The Zelda Series’ Most Noteworthy Thieves
Posted on April 09 2016 by Rod Lloyd
The Zelda series has always had an interesting portrayal of crime. Most characters throughout the series unwaveringly obey the law and provide us with safe world to explore, but many Zelda games still offer at least one unlawful or dishonest individual for players to meet. Many thieves have appeared throughout the series, each one serving a specific role. Some provide danger or challenge for Link to overcome, some provide moments of levity for players to enjoy during lengthy adventures, and some simply provide one extra step into making the game worlds seem that much more believable. With so many different flavors of thieves populating the series, we think it’d a good idea to examine the best, worst, and most noteworthy thieves of the Zelda series.
Note: I have decided to exclude primary antagonists from this list. We are all aware that the likes of Ganondorf, Skull Kid, and Zant are known to steal things — like Hyrule’s thrown or a demonic death mask — from time to time; it’s all par for the course in being a villain. This list will instead focus on the thieves that don’t take that fateful step into absolute evil.
Sakon (Majora’s Mask)
Let’s begin with the thief that inspired this entire article. Sakon is a resident of Termina, a jolly-looking man with a spring in his step and a wide grin on his face. With such an unassuming demeanor, most people would be surprised to learn that Sakon is actually one of Termina’s master criminals.
Most players will first encounter Sakon hiding in the shadows of
If players decide to pursue the Anju and Kafei side-quest, they will eventually learn that Kafei’s precious wedding mask was tragically stolen “by some prancing man with a grinning face.” That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Yes, it turns out Sakon is the miscreant who stole the mask, and Kafei has made it his mission to get it back. Upon further investigation, Link will learn that the “greedy thief” is actually a “regular” at
If our hero happens to visit the Curiosity Shop on the Night of the Second Day, he will find that Sakon is actually quite a stickler when comes to selling his spoils. In the most Goodfellas-esque exchange the Zelda series has ever seen, Sakon objects to the price he’s offered for his stolen Bomb Bag, exclaiming, “Don’t be such a Rupee pincher, you miser.” Sakon ultimately concedes to the shop owner’s price, but complains to Link outside that “this Curiosity Shop guy’s takin’ advantage of [him].” Sakon just wants his “fair share.” I don’t really think it’s appropriate to air one’s grievances over the price of stolen property with a child, but Sakon has already proven himself to be a bit unsubtle.
But subtlety and tact don’t necessarily prove one’s worth as a thief; no, the amount of valuables raked in is what truly proves the success of a master criminal. We learn further into the side-quest that Sakon uses a giant cave in
Link may be the only person not to be victimized by Sakon’s schemes. That doesn’t mean this jolly thief hasn’t given it a good try, saying to our hero, “Did I mention that is one niiiiice sword? Can I see it for a second?” If Tatl hadn’t shooed him off, Sakon may have very well stolen Link’s weapon. Better luck next time, you silver-tongued devil.
Thief Rating: 4 out of 5
So if Sakon was ultimately unsuccessful in stealing from Link, let’s take a look at a thief that is actually capable of such a feat. The Takkuri are a species of birds that appears in multiple games throughout the series, always antagonizing our hero by thieving various items and treasures from his inventory. The enemy class (and its black counterpart Crow) is described in The Minish Cap as: “If you touch Takkuri, he will steal Rupees from you, so be careful.” What these mischievous birds do with Link’s rupees we can’t say for certain; but as we see in Majora’s Mask, the money probably isn’t just sitting in a nest somewhere unspent.
The Takkuri of Termina take stealing from Link to an entirely different level, as evidenced by the aggressive urgency displayed by Tatl. “It’s a Takkuri. Run! This bird steals your items! C’mon! What are you doing just standing there?!” she’ll shout. Link would be smart to heed the words of this sassy fairy, because that thieving bird will steal more than just rupees in Majora’s Mask. If Link is too distracted or too dim-witted to obey Tatl’s words, the Takkuri will slam itself into Link’s skull and make off with some precious item from his inventory. Good job, Bird-Brain. Adding insult to inventory injury, Tatl will then ask, “What are you doing?!?” and point out that whatever item was just stolen by a brainless, feathery th
The Takkuri will fly toward
Link will ultimately have to swallow his pride and shell out a bundle of rupees to get his precious item back. The in-game text will then read: “You bought back the [item] that was stolen from you! From now on, be more aware of birds when you’re strolling down the road…” Those are wise words to live by, for pretty much everybody.
We may never know what the Takkuri actually does with rupees it acquires, but we can be sure that this bird is intelligent enough to understand their value and make wise business decisions accordingly. The Takkuri is a competent thief indeed.
Thief Rating: 3 out of 5
Picto Box Thief (The Wind Waker)
After a bit of exploring on
Well, upon investigating the statements of several islanders, it seems that a mysterious rapscallion was guilty of stealing a valuable device called a Picto Box. Lenzo, the Picto Box’s original owner and victim of this heinous crime, recalls the events that led to the theft: “Once, long ago, I rented a room out to a traveler for a single night. The next dawn, my precious Picto Box was stolen…” It would seem that even after receiving good tidings and welcoming hospitality, this naughty traveler still made off with Lenzo’s prized possession. A truly terrible human being indeed!
But the thief could not so easily escape retribution. While he was able slip away unnoticed during the night, the criminal was eventually caught and “held in the town jail for a long, long time!” And in that jail cell he stayed, until he presumably escaped some time later before his sentence was complete.
So let me get this straight: a man is caught and imprisoned for several years, assumedly enough time for the small town to get familiar with the way he looks. And then he escapes, leaving the town to fester in their contempt for this man and their unsatisfied need for justice. After a period of time, Tingle is captured, presumed to be the criminal everyone remembers, and placed in prison for the crime. How could anyone think Tingle was wrongfully imprisoned after all that?
I won’t jump to conclusions though. Whoever the actual perpetrator was, Link will eventually find a series of tunnels within the jail cell. Amongst a collection of rats and ominous skulls, our hero will uncover the thief’s hiding place for the Picto Box he stole so many years prior. Signs posted beside the chest chronicle the prisoner’s days of incarceration: “I have been imprisoned, but I do not give in easily! I refuse to give this wondrous box to my captors!” The thief vowed that if he could ever “successfully escape from this prison, [he] shall one day return to recover the Picto Box.”
Tingle fits pretty well into that narrative. A long-winded eccentric disappears from prison, but promises to return some day to reclaim his prize. Maybe that thief did return, was recognized by the townspeople, and was placed in jail once again only to be released by a naive boy in a green hat. Whatever the case, whether the box was taken by Tingle or someone else, that stolen property was never recovered. That criminal was caught and imprisoned for at least “a long, long time,” effectively proving his status as a really terrible thief.
Thief Rating: 1 out of 5
Blind the Thief (A Link to the Past)
Amongst the cheerful community of
It seems Blind the Thief holds quite the reputation in
ficial of the Dark Lord whilst still maintaining leadership over a devoted group of thieves and monsters. With all that in mind, I’d say that an encounter with Blind may prove too much for our young hero.
Thieves’ Town reveals even more about Blind’s power as a master thief. The dungeon holds countless treasures, each one guarded by a worthy foe or a deadly trap. Also among the hidden riches lies the Titan’s Mitt, an item that allows its wearer to lift extremely heavy objects. The Titan’s Mitt could have been a crucial tool in Blind’s thieving hey-day, as he could have lifted chests full of treasure with relative ease. All these details point to Blind’s masterful thieving craft, but Link is also soon to learn of the boss’ skill in sorcery as well.
Within the depths of Thieves’ Town, Link will find a series of jail cells, no doubt meant for the many adversaries of Blind’s gang. In the very last cell sits a downtrodden maiden, whom Link presumes is one of the seven maidens he has set out to save. “Please take me outside,” she implores, and the two make their way to the dungeon’s entrance. Only by shining a bright light at this fair maiden will Link reveal her image to be deception “by the magic of Blind.” Remember what that hip man said about Blind hating light? Anyway, this final trick cements Blind as the quintessential thief, able to transfigure his appearance to mislead potential victims.
Blind holds all essential the tools of his felonious trade. With the Titan’s Mitt, transfiguration, a loyal band of thieves behind him, and a great deal of wealth to his name, Blind truly is a legendary thief.
Thief Rating: 5 out of 5
The Gorman Brothers (Majora’s Mask)
Majora’s Mask has given us so many great thieves, hasn’t it? Anyway, the Gorman Brothers are the notably shady owners of the Gorman Track, a horse track and training center located right next to Romani Ranch. These two brothers produce an immediate sense of uneasiness, directing a good amount of hateful comments toward visitors like Link or appearing generally “suspicious” to observant passersby like the Bombers. But maybe drawing hasty conclusions about these two ranchers is unwarranted. Maybe this is how most country folk of Termina conduct their business. We’ll need some more evidence to prove that these brothers truly are the thieves this article assumes them to be.
After Link blasts away the large boulder blocking Romani Ranch’s entrance, the young hero is recruited by Cremia to assist her in delivering a shipment of milk to
Upon exiting Romani’s gate, Link and Cremia are greeted to a freshly-built fence blocking
Before long, Cremia’s wagon is overtaken by two masked figures on horseback, brandishing pitchforks that look uncannily similar to those held by the Gormans. In fact, there’s something pretty familiar about the high-pitched howls these masked bandits let out as well. I don’t want to sound like I’m stereotyping anyone, but I think these two hoodlums might actually be the Gorman Brothers, looking to steal / sabotage the inventory of their more successful competitor. Before their identities are revealed however, Link is able to keep their advances at bay with a barrage of strangely non-lethal arrow shots.
The milk is ultimately delivered safe and sound, but there still requires a bit of detective work to determine who these two midnight robbers are. If Link is to visit the Gorman Brothers’ track, he will find that they sell bottles of milk that greatly resemble that of Romani Ranch – if not a little watered down – even though they don’t seem to own any cows at all. Additionally, if Link wins a horse race against these two jokers, he will be rewarded with a Garo’s Mask, the exact same type of mask worn by the raiders. “In exchange, you can’t tell anyone where you got this,” they may say, but we all know what they’re up to. It doesn’t take a scientist to know that the Gorman Brothers are bona fide milk thieves.
I will freely admit that if Link were not there to help Cremia, the Gorman Brothers would have gotten away with a pretty big score. But considering how terrible they are at hiding the evidence, I can’t remain confident that their innocence would stand in a court of law. But until they are eventually caught for their crimes — and believe me, they will — I’d say these two horse trainers have proven to be fairly passable thieves.
Thief Rating: 3 out of 5
Stalblind (A Link Between Worlds)
We may have seen an incarnation of Thieves’ Town in a previous entry, but we’d be remiss by not mentioning the Thieves’ Town of
Luckily, none of these thieves attempt to steal from Link like the thieves of ALttP did. Instead, they’ve apparently developed a fairly elaborate culture based entirely around thieving. When asked about his life on the “rough” streets of Thieves’ Town, a Veteran Thief will say, “I don’t mind it so much. At least there’s still a strong musical culture in this town.” A musical culture, huh? That sounds… surprisingly soft for a community of seasoned thieves. We might have to look into this further.
Well, if Link wants to gain entrance into the Thieves’ Hideout, where Stalblind lies in wait, he must recite “all the words to the ultra-secret-thief-password song.” That’s right; “Nobody gets past” the sentry without singing a song. I give the gang points for original security measures (something Sakon may need to learn from), but singing a sonnet doesn’t strike me as inherently intimidating. Especially when Link can learn the individual phrases of the song by listening to a bard sing in the Milk Bar or overhearing a villager sing in the shop.
Security systems aren’t necessarily impenetrable when anyone can gain access by just taking in some local entertainment. Not to mention that when Link actually enters the Thieves’ Hideout for the first time, he is assumed to be a new recruit and given full reign to walk around the dungeon unmolested. Good job, Thieves’ Town.
In the end, Link’s newly learned song sounds something like this:
“A smart thief fears the boss’s wrath! I’d rather be on a cliff walkin’ a narrow path.
Sometimes it hurts too much t’care. Ya think knowledge is power, but it’s really despair.
Every time I say I’m a-leavin’, this accursed life sets me right back to theivin’.”
The song sure references the unlawful, yet romanticized lifestyle of a thief, but the actions thus far of Thieves’ Town have done little to convince me that these people are truly excellent pilferers.
Let’s look more to Stalblind then, the “boss” whose “wrath” any “smart thief” would want to avoid. When asked if he’s “met the boss of [the] little village here,” Link learns that Stalblind is “busy stashin’ away that new painting he’s got. Thing must be worth a fortune…” Well, that at least proves that Stalblind is capable of stealing expensive goods, a cornerstone trait of any good thief. Additionally, his hideout holds just as many rupees as Blind’s did back in ALttP, as well as a valuable specimen of Master Ore — which some fans theorize to be at a huge premium. I guess Stalblind is a successful thief after all, even if his gang is more musically-inclined than his Dark World counterpart.
Upon entering the Boss Room, Link is greeted by Stalblind’s booming voice and hideous appearance. He definitely gets points for an intimidating appearance. But unlike Blind, this boss never demonstrates the powers of transfiguration. As much as I’d like to hope that he shares this trait with Blind, I can’t in the right mind assume something that crucial in concluding Stalblind’s worth as a thief. We’ll instead have to base that conclusion on the curious location of his most valuable treasure.
After Link defeats Stalblind in battle, he learns of where the thief boss has been hiding his painting of Osfala. Funnily enough, the painting was never in Thieves’ Hideout at all, but in a small shack directly next to it. Yes, rather than locking this important item behind his truly impeccable security system, Stalblind decided to hide it behind a small, wooden door in the middle of town, where any young Thief Girl could mistakenly stumble in and find it. Stalblind might be smart enough to steal the biggest pieces of treasure, but he has some issues to fix when it comes to securing them.
Stalblind built himself a hefty thieving community — with a considerable bounty of stolen goods and an enthusiastic community of thieves around him — but his shortcomings and oversights keep him from measuring up to the unquestionably superior Blind.
Thief Rating: 4 out of 5
Strange Brothers (Oracle of Seasons)
Upon one of Link’s many visits to Subrosia in Oracle of Seasons, our hero finds himself accosted by two Subrosians named the Strange Brothers. At first, it seems as though Link has accidentally jumped in front of these two frolicking brothers, causing his precious Roc’s Feather to fall to the ground. Surely these Subrosians will forgive Link’s carelessness and admirably return the feather to this green-clad stranger, right? Nope. It is in this moment that the Strange Brothers reveal themselves as a couple of crafty hustlers.
They surround the Roc’s Feather with greedy curiosity, asking, “What’s that? It’s so weird.” Then, without even waiting for a response from our dazed hero, the Subrosians eagerly suggest to “trade” some “ore for it,” snatching the feather and cunningly placing a rock into Link’s inventory. “Thanks!” they shout, as they leave Link to process the strange circumstances that just occurred. Two hooligans forcibly knocked him to the ground, initiated an unclear trade without his consent, pocketed his Roc’s Feather before he could get a word in, and then disappeared in to the Subrosian wilds. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m pretty sure Link has been swindled.
Upon further inspection of the peculiar rock Link now holds in his possession, it is revealed that the Strange Brothers had actually left him “Fool’s Ore,” a mineral that even the in-game prompt knows is absolutely “no good!” Link is then given a new purpose dictated by the tenants of honor and justice: he needs to “get [that] feather back!” Thus begins our hero’s frantic search for the no-good rascals that stole his feathery jump-boon.
After stalking the criminals to a house a bit away from the scene of the crime, Link overhears the brothers discussing the next step in their heinous plot. “Let’s go bury some treasure. Make sure no one sees us. If anyone does, run!” they shout, not noticing Link standing but three feet away. They then rush into their back yard, a wooded area appropriately named Treasure Grove. After a tense stealth section — an undying staple of the Zelda series — the Strange Brothers bury the feather in the most conspicuous plot of soil ever, saying, “That’s good! Come on! Let’s go find more treasure!” Link is then left to dig up the Roc’s Feather without issue.
It’s not completely clear what the Strange Brothers intend to do with the treasure they steal. Do they plan to one day sell the goods for monetary gain, or do they simply like to bury treasure because it’s fun? We may never know for sure, but we do know that their methods leave a lot to be desired. After an unquestionably successful hustle, these brothers fail every thief tactic from that point forward. They leave an obvious trail to follow, they announce their plans loudly for all to hear, they fail to notice people that may be in pursuit, and they bury their treasure in obvious locations.
They may make good thieves with enough practice, but as of right now, the Strange Brothers are a couple of amateurs.
Thief Rating: 2 out of 5
The Gerudo (Ocarina of Time)
And so we end our list with perhaps the Zelda series’ most well-know group of thieves, the Gerudo. First seen in Ocarina of Time, the Gerudo are slowly introduced as Link’s adventure unfolds. Friendly owl Kaepora Gaebora tells our young hero that in the “west, you’ll find
After seven years however, Link is given his own first-hand experience with the dreaded Gerudo thieves. Our hero travels into the aged
Having accepted Mutoh’s request to rescue his crew, Link ventures into the heart of the Gerudo’s Fortress, a well-guarded and well-fortified lair with a several jail cells and a labyrinthine layout. Right off the bat, the fortress certainly proves the Gerudo as an intimidating and well-structured army of warriors. Every hallway has a sentry, and every turn could potentially lead Link into a trap. There exists a strong possibility that Link will be caught and thrown straight into Gerudo prison, left in a pit alone with no further questions asked.
But even with all this security, I will say this: the Gerudo do seem to underestimate our hero in green quite a lot. Even though he may be constantly thrown in prison, the guards never remove Link’s weapon and equipment, leaving him capable of escaping unhindered again and again. Link may just be a special kind of person though; as admitted later, he has “a lot of guts.”
However, when it comes to catching random, everyday infiltrators, the Gerudo are completely effective. This fact is proven as Link finds all four of the missing carpenters locked up in cells, left to rot for an undetermined amount of time. When Link attempts to free these men, he is confronted by a high-ranking Gerudo official and must defend himself through swordplay. Link is without a doubt a master swordsman by this point, but the Gerudo fighter is no pushover either. If Link lets his guard down for even a moment, his opponent may easily subdue him with a spinning strike and stick him right back in prison.
But of course Link does eventually prove the superior swordfighter, earning the respect of the Gerudo and receiving an offer to join their ranks. The Gerudo official acknowledges that “to get past the guards” throughout the fortress, Link “must have good thieving skills,” a refined competency in stealth, cunning, and combat. This shows that the Gerudo value honorable qualities in a thief; they admire a strong and able warrior, not necessarily a crafty person who simply deceives potential victims.
This fact is further supported by the massive and cleverly-constructed Gerudo’s Training Ground, a dangerous dungeon filled with some of Ocarina of Time‘s most difficult puzzles and traps. Only the best thieves are going to come out of that place alive. The Training Grounds, along with the
Lastly, just to acknowledge one final strength in the Gerudo’s plundering résumé, we can take a look at the treasure these ladies have amassed. Within the Training Ground alone, Link can find hundreds of rupees and the legendary Ice Arrows. These valuables, along with rupees found around other parts of the fortress and those no doubt laying in the Gerudos’ deep pockets, definitively show how successful a nation of honored thieves can be.
The Gerudo prove themselves to be strong, resourceful, organized, and intimidating. They embody everything an excellent thief should strive to be, ensuring continued success and continued notoriety as thieving masters. They have all the skills, the defenses, the numbers, and the valuables, and many people want to be like them. The Gerudo are definitely some of Zelda‘s best thieves.
Thief Rating: 5 out of 5
So there you have it: The Legend of Zelda‘s most noteworthy thieves. It’s entirely likely that we’ve left some other important thieves off the list, so feel free to share your favorites in the comments below.
And if you’d like to read a bit more about the thieving nonsense of our beloved hero Link, and the characters that refuse to put up with him, check out my prevoius article right here.
You may have noticed a severe lack of pirates on this list; pirates are of course thieves of the sea. Well, you might just be seeing a list of Zelda‘s most noteworthy pirates sometime in the near future. Keep your eyes out!
- Takkuri Art by Brendan Milos
Rod Lloyd is the Editor-In-Chief at Zelda Dungeon, overseeing the news and feature content for the site. Rod is considered the veteran of the writing team, having started writing for Zelda Informer in 2014 as a Junior Editor. After ZD and ZI officially merged in 2017, he stepped into the Managing Editor role and has helped steer the ship ever since. He stepped up to lead the writing team as Editor-In-Chief in 2023.
You can reach Rod at: firstname.lastname@example.org