An important fingerprint of director Hidetaka Miyazaki’s work is that the lore in his games is rarely simple. Players can fight their way through the entire game without really understanding what’s going on, and even those who understand the game’s plot can grapple with the obscure and confusing backgrounds, characters, and areas.
That latest FromSoftware game, elden ring, follows suit, but his lore is very strong. As a game written by Miyazaki and fantasy author George RR Martin – both known for their offbeat ideas – some part of the game’s story is surprising, insightful, or downright weird, and all of it is easy to miss.
10 Millicent is Malenia’s descendant
As with many real-life mythologies, the gods and demigods are of elden ring‘s pantheon form a tangled web of family connections. Much of the game focuses on the children and stepchildren of Queen Marika the Eternal and Radagon of the Golden Order, but more distant relatives are also mentioned.
One of them is Millicent, a girl the player can meet in Caelid. At her adoptive father’s urging, the player is able to meet Millicent multiple times in the Lands Between and help her each time. With red hair, one arm, and stricken with scarlet, Millicent is a Death bell for the demigod Malenia – and is later explicitly confirmed as her descendant. Whether she is a biologically related daughter or something more unconventional with Scarlet influence is never explained.
9 Gideon and Seluvis used to be friends
Gideon Ofnir the All-Knowing and Preceptor Seluvis are just two of the NPCs that the player can encounter in the Lands Between. Gideon is an initially helpful Tainted in Roundtable Hold, working to have one of his kind crown Elden Lord, while Seluvis is a rude and dismissive mage working with Ranni on her plan to usurp the Two Fingers.
Both turn out to be more sinister than it first appears, and both know each other. When Seluvis tries to recruit the player to help him sexually assault Nepheli Loux, Gideon is able to intervene and murder Seluvis. The backstory in the item descriptions suggests that they were once friends until Seluvis turned one of Gideon’s loved ones into a helpless doll.
8th The Black Knife Assassins respond to Marika
The Black Knife Assassins are a recurring series of bosses that also feature heavily in the lore. It was they who slew Godwyn the Golden and began the Shattering, the conflict the demigods saw tear the Lands Between apart in their desire to get as much power as possible.
However, in a twist, the player can learn through item descriptions that the Black Knife Assassins respond to Marika, and possibly the Two Fingers as well. Therefore, it’s entirely possible that Marika ordered her son’s death according to her plan.
7 The windmill village skins probably gods
One of the scarier areas in elden ring is Dominula, the windmill village on the Altus Plateau. When the player arrives, the women living there throw a feast reminiscent of real-world pagan rituals, dancing around wreaths of flowers and wooden structures.
At the very top of the village is a Godskin Noble, one of the sinister recurring villains who wear the skins of gods. The village as a whole has a theme of skinning – with a ghost outside begging to keep its skin – and if the player fights this noble they are awarded the “Godskin Peeler”. Therefore, it seems that the cruel work is being done in this village.
6 Maliketh is the beast cleric, Gurranq
Gurranq, the Beast Clergyman, is a character that players may encounter due to an early teleportation trap near the start of the game. He is a mostly peaceful cleric who will prompt Deathroot to eat and can teach the player several unique incantations to encourage strength builds.
Maliketh the Black Blade is a far more obscure late-game character: Marika’s shadow, on which she hid the death rune, and a mandatory boss fight in Crumbling Farum Azula. However, the two are actually the same character, as evidenced by their identical appearance and the fact that Maliketh has unique dialogue when Gurranq’s quest line is completed.
5 Both Radagon and Marika can be seen pounding on the Elden Ring
One of the most important early debates about the game’s lore came in the opening sequence. There’s a hidden figure everywhere, pounding on what’s heavily referred to as the titular Elden Ring, since its breaking is described.
Due to the character’s hidden nature, fans have debated her identity and even her gender – vowing some shots showed a male outline and some a female. With revelations later in the game, both appear to be true. The scene featured both Marika shattering the ring and Radagon attempting to reforge it.
4 Melina and Ranni share a kind of connection
Melina and Ranni are two of the most significant characters in the game, mysterious women who are part of the Tainted quest line. Melina offers to serve as the Tainted’s maiden, eventually sacrificing herself to let them reach the Earth Tree while Ranni attempts to recruit the Tainted to aid in their plan to overthrow the Golden Order.
Although they never interact directly, they seem to share some kind of connection. They have identical markings on their faces – each on a different side – and have the corresponding eye constantly closed. Although Melina is the master of Torrent, your horse, Ranni knows him and expresses affection for him, suggesting that they met.
3 Gowry is a relative of red
Kindred of Rot are unsettling insectoid creatures who worship the scarlet that infects Caelid and seek to spread their influence across the world. Gowry is a seemingly friendly man met in Caelid, Millicent’s foster father, who urges the Tainted to protect her and help her deal with her Scarlet Infection.
The continuation of Millicent’s questline reveals that Gowry has sinister intentions, but the player can learn this sooner. When Gowry is killed, his voice will taunt the player as his corpse turns into a Kindred of Rot, and he will respawn each time simply pointing out that there are more vermin in Caelid for him to inhabit than that player has time to kill them.
2 Marika seems to be punished
Much of the game is spent bringing the Tainted into the Earth Tree, where Queen Marika the Eternal is said to reside. Once the player does this, they get their first glimpse of the goddess of the Lands Between, and she is in a sad state.
After shattering the Elden ring, she is found hanging from a rune bow by her wrists, impaled and appearing physically worn out. Although it’s never said outright, it looks very much like she was being tortured as punishment for shattering the Elden Ring – especially as the Elden Beast later shows total disregard for her and Radagon’s body.
1 Melina may have ties to the Gloam-Eyed Queen and Destiny
The Gloam-Eyed Queen and Destined Death are two lore concepts that are barely mentioned and have sparked many fan theories. Destined Death seems to be another name for the rune of death, and also the concept that even gods must eventually die. The Godskin nobles and apostles seem to have some connection to it.
Additionally, the Gloam-Eyed Queen is a mythological figure said to be the leader of the sinister Godskins whose identity is unknown. In one particular ending – the Lord of Frenzied Flame ending – Melina opens both eyes to reveal that her closed one is dark in color and promises to bring Destined Death to the Lord, prompting fans to instantly smack her with them to connect both things.
10 Elden Ring bosses that are just plain unfair
About the author