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Bosses of Hallownest

The many not so friendly faces the Knight encounters on his journey throughout Hallownest.
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Forgotten Crossroads Bosses

    Gruz Mother

"Bizarrely, this monster does not lay eggs but instead carries its young inside of its fat stomach. This strange practice seems to exhaust the creature, making it sleepy and vulnerable. Take advantage!"
-Hunter's Journal

A large fly-like being that's found sleeping within the Forgotten Crossroads. You can later fight two slightly stronger Gruz Mothers simultaneously within the Colosseum of Fools' Trial of the Conqueror.

  • Bonus Boss: Like all encounters in the Colosseum of Fools, the second two Gruz Mothers aren't necessary for beating the game.
  • Dual Boss: Two of them are fought simultaneously inside the Colosseum of Fools.
  • Flunky Boss: A weird variation, where her children burst out of her body after she dies and have to be fought separately. This only happens during the first encounter, though.
  • Degraded Boss : Two Gruz Mothers reappear in the Colosseum of the Fools as regulars enemies.
  • King Mook: A larger version of the regular Gruzzers you find within the game.
  • Early-Bird Boss: She only poses a threat by the fact that the player will have to fight her without any abilities or upgrades.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: As is obvious from the name.


    False Knight

"Weak creatures love to steal the strength of others. Their lives are brief and fearful, and they yearn to have the power to dominate those who have dominated them."
-Hunter's Journal

A maggot who inhabits a stolen armored shell. He guards a room in the Forgotten Crossroads.

  • Anti-Villain: After defeating his Dream Boss version, you'll find out that he wasn't actually evil or infected (at least at first), and stole the armour just because he wanted to protect his siblings, who are among the weakest creatures in Hallownest.
  • Bonus Boss: The first encounter with this boss is mandatory, but a stronger variant can be fought by striking his corpse with the Dream Nail.
  • Load-Bearing Boss : He destroys the arena by his own attack, eventually leading to his death.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Slams his mace on the ground, causing shockwaves and making rocks fall from above.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Maggots are the weakest creatures in all of Hallowest, but he's still putting this huge stolen suit of armor—one that belonged to one of the five legendary knights, no less—to good use.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: After you get the maggot to fall out of the armor, he just lies defeated on the floor, but you can't continue until you kill him. And once you find two other maggots holding a funeral for him, you have kill the poor guys if you want to fill out the Journal.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: His mace's head is actually another bug, who escapes after the Knight's defeated.
  • Insane No More: The maggot was supposedly driven mad by some force, but after his Failed Champion form is defeated, he reveals he wasn't crazy and stole the armor out of determination to protect his fellow maggots (who, again, you likely killed for the journal entries.)
  • Living Weapon: If the player stays a few second besides the False Knight after its boss battle, they can see that the False Knigh's mace is actually a bug that will flee to safety.
  • Skippable Boss: Not immediately evident, but the left side of the arena can be destroyed after the first phase of the boss fight. The player only needs access to the Vengeful Spirit beyond the False Knight in order to progress to Greenpath and the City Crest the False Knight drops isn't necessary to enter the City of Tears (which can be accessed from several other areas), so it's not necessary to ever finish the fight.

    Brooding Mawlek

"I hear this beast crying out sometimes as I prowl the caverns, although I've never actually laid eyes on it. Who or what is it calling for? As far as I can tell, its voice is never answered."
-Hunter's Journal

This massive beast is found in a hidden area in the Forgotten Crossroads, alone in a room full of dead Mawleks. It can also be fought in the Colosseum of Fools' Trial of the Fool.

  • Bonus Boss: Only found in optional areas, and you can easily complete the entire game without fighting one.
  • Death from Above: Its specialty, whether it's slamming down on you with its weight or vomiting acid into the air to fall down on you.
  • Early-Bird Boss: If you end up fighting it before you're supposed to with the Sequence Breaking described below, the thing has a monstrous amount of health and very difficult to avoid attacks. The ability to dash in particular is almost required to jump over it (something you have to do to avoid its acid vomit). It's not quite a Hopeless Boss Fight without it, but damn if it doesn't come close.
  • Informed Kindness: The Hunter's Journal implies that it's only violent because it's been left alone, but at several points in the game you may enter areas full of Mawleks that will happily try to tear you apart and liquefy your sorry guts anyways. Maybe this only applies to the Brooding subspecies or even this particular individual specimen.
  • Lone Survivor: The one you fight in the Forgotten Crossroads seems to be the only survivor of its colony, hence why it's so violent. Mind you, Lesser Mawleks elsewhere will still attack you in groups.
  • Monster Sob Story: Apparently it's an extremely social creature that becomes aggressive if isolated from its kind. You find it alone with all the other Mawleks dead. The Hunter's journal mentions how it keeps calling out for other Mawleks but is never answered.
  • Sequence Breaking: The room it's in seems designed to only be reachable once you have the Mantis Claw. However, with some well-timed nail jumps, you can reach it before fighting any other boss in the game.

Greenpath Bosses

    Hornet Protector 
"Come no closer, ghost. I've seen you, creeping through the undergrowth, stalking me. This old kingdom... A terrible thing awakens. I can smell it in the air... I know what you are. I know what you'd try to do. I can't allow it..."
-Hornet, before the battle

Hornet's first boss form, in which she confronts the Knight in Greenpath to impede on their quest, but underestimates her opponents and does not deploy her full strength.

Hornet's entry can be found here.

    Massive Moss Charger

"There is strength in numbers, yes, but these creatures never had much strength to begin with. Cut through their trickery!"
-Hunter's Journal

A bigger variant of the Moss Charger that acts a mini-boss in Greenpath. It lies just off the Pilgrim's Way.

  • Bullfight Boss: Its main attack is to run at the Knight, although hitting it won't stop it so it is best to jump above the Massive Moss Charger.
  • Ground Pound: It can launch itself high in the air to crush the Knight beneath instead of charging.
  • Two Men, One Dress: The Massive Moss Charger is revealed to be a group of small moss charger who disguised themselves as one massive bush.


    Vengefly Kings

"A filthy creature that is happy to chew on any old thing it finds discarded on the cavern floor. When it notices a threat it will annoyingly scream and shriek, so kill it swiftly."
-Hunter's Journal

The territorial patriarchs of Vengeflies and are native to Greenpath. The Knight first discovers one while it's snacking on Zote the "Mighty" and another can be fought at the Colosseum of Fools' Trial of the Warrior.

  • Bullfight Boss: The Vengefly King's main attack is to charge at the Knight from above, sweeping the ground. In doing so, it allows the Knight to jump above him and whack him from above.
  • Flunky Boss: The Vengefly King can summon a couple of smaller Vengeflies to help him.
  • King Mook: Literally. Vengefly Kings are bigger and way tougher versions of ordinary vengeflies, which can be one-shotted as soon as the Nail is upgraded.
  • Large and in Charge: The Vengefly Kings are said to be "patriarchs" of the ordinary, smaller vengeflies. However, they are much more massive.

Fungal Wastes Bosses

    Mantis Lords

"The Mantis tribe and the bugs of old Hallownest had no love for each other. The Mantises outlived their rivals though, and their civilisation still stands."
-Hunter's Journal

The chiefs of the Mantis Village, they are intensely xenophobic and hostile to outsiders. The Knight must face them in order to gain access to (one entrance of) the Deepnest.

  • Action Girl: Given that they're referred to as sisters.
  • BFS: All three of them wield nails as tall as they are.
  • Contralto of Danger: They never say anything, but the noises they make when defeated indicate they have deep voices.
  • Dual Boss: After defeating one, the other two battle the Knight simultaneously.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: They acknowledge the Knight's strength after it beats them, and the other mantis villagers won't attack it anymore.
  • Early-Bird Boss: To the point where Quirrel explicitly tells you to upgrade your nail before facing them. You can battle them as soon as you get to Mantis Village, but compared to all of the bosses you have faced up to Fungal Wastes, the Mantis Lords are ruthlessly fast and give you very few chances to attack them due to their rapid movement and aggression, all of which gets taken Up to Eleven when you battle two of them at once. If you return to them after upgrading your nail and gathering a couple more charms and possibly another Heart Container, they'll be a lot easier to manage, going from Lighting Bruisers to Fragile Speedsters.
  • Flash Step: Their preferred method of combat. They'll appear in one end of the arena or above you, dash at you, and then jump away quickly before doing it all over again.
  • Foreshadowing: There is a destroyed throne in their room in addition to the three they are sitting on. You end up facing that throne's former occupant in the Queen's Gardens in the form of the Traitor Lord.
  • Graceful Loser: While they are notorious for their insular and hostile nature, they show a lot of respect for those able to best them. After defeating them, they and their warriors will all bow to the Knight whenever it passes them.
  • Lady of War: The Mantis Lords are all proud, elegant, badass warriors that gracefully leap and dash around the arena.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The mantises found in the Fungal Wastes fit this trope as a whole. The Hunter's Journal implies that this may be the reason they weren't affected by the same tragedy that befell their civilized neighbors in Hallownest.
  • Sequential Boss: The battle against them is split into two parts. In the first, you face a single Mantis Lord, and two of them in the second part.
  • She Is the King: According to the Hunter's Journal entry for the Traitor Lord, the Mantis Lords are all sisters. This makes a lot of sense when you remember that female mantises tend to be More Deadly Than the Male and in fact often eat the male after mating.
  • Skippable Boss: It's entirely possible to beat the game without ever facing the Mantis Lords as there is more than one entrance to the Deepnest.
  • Slaying Mantis: It's right there in the name, and this trope is the theme of their entire tribe to boot.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The Mantis Lords can throw their nails at you, which even fly back at them so the player should be wary of them.
  • Wolfpack Boss: In the Godhome challenge you have to fight all three of them in their second phase.


City of Tears Bosses

    Soul Warrior

"Where these strange warriors go, whispers follow them. Not only are they skilled with a nail, they can also use some strange power to shift suddenly from place to place. Stay on guard."
-Hunter's Journal

Scholars who consumed Soul and gained both Soul powers as well as the fighting skills of their victims. Unfortunately for them, the infection is causing them to lose their identity among the souls they absorbed. They act as recurring mini-boss with varying difficulty.

  • Beef Gate: the first Soul Warrior the Knight will encounter is in the lower levels of the Soul Sanctum, guarding the access to the upper levels where the laboratories and precious soul jars are kept.
  • Dash Attack: One of their main attack is to dash across the screen, slashing at the Knight when they are close.
  • Dynamic Entry: They always begin they battle by suddenly appearing above the Knight and dashing downward to slash at them.
  • Flunky Boss: With the exception of the first one, Soul Warriors can summons Follies to attack the Knight.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing : They lack a subtitle and an introduction animation but act as boss in everything else.
  • Magic Knight: The Soul Warriors are skilled fencers but can also use a few spell, notably teleporting and projecting orbs of soul at the Knight.
  • Teleport Spam: Soul Warriors can become very frustrating to fight against because of their habit to teleport above the Knight to perform fast attacks but also disappear when the Knight tries to close on them.

    Soul Master

"The bugs of Hallownest tried all kinds of tricks and rituals and prayers to rid themselves of the infection. But to no avail! Perhaps the infection came from somewhere deep inside of them that they could not escape."
-Hunter's Journal

The head of the Soul Sanctum. He hoarded soul hoping to stave off Hallownest's affliction but eventually became intoxicated by its power.

  • Bonus Boss: The first encounter with this boss is mandatory, but a stronger variant can be fought by striking its corpse with the Dream Nail.
  • Ground Pound: Uses the desolate dive skill during his fight, teleporting above the knight before slamming into the ground and causing a shockwave. After his defeat, the knight gains the same ability (without the teleportation.)
  • Immortality Seeker: He and his fellow researchers hoped to find a way to live forever, but they were all driven mad and deformed by misusing the power of souls.
  • Mad Scientist: The Soul Master hoped to use soul power as a means to end the plague, but the king, for reasons never explained to him, opposed his methods. Then again, if the Master was getting his inspiration from prophetic dreams, wouldn't that also be the work of Radiance?
  • Orbiting Particle Shield: Can summon four projectiles to orbit around him.
  • Load-Bearing Boss : He destroys the floor as a transition to his second phase.
  • Power Floats: The Soul Master can levitate above the ground, forcing the Knight to jump to hit him. Unlike winged bugs which fly, the Soul Master floats thanks to his arcane powers.
  • Sequential Boss: Even after one exaggerated death animation, the Soul Master regenerates and the battle continues on the floor below. The same goes for the rematch, sans fake-out.
  • Shockwave Stomp: The Soul Master uses the spell Desolate Dive a lot, teleporting right above the Knight to then slam the ground and cause a wave of energy on both sides.
  • Soul Power: Like the Knight, the Soul Master fuels his spell with souls. However, he's taken the harvesting of souls too far, having killed many bugs and created plenty of abominations for his research.
  • Squishy Wizard: He's got a lot of speed and offense, but can't take too many hits. Soul Tyrant, on the other hand...
  • Playing Possum: The Desolate Dive spell actually appears as a collectable reward after the Soul Master's drawn-out death animation. The Soul Master reappears to interrupt the player with his second phase before they can actually absorb it, however.
  • Teleport Spam: Utilises this a lot. He often teleports away just before he the Knight can strike him, even teleporting in the middle of his own attacks to psych the player out. Taken Up to Eleven by the Soul Tyrant, who teleports to an insane degree, never staying still for more than a second.

    Watcher Knights

"When these silent warriors fall in battle, their bodies split open and strange bugs come flying out. I wonder, what will come flying out of me when I die? Will my hopes and fears drift away into the darkness?"
-Hunter's Journal

Formerly the elite guards of Lurien the Watcher, they are reanimated by infected flies to fight against you.

  • Animated Armor: The Watcher Knights consist of nothing but hollowed out remains controlled by swarms of infected lumaflies circling above the arena.
  • Expy: Of the Abyss Watchers. Though mercifully, the last one will not get supercharged.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: A hidden room lets you drop one on one of the sets of armor, bringing the total number of knights to be fought down to a slightly more manageable five.
  • Praetorian Guard: The location of their armor, their collective name, and their combat skills all imply that they were the elite guard of Lurien the Watcher.
  • Rolling Attack: Although the Watcher Knights are not the only opponents to use this technique, their penchant for doing so in unison makes them a particularly memorable example.
  • Sequential Boss: You fight one at first, then the rest in pairs. There are six of them in total, though you can destroy one preemptively by dropping a chandelier from the hidden room above.
  • Wolfpack Boss: While you don't fight them all at once, the player still has to take on at least five of them to make it through the battle. This is emphasized by their attack patterns: they don't have any flashy tricks or fancy maneuvers, they just gang up on the player relentlessly.

    The Collector

"A shadow that sometimes flits through the caverns, making strange noises to itself. I've never seen it clearly so I have no idea what type of creature it is."
-Hunter's Journal

A strange, shadowy figure that enjoys collecting bugs.

  • Collector of the Strange: Responsible for the bottled grubs you find across the world. It has other bug types bottled up in its tower.
  • Flunky Boss: Drops glass bottles on the Knight that contain enemies during its boss fight.
  • Giggling Villain: It can be heard giggling in its tower, and during its boss fight it constantly laughs. It even laughs ysterically when it's dying.
  • I'm Melting!: Its death animation.
  • Leitmotif: While most bosses share a similar boss theme, the Collector gets a unique, heavily distorted version. Probably to emphasize its deranged mental state.
  • Living Shadow: Interestingly enough, it seems to be another being born of the Void, and has some similarities to Shades. A unique four-armed cast found in a secret chamber within the White Palace which is a mold for the Kingsmoulds implies that the Collector is possibly an escaped Kingsmould.
  • Mad Love: It actually loves everything it preserves in its jars, but of course being prisoner of it is quite a terrible fate.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: It has four arms but they aren't the main threat as it will only occasionally claw the Knight, preferring to jump around.
  • Optional Boss: It is found in a side area, and beating gives a map marker reward that shows all grubs that have not yet been found.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Bottling living things is its way of protecting and conserving them, and it's no coincidence that it has a fixation on capturing grubs…

Royal Waterways Bosses

    Dung Defender
Click here to see the White Defender 

"Fighting for 'honour', or for 'loyalty'... you may as well be fighting for dust. If you want to kill, do it for your own sake. That is the nature of a true Hunter."
-Hunter's Journal entry for the Dung Defender

"The Champion's Call, the Knotted Grove, the Battle of the Blackwyrm... I remember it all. I will carry those glories with me always... until we meet again."
-Ogrim of the Five Knights (Hunter's Journal entry for the White Defender)

Once one of the five Great Knights of Hallownest, this proud warrior now guards the Royal Waterways against intruders.

  • Big Fun: Large, rotund, and jolly. And unlike most of the other bugs, he's not been driven insane by the infection. He just likes chucking dung around.
  • Blood Knight: This guy loves to fight. He leaps into battle with gusto and continues laughing jubilantly the entire time. He bears no hatred for his opponent, and if you talk to him later he will apologize for his preemptive attack. He also offers heartfelt thanks for giving him such a challenge, congratulates the Knight for an impressive victory, and declares it was the most thrilling bout he's fought in years. Like many denizens of Hallownest he is surrounded by death and ruin, and he guards his post in solitude with only wistful memories for company. The joy he finds in combat might be the only thing keeping him in high spirits.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Just listen to the jovial tone of his voice as he challenges you while you approach his boss room.
  • Bonus Boss: As of the Hidden Dreams update, hitting him with the Dream Nail initiates a rematch with an upgraded version called the White Defender.
  • The Battle Didn't Count : He is one of the few bosses to survive his battle.
  • But Now I Must Go: As of the Lifeblood update, defeating the White Defender five times causes Ogrim to wake up and greet the Knight. In his thoughts, Ogrim ponders if he can prevent the line of Great Knights from ending with himself. When you next visit the room you find he's built a statue in the likeness of the Knight and left to parts unknown.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: After defeating him, he can later be found again and will apologize for attacking you, explaining that he mistook you for a Husk.
  • Dung Is Water: He burrows and occasionally even swims in the floor of his room, though he can also stand on it and the Knight cannot sink into it.
  • Dung Fu: He's a dung beetle. Of course he's skilled at this.
  • Furry Reminder: When you defeat the Dung Defender, his explosion sends him flying into the background, where he lands on his back and starts flailing his limbs, struggling to get up—much like a real beetle. Not to mention the fact that he does roll balls of dung.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: If you discount the fact that his armor is anything but shining, he is a textbook example—a noble, honor-bound hero, loyal beyond death to his king.
  • Large Ham: Even in a setting that employs Speaking Simlish, he still manages to stand out as one.
  • Last of His Kind: He's the only Great Knight left, as far as we know.
  • Pinball Projectile: His dung balls. Sometimes, the Defender himself will curl into a ball and join them in bouncing around the room.
  • Really 700 Years Old: He's been around since (presumably) the founding of Hallownest, which is stated to have been at least a century ago.
  • Red Baron: Dung Defender is his title. Certain dialogue reveals his name is Ogrim.
  • Stepford Smiler: His thoughts and dreams are less jolly than his demeanor. The dialogue earned by defeating or Dream Nailing the White Defender states that he severely misses his king and companions and desperately wants to reunite with them.
  • The Hyena: He laughs a lot in and out of his fight. If you enter his room, he'll sometimes do it in his sleep.
  • The Lost Lenore: His fellow knight Isma, platonic or otherwise. He'll sometimes mutter her name in his sleep. The gate he guards leads to Isma's Grove, which is, if not a tomb, a sort of monument to her memory.
  • Toilet Humor: As heroic as he is, he's still a dung beetle—not the most dignified of insects. When he is defeated, he emits a massive explosion of noxious gas that sends him flying into the background.
  • Undying Loyalty: The description of his Defender's Crest states it was a gift from the king himself to his most loyal knight. You can also find that the Defender keeps dung statues of his Great Knight comrades on his room and a statue of the King with a idol next to it on the opposite room.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: He guards a device that drains the acid blocking the way to Isma's Grove. Using the Dream Nail on him later while he's sleeping reveals he holds her in high regard.


"The desire to breed, to leave behind a memory of ourselves in the shape of a child... it seems to be etched deep into the heart of every living creature. I too have felt the pull of that base instinct."
-Hunter's Journal

Found hanging from the ceiling in a secluded room in the Royal Waterways, this giant worm covered in orifices will immediately start launching its children at you should you disturb it.

  • Bonus Boss: Its room lies off to the side, and you only need to fight it if you want the Flukenest Charm that it drops.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: If you have a fully upgraded Nail by the time you find her (which you have a good chance of) she'll go down in just a few charged hits.
  • Flunky Boss: The most extreme example in the game. Unable to attack or even move itself, it instead has to constantly shoot Flukefeys at you in order to kill you.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Constantly makes a bunch of gurgling, slobbering sounds with its "mouths" as you fight it.
  • Mother of a Thousand Young: Apparently, it is the source of all the Flukefeys and Flukemons you find in the Royal Waterways.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: She won't attack you unless you start it.
  • Stationary Boss: Being stuck to the ceiling and lacking any limbs to move with, it's unable to do anything but spawn Flukefeys at you.

Crystal Peak Bosses

    Crystal Guardian

"How does the world look to this creature, gazing out from within its crystal prison? Does it see only light? Is that what drives it into a frenzy?"
-Hunter's Journal

Found sitting on a bench in the Crystal Peak, this bug has not only been infected by the plague, but has also had its head and arms encased in the crystal that gives the area its name. After being defeated by the Knight, it flees to the room directly above, where it can be rematched as the "Enraged Guardian" and killed for good.

  • Beam Spam: Mostly content to fire individual beams from its arm, it can also conjure multiple searing rays from the ceiling at once.
  • Bonus Boss: Defeating it once gives you access to the bench it was sitting on; defeating it twice rewards you with a Mask Shard.
  • Crystal Prison: Its head is encased in a crystal. The Hunter theorizes that seeing everything through the crystal drove it mad.
  • Don't Wake the Sleeper: The Knight will find the Crystal Guardian sleeping on a bench. The Knight can spare themselves a boss battle against the Guardian by letting him be, but won't be able to use said bench, whose central location in the area makes it very useful.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: This is the Crystal Guardian's primary method of attack.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Like all bugs taken by the infection, its eyes glow orange.
  • Hand Blast: Shoots lasers from crystals on its hands.

Ancient Basin Bosses

    Broken Vessel

"The shape of this creature... I have seen something like it before. More than once, perhaps. It looks a little like the bugs of Hallownest, but not quite the same. Where did these empty little wanderers come from?"
-Hunter's Journal

An eerily familiar figure found in the Ancient Basin, consumed by the plague that has spread throughout Hallownest.

  • Bonus Boss: Not the regular version, but they can be rematched by striking its corpse with the Dream Nail. Curiously, this version of the boss has their name changed to Lost Kin.
  • Cain and Abel: The Knight and them are siblings, but their reanimated body has to be defeated to unlock the Monarch Wings.
  • Dying as Yourself: All of the infected pus explodes off their body after they are defeated, giving them enough time to reach out desperately towards the Knight before falling dead to the ground. The Lost Kin version is still infected, and upon being defeated, instead of being able to "Listen" to their last thoughts, instead the Knight can "Accept" which makes Lost Kin nod in thanks to the Knight. The achievement for this is called "Peace".
  • Foreshadowing: A Vessel that was also consumed by the infection, like the Hollow Knight, and shrieks in much the same way as them as well.
  • Flunky Boss: The Lost Kin spawns floating blobs of infection pus at a rapid rate, forcing the player to divide their attention between these Infected Balloons and the boss.
  • Graceful Loser: Bows their head politely to the Knight after they are defeated in the dream world.
  • Mirror Boss: Their attacks and movement abilities are strikingly similar to the Hollow Knight's, which is fitting since they are both Vessels.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: They are actually lying down on the ground when they are encountered, but then a swarm of Lightseeds gathers inside of their hollowed out shell to reanimate them and push them to battle the Knight.

Fog Canyon Bosses


"The canyon below us, the one thick with fog and crackling with strange energy... a Hunter can lose their senses down there. Be careful... strange and unnatural things lurk there."
-Hunter's Journal

A giant, jellyfish-like creature that guards Monomon the Teacher. Quirrel aids you in your battle against it.

  • Electric Jellyfish: Uses electric attacks during its boss battle.
  • Expy: The orange nucleus surrounded by translucent membrane brings to mind another fictional jellyfish-like species.
  • King Mook: To the Ooma and Uoma.
  • Seemingly Hopeless Boss Fight: The membrane protecting the core prevents the Knight from attacking it with spells or the nail. After a while of dodging, Quirrel will come in and pop it.
  • Shock and Awe: Uumuu's primary method of attack. It has two main attacks, the first is to cover 90% of the boss room in electrical sparks, forcing the player to seek a safe spot, and the second one is to continuously summon electricity on the Knight's position, forcing the player to constantly move.

Queen's Gardens Bosses

    Traitor Lord

"I have felt that desire. The desire to take the infection into myself. To become stronger, more powerful... these thoughts haunt my dreams during the darkest times. A false hope, but it can burn so brilliantly in one's mind."
-Hunter's Journal

While the Mantis Tribe has by and large fared much better than Hallownest against the plague, not even they are fully immune to its effects. Those Mantises who succumb to the plague are exiled to the Queen's Gardens, and the Traitor Lord rules over these corrupted husks.

  • Final-Exam Boss: A non-final version; you need the Shadow Cloak to face it, and he'll make darned sure you know how to use it in combat.
  • Ground Pound: He can slam the ground to unleash an immense shockwave that cannot be avoided without the Shade Cloak.
  • King Mook: He uses the same moves used by the grounded mantises in the area, but is twice their size.
  • Male Might, Female Finesse: In sharp contrast to the Mantis Lords, the Traitor Lord is slower and bulkier, and forgoes using a weapon. Justified, as if he had style, it's likely been cast away due to the plague affecting his mind.
  • Mutual Kill: If Cloth shows up for the fight, it will end with them killing each other regardless of how much damage you deal.
  • Power at a Price: The Lord deliberately embraced the plague to become more powerful. This should have the cost of turning him feral, but he and the other exiled appear to still function as a society in the Gardens.
  • Slaying Mantis: Like his sisters, but comes off as more of a brute given that he uses his bare claws rather than nails. As of the Lifeblood update he can now also throw glaives similar to the ones used by Mantis Petra and the Mantis Lords, but his seem to be lathered in infection and he can throw them in a much trickier pattern.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Previously, the Traitor Lord was basically a resized Mantis Traitor with a souped-up health pool. As of the Lifeblood update, however, he has gained two new ranged attacks and now deals two masks of damage with most attacks and on contact.
  • Unperson: His broken throne in the Mantis Village suggests he's received this treatment from his sisters.

Deepnest Bosses


"In the deepest darkness, there are beasts who wear faces stolen from your memories and pluck at the strings in your heart. Know yourself, and stay strong."
-Hunter's Journal

A predatory arthropod that lures bugs into the Deepnest by mimicking their loved ones.

  • Acid Attack: It gains two acid-based attacks in a patch. The blobs stick around for a while after hitting the floor, restraining movement.
  • Alluring Anglerfish: Uncommon terrestrial example; the impostor knight is revealed to be a puppet mounted on Nosk's head once the Knight confronts it inside its lair.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: The Winged Nosk uses Hornet's form as a disguise.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: To an even greater extent than many other enemies encountered in Hallownest. Its primary methods of attack are to skitter back and fourth across its arena and to leap at the player.
  • Bonus Boss: Found in a hidden area in the lower Deepnest. It isn't necessary for game completion but rewards the player with a Pale Ore if slain.
  • Bullfight Boss: Its main form of attack is to charge, priming it by roaming before.
  • Confronting Your Imposter: When it's initially encountered in the depths of the Deepnest, Nosk is disguised as a mirror image of the Knight.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Its attack patterns are pretty simple but it can take a lot of hits.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Implied by the dying dreams of the corpses left outside its lair, and confirmed by its Hunter's Journal entry: many of Nosk's victims believed they were pursuing their long-deceased companions.
  • Death from Above: For one of its attacks, the Nosk jumps up to the ceiling and drops acid bolts on its prey.
  • Empathic Shapeshifter: The bugs strung up in Nosk's lair aren't all Vessels like the Knight; a few are of different species, meaning that Nosk can improvise a convincing disguise tailored to its prey.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: During the first few sightings, Nosk will always appear around a bend that will allow it to disappear deeper into its tunnels before the player is able to catch up to it.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Nosk's true form is many times the size of the Knight, but it has no problem squeezing all that mass down into the Knight's tiny frame.
  • Spider Limbs: As visible once it reveals its true nature.
  • Took a Level in Badass: A post-launch patch added two acid-based attacks to the Nosk. And again in another update as Winged Nosk.
  • Transformation Horror: Nosk's true form emerges with many crunching, cracking sounds, ending with it waving the Knight's body around like an anglerfish lure attached to a torso bloated with infection.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Nosk has one of the longest boss introduction sequences, but the Knight cannot attack while Nosk is vulnerable and must wait until it has finished its metamorphosis.

Kingdom's Edge Bosses

    Hornet Sentinel 
"So you'd pursue the deeper truth? It isn't one the weak could bear. Prove yourself ready to face it. I'll not hold back. My needle is lethal and I'd feel no sadness in a weakling's demise. Show me you can accept this Kingdom's past and claim responsibility for its future."
-Hornet, before the battle

Hornet's second boss form in which she challenges the Knight at the entrance to the Cast-Off Shell in Kingdom's Edge to test their resolve and strength in saving Hallownest.

Hornet's entry can be found here.

Colosseum of Fools Bosses

    Zote the Mighty
"Some rare creatures are so weak, so helpless, so inept and so irritating that hunting them gives no pleasure."
-Hunter's Journal

A self-proclaimed mighty knight who's seeking fame in Hallownest. If he survives long enough, he'll act as the final boss of the Colosseum of Fools' Trial of the Warrior the first time the Knight completes it.

Tropes regarding him can be found here under Zote's NPC entry.


"Having a mate by your side... one that will never leave you until death. Strange. No mate has ever come forth to stay by my side..."
-Hunter's Journal

A bigger variant of an Obble, two of which act as the final boss of the Colosseum of Fools' Trial of the Conqueror.

  • Bonus Boss: Only necessary for completion's sake, and can otherwise be skipped as their only found in optional areas.
  • Bullet Hell: About as close to the trope as Hollow Knight ever gets. Each one emits waves of infection bullets to attack, and when the survivor Turns Red, the bullets get faster and more unpredictable.
  • Dual Boss: Two of them are fought at any given time.
  • Kill One, Others Get Stronger: When one falls in battle, the other becomes more aggressive.

    God Tamer

Backer: Dmitry Shcherbakov

"Some hunters train beasts to join them in chasing down prey. I tried it once, but couldn't resist the urge to test my companion's strength against mine."
-Hunter's Journal

A veteran gladiator of the Colosseum of Fools, and the final encounter of its most challenging course; a female cockroach who fights alongside a mount resembling a prehistoric trilobite.

  • Beast of Battle: The crustacean mount bears all the hallmarks.
  • The Beastmaster: Upon entering the arena, the cockroach immediately dismounts and engages the player character in tandem with her beast.
  • Blood Knight: The Hunter’s Journal refers to the God Tamer as a veteran warrior of the Colosseum, implying that she participates in the games for the sport of it.
  • Bonus Boss: Awards the player with no items or upgrades upon her defeat, and is only a required battle in a completionist run.
  • Check-Point Starvation: Because the encounter occurs at the conclusion of the Trial of the Fool, if you fail to dispatch the boss, you'll have to replay the entire lengthy gauntlet to take another stab at the fight.
  • Dual Boss: The cockroach rider isn’t terribly imposing on her own, but her aggressive partner serves to keep the player on their toes.
  • Jousting Lance: The rider fights with a slender lance, even after dismounting.
  • Only the Chosen May Ride: Jury’s still out on whether the trilobite qualifies as a ‘god’, but it seems to be the only remaining specimen of its kind, and isn’t particularly friendly.
  • Rolling Attack: The mount's main attack. It can travel the length of the stage and bounces, making evading it surprisingly tricky.
  • Villainous BSoD: If the trilobite is killed before the rider, she will fall to her knees and give up.

The Hive Bosses

    Hive Knight

"Some creatures are born with duties and loyalties marked indelibly upon their minds. They are strong, but they are also slaves."
-Hunter's Journal

A flightless warrior of the Hive added in the Lifeblood Update. He arrives to defend the Hiveblood charm and his queen when the Knight comes to her chamber.

Grimm Troupe Bosses

Click here to see Nightmare King 

"Through dream I travel, at lantern's call
To consume the flames of a kingdom's fall"
-Grimm (Hunter's Journal entry for Grimm)

"The expanse of dream in past was split,
One realm now must stay apart,
Darkest reaches, beating red,
Terror of sleep. The Nightmare's Heart."
-Seer (Hunter's Journal entry for Nightmare King)

Introduced in the Grimm Troupe campaign, Grimm is the leader of the titular Grimm Troupe. He requests that the Knight go and collect flames from his kin.

  • 100% Adoration Rating: By his Troupe. Even the guy trying to stop the ritual really wants to free him from being enslaved to the cycle and means no ill will towards him.
  • Ambiguously Evil: While Grimm is outwardly polite enough to constitute as Dark Is Not Evil, there's a plethora of questions the more you go in the sidequest. What does Grimm gain when supplying the Knight with a Grimmchild? What exactly does his "ritual" entail? The fact that he appears to know about the Wyrm and the Vessels brings up even more questions, not to mention his upgraded form is known as the "Nightmare King". The White Lady has special dialogue for having the Grimmchild equipped and speaking to her, saying that it would be "naive" to call it a friend. It doesn't help that many characters feel that something is off about him.
  • Affably Evil: Assuming he even is evil in the first place, Grimm is still unfailingly polite and cordial to the Knight, and his Troupe's adoration for him certainly suggests he's a Benevolent Boss.
  • Badass Cape: His leathery wings serve as a cape, and he can use it to attack by transforming it into a drill or spikes.
  • Badass Fingersnap: Does this on a few occasions, namely to power up the Grimmchild and to turn on the lights in his arena.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: You have to Dream Nail a sleeping Grimm to access his Nightmare battle.
  • Berserk Button: Grimm does not take kindly to rudeness, especially when he's being gracious. You find that out the hard way when you hit him as he's bowing during his boss fight.
  • Bonus Boss: He is not connected to the main story, and his Nightmare battle is a bonus within a bonus, as it's possible to banish Grimm and his Troupe without ever fighting it; doing so yields a different reward.
  • Boss Subtitles: His Nightmare King Grimm form has the entire screen black except for the his name centered and colored red, in a similar manner to how the name of The Radiance is displayed.
  • Circus of Fear: His building seems to be a circus tent. His fight also has an audience up on podiums observing it.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Probably. Despite his main color scheme being crimson and red and the dim lights of where you find him, he's awfully polite and only fights the Knight to mature his "child", and his Troupe seems to universally love him. However, the mystery surrounding the true nature of his "Ritual", the fact that many characters feel uneasy around him and that he's deeply connected to nightmares makes this trope all the more ambiguous.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Hit him when he's bowing to the audience? He'll screech like a banshee and unleash his strongest attack.
  • Expy: His color scheme and cloak may invoke the image of a bug Dracula. He also hangs upside down like a bat when asleep. Many of his attacks when you fight him are based on attacks a different Dracula uses, particularly launching a volley of three fireballs from his cloak, suddenly teleporting in as he makes a lunging attack from across the room, dissolving into a flock of bats (or swarm of bugs, in his case), and summoning columns of fire.
  • Foil: Could be considered one to the Radiance. Both are powerful, moth-like creatures tied to the dreaming world, but while the Radiance is an evil, petty entity of light that acts as the god of "good" dreams, Grimm is a polite, theatrical creature of dark and fire known as the "Nightmare King", which may make him the Satan to the Radiance's God.
  • Good Parents: It seems that way when it comes to the Grimmchild. Much of the "Ritual" involves making his child stronger. When you return to Grimm after gathering the flames the first time and after the boss fight, he praises the Knight and the Grimmchild.
    Grimm: [Returning with three flames for the first time] I can feel it. The warmth of the flame you've gathered together. A masterful opening act. The air hums with excitement. Dear child, you've done so well. Let your fire burn even brighter!
    Beautiful, yes. The child has grown, from idle youth to deadly companion. About these dangerous lands, its aid will no doubt be welcome. Just don't neglect our dance, for it too continues! Keep hunting that scattered, scarlet essence. When the child is filled with flame once more, return to the stage and the performance will begin.
  • Graceful Loser: Will congratulate the Knight upon defeating him.
    Grimm: [Post-boss fight] Bravo, my friend. Hear how the crowd adores you! They've not seen such a show in a long time. Look here! How our child has grown, nourished and strengthened by the heat of our passionate dance! The two of you will feature in many tragedies and triumphs together, I'm sure.
  • Hidden Depths: His dream nail quote seems to state that he's fully aware of what the Vessels are and that the Wyrm made them. Also, in the Godmaster update: he is the only rematched boss that directly acknowledges Godseeker's presence, bowing to her instead of you during your rematch with him. And upon dream nailing, him in the rematch, gives quotes further solidifying his awareness of the situation, talking about how it's an honor to attend "the seeker's call", and what a pleasure it is to be a part of this "charming ritual".
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Grimm will bow during the first few seconds of his fight, allowing the Knight a free hit. Defied, as hitting him while he's bowing causes him to scream and immediately start one of his stronger attacks. Nightmare King Grimm, on the other hand, lacks this bow and attacks from the get-go.
  • Let's Dance: He refers to his fight with the Knight as this.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Grimm does a bow to the Knight at the start of the battle, and gets angry if the Knight takes this as an opportunity to hit him. Averted in the Nightmare King battle, where he attacks immediately.
  • Lightning Bruiser: He is constantly teleporting from place to place and attacking at a rapid pace, leaving no time to heal and little time to even approach him. And yet he also boasts a respectable amount of health. If you are not able to dodge every single one of his attacks with perfect precision, he will outlast you easily.
  • Mad Artist: Grimm views himself as a performer first and foremost, and is quite prone to theatrics between bouts of acrobatic violence that he and the Troupe refer to as "dancing".
  • Moth Menace: While his species is not explicitly named in-game, it's possible that he's a Calyptra moth, AKA the vampire moth, given that he resembles a classic vampire and is hanging upside-down like a bat when the player returns with the final flames for the Grimmchild. Reinforced by the fact that moths are connected to the Dream, and Grimm is associated with the Nightmare, though this leaves several questions related to the history of the moths unanswered. While how much "menace" applies to his intentions is ambiguous, he's certainly dangerous enough in a fight and even his larva-like Grimmchild can be surprisingly aggressive towards non-hostile bugs for better or worse.
  • Names to Run From Really Fast: You enter his final boss arena, and you are treated to a terrifying flame-wreathed entrance while "Nɪɢʜᴛᴍᴀʀᴇ Kɪɴɢ Gʀɪᴍᴍ" flashes on the screen in red text. You'd better run.
  • Orchestral Bombing: Appropriately for his appearance, his boss theme is an orchestral piece that features an Ominous Pipe Organ and unintelligible chanting. Both of his boss themes, in fact.
  • Playing with Fire: As appropriate for someone requesting flames, a lot of Grimm's attacks are noticeably fire-based. Taken Up to Eleven with Nightmare King Grimm where all of his normal attacks leave trails of flame in their wake.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: Comes into play if you hit him while he's bowing to you. Grimm is sincerely polite and genteel, but he does not take kindly to rudeness.
  • Repulsive Ringmaster: Though he lacks the trademark top hat, Grimm fits the character archetype owing to his penchant for dramatic spotlights, flamboyant showmanship and striking color scheme.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Land a cheap shot on Grimm while he's bowing politely to you? He screeches like a banshee and retaliates with his ultimate attack, which he normally doesn't start using until about halfway into the battle.

Final Bosses

    The Final Boss (Spoilers) 

The Hollow Knight

"The old King of Hallownest... he must have been desperate to save his crumbling little world. The sacrifices he imposed on others... all for nothing."
-Hunter's Journal

The original Vessel for the plague, created by the king of Hallownest and sealed away in an attempt to protect the kingdom. With their ability to contain the plague weakening, they must be defeated to take their place as the new Vessel to keep the plague from fully breaking free.

  • Ambiguous Gender: Just like the Knight and other Vessels, Word of God says that the Hollow Knight doesn't have a gender and is often referred to as an "it".
  • An Arm and a Leg: While it could be obscured by the cloak they wear, the Hollow Knight's second arm is never visible. The Pure Vessel fought in the Godhome very clearly has two arms, confirming that the Hollow Knight lost one arm at some unknown point after this, presumably due to containing the infection.
  • Badass Cape: Used to wear a long, white cape with armored padding around the neck area in their Pure Vessel form. It gets ripped off as they start fighting though.
  • Body Horror: They have several attacks that involve a large amount of glowing cysts exploding out of their chest. One attack has them being flung into the air and slammed into the ground in an attempt to crush the Knight.
  • Bonus Boss: The Godmaster update gives us The Pure Vessel, which is the Hollow Knight in their prime in the dream world, uncorrupted by The Infection. They can perform some dangerous new moves and uses a combination of soul and void elements for each.
  • Broken Angel: The Pure Vessel fight against the Vessel in its prime shows how far it has fallen by the time you encounter it in the finale. It's missing an arm, ravaged by the infection, and by the end of the fight, barely able to swing its nail without collapsing.
  • Cain and Abel: The Cain to the player Knight's Abel, though how much control the Hollow Knight still has over their actions and how much is the plague controlling their body by the time they are reached is left mostly up to debate.
  • Cliffhanger: In the new ending added in "Godmaster", the Hollow Knight, newly freed from the Radiance, is seen advancing towards Hornet right before a Smash to Black.
  • Combat Breakdown: A rare example of this happening to the boss. About halfway through the fight, they become visibly fatigued and start stabbing themselves in a desperate attempt to either destroy the infection or themselves as the plague begins to overtake them. By the end of the battle, they can hardly attack without collapsing and can barely even be considered a proper fight anymore.
  • Counter Attack: They have a distinct animation during which they block all nail slashes thrown their way, eventually resulting in one of these if the player keeps attacking anyway.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Hooo, boy. First, there was their creation by the Pale King via sacrificing his and the White Lady's children. Then they were raised with the sole purpose of sacrificing themselves for the world. But the Pale King ended up forming a father-child bond with it, inadvertently sabotaging the Hollow Knight's potential. When the Knight finally faces them, they are a broken mess due to the Infection taking over their body and threatening to burst forth.
  • Determinator: All the Vessels were created with this in mind to better keep the Infection contained. However, the Hollow Knight gets a special mention for this trope. Despite the Infection being on the verge of breaking free, the Hollow Knight does everything in their power to fulfill their purpose. First, they repeatedly maim themselves in order to aid the Knight. Then, when the Knight beats the Radiance, they appear in Shade form to help the former kill her once and for all.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: In the Dream No More ending, they return as a Shade to help the Knight defeat the Radiance.
  • Expy: Bears more than a few similarities to two separate characters from Dark Souls I: Artorias and Gwyn.
    • With Artorias they share the status of a hero fallen to the force they were meant to oppose, a BFS wielded with one hand while the other is injured (or missing in the Hollow Knight's case), and a fighting style that channels the force they were corrupted with.
    • Meanwhile, like Gwyn they sacrificed themselves to protect their world, is the Final Boss who the player aims to replace in their duties, and is in a rather sorry state when encountered.
  • Fighting from the Inside: In the second half of the fight, the Hollow Knight starts resisting the control of the plague, stabbing themselves in the chest in an attempt to help the Knight. These suicidal fits don't damage them, but they do represent huge openings for the Knight to heal themselves, openings that the otherwise-highly-aggressive Hollow Knight rarely presents.
  • Flash Step: It'll appear and vanish with blinding speed throughout the first half of the fight to get an angle for attacking the Knight, verging on Teleport Spam at times. In the Pure Vessel variant, their Flash Step has the same visual effects as Shade Cloak, highlighting the link between them and the Void.
  • Foreshadowing: A minor one, but in the cinematic where you encounter the Hollow Knight's statue in the City of Tears, the statue appears to shed a few tears. When they are encountered later in the game, we see that they are Fighting from the Inside, desperate to contain the infection, but they are unable to hold on much longer.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: Certain NPC dialogue—along with a cutscene at the conclusion of the Path of Pain—implies that the Hollow Knight could not completely contain the infection due to being raised as a child by the Pale King.
  • Handicapped Badass: The infection has devastated the Hollow Knight, even destroying one arm completely. It's gained some infection-based attacks, but the Pure Vessel fight makes it clear that, by the events of the game, it's barely holding together.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: They tried to pull one by serving as the Vessel for the infection and sealing it away. It worked for a while.
  • I Got Bigger: Flashback cutscenes reveal that when they were younger they used to look pretty similar to the far smaller Knight, with the only difference being the shape of their horns and the colour of their cloak.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The Pure Vessel's long, white, armored cape gives them this appearance.
  • Leaking Can of Evil: They are the leaking can! Some of their attacks even incorporate firing blobs of glowing liquid just like some other infected creatures do.
  • People Puppets: In their final phases, they are so unable to contain the plague that it takes completely over, lifts them up, and slams them in the Knight's direction like a rag-doll.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: They are the forsaken child, in a very literal sense.
  • Reverse Grip: Always holds their nail this way.
  • Sad Battle Music: Their battle music, Sealed Vessel, starts out imposing and grand but turns heartbreakingly tragic in the second part of the fight, as they are slowly reduced to a wreck, turning their blade on themselves and eventually growing so weak they can barely swing their nail without collapsing.
  • Seppuku: The way they stab themselves with their own nail has shades of this, especially how it coincides with the soundtrack's shift to Sad Battle Music. Of course, even this doesn't finish them off and the Hollow Knight periodically stabs themselves throughout the rest of the fight.
  • The Speechless: They were meant to have no voice as part of the qualities that would help them contain the infection. "No voice to cry suffering". They appear to roar during the boss battle, but this is the voice of the Radiance seeping out through the infected parts of the Hollow Knight. In Godhome, the Pure Vessel is entirely speechless. The start of the fight uses the start of the music in place of the roar that starts the battle with the Hollow Knight in the main game.
  • Tragic Monster: During the battle, they are clearly fighting the infection that's driving them mad as much as they are fighting the Knight.
  • Tyke Bomb: There's something poignant about finding out the Hollow Knight was once kid-sized like the Knight and that the King regarded all the Vessels as mere tools.
  • Un-person: Which is particularly odd since there's a giant fountain homaging them in the kingdom's capital. As Lemm points out, no one in Hallownest has any clue who the Hollow Knight is or why there's a large statue of them at the center of the City of Tears. Outside of that fountain, they're never mentioned in any historical records.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Downplayed, as the nail they wield is still usable but appears to be in pretty terrible condition. Like the Hollow Knight themselves, their nail appears in a restored form when fighting Pure Vessel and is capable of dealing twice as much damage.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Downplayed, but more present in the Pure Vessel variant, which uses a combination of the Void and white-themed magic projectiles and spells themed off the Nail.

     True Final Boss (Spoilers) 

The Radiance

"The plague, the infection, the madness that haunts the corpses of Hallownest... the light that screams out from the eyes of this dead Kingdom. What is the source? I suppose mere mortals like myself will never understand."
-Hunter's Journal

A god-like entity of light. She spawned the plague that destroyed Hallownest after being shunned and forgotten by bugs in favor of the Pale King.

  • Animalistic Abomination: In general looks, she has a lot of Moth-like elements in her design, but it's obvious she's far beyond anything like that.
  • Background Boss: Stays in the background and is one of the few enemies that doesn't deal Collision Damage.
  • Beam Spam: After dealing her enough damage, she flees high above the original boss arena and begins blasting at the Knight with beams of light. Thankfully, her aim is very poor.
  • Big Bad: She's responsible for the infection that killed Hallownest.
  • Boss Subtitles: While all the bosses have these, the Radiance is a notable case due to her Boss Subtitle covering the entire screen in white except for the words "The Radiance". This was unique among bosses in the game until Nightmare King Grimm came along and used it as well.
  • Check-Point Starvation: Every time the Knight is bested by the Radiance, they return to the bench outside of the Hollow Knight's chamber. The Hollow Knight must be defeated again before being able to fight the Radiance again. Even more extreme in the Godhome version of the fight, where losing means having to refight 41 previous bosses for another shot.
  • The Corruption: The Radiance's influence manifests as the Hate Plague that blights the kingdom of Hallownest. According to the Hunter, the Radiance actually tempts her victims (though Hearing Voices) with power and strength, at the cost of Body Horror and a Death of Personality.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: In her actions and backstory, she bears some resemblance to Abrahamic God. She created and ruled over moths, her people, until a foreign king lured them to abandon her and worship him instead (through idols, no less). Then, in her attempt to be remembered, she caused a plague that decimated her enemy's kingdom.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: How she's ultimately defeated, consumed by the Abyss following a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from both Vessels.
  • Dream Walker: The plague is the product of Radiance "invading the dreams" of Hallownest's inhabitants.
  • Driven by Envy: Furious with the population of Hallownest for ceasing worship in favor of her usurper, the Pale King. Hitting her with the Dream Nail reveals bitter proclamations such as "THE LIGHT CANNOT BE CONSUMED" and "I WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN".
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: Her motif. Her plague leaves its victims in simultaneous pain and reverence due to her hot, orange light. It's telling that normally peaceful animals are driven into frenzied fear, their thoughts expressing fear over the light.
  • Evil Is Visceral: The orange of the Radiance and her plague is also the color of infected bug blood. Furthermore, areas heavily overtaken by plague (such as the Infected Crossroads) are full of throbbing boils of orange fluid connected by thick, pumping veins.
  • Expy: Very reminiscent of the final form of Lumine. Both are true final bosses after besting an infected swordsman, both are angelic in appearance and fought against a cloudy yellow background, and both rely on screen-filling light-beam attacks.
  • God Is Evil: Her response to being shunned by bugkind was to send a plague upon them that essentially caused a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: A variation: The Radiance needs to be remembered to exist, and was originally suppressed by the Pale King destroying all traces of her existence and doing everything in his power to ensure bug-kind forgot her. Unfortunately, he wasn't thorough enough, and the discovery of a statue in her image at the top of Crystal Peak was all it took to revive her.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Symbolized by orange, compared to the Pale King's stark white.
  • Hate Plague: Victims, when struck with the Dream Nail, display primitive but hateful comments such as "Your smell…Kill you…"
  • Hive Mind: Under her rule, some bugs were united in mind, but also reduced to their base instincts. Now they also get some Body Horror as a result of resisting her memory and single mindedly fighting the Knight in order to keep her coming back from being interrupted.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: The Seer, a member of the tribe that worshipped her, pretty much gave the Vessels the means of destroying her once and for all by giving one the Dream Nail.
  • If I Can't Have You...: The Radiance destroyed her own civilization for rejecting her.
  • It's All About Me: She doesn't seem to care how much suffering she causes by forcing the bugs of Hallownest to remember her.
  • Light 'em Up: Many of her attacks manifest as this, such as homing spheres of light or pillars of light raining down from the sky.
  • Light Is Not Good: She's a being of pure white with a distinctly angelic appearance, and she's the sole cause of all the horror that befell Hallownest.
  • Macabre Moth Motif: She's associated with moths, from the general shape of her body to the Seer being the one providing the way to her by proxy. A developer note says that the Moth race is descended from her.
  • Platform Battle: The battle starts out in a platform with pits on each side. Either half of the platform will be covered in spikes during the second phase. The fourth phase then takes place over a bunch of scattered small platforms. The final phase has the Knight ascend a column of small platforms while the Radiance tries to swat them down with Frickin' Laser Beams, fleeing from the Void rising up below the Knight.
  • Plaguemaster: The plague, and all the Body Horror that comes with it, is the Radiance's influence.
  • The Old Gods: The Seer implies that she created the moths and did so long before the King came and founded his kingdom.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Containing her and therefore the infection is the true purpose of the Vessels, and the King went to great lengths to find a way to do so.
  • Sequential Boss: The battle against the Radiance has five distinct phases, each one altering her arena and moveset. The first stages involve the Radiance raining death on the Knight with her Storm of Blades and Frickin' Laser Beams; during the final leg, she tries to disengage from the fight as the Knight gives chase—dodging Eye Beams along a path of floating platforms—to deliver a well-deserved No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Storm of Blades: Several of her attacks spawn waves of long nails that fly in horizontal, vertical, and radial patterns, bordering on Bullet Hell. The third phase of the fight consists of an endless rain of them; luckily, they are only of the vertical variety, which is easiest to avoid.
  • Teleport Spam: She warps around the arena regularly, which becomes rather frustrating when she decides to hover over the side of the arena she just covered in spikes.
  • That's No Moon!: When first entering the Hollow Knight's dream to fight her, the only thing seen there is a couple of platforms against a sunny sky. Jumping to the top platform gives a "Challenge" prompt, and activating it causes the Knight to turn towards the sun and draw their blade, shortly after which the sun grows wings before the Radiance reveals her true form.
  • True Final Boss: Defeating her inside the Hollow Knight's mind grants Dream No More ending. Defeating Absolute Radiance at the Pantheon of Hallowest results in a Sequel Hook ending that ends in a cliffhanger.
  • Unperson: The King took pains to erase all remnants of Radiance ever existing, making the moths forget her and burying every possible reference to her existence, because she needs memory in order to manifest. Unfortunately, the miners at the Crystal Peak Dug Too Deep and unearthed a statue that now sits atop the mountain, and caused her to awaken and spread the Infection once more.

Godhome Bosses

    "Pantheon of the Master" Final Boss 

Brothers Oro and Mato
"Loyal brother gods of the nail"

"Gods by toil and nail bound,
Brothers sworn to guard the weak,
Masters of the sacred ground,
Help Us find the God We seek!"
-Prayer to the Masters (Hunter's Journal)

The final bosses of the first pantheon, Nailmasters Oro and Mato set aside their differences to fight as one!

Tropes regarding them can be found here under their NPC entry.

    "Pantheon of the Artist" Final Boss 

Paintmaster Sheo
"Talented god of artists and creators"

"O God inspired, master of arts,
Whose works shall eternal endure,
Peer beyond Our minds and hearts,
Reveal to Us the God most pure!"
-Prayer to the Artist (Hunter's Journal)

The final boss of the second pantheon, the retired Nailmaster Sheo still sets his blade aside in battle; instead, he uses the mighter brush!

Tropes regarding him can be found here under Sheo's NPC entry.

    "Pantheon of the Sage" Final Boss 

Great Nailsage Sly
"Cunning god of opportunity"

"Sagely God of the cunning and bold,
Sharpen Our nails and show Us the odds,
O greatest of masters, We wish to behold,
That one still greater, the God of Gods!"
-Prayer to the Sage (Hunter's Journal)

The final boss of the third pantheon, the man who taught the Nailmasters everything they know; Sly.

Tropes regarding him can be found here under Sly's NPC entry.

    "Pantheon of the Knight" Final Boss 

The Pure Vessel
"Mighty god of nothingness"

"Deepest silence in holy shell,
Given nail and named a Knight,
Bound by chain and egg and spell,
Hear Our plea! Reveal thy Light!"
-Prayer to the Vessel (Hunter's Journal)

The final boss of the fourth pantheon, the perfect version of the Hollow Knight, not tainted by the infection, shines as the hero it once was!

Tropes regarding it can be found above under the Hollow Knight's entry.

    "Pantheon of Hallownest" Final Boss 

Absolute Radiance
"Forgotten god of light"

"...LET ME BE FREE..."
-Absolute Radiance's Dream Nail dialogue

The final boss of the final pantheon, whom the player must battle a harder version of every other boss in the game to reach, is an even harder version of the Radiance. Dying to her will send the player to the beginning of the pantheon, meaning they'll have to fight every boss all over again to get another shot at defeating her, and she isn't a slouch herself. Defeating her is the greatest challenge "Hollow Knight" has to offer!

Tropes regarding her can be found above, under the vanilla Radiance's entry.


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