Game Theory: The Secret Identity of Hollow Knight's Hero (Hollow Knight)

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  • The Game Theorists
    The Game Theorists   4 months back

    The below comment is from the channel Sumwan who did an incredible job critiquing this episode. Unfortunately, the comment got lost (YouTube has an algorithm that is constantly "turning over" comments on high-view videos) and despite digging around for hours looking for it, I couldn't find the original. But the work that she put in was SO thorough that I wanted to make sure it got seen, so here it is!

    ***Original Text from Sumwan***
    I've seen this claim many times and it really does not make any sense. Not only does it contradict evidence in the game but it is very misleading. I'll go through the points one by one and explain why:

    6:35 “We too might be in the ranks of a higher being”

    The Knight is the child of the Pale King and the White Lady, who are both higher beings. It makes sense that the Knight is able to read these higher being tablets. This doesn't mean that the Pale King IS the Knight.

    7:20 “Does it really sound like we're just some failed experiment cast into the depths of this world?”

    No, it doesn't sound like that. The Vessels are the children of the Pale King and the White Lady who are born from eggs in the Abyss, which gave them a Shade. The Vessels are not just “failed experiments”.

    8:12 “This poem is addressed to the Pale King”

    It literally says “elegy for HALLOWNEST”. This poem is about Hallownest. “Under palest watch” refers to the Pale King, but the “you”, is most definitely Hallownest.

    8:30 “In the beginning of the game's lore, all bugs were basically a hive mind controlled by the moth god Radiance”

    This information is not supported by anything. Only the Radiance's descendants, the moth tribe, worshipped her. Nowhere is it stated that the Radiance controlled everything else. The Mantis Tribe, the Mosskin, Deepnest, and the Hive were all separate tribes and already had minds before the Pale King.

    8:51 “This isn't just a poem about the Pale King, it is directed TO the Pale King”

    It is about Hallownest and it is direct to Hallownest (elegy for Hallownest).

    8:55 “What do we see appear on screen just moments later? Our Knight”

    After the poem we see THE HOLLOW KNIGHT, not the Knight. The Knight scene appears after we see the Radiance break out of the Hollow Knight. Team Cherry is NOT drawing a parallel between the Knight and the Pale King. The poem is about Hallownest. It is FOR Hallownest. And the scene with the Knight does not appear right after the poem.

    10:27 “Elderbug says we are seeking our dreams in perhaps a very literal sense.”

    The context of this sentence matters. Elderbug is talking about how all the previous travellers went down into Hallownest to follow their dreams. He does not actually know if the Knight has any “dreams” themselves.

    11:00 “Elderbug wondering if he's seen a ghost is another potentially clever play on words”

    No it's not. Elderbug is just referring to how he thought maybe he didn't see anyone pass him because the Knight left so quickly. This dialogue has no other meaning besides that.

    11:36 “White Lady: Is it more than simply a Vessel? I almost feel like I'm once again in the presence of my beloved Wyrm”

    The White Lady only says this because the Knight is wearing the Kingsoul. The Kingsoul reminds her of the Pale King, not the Knight themselves. Also, the White Lady literally calls the Knight her spawn when they visit her with Grimmchild equipped: “Success then for the scarlet heart, and irony, to use my spawn to grow its own.” Are you saying that the White Lady gave birth to her own husband?

    11:46 “Your noble bearing reminds me of our dear King”

    No surprise there since the Knight is the child of the Pale King.

    12:05 “The bugs in White Palace bowing as you approach them is just screaming that you're the king”

    White Palace is a whole other issue, but this is really not concrete evidence. Also their dream nail dialogue makes no sense if it refers to the Knight.

    12:19 “10/10 Royal Retainers can't be wrong. You are royalty”

    You're actually right there. The Knight IS royalty, since they're the child of the King. Not because they ARE the King.

    13:28 “This line of “more transformation” seems to imply that the Pale King's death would only lead to yet another form”

    Not really. Bardoon says that the Pale King's death in Kingdom's Edge was not an actual death, but that it was more like a transformation. This does not mean that the Pale King can transform again after he became his bug shape. A caterpillar transforming into a butterfly also cannot transform into another being again.

    13:49 “It's an ancient force that opposes the blinding light of [the Radiance]”

    Not just the Radiance's light, but the Pale King's too. He is referred to as a light in multiple places:

    The Seer:
    “But another light appeared in our world... A wyrm that took the form of a king.”

    The Pale King calls himself a light in the throne room lore tablet:
    “No blazing kin. Only one light shall shine against the dark.”

    As does the Teacher’s Archives lore tablet:
    “-KINGLIGHT-EM-GROWTH-INKIND-FLOW-ALLTHINK-ENFIELD”

    Other bugs talk about the Pale King emanating light:
    “Though even its pure aura is no match for the light of our dear King.” (Eternal Emilitia)
    “I've heard he was a glorious bug to behold, bright and radiant in visage, so much so it hurt to look at him.” (Last/Old Stag)
    “That lingering power alone was beacon enough to draw Us to Hallownest. How bright it must have been to mortal bug stood before it.” (Godseeker)

    14:45 “The Pale King used Void to fight time itself. He wants to use the Void to attain eternal life. He births himself as a Void-based creature”

    Not literally time. Time here is capitalized, and it is more likely to just refer to the Radiance. Locking up the Radiance is generally seen as being what has caused the Kingdom to remain in a stasis:
    “Bear witness to the last and only civilisation, the eternal Kingdom. Hallownest””
    “Eternity in promise and charge in progeny cursed.”
    “Now this Kingdom's stasis becomes the Wyrm's legacy.”
    “Though this hive exists within Hallownest, we play no part in its attempt at perpetuation.”

    It is not literally time. He is a higher being, he does not need to use the Void to “achieve eternal life”. Not to mention that the Void opposes his own powers too (see previous point).

    15:25 “It seems to suggest that this egg [in White Palace] is where version 1.0 of the Pale King hatched into its upgraded form”

    It does not. The Pale King became his current bug form in the Cast-Off shell. The Wanderer's Journal even mentions that too on page 111: “Deep within the maw of the [Cast-Off Shell], a pale, broken egg of some sort hints at such a rebirth.” Not only that, but the egg of the Knight in the Abyss would be DEADLY for the Pale King. Void opposes his power, it would simply kill him if he were to become corrupted by the Void like the eggs of the Vessels were.

    15:40 “Elsewhere in White Palace there is a nursery playing this song on the music box (shade theme). The sound that accompanies our Knight's past life coincides with the same sound from a nursery housed in the Pale King's palace.”

    Yes, this is true, but not because of the reason you're describing. It's because the Hollow Knight grew up in White Palace (see Path of Pain scene). This nursery was probably for them. And since the Hollow Knight is a Vessel too, it makes sense that the Shade theme place for that area.

    16:21 “The existence of a connection between our Knight and the Pale King seems undeniable”

    Yes, it is undeniable. The Knight is the child of the Pale King.

    18:13 “In cut dialogue that was datamined from the game, it shows that the Hollow Knight says “father”.

    Cut dialogue is not evidence. The "Father?" is cut dream nail dialogue. It was cut for a reason. We don't know when this line was written, in which context it would be used exactly, maybe the Hollow Knight's fight was different at the time, etc.

    19:20 “Losing his memory helps make him purely hollow”

    It does not. Quirrel lost his memory and this does not happen to him. Not to mention that the Knight is not hollow. There are multiple places where the Knight is said to have a will:

    Steel Soul Jinn: "...It refuses to trade...? It has a will... all Its own."
    Void Heart description: "Unifies the void under the bearer's will."
    Description of a pure Vessel: "No will to break."

    Lastly I'm going to address some fundamental problems with this entire theory that you did not address or seem to have forgotten about.

    The most obvious evidence that contradicts that the Pale King is the Knight is that the Knight and the Pale King are both seen at the same time. This is during the Birthplace memory cutscene where the Hollow Knight is led out of the Abyss by the Pale King. This is a memory of the Knight themselves since the Knight dreamnails their own reflection to access this memory. Furthermore, the achievement for acquiring Void Heart also says:

    "Remember the past and unite the Abyss"

    This supports the fact that it is the Knight’s memory. Therefore, the Pale King cannot be the Knight, since they were alive at the same time.

    Secondly, the Knight is the child of the Pale King, not a transformation. The lore tablet to the right of the throne in White Palace says that the Vessels are the progeny of the Pale King, and the Pale King also says that the Vessels are "born of God and Void", the God obviously referring to him and the White Lady who are both higher beings. Since the Knight is the child of the Pale King (and the White Lady), the Pale King cannot BE the Knight.

    None of the points that were brought up align with the evidence that is in the game, and it even contradicts it in various places. To put it quite simply, the Knight is NOT the Pale King.

    • Dragon TV
      Dragon TV  2 hours back

      95 % of thia video is WRONG

    • Funtime Mangle Playz!
      Funtime Mangle Playz!  10 hours back

      That Comment Was VERY Long ;-;

    • awesome sause
      awesome sause  3 days back

      So long uhfg

    • Wesker White
      Wesker White  4 days back

      @dialog_box You do realize there are hundreds of toxic people riddled through out this comments section and you're a part of them

  • Dragon TV
    Dragon TV  2 hours back

    99% of this video is fake or *TOTALLY WRONG*

    • Heckeon
      Heckeon  11 hours back

      bruh imagine what actual good theory that could've come about if he just collabed with mossbag

      • Manage Man
        Manage Man  13 hours back

        Fun fact: hallow knight was made in Australia

        • ythrom.
          ythrom.  1 days back

          When I play I always rage because I get lost in the huge map

          • Bud thekill
            Bud thekill  1 days back

            Am I the only one in love with Mat's reading voice.

            • Feuer fackel
              Feuer fackel  2 days back

              Omg the elder bug , so sad 😥😭😱🥵😭

              • XXIT CZE
                XXIT CZE  2 days back

                i had been raging about hollow knight for too long (still playing it but with cheats so i can concentrate on details) And its 100% accurate and MORE

                • WellHeLL
                  WellHeLL  2 days back

                  Matpat HE DOESNT HAVE ARMS

                  • TheOneTrueMorty Oh Jeezz Rick

                    Does that mean u become the hallow knight and that ur title is actually hallow knight and ur truly hollow knight even though the bosses name is hollow knight

                    • lastlight9
                      lastlight9  2 days back

                      I love this game and think this theory's pretty good. However, "no cost too great" I've always interpreted as the fact that he was throwing his own babies off of the balcony because they kept thinking. The royal retainers bowing could be explained by the fact that you have the King's Brand. The father dreamtext is probably because it was the only thought the HK ever had, so it would be thinking about it all the time. About focusing soul, you are already royal: you're the Pale king's son! If that doesn't count as a higher being I don't know what is. That's why I don't agree. While Hornet has never been seen focusing, we haven't seen that much of her, just snippets of things.

                      • ShadowOfficial
                        ShadowOfficial  3 days back

                        One More Thing That I Discovered Confirms This, There Is A Secret NPC Called "Mask Maker" And He Has Secret Dialogue In Which He Says "I See Another Takes The Mantle Of The King? Then Grim Responsibility That Shall Bestow."

                        • immortal snail5774
                          immortal snail5774  4 days back

                          Another great video, even thou it is slightly... questionable, but you actually spent time on this and did research so take some RESPECT

                          • Mason Goad
                            Mason Goad  4 days back

                            If this theory was true i like to think the knight is a prince

                            • Mason Goad
                              Mason Goad  4 days back

                              Three problems with the intro little ghost uses a nail however in the intro he dosent and hornets nail is bigger little ghost arms are in his cloak

                              • [AD] Shimby
                                [AD] Shimby  4 days back

                                -Hornet is void.-
                                *_Pale King Is Void_*

                                • Aleksa Radakovic
                                  Aleksa Radakovic  4 days back

                                  Me:*watches mossbag video after this one*
                                  Also me:Did Matpat watch the video he linked?

                                  • Hexes22
                                    Hexes22  4 days back

                                    No

                                    • Hexes22
                                      Hexes22  4 days back

                                      The lore isn’t that complex matpat

                                      • why its none of your buisness

                                        Cant wait to play

                                        • why its none of your buisness

                                          I just got this

                                          • ViniGameplay
                                            ViniGameplay  4 days back

                                            *starts watching*
                                            Did void come out of Hornet? This video will make me mad

                                            • warrior56871
                                              warrior56871  4 days back

                                              great episode :) hopefully you'll have another view on the sequel game!!

                                              • S0S 3O3
                                                S0S 3O3  4 days back

                                                Anyone nearly cried? Just me? Great.

                                                • Mr. Stripes
                                                  Mr. Stripes  4 days back

                                                  Cool new theme video, buddy, hey if this game ever gets on there, make it get there soon please. 👍🏻👍🏻😋

                                                  • Wesker White
                                                    Wesker White  4 days back

                                                    the more I read this comment section the more I realize that this game sucks

                                                    • H20jason Return
                                                      H20jason Return  5 days back

                                                      This actually got me into playing games on the Nintendo switch and playing games in general I love this guy’s YouTube channel

                                                      • Peachy Queen
                                                        Peachy Queen  5 days back

                                                        I saw a theory of this game just from the music

                                                        • why its none of your buisness

                                                          I need it play this

                                                          • why its none of your buisness

                                                            Geez MatPat you sound like a English teacher

                                                            • ethan
                                                              ethan  1 weeks back

                                                              wow

                                                              • Rosa Lopez
                                                                Rosa Lopez  1 weeks back

                                                                TAHT WAS SO SADDDS

                                                                • 平民
                                                                  平民  1 weeks back

                                                                  this video makes me buy a hollow knight

                                                                  • EvelinThe Fox
                                                                    EvelinThe Fox  1 weeks back

                                                                    0:16 i will kill you, just if you think about doing this

                                                                    • Pirosople
                                                                      Pirosople  1 weeks back

                                                                      your character and the young prince look a lot like each other and I am probably wrong but could it be instead of the knight is the king but instead the king and queen had a second son but again was sent to the void so the King couldn't corrupt his second son and the Hollow knight could have said "father" wasn't referencing the knight but he wants to be with his father so his last thought could be of his father and finally the knight could have been sent away as a baby so the White lady and the others wouldn't recognize him as an older bug but he is like his father so he gives off the kingly vibe

                                                                      • Jet Nietzel
                                                                        Jet Nietzel  1 weeks back

                                                                        “The most polished game” hollow knight

                                                                        Matt:interrupts the story and kills them

                                                                        Me:😐

                                                                        • DarkƧ
                                                                          DarkƧ  1 weeks back

                                                                          3:58 nice socks

                                                                          • Lps HuskyPaws
                                                                            Lps HuskyPaws  1 weeks back

                                                                            Wow that got depressing

                                                                            • 1967 Chevy impala
                                                                              1967 Chevy impala  2 weeks back

                                                                              Petition to rename the knight to waffles

                                                                              • DanGotGame
                                                                                DanGotGame  2 weeks back

                                                                                #notsponseredbyteamcherry

                                                                                • Eclipse 2405
                                                                                  Eclipse 2405  2 weeks back

                                                                                  It's like KH but easier lore

                                                                                  • Almos Dienes
                                                                                    Almos Dienes  2 weeks back

                                                                                    Ok

                                                                                    • That Thing You Inhale Until The Day You Die

                                                                                      Made me cry at 1:30am

                                                                                      • Slippery Squid
                                                                                        Slippery Squid  2 weeks back

                                                                                        When a theory is so good it legitimately makes you cry (either that or I’m really tired. Or maybe both???)

                                                                                        • Anders naugle
                                                                                          Anders naugle  2 weeks back

                                                                                          What if the the Knight is not a pure being, but a vessel(Not to be confused with Vessel) for the Void. His purpose being to have will for the Void. The Void having no will of it’s own, and not necessarily being sentient, wouldn’t be able to attack, much less defeat anything. The knight(or king) sacrificing himself so that he may carry the Void within him, dying when the Void leaves his body because the Anti-God-Like power of Void would damage his body and soul too much.

                                                                                          • Cody Jordan
                                                                                            Cody Jordan  2 weeks back

                                                                                            now this is certainly a problematic theory but that is because he tried to answer some of the most complicated and dificult questions in the game those being about the relation of the endings and the fate of the pale king which are vague enough that it is incredibly dificult to make a concrete theory on these things now there are some things that are wrong but at the very least it is an interesting theory and there is some other questionable things here.


                                                                                            one thing i noticed is that the higher beings tablets are very spread out but two are in the beggining of the game one that teaches soul use and another to welcome beings now aside from tutorials why would those be there? i might understand teaching vessels to focus but why at literally the furthest point from the abyss when the king makes a POINT of not letting his knights or his people knowing of the other vessels i dont know about you but if i was going to purposefully give myself amnesia id make notes so i knew what was up


                                                                                            now the eggs are dumb and as close as i can tell WHOLY unimportant other than lore tablets there is one in the throne room there is ALSO one in the black egg not the TEMPLE the egg itself i have a hard time believing something hatched from that we only know the creation of two eggs that functioned the shell egg and the abyss egg now do the tablets require an egg to craft? i dont know but not all of them are important it is also pretty notable we only see one egg in the abyss but thousands of vessels it might make sense if the king came from this one


                                                                                            my final point is what makes our vessel the knight different this is a hard problem two that vessels escape the abyss at least two in order to get mothwing cloak and the lost kin fight there is the void area in deepnest that makes a worthy candidate but still why is our knight both immortal and the only one that even got close. if our knight was the pale king it would explain the knights prowes

                                                                                            • Checkers UwU
                                                                                              Checkers UwU  2 weeks back

                                                                                              00:25
                                                                                              *I SAW MY CHILD*
                                                                                              (Springtrap)

                                                                                              • Jacob Day
                                                                                                Jacob Day  2 weeks back

                                                                                                Because of this video I’m getting hollow knight it looks so much fun