|A self proclaimed knight, of no renown. Wields a nail he carved from shellwood, named 'Life Ender'|
|Some rare creatures are so weak, so helpless, so inept and irritating, that hunting them gives no pleasure at all.|
For the Dream Boss variant, see Grey Prince Zote.
While he claims to be the strongest warrior in the land, he is found trapped by weak enemies or claiming the glory of another bug's deeds. He disregards The Knight as beneath him, and accuses them of constantly getting in his way.
First Encounter, Greenpath
Found along the path leading to Greenpath. He is held in the mandibles of a Vengefly King, and the player will have the choice to either save him or leave him. If saved, he will complain that the player got in the way between him and his "prey", he will introduce himself and boast about his supposed mighty deeds.
What are you still bothering me for? I'm a Knight. I'm not interested in your childish games. I need my rest.
Begone! Lest I draw my nail...
Know this, cur. I am Zote the Mighty, a knight of great renown. Cross me again, and you'll find out why they call my weapon 'Life Ender
Second Encounter, Dirtmouth
He will show up in Dirtmouth, where once again he will talk to the player in an arrogant fashion.
Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. I am Zote the Mighty, a knight of great renown. Tremble before me!
While you were hiding here in your dingy little village, I ventured into the dark pit below us and slew a great beast. It had sharp mandibles and atrocious manners.
Yes, yes. All glory to me. But I don't have time for your adulation! I must rest and prepare for my next journey down.
That daft old fellow over there... He keeps talking absolute drivel. Seems to think the very air is deadly down in the caverns. Perhaps he should consider not breathing.
He keeps talking about dreams, too. Pfah! Dreams are for those too feeble to truly live.
Hmph. What a squalid little hamlet this is.The air is foul and the townsfolk have beady eyes. I'll be heading back down below as soon as possible
Third Encounter, City of Tears
Zote will be found in a corridor leading back to the storerooms of the city. He will have forgotten the player and will introduce himself again.
I am Zote the Mighty, a knight of great renown. If I decide that I'm going to stay dry, then that's what's going to happen!
Curse this wretched city! Water and monsters constantly fall from above! It's no wonder this blasted kingdom fell to ruin...
Have you seen them? The guards who still patrol this city, even after dying?
Hmph. Being overly devoted to one's duties is no virtue.
I suppose you're impressed by how tall the towers are here. Hmph. I've seen much taller towers in my travels. Much nicer, too.
Fourth Encounter, Deepnest
Found stuck in spider webs, presumably having been captured by the beasts of Deepnest. Once again the player has the choice to either save him or leave him to die, if saved he will once again complain about the Knight meddling in his supposed heroics.
You almost struck me! And if you had, it would have been the end of you. Trust me!
I am Zote the Mighty, a knight of great renown. My weapon, 'Life Ender' has struck down hundreds of foes. Begone, or you'll be next!
No, I won't lead you out. I know the way, due to my powerful memory, but I only travel alone. Begone.
...Zote the Mighty!
Fifth Encounter, Colosseum of Fools
If the player saved him both times, he will be captured and found in the resting area of the Colosseum of Fools, where he will brag about his skills and how his capture was part of his plan. He then becomes the final boss of the first trial. As a boss, he deals no damage due to his nail being made of shellwood (a material normally meant for shields), the player simply has to whack him until the fight is over. He is quite inept in combat and regularly messes up his jumps. Beating him will reward the player with the 'Rivalry' achievement.
Fools! Did you never consider that being trapped in this cage was precisely what I intended?!
Yes, by all means, release me into your arena!
I am Zote the Mighty! And as soon as I draw my nail, 'Life Ender', your laughter will turn into terror!
I have been fighting my whole life. I've slain hundreds, nay thousands, of foes.
And these fools think to face me in combat? Madness! It seems they've been gripped by a powerful desire to be destroyed.
Very well then. Zote the Mighty will grant them their desire...
Dream Nailed while in cage
I came to this kingdom to fulfill a promise... and that is what I will do...
Dream Nailed in battle
Final Encounter, Dirtmouth
After defeat he will return to Dirtmouth with the helmet of a Shielded Fool as a supposed "trophy" and claims that he is the new champion, while slandering the player's reputation. Bretta falls for him, her drawings and dolls of the player replaced by a single portrait of Zote. Here he will recite "The Fifty Seven Precepts Of Zote".
Yes, 'Life Ender' claimed another victim, and the crowd erupted into ecstatic cheering. Cheering that was both loud and utterly sincere.
To what do I owe my long string of triumphs and victories, you ask? As I said earlier, the key is in my personal philosophy, the 'Fifty-Seven Precepts of Zote'. Particularly relevant here is the first precept: "Always Win Your Battles". As for the other fifty-six precepts? Well...
That promise I made so long ago... A promise to myself...
A promise of glory! Glory for I, Zote the Mighty! I never doubted myself, never faltered, and now I have achieved everything I desired.
Precept One: 'Always Win Your Battles'.
Precept Two: 'Never Let Them Laugh at You'.
Precept Three: 'Always Be Rested'.
Precept Four: 'Forget Your Past'.
Precept Five: 'Strength Beats Strength'.
Precept Six: 'Choose Your Own Fate'.
Precept Seven: 'Mourn Not the Dead'.
Precept Eight: 'Travel Alone'.
Precept Nine: 'Keep Your Home Tidy'.
Precept Ten: 'Keep Your Weapon Sharp'.
Precept Eleven: 'Mothers Will Always Betray You'.
Precept Twelve: 'Keep Your Cloak Dry'.
Precept Thirteen: 'Never Be Afraid'.
Precept Fourteen: 'Respect Your Superiors'.
Precept Fifteen: 'One Foe, One Blow'.
Precept Sixteen: 'Don't Hesitate'.
Precept Seventeen: 'Believe In Your Strength'.
Precept Eighteen: 'Seek Truth in the Darkness'.
Precept Nineteen: 'If You Try, Succeed'.
Precept Twenty: 'Speak Only the Truth'.
Precept Twenty-One: 'Be Aware of Your Surroundings'.
Precept Twenty-Two: 'Abandon the Nest'.
Precept Twenty-Three: 'Identify the Foe's Weak Point'.
Precept Twenty-Four: 'Strike the Foe's Weak Point'.
Precept Twenty-Five: 'Protect Your Own Weak Point'.
Precept Twenty-Six: 'Don't Trust Your Reflection'.
Precept Twenty-Seven: 'Eat As Much As You Can'.
Precept Twenty-Eight: 'Don't Peer Into the Darkness'.
Precept Twenty-Nine: 'Develop Your Sense of Direction'.
Precept Thirty: 'Never Accept a Promise'. Spurn the promises of others, as they are always broken. Promises of love or betrothal are to be avoided especially.
Precept Thirty-One: 'Disease Lives Inside of Dirt.
Precept Thirty-Two: 'Names Have Power'.
Precept Thirty-Three: 'Show the Enemy No Respect'.
Precept Thirty-Four: 'Don't Eat Immediately Before Sleeping'.
Precept Thirty-Five: 'Up is Up, Down is Down'.
Precept Thirty-Six: 'Eggshells are brittle'.
Precept Thirty-Seven: 'Borrow, But Do Not Lend'.
Precept Thirty-Eight: 'Beware the Mysterious Force'.
Precept Thirty-Nine: 'Eat Quickly and Drink Slowly'.
Precept Forty: 'Obey No Law But Your Own'.
Precept Forty-One: 'Learn to Detect Lies'.
Precept Forty-Two: 'Spend Geo When You Have It'.
Precept Forty-Three: 'Never Forgive'.
Precept Forty-Four: 'You Can Not Breathe Water'.
Precept Forty-Five: 'One Thing Is Not Another'.
Precept Forty-Six: 'The World is Smaller Than You Think'.
Precept Forty-Seven: 'Make Your Own Weapon'.
Precept Forty-Eight: 'Be Careful With Fire'.
Precept Forty-Nine: 'Statues are Meaningless'.
Precept Fifty: 'Don't Linger on Mysteries'.
Precept Fifty-One: 'Nothing is Harmless'.
Precept Fifty-Two: 'Beware the Jealousy of Fathers'.
Precept Fifty-Three: 'Do Not Steal the Desires of Others'.
Precept Fifty-Four: 'If You Lock Something Away, Keep the Key'.
Precept Fifty-Five: 'Bow to No-one'.
Precept Fifty-Six: 'Do Not Dream'.
Precept Fifty-Seven: 'Obey All Precepts'.
- Zote was the first character revealed in a Kickstarter update:
"Times are hard for Dirtmouth, the small town built above the ruined underground kingdom of Hallownest. The townsfolk are slowly disappearing; savage creatures prowl beneath the surface and a strange poison in the earth refuses to let any vegetation grow. But lo! From the mists a proud figure emerges, ready to defeat the formless evil that plagues the populace. With his sword held aloft and a fiery determination to protect the helpless, this giant of bugkind strides confidently into the light and...
Oh, it's Zote. False alarm everybody.
Zote, self-proclaimed "Knight of the People", recently turned up in Dirtmouth and started demanding free lodgings, food and attention from the townsfolk. Claiming to be a rival of the Hollow Knight and his superior in every way, Zote has supposedly come to Dirtmouth to defeat the evil creatures lurking in the depths and find the source of the poison.
When he isn't having one of his frequent rest stops in town, Zote will be exploring the depths of Hallownest with his unique, home-made nail in hand. He favours caution and patience above all else, so he doesn't always make the same kind of progress as the Hollow Knight. Nor does he have the same successes due to what he calls his "atrocious, appallingly unfair bad luck".
If you see him during your travels, Zote will be more than happy to stop and chat, pointing out everything you've been doing wrong during your adventure so you can learn from his example."
- If the player does not save Zote in Greenpath or Deepnest, after some time, revisiting the location will reveal Zote's cracked helmet along with his Nail and cloak. Hitting the helmet rewards the player with the 'Neglect' achievement for letting him die.
- Hitting Zote with the Dream Nail throughout the game implies that he is trying to fulfill some nebulous "promise". However, hitting him with the Dream Nail when he's talking to Bretta will reveal that all along it was just an arrogant promise of glory to himself, even though his Dream Nail dialogue during the Colosseum fight reveals "Are you proud of me now father?" and "I'll kill a thousand more... Will that be enough, father?"
- Several of the Fifty Seven Precepts of Zote corroborate this, such as "Mothers Will Always Betray You" and "Beware the Jealousy of Fathers". It is unclear, however, whether Zote's parents' neglect is what caused his personality to twist, or whether he is simply exaggerating the mistakes of his parents in the same way as he exaggerates his deeds.
- Zote named his Nail "Life Ender" because names supposedly have power. Unfortunately, because it is made of shellwood, it is worthless.
- It is highly unlikely that Zote is or was a Vessel, as Vessels were specifically designed to have no personality and no ability to speak (while Zote has an excess of both). He seems to be purely a comedic foil, having a similar but more haphazard outfit and a presence and mindset completely opposite of the Knight's.
- While an argument could be made that the above is negated since Hornet, another being of the Void, can speak and has a personality, it's important to note that Hornet was made specially by the Pale King as a daughter for Herrah, and not as a Vessel, meaning personality and voice were granted as traits.
- One of the Kickstarter goals was for Zote to get his own DLC, but the goal was not reached. However, the Colosseum of Fools was also a goal that went unreached and was still included in the game. This means that Zote could potentially get his own DLC regardless of the stretch goal being met.