoiler) one of the Sages. She played the legendary Rito Harp. While she did have a submissive role, her name lived on to become Vah Medoh’s obvious inspiration. The bird-like Beast is named in honor of Medli, while it is clear that Revali did not know or admire her as Mipha did Ruto, but it’s still a great fun fact.
Vah Naboris – Nabooru
Nabooru and Naboris – yet another super close name similarity. Nabooru was one of the first Gerudo Chiefs and the ruler of the Gerudo region in Ocarina of Time. She also kept the “female only” rule all those years ago. Fast forward to Urbosa’s time: the Champion did admire Nabooru and wished to rule Gerudo Town like her. One of the Gerudo peaks is also named Mount Nabooru for the ancient chief. (And yes, Nabooru and Urbosa both had Gerudo style and tied their hair in that distinctly Gerudo high ponytail. It’s just a thing that has stayed with the tribe since the beginning.)