The Biggest Mysteries left in Hollow Knight
Despite this channel running for over 5 years now and having over 3 whole videos dedicated to Hollow Knight lore, there are still quite a few big mysteries left lurking in the ruins of Hallownest.
This video will serve as a rundown of all the weird aspects of Hollow Knight lore we have yet to fully piece together.
We’re going to be hitting on a few topics I’ve already covered in previous videos, but there are also a few mysteries that I haven’t really touched on before as well.
Also, some of these mysteries do have pretty reasonable explanations, that maybe aren’t as well known in the community.
And before we get started proper, I did want to mention the Lore Archives, which is a document full of interesting lore write ups written by various members of the Hollow Knight community.
So if you want to check out theories from the community on a variety of different topics, try checking this page out.
I put a link down in the description.
I also put a link to the entire script of the Bee movie as well.
So be sure to check that out too.
The first big question I think we all asked at one point or another is… what’s outside Hallownest? There are two instances where the game tempts us with glimpses of the outside world, but we are stopped by powerful forces of nature.
Through interacting with the Godseeker, we also get very small windows into lands outside of Hallownest.
We see the Godseekers in the middle of their journey through the wasteland as they make their pilgrimage to Hallownest.
We also see the Land of Storms, the location from which the Godseekers fled after they were abandoned by the Gods of Thunder and the Gods of Rain.
We also see parts of the lands beyond in the Quirrel prequel comic and in the opening cutscene of Hollow Knight: Silksong.
All of these scenes portray the Lands Beyond as a desolate wasteland filled with nothing but sand, rock and deadly creatures.
Even the tablet in the Howling Cliffs tells us there is no world beyond Hallownest.
But are the Lands Beyond truly such a desolate wasteland? After all, there are several travelers who arrive in Hallownest such as Zote, Cloth and Tiso.
And of course, there’s also Pharloom, a completely different kingdom that exists somewhere else out there.
So, even if the Lands Beyond are mostly wasteland, there still appear to be pockets of civilization, although maybe not to the scale of Hallownest in most cases.
But this does raise another question.
Why does the lore tablet at the entrance to Hallownest call it the last and only civilization? I think this is because the Pale King expected Hallownest to last eternally.
And if that were the case, then to travelers arriving in the far future, it really would be the last and only civilization.
And there might actually be good reason to believe that there really aren’t many kingdoms left in the world of Hollow Knight.
Long before the events of the game, the Pale King existed in the world as a Wyrm, burrowing through mountains and across wastelands, and only came to Hallownest to die.
From there, he shed his Wyrm form, taking on a meager shell, founded Hallownest and created a beacon to draw in subjects to his new kingdom.
According to Dream Nail dialogue from Mister Mushroom, this is how Wyrms typically operate: “Wyrms pull bugs into their thrall”.
Wyrms might be one of the primary forces that build civilizations in this world.
But there’s one line from Bardoon that illuminates the problem here.
When discussing the Wyrm’s Cast-off Shell, Bardoon says “With its like gone, the world is smaller.
” This line might imply that the Wyrms of this world have all died out.
This could explain why the land is so desolate.
The creatures mainly responsible for creating and advancing civilization are just all gone now, so most of the kingdoms have collapsed into sand.
It’s interesting to think of a world where Wyrms were more prevalent and there were tons of nearby kingdoms engaging in trade and warfare.
Of course, while this might explain the current state of the world, it raises another question.
Why did all the Wyrms die out in the first place? Did they destroy the natural ecosystem of the world by their actions, leading their population to drop? And why did the Pale King die specifically in Hallownest? Is there something unique about this patch of earth that draws the likes of the Pale King and other civilizations to try to claim all of it? These are some pretty broad questions that I’m not sure we’ll ever get answers to.
And the Pale King isn’t the only Wyrm we know about.
The Blackwyrm is mentioned in the Hunter’s Journal entry for the Dung Defender, where he mentions that he participated in the “Battle of the Blackwyrm”.
And that’s all we have on the Blackwyrm.
This pitiful amount of information has led to a wide variety of theories, and I think it might be worth discussing a few of them here.
One of the most popular theories out there is that the Blackwyrm is the corpse that houses the Colosseum of Fools.
In my dedicated Colosseum of Fools video, I dismissed this idea pretty strongly, but since anything related to the Blackwyrm is speculation, let’s lay out the evidence.
First of all, this ancient bug corpse is very unique from every other ancient corpse we see in Hallownest.
It appears to have chains going into it as if someone was trying to immobilize it, perhaps because this creature was encroaching into Hallownest during the Pale King’s reign.
This could signify a battle.
Second, the Lord Fool might be like the Pale King in that it was born from the carcass of the larger Colosseum bug.
The name Lord Fool might have even been part of his punishment for trying to invade the Pale King’s kingdom, and he’s been relegated to stay inside his Cast-off Shell on the edge of the Kingdom.
Third, the worship of the Lord Fool we see of bugs like the Little Fool might be part of the “wyrms pull bugs into their thrall” line from Mister Mushroom we discussed earlier.
This might also explain why the Colosseum houses infected bugs that seemingly still retain their ability to act non-hostile towards the Knight.
The hurdles this theory has is the fact that this corpse looks nothing like the Cast-off Shell.
It has limbs, it isn’t molting, the interiors look different.
There’s also Ellina who identifies the Cast-off Shell as a Wyrm, but not the Colosseum of Fools corpse.
In order for this theory to work, you have to argue that the Pale Wyrm isn’t representative of all wyrm types, which I think does have merit, but I think the Colosseum Wyrm idea strays a bit too far.
The other argument I’ve been seeing pop up is that the Blackwyrm isn’t a Wyrm at all.
This stems from the lack of consistency between its name and every other instance of “Wyrm” we see in the game.
Any time the word “wyrm” is used outside of “Blackwyrm”, the word is by itself.
Most instances of the word just say “Wyrm” by itself with a capital “W”, with a few instances where it’s just in lower case.
There’s also the one time Grimm uses the word “worm” with an “O” seemingly to mock the Pale King.
The only other time, aside from “Blackwyrm” where we get an adjective in front of the word, is when it’s written as “Pale Wyrm”.
Two words, both capitalized.
As opposed to just one word.
Personally, I don’t find this line of thought to be very compelling either.
Mainly because, if it’s not a Wyrm, what is it? Generally the theory follows that the Blackwyrm was some kind of location, perhaps a place with a structure that looks like a wyrm or something to that effect.
Or maybe it’s named after a battle tactic.
Like the Battle of the Bulge.
While this might alleviate the discrepancy between “Pale Wyrm” and “Blackwyrm”, I don’t think it’s a very sound idea on the whole.
The only other idea I can think of is that the Blackwyrm is a different Wyrm with its own kingdom that possibly fought against the Pale King at some point in the past.
It seems like if any higher being could form a militia to do something like that, it would be a Wyrm.
So yeah, that’s my take on those four words of lore.
Void is a very complex subject in Hollow Knight, so much so that there is a 70 page lore document written by Sumwan and ToxicBrain detailing all the different aspects of Void and its impact on the lore.
But in this section I’m going to discuss something only briefly mentioned in this document and never mentioned on this channel before.
While Soul and Essence have clear sources from which they are created, we have no clue how Void is formed.
Void is always described as a darkness or an emptiness, which aren’t really things that can be created, but instead are an absence of something else.
However, there is one comparison that could explain where Void comes from: regrets.
When dying and losing its shade in Hollow Knight, the Knight can recover it by giving a rancid egg to Confessor Jiji in Dirtmouth.
Jiji describes the missing shade as a regret which leaves a dark stain on the world.
And after the Knight collects the Void Heart, Jiji even describes the Knight as “coming to terms” with its own regrets.
But it’s not just the Knight’s regrets that Jiji speaks about.
Jiji notes that the entire kingdom of Hallownest has become thick with the stains of regret.
It’s possible that Jiji is aware of the other shades trapped in the Abyss, but the fact that she says the entire kingdom is stained might mean that she can sense the regrets of all the bugs that have died since Hallownest collapsed.
This idea that normal bugs can also leave stains of regret is reiterated by the Hunter.
In the journal entry for the Shade, the Hunter remarks: Each of us leaves an imprint of something when we die.
A stain on the world.
I don’t know how much longer this kingdom can bear the weight of so many past lives.
This regret motif appears one more time, scribbled on the tablet located just outside of the Abyss.
The tablet describes the Abyss and discarded Vessels as the “refuse and regret” of the Hollow Knight’s creation.
So there are quite a few connections between Void and regrets.
But the problem with this theory is that we don’t really see non-Void creatures actually create Void.
There are occasional bugs that have black streaks under their eyes, such as the Grey Mourner’s dead lover, the Lord Fool, No Eyes, Mask Maker and Karina.
But there really isn’t any slam dunk connections here.
For the mantis, those could be tears, for No Eyes, blood.
For Lord Fool, it could be weathering, like what we see on statues and paintings that have eyes.
And as for Mask Maker and Karina, there really isn’t any indication that either of these two characters have any regrets.
But I think there is at least one plausible example of a non-Void creature leaving a dark stain on the world: the Pale King.
The entirety of the White Palace hidden in the dream realm still shines with that bright, pale light, with the only two exceptions being the White Palace workshop and the Pale King’s throne room.
From the dialogue of his Royal Retainers as well as Mask Maker, we know that the Pale King was racked with shame and deeply troubled.
Ultimately, the Pale King faded away alone on his throne, and the deep regrets he held inside stained the throne room, shrouding it in a thick cloud of Void.
While I think this makes a lot of sense thematically, it might be too much of a stretch to say Void originates entirely from regret, especially since the way Void is used in the rest of the game doesn’t reflect this idea.
Team Cherry might have just used this “regrets” concept as a way to keep the concept of Void a mystery, since the player could potentially meet Jiji very early on in the game.
But it’s the best explanation I have for the Void’s origin.
The only other idea I can think of is that Void is supposed to be like some kind of oil deposit, perhaps from the dead bodies of creatures past.
But the lack of the United States military anywhere in Hallownest kinda makes this theory unlikely.
Mask Maker is such a fun little character.
They seem so oddly separated from the rest of Hollow Knight lore, and yet they have intimate knowledge about the events of Hallownest and even civilizations from long before the Pale King.
Some of the Mask Maker’s dialogue can be interpreted in regards to the Knight.
They talk about the contrast between the Knight’s outer shell, and its inner shade, almost as if the Knight itself is a face hidden behind a mask.
But this doesn’t really answer the question of why the Mask Maker is making masks in the first place.
Who are the “Kingdom’s faceless” the Mask Maker is referring to? Why do they seemingly equate having a face with the ability to “define, focus and exist”? And why do they consider masks a “gift to a world deserving”? The problem with answering this question is that we see very few characters in Hollow Knight that actually wear masks, and sometimes those masks seem to serve different functions.
There’s the three Dreamers, Quirrel, the Fools in the Colosseum, the Grimm Troupe, the Godseekers and possibly Midwife.
But outside of that, we’ve got very little to work with.
So it’s hard to define who the kingdom’s faceless are and how masks affect their wearers.
I have my own idea about what all this means.
It does involve a lot of assumptions and it has its fair share of issues, but I’m not really sure if there’s a theory out there I like more.
I mentioned before that the Mask Maker draws a contrast between the Knight’s outer shell and inner shade.
I think there is a parallel theme here in the actual bugs of Hallownest.
I think some bugs are naturally more beastly in nature, and aren’t capable of higher thought.
These would be the “faceless” that Mask Maker refers to.
However, these bugs can still conceal their true nature using masks.
And somehow, masks are able to grant these bugs identity and allow them to exist as more than just weak-minded beasts.
In effect, this is the same as the Pale King’s beacon.
However, while in Hallownest, these bugs no longer need to hide their true forms, as explained in one of the lore tablets located in the King’s Pass.
In a time before the Pale King’s beacon, masks were potentially a much more useful object, which could explain why we see ancient masks lying around the kingdom.
Perhaps the Mask Maker was making masks long before the Pale King arrived, and chose to continue making masks because that’s all they know how to do.
Their swirling eyes might imply that they are a little insane, driven to feverishly make masks for the people of a dead kingdom.
So, to simplify things, the Pale King’s beacon “redeems” the beastly “base instincts” of bugs.
However, bugs could also wear masks that conceal their beastly nature and, in turn, grant them an identity.
Both are methods that turn the “faceless” into sentient beings.
How likely is this theory correct… ehh, I’m not sure.
It’s still really weird that Mask Maker is making masks for Hallownest when Hallownest strictly doesn’t need them.
It’s also possible that I’m misinterpreting the King’s Pass tablet completely, or drawing a connection between that and Mask Maker that wasn’t intended.
And again, we don’t really see how masks grant identity like all this applies.
Like I said, this theory is still my preferred interpretation, but I’m not going to act like it’s an airtight explanation of the Mask Maker’s dialogue.
I really do think we just lack information to pin down exactly what this maniac is on about.
Charms are ubiquitous in Hallownest, popping up in all sorts of random locations.
And charms can be created from a variety of different circumstances.
Charms can be crafted by bugs like the Soul Catcher and Mark of Pride, born out of strong emotions like the Grubberfly’s Elegy and the Spell Twister, or even created naturally like the Spore Shroom and Deep Focus.
But charms can also form in another more morbid way.
Salubra tells us that charms can be created from the last wish of dying bugs.
Charms that likely fit into this category include Dashmaster, Fury of the Fallen and the Glowing Womb charm.
But the biggest actual mystery surrounding charms is how they work.
They are created through various random and tragic events, yet they all can slot into these vague, weird, generic notches.
The best canonical explanation of anything related to how charms are equipped comes from the Wanderer’s Journal which mentions that equipping and unequipping charms can be tricky, so you have to be sitting down to do it.
Thanks to officially licensed Hollow Knight vinyl records released by Fangamer, we can actually see that charms have these interfaces on their backside that allow them to slot into charm notches.
But even though these slots are discrete, with each charm connecting to just one slot, a charm like Kingsoul still requires 5 charm notches to actually equip.
It doesn’t really make sense and even Team Cherry has thrown up their hands on this one.
In an interview with Edge Magazine, Ari Gibson explains that charms, quote “had this vague sense of socketing into the Knight’s shell in some sort of creepy way”.
He makes it sound like this is some sort of cyberpunk body augmentation.
Now I haven’t played Cyberpunk 2077.
Although I have watched its anime adaptation, Cyberpunk Edgerunners.
Everyone in the Hollow Knight community generally agrees that grubs are hideous creatures that deserve to be mashed up into a fine, viscous paste.
But one thing the community isn’t quite as sure on is most of the lore surrounding the Grubs and reason behind the capture.
“Why are all these grubs trapped in jars?” I hear you moan.
High up in the Watcher’s Spire, just below where the Dreamer Lurien the Watcher sleeps eternal, we can find a couple of unassuming lore tablets.
However, upon further inspection we can see that these tablets actually contain images of jars, similar to the ones found scattered throughout Hallownest.
The same jars containing dozens of helpless grubs.
We can find a stockpile of these jars east of Lurien’s tower in a location called the Tower of Love.
The original resident of the Tower of Love can seemingly be found in the Queen’s Garden, clutching the key to unlock the tower’s door.
When Dream Nailed, this Husk Dandy says “Too long… spent together… We become as one”.
In addition to this, we can also see Void seeping out of their corpse.
The source of this Void becomes clear when the Knight unlocks the door to the Tower of Love.
Inside the Knight finds a maniacal Void being known as the Collector, who is likely the one responsible for capturing Grubs in jars.
From its Dream Nail dialogue, we can tell that the Collector is obsessed with protection and providing a safe space for its captives, so much so that the Hall of Gods describes it as a god of Protection.
Finally, hidden in a secret room of the Tower of Love, is a strange diagram of a grub, drawn in the style of the Vitruvian Man.
Now that we’ve laid out all the facts of the matter, let’s dive into heavy speculation.
It seems Lurien tasked the Husk Dandy found in the Queen’s Gardens with preserving the various wildlife of Hallownest.
This might have been in an effort to preserve these animals from the Radiance’s infection, sort of like Noah’s Ark from the Bible.
Or maybe Lurien just wanted there to be a collection of these bugs somewhere within the city, sort of like a zoo, like the one depicted in the 2011 hit comedy film We Bought a Zoo.
Somehow the Collector came into the possession of the Husk Dandy.
The Collector itself appears to be created from a mould found in the White Palace Workshop, the same mould used to create the Pale King’s Kingsmould guards.
This implies that the Collector is some kind of defective Kingsmould, leading to speculation that the Collector somehow escaped from the White Palace and was later found by the Husk Dandy.
While it’s not impossible, I have a slightly different explanation.
We know that Kingsmoulds likely roamed areas outside of the White Palace, given that the Nailsmith can be seen making a little Kingsmould doll.
Perhaps it wasn’t uncommon to see Kingsmoulds walking around the streets of the city.
So, it’s possible that the Husk Dandy was able to secure a Kingsmould of their own, either through Lurien as part of the preservation effort, or just through connections they had with Hallownest’s high society.
But I think there was one problem with this whole setup, that being that this little Husk Dandy was a total freak.
I think this Husk Dandy was the one who originally drew the Vitruvian Grub, due to some sort of strange obsession with the grub’s body and physiology.
But I think this fascination also extended to other creatures as well.
Perhaps the Husk Dandy was also curious to see what their Kingsmould servant looked like underneath all its heavy armor.
Maybe they decided to completely strip it down so they could observe this strange creature in its natural form.
Regardless of how the Husk Dandy ended up living with a naked Kingsmould, this set the stage for the two to “become as one”, with Void seeping into the Husk Dandy’s body, and the Husk Dandy’s fascination and obsession with preserving bugs, and especially Grubs, seeping into the Collector.
These strange thoughts warped within the Collector’s mind, transforming it into the least insane Tumblr user you’ve ever seen.
In the end, the dying Husk Dandy decided to lock the Collector inside the Tower of Love, fleeing to their final resting place in the Queen’s Gardens.
Connecting all this back to grubs, it’s hard to tell if this obsession with grubs was really warranted at all.
Is there really anything greater to them? While it isn’t much, we do have a little bit to go on here.
Note that the symbol placed on the chest of the Vitruvian Grub lines up pretty closely with this gem on the Grubberfly’s Elegy charm.
The Grubberfly’s Elegy shows us what the next stage of life looks like for a grub, and the charm itself can imbue the Knight’s nail with a “holy” strength.
So perhaps the original bug was obsessed with some sort of hidden holy strength contained within grubs.
This mystery is pretty important to the core story of Hollow Knight, and it can actually be pretty confusing for new players.
How exactly did the Knight and other vessels escape the Abyss? Team Cherry was even asked about this question to which William relied: We’re not sure – we know that some of his siblings managed to make it out of the Abyss, but most of them did not.
Whether those who made it out were somehow different, or whether some of them were just lucky.
that might be something we examine later! But is William actually telling the truth here? Surely they have an answer to this question.
Hollow Knight lore kind of completely breaks if they don’t.
Since Team Cherry is not going to answer the question, I will share one theory that has been floating around for a while.
Basically there’s a portion of Deepnest that does seem to be affected by the influence of the Void, and not far from there is Nosk’s lair.
And this is the one location of the game outside of the Abyss where we see the most Vessel bodies.
This seems to imply that there might have been a path out of the Abyss through Deepnest.
Another question that might arise from this is why the Knight left Hallownest in the first place.
We’re given no explanation for this and it may be as simple as Vessels just kinda wander around like that.
And although we don’t know why the Knight left Hallownest, we do know that the Knight was called back to Hallownest by something.
It’s not confirmed what this was, but it seems to be related to when the Hollow Knight’s shell cracked in the cutscene shown at the beginning of the game.
We also know that the Knight is just one of multiple Vessels wandering around during this time, as Hornet is actively hunting Vessels down and destroying them to keep them from trying to free the Hollow Knight.
So I wouldn’t be surprised to learn if other Vessels also happened to have left Hallownest.
Lifeblood is a topic I have barely talked about on this channel, and that’s because Lifeblood barely has any influence over the overall lore of Hollow Knight.
But we should take a little bit of time to talk about Lifeblood because Lifeblood is pretty weird.
Throughout Hallownest, the Knight can find eight separate Lifeblood cocoons.
Destroying these cocoons releases these small creatures called Lifeseeds, which are filled with Lifeblood.
Not far off from these cocoon are butterfly shaped flowers.
And there are also three Lifeblood related charms the Knight can find.
The Lifeblood Core and the Lifeblood Heart are both objects that can seep or bleed Lifeblood, while Joni’s Blessing actually transfigures the vital fluids of its wearer with Lifeblood.
Lifeblood is described as making the user feel much healthier.
But despite this, Salubra tells us that drinking Lifeblood is a taboo, and the Blue Child Joni, the character in possession of Joni’s Blessing, is described as being a “heretic”.
We don’t know for sure why Lifeblood is considered such a taboo, but we can figure a few things.
In Joni’s Repose where we find Joni’s corpse, we can see an explosion of Lifeblood butterflies and vines covering the cavern, all seeming to radiate from Joni’s corpse.
Given her charm, it seems like Joni’s “vital fluids” had been completely replaced with Lifeblood, and upon her death, this Lifeblood spouted out from her.
From there, these butterflies and vines can then travel out and create more Lifeblood cocoons for more bugs to drink from.
It seems Lifeblood’s powerful healing properties are meant to entice a host to consume it.
According to the Wanderer’s Journal, Lifeblood vines are capable of producing fruit, which in real life lore, have evolved to be eaten by animals as a way to spread their seed.
And upon that host’s death, this Lifeblood can then spread itself out even further.
In fact, there might already be a vast network of Lifeblood vegetation spreading all across Hallownest.
And I should also note that Joni isn’t the only Lifeblood infused creature we see.
Deep under Hallownest, hidden away In the Abyss, is a door that can only be unlocked by having enough Lifeblood masks.
Behind this door is a strange region that seems to exist both in the real world and the dream realm, where we can see a giant creature with glowing, blue eyes lurking in the background.
This creature can also be seen hiding in the Lifeblood room in Godhome.
This being is referred to as the Abyss Creature in the game files, and it clearly has some kind of connection to Lifeblood.
I think it’s pretty safe to assume that the Abyss Creature facilitates the appearance of Lifeblood in Godhome, but I’m not entirely convinced that this is the true source of all Lifeblood.
It might be possible that this creature is similar to Joni in that it just ingested Lifeblood to the point where its “vital fluids” were completely replaced and it can now spread Lifeblood around through the Dream Realm.
But with how little info we are given on Lifeblood, we can’t say anything too conclusive here.
Out of all the Pale King’s Five Great Knights, Isma is easily the most mysterious.
We probably still know more about her than we do Dryya, but nobody cares about Dryya and all my homies hate Dryya.
Getting back to Isma, we know that she was a kind person and that her and Dung Defender had a very close relationship.
You can even hear Dung Defender say Isma’s name in his sleep.
But we only catch small glimpses of what she looked like during Hallownest’s prime, and her corpse in the Royal Waterways seems to have somehow fused with the plant life around her.
We know that this location, known as Isma’s Grove, is being protected by the Dung Defender, and if we look at the Dung Defender’s dialogue after consuming Isma’s Tear, he seems to think that Isma is still alive.
And this might be true, in a sense.
Looking at her corpse, it seems as though Isma is the source of all the plant life around her, almost like her body is a seed that has taken up root in the ground.
This might indicate that Isma didn’t die, but instead has transitioned into the next stage of her life.
And it’s likely that the Dung Defender is aware of this.
The sign he makes outside her grove specifically mentions that it is a grove.
If Isma is the source of all the plant life around her, then Dung Defender must have seen her in this state.
Strangely, Dung Defender mentions that Isma willfully gave the Knight her blessing, which is a little odd considering the blessing in question was “Isma’s Tear” and it doesn’t seem like Isma created it specifically for the Knight.
The Knight kinda just walked up and “consumed” it.
It seems like the tear was just a fruit growing out from her body, perhaps representing her immense sadness in losing her time with Dung Defender.
Did Isma really grow this just for us? It’s possible, but maybe Dung Defender is just in denial about Isma’s true state.
Or maybe deep down, Dung Defender knows that she is gone, which could explain why he ponders if the line of Hallownest’s Great Knights is going to end with him.
Regardless, it does seem like Isma could still be alive, even if it’s not in quite the same way you or I are alive.
Here’s an interesting question that doesn’t get asked a lot.
Why is Hornet named Hornet? It’s a little bit odd considering Hornet is a spider and spiders and hornets are not the same animal last time I checked.
Hornet has had her name since her reveal back in December 2014.
It’s a cool name, but in game, there really isn’t any explanation for it.
There is never any interaction between Hornet and the Hive, and no one from Deepnest ever speaks to the origin of Hornet’s name.
If we look outside the game, Ari Gibson did give us an explanation in a Reddit AMA held on r/gaming in August of 2017.
During this AMA a user asked the following question: “Was naming the bee queen “Vespa”, as in “hornet”, intentional, and does that have to do with Hive lore?” In response to this, Ari said: Vespa to Hornet was intentional.
There was an old concept here that may still apply: Hornet was the ‘Child of Three Queens,’ one birthed, one raised, one trained.
It is from the third queen that Hornet took her name.
Whether that notion still applies however, I can’t confirm, though it was definitely the basis for the names.
So, the original concept for Hornet was that she trained with Vespa when she was young, but even Ari can’t confirm if this is still the case.
Or can he? In an interview with the magazine A Profound Waste of Time held back in July 2020, the question of Hornet’s name came up again.
Neither [Pellen] nor Gibson will divulge the meaning behind Hornet’s name, though Gibson states it does indeed have significance.
‘And whether that ever is revealed, I’m not sure.
’ In this interview, it seems like Gibson states that Hornet’s name does have significance although now he doesn’t want to give any details.
Does this mean that the backstory is accurate? Or did Ari mean that name had significance outside of the game? Unfortunately, none of this really matters for canonically proving Hornet’s origins, as Team Cherry themselves have stated that their own statements relating to Hollow Knight lore should not be considered canon.
William: We try not to … it’s a bit boring sometimes but we try not to give out too much information sometimes that is not in the game.
Because a lot of people spend, it’s really cool, coming up with theories based on the info in the game.
And if we start giving out info that is not explicitly in the game, then you might start contradicting people’s theories and stuff….
Ari: Yeah it colors all that stuff, you know.
William: …which is no fun.
It’s not a nice thing to do for a creator to come in after the fact and start… Ari: Stomping around and denying people’s ideas.
William: Yeah, yeah.
What’s in the game is what’s in the game.
And anything that we say outside that is actually not canon.
Ari: Although obviously any additional Hollow Knight content is canon.
So anything through Godmaster or Grimm Troupe or Hornet… William: Or the comic and stuff.
Of course, we’ll sometimes use Reddit AMA answers as if they are canon, but only in a few instances like confirming how the Hive was infected.
But those are way more minor than the Daughter of Three Queens stuff.
I occasionally see people treat this origin story for Hornet as if it’s true, but keep in mind that it isn’t officially confirmed by any means, and the only in-game evidence we have for it is that Hornet’s name is Hornet.
I should also mention that according to Ellina, the Hive sealed itself off completely from Hallownest, which seems to imply they likely never even met Hornet, despite the King’s Brand she guards being so close by.
Who the fuck is Dashmaster? There’s literally only one statue commemorating the guy, and it’s about 5 feet from a giant sewage pipe.
We’re told that this Dashmaster was an eccentric bug but not much else.
Also, people got really mad at me in my last video for saying this guy wasn’t a reference to the character Sans from Undertale.
I’ll be completely honest with you.
This is a little embarrassing, but I’ve never played Undertale.
Although I have watched its anime adaptation Cyberpunk Edgerunners.
But I guess they cut Sans from that for some reason.
We’re given quite a good amount of detail surrounding the nature of the Pale King and the Radiance.
And yet for being such an important aspect of the story, the White Lady is a bit of an enigma.
We know that part of her nature is a desire to spread her seed and propagate across the land.
But she decided to put bindings on herself and trap herself in a cocoon-like chamber to suppress this nature and hide herself from others.
We can actually see glimpses of what the White Lady used to looked like before the events of the game.
From the silhouette left on the chair in the White Palace nursery room, we can see that she was once quite a bit smaller.
We can also see other images of her in concept art and early images, which might represent how she looked during Hallownest’s reign.
But now, her roots have grown out uncontrollably, and she must do all she can to contain them.
I honestly don’t really have much else to say… It’s just like, where did she come from? It makes sense that a Wyrm could have slithered into Hallownest, but where exactly did this big tree momma come from? Pale Ore Let’s talk about Pale Ore.
Pale Ore is icy cold to the touch, and it has been confirmed by Team Cherry that it is connected to the Pale Beings, which either refers to creatures like the Pale King and White Lady, or Redditors.
But what exactly is Pale Ore and what does it do? Let’s compare how Pale Ore changes the Knight’s Old Nail into its final form, Pure Nail.
The Pure Nail has patterns running across it similar to those seen on the Ancient Mask, Soul Vessels, as well as the Hollow Knight’s nail as shown in the Embrace the Void endings and the various nail attacks used by the Pure Vessel.
What’s interesting here is that the Pure Vessel can literally create these solid nails that have the same pattern as the Pure Nail using nothing but Soul.
So perhaps Pale Ore itself contains some form of Soul, itself a substance with strong connection to Pale Beings.
I should point out that the Pure Nail isn’t just a regular nail forged to be stronger.
More specifically, the addition of Pale Ore somehow causes the nail to reveal its true, ancient form.
So, even if Pale Ore isn’t strictly some kind of solidified concentration of soul, it certainly has some kind of magical effect on the Nail itself.
However, the actual location of Pale Ore throughout the game makes this Soul connection a bit strained.
Of the Pale Ore that aren’t rewarded by random NPCs, they just kinda show up in random rocks or eggs or whatever they are and in the Radiance’s statue.
The Radiance statue maybe makes some sense as some kind of offering or ritual, but these random deposits are a bit more odd.
Perhaps these are the remnants of ancient Pale Beings from a time before Hallowenst.
This mystery isn’t particularly big or important, but it’s somewhat cryptic in the game itself.
Throughout Hallownest are three Nailmaster brothers named Sheo, Oro and Mato.
Despite clearly the best among the three, Sheo eventually put down his nail to become an artist, leaving Oro and Mato to carry on the craft taught to them by Nailsage Sly.
However, at some point, Oro and Mato had a falling out, and now live on opposite sides of the kingdom.
Mato is awaiting something that Oro owes him, while Oro will not be delivering on this anytime soon.
We are also told by Sheo that Oro is haunted by something.
“What could this be?” I hear you quiver.
First off, Oro is likely the worst Nailmaster of the trio.
We have one brief line from Sly where he says that Oro holds his nail like a club.
Later, upon learning that the Knight received Nailmaster’s Glory, Oro even mentions that he doesn’t begrudge that the Knight won Sly’s approval and even feels that he is redeemed in helping the Knight along in its journey.
To me, this further indicates that Sly was never impressed with Oro’s skill as a Nailmaster.
During the fight in Godhome, Oro has Dream Nail dialogue indicating that he wants to prove himself.
Oro is also the only brother to have a training dummy outside his hut, perhaps indicating that he feels he lacks training.
This is reflected by the Dream Nail dialogue of the dummy, which reads “Stronger… Brothers…” I think this shows that Oro views his brothers as being stronger than him, and maybe even dresses the dummy as his brothers to remind him of this.
Another contrast we can see between the brothers is how their huts are furnished.
Mato has his hut covered in the skulls of beasts he has likely fallen, whereas Oro’s hut is full of random objects from the city and fancy drapes.
Oro is also the only Nailmaster who charges Geo to train the Knight, and he even scoffs at the idea that Mato fights for loyalty and honor.
In contrast, Mato gets overly attached to the Knight, as according to Sheo, Mato’s greatest desire is to be a teacher.
This all leads to a strained relationship between Oro and Mato.
Mato clearly takes pride in being trained in the nail and wants to share that with others, while Oro lacks confidence in his abilities.
He instead trains alone because he wants to prove himself.
He likely charges money as a way to keep distance from others, and avoid building strong connections.
We know that Oro hides his true feelings often due to how he reacts to the Knight giving him a flower.
He acts all pissed off, but ultimately ends up placing this flower in a vase.
But what does Oro owe Mato exactly? I think the most logical answers are that Mato either wants to duel Oro in a friendly competition, Mato wants to train Oro, or Mato wants Oro to fight alongside him.
Whatever it is, Mato wants companionship.
This would explain Mato’s Dream Nail dialogue in the Godmaster fight, stating “Brothers always fight together!” and “Don’t leave me behind!”.
This is the only thing Mato is portrayed as wanting, and Oro is the only brother who still wields a nail.
I don’t think anything else would really matter to Mato.
But due to his lack of confidence in his own skills, or his desire to prove himself, Oro refuses to give Mato that companionship.
However, deep down, Oro also seeks that companionship, he just fails to openly show it.
Although Oro and Mato never make up in Hallownest, it’s nice to think that they were able to share the battlefield at least once as brothers.
Everyone in the Hollow Knight community generally agrees that Sly is a geo-pilled chad of a character that deserves to be remembered alongside the greatest characters in all of fiction.
But one thing the community isn’t so sure about is the identity of Esmy, a mysterious character that is only mentioned once, and never seen in-game.
The only dialogue we get is from our first encounter with Sly while he’s fighting off the infection where he says “ .
how much deeper do we have to go…”.
William Pellen was asked about Esmy in a Reddit AMA and he responded that she is someone that still lingers in Sly’s dreams.
So, not a lot to go on here.
From Sly’s dialogue, it seems Esmy was pushing Sly to travel into some sort of dangerous area.
The only possible clue we have is the Shopkeeper’s Key, located in the Crystal Peak, not far away from Dirtmouth.
Perhaps Sly and Esmy were exploring this area when they were separated somehow.
When we give Sly the Shopkeeper’s Key, he even guesses that the key was in the mines, so it’s likely that Sly was in that region at some point.
It’s worth pointing out that a lot of characters in Hollow Knight have mysterious dead lovers.
Cloth mentions a character named Nola that also died at some point.
In fact, it’s even implied that Cloth wanted to be killed in Hallownest so that she could be reunited with Nola in death.
Which… is a very overlooked aspect of this character and probably one of the saddest storylines in the game outside of the main quest.
Elderbug also has vague dialogue about a lost lover, whose grave he visits on occasion.
This would also be incredibly sad if Elderbug was actually a good character.
One of the biggest mysteries left in Hallownest has to be this strange trilobite statue in Deepnest.
In the game files, the art in this area is referred to as a shrine.
It is protected by a seal of binding and connected to several pipes that hold it up off the ground, with a mouth located at the bottom.
Finally, we have concept art of the shrine from Ari Gibson’s sketchbook.
The design is basically the same, except we can see some kind of substance coming out of the mouth of the shrine.
This appears to be some type of fluid or possibly even silk.
Between the pipes and the mouth, I do believe that this shrine is a container for something, perhaps even some kind of creature.
Just above the face of the shrine we can see what appears to be some type of crown, which could imply that this shrine houses Deepnest’s King.
The King of Deepnest is mentioned only once in the entire game in a lore tablet located in the Fungal Wastes.
He is described as Deepnest’s “dead sire” and that he was of “honored caste”.
They contrast this to Deepnest’s Queen, Herrah, who they describe as a “broke ass bitch”.
From this, we can assume that Deepnest’s king was some kind of powerful or important creature.
But according to this tablet, the king is dead.
Now, that doesn’t mean the King can’t still be inside this shrine.
Perhaps the king passed away while in this device, or maybe he’s still alive in some sense, but the mushroom people just aren’t aware of this.
Regardless, if the king was placed in this thingamabob, I think it must have happened while he was still alive, given the pipes and mouth.
While this is a very big mystery, this is one that I am very confident will be expanded upon in Hollow Knight: Silksong.
When asked explicitly about Deepnest’s King in a Reddit AMA, Ari Gibson replied: …further elements of Deepnest’s past will be illuminated in future, but we can’t say anything specific for now.
So, this means that an answer to this question should be waiting just around the corner… right? Long before the Pale King’s rule, an ancient civilization existed in the land of Hallownest.
There are several remnants of this civilization that can be found in-game.
Large corpses in various locations throughout Hallownest might be former members of this ancient caste, although it’s tough to find any direct confirmation of any of this.
But they aren’t the only thing we have to work with.
Arcane Eggs, Soul Totems, and potentially Ancient Masks and Soul Vessels are all evidence of this civilization’s existence.
These objects seemed to be of no use to the bugs of the Pale King’s Hallownest.
The majority of Hallownest’s bugs likely didn’t partake in the manipulation of Soul, so there was no use for objects such as Soul Vessels and Soul Totems.
These bugs also used stone tablets and parchment to store information instead of Arcane Eggs.
Despite this, it’s interesting to note that the Pale King did craft some Soul Totems within his White Palace.
And these egg shaped tablets we see throughout the kingdom might be the Pale King’s own version of Arcane Eggs, as Lemm explains that eggs are a great way to store information.
Although these are pretty massive eggs for just a few sentences.
That’s like storing a “read me” txt file in one of these.
There’s also some weird patterns within the Ancient Civilization.
Lemm mentions that other scholars have speculated that Arcane Eggs contain some sort of will within them.
Elderbug talks about how the rocks that form the roads and structures in the Ancient Basin seemed to have a will of their own.
And then there’s the Quick Slash charm, which was formed by the fusion of a bunch of discarded, imperfect nails created by the Ancient Nailsmith.
As the charm explicitly states, these nails long to be wielded.
So, it seems like inanimate objects from this time period are more likely to possess living traits such as wills and desires.
But the most interesting relic from the Ancient Civilization is the Void Idol.
As Lemm explains: Inspired or mad, those ancient bugs.
They devoted their worship to no lord, or power, or strength, but to the very darkness itself.
Lemm doesn’t give us a good explanation for why these bugs worshiped the Void, but if we look in the Abyss, we might be able to see direct evidence of these strange bugs interacting with the Void.
In this room east of the Abyss Lighthouse, we see some sort of desk.
Next to it is a strange relief in the wall, which is described as “an imprint of Abyss given form.
” This may be a stretch, but I think this was a place where these Void worshippers would “give form” to the Void, creating the Void tendrils we find in the Abyss lake.
So, basically a more crude form of the molds we see in the White Palace workshop.
Alternatively, the Void Tendrils might have existed before the Ancient Civilization, and this room is where they studied the Tendrils.
Aside from that room, there is also the Shade Beast, who holds a bowl that pours out a never ending stream of Void, which was perhaps used in some sort of ritual.
We can infer from the Mask Maker that this Ancient Civilization fell to ruin as a result of trying to lay claim to all of Hallownest.
So perhaps this worship of the Void stemmed from a desire to expand their lands.
This obviously didn’t work out for them.
Perhaps, they even ran into our old pal Radiance, which would explain why she calls the Void her “Ancient Enemy”.
The last strange structure we find in the Abyss shows a bunch of soyjak faces screaming out above an altar, with the Dream Nail dialogue.
Our voices… will cry out… again…” Perhaps this was the last desperate cry of the Ancient Civilization as their kingdom collapsed and disappeared into obscurity.
Although maybe this cry is actually true.
Allow me to speculate.
In the Godmaster endings to the game, we are introduced to this strange Void creature, who doesn’t have a formal name but is sometimes referred to as the Void Given Focus, or the Void Entity.
We don’t really know what this thing is, but there is debate that it might be a more evolved or powerful version of the Knight, given how the Godseeker speaks to the Knight in Godseeker Mode and the fact that it replaces the Knight statue in the Hall of Gods.
But I think this being might actually be more directly tied to the Ancient Civilization.
In the first cutscene introducing this new character, we can see that it acts distinctly from the Knight, the Hollow Knight and the rest of Vessels.
While I think the Knight does become part of the Void Entity at the end of the game, I think this creature existed before the Vessels were even created, and has been lying dormant somewhere in the Abyss, only called back now by the Focus given to it by the Godseekers’ ritual.
And it seems like the game really wants us to connect what the Godseekers did in Godhome with what that Ancient Civilization did with Void in the past.
Hence why we unlock Void Idol descriptions from looking at the Void Entity statue.
But if the Ancient Civilization really worshiped a creature like this, what exactly was it that caused their kingdom to collapse? It’s established that one power Wyrms like the Pale King possess is “foresight”.
This ability is mentioned once by Bardoon, and twice by the mushrooms of the Fungal Wastes.
But as we all know, despite this prescience, the Pale King’s kingdom still collapsed into ruin.
“But how prescient is the Pale King really?” I hear you ask in a normal tone of voice.
The way I like to think about this problem is in regards to time.
The Pale King was specifically trying to create a kingdom that would last forever: an eternal kingdom.
The Radiance is described in a lot of dialogue as being nature, or something unavoidable.
This is what the dead mushroom points out in its Dream Nail dialogue.
Nature will come to destroy the Pale King’s civilization eventually as kingdoms can’t last forever.
The Pale King’s only solution to this is to just stop Time, as explained in the White Palace workshop lore tablet.
So yes, the Pale King was able to foresee an unavoidable demise, but his solution was to delay it inevitably.
This idea of fighting your inescapable fate is a storytelling trope seen all throughout literature.
The most prominent and well known example is from the television series The Amazing World of Gumball.
In the episode The Oracle, Gumball finds paintings produced by Banana Barbara that appear to predict future events, with one of them depicting Gumball completely naked surrounded by a huge crowd at the mall.
In response to this, Gumball tries everything within his power to stop this from happening, but through his actions, he inadvertently causes himself to end up completely naked surrounded by a huge crowd at the mall.
The same thing pretty much happened to the Pale King.
Mister Mushroom is a wandering mushroom man who somehow winds up in Hallownest.
You can only understand him if you’re wearing the Spore Shroom charm, but even then his dialogue implies that he is talking to someone you can’t see.
Out of all his dialogues like this, the only ones we are confident on are his first and third, where he seems to be talking to the main characters from two of Team Cherry’s other games: Hungry Knight and Tomb Cat.
But outside of what I talked about in my Mister Mushroom lore video, there really hasn’t been anything conclusive to say about the majority of Mister Mushroom’s wacky dialogue.
My guess is that Mister Mushroom is talking to characters from future Team Cherry projects, or even just ideas they have for games that they’re never actually going to make.
You can tell from interviews that William and Ari have tons of ideas for games that they want to make and it’s something that they think about a lot.
Game development is long, right? Especially games like this, big games.
You spend two years on it.
We’ve thought up ten years of games that we would love to make in one year of game development.
But as to specific explanations for what any of Mister Mushroom’s dialogue is referring to… He does use the word determination at one point.
Now if you’re a fan of the channel, you know I absolutely love Undertale.
It’s an amazing game, filled with all sorts of wonderful characters.
In fact, I’m so good at the game, I almost beat Sans.
Anyway, determination is actually a very important aspect of Undertale’s main story, as it shows up a couple times.
So I think I speak for everyone when I say this can’t be a coincidence.
And of course, because Mister Mushroom is connected to all of these other Team Cherry properties in the Team Cherry Cinematic Universe, they have to give him a post credits scene to tease his next adventure.
The Masters are yet another group that will hopefully be expanded up in Silksong, but as of right now, very little is known about them.
They are a group of beings mentioned only by Confessor Jiji and Steel Soul Jinn.
When the Knight receives the Void Heart, Jiji mentions that her Masters would be impressed with how the Knight seems to have come to terms with its regrets.
Once the Knight is marked with the King’s Brand, Steel Soul Jinn mentions that she cannot bow to the Knight, as her masters’ minds are other, and do not seek order.
And once the Knight receives the Void Heart, Jinn also comments that the Knight has become complete like her Masters.
From what little we know about Silksong, it seems there are more Steel Soul creatures who are looking to assassinate Hornet.
Whoever these Masters are, it seems as though they are interested in Void creatures like the Knight, which might explain why Jiji and Jinn were assigned to offer services, while others were ordered to kill Hornet.
From the dialogue we get from Jiji and Jinn, it might turn out that the Masters themselves are Void creatures.
But instead of just crazy unhinged maniacs like the Collector, or brainless golems like the Kingsmoulds, these Masters are actually intelligent and capable of scheming, with their end goal in mind appearing to be not order, but something else entirely: Like disorder.
The Delicate Flower comes from a far off, “serene” land, carried by the Grey Mourner, a character who herself looks like some sort of wilted flower.
Once the flower starts growing in the Queen’s Garden, it is described in the menu as glowing with a pale light.
The White Lady recognizes it as distinct from herself and Hallownest.
She mentions that a rare power exists inside these fragile petals, and refuses to accept it, telling the Knight that only someone with no knowledge of its power would hold it so close.
This flower can be given to the Godseeker, who ponders that it might be a “splinter, cast-off or refuse from something greater” before ultimately saying that she can’t sense any godliness within it.
However, if the Godseeker is holding the flower during the Embrace the Void ending, we see that the flower does something to the Void and the Godseeker, seemingly leaving nothing but a small black blotch on the corner of one of the petals.
There isn’t any solid theory on what happens here.
It might be that the Void and the Godseeker were banished to some part of the dream realm, similar to how the White Palace was teleported away.
Or maybe they were teleported back to where the flower came from, or maybe they’re just gone.
So despite being described as producing a pale light, both White Lady denies a connection to this flower, and the Godseeker can’t detect any Godliness within it.
If that flower shares some kind of pale property with the White Lady, Pale King and Pale Ore, this seems to inform us that just because something is “Pale” doesn’t mean it’s godly.
Is this “pale” property related to Soul, or some other force? As of right now, I’m honestly not sure.
But one thing I do know, if this flower really can just pop creatures completely out of existence, I’m glad I gave one to Elderbug.
The Godmaster update added two additional endings to Hollow Knight back in 2018.
And unlike the base ending which all were fairly conclusive, these two endings left the story on a major cliffhanger.
The Knight and the rest of the siblings have seemingly been consumed into this new, strange Void Entity.
The Radiance’s infection has been erased from Hallownest.
And the Hollow Knight is now free from its prison inside the Black Egg Temple.
And that’s where the game leaves us.
On top of that we have no idea how or even if Team Cherry is going to follow up on these endings.
We still don’t know for sure how the events of Hollow Knight and Silksong line up on any sort of timeline.
If Silksong takes place after, is the game gonna give us a flashback to this event? If it takes place before, are they going to do a time skip? Or are they going to do something completely different and just explain it in one off comic or another anime adaptation? In a Reddit AMA, Ari Gibson did say the following in regards to Hollow Knight’s multiple base endings.
All endings are equally canon.
We’re not into ‘True Endings.
‘ You choose the path yourself.
We’ll do our best in all future Hollow Knight content to account for all of them.
Now keep in mind this post was made 5 years ago, before the new endings were released, so it’s possible that Team Cherry changed their mind on this.
That said, I don’t think they have.
This seems like something Team Cherry wouldn’t change their minds on.
And if they really do have a way to keep all this stuff canon and pay off everything, I am very excited to eventually one day have to explain it.
And finally, I think it’s time we talk about the single biggest mystery that has loomed over the Hollow Knight community since February 24th, 2017.
It’s a question that has eluded some of the greatest minds of our generation.
The smartest men, women and children have tried for years to solve this mystery, and they have all died in the process.
Who the fuck is Sprintmaster!?