Shadow of the Erdtree trailer gives us more information about Elden Ring to make us wrong

"Look everyone!  It's the only thing that ties the whole story together!  And He is pointing us toward this inherited dungeon, within which there must surely be safety and salvation.  Let's move on."
Enlarge / “Look, everyone! It’s the one thing that ties the whole story together! And points us toward this inherited dungeon, within which there must surely be safety and salvation. Let us move on.”

DeSoftware/Bandai Namco

There are many ways to enjoy. Elden Ring, beyond the core attack/dodge/survive gameplay. You can obsess over builds, appreciate the mastery of speedrunners and grandmasters like Let Me Solo Her, or mix and match the wide variety of armor in search of Fashion Souls. And then there is tradition. There is a lot of it and most of it has the consistency of campfire smoke.

Elden Ring tells his backstory (written in part by George RR Martin) primarily through item descriptions and environmental hints. What fragments of narrative do exist are unsteadily faced with unreliable narrators, contradictions, cut content, and adorably overzealous fans who take small clues to their illogical extremes. Developer FromSoftware and lead creator Hidetaka Miyazaki do almost nothing to refute misunderstandings or reward accurate conclusions, though they appreciate the energy. Miyazaki will just casually tell IGN that there is a “small element” that hasn’t been discovered, offer nothing more about it, and leave fans like me with an unmet need to come to a conclusion.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree story trailer.

I love this and appreciate how FromSoftware will never in my life confirm my hopes or expectations. So, with the surprise arrival of a trailer based on an honest story for the The shadow of the Erdtree expansion, out June 21, gave me another feast of vague notions and evocative images.

Let’s dig into it, moment by moment, if not frame by frame. If you are new to Elden Ring Lore, you have a long way to go. Play the game, probably, as a first step? But then I recommend YouTuber and souls Archaeologist VaatiVidya’s 30-minute story explanation and then his Miquella-specific deep dive.

The beginning

“Miquella la Goodness spoke of the beginning, of seduction and betrayal,” says the narrator. And then, as with many primordial myths, there is some body horror. A bloody hand, with an enveloping golden bracelet, inserts a kind of gray part, split from something biological, confirmed by sound effects, pulling out golden threads. This is almost certainly Marika, the matriarchal figure who puts most of the protagonists Elden Ring plot in action, given the bracelet (visible in images before his golden crucifixion).

“A matter from which Gold was born,” (all caps in the video’s subtitles), “and Shadow was also born.” Like in Land of Shadow, where the expansion takes place. Marika probably walks out of a bloody, mushy hallway into an opening, she holds the threads high triumphantly, and a pan back and out reveals that she has split (I think) a bloody tree. There are more than a few biblical references throughout. Elden RingThe tradition of, and some of them are as subtle as a colossal sword.

Then: “What followed was an invisible war, a war that could never be staged.”