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Troupe Master Grimm Nightmare King Grimm

Master of the Grimm Troupe.

"Through dream I travel, at lantern's call,
To consume the flames of a kingdom's fall."

– Grimm

Troupe Master Grimm is both a quest NPC and boss introduced by the Grimm Troupe in Hollow Knight. He is the main character behind his quest. Nightmare King Grimm is his Dream form.


Grimm is the master of the Grimm Troupe, a mysterious travelling circus. In truth, Grimm and his Troupe travel from the Nightmare Realm to wherever the Nightmare Lantern has been lit by acolytes.[2] They gather Nightmare Flames from ruined lands to fuel the sinister being enslaving the Troupe, the Nightmare's Heart.[3]

Their ritual to feed the Nightmare's Heart consists of feeding first a Grimmchild with Nightmare Flames. They then slay the Nightmare King for it to be reborn anew through the Grimmchild.[4]

In-game events

Grimm and his Troupe set up tents in Dirtmouth as soon as the Knight has lit the Nightmare Lantern. Inside the main building, Grimm appears to them in a show of red light and smoke. The Troupe Master is aware that the Knight called them with the Lantern and offers them the choice to participate in their Ritual.[5] He then gives them the Grimmchild and entrusts them to collect the Nightmare Flames gathered by his Grimmkins throughout Hallownest.

With each set of three Flames gathered, Grimm has the Grimmchild consume them to grow. After the second set, the Troupe Master tests the Knight's strength in a fiery, theatrical battle, in preparation for their confrontation with the Nightmare King. He also rewards them with a Charm Notch.

After collecting the third set of Flames, Grimm can be found sleeping in his quarters. As such, he is ready for the Knight to use the Dream Nail on him and enter the Nightmare Realm. If they successfully slay the Nightmare King, the Ritual is completed, and the Troupe leaves Hallownest before the Knight wakes up. The Troupe also disappears if the Knight helps Brumm banish them instead of facing the King.

Godmaster Content

Grimm can be summoned to Godmaster content Godhome by Godmaster content the Godseeker's own ritual. There he is conscious of his surroundings and delighted to participate, even though he is not a native of Hallownest.[6] He takes part in both the Pantheon of the Sage and the Pantheon of Hallownest. In the latter, the Nightmare King appears as one of the last three Gods at its peak. Even though away from the Nightmare Realm, the Heart still watches over the Nightmare King's fight.

Behaviour and Tactics

Grimm bows to the Knight before the battle. If the Knight hits him while bowing, Grimm screeches at the Knight and counterattacks with the Pufferfish Attack.

  • Fire Bats: Grimm opens his cloak, sending three Fire Bats at the Knight. The Fire Bats start at the level of the Knight's head and poorly track the Knight's movement. Grimm remains stationary during this attack. Each Fire Bat's entrance is announced with a gout of flame coming from Grimm and reaching the top of the arena. If the Knight gets within arm's length of Grimm before he sends out all three Fire Bats, he teleports to another part of the arena and sends one last Fire Bat. This Fire Bat cannot be interrupted. This means that it is possible for Grimm to send out only one Fire Bat.
  • Dive Dash: Grimm teleports into the air and wraps himself in his cloak until he resembles a drill and dives towards the Knight. Then he lands and follows up with a dash in the Knight's direction using his arm wrapped in his cloak like a lance. Grimm tracks where the Knight was near the start of the dive, and the dive can traverse the entire arena.
  • Dash Uppercut: Grimm dashes across the arena with a large swipe directly before launching into the air with an uppercut. At the apex of the uppercut, he disappears and rains five fireballs on the arena. The five fireballs rain down on the arena in set parabolic arcs.
  • Cloak Spikes: Grimm sends his cloak into the ground, causing large twisted cloak spikes to shoot up from the floor. The spikes reach to the top of the arena but there are large enough gaps between them to stay safe. The spikes are not dangerous until they are at their tallest. The spikes persist for about half a second.
  • Pufferfish: Grimm surrounds himself with his cloak and puffs out and spews tiny fireballs all over the arena. This attack occurs when Grimm's health reaches 75%, 50%, and 25%. This attack always occurs from the centre of the arena. The fireballs travel in five general directions. Fireballs tend to come at the Knight in sets of two, resulting in essentially a jumping puzzle. Grimm sends out twelve sets of fireballs, with every fourth set guaranteed to have both fireballs in the bottom two locations. While he is in this mode, Grimm is immune to certain forms of damage[Note 1] and cannot be staggered. This is the first attack he performs if the Knight hits him during his bow.
  • Teleport: Grimm teleports to a random place in the arena to perform an attack.
  • Skitter: If Grimm teleports on the ground too close to the Knight, he Skitters away on all fours before resuming his attack. It is rare, but possible, that Grimm telegraphs one type of ground attack, Skitters away, and then performs a different ground attack.

Stagger Values
Description: Grimm's stagger is unique as he disperses into a swarm of bats resembling the Grimmchild that flies around for 3.5 seconds. Grimm appears in this swarm as the bat with the red eyes. Attacking him does not end the stagger, but only a maximum of 50 damage can be done regardless. After the stagger ends, the bats collect and reform back into Grimm.
Hits: 14
Combo: 12 Combo Time: <1s per hit

Because Grimm moves by way of teleportation and rarely stays in one place for long, from an offensive perspective, it is important to deal as much damage to Grimm in the shortest time possible.

Each Spell has its use against Grimm. Vengeful Spirit/Shade Soul is useful during the Cloak Spikes, Pufferfish, and Fire Bats attacks. Desolate Dive/Descending Dark is a great way to dodge the Dive Dash attack. It is best to use it almost as soon as the Knight sees Grimm preparing the Dive Dash Attack so that Grimm lands in the middle of it. Howling Wraiths/Abyss Shriek can be useful during the Pufferfish attack, right before the fireballs start to spawn, and during the Cloak Spikes attack since Grimm is taller than the Knight.

The Great Slash and Dash Slash Nail Arts are also useful, providing 2.5x Nail damage and good range for damaging Grimm and staying safe (especially during the Cloak Spikes, Dash Uppercut, and Fire Bats attacks).

Use the Shade Cloak to dash through both of his Dash attacks (Dive Dash and Dash Uppercut). The Knight can also damage Grimm this way if they have the Sharp Shadow Charm.

Standing directly next to where Grimm explodes into fire when he uses Dash Uppercut is a good way to avoid all 5 projectiles as they spread in a cone pattern, this also gives healing opportunity especially with the Quick Focus Charm.

The Knight can use the time during the Cloak Spikes attack to heal. This is easier to do with Quick Focus.

The Shape of Unn Charm is a fantastic way to heal against Grimm. It lowers the Knight's hitbox so the Knight can heal safely during a Fire Bats Attack. If combined with Quick Focus, the Knight can run and heal from Grimm during a Dash Uppercut attack too. It can also be used to heal and position at the same time during the Cloak Spikes attack.

If the Knight stays near the right or left side of the screen and slightly jumps, they can mostly avoid the flames during Grimm's Pufferfish attack.

Double jumping and dashing over the Fire Bats attacks puts the Knight in range to attack Grimm.

With enough health, it is possible to quickly take down Grimm's health by tanking hits during the Pufferfish attack while repeatedly using the Abyss Shriek Spell and having the Shaman Stone Charm equipped. Grubsong is a very useful Charm here, as each time the Knight takes damage they gain some SOUL to use for more Shrieks. This is especially effective in combination with Grubberfly's Elegy as it increases the SOUL gained. Keep in mind that without enough SOUL to fully deplete Grimm's health, he may perform multiple Pufferfish attacks in a row, giving the Knight very little time to attack or heal in between.

Godmaster Content


Hall of Gods text: "I await the lighting of the lantern"
"Travelling god of the troupe"

Pantheon Pantheon of the Sage, 5th boss
Health Attuned difficulty 1000
Ascended difficulty 1300
Radiant difficulty
Arena changes Same arena as the base game fight, no difficulty differences.


First encounter So, it was you who called us.

Well met, my friend. Well met. I am Grimm, master of this troupe.
The lantern has been lit, and your summons heeded. A fine stage you choose, this kingdom fallowed by worm and root, perfect earth upon which our Ritual shall take place.
And you, my friend. Your own part is far from over.
As the lantern flared your role was cast, our compact written in scarlet fire.
Eager we are to see you commence, but first, some illumination is required.
Across these lands my kin now spread, harvesting that essence peculiar to my... breed, the flame in dream.
Seek my kin; claim their flame and return it to me. Together, marvels shall be achieved.
But don't fret small one. For this task you won't travel alone. My child shall guide you to the flame and gather within itself that burning essence.
Like you, the child plays key role in this task. Only with it by your side will the flame, and my kin, reveal themselves to you.

Returning with all flames 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.

Before battle Wonderful. Wonderful! My kin arrive and the time has come.

This searing fire... It carries well the Ritual's promise.
Dance with me, my friend. The crowd awaits. Show them you are worthy of a starring role!

Before battle, after previously losing Dance with me, my friend. The crowd awaits. Show them you are worthy of a starring role!
Dream Nailed during battle Randomly:
  • The Flame...
  • The Ritual...
  • The Troupe...
Dream Nailed after battle, before talking to him Masterful! Even a vessel discarded bears fierce strength.

Fine craft dear Wyrm, and perfect tool to prolong the heart of Grimm.

After defeat 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.
And so our great Ritual nears its end. Will you continue to harvest the flame, even though now you surely see the path it illuminates for us?
Our scarlet eyes will watch you keenly... friend.
Go out into the darkness. Harvest the last lingering embers of this Kingdom. Then return to me and we will complete our dance.

Additional dialogue
Lifeblood content Dream Nailed when asleep without Grimmchild equipped ...The child...
Godmaster content Dream Nailed in Godhome Randomly:
  • How grand a stage!
  • A charming ritual... a pleasure!
  • An honour, Seeker, to attend your call!


Grimm is located in Dirtmouth after he has been summoned by the Nightmare Lantern in the Howling Cliffs.



{S} Grand Performance
Defeat Troupe Leader Grimm.


  • Grimm always bows to the Knight before the start of the fight. If struck when bowing, he screeches at them and starts the Pufferfish attack.
    • Godmaster content When fought in Godhome, Grimm bows to the Godseeker instead of bowing to the Knight.
  • The Grimmchild Charm is required every time to start the battle, except in Godmaster content Godhome.
    • If the Charm is equipped in Godhome, the Grimmchild does not appear to aid the Knight in the fight.
  • Grimm is the only boss to have music variations and audio cues for some events:
    • When Grimm performs the Pufferfish attack, the theme gets more dramatic by adding a chorus to the background.
    • The Grimmkin audience watching gives an ovation to Grimm every time he performs the Pufferfish attack or reforms after staggering.
    • A drumroll accompanies Grimm reforming after staggering.
    • Varying cues are also triggered during his fight in Godmaster content Godhome.
Secret room in Grimm's tent
  • There is a secret area in Grimm's tent, above the arena, where the empty masks of the audience, some chests, and a strange device can be found. It can be accessed by wall climbing through a false ceiling to the right of the arena's second arch.
    • Lifeblood content When using a Spell in this secret room some sort of barrier appears which may possibly be a seal.
  • In a response to a question on Grimm's character inspirations in one of their Hollow Knight streams Team Cherry has stated:
    Can you confirm Grimm was inspired by Dracula from Castlevania?

    Ari: "I don’t think- I mean Grimm obviously has a lot of Dracula-like qualities. But he also has other elements."

    William: "He’s like a mix of a lot of things."

    Ari: "Yeah, he has this kind of circus master quality, and-"

    William: "Halloween-y.. He’s spooky."[7]
  • While staggered, Grimm cannot be damaged by the Defender's Crest and Spore Shroom Charms.


  1. Specifically, Grimm is immune to damage from the Nail, Nail Arts, and Crystal Heart, and the Grubberfly's Elegy, Thorns of Agony, Glowing Womb, Spore Shroom, and Defender's Crest Charms.


  1. Brumm: "You wish to see the Master? Return with the child full of flame and he shall appear."
  2. Troupe Master Grimm Hunter's Journal entry: "Through dream I travel, at lantern's call, To consume the flames of a kingdom's fall"
  3. Troupe Master Grimm Dream Nail dialogue: "Fine craft dear Wyrm, and perfect tool to prolong the heart of Grimm."
  4. Grimmkin Master Hunter's Journal entry: "Burn the father, feed the child."
  5. Troupe Master Grimm: "As the lantern flared your role was cast, our compact written in scarlet fire. Eager we are to see you commence, [...]"
  6. Troupe Master Grimm Dream Nail dialogue in Godmaster content Godhome: "An honour, Seeker, to attend your call!"
  7. Transcript of deleted Team Cherry livestream
Hollow Knight Enemy Compendium
EnemiesBossesHealth ValuesColosseum of FoolsGodmaster content Hall of GodsGodmaster content Pantheons
Main Game
Forgotten Crossroads CrawlidVengeflyVengefly KingGruzzerGruz MotherTiktikAspid HunterAspid MotherAspid HatchlingGoamWandering HuskHusk HornheadLeaping HuskHusk BullyHusk WarriorHusk GuardEntombed HuskFalse Knight (Failed Champion) • MaggotMenderbugLifeseedBaldurElder Baldur
Greenpath MosscreepMossflyMosskinVolatile MosskinFool EaterSquitObbleGulkaMaskflyMoss ChargerMassive Moss ChargerMoss KnightMossy VagabondDurandooDurandaAluba
Fog Canyon Charged LumaflyUomaOomaUumuu
Fungal Wastes AmbloomFunglingFungoonSporgFungified HuskShrumelingShrumal WarriorShrumal OgreMantis YouthMantis WarriorMantis Lords
City of Tears Husk SentryHeavy SentryWinged SentryLance SentryMistakeFollySoul TwisterSoul WarriorSoul Master (Tyrant) • Husk DandyCowardly HuskGluttonous HuskGorgeous HuskGreat Husk SentryWatcher KnightCollector
Royal Waterways BelflyPilflipHwurmpBluggsacDung DefenderFlukefeyFlukemonFlukemarm
Crystal Peak ShardmiteGlimbackCrystal HunterCrystal CrawlerHusk MinerCrystallised HuskCrystal Guardian (Enraged)
Infected Crossroads Furious VengeflyVolatile GruzzerViolent HuskSlobbering Husk
Deepnest DirtcarverCarver HatcherGarpedeCorpse CreeperDeeplingDeephunterLittle WeaverStalking DevoutNosk
Ancient Basin Shadow CreeperLesser MawlekMawlurkBrooding MawlekLightseedInfected BalloonBroken Vessel (Lost Kin)
Kingdom's Edge BooflyPrimal AspidHopperGreat HopperGrub MimicHivelingHive SoldierHive GuardianHusk Hive
Queen's Gardens Spiny HuskLoodleMantis PetraMantis TraitorTraitor Lord
Colosseum of Fools Sharp BaldurArmoured SquitBattle ObbleOblobblesShielded FoolSturdy FoolWinged FoolHeavy FoolDeath LoodleVolt TwisterZoteGod Tamer
Warrior Dreams XeroGorbElder HuMarmuNo EyesGalienMarkoth
White Palace WingmouldRoyal RetainerKingsmouldSiblingVoid Tendrils
Story Bosses Hornet (ProtectorSentinel) • Hollow KnightRadianceShadeHunter's Mark
Content packs
Hidden Dreams content Hidden Dreams Grey Prince ZoteWinged ZotelingHopping ZotelingVolatile ZotelingWhite Defender
Grimm Troupe content The Grimm Troupe Grimmkin NoviceGrimmkin MasterGrimmkin NightmareGrimmNightmare KingSeal of Binding
Lifeblood content Lifeblood Hive Knight
Godmaster content Godmaster FlukemungaPale LurkerSisters of BattleWinged NoskNailmasters Oro & MatoPaintmaster SheoGreat Nailsage SlyPure VesselAbsolute RadianceVoid IdolWeathered Mask