The Absolute Radiance terrifies me. Standing at the end of an hour-long boss gauntlet dealing two mask attacks with almost no room for us to focus, Hallownest’s moth goddess always sends my heart into a fluttering frenzy.
Even so, the Absolute Radiance holds two of the best endings of Hollow Knight, allowing us to free our tortured sibling and even become the Lord of Shades and tear our bug kingdom to pieces. So, whether we’re in it to save our dysfunctional bug family or for limitless dark power, the Absolute Radiance must be destroyed!
In this Hollow Knight Absolute Radiance guide, I’ll review how to access and defeat the Absolute Radiance for the Embrace the Void and Delicate Flower endings. As a bonus, I’ll detail the Radiance’s backstory and why the dream moth goddess is determined to ravage Hallownest and smite us to a buggy pulp.
Bottom Line Up Front
Free the Godseeker in the Junk Pit with a Simple Key, then dream nail her to access Godhome and defeat the four Pantheons guarding the Pantheon of Hallownest.
After activating the Godtuner above the 4th Pantheon and progressing through the Pantheon of Hallownest, we can fight the Absolute Radiance at the boss gauntlet’s end and practice against her in the Hall of Gods if we’re still struggling with her fight.
Absolute Radiance: A Forgotten Evil
The cause of Hallownest’s downfall and the infection plaguing the bug kingdom, the Radiance is a forgotten moth goddess infesting Hallownest’s bugs through their dreams.
While she was once a more passive entity that basked in the worship of her moth tribe and fought against the Darkness beneath Hallownest, The Radiance grew embittered as the Pale King seduced her tribe, leaving her alone and forgotten.
After an innumerable amount of time, a bug miner discovered the Radiance’s ruined monument atop Crystal Peaks at Hallownest’s Crown, prompting a vengeful Radiance to have her retribution by infecting the dreams of Hallownest’s Denizens, turning them into mindless, mutated beasts.
To combat the Radiance, the Pale King intended to contain her inside an empty void vessel (the Hollow Knight) with the help of the three dreamers (Monomon the Teacher, Lurien the Watcher, and Herrah the Beast).
Unfortunately, after showing the Hollow Knight a glimmer of paternal affection, the empty vessel became tainted by sentiment, preventing them from becoming a truly hollow creature and allowing the Radiance to take control of our broken void sibling and emerge into Hallownest.
While we can fight her standard version in the Dream No More ending after dream nailing the Hollow Knight in the Black Egg, we’ll find her more challenging counterpart (the Absolute Radiance) within Godhome at the end of the Pantheon of Hallownest.
However, even if the Absolute Radiance is far more challenging, this is our best chance to save Hallownest without putting Hornet, the Hollow Knight, or ourselves at risk. If we want the happiest ending for our buggy heroes, we’ve got some gods to slay.
Annihilating the Absolute Radiance
- Quest Locations: Godhome, Junk Pit
- Quest Giver: Godseeker
- Length of Quest: 10-15 Hours
- Difficulty: Extremely Difficulty
- Defeat Every Boss
- Obtain Every Ability
- Beat all 5 Godhome Pantheons
Unlike the three other endings that force us to fight the Hollow Knight and the Radiance within the Black Egg, we’ll find the Absolute Radiance within the bowels of the Royal Waterways, hiding within the dreams of a chained-up Godseeker.
Despite how arduous and absurd this may sound, reaching the Godseeker is a piece of cake, but we’ll need to steel ourselves for the trials within their mind.
Once we have a spare Simple Key and all the abilities in our arsenal, from a mantis claw to the dream nail and shade dash, we can start our march toward the Absolute Radiance.
Step 1: Wasted Waterways
To begin, we’re going to detour from the path to Flukemarm’s boss fight to reach a devious set of tunnels. Starting from the tilted bench in the Royal Waterways, head left and downwards to a small junk-strewn opening.
Continue right until we drop down into a small puddle brimming with Flukefeys and Flukemon and head left into a slimy environment. Now head left and look for a breakable roof just before we enter Flukemarm’s massive arena.
We can follow this narrow vertical corridor to a set of dangerous tunnels blocking the entrance to the Junk Pit. After opening the shortcut just before this exit, we can head through the passage into the dark unknown.
Step 2: Tulmultous Tunnels
Upon entering the dark set of tunnels with a Lumafly Lantern from Sly, we must navigate several horizontal tunnels with Flukemungas squeezing their way through. To begin, head up one level, then make an immediate left, taking care to shade dash through a charging Flukemunga.
After heading leftward and down into the level below, keep leading left and upwards to reach the opening to the story above. Now head slightly leftwards to get to another entrance above past another Flukemunga and then head rightwards to the next entry upwards.
Following reaching this uppermost level, we can head leftwards to find the tunnel exit to the Junk Pits hosting an imprisoned Godseeker.
Step 3: Sleeping Seeker
After entering this safe zone, we’ll enjoy a brief fall into a watery sewer into the Junk Pits. From here, we can take another left and a super dash if we want to keep our cloak out of that filthy water to find a chained-up sarcophagus housing the Godseeker.
Interacting with the casket with a Simple Key frees our imprisoned friend and sends the Godseeker plopping to the floor.
While we can talk to her later and give the Delicate Flower from the Grey Mourner, we can dream nail her and enter Godhome for now.
*Note – Leaving the Junk Pit
If we want a safer way to leave the Junk Pits besides heading back through those slimy tunnels, we can climb off the wall to the room’s left and run across the few platforms at the top. After following this linear path, we’ll wind up back in the City of Tears near the Nailmaster’s house.
Step 4: Godly Goals
Upon entering Godhome, we’re greeted by a wonderous scene of immaculate pillars and fluffy clouds, with several godseekers wearing golden masks and cloaks. After jumping rightwards across the few platforms, we’ll arrive at an open door beside three locked ones.
Each of these doors houses bosses from the main game, including a few new additions like Oro, Mato, Sheo, and Nailsage Sly and some remakes of original bosses, like Sisters of Battle and Winged Nosk.
Though it would take too long to detail each of these pantheons in this article, we have an excellent guide reviewing Godhome and the Pantheon of Hallownest here.
For now, focus on beating the first three pantheons, then move to Godseeker mode after the third Pantheon if we still need Mask Fragments, Vessel Shards, or Charms. After we’ve beaten all four pantheons and activated the Godtuner resting above the fourth Pantheon, we can start making our way up to the Pantheon of Hallownest.
Step 5: Pantheon of Pain
*CAUTION: Before you begin
Let me begin by saying that the Pantheon of Hallownest is obscenely hard. Having to fight all 41 bosses (40 if Zote is dead) without fail again and again before we fight the Absolute Radiance. It made me long for the Path of Pain as an escape.
All in all, there is no shame if you want to install Hollow Knight’s Easy Mode mod and make the Pantheon of Hallownest more bearable or play with other damage modifier mods to save yourself nearly 15 hours of challenge.
Still, if we’re intent on playing through this without cheats and showing the Absolute Radiance who’s boss (it’s us, we’re the boss), I’ll go over tips for the Pantheon before launching into the legendary battle at its end.
Train and Fight
Upon encountering each boss in the Godhome, we can practice fighting against them in the Hall of Gods to figure out their strategies and ready ourselves for fighting against them in the Pantheon of Hallownest.
Though most bosses are easy, we’ll likely need to practice against a select few (i.e. Nailsage Sly, Markoth, Pure Vessel, Nightmare King Grimm, and the Absolute Radiance) to defeat them in the Pantheon of Hallownest more readily.
Overall, I highly recommend spending several hours against some of the more challenging bosses in the Hall of Gods. Even if this may take time, it’ll save us even greater hours of toil repeating the Pantheon. Once we’re confident we can beat most bosses nearly hitless, our tiny bug form is ready for godly glory!
Life Blood Boost
If we enjoy a little extra health, we can earn some additional health through regrowing lifeblood cocoons in each rest area of the Pantheon of Hallownest.
These cocoons can offer us several masks of limited health that can make some of the later fights easier if we beat the earlier battles without taking any hits.
To get these blue Masks, we’ll have to complete the previous four pantheons with bindings tied to our Nail damage, Masks, Soul, and Charms. I advise going for each binding at a time but staying away from the Charm binding on the Pantheon of the Sage; fighting Nailsage Sly without Charms is unforgivably hard.
If we’re uninterested in scouring Hallownest for every Charm, mask shard, and vessel fragment, we can play through Godseeker mode, which puts us at 100% completion in the game with a maxed Nail, set of Charms, Vessels, and Masks.
To unlock this mode, we’ll have to beat the Pantheon of the Sage with Nailsage Sly, so we can rush this boss if we want an easier go at Godhome.
However, this mode doesn’t allow us to return to Hallownest, thereby locking us out of the Delicate Flower ending, so take care before committing to this mode if we want to save Hallownest without dooming it to a void monstrosity.
Preparation for the Absolute Radiance
If we play our cards right and defeat the Pure Vessel in the Pantheon of Hallownest, we’re transported to the boss of the Absolute Radiance.
Punctuated with ominous music, a terrifying plague scream, and a title drop for Hollow Knight’s cruelest boss, we’ll engage in a grueling battle spanning three stages with attacks dealing two masks of damage apiece.
Though we’ll likely get obliterated within the first few minutes of the fight and have to practice at the Hall of Gods to better prepare for this battle, I’ll review the best strategies for tearing this giant evil moth to shreds!
While I generally prefer maximizing my nail damage for this fight, we can leverage a few different Charm setups for dealing with the Absolute Radiance Radiance. If you’re curious about where to find these Charms and how to bring our Charm slots to maximum, I recommend checking out our Charm guide here.
- Mark of Pride (3 Notches) – Extends our Nail’s range by 25%.
- Quick Slash (3 Notches) – Increase our attack speed by 40%.
- Fragile Strength (3 Notches) – Grants us 50% more nail damage.
- Fragile Heart (2 Notches) – Grants us two more masks of health.
My favorite Charm setup, Lethal Nail maximizes our Nail’s size, damage, and attack speed, allowing us to deal absurd amounts of damage and cut the length of the fight in half. Though I highly recommend this build, especially with the Fragile Charms from Leg Eater not breaking upon death, we’ll still be highly unable to heal but can enjoy one more hit of damage with Fragile Heart.
- Quick Focus (3 Notches) – Drastically increases our focus speed.
- Shape of Unn (2 Notches) – Allows us to move while focusing. It also enables quicker movement and focusing when used with Quick Focus.
- Longnail (2 Notches) – Extends our Nail’s length by 15%.
- Quick Slash (3 Notches) – Raises our attack speed by 40%.
- Sprintmaster (1 Notch) – Increases our movement speed by 20%.
If we want to heal more readily during the Absolute Radiance’s fight, this loadout allows us to quickly focus and move away from enemy attacks. Though this build drastically prolongs the battle, it’ll be our only way to heal safely.
I only recommend this build if focusing is necessary, and we’re okay with extending the fight.
- Soul Eater (4 Notches) – Drastically increases our soul gain.
- Shaman Stone (3 Notches) – Increases our spell damage by 33-51%; Howling Wraiths by 50%; Desolate Dive 51%; Vengeful Spirit 33%.
- Spell Twister (2 Notches) – Decreases the amount of soul spells consume.
- Longnail (2 Notches) – Increases our Nail’s length by 15%.
One of the more risky technical builds, spell caster enhances our ability to leverage descending dark’s invincibility frames or hit the Absolute Radiance from across the map on her second phase. While this build compromises our ability to focus by spending all our soul on spells, Soul Eater should give us enough soul to heal between stages slightly.
If you want to expedite the fight or are sick of the Absolute Radiance transporting away during the second phase, Spell Caster is a fun, albeit dangerous, build for the risky bug.
Nail, Mask, and Vessel
Unless we’re playing on Godseeker mode and already enjoy a maximum Nail, Mask, and Vessel setup, we should spend time scouring Hallownest for any remaining fragments.
Even if entering the fight with full health seems excessive, the Absolute Radiance’s two Mask shard attacks effectively cuts our health in half, making every shred of S oul, health, and damage count.
Fight Absolute Radiance
Once we’re ready to fight the Absolute Radiance, we’ll have to prepare for three stages, much like the fight with the standard Radiance but with faster attacks and a terrifying final stage. Let’s review how to dodge the Absolute Radiance’s attacks and deal with each Stage.
Three sets of beams that quickly fire from the Absolute Radiance; Beam Burst is one of the Absolute Radiance’s quickest attacks.
However, even if this attack feels impossible to anticipate, no two beams strike the same area twice, so we effectively follow the beams, safely dodging away from the Absolute Radiance’s attacks and dealing damage.
In short, get out of the way of the first set, dodge into where the beam was, and repeat for the last set while seeing if we can land a hit or two on the giant moth.
Much like Beam Burst, Sword Burst sees two sets of Swords emanate from the Absolute Radiance, with the second set going in a rotated direction. While this attack is nearly impossible to dodge close up, it’s easy to evade from afar if we anticipate the trajectory of the swords.
I recommend putting some space between ourselves and the Absolute Radiance during this attack to make it easier to anticipate and dodge their arcs.
As the name suggests, a barrage of swords rains down from the ceiling, forcing us to stand utterly still to dodge this attack. Before starting the Absolute Radiance’s second phase, we must overcome several sets of these swords while slashing at the furious giant moth.
While we can avoid this attack by standing between any of the two swords, I recommend looking out for the two gap distances for a better way to evade each barrage.
The Absolute Radiance hurls a set of fast-moving horizontal swords to tear us to shreds. Our best bet for dodging these swords is to identify the gap in the swords and dash through.
If we cannot try dashing through in time, let ourselves touch the reappearing floor spikes to trigger invincibility frames to save ourselves a mask of health.
Wall of Light
A giant wall of fast-moving light, we’ll have to shade dash through the ray as soon as we see it to avoid any following attacks, like a sword wall or sword rain that will be impossible to dodge if we delay.
I recommend paying attention to our character for the black flicker that indicates when our shade dash is recharged or leveraging the Sharp Shadow Charm to reduce the cooldown.
What I consider the evil moth goddess’s most challenging attack, the Absolute Radiance’s Orb attack sends 3-4 giant glowing spheres quickly moving towards us.
In the first phase, we can bait the orbs into the ground by dashing across at the second moment. In the second phase, we can force the spheres to impact the golden platforms by distancing ourselves from the Absolute Radiance.
In the third phase, we can move in a circular pattern across the platforms to ensure the orbs never touch as they impact the ledges and darkness beneath us. In short, ensure we move in a large, round path to evade the wrath of these terrible orbs.
Phase 1: Ground Pound
The first phase of the Absolute Radiance is a relatively straightforward ground battle. While we can readily anticipate the Absolute Radiance’s attacks, her ground spikes can frustrate our movements as she teleports left and right.
Even so, this phase is relatively straightforward as we don’t have to worry about falling to our deaths like in the other stages and can bait the giant glowing orbs into the ground.
After we’ve dealt enough damage, however, she sends a barrage of swords raining from above, forcing us to slash at the Absolute Radiance incrementally while dodging the spikes.
Following a good dozen slashes, the Absolute Radiance falls to the floor, allowing us to focus on any lost masks before proceeding to the next set of platforms above for Stage Two.
Phase 2: Platform Panic
While her moves are identical to Stage One, this section of the fight forces us to chase the Absolute Radiance across platforms as she teleports across the arena.
Though we’ll likely struggle to land in hits as she teleports away from our swings, we can land a brutal number of slashes if she lands in either of the two center-middle ledges, allowing us to spam slash to capitalize on her damage.
Eventually, the Absolute Radiance teleports above, and random beams of light begin to gun us down. Though focusing can be risky, especially with the rays of light gunning for us, I highly recommend healing if you can manage; we won’t have a chance for the rest of the fight.
Phase 3: Circle of Death
A new addition to the Absolute Radiance fight, phase 3 forces us to battle the Absolute Radiance at the peak of the pantheons across two narrow ledges. To climb up, however, we’ll have to jump across several platforms with the Radiance shoots Rays of Light at us from above.
I advise moving in a diagonal pattern to minimize the chance of the beams catching us and dash just before the beam attack goes off. Once we reach the top, we’ll have to battle the Absolute Radiance over a pit of darkness while she throws orb after orb at us.
While this phase may seem intense, it’s absurdly easy if we manage to go in a wide circle around the Raidiance, pogoing her top before she dashes to the other side, dashing across the top, hitting her again, then dashing back to bait the balls into the floor of darkness.
All in all, this pattern ensures that the glowing balls impact the platforms or darkness, and we’re more than able to score enough hits to beat the Absolute Radiance back.
A Dark Victory
After our last hit, we break apart from our shell, transforming into the Lord of Shades and holding the Absolute Radiance down as we tear her to merciless shreds. Following this brutal victory, a cutscene shows the Godseeker in utter rapture as we descend from the heights to consume her.
In the real world, darkness pours out of the Godseeker as we begin to take over the giant bug and terrorize Hallownest unless we brought a Delicate Flower from the Grey Mourner, in which case the transformation makes the godseeker disappear, leaving a black blotch on the Delicate Flower.
Meanwhile, in the Temple of the Black Egg, a surprised Hornet gawks at the plague tendrils withering and dying within the infected tomb as a version of the Hollow Knight, freed from the Absolute Radiance’s influence, happens upon their half-sister and the two prepare for battle.
The Absolute Radiance Rewards
- Embrace the Void
- Delicate Flower
The Pale King (Bitter Enemy)
The vanished ruler of Hallownest who gave everything to save his realm, the Pale King was the one who initially seduced the Moth Tribe away from worshiping the Radiance, making the moth goddess grow bitter as she was slowly forgotten.
However, once the Radiance returned violently after her statue’s discovery atop Crystal Peak, the Pale King sought (and failed) to contain her in the Hollow Knight and quarantine the Radiance’s spread.
Unfortunately, the Radiance succeeded, bringing the Hallownest to ruin and prompting void to consume the Pale King in a moment of weakness.
We can find the Corpse of the Pale King in the White Palace after dream nailing the Kingsmould with an awakened dream nail. Defeating the Radiance or replacing the Hollow Knight guarantees the Pale King’s victory over the Radiance, even in death.
The Seer (Final Devotee)
The last follower of the Radiance, the Seer was part of an Ancient Moth tribe that worshiped the Radiance. However, like the rest of her tribe, the Seer slowly stopped worshipping and eventually forgot about the Radiance, leaving the moth goddess to grow bitter and mad.
Ultimately when the Radiance returned, the Seer realized her tribe’s mistakes and has since worked to atone for her mistakes by appointing the last dream wielder and pleading with the Radiance for forgiveness.
After interacting with the shrine of the three Dreamers in the Resting Grounds graveyard, Seer rescues us and offers the Dream Nail. We can continually interact with her after providing more essence to learn about Hallownest’s tragic fate.
The Lord of Shades (Arch Nemesis)
The Ancient enemy of the Radiance, the Lord of Shades, is the Darkness that Hallownest’s people worshiped before the time of the Radiance.
Though much is unknown about this powerful being, we can infer from lore tablets in the abyss and the Absolute Radiance’s thoughts that the two loathed each other and sought each other’s destruction.
We become the Lord of Shades after defeating the Absolute Radiance at the Pantheon of Hallownest and tearing the giant evil moth to pieces. We can also find an icon of the Lord of Shades in the Hall of Gods in the bottom right if we beat all bosses on Radiance difficulty.
Thoughts Towards Us: “…ANCIENT ENEMY…”
Afraid of Us: “…I DO NOT FEAR YOU…”
Pleading her Case: “…LET ME BE FREE…”
Declaring her Cause: “…I WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN…”
Weather Forcast: “…DAWN WILL BREAK…”
Denying her Fate: “…THE LIGHT CANNOT BE CONSUMED…”
Question: Where is the Absolute Radiance?
Answer: The Absolute Radiance lies at the end of the Pantheon of Hallownest. To reach this Pantheon, however, we’ll have to unlock and dream nail the Godseeker in the Junk Pits near the Royal Waterways and beat the first four Pantheons preceding this trial.
Question: How do I Defeat the Absolute Radiance?
Answer: Increasing our Nail’s range, damage, and attack speed can significantly help with defeating the Absolute Radiance. Also, practicing against the Absolute Radiance in the Hall of Gods can substantially help recognize and dodge her attacks.
Question: How do I Get the Delicate Flower Ending?
Answer: Giving the Godseeker a Delicate Flower from the Grey Mourner in the Resting Grounds (or the grave in the Queen’s gardens if we finished her quest) locks us into the Delicate Flower ending after defeating the Absolute Radiance. Be warned that we can’t use stagways, dreamgates, or get hit while delivering the flower.
Exceedingly well done, courageous bug! We’ve conquered Hollow Knight’s most daunting challenge, saving our wayward sibling and turning ourselves into a void monstrosity to Hallownest’s peril!
Though I still despise the evil moth goddess’s painstaking challenge, the sheer relief of besting the Absolute Radiance is a violent joy that puts the Path of Pain to shame.
From the anxiety of climbing the final ledges while dodging Rays of Light to the thrill of tearing her apart as the Lord of Shades, no other Hollow Knight challenge makes me want to weep with relief.
Regardless of our victory, we can call ourselves true masters of Hollow Knight, capable of conquering any obstacle Team Cherry throws at us! So whether we aim to give it another go for the Delicate Flower ending or want to fight a terrifying amount of Zotes in the Endless Ordeal, the Absolute Radiance can’t stop us now!