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What The Infection Really Means In Hollow Knight

As Hollow Knight fans have prepared for Hollow Knight: Silksong, many have taken the time to dive back into the original, either to simply revisit the world or unlock another one of the game's multiple endings.

However, as fans rediscover the game and its story, some have found that they have only a vague understanding of Hollow Knight's plot and are particularly confused with crucial backstory elements, including the Infection. One fan on Reddit explained, "I beat the game, and I really don't get the whole story. I mean I kinda do. But it's all told so vaguely it's very hard for me to engage with it and actually construct the whole narrative in my head."

As The Infection is a key antagonistic force in Hollow Knight, understanding what it is, where it comes from, and how it manifests itself throughout the game will help to grasp the plot as a whole. Here is what The Infection really means in Hollow Knight.

The Infection is the physical manifestation of corruption by the Radiance in Hollow Knight

For the most part, all of the obstacles that the player faces stem from the influence of the Radiance, the hardest boss in Hollow Knight. As user Serp_IT explains on Reddit, "The Radiance was essentially an old god, referred to as the Old Light, who created the moth tribe and potentially all of bugkind." However, all of the insect creations of the Radiance acted under its influence and without free will.

The Pale King, Serp_IT explains, disrupted the hivemind society that the Radiance ruled over, established Hollownest, "and expanding the minds of all bugs under his influence." Unfortunately, as time went on, the Radiance's will managed to escape from where it was sealed, as The Infection, appearing as the orange aura found throughout Hollownest.

To illustrate what The Infection is and how it appears in the game, Twitch streamer Relyea invited the host of the Hollow Knight podcast Bench Bugs, Jason Young, to point out some examples. Young shows that The Infection is actually seen throughout the game in infected bug's eyes, in orange gas clouds surrounding victims, and in reanimated Husks. Young also pointed to the fact that an NPC named Myla goes from a healthy, friendly bug to a mindless, orange-eyed enemy.