In Unnecessary Analysis I’ll spend way too much time and much to much effort in coming up with random theories about inconsequential things in video games. Our first entry will be Link’s famous enemy, the Octorok.
Let’s start with the Octorok’s name. The ‘rok’ part is easy. These creatures are famous for their ability to spit rocks out of their mouth with great velocity and accuracy. The subtraction of the ‘c’ from ‘rock’ could be because pronunciation, ease of spelling, or no reason at all. The ‘octo’ part of the name is more interesting. While there are many different pictures of octorok’s, many of them show a creature with four legs. The prefix ‘octo’ means eight. Since the octorok couldn’t have gotten its name for having eight legs it must have gotten it for its resemblance to an octopus.
A Octorok looks very similar to an octopus but with a few exceptions. According to the above photo the suction cups on a Octorok are on the top of their arms, not the bottom like an octopus. They also have a proboscis looking mouth while the octopus has a beak. Despite these and a few other differences they look very similar. This similarity with the octopus must be the reason for the octorok’s name which means that octopuses (which I found out is the correct way of pluralizing octopus) exist in the Zelda universe. It seems strange that, with octoroks all over the place in nearly every Zelda game, octopuses would be discovered and named first.
Let’s return to the Octorok’s rock shooting ability. There are a few reasons why they might have evolved that ability. First and foremost would be hunting. For octoroks that live on land, this ability would be great for hunting. The Octorok’s narrow mouth means that their diet must be made up of small animals. Their rocks could easily stun or kill small mammals or birds. They would have to have great eyesight to be accurate. Their cousins, the octopus, have great eyesight as well. Another similarity to octorok, some species of octopuses use tools.
Although the rock shooting ability is great for living on land, it would be far less effective for those that live in water. Perhaps they come to the surface and hit birds with their rocks.
The last aspect of the Octorok I’ll discuss is their relationship with Link. Why do octoroks attack Link? It can’t be for food. Their mouths are far too narrow to eat Link. They could just run from Link, but they stubbornly stand their ground and attack.
One option would be that they have young nearby. Many animals will fiercely protect their babies. This is a long shot though because what are the odds that every octorok you encounter would have just had babies.
Another option is that they are protecting their territory. A strike against this theory is that Octoroks don’t attack each other. Why protect their territory from Link but not from other Octoroks?
The simplest idea is that it usually works at scaring off predators. Octorok’s might be used to other animals and humans running away from their rock shooting. Maybe they expect Link to run away and when he stands his ground they don’t have any other strategy.
There are many aspects of the Octorok I haven’t touched; their different colors, why some look extremely different from other, the fact that some shoot bombs instead of rocks, and more. Hopefully though, you’ve learned something fun about a useless subject! If you have any theories or suggestions for what to analyze next, leave a comment.