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


Comments • 17 202

  • The Game Theorists
    The Game Theorists   3 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:

    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.

    • Hazukichan X
      Hazukichan X  1 days back

      I was leaning more in that interpretive direction, as well. The king theory was interesting, but I'm still going to say "son" makes more sense to me. Not sure if it really counts as evidence, but the "bound siblings" ending is essentially the Knight and Hornet trapped in the black egg after destroying the Hollow Knight, yes? So since the Hollow Knight is no longer alive nor bound to his duty/fate, who are the *siblings,*  plural? Hornet and the Knight.

    • The Goober man
      The Goober man  2 days back

      The Game Theorists now I need to buy this game

    • Lubble-1397
      Lubble-1397  3 days back

      Funny how comments that disagree with you tend to disappear

    • Tina Kennedy
      Tina Kennedy  4 days back

      Oh my God there's so many words in these comment it.s ridiculous

    • Menta Magenta
      Menta Magenta  5 days back


  • Jason X5
    Jason X5  4 hours back

    Petition to watch MatPat try to beat the Pantheon Of Hallownest (1 like = 1minute)

    • Crow The Reaper
      Crow The Reaper  14 hours back

      No bug was able to dream until the pale king showed up, so this could be a hint to the knight being the pale king because he is the only one being able to dream as much as he can when he gets the dream nail

      • Patti Morton
        Patti Morton  15 hours back

        MatPat,this new intro for Game Theory is surprisingly awesome. I love it! #gametheory

        • AwakendSpace80
          AwakendSpace80  19 hours back


          • Cody Bryant
            Cody Bryant  20 hours back

            Nice socks bro

            • Xytan 'Jar Wattinree
              Xytan 'Jar Wattinree  23 hours back


              • Michelle Fitzgerald
                Michelle Fitzgerald  23 hours back

                I have read bigger books

                • ERHER555pl
                  ERHER555pl  24 hours back

                  Old nail - regular weapon of Hollownest

                  • Ieusbd Wasgu
                    Ieusbd Wasgu  1 days back

                    Tell me why i read it as "game the ory"

                    • Zivon
                      Zivon  1 days back

                      After watching mossbag's video on this I'm just wondering why you took so many things out of context, or omitted details just to push your narrative?

                      • SlashS Games
                        SlashS Games  1 days back

                        If you're going to say "I support science and encourage logical thinking" Atleast try and follow what you say. The most logical and best thing to do when making HK Lore/ theory videos is to consult someone who knows HK lore better than most 1. so you don't get far too much hate and get put on the "born of god and meme" playlist 2. you don't affect those who know little to no lore and end up feeding false information on a videogame.

                        • GalaxyDogenut
                          GalaxyDogenut  1 days back

                          Who’s here from mossbag?

                          • Riley Swinson
                            Riley Swinson  2 days back

                            I was never notified of this video ):

                            • John ManyJars
                              John ManyJars  2 days back

                              Also fricken hornet literally said that you were the king

                              • Yeet Yeet
                                Yeet Yeet  2 days back

                                Nice intro

                                • Akopack YT
                                  Akopack YT  2 days back

                                  0:27 did anybody notice springtrap?

                                  • Ryan Toscano
                                    Ryan Toscano  2 days back

                                    So glad I went back to listen to this. I played the hell out of Hallow Knight for the first time last year. One of the only games I've ever fully completed. I was able to piece some of the story together, but nothing on the level of this video. It adds even more depth to the great game that lives in Hallow Nest.

                                    • 4 Requim
                                      4 Requim  2 days back

                                      Wheres daughter of crystal criemheld

                                      • Qree Wee
                                        Qree Wee  2 days back

                                        Why was the knight attacking with his hands in the intro?

                                        • Squid King
                                          Squid King  3 days back

                                          im gonna ask right now: who uses grubberflys elegy against HK? you lose a lot of hp during that, its only good for the first 1 minute

                                          • SpectreICollateral
                                            SpectreICollateral  4 days back

                                            On one hand, thanks for bringing exposure to the HK game.
                                            On the other, shame that you did it by having millions of people watch your objectively wrong theory and take it as gospel

                                            • Tina Kennedy
                                              Tina Kennedy  4 days back

                                              something tell,s me after this matpat,s never going to make another hollow Knight video again

                                              • Liam Hutfles
                                                Liam Hutfles  4 days back

                                                4:18 That's what she said.

                                                • Ennard TV
                                                  Ennard TV  4 days back

                                                  when i didn’t know hollow knight, i liked your theory. Now i have more than 80 hours into it and now i think your theory isn‘t that good.
                                                  cough cough that’s why it is in the born if void and meme playlist cough cough

                                                  • Dorina Orban
                                                    Dorina Orban  4 days back


                                                    • Neon Swing
                                                      Neon Swing  4 days back

                                                      I love hollow knight and I’m glad you are talking about it

                                                      • savish athurupana
                                                        savish athurupana  4 days back

                                                        HORNET LITERALLY CALLES YOU GHOST EVERY TIME YOU MEET HER

                                                        • Ali Hussaini
                                                          Ali Hussaini  4 days back

                                                          This video is so beep

                                                          • hayden whitehorn
                                                            hayden whitehorn  5 days back

                                                            hollow knight for smash!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                            • Arlo Hughes
                                                              Arlo Hughes  5 days back

                                                              I NEED MORE HOLLOW KINGHT

                                                              • TatoTimez
                                                                TatoTimez  6 days back

                                                                And.... there goes my poor little heart...

                                                                • _ goin'somewhere _
                                                                  _ goin'somewhere _  6 days back

                                                                  I'd like to say that "no one would read this outside of English class" claim is untrue, but I wish it because I read those tales and Beowulf together in less than a week (how, I couldn't tell you) but it drained me as a person and I wish it was for an English class

                                                                  • Arurra Moon
                                                                    Arurra Moon  6 days back

                                                                    This vid is a meme now.. . . You tried mat your tried

                                                                    • Ocean Blue Animations
                                                                      Ocean Blue Animations  6 days back

                                                                      So Ghost is the Pale King whilst also being alive when the Pale King was alive.

                                                                      • Sean Warren
                                                                        Sean Warren  6 days back

                                                                        c r i n g e

                                                                        • The Golden Bunny 222
                                                                          The Golden Bunny 222  6 days back

                                                                          I was a hollow knight vet and a fan of gt saw this vid and it was something

                                                                          • Owen Line
                                                                            Owen Line  6 days back

                                                                            whats the song around the end

                                                                            • Atom
                                                                              Atom  7 days back

                                                                              Leave hollow knight alone mattpatt stop trying to ruin things

                                                                              • oop o
                                                                                oop o  1 weeks back

                                                                                This video has now just become a meme

                                                                                • GREYSON Donig
                                                                                  GREYSON Donig  1 weeks back

                                                                                  I mean dark souls story is hard to understand or find or pay attention to or ..................

                                                                                  • DerpySound
                                                                                    DerpySound  1 weeks back

                                                                                    Matt... you are not the pale king, you do become THE king after you've gotten the kings brand, that's why the bugs in the white palace bow to you. Hornet, in the abyss (before you beat the radiance says,) "I see you've faced the place of your birth". Hornet is the child of the pale king, and the knight was born of void, the pale king is dead in the white palace, and yes: I know the pale king has been revived before, but even after dying as the wyrm and restructuring as the pale king. It's also important to remember that the knight crawled out of the abyss to see the pale king selecting the hollow knight from the thousands of siblings chosen, you find the knights egg, and a nursery-like room inside the white palace.

                                                                                    We also know that wyrms are 'high beings' and they have exceptional power, even after rebirth. If the knight turned out to be the wyrm, when visiting the white lady she could've detected that you have the powers of the wyrm. Hornet calls the Hollow Knight, "...our birth-cursed sibling..." Hornet, being the child of the pale king, would've been able to see that the Knight is the pale king, and that THK would be his son, not a "sibling".

                                                                                    Elderbug's calling of "ghost" could just be a refference to how hes composed of Void, and we know the pale king, though had heavily involvement and relations with it. Was in fact, not Void.

                                                                                    I sincerely doubt the pale king is the Knight, it would be more logical if the Wyrms can resurrect once and that's it.

                                                                                    • antonia keeton
                                                                                      antonia keeton  1 weeks back

                                                                                      You should do an Undertale theory on how Mettatons robot body works.

                                                                                      • Spaer A Count
                                                                                        Spaer A Count  1 weeks back

                                                                                        I always just thought that the protagonist was just one of the failed experiments, left dead and soulless, until it was taken over by something else, us. After all, these are bugs, from their tiny eyes we look like horrific giants, looming overhead.

                                                                                        • Roizad Nuri
                                                                                          Roizad Nuri  1 weeks back

                                                                                          legend of zelda = HOLLOW KNIGHT

                                                                                          • EliteDavid GT
                                                                                            EliteDavid GT  1 weeks back

                                                                                            Among the sleep ples

                                                                                            • Flowey
                                                                                              Flowey  1 weeks back

                                                                                              Being an abandoned and rejected knight and still deciding to save everyone is a stronger character type than the god who 'messed up' and ran away.

                                                                                              • Melted Popsicle
                                                                                                Melted Popsicle  1 weeks back

                                                                                                **sees diet coke on the desk for the intro**
                                                                                                *wait don't diet sodas have chemicals that give you cancer-*