Ring of Elden is a game full of tragedy, from fallen demigods to death around every corner. Ring of Elden players are repeatedly betrayed by various NPCs and see many more perish. The game has a lot of dualities with images between silver and gold and twins, like Mohg and Morgott and Miquella and Malenia. It doesn’t end there, as many items are collected in two halves.
Last but not least, there is a lot of duality between men and women in the game. As in all media, the two genders are treated quite differently. In Ring of Elden, however, it becomes apparent that there is some kind of gender coding when it comes to the tragedies that men face versus the tragedies that women face. Men are victims of madness, of being the traitor, of acting out of pride or greed while women are generally victims of grief, sacrifice and disease.
Spoilers for Elden Ring ahead.
Male Tragedy in the Elden Ring
The masculine coded tragedy is the most important in Ring of Elden, because most bosses are men. Generally, they fall into madness or some form of ambition. The most obvious of the Tragedy of Madness is Radahn, who has gone mad from Scarlet Rot and can be seen eating the bodies of people in the desert. It is, however, only the tip of the iceberg. Blaidd is another man who fell into madness because he remained loyal to Ranni but was built to push her towards a certain fate. There is also Edgar, who becomes mad with revenge for the death of his daughter to the point that he no longer recognizes anyone. Bloody Finger Hunter Yura is possessed by Shabriri, all of whom is chaos and madness.
Men who face tragic endings that are not madness are instead due to various kinds of ambition. Rykard hopes to devour the gods and sacrifices all he is to become one with the God Devouring Serpent. Gideon sought to be omniscient, and this led him to betray the Terni. Godrick the Grafted mocks his weakness and makes up for his lack of power by killing Terni until he meets his end by one. Mohg was Graceless and treated terribly by society, which led him to seek out his own dynasty, study blood sorcery, kidnap and brainwash the demigod Miquella, and ultimately fail and die. to Ternis for these actions. Then there is poor Morgott, who remained loyal to those who despised him and died protecting them.
Female Tragedy In The Elden Ring
The Female Coded Tragedy is about sacrifice, grief, and being a victim of injustice. Although there are fewer female characters in Ring of Elden, there are many examples. When Radagon left Rennala, she was so heartbroken that she is far from the woman she once was. Melina voluntarily sacrifices herself to shoot in order to help the player achieve their goal of becoming Elden Lord. Fia gets killed by D’s brother or sacrifices herself to have a child with Godwyn. After the player kills Rykard, Tanith is overcome with grief and eats his flesh in an attempt to revive him.
There’s also Rya, whose personal quest reveals information that makes her want to die. Latenna is destined to be the only survivor of the genocide in her village. Millicent and Malenia fall victim to scarlet rot disease. Ranni is yet another woman of sacrifice, as she destroys her own body and attaches her soul to a doll so she won’t be bound by her fate. Irina is also murdered during her quest.
Why this gender coding exists
Ring of Elden is a game inspired by mythology and fantasy, and these stories also have gender-coded tragedies. It goes back to ancient Greece and Shakespeare. Genres also often serve as plot devices for each other’s tragedies. Ranni was the plot that drove Blaidd mad. Irina was the plot that drove Edgar into a killing spree. Radagon was Rennala’s grief ploy. Rykard is the plot that drives Tanith mad and tries to eat his corpse.
There is much to be loved and hated by this model. Firstly, Ring of Elden using old models makes sense because players are used to these story and character tropes. It’s a storytelling comfort zone, and it can be necessary when a game thrives on hard-to-follow difficulties and lore. On the other hand, predictability is a bit tedious and contains some uncomfortable truths about what genre means to content creators. It wouldn’t have hurt the game to have more monstrous women and more delicate men.
Ring of Elden is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
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