Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree speculation based on the official artwork

Let’s discuss Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree speculation based on the official artwork released on February 28, 2023. Keep in mind that none of the information in this article is confirmed officially and that this is merely speculation, as the title of the article says.

After one year of the release of FromSoftware’s unforgiving RPG masterpiece, they announced the first (hopefully not the only) expansion to Elden Ring. They showed masterfully drawn artwork with this exhilarating announcement. Obviously, this made the fans react like the apes when the Monolith appeared at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Gifted artists, enthusiastic fans, and talented content creators immediately began analyzing this artwork. The expert lore analyzer and YouTuber VaatiVidya – who I’m sure many FromSoftware fans know and love – made a huge 15-minute video based on this artwork alone.

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The entirety of the above paragraph should explain to you how much we are excited for Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree. But for now, we’ve only seen this artwork, which is admittedly brilliant. I noticed many beautiful details in it and would like to share the possible information about the upcoming DLC based on them.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree speculation

Who’s on the horse?

One of the first things you might notice in this artwork is the person on the horse. At first glance, they look quite like Miquella, the older brother of Malenia. His hair color and outfit match the one on the horse. But some fans wonder if it is actually Marika. I personally don’t think that is the case because of how similar Miquella and the one on the horse look. So, for the sake of this article, we will assume that it is indeed, Miquella.

Let’s further analyse Miquella. His outfit resembles the one he was wearing in the following artwork and that’s really the only image of Miquella we’ve seen from the base game. His other appearances are tragically very different and grotesque even. We have Mohg to thank for that. His beautiful hair has braids that resemble the crown of Unalloyed Gold on the Haligtree Helm. I must thank Fextralife wiki for that piece of information. Other than his outfit and hair, there isn’t much more about Miquella for us to discuss.

Is the horse Torrent?

Now let’s talk about the Steed Miquella is riding on. At first glance, you may notice how similar the mount looks to Torrent, our Spectral Steed. We know very little of the origins of Torrent, but he is a beast of importance; that is certain. I say that because of how he knew we are the chosen Tarnished to become the Elden Lord. It’s clear that the animal possesses a great degree of awareness.

Melina gifts us the Spectral Steed Whistle at the start of the game to summon Torrent. This ring is made of gold, and it has intricate engravings and the like. Maybe this ring is made of Miquella’s Unalloyed Gold. If you didn’t know much about Unalloyed Gold, it was founded by Miquella after he abandoned the Golden Order Fundamentalism, as it couldn’t cure Malenia, his sister. You must know that Unalloyed Gold indeed had the potential to cure Scarlet Rot, as the Unalloyed Gold Needle treated Millicent’s Scarlet Rot rather successfully. Anyway, if the Spectral Steed Whistle is actually made from Unalloyed Gold, this means that there our trusty Steed, Torrent shares a connection with the Most Fearsome Empyrean of all.

Of course, there also is the striking similarity between Torrent and the horse Miquella is riding in the artwork for Shadow of the Erdtree. But he could be another one of Torrent’s species as well. But for the sake of this article, we will assume that it is indeed Torrent who’s taking Miquella for a ride in the artwork.

The Steed’s fur is especially visible in the artwork, and our Torrent does not have that much fur. The artwork does not have a saddle either. We could assume that when we got Torrent, he was neatly groomed and fitted with a comfortable and convenient saddle by either Melina or his former master. Information about Torrent’s former master is never given in the base game and I’m quite sure that we will learn much more about them in the expansion. Possibly, the master is Miquella.

The Golden Field

The Golden Field that surrounds Miquella and expands far into the horizon reminded me of the mythical paradise of Egyptian mythology: Aaru. You might know it as the Field of Reeds. Maybe the field in the artwork was inspired by it. Considering that Miquella possessed the allure of a God, a heavenly paradise may be closely related to him.

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Speculation on Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree based on the official artwork

The golden color also could be related to the color of Miquella’s Unalloyed Gold.

This vast landscape is home to many ghostly monuments that resemble graves. Some other monuments also look like totems of some kind. Flag poles or somethings similar were also present in Altus Plateau, you might remember. Could they be of relation to the monuments in the artwork? These spectral monuments spread across the whole field. A heavenly paradise like the Field of Reeds is related to the dead, who was honorable in life, obviously. And they could mean that the field in the artwork indeed took inspiration from the Field of Reeds. That may sound quite far-fetched, however. But keep that in mind, and also keep in mind that it’s only speculation.

There are multiple dilapidated structures, possibly of a bygone era. In the distance, there’s a structure that resembles an old church, maybe. Ruins of churches in the Lands Between looks similar to that, in some ways. It could be that these churches are those that worship Miquella. To my knowledge, Empyreans like Ranni or Malenia did not have churches that worshipped them, at least in the game. However, Queen Marika did, and Miquella’s case could be similar. Many item descriptions of items that are related to Miquella explain how he had the allure and charm of a God, and that he constantly received praise and reverence from a vast majority of individuals. I think that it’s quite possible for him to have churches dedicated to him in the DLC, and the dilapidated structure in the distance could very well be one of them.

Also, there are a couple of burial mounds made of stone or a similar substance in the field. They further encourage me to think that this field might’ve been associated with the dead.

The Tree in the distance

Speculation on Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree based on the official artwork

Trees, I should say; plural. The giant and tall tree clearly looks like the Erdtree, and it looks… wounded. There is golden light or a similar substance oozing out of it. And the huge serpent-like tree which looks quite dead is also very noticeable. Looks as if it wrapped around the Erdtree, maybe to inflict some sort of ailment on it. What I think is that the parasitic-looking tree, so to speak, is related to Godwyn the Golden and Those Who Live in Death. Notice how there are particles of dust or something else quite unholy crumbling in the air. It adds to the dead nature of this mysterious tree.

Possibly, the expansion will feature more information and lore about Those Who Live in Death, especially if the humongous tree that is wrapped around the Erdtree is another aspect of Godwyn the Golden.

What do you think? Join our discussion on Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree speculation!