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The Knight has no official name in game. However the commonly used title by the developers is "the Knight".

The character that the player controls in the game of Hollow Knight.

The Knight is a Vessel[1][2] born to the higher beings the Pale King and the White Lady, with Void inside their shell.[3] Vessels are stated to be the progeny[4] and spawn[5] of the King and Queen of Hallownest; beginning their lives born from eggs which are found in an area of The Abyss known as The Birthplace.[6]

Through all references and events in-game, the Knight is never once referred to with a gender. This is deliberate, as Vessels are genderless beings.[7][8] This fact is made more clear by Hornet being called "The Gendered Child" by both the White Lady[9] and the Midwife;[10] leaving her to be the only progeny[11] of the Pale King to have a gender.

In the Birthplace cutscene, it is shown that the Knight fell back into the Abyss after it was sealed. However, at the start of the game, they can be seen wandering around the Howling Cliffs after being called back to Hallownest by either The Radiance or The Hollow Knight.[12] It is unknown how they managed to escape from the Abyss.

Hornet notes in the City of Tears that the Knight’s resilience is born from two voids;[13] one being the Void that the Knight has within them, and the other void being the area outside of Hallownest. This area is referred to as a void in a lore tablet found in the Howling Cliffs.[14] Spending time in this area caused the Knight to lose their memories, as is suggested by the description of the achievement Void.[15]

Once the Knight obtains Void Heart and remembers their past, they are able to unify the Void under their will.[16] It is stated by Hornet that they acquired this ability by accepting the Void inside themselves.[17] The creature in the area where the Shade Cloak is found has Dream Nail dialogue, presumably referring to the Knight as the Lord of Shades after they gain Void Heart.[18]

At the beginning of the game, the Knight is equipped with only their Old Nail and the ability to heal themselves using SOUL. Throughout the game, the Knight gains access to new powers and items to help them through their journey.

Health and SOUL


HP mask

Health is represented as masks, shown in the upper-left corner of the screen. The Knight starts the game with 5 masks, and can obtain more by collecting Mask Shards. 4 Mask Shards make one new mask of health, up to a max of 9 total masks of health. Health is lost by taking damage, either from Enemies or from environmental hazards. Health can be regained by resting at a Bench or using Focus.

Lifeblood mask

Lifeblood masks, granted by Lifeseeds and certain Charms, are temporary masks that cannot be healed using Focus. Lifeblood masks will disappear upon resting at a bench, whereas those granted by Charms will regenerate.


Map Pin Shade

When masks are depleted to 0, the Knight's shell shatters which releases their Shade. After the screen fades back in from black, the Knight is back on the bench that was last rested on with a third of their SOUL gauge missing and without any Geo. Returning to the area where the Knight died and defeating the Shade restores the lost SOUL gauge and recovers the Geo that was lost.


Soul Meter

SOUL is represented as a circular face to the left of the health indicator. SOUL is used to cast Spells, including Focus. Striking enemies with the Nail is the primary source of regaining SOUL, though other tools and objects also grant SOUL. Collecting three Vessel Fragments increases the maximum soul by 33.

Upgrades and Equipment



Nail 1 Old Nail
Charms prompt
The Knight's main weapon, able to swing in any direction. The nail can be swung downwards while the Knight is above spikes, enemies, or certain objects, which can be a useful tool for traversing Hallownest. The nail can be upgraded for stronger strikes, and charged attacks called Nail Arts can be learned from the Nailmasters. Special trinkets acquired through adventuring or by purchasing from other bugs. By equipping them on available Notches, Charms enhance the Knight's power through a variety of different methods, including increasing health, reducing heal times, spawning allied hatchlings, and more.



Vengeful Spirit
Skill Mantis Claw
First acquired from the Snail Shaman, these magical attacks deal large amounts of damage in short bursts, at the cost of using the Knight's SOUL meter. Each Spell can be upgraded to a stronger version by finding hidden rooms throughout Hallownest. Skills and tools found throughout Hallownest that allow the Knight to more effectively traverse the terrain and engage enemies in combat, including dashing, wall-jumping, and double-jumping.



  • The Knight's design is taken from Team Cherry's first game, Hungry Knight, which was made during a Game Jam that started the company.
    • While the two games are very different, Team Cherry has stated that they "liked the main character and the general aesthetic so much that [they] fleshed it out and expanded on it."[19]
    • This plan was put forward through the conceptual "Hungry Bug" artworks done by Ari Gibson, which helped visualize and shape the world of Hollow Knight.[20]
    • Mister Mushroom makes reference to the Hungry Knight in his first dialogue with them, saying "...It's nice that you were able to help your friend. So you're not hungry any more?"
  • The Steam Trading Card refers to the Knight as "Hollow Knight," though this is most likely only to avoid spoiling the identity of the true Hollow Knight.
  • When the Knight has one Mask left, Void particles can be seen floating off them. Their posture also changes from upright to a bent over, gasping stance.


  1. White Lady: "Is it more than simply a Vessel?"
  2. Grimm Troupe Icon Troupe Master Grimm: "Even a vessel discarded bears fierce strength."
  3. Pale King: "Born of God and Void."
  4. White Palace lore tablet: "Eternity in promise and charge in progeny cursed."
  5. White Lady: "Success then for the scarlet heart, and irony, to use my spawn to grow its own."
  6. White Lady: "The Kingsoul... What is at the heart of it I wonder? If its curiosity wills it, it should seek out that place. That place where it was born, where it died, where it began..."
  7. Reddit AMA answer on the Knight being genderless.
  8. Developer note: <entry name="gender notes">the hollow knights have no gender.
  9. White Lady: "It faced the Gendered Child? She's a fierce foe, strong in mind and body, striking reflection of her mother,"
  10. Midwife: "Then you've met her perhaps? Her who'd guard the mark, the Gendered Child."
  11. White Lady: "I never begrudged the Wyrm's dalliance as bargain."
  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. Hornet: "You've seen beyond this kingdom's bounds. Yours is resilience born of two voids."
  14. Howling Cliffs lore tablet: "These blasted plains stretch never-ending. There is no world beyond. Those foolish enough to traverse this void must pay the toll"
  15. Void achievement: "Remember the past and unite the Abyss"
  16. Void Heart description: "Unifies the void under the bearer's will."
  17. Hornet: "to accept that void inside yourself, that casts you as something rather exceptional."
  18. Shade Cloak creature Dream Nail dialogue: "...Lord of Shades..."
  19. Team Cherry's list of game jam games.
  20. Team Cherry's DeviantArt profile.