Game Theory: The Secret Identity of Hollow Knight's Hero (Hollow Knight)

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The Game Theorists

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A game that grabbed my attention recently is Hollow Knight, the indie darling about insect creatures in masks being terrorized by a creature corrupted by Randiance. This game is LOADED with theory material but what grabbed my attention most was the character we play as - the Knight. There is so much we don't know but the clues are EVERYWHERE! Today Loyal Theorists, we are unmasking the secret identity of the Knight or Hollow Knight!
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Writers: Matthew Patrick
Researcher: Alan Baker
Editors: Alex "Sedge" Sedgwick, BanditRants, and Tyler Mascola
Assistant Editor: AlyssaBeCrazy
Sound Editor: Yosi Berman
MossBag's Hollow Knight video,

The Game Theorists
The Game Theorists År siden
The below comment is from the channel Sumwan who did an incredible job critiquing this episode. Unfortunately, the comment got lost (NOpost has an algorithm that is constantly "turning over" comments on high-view videos) and despite digging around for hours looking for it, I couldn't find the original. But the work that she put in was SO thorough that I wanted to make sure it got seen, so here it is! ***Original Text from Sumwan*** I've seen this claim many times and it really does not make any sense. Not only does it contradict evidence in the game but it is very misleading. I'll go through the points one by one and explain why: 6:35 “We too might be in the ranks of a higher being” The Knight is the child of the Pale King and the White Lady, who are both higher beings. It makes sense that the Knight is able to read these higher being tablets. This doesn't mean that the Pale King IS the Knight. 7:20 “Does it really sound like we're just some failed experiment cast into the depths of this world?” No, it doesn't sound like that. The Vessels are the children of the Pale King and the White Lady who are born from eggs in the Abyss, which gave them a Shade. The Vessels are not just “failed experiments”. 8:12 “This poem is addressed to the Pale King” It literally says “elegy for HALLOWNEST”. This poem is about Hallownest. “Under palest watch” refers to the Pale King, but the “you”, is most definitely Hallownest. 8:30 “In the beginning of the game's lore, all bugs were basically a hive mind controlled by the moth god Radiance” This information is not supported by anything. Only the Radiance's descendants, the moth tribe, worshipped her. Nowhere is it stated that the Radiance controlled everything else. The Mantis Tribe, the Mosskin, Deepnest, and the Hive were all separate tribes and already had minds before the Pale King. 8:51 “This isn't just a poem about the Pale King, it is directed TO the Pale King” It is about Hallownest and it is direct to Hallownest (elegy for Hallownest). 8:55 “What do we see appear on screen just moments later? Our Knight” After the poem we see THE HOLLOW KNIGHT, not the Knight. The Knight scene appears after we see the Radiance break out of the Hollow Knight. Team Cherry is NOT drawing a parallel between the Knight and the Pale King. The poem is about Hallownest. It is FOR Hallownest. And the scene with the Knight does not appear right after the poem. 10:27 “Elderbug says we are seeking our dreams in perhaps a very literal sense.” The context of this sentence matters. Elderbug is talking about how all the previous travellers went down into Hallownest to follow their dreams. He does not actually know if the Knight has any “dreams” themselves. 11:00 “Elderbug wondering if he's seen a ghost is another potentially clever play on words” No it's not. Elderbug is just referring to how he thought maybe he didn't see anyone pass him because the Knight left so quickly. This dialogue has no other meaning besides that. 11:36 “White Lady: Is it more than simply a Vessel? I almost feel like I'm once again in the presence of my beloved Wyrm” The White Lady only says this because the Knight is wearing the Kingsoul. The Kingsoul reminds her of the Pale King, not the Knight themselves. Also, the White Lady literally calls the Knight her spawn when they visit her with Grimmchild equipped: “Success then for the scarlet heart, and irony, to use my spawn to grow its own.” Are you saying that the White Lady gave birth to her own husband? 11:46 “Your noble bearing reminds me of our dear King” No surprise there since the Knight is the child of the Pale King. 12:05 “The bugs in White Palace bowing as you approach them is just screaming that you're the king” White Palace is a whole other issue, but this is really not concrete evidence. Also their dream nail dialogue makes no sense if it refers to the Knight. 12:19 “10/10 Royal Retainers can't be wrong. You are royalty” You're actually right there. The Knight IS royalty, since they're the child of the King. Not because they ARE the King. 13:28 “This line of “more transformation” seems to imply that the Pale King's death would only lead to yet another form” Not really. Bardoon says that the Pale King's death in Kingdom's Edge was not an actual death, but that it was more like a transformation. This does not mean that the Pale King can transform again after he became his bug shape. A caterpillar transforming into a butterfly also cannot transform into another being again. 13:49 “It's an ancient force that opposes the blinding light of [the Radiance]” Not just the Radiance's light, but the Pale King's too. He is referred to as a light in multiple places: The Seer: “But another light appeared in our world... A wyrm that took the form of a king.” The Pale King calls himself a light in the throne room lore tablet: “No blazing kin. Only one light shall shine against the dark.” As does the Teacher’s Archives lore tablet: “-KINGLIGHT-EM-GROWTH-INKIND-FLOW-ALLTHINK-ENFIELD” Other bugs talk about the Pale King emanating light: “Though even its pure aura is no match for the light of our dear King.” (Eternal Emilitia) “I've heard he was a glorious bug to behold, bright and radiant in visage, so much so it hurt to look at him.” (Last/Old Stag) “That lingering power alone was beacon enough to draw Us to Hallownest. How bright it must have been to mortal bug stood before it.” (Godseeker) 14:45 “The Pale King used Void to fight time itself. He wants to use the Void to attain eternal life. He births himself as a Void-based creature” Not literally time. Time here is capitalized, and it is more likely to just refer to the Radiance. Locking up the Radiance is generally seen as being what has caused the Kingdom to remain in a stasis: “Bear witness to the last and only civilisation, the eternal Kingdom. Hallownest”” “Eternity in promise and charge in progeny cursed.” “Now this Kingdom's stasis becomes the Wyrm's legacy.” “Though this hive exists within Hallownest, we play no part in its attempt at perpetuation.” It is not literally time. He is a higher being, he does not need to use the Void to “achieve eternal life”. Not to mention that the Void opposes his own powers too (see previous point). 15:25 “It seems to suggest that this egg [in White Palace] is where version 1.0 of the Pale King hatched into its upgraded form” It does not. The Pale King became his current bug form in the Cast-Off shell. The Wanderer's Journal even mentions that too on page 111: “Deep within the maw of the [Cast-Off Shell], a pale, broken egg of some sort hints at such a rebirth.” Not only that, but the egg of the Knight in the Abyss would be DEADLY for the Pale King. Void opposes his power, it would simply kill him if he were to become corrupted by the Void like the eggs of the Vessels were. 15:40 “Elsewhere in White Palace there is a nursery playing this song on the music box (shade theme). The sound that accompanies our Knight's past life coincides with the same sound from a nursery housed in the Pale King's palace.” Yes, this is true, but not because of the reason you're describing. It's because the Hollow Knight grew up in White Palace (see Path of Pain scene). This nursery was probably for them. And since the Hollow Knight is a Vessel too, it makes sense that the Shade theme place for that area. 16:21 “The existence of a connection between our Knight and the Pale King seems undeniable” Yes, it is undeniable. The Knight is the child of the Pale King. 18:13 “In cut dialogue that was datamined from the game, it shows that the Hollow Knight says “father”. Cut dialogue is not evidence. The "Father?" is cut dream nail dialogue. It was cut for a reason. We don't know when this line was written, in which context it would be used exactly, maybe the Hollow Knight's fight was different at the time, etc. 19:20 “Losing his memory helps make him purely hollow” It does not. Quirrel lost his memory and this does not happen to him. Not to mention that the Knight is not hollow. There are multiple places where the Knight is said to have a will: Steel Soul Jinn: "...It refuses to trade...? It has a will... all Its own." Void Heart description: "Unifies the void under the bearer's will." Description of a pure Vessel: "No will to break." Lastly I'm going to address some fundamental problems with this entire theory that you did not address or seem to have forgotten about. The most obvious evidence that contradicts that the Pale King is the Knight is that the Knight and the Pale King are both seen at the same time. This is during the Birthplace memory cutscene where the Hollow Knight is led out of the Abyss by the Pale King. This is a memory of the Knight themselves since the Knight dreamnails their own reflection to access this memory. Furthermore, the achievement for acquiring Void Heart also says: "Remember the past and unite the Abyss" This supports the fact that it is the Knight’s memory. Therefore, the Pale King cannot be the Knight, since they were alive at the same time. Secondly, the Knight is the child of the Pale King, not a transformation. The lore tablet to the right of the throne in White Palace says that the Vessels are the progeny of the Pale King, and the Pale King also says that the Vessels are "born of God and Void", the God obviously referring to him and the White Lady who are both higher beings. Since the Knight is the child of the Pale King (and the White Lady), the Pale King cannot BE the Knight. None of the points that were brought up align with the evidence that is in the game, and it even contradicts it in various places. To put it quite simply, the Knight is NOT the Pale King.
ginga ninja 06
ginga ninja 06 3 dager siden
Nice eight legged freaks reference
Dylan 4 dager siden
@Colin Looby people are allowed to tell him that he got the plot of the story completely wrong and ignored critical evidence to make his headcanon seem more plausible to millions of people.
pao hearts
pao hearts 6 dager siden
She is right. Idiot. EDIT: YOU ARE A S**TF***ER
Amber Mash
Amber Mash 8 dager siden
@dialog_box that's true
dialog_box 8 dager siden
@Amber Mash that's a fair point. but until youtube does introduce a character limit to the comments section, i'd say any length is fair game for a youtube comment
hazardous 6 timer siden
We cultured
coffee- boi
coffee- boi 8 timer siden
I was re watching this while playing borderlands 2 forgot us was so heavy
Dev Socius
Dev Socius 20 timer siden
0:18 Dammit MatPat I had a full soul gauge!
Latticia forrest
Latticia forrest Dag siden
So. U did a face reveal huh...
Adrien Dale élève
Adrien Dale élève Dag siden
this has become the meme of the community, take it away mossbag ^_^ :
Cirius Moonlite
Cirius Moonlite 2 dager siden
The lore is wow
blix the cat UwU
blix the cat UwU 2 dager siden
" brutally difficult Boss Rushes" *shows venchfly king*
Chloe Jones
Chloe Jones 3 dager siden
Does anybody realize that the springtrap pop figure tilts it's head?
Timishere 4 dager siden
I seen my cousin playing this yesterday
Dylan 4 dager siden
This is possibly the worst video of yours I’ve seen and it made me lose a lot of respect for you. You completely ignored an integral portion of the game that completely debunks your theory, just to make your headcanon seem more plausible. Also, in the opening gag, you portrayed hornet as being a void creature which shows just how little you know about this game.
crunch patreon
crunch patreon 4 dager siden
ngl last part made me cry
XotiC OutlaW
XotiC OutlaW 4 dager siden
I've watched alot of your videos and I just got to say, I think you absolutely nailed this one.
Jo Smith
Jo Smith 4 dager siden
I've played both Ori's and absolutely adore them. Is Hollow Knight like them?
BubbleGum Sweets
BubbleGum Sweets 4 dager siden
I have this game but on the xbox
Caden Jamison
Caden Jamison 4 dager siden
Matt: hollow knight is a long game "Me searched up speedrun" Speedrunner: give me 30 min.
Skop 5 dager siden
I kept hearing about how this video was in the "Born of God and Meme" playlist, and I thought it was a joke. Then I gave in and actually started watching the playlist...
Shriansh Sirohi
Shriansh Sirohi 6 dager siden
This is so wholesome especially the "......father?" Scene at last
You Stupid
You Stupid 6 dager siden
The TV
The TV 7 dager siden
Did you make the subtitles??
Evee Bay
Evee Bay 7 dager siden
The thing is there is nerly 1000 things wrong
BlueLightink OG
BlueLightink OG 7 dager siden
Matpat: *talks about dialogues* Me:......there is dialogue.....huh
meatybadger 8 dager siden
bruh everything in this video is wrong I love you mat pat but how about you stick to a game you know called five nights at freddy's
Foofiez_Gaming 8 dager siden
Nightcore fan
Nightcore fan 8 dager siden
1:53 and 2:07 killed me, I was laughing so hard! 😂
Lucas Talavera
Lucas Talavera 8 dager siden
Will there ever be a blue
The Soul gamer
The Soul gamer 8 dager siden
BubbleTea 9 dager siden
I love your theories, although they make me procrastinate, I love them so much, along with all you funny jokes and everything :)
Cielo Alminana
Cielo Alminana 9 dager siden
OwO wat i nweed u
seirobun 9 dager siden
even if the theory is pretty much wrong, i still like to watch this because it's nice to hear that matpad enjoyed hollow knight since not a lot of people know about the game
TJ Bailey
TJ Bailey 9 dager siden
Spoiler: The hollow king's ultimate goal is to not be Bug's Life into a lamp because it's so beautiful.
justarveed _
justarveed _ 9 dager siden
U posted this in my B-Day
High in Supply
High in Supply 10 dager siden
nice socks.
Stalker Fish
Stalker Fish 10 dager siden
Your theory of this is a lot more sad then i thought. :c
Timothy Clendenen
Timothy Clendenen 10 dager siden
At least to me as a deticated souls beater and a player of hollow knight agrees and I kind of think think of this game as like 2D dark souls
RiotCat1264 UwU
RiotCat1264 UwU 11 dager siden
Yes they’re actually helped me play hollow knight, I mean it helped me with the levels even though it’s just covering the identity.
RiotCat1264 UwU
RiotCat1264 UwU 11 dager siden
BTW the music is great 😊
NatIsYT 11 dager siden
Welp, MatPat here seems to enjoy solving the identities of fictional characters
B02 Ryan Miguel Adoracion
B02 Ryan Miguel Adoracion 11 dager siden
20:12 not gonna lie this "but hey" kinda ruin the mood
Merrick Laguren
Merrick Laguren 11 dager siden
Actually the knight is a vessel the vessels were made by the king although you have good proof looking at the wiki fandom the vessels are different the vessels have the hollow knight a vessel that is strongest and the vessels are many vessels are scattered in the places going in there are vessels that are in greenpath , abyss, and god home where you fight the hollow knight and presumed in the wiki fandom is the abyss.
MADISON HAYWOOD 11 dager siden
You know the night we play as reminds me of steela from Hells esspecally with the supposed to the defintion of nothing thing
Aileen Familara
Aileen Familara 12 dager siden
Captain Foxy Mangle
Captain Foxy Mangle 12 dager siden
Where is fokoe?
Stuart Confrey
Stuart Confrey 13 dager siden
Would the fact that your nail becomes the pure nail also have some indication that its from a higher being or someone important?
NeRethil Wolfsson
NeRethil Wolfsson 13 dager siden
Mat is actually forgetting a very important element shown by the Pale King's transformation: When a creature transforms, especially the King, it retains elements of their previous form. As the King keeps the Wyrm's very specific mouth as the crown-like top of his head. I have the feeling if The Knight was indeed the King reborn, it would have been more explicit, maybe having only two "mandibles" atop his head, but in the form of the King's. But the Knight has an extraordinarily separate design, sooooo...
Pastyy 13 dager siden
Why is void coming out of hornet
Dussel 13 dager siden
guys he totally did not play the game at all and obviously is very stupid
RedBlockRanger 192
RedBlockRanger 192 13 dager siden
Your first selling point of "higher beings, these words are for you alone" could be disproven by quoting iron man talking about Thor's hammer. "If you put it in an elevator, it can lift it". You can't be unworthy of higher being information, or godly weapons, if you lack the capacity to be considered a being in the first place. You can't find out if an apple is fast enough to win a race, because it doesn't qualify as something with speed. An empty vessel of nothing can't be a higher or lower being because it's not considered a being.
AJ Shel17
AJ Shel17 13 dager siden
So then if you think about it you to are a hollow knight
Hunter Tierney
Hunter Tierney Dag siden
The hollow knight is just a grown vessel so yeah you right
AJ Shel17
AJ Shel17 13 dager siden
Omg I just figured out why the logo in the intro changed green for game theory red for film theory and the newly added yellow for food theory
Rafael Rivera
Rafael Rivera 13 dager siden
12:17 Two left hands?
Rayyan BinKashif
Rayyan BinKashif 14 dager siden
Ah yes, the reference to food theory to confuse the new subscribers
Attack Titan
Attack Titan 14 dager siden
WHEN YOU DEFEAT XERO HE SAYS “I should’ve known those who turn their blade against the king are doomed to fail, do not call me a traitor call me a fool” THE KNIGHT IS THE KING CONFIRMED!!!
DJFlare84 15 dager siden
Now do a deep dive on DEAD CELLS
LocalSouthSide 15 dager siden
Okay, let’s *soften* the critique a little bit, please. Technically, MatPat was *right* . The main character and the Pale King are connected in a pretty major way: they’re related, directly, as the main character is a son of the Pale King (if I’ve taken all the other theories the right way). He saw their similarities and pointed them out, and got pretty much everything right except one crucial detail: the Pale King is *not* the main character, but rather his father. That is all. Thank you.
Robotnik Pingas
Robotnik Pingas 15 dager siden
TLDR = Ness
Haley Elston
Haley Elston 16 dager siden
4:15 Actually, I read Les Miserables for fun, and that book is THICC! 😂
Bread in Moss
Bread in Moss 16 dager siden
Why isn’t mossbag in the comment section
Whisper In The Woods
Whisper In The Woods 17 dager siden
Your not a clown, *Your The Hole Grimm Troupe*
msandiedru 18 dager siden
He did a boneworks when the void is to fight time
Rakan Alfalah
Rakan Alfalah 18 dager siden
this is not true
Squid Swag100
Squid Swag100 18 dager siden
Uhhhhhh am I the only one who acctually understanded the ENTIRE STORY before I even knew this video existed?
Allan Rodriguez
Allan Rodriguez 18 dager siden
the story are soo good
Johnathan Hayes
Johnathan Hayes 18 dager siden
mat pat do u belevie in god
OneGayGem 19 dager siden
You already know hes wrong when you see hornet attacking her people
Steelcraft 09
Steelcraft 09 20 dager siden
Omg I had no idea that this game is so sad
MarkVlogs 20 dager siden
People: Hey, do you hear some sound coming from that bug nest? Friend: Actually, yes. People: Ah its prb nothing.
Glenn van Dam
Glenn van Dam 20 dager siden
just gonna say this if theknight is the pale king what happens in the voidheart scene
TinSlaher901 20 dager siden
Um no
Ferniebubble 20 dager siden
So we evil or good I think good oh and what about the soul charm that doesn’t need noches
Bill Sparkes
Bill Sparkes 21 dag siden
all the vessels are genderless so the term son is kinda irrelevant
Why Peanuts
Why Peanuts 21 dag siden
No cost to great means the amount of geo he spent on saws
Bill Sparkes
Bill Sparkes 21 dag siden
we are not The Pale King we are simply a vessel made to contain the infection
Crystal Carroll
Crystal Carroll 22 dager siden
MatPat is stupid
Tomek 4 dager siden
Fermago 22 dager siden
Hollow knight is like dark souls but mario
tristam bec 2
tristam bec 2 23 dager siden
3:33 they look same
Rosii Demon
Rosii Demon 23 dager siden
(NOTE; im calling the player character Ghost, and Perfect Vessel (The Hollow Knight) Hollow, ty) Ghost is Pale King's son, Hornet's half-brother, and Hollow's brother, the entire fandom has accepted this as fact, and you should've expected backlash, you probably did expect it though, so i'll give you that
Starthing 125
Starthing 125 20 dager siden
Other than the 'brother' part, you're absolutly right. The vessels are just the shells of the Pale King's children that were hollowed out by the void and therefore don't have genders. That's why Hornet is referred to as the 'gendered child' as oppose to just 'sister'. Because she is the only one with a gender.
Lux Blitzar
Lux Blitzar 24 dager siden
this theory is the primal aspid to this fandom
sufyian zaman
sufyian zaman 24 dager siden
Cade Messer
Cade Messer 24 dager siden
Could be his secret son
tristam bec
tristam bec 24 dager siden
Now I know a new nitendo swich game now I'm getting one in 4 days Edit:i red it rong in one month Edit: nvm they lied
Epicgamer191 24 dager siden
A point I would like to make is that in the embrace the void ending the knight turns into a literal void god. But the pale king was originally a wyrm and no amount of research and experimenting would be able to have this effect
Epicgamer191 24 dager siden
But hey that’s just a theory, a BAD theory
Kathryn Farquhar
Kathryn Farquhar 24 dager siden
It really aint that complicated. The knight remind people of the king because he is their literal child. They are royalty, because they are the king and queens child, not because they are the king lol.
Юра Миронов
Юра Миронов 25 dager siden
wait, you are not a mossbag
Kelly Dolan
Kelly Dolan 25 dager siden
I think you should make the fourth quadrant of your logo book or literature theory.
Medic Is spy!
Medic Is spy! 25 dager siden
Hollow knight in smash! Hollow knight in smash!
Kirk P
Kirk P 25 dager siden
No... no that’s not right... you existed at the same time as the pale king... your his son.
devilish animations
devilish animations 25 dager siden
Yes, sacarfising one of the pale king many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many sons
Bastian Wolfenden
Bastian Wolfenden 25 dager siden
Godwin Immanuel Zane Gabral
Godwin Immanuel Zane Gabral 25 dager siden
It is now like saying Yoriichi and Tanjiro were the same and one.
shortstacke 26 dager siden
Hey you might like to play SteamWorld Dig 2, it's kind of like this game based on your description of the gameplay. I've never actually played the first game, but it's honestly really cool and you can still understand the story without playing through the first game.
BrEaD LoRd
BrEaD LoRd 26 dager siden
The player being the pale king is a cool theory... but its way more likely that the knight is just another piece in the puzzle that is T H E V O I D And at the end of godmaster he masters void and unites all the different shades into the shade lord, which is obviously a higher being or something like that
Linus Hallgren
Linus Hallgren 28 dager siden
the only thing that speaks for this theory to be true is the hollow knight asking Father?! That was however cut from the game so its not really enough
maneet malhi
maneet malhi 28 dager siden
I want you to do episode of Plants versus Zombies
No Name
No Name 28 dager siden
Now we know that The Game Theorists sometimes they are wrong
Kasey the crazy owl
Kasey the crazy owl 29 dager siden
I know that everyone is criticizing and nit-picking his theory, but I honestly thought is a well thought out. i also realize it can be debunked by saying "he's the king's son" but for not considering it at first, The theory is really cool on its own. I personally think its a good theory and love it just the same as the other theories on the channel.
Cat on The internet
Cat on The internet 29 dager siden
If the knight is supposedly the pale king why do we see them at the same time during the abyss cutscene, or did you just decide to ignore that part
tiny pro2005
tiny pro2005 29 dager siden
But the vessels are the children of the pale king and the knight is a vessel... and last time I checked you can't be born twice
codominus 101
codominus 101 29 dager siden
I am the Real Bruhé
I am the Real Bruhé Måned siden
"They Bond, which ruins the Son's Purity" I dont know Man, seems kinda *NAUGHTY* to me
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