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.

    • Jake Foster
      Jake Foster  1 days back

      You have gained my respect for this. Thanks for not hiding dissenting opinions.

    • Anders Jensen
      Anders Jensen  4 days back

      So, you bothered to make a pinned comment addressing your mistake, that made most of the community of people interested in hollow knight lore angry.
      But when you made your "For Honor" video you didn't make any comment about how wrong you were with the history of the vikings, which might i add would make anyone in Scandinavia who were even remotely interested in Scandinavian history angry.

    • Potato Modem
      Potato Modem  4 days back

      Sum wan said that the void will kill the Pale King if he touches it or something if the Knight is related or a child of the Pale King then the knight would technically kill the pale king just by being around the pale king since the knight is from the abyss or void. If the knight is a child of the pale king then why is he abyss or the void not killing the knight since the knight is a child of the pale king.

    • OrchidAlloy
      OrchidAlloy  5 days back

      The "Father?" line most probably references the Kingsoul charm, just like other instances of the charm affecting other people (the White Lady and the Dung Warrior)

    • floatingpasta
      floatingpasta  1 weeks back

      MatPat I don't care about these theories you need to play the game on GT live before doing Silksong

  • Pirosople
    Pirosople  2 hours 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 days back

      “The most polished game” hollow knight

      Matt:interrupts the story and kills them

      Me:😐

      • DarkƧ
        DarkƧ  1 days back

        3:58 nice socks

        • Lps HuskyPaws
          Lps HuskyPaws  2 days back

          Wow that got depressing

          • BIG STEPPY
            BIG STEPPY  2 days back

            Petition to rename the knight to waffles

            • DanGotGame
              DanGotGame  2 days back

              #notsponseredbyteamcherry

              • Eclipse 2405
                Eclipse 2405  2 days back

                It's like KH but easier lore

                • Almos Dienes
                  Almos Dienes  2 days back

                  Ok

                  • That Thing You Inhale Until The Day You Die

                    Made me cry at 1:30am

                    • Slippery Squid
                      Slippery Squid  3 days 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  3 days 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  3 days 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  3 days back

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

                            • Jacob Day
                              Jacob Day  3 days back

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

                              • Chiller _YT
                                Chiller _YT  4 days back

                                Mat...Everyone doesn't get the story, its okay....

                                • Rasyid Alif Fahirahman

                                  you MURDERER.
                                  lol

                                  • Aiden_Kim 20291066
                                    Aiden_Kim 20291066  4 days back

                                    matpat aren't you educational???????

                                    • rhydumgirl18
                                      rhydumgirl18  4 days back

                                      This theory make me wamt to but a switch ad buy the game so that I can see this for my self

                                      • T1m3 Gl1tch
                                        T1m3 Gl1tch  4 days back

                                        We Theorists ARE cultured.

                                        • Garfork
                                          Garfork  4 days back

                                          What a terrible theory 0/100 its a complete mistake

                                          • slightly artistic
                                            slightly artistic  5 days back

                                            Mat pat need to make more hollow knight videos

                                            • ST-Rash
                                              ST-Rash  5 days back

                                              Can someone please tell me what the track is called , the one that starts at approximately 12:24

                                              • Silveryear
                                                Silveryear  5 days back

                                                F

                                                • Niilo Ortju
                                                  Niilo Ortju  5 days back

                                                  Why did you use tape girls voice for the white lady.

                                                  • cb, boss
                                                    cb, boss  6 days back

                                                    I down loaded this not knowing what it was and searched it up on YouTube it's nice to know I'm not the only one spending hours playing this gane

                                                    • Nifty 5ifty
                                                      Nifty 5ifty  6 days back

                                                      You always ruin the end when you go HEY THATS JUST A THEORY A GAME THEORY

                                                      • Let'sRolePlayer
                                                        Let'sRolePlayer  7 days back

                                                        4:18 Plenty of people like big books. Size is not the primary determiner of worth.

                                                        • Aiden Asher
                                                          Aiden Asher  7 days back

                                                          I pooped myself

                                                          • 2.0 idle •-•
                                                            2.0 idle •-•  7 days back

                                                            Idk the ghost has done so many things they haven’t done that it seems like they read it just because

                                                            Also many basic Betty bugs can learn to do magic quite easy, for EX every single bug included in the soul of test.

                                                            And he can’t do EVERY piece of magic instantly, he has to be gifted, or take the spells.

                                                            They also call your name with reverence and regret as all the hallow bug bois were named that, though in named after the “falling” And the regret comes from the fact that it didn’t work and now all are dying or being infected.

                                                            Many characters are reminded of the ghost due to the fact he looks just like him, (duh)
                                                            But also because the ghost radiates with insane power that many notice.

                                                            The hollow knight is also saying father because he’s remembering his dad and thinking about how his dad left him

                                                            Also what about the escape the abyss sequence? We see the ghost being alive at the same time as the king.

                                                            I might be wrong on some of these but

                                                            *idk*

                                                            • Lucca Olesen
                                                              Lucca Olesen  1 weeks back

                                                              This is so wrong

                                                              • ren kristoffer torres
                                                                ren kristoffer torres  1 weeks back

                                                                this made me play hollow knight again, thanks

                                                                • xXBBB2003Xx
                                                                  xXBBB2003Xx  1 weeks back

                                                                  Why is our character a child tho? Every higher being looks old and age is clearly visible with all the characters, and the way our character looks around and stuff isnt like an old man, its more like a curious child

                                                                  • xXBBB2003Xx
                                                                    xXBBB2003Xx  1 weeks back

                                                                    Im at the jungle part and i thought i was nearing the end

                                                                    • xXBBB2003Xx
                                                                      xXBBB2003Xx  2 days back

                                                                      @Tax Fraud its ok i forgive u lol

                                                                    • Tax Fraud
                                                                      Tax Fraud  2 days back

                                                                      @xXBBB2003Xx Eh its fine. Sorry if I seemed rude

                                                                    • xXBBB2003Xx
                                                                      xXBBB2003Xx  6 days back

                                                                      @Tax Fraud well not at the end but like 1 or 2 more areas or something but yeah ur right idk how i thought that

                                                                    • Tax Fraud
                                                                      Tax Fraud  6 days back

                                                                      ............................bruh how did you think greenpath was near the end? It is literally the 2nd area

                                                                  • xXBBB2003Xx
                                                                    xXBBB2003Xx  1 weeks back

                                                                    Why did i just spoil it for myself

                                                                    • Tyler Mascline
                                                                      Tyler Mascline  1 weeks back

                                                                      That pun.....

                                                                      • Iudex_Liz
                                                                        Iudex_Liz  1 weeks back

                                                                        The king and the knight are seen literally in the same room together

                                                                        • [Insert name Here]
                                                                          [Insert name Here]  1 weeks back

                                                                          This is a terrible theory

                                                                          • Braashawn andrews
                                                                            Braashawn andrews  1 weeks back

                                                                            Sometimes this just gets to dark :3 get it? Dark XD

                                                                            •   1 weeks back

                                                                              This theory seems....well right! So many hints adding to it. I need to play this game ugh. Love metroidvania games.

                                                                              • Gucci Crimson
                                                                                Gucci Crimson  4 days back

                                                                                You will see how wrong he is once you actually play the game

                                                                              • kiwi boyd
                                                                                kiwi boyd  1 weeks back

                                                                                False

                                                                            • Penny Carvin
                                                                              Penny Carvin  1 weeks back

                                                                              If there are Dreamers in this game if they were goats they would be Dreemurs


                                                                              get it. Its an Undertale joke

                                                                              • Nadir Jk
                                                                                Nadir Jk  1 weeks back

                                                                                Right or wrong it’s just a theory a......



                                                                                Read more

                                                                                • Teresa Platt
                                                                                  Teresa Platt  1 weeks back

                                                                                  What is you fav part bout Mat? Mine is his puns! (I fliping love puns!)

                                                                                  • 橘喵冰
                                                                                    橘喵冰  1 weeks back

                                                                                    Sorry, the protagonist's hand in the hollow knight is not outside, it is inside.

                                                                                    • chara's fight
                                                                                      chara's fight  1 weeks back

                                                                                      *watches whole thing.* I'ma repeat. *Puts video at start* Yay! *remembers what he said* WAIT! DONT KILL THE KING!

                                                                                      • Merlin4Ever01
                                                                                        Merlin4Ever01  1 weeks back

                                                                                        At 14:06 it shows a glowing easter egg that looks like it is charging, since everything seems to be important in this game, what does that mean?

                                                                                        • Conrad Stemler
                                                                                          Conrad Stemler  1 weeks back

                                                                                          Except.... in the void heart cutscene in the abyss... we see the pale king, and we are playing as the knight

                                                                                          • Vanille Roxy
                                                                                            Vanille Roxy  1 weeks back

                                                                                            The hollow knight is just a shade possessing a vessel