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Who are the "Tarnished" in Elden Ring?

Welcome to The Lands Between (Image via Elden Ring)
Welcome to The Lands Between (Image via Elden Ring)
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Siddharth Patil

Bandai Namco’s upcoming JRPG Elden Ring is one of 2022’s most anticipated games. It was originally announced as a collaboration between Japanese developer From Software and George R. R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame, wherein the latter has handled the lore and world-building for the project.

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From Software has shown a hefty chunk of gameplay via trailers so far and also hosted a hands-on “closed network test." The setting for Elden Ring is the fantasy world of The Lands Between.

The titular Elden Ring, which was once an all-powerful artifact that blessed all creatures, has been shattered. Split into shards called the Great Runes, they are now under the control of the corrupted demigods of The Lands Between. Tarnished are those who are summoned to retrieve the Runes.

View the Melina Elden Ring here.


The Tarnished are the exiled individuals that will answer the Elden Ring's call

The game's many ruins and dungeons hide untold horrors (Image via Elden Ring)
The game's many ruins and dungeons hide untold horrors (Image via Elden Ring)

The player's character is known as the Tarnished. Narratively, it’s suggested that they are exiled individuals. Since they have been called back by the Ring to retrieve the Runes and defeat the twisted demigods, the question arises: why did the Tarnished “fall from grace” to begin with? More accurately, it is their ancestors that did so, but the cause for that is still unknown.

What is clear from the official website, though, is that the Tarnished are basically referred to as “undead” (thus playing into the death/revival system that these games are known for). They have also been prophesied to ascend to the Lordship by mending the Ring after being exiled.

Click here for Elden Ring Steam.

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That’s director Hidetaka Miyazaki’s theme for the game: allowing players to paint their own interpretation of what the story means, and what role the Tarnished would play in the overall game. Is the Ring’s call for the salvation of The Lands Between, a path to redemption for the Tarnished or a means of payback for banishment?

That’s all that can be gleamed from the narrative information that’s public right now. As expected, the community has been abuzz with a variety of speculation since the first screenshot was made public.

Renowned Souls enthusiast and YouTuber VaatiVidya is of the opinion that the Ring's power may not necessarily mean a good thing for the Tarnished. After all, if the shards can corrupt the noble lords of this now-fractured world, then surely the entire Ring might mean an even worse sentence for the player?

To see Finger Maiden Elden Ring, click here.

Combat huge bosses on the Tarnished's quest to glory (Image via Elden Ring)
Combat huge bosses on the Tarnished's quest to glory (Image via Elden Ring)

This makes sense considering that’s how previous FromSoft games have played out too. Or maybe that’s no longer the case - perhaps it has cursed the nobles for their greed by driving them mad; and maybe rising as an Elden Lord will finally set things right?

These questions will remain a mystery until release. Elden Ring will launch on February 25, 2022 for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles.


Edited by Abu Amjad Khan
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