The White Palace is a beautiful nightmare. Enduring this pristine hellscape of captivating music, brutal platforming, and bloodthirsty buzzsaws can be the stopping point for most Hollow Knight players and the death to your steel soul run.
Despite Team Cherry’s efforts to scare you off from the most challenging part of Hollow Knight, this dreamworld also hides your father’s corpse, the truth behind Hallownest’s downfall, and an item necessary for getting four new endings.
In this Hollow Knight White Palace Guide, I’ll be going over how to start and finish the White Palace alongside several strategies and shortcuts to save you hours of platforming frustration. In addition, I’ll detail the various secrets found within the White Palace, such as the Path of Pain, the Pale King’s Workshop, and the White Lady’s Chair.
Bottom Line Up Front Summary: Equip Hiveblood and Grubsong charms and wait 12 seconds every time you get hit to remove the threat of death. Use the Mark of Pride charm to bypass vast sections of the obstacles through pogo jumping. If you remain patient and react quickly, the White Palace will be over in no time.
- Quest Location: Ancient Basin
- Quest Giver: Hornet
- Requirements: Awoken Dream Nail
- Length of Quest: 1-3 Hours
- Difficulty: Most Difficult
White Palace Synopsis
After gathering 1800 essence and meeting with Seer of the resting grounds, we awakened our dream nail, thus granting us access to the minds of higher beings. This ability allows us to dream, nail our way into the White Palace and gather the right half of the kingsoul charm necessary to enter a locked part of the abyss.
However, before we obtain this charm, we must endure platforming challenges riddled with spikes, thorns, and buzzsaws. After overcoming these trials, we’ll find the corpse of the Pale King, who drops the desired kingsoul fragment when hit.
Charms – Necessary for Survival
- Hiveblood – (4 notch cost) Regenerates a single damaged mask every 12 seconds if you can avoid enemy blows; however, getting hit removes this regeneration. Hiveblood is invaluable for winning the White Palace’s war of attrition by simply waiting each time you respawn after falling into spikes, buzzsaws, or thorns. You can find Hiveblood at the end of the Hive. I’d advise entering the Hive later in the game. Several of the larger bees can deal two mask damage, and the boss at the end can be challenging for newcomers.
- Grubsong – (1 notch cost) Generates soul each time your take damage. Ok, if I’m being frank, you will take a lot of damage in the White Palace. With Grubsong giving you soul every time you get hurt, you will accumulate an incredible amount for focusing every time you fall into a pit, or a buzzsaw reduces you to itty bitty pieces. Grubsong is obtained from Grubfather in the Forgotten Crossroads after saving 10 grubs throughout Hallownest.
Hiveblood & Grubsong Synergy
Using these two charms in tandem will trivialize the vast challenge of the White Palace, so your war becomes one of endurance rather than attrition.
To clarify, the presence of a handful of stationary flying foes that can damage you on touch and force you into spikes can lead to you taking two mask shard damage. While neither Hiveblood nor Grubsong can account for this drastic loss of health, you will gain an unlimited amount of soul when they are used together.
For example, even if you take two mask shard damage, you can always wait 12 seconds for one mask to respawn, throw yourself at the nearest buzzsaw, gain soul from getting hit, wait another twelve seconds, and rinse and repeat until you max out your soul.
Charms – Useful for Progression
- Mark of Pride – (3 notch cost) Lengthens your nail’s reach, enabling you to pogo spikes and other obstacles from a greater distance. This charm grants you access to several shortcuts scattered throughout the White Palace and makes executing pogo jumps more forgiving. Mark of Pride is obtained after defeating the Mantis Lords in the Fungal Wastes by opening a chest in the Mantis Village treasure room. If you don’t have enough charm slots to equip this charm, I suggest using Longnail (2 notch cost), its lesser counterpart, which can be bought from Salubra in the Forgotten Crossroads for 300 Geo.
- Fragile/Unbreakable Heart – (2 notch cost) Gives you two additional masks in health. Even though the White Palace has few dangerous enemies, 4 in total, they can still deal two masks worth of damage, taking away significant progress or permanently killing you on a steel soul run. A little more health goes a long way when encountering these foes. Fragile Heart can be purchased from Leg Eater in the Fungal wastes for 350 Geo and upgraded to unbreakable heart at Divine’s tent in Dirtmouth after summoning the Grim Troupe. I advise against upgrading the charm. The price to upgrade, 12000 geo, is incredibly steep, and your money will be better spent at Sly’s and Iselda’s shops.
- Sprintmaster – (1 notch cost) Increases your movement speed, enabling you to react quickly to close corner obstacles. While it’s not essential for progression, Sprintmaster allows you to rapidly respond to a few close corner spike traps and progress slightly faster through the White Palace. Sprintmaster can be bought from Sly in Dirtmouth for 400 geo after returning him the shopkeepers key found in Crystal Peaks.
Ideal Charm Loadout
- Mark of Pride
- Fragile/Unbreakable Heart
Awoken Dream Nail – Required for Entry
Entry to the White Palace requires using an awoken dream nail on a higher being. If you haven’t awakened your dream nail yet, ensure you’ve collected at least 1800 essence and speak to the moth priest of the resting grounds, Seer, and return. If you haven’t gathered enough essence yet, you can find more by challenging dream warrior bug corpses throughout Hallownest.
Non-aggressive but incredibly annoying, these stationary bugs cannot die. They’ll quickly reassemble after being hit, serving as permanent obstacles in your path. Despite their ability to damage you on touch, they also function as mid-air pogo jumps to recharge your dash, monarch wings or reach higher places.
Extremely dangerous and aggressive, Kingsmoulds should be dealt with quickly and carefully. These void aberrations can nimbly backpedal and follow up with a ranged boomerang attack dealing a whooping two mask damage apiece.
If the creature winds up their scythe for a boomerang attack, jump up to avoid the spinning blade and avoid it on its return journey. If the kingsmould winds back their scythe for a melee, shade dash through them and deliver a couple of hits followed by shade soul attacks to finish them.
Stationary and moving obstacles that crave your demise. Buzzsaws are the most dangerous, numerous, and insidious obstacles found throughout the White Palace. While these rounded murder machines can’t be destroyed or dashed through, you can pogo these obstacles to reach valuable shortcuts.
Both stationary and receding, spikes can function as incredibly tense obstacle sections or penalties for touching the floor or wall. Both types can be pogoed to reach new areas or to gain a brief respite before your next dash. If you reach a receding set of spikes, wait for the spikes to disappear into the wall, ceiling, or floor before proceeding.
Encompassing vast stretches of the walls, ceilings, and floors, thorns cannot be pogoed and punish you for going out of bounds. Keep your distance, and you’ll be fine.
I hope you had a loving farewell with your fanfiction-writing girlfriend in Dirtmouth; it’s going to be a few hours until you see her again. Make your way to the Ancient Basin stag station, termed Hidden Station.
Immediately left of the station, you’ll find a decayed room with the corpse of a kingsmould dominating the middle with dream particle effects surrounding the dead bug. Before you enter, make sure you have everything you need. Leaving the White Palace is a hassle, and we are unable to use the dream nail’s dreamgate to create checkpoints.
Once you’re ready, dream nail the dead bug to transport yourself to a pristine version of the room you were just in. Head right and encounter a living version of the kingsmould, furious at you for probing their mind.
Employ the tactics we discussed earlier, shade dashing when it melees and following up with shade soul attacks. After you succeed, head through the now unlocked doors. The White Palace awaits.
Strategies and Shortcuts
- Pogo Everything– Nearly every obstacle in the White Palace, including stationary wall spikes, can be pogoed. Whether you’re avoiding traps or bypassing terrain, your nail can be an effective means to progress through challenging sections of the White Palace. Furthermore, as one who has completed the White Palace on both PC and Xbox controls, I recommend switching to a controller to pogo more effectively. Timing a pogo with pc controls, quickly hitting the down arrow key while pressing “x,” is much more frustrating than using an analog stick. Save yourself a sweaty keyboard and use a controller instead.
- Avoid Falling Back – Falling back into previous areas erases any progress you’ve made, forcing you to repeat entire sections you struggled to get through. If you’re falling downwards into a prior room, try aiming or dashing into a nearby obstacle to be sent to your nearest checkpoint. It’s far better to lose a mask shard than 15 minutes of well-earned progress.
- Listen to Audio Cues – For areas with moving spikes and buzzsaws, pay attention to audio cues to perfect your timing. Memorizing the sounds of receding spikes or fading buzzsaws, especially when they’re out of the camera’s field of view, is an excellent indicator of when to proceed.
- Beware of Crystal Dashing – A few areas in the latter half of the White Palace require you to crystal dash without knowing what lies at the end. Team Cherry, evil bridge trolls that they are, purposefully place wingsmoulds at the end of these, hoping you’ll panic and fly into a spiked wall sending you back to the beginning. Expect the worst when you can’t see ahead and prepare to exit crystal dashes immediately.
The first shortcut we can access is in the room East of the main hall on the upper floor. The intended path to progress is downwards, but instead, we’ll take a shortcut upwards and skip over a whole section of the platforming challenge of this room.
Fit through the small gap between the buzzsaw and the ceiling by timing a monarch hop to avoid the buzzsaw. Before you fall into the buzzsaw below, shade dash onto the small ledge to the left for a massive checkpoint. Nice job! You’ve just saved yourself 20 minutes of platforming hell.
The following shortcut we can utilize is in the area above the elevator up from the main hall just after resting at the nearby bench. To access this shortcut, we’ll need to monarch jump up to the stationary buzzsaw and pogo it for brief airtime.
Immediately monarch up and attach yourself to the right side of the left wall. However, delay climbing all the way up, or a roving buzzsaw will demolish us. Wait for the buzzsaw to ascend, then stop at the left ledge for a checkpoint.
We can use this next shortcut just after our last one. After reaching the top of this section of buzzsaws, we now have two chances to perform a sweet shortcut to save us some time.
If you can manage it, jump up above the rightmost lamppost, pogo the lamppost, monarch jump up, and dash left to reach the ledge nearby. If you fail this one, don’t worry; you can easily use the one on the left. This shortcut enables us to bypass a vast section of challenging terrain brimming with spikes and tricky dashes.
The Path of Pain
This brutally difficult side challenge to the White Palace is accessed just above the main hall’s elevator to the left. Break a hidden wall, then worm your way through the narrow passage into the most challenging part of Hollow Knight.
Head leftwards, and if you notice the music shift and a small tablet reading “To witness secrets sealed, one must endure the harshest punishment,” you’ll know you’re in the right place.
Path of Pain Warning
The Path of Pain is unnecessary for progressing and is more challenging than anything the White Palace will throw at you. I advise against pursuing the Path of Pain if the White Palace is giving you enough trouble already or you want to finish this section of the game quickly.
While shorter than the White Palace, about half its length in rooms, the Path of Pain can take at least 2-3 hours your first time and has no benches to save your progress should you quit out of the game. Still, if you crave challenge or are desperate enough to uncover the ultimate truth behind Hallownest’s downfall, this may be just the trial for you.)
The Pale King’s Workshop
To reach this hidden workshop, finish the final platforming area and get to the small alcove with a black and grey striped pattern above. Instead of following the intended path up, jump leftwards and make it over the spikes beneath. Dash and monarch rightwards to get to a wall for safety. Dash leftwards from this wall to make it over the spikey thorns beneath.
Immediately aim rightwards just as you come over the thorns below. As you pass under the thorns, monarch upwards and pogo the wingsmould beneath to reach the pale king’s workshop entrance.
Upon entry, you’ll discover a creepy facility the pale king used to design the kingsmoulds, wingsmoulds, and other void aberrations like the City of Tear’s Collector. You’ll also find a lore tablet explaining how the Pale King sought to mold and utilize void creatures’ abilities for his own ends. Head right, and drop down to find yourself in the area preceding the striped alcove.
White Lady’s Chair
Just after crystal dashing across the last chasm and before the elevator to the throne room, we can head right to see a breakable floor to the left of a White Lady statue. Break it with a desolate dive and climb down into a small room. Inside we’ll find a seat that would have housed the White Lady. We’ll also hear the creepy music box theme that plays when our knight encounters their shade.
Why the White Lady’s chair is apart from the Pale King’s is never answered. Perhaps the White Lady never forgave the Pale King for his “dalliance” with Herra, or the Pale King didn’t want to share his throne room. Given the unhealthy amount of buzzsaws in the White Palace, even if it is just a dream, the Pale King clearly had some issues.
Pale King’s Egg
To the right of the Pale King’s throne room, we’ll find a breakable wall; break it to discover an opened Egg outlining the Pale King’s driving purpose. While the wording is somewhat ambivalent, in typical Team Cherry fashion, I interpret it as outlining principles dictating the Pale King’s intolerance for the Radiance, need to receive worship, and solace over his children’s dour fate.
After Knocking the Pale King out of his chair, we’ll have the option to sit on the throne. Remaining on the throne for long enough will trigger a haunting melody of the Hollow Knight’s theme. You can only sit upon the throne once per game. After leaving the White Palace, your chance to sit upon the throne and hear this eerie song will be gone forever.
Leaving the White Palace
At the end of the White Palace, we reach the Throne room with the dead Pale King sitting atop his stone chair. Dream nailing him will provide us with the phrase, “No cost too great…”
After nailing him a few times, the Pale King will fall from his throne and drop the right half of the kingsoul charm. If you’ve already gathered the left half from the White Lady, the kingsoul fragments will combine themselves into the kingsoul charm.
This five-notch charm slowly generates an endless amount of soul and grants access to a locked part of the Abyss. After picking up the charm half, the screen fades to white, warping us out of the White Palace and back into Hallownest. The White Palace is over, and we are victorious!
Question: When and where can I access the White Palace?
Answer: After you’ve acquired the awoken dream nail from Seer of the resting grounds, you can dream nail a corpse in the room left of the Ancient Basin stage station to transport into the White Palace.
Question: Why Can’t I Dream Nail Ancient Basin Bug?
Answer: You haven’t awoken your dream nail yet. Gather 1800 essence from dream warrior battles throughout Hallownest and return to Seer in the Resting Grounds to upgrade your dream nail.
Question: Do I Need to Beat the White Palace to Finish the Game?
Answer: No, but beating the White Palace unlocks access to 4 new endings: the good ending, an altered bad ending, and the Gods and Glory DLC endings.
Question: Is the Path of Pain Required for Beating the White Palace?
Answer: No, the Path of Pain is entirely optional. Beating the Path of Pain grants you access to a unique cutscene and lore regarding the fall of Hallownest.
Question: How Long Does the White Palace Take?
Answer: Anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your skill level. However, completing the Path of Pain can easily add 2-3 hours.
Well done! You’ve conquered the very worst Hollow Knight has had to throw at you. We’ve pogoed spikes, survived buzzsaws, and unlocked the next section of the game. We learned of the uncompromising, egotistical mindset that motivated the Pale King and the reason behind the Hollow Knight’s infection if we beat the Path of Pain.
Relish in your accomplishment, my wayward bug. Only a fraction of players ever make it this far, so you can now count yourself among these worthy few. Now, gather the last kingsoul fragment from the White Lady, and head into the abyss if you haven’t already. The true ending of Hollow Knight awaits!
White Palace Rewards:
- Kingsoul charm right half
- Hunter’s Journal
- Seal of Binding (Path of Pain only)
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