The Nora tribe is a human tribe in Horizon Zero Dawn. It is a an isolationist matriarchal hunter-gatherer society situated in what is known as the Sacred Land. The Nora are the first tribe encountered. It is notable for its leaders, the High Matriarchs, rituals such as the Proving, and its strong taboos against the technology of the ancient world and talking to outcasts.
Recently, the Nora were in conflict with the Carja, a rival tribe that had imprisoned and enslaved their people in the past. Under the Mad Sun-King Jiran, the Red Raids claimed the lives of many Nora, but the next Sun-King, Avad, sought a more peaceful approach, which led to two years of peace before the recent conflicts broke out. Due to the ferocity of their defense during the raids, the Carja came to regard them as brave and fierce warriors, albeit technologically and socially backwards.
At one point, a Carja scribe by the name of Aman traveled to the edge of Nora territory to collect what information he could find on the tribe. He also expressed a desire to return with a diplomatic expedition, including a female scribe, who he hoped would be able to gain their trust easier.
Society & Culture
The Nora live in small permanent settlements situated in the mountains and forests of the Sacred Land. A few live in solitary homes outside of larger settlements; in-game, most Nora found outside of settlements are outcasts. The Nora rarely leave the Sacred Land, as those who do are banished from returning. Most are content to live in the relatively peaceful valley, although increasingly aggressive machines have posed a serious threat to their home.
Their structures are mostly made of wood, strung together with thick colored rope. Most homes are only one or two stories high, but the Matriarchs' lodge is far bigger. Nora watchtowers are also present, both inside and outside of settlements. Nora homes also have stone fireplaces and chimneys, decorative hanging ornaments, and porches. Inside these homes there is minimal wooden furniture, consisting mostly of simple benches or chairs, tables, and beds with fur pelts.
Nora appear to do most work outside of their homes, including cooking, crafting, and stitching (workstations for these tasks can be seen outside). Many baskets, pelts, butchered animals, and fire pits can be seen surrounding Nora homes, indicating a communal sentiment where the tribe shares resources and food, rather than single families or households depending on themselves.
They are primarily hunter-gatherers without agriculture, and so all food is obtained by foraging wild plants and hunting and fishing wildlife. Hunting machines is also essential for gathering certain resources, which is usually done by Braves. Bows and spears are the main weapons used for hunting and fighting; additionally, they use several other tools such as Ropecasters, Tripcasters, and slings.
Hierarchy & Government
The Nora tribe is a matriarchal oligarchy, and the High Matriarchs are the official leaders of the tribe. They are responsible for carrying out the law and sentencing convicted members of the tribe, as well as leading the rituals and customs most important to the tribe. Lesser Matriarchs are less powerful than the High Matriarchs but have similar duties of counsel and teaching. Becoming a Matriarch is dependent on how many generations of living progeny a woman has; if an entire generation dies, she is demoted to a lesser status.
Elders, Healers, Braves, and hunters are all considered to be important members of the tribe as well, though most hold no political power. However, mothers with multiple living children are assumed to have the highest status in the tribe, especially those who have grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Outcasts are not considered to be part of the tribe and are openly ostracized by tribe members.
Nora law is very strict and breaking the law carries a sentence of being outcast. While some regard this as a rather humane punishment, others (such as Aloy) believe it can be too harsh. Such laws include theft, breaking of customs, and trespassing through ruins of the "Metal World." Murder and assault can also result in becoming an outcast for life. Outcasts are forbidden from entering settlements and interacting with tribe members, as well as interacting with other outcasts, but this rule is not strictly enforced.
Religion & Customs
The Nora practice a monotheistic religion and worship All-Mother as their deity. They believe that all life - human, animal, and machine - originated from All-Mother Mountain located in Mother's Watch. As some people became increasingly reliant on machines and other technology, those who chose to remain faithful to the goddess All-Mother and continue living a primitive lifestyle in the lands surrounding the bunker became the Nora. The tribe's reverence for motherhood is rooted in their faith in All-Mother.
The Nora are very spiritual and practice a number of important rituals. These rituals often occur at certain intervals of a tribe member's life. Newborns undergo a naming ritual, where the Matriarchs bless the name of the child. Adolescent members of the tribe may undergo a ritual called "the Proving." Those who pass will be recognized as Braves; the winners are granted a boon and they may ask for any kind of reward.
The customs of the Nora are very important, and while outcasts are forbidden from practicing them with the rest of the tribe, some Outcasts willingly practice them themselves. Rost is an example of an outcast who still followed tradition, taking Aloy to have her name blessed. Outcast children are allowed to take part in the Proving when they come of age.
Relations with other Tribes
Until recently, the Nora and the Carja had an incredibly hostile relationship. Because of the Mad Sun-King Jiran's enslavement of many Nora, much of the tribe held an antagonistic attitude towards the Carja; this attitude continued even after Sun-King Avad took the throne. Even when a messenger from Meridian came to Mother's Heart with a message of peace, he was met with an angry mob.
In addition to the Carja's crimes against them, the Nora see the Carja lifestyle as needlessly ostentatious. In contrast, the Carja view the Nora as little more than savages--technologically and socially backwards. Although there is some respect from the Carja to the Nora with regards to the Nora being adept at warfare, the Nora express little praise towards the Carja.
Known Settlements, Outposts, and Gates
- Forsaken Village
- Main Embrace Gate
- Mother's Cradle
- Mother's Crown
- Mother's Heart
- Mother's Rise
- Mother's Watch
- Northern Embrace Gate
- Southern Embrace Gate
- The Nora's custom of seeing machines as forbidden by higher powers is very similar to that of the Yevonites from Final Fantasy X, who also believed that the evils of the world were wrought by people using machinery (machina), which is now taboo and forbidden.
- The Nora culture seems to be an amalgamation of aboriginal and barbarian cultures.
- The outfits and weaponry are reminiscent of native American tribes. Though some of the outfits bare an aesthetic similar to Viking garb, such as Rost and Varl's outfits.
- The war paint designs are very similar to those of ancient Celtic and Pictish Warriors.
- The architectural style is very reminiscent of Viking architecture.
- Their culture is similar to the Hopi, a Native American tribe in northeastern Arizona: they share the belief that their land is sacred, the matriarchal structure, and Mother Earth being their patron deity.
- It is possible the tribe got their name from dilapidated NORAD signs. NORAD was headquartered in Colorado Springs, now known as Devil's Thirst.
- Male naming convention is one syllable long ending in a consonant. Female names can but mostly do not follow the same convention.
- ↑ Game Informer #82: Woman vs. Machine