- "I mean, all those cowardly soldiers in Hyrule right now... It's kind of unexpected to see a warrior with any courage, know what I mean?"
- — Ashei
The Hyrulean Soldiers, also known simply as Guards or Soldiers, are a recurring group in the Legend of Zelda series. The military recruits of Hyrule Castle, they keep order in Hyrule and protect the Royal Family. The Hyrulean Soldiers do not usually assist Link in his quest, and may actually impede him at times, although they are not usually considered foes - the exceptions being the Hyrule Guards from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Four Swords Adventures, which are full-fledged enemies who attack Link on sight.
Brainwashed Hyrulean Soldiers serve Agahnim after he usurps control of Hyrule Castle. They attack Link on sight, and there are several different knight enemies. Guards are met very early in the game and get stronger as the game progresses; however, knights are stronger versions of guards and appear quite late in the game (apart from Grey Knights who appear in the first dungeon). The only "friendly" Hyrulean Soldiers are the ones near the gate of Hyrule Castle at the beginning of the game, who instead tell Link to go home instead of attacking him.
A Guard manning a cannon has been found on the game's ROM. Despite being fully completed it was not implemented into the game. This idea would later be revisited in Four Swords Adventures.
Hyrulean Soldiers wield spears and wear helmets that cover their eyes. Dozens of guards patrol the grounds and courtyard of Hyrule Castle, and will stop Link from progressing further by throwing him out of the castle when they spot him, fearing that Link will be a threat to the Royal Family of Hyrule Castle.
One is sympathetic towards the boy, though. After several failed attempts to enter the castle, a guard will allow Link to enter for a fee of 10 Rupees, thinking him harmless and telling him to keep it a secret from everyone in all capital letters, referencing the Secret Moblin from The Legend of Zelda. It is more cost-effective, however, to just climb the vine behind Malon.
Three guards can also be found in Kakariko Village. The two Clock Soldiers are located at the entrance of the village and outside Impa's house. They will tell Link the current time when spoken to. The third soldier is located at the Death Mountain Trail Starting Point and buys the Keaton Mask from Link in a side quest.
Though most players might miss it, when Princess Zelda and Impa escape from Ganondorf on horseback, a dying soldier can be found in the Back Alley of Hyrule Castle Town before Link goes to the Temple of Time and draws the Master Sword from the Pedestal of Time. Also easily missed, another soldier can be seen by shooting Link's slingshot at the left window in the Castle Courtyard. He will yell at Link for making trouble and throw a bomb at him. This can only be seen once.
When link awakens seven years later, the guards are nowhere to be seen nor mentioned again due to the kingdom being destroyed and Ganondorf's takeover of Hyrule. However, several helmets and spears from the soldiers can be seen lying around outside Ganon's Castle.
Hyrulean Soldiers serve as enemies, similarly to the Hyrule Guards from A Link to the Past and come in many of the same varieties. A stronger mini-boss version called the Chief Soldier also appears, and a weaker soldier in blue armor and short swords often appears in large numbers.
The Hyrulean Soldiers are famous around Hyrule for their cowardice. When Telma states she will take Prince Ralis to Kakariko Village for treatment by Renado, a nearby group of soldiers heartily proclaim that they will escort her, cheering wildly. Humorously, when Telma mentions all the monsters they will encounter, they stop cheering and make a hasty exit.
However, not all of the soldiers are cowardly. During Zant's Invasion of Hyrule, a battalion protects Princess Zelda from Zant's Shadow Beasts. Although they fought gallantly, almost all of them were quickly defeated and killed. Later in the quest, the spirits of the soldiers that tried to protect Zelda appear around Hyrule Castle, although they are only visible in Wolf Link's sense mode. They point to important parts that are required to progress further in Hyrule Castle.
Groups of Hyrulean Soldiers parade around Hyrule Castle Town. If any of them encounter Wolf Link, they will form a circle around him and point their spears at him to protect the citizens, but they tremble violently and whimper and they will not attack. If Wolf Link performs a Spin Attack, they perform a hasty retreat, leaving behind valuables (such as Rupees, Hearts, and Arrows).
There are a few possible explanations for the soldiers' cowardice. One could be that during Zant's initial attack on Hyrule, most of the Hyrulean Soldiers were either slaughtered or injured to the point that they had to be discharged. This would mean that all of the soldiers that Link encounters would be new recruits, who were more than likely drafted into the military rather than volunteering. Another explanation is Zelda's actions. As the ruler of Hyrule, she was a symbol of courage for her people. When she surrendered to Zant, it must have been a devastating blow to the soldiers' morale. There is also the possibility that due to the long period of peace before Zant's invasion, these soldiers have never faced threats and are unprepared for real war, becoming complacent with Hyrule maintaining order without any real effort from them.
Hyrulean Soldiers guard Hyrule Castle in New Hyrule. Some are easily distracted from their duties, while others take their job much more seriously; all of the soldiers carry spears. Soldiers still in training wear the standard Recruit Uniform while fully fledged soldiers wear a modified version with a slightly different hat. Its appearance could be based on the Hero's Clothes/Kokiri Tunic, probably as a tribute to the Hero of Winds and/or to the Hero of Time.
Hyrulean Soldiers appear in the game. Unlike the artwork used in most other Zelda games, the Hyrulean Soldiers in The Legend of Zelda: a Link Between Worlds, are different, and are clothed in red. They can be found patrolling Hyrule Castle and Kakariko village. When Yuga attacks Hyrule Castle, he transforms some of the soldiers into paintings. The Hyrulean Soldiers are lead by the Captain. Their Lorulean counterparts are the Lorulean Soldiers, though unlike their Hyrulean counterparts most have abandoned the Royal Family of Lorule and become Lorule Guard.
During the year of the Calamity, Hyrulean Guards were seen wearing these anywhere; when escorting key members such as Princess Zelda around Hyrule, or when guarding Hyrule Castle. All of the Hyrulean soldiers were wiped out when the Great Calamity occurred with only their equipment remaining and scattered throughout the land and occasionally being wielded by monsters: Bow, Broadsword, Claymore, Shield and Spear. Two Garrison Ruins the Hyrule Garrison Ruins and Kolomo Garrison Ruins can be found on Hyrule Field along with several ruined posts such as the Gatepost Town Ruins, East Post Ruins, and Outpost Ruins all of which where likely staffed by soldiers and knights stationed in these locations. There is also the Moor Garrison Ruins in Lanayru Wetlands. Presumably soldiers and knights stationed at Castle Town Watchtower kept watch over Hyrule Castle Town and ran the Castle Town Prison as well as the Lockup in Hyrule Castle which are the only jails within Hyrule as the Arbiter's Grounds is implied to have long since been abandoned to be consumed by the sands of Gerudo Desert. According to Purah's Diary, she originally began anti-aging rune research so retired soldiers, knights, and Sheikah warriors could be restored to their physical prime to bolster the Hyrulean army to confront Calamity Ganon when he returned though never completed it before the Great Calamity. The remaining knights and soldiers fled Hyrule Castle and Central Hyrule to the Akkala Citadel which was where the Hyrulean army made a valiant but doomed last stand against the Guardians and Ganon's forces as the Citadel was a fortress equipped with cannon artillery batteries. However they managed to take down several Guardians the remain of which litter the Akkala Highlands. The Hyrulean soldiers all perished though one had a family that survived and their descendant would later seek to to pay his respects but could not reach the Akkala Citadel Ruins only making it as far as the Akkala Bridge Ruins. A Hinox also took up residence in the old Akkala Parade Ground Ruins while Guardian Skywatchers patrolled the Citadel Ruins. When Link activated the Great Plateau Tower, the Citadel Ruins were damaged further by the buried Akkala Tower rising up out of the ground. The area of the citadel around the tower is covered by Ganon's Malice and the citadel is also patrolled by Moblins and Bokoblins. However the ruins stand as a reminder of their heroism and valiant last stand against the Great Calamity. Additionally most believe Fort Hateno was defended by the Hylian Champion leading an army of soldiers and knights though in Link's memory it is revealed he fought them on his own on nearby Blatchery Plain to defend Zelda whom awakened her powers trying to shield Link shutting down the remaining Guardians by cleansing them of Ganon's corruption though Link succumbed to his injuries and was believed to have perished though was saved by the intervention of Zelda and the Sheikah using the Shrine of Resurrection's Slumber of Restoration which put the near death Link in medical stasis. However the legend of the battle became popular as it was more believable to modern Hyruleans than a lone royal knight confronting an army of Guardians as Zelda's involvement was only known to the Sheikah and the legend may have been inspired by the battle in Akkala and people assumed something similar valiant last stand had occured at Fort Hateno though with the Hylian Champion's role maintained which was the only historical grain of truth as his inadvertent defense of the fort which had been hastily constructed by the Hateno Villagers to defend East Necluda was unintentional as his primary focus was defending Zelda.
Link can also obtain the Hyrulean Soldier Armor set which includes Soldier's Helm, Armor, and Greaves. This armor set is sold at Ventest Clothing Boutique in Hateno Village and once properly upgraded is some of the best armor in the game barring the Champion's Tunic, Diamond Circlet, and "Ancient Soldier" armor set. However the Soldier armor set grants no set bonuses while the "Ancient Soldier" set grants Guardian Resist and the Ancient Proficiency set bonus. The metallic armor also does not attract lightning making it safe to wear during a thunderstorm though metallic soldier broadswords, claymores, and Spears should not be carried as they do. Soldier's Shields have wooden cores causing them to burn but do not attract lightning. Soldier's Bows also have a primarily wooden construction causing them to burn but do not attract lightning. The weapons, bow, and shield wielded by the soldiers are shown to be inferior to those wielded by the Knights of Hyrule and Knights that served among the Royal Guard which includes Link himself, who was Captain of Princess Zelda's personal guard, indicating that the Knights and Royal Knights where above them within Hyrule's military hierarchy as the Knights and Royal Knights were issued better equipment. The only equipment they have that is superior is the armor set as the Royal Guard armor set lacks armor and has low defense and cannot be upgraded with its only strength being it grants Charged Atk. Stamina Up set bonus without being upgraded. Additionally the Royal Guard armor set is apparently more of a ceremonial dress uniform as Link opts to wear Champion's Tunic and Hylian Trousers a century prior to Breath of the Wild indicating Royal Guards likely wore more suitable armor in battle or were skilled enough at guarding and dodging that they did not require much defense or relied on food and Tough Elixirs that enhanced their defense.
During "Recovered Memory #12: Father and Daughter", two Hyrulean Soldiers can be seen wearing the Soldier armor set in the background standing guard on the bridge leading to Princess Zelda's Study and bare witness to Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule admonishing Princess Zelda for favoring her research over working to unlocking her sealing powers. Several others can be seen during the same memory standing guard as the Sheikah test one of the Guardians.
A man named Nell wears a tattered version of the armor in honor of his ancestor who fell during the Great Calamity showing at least one soldier's offspring survived long enough to have descendants. The travelling rumor monger Savelle wears a Soldier's Helm for extra protection as he rides between Serenne Stable and Tabantha Bridge Stable. The watchman Botrick patrols the path around Outskirt Stable selling Arrows to fellow travelers and is well informed about the Coliseum Ruins and Satori Mountain. The mercenary Hoz hired to defend the East Akkala Stable also wears a Soldier's Helm and wields a Soldier's Spear but it is unknown if he is descended from a soldier though it is possible considering his occupation and the fact he lives in Akkala province where many soldiers and presumably their families fled to. It is unknown if Brigo who protects Proxim Bridge is related to or descended from a soldier but given his role in guarding Proxim Bridge alone to keep it open and safe for travelers and merchants it is possible he might have been recruited as a soldier following Ganon's defeat unless his lone defense of the bridge would make him eligible for knighthood. As he is a watchman, presumably Botrick might be recruited for the same reasons as Brigo. Others like Hoz and Nell might be recruited as well with Nell potentially joining to honor his ancestor and his ancestor's comrades whom died defending Akkala Citadel and to carry on their proud legacy.
Soldier's Armor set
Hyrulean Soldiers appear as allied units in Hyrule Warriors. Most wear chain mail and surcoats while Captains wear plate armor. They are equipped with either a spear, mace, bow and arrows or a sword and shield. Some soldiers wield Knight's Swords. In the Skyloft missions, their character models are used to represent the Skyloft Captains as well. At the beginning of the game, Link is a new Hyrulean Forces recruit and briefly wears their uniform's surcoat and chainmail though he forgoes the helmet. Only after the defeat of King Dodongo and the disappearance of Zelda does Link switch to the Hero's Clothes. The Trainee Tunic is one of Link's alternate costumes. New recruits train using weapons made of wood such as Swords, Shields, and Spears. Regular soldiers wield Knight's Swords and Captains wield Holy Hylian Shield.
Unlike past Zelda games, the Hyrulean Soldiers are shown to be far more capable of defending themselves and are even willing to risk their lives for the sake of the Kingdom of Hyrule, though their abilities still pale in comparison to the likes of Link, Impa, and Zelda. In addition to their traditional leaders Princess Zelda and the Sheikah General Impa, throughout the games story they serve under and alongside several others such as The Hero Link, the Sorceress Lana, Twilight Princess Midna, Agitha, Darunia, Princess Ruto, and Fi, along with a few who fall under Ghirahim's spell. They are also shown to be quite loyal to Princess Zelda and her words can easily boost their morale.
Hyrulean Soldiers wearing their green uniforms from Spirit Tracks appear on the Hyrule Circuit.
|Link (x4) · Princess Zelda · Six Maidens · Vaati|
—Full list of characters
|Phantom Ganon · Helmaroc King · Stone Arrghus · Jalhalla · Dagtail · Frostare · Big Dodongo · Vaati · Ganon|
| Whereabouts of the Wind · Eastern Hyrule · Death Mountain · Near the Fields · The Dark World · The Desert of Doubt · Frozen Hyrule · Realm of the Heavens|
—Full list of locations
|Bomb · Bombos Medallion · Boomerang · Bow · Fire Rod · Four Sword · Lantern · Magic Hammer · Quake Medallion · Shield · Slingshot|
|Blue Bracelet · Carrot · Force Gem · Force Fairy · Heart · Heart Container · Moon Pearl · Pegasus Boots · Power Bracelet · Roc's Feather · Shovel · Small Key|
|Knight Mark · Letter · Magic Book · Royal Jewels · Vaati Barrier|
|Gerudo · Goron · Hylian · Zuna|
|Anjean · Byrne · Chancellor Cole · Link · Malladus · Princess Zelda|
—Full list of characters
|Stagnox · Fraaz · Phytops · Cragma · Byrne · Skeldritch · Demon Train · Chancellor Cole · Malladus|
| Fire Realm · Forest Realm · Ocean Realm · Sand Realm · Snow Realm|
—Full list of locations
|Forest Temple · Snow Temple · Ocean Temple · Fire Temple · Sand Temple · Tower of Spirits|
|Lokomo Sword · Rail Map · Recruit's Sword · Recruit Uniform · Spirit Flute · Spirit Tracks · Spirit Train · Stamp Book · Tears of Light|
|Boomerang · Whip · Whirlwind · Bow · Sand Wand · Bow of Light|
|Anouki · Demon · Goron · Hylian · Lokomo|