I drew they!!!
it’s unclear what exactly happens to grimmchild when you take off its charm because, well, it is a god-child, so it could just completely disappear or turn into smoke or something, but all i can think is that every time ghost needs to go into fog canyon grimmchild is just sitting in the nightmare realm like
TW FOR SUICIDE/TALK OF SUICIDE
Tbh, I think he killed himself. I know in the cut content, his dialogue implied that he was throwing himself into the Dream Realm in one last-ditch effort to escape the Radiance- and, if we consider things like Hollow’s dialogue that was cut for lore reasons (Void is the absolute counter to Dream, so tools of Dream fail on Void), and Lurien’s dialogue that was cut for mystery reasons, then we can certainly claim that to have been an aspect of him leaving- but really, the dream dialogue in the final game really gives the impression of him bitterly reflecting on his mantra while his world crumbles around him. Especially when you factor in that the White Palace is a twisted reflection of his mental state and regrets; we see this in the Path of Pain and all the secret rooms he has hidden away. The Path of Pain and all those buzzsaws and traps never actually existed in the waking world- they were constructed in the Dream Realm to hide PK’s regrets and the things that meant the most to him, and the overall palace design reflects this.
Let me explain this in a separate paragraph or two, because otherwise the one up top would have gotten unbearably long. When we first enter the Palace, we start with a representation of the things that he is the most open about loving- we enter into a wide-open space with the White Lady’s roots stretching off into the distance and the people of the palace talking amongst themselves, distant but comforting. There are traps, yes, but then again, PK’s always been a reclusive, guarded sort- it would make sense if it was a metaphor for how he viewed the world and his feelings, as a sort of minefield of traps and weapons and things that can hurt him. Even with the things he is the most open about-such as his love for the White Lady and his people- there is still that ever-present threat of pain. And then, as we go deeper and deeper into the White Palace, it slowly grows from this wide, bright place with vines and flowers and branches all over to dense, cramped, industrial areas full of buzzsaws and spikes and spears, growing narrower and darker as if progressing down a tunnel. You can see the slight visual cues indicating that you’re getting closer and closer to the Pale King as you get farther and farther from the White Lady’s part of the palace, with the hidden rooms (minus the Path of Pain, but I’ll get to that) located the closer to him with the more they hurt him. The workshop where he conducted the Void experiments is placed in ‘his’ sector of the palace; the nursery is directly below the throne room, by a statue of him, in a little ‘burrow’ of sorts (like how wyrms nest, perhaps?), as if he’s trying to hide the fact that he wanted children, that he loved his children, and that he willingly passed on the chance to have a family in exchange for keeping the crown. And then, finally, when we come to him on the throne room, we find his body sitting on the throne he sacrificed so much for to keep, acting as the single beacon in a point of darkness- as the tablet in the hidden room to the right of the throne states, in a phrase that sounds very much like a prophecy he believed in before he claimed Hallownest. It is reasonable to assume, then, that the White Palace is not a true copy of the physical palace, but a twisted memory of it reflecting his mental state, his ambitions, what he held close to his heart, and his regrets. All of it tied up in a neat little bow of regrets, with him sitting at the very end of that winding maze.
(As for the Path of Pain- I find it significant that the entrance to it is relatively close to the start of the White Palace, close to the ‘area of things PK is open about feeling things for’, and in between PK and WL’s designated zones of the Palace, but mostly what I find significant is that it is completely hidden away behind the most confuddling of the breakable walls in the game, with Hollow’s seal of binding popping up as soon as you walk in, and that it tells you upfront ‘to witness secrets sealed, one must endure the harshest of punishments’. This one memory that PK has of him having a bonding moment with Hollow is something that he believes he needs to seal away, and that those who wish to look upon it- him included- must endure the harshest punishment that he can think of to prove themselves worthy of looking upon it. Or, rather, to deter them from looking upon it, bc I’m sure that he blamed himself for ‘tarnishing them’ or not realizing they were impure, which…ouch, dude. You can’t exactly blame him here.)
So the White Palace, as formidable as it is, is not just a defense system against the Radiance; it appears to be a prison of his own making, which implies that him absconding into the Dream Realm was a form of self-punishment. If you think about it in this manner, it makes sense; PK would have known that Hollow was his last fighter, and that them failing meant the Radiance had won, and that all the horrible things he did/all the people he sacrificed was all for naught. Which is a powerful enough motivator for suicide, but that’s not the only thing driving him- there are also other factors at play, such as the fact that he would very rapidly lose his kingdom- and what is a king without a kingdom? What is the Pale King without his crown? Hallownest, I imagine, is a kingdom that works on absolutes, mirroring his mental state (though, admittedly, this is headcanon land). Titles define people and their fate. You have one occupation that you live for, and once it is finished, you have no reason to keep on living- the Pale King losing the war meant that he essentially lost his job, and that there was really no reason for him to keep on going. There seems to be a running theme of learning to deal with the grief of having no purpose- like with the Nailsmith and Quirrel- and PK appears to deal rigidly in the extremes of, well, everything that goes wrong in the game, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that was another motivator for him killing himself. Especially since gods don’t die the way mortals do, so it would be less of a sudden loss of life and more of a repentance for what he’s done, because he knows that until the populace totally forgets him, he will never truly die.
(I would also argue that PK committing suicide because he couldn’t handle his own grief would serve a very satisfying literary contrast- it was his own apathy and refusal to acknowledge his emotions that made him the extreme opposite of the Radiance, who was all emotion and no mind, and so his own emotions were his silver bullet. He died slowly, withering away in a vessel of void the same way he intended her to die, while one of the children he rejected took her down in the direct battle he worked so hard to avoid)
And it’s also important to note that him willingly taking his own life would have served a purpose other than an emotional sort- it would have denied the Radiance victory. If we’re going at this from a chess angle, then the game is only over once the king has been captured- and if the king is unattainable, then neither side would win. It’s a cowardly, spiteful move, yes, but it’s one that we know PK is very much capable of, because, well…he’s a flawed character and a coward and one who has been proven to stubbornly avoid acknowledging things that he doesn’t want to come to terms with. If he knew that he was going to die, or that all that he loved was going to perish, and that all the children he killed and the friends he sacrificed were all for naught, then it would make sense for him to just cut to the chase and cut himself off from his life source, rather than giving the Radiance the satisfaction of ending him and wrecking her vengeance. It’s also possible that denying her such a victory, he was trying to slow her rampage/attempt to torture his civilians to get back at him or draw him out to fight her. With him out of the equation, she’d focus more on simply escaping and re-establishing her power as the reigning god of Hallownest, which might have given the civilians more time to escape/whatever vessels escaped the Palace time to try to strike back (which may have been a motivator for him leaving behind the Monarch Wings; I personally hc them as a spell or soul-constructed object to ‘force’ the development of functioning wings onto a vessel rather than his actual wings, similar to how the King’s Brand was something he left behind that would mark a bug as the new king of Hallownest. It merely has less far-reaching consequences than the King’s Brand, hence why it’s left by the statue for any vessel to nab if they wish for the extra help. Could also explain why Brokey is there, too- they might have been guarding the wings, like Hornet, or were making a mad dash for the wings before they got killed.)
As for the theory that the Void killed the Pale King- no offense, bc I can see the appeal to it, but I think it’s horseshit. The throne room is dark, yeah, but the motes of ambient void swirling about appear to be coming from the decaying kingsmoulds, and PK himself shows no sign of being void-corrupted. His shell is still shining, his eyes are clear of the dripping void that other void-killed bugs had, and his robes look- pardon for the term- rather moth-eaten, as if they’ve been chewed away by time and neglect rather than anything else. It looks like he died on his throne while snoozing away instead of being killed by the void. And that’s not even counting the fact that the void, at that point in time, is almost entirely passive and reactionary rather than offensive and aggressive. It isn’t until Ghost obtains the voidheart that they gain control over the void, and weaponize it to kill gods- hell, the doorway to the Abyss isn’t even opened until after PK has ‘died!’ So we know for a fact that the Void Sea itself wouldn’t have risen to kill him- there was no one to command it, and no easy way of getting to PK. Yeah, I can easily see him passively dying from his blood turning to void under the sheer weight of his regrets, because it’s corrosive and we know that it’s the physical manifestation of regret, but again, we have no proof of that being the definitive factor of his death. And like, we have that whole fuckin’ rock in the other room talking about how ‘the Wyrm shall be the only beacon shining against the darkness’ or w/ever, so I really wouldn’t be surprised if that was just how he saw himself as a king, which was why the only light on in his throne room was his pathetic-ass corpse. And that’s not even MENTIONING the fact that the Godseeker is like ‘dude wtf how could one so mighty vanish so quickly, and why the fuck didn’t he stick with his big scary form’, when even miss Radiance thrashing around in her void vessel up there is like ‘LOOKIT ME BITCH’. He’s killed himself for his own benefit before, and we know he’d probably do it again bc this motherfucker was as inflexible as the stick shoved up his ass.
Anyways, tdlr: I consider it a suicide via worship deprivation/an attempt to erase himself instead of an assassination via the void because there is no solid evidence pointing to someone tampering with his body, there are multiple strategic and emotional factors that would contribute to a suicide, and it would have been a major ‘fuck you you can’t get me you didn’t have the joy of killing me or winning’ to the Radiance, so it would have been a really petty way of keeping himself from loosing the war.
Hollow Knight pumpkins!!
no problem, it’s right here on AO3 for your reading pleasure! We haven’t really made it to that part of the fic yet but it will come!
Can someone give me good songs to vibe to while fighting the Pantheon of Hallownest? Like. Killing god levels of vibe. I’m tired of youtube fucking up or spotify screaming “MAKE AN ACCOUNT YOU STUPID BITCH” at me. Thx
Okay so Halloween
Im bad at meme edits so im just gonna say
I think PK is a nice dude if you look at it a certain way
You all are just angsty
two of my hollow knight oc.
Yeeeep, the fight that lead to Hollow’s ascension was pretty brutal, though it was closer to a true duel for both Hollow and PK; as adult gods, both are pretty hard to kill, so that meant that they only held back in the sense that they weren’t trying to kill each other (unlike the usual deal with young wyrms, who often ascend by challenging their parents for territory). Imo, PK never fought Hollow before they hit their adult molt bc he thought that they were too weak to handle sparring with him- and he didn’t want to deal with their shade more than he had to- which meant that he usually limited his teachings to merely showing them spell techniques, and how to integrate that into their nail arts. This sort of cumulated in knowledge until Hollow had a neat blend of purely physical arts (learned via the Great Knights) to offensive soul spells, and could easily defeat the five Great Knights in combat without showing any visible weakness whenever they got hit. Only after they hit that threshold- and their full adult molt- did PK decide they were ready for their Ascension from a realmless godling to a true Higher Being + all the benefits it provided (such as being nearly impossible to kill- because the simple fact of the matter is that Hollow probably would not have died in any of the endings without Ghost outright killing them, as we see in Embrace the Void. Gotta make sure your Pure Vessel lasts until Radi dies, after all).
As for the Ascension, like I said, that usually occurs when a young god wins a fight against another fully ascended Higher Being with the intent to either conquer their territory or their power; we see this with Ghost, and how they incrementally get stronger and stronger with the more pantheons they complete, with the final brute challenge- the trigger to their Ascension- being the Pantheon of Hallownest, more specifically beating the Absolute Radiance (with, I’d argue, Nightmare King Grimm and Hollow helping them along as well, since they, too, are ascended gods). Similarly, the Pale King cultivated this growth and development in the Pure Vessel, by teaching them skills and running them through challenges of ultimate difficulty, feeding them soul and worship via small, controlled groups to allow them to grow (which, I think the key to Vessels growing as an abundance of soul paired with their minds aging- Ghost never aged bc they were down in the soulless Abyss for a while before wandering out and getting their memories sand-blasted, while BV grew because they escaped the Abyss and fought and learned now to survive before their final hurrah), until he could tell that they were strong enough to face the ultimate challenge: him.
As for the actual fight- I see it as kind of being similar to fighting the Absolute Radiance, with the sole exception on Hollow’s side being that PK had no intention of killing them vs ‘just brought back from the brink of death and I’m here to kill a bitch’ Radi. Ghost ascended via defeating Radi bc she had a tie to the lands of Hallownest, and was an extraordinarily powerful god due to that association and the forced infection-worship; PK was in his territory, on his home turf, at the start of the decline of his power, and thus offered the correct challenge, experience, and power surge to trigger Hollow’s Ascension, even without him being killed or dethroned as the God of Mind. Which made him nearly impossible to defeat, and a highly dangerous opponent- but because he needed Hollow to be able to fight him until he submitted- and actually submitted, not just threw the fight- that made the actual battle a grueling challenge that he fully expected them to fail on the first few attempts.
Which, onto the actual battle; it lasted a while. It lasted a l o n g while. Bc while Hollow is able to force many opponents down through brute force alone, PK’s agile, small, sneaky, and has a constantly-replenishing pool of soul, which means that he’s capable of strategically running them around until they’re exhausted or injured to the point of being unable to fight back- what he defined as their form of submission (because, ofc, an unthinking creature would fight until it won, died or was commanded to stop). This, of course, meant that Hollow’s strategy compliments his own to some extent, which resulted in a sort of reaction-based game where they’d spend more time skirting around each other and trying to strike the other down with spells than actually fighting. PK’s not like Radi, he’s avoidant, not aggressive, so for Hollow it really ended up being a battle of endurance and trying to wear him down/match his movements, nick him enough to stagger him, lunge forward to beat him for soul, and then ready their soul for a spell as he teleported away. This ended up with the both of them bleeding from various cuts, scratches, etc, until PK eventually grew tired and unfocused enough for Hollow to slam him down and force him to fight them weapon-to-weapon, with PK relying on a spear fashioned from soul. At this point, Hollow was back in their element, and was capable of forcing PK to confront them faster than he could recharge soul, which eventually ended up with them disarming him, knocking him aside when he resorted to claws, and pinning him down under one foot/holding the tip of their blade to his throat until PK grew exhausted enough to submit, thus granting them sufficient power to Ascend.
(And, perhaps, to claim their title as the God of Nothingness, for they did not steal his realm, or take his throne; they merely gained power and dominion over an aspect of the void that they had already mastered, so, in a sense, they inherited an ‘empty title’. Fortunately, though- or unfortunately- this allowed them to coexist next to PK even with their power boost, bc their aspect and domain does not conflict, but compliments, PK’s.)
AS FOR THE GORY BITS- lemme just say this. If PK was still being worshipped, then he’s pretty much immortal until that worships stop. Hollow could kill his physical body, yes, but he would persist in the minds of his people and in the Dream Realm, so it would be child’s play for him to just stitch everything back together and be on his way- he just needs his soul to stay grounded, so he can heal his body and stuff it back in. Hollow, likewise, can come back from the dead as long as their soul (or, Shade, rather) doesn’t permanently lose its attachment to their body, and since there are no other dead vessels or shades around for it to get mixed up in, all they had to do to come back from the dead was locate their broken mask, decide ‘yeah I wanna keep going’, and stuff themselves back in. So, given that knowledge…how gashed up and bloody do you think either of them were after the whole ordeal was done with? If they can theoretically keep fighting even after they’re killed, and the only thing stopping them is a mutual agreement to not seek a deathblow, but forced submission- then how many wounds do you think it would take before either of them stopped?
(The answer? A lot. A whooole fuck of a lot.)