The iconic Hylian Shield is the instantly recognizable shield that the Knights of Hyrule use, as well as the main shield equipped by Link in nearly every 3D Legend of Zelda game. The first major upgrade from the wooden shield that Link traditionally starts with, the Hylian Shield will protect the hero from fireballs and other threats that the wooden shields are vulnerable to. The Hylian Shield’s smaller size and lightweight construction make it the perfect shield to wield with one hand while having the other free to use a sword, and its iconic appearance remains consistent throughout all of its appearances.
Hylian Shields are constructed from steel, helping them to be flame-resistant and durable while still lightweight enough for Link to simultaneously wield the Master Sword. The emblem of the Triforce appears at the top of the shield, with the Hylian Crest directly underneath. Thanks to the events of Skyward Sword, it’s now clear that the Hylian Crest is representative of Link’s crimson loftwing, and the shield makes its first canonical appearance in the game as well. The first chronological appearance of the Hylian Sheild, however, comes to players via Ocarina of Time.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The iconic shield makes its first series appearance in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, where Link can either purchase or find it during his child era. Thanks to child Link’s small stature, he’s incapable of actually wielding the shield but instead wears it on his back and uses it like a steel turtle shell. This “turtle shell” approach to the Hylian Shield is helpful while traversing Death Mountain, blocking Link from the raining eruptions of flaming rocks. Once Link is an adult and in possession of the Master Sword, he can successfully wield the Hylian Shield with one hand and the “sword of evil’s bane” with the other.
Players can purchase the Hylian Shield from the Bazaar in Hyrule Castle Town, although there is a trick to being able to receive a discount. If players talk with the guard at the gate leading from Kakaraiko Village to Death Mountain and then return to the Bazaar, the shop owner will give Link a random discount in intervals of 5, making the shield decrease in price from 80 Rupees to any number between 45 and 75 Rupees. Additionally, players can get lucky and find a free Hylian Shield by opening one of the graves in Kakariko Village Graveyard during nighttime.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
The Hylian Shield takes a break from appearing in The Wind Waker but shows up again in the next mainline 3D Zelda game Twilight Princess. In the first Zelda game for the Wii, players can first purchase the Hylian Shield after helping to establish the new Malo Mart in Kakariko Village. The shield costs 200 Rupees at Malo Mart, but Link can also purchase it from a Goron in Hyrule Castle Town for a slight premium of 210 Rupees. The Hylian Shield is practically essential for the next dungeon players will attempt at this point in the game, the Goron Mines.
While the design of the shield is practically identical to its first incarnation in Ocarina of Time, the advancements in visual fidelity on the GameCube and Wii compared to the Nintendo 64 help to make the design appear in much greater detail. Finer points of ornate steel decoration and construction are now visible, and both the emblem of the Triforce and the Hylian Crest are much larger and have greater definition. In addition to deflecting damage from fire, the Hylian Shield also protects Link from enemy arrows.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Outside of changing art styles to better fit the visual aesthetic and direction of Skyward Sword, the appearance of the Hylian Shield in the earliest canonical Zelda game is mostly identical to how it appears in Twilight Princess. While both games use motion controls on the Wii, the enhanced motion controls of Skyward Sword allow players to wield the Hylian Shield with the Wii’s Nunchuck controller, raising it and pushing the shield forward to strike enemies and deflect blows. Interestingly, as the first version of the shield in the Zelda timeline, it features slightly brighter coloration than its counterparts.
Link acquires the Hylian Shield in Skyward Sword as his reward for completing eight rounds in the Thunder Dragon Lanayru’s Lightning Round challenge. Unlike other shields in Skyward Sword, the Hylian Shield is indestructable and has a permanently glowing durability bar as a visual reminder of its special qualities. There is no better shield upgrade available in Skyward Sword than the Hylian Shield, making it one of the few games in the series with the Hylian Shield as the best shield Link can acquire.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Much like Skyward Sword, the Hylian Shield is the best possible shield upgrade Link can obtain in the excellent 3DS-exclusive The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Players will find the shield as a treasure awaiting them inside the game’s version of the iconic Turtle Rock dungeon, and it behaves similarly to how one would expect based on its other appearances in the Zelda series. Link can now defend against fireballs and magic beams, but unforuntatey cannot reflect them back. The Hylian Shield’s design in A Link Between Worlds is actually much closer to its incarnation in Twilight Princess, with the Triforce emblem and Hylian creast appearing large enough to cover most of the sheild’s surface area.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Zelda series’ most iconic shield makes an appearance in Breath of the Wild as the best shield in the game, especially combined with the Durability Up + or Guard Up + modifiers. Players can find Breath of the Wild‘s Hylian Shield inside a treasure chest within the Lockup of Hyrule Castle, with a Stalnox standing guard just outside. It has the highest durability and defense ratings of any shield in the game, but it is still susceptible to breaking like the other weapons and shields in Breath of the Wild.
After obtaining the shield within the treasure chest at Hyrule Castle’s Lockup, players can purchase another one from Granté in Tarrey Town as long as they don’t already have a spare in their possession. The Hylian Shield costs 3000 Rupees and cannot utilize any modifiers like the one found inside Hyrule Castle. Still, regardless of modifiers, the Hylian Shield is far and away the best shield players can acquire and is great for taking on Guardians and deflecting their blasts right back to them.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
As many would likely expect, the Hylian Shield appears once again in the latest Zelda game, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. And, much like how players obtain it in Breath of the Wild, it’s possible to get the shield at any point in the game from a very specific location on the map. Players can find Tears of the Kingdom‘s Hylian Shield at the docks underneath Hyrule Castle, which are at the following map coordinates: -0161, 1159, 0037. But, simply getting there isn’t quite enough to get the shield, which also happens to be the best one available in Tears of the Kingdom.
After either building a boat or using the materials on the western side of the Hyrule Castle Moat, steer the vessel using whatever means possible to reach the northwest area of the moat and find a dock. From here, players should be able to spot an opening in the wall which they’ll need to sail their boat into. After veering off to the left and climbing up to the stone docks, prepare to fight some Gloom Hands. It’s possible to run past the enemies and not fight them, but having some Bomb Flower Arrows can make short work of them.
Unfortunately, defeating the Gloom Hands is simply the appetizer to a confrontation with a Phantom Ganon enemy. After defeating (or running from) Phantom Ganon, climb the nearby stairs to find some lit braziers surrounding a larger unlit brazier. Lighting this central brazier using any means possible to start a fire will spawn a treasure chest containing the Hylian Shield. The Hylian Shield has the best defense and durability of any shield in Tears of the Kingdom, but bear in mind that it can still break.