What Hidden Secrets You Can Discover From Elden Ring's DLC Teaser?
On February 28, we finally have news about Elden Ring DLC, a full expansion titled “Shadow of the Erdtree”
All we have right now is this one image, but they didn’t go with 1080p, 1440p or even a 4K resolution. And they made this teaser at 7500p. To put that into perspective, you’d need 336 SpongeBob-themed 13-inch televisions to display every pixel here. With all that space to work with, FromSoftware had plenty of room to hide some nice details in here, a lot of which can help us guess what this expansion will be about.
Shadow Of The Erdtree
First, let’s not discuss the details that can be seen at a glance for a moment. The Erdtree is not looking too hot. I mean, you’d expect that given the title, but there’s a bit more going on here. It’s visibly mangled, blackened, and dripping what looks like some kind of sap, but it also looks like there might be two trees here. One of which is very straight and lines up pretty much exactly with the Erdtree seen in-game, while the other is twisting around it, almost like a hand choking out its life.
But, the thing that caught everyone’s attention is this character riding what looks to be Torrent down here, since their hairstyle matches the one seen on Miquella in Elden Ring’s intro sequence. To keep things relatively simple, let’s just assume this is actually Miquella.
Beyond that, we also see a bunch of spectral graves and monuments, which all hold secrets of their own, but let’s back up and see what this could be setting up. The title “Shadow of the Erdtree” makes it pretty clear that whatever is going on back here will be central to the plot. The “O” in the word “shadow” looks like two branches wrapping through each other, and there’s probably a bit of Berserk World Tree inspiration in there, so I think this is a separate tree.
Perhaps it’s another version of the Haligtree, since the in-game Haligtree was planted and watered by Miquella himself, but there’s also a case for it being related to the Helphen lampwood, since that’s associated with the spirit world and there are a lot of weird spirit-y graves in this image. But, I don’t think the branches look enough like how they do on the Haligtree, and we really have little to go off of for the Helphen, so I think the strongest case is that it’s made of deathroot.
While not technically a separate tree, it’s important to note that deathroot is made of the Erdtree’s own roots, and the branches are similar enough to what we can see in deeproot below the royal capital. And this might be a bit of a stretch, but it almost looks like the second tree has the same texture and eye-like growths as what we see in deeproot. So, that’s my guess for the premise, but where is this all taking place?
The location in the image can’t be found anywhere in-game, but judging by the Erdtree’s angle it seems like this shot was taken in the far south.
The problem with that is the landscape looks nothing like what you’d expect it to from that location. Therefore, I think Miquella being in this shot is so important. So I’m sure you’ve heard this before… I’ve said it, other people have said it, everyone’s saying it, but there’s a lot of stuff about Miquella’s world of dreams that was either left open to interpretation or removed during development.
I don’t know if they’ve been planning to make this DLC since the start, but focusing on this dream world could fill in a lot of the gaps of what we don’t know. And, not only would this explain the bizarre landscape, it would also shed some light on pretty much everything else shown in this picture. I’m not a botanist or anything, but I think this is meant to be a vast field of domesticated wheat, which isn’t really something that happens in nature.
But, an unused twinblade claims that Miquella possesses the “rune of abundance,” and what better way to reflect that concept than his dream world being just endless grain? These taller monuments also look like the ones from Dark Souls 3’s Crucifixion Woods, and while crucifixion is an important concept in Elden Ring, their designs are just different enough that I don’t think they’re related.
You could also say these monuments resemble the Cleanrot Knights’ Halo Scythes or Torrent’s Whistle, but my current guess is that they’re modeled after Miquella’s great rune, since we don’t know what that looks like yet and you could easily make that shape out of the Elden Ring.
A lot of this might also be inspired by Greek mythology… “ZEUS!!!”… Especially Miquella’s connection with the gods of sleep, trade, and harvest is closely related to the underworld, so I think there could be a sort of Hades or afterlife theme to all of this. As for these coffins, archways, and ruins, I’ve got nothing.
Interlude From Future-V
While editing this, I noticed that the arches have that Caduceus spiral that FromSoftware loves so much, and the coffins remind me of the ones used to travel through the underground, which, kind of reminds me of the ferryman of the greek underworld, who is already associated with deathroot with stuff like the tibia mariners. Just a few more points for the greek symbolism thing.
Conclusions & Predictions
So, with all of that in mind, here are my predictions: This expansion will be about a world where deathroot has grown out of control and is strangling the Erdtree. This doesn’t happen before or after the game, but instead takes place in Miquella’s dream, and either Miquella himself or his alternate persona known as St.Trina will be a major character. We actually see a glimpse of the dream world in the main game, being at the end of Fia’s questline in deeproot, and the deathblight curse seems even more pronounced than usual here.
If these are the same world, maybe the true source of deathblight is currently inside the world of dreams, which you might already know is actually Godwyn, the half-dead demigod. His physical corpse is still in deeproot, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he could be found in the dream world as well. Miquella, being the half brother of Godwyn, likely wants him to die a true death both for his sake and for the well-being of this world of dreams.
After you defeat whatever is spreading this infection, which I imagine could include a fight with Godwyn himself, you’ll receive some kind of Elden Ring Runes and make your way back to the real world. Of course, this is all wild speculation.