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The Hidden Stories Of Elden Ring Explained

For a lot of gamers, "Elden Ring" has it all. The latest title from FromSoftware features impossibly difficult bosses, hidden areas, and an intricate character creator that allows players to make almost anything they want – even Sonic the Hedgehog. Critics deemed "Elden Ring" near-perfect, and fans immediately set out to uncover and interpret the myriad endings in the game. That being said, FromSoftware is notorious for including difficult to parse through lore and secrets in its games, and it seems that each week brings new hidden details for gamers to discover.

While picking through the lore of "Elden Ring" isn't easy by any means, some threads of the story weave together in unexpected ways to create a fuller picture of what's going on in the background of the game. Some small details tell of lands beyond the Lands Between, while others help develop the relationships between character the player never sees meet in the game. Here are some of the hidden stories of "Elden Ring," many of which were simply obscured in plain sight.

Rennala got the dog in the divorce

Some of the most complicated relationships in "Elden Ring" are between the Goddess Marika and those related to her inner circle. Her demigod children serve as major bosses throughout the game, but her lovers – and in turn their lovers – also factor into the most twisted of family trees. One of the key players in the tale, Radagon, was once partnered with Rennala, the Carian mistress of Raya Lucaria academy. Rennala has strong ties to the moon, and patiently awaits the rebirth of her lost partner, who she believes resides inside a glowing amniotic sac. You know, just normal behavior.

More interesting are the details players uncover on their way to fight Rennala, who resides at the heart of Raya Lucaria. Radagon and Rennala were once married, though it's unclear what their relationship looked like in terms of where they resided or what their family was like. However, players traipsing through the academy are likely to find the Red Wolf of Radagon, a miniboss that packs a punch. Considering that Rennala still lives in the academy, and the Red Wolf's title involves Radagon, it seems that Rennala got to keep the family dog when she and Radagon parted ways. It's unclear if Radagon went on to write a sad country song about his ex taking his beloved hound.

Marika married herself

Speaking of Radagon, his situation is kind of complicated. It turns out that Radagon is Marika, and the two represent the male and female half of one divine being. Players who use the Law of Regression incantation on a specific statue in the capital will receive the message "Radagon is Marika." The Law of Regression is meant to explose illusions, including illusory walls. It also get rid of special effects. Essentially, Marika and Radagon as two separate people are an illusion, and they are actually one being. In typical FromSoftware fashion, some things about this pairing don't really make sense. For example, how were Marika and Radagon able to have children with each other if they're the same person? Some things, players just aren't meant to know.

Many gamers think that Marika and Radagon represent the Red King and White Queen in alchemical philosophy. According to Religious Studies 101's YouTube video on the Rebis, it represents a being that is more than man or woman, one that has transcended humanity. The fact that Marika and Radagon have separated for much of the Lands Between's history shows that the divine being was at war with itself, its two halves separated to physically illustrate the internal struggle.

General Radahn loves his tiny horse

Radahn is an interesting boss, to say the least. The son of Rennala and Radagon, he invites warriors from far and wide to challenge him. Radahn is massive, visible from across the huge expanse of battlefield where he waits for challengers, but as soon as he begins moving, players might notice something else about this giant foe: he's riding a very small horse. It doesn't seem possible for such a large man to ride a tiny companion without hurting it in some way, but a tidbit of lore in "Elden Ring" shows that Radahn actually learned gravity magic so he didn't have to get rid of his trusty steed.

After defeating Radahn, players receive his Remembrance, which reads, "The Red Lion General wielded gravitational powers which he learned in Selia during his younger days. All so he would never have to abandon his beloved but scrawny steed." In other words, before he became the monstrous being he is when players meet him, Radahn decided to proactively learn gravity magic specifically to help out his best friend, his horse. Of course, Radahn also uses that same gravity magic to forcibly pull players towards him for a mighty blow, but that's probably unrelated.

You might not actually fight Rennala

Rennala's boss fight isn't easy by any means, and by the time she enters her second phase, many Tarnished feel overwhelmed by her magical prowess. It's easy to lose track of what's happening in any fight, and many gamers might have missed the fact that the second half of Rennala's battle doesn't even include the intimidating sorceress.

During a cutscene between the two phases of Rennala's boss fight, Rennala crawls towards her fallen egg, exhausted, when Ranni enters the scene. "Upon my name as Ranni the Witch," she says. "Mother's rich slumber shall not be disturbed by thee." She then proceeds to tell the Tarnished that they should spread word of Rennala's power throughout the lands. The second half of the batthe takes place in a spectral field, full of whispering blue light and traces of magic. While the figure the Tarnished faces certainly looks like Rennala, it's actually a projection of the Queen at the height of her power, an image conjured by Ranni to demonstrate her mother's full glory. Some fans think that this is Ranni's way of showing how Rennala would have fought before Radagon parted ways with her. Regardless, it's a tough battle with a mother and daughter combo for the ages.

Something strange is going on with the scholars

Plenty of weird things are happening in the Lands Between, but one of the smaller threads Tarnished can pull upon is what's going on with the scholars of the Academy of Raya Lucaria. While it's never explicitly spelled out in "Elden Ring," something strange is definitely going on with the sorcerers at the academy, rendering many of them captured or dead.

Early in the game, players can meet Thops, a scholar-wannabe who can teach Tarnished a few spells. He desperately wants to go to the academy to learn more magic, and he can eventually get his wish. However, upon returning to Raya Lucaria, players will find his body tied to a chair. While Thops didn't get to live his dream of becoming a great sorcerer, he does clue players in to an interesting questline.

Sellen, another sorcerer who helps the Tarnished on their journey, has a more intricate quest, involving several steps and battles. While Sellen was banished from the academy for practicing forbidden magic, her quest provides a glimpse into what's going on behind closed doors at the academy. At one point in her quest, Sellen is kidnapped and chained to a wall in a cave, suggesting even further that someone is trying to get rid of scholars, no matter how they have to do it.

The scarlet rot is all Malenia's fault

Malenia was the face of "Elden Ring" before the game even released, but she actually doesn't show up in the story of the game that often. Even though she's secluded in the Haligtree, Malenia hints at the deep lore forming the Lands Between. Malenia is, it turns out, the source of Scarlet Rot, the cancerous substance responsible for making Caelid a burned out wasteland. 

Okay, maybe it's not her fault exactly, but she's definitely involved in the spread of disease in the Lands Between. Malenia always had Scarlet Rot — as players can learn from Gowry — but her legendary battle with Radahn unleashed it both on him and the world at large. A Cleanrot Knight carried Malenia back to her home, where she continued to live, albeit in a semi-decayed form. After the battle, Radahn grew more diseased, and the landscape of Caelid began to rot as well. It's no coincidence that Radahn is in Caelid, or that he's been driven completely mad by Scarlet Rot, and the root of the problem can be traced back to Malenia. On a broader level, the Scarlet Rot's hold on Caelid could be seen as representative of the division felt throughout the Lands Between after the Elden Ring's shattering.

Godfrey's lion is like his wedding ring

Godfrey was once Queen Marika's husband, and the first Elden Lord, and he takes the form of a heroic knight, with shining armor and a majestic spirit-lion at his side. However, it turns out that his lion friend isn't really a simple pet or companion. Instead, it's a symbol of his relationship with Marika, kind of like a living, biting wedding ring.

After defeating Godfrey, players receive his talisman, which reads, "Godfrey was a ferocious warrior. When he vowed to become a lord, he took the Beast Regent Serosh upon on his back to suppress the ceaseless lust for battle that raged within." In other words, when Godfrey chose to better humanize himself to be with Marika, he regulated his power with the help of the lion Serosh. Serosh was a symbol of their relationship and a sign that Godfrey was intent on controlling himself.

The second phase of the battle with Godfrey sees him rip off his lion companion and revert back to his warrior identity, Hoarah Louxe. He becomes visibly aggressive, ripping off his beautiful armor and preparing to fight. With the symbol of his humanity – and his tie with Marika – gone, Godfrey is free to do whatever he pleases.

Margit and Morgott are the same person

Margit is one of the first bosses in "Elden Ring," but his true identity is somewhat strange. Players likely wouldn't think anything about Margit after meeting him. He's called the "Fell Omen," but odd titles are the norm in FromSoftware titles. However gamers' suspicions might be raised after encountering Morgott the Omen King later in the game. It turns out that Margit was a false identity Morgott assumed in order to test the Tarnished early in their quest. But how can one tell that the two are one in the same?

One way to prepare for the fight with Margit is to obtain Margit's Shackle, a special item that stuns Margit temporarily, binding him to one spot. The item's description reads, "Shackles were used to bind the accursed people called the Omen, and these ones were made to keep a particular Omen under strictest confinement." In other words, the shackle was created for one specific person: Margit. When players encounter Morgott much later, they can use that same shackle to bind Morgott where he stands. The fact that the shackle, which was created specifically for Margit, also works on Morgot shows that the two are the same.

There may be a land beyond The Lands Between

The Lands Between is an awful place, but every now and then young Tarnished can meet a welcoming soul in the form of a merchant. While all merchants will sell players crafting materials, weapons, and other sundries, some also sell secrets. The best merchants, like Kale, will chat about their lives outside of their business. Kale actually tells the passing Tarnished quite a lot, and in the process he suggests that there might be continents beyond the Lands Between.

Kale invites players to find Blaidd in the woods, but he also talks about the merchants as a whole, who are part of a nomadic people who sought refuge in the Lands Between. Kale tells the Tarnished, "My people, wanderers all, have long been spurned by the grace of gold. Which is why we cannot settle, but instead are forced into this pitiful, unceasing journey." He goes on to explain that there are other nomads like him wandering the world. Considering that Kale and his merchant brethren wear clothes and sell items unique to them, it's likely that they aren't from the Lands Between at all.

Considering that FromSoftware said that it's just getting started in the world of "Elden Ring," it's possible that future games could explore the lands that Kale and his people hail from, looking into other cultures and providing a different experience than the Lands Between.

Something's up with Gowry

Something's up with Gowry, a character who asks the Tarnished to help his young ward Millicent. Millicent has been afflicted with Scarlet Rot, and as a result her memories have begun to fade. Even though she doesn't remember Gowry, he wants her to live and have a chance at happiness. While that's all fine and good, some players pointed out that Gowry isn't exactly who he presents himself to be.

If players kill Gowry,he'll turn into a Kindred of Rot, a bug-like creature that shoots nasty projectiles and wields a magic staff. If players leave the area and return later, Gowry will be back in his normal human form. While Gowry's Fextralife description says that this change could mean that Gowry's real body is somewhere else, and that he's projecting his consciousness onto a Kindred of Rot, players think that the change could be a bug (pun intended). Gowry's transformation doesn't have a clear answer, but it's obvious that something more is going on with him. Even if he's not a literal monster, Gowry's relationship with Millicent is never fully detailed.

Warrior Jars eat people

The first time gamers saw the Warrior Jars, the internet lost its collective mind over the weird little guys. How could you not? They're sentient jars with spindly legs and feet, and they busily attack by spinning in place. Players can meet one special jar named Iron Fist Alexander while wandering around Stormhill near the beginning of the game. After helping him wiggle out of a hole, players can meet him several times over the course of "Elden Ring," getting a bit more information at each encounter. Eventually, Alexander shows up outside Starscourge Radahn's boss fight, ready to help the Tarnished in battle. The truth is, it's possible Alexander was just looking for a powerful snack. That's right, Warrior Jars eat people.

Eventually, Alexander delivers some strange news, telling the Tarnished, "Many great warriors reside within me, ever dreaming of becoming a great champion. ... It is my ordeal, you could say. To test myself, to better myself, to fell ever greater foes. And then, one day, we'll be a single great champion." Alexander suggests that he contains multitudes, but he doesn't say how he acquired these other warriors. Considering that Alexander wants to continue fighting stronger and stronger champions, it's possible he gets more power from absorbing, or consuming, those warriors. If that's not enough proof, some players have reported seeing Alexander scoop corpses into his top after the battle with Radahn.