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What's the deal with Zote the Mighty, a knight of great renown? (Applause)

Feb 27, 2020
Ladies and gentlemen, Zote the Powerful. Possibly one of the most complex and developed characters in all of Hollow Knight. In fact, Zote has more dialogue than any character in the game with over 2,600 words of dialogue, much more than Seer, Lemm, or Elderbug. But despite all this dialogue, Zote remains one of Hallownest's biggest mysteries. Debates over his origins and impact on history have devastated friends, family, and redditors alike. There are so many questions. Where did Zote come from? Where he goes? Who are his parents? Where was Zote on September 11? Why doesn't he take a polygraph test? Is he saying thank you?
what s the deal with zote the mighty a knight of great renown applause
Well, today we are going to get to the bottom of these mysteries. Because


the fuck would we be doing with our lives? Zote appears in the game quite early. He establishes himself as a comical character who constantly needs the Knight's help to save him and at the same time proclaims that he is a Knight of



. In the end, the Knight fights Zote in the Colosseum of Fools and it's fucking pathetic. It's like shooting a fucking dog, Jesus Christ. So yes, Zote is a joke and yet there is one thing about it that causes a total shit storm for those of us trying to understand the game's story.
what s the deal with zote the mighty a knight of great renown applause

More Interesting Facts About,

what s the deal with zote the mighty a knight of great renown applause...

Zote looks a lot like the Knight, more so than any other NPC in the game. This is something important. If you don't know why this is important, I'll quickly explain it to you. The Knight is basically one of hundreds of failed test tube babies created by the King and Queen of Hallownest to stop Mothra from taking over the world, who were then locked in the basement because they thought too much. So the fact that the Knight has several siblings mixed in with his uncanny resemblance to Zote has led to some interesting theories. And some have raised the idea that Zote is one of these failed ships.
what s the deal with zote the mighty a knight of great renown applause
If you go to the Hollow Knight Wiki page, which is where all the whores in Hollow Knight history go to get their information, you can see that some users have posted the idea. So I'm not making this shit up. So yeah, that's the big question. Some people think that Zote is one of the Pale King's failed vessels who escaped. And the others say that Zote has no connection with the Pale King's experiments. So


's my fucking opinion? Well, I think Zote probably isn't related to anything involving the Pale King. The idea that Zote came from the Abyss just doesn't hold up when we look at all of his dialogue.
what s the deal with zote the mighty a knight of great renown applause
But, in case you don't know, I'm the kind of person who pretends to hear both sides of an argument before continuing to cling to his biased decision, so let's hear the evidence of why Zote is a brother. Now, remember when I said Zote has the most dialogue of any NPC in the game? Well, while that's true, most of his dialogue is completely irrelevant to anything important. After finishing his side quests, Zote ends up at Dirtmouth teaching Bretta his fifty-seven precepts. And most of these Precepts are common sense or just bad advice. Like the Forty-Four Precept that says you cannot breathe water.
Or Precept Nineteen which says you should only try something if you know you will succeed. Or the Thirty-eight Precept that speaks of a mysterious force. Hope for?! But within Zote's dialogue, we see a theme begin to emerge. Basically, Zote has problems with his father. During the fight in the Colosseum, Zote has dialogue from Dream Nail that says the following. “I will kill a thousand more… Will it be enough, father?” Zote mentions the word “Father” again in Precept Fifty-Two. The precept is titled “Beware of parental jealousy.” Zote explains in the precept that parents believe that their children must “serve them” and that parents must be defeated or abandoned.
The use of the word “serve” here is interesting. This word appears when the Knight's dream nails down the molds that were used to make the Pale King's empty constructions. Zote also mentions that mothers will always betray you, in Precept Eleven, which is titled “Mothers will always betray you.” And we know that the White Lady is not exactly proud of her participation in the creation of the Vessels, perhaps because she also sees it as a betrayal. Geez, it looks like Zote had a really bad father. Hey, do you know who was a bad father? The Pale King!
Zote is the son of the Pale King confirmed! Well, not so fast. What about the fact that Zote has a personality? Aren't the vessels supposed to be completely empty of mind or thought? Isn't that the point? There are two explanations for this. The first is that it is possible for the brothers to have personalities and voices, since we know that Hornet is a brother. The second argument is that perhaps Zote was one of the first experiments, so the Pale King did not know how to make vessels that were empty. In other words, Zote is just a really fucked up experiment.
Since we don't know much about the finer details of the Pale King's experiments, it's hard to argue the second point, but the Hornet's explanation is on shaky ground. Hornet was not created with the intention of being used as a vessel. She was a gift to Herrah from the Pale King in exchange for his help fighting the infection. And no reason is given to explain why Zote would have been created differently from the rest of the Brothers. The Twenty-Two Precept also fits the narrative very well. Zote mentions that he left his birthplace as soon as he could.
He says not to stay there as there is nothing worth staying for. And I admit, the Abyss doesn't seem like a very nice place to stay. There is also this dialogue from Zote. He mentions that Dirtmouth is gloomy and scary, and that it reminds him of "his home." I think you can interpret this dialogue either way, but I'll share it here since it seems relevant. If this was all the information we had to decide whether Zote was the son of the Pale King, then this theory would be quite plausible. But once we look at some of Zote's other dialogue, it becomes difficult to justify this theory.
Before I get into what I think is the biggest issue here, I'd like to mention a few things. The Hunter's Journal entry for Broken Vessel mentions that he resembles the insects of Hallownest. So, it seems that the vessels themselves might not be very unique in terms of their appearance. Bugs like Elderbug are probably what the Hunter is referring to. Elderbug has a shell with similar features to Zote, the most notable being his mouth. The Knight, Hornet, and the other brothers have no mouths, although Hornet can still speak? So maybe Zote and Elderbug are the same species, and their resemblance to the brothers is just a coincidence.
Anyway, here's the big problem with Zote being a brother created from the Void. If the player character dreams about Zote once he returns to Dirtmouth, Zote mentions that he "came to this kingdom." So Zote is not originally from Hallownest, or at least he doesn't remember being from Hallownest. At this point, we're going to have to talk about the lands beyond Hallownest. The problem is that we basically know shit about the lands beyond Hallownest. While the player can never leave Hallownest during the game, we do get a glimpse of the outside world thanks to the Quirrel comic that Team Cherry released to their Kickstarter backers.
This comic follows Quirrel on his way from the desert back to Hallownest. The comic begins by establishing that desert insects have no minds. They got rid of their thoughts and chose to rely on instincts as a way to survive. This agrees quite well with the history tablet that can be found at Howling Cliffs. During his journey, Quirrel encounters Boon, another insect that can communicate through speech. Quirrel finally arrives in Hallownest, where he confronts Hornet. Hornet tried to kill him, but discovers that Quirrel has some serious plot armor and decides to let him pass to Hallownest. So what's going on with this guy?
Quirrel was once an assistant to Monomon the Master. Quirrel lived in Hallownest, but eventually left the kingdom for unknown reasons. But in this comic, as well as for most of the game, Quirrel shows no memory of his previous stay in the kingdom. Why was Quirrel's memory forgotten? Is it because the desert sands clouded his mind for so long that it took him a while to remember? Does leaving Hallownest cause the bugs to lose any memory of life within the kingdom? Is Quirrel's memory loss unrelated to him leaving Hallownest? Well, to better understand this, let's look at the other insects that travel to Hallownest during the game.
Aside from Quirrel and Zote, Tiso, Cloth, Cornifer, and Iselda appear to have ventured to Hallownest from somewhere else. All of these characters seem to have all their memories intact. They never suddenly remember things long forgotten, and what they do remember seems to imply that they have never lost their memories in the same way Quirrel did. Cloth and Tiso are two other Kickstarter backer characters that the player can interact with during the game. It's true that none of the characters openly state that they are from beyond Hallownest, but it's heavily implied. Cloth is a cicada-like warrior with a big club who seeks to find Nola, a character she mentions throughout the game.
Cloth was designed by a Kickstarter backer named Noah Sturtridge. She was originally a male character named Burlap, who wore a burlap sack on his head. Team Cherry renamed Burlap after they realized that burlap doesn't exist in Hallownest. I'm not sure why they changed their gender though. I guess it's just Team Cherry trying to shove more of their progressive agenda down our throats. Tiso was created by Tiso Spencer and his design is quite similar to the one that appeared in the final game. In Team Cherry's post revealing Tiso, it was mentioned that his story would have an interesting conclusion, and well... he dies off-screen.
Tiso travels to Hallownest because he wants to fight in the Colosseum of Fools, which he has heard rumors about. Tiso's knowledge of the memory of his friend in the Coliseo de los Locos y la Tela shows that these characters still have memories of him. Then there are Iselda and Cornifer. Cornifer mentions that she moved to Dirtmouth as soon as she could, after hearing about the Kingdom of Hallownest. You know, it being Cornifer's kingdom to map explains why the map of Hallownest he draws is so fucking shit, but that's beside the point. Iselda also mentions that she used to be a fighter, but she left him to be with Corny.
But this dialogue could be hinting at a future fight with Iselda's boss. But anyway, the point is that these two bugs must have lived somewhere beyond Hallownest before the start of the game. So yes, there are examples of clever mistakes beyond Hallownest. As for Quirrel, the best we can say is that she originated from Hallownest, she lost her memory of it and her time in Hallownest helped him regain it. So where does that leave Zote? Is she like Quirrel or is she like the others? If she used to be from Hallownest and lost her memory, why doesn't she remember anything about Hallownest during the search for her?
Is it because he's not as curious as Quirrel? Maybe, but doesn't it seem more likely that Zote is simply from another part of the world? Zote has specific memories about his past, as do Iselda and the other travelers. There is no evidence that Zote has lost his memory and he does not act as if he has never been to Hallownest. So yeah, this “I came to this kingdom” comment is the nail in the coffin for me. So why include all this dialogue about Zote's father if there is no connection between Zote and the Pale King? Does Team Cherry just like to make their crowbars annoy their fans and confuse the hell out of them?
Well, it could have been included simply as another way to contrast Zote and the Knight. Although they both have parents who probably won't get any World's Best Dad mugs for Christmas, the Knight continues his quest anyway, while Zote rejects his family and lives a life of self-absorption. So yeah, I think that pretty much sums up what we know about Zote. If I missed something, which I definitely did, someone will eventually come along and set the record straight in the comments, so check them out. And as I said before, this is just my interpretation of the evidence.
It's definitely one of those things in Hollow Knight history that Team Cherry could definitely change by adding more things via a content pack. And who knows, maybe one day we'll get a Zote DLC and my life will finally make sense again.

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