Marika Started the Shattering in 'Elden Ring' — But Why Did She Destroy the Elden Ring?

It's possible the lore will become more clear with the upcoming release of 'The Shadow of the Erdtree.'

Sara Belcher - Author

Mar. 1 2024, Published 7:13 p.m. ET

Queen Marika in 'Elden Ring'
Source: FromSoftware

It's no secret that the 2022 Game of the Year Elden Ring has a storyline that is far linear and incredibly difficult to follow. Even after multiple playthroughs, some players are still left with plenty of questions about the story behind the Lands Between, but it's clear that much of the strife plaguing the land is rooted in Marika's shattering of the original Elden Ring. But why did the queen and god decide to shatter the item that was holding the world together?

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The Elden Ring is shattered during the Night of the Black Knives.

Anyone who has played through Elden Ring at least once (and paid attention to the game's tangling storyline) will know that the original Elden Ring was shattered during the Night of the Black Knives. This fateful night saw the assassination of Godwyn the Golden, the son of Queen Marika, which is decidedly the catalyst for the Elden Ring's destruction.

A Tarnished looking at the Erdtree in 'Elden Ring'
Source: FromSoftware
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Lunar Princess Ranni had been looking to free herself from her role as a pawn for Two Fingers. To do this, she forged weapons with a piece of the rune of death she had stolen from Maliketh before giving them to the Numen Assassins, who then carried out the killing. As the assassins killed their target, Ranni would simultaneously die — this was believed to be the only way for her to fully free herself from the entities.

It's not entirely clear if Ranni knew that Godwyn was ultimately the target of the assassination, but the Numen Assassins were unsuccessful in their mission. While attempting to carve the Cursemark of Death into Godwyn's dead body, it broke into two, resulting both Godwyn and Ranni's destruction.

Ranni was able to preserve her soul into a doll, while Godwyn's soul was forced to live in death while his bodywas placed within the Erdtree's roots. This led to the rise of Those Who Live in Death.

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Ranni the Witch in 'Elden Ring'
Source: FromSoftware

Why did Marika decide to shatter the Elden Ring?

It's assumed that Marika's decision to shatter the Elden Ring was made out of grief over the death of her son, though it's not entirely clear. The shattering ultimately led to the years-long war of the same name, which saw the fall of Marika's Golden Order as her children grappled for power following her fall. The queen and her consort, Radagon, were punished with entombment in the Erdtree for Marika's actions, which is what left the Lands Between in Ruin.

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Not all players agree with this interpretation of the lore, though, and think that there could be more to the story.

"I think she did it to destroy the Golden Order, give her children a chance to become strong with the power of the Great Runes and then hopefully mend the Elden Ring and create a new Order that is better than the Golden Order. I'm sure Radagon being the "leal hound of the Golden Order" was why she wanted to shatter it as well," one Reddit user theorized.

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"I think she knew she would be punished for shattering the Elden Ring, and she knew the chaos that would ensue if her heirs were left fighting for the throne, so I imagine that she saw it as a last resort," they continued. "Or she was simply waiting for an heir to prove trustworthy enough to help her take down the Golden Order. Godwyn being slain probably just sent her over the edge."

Like most tales in FromSoftware games, the lore is ultimately unclear — but it's possible players will get more answers to their questions when the DLC Shadow of the Erdtree releases for Elden Ring on June 20.

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