Hollow Knight

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The Hollow Knight Pure Vessel

Fully grown Vessel, carrying the plague's heart within its body.

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.

The Hollow Knight is one of the main bosses in Hollow Knight. They are central to the Knight's journey and the story of Hallownest. The Godmaster content Pure Vessel is their stronger, uninfected form.


The Hollow Knight is the Vessel chosen by the Pale King to seal away the Radiance and save Hallownest from the Infection.[2] Like their siblings, they are the child of the King and Queen of Hallownest, birthed in the Abyss to be infused with the power of the Void.[3] As such, they are genderless.[1][4] This birth condition was also supposed to leave them without a mind, will, and voice,[5] to prevent the Radiance from influencing them.[6][7] However, their purity was misjudged, tarnished by an idea instilled,[8] a bond with the Pale King who raised them.[9]

The young Hollow Knight being led out of the Abyss

Regardless of their impurity, the Hollow Knight was trained and raised, eventually becoming a fully grown Vessel.[10] The Radiance was sealed within them, and they were chained within the Temple of the Black Egg where they were expected to contain the Infection for eternity.[11] However, because of the aforementioned impurities, the Radiance could still exert influence. It ultimately resulted in the resurgence of the Infection and the Kingdom falling into ruin.

Over time, the Hollow Knight disappeared from the fallen Kingdom's memory. Only the Memorial in the middle of the City of Tears testifies of their sacrifice to save Hallownest.

The Hollow Knight chained in Black Egg

After some time, the Radiance's power broke out of the Hollow Knight, cracking their shell and fully Infecting them.[12] This event was the catalyst that brought the Knight back to Hallownest.[13] The Knight can free and fight the Hollow Knight after killing the three Dreamers who sealed the Black Egg's entrance.

In-game events

The Shade of the Hollow Knight during the Radiance fight

The fate of the Hollow Knight is linked to the end of the Knight's journey. By killing the Hollow Knight, the Knight takes their place in sealing the Radiance. By instead entering their mind with the help of Hornet, the Knight can kill the Radiance. At the end of this fight, the Hollow Knight's Shade appears and opens up a weak point on her head, allowing the Knight to land the finishing blows. The two siblings then return to the Void together.

Godmaster Content

The Hollow Knight is also inherently part of the Godseeker's ritual. She seeks to attune the Radiance to Godhome through the Hollow Knight.[14] In doing so, she summons the Pure Vessel instead, their uninfected form. Once the Knight defeats the Pure Vessel in the Pantheon of the Knight, the Radiance reaches Godhome.

The Hollow Knight in the Embrace the Void endings

After the Knight defeats Absolute Radiance at the peak of the Pantheon of Hallownest, the Infection vanishes from Hallownest. The Hollow Knight can then be seen walking out of the Black Egg, freed from the Infection. They are met outside by a startled Hornet.

Behaviour and Tactics

The Hollow Knight emits a roar at the beginning of the fight, and at the start of each Phase of the fight.

Phase 1

These are the base attacks that the Hollow Knight starts with. They are expanded on in the next 2 Phases.

  • Triple Slash: The Hollow Knight swings their nail 3 times. Each swing of their nail moves the Hollow Knight forward, covering about 25% of the arena in total. The swings are so wide that they can damage the Knight even if they are behind the Hollow Knight.
  • Lunge: The Hollow Knight lunges along the ground with their nail pointed towards the Knight. This lunge covers about 50% of the arena.
  • Parry: The Hollow Knight take up a defensive stance with their nail. If the Knight damages them after their nail shines, they take no damage from the hit and instead respond with a riposte. The riposte has a huge arc and sizeable range because the Hollow Knight slides forward rapidly when they swing. The parry lasts 0.75 seconds.

Phase 2

After reaching 750 HP, the Hollow Knight gains these attacks in addition to the attacks of Phase 1. The Hollow Knight attacks and moves more frequently.

  • Diving Flame Pillar: The Hollow Knight either jumps or teleports into the air and then slams straight down with their nail, causing columns of Infected fire to shoot up from the ground. No matter which method they choose, the Hollow Knight attempts to slam down where the Knight was at the beginning of the attack. Lifeblood content This attack deals two Masks of damage.
  • Barrage: The Hollow Knight launches multiple blobs of Infection towards the Knight from beneath their cloak. The blobs are fired in arcs at multiple angles, starting low and working up. This attack covers about 75% of the arena. The Hollow Knight launches 9 or 10 blobs in total. This attack does not track the Knight; the blobs always follow the same arcs.

Phase 3

After reaching 400 HP, the Hollow Knight gains these attacks in addition to the attacks from the previous Phases. However, they lose the Lunge and Triple Slash attacks (except for immediately after teleporting). The Hollow Knight attacks and moves less frequently and cannot be staggered after this Phase starts.

  • Outbreak: The Hollow Knight hovers in the air and shoots blobs of Infection everywhere. The Hollow Knight is always in the centre of the arena for this attack. They remain in the air for about 6.5 seconds. The blobs travel along three primary paths: an arc going left, an arc going right, and a third going down. Blobs burst from the Hollow Knight for 5-6 seconds.
  • Bouncing Balloon: The Hollow Knight floats around the arena and bounces up and down 2-5 times. This attack tracks the Knight's position and always aims for the Knight, specifically during the slam.
  • Self Stab: The Hollow Knight stands in place and stabs their nail through their chest multiple times. During this move, all damage dealt to the Hollow Knight is reduced to 1, regardless of Nail level.

Phase 4

After reaching 0 HP, the Hollow Knight heals for 250 HP only if the fight is continued. Depending on the Knight's progress, the fight is interrupted by Hornet, allowing the Knight to access their mind with the Dream Nail and fight the Radiance, otherwise, the fight continues as normal.

During the fourth Phase of the battle, the Hollow Knight loses all other attacks except the Bouncing Balloon and Self Stab attacks and gains one new attack.

  • Deterioration: The Hollow Knight attempts to swing their nail once and then falls to their knees. This attack is only used in Phase 4. Essentially, the Hollow Knight is attempting a Triple Slash attack but as soon as the first slash happens, they fall over without moving forward at all.

Stagger Values
Description: Hollow Knight stumbles and takes a knee.
Hits: 13
Combo: 9 Combo Time: <1s per hit

Upon breaking the seals on the Temple of the Black Egg by destroying the three Dreamers, the Knight is allowed entrance in order to fight this boss. To begin the fight, the Knight must break the four chains holding the Hollow Knight.

The Hollow Knight fight has 4 Phases. Each Phase is marked by the Hollow Knight standing still, turning their head skyward and roaring. This roar stuns the Knight. The fight changes with each Phase.

In Phase 1, the Hollow Knight has three attacks: Triple Slash, Lunge, and Parry. The attacks come regularly. The Hollow Knight back dashes, teleports, and leaps around the arena between attacks.

In Phase 2 of the fight, the Hollow Knight gains two more attacks (Barrage and Diving Flame Pillar) and the Hollow Knight moves and attacks with greater frequency.

In Phase 3, the Hollow Knight begins stabbing themself. The Hollow Knight gains two more attacks (Outbreak and Bouncing Balloon) but they also slow down: rarely leaping or teleporting and their attacks come less often.

In Phase 4, the Hollow Knight can barely move. They can no longer teleport or leap and can hardly swing their nail. Only three attacks are used in the phase: the Bouncing Balloon, Self Stab, and Deterioration.

The main weakness of the Hollow Knight is that they are vulnerable to attacks from above. During a Lunge or Triple Slash, jump above their head and Nail-bounce a few times while they finish the attack. If they parry your attack, shadow dash through their riposte.

There are safe zones amongst the blobs during the Barrage and Explosion atacks so pay attention and move into safe zones. Dashing can often overshoot a safe zone, so walking is usually the safer option.

During the Bouncing Balloon attack, the Hollow Knight attempts to home in on the Knight. They have trouble tracking if the Knight constantly changes direction. Dodge the first slam, then dash under them when they rise for a new slam, then reverse again after they come down and repeat.

During the Diving Flame Pillar attack, the pillars briefly charge on the floor before erupting, showing where it is safe to stand. When the Hollow Knight jumps and readies their nail, start looking for a safe zone immediately after dodging the downward strike.

The Hollow Knight's teleport usually positions them far away from the Knight, so using Vengeful Spirit/Shade Soul during this time is useful to get hits in before they charge another attack. Moving too far from the Hollow Knight makes it more likely they will teleport close to the Knight, so be careful when running away to heal.

Depending on the Knight's progress, one of two endings plays out after the fight. After the ending, the Knight respawns at the Bench inside the Temple of the Black Egg. The Hollow Knight can be Dream Nailed at the start of Phase 4 if the Knight has Void Heart, initiating the fight with the Radiance.

The Dream Nail does not work or have an effect against the Hollow Knight and the Flukenest Charm only has an effect during the Diving Flame Pillar attack. Area of effect Charms, such as Spore Shroom and Defender's Crest, also do not affect the Hollow Knight while they are in their Parry stance.


The Hollow Knight is located in the Temple of the Black Egg which can be opened after all three Dreamers have been killed.



{S} The Hollow Knight
Defeat the Hollow Knight and become the Vessel.
{S} Sealed Siblings
Defeat the Hollow Knight with Hornet by your side.


  • Even though their Shade has two arms, the Hollow Knight is never shown with a second arm during the battle.
    • Godmaster content Pure Vessel, the Hollow Knight's prime form, has both arms, suggesting that the Hollow Knight lost an arm after being Infected.
  • The Hollow Knight, along with Godmaster content Pure Vessel, is the only boss whose title appears at the top-centre of the screen.
  • After the Knight absorbs the Infection from the Hollow Knight, a bright silhouette of the Radiance can be seen for a split second as the Hollow Knight lets out their final roar before dying.
  • The Hollow Knight has cut Dream Nail dialogue which is the following:
    • ...Kill...
    • ...Shall blaze free...
    • ...This Vessel, broken...fails...
    • ...Dawn...Shall break...
    • ...No mind, the usurper...Only strength...
    • ...Kill the usurper...Our light it would suffocate...
    • ...Father?...


  1. 1.0 1.1 Deleted Team Cherry livestream comment on the Knight and the Hollow Knight having no gender: "Ari: "Yeah, we think that is canonical. And it's mentioned several times. [...] William: "Canonically, yes [they are genderless].""
  2. Pale King: "You shall seal the blinding light that plagues their dreams."
  4. Developer note: <entry name="gender notes"/>the hollow knights have no gender.
  5. Pale King: "No mind to think." "No will to break." "No voice to cry suffering."
  6. Violent Husk Hunter's Journal entry: "The bugs of Hallownest were twisted out of shape by that ancient sickness. First they fell into deep slumber, then they awoke with broken minds,"
  7. Furious Vengefly Hunter's Journal entry: "The infection that passes from creature to creature grants strength and courage, but it also seems to enslave the will."
  8. White Lady: "Its supposed strength was ill-judged. It was tarnished by an idea instilled."
  9. The memory hidden away at the end of the Grimm Troupe content Path of Pain
  10. Godmaster content Pure Vessel Hunter's Journal entry: "Chosen vessel, raised and trained to prime form."
  11. City of Tears memorial fountain: "In the Black Vault far above. Through its sacrifice Hallownest lasts eternal."
  12. Prologue cutscene
  13. Dreamers: "What compels its climb out of the darkness? What compels its return to this sacred kingdom? A call from beyond the Seals? By the Vessel, or by that captive light?"
  14. The Godseeker: "Foolishly we feared thee, yet only by thine providence shall We find the one We seek. The God sleeping within..."
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