- "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 brave warriors that confronted Ganon and his army during the Imprisoning War, their bloodline carries on through the ages. It is currently unknown whether female knights exist or not.
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, Link was a Knight who served under Princess Zelda as a leader and member of the Champions. According to Purah's Diary, Link was the youngest Knight to be appointed to the Royal Family of Hyrule's Imperial Guard and due to his skill as a swordsman, was promoted to be Zelda's personal guard detail. Additionally, 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 was a Royal Knight. During his time serving the Royal Family, Link is discovered to be the chosen hero and thus will play a crucial role in the battle with Calamity Ganon.
At some point during his time as a knight, it is revealed in a Zora Stone Monument that Link once saved Zora's Domain by driving off a Lynel that came down from Ploymus Mountain and was looked up to by a group of Zora children known as the Big Bad Bazz Brigade, several of whom would later grow up to serve as members of Zora Knights.
To aid Link and Zelda, four Champions had been selected from the Gerudo, Goron, Rito, and Zora race to pilot the Divine Beasts that had been created by the Sheikah to seal Calamity Ganon. In addition to the Divine Beasts, Sheikah technology was used to create weapons for the Royal Guard to use. Though powerful, the "Royal Guard" series weapons were flawed, which made them impractical for the purpose they were created for.
The Sheikah were unable to supply Hyrule's army with more advanced ancient weaponry as the Sheikah technology researcher Robbie was more devoted to studying Guardians, an oversight he would come to regret, when Calamity Ganon used his power to corrupt and take control of both the Divine Beasts and Guardians. The four Champions were killed by the four Scourges of Ganon. Without more advanced weaponry and armor to combat the corrupted Guardians, the Knights of Hyrule and Hyrulean Soldiers could do little to stop them, resulting in the death of Zelda's father Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule and the destruction of Hyrule Castle Town. Chased by Guardians, Link and Zelda fled to Fort Hateno on the board between east and west Necluda, where Link wielded the Master Sword and made a heroic stand against the Guardian forces, though was eventually overwhelmed. Seeing Link in mortal peril, Zelda awoke her dormant powers and stopped the guardians.
Encouraged by the Spirit of the Master Sword, Zelda resolved to use her powers to seal both Ganon and herself in Hyrule Castle, while she placed the injured Link in the care of Impa and her sister Purah. Taking Link to the Shrine of Resurrection, Purah and Robbie were forced to use the untested Slumber of Restoration to save Link's life, resulting in Link sleeping for one hundred years, at the cost of losing his memories. After entrusting the Master Sword to the protection of the Great Deku Tree, Princess Zelda used her power to seal Calamity Ganon in Hyrule Castle. These events would eventually become known as the Great Calamity. King Rhoam continued to watch over Link in spirit, while Impa, Robbie, and Purah split up to ensure their chances of survival.
Realizing his mistake, Robbie became dedicated to developing Ancient Soldier Gear to aid Link in combating the Guardians when he awoke from the Slumber of Restoration, to give him an edge against the Guardians. During the Age of Burning Fields, most of the surviving knights were killed in battle or passed away during the 100 years Link slept. Link's role in defending Fort Hateno during the Great Calamity however, would be remembered by Hyrule`s people.
During his quest, Link comes across various weapons originally meant to be wielded by Knights of Hyrule, such as the Knight's Bow, Knight's Broadsword, Knight's Claymore, Knight's Halberd, and Knight's Shield. Additionally, Link also comes across the "Royal Guard" series equipment created to be used against Ganon, such as the Royal Guard's Bow, Royal Guard's Claymore, Royal Guard's Shield, Royal Guard's Spear, and Royal Guard's Sword.
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 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 The Hero Link and Hylian Captains that wear full armor). The Knight's Sword and shield appear as Link's default weapon and Link wields the Knights of Hyrule signature Hylian Shield as part of his Master Sword moveset. Hylian Captains also wield a larger version of the Hylian Shield called Holy Hylian Shields which also serves as one of their material drops. Like Link, Hyrulean Captains fight using a sword and shield based fighting style. Within the command structure of the Hyrulean Forces, the Knights appear to serve under General Impa and Princess Zelda, as well as Link once he is revealed to be an incarnation of the Legendary Hero and bearer of the Triforce of Courage.
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, Link is promoted by General Impa and given the Hero's Clothes. In the Era of Skyloft, the Knights of Skyloft are depicted wearing similar armor and wielding the same weapons as the Hyrulean Forces, further indicating a connection between the Knights of Skyloft and Knights of Hyrule (of course its possible that the developers simply used existing models instead of creating unique ones to represent the Knights of Skyloft). Fi also considers Link to be her master though she is aware he is a different incarnation of Link and not her true master (the Link of the Era of Skyloft), indicating that she recognizes that Link possesses the ability to wield her future self. In the Era of Skyloft, Ghirahim brainwashes several Knights (of Skyloft & Hyrule) to serve him causing them to betray the Hyrulean Forces and join Ghirahim's Forces. Some members of the Ghost Forces that defend the Temple of the Sacred Sword appear to be the ghosts of deceased Knights. Link later proves himself worthy of his title, after he removes the Master Sword from its sacred pedestal and possibly proving he is a member of the Knight's bloodline.
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 Knight's 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. Also if the Link and Zelda of Skyward Sword became the founders of the land that would become Hyrule, it is possible that the Knights of Hyrule could be relatives (either via blood or marriage) of the Royal Family of Hyrule or that members of the Royal Family are considered to be part of the Knight's Bloodline, a theory that may be supported by Tetra who was shown to be able to pick up and briefly wield the Master Sword before giving it back to Link during the confrontation with Ganondorf at the end of The Wind Waker.
It should be noted however, that the Master Sword seemingly lost some of its powers in that timeline, which could have extended to its restrictions as well. However it should be noted that Tetra is not the only incarnation of Zelda to be able to hold the sword as her Breath of the Wild incarnation is shown placing the sword in its pedestal within the Korok Forest, though it should be noted that this may be due to Princess Zelda being referred to as the Goddess Blood Princess, indicating that the incarnations of Zelda carry the bloodline of the Goddess Hylia's mortal incarnation (Zelda from Skyward Sword) which may explain how they are able to hold the sword as they are related to its original creator. It is also implied by the Master Sword's description in Breath of the Wild that the sword's spirit, Fi has a role in choosing who wields the Master Sword and it is implied by Zelda's comments that Fi's spirit spoke to her, indicating that Zelda's ability to hold it was due to Fi recognizing her as an ally and possibly due to her relationship to Hylia's mortal incarnation.
It should also be noted that in some cases, even those who possess the Knight's Bloodline must prove themselves worthy to wield the sword, with the requirements (aside from possessing the Knight's Bloodline) for pulling it out from the pedestal differing in each game.
Connection to the Hyrulean Soldiers
In addition to the Knights, Hyrule is also 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 of Hyrule's association with the Sages and Master Sword. One possibility is that the Knights of Hyrule is an exclusive order of Knights, while membership within the Hyrulean Soldiers is not. One possibility is that the Knights of Hyrule are in charge of leading and training Hyrulean Soldiers in the art of war, which may explain why the Hyrulean Soldiers are depicted as cowardly and ineffective in Twilight Princess. In contrast, the soldiers in the non-canon Hyrule Warriors series are depicted as braver and more competent, possibly due to training and leadership by the Knights of Hyrule, making them a stronger and more disciplined as a military force.
Royal Family of Hyrule's Imperial Guard
In Breath of the Wild, it is revealed that there is an elite group of knights who serve as the personal guards of the Royal Family of Hyrule, with Link being Captain of Princess Zelda's personal guard detail and the youngest Knight to be appointed to the Royal Guard. As the Sheikah are revealed to have been exiled due to fears of their technology being used against the people of Hyrule after Calamity Ganon's defeat 10,000 years ago, it is possible that the Royal Guard Knights replaced the Sheikah clan as protectors of the Royal Family, given the events that transpired in the story.
These knights are normally referred to as the Royal Guard, Royal Knights, or Royal Family's guard, though Purah refers to them as the Imperial Guard in her diary. As they are responsible for protecting the Royal Family and Link being appointed to them due to his skill despite his young age, it can be assumed that they are made up of the kingdom's strongest and most skilled knights.
|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|