- "Black clouds permanently darkened the sky, and many disasters beset Hyrule. The lord of Hyrule sent for the Seven Wise Men and the Knights Of Hyrule, and ordered them to seal the entrance to the Golden Land."
- — Manual from A Link to the Past
The Knights of Hyrule, also known as the Hylian Knights, are a recurring group in the Legend of Zelda series. Originating with the warriors of Hyrule that confronted Ganon and his army during the Imprisoning War, their bloodline carries on through the ages.
The Knights of Hyrule are found in various towns, ostensibly protecting the citizens from monsters. Clad in suits of purple armor, they are armed with swords.
The manual for the game tells of the history of the Imprisoning War. During this event, the King of Hyrule ordered the Knights of Hyrule along with the Seven Wise Men, to seal the Sacred Realm. Ganon, who recently had obtained the Triforce, headed with his evil army to Hyrule Castle, starting a great battle. Most of the Knights of Hyrule died defending the castle, but they managed to keep the enemy at bay just long enough for the Sages to seal Ganon in the Sacred Realm.
During Link's quest to defeat Ganon, Link rescues one of the Seven Maidens in Thieves' Town. She reveals to Link that he is the last one to carry the bloodline of the Knights of Hyrule. Only descendants of the Knights of Hyrule can pull the Master Sword from its Pedestal. Additionally, Link's Uncle could have also belonged to the Knights' lineage due to the fact that he teaches Link the Spin Attack, a secret technique known only by the Knights of Hyrule; additionally, he is related to Link.
Only Hyrulean Soldiers make on-screen appearances, but the Knights of Hyrule are mentioned once when Link tries to buy the Hylian Shield. The in-game description states that this shield is just like the one used by the Hylian Knights.
The Hero of Time likely descended from the Knight's bloodline, given his ability to wield the Master Sword. Link's Mother is said to have fled the Hyrulean Civil War to the safety of Kokiri Forest and entrusted her child to the Great Deku Tree before dying, leading to the possibility that she was either a member of the Knights of Hyrule or a relative of one (such as a wife, daughter, granddaughter, or descendant), who fled the war to protect her child. The Great Deku Tree may have sensed that the Hero of Time descended from the Knights of Hyrule and in addition to sensing the boy's destiny, also chose to protect him to preserve the Knight's bloodline, which could have dwindled due to many Knights perishing during the Hyrulean Civil War (which could explain the knights not physically appearing in Ocarina of Time).
- "That's just our guise. I can't say it too loud, but we're really Hylian Knights."
- — A Knight of Hyrule
Several Knights of Hyrule were sent with Impa to Holodrum to bring Din, the Oracle of Seasons, to Hyrule and away from the dangers that threaten her in Holodrum. They are disguised as a traveling group of entertainers. The disguise fails, however, and the Knights are defeated by General Onox, and Din is captured. After this the Knights are never seen again.
The Knights of Hyrule are mentioned; it is told that long ago, Ganon's Tower was a fortress so impenetrable, that not even the Knights of Hyrule could besiege it.
Additionally, Knight's Crests, collectible belts that appear in the game, are possibly a reference to the legendary Knights of Hyrule. They are considered to be "symbols of a courageous knight" and feature an emblem similar to the one found on the Hylian Shield; as a counter-argument, these treasures can be stolen from Darknuts and Mighty Darknuts, both of which are knight-like enemies, making it possible that the knights being referred to are these. For collecting ten of these crests, the swordsman Orca teaches Link the Hurricane Spin, a technique similar to the Spin Attack used by the Knights of Hyrule.
Link must retrieve four Royal Jewels in order to open the way to the Palace of Winds and save Hyrule. These jewels were once entrusted to the Knights of Hyrule. By the time of the events of the game, Link encounters Base Creature of Magic at the Knights Marks, the resting place of the jewels. When defeated, they show their true form, that of Knights, and explain that Ganondorf was the one who transformed them into monsters by casting them into the Dark World, in order to control the Knights of Hyrule and hide the royal jewels.Ashei's father is stated to be a former Knight of Hyrule. When Ashei was young, they lived together in the mountains, where he taught her the arts of war. It is interesting to note that Ashei is a human, which may mean her father is also a human. If so, then that would make her father the first known human to be a member of the Knights of Hyrule.
Since the Hero's Shade is actually the Hero of Time as a ghost, it is likely he and his descendant Link carry the blood of the Knights of Hyrule: evidence being their ability to wield the Master Sword.
One hundred years before Calamity Ganon was sealed within Hyrule Castle, the Knights of Hyrule served under King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule. In one of Link's recovered memories, it is revealed that he comes from a lineage of Royal Knights who protect the Royal Family of Hyrule, with Zelda mentioning Link's Father having been a Royal Knight.
When the four Champions were killed during the Great Calamity, the Knights of Hyrule and Hyrulean Soldiers could do little to stop the corrupted Guardians from rampaging across Hyrule, resulting in the death of King Rhoam and the destruction of Hyrule Castle Town.
One century later, Link comes across various weapons originally wielded by the Knights of Hyrule, as well as equipment meant to protect Knights' horses in horseback combat.
At the Akkala Citadel Ruins, Link learns from a swordsman named Nell that after the fall of Hyrule Castle, the remaining Knights and Hyrulean Soldiers fell back to the Akkala Citadel, where they made their final stand against Calamity Ganon's forces and were ultimately defeated by the Guardians, leaving Link as the only remaining Knight of Hyrule.
The Military Training Camp in the Great Hyrule Forest region was presumably a training ground for the Hyrulean military to practice field maneuvers, though after the Great Calamity monsters moved in. In addition, Hyrule Field has several garrisons and outposts which presumably served Hyrule's military personal that protected the region from monsters and criminals. The Moor Garrison Ruins is the only garrison located outside Central Hyrule which presumably defended the Lanayru Wetlands. The Guards' Chamber was apparently utilized by the Royal Guard and Knights stationed as guards at Hyrule Castle for daily training. The castle also contained a well stocked armory, though a century later, some equipment has rusted. Hyrule Castle Town is littered with armaments presumably left by knights that perished defending the town during the Great Calamity.
While exploring the Lockup within Hyrule Castle, Link comes across a Stalnox within one of the cells. Reading a nearby stone tablet, it is revealed that the monster is part of the "Test of the Royal Guard", in which one must defeat the monster to be recognized as a Knight of Hyrule. The monster was likely a living Hinox kept within the castle Lockup as a test for Royal Knights.
After defeating Dark Beast Ganon, Link, with the assistance of Zelda and their other allies, presumably plans to maintain order until a new generation of Hylian knights can restore the Hyrulean army.
- Knight's Equipment
- Rusty Armaments
- "A rusty polearm likely used by knights from an age past. The spearhead is in bad shape due to prolonged exposure to the elements, so its durability is low."
- — Hyrule Compendium
- Royal Equipment
- "The Hyrulean royal family would award this sword to knights who achieved remarkable feats. A sword that balances strength and beauty as elegantly as this one is a rare find."
- — Hyrule Compendium
- Sheikah Double-Egde Greatsword
- "A curious double-edged sword crafted using Sheikah technology. It was originally made for Hyrulean knights unfamiliar with single-edged blades."
- — Hyrule Compendium
The standard members of the Hyrulean Forces appears to be made up primarily of Hyrulean Soldiers (the rank-and-file soldiers) and Knights of Hyrule (represented by Link and Hylian Captains that wear full armor). The Knight's Sword and shield appear as Link's default weapons, and Link wields the Knights' signature Hylian Shield as part of his Master Sword moveset. Hylian Captains also wield larger versions of the Hylian Shield called Holy Hylian Shields. Like Link, Hyrulean Captains fight using a sword and shield. Within the command structure of the Hyrulean Forces, the Knights appear to serve under General Impa and Princess Zelda as well as Link.
Though it is never actually stated, it appears that in Hyrule Warriors the Knights of Hyrule act as the Captains and commanders of Hyrulean Soldier. Though Link starts off as a Trainee soldier, after he is revealed to be the reborn spirit of the Hero and bearer of the Triforce of Courage, he is promoted by General Impa and given the Hero's Clothes.
Inside the Desert Temple, the green Link fights and defeats an enemy soldier. This enemy is revealed to be Valenzuela, a Knight of Hyrule who was under the control of an evil power greater than Vaati's. Valenzuela gives Link a Gem required to get into the Tower of Winds. Later in the story, Vaati is defeated by the four Link's with the help of the Knights of Hyrule, among them Valenzuela.
Knights of Skyloft
It is possible that the Knights of Hyrule trace their origins back to the Knights of Skyloft from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword as a means of protecting the citizens of Hyrule. The Hylian Shield as well as the Knight's Crest bears a bird motif, possibly representing the Loftwing, further supporting this idea.
It is implied in A Link to the Past that the Master Sword can only be wielded by members of the bloodline of the Knights of Hyrule, thus indicating that Link's various incarnations are members of the Knights' bloodline. The Knights' bloodline may indicate that membership within the Knights of Hyrule is hereditary and that the Knights are part of a shared bloodline that traces its roots all the way back to the Knights of Skyloft and the hero of that era.
In addition to the Knights, Hyrule is defended by Hyrulean Soldiers who act as Hyrule's conscript army and security forces. The exact relationship between the two is unclear; however, it is likely that they are subservient to the Knights, given the Knights' association with the Sages and Master Sword. It is possible that the Knights of Hyrule is an exclusive order of Knights, while membership within the Hyrulean Soldiers is not.
|Dark Link · Ganon · Link · Princess Zelda|
—Full list of characters
|Horsehead · Helmethead · Rebonack · Carock · Gooma · Barba · Thunderbird · Dark Link|
|Western Hyrule · Eastern Hyrule · Lesser Hyrule · Maze Island|
—Full list of locations
|Parapa Palace · Midoro Palace · Island Palace · Maze Island Palace · Ocean Palace · Hidden Palace · Great Palace|
|P Bag · 1-up Doll · Magical Sword · Magical Shield · Candle · Flute · Handy Glove · Hammer · Raft · Boots · Magical Key · Cross|
|Fairy Spell · Fire Spell · Jump Spell · Life Spell · Reflect Spell · Shield Spell · Spell Spell · Thunder Spell|
|Trophy · Water of Life · Kidnapped Child · Six Crystals · Triforce of Courage|
|Fairy · Hylian|
|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|