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


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  • The Game Theorists
    The Game Theorists   1 weeks 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.

    • sneaky boi
      sneaky boi  6 hours back


    • Julian Burchard
      Julian Burchard  8 hours back

      also precept 45

    • NHK LM
      NHK LM  23 hours back

      It was really cool of you to repost this comment. I'm glad that even if the community might get up in arms about stuff so easily that you are able to respond in a way that both respects your audience and the game theorists in general.

    • Melesio Albavera
      Melesio Albavera  23 hours back

      As a java developer, I have never been more deeply offended than at 0:50.

    • GiantPoogiv12
      GiantPoogiv12  1 days back


  • Bella Ruano
    Bella Ruano  26 minutes back

    he might be the hollow knight's brother

    • Tom Alexander
      Tom Alexander  37 minutes back

      Guys chill, it's just a theory.

      • strom
        strom  3 minutes back


    • Smirky Hawk
      Smirky Hawk  2 hours back

      Bro this theory low key sucks. Like, you gotta be invested in the game.

      • Emilia Ahl
        Emilia Ahl  2 hours back

        A friend and I got curious about what Harry Potter house was the most common in the Game and Film Theory fan base. Please take this survey and help us find out!

        • Alyssa Campbell
          Alyssa Campbell  2 hours back

          Honestly this theory gave the feels.

          • Mihail Cholakov
            Mihail Cholakov  3 hours back

            The Lady of Bath

            • Paradox
              Paradox  3 hours back

              Mattpat, please, PLEASE do some theories on the game called OneShot

              • lil tom
                lil tom  3 hours back

                S.s.s.s spingtraps head

                • Eddy z cat
                  Eddy z cat  4 hours back

                  Knight: get noob

                  Hollow knight: father?

                  • Todd Dalle
                    Todd Dalle  4 hours back

                    I wonder how much flak matpat is getting for this theory.

                    • Creature Studios
                      Creature Studios  4 hours back

                      I love this theory 😊👍🏻

                      • Sammie R.
                        Sammie R.  5 hours back

                        Dude there is I think a sequel but i don’t wanna wait should I wait or get the game now?

                        • Ilhem Louati
                          Ilhem Louati  45 minutes back

                          The game has a lot of exploration and i would suggest you buy all the mapping supply (pretty cheap). Also they are many breakable walls so i suggest to swing your nail on every wall and try to find craks and secret passages As for difficulty goes... you are going to die a lot... especially on bosses. In ordor to beat them, you will have to study their patern and always look for an oppening to strick. Once you understand their mechanique, you'll have no problem deafiting them.

                        • Sammie R.
                          Sammie R.  2 hours back

                          Ilhem Louati plus, the price!! Ok! I really have wanted it forever and so thank you for fully convincing me! 💜 I love adventure so I’m very excited! Any tips?

                        • Ilhem Louati
                          Ilhem Louati  2 hours back

                          I know that team cherry are working on a sequel but trust me when i say that hollow knight is not a game you want to miss. Plus it is not that expansive and i spent more then 40 hours to 100% the game. But then again if you want to wait for silksong (which still does not have a release date) I won't be the one to stop you.

                        • Sammie R.
                          Sammie R.  3 hours back

                          Ilhem Louati even with the rumors of a sequel?

                        • Ilhem Louati
                          Ilhem Louati  3 hours back

                          You should definately get this masterpiece. Its tone and atmosphere will make it so you won't want to stop playing and keep discovering new abilities. I have no words to describe how polish this game really is and it truly is à hidden gem. Beware of its difficulty and brutal platforming though as it is not a game for everyone.

                      • Lythien Thong
                        Lythien Thong  8 hours back

                        Bad theory or not i knew about hollow knight because of game theory. Now hold on, after i looked into the lore do i believe that the pale king is our character? No but props to mat for exposing me to a masterpiece of a game

                        • chippo
                          chippo  8 hours back

                          love how this is in the born of god and meme playlist

                        • Julian Burchard
                          Julian Burchard  9 hours back

                          "Skills reserved for the godlike beings"
                          The entire soul sanctum wants to know your location

                          • frederik olsen
                            frederik olsen  12 hours back

                            just this video makes me want to play hollow knight

                            • Terminator 101
                              Terminator 101  12 hours back

                              Ver. 10.0 Ant Knight

                              • Terminator 101
                                Terminator 101  12 hours back

                                The Knight
                                Good name am I right

                                • Gregrant -Rants, Memes and Yu-Gi-Oh weeb shit

                                  I just *SIMONtaneously* whipped and nae nae'd.

                                  • Izuroth
                                    Izuroth  13 hours back

                                    I am sad to see a community can be so angry about a simple theory.
                                    As i understand that fans of a game want to protect the lore they love, i do not understand how some peoples response to the theory can be this disrespectfull.
                                    There are many responses doing a great job pointing out flaws of the theory and start a discussion. I believe, that is the point of a theory and the fun talking about it and about our favorite games. But some of the fans seem to take the theory as a personal attack on them.

                                    You know, it´s called "Theory", not "Fact". So let us talk about it and have fun :)
                                    Let´s prove, the Hollow Knight and Gaming Community is better than that!

                                    • Idk What to name
                                      Idk What to name  57 minutes back

                                      We just don't want wrong theory to be the *RIGHT* theory, he has so many subs and ppl will say that his theory is right, kina like how puppet is golden freddy's mother thing.( which was also wrong) but lot of ppl think that is right because of mat pat, we just dont want that to happen to our community

                                  • Mongbijam Ranabir
                                    Mongbijam Ranabir  14 hours back

                                    Matpat someone debunked your theory

                                    • DarkenedPlayZ
                                      DarkenedPlayZ  17 hours back

                                      Matpat: uses Aerosol
                                      Me: pathetic I use bug a salt

                                      It’s surprisingly effective

                                      Also I love how the spring trap on the desk tilts his head the second the pc gets really close

                                      • Eli Smirnov
                                        Eli Smirnov  18 hours back

                                        if Extra Credits went 100% soyboy is having a cringe stroke, Game Theory went 50% Adam Ruins Everything without plagued political agenda.

                                        • Adam Welch
                                          Adam Welch  18 hours back

                                          It makes sense insects live short lives and they go thought stages of growth so the king became a larva again to start the cycle again!

                                          • SomeDude96
                                            SomeDude96  18 hours back

                                            The Mighty Zote is hot af.

                                            • YT LEE도영
                                              YT LEE도영  19 hours back

                                              Matpat: (makes a hollow knight theory)
                                              Mossbag: *you dare oppose me mortal*

                                              • ratthew ,
                                                ratthew ,  20 hours back

                                                Hornet isn't void

                                                • Chris Hanline
                                                  Chris Hanline  20 hours back

                                                  Why do you keep calling it "Hallow Knight"

                                                  • Nicholas Middleton
                                                    Nicholas Middleton  21 hours back

                                                    imagine using something cut from the game to tie your theory together, if it was cut from the game, doesn't that mean it's not a real point that can be used?
                                                    also yeah he read into some things wayyyy tooo much

                                                    • Beefjerky 69
                                                      Beefjerky 69  22 hours back


                                                      • Caden vids
                                                        Caden vids  22 hours back

                                                        *team cherry makes a game about eating cookies*

                                                        *3 hours later*

                                                        Matpat: ... so in conclusion, the big fat guy is hollow knight

                                                        • decusq
                                                          decusq  23 hours back

                                                          Actually Rule of Rose was one of the first games before Dark Souls to make the player piece the story together, so yeah, Rule of Rose did it first in the horror game genre.

                                                          • loukas_prm 1
                                                            loukas_prm 1  23 hours back

                                                            Were is the fnaf theory ?

                                                            • SomePersonIn TheBackground

                                                              "Because Game Theorists...We're Cultured"
                                                              -MatPat 2019

                                                              • 으아아아아아아아아아

                                                                After I watched this video, I thought that the Pale King was actually Shade Lord disguised as Wyrm or something...Idk

                                                                • flametubexz gaming and reviews

                                                                  What's the yellow in the opening for the game theory Xbox logo thing. it's been driving me crazy not knowing what it is

                                                                  • Declan Nichols
                                                                    Declan Nichols  1 days back

                                                                    I am just asking, why is issac in the intro? Just wondering

                                                                    • Max McJunkin
                                                                      Max McJunkin  1 days back

                                                                      hey have you seen "the room"

                                                                      • NPC 46
                                                                        NPC 46  1 days back

                                                                        Pat you are absolutely scummy af you do no hard work on your theory's anymore

                                                                        • nate joe
                                                                          nate joe  1 days back

                                                                          now I can see the game change your life then yes you have a right to say that's your favorite game

                                                                          • nate joe
                                                                            nate joe  1 days back

                                                                            Personally I never see any games or polished game I like a lot of games I could never say one games the best

                                                                            • Where is lamp
                                                                              Where is lamp  1 days back

                                                                              The Game Theorists: *makes a Hollow Knight video*

                                                                              Mossbag: *heavy breathing*

                                                                              • sherrelle swartbooi
                                                                                sherrelle swartbooi  1 days back

                                                                                There's a problem the white lady call's you her "spawn" so your there kid but you are royalty.

                                                                                • Georgy Skutin
                                                                                  Georgy Skutin  1 days back


                                                                                  • Sam Torres
                                                                                    Sam Torres  1 days back

                                                                                    Lol idot

                                                                                    • obsidian gaming2112
                                                                                      obsidian gaming2112  1 days back

                                                                                      Sound like something from fnaf not going to lie

                                                                                      • Tina Kennedy
                                                                                        Tina Kennedy  1 days back

                                                                                        Wait a minute if he's the king why does he need the king's brand open the door to the void