Malenia in helmet

FromSoftware’s "Dark Souls" games are known for their cryptic stories. Often dependent on reading item descriptions, doing optional hard-to-find side quests, or simply just looking up some details, the stories in these games are nigh impossible to put together without help. "Elden Ring" is no different than the games to come before it and due to its sheer size is overflowing with stories and lore details tons of players missed their first go around.

The fantasy world of "Elden Ring" is dark and crumbling. You’ll meet sad and tragic NPC characters along your quest to seek the titular ring. Many of the stories that intertwine with your character’s journey have morbid ends, but if you don’t follow a guide, there’s a good chance you won’t see many of them through to those ends. So take a gander and check out some of the tragic details you missed in "Elden Ring" to see where these most misfortunate questlines lead.

Beware of major spoilers for "Elden Ring" ahead.

Boc the Seamster has an identity crisis

boc talking to players

In this hard-to-find questline, players will meet a character born into a tragic fate. Fortunately, you can ensure this heartbreaking quest has a heartwarming ending. You will first find Boc calling to the Tarnished in Limgrave, near a purple Arteria Leaf drop. The NPC explains he is a demi-human with the rare ability to speak and has been ostracized from his community. After finding that nobody will accept him, he ventures back to his home to claim his belongings.

Boc is next found wounded outside the Coastal Cave in Limgrave, where it is explained that he once lived. Beaten and dejected, the character is a sorry sight, but you can help him out. By completing the cave and defeating the Demi-Human Chiefs, you will be rewarded with Boc’s sewing needle. After helping him out, you give Boc a new home at Roundtable as your Seamster. Once here, you will be able to speak with him and make choices about how to help Boc come to terms with his identity.

This is one of the few tragic stories in the game that ends optimistically.

You can kill Miriel the Turtle Pope

miriel next to a sword wielding knight

One of the fan favorite characters in "Elden Ring" is Miriel the Turtle, an unforgettable massive tortoise with a white pointy hat who can be found in the Church of Vows. As Pastor of Vows, Miriel will teach you all kinds of sorceries and incantations. He is friendly, jovial, and helpful, and the fanbase lovingly calls him the Turtle Pope. Despite this, some of these so-called "fans" still decided to see what happens when you kill Miriel.

Despite protestations that his shell is too hard to strike a single blow, Miriel eventually will start taking damage and go down. His drops aren’t all too good, though. He will leave a heaping stack of the crafting item Turtle Neck Meat and a unique item called Miriel’s Bell Bearing. Sadly, all this bell bearing really does is allow you to buy all the incantations and sorceries you normally would from the Turtle Pope. Ultimately, it’s not worth the sadness of having to commit turtle murder.

Blaidd’s questline has a tragic ending

blaidd looking at player

You will definitely see wolfman Blaidd in the loading screens of "Elden Ring," but there’s a chance you’ll never see his tragic story unfold in-game. Blaidd is an NPC who can first be found in the Mistwood Ruins in Limgrave. He will regale you with his tale, informing you that he is a swordsman loyal to the witch Ranni. Blaidd is sworn to serve his mistress in whatever task she desires, and his questline sees you helping the wolf take out some fearsome enemies that stand in their way. Once completed, he will begin reappearing throughout the game (usually along the path to seeing Ranni’s ending).

The real tragedy of Blaidd is that he was ultimately appointed by the Two Fingers. As Ranni’s quest progresses, she strays further from the Greater Will and the Two Fingers Blaidd develops a beast-like compulsion to kill Ranni. Despite his genuine loyalty and care for her, he realizes that he exists to serve the Greater Will and not Ranni, a truly crushing blow. The final time you encounter him, Blaidd finally looses it and you are forced into a duel with the master swordsman.

Morgott is the saddest boss in Elden Ring

morgott holding staff

Morgott the Omen King is the boss of Leyndell, Royal Capital. While all the demigods you must face on your journey to fight the Elden Lord are tragic figures, Morgott’s story stands out as the saddest. "Elden Ring" Fans on Reddit certainly seem to agree, based on the popularity of a post explaining Morgott’s affliction.

Morgott and his twin Mohg are members of the Omen race, which explains their horned appearance. As punishment for their very birth, Omens must be imprisoned. As you’ll discover in the game, the sewers underneath Leyndell were Morgott’s home for many years. Despite this rejection by the Golden Order, the holy decree that establishes the moral and physical rules of the world, Morgott is the most loyal to the Erdtree of all the demigods.

Ultimately, it is the goal of a Tarnished to burn down the tree and become Elden Lord. While many of his brothers would attempt to defile the tree in search of power, Morgott always upheld his faith despite being excluded from the Erdtree’s Grace. This is what makes him the true sad king of Leyndell.

Helping Thops will kill him

thops bowing his head

The Sorcerer Thops is an NPC found at the Church of Irith in Liurnia of the Lakes. He will politely ask you for a mere ten runes. Give them to him and he will tell you that he is a student at Raya Lucaria Academy. He will then inform you about the Glintstone Keys required to get past the gates. As it turns out, this young sorcerer has lost his way and also covets one himself. The only way to complete his questline is to find an extra Glintstone Key for Thops.

The second Academy Glintstone Key is found inside the dungeon itself, on the Church of the Cuckoo’s ceiling. You can give it to Thops, who will return to the Academy. However, you will make a morbid discovery if you try to visit him. The apprentice sorcerer is dead, having returned to a much darker and more dangerous place than when he left (Reddit).

Maybe he was felled by a fellow student gone mad, or perhaps Thops truly wasn’t ready for the powerful sorcery that awaited within those books.

The backstory that sets up Elden Ring is a romantic tragedy

radagon holding club

It’s only after dozens of hours of gameplay that you begin to even start to learn about the backstory in "Elden Ring." To understand much of it you have to get to the ending of the game. Only then will you truly begin to feel George R.R. Martin’s influence on an epic backstory including wars, love, bloodlines, death, betrayal — and inappropriate relationships.

A family tragedy on an epic scale sets the stage for the lore of "Elden Ring." In the beginning, Marika was born human, but ascended to Goddess status by becoming the vessel of the Elden Ring. It is said that Marika was born with a male counterpart, named Radagon. In essence, Radagon and Marika are two halves of the same holy entity.

Before he was second Elden Lord, Radagon of the Golden Order was once a fine warrior. He won the favor of Cairn Queen Rennala and the two were married. But after giving birth to three children, Radahn, Rykard, and Ranni, Radagon left Rennala to be with Marika. Between these children and all the offspring of the Goddess Marika, we have a huge family tree making up many of the bosses and important NPCs of the game.

When Marika and Radagon reunite after each having children with separate spouses, they have twin children together. The hint at an incestuous relationship is pretty heavy-handed — and given Martin’s previous work in "Game of Thrones," its no surprise to see it pop up here. Both children were afflicted with curses from birth, Malenia with a rotten sickness and Miquella with eternal childhood. Overall, this part of the game’s hidden story is equal parts disturbing and tragic.

Millicent experiences a slow painful death

millicent turning head

In Caelid, you will meet Millicent, a young cloaked woman who is dying and missing an arm. Millicent is seeking a cure for Scarlet Rot and if you aid in her questline you will be able to see her along that ultimately fatal path. You must also meet Gowry by his shack to begin the quest, leading you to a boss that drops the Unalloyed Golden Needle, an item that will presumably cure Millicent, Once you give it to her, she disappears for a while. You will continue the quest in Altus Plateau, which will eventually lead you to the Haligtree.

As Millicent will explain here, she is an offspring of Melania. Not birthed by traditional means, Millicent was born from Scarlet Rot in some asexual manner. Some players have likened this process to propagating plants, but regardless, this revelation seems to seal Millicent’s fate. She was born from the Rot — and to it she shall return. In the end, you get the choice to either fight her (and her sisters) or assist her in a battle against them.

Either way, her time in this world is not long. If you don’t kill her, Millicent still pulls out the needle keeping her alive and chooses death for herself.

Family Tragedy at Castle Morne

irina sitting on rampart

Castle Morne is located at the southern edges of the continent upon which "Elden Ring" takes place. This was once the place of a great decisive battle, but is now an overrun rampart that hosts another tragic family tale, albeit on a smaller scale than the story of Radagon and Marika. On your way to the castle you are likely to cross paths with Irina, a blind NPC who asks you to take a letter to her father at Castle Morne. Edgar, Irina’s father, can be found on a bench in the castle, where he will tell you he cannot return to his daughter until the deadly Leonine Misbegotten no longer terrorizes Morne. So, of course, you must defeat the boss to progress the quest — although now you can summon Edgar to help. Afterwards he will thanks you and announce his plans to return to Irina.

If you revisit her location, though, you will find Edgar with Irina’s corpse. He claims he found her like this and killed the bandits who did it, but there is an air of unease that is never quite cleared up. Later in the game you can be invaded by his vengeful phantom, Edgar the Revenger.

Godwyn’s head can be found below Stormveil castle… but his body is elsewhere

face made from roots

Stormveil Castle is the first Legacy Dungeon and an early stumbling block in the game, requiring you to face two difficult bosses: Margit the Fell Omen and Godrick the Grafted. Below the dungeon is a hidden underground area that features another boss to fight and a big lore reveal staring you right in the face. But to know what you’re looking at though, you’ll need to know a good deal about the backstory of the Lands Between.

Godwyn the Golden might the most important "Elden Ring" character who isn’t alive when the story takes place — in a sense. Godwyn was the first born son of Marika and Godrick. The last of his bloodline, Godwyn’s death more or less coincided with the dark age in which the game takes place. When he died, only his spirit was destroyed, so Godwyn became the first of the undead known as Those Who Live in Death.

After defeating the boss below Stormveil’s dungeon, players will find a mass of roots that make up a face. Some fans believe this is Godwyn’s face, thanks to a few hints dropped in a dialogue exchange with Sorcerer Rogier. The rest of his body, however, lies much further down. It can be found in Deeproot Depths, shrouded in snakelike roots. The exact details of how the demigod’s body became so deformed — and whether or not this tragic figure is awake and aware of his surroundings — are mostly chilling mysteries.

The Jellyfish Spirit Summon has a tragic backstory

two spirit jellyfish

One of the best early game Spirit Summons in "Elden Ring" is the Jellyfish. This phantom friend has a lot of HP and does useful poison damage. If you read the item description on the Jellyfish Spirit Ash you can learn that the spirit’s true name is Aurelia. "Prone to tears, the jellyfish girl searches for her distant home," reads the description of the tragic lost girl.

But don’t fret. You will eventually be able to send her home — at least, for a brief and beautiful moment — in her hidden quest.

Aurelia has a sister that lives in the late game area Stargazer’s Ruin, located in Mountaintops of the Giants. The sister will tell you that she promised to take Aurelia stargazing when she turned 14, but she disappeared before that day, leaving her waiting ever since. You can at least give this tragic tale a happy (or at least bittersweet) ending by summoning the Jellyfish Spirit in front of her sister, which will begin a scene in which the two are reunited for one bright night to watch the stars together.