|An enigmatic wanderer who descends into Hallownest carrying only a broken nail to fend off foes.|
The Knight is the protagonist and playable character of Hollow Knight.
The Knight is a discarded Vessel. They are the child of the Pale King and the White Lady, born in the Abyss with Void inside their shell. Hornet is the Knight's sister through their shared father. Like the rest of their Vessel siblings, the Knight is genderless.
After climbing out of their birthplace in the Abyss, the Knight witnessed their sibling, the Hollow Knight, being taken out of the Abyss by the Pale King. The entrance to the Abyss was sealed, causing the Knight to fall back down. Sometime after this, despite the entrance being sealed, the Knight and some of their siblings managed to escape the Abyss.
Eventually, the Knight ended up wandering outside of Hallownest for unknown reasons. Spending time in this area caused the Knight to lose their memories, but being there did give them a certain resilience. They returned to Hallownest after a call went out from either the Radiance or the Hollow Knight.
At the beginning of the game, the Knight is equipped with only their Old Nail and the ability to heal themself using SOUL. Throughout the game, the Knight gains access to new powers, Items, and Charms to help them through their journey.
After encountering the Dreamers in the Resting Grounds, the Knight acquires the Dream Nail. With this weapon, they can break the Seals in the Temple of the Black Egg by killing each of the three Dreamers. This allows them to enter the Black Egg, where they can fight the Hollow Knight. If the Hollow Knight is faced before obtaining Void Heart Charm, the Knight kills their sibling and takes their place in sealing the Radiance.
If the Knight has fought Hornet twice and has the King's Brand and the Shade Cloak, they have access to both halves of the Kingsoul. When the complete Kingsoul is equipped, the Knight can transform this Charm into Void Heart by going to their birthplace at the bottom of the Abyss and remembering their past. Void Heart allows the Knight to unify the Void under their will.
With Void Heart, the Knight can use the Dream Nail on the Hollow Knight after Hornet holds them down. If the Dream Nail is not used, the Knight has to kill the Hollow Knight. This gives a similar ending as the ending without having Void Heart, but instead, Hornet becomes a Dreamer, her face appearing on the entrance to Black Egg.
Using the Dream Nail initiates the fight with the Radiance. At the end of this fight, the Knight breaks their own shell and lands the finishing blows on the Radiance in their Shade form, with the help of the Shade of the Hollow Knight. Both siblings and all the other Shades in the Abyss then return to the Void.
In Godhome, the Knight can ascend by attuning all the Gods of Hallownest and defeating them in the Pantheons. In the Pantheon of Hallownest, at the end of the fight with Absolute Radiance, the Knight breaks their shell and their Shade falls into the Void. The Void Entity then appears which kills Absolute Radiance, after which Void starts leaking from the Godseeker's body in the Junk Pit and eventually bursts out of her. If Godseeker was given a Delicate Flower, the Void and Godseeker disappear instead.
Health and SOUL
Health is represented as Masks, shown in the upper-left corner of the screen. The Knight starts the game with 5 Masks, and can obtain more by collecting Mask Shards. 4 Mask Shards make one new Mask of health, up to a max of 9 total Masks of health. Health is lost by taking damage, either from enemies or from environmental hazards. Health can be regained by resting at a Bench or Hot Spring or by Focusing.
Lifeblood masks, granted by Lifeseeds and certain Charms, are temporary Masks that cannot be healed using Focus. Lifeblood Masks disappear upon resting at a bench, whereas those granted by Charms regenerate.
When Masks are depleted to 0, the Knight's shell shatters which releases their Shade. After the screen fades back in from black, the Knight is back on the Bench that was last rested on with a third of their SOUL gauge missing and without any Geo. Returning to the area where the Knight died and defeating the Shade restores the lost SOUL gauge and recovers the Geo that was lost.
SOUL is represented as a circular face to the left of the health indicator. SOUL is used to cast Spells, including Focus. Striking enemies with the Nail is the primary source of regaining SOUL, though other tools and objects also grant SOUL. Collecting three Vessel Fragments increases the maximum SOUL by 33.
Upgrades and Equipment
The Knight's main weapon, able to swing in any direction. The Nail can be swung downwards while the Knight is above spikes, enemies, or certain objects, which can be a useful tool for traversing Hallownest. The Nail can be upgraded for stronger strikes, and charged attacks called Nail Arts can be learned from the Nailmasters.
Special trinkets acquired through adventuring or by purchasing from other bugs. By equipping them on available Notches, Charms enhance the Knight's power through a variety of different methods, including increasing health, reducing heal times, spawning allied hatchlings, and more.
First acquired from the Snail Shaman, these magical attacks deal large amounts of damage in short bursts, at the cost of SOUL. Each Spell can be upgraded to a stronger version by finding hidden rooms throughout Hallownest.
Skills and tools found throughout Hallownest that allow the Knight to more effectively traverse the terrain and engage enemies in combat, including dashing, wall-jumping, Super-dashing, and double-jumping.
The Knight crawling out of their siblings' corpses some time after being born
The Knight in King's Pass after returning to Hallownest
The Knight sitting on the Dirtmouth Bench
The Knight obtaining the Vengeful Spirit Spell
Quirrel and the Knight sitting in the City of Tears
The Dreamers trapping the Knight in a dream
Hornet rescuing the Knight from the Cast-Off Shell
The Knight obtaining the Shade Cloak
The Knight trapped in Beast's Den
Quirrel and the Knight spending a final moment at Blue Lake
Promotional art of the Knight and Lost Kin
Godmaster promotional art
- The Knight's design is taken from Team Cherry's first game, Hungry Knight, which was made during a Game Jam that started the company.
- While the two games are very different, Team Cherry has stated that they "liked the main character and the general aesthetic so much that [they] fleshed it out and expanded on it."
- This plan was put forward through the conceptual "Hungry Bug" artworks done by Ari Gibson, which helped visualise and shape the world of Hollow Knight.
- Mister Mushroom makes a reference to Hungry Knight in his first dialogue with them, saying "...It's nice that you were able to help your friend. So you're not hungry any more?"
- When the Knight has one Mask left, the screen becomes bordered by black lines and Void particles can be seen floating off the Knight. Their posture also changes from upright to a bent over, gasping stance.
- This posture is removed if the Fury of the Fallen Charm is equipped.
- The Steam Trading Card refers to the Knight as "Hollow Knight".
- The Knight has many nicknames used by various characters, notably:
- Team Cherry has stated that they are not sure how the Knight escaped the Abyss.