If you’ve taken any time to explore the Depths in the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, you’ll know how important Lightroots are in traversing that hell world. Without them, the whole place is a lightless pit, with the only illumination coming from enemy camps or abandoned mines. Activating a Lightroot gives a bit of relief, and beyond the freedom from the darkness they provide, their most notable features are their odd shape and strange names.
It wasn’t until recently that we at Gamepur figured out a couple of really cool “secrets” about the Lightroots, and suffice to say, many of us had the “No way! I had no idea!” moment that games like Tears of the Kingdom are build to generate. The realization seemed so simple, so visible in-game that I, for one, am surprised I didn’t see it sooner.
Lightroots: More Than Meets the Eye
Did you know that Lightroots are directly beneath specific Shrines in Hyrule Kingdom? I didn’t, even though it’s an incredibly easy thing to discover. Just switch between the Depths and Hyrule maps while standing near a Shrine or Lightroot, and it’s clear as day, but it was sure pretty opaque to me.
The real kicker, though, is that the weird Lightroot names have a source: they’re the names of the Shrines above them, just backward.
When the team here discovered that factoid, I was incredulous. I believed it, certainly, but I had to see it for myself because I found it hard to swallow I’d completely spaced such a detail. To my surprise, if you go to any Shrine with an associated Lightroot and swap between the Hyrule and Depths maps, you’ll instantly see that all Nintendo had to do to separate the strange structures in the Depths from their surface equivalent was reverse the spelling.
It’s an incredibly clever bit of worldbuilding on top of an easy solution to a nomenclature problem. The Depths is, canonically, where the unrestful dead go to wander, and is thus a kind of in-between space for every enemy you defeat in the game. Heck, you can even refight Sage Temple bosses down there once they’ve been defeated as part of the main story.
To make Lightroots provide a twisted middle ground between the Blessed Light of the Shrines and the bleakness of the Depths shows that though the place is filled with restless spirits, it is not without hope.