Bosses are unique enemies in Hollow Knight that typically have higher health or deal more damage than the standard creatures in the same area. The Knight may have to defeat a Boss to access a new area, acquire an item, complete a quest, or simply further the main story of the game.
When the Knight encounters a boss, the name usually appears on-screen, and the music changes into a battle theme.
Counting the variations, there are 47 bosses in the game. That number includes one “joke” boss that cannot damage the Knight (Zote), but excludes the two that are never actually fought. Some bosses also make a second appearance in the Colosseum of Fools. Almost all the boss fights in the game have multiple variations in the Hall of Gods, including alternate arenas that change the nature of a fight, or special challenges such as beating a boss without taking a hit.
- The following is a list of spirits that the Knight can fight. For a list of "NPC" spirits, that can be only interacted with and seen, see: Spirits
Lingering memories of particularly strong bugs, Warrior Dreams are a unique form of boss in that the Knight can only challenge them once they have acquired the Dream Nail. Defeating a Warrior Dream rewards a large amount of Essence.
After acquiring the Dream Nail, the Knight may purchase the Warrior's Grave Pin from Iselda for 180, which reveals the location of the Warrior Dream in the area after that area's Map has been purchased.
Dream Nailing a Warrior Dream automatically starts the fight, and Dream Nailing them after winning the fight automatically collects the Essence without dialogue. The Dream Nail has no effect when used during the fight.
Alternate versions of bosses. More challenging than the original fight. Some can be accessed by Dream Nailing their corpse; defeating these dream bosses awards a large sum of Essence. Others can be found elsewhere in Hallownest after the original fight. A few more boss variation can also be found inside Godhome.
|Absolute Radiance||Enraged Guardian||Failed Champion||Grey Prince Zote|
|Hornet Sentinel||Lost Kin||Nightmare King||Pure Vessel|
|Sisters of Battle||Soul Tyrant||White Defender||Winged Nosk|
Failed Champion, Grey Prince Zote, Lost Kin, Nightmare King Grimm, Soul Tyrant and White Defender are considered "Dream Bosses" and occur within the Dream Realm. This means that the Knight does not actually die during a dream boss battle. If the Knight dies, they simply wake up next to the point of entry. This means several things:
- The Knight does not leave behind a Shade.
- The Knight does not lose part of their SOUL Meter. (However, the SOUL meter still completely empties.)
- The Knight does not lose any Geo.
- The Fragile Charms sold by Leg Eater do not break.
- Steel Soul runs do not end.
Bosses that include an intro sequence with a name card or a battle theme, but are not fought and have no purpose beyond being a joke or a surprise.
- Designing a Warrior Dream was a reward for a tier of backers during the game's Kickstarter campaign:
- "Ancient Hero: Appear in-game as an epic warrior-spirit! Help us create the appearance and dialogue for your spirit counterpart: Tell the Hollow Knight of your great deeds, then challenge him to battle!"
- In this same Kickstarter project, a location called "Queen's Glade" is mentioned in the Warrior Dreams tier:
- "Become a Warrior Spirit in the Queen’s Glade"
- In the Kickstarter project, it is mentioned that 3 people pledged to the 2nd to last tier, which allows backers to create their own bosses, two of them were the God Tamer, Steel Assassin Sharpe, and a third upcoming boss in Hollow Knight: Silksong. The 2 companions announced alongside Sharpe do not seem to count in these 3.
- There are also 3 upcoming bosses from the "create your own dungeon" reward tier in Silksong.
- Dying at the same time as a boss dies no longer leads to the boss being considered defeated, rather the Knight has to fight the boss again because it respawns.
- Dream bosses do not need to be defeated to unlock the Pantheon of the Knight as defeating the base counterpart counts towards the lock. However, the dream boss remains unavailable in the Hall of Gods.
- Official manual: "Lingering memories of particularly strong bugs."
All items (50)