|“||This great shell...it belongs to me!||„|
|~ False Knight|
|“||I wanted it.... the strength to protect the others... When I saw that Knight... sleeping... safe in his big armoured shell... It wasn't madness that drove me to it... I just wanted it... But... in the end? If strength cannot save you, then what can...?||„|
|~ False Knight's ghost after Failed Champion's defeat.|
The False Knight is the first major boss encountered in Hollow Knight. He is a maggot who wears the stolen armor of the Mighty Hegemol, one of the Five Great Knights of Hallownest.
The False Knight was once a regular maggot, one of the weakest members of the insects living in Hallownest. When the Infection occurred, he was determined to protect his brothers from the plague. He encountered Hegemol while he slept and stole his armor, hoping that it would help him with his problems. This backfires when the armor itself causes him to become infected, driving him mad. This resulted in him mercilessly attacking everyone who stood in his way, friend or foe.
The Knight encounters the False Knight in the middle of the Forgotten Crossroads, forced to make a detour from the route to the Snail Shaman due to a closed gate. The Knight comes to a big room with enemies, only for the False Knight to drop from the rood and crush them instead. False Knight's weapon is a mace, which he slams onto the ground to cause a small shockwave that the Knight must jump over. He also jumps around, leaping at the direction the Knight is standing, although this is avoidable by running in the opposite direction as he jumps. Attacking him directly through the armor grants no Soul, but hitting the armor enough times will stagger him, revealing his maggot face from underneath the armor. Hitting his face enough times will make him go angry and slam the ground with his mace, causing infected rocks to fall, though the Knight is able to hit them at the False Knight.
After smacking the ground three times, it gives way, sending the False Knight tumbling down to the floor below, where the Knight is allowed to deal the finishing blow. Defeating the False Knight grants the Knight the City Crest, which opens the gate separating the Fungal Wastes to the City of Tears. Afterwards, the maggot's body is dragged to a hidden room above the area by his brothers in mourning.
Optionally, using the Dream Nail on the False Knight's corpse will trigger a Dream Boss against a stronger variation of the False Knight named Failed Champion, making him one of the six bosses who can be refought as a Dream Boss, the others being Soul Master, Broken Vessel, Dung Defender, Zote, and Grimm. Defeating Failed Champion grants the Knight 300 Essence to their Dream Nail.
While the False Knight first appears as a crazed feral being similar to the other bugs infected by The Radiance, it was not madness that drove him to steal Hegemol's armor. All he wanted to do was to protect his family, but the armor itself caused him to be infected, causing him to take a personal liking to smash other insects instead of his own desire. After the defeat of the Failed Champion, his ghost questions what could have saved him and his brothers other than strength alone.
- It is possible to skip the False Knight entirely. During his boss fight, the right wall gradually weakens from the False Knight slamming his mace on the ground, which if hit at a certain spot by either the Knight or False Knight after two slams, reveals an opening behind the closed gate. While defeating him is required to access the main entrance to the City of Tears, it is not the only entrance to the City of Tears.
- Regardless, defeating him and Failed Champion is required for a 100% file.
- After False Knight's death, the head of his mace is revealed to be another bug, which quickly scurries off-screen. Its Dream Nail dialogue states "Free at last!" It is unknown if this bug was used as a weapon by Hegemol or was made by the False Knight. It cannot be defeated, thus there is no Hunter's Journal Entry for it, although it gives Soul when Dream Nailed.