Protagonists | Hallownest (Groups, Assorted NPCs, Historic Characters, Bosses) | Pharloom | Expanded Universe
Historic Figures of HallownestHallownest's many historical figures that shaped the kingdom when they were in their prime. This list also includes certain key entities such as gods and legendary warriors.
- Cult: There are some groups that worship each of the higher beings like deities:
- Downplayed in the case of The Pale King and the White Lady. It's not much of an actual cult since they have realistic and proper positions in the society of Hallownest for being the royalties who rule the kingdom. Their subordinates are very much civilized as well, and not small secluded groups or tribes that deify the other Higher Beings.
- The Radiance is worshipped by the moth tribe. By extension, Some creatures led by the Moss Prophet also indirectly worship the Radiance via the infection that it brought.
- Unn is worshipped by the Mosskin in Greenpath, for being the deity who brought them and that place's green vegetation.
- The Grimm Troupe is this for the Nightmare's Heart, as they conduct rituals in an attempt to sustain the life of the Heart by providing it with vessels.
- The Godseeker Tribe has a goal of attuning Godhome to the "God of Gods" and commune with that deity. Initially, they thought of the God as the Radiance, but it turned out to be the Void Entity.
- Red Baron: All except Unn are not given names, and are remembered by their titles which also border with The Magnificent trope, such as The Pale King, The Queen, The Radiance, and The Nightmare's Heart. Even the Void Entity is a unique case, since it has several names or titles.
- Physical God: As higher beings, their abilites can encompass a wide margin, even greater than the regular bugs. But they can still manifest, be encountered, hurt or outright killed.
- Walking Spoiler: The Higher Beings are tied to the greater scope and history of Hallownest. While each of their individual presence are repeatedly mentioned all throughout your journey, most of the crucial lore and plot points are only made accessible late-game.
Pale Beings"Pale Beings" is a term that refers to two higher beings that once ruled Hallownest together, the Pale King and the White Lady.
Wyrm / King of Hallownest
No mind to think.
No will to break.
No voice to cry suffering.
Born of God and Void.
You shall seal the blinding light that plagues their dreams.
You are the Vessel.
You are the Hollow Knight."
The mysterious ruler and founder of Hallownest, venerated by his subjects. By the time the player character arrives, much of his kingdom has been in ruins for over a century following a devastating plague, and the King himself has long since departed for parts unknown.
- Abusive Parent: Subverted. While the details of what he was like as a person before the infection are unknown, his plan to create the perfect hollow Vessel to contain the infection required the sacrifice of thousands of his own spawn until one of them became perfectly "hollow" enough to contain Radiance. Ironically, it was because he wasn't heartless enough that doomed the plan, as he became attached to the Hollow Knight and raised them into adulthood, causing them to gain an "idea instilled" and become no longer truly hollow.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: His original form is of a gigantic Wyrm, specifically the giant discarded shell at Kingdom's Edge is actually his old corpse, containing a broken pod that is implied to be where his current form was birthed from and where the Knight obtains the King's Brand. It is unknown how many of the regular Hallownest citizens actually know the true origin of their King, and only the more ancient beings seem to be aware, such as his mate and Queen the White Lady, who only ever refers to him as the "Wyrm".
- A God Am I: The king of Hallownest was revered by his people as a deity. Born from a wyrm's corpse, the Pale King did everything in his power to replace the old light of the Radiance with his own and rule over Hallownest forever.
- All for Nothing: The Hunter's Journal entry for the Hollow Knight explains and lampshades this:The Hunter: 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.
- All There in the Manual: According to the game manual, under "The Missing King" entry for the characters, the Pale King is explicitly stated to have went into hiding.
- Ambiguous Situation: Just what happened to the Pale King? While the Knight finds a corpse in White Palace, it's unclear what the White Palace the Knight visited really was. The Godseeker in the Pantheon in Hallownest also never explicitly states that he died — rather that he was "erased completely".
- Arc Symbol: The Pale King's distinct horns are imprinted on various key objects and statues. As you are nearing the endgame, the four-pronged horns of the king also appear when you obtain the King's Brand, and it also resembles the maw of the dead wyrm from which he was born.
- Broken Pedestal: Eventually the lengths he went to in his desperation to contain the infection is revealed — he used thousands of his own children as the basis for the Vessels, a plan so "cruel" that it even turned off Ogrim, the King's most loyal Knight.
- Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage: The Weavers' leader, Herrah the Beast, entered a brief one with the Pale King. In order for Herrah to agree in becoming a Dreamer, she requested to bear a child of the Pale King.
- Crown-Shaped Head: The King's shell doubles as a crown. His four-pronged crown sigil can be found everywhere you look. Its points are quite similar to the three horns that decorated his archenemy, the Radiance. It also resembles the maw of the dead Wyrm from which he was born.
- Dismantled MacGuffin: The Kingsoul charm is split into two pieces, one acquired from the Pale King in the White Palace and the other given by the White Lady in the Queen's Gardens. The halves are useless on their own, but by interacting with their keepers, the Knight is able to acquire both pieces and join them as a functioning charm.
- Failed a Spot Check: Unfortunately, this happened twice without the Pale King being aware of them at first, which caused his plans to fail miserably:
- While his initial goal was to build a kingdom out of Hallownest and eliminate the bugs' memories of the Radiance, making it an Unperson, the King didn't realize that the workers have Dug Too Deep at the top of the Crystal Peak. For they discovered a statue of the Radiance, and it was just enough to make the Radiance be remembered once more and spread its Hive Mind infection across the kingdom.
- To combat the infection, the Pale King designed hollow Vessels to be free of mind, voice, or will so that the Radiance won't be able to manipulate anything while being sealed in a Vessel. He chose a candidate to be the Pure Vessel, but did not know that this Vessel was in fact, not hollow in the first place, as it had an "idea instilled". Although that idea is an Ambiguous Situation at best, it could either be due to the fact that the Pure Vessel looked back at their sibling hanging in the entrance to the Abyss (to which the King wasn't aware of because he didn't look back), or the scene in the end of the Path of Pain (to which the King might have developed an emotional father-and-son bond with the Pure Vessel).
- Founder of the Kingdom: Founded Hallownest and reigned as its king.
- Giant Corpse World: The corpse of the enormous Wyrm that was the Pale King's original form rests in Kingdom's Edge, its decay covering the landscape in white ash.
- God-Emperor: The bugs of Hallownest worshipped him as a god. He certainly had the powers to back it up.
- God Is Flawed: Powerful, wise and otherworldly, the King was not perfect. His initiative to tame Deepnest and his plot to seal the plague ultimately failed. He chose to sacrifice his own spawn by the thousands in order to save the rest of the Kingdom. However the plan failed when he ultimately could not be cold enough to the original Hollow Knight while raising them to adulthood.
- The Good King: Deconstructed. There's no question that he was protective of his subjects, going to extreme lengths to keep them safe.
- Good Is Not Soft: The Pale King brought sapience to some of the bugs and guided them as their monarch. Despite being a reclusive figure, he was worshipped by his people. He was willing to go to any lengths to ensure the survival of his kingdom, even if it meant doing unsavory things.
- Have You Seen My God?: He's missing during the events of the game, and no, his corpse in the White Palace disappears if you return to his throne after getting his piece of the Kingsoul. Many other prominent NPCs are also aware of his disappearance, but a dialogue from the Godseeker implies that this might be a case of God is Dead, as she wonders why the Pale King was "erased completely".
- Humanoid Abomination: He was apparently a reincarnation or a spawn of the dead Wyrm, and he had Lovecraftian Superpowers such as being able to manipulate the Void. More benevolent than the norm, but he did chain hundreds of Void spawn to do his bidding against the Radiance.
- Light Is Good: It was said that he shone with a pure white light that could blind somebody if they look for too long. If the White Palace is any indication, it might be true. Other bugs also refer to the King metaphorically as the light.Seer: "But another light appeared in our world... A wyrm that took the form of a king."
- Meaningful Background Event: A white silhouette of the Pale King also appears in the background of the White Defender boss fight. He is depicted here with wings that look similar to the Monarch Wings, implying that the Pale King is the previous owner for the Monarch Wings that you can obtain the Ancient Basin. It is also not a mere coincidence, since the Ancient Basin is where the White Palace used to be.
- Memorial Statue: The Pale King has multiple statues and depictions scattered throughout the kingdom, such as; behind a bench in Queen's Gardens, a fountain in Ancient Basin, a dung statue in the Royal Waterways, and a white silhouette in the background of the White Defender's boss fight.
- Mind Screw: In the Pantheon of Hallownest, the Godseeker cannot comprehend why a powerful god like the Pale King can be "erased so completely".
- My God, What Have I Done?: Despite the lengths he was willing to go to, the inscription in front of the entrance to the Abyss indicates that the King was so disgusted with what he had to do to seal the Radiance that, after creating the Hollow Knight, he sealed the Abyss up and never set foot in it again.Higher beings, these words are for you alone. Our pure Vessel has ascended.
- Offing the Offspring: The Pale King throwing all rejected vessels into the Abyss, leaving most of them to remain trapped in there and die.
- Parental Abandonment: It is eventually revealed that the Knight, Hollow Knight, and all Vessels and Shades are siblings, and at one point the offspring of the Pale King and the White Lady. It is not clear exactly what the Pale King did to his children in his desperation to create the perfect Vessel to contain the infection, but he left thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of Vessel corpses and wandering Shades in the Abyss. Eventually, he sealed them away and refused to return to them once he thought he had the perfect Vessel. The Knight somehow managed to escape and make their way to the Howling Cliffs at some point.
- Posthumous Character: Possibly. His corpse can be found still sitting on his throne at the end of the White Palace, but the game keeps it ambiguous on whether the White Palace the Knight visits is a memory, or was the real deal transported to the dream world.
- Power of the Void: The King had a knack for shaping the Void and making it do his bidding, and using it as a power source for constructs like the Kingsmoulds and Wingmoulds. Trouble is, the game also suggests it wasn't the safest thing to deal with, if the occasional corpses bleeding black from the eyes are any indication.
- Royal "We": Spoke like this, judging by the inscriptions written for "higher beings" being written by him.
- Rule of Symbolism: His crown. It is in the symbol of Hallownest, which is everywhere in the kingdom to remind the citizens of their king and have them revere him as a god. It also has four prongs, which is more than the three-pronged crown of the Radiance, as a symbolism of how the Pale King wants to replace or usurp her.
- Rule of Three: Is one of the three known rulers of Hallownest (the Pale King, the White Lady, and the Radiance).
- Scale of Scientific Sins: Under his rule, he commited five of these:
- Automation - The Tramway system. To the point where the Last Stag feared that a machine would replace their manual labor of transporting passengers.
- Genetic Engineering - The Pale King infused his children vessels with the void, making them physically hollow, while his attempts were motivated by finding the vessel with no will, no mind, and no voice, trying to make them metaphorically "hollow".
- Creating Life - Apart from the vessels, the Pale King has also managed to create living beings made out of pure liquid void, such as the Kingsmoulds and Wingsmoulds found in his White Palace. The Collector is also heavily implied to be an escaped Kingsmould.
- Cheating Death - The vessels leave shades when they die.
- Usurping God - Part of the reason why the Pale King established this kingdom - to unite the bugkind of Hallownest, give them sentience and make them forget the previous ruler who is also a Higher Being (The Radiance)... Which is kinda odd once the Pale King is mentioned to be another Higher Being as well. So, we have a case where a new god usurps the old god.
- Sigil Spam: The four-pronged symbol of Hallownest is everywhere. This is an intentional act by the Pale King, who wanted Hallownest's citizens to revere him as a god. He also wanted to destroy all traces of his rival, Radiance, and he was very nearly successful. Unfortunately, even that wasn't good enough...
- Small Role, Big Impact: The Pale King's lingering power in the kingdom is what drew the Godseekers to Hallownest. That, and the remaining Godseeker in the Junk Pit all play a crucial part since entering the Godhome in the Godseeker's mind allows the Knight to kill the Radiance in that place without having to fight the Hollow Knight itself, as seen in the two Godmaster endings.
- Sympathetic Adulterer: Though he was married to the White Lady, the Pale King had to give Herrah the Beast a child if he wanted Deepnest's loyalty. The White Lady not only feels no spite towards Herrah, she's actually very fond of the child that was born; that child being Hornet.
- The Unfettered: His own personal philosophy is "No cost too great..." He was willing to sacrifice thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of his children just to beat the infection.
- Unintentional Backup Plan: In case the Hollow Knight failed in sealing the infection, the King had to make a backup plan and keep the Hollow Knight sealed instead. This Plan B consists of enlisting the three Dreamers so that they would act as the Barrier Maidens that lock the Black Egg Temple where the Hollow Knight is located.
- The Usurper: A lore tablet in White Palace reveals he wanted to rule as the only god by granting intelligence to certain bugs so they would worship him.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: If the implications about the White Lady being the Queen of Hallownest are true. She is enormous compared to the Pale King who is relatively normal-sized.
- Walking Spoiler: Learning about the king and his actions reveal major parts of the game's backstory.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: As Hallownest was taken by the plague, he was willing to sacrifice anything to keep it at bay. Using the Dream Nail on his corpse reveals his final thoughts: " No cost too great "
- Wham Line: This Lore Tablet inscription in the entrance of the Abyss, which reveals that the King ordered the Abyss to be sealed off, while the Player Character is still inside.Higher beings, these words are for you alone. Our pure Vessel has ascended.
Beyond lies only the refuse and regret of its creation. We shall enter that place no longer.
Root / Queen of Hallownest
The Queen of Hallownest and the mother of the Vessels.
Tropes regarding her can be found here under The White Lady's entry.
Other Higher Beings
A moth described as a being of light and the one who rules most of the dream world. Its influence was felt throughout Hallownest even before the Pale King's arrival.
Tropes regarding The Radiance can be found here under The True Final Boss entry.
The higher being who created the green vegetation of Greenpath.
Tropes regarding Unn can be found here.
The deepest power of the Nightmare Realm, one that was separated from the dream world.
- Beat Still, My Heart: It is a giant heart located in the Nightmare Realm, constantly beating. You can even hear the beating sound effect as soon as you enter Grimm's dream.
- Dream Weaver: It controls the entirety of the Grimm Troupe who are after the flames of nightmares scattered throughout the land.
- Eldritch Abomination
- Empathic Environment: As you deal damage to Nightmare King Grimm and progress through the boss's phases, the Nightmare Heart in the background will open its eyes, and the entire stage gets brighter the closer you are to defeating the boss.
- Extra Eyes: It has thirteen eyes in front alone, not even counting how many eyes are there from the other perspectives:
- Eyes Do Not Belong There: This giant heart has multiple eyes all over.
- Greater-Scope Villain: The entire Grimm Troupe are still Ambiguously Evil, being tied with nightmares and all. Plus, Grimm can be easily mistaken as the Big Bad of the expansion pack. But Brumm and the White Lady state that everyone in the troupe, including Grimm himself, is a slave to the Nightmare Heart. Not to mention that the troupe exists to prolong the lifespan of the Heart by having spawns or vessels such as Grimm and the Grimmchild.
- Walking Spoiler: Early on, the player is made to believe that Grimm is the only being controlling the Troupe. But it turns out that there is another higher being controlling Grimm himself, which is this Nightmare's Heart.
Lord of Shades / God of Gods
A mysterious higher being made out of Void. It is feared as possibly the strongest being ever known. This higher being known as the "Void Given Form" or the "Lord of Shades" is actually a form that the playable Knight turns into during one of the endings. As of the Godmaster update, it takes on a much more sinister and larger form known as the "Void Given Focus" or the "God of Gods".
- 11th-Hour Superpower: As you deal the final hit to the Radiance, the shade of the Hollow Knight will render her vulnerable, while the playable Knight unleashes the power of the Void Heart to transform itself into the Void Entity called the "Lord of Shades". Any subsequent presses of the attack button during this sequence will make its void tendrils lash out at the Radiance and kill it. This also applies to the Godhome endings, but the Knight will assume the form of the "God of Gods" instead to defeat the Absolute Radiance.
- Ambiguous Situation:
- The Knight's current status as of both Godmaster endings. After defeating the Absolute Radiance, the Knight breaks their shell and a monolithic shadow appears in their place, finishing off the Absolute Radiance. Is only the Knight in control of this being? Or are the shades of their siblings part of it too?
- We get to see the Knight turn into either of these forms just as it has to kill either forms of the Radiance. However, before fighting the Absolute Radiance in the Pantheon of Hallownest, there is a strange Mighty Roar heard just after the Radiance's own distinct scream. If that strange roar is heard before the Knight fights the Absolute Radiance, it could mean that the Void Given Focus is an entirely separate void entity on its own, and is just lending its power to the Knight at the right time and place.
- Arch-Enemy: A Dream Nail dialogue for the Absolute Radiance calls the Knight (or to be precise, the Void Entity within it) as her "Ancient Enemy".
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The Godseeker more or less allows The Knight to do this after getting past the various pantheons and defeating Radiance directly. They seem to go Drunk with Power and take over Radiance's plague normally, the Godseeker's physical body as a catalyst to burst from. However, giving the Godseeker a Delicate Flower prevents this, allowing the two to ascend together, turning into light. After this, The Godseeker praises The Knight as the "God of Gods" she was looking for in the first place.
- Bragging Rights Reward: Defeating all bosses in the Hall of Gods under the Radiant difficulty will award the player a statue of the Void Given Focus.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: As a consequence of the Knight using the Power of the Void to overpower Absolute Radiance, it merges with the Void and manifests as a titanic Zalgo-esque Eldritch Abomination, who proceeds to take over over Godhome, and is implied to be inflicting a new plague upon Hallownest. In other words, in punching out Cthulhu, the protagonist became Cthulhu themselves.
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: As soon as the Knight transforms into either of these Void forms, the entire environment becomes engulfed in darkness. But these also have distinctive eyes that indicate at least some facial features.
- Casting a Shadow: It can engulf its surroundings into total darkness, as well as command the other black shades of the Siblings.
- Combat Tentacles: The Void Given Form has tendrils coming out from its body. Its attack also involves using its "extended arms" like tendrils or whips to lash out at the Radiance's face.
- Dark Is Not Evil: In line with the theme of the player character's origins, the Void Entity is the only being shown so far that can eliminate the Big Bad that is The Radiance.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Void Given Focus. It no longer resembles anything close to the Knight's original form. It's a giant void being with multiple eyes, multiple human-like arms, with spikes and horns in its head and body. It's so large that it towers over the already-large moth Radiance. It can also produce void tendrils out of its body as well, as seen when it grabs into the Godseeker.
- Extra Eyes: The Void Given Focus has four pairs of eyes.
- In the City of Tears, Hornet reveals that the Knight has the "resilience born of two voids". The implication of the "two voids" here are revealed very late into the game, onto the True Ending. Being a Vessel, the Knight is made out of Void and therefore can have a lingering Shade. The other void refers to a more powerful "Lord of Shades" that results from the Knight obtaining the Void Heart.
- When you give a Delicate Flower to the White Lady, she will sense a strange power from it and wonders how you are able to carry it without knowing such risks. She's hinting about how the flower plays a crucial role in the "Delicate Flower" ending as it can serve as a kryptonite against the Knight-turned-Void Given Focus, preventing the latter from spreading into Hallownest.There is rare power hidden in those frail petals.
To hold it so close, one must surely be unaware of its nature...
- Four-Fingered Hands: The four hands of the Void Given Focus have four fingers each.
- Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: Like all other creatures made out of void, they have glowing white eyes in contrast to their pure black body.
- Greater-Scope Paragon: While the Void itself has a significance as the Pale King used it to counter the Radiance, many historical records claim that it was just a powerful and devouring, neutral liquid substance that is abundant in the Abyss. But the Godmaster content expands on this, as the Godseeker refers to the void as a higher being, especially the Top God... and you, the Knight gets to command and control the Void itself to kill the Big Bad.
- Horned Humanoid: The Void Given Focus has 4-6 horns on its head.
- Informed Attribute: The endings in which either void forms appear, require the Knight to have unlocked the Void Heart (i.e. you can only use the dream nail on the Hollow Knight or enter the Pantheon of Hallownest if you have the charm equipped), suggesting a connection between the charm and these forms. The only information that you can directly make out of the Void Heart is that "it unifies the void under the bearer's will".
- Light/Darkness Juxtaposition: In certain endings, the Knight gets to channel the power of the Void Entity for themselves, and to finally kill the Big Bad, the Radiance. Unfortunately in the "Delicate Flower" ending of the Godmaster expansion, the pitch-black Void Entity itself Disappears into Light just because the Godseeker was given the white delicate flower.
- Living Shadow: Both forms are made out of void just like the Shades, but are at larger scales. They are anthropomorphic though, with limbs, heads and glowing white eyes.
- Memorial Statue: Statues of the Void Given Form and Void Given Focus will replace the Knight's statue in a special room in the Hall of Gods if you've beaten all bosses in Ascended or Radiant difficulties respectively.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous:
- The Lord of Shades form is nearly identical to the Knight's shade, but has multiple void tendrils sticking out of its body.
- The God of Gods has four limbs that resemble a human being's arms and hands, but has clawed fingers.
- Natural Weapon: These forms are made out of void anyway, so the Knight just resorts to slashing at the Radiance with its tendrils. The Void Given Focus uses large claws instead, and at a faster shredding than the Void Given Form.
- Orwellian Retcon: In Update 1.4, the Shade Lord / Void Entity's statue in the Hall of Gods has the inscription "Void given mind". Update 188.8.131.52 changes it to "Void given focus".
- Person of Mass Destruction: Demonstrated in the Godhome endings where the Void Given Focus attempts to cover all of Hallownest, starting by bursting from the Godseeker's body. Can be played straight in the "Embrace the Void" ending where it does manage to burst out, or subverted in the "Delicate Flower" ending where the flower seemingly prevents this scenario and allows the Knight and the Godseeker to ascend and disappear into light.
- Power at a Price: The moment the Knight transforms into either forms in some endings, they can no longer be identified from their former self, with the Knight heavily implied to be one with the void when it happens:
- In the "Dream No More" ending, Hornet wakes up in the temple only to find the Knight's shell split in two, with no traces of the Knight itself.
- In the Godmaster endings, The Knight becomes the Void Given Focus, bursting out of the Godseeker's body, and either attempting to spread the void further into Hallownest ("Embrace the Void" ending) or ascend and disappear into light together with the Godseeker ("Delicate Flower" ending).
- Power of the Void: Well, as given away by the names, these forms represent a higher being made out of void.
- Red Baron: Its two forms are often referred to using several names. Most importantly, this entity isn't given one distinct name, the inscriptions ("Void Given Form" and "Void Given Focus") of its evolving statue found in the Hall of Gods may simply be titles, per this trope.
- The first form is the Void Given Form, also known as the "Lord of Shades".
- The second form is the Void Given Focus, also known as the "God of Gods".
- Rent-a-Zilla: Whatever the Void Given Focus represents, it is larger than any being so far in the bug kingdom of Hallownest, even larger than the Absolute Radiance, a giant moth, that the Void can just grasp the Absolute Radiance's head with a claw.
- Super Mode: Both are forms that the Knight takes in two endings. And you only get to play as the void entities for a very short period of time.
- Top God: The Void Given Focus is considered to be this by the Godseeker, if the "God of Gods" name is anything to go by.
- Walking Spoiler: They only appear in the endings that involve the Knight killing the Radiance.
- The Worf Effect: As the Void Given Form, the Knight needed the help of the Hollow Knight's shade to make the Radiance vulnerable. In the Godhome, it doesn't have the backup of the Hollow Knight to defeat the more powerful Absolute Radiance. But all it takes is to turn into the much larger Void Given Focus and turn the tide into the Knight's favor.
The Five Great Knights
- The Dividual: The Five Great Knights were only referred to as a group in the few historical records that remember their deeds. Only those who know them personally and are still alive at the current time can attest to who they are as individuals.
- Famed in Story: Downplayed: They were once heroic warriors who served under the Pale King. But little is known about them in the current days, with only their corpses or statues being the most evident reminders of their deeds. Relic Seeker Lemm even thinks that names and appearance of the five may have been forgotten in history due to the scarity of information that can be found for them as individuals.
- Great Offscreen War: There were stories about a war between the Five Great Knights and a creature known as the "Black Wyrm".
- The Hecate Sisters: The three female Great Knights: Fierce Dryya is The Maiden, Kindly Isma is The Mother, and Mysterious Ze'mer (The Grey Mourner) is The Crone.
- Light Is Good: They served under the Pale King and are usually depicted in shining white clothes back then during their prime days.
- The Magnificent: Inverted from the typical naming scheme. Nailmaster Sheo calls four of them individually as "Mighty Hegemol", "Fierce Dryya", "Kindly Isma", "Mysterious Ze'mer". Subverted in that Sheo doesn't give any adjectives for Ogrim.
- Memorial Statue: Ogrim made dung statues of the other Great Knights who are now dead or missing. They also appear in white silhouettes during the White Defender boss fight.
- Praetorian Guard: They were the Kingdom's protectors serving under the Pale King
- Undying Loyalty: To the Pale King and by extension, the entire Kingdom of Hallownest.
- Walking Spoiler: Any information that you can read regarding the five are only accessible relatively late into the game. Then there's also the fact that two of them are already dead by the start of the story, while the other two are still alive but went into seclusion for safety. The status of the other Great Knight is very ambiguous as well.
Tropes regarding her can be found here under The Grey Mourner's entry.
The Great Knight whom Sheo considered "fierce". She was the guardian of the White Lady in the Queen's Gardens.
- Action Girl: One of the female Great Knights.
- Atop a Mountain of Corpses: Downplayed. Dryya's corpse can be found near a pile of mantis traitor corpses.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: If one analyzes the area where her own corpse is found, it is filled with the corpses of Mantis Traitors, and her dream nail dialogue is simply "Protect..." The implies that Dryya died protecting the Queen of Hallownest from the traitors at the cost of her own life from being possibly overwhelmed by their numbers. Considering that the White Lady is still alive by the time the Knight gets to her place, Dryya was able to fulfill her role in one way or another.
- Informed Attribute: Sheo describes her as "fierce". The only hint that could prove this is that she was able to defeat several mantis traitors while protecting the queen.
- Posthumous Character: She's already dead and her corpse can be found in the Queen's Gardens.
The Great Knight known to be "kindly" by Sheo and hinted to be Ogrim's teacher.
- Action Girl: One of the female Great Knights.
- Body Horror: For some reason, her dead body is attached to a wall by plant growth. How she ended up this way is left to the imagination.
- Informed Ability: Her abilities have some connections to acid, since her own tear grants the Knight immunity to acid.
- Informed Attribute: According to the exposition and thoughts by Sheo and Ogrim respectively, Isma is kind, understanding, and strong enough that a fellow Great Knight even wishes to train under her.
- The Lost Lenore: Orgrim is implied to have this relationship with 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.
- Posthumous Character: Her corpse can be found near her grove within Royal Waterways.
The Great Knight who is implied to be the largest among the five due to his towering figure. By the current events of the story, what happened to him is left to be very ambiguous and open to a lot of questions.
However, his armored shell is still present but stolen. Specific tropes regarding his armor's thief can be found here under the False Knight's entry.
- Ambiguous Situation:
- The False Knight's armor is actually Hegemol's. But it wasn't clear how Hegemol lost his armor to that maggot. Was it simply stolen? Was Hegemol killed by that maggot? Or is he still alive but went into hiding?
- Hegemol is always depicted in the statues and in Ogrim's dream without any weapon. However, what does that make of the bug mace that the False Knight (specifically the maggot thief that stole his armor) uses in the boss fight? Did Hegemol fought bare-handed in the past? Did he also use a mace as his Weapon of Choice but preferred to keep it away when not needed? Or did he use something else, like a giant nail?
- The Big Guy: He's the physically largest Great Knight, thanks to his armor.
- Gentle Giant: Nailmaster Sheo even lampshades this trait as he recalls Hegemol being surprisingly soft spoken for one who is so large.
- Informed Attribute: In a Dream Nail dialogue of the White Defender, Ogrim mentions missing Hegemol's sense of humour.
- Wham Line: A line for the Failed Champion reveals that a maggot stole that giant armor while Hegemol was sleeping. This reveals a lot from the False Knight and False Champion boss fights - That a Great Knight now has an Ambiguous Situation on how his armor was stolen by a mere maggot, that Knight's current whereabouts, and that the maggot simply did the act to protect its brothers.Failed Champion: "I wanted it.... the strength to protect the others... When I saw that Knight... sleeping... safe in his big armoured shell... It wasn't madness that drove me to it... I just wanted it..."
Tropes regarding him can be found here under The Dung Defender's entry.
Through their devotion, Hallownest lasts eternal.
In order to contain the infection plaguing Hallownest, the Pale King enlisted the help of three renowned bugs, placing each of them into a deep sleep in order to seal the Black Egg Temple. If the Knight hopes to bring the infection to an end, they must seek out each of the Dreamers, enter their dreams, and slay them in their sleep.
- Barrier Maiden: Well, two Barrier Maidens and one Barrier Boy. Their will is what seals the entrance to the Black Egg Temple, as shown by the images on their masks on the doorway. Kill one Dreamer, and the seal will weaken enough to turn the Forgotten Crossroads into the Infected Crossroads. Kill all three, and you can enter the temple and face the Hollow Knight.
- Black Cloak: All of them wear black garbs to indicate their status as Dreamers.
- Chekhov's Gunman: They are first introduced via floating projections after the Knight obtains the Mothwing Cloak in Greenpath. They play greater roles end-game for being Living MacGuffins that the Knight has to kill.
- Climax Boss: After acquiring the Dream Nail, they will be your next major targets in order to break the seal on the Black Egg temple.
- Dream Weaver: The deep sleep they've been put in not only grants them the power to each place a seal on the egg of the Black Egg Temple but also forms a protective barrier around their unconscious bodies, lets them project their voices and images to the Knight, and allows them to trap the Knight in the dream world until the Seer guides them to the Dream Nail.
- Final Speech: You can Dream Nail them when you meet them in the dream world, which provides their final thoughts. Notably, they have much more Dream Nail lines than other targets.
- Gotta Kill 'Em All: You must kill all three Dreamers Monomon, Lurien, and Herrah before you can enter the Black Egg and face the Hollow Knight.
- The Hecate Sisters: Of the three Dreamers, Monomon the Teacher is the Maiden, Herrah the Beast is the Mother (literally, to Hornet), and Lurien the Watcher is the Crone.
- Living MacGuffin: The three of them maintain the seals of the Black Egg Temple, and to enter it and confront the source of the Infection, the Knight must find their physical bodies (which are hidden away behind traps and bosses), enter their dreams, and kill them.
- The Magnificent: They are usually mentioned along with their titles: "The Teacher" for Monomon, "The Watcher" for Lurien, and "The Beast" for Herrah.
- Memorial Statue: A shrine for the three Dreamers in the Resting Grounds. They also react to the dreamers' deaths as their masks will also disappear from this shrine.
- No Body Left Behind: Surprisingly, killing the Dreamers in the Dream World and absorbing their essence into the Dream Nail, also causes their physical bodies to disappear.
- Rule of Three: Three Dreamers (Harrah, Monomon, and Lurien).
- Slain in Their Sleep: Their physical bodies are invulnerable while they're dreaming, but if the Knight uses the dream nail on them, he can kill them within the dream world, which is necessary to break their seals.
- Trapped in Another World: Zig-zagged. This was invoked by the three Dreamers as they teleport the Knight to the dream world in an attempt to trap it there. It was short-lived however, when one of the moths rescued the Knight and gave it the Dream Nail capable of crossing between the physical and the dream worlds.
- Undying Loyalty: As long as they live, they will maintain the seals on the Black Egg Temple, which is why the Knight has to kill the three of them to finish the game. They try to impede the Knight by trapping them in the Dream World, but a moth (heavily implied to be the Seer) came to the rescue and gave the Knight the Dream Nail, allowing them to kill the Dreamers by confronting them in their dreams.
- Unintentional Backup Plan: The Hollow Knight failed in sealing the infection, so the King had to make a backup plan and keep the Hollow Knight sealed instead. This Plan B consists of enlisting the three Dreamers so that they would act as the Barrier Maidens that lock the Black Egg Temple where the Hollow Knight is located.
- Walking Spoiler: The backstory and existence of the three Dreamers gives away the fact that the Hollow Knight failed in sealing the Radiance's infection. Therefore, there should also be something to seal the Hollow Knight to prevent the infection from going out.
- Zero-Effort Boss: Once directly confronted in their dreams, they put up no fight and allow the Knight to kill them. However, they do all have protectors in the real world.
...A world forever unchanging...
...the Seals, must break...
...Better, an end..."
The chief researcher of Hallownest who makes her home in the Teacher's Archives, located in Fog Canyon. The Oomas and Uomas that populate the Canyon are creations of hers.
- Batman Gambit: Implied to be why she gave Quirrel her mask before he left Hallownest. She knew that sooner or later, even with Laser-Guided Amnesia, she would call Quirrel back to Hallownest, allowing her to be restored and her seal broken when the time was right.
- Epigraph: She wrote some of these, such as the Elegy for Hallownest shown in the game's intro.
- Mentor Archetype: Fitting for her title of "The Teacher", Monomon once served as the mentor and teacher of Quirrel.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Monomon's death marks the end of Quirrel's journey, with the implication that the latter knowing his mission to return to Hallownest and undo the Dreamer's seal is now fulfilled.
- Mythology Gag: Monomon's two-eyed mask design is based from the masked enemies that the player has to defeat in order to finish Hungry Knight.
- The Spock: Fitting for Hallownest's chief researcher, she's the most intelligent of the three Dreamers. She appears to be the only Dreamer that logically recognizes it is time for the seals to be broken, is responsible for many of the artificial lifeforms in Hallownest, and even sets up some extra protection for herself and her seal by entrusting her mask to Quirrel before he leaves Hallownest, knowing he'd return eventually.
- The Unintelligible: Monomon's writings in the Teacher's Archives are mostly incomprehensible, except for some actual words that are occasionally inserted between them.
...To sleep. To serve...
...Bonds must remain...
A bug who watches over the City of Tears from the Watcher's Spire, protected by his force of Watcher Knights.
- Cyclops: His mask only has one eye in it.
- Empathic Environment: After you kill Lurien, all candles in his room will be extinguished.
- The Generic Guy: Of the Dreamers. The other two are deeply connected to other major characters and are part of their storylines- Monomon taught Quirrel, and Herrah was Hornet's mother. Lurien doesn't, seeming to exist simply to round out the trio. All we really know about him is that he liked to look out over the City of Tears with his telescope, and that he thinks the Black Egg Temple should remain sealed.
- Undying Loyalty: His Dream Nail dialogue suggests that he agreed to become a Dreamer out of loyalty to the Pale King.
- The Unreveal: There's a telescope on the left window of Lurien's room. Sadly, peeking on it doesn't reveal anything surprising.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Lurien seems to believe that the Knight's quest to break the seals and confront the source of the infection will only end up making things worse, and attempts to discourage the Knight from going further in Greenpath before trapping them in the dream world when they reach the Resting Grounds.
...Fair bargain made...
Chief of the beasts of Deepnest. Her cooperation and enlistment as a Dreamer was part of a deal she made with Hallownest, in exchange for the Pale King fathering a child with her. She is secluded away in the Beast's Den.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Heavily implied. You can't be the chief of a place like Deepnest for nothing, after all.
- A Beast in Name and Nature: Sports the title, and while she isn't a direct antagonist, and we never see her in battle, she is the leader of a tribe of spiders implied to eat sentient bugs.
- Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage: The Weavers' leader, Herrah the Beast, entered a brief one with the Pale King. In order for Herrah to agree in becoming a Dreamer, she requested to bear a child of the Pale King.
- Deal with the Devil: Subverted. Herrah demanded that the Pale King father a child with her in exchange for her becoming a Dreamer, but not only do both the Pale King and the White Lady not mind the cost of this deal, Herrah upholds her end of the bargain without any treachery whatsoever.
- Due to the Dead: In the Beast's Den, Hornet requests to have some time alone so that she could mourn Herrah's death.
- Extra Eyes: Her mask has three pairs of eyes.
- Fluffy the Terrible: She's called "The Beast", but her name is Herrah.
- Giant Spider: She's larger than most of the other spiders/Weavers that you encounter in Deepnest.
- Good Parents: While she wasn't allowed much time with Hornet due to her duties as a Dreamer, her Final Speech indicates that, if nothing else, she genuinely loved her daughter and upheld her deal with the Pale King almost solely for her sake.
- Insect Queen: She's the ruler of the spider tribe.
- Meaningful Name: Herrah is a corruption of Hera, Queen of Olympus and goddess of mothers. Fittingly, Herrah is the Queen of Deepnest, and she is Hornet's mother.
- Noble Demon: She may have been the leader of one of the most dangerous and psychotic areas of Hallownest, but she upheld her end of the deal with the Pale King until her death, and she genuinely loved her daughter Hornet.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Herrah doesn't care about what happens to Hallownest or whether the seals should stay or go, but she made a deal with the Pale King, and she's holding to her end.
- Parental Abandonment: According to the White Lady, Herrah and Hornet were only given a limited time together. Herrah's role as a Dreamer was implied to be the reason for this.
- Spiders Are Scary: She's a large spider and the remaining ruler of Deepnest. But this trope is subverted since Herrah can be reasoned with (well, a bargain with the Pale King happened, but it's still a sign of being civilized), unlike most of the Deepnest residents.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Hornet's horns resemble those of her mother, Herrah the Beast's. Even the White Lady noted the striking reflection between the two.
Other Historical Figures
It has been hinted that the Radiance and the Pale Beings weren't the only rulers in Hallownest, and that there are older creatures who existed there before. Although their contributions are mostly forgotten, some do still exist in rare lore items, as well as strange objects that were left behind.
- All There in the Manual: The Hollow Knight artbook states that the Black Egg Temple was built from the carapace of an ancient bug, hinted to originate from this old civilization.
- Ambiguous Situation: There is not much lore that can be connected to the ancient civilization, and even those gigantic fossils that you can find may or may not be from those ancient times. The only evident clue is that these giants aren't connected to the present-day Hallownest era at all.
- There is a giant fossil in Kingdom's Edge where one can obtain the Quick Slash. It's dream nail dialogue simply reads "Pure". Implications suggest that it was the counterpart of a Nailsmith, who tried making a Pure Nail but somehow failed and decided to forge the Quick Slash instead.
- The giant fossil where once can obtain the Shade Cloak is also gigantic. It also has a new dialogue when hit with the Awoken Dream Nail, where it acknowledges the Knight as the "Lord of Shades" when the player has obtained the Void Heart.
- There is a six-eyed corpse of a giant bug in the Queen's Gardens, but the player cannot interact with it in any way.
- The Colosseum of Fools is actually the corpse of an ancient bug. Whether or not it is connected to the ancient civilization, it is similar to the giant fossil in Queen's Guardians by virtue of having six eyes.
- The Temple of the Black Egg's exterior resembles a six-horned shell of a giant bug, with the possibility that the entrance is actually a mouth.
- There is a giant fossil of a trilobite hanging upside-down in Deepnest. But it isn't clear if this is a real fossil, or just an imitation of one. When struck with the nail, it produces a metallic sound, and when struck with spells, it is revealed to be shielded using a Seal of Binding.
- Benevolent Architecture: Various alien-looking idols are found tucked into out-of-the-way nooks and alcoves across the breadth of Hallownest; they refill the player character's soul gauge if hit with a nail, permitting the knight to use its spells or heal without farming enemies.
- Cataclysm Backstory: Even before the Kingdom of Hallownest existed, there is an unnamed Ancient Civilization that acts as the Precursors who worshipped the Void itself and was able to build the Soul Totems. These totems are still present and functional, while the Void was beneficial in the King's plans later on. However, it wasn't thoroughly explained how this ancient civilization died.
- Cult: While there were no evident traces that this civilization worshipped a physical god, the Journal entry for the Void Idol indicates that they worship the liquid void/darkness itself.
- Lost Technology: They created the Soul Totems scattered all around the kingdom, those that can replenish soul, something that the current rulers find it difficult to understand.
- No Name Given: As a whole, they don't have an official name. The closest collective name that they have in-game is "ancient bugs", from the description of the Void Idol in the Journal. However, the game's files do reveal the names of some of these giant bugs:
- The Ancient Nailsmith is named after the text file containing its dream nail dialogue.
- Shade Beast and Green Beast's names come from their sprite art files.
- Precursors: Although Hallownest claims to be the first civilization, there apparently existed a far older society that built the soul totems, produced the arcane egg items, and seem to have been connected to the void in some way. In the Abyss, one can even find a secret area with what appears to be a table and a chair of almost alien design, and the lighthouse's architecture doesn't match that of Hallownest even close.
- Rent-a-Zilla: Judging from the sizes of the remaining fossils found in specific areas, these ancient bugs would tower the current residents if they were still alive, as they are gigantic even in this game's standards.
A mysterious multi-eyed being that can be seen in the backgrounds of some Lifeblood-related rooms.
- Extra Eyes: It has 6 to 8 pairs of blue eyes, with varying sizes.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: The face and blinking eyes of an unknown bug can be seen if you look down from the Lifeblood room (since the camera pans further when you hold the down button while standing). The bug in question is on the lower-right corner of the screen.
- Good Colors, Evil Colors: Lifeblood is light-blue, and while not heroic, it is still a Good Counterpart to the orange infection, since consuming lifeblood increases one's health points.
- Greater-Scope Paragon: With the implication that it is connected to Lifeblood, he could be a beneficial force since Lifeblood temporarily increases your health anyway.
- Mysterious Stranger: What exactly is it, and why is it seen in the Lifeblood Room? Did the Abyss Creature bring lifeblood into Hallownest? Or is it just addicted to the substance? In either case, the substance itself is benefical in contrast to the orange infection, but the creature itself has no written lore to determine if it's a friend or foe.
- No Name Given: There are no interactions nor written lore regarding this creature. However, "Abyss Creature" is something derived from the game files.
- Rent-a-Zilla: Whatever it is, this creature is massive that even only its head is too large compared to the Knight.
Towering creatures whose silhouettes are shown in a part of the Land of Storms, the place where the Godseekers used to stay.
- God Is Displeased: The Weathered Mask journal entry states that the Gods of Thunder and the Gods of Rain had abandoned their worshippers (the Godseekers) at one point. The Godseekers lamented this, seeing their "woeful silence" as the end-result of being forsaken. These Godseekers have continued to search for a way to discover new gods so that they might attune to them.
- Meaningful Background Event: They can be seen in the stormy background in the area within the Land of Storms where you obtain the Weathered Mask.
- The Old Gods: They were the previous deities whom the Godseekers used to worship before the tribe was abandoned and travelled to Hallownest in search for new gods.
- Rent-a-Zilla: They are huge, even when only their silhouettes are visible in the background.
A bug who oversaw the trials in the Colosseum of Fools.
- Flat Character: A corpse of a large bug seated at the colosseum's throne. But even after his death, his corpse is displayed as if to evoke the image of someone overseeing the trials. The Little Fool still respects him however.
- Posthumous Character: By the time you arrive in the colosseum, he is already long dead.
- Dead Guy on Display: The Lord Fool, the known leader of the Colosseum is literally a corpse, a puppet placed half-slumped on his throne when the knight arrives. The rest of the spectators don't seem to need his leadership either way.
- Throne Made of X: There's a huge fossil of a bug pasted in his throne, and that is even way larger than his body.