This is a previously featured article

"These armor-clad soldiers are tough. Use your shield and rolling skills to find an opening in their defenses..."

Darknuts (タートナック Tātonakku?, Tartnuc), also known as Dark Nuts, are recurring enemies in the Legend of Zelda series. They are slow moving yet powerful knights, best known for their defensive capabilities. Typically, the thick armor and sturdy shields of Darknuts render them nearly impervious to frontal attacks, forcing their opponents to circle around and strike from behind. Their erratic movement patterns also tend to be quite a challenge, one that is only compounded when they appear in groups. Occasionally, their armor may be removed, revealing the creature underneath, which changes from game to game.


The Legend of Zelda

A red Darknut from The Legend of Zelda
A blue Darknut from The Legend of Zelda

Darknuts resemble caped knights. They come in red and blue varieties and are only a danger when Link comes in direct contact with them. Red Darknuts move slowly, deal one heart of damage if Link has no rings equipped, and require four hits from the Wooden Sword to be defeated. Blue Darknuts move much more rapidly, require twice as many hits to defeat, and deal twice as much damage. Darknuts are impervious to attacks from the front, which are blocked by their shields, but are easily weakened by bombs.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

A Darknut from Link's Awakening

Darknuts are heavily-armored soldiers that have guarded the exterior and interior of Kanalet Castle since they chased off their liege, Richard. Due to their more civil role, it is unknown whether Darknuts are human or monster in this installment.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages & Oracle of Seasons

A red Darknut from Oracle of Ages and Seasons
A blue Darknut from Oracle of Ages and Seasons

Darknuts come in red and blue varieties. There are two subtypes: some wield a sword and charge toward Link when they see him; others throw spears from a distance. The latter do not wield swords, and cannot block attacks from the front.

In Oracle of Seasons, Darknuts can be pushed and pulled using the Magnetic Gloves, their heavy armor reacting to the magnetism. Additionally, a Golden Darknut appears on the Western Coast during spring.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords

A Darknut from Four Swords

Darknuts appear as mini-bosses. They are vulnerable only to strikes from the side or rear, as their front is well-guarded. Darknuts tend to be quite nimble, making them considerably difficult opponents.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Artwork of a Darknut from The Wind Waker

Darknuts are first encountered within the Tower of the Gods, where one serves as a mini-boss guarding the Hero's Bow. They are next seen in Hyrule Castle in the sunken land of Hyrule, caught in stasis. They are also found throughout the Great Sea in Hidden Holes. Some are armed only with large swords, others bear shields, and some even wear protective capes that must be burned or cut off. These enemies can be stripped of their armor and helmets by parrying or sneaking up behind them. With the fully powered Master Sword just hitting their armor can get rid of it. Once Darknuts have lost their armor, their defensive capabilities are weakened, but they gain more dexterity. Their true appearance is also revealed upon losing their helmets; underneath their armor, they bear physical similarities to canines.

When disarmed, Darknuts utilize a simple form of martial arts that includes a straight-palm punch and a roundhouse kick. If given the chance, a Darknut will run and pick up the sword it dropped, the sword of another disarmed Darknut, or even the weapon of another type of enemy. If a disarmed Darknut has not yet retrieved its sword, Link can pick it up and use it himself. A quick way to slay unarmored Darknuts is to shoot one with an Ice Arrow and then immediately swing the Skull Hammer sideways, shattering the ice and subsequently defeating the Darknut. This must be done quickly, as Darknuts can break out of ice much more quickly than other enemies. Darknuts can also be stunned with the Boomerang after their helmet is knocked off. Upon defeat, Darknuts drop Knight's Crests, which they wear as belts. Knight's Crests can also be obtained by using the Grappling Hook on Darknuts, but only after their helmets have been removed.

Despite their burly appearance and bulky bodies, unarmored Darknuts are astoundingly nimble. They remain impressively strong, able to break the stone pillars found in the Tower of the Gods and the Savage Labyrinth in two with their bare hands. They are also able to dodge Link's sword and Grappling Hook if L-Targeted which can give a Darknut a counterattack that attacks by round jumping and slashing their sword downward heavily if equipped. Getting hit by this attack is very dangerous because Link will be sent flying and lose two full Hearts of his health. Like Moblins and Bokoblins, Darknuts will flee from Bombs after being damaged by one the first time. If Link tries to charge up a Spin Attack, armed Darknuts will attempt to do the same; they can even imitate the Hurricane Spin. In fact, Link can exploit this ability by grouping Darknuts together and performing the Hurricane Spin nearby, causing the Darknuts to imitate it and possibly cut each other's capes and armor straps or hit other enemies in the process.

Interestingly, on the armor and shield of the Darknut is an emblem that resembles two Magtails. Also, they are much faster than their Twilight variant, armored or unarmored.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

A Dark Nut from The Minish Cap
A red Dark Nut from The Minish Cap

Dark Nuts are heavily armored, dwarfing Link in size and coming in many varieties. They are similar in appearance to the Darknuts from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. They can be stunned with bombs or with a sword hit to their only vulnerable spot, their caped backs. The Great Spin Attack can be used to defeat them relatively easily. Remote Bombs are especially useful when battling Dark Nuts; interestingly, Link can throw Remote Bombs without detonating them to easily inflict damage. Dark Nuts can also easily be defeated by utilizing the Dash Attack and running straight through them; Link can then turn around and run through them again while their backs are facing him to deal damage. If Link has learned the Great Spin Attack, he can use this to force the Dark Nuts to raise their shields, then edge around their open sides as he continues spinning.

Red Dark Nuts have a powerful sword thrust attack. A special classification of Dark Nut, the Royal Dark Nut, is only seen in Dark Hyrule Castle. The strongest of these is the Black Knight, who appears first as a mini-boss, and again in the company of several other Royal Dark Nuts, in an attempt to prevent Link from interrupting Vaati's ritual. After encountering them, he may randomly see them in Simon's Simulations.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

A Darknut from Twilight Princess

Darknuts are encountered in the later stages of the game. They wield broad swords or large maces, and are clad in plate armor that must be sliced off, piece by piece, in order to deal any real damage to them; they also wield shields to block frontal attacks. Aside from Mortal Draws, fully armored Darknuts are capable of blocking any attack or weapon that Link employs, and can only be hit with direct strikes immediately before or after they attack. For example, if Link L-targets, jumps back when a Darknut performs a vertical slice, and executes a Jump Attack before the Darknut lifts his sword again, he should be able to connect with several strikes. Also, if a Bomb Arrow, bomb, or Bombling detonates to a Darknut's side or back, the Darknut typically does not attempt to block the explosion, which can remove much of its armor.

When all of their plate armor has been removed, Darknuts' true, decidedly humanoid appearance is revealed. Now clad only in chain mail, they throw their large weapon at Link and draw a smaller longsword. With these lighter weapons and armor, Darknuts' defenses are not as impenetrable as before, but their decreased weight allows them dexterity and agility rivaling that of Link, whom they still outrange. This allows Darknuts to block or evade almost every attack Link can use. The easiest way to defeat them is to use a strong attack that knocks them off balance, such as a Jump Attack or Back Slice, opening their defenses for Link to connect with several ordinary sword strikes. This is especially easy if Link starts out with a faster move such as a regular sword strike or a Shield Attack; this is a safe way to force a Darknut to block, thus giving Link a chance to perform a Jump Attack without risk of the Darknut dodging and counterattacking. Additionally, explosives such as Bomb Arrows continue to be effective if aimed at a Darknut's side or back. Also, Wolf Link can deliver blows to them with his speed and agility during the second stage, thus making it slightly quicker.

The first Darknut Link encounters serves as the mini-boss of the Temple of Time. After that, several others appear as enemies in some forced battles in the Cave of Ordeals and in Hyrule Castle. They fight alone, or in groups of two, three, or even four. These Darknuts individually have much less health than the mini-boss, but when they fight together, they become much more dangerous.

Interestingly, Darknuts display various colors and styles of armor. This may indicate different ranks among them.

Other Appearances

Subseries warning: This article or section contains information on a subseries within the Legend of Zelda series and should be considered part of its own separate canon.

Link's Crossbow Training

A Darknut appears as the boss of the Darknut Battle stage. It looks exactly the same as Darknuts from Twilight Princess, but has a different set of attacks. As in Twilight Princess, its armor gradually falls off as it sustains damage. However, it also splits into hundreds of bat-like pieces, some of which seem to be luminous, and give Link more points if he shoots them. Additionally, when in humanoid form, the Darknut has the ability to send Keese flying at Link by slashing with its sword. It also sends a small number of larger flying creatures worth 100 points each at Link.

Hyrule Warriors & Hyrule Warriors Legends

Promotional Render of a Darknut from Hyrule Warriors

Darknuts appear as enemy captains/enforcers, and are based on their Twilight Princess incarnations. The Darknut's armor cannot be knocked off in this appearance, and they are strong enemies once again. From a gameplay standpoint they use the same fighting style as Stalmasters.

Like several other enemies in Hyrule Warriors, Darknuts are allied to the player in some parts of either the story or Adventure Mode. Additionally Darknuts have dialogue for the first time during Ganondorf's Return story scenario. Ganondorf can rescue six Rogue Darknuts imprisoned in three side areas of Gerudo Desert by defeating the Gatekeepers holding them prisoner. These Darknuts along with the Stalfos and Stalchildren will be persuaded to serve him and bolstering Ganondorf's Forces (in Legends Ghirahim, Zant, and Ganondorf must prevent the Lizalfos Prison Guards of the Monster Forces from recruiting the Darknuts in order to convince them to join Ganondorf's Forces). They are strong against frontal attacks but weak against rear attacks. The best way to get them to expose their weak point meter is to attack them from the front then quickly get behind them. If hit by the Boomerang while one is preparing to unleash its dual sword attack, their attack will be interrupted, causing their weak point gauge to become exposed (in Hyrule Warriors Legends a Boomerang icon will appear over the Darknut to signal when they are vulnerable to the Boomerang).

In Adventure Mode, Darknuts are represented using the 8-Bit sprites of Blue Darknuts from The Legend of Zelda on the Adventure Map.

Though non-canon, Darknuts are considered to be Undead enemies in the Hyrule Warriors series, as they are listed along with other undead enemies (such as Gibdo, ReDead Knights, and Stalmasters) in the VS Undead weapon skill which increases the damage done to undead enemies.

Dark Darknut

Dark Darknut's dialog box portrait from Hyrule Warriors

There is also a special type of Darknut known as Dark Darknuts, which are depicted as Twilit versions of Darknuts encountered in the Land of Twilight story scenario as Keep Bosses in Twilight keeps controlled by Midna's Forces. They are also encountered in Adventure and Challenge Mode. In Hyrule Warriors Legends, they appear in Linkle's Tale: Her True Self as members of Dark Twili Midna's Forces along with Dark Aeralfos.

Subseries warning: Subseries information ends here.

Non-canonical appearances

Non-canon warning: This article or section contains non-canonical information that is not considered to be an official part of the Legend of Zelda series and should not be considered part of the overall storyline.

The Legend of Zelda animated series

In the episode "That Sinking Feeling", Link and Zelda encounter a Darknut as they journey through the Underworld. The Darknut blocks most of Link's sword attacks and strikes him, knocking Link to the ground. As the Darknut is poised to finish him, Link kicks the Darknut's ankle causing it to fall and allowing Link to deliver the finishing blow. The Darknut leaves behind a Magic Bracelet, which proves to be useful later on in the battle against Ganon.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

A Darknut from The Wind Waker is featured as a sticker. Its sticker gives a +13 bonus to slash attacks, and can only be applied to Link, Toon Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf. Also, a Darknut from Twilight Princess appears as a trophy.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS

Darknuts appear as enemies in the Smash Run game mode with their Twilight Princess design. A Darknut also appears as a trophy.

Non-canon warning: Non-canonical information ends here.


It is possible that the Japanese for Darknut, タートナック (Tātonakku), was intended to represent the English words "Dark Knight," especially considering the nature of the enemy in question and Japanese conventions for representing English with katakana. The localization team may not have realized what the katakana was attempting to borrow from English, with the series recycling the original mistranslation throughout the games rather than correcting it. However, this raises the question of why ダークナイト (Dākunaito) was not simply used instead, as it more accurately represents "Dark Knight" phonetically.

It should also be noted that Darknut and Iron Knuckle アイアンナック (Aiannakku) share the same katakana ending. This poses further questions as to the translations of both names: Darknut could have been "Dark Knuckle", and Iron Knuckle could have been "Iron Nut" or "Iron Knight".



See also