Bosses are unique enemies in Hollow Knight with typically 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, their name will appear on-screen, and the music will change into a battle theme. There is a total of 47 bosses in the game.
- The following is a list of ghosts that the Knight can fight. For a list of "NPC" ghosts, that can be only interacted with and seen, see: Ghosts
Lingering Ghosts 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 will automatically enter the fight, and Dream Nailing them after winning the fight will automatically collect 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 or 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|
Bosses that include an intro sequence with a name card and a battle theme, however, will not be fought and have no purpose beyond being a surprise/joke.
A Dream Boss is the ghost version of a Boss that is unlocked by defeating a specific living Boss and then striking their corpse with the Dream Nail. The Knight will be transported to the Dream Realm and must perform a short platforming sequence to reach the boss room, which will be set up similarly to the room in which the original Boss is fought.
Dream Bosses are significantly more challenging than their living counterparts, with much faster and more complex attack patterns, along with much greater health.
|Icon||Name and Location||Essence|
| Grey Prince Zote||300 (First Fight)|
| White Defender||300 (First Fight)|
| Nightmare King Grimm||No essence but rather an upgrade to the Grimmchild|
Losing a Dream Boss battle
It's important to note that The Knight does not actually die during a Dream Boss battle. If the Knight dies, they will 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, making Fragile Strength and Fragile Heart particularly good choices.
- Steel Soul runs will not end.
- 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 will no longer lead to the boss being considered defeated, rather the Knight has to fight the boss again as it will be respawned.
- Dream bosses do not need to be defeated to unlock the Pantheon of the Knight as defeating the base counterpart will count towards the lock. However, the dream boss will still not be available in the Hall of Gods.
All items (49)