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The Radiance Absolute Radiance

Bestiary
The light, forgotten.

The plague, the infection, the madness that haunts the corpses of Hallownest... the light that screams out from the eyes of this dead Kingdom. What is the source? I suppose mere mortals like myself will never understand.

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The Radiance is the secret final boss of Hollow Knight. Godmaster Icon Absolute Radiance is her perfect form.

The Radiance is a higher being of light similar to Essence[1], and as such opposed to the Void, her ancient enemy. The Moth Tribe is born from her light and in return revered her.[1] Unlike the individualist society of Hallownest however, the Radiance offered unity to bugs at the cost of a mind incapable of thought.[2]

After the Pale King arrived in Hallownest and expanded the minds of his new subjects,[3] the Moth Tribe turned their backs on the Radiance and worshipped him instead.[4] In doing so, the Radiance was almost entirely forgotten. Yet traces of her memory remained, such as a statue on Hallownest's Crown. Her memory started spreading throughout the Kingdom, by then in its golden age. Soon, all of Hallownest began to dream of her, appearing to them as a blazing light.[5] These dreams could break the minds of bugs[6] and eventually enslave their wills to hers.[7] But the King and his subjects resisted her memory, which started to manifest as the Infection.[8]

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The Pale King attempted to stop the Infection by sealing the Radiance within a Vessel. These creatures, infused with the Void to be without a mind and a will, were to be able to withstand the Radiance's influence.[9] The Hollow Knight was chosen, raised and grown for that purpose. The Radiance was sealed within them, and the Vessel chained within the Temple of the Black Egg. However, the Pale King failed to realise the Vessel's impurities of mind.[10] Because of this, the Radiance was still able to invade the dreams of bugs. She ultimately wiped out the Kingdom of its inhabitants, whose King had vanished, but left the rest of the land untouched.

Time passed, Hallownest turned into a myth while the Radiance remained sealed. Her influence finally started to break out of the Hollow Knight.[11] She reignited the full power of the Infection, threatening again the land of Hallownest[12] and prompting the Knight to return to Hallownest.[13]


From her prison, the Radiance senses the return of the Knight and uses the Infection against them. She makes violent puppets out of infected husks,[14] uses Lightseeds and infected Lumaflies to reanimate Broken Vessel and the Watcher Knights, all controlled to kill the Knight. As the Knight draws near to unseal the Black Egg, she increases the spread of the Infection throughout the Forgotten Crossroads to strengthen the creatures infesting it and make them even more violent.

Her fate is linked to the end of the Knight's journey. By defeating the Hollow Knight, the Knight is able to seal the Radiance within, taking the place of their sibling within the Black Egg.

If the Knight enters instead the mind of their sibling with the help of Hornet, they have the possibility to challenge the Radiance herself. However, with the Void unified under the Knight's will,[15], the battle takes a tragic turn for her. The Void itself slowly creeps in her dream, seeking to ensnare and consume the Radiance. At the end of the fight, it finally catches up with and immobilises her. The Shade of the Hollow Knight takes advantage to expose her core, to which the Knight's own Shade deals the last blows. The Radiance's Essence bursts out as the Void consumes her and vanishes from the Temple of the Black Egg, putting an end to the Infection.

Godmaster Icon Godmaster Content

Regardless of Hallownest's recent events, Godmaster Icon the Godseeker seeks to attune the Radiance to Godmaster Icon Godhome, where her people can revere the forgotten being as their God of Gods.[16] The Knight can summon her by defeating the Godmaster Icon Pure Vessel. With the Godseekers' thoughts focused on her, she becomes the Godmaster Icon Absolute Radiance, her perfect state[17]. Unbeknownst to the Godseeker however, the Void was also lured within Godhome.

If the Knight pushes through the Godmaster Icon Pantheon of Hallownest, they can challenge the Radiance in Godhome in a similar fight as within her dream. However as the Radiance is cornered by the Void, the Knight's Shade fuses with it. This time focused on by the Godseekers, they take an all-powerful form and lashes repeatedly at the Radiance's core, her Essence bursting out. She finally shatters, putting an end to her plague on Hallownest.

Behaviour and Tactics

Attacks

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  • Beam Burst: The Radiance will fire multiple beams of light from her face, 3 times. This attack occurs in Phases 1, 2, and 4. Each burst consists of 8 beams spread evenly around the Radiance at 45-degree angles. Each burst of beams is rotated randomly from the previous burst. The beams are dangerous for about half of a second and only when the beams are at their widest.
  • Sword Burst: The Radiance will shoot 12 swords from her face. This attack occurs in Phases 1, 2, and 4. These swords point outward in a burst-like formation. The swords form one at a time, circling the Radiance's face either in a clockwise or counter-clockwise order but the circle starts with a random sword. Once all swords are formed, the Radiance tilts her head forward, launching all swords simultaneously. Each sword travels in the direction it is pointing but curving gently the longer they travel. The angle each sword points at can be different for each attack.
  • Sword Rain: The Radiance summons swords to rain down on the Knight from the top of the arena. This attack occurs in Phases 1 - 3. These swords will move as a group. Each group of swords is comprised of 12 swords arranged randomly across 18 columns. The columns upon which the swords travel shift to the left or right slightly with each group. There will always be large safe spaces between some swords and even the gap between 2 adjacent swords is wide enough to stand in. In Phases 1 and 2, this attack will involve 4 groups of swords. Group 2 starts 1.5 seconds after group 1. Groups 3 and 4 start 1 second after groups 2 and 3, respectively. In Phase 3, there is an infinite amount of swords and each group starts within 1 second of the previous group.
  • Sword Wall: The Radiance summons walls of swords to shoot across the arena. This attack occurs in Phases 1, 2, and 4. These swords will move as a group across the arena left to right or right to left. Each wall of swords is comprised of 6 swords arranged randomly along 9 rows, ensuring that there will always be some gaps that The Knight can fit in. In Phases 1 and 2, this attack involves 4 walls of swords. Wall 2 starts 2 seconds after wall 1. Walls 3 and 4 start about 1.5 seconds after walls 2 and 3, respectively. In Phase 4, 2 walls are summoned. Wall 2 starts 2 seconds after wall 1. Each wall of swords takes about 3 seconds to cross the arena. During this attack, all walls travel in the same direction.
  • Wall of Light: The Radiance summons a wall of light that crosses the arena. This attack occurs in Phases 1, 2, and 4. This wall of light crosses the arena from left to right or right to left. The wall takes about 3.5 seconds to cross the floor. The dangerous part of the wall is the large, wide beam. The leading and trailing lines of light are harmless. The wall moves about as fast as The Knight does when dashing. There is a variation to this attack which involves the wall of light disappearing at the middle of the arena. A second wall of light may spawn just as soon as that first wall reaches the middle of the arena. The only way to avoid this attack is by using Shade Cloak.
  • Orb: The Radiance will summon up to 3 orbs of light that home in on The Knight. This attack occurs in Phases 1, 2, and 4. Each orb appearing about 1.5 seconds after the previous. Orbs will track The Knight until they strike The Knight, strike a surface, or disappear. An orb will disappear after about 3 seconds if it doesn't hit anything. Orbs can pass through surfaces in their first half-second of life. Orbs can spawn from anywhere.
  • Spike Floor: The Radiance will cover part of the floor with spikes. This attack occurs in Phases 2 and 3.
In Phase 2, the spikes will be in one group, cover 50% of the floor, and persist for 5 seconds. Keep in mind that a glow appears a few moments before the spikes do; making it possible to evade any attack while over the spikes before safely moving to non-spikey ground. If The Knight is hit by the spikes, they will disappear for a certain amount of time depending on how long ago they were spawned. Because the spikes count as an attack instead of a hazard, the invincibility of Desolate Dive or Descending Dark is long enough to survive being hit by the spikes before they disappear.
In Phase 3, the spikes persist forever and there can be 2 groups of spikes on each side of the floor covering a total of 50% the floor or just one group on one side covering 25% of the floor. Unlike every other Radiance attack, the spikes do 1 mask of damage. These spikes will disappear when The Knight is hit by them, but start respawning immediately.
  • Big Beam: The Radiance fires a single, large beam of light. This attack only occurs in Phase 5. The beam's accuracy improves the further into Phase 5 the Knight gets. The beam is dangerous for about .25 seconds and only when the beam is at its widest. A beam is fired every 1.5 seconds.

Stagger Values
Description: Radiance's stagger is based on her health and she will stagger two times at two predetermined points:

Transition from stage 2-3 (2000 HP / 1000 DMG). Radiance will collapse onto the ground, be wrapped up by Void Tendrils but break free.

One strike to end the fight (1300 HP / 1700 DMG).

Hits: - Stagger Limit: 2
Combo: - Combo Time: -

Phase Breakdown

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In general, panic heals are more costly here than in other fights; as SOUL is limited and damage intake is high for mistakes.

Phase 1

There is ample time when The Radiance is spawning, so use this time to hit her with nail attacks or spells. From here, The Radiance will use her attacks one after the other with ample time between, all while hovering above the floor and teleporting. The hardest attacks to avoid are typically the horizontal walls of swords and the homing projectiles. And as the attacks interval shrinks, it is important to be mindful of Shadow Dash cool-down for Wall of Light. With proper timing and spacing, all attacks (save homing spheres) are good opportunities for healing, though the safest options are the third salvo of the eye beam and a break in Spike Wall where the next wave requires no jump to avoid.

Phase 2

The Radiance continues using the same attacks, but will now create spikes across alternating halves of the platform. The restrained space makes it much harder to manoeuvre and to stall out the cooldown of the Shadow Dash. She will switch the location of the spikes every 5 seconds, outlining their new location with a golden glow for about 2 seconds as a warning before they actually emerge. Be sure to use the warning and not panic; take the time to avoid any in-progress attack before moving to safe ground. Keep in mind the spikes can be despawned by entering their hitbox, which can be done without taking damage if utilizing invincibility frames. However, these Spikes only deal one mask of damage, so if forced to take damage between these and other attacks, it is better to hit the spiked ground.

Phase 3

The Radiance will float in the centre of the platform, place spikes at the edges and endlessly rain down swords from above. This is generally not a good time to heal as the spikes come down in fairly short intervals. It is better to get through the phase as there is ample time before phase 3 starts to heal.

Phase 4

The Radiance resumes using all of her normal attacks but is now fought on a field of small platforms over the Void. To the Knight's advantage, they can gain a lot more distance from The Radiance to heal, as all attacks have a lot more ground to cover before reaching The Knight. Wall of Light is an especially good opportunity to heal, as the attack's sound can be heard when it is off-screen, making it easier to know well ahead of time when it is possible to heal. Though when it comes to approaching The Radiance for the offence, several things have to be taken into account: if she is off-screen when she is prepping her next attack, there is limited time to react appropriately, making it more likely to be caught mid-jump by an unexpected attack. In this case, it is much better to maintain distance and wait for the next opening.

Phase 5

The last phase involves ascending by jumping up platforms as The Radiance flees again. Her only attack in this phase is the Big Beam. Upon reaching the Radiance, hit her one more time with the Nail to end the fight and trigger the final sequence.

In the final sequence, The Radiance is bound by Void Tendrils and the shade of the Hollow Knight appears, tearing open a weak point on her face. The Knight bursts out of their body and becomes their Shade. Attacking causes the Shade to repeatedly whip The Radiance's weak point with long tendrils until it's defeated and dragged into the Void below.


Charm Sets

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Occasions to hit The Radiance are limited, and her attacks deal 2 masks of damage, as such high damage will be faced with only limited SOUL. Most successful builds will be centred around preserving/increasing resources or removing the need for them.

Quick Focus and Deep Focus work well with each other, as Deep Focus makes it possible to recover more health with less SOUL and Quick Focus ensures that healing can be safely performed by reducing the increased time it takes to heal with Deep Focus to the nearly ordinary amount of time it would take while still retaining the ability to heal two masks.

SOUL-generation charms like Soul Catcher and Grubsong are also suggested. Fragile Strength can be a lifesaver by increasing damage output tremendously. However, the Radiance does not count as a "Dream boss" and deaths to her will break Fragile charms. To prevent the Charm from breaking, it should be upgraded to Unbreakable Strength.

It should be noted that in the first three phases, the swordbeams from Grubberfly's Elegy can be used to hit The Radiance without jumping, which can be especially useful when combined with Quick Slash.

Joni's Blessing and Lifeblood Heart/Core can be useful for those finding it hard to heal.

Shape of Unn can give extra opportunities to heal, as it will allow for the Knight to dodge the Beam Burst, Sword Burst, and Sword Rain attacks while healing at the same time. Works especially well combined with Quick Focus, as it will quicken the healing process and, more importantly, will still allow the Knight to move while healing.

A spell-focused build can be employed by forgoing any healing Charms for the Lifeblood charms described above along with Shaman Stone, allowing the Knight to spam Abyss Shriek to get quick and easy damage off, as the Radiance does not get knocked back and will take all four hits of the Spell.


Hollow Knight Boss Discussion - The Radiance (Part 1)

Hollow Knight Boss Discussion - The Radiance (Part 1)

The Radiance Boss Guide Video

The Radiance is the true final boss of Hollow Knight. To access her, the Knight must have acquired Void Heart and have used the Dream Nail on the Hollow Knight when Hornet holds them down. The Radiance does not count as a dream battle, so the Hollow Knight will need to be fought from the beginning on every death.

In the first phase of the fight, she levitates slightly above the floor. Only her body is vulnerable to attack, which requires jumping or ranged attacks. She will often teleport around, making it even harder to get a good string of hits while avoiding her own ruthless attacks.

The Radiance does not deal contact damage; however, all of her attacks except summoning spikes will deal two masks damage upon hit. Falling off the platform will also only do one mask of damage.


Dream Nail Dialogue Essence
  • ...ANCIENT ENEMY...
  • ...I DO NOT FEAR YOU...
  • ...LET ME BE FREE...
  • ...I WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN...
  • ...DAWN WILL BREAK...
  • ...THE LIGHT CANNOT BE CONSUMED...

Achievements

Achievement Dream No More {S} Dream No More
Defeat the Radiance and consume the light

Gallery

Trivia

Radiance statue
"...Remember... Light..."
  • Through HUD manipulation, The Radiance is shown to actually have 3000 health, though the "fight" portion of the battle ends when she reaches 1300 health, effectively requiring the Knight to only have to deal 1700 damage to win the fight.
  • Along with Grimm Troupe Icon Nightmare King Grimm, The Radiance is one of the only bosses that has a fullscreen title card.
  • The Radiance is confirmed to be female through translations of the game, as well as from developer notes regarding the Seer:
The moth tribe were (perhaps) descended from Radiance. However, the King convinced them somehow to seal Radiance away. I guess so he could rule Hallownest with his singular vision, as a monarch/god with no other gods. The moths sealed Radiance away by forgetting about her. Hallownest was born and flourished. However, the memory of Radiance lingered (eg the statue at Hallownest's crown) and soon she began to reappear in dreams and starting exerting influence. The King and the bugs of Hallownest resisted this memory/power and it started to manifest as the infection. Thus the first attempt to seal Radiance failed, and the King had to try another method - the Vessel.
  • The Radiance is one of the two bosses, excluding statues in the Godmaster Icon Hall of Gods, that must be challenged to a battle, the other being the Mantis Lords. While the Mantis Lords will have to be challenged every time, the Radiance's intro is abridged after the first time fighting it, causing her to attack directly upon entering her arena.
  • The Radiance fight is one of four fights in the game where an NPC aids the Knight; the other three are Traitor Lord with Cloth, The Hollow Knight with Hornet and Uumuu with the aid of Quirrel.
  • The Design of The Radiance appears to be based on a Silkworm Moth.
  • The Radiance being called "Light" could be a reference to real moths, as they are attracted to light sources.
References
  1. 1.0 1.1 Seer: "The folk of my tribe were born from a light. Light similar to Essence, similar to that powerful blade, though much brighter still. They were content to bask in that light and honoured it... for a time."
  2. Bardoon: "I resist the light's allure. Union it may offer, but also a mind bereft of thought... To instinct alone a bug is reduced..."
  3. White Palace lore tablet: "No blazing kin. Only one light shall shine against the dark. The Wyrm becomes beacon, minds expanded, to yield, to devote. "
  4. Seer: "But another light appeared in our world... A wyrm that took the form of a king. How fickle my ancestors must have been. They forsook the light that spawned them. Turned their backs to it... Forgot it even."
  5. Seer: "And so this kingdom was born from that betrayal. But the memories of that ancient light still lingered, hush whispers of faith... Until all of Hallownest began to dream of that forgotten light."
  6. Violent Husk Hunter's Journal entry: "First they fell into deep slumber, then they awoke with broken minds,"
  7. 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."
  8. Developer note: "However, the memory of Radiance lingered (eg the statue at Hallownest's crown) and soon she began to reappear in dreams and starting exerting influence. The King and the bugs of Hallownest resisted this memory/power and it started to manifest as the infection."
  9. Pale King: "No mind to think." "No will to break."
  10. White Lady: "Its supposed strength was ill-judged. It was tarnished by an idea instilled."
  11. Prologue cutscene
  12. Quirrel: "This dead world has sprung to life. The creatures are riled up and the earth rumbles. The air is thick."
  13. 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?"
  14. Myla Dream Nail dialogue: "... how much longer... KILL IT... how much longer... DANGEROUS... how much longer... KILL IT... how much longer... KILL THE EMPTY ONE..."
  15. Void Heart description: "Unifies the void under the bearer's will."
  16. Godmaster Icon The Godseeker: "Pray will We, Attune will We, until that spark of divine light shines from the deepest darkness!" "[Pure Vessel's] endless power shall attune Us to the one greater still, a God of Gods!"
  17. Godmaster Icon The Godseeker: "But couldst thou ever hope to overcome that mighty God tuned at the core of dream and mind, when met in perfect state, at peak of all others?"
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