If you were to ask me, “What is your favorite video game ever made?”
I would have to say Cory in the House for the Nintendo
But Hollow Knight would be a close second.
Hollow Knight was released on February 24th, 2017 by Team Cherry, an indie game studio
based in the mythical land of Adelaide, South Australia.
Over the past three years, Hollow Knight has become an indie darling.
The game has sold over three and a half million copies, it was the opening game at AGDQ 2019.
There’s a Hollow Knight book, a line of plushies, T-shirts, nicotine patches, nuclear
warheads, and even vinyl records for all you goddamn hipsters.
Team Cherry had one goal when making Hollow Knight.
They wanted to create a world that allowed players to get completely lost in exploration.
We can see this desire in Hollow Knight’s design.
The levels in Hollow Knight are massive, with secrets and rewards hidden in every nook and
cranny, be that powerful charms, special abilities or uhh...
The game’s navigation system requires the player to work for their map, forcing them
to make a stronger mental image of the world in their head.
Christopher Larkin’s score and Ari Gibson’s artwork lend to this as well, creating an
atmosphere that the player won’t want to leave.
But there’s one aspect of Hollow Knight that keeps people like me coming back: the
When Super Metroid launched in 1994, it stood out for its amazing sense of immersion.
Now in 1994, I was busy not being alive, but I’ve watched enough YouTube video essays
to know that this game was a big deal.
In case you didn’t know, Super Metroid is basically the granddaddy of all Metroidvanias.
That’s why they’re called “MetroidVANIAs”.
Now in Super Metroid, there are moments that give the player a sense of depth.
Basically the feeling that this world exists outside of Samus’ interactions with it.
In the room right before that diabetic crocodile thing, Samus can find the corpse of a random
His inclusion here doesn’t change the gameplay at all, but instead gives the player a sense
of wonder about the world they are exploring.
Who was this guy?
Why was he here in the first place?
Did he like jazz?
Now finding dead bodies and other random garbage is pretty cool, right?
Well, Hollow Knight basically does the same thing.
About a dozen times.
Through its world building, Hollow Knight turns Hallownest into a living kingdom.
You can sense the ancient history of the land when you look at dilapidated structures or
giant barred doors.
Nothing feels like it was put into the game randomly; there’s a reason for it all.
Except those reasons aren’t the easiest to uncover.
Hollow Knight’s narrative is buried under layers of NPC dialogue, item descriptions,
lore tablets, and even additional content like the Quirrel comic and Fangamer’s Wanderer’s
These past three years have seen an insane amount of research by the Hollow Knight community
to make sense of Team Cherry’s sprawling world.
We’ve even made it to the point where people are looking at the in-game signs to try and
decipher Hallownest’s logographic language.
In this video, I hope to give you a long and detailed look into the world of Hollow Knight,
exploring Hallownest’s history and uncertain future.
When I’m not busy making surprisingly accurate Super Smash Brothers roster speculation videos,
or insightful podcasts about beloved subjects like the Donkey Kong Country television series,
or whatever this was supposed to be, I’m usually making videos about Hollow Knight.
And while I am a seasoned Hollow Knight lore expert, I cannot confirm that every musing
or theory presented in this video is completely correct.
I highly recommend checking out the lore section of the Hollow Knight Wiki if you want a more
neutral explanation of Hollow Knight’s lore.
But if you’re too lazy to read, then I suggest you sit back, order some Domino’s pizza
or just grab a block of cheese from the fridge, and enjoy the mostly complete lore of Hollow
It’s a simple fact of life that every human worships a god, be that technology, ideologies,
or in rare cases, God.
As it turns out, the bugs in Hallownest pretty much operate in the same way.
From the mosskin born from the dream of a giant slug, to the emo kids of the Ancient
Civilization who literally worshipped the darkness, there is no shortage of things to
worship in the world of Hollow Knight.
Our story begins with a creature very much worthy of worship: a creature born from the
carcass of a Wyrm.
The carcass can still be found in the Kingdom’s Edge and it’s our only good look at what
Wyrms actually looked like.
At the time Hollow Knight occurs, it is suggested there are no Wyrms left in the world.
They were incredibly long creatures that featured little to no limbs.
Another, more mysterious property of Wyrms was that they had some kind of prescience
Basically, they could see the future to some capacity.
It isn’t clear how effective this ability was.
Considering how the entire race went extinct, this foresight ability must have been pretty
Getting back to this particular Wyrm carcass, it is explained that this Wyrm traveled across
the distant mountains and wastelands beyond Hallownest.
Once it arrived in Hallownest, the Wyrm died.
Except not really.
Inside the maw of the carcass sits a pale, broken egg, out of which hatched a new form
of Wyrm, a being of meager shell.
This form of the Wyrm is usually referred to as the Pale King, and he’s the character
basically responsible for everything that happens in Hollow Knight.
The Pale King is a higher being, a type of creature that exists above all others.
His body was said to shine with a radiant vistage that harmed those who looked upon
The ultimate goal of the Pale King seemed to be in line with that of other Wyrms.
A line from the cryptic Mister Mushroom reads:
...Wyrms pull bugs into their thrall, Till ages pass and kingdoms fall,
In other words, it’s just in their nature.
Dogs wag their tails, cats bury their shit, and Wyrms bring massive amounts of bugs into
their service in order to form long standing kingdoms and civilizations.
And here in a far corner of the world, the Pale King emerged from the corpse of his former
self and began to build his eternal kingdom, Hallownest.
There’s just one slight problem.
There’s like… people already living there.
The area that would eventually become Hallownest was already filled with mantises, bees, moths,
spiders, mushrooms, and bush cosplayers.
Each of these groups were already operating with their own cultures and societies, and
each group had a different interaction with the Pale King.
One of the more receptive groups to the arrival of the Pale King were the mushrooms of the
These creatures were able to communicate with one another through one shared mind.
The mushrooms viewed this shared mind as a strength, and they were kinda smug dickheads
Ultimately, the mushrooms wearly accepted the Pale King’s rule, viewing his foresight
as a shield to the dangers of the future.
Another group living in the Fungal Wastes is the Mantis Tribe.
The mantises have a rich cultural history reaching back to long before the birth of
The mantises are a proud tribe, believing in the importance of proving one’s physical
The mantises are fiercely territorial but will show respect to those who display great
These Fight Club enthusiasts were lead by four powerful Mantis Lords who I guess just
kinda sat around waiting for outsiders to challenge them.
The Mantis Tribe had no interest in the Pale King’s kingdom, but the two communities
did come to a truce.
In exchange for their independence from Hallownest, the Mantis Tribe kept the beasts of Deepnest
from invading Hallownest.
Not sure why they didn’t just go out the other exits from Deepnest, but whatever.
I’m not an expert on border patrol.
I don’t work at ICE anymore.
Let’s move on to Deepnest.
Now many of the different tribes of Hallownest were kind enough to leave lore tablets behind
detailing pretty much everything we need to know about them.
Unfortunately the bugs of Deepnest didn’t do that.
We know that the spiders of Deepnest had a monarchy because why not.
Those are always good, right?
Also within Deepnest are a separate group of spiders that immigrated to Deepnest at
some point in the past.
This group was known as the Weavers, and they established their own culture and history
They used looms of silk to weave stories, spells and shields.
One thing we know for sure about Deepnest is that they really didn’t want anything
to do with Hallownest.
The struggles of Deepnest-Hallownest relations would become painfully clear as time goes
on, but for right now, it seems like the two remained fairly isolated from one another.
Another section of pre-Hallownest includes Greenpath.
Now as far as we can tell, the Mushrooms, Mantises and spiders of Deepnest didn’t
worship any Higher Beings.
There is this giant mushroom corpse in the Fungal Core, but I don’t think this is a
I mean, who the hell would want to worship a fatass mushroom?
Now that’s dope.
The land we know as Greenpath was created by the Higher Being known as Unn.
Unn used her great mind to dream the vegetation of Greenpath into the once barren caverns.
Unn’s followers, the Mosskin, were also born out of Unn’s dream, making her their
Greenpath at its heigth was actually much larger than what we see ingame.
At one point, Greenpath stretched into both modern day Queen’s Gardens and possibly
Greenpath’s citizens showed themselves to be a fairly developed society.
They built a temple at the Lake of Unn in order to worship her, and they even had their
own line of defense, with Moss Knights showing proficiency in combat, using nails and shells
The Law of Unn continued to remain in effect even after the Pale King arrived, but it seems
like they allowed the King to establish a road through their lands leading travelers
to the Heart of Hallownest, hence the name Greenpath.
Yeah, Team Cherry really racked their brains when naming this area, didn’t they?
Next we have the Bees.
And while there is no lore on how these bees can turn into fucking drills, or how they
can ignore all known laws of aviation, we do know how they reacted to the Pale King.
These bugs decided to seal their hive off from the rest of the world, with only patrol
bees being able to enter and exit the Hive.
So yeah, the bees are pretty much pointless in this story.
And finally, we have the moth tribe.
In game, the only moth settlement is the Resting Grounds, but the tribe might have also inhabited
the Crystal Peak at one point.
Now as we all know, moths in real life are just complete assholes.
As for moths in Hollow Knight, well… it’s a bit complicated.
The moth race is described as being a rather pacifist group, with few ever choosing to
take up a weapon.
During the Pale King’s reign, the moth race delved amongst dreams and the dead, displaying
the importance of remembering those who have passed, as well as learning how to shape dreams
Similar to the Mosskin, the Moth Tribe was born from a Higher Being known as the Radiance.
The Radiance is described as being a light in which the Moth Tribe basked.
So she was basically a giant lamp to them.
Another important aspect about the Radiance is her ties to dreams and a substance known
Essence are the remnants of wishes and dreams, and are represented in game by these dream
catcher particle effects.
Essence can take the form of Whispering Roots as well as Dream ghosts, both of which are
memories taking root in the world.
The Radiance appears to be a creature made of Essence, but she isn’t the only Higher
Being to give off Essence.
Unn has green particles, the Pale King has grey particles, and this sexy character named
Grimm gives off fiery red particles.
However, the Radiance appears to be the main god when it comes to dreams, even if other
gods also dabble in the Dream Realm.
Getting back to the Moth Tribe, it is their interaction with the Pale King that we need
Basically, the moths turned their backs on the Radiance completely, in order to worship
the new light that had appeared, the Pale King’s light.
So yeah, moths are assholes in this game too.
With her tribe forsaking her, the Radiance became a forgotten memory, a remnant of the
past, and a thing that’s definitely not going to come up again later in the video.
And so the Pale King’s new kingdom was established: Hallownest.
But there is one aspect of Hallownest that we need to discuss.
Unfortunately, to better understand this, we’re going to have to read some poetry.
In wilds beyond they speak your name with reverence and regret,
For none could tame our savage souls yet you the challenge met,
Under palest watch, you taught, we changed, base instincts were redeemed,
A world you gave to bug and beast as they had never dreamed.
This is from a poem titled Elegy for Hallownest written by Monomon the Teacher.
The poem appears at the beginning of every playthrough and hints at what the Pale King
and his kingdom offered.
Much of the land outside of Hallownest appears to be a wasteland, where bugs survive off
of instinct without the burden of mind.
Hallownest somehow taught these bugs and tamed their savagery.
Basically the Pale King changed the instincts of his subjects and granted them higher thought.
To get a better picture of this, let’s look at two different characters: Boon and Tuk.
These adorable panda bug things give us a clear display of Hallownest’s effect.
While both appear to be the same species of bug, Boon is dumb as a sack of rocks, struggling
to string together words, while Tuk speaks fairly clearly.
The main difference between these two characters is that while Boon lives outside of Hallownest,
Tuk lives beneath the city’s capital.
Basically, it appears as though Hallownest is a literal holy ground that raises the intelligence
of those who dwell within.
The Pale King established a path, starting from the kingdom’s entrance in King’s
Pass, winding through Greenpath and the Fungal Wastes, and finally ending at the massive
capital at Hallownest’s Heart.
We now know the capital city as the City of Tears, but this was likely not its original
The rain that falls down onto the city from the Blue Lake above didn’t begin until after
the kingdom collapsed.
So unless the capital was originally named by some edgy literature student, the name
City of Tears wouldn’t have made much sense.
The King’s motivation for all this appears to have been his desire to be worshipped.
The citizens of Hallownest believed that the Pale King created the world and everything
Shrines to the King can be found scattered throughout the kingdom, and King’s Idols
were created and distributed to followers of the King.
Despite the worship, the Pale King often kept himself hidden from his subjects, possibly
to hide his blemishes.
I mean, if you look at the size of the real Pale King to his statue in the Ancient Basin,
the man is clearly overcompensating.
The Pale King’s White Palace was also built underneath the city, separating him from his
subjects even moreso.
At the same time, the certain powers became shunned in Hallownest, though we don’t know
for sure if the Pale King had anything to do with this.
Lifeblood is a blue liquidy substance that leaves those who drink it feeling refreshed.
However, the use of lifeblood was seen as a taboo, and those who used it were demonized
The use of soul for combat was also shunned.
Soul is a sort of lifeforce in Hollow Knight that animates the bodies of living creatures.
But some characters are able to control the soul of others to conjure powerful spirits.
But aside from a few exceptions, no citizens of Hallownest ever used this power.
However, the Pale King didn’t rule Hallownest alone.
There was another Higher Being in the mix, a being known as the White Lady.
The White Lady is this weird root-like being that can be found in the modern day Queen’s
She is encased inside a strange cocoon, and we know very little about her.
With as much exposition we get for the Pale King, there is next to nothing on the White
But one thing we do know is she likes to breed... like a lot.
The White Lady would often retreat to the Queen’s Gardens, an area of land once controlled
by the Mosskin.
How exactly she walked around and actually went places is a lore question to deep for
even my expertise.
The White Lady is also known as a Pale being, along with the Pale King.
What exactly are Pale Beings?
Well, we don’t really know for sure, but they seem to stand out even amongst Higher
Beings as being even more powerful.
I know that’s a little confusing, so let’s try using an example.
I’d say that regular higher beings are like a TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band
Gigabit Router while Pale Beings are like the Asus RT-AX88U AX6000 Dual-Band 8x Gigabit
Under the Pale King, Hallownest underwent a bit of an industrial revolution.
He ordered the construction of the stagways, which were used to transport passengers and
The Forgotten Crossroads and the storerooms above the City of Tears were used to store
goods that traveled along these stagways.
The King also ordered the construction of the tramways because literally no one is safe
from the threat of automation.
A tram was built between the Forgotten Crossroads and the Resting Grounds.
A second tram was built from the Kingdom’s Edge, across the Ancient Basin, over to Deepnest.
And then a third tram was started in Deepnest and attempted to go further into Deepnest.
Not sure how useful that would have been to the bugs of Hallownest, but whatever.
The Pale King’s a smart guy, I’m not gonna question him.
But anyway, the Pale King’s super smart plan to build a tram in Deepnest ended up
getting a few of his tram workers killed.
The bugs of Deepnest rejected the Pale King’s attempt to build a tram in their territory,
further cementing the poor relations shared between the two groups.
Aside from convenient fast travel, regular pathways were also used to cart goods around
From this was born probably one of the most important groups in Hallownest and perhaps
even all of fiction.
An elusive guild of bugs simply known as menderbugs took to maintaining the various signs scattered
From the journal entry of one Menderbug, we can catch a glimpse into their ancient and
Dear Dear Diary, Isn't life just the most beautiful thing.
Fixing signs, mending posts, let them break I say!
I'm a better mender for all that repairing.
I sometimes doubt there's a single bug in all of Hallownest happier than me.
Another example of the Pale King’s expanding infrastructure is the Crystal Peak.
This area is filled with crystals that grow rapidly along walls, ceilings, and even the
shells of certain bugs.
These crystals were considered valuable to the bugs of Hallownest, resulting in large
scale mining efforts.
We don’t actually see the crystals used anywhere else in Hallownest, but they are
said to be able to contain a sort of energy.
The crystals are also said to sing if you listen very carefully.
♫ A strange angelic singing ♫
In terms of military, Hallownest’s first line of defense appeared to be a group simply
known as the Five Great Knights.
The members of this esteemed coalition were Ogrim, Hegemol, Ze’mer, Dryya, and Isma.
For being so important, most of the information about these Knights has been lost to time.
Ogrim is the Knight we know most about, since he is one of the few Knights still alive during
the events of the game.
Ogrim expressed a great amount of loyalty towards the King, and he maybe had something
going on with Isma.
But we really don’t know.
Hegemol was known for his sense of humor and his soft spoken voice.
But at the same time, he was also dummy thicc.
Mysterious Ze’mer arrived in Hallownest from a serene land, bringing with her a collection
of delicate flowers.
At some point, she also got into a relationship with a mantis, but not just any mantis, a
daughter of one of the Mantis Lords.
So yeah, it seems like some of these Great Knights were slaying in more ways than one.
All we really know about Dryya is that she was fierce, caring and wise.
As for Isma, she was described as being kind.
She also appears to be some kind of weird plant life form, but there’s no information
on where she’s from or what her powers were.
The Five Great Knights played an important role in the Champion’s Call, the Knotted
Grove, and the Battle of the Blackwyrm.
We have no idea what these events were or how they affected Hallownest, but they sound
During Hallownest’s reign, there was another strange area that seemed to exist separate
from the Pale King’s rule.
Carved out of the corpse of an ancient bug, an arena called the Colosseum of Fools was
constructed, and it was a destination for warriors from outside Hallownest.
The sole purpose for fighting in the Colosseum appeared to be simply for glory, with a mysterous
figure known as the Lord Fool overseeing the combat.
We don’t know when the Colosseum was constructed, or if the Pale King was involved, but one
of his servants, the Pale Lurker, became a champion in the Colosseum, perhaps indicating
the Pale King’s approval.
Finally, there was the Royal Waterways, where the fecal excrement of the kingdom was washed
out into the Fungal Wastes.
This area saw the rise of a species of parasite-like creatures called the Flukes.
The Flukes spawn from the Flukemarm, a giant monster with cavities in which tinier flukes
There really isn’t too much lore involved with the Flukes, but I do need to point out
that Flukemarm is canonicall a MILF.
Like, that’s not even debatable.
The sky is blue, 2 + 2 = 4, and we all want to fuck this thing.
And so this was the Kingdom of Hallownest at its height.
Hallownest was a vast kingdom connected by a network of stagways and tram stations.
The bugs of Hallownest mourned their dead in the Resting Grounds, engaged in commerce
using Geo, the de facto currency of the region, and a thriving capital located in the middle
of the kingdom.
The Pale King had succeeded in crafting a full blown society, but we all know there
are pitfalls to living in a society.
As the suspiciously knowledgeable Hunter points out in his journal, the Pale King had created
a population of weak and pathetic creatures.
The bugs of Hallownest did not hunt for their own food and had become complacent with their
This is even more obvious with the east wing of the capital.
These greedy members of Hallownest’s high society became complete cowards, obsessed
with riches and plumb from excess wealth.
The bugs living in Hallownest’s prime looked quite different than the instinctive simpletons
they once were.
Their savagery had been replaced with intelligence and through that intellect, they gave the
Pale King the devotion and service he desired.
And while there were a few snags along the way, they were shining times for the King
and his subjects.
Resting at the threshold of Hallownest is a strange lore tablet, proclaiming Hallownest
to be the last and only civilization.
It calls Hallownest an eternal kingdom.
This appears to have been the Pale King’s goal: for Hallownest to stand against a wasted
world as a final beacon for civilization.
And that was the Pale King’s ultimate folly.
To think that he could succeed where so many others had failed before.
Long before the Pale Kings or the Berry Bensons of the world, the land of Hallownest was controlled
by an ancient caste.
Hints of Hallownest’s history are littered throughout the land, with the most notable
examples being the soul totems and arcane eggs.
One sect of these ancient bugs didn’t worship a god like the Pale King, or any lord, but
instead a dark and mysterious substance known as the Void.
This Ancient Caste once also tried to lay claim to the entire land of Hallownest, but
they too failed.
In his quest to conquer all of Hallownest, the Pale King had made an enemy, an enemy
long forgotten, an enemy that was about to be remembered.
I mentioned earlier that the Moth Tribe entirely forgot about the Radiance in order to worship
the Pale King.
But that isn’t quite true.
Memories of her still lingered, and hushed whispers of faith kept the Radiance alive.
At the summit of the Crystal Peak, a location known as Hallownest’s crown, a strange collection
of glyphs can be found.
Joining these glyphs is a statue of the Radiance, presiding over the kingdom below.
This old summit is the sole standing shrine left for the Radiance.
This was built in order to keep the memory of the Radiance alive.
The Radiance’s light began to appear in the dreams of Hallownest’s citizens.
This light manifested itself in an infection that ravaged through the kingdom’s tunnels.
Those infected would fall into a deep sleep and awaken with broken minds.
Some of the lesser bugs tried to resist the Radiance’s light, which only resulted in
them being consumed by it even moreso.
Many infected bugs lost their wills and began attacking bugs that weren’t infected.
The infection also twisted the bodies of its hosts, causing them to bloat, and occasionally
develop orange cysts on their bodies.
For many victims, they were reverted back to their basic instincts, carrying out the
duties they once fulfilled in life, but now as mindless slaves.
Those caught up in the infection were linked into the Radiance’s hivemind, allowing her
to control their bodies if needed.
As the infection spread across Hallownest, many groups looked to solutions to fight off
the Radiance’s light.
The gates to the City of Tears were closed in an attempt to keep the infection from reaching
The stagways were also shut down at some point, and many of the stags eventually died out.
But some took more proactive efforts against the infection.
The scholars of the Soul Sanctum decided to harness the power of soul in an attempt to
fight the infection.
This resulted in the deaths of hundreds of bugs whose souls were sucked out and injected
into the bodies of the scholars.
Their goal was to achieve some kind of pure focus which would somehow protect them from
plagues of the mind.
The scholars’ leader, the Soul Master, was driven mad by the sheer power of soul and
his entire sect failed to avoid infection.
But hey, at least they took as many innocent people down with them as they could.
The Mantis Tribe, showing a stronger will than the common bug, were able to stave off
However, one of the four Mantis Lords turned against his sisters.
He and his followers took in the infection willingly, as it gave them more strength and
At some point during all this, The Traitor Lord and his followers were exiled from the
Mantis Village, eventually taking up residence in the Queen’s Gardens.
The Traitor Lord’s daughter ended up dying at some point.
This is the same mantis that was in a relationship with Ze’mer, one of the Five Great Knights.
But the mantises rejected their union because of Ze’mer’s outsideness.
As a Gamer, this type of prejudice is all too familiar, and honestly, it makes me sick.
With the Five Great Knights completely useless to fight against the infection, the Pale King
devised his own scheme: a scheme involving a strange substance known as Void.
As I mentioned earlier, the Pale King’s White Palace was built in an area called the
Ancient Basin, but his castle wasn’t the only noteworthy thing down there.
At the bottom of the Ancient Basin was the entrance to a pit known as the Abyss.
Within the Abyss was a lake composed of Void.
The Pale King realized that this Void could be given form, as evidenced by an imprint
of such deep within the Abyss, possibly left there by the Ancient Civilization that predated
The Pale King devised a workshop in his palace where he placed Void in armor shells imbued
with soul, creating servants known as Kingsmoulds and Wingmoulds.
These Void creatures were somehow imprinted with the desire of the Pale King, so that
they would serve him.
It isn’t clear when the Pale King started making these creatures.
There is evidence to imply that even common bugs were aware of Kingsmoulds, but the point
is, the Pale King turned to the Void in order to create another creature.
One that he believed could contain the Radiance and her infection.
He tried to create a pure Vessel.
The Radiance’s infection needs its host to have a will and a mind in order to enslave
A pure Vessel would be a creature made of Void, designed to lack those features.
The Pale King believed that by harnessing the Void inside a pure Vessel, he would be
able to stop the infection and keep Hallownest lasting eternal.
But his method for creating this so-called pure Vessel was incredibly cruel.
This is where the White Lady and her King Kong sized libido come into play.
These two Higher Beings engaged in a union of some kind, resulting in the creation of
several eggs that were dropped down into the Abyss.
There, the Void seeped into these eggs, corrupting the offspring of the Pale King and White Lady.
This act resulted in the creation of the Vessels.
The Vessels are not technically considered to be alive.
They are shells created from the Pale King and White Lady that have been filled by the
Within each Vessel is a shade, a completely Void being hidden behind the face of the Vessel.
Vessels are also non-gendered.
I guess because they’re dead or something.
I’m not sure if that’s how that works but whatever.
I’m not an expert on these kinds of things.
I don’t work at ICE anymore
Thousands of Vessels were created during this process, but only one was chosen as the pure
This particular Vessel chosen by the Pale King was deemed the Hollow Knight, and was
taken away to the White Palace.
But I want to take a bit of a closer look at this part of the story.
There are a number of questions and theories surrounding this moment that I really want
to dig into.
The big question surrounding this moment is why was the Hollow Knight chosen over any
One common theory is that the Pale King took these Vessels back to the White Palace and
evaluated them using his giant collection of buzzsaws.
This theory is probably the least likely explanation.
It kinda exists just to explain the buzzsaws, which is quite the mystery, I’ll admit,
but doesn’t really mesh with the Vessels very well.
How does being good at Super Meat Boy prove that you are a worthy Vessel?
And while thinking about logistics in a game about magic bugs is never a good idea, how
exactly did the Pale King transfer these thousands of Vessels to his Palace without characters
like the Dung Defender finding out?
So this means that the Pale King probably made his decision without taking any of the
Vessels out of the Abyss.
So how did the Pale King make his evaluation?
I think the best explanation comes from a theory I originally heard from a user named
Basically, the Vessels were hatched down at the bottom of the Abyss, and the first one
to make it to the top was chosen by the Pale King.
In a memory of this event, we see Vessels falling from above back down into the pit
of the Abyss.
Perhaps these Vessels weren’t being cast down into the Abyss, but fell while trying
to escape out of it.
The lore tablet outside the Abyss appears to support this theory.
Our pure Vessel has ascended.
Beyond lies only the refuse and regret of its creation.
We shall enter that place no longer.
This tablet was likely written right after the Hollow Knight was chosen, considering
that is when the entrance to the Abyss was sealed off.
The tablet proclaims that the pure Vessel has “ascended” or in other words, climbed
out of the Abyss.
And while cut content should never be considered canon, I would just like to point out that
an earlier version of this tablet found in the game’s code was even more explicit about
It read: “From below, our pure Vessel has ascended.”
But how does making it to the top of the Abyss first prove that the Hollow Knight is somehow
a perfectly hollow Vessel?
Well, I think this whole concept might just be a misconception.
What if the Hollow Knight wasn’t any different from the other Vessels?
All Vessels were made in the exact same way after all.
The idea that the Hollow Knight was somehow more hollow than the other Vessels comes from
the fact that there were so many Vessels created in the first place.
If they only needed one, then why create so goddamn many?
I mean this is like Octomom on steroids.
Well, these are bugs we’re talking about, so it would make sense that multiple offspring
would come from one egg.
And it might have been a precaution to produce multiple Vessels in hopes that at least one
would be able to successfully escape the Abyss.
Now another explanation could be that the Pale King just yeeted other Vessels that made
it to the top first after determining that they weren’t hollow, which would better
explain why so many were created.
Ultimately, the exact details aren’t super important, but I do find it interesting how
many different interpretations can be pulled from this part of the lore.
After the Hollow Knight was chosen, the Pale King sealed the doorway to the Abyss, leaving
the discarded Vessels to rot away in darkness.
These actions were not taken lightly by the Pale King or the White Lady.
Both participants expressed shame in what they did, but saw no other option to save
But the Vessels weren’t the only poor saps sealed away in the Abyss.
There’s also a lighthouse that was built on top of a naturally formed spire, it’s
light shining down on an ocean of Abyss below.
Inside was one of the Pale King’s Royal Retainers, who was left in charge of keeping
the lighthouse turned on.
So this brave soul was willingly sealed in a dark and dangerous tomb for the rest of
his life just so he could not pull a lever.
Well, at least he was living with purpose.
With the Abyss sealed and the Hollow Knight chosen, the Pale King’s plan was beginning
to come together.
The Hollow Knight was raised and trained to prime form, causing it to grow to several
times its original size.
We don’t know exactly why this happened.
But I guess the Hollow Knight is a grower and not a shower.
We know that the Hollow Knight was trained to use a nail, but why was this even necessary?
One possible explanation is that the Hollow Knight needed to protect itself in case an
intruder tried to kill it, you know, like the player.
Or perhaps this was important in the process of containing the Radiance.
Unfortunately the details of that are never fully explained.
The Hollow Knight might have somehow focused the Radiance inside itself, but Team Cherry
gives us no explanation of how that might have worked.
But that still wasn’t enough for the Pale King.
Additional seals were needed in order to protect the Hollow Knight’s physical body while
the Radiance was trapped inside of it.
To achieve this, the Pale King sought the help of three particular bugs who would later
be known as the Dreamers; Lurien the Watcher, Monomon the Teacher, and Herrah the Beast.
Lurien is definitely the most mysterious of the three dreamers.
He lived in the Watcher’s Spire in the City of Tears.
From there, Lurien watched over the city with his telescope.
Lurien was also a pretty big fan of the king, so it probably took little convincing for
him to lie down for him.
Lurien might also be tied to another strange incident that occurred in the City of Tears.
Hidden on some of Lurien’s lore tablets are images of jars, the same jars that can
be found stockpiled in the Tower of Love.
This building sits on the outskirts of the city, and is the setting of one of the most
bizzare bosses in the game: The Collector.
The Collector is a Void construct that appears to be made from the same mold used to create
But the Collector is unique because....
The Collector stayed in the Tower of Love with a noble bug who likely owned the establishment.
In the tower, a number of bugs can be found captured in jars, implying that these two
were tasked with collecting these creatures.
However, the Collector somehow became obsessed with grubs, creating a map to keep track of
grubs it captured in jars, as well as keeping a strange shrine displaying a grub in the
style of the Vitruvian Man.
Eventually the bug staying with the Collector decided to lock it inside the Tower of Love,
and fled to the Queen’s Gardens where it died, likely due to overexposure to the Void.
Despite being locked up in the Tower, the Collector is still spotted by the Hunter at
some point, which either means this only happened recently, or the Hunter has been farting around
in Hallownest for a long ass time.
We have no idea what these creatures were trying to do.
It’s implied that the Collector was trying to preserve the creatures of Hallownest, perhaps
trying to protect them from the spread of the infection.
But we don’t know where the Collector’s obsession with grubs originated.
And while Lurien does seem connected to all of this, we don’t know how involved he was
with this operation or what it’s end goal exactly was.
Monomon the Teacher lived in the Teacher's Archives, a library built atop a lake of acid
in the Fog Canyon.
The lower half of her body consists of tentacles, making her a popular subject for the thriving
Hollow Knight R34 community.
The Archives, and Fog Canyon as a whole, are also filled with these strange Metroid knockoffs.
These creatures are likely related to Monomon in some way.
They could be her live offspring, her test tube babies, or possibly even her shit.
Monomon used futuristic cathode ray tube things to store information about Hallownest.
Several terminals in the Teacher’s Archive go into detail about the Pale King’s plan
to defeat the Radiance, indicating that Monomon had intimate knowledge of what she was taking
Finally, the Pale King sought the help of Herrah the Beast, the Queen of Deepnest.
Now as I mentioned earlier, relations between Hallownest and Deepnest were kinda… not
Unlike the other two Dreamers, Herrah needed to be convinced in order to help the Pale
Herrah would eventually agree to become a Dreamer in exchange for a child.
The Pale King agreed, and the two engaged in a dalliance, which is a fancy way of saying
they totally boned.
The White Lady was okay with this arrangement.
In fact, she might have been watching from the closet.
The motive behind Herrah’s request is never elaborated on, but it appears as though the
King of Deepnest was dead at this point.
Herrah was a common bug, so perhaps she desired the Pale King’s pale seed so that her child
could be of high birth.
The bargain between Herrah and the Pale King resulted in the birth of Hornet.
She became known as the Gendered Child, because unlike the Pale King’s other children, Hornet
was not hollowed out in the Abyss.
Herrah and Hornet spent little time together, as Herrah had to make good on her end of the
And so the three Dreamers were put to rest.
Through their actions, a seal was placed over the Black Egg, prohibiting entrance into the
These Dreamers also had their own protection.
At the base of Lurien’s spire, the Watcher Knights guarded access to their master’s
Monomon’s body was protected by a giant jellyfish named Uumuu.
On top of this, Monomon entrusted her servant Quirrel with a mask which would be required
to break an additional seal she had placed over herself.
So she basically is double wrapping herself.
As for Herrah, we’re not really sure what protected her, since it is never actually
seen in game.
We don’t know where this creature is hiding, but whoever it is, they really suck at their
Now there appears to be one more element to the Pale King’s plan, involving the Weavers.
Hidden away in the Weaver’s Den is an incomplete Seal of Binding woven from silk.
This design prominently features the Hollow Knight’s head, and can be found in the White
Palace as well as blocking the exit during the Hollow Knight fight.
Silk spools created by the Weavers can be found in the stag station in Deepnest, as
well as the stag station next to the White Palace.
These spools can also be found in the Pale King’s workshop.
We know that the Weavers were closely tied to Herrah and Hornet, so their actions might
have been a part of the deal between the Pale King and Herrah.
Once the Hollow Knight was ready, the Radiance was somehow channeled into the Vessel, which
was then placed inside of a giant black egg located in the Forgotten Crossroads.
This egg was built to sustain the Hollow Knight, and itself appears to be fashioned from Void.
The Hollow Knight was chained up, and the entrance to the Black Egg was locked behind
a powerful seal created by the three Dreamers.
Initially, this convoluted plan actually worked, and the infection was successfully contained.
Memorials to the Hollow Knight and the Dreamers were erected in the City of Tears and the
But this is the part of the story where things get a little bit hazy.
By the time these statues were constructed, citizens had taken to writing on parchment
woven from spider’s silk, which was all destroyed when water started pouring down
onto the city.
We don’t know how long the Hollow Knight was able to completely contain the infection.
Bugs from Dirtmouth used to go to the Temple of the Black Egg to pray, saying they felt
at peace within the walls.
But after a while, they stopped going, perhaps indicating that the infection was beginning
to leak out again.
The infectious air continued to seep through Hallownest for years, eventually even reaching
the deepest parts of the kingdom.
As it turns out, the Pale King’s pure Vessel wasn’t quite so pure after all.
The Hollow Knight had been tarnished by an idea instilled.
While the game never explicitly tells us what that idea was, it does hint strongly at what
it might be.
Hidden away in the White Palace is a memory showing the Hollow Knight and the Pale King
sharing a moment.
The Hollow Knight might have developed a parental bond to the Pale King, and who could blame
The Pale King is a pretty great dad, after all.
You know, if you ignore the infanticide and everything.
Remember those smug mushroom dickheads?
Well it turns out their trust in the Pale King was a complete mistake.
That shared mind isn’t looking too good now is it?
In the Fungal Core, the corpse of a giant mushroom lies dormant.
Its final thoughts were “Pale Wyrm…
What good to foresee a demise unavoidable?”
This could imply that the Pale King always knew that his kingdom was doomed, all he could
do was delay the inevitable.
This is likely the moment when Hallownest as it once was entirely collapsed.
The Hollow Knight had not completely stopped the infection, and while it may have taken
a while, Hallownest was eventually brought low.
It’s at this point that characters and areas begin to resemble as we know them ingame.
When it became clear that the Hollow Knight was not able to contain the Radiance, the
Pale King resorted to his final plan.
He fucked off, hiding himself, his White Palace and his Pale Court in the Dream World.
At this point, all of the furniture in the palace was covered under white sheets, similar
to how people in the real world cover their furniture while away on long trips.
The palace was also completely covered with thorns and buzzsaws, similar to how people
in the real world cover their houses with thorns and buzzsaws.
The Pale King would eventually pass away while sitting on his throne in the White Palace.
There’s no confirmation on what killed him, but there are a few things to consider.
The throne room is incredibly dark compared to the rest of the Palace, and the particle
effects and ambience track in this room are identical to that of the Abyss.
All of the Kingsmoulds surrounding the Pale King are dead.
The Ancient Basin itself also has become stained with the presence of Void, as it can be seen
as high as the run down elevator shaft leading back to the city.
Remember that bug that was sealed away in the Abyss to make sure the lighthouse wasn’t
Well, the lighthouse was turned off.
I guess that whole living with purpose thing is a crock of shit after all.
It seems as though the sea of void itself actually convinced this bug to betray his
king and turn off the lighthouse.
Now I know what you’re thinking.
Exactly how conscious is the Void?
Is the Void able to think for itself?
Can it form strategies?
Does it host a podcast?
Well according to this chozo statue ripoff, the Void is powerful, but not unified.
So while it can thrash around at things that come near it or call out in unison to turn
off a light, it’s not a single conscious being.
Getting back to the Pale King, one could argue that the Void might have played a role in
his ultimate demise, and I’ve argued that viewpoint in the past.
But we have to remember that there isn’t enough evidence to know for sure.
As an expert lawyer and a good friend of mine, Johnnie Cochran, once said:
Any evidence that the Void was involved in the Pale King’s death is circumstantial.
My name is Johnny Cockran.
Just above the White Palace, the bugs in the City of Tears weren’t fairing much better.
Even if we ignore the fact that the infection was still around, there were other issues
that helped lead to the city’s downfall.
Due to the gates being sealed, some bugs resorted to cannibalism in order to avoid starvation.
And there’s also that metric fuck ton of corpses lining the walls of the Soul Sanctum.
When all was said and done, the only citizen left standing is Eternal Emilita, who just
laughs her ass off about it like she’s a fucking Dark Souls character.
The White Lady ends up in a cocoon deep within the Queen’s Gardens.
She decided to place bindings on herself in order to keep her from spreading her seed.
She claims that this is because of the shame she feels in helping the Pale King create
the Vessels, but honestly, it’s probably just her kink.
The White Lady also diminished her power, possibly as a way to keep herself hidden from
Outside her cocoon, Dryya stood guard, protecting her Queen from the violent traitor mantises.
Dryya is eventually killed off by these bugs, which is actually pretty pathetic if you think
I mean we’re talking like the Netgear WPN824N N150 Wireless Router pathetic.
Speaking of “Great Knights” dying pathetically, let’s move on to Hegemol.
Hegemol held the City Crest, a key used to open one of the gates to the City of Tears.
At some point, Hegemol’s armored shell was stolen by a maggot.
Now maggots were generally looked down upon and forced to do menial labor.
They were incredibly weak and basically deserved all of the discrimination they got.
But this one maggot decided to turn the tide, so he stole Hegemol’s shell so that he could
defend his downtrodden brothers.
His actions weren’t motivated by the infection, but instead was the result of how hierarchical
caste system will always lead to revolution from the working class and that true freedom
can only be achieved blah blah blah capitalism is bad.
Subscribe to my Patreon.
Ogrim moved to the Royal Waterways and started living in shit, changing his name to Dung
Now I love wallowing in shit as much as the next guy, but you’d have to really love
shit to put up with living with the flukes.
The Dung Defender kept an unwavering sense of duty and loyalty to the King and love for
his fellow Knights, so much so that he made shit statues out of them.
Ogrim acted as the defender of the pipeways, as well as Isma’s Grove.
A section of the Royal Waterways became filled with acid, and in the middle of it all rests
Isma’s corpse, which has been overcome by plant life.
Isma is likely the one responsible for this acid blight, but we have no idea what happened
Hornet’s whereabouts during this time are fairly mysterious.
We know that she departed Deepnest, and didn’t return until the events of the game.
At some point, she took to guarding Hallownest from intruding warriors as well as the Cast-Off
Shell in the Kingdom’s Edge.
Despite the kingdom’s woes at large, fortunately this fate did not befall one of the fandom’s
The menderbugs continued to fix the broken signs and wayposts of Hallownest.
From a diary entry, we can see that one Menderbug in particular had found himself on the precipice
of a long and loving relationship:
Hello Again Diary, Not long now until the next Menderbash!
For a stealthy types, we're a riotous bunch when we get together.
And Mender Berri kept flashing me that smile!
It might be time to muster my courage and act on it.
I love my home and my life, but sharing it with another, why that'd be the Berri on top!
Greenpath also underwent some changes during this time.
The Mosskin were waiting for Unn’s call which would bring them back into the dream
they were originally born from.
But for some reason, Unn strength deteriorated.
We don’t know why this happened exactly.
Was it due to the White Lady claiming part of her kingdom?
Was it somehow due to the infection?
Some Mosskin believe that Unn went into hiding, but it appears as though Unn is, in fact,
calling to her children, but many of the Mosskin are unable to hear her call.
Instead many Mosskin seem to have taken the Radiance’s infection into their leaves,
which might explain why Greenpath became overgrown with vegetation, despite Unn’s deteriorating
Mossy Vagabonds even openly chose to forsake Unn and worship the Radiance.
Another tribe to be screwed over by the Radiance is the Hive, which fell to the infection after
the death of their leader, Hive Queen Vespa.
But it appears as though this had little effect on their civilization.
The Radiance’s hivemind was already familiar to the bees, since the Hive probably operated
under something similar already.
So in other words, the Hive probably made out the best in this whole situation.
Let’s turn our attention back to the moths.
After all, it’s their god that keeps killing everybody.
Well, the moth tribe didn’t fare too well actually, as pretty much the entire tribe
The only known survivor is the Seer.
Despite the loss of her tribe, the Seer continued to tend to the graves in the Resting Grounds,
while also awaiting the arrival of the Wielder, a mysterious being that her tribe has dreamt
of for a while.
In the Kingdom’s Edge, the land became covered in ash molting off of the Wyrm’s decomposing
The Colosseum of Fools continued to thrive.
The Lord Fool passed away at some point, but nobody really seems to notice or even care.
The Fools inside the Colosseum were infected, but still seem to have maintained control
It seems possible that these bugs took in the infection willingly, similar to the Traitor
Lord and his followers.
This would have given them an edge in combat, similar to using steroids but without the
whole shrinking testicles thing.
However, even the Traitor Lord and his followers went mad, so what makes these Fools any more
As for the Pale King’s champion, the Pale Lurker, well, she just went the normal kind
There appears to have been another unforeseen event with the Pale King’s plan.
When the Hollow Knight was originally chosen, the door to the Abyss was sealed, trapping
the discarded Vessels within.
But apparently, some Vessels didn’t get the memo.
Vessel corpses can be found littered throughout the kingdom.
There’s one in the Ancient Basin, one in Greenpath, and several trapped in Nosk’s
liar in Deepnest.
Another Vessel that escaped from the Abyss is the player character: the Knight.
The exact details on how the Vessels escaped the Abyss is unclear.
There are indications that they might have slipped into Deepnest through some old passageway,
given Void influence in part of the area, and all the corpses found in Nosk’s lair.
At some point, all entrances to Hallownest were closed off, with the old well in Dirtmouth
being the only way to sneak back in.
Despite this, several people have wormed their way into the kingdom with few ever returning.
Characters like Relic Seeker Lemm seemed content to just pillage artifacts from the ruined
kingdom, but other bugs seemed interested in something greater.
In the Howling Cliffs rests the corpse of a member of the Grimm Troupe.
The task of this bug appears to have been to seek out Hallownest, so that the Troupe
might be summoned to the kingdom in the future.
The Grimm Troupe are basically a group of bugs that serve a Higher Being known as the
The troupe keeps the Heart alive by feeding on the nightmares of fallen kingdoms.
This process also involves sacrificing the Troupe Master his own child because... uh…
hey, look at this cool ass boss battle.
Another important group that travelled to Hallownest are the Godseekers.
After being abandoned by their old Gods: the Gods of Thunder and the Gods of Rain, these
bugs left their home in the Land of Storms seeking out a new god to worship.
The Godseekers look to gods to save them from their own silent mind.
While travelling through the wastelands, the Godseekers constructed devices called Godtuners,
which helped them seek out new gods.
Through this device they were able to detect the lingering power of the Pale King and find
their way to Hallownest.
When they arrived, however, the Godseeker was forced into hibernation.
It was encased in a strange sarcophagus-like cocoon which was itself chained up with a
It’s not clear how this forced hibernation worked, seeing as the cocoon appears to have
been made by the Godseeker herself.
As for who put the cocoon in chains, I think the most likely candidate is the Dung Defender,
considering how the Godseekers cocoon is found in the Junk Pit in the Waterways, an area
the Dung Defender has tasked himself with protecting.
This was the general picture of Hallownest after the Hollow Knight was sealed inside
the Temple of the Black Egg.
The kingdom was stuck in a kind of stasis, with the Pale King’s civilization destroyed
and the Radiance unable to break free from her chains.
The Pale King was rebelling against nature, trying to keep his work standing indefinitely.
The stasis over of Hallownest held for an age.
How long is that exactly?
Well, we have no idea.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there really isn’t a timeline for anything that happens
in this game.
We also have no idea how long any of these bugs can actually live.
Elderbug wasn’t around to see the stagways open, but we know several other characters
were, implying that Elderbug is probably one of the youngest characters in the whole game.
But this stasis over Hallownest wasn’t going to last forever.
At some point, the Radiance erupted out of the Hollow Knight, cracking its shell and
releasing a loud and powerful roar.
The amount of infection leaking out of the Hollow Knight became even greater.
The many corpses that lined the roads and cities of the kingdom sprang to life with
the amplified power of the infection.
This strengthened infection prompted the departure of the Weavers back to their old home.
Now this old home might actually be Pharloom, the kingdom in which Hollow Knight Silksong
But the amount of knowledge we have about Silksong right now is pitiful, so I’m not
saying that’s confirmed or anything.
This is also around the time the Quirrel arrives back in Hallownest.
His memory of Monomon appears to have been clouded due to his time outside of Hallownest.
These events are depicted in the Quirrel prequel comic, which also shows an image of the Hollow
Knight with a pre-cracked shell.
This could mean that Quirrel’s arrival happens at roughly the same time the Hollow Knight’s
At around the same time as Quirrel arrives in Hallownest, we also see the arrival of
the player character, who is commonly referred to as the Knight.
The Knight was one of the lucky Vessels that was able to make its way out of the Abyss.
Somehow, the Knight ended up venturing beyond Hallownest and into the wilds beyond.
It’s implied that the Knight was called to Hallownest by either the sealed Hollow
Knight or the Radiance within.
Regardless, once the Knight shows up and yeets itself off this cliff, the actual game of
Hollow Knight finally begins.
Now, there’s a lot of details we could get into.
Hallownest is full of NPCs and bosses, each with their own stories to tell.
But to be honest, I don’t think we need to go through all of them, since their stories
are relatively straightforward.
For example, let’s look at the Brooding Mawlek.
So why is the Brooding Mawlek brooding?
Because all its friends are dead.
And there you go, that’s the lore for the Brooding Mawlek.
Also, it’s the only character in the game with a visible asshole.
Now did you really need me to explain that to you?
So instead, I’m just going to talk about the interactions relating to Hollow Knight’s
The Knight is eventually noticed by Hornet, who lures it deep into Greenpath.
There, Hornet attempts to kill the Knight, claiming that she knows what it would try
At this point, Hornet views the Knight as being too weak.
After the fight, Hornet can be found in the City of Tears, next to the statue of the Hollow
Hornet mentions that the Knight has gained a resilience due to the time it spent in the
void beyond Hallownest.
This could be referring to the fact that some of those who leave Hallownest lose their memories,
meaning the Knight would have no memories of its own tragic conception.
Hornet tells the Knight that if it seeks to continue the stasis that keeps Hallownest
standing, it must seek the “Grave in Ash”, which is referring to the Kingdom’s Edge.
At this moment, Hornet sees the Knight as a possible replacement for the Hollow Knight.
Basically, the Knight could break the seals that keep the Hollow Knight locked away, defeat
the Hollow Knight and contain the infection itself.
It’s at this point that I should mention that Hollow Knight actually has five different
endings because of course it would.
I’m going to be explaining each of these endings in this video, as they each give us
a different glimpse into the mechanics of Hollow Knight’s world.
Now, to get the easiest ending to Hollow Knight, Hornet’s instructions to go to the Kingdom’s
Edge can be ignored completely.
If the Knight stumbles upon the Resting Grounds, the three Dreamers will appear and cast the
Knight into the Dream Realm.
There, Seer will come to the Knight’s rescue and grant it the Dream Nail, a special blade
that can tear the veil between the real world and the dream world.
With the Dream Nail, the Knight can venture to the resting places of the three Dreamers,
curbstomp their asses, and unlock the entrance to the Black Egg.
Inside the egg, the Knight finds the Hollow Knight chained up, silently watching over
Once the chains are broken, the Hollow Knight screams with that familiar Radiance roar.
And pursues the Knight.
As the fight progresses, the Hollow Knight starts trying to kill itself, Quirrel-style.
But then the Radiance starts using the Hollow Knight’s body to perform her own attacks.
Once defeated, the Hollow Knight begins to spew infection all over the place.
The Knight can then Focus the infection into itself.
This results in the first ending of the game, called Hollow Knight.
In this ending, the Knight usurps the Hollow Knight, prolonging the stasis over Hallownest.
New chains and bindings appear out of… fuck if I know, and contain the Knight, and a new
seal is placed over the entrance to the Black Egg.
Now there is one giant question looming over this ending.
Can the Knight actually contain the infection indefinitely?
Or will the Radiance still manage to break free one day?
Before we answer this question, let’s look at some of the other events that can transpire
while playing the game.
If the player chooses to go to Kingdom’s Edge, Hornet will challenge the Knight one
last time as a final test of strength.
After her defeat, Hornet allows the Knight to access the Cast-Off Shell where the Pale
King was originally hatched.
By interacting with the egg, the Knight’s shell is marked with the King’s Brand, technically
making the Knight the new ruler of Hallownest.
With the King’s Brand, the Knight can now open the entrance to the Abyss and discover
the place of its birth.
When leaving the Abyss, the Knight can encounter Hornet again, where for the first time, Hornet
suggests that there are actually two outcomes the Knight can enact.
She tells the Knight that it can either prolong Hallownest’s stasis or face the heart of
the kingdom’s infection.
Within the Knight, Hornet sees a chance for change.
Instead of just replacing the Hollow Knight, Hornet believes that it may be possible to
get rid of the infection completely by using the Void inside of the Knight.
After visiting the Abyss and obtaining the Shade Cloak, the Knight is capable of reaching
the White Lady hidden away in the Queen’s Gardens.
The White Lady tells the Knight that she has been awaiting a Vessel to accept a gift, that
gift being one half of a charm called the Kingsoul, which she claims will give the Knight
The White Lady goes on to explain that she can feel the weakening of the Hollow Knight
within her roots.
She tells the Knight that it is free of the blemishes that made the Hollow Knight a flawed
From this dialogue, it is implied that the Knight truly is a pure Vessel, capable of
containing the Radiance successfully.
But it’s not quite that simple, so we’re going to have to dive a bit deeper into this.
Basically we need to answer a simple question.
What exactly does it mean to be a Hollow Knight?
Despite the White Lady’s words, we have a number of instances where characters and
item descriptions mention that the Knight has a will, and maybe even a mind.
But from the Pale King’s dialogue when describing the Hollow Knight, it is stated that a pure
Vessel has no mind or will.
So is the White Lady wrong?
Or maybe even lying?
Her eyes have been clouded by time, and she can be tricked into thinking that Ogrim is
in the room when the Knight is wearing the Defender’s Crest charm.
She also thinks that Dryya is still alive which…
So maybe the White Lady is just senile?
My problem with that theory is that the White Lady states that the Vessels stand out to
her clearly in a misted world, due to them being her spawn.
She also questions whether or not the Knight sought her aid, which would imply that the
Knight must have some kind of will.
So for whatever reason, the White Lady thinks the Knight is still capable of containing
the Radiance, even if it’s still able to make decisions.
After all, the Hollow Knight was considered pure, but they still taught it how to wield
a fucking sword.
I mean, if the Knight were truly and completely hollow in a literal sense, it probably shouldn’t
even be able to walk, or draw a map, or open a goddamn bank account.
In short, this whole concept of being “hollow” is so abstract and hard to define, I don’t
really feel comfortable giving a solid answer on whether or not the Knight is or isn’t
And I think the game leaves room open for other interpretations.
Of course, the White Lady’s gift is useless without the other half of the Kingsoul.
In order to reach it, however, the Knight must travel to the White Palace, locked inside
the body of a Kingsmould.
In order to bypass the seal, the Knight must use a fully awakened Dream Nail.
It can do this by bringing 1800 Essence to the Seer, allowing her to sharpen the weapon’s
If the Knight does this, the Seer remarks that the Knight truly is the Wielder that
her tribe has been dreaming of.
There’s no explicit reason why the Moth Tribe was dreaming about this supposed Wielder
so much, but it seems like they believed the Wielder would wash away the crimes the Moth
Tribe committed by turning their backs on the Radiance.
The Seer seems to know that the Knight might kill the Radiance, and she seems accepting
of it, ready for her and her tribe to disappear and be forgotten forever.
With the Awoken Dream Nail in hand, the Knight can travel to the Pale King’s refuge and
locate the other half of the Kingsoul charm.
When equipped, the Kingsoul provides a never ending supply of soul, making it almost useful
if it weren’t for the insanely high cost of the charm, and the painfully slow rate
at which it increases, and the fact that the charm will get replaced about 5 minutes after
you get it.
The Kingsoul charm itself symbolizes the union between two Higher Beings.
To me, this implies that the Kingsoul is a representation of a Vessel, which also was
created by the union of two Higher Beings.
With the Kingsoul in their inventory, the Knight now gains access to an area in the
Abyss called the Birthplace.
In this massive pile of Vessel shells the Knight can find a giant egg.
Dream Nailing the egg allows the Knight to access its own memory when it was cast down
into the Abyss.
From viewing that memory, the Kingsoul charm is replaced with the Void Heart charm.
The recollection of this event allows the Knight to come to terms with the Void inside
Once the Knight has the Void Heart, the shades in the Abyss no longer attack it, and that
strange creature that gives the Knight the Shade Cloak calls it the Lord of Shades.
In other words, the Knight has now bound the once fragmented Void under its own will, allowing
it to control the Void in a powerful new way.
With the union of the Void, the Pale King and the White Lady, the Knight has gained
a strength before unseen.
It is with this charm that two additional endings become unlocked.
Hornet will now be standing outside of the Black Egg, offering to help the Knight should
the opportunity arrive.
Midway through the fight with the Hollow Knight, Hornet rushes into battle, subduing the Hollow
Knight and piercing its shell.
It’s at this point that the Knight is given the perfect opportunity to enter into the
mind of its sibling, fighting the source of the infection head on, and finally put an
end to the Radiance’s tyranny.
Or it can just stand there and let Hornet get knocked unconscious.
If the Knight finishes off the Hollow Knight as usual, the Sealed Siblings ending occurs.
Basically it’s the same as the Hollow Knight ending, but now Hornet is in the room too,
and her face appears on the door to the Black Egg.
It’s not clear what exactly this means for Hallownest.
This might imply that Hornet is now a Dreamer, but she’s inside the temple, meaning that
no one can actually get in there to kill her should the Knight ever start leaking infection.
At the same time, Hornet mentions that the bindings of the Black Egg would drain her,
so she’s probably just going to die anyway, right?
Generally, people consider this one of the worst endings, but it’s worth pointing out
that Team Cherry doesn’t support any one ending as being the “true” ending.
Each ending is canonical in its own right.
And honestly, this ending isn’t the worst.
At least the Knight and Hornet will get to spend some quality time together.
If the Knight does Dream Nail the Hollow Knight, it will get taken to an arena where it can
finally fight the Radiance head on.
But the Knight isn’t alone, as the other shades from the Abyss will appear in order
to help corner the Radiance.
Eventually, the Radiance gets trapped in the tendrils of the Void.
The Knight bitch slaps her a couple times and then the Radiance is consumed into the
The Black Egg then appears to turn to shadows and the void seeps down into the ground.
Hornet awakens to find the Knight’s broken shell lying on the floor.
We get one final shot of the shades in the Abyss going to rest, and the game is over.
This ending is called the Dream No More ending.
The Radiance is gone and Hallownest is finally free from her infection.
Now I think it’s fair to ask a few questions about how the Dream No More ending comes about.
When the Hollow Knight was initially chosen to become the pure Vessel, the Abyss was sealed
up and the rest of the Vessels were left to rot away.
But somehow, Vessels ended up outside of the Abyss.
And then one of those Vessels was used to replace the Hollow Knight.
Exactly how much of this operation was planned if at all?
The White Lady was waiting for a Vessel, did she have any communication with Hornet?
Hornet was guarding the King’s Brand, the only way for a Vessel to enter the Abyss.
How did she know it was necessary to guard the King’s Brand from weaker Vessels.
Hell, if the Vessels did escape the Abyss by themselves, wouldn’t it be pointless
to guard the King’s Brand, since the Vessels could just creep back into the Abyss the same
I’m not going to provide any good answers to these questions.
Because god forbid I answer anything in this entire video.
But I do want to point out that no plans to actually produce the Dream No More ending
are explicitly stated ingame, so we can only speculate as to whether or not the White Lady
or Hornet or maybe even the Pale King knew that they could defeat the Radiance by creating
a Lord of Shades like the Knight.
Regardless, the next two endings were definitely not planned.
In fact, the last two endings that were added in the Godmaster update almost feel out of
The Godseekers basically hijack everything to the point where you don’t even have to
enter the Temple of the Black Egg to beat the game.
That’s like beating Mario Bros. without ever seeing Bowser.
But on the other hand, the Godmaster endings basically reinforce that Hallownest does not
exist in a vacuum, which can help the world of Hollow Knight feel more real.
Because what else is reality but just a bunch of random chaotic stuff happening all the
If the Knight finds the Godseeker in the Junk Pit, it will be able to enter her mind and
refight all of the bosses in the game.
This is part of the Godseekers’ ritual.
They basically attune to the resonance of gods through ritual combat.
This allows them to ascend their minds higher, and eventually, through the use of Godly focus,
achieve communication with the god sleeping at Hallownest’s heart, the Radiance.
Now I know what you’re thinking.
That’s a pretty convoluted little religious practice they have going on here.
What’s next, are they going to start measuring the Knight’s theon levels?
It’s pretty complicated, but the point is, these Godseekers have some serious capabilities
to fuck things up in Hallownest, as we’re about to see.
As the Knight makes it further and further through the four pantheons, the Godseekers
get closer and closer to making contact with the Radiance, locked away inside the Hollow
At the end of the fourth Pantheon, the Radiance makes herself aware in this strange reunion
cutscene between the Vessels.
But she isn’t the only one to make an appearance.
The Void itself appears to go on the attack, rising up to meet the Radiance’s call.
It’s at this point that the final challenge, the Pantheon of Hallownest, becomes available.
The Godseeker finally acknowledges the Knight as being more than just a simple cringer,
and they begin to watch the Knight more intently.
After defeating like a bazillion bosses in the final pantheon, the Knight finally comes
face to face with the Absolute Radiance, a stronger, more enhanced version of the game’s
Finally, the stage is set.
After roughly forty minutes of intense agony and tedious boss battles, the Knight has finally
reached the ultimate enemy responsible for the destruction of Hallownest.
Truly this will be a battle for the ages.
But first let’s check in on our old pal, Menderbug.
As it turns out he’s still alive when the Knight arrives in Hallownest.
And he’s still fulfilling his duty after all this time.
Let’s take one last look at his diary.
My Lovely Diary, Someone's gone and broke my favourite sign!
Right there at the top of the crossroads.
Keeps happening too!
But you know, I just can't get mad about it.
I should be thanking them really!
More chances to fix that beautiful, complex sign.
And I've stocked up on spare parts, so I've no fear it'll ever stay broken for long.
Unfortunately, the only way to ever read the Menderbug’s diary is to kill him in cold
I’m not sure why Team Cherry thought this was necessary, but the general consensus on
Reddit is that they are bloodthirsty warmongers so it checks out.
But at least Menderbug’s last moments will be spent fixing one of his favorite signs
in the Forgotten Crossroads.
It’s comforting to think that his final seconds of consciousness were spent in total
bliss before we sent him hurtling into the infinite chasm of oblivion.
This alternate fight between the Knight and the Radiance plays out differently than in
the vanilla endings.
This time around, the Knight is not accompanied by any shades.
Instead, after defeating the Radiance, the Knight seems to transform into this monstrosity.
Now this creature has several names, the God of Gods, the Lord Shade, the Devourer, the
But I don’t really like any of those, so I will just call it Bill.
Bill proceeds to completely annihilate the Radiance in spectacular fashion.
We are then treated to the “Embrace the Void” ending.
Bill comes back down from the sky, dropping into the rest of Godhome.
The Godseeker starts to get pulled into Bill by Void tendrils.
We then cut to the Godseeker in the Junk Pit.
Void starts leaking out of her eyes, and it appears as though Bill is making an escape
back into the real world.
Which is probably a bad thing?
Finally, we see Hornet standing outside of the Black Egg as the infection begins to disappear
from the nearby vines.
Hornet hears footsteps coming from inside the Black Egg, as the Hollow Knight reveals
itself to her and the two prepare for combat.
So from this cutscene, we can see that the Radiance’s death in Godhome actually did
kill her for real, meaning that the infection over Hallownest is now gone.
This means the seals inside of the Black Egg probably wore off, allowing the Hollow Knight
to escape its prison.
In other words, the Embrace the Void ending is a goddamn cliffhanger, and we have no idea
how Team Cherry plans to follow this up.
The Hollow Knight is running loose in Hallownest, and the Knight has transformed into a raging
Void monster that might try to destroy the entire kingdom, or at least what’s left
What’s even more strange about this ending is that the announced sequel, Hollow Knight:
Silksong doesn’t seem to be related to this ending at all.
But that’s a whole different shitshow.
Obviously, the biggest mystery surrounding this ending is the appearance of Bill.
Did this creature exist in the Void already, or was it somehow willed into existence by
the power of the Godseekers?
Did the Knight turn into this thing?
Or did it just become a part of it?
Examining a statue of this creature, and the other forms of the Knight grant the player
a Hunter’s Journal entry for an ancient artifact called the Void Idol, which might
imply this creature might have been worshipped by the Ancient Civilization.
But again, that’s pure speculation.
We don’t know what this worship of the Void exactly looked like.
Maybe the Void they worshipped took the form of something more sinister.
There is one thing we know about this monster though.
It’s weak to flowers.
Yes, these things.
As it turns out, those Delicate Flowers that Ze’mer has stockpiled up her ass are actually
useful for something.
They contain a strange power that even deters the White Lady from touching one.
The Godseeker, however, is dumb enough to accept a flower from the Knight.
If the player does this, instead of Void being released out into the world, this flower pulls
a no-u and the Godseeker and the Void disappear into thin air.
The flower itself is described as giving off a pale light, which appears to connect it
to the Pale Beings.
Like I said before, Pale Beings appear to be some form of top tier Gods.
As of right now, we are only aware of two: the Pale King and the White Lady.
But the fact that Ze’mer brought these pale flowers from a faraway land implies that there
are definitely more of them out there.
Another small hint of the existence of Pale Beings are the Pale Ore items that can be
found all over Hallownest.
Did these come from the Pale King, or possibly some other Pale Being?
And what exactly are they?
Are they poop?
In general, the Godmaster endings appear to be doing a lot of setup for future Hollow
Like I said before, Hollow Knight: Silksong doesn’t seem connected to these events on
the surface, so we are in a bit of a bind when trying to discuss what these endings
actually mean for the greater narrative Team Cherry is building.
There’s definitely a lot more to consider about what the pale beings are and what properties
And we also have plenty of questions surrounding the Void, and how bugs have interacted with
it in the past.
It almost feels like we are looking through a keyhole trying to grasp onto the totality
of Team Cherry’s creation.
How powerful are creatures like Bill and the Wyrms?
Where did things like the Void even come from to begin with?
How much bigger is the world beyond Hallownest?
Is Bardoon into butt stuff?
But of course that’s the appeal of a game like Hollow Knight.
Having all of the answers to every question would just ruin the mystery of the world.
Plus if we didn’t have questions like this to waste our time on, then what else would
we do with our lives?
And so this video comes to an end.
Now I know the average attention span of a YouTube viewer is 9 minutes, so let me leave
you with a few takeaways:
Hollow Knight is a game about bugs.
I know that may come as a shock, but it’s true.
Watch the video again, and this time pay attention.
You’ll notice right away, I promise.
Murdering your own babies might not be such a good idea after all.
I mean, this is obviously just my interpretation of the game’s lore.
Other people might have different views on the subject of murdering babies, and every
opinion is valid so I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes or anything.
Menderbug is fucking dead.
Nothing is certain.
This video probably has a few flaws in it.
Trying to construct a cohesive narrative with the information found in Hollow Knight isn’t
I’m sure my views will change in the future, and I encourage you to explore the lore yourself.
And this last point is fairly obvious but I should mention it anyway; Cory in the House
is the best anime