Announcement of the new Elden Ring expansion, done. Meme post about the Elden Ring expansion, done. Now it’s time to get serious and take a look at the image you have shared FromSoftware: what secrets does it hide?, can a concept art give us clues about the history of the expansion?
The Elden Ring community has been quick to scrutinize every inch of the image, trying to find secrets and deciphering any sections that might have symbology. Below I offer you a summary of the most coherent theories based on the image and the history of the base game.
Shadow of the Erdtree: the end or the beginning?
FromSoftware has accompanied the announcement of the new expansion of Elden Ring with an image showing a conceptual art of the game. The beauty of the landscape is only rivaled by the horror on display. If there is something that defines the company, it is that does not stitch without threadnothing is set or made by chance.
He erdtree (or what it seems) is shown completely charred, twisted and bleeding wise. The miraculous light aura from him is still glowing, but it is very dim. The ashes fall from the tree, revealing that it is decomposing. It is bent, proof that it is twisting under its own weight.
At the foot of the tree will be Leyndell, the capital of the kingdom. However, our perspective takes us much further. We see fields of wheat bathed in the light of the Erdtree, ruins dotting the landscape, and hundreds of ghostly tombs. The darkness it is engulfing the earth and the skies in the form of mist and black clouds.
On the right, we see a blond haired young figure mounted on what looks like Torrentera, our faithful companion who accompanies us throughout our adventure. The figure stands still among the golden fields, watching as horror descends upon the wreckage of the Erdtree. And she assails us with a question: what is happening in Elden Ring?
WARNING: the rest of the post contains SPOILERS for Elden Ring
The great mystery of Miquella
Absolutely all theories point to the fact that the silver-haired figure is miquella, brother of the incredible and lethal Malenia. There is no doubt about this statement and all the theories raised are based on this figure.
Miquella is an exceptionally important character in Elden Ring, despite the fact that we did not exchange a word and that we only managed to be in his presence once… or so we think. The information about this character is very extensive and commenting on it in its entirety would make this post endless. Instead, I make a brief summary and share the video of Jose Garres (below), a infinite source of knowledge from Elden Ring.
Broadly speaking, Miquella is one of the empyreans, beings who can aspire to become something more and claim the throne of Queen Marika. At birth, he was cursed with the eternal youth. But don’t be fooled: she is an extremely intelligent and very wise person.
His aspiration was cure Malenia, his sister, who was also cursed with rot. She sought knowledge in the golden order, but finally abandoned her when she realized that they could not offer her the necessary knowledge to cure her beloved sister. He created the Immaculate Gold to contain the putrefaction in Malenia’s body. Perhaps now you understand the devotion that Malenia shows when we find her in the Hieratic Tree of Miquella.
“My brother will keep his promise. He has the wisdom and charm of a god: he is the most fearsome empyrean of all.” – Malenia
Miquella tried to circumvent his curse and fell into a long slumber (inside a cocoon) to achieve growth. However, he was kidnapped at some point by Mohg, Lord of Blood. Theories differ as to when this occurs. Some point out that it happens while Malenia is waging war against Radahn, Scourge of the Stars, and others that it is precisely what causes Malenia to destroy everything in search of her.
And here we come to what brings all the sense to the expansion. Sir Gideon Ofnir confirms that Miquella is alive, since he does not need to “be alive” or a physical body to sleep and dream. This comment from Gideon answers two questions: why didn’t Mogh receive an answer from Miquella when he kidnapped her and proposed to be her consort? and where is Miquella?
The quick answer is that Miquella is in the Dream’s world and what we saw behind Mogh was an empty shell… and I mean not only the cocoon, but also the body that we saw appear during the fight. And what does Miquella’s dream show? Well, precisely what we see in the image and what we provoke in the video game: the burned Golden Tree and the fall of the proud Leyndell, Capital of the Kingdom.
What can we expect from the Elden Ring expansion?
The path to Malenia and Miquella’s Hieratic Tree is complex enough and hidden enough to be the entrance to the expansion of Shadow of the Erdtree. Currently, reaching the Hieratic Tree only serves two purposes: completing Millicent’s story and defeat Malenia, Sword of Miquella. Beyond that, it is a dead end.
There is no real reason to confront Malenia. You don’t need to reach any of the game’s endings. Many Lightless, including myself, came to Malenia looking for an ally or to help her. However, we are greeted by a female warrior willing to fight anyone who enters. Because? Despite being an epic, emotional and beautiful fight, it feels gratuitous. Personally, I felt like I did something wrong by defeating her.
And here comes the theory: What if Miquella’s Hieratic Tree is the door to Shadow of the Erdtree expansion And Malenia is the guardian of the entrance? What if that fight is part of a story that we have not fully understood because it is unfinished? Miquella’s role in the Midlands is too important for her home to be a dead end.
It wouldn’t be the first time that FromSoftware added an expansion in a place where there didn’t seem to be anything at first. The entry to Bloodborne’s Ancient Hunters DLC is the perfect example of what could happen in Elden Ring with the expansion of Miquella. What if Miquella’s essence or spirit is in the realm of dreams and her Hieratic Tree is the door to that world?
We find Malenia on a chair, next to some roots of the Hieratic Tree that have taken the form of Miquella himself. Jose Garres and other historians / lore hunters of the Elden Ring maintain that the formidable warrior waits at that point because it is the closest place to her brother. She trusts that she will return, so it is logical to think that she is in the closest place to her return.
He Hieratic Tree of Miquella The whole transmits a very clear sensation: everything seems to have stopped in time, as if they were holding their breath waiting for something to happen… that never comes. Malenia touches the branches and dreams of Miquella, while the soldiers and creatures wait at their posts, continuing to stand guard over a kingdom that is falling apart.
And what will be our role in the Shadow of the Erdtree expansion? This is the most complicated question. Perhaps the world that Miquella is in is also in conflict, since everything is connected, and our work is help her or hurt her. Perhaps it will help us to understand the horror that we unleash by burning the Golden Tree, perhaps it will encourage us to do so, or perhaps it will discourage us. Perhaps Miquella has very powerful enemies and the great tree is another chrysalis from which great power emerges. Perhaps we have caused it.
I have no doubt that we will see many theories as the hours and days progress. I’ll be very attentive to what Elden Ring historians and lore hunters have to say to update with more information. Until then, what do you think will happen? Do you have any other theories? I read you in comments.