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Hunter's Journal

Bestiary
The light, forgotten.
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The plague, the infection, the madness that haunts the corpses of Hallownest... the light that screams out from the eyes of this dead Kingdom. What is the source? I suppose mere mortals like me will never understand.
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Behaviour

The Radiance is the true final boss of Hollow Knight. To access her, the player must have acquired Void Heart and have used the Dream Nail on the Hollow Knight when Hornet holds them down to be able to challenge her.

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In the first phase of the fight, she levitates slightly above the floor. Only her body is vulnerable to attack, which requires jumping or ranged attacks. She will often teleport around, making it even harder to get a good string of hits in while avoiding her own ruthless attacks.

The Radiance does not deal contact damage, however, all of her attacks (except hazards like spikes and the Void) deal two masks damage upon hit, making her by far the hardest-hitting boss in the game.

  • Radiant Burst: Shoots golden beams from her eyes, firing three times in different directions.
  • Divine Blades: Fires eight swords from her body in a radial pattern. The swords gently curve as they fly.
  • Rain of Swords: Rains down swords from the sky. There are always gaps in the waves to make it easier to avoid them, but it is possible to squeeze between the swords even in thick clusters.
  • Skewer Wall: Summons walls of swords horizontally, again with gaps in between the swords. Sometimes this attack can be avoided simply by standing still if the gap is at ground level. Shadow Dash can be used to pass through the swords unharmed, but the waves of swords come faster than the cooldown finishes, so in many cases the player will need precise jumping to dash through the gaps.
  • Radiant Judgment: Fires a massive beam of light from the skies, sweeping the entire arena. The only way to avoid this attack is by using Shade Cloak.
  • Radiant Sigil: Fires three homing golden orbs, one after the other. The orbs spawn in random places around the arena, similarly to the Soul Master's second desperation attack, and their homing factor is quite strong.

For the first phase of the fight, The Radiance will simply use these attacks while hovering above the floor and teleporting. The hardest attacks to avoid are typically the horizontal walls of swords and the homing projectiles. It's very important not to try to panic-heal, despite the massive damage of her attacks, as any mistake in this fight is extremely costly. Wait for a good occasion to heal, such as during the third salvo of the eye beams.

In the second phase of the fight, The Radiance continues using the same attacks, but will now create spikes across alternating halves of the platform. The restrained space makes it much harder to maneuver and to stall out the cooldown of the Shadow Dash. She will switch the location of the spikes every so often, outlining their new location with a golden glow for a few seconds as a warning before they actually emerge. These spikes only deal one mask of damage. The strategy remains mostly the same, but more precise dodging will often be necessary.

In the third phase, The Radiance will float in the center of the platform, place spikes at the edges and endlessly rain down swords from above. Since this is one of the easier attacks to avoid, this acts mostly as a breather phase.

In the next phase, The Radiance resumes using all of her normal attacks, but she is now fought on a field of small platforms over the Void. This makes all of her attacks much harder to dodge without accidentally falling down into the Void and taking damage; put the double jump to good use. On the bright side, while she will still teleport around, it is still possible to hit her without jumping if she teleports close to a platform.

The last phase of the fight involves ascending by jumping up platforms as The Radiance flees again. Her only attack in this phase is a typically poorly aimed single laser beam. Upon reaching it, hit her one more time to end the fight and trigger the final sequence.

In the final sequence, The Radiance is bound by Void Tendrils and the shade of the Hollow Knight appears, tearing open a weak point on her face. The Knight bursts out of their body and becomes their Shade. Attacking causes the Shade to repeatedly whip The Radiance's weak point with long tendrils until it's defeated and dragged into the Void below.
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As with most boss fights, Quick Focus is highly recommended. Since occasions to hit the Radiance are not too frequent and her attacks deal a lot of damage, SOUL-generation charms like Soul Catcher and Grubsong are also suggested. Fragile Strength can be a lifesaver by increasing damage output tremendously (to prevent the Charm from breaking, simply pause the game and reload before dying).
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Tactics

It should be noted that in the first three phases, the swordbeams from Grubberfly's Elegy can be used to hit The Radiance without jumping, which can be especially useful when combined with Quick Slash.

Joni's Blessing and Lifeblood Heart/Core can be useful for those finding it hard to heal.

A spell-focused build can be employed by forgoing any healing Charms for the Lifeblood charms described above along with Shaman Stone, allowing the player to spam Abyss Shriek to get quick and easy damage off, as the Radiance does not get knocked back and will take all four hits of the Spell.

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Dream Nail Dialogue
  • ...ANCIENT ENEMY...
  • ...I DO NOT FEAR YOU...
  • ...LET ME BE FREE...
  • ...I WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN...
  • ...DAWN WILL BREAK...
  • ...THE LIGHT CANNOT BE CONSUMED...
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Trivia

  • Beating the Radiance is not required to complete the Hunter's Journal, but she does have an entry.
  • The Radiance is confirmed to be female from developer commentary on Slack, as well as from developer notes regarding the Seer:

The moth tribe were (perhaps) descended from Radiance. However, the King convinced them somehow to seal Radiance away. I guess so he could rule Hallownest with his singular vision, as a monarch/god with no other gods.The moths sealed Radiance away by forgetting about her. Hallownest was born and flourished. However, the memory of Radiance lingered (eg the statue at hallownest's crown) and soon she began to reappear in dreams and starting exerting influence. The King and the bugs of hallownest resisted this memory/power and it started to manifest as the infection. Thus the first attempt to seal Radiance failed, and the King had to try another method - the Vessel.

  • The Radiance is one of the two bosses that must be challenged to battle, the other being the Mantis Lords. While the Mantis Lords will have to be challenged every time, the Radiance's intro is abridged after the first time fighting it, causing her to attack directly upon entering her arena.

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