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The Radiance Absolute Radiance

Bestiary.png
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.png Absolute Radiance is her perfect form.

Lore

The Radiance is a higher being[3] of light similar to Essence, and as such, opposed to the Void, her ancient enemy.[4][5] The Moth Tribe is born from her light and in return revered her.[4]

After the Pale King arrived in Hallownest and expanded the minds of his new subjects,[6] the Moth Tribe turned their backs on the Radiance and worshipped him instead.[7] 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.[8] These dreams could break the minds of bugs[9] and eventually enslave their wills to her.[10] However, the King and his subjects resisted her memory, which then started to manifest as the Infection.[11][12] With the Infection, the Radiance offered unity to bugs at the cost of a mind incapable of thought.[13]

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 without a will, were to be able to withstand the Radiance's influence.[14] The Hollow Knight was chosen, raised, and grown for that purpose. The Radiance was sealed within them, and the Vessel was chained within the Temple of the Black Egg. However, the Pale King failed to realise the Vessel's impurities of mind.[15] Because of this, the Radiance was still able to invade the dreams of bugs. She ultimately wiped out the inhabitants of the Kingdom, whose King had vanished, but left the rest of the land untouched.[16]

Time passed, Hallownest turned into a myth while the Radiance remained sealed. Her influence finally started to break out of the Hollow Knight.[17] She reignited the full power of the Infection, threatening again the land of Hallownest and prompting the Knight to return.[18][19]

In-game events

From her prison, the Radiance, heart of the Infection, plagues the dreams of bugs. She infects Myla[20], causing her to attack the Knight, and uses Lightseeds and Infected flies to reanimate the Broken Vessel and the Watcher Knights. After killing at least one Dreamer, or obtaining the Monarch Wings, the Infection worsens in the Forgotten Crossroads, turning it into the Infected Crossroads, and making its bugs more violent and dangerous.

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,[21] 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.png Godmaster Content

Regardless of Hallownest's recent events, the Godseeker seeks to attune the Radiance to Godhome, where her people can revere the forgotten being as their God of Gods.[22] The Knight can summon her by defeating the Pure Vessel. With the Godseekers' attunement, she becomes the Absolute Radiance, her perfect state.[23] Unbeknownst to the Godseeker however, the Void was also lured within Godhome.

If the Knight pushes through the Pantheon of Hallownest, they can challenge the Absolute 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 attuned by the Godseekers, they take an all-powerful form and lash 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

  • Beam Burst: The Radiance fires 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 shoots 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 curves gently the longer it travels. 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 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 are always 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 involves 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 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 are always 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 the Shade Cloak.
  • Orb: The Radiance summons 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 track The Knight until they strike the Knight, strike a surface, or disappear. An orb disappears after about 3 seconds if it does not hit anything. Orbs can pass through surfaces in their first half-second of life. Orbs can spawn from anywhere.
  • Spike Floor: The Radiance covers part of the floor with spikes. This attack occurs in Phases 2 and 3.
    • In Phase 2, the spikes are 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 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% of 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 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 0.25 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 staggers two times at two predetermined points:

Transition from stage 2-3 (2000 HP / 1000 DMG). Radiance collapses onto the ground and is wrapped up by Void Tendrils but breaks free.

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

Hits: -
Combo: - Combo Time: -

Phase Breakdown

The Radiance fight happens in 5 Phases. Except in Phases 3 and 5, the Radiance always hovers at various heights above the floor and teleports around the arena every few seconds. She deals no contact damage but players cannot damage her wings or legs.

Phase 1

The arena is wide open and the Radiance uses every attack but the Spike Floor and Big Beam. This Phase ends after the Radiance has taken 350 damage.

Phase 2

The Radiance adds the Spike Floor, reducing floor space, generally, by half and continues to use every other attack. This Phase ends after the Radiance has taken 400 damage.

Phase 3

The Radiance moves to the centre of the arena and remains there. The Spike Floor splits to both sides of the floor. The Radiance uses only Sword Rain endlessly until she has taken 250 damage.

Phase 4

Players find themselves in an arena of small platforms with only the Void (which does only 1 mask of damage) to catch them. This arena is larger overall than the one in previous Phases. The Radiance uses all attacks except Sword Rain, Spike Floor, and Big Beam attacks in this Phase. This Phase ends after the Radiance has taken 700 damage.

Phase 5

This Phase is an ascension, jumping from platform to platform, higher and higher, dodging Big Beams (the only attack in this Phase) the whole way. The Void continues to ascend with a slight delay behind the Knight. Once players reach the Radiance, she must be struck with the Nail just once 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 she is defeated and dragged into the Void below.


Charm Sets


Occasions to hit the Radiance are limited, and her attacks deal 2 masks of damage, as such high damage is be faced with only limited SOUL. Most successful builds are 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 for this fight, since they boost the Knight's overall soul generation, both for healing and for spells.

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. Grubberfly's Elegy also boosts the effectiveness of Grubsong, making using them together is a viable strategy.

Joni's Blessing and Lifeblood Heart/Core can be useful for those who are struggling to heal.

Shape of Unn can give extra opportunities to heal, as it allows 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 quickens the healing process.

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 use Howling Wraiths/Abyss Shriek for high damage. This works because the Radiance has a large hitbox and does not take knockback, so she is hit by all four damaging hitboxes of the spell.


To access the Radiance, 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 regular dream battle, so the Hollow Knight needs 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 often teleports 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 deal two Masks of damage. Falling off the platform only deals one Mask of damage.

The Radiance has a wide variety of attacks, each with a variety of mitigations.

  • Beam Burst: A beam never strikes in the same place consecutively (so burst 1 and 3 may be almost exact). The Radiance does not move during this attack, and therefore spells like Howling Wraiths/Abyss Shriek or Nail Arts are a viable option, given her large hitbox. Healing without Charms can be done throughout this attack (especially if players are lucky with the burst patterns) but healing is safest to start once the third burst pattern is known.
  • Sword Burst: Everything said about the Beam Burst applies to the Sword Burst except in this case, there is only the one burst to consider. Thus, the Knight can begin healing just about as soon as the attack starts.
  • Sword Rain: The Radiance teleports during this attack so damaging her while dodging the swords is difficult. Abyss Shriek is useful at the end of this attack, and Nail attacks allow for flexible and quick damage while the Radiance is within reach. Healing without Charms is possible once the last set of swords is seen or throughout the attack if arrangement of swords allows for it.
  • Sword Wall: The Radiance teleports during this attack, so damaging her while dodging the swords can be difficult. The safest method is to use Nail attacks when the Knight is near the Radiance. It is possible to use the Shade Cloak and dash through the swords, but it is not possible to dash through all of them, since the Shade Cloak has a cooldown. Healing without Charms is only viable if the wall patterns are forgiving or players start healing on the opposite side of the arena of the wall's spawn. This is more forgiving in Phase 4 because the walls move slower.
  • Wall of Light: This attack must be dodged either with a shadow dash or Descending Dark. The Radiance teleports during this attack so quick damage is most viable. Healing without Charms is safest if players get through the wall quickly or start healing when a wall spawns on the opposite side of the arena. This is more forgiving in Phase 4 because the wall moves slower.
  • Orb: The Orb attack requires quick movements. It is best to try to bait Orbs into the floor or platforms to destroy them early, leaving more time to attack the Radiance. Using the Shade Cloak to dash through a projectile destroys it, and can be useful if multiple projectiles are close to each other. There is no time to heal without Charms unless players get lucky with the platforms in Phase 4.
  • Spike Floor: The Radiance spawns short spikes covering half of the floor. Unlike all other attacks used by the Radiance, this attack deals only one mask of damage. The spikes disappear for up to 5 seconds if struck by the Knight's body or hit with Descending Dark. The spikes almost immediately return in Phase 3.
  • Beam: The Radiance fires one beam of light, targeted at the Knight. This attack becomes more accurate the higher the Knight gets during Phase 5. It can be baited to fire and miss the Knight, since the attack is used at regular intervals.

Dream Nail Dialogue Essence.png

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

Exclamation Mark.png

The Radiance can only be Dream Nailed during phase 4 of the fight.

Location

The Radiance's fight can be accessed by using the Dream Nail on the Hollow Knight in the Temple of the Black Egg.

Gallery

Achievements

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

Trivia

Radiance statue.png

  • There is a statue of the Radiance at the top of the map in Hallownest's Crown where a Pale Ore can be found. Dream Nailing this statue yields the lines:
    "...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.
  • The Radiance is one of the two bosses that has a full-screen title card, the other being Grimm Troupe Icon.png Nightmare King Grimm.
  • The Radiance must be challenged to a battle the first time fighting her. Her intro is abridged after dying to her once, causing her to attack directly upon entering her arena.

References

  1. Developer note: "The moths sealed Radiance away by forgetting about her."
  2. French translation: "Déesse oubliée de la lumière" (Forgotten goddess of light). Portuguese translation: "Deusa esquecida da luz" (Forgotten goddess of light).
  3. Reddit AMA answer concerning higher beings.
  4. 4.0 4.1 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."
  5. Radiance Dream Nail dialogue: "...ANCIENT ENEMY..."
  6. 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."
  7. 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."
  8. 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."
  9. Violent Husk Hunter's Journal entry: "First they fell into deep slumber, then they awoke with broken minds,"
  10. 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."
  11. Moss Prophet: "Light is life, beaming, pure, brilliant. To stifle that light is to suppress nature. Nature suppressed distorts, plagues us."
  12. 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."
  13. 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..."
  14. Pale King: "No mind to think." "No will to break."
  15. White Lady: "Its supposed strength was ill-judged. It was tarnished by an idea instilled."
  16. Official manual: "As Hallownest fell to ruin, its reclusive king abandoned his subjects and went into hiding."
  17. Prologue cutscene
  18. Quirrel: "This dead world has sprung to life. The creatures are riled up and the earth rumbles. The air is thick."
  19. 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?"
  20. 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..."
  21. Void Heart description: "Unifies the void under the bearer's will."
  22. Godmaster Icon.png 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!"
  23. Godmaster Icon.png 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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