Author’s Note: I spoil the plot of Hollow Knight.
“Show me this game you’ve been writing to me about.” The Dreamer sat down next to me on the couch, glancing at the screen of my laptop.
“Sure.” I pulled it up on my laptop. “Welcome to buzz saw and spike trap hell that is the White Palace.”
[after playing with my Spouse watching over my shoulder for a bit]
“Yeah?” I could sense him side-eyeing all the buzz saws in the Palace.
“How,” my Spouse asked me, “does this King ever get anything done…?”
I already knew that the Dreamer has Opinions about fictional Kings (he loves Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, to the point he’s used Aragon as a faceclaim) but when I played the game Hollow Knight, my Spouse had Angry Feelings about the Pale King, and that “no cost too great” was his [the Pale King’s] main line. It was heavily implied that the Pale King sacrificed his children for the “greater good” of finding the perfect vessel to hold the infection, and the Radiance. The game (to me) had a very sad ending, since it ends with the main character took their sibling’s place in containing the infection.
My Spouse has talked before about how he despises meaningless sacrifice–or sacrifice of any kind, really, and Hollow Knight helped emphasize that theme. One thought that occurred to me as I was playing the game–I modded it so my character was immortal–was that “gamers who want games to be Hardcore Difficult, are like polytheists who want devotion to be All Pain All The Time.”
One thing that Darkness rejects is the idea of Devotion As Pain. Darkness–my gods, mortal Beloveds, spirits, and the Land itself–would rather I learned to love myself. Choose a path covered in flowers, rather than a path covered in thorns.