Black Knight (sometimes 'The Black Knight') is one of many Knights that appear in Shovel Knight. He is Shovel Knight's enigmatic yet good intended rival. His fighting style differs from Shovel Knight, despite their same choice of weapon.
As the Yin to Shovel Knight’s Yang, the Black Knight calls nobody master. Clad in obsidian armor, he hounds Shovel Knight to the ends of the Earth, spoiling for a battle. The Black Knight’s skill with the Shovel Blade rivals that of Shovel Knight, or so the Black Knight hopes to prove! While Shovel Knight is confused as to why he has this mysteriously relentless doppelganger, no number of humiliating defeats by Shovel Knight could dampen the Black Knight’s spirit: he will always rise up to fight again!
"Black Knight:I knew you’d show your face sooner or later, the cerulean coward! Turn back, Shovel Knight! There’s nothing here for you anymore."
"Shovel Knight:Stand aside, Black Knight! I’ve no quarrel with you. I must return to the Tower of Fate!"
"Black Knight:Your time away has dulled your senses… can’t you see? This entire valley has been conquered by the Enchantress! And her invincible knights of the Order of No Quarter stand between you and the tower! But none of that matters, because anyone after the Enchantress has to go through me. Steel thy shovel!"
"Black Knight:Listen to me, Magicist! I know you’re aiding him in his quest for the Ultimate Potion!"
"Magicist:Ultimate… what? I haven’t seen him since he fled to join the Order of No Quarter!"
"Black Knight:Ahh, alchemical trickery. You can’t fool me! I know he plans to use the potion to beguile you!"
"Magicist:Wait… me?! What are you insinuating—oh! Someone’s coming!"
"Black Knight:Oh, it’s the panicky pushover! Is winning the Magicist’s heart worth betraying your allies?"
"Plague Knight:Hee hee hee, what? Where in the world did you hear that?"
"Black Knight:And I know how you plan to gather ingredients! The only thing worse than a deranged alchemist.. is a traitor! Do what you will with the Order, but none threaten the Enchantress and live!!"
"Black Knight:*pant** pant*...That fighting style...could it be? Donovan!? But you were claimed by the Tower!"
"Specter Knight:The Tower grows in power each moment. The Enchantress has plans for you, and will grant you what you desire."
"Black Knight:I won't be led astray. You standing before me means there's hope for the one I seek...I'm glad you are safe, Donovan, but keep your distance. The Donovan I knew would surely know better than to pursue me further."
The battles in the Plains of Passage and in the overworld are remarkably similar. Black Knight has some of the same moves as Shovel Knight, including the Shovel Drop. However, he can launch a large purple projectile attack, which can be reflected by attacking it directly with the shovel. During the second battle, he will deflect this back at you if you attempt to deflect it, until he lets his guard down, causing himself to get hit.
In the last battle against him, the battle starts similarly, except when using his purple projectile attack he will instead phase across the screen launching them. After a while during the battle, he will grow wings, which will fire thorns upon being released. In this form he will occasionally summon large meteors to strike the earth, with two meteors staying on the ground, that will cause damage to Shovel Knight upon contact. These cannot be destroyed by Shovel Knight, but can by Black Knight, who will occasionally Shovel Drop onto them, causing them to explode. After a while his wings will disappear and he will retake his previous strategies, occasionally growing them again to restart the cycle. He also has a more powerful Shovel Dirt attack, which will launch multiple debris imbued with purple energy; these can be reflected by attacking with the shovel.
One reason for a knight to have black armor was to indicate they served no lord. Given that Black Knight is a wholly independent character, enough so that Shovel Knight notes he does not blindly follow, this is quite fitting.
Black Knights also appear in various Arthurian Legends, where they are usually depicted as errant knights and rivals to White Knights. They are sometimes associated with death.
Shovel Knight's Mail of Momentum uses a similar palette to Black Knight's armor.
Besides being similar in basic design to their counterparts, (Shovel Knight to Black Knight and Mega Man to Proto Man) with a few added elements such as Proto Man's helmet and shield, and Black Knight's sharper and over-all more menacing armor, the two share the trait of having an intense rivalry with the protagonist of their original games, as well as a prior connection to said rivals. These relations to the protagonists have not yet been elaborated on in-game in either series, although there are comic series and the like for the Mega Man series that provide their own detailed interpretations of Proto Man's connection to Mega Man.
Although there has been no proof of this as of yet, there have been speculations by fans that Proto Man was an inspiration for the character Black Knight.
However, he becomes a mandatory boss who sticks above the Stranded Ship and never moves. After his defeat, Mona will leave the Potionarium.
In the Tower of Fate Entrance battle, Black Knight does not receive power from The Enchantress but already have the power upgrades. It could imply that Shovel Knight reached the entrance first.
The first dialog between Black Knight and Shovel Knight is possible a reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In the film, King Arthur meets a black knight who guards a bridge. The dialog here is quite similar: "I have no quarrel with you, good sir knight, but I must cross this bridge." Another parallel between the two is the black knight's response to King Arthur: "I move for no man."
It is implied that Black Knight had romantic feelings for, or at least was very attached to, Shield Knight. He was aware of the Enchantress' true identity, which was likely why he was determined to keep Shovel Knight from her and declared how concerned he was to keep her safe, even though he insisted he was not her servant. Additionally as Shield Knight risked herself to hold back the Remnant of Fate's attack, Black Knight begged for her to stop and wanted her to save herself. Shield Knight also expressed her happiness that she got to see Black Knight once again in addition to Shovel Knight.
The name of Black Knight's turtle, Terrorpin, is a possible reference to a rare turtle in World of Warcraft, named Terrorpene. Terrorpin also has a very similar design to Terrorpene.
It could also simply be a combination of "Terror" and "Terrapin".