Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree trailer deep-dive

FromSoftware games are beloved for many reasons. Their difficulty pleases our inner sadist, allowing us to bang our heads against a wall over and over again until we finally come out on top. Many people – even some who choose not to play the games – also love getting lost in the lore of FromSoftware’s worlds. Their stories are not always straightforward, but their worlds are consistently compelling and attract fans of darker, bleaker fantasy.
With the new trailer for the Elden Ring expansion Shadow of the Erdtree, there is plenty to analyze. We’ve already talked about the gameplay features you’ll get, but of course a lot of plot and knowledge was also dropped on us during those three short minutes. Without further ado, let’s see what we can find out about Shadow of the Erdtree from the trailer.

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We open and look at Miquella’s hand in Mohgwyn Palace. After defeating Mohg in the base game, you could interact with that bloody, withered hand sticking out of a cocoon, but you couldn’t do much else. Once it fell to the ground, that was it. However, it seems that at the end of the trailer we have to touch the hand to enter the Land of Shadow, the new area in Shadow of the Erdtree.

We already know two things about this. First, it is possible that this area has its own map, rather than existing within the larger map of Elden Ring. Second, it looks like you have to defeat Mohg to even get to the DLC. He is one of the hardest bosses in the game, and so you have to have a pretty high level to beat him. Don’t expect to just jump out of Limgrave into the Land of Shadow. Although, having said that, I can already imagine the speedrunners who will do exactly that.

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Elden Ring

What is the Land of Shadows? Well, from the looks of the trailer and video description, it’s an area “darkened by the Erdtree”. Everything Golden is said to be unable to touch this place, meaning that unlike in the main game, where the light of the Erdtree can bring almost anyone back to life through their roots, It seems that here we will be stripped of that golden light. From the images shared so far, it certainly seems that the Land of Shadow is a kind of limbo or even hellish space in Elden Ring lore. There is much satanic imagery surrounding Messmer the Impaler, to whom we will return in a moment, but this certainly feels like a darker space than even some of the meaner areas in Elden Ring. There’s also a poison swamp, so we’re definitely going to suffer.

This land is also where Marika reportedly first set foot. Since Marika is the mother of the game’s demigods, it makes sense that she, who essentially removed death from the world, would have begun her journey in a place without the light of the Erdtree. It is very likely that in this expansion we will learn more about her origins, and perhaps solve some of the mysteries about her that have lingered even after we defeat her/Radagon in the final battle. It is also likely that we will get some more information about her war with the giants, since there is a line in the trailer that mentions that certain people were not saints, and that they were just on the losing side of a war followed by a huge enemy pounding fire into the ground. Perhaps we are reading too much into that, however.

Elden Ring

In the trailer, we are told about Child Miquella. The twin brother of Malenia, in the original game, Miquella was a victim. Cursed with eternal youth, he was besieged by Mohg and taken to Mohgwyn Palace. In the base game it seems that Miquella shriveled up to nothing, but now in this expansion we know that he actually got rid of his earthly shackles and went to the Land of Shadow. FromSoftware is keeping the reasoning behind this a mystery, but I think we can take a stab at it.

A popular theory currently points to Messmer being the Impaler Miquella. A few people discount that theory because of the different names and the fact that Child Miquella is unlikely to be that sharp, given his earlier depictions in lore. However, if we know anything about FromSoftware’s stories, it is that they like to hide characters with pseudonyms, and they love tragedy.

Elden Ring

Hoarah Loux is Godfrey the first Elden Lord, Marika is Radagon and vice versa, Renna is Ranni the Witch. There are numerous examples of characters hiding their true personas, and it would be easy for Miquella to do the same. Having been kidnapped and likely tortured by Mohg, Miquella has almost no chance of being his former, friendly self, and even if he were to escape to the Land of Shadows, he could very easily have a darker, more twisted version of his demigod self. The similarities he physically shares with Miquella also cannot be discounted. The red hair streaming from his helmet, the long, thin arms that resemble the withered limb we touch in Mohgwyn Palace. It may seem like the most obvious solution, but that’s because it makes the most narrative sense. It also allows us to take on one of the few demigods we cannot fight in the base game.

The Fall of Kind Miquella would be a great narrative hook for Shadow of the Erdtree, and it seems Messmer is a really messed up guy by the looks of him. The snake that follows him as he enters the trailer gives him more satanic symbolism, and it even suggests that he is also taking on the gods, just as Rykard did by fusing himself with that huge snake.

Elden Ring

That’s about all we can make out from the trailer so far. Do you have any burning theories to get off your chest. Got something you think we missed? Let us know below!

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