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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 Hunter
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The Pale King is an NPC in Hollow Knight. He plays a major role in the history of Hallownest.

Lore

The Pale King is a higher being who used to be the monarch of Hallownest, mate to the White Lady, and ruler of the White Palace.

He is an ancient Wyrm who burrowed through mountains and across the wasteland until finally stopping in Kingdom's Edge.[1] Once there, the Wyrm shed its shell and transformed into the Pale King.[2] The pale, broken egg found within the Cast-Off Shell hints at this rebirth.[1] Consequently, the Pale King is often still referred to as "Wyrm", as this was his former body.[3][4][5] He reduced his form in order to match the bugs of Hallownest.[6]

The Kingdom of Hallownest

After his transformation, the Pale King expanded the minds of several species of bugs in Hallownest, granting them sapience.[7][8] The Pale King wanted these bugs to devote themselves to him, and in return, he promised them that the Kingdom of Hallownest would last eternally.[9]

The Pale King was often depicted as an imposing, gleaming figure with a fiercely horned crown.[10] He was bright and radiant in visage,[11] with the Delicate Flower's pure aura being no match for his light.[12]

Although he was an elusive, reclusive figure who was rarely seen outside his Palace, the Pale King was deified by his citizens.[13] The bugs of Hallownest believed that he created their world and everything in it.[14] Worship was offered through King's Idols.[15] Even the moth tribe turned their backs on their creator, the Radiance, and started worshipping the Pale King instead.[16] The Pale King's ability of foresight,[17] the ability to see the future to some extent, caused the mushrooms of Fungal Wastes to accept his rule as well.[18]

He was responsible for much of the architecture found throughout Hallownest, most of it bearing a Hallownest Seal. He also built the stagways[19] and the trams.[20]

The Infection

When the Radiance tried to be remembered again after being almost entirely forgotten, she ended up causing the Infection.[21] To combat this, the Pale King came up with the idea to use a Vessel to seal her away. These Vessels are the children of him and the White Lady, born in the Abyss with Void inside of them.[22][23][24][25]

Three bugs were asked to become Dreamers to form seals on the Temple of the Black Egg which would contain this Vessel. One of them, Herrah, only accepted his proposal if the Pale King had a dalliance[26] (sexual relationship) with her which would result in a child; this child ended up being Hornet.

Nevertheless, the chosen Vessel, the Hollow Knight, was unable to contain the infection for eternity due to their purity being misjudged.[27] The Pale King raised the Hollow Knight and formed a bond with them, which may have resulted in their "tarnishing".[28][29]

At a certain point, after the Infection reappeared, the Pale King and White Palace disappeared.[30][31][32]

In-game events

White Palace can be accessed in the dream realm after the Awoken Dream Nail is used on the corpse of a Kingsmould in the Palace Grounds. The Pale King’s corpse can be found on his throne in the throne room. When his corpse is struck, it falls off the throne and his half of the Kingsoul drops on the ground.

The Pale King also appears in a memory of the Knight.[33] He can be seen walking out of the Abyss together with the Hollow Knight, after which he seals the door.[34]

Godmaster Icon Godmaster Content


In the Pantheon of Hallownest, the Pale King's throne room appears after Grimm Troupe Icon Nightmare King Grimm and before Pure Vessel. The Godseeker observes that although the King was strong, he was completely erased.[35]

Dialogue

After picking up the White Fragment ...Soul of Wyrm. Soul of Root. Heart of Void...
Dream Nailed ...No cost too great...

...

While ascending the Abyss No cost too great.

No mind to think.
No will to break.
No voice to cry suffering.
Born of God and Void.
You shall seal the blinding light that plagues their dreams.
You are the Vessel.
You are the Hollow Knight.

Gallery

Trivia

  • The horns atop the King's crown look similar to the mouth of the Wyrm in Kingdom's Edge.
  • Other depictions and representations of Pale King can be found around the kingdom:
  • The Pale King may have been the previous owner of the Monarch Wings. In White Defender's background, the Pale King seems to have wings, which look similar to the Monarch Wings.
    • The Monarch Wings are also found in the Ancient Basin, the same area where the White Palace used to reside.
  • Upon taking the half of the Kingsoul in the White Palace and returning, the Pale King's husk can no longer be found.
  • In an early version of the game, the Gruz Mother fight area contained three statues: one showing the Pale King, the second showing the White Lady and the third, a broken one, could be representing the Hollow Knight. These statues can also be seen in the top left corner of one of the early maps.
References
  1. 1.0 1.1 Wanderer's Journal, p. 111.
  2. Bardoon: "This ashen place is grave of Wyrm. Once told, it came to die. But what is death for that ancient being? More transformation methinks. This failed kingdom is product of the being spawned from that event."
  3. Mask Maker: "Has it witnessed that truth most tragic? The Wyrm's great shame sealed away."
  4. Grimm Troupe Icon Troupe Master Grimm Dream Nail dialogue: "Fine craft dear Wyrm, and perfect tool to prolong the heart of Grimm."
  5. Bardoon: "Tiny thing... Oh hmm... The mark of Wyrm you bear."
  6. Godmaster Icon The Godseeker: "God-king, you reduced your form to match Our meagre shells... "
  7. Elegy for Hallownest: "For none could tame our savage souls yet you the challenge met, Under palest watch, you taught, we changed, base instincts were redeemed,"
  8. White Lady: "The first is inevitable on current course, regression, all minds relinquished to that pernicious plague."
  9. White Palace lore tablet: "The Wyrm becomes beacon, minds expanded, to yield, to devote. Eternity in promise and charge in progeny cursed."
  10. Relic Seeker Lemm: "Depictions are of an imposing, gleaming figure and a fiercely horned crown."
  11. Last Stag: "I've heard he was a glorious bug to behold, bright and radiant in visage,"
  12. Eternal Emilitia: "Though even its pure aura is no match for the light of our dear King."
  13. Relic Seeker Lemm: "Hallownest's king was an elusive figure, deified by the citizens. With the king rarely seen, worship was offered through these idols."
  14. Wingmould Hunter's Journal entry: "The bugs of Hallownest believed that their King created this world and everything in it."
  15. King's Idol description: "The elusive king was worshipped through these idols."
  16. Seer: "They forsook the light that spawned them. Turned their backs to it... Forgot it even."
  17. Bardoon: "Don't mistake. I am not a wyrm... Ohrm... Too small, I am. Too many limbs. No foresight like those old things."
  18. Fungal Wastes lore tablet: "Warily shall we accept the will of the Wyrm. Its prescience shields us."
  19. Last Stag: "Named of course for the King of Hallownest, he who ordered the building of the stagways and stations."
  20. The Trams and the Tram tunnels have Hallownest Seals, the symbol of the Pale King
  21. Moss Prophet: "To stifle that light is to suppress nature. Nature suppressed distorts, plagues us."
  22. White Palace lore tablet: "Eternity in promise and charge in progeny cursed."
  23. White Lady: "Success then for the scarlet heart, and irony, to use my spawn to grow its own."
  24. Pale King: "...Soul of Wyrm. Soul of Root. Heart of Void..."
  25. Hornet: "Ghost. I see you've faced the place of your birth, and now drape yourself in the substance of its shadow."
  26. White Lady: "I never begrudged the Wyrm's dalliance as bargain."
  27. White Lady: "Its supposed strength was ill-judged. It was tarnished by an idea instilled."
  28. The memory hidden away at the end of the Grimm Troupe Icon Path of Pain
  29. Godmaster Icon Pure Vessel Hunter's Journal entry: "Chosen vessel, raised and trained to prime form."
  30. Official manual: "As Hallownest fell to ruin, its reclusive king abandoned his subjects and went into hiding."
  31. Relic Seeker Lemm: "Have you visited the remnants of his palace? It's down below this city, in the bedrock of the kingdom. Must've been an impressive sight in its time. Now there's nothing left. It's a strange thing though. There are no signs of conflict around the area. It's as though the whole place just vanished."
  32. Wanderer's Journal, p. 124: "No actual palace structure stands there [...]. It would seem he somehow took it with him when he fled."
  33. Void achievement: "Remember the past and unite the Abyss"
  34. The scene that is shown after using the Dream Nail on the egg in the Abyss.
  35. Godmaster Icon The Godseeker: "A God so strong... Yet erased so completely."
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