With its tumbling rocks, boiling heat, and difficult-to-scale passes, Death Mountain certainly lives up to its name. However, its inhabitants are truly what define it: the Gorons. While they’re not my favorite race (that’s firmly reserved for the Gerudo), I enjoy seeing their different iterations in each new Zelda game. They’re arguably the most fleshed out in Breath of the Wild, as we get a glimpse into their lifestyles as miners and blacksmiths, but I have to say that their Twilight Princess versions are my favorite.
Perhaps that’s why this piece of art by Jessica Smith appealed to me so much. Even though it’s depicting Breath of the Wild, it reminds me of Twilight Princess when you begin your climb up Death Mountain, only to be constantly barraged by several ruthless Gorons.
Yuga’s Art Gallery is a series in which we highlight our favorite artwork and crafts from The Legend of Zelda community, as well as some official artwork from the franchise from time to time. Zelda is a series that is constantly changing its style, and after over 30 years of evolving and shifting its visuals, it continues to inspire endless ways for artists to interpret their favorite characters and moments.
The Gorons are truly at their best as a stubborn, combative, highly territorial race, and I feel like Jessica’s artwork captures this personality perfectly, especially because of the angle she’s drawn it from. As the Gorons stare down at Link with folded arms from inaccessible clifftops, it clearly emphasizes their pride as a tribe. She’s also made sure to include Death Mountain in the background, with that iconic smoke ring haloing the mountain’s peak, to perfectly complete the scene.
I find it interesting that Link, as steadfast as ever, has his sword drawn and ready, which glistens in the roasting heat. He is already in an offensive stance — an interesting glimpse at how he’d initially respond to such an intimidating standoff. But we know that soon enough, he’ll be bathing in a hot spring and having intense wrestling matches with his newfound Goron buddies. Man, I wish the Goron wrestling mini-game made a reappearance in Breath of the Wild. Link would look fabulous in some sumo gear.
With all that said, the piece wouldn’t be as fantastic as it is without some talented brushwork. I love Jessica’s style so much. Although it’s digitally drawn, the rough brush strokes give everything a rugged, natural feel. It works particularly well for the cliff faces, which truly feel jagged and unscalable. The colors and shadows are all spot on too. Everything has so much depth and vividness as a result, particularly the sunburnt cliff-sides that surround Link, creating a real impression that he’s adventuring along one of Death Mountain’s passes. As I mentioned earlier, the sense of height Jessica creates with the perspective is really the piece’s best feature. All in all, it’s a stunning work of art that I’d love to hang on my wall, as proudly as a Goron.