Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC Story & Ending Explained

By Klein Felt Posted:
Elden Ring logo, Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree bosses

Elden Ring's Shadow of the Erdtree DLC skirts From Software's typical cryptic storytelling methods, weaving a coherent tale that will leave fans mostly satisfied with its epic ending. 

The first (and likely only) DLC expansion to the critically acclaimed action RPG is now available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC, opening up a whole new section of the Elden Ring world for gamers to traverse. 

This new content drop features wholly new environments to explore, treasures to find, and, of course, terrifying god-like boss fights to take on. 

Breaking Down the Shadow of the Erdtree Story

Miquella holding a sword to his face in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree
From Software

While much of From Software's storytelling over the years has been relegated to item descriptions and small bits of dialogue mid-battle, opening the door for an entire content vertical online of deciphering the studio's sprawling epics, the Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree story is pretty easy to follow. 

The new DLC expansion to the beloved open-world RPG sees players travel from the game's central world of the Lands Between to what is known as the Land of Shadow. 

This change of surroundings is not just for the sake of it either. There are specific story reasons for pulling players out of the map they have come to know so well in the base Elden Ring game. 

The Shadow of the Erdtree DLC centers its story on the god-like being, Miquella. Gamers first heard of the character during the game's base story, learning about his place on the godly family tree at the heart of Elden Ring's world. 

Miquella, the son of Queen Marika the Eternal and brother of the Goddess of Rot Malenia, has traveled to the Land of Shadow after not making a proper appearance in the base Elden Ring game (except a brief appearance in the chamber of Mohg, Lord of Blood). 

Throughout much of the DLC's story, the reason for Miquella leaving the Lands Between for this new locale remains unknown; however, it is eventually revealed he was on the search for someone he called the "Promised Lord."

Towards the end of the expansion, the player finds out this "Promised Lord" was, in fact, the Elden Ring boss Radahn. 

Radahn is the half-brother of Miquella (and also his consort), whose spirit has been resurrected by the god-like lord to help him craft what he deems a perfect kingdom.

This all comes to a head in the DLC's final boss fight, leading to a shocking ending for the Elden Ring experience. 

What Happened in the Elden Ring DLC Ending?

Radahn posing with his two swords in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree
From Software

The ending of Elden Ring's Shadow of the Erdtree DLC sees players take on the 'resurrected' spirit of Radahn and the big bad at the center of the expansion, Miquella. 

After first crossing swords with Radahn alone, gamers then have to fight the pair of them as Miquella joins the battle, attaching himself to his half-brother and embuing him with spirit energy. 

Once defeated, a few final story moments unfold for the player, giving a deeper glimpse into Miquella's pursuit of a perfect world. 

Interacting with a memory made available after defeating the pair, the player sees Miquella sitting alone beside a vacant throne. 

This is a glimpse at the Shadow of the Erdtree villain before he became the ultra-powerful god-like being he is known as in Elden Ring.

Miquella in his memory looking away from the camera in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree
From Software

This short peek into his past sees the character asking for a "gentler" world, one without the cruelty of his family and the curses that plague them. 

It is revealed, this is why he headed to the Land of Shadow as he hoped to achieve this perfect world and (assumedly) free his family from the incantations that bind them. 

What is most interesting about Shadow of the Erdtree's final moments is the fact that it seems Miqualla had no true evil motivation for his actions. He just wanted a better world for himself and his family.

Where he faltered was how he enacted his plan though. He did not go about his plan in the best way possible, cleansing the world from anything that did not resemble his image. 

That is what brings an air of tragic melancholy to the DLC's ending.

The player feels good, having overcome the challenge of Radahn and Miquella; however, that sense of victory is clouded by a tinge of remorse, knowing Miquella was simply pursuing what he deemed was best for his family - a clan that was plagued by a curse they had no choice in being a part of. 

The Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree DLC is available now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC. 

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.