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Iron Knuckle

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Quick Information
Appearances: AoL, OoT, MM
Order: Knight
Habitat: Dungeons
Attack Pattern: Moves slowly toward target, using a large weapon to attack. Protected by a neavy metal armor.
IronKnuckleArt AoL.jpg
Appearance: AoL
Quick Facts: Comes in orange, red, and blue. Stabs with sword, while blocking with shield. Stab randomly, or jump up and stab upper body while coming down. Rebonack, boss of Island Palace, is a blue Iron Knuckle.
IronKnuckle1 OoT.jpg
Appearance: OoT/MM
Quick Facts: Appears to be a statue until touched. Moves slowly, attacks by swinging double-sided axe. Vulnerable while attacking. Its attack cannot be blocked and does a lot of damage.


General Description

The Iron Knuckle is a large, strong warrior totally encased in metal armor. Iron Knuckles come in many forms, but they all share certain general characteristics. They move slowly and use large weapons, such as swords or axes. It is unknown what is underneath the armor, but there are indications that the Iron Knuckle is enslaved to the will of its maker, a spell which can only be broken when the Iron Knuckle is defeated.

IronKnuckle2 OoT.gif
Twinrova, the Gerudo witches, held the power to create Iron Knuckles from unwilling victims. The one specific case we know if is Nabooru, who was brainwashed by the witches and forced to serve Ganondorf. She was encased in Iron Knuckle armor, and forced to fight her former friend Link. Only when Link defeated her, cutting off all the Iron Knuckle armor, was the spell broken. From this example, one may think that all Iron Knuckles were created from unwilling victims. This may or may not be the case. Nabooru may have been brainwashed before becoming an Iron Knuckle. The spell may have been broken because she was defeated, not because the Iron Knuckle armor was stripped off. So there is some uncertainty in this area. Other Iron Knuckles may have already been Ganondorf's willing servants, though Nabooru's case certainly makes this suspect.

It is also instructive to look at the description of the Iron Knuckle given in the AoL manual. (AoL calls them Ironknuckles, while OoT and MM call them Iron Knuckles.) According to the AoL manual, Iron Knuckles were chosen by the king - presumably the same king who hid the Triforce of Courage in the Great Palace before he died. So, he chose these Iron Knuckles as guardians of his treasure, as warriors who would test the chosen hero. So it seems that Iron Knuckles, in general, are not inherently evil; they merely serve their master's bidding. (There is more on this in the Apocrypha Notes.)

The Adventure of Link

The Iron Knuckles in AoL come in several varieties. All have the same appearance: tall, armored, horned helmet, caped, covered in armor, carrying a sword and shield. They can be found in every palace, and in many caves. They come in three different colors: orange, red, and blue. The orange variety is the weakest. He walks slowly toward Link, and stabs with his sword when close enough. He will stab low and high in random succession, guarding the exposed part of his body with his shield. The strategy is to stab at him randomly, hoping you will hit him when he's unguarded. Also make sure to watch out when he strikes with his sword - always pause your attack to guard yourself. He is not vulnerable to the downthrust, since he wears a helmet.

There is also a nice trick for defeating Iron Knuckles, which works on many other similar enemies. If you jump up and toward him, for some reason he will never guard his upper body. So, if you stab out at him as you come down, you are guaranteed a hit if you time it right. Of course, nothing prevents him from stabbing you back, so this strategy should be employed with caution. For example, you don't want to do this right when he's starting to stab at your upper body, and you don't want to land on the ground right when he has his sword extended to stab your lower body.

The red Iron Knuckle is exactly like the orange one, only he is stronger. The blue Iron Knuckle is even stronger, but he has another attack available to him: knife throwing. He generally uses this as a long-range attack, but he will still throw knives even when you're close to him. This is similar to the way Link's sword works when his health is full: swing the sword and you throw a beam/sword/knife thing. Since the blue Iron Knuckle can do the same thing, this makes the strategy mentioned above even more dangerous to use, since he can get you with a knife in midair.

Rebonack, the boss of the Island Palace (palace 3), is a blue Iron Knuckle. In fact, you will see many sources refer to him simply as Iron Knuckle. (See the Apocrypha Notes below for more about this.) Rebonack rides an armored horse, which seems to float in the air. Several downthrusts will knock him off, and then he will behave just like a normal blue Iron Knuckle, albeit his block pattern is more effective and it is difficult to land a hit on him. Rebonack is one of the tougher bosses in the game, and appears in later palaces as a mini-boss.

Many palaces have statues of Iron Knuckles in them. Interestingly, if you stab them, some of them will awaken into real Iron Knuckles, while some will spill out a red magic jar. Actually, the statue itself does not seem to come alive; instead, an Iron Knuckle "pops" out of the statue. Don't ask how an Iron Knuckle can appear out of thin air, they just can...

Ocarina of Time & Majora's Mask

The Iron Knuckles in OoT and MM are significantly different from the Iron Knuckles in AoL. While the Iron Knuckles in AoL used swords, the Iron Knuckles in OoT and MM use double-sided axes. The Iron Knuckles in AoL attack on sight, but the Iron Knuckles in OoT and MM sit in their chamber until they are disturbed. They will not move until they are actually struck by a weapon, kind of like the Armos, who only comes alive when touched. The Iron Knuckles in OoT and MM also have different armor, and do not wear a helmet with horns or a cape.

The Iron Knuckle will only wake up when struck with a weapon. Walking slowly toward the enemy, the Iron Knuckle attacks only when its enemy is close enough to hit. The Iron Knuckle's axe attack is very powerful; it cannot be blocked with a shield, and it knocks Link across the room and does lots of damage. The Iron Knuckle will typically do one of three attacks. Sometimes it will raise its axe and bring it slashing down. If the target has already moved, which is quite likely given how slowly he swings the huge axe, the axe gets stuck in the ground. The Iron Knuckle is vulnerable as he slowly recovers from his efforts and pulls the axe out of the ground. The Iron Knuckle will also sometimes slash its axe horizontally twice, once in each direction. This leaves him vulnerable to attack from behind, since he does not turn to face a moving target while slashing away. It is possible to stay behind the Iron Knuckle, and keep slashing away at him, since he moves so slowly. But he will only tolerate so much of this before he swings completely around with one horizontal sweep of his axe.

After taking considerable damage, the Iron Knuckle's breastplate falls off, and the Iron Knuckle gets really angry. Now it runs toward its target - still slower than a normal walk, but still frightening since he is a hunk of metal with a lot of momentum. With part of his armor gone, it is now possible to stun the Iron Knuckle briefly when you attack it. This means that, if it starts to attack, and you get in a hit first, it won't be able to complete its attack. Before, hitting the Iron Knuckle had no effect on its movement. When defeated, the Iron Knuckle falls on its knees, clutches its chest, and disappears.

In OoT, the Iron Knuckles only appear in the Spirit Temple and in Ganon's Castle. They are presumably a Gerudo creation, since their armor has Gerudo devices on it and they are only in the service of the Gerudo. While all Iron Knuckles are of similar strength, there are several varieties of them. The most common variety wears what seems to be steel armor. Another variety, which can be found in Ganon's Castle, wears black armor, which may be iron or perhaps steel painted black. The third kind of Iron Knuckle is inhabited by Nabooru. Parts of this Iron Knuckle, like the legs and arms, are painted red, and the helmet is slightly different. When Link first encounters this Iron Knuckle, it realizes that it has no weapon. With a snap of its fingers, a double-sided axe appears in its hands out of no where. Once you knock off the armor, ALL of it falls off, and Nabooru is revealed underneath.

The same kind of Iron Knuckle also appears in MM. He can be fought underneath the graveyard in Ikana Valley, or on the moon, in the level you go to when you talk to the kid wearing Twinmold's remains. The Iron Knuckle underneath Ikana Graveyard wears gold and black. Its attacks are similar to those performed by Iron Knuckles in OoT. However, when you knock his armor off he seems to attack a little faster. And he will sometimes block your attacks by crouching down and raising his axe. This Iron Knuckle guards the spirit of Flat, who was locked in that grave by his brother, Sharp. Sharp "sold his soul to the devil," or, hints indicate that Sharp serves Majora's Mask. So the Iron Knuckle is probably a servant of Majora's Mask. The Iron Knuckle on the moon wears gold and steel. He's pretty much the standard Iron Knuckle. His presence on the moon sort of implies his servitude to Majora's Mask. Interestingly, the Curiosity Shop in Clock Town has Iron Knuckle armor in the back, though it is not for sale. This armor is golden in color, and rests its hands on a sword, or a short spear.

Oracle of Seasons

It may not actually be a regular Iron Knuckle, but General Onox has a very similar armor to that of an Iron Knuckle from OoT. However, his attack patterns are more similar to the Ball and Chain Troopers from ALttP. His weapon of choice is a spiked flail.

Miscellaneous Notes

Battle Tactics

If you want to have a little fun with the Iron Knuckle in OoT and MM, try this. You have to be a kid, and have the Hylian Shield equipped. Walk right up to the Iron Knuckle (and I mean, RIGHT next to him) and press R. If you have the Hylian Shield equipped, you should be ducking. The Iron Knuckle will swing and swing with all his might, but all his attacks will fly right over you. Kind of amusing, really. This trick also works in MM, if you use the shield and don't Z-target. You have to be careful though, because the Iron Knuckle's downward blow might hit you if you're in the wrong place.


The same thing can be done for Adult Link using Biggoron's Sword. Link will duck if he doesn't target his opponent and tries to block with this huge blade (See the image above).

The Golden Knuckle

Inside Majora Mask's Curiosity Shop you can clearly see a yellow/gold colored Iron Knuckle, standing up strait holding a long sword instead of an axe. This thing is just standing in the background and appears to be purely for decoration (e.g. you can't fight it).


Relevant Quotes

AoL Manual:

 "Iron Knuckle: An iron warrior chosen by the king.
 A strong enemy who can use a shield and sword. He
 exists in many forms."

OoT, Navi's advice:

 "Iron Knuckle - Watch out for its ax attack! It
 hurts a lot! Strike when it drops its guard!"

OoT, Navi's advice (referring to Nabooru):

 "Iron Knuckle - Something's strange... This is
 not an ordinary enemy!"

MM, Tatl's advice:

 "You know about the Iron Knuckle, right? Stay
 away from its ax attack, then look for a chance
 to retaliate."


Country Name Translation
Japanese アイアンナック (AIAN NAKKU) Iron Knuckle
English Iron Knuckle -
French Hache-Viande Meat Grinder / Meat Cleaver
German Eisenprinz Iron Prince
Spanish Knuckle de Hierro Iron Knuckle


In the Link no Bouken manual, the Japanese name for the Ironknuckle is "AIANNAKKU." This is written in katakana, so it can be considered a transliteration of "Ironknuckle" into Japanese. According to the manual, this is a warrior made of "Koutetsu." This word means steel, but it composed of the kanji for steel, "Kou," and for iron, "Tetsu." It also mentions that the Ironknuckle was chosen - but doesn't mention it being chosen by the King.

In OoT and MM, the Japanese name for the Iron Knuckle is "AIAN NAKKU," written in katakana. This is a simple transliteration of "Iron Knuckle" into Japanese.

The Spanish name, "Knuckle de Hierro," translates "iron" into Spanish, but leaves "knuckle" in English.

The French and German versions of OoT/MM have interesting variations on the standard name.

In the French versions, the name "Hache-Viande" is used. Separately, "hache" means axe and "viande" means meat. But, connected together, "hache-viande" means meat grinder or meat cleaver. This is an interesting name, considering what the Iron Knuckle can do with his large weapons.

The German versions call the Iron Knuckle the "Eisenprinz." "Eisen" means iron, and "prinz" means prince. So the Germans know the Iron Knuckle as the "Iron Prince."

Apocrypha Notes

Several apocryphal sources tell more about Iron Knuckles, and the boss Rebonack. These sources may or may not represent the intent of the original creators, so they should be taken with a grain of salt.

Two different sources tell about the boss Rebonack. The NES Atlas simply calls him Ironknuckle, and says this about him: "The knives Iron Knuckle throws are deadly, and the huge horse he rides makes him invincible to Link's attack. Link can make him dismount by jumping and using Downthrust. Once afoot, Iron Knuckle is vulnerable." The Official Nintendo Player's Guide calls him Rebonack, and says this about him: "The enemy in the third temple is Rebonack. He is a powerful knight astride a steel horse. You must first drag him off the horse by attacking his head with the Under-thrust as you jump, otherwise you won't be able to fight at his level." This same source also calls the orange Iron Knuckle "Ironnack." So perhaps its accuracy is questionable.

Comic1.jpg Comic2.jpg

As you can see, these quotes elaborate on the Iron Knuckle concept. It is by no means clear from playing the game that the blue Ironknuckle throws knives, or that Rebonack is invincible until you pull him off his horse.

Iron Knuckle/Rebonack also makes an appearance in the Valiant comics, in the "Missing in Action" episode. In the "fabled 5th palace of Hyrule," Link and Zelda come across their greatest challenge yet, Iron Knuckle. Iron Knuckle won't let Link pass. Link's sword blasts don't affect him, and he's having a tough time. When he threatens Zelda, Link leaps up on him and drags him off of his metal steed. As he hits the ground, his helmet falls off and he is revealed as a man.

Defeated, Iron Knuckle yields and tells Link that he has been waiting untold years for somebody strong enough to defeat him. Long ago, the King charged him with guarding the palace's treasure from those who are unworthy. This is an interesting precursor to the Iron Knuckle concept given in OoT, in which Nabooru is enslaved and forced to fight Link from underneath Iron Knuckle armor. The Iron Knuckle here served the king, and it seems that becoming an Iron Knuckle lengthened his life, until which time he was defeated. The man underneath the Iron Knuckle armor does not seem to be evil, although his role as guardian may have forced him to do things that may seem evil, like threaten to kill Zelda. He may have been doing this to force the best out of Link.

See also