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


Comments • 16 003

  • The Game Theorists
    The Game Theorists   6 days 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.

    • Doom Warior
      Doom Warior  2 hours back

      Dont the retainers bow to you because you have the kingsbrand

    • Sriharsha Yadali
      Sriharsha Yadali  3 hours back


      Were you like the first person to ever put their username as Batman? That’s kind of insane!

    • One Really Grumpy Jill
      One Really Grumpy Jill  6 hours back

      Well, that is nice. That is how you go about it, you know? People just throwing ideas at one another. Because that is what game theories, and theories in general, are. Some people took it way too seriously.

    • Kob K.
      Kob K.  8 hours back

      REVENGER 234 oh it’s cause your royalty since your the king’s son, proven by when you don’t have the item but they still bow to you

  • _SilverLyn _
    _SilverLyn _  7 minutes back

    I’m the type of person that loves a game if the story is great.

    I love Hollow Knight

    • hadarc01
      hadarc01  26 minutes back

      8:12 that poen is about the radiance, look up the full version of it! :)

      • Zote The Mighty
        Zote The Mighty  28 minutes back

        Now we must analyze the physics of the Crystal heart

        • TerminaTives
          TerminaTives  43 minutes back

          With this video I'd say this is more of a "what if" scenario, not much of a theory. Since if I recall, you *did* say you left out certain aspects of the game as you knew it would debunk this.

          • Syfy_ King
            Syfy_ King  43 minutes back

            Imagine A Hat in Time theory

            • Bottlebrush
              Bottlebrush  2 hours back

              Ness is Sans 2: Electric Boolgaloo

              • Graehme Paulson
                Graehme Paulson  2 hours back

                I would say that Metroid Prime pioneered story telling through lore long before dark souls

                • Princess in Red Tie
                  Princess in Red Tie  2 hours back

                  PC release was best release

                  • Princess in Red Tie
                    Princess in Red Tie  2 hours back

                    I miss old YouTube and the old matpat

                    • domo-duck
                      domo-duck  2 hours back

                      So why was a part of the game theory logo yellow?

                      • DarkeX Liliana
                        DarkeX Liliana  3 hours back

                        I wish there would be a spoiler warning in the beginning :(

                        • ZOZO GVG
                          ZOZO GVG  4 hours back

                          I'am french wat not sous-titre french PLEASE !!!!😫😭

                          • Lil Crayola
                            Lil Crayola  4 hours back

                            Even though i don't agree with your opinion on the game i still appreciate you shedding light in this game.

                            • pretty trash
                              pretty trash  4 hours back

                              I was hoping we'd get a theory about the Shade Lord but instead we got this

                              • Naibaf
                                Naibaf  5 hours back

                                A lot of people forget a theory is not a fact, it's just his opinion.
                                Chill out!

                                • Thean Crowe
                                  Thean Crowe  5 hours back

                                  ok, this intro wasn't that bad.

                                  • Reyez
                                    Reyez  5 hours back

                                    Just Monisennard

                                    • Orion
                                      Orion  5 hours back

                                      Put some time and effort into your job and maybe you'll make a few extra dollars. This theory is debunked so easily.

                                      • george ivanovich
                                        george ivanovich  6 hours back

                                        This dude lives under a rock. XD

                                        • Namliler
                                          Namliler  6 hours back

                                          85% Of Comments: MatPat Is Wrong And Mossbag Is Right
                                          10% Of Comments: Overused Memes That Make MatPat Look Wrong
                                          5% Of Comments: Actual Smart People Who Don't Bash MatPat For Having An Opinion

                                          • Zhandi
                                            Zhandi  6 hours back

                                            I bought a switch just for this game.

                                            • Isabella Ding
                                              Isabella Ding  9 hours back

                                              Me: the music box is awesome can somebody tell me where to get it

                                              • Cloudish Devil ヅ
                                                Cloudish Devil ヅ  11 hours back

                                                like who is still at dirtmouth-forgotten crossroads;)

                                                • Igor N
                                                  Igor N  11 hours back

                                                  just amazing

                                                  • Mysterius Man
                                                    Mysterius Man  11 hours back

                                                    Matpat there's something weird about dirt mouth location in the hollow night game dirt mouth there in the d day plan i see there's a place name dart mouth it's almost same

                                                    • JULI BELL
                                                      JULI BELL  15 hours back

                                                      Please play Hollow Knight on gt live!

                                                      • Azkirby13 Castillo
                                                        Azkirby13 Castillo  15 hours back

                                                        Thats why hornet calls you ghost

                                                        • Ralsei - Stephen
                                                          Ralsei - Stephen  16 hours back

                                                          This kinda reminds me of how you die in undertale.. Asgore is talking to you
                                                          and later on when you actually speak with him.. it's the same "voice"

                                                          • Bing Bong
                                                            Bing Bong  17 hours back

                                                            I don’t care what anyone says this is Dark Souls 4

                                                            • Man Tung Chung
                                                              Man Tung Chung  17 hours back

                                                              haha its just a theory~

                                                              • Christian McCurry
                                                                Christian McCurry  18 hours back

                                                                Love the new intro my dude!

                                                                • SmiifKoqla
                                                                  SmiifKoqla  18 hours back

                                                                  eugh, i hate it when people gender the Vessels.

                                                                  The Hollow Knight is not a he, its a they. Genderless. Pls stop doing this lmao.

                                                                  • Toby Chen
                                                                    Toby Chen  18 hours back

                                                                    Hollow knight vs undertale for deep lore

                                                                    • Dr Sixbee
                                                                      Dr Sixbee  18 hours back

                                                                      What’s the yellow in the logo

                                                                      • Madness Overload
                                                                        Madness Overload  18 hours back

                                                                        This would make sense if we didn't SEE THE KNIGHT AND THE PALE KING IN THE SAME ROOM!

                                                                        • theblitz233
                                                                          theblitz233  19 hours back

                                                                          Mattpat: Oh boy Hollow Knight is popular AND getting a new game in the series soon. Better make up a theory real quick. Hmm let's see. Oh I know! I'll be wrong and awaken Mossbag!

                                                                          • Zach Reyes
                                                                            Zach Reyes  19 hours back

                                                                            Hey matpat I know there is a slim chance of you seeing this but I had a theory over this game, there isn’t much evidence to back it up but if there’s one thing you’re good at it’s seeing the small details. I believe that Fierce Dryya is actually Iselda, Cornifer’s wife, due to the similar shape they share, dream nail dialogue stating that she misses her times with her nail and “wants to stretch her legs again”, and finally the white lady is not aware of her death and that might be because she never really died only left for a quiet life with Cornifer. But it’s just a theory😉 I hope this message gets to you. Keep making the awesome videos

                                                                            • crucialconfiguration
                                                                              crucialconfiguration  19 hours back

                                                                              Loved the theory, especially the themes of self-sacrifice. Thanks for covering Hollow Knight.

                                                                              • Jair Witherspoon
                                                                                Jair Witherspoon  19 hours back

                                                                                Can u make a theory about rayman

                                                                                • Jair Witherspoon
                                                                                  Jair Witherspoon  19 hours back

                                                                                  I don’t know what rayman is but his game is on ubi soft

                                                                                  • Lars LeBlanc
                                                                                    Lars LeBlanc  20 hours back

                                                                                    WHAT DOES THE YELLOW MEAN ON THE LOGO?

                                                                                    • Elias Baeder
                                                                                      Elias Baeder  20 hours back

                                                                                      Yeah, no. The knight is a vessel. I have bored through the lore of this game time after time. 9 playthroughs, and looking through lore tablets heavily implies that the knight is one of the complete vessels. Also Lost Kin is kin. Kin, not child.

                                                                                      • Anna Thumann
                                                                                        Anna Thumann  20 hours back

                                                                                        MatPat you literally find the Pale King’s corpse in the White Palace

                                                                                        • WinterFloof
                                                                                          WinterFloof  20 hours back

                                                                                          This isn't FNAF MatPat. Cool vid though.

                                                                                          • Blockman Go TRDHarvey
                                                                                            Blockman Go TRDHarvey  20 hours back

                                                                                            Well love the new intro bud

                                                                                            • Neko Tyrant
                                                                                              Neko Tyrant  20 hours back

                                                                                              The flaws in this theory are bigger than Zote's ego.

                                                                                              • Marno Labuschagne
                                                                                                Marno Labuschagne  21 hours back

                                                                                                Dont mind me just making a note 16:29