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This page is for the Boss enemy. For general info on the game, see Hollow Knight (Game)
The Hollow Knight Pure Vessel

Bestiary
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.

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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 Icon Pure Vessel is their uninfected form.

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

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Regardless of their impurity, the Hollow Knight was trained and raised, eventually becoming a fully grown Vessel.[9] 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.[10] 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.

After some time, the Radiance's power broke out of the Hollow Knight, cracking their shell and fully infecting them.[11] This event was the catalyst that brought the Knight back to Hallownest.[12] The Knight can free and fight the Hollow Knight after killing the three Dreamers who sealed the Black Egg's entrance.

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 entering instead 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 Icon Godmaster Content

The Hollow Knight is also inherently part of Godmaster Icon the Godseeker's ritual. She seeks to attune the Radiance to Godmaster Icon Godhome through the Hollow Knight.[13] In doing so, she summons the Godmaster Icon Pure Vessel instead, their uninfected form. Once the Knight defeats the Pure Vessel in the Godmaster Icon Pantheon of the Knight, the Radiance reaches Godhome.

After the Knight defeats the Absolute Radiance at the peak of the Godmaster Icon 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 will roar at the beginning of the fight, and once per every phase change.

Phase 1

These are the base attacks that The Hollow Knight starts with. These will be expanded on by the next 2 phases.

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  • Triple Slash: The Hollow Knight will swing their Nail 3 times. This attack only happens in Phases 1 through 3. 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 will lunge along the ground with their Nail pointed towards the Knight. This attack only happens in Phases 1 through 3. This lunge covers about 50% of the arena.
  • Parry: The Hollow Knight will parry and riposte with their Nail. This attack only happens in Phases 1 through 3. The riposte has a huge arc and sizable range because the Hollow Knight slides forward at a very rapid pace when they swing. The window for a riposte starts with a flash and lasts for a little more than half a second. Spells will also trigger the riposte.

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.
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  • Diving Flame Pillar: The Hollow Knight will either jump or teleport into the air and then slam 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. This attack only happens in Phases 2 and 3. Lifeblood Icon This attack will do two masks of damage.
  • Barrage: The Hollow Knight will launch multiple blobs of infection towards the Knight from beneath their cloak. This attack only happens in Phases 2 and 3. 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 will launch 9 or 10 blobs in total. This attack doesn't track the Knight; the blobs will 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 attack. The Hollow Knight attacks and moves less frequently.
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  • Outbreak: The Hollow Knight will hover in the air and shoot blobs of infection everywhere. This attack only occurs in Phase 3. The Hollow Knight will always be in the centre of the arena for this attack. They will remain in the air for 6.5 seconds. The blobs travel along three primary paths: an arc going left, an arc going right, and a third going down. Blobs will burst from the Hollow Knight for about 5 seconds.
  • Bouncing Balloon: The Hollow Knight will float around the arena and bounce up and down 3-5 times. This attack only occurs in Phases 3 and 4. This attack will track the Knight's position and always aim for the Knight specifically during the portion of the slam.
  • Contrition: The Hollow Knight will stand in place and stab their Nail through their chest multiple times. During this move, all damage dealt to The Hollow Knight will be reduced to 1 regardless of Nail level.

Phase 4

After reaching 0 hp The Hollow Knight will heal for 250 hp only if the fight is continued, but depending on the Knight's progress, the fight will be interrupted by Hornet, allowing The Knight to access their mind with the Dream Nail and fight The Radiance, otherwise, the fight will continue as normal.

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

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  • Deterioration: The Hollow Knight will try to swing their Nail once and then fall to their knees. This attack only happens 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 will take a knee.
Hits: 12 Stagger Limit: 5
Combo: 9 Combo Time: <1s per hit

Hollow Knight Boss Discussion - The Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight Boss Discussion - The Hollow Knight

The Hollow Knight Boss Guide Video

The Hollow Knight is one of two final bosses of the game.

Upon breaking the seals on the temple 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 happens over 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 will back dash, teleport, and leap 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 themselves. 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 anymore and can hardly swing their Nail. Only two attacks are used in the phase: the Bouncing Balloon 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 try to Parry, dash away before they counter-attack.

There are safe zones amongst the blobs during the Barrage and Explosion Attacks 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 will attempt to home in on the Knight. They will 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 will 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 will usually position 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 running away to heal.

Under normal circumstances, the Hollow Knight is immune to the Dream Nail and will not grant any SOUL on a successful hit.

Depending on the Knight's progress, one of two endings will play out after the fight. After the ending, the Knight will spawn at the last Bench rested at. The Hollow Knight can be dream nailed at the start of phase 4 if the Knight has the Void Heart, initiating the fight with The Radiance.

Achievements

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

Gallery

Trivia

  • The Hollow Knight can be found at a younger age during three other points within the game, during the Birthplace cutscene, the Path of Pain cutscene, and the Godmaster Icon Pantheon of the Knight cutscene.
  • It is uncertain as to why the Hollow Knight begins to stab themselves halfway through the fight. There are two distinct possibilities:
    • The Hollow Knight is able to take back some control from The Radiance and attempts to end their own life.
    • The Radiance makes the Hollow Knight stab themselves in order to be able to use more infection-based attacks.
  • The Hollow Knight fight is one of four fights in the game where an NPC aids the Knight; the other three are Traitor Lord with Cloth, Uumuu with Quirrel and The Radiance with the aid of The Hollow Knight.
The Hollow Knight Shade
  • The "idea instilled" which caused the impurity of the Hollow Knight may have been the father-child bond between The Pale King and the Hollow Knight, as is shown in a cutscene at the end of the Grimm Troupe Icon Path of Pain. However, the Birthplace cutscene might imply that the Hollow Knight was impure from the moment they were born.
  • Even though their Shade has two arms, the Hollow Knight is never shown with a second arm during the battle.
    • Godmaster Icon 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 Icon 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?...
References
  1. Pale King: "You shall seal the blinding light that plagues their dreams."
  2. Developer note: <entry name="gender notes"/>the hollow knights have no gender.
  3. 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].""
  4. Pale King: "No mind to think." "No will to break." "No voice to cry suffering."
  5. 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,"
  6. 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."
  7. White Lady: "Its supposed strength was ill-judged. It was tarnished by an idea instilled."
  8. The memory hidden away at the end of the Grimm Troupe Icon Path of Pain
  9. Godmaster Icon Pure Vessel Hunter's Journal entry: "Chosen vessel, raised and trained to prime form."
  10. City of Tears memorial fountain: "In the Black Vault far above. Through its sacrifice Hallownest lasts eternal."
  11. Prologue cutscene
  12. 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?"
  13. The Godseeker: "Foolishly we feared thee, yet only by thine providence shall We find the one We seek. The God sleeping within..."
Compendium Broken Vessel Idle
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MosscreepMossflyMosskinVolatile MosskinFool EaterSquitObbleGulkaMaskflyMoss ChargerMassive Moss ChargerMoss KnightMossy VagabondDurandooDurandaAluba
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AmbloomFunglingFungoonSporgFungified HuskShrumelingShrumal WarriorShrumal OgreMantis YouthMantis WarriorMantis Lords
Husk SentryHeavy SentryWinged SentryLance SentryMistakeFollySoul TwisterSoul WarriorSoul MasterHusk DandyCowardly HuskGluttonous HuskGorgeous HuskGreat Husk SentryWatcher KnightThe Collector
BelflyPilflipHwurmpBluggsacDung DefenderFlukefeyFlukemonFlukemarm
ShardmiteGlimbackCrystal HunterCrystal CrawlerHusk MinerCrystallised HuskCrystal Guardian
Furious VengeflyVolatile GruzzerViolent HuskSlobbering Husk
DirtcarverCarver HatcherGarpedeCorpse CreeperDeeplingDeephunterLittle WeaverStalking DevoutNosk
Shadow CreeperLesser MawlekMawlurkBrooding MawlekLightseedInfected BalloonBroken Vessel
BooflyPrimal AspidHopperGreat HopperGrub MimicHivelingHive SoldierHive GuardianHusk Hive
Spiny HuskLoodleMantis PetraMantis TraitorTraitor Lord
Sharp BaldurArmoured SquitBattle ObbleOblobblesShielded FoolSturdy FoolWinged FoolHeavy FoolDeath LoodleVolt TwisterZote the MightyGod Tamer
XeroGorbElder HuMarmuNo EyesGalienMarkoth
WingmouldRoyal RetainerKingsmouldSiblingVoid Tendrils

HornetThe Hollow KnightThe RadianceShadeHunter's Mark

Hidden Dreams Icon Hidden Dreams
Grey Prince ZoteWinged ZotelingHopping ZotelingVolatile ZotelingWhite Defender
Grimm Troupe Icon The Grimm Troupe
Grimmkin NoviceGrimmkin MasterGrimmkin NightmareGrimmNightmare King GrimmSeal of Binding
Lifeblood Icon Lifeblood
Hive Knight
Godmaster Icon Godmaster
FlukemungaPale LurkerBrothers Oro & MatoPaintmaster SheoGreat Nailsage SlyPure VesselVoid IdolWeathered Mask
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