The idea that the Elden Ring is a physical item is also supported by the fact that both the game’s official plot summary and creator Hidetaka Miyazaki reference the idea that the Elden Ring has not only been shattered but has been broken into “shards.” While “shattered” could be used to describe a group breaking up, the idea that the members of that group would then be described as “shards” is a bit tougher to justify.
In fact, the official Elden Ring prologue notes that “Marika’s offspring, demigods all, claimed the shards of the Elden Ring known as the Great Runes, and the mad taint of their newfound strength triggered a war: The Shattering.” Not only does that wording support the theory that the Elden Ring is an item, but it also refers to the shards of the ring as the “Great Runes.” Could it be that the ring was broken before Godwyn’s death and that the Rune of Death was actually one of the shards of the Elden Ring? If so, it’s likely that whoever broke the ring took that shard for themselves and killed Godwyn.
Finally, much of the game’s plot seemingly revolves around discovering who shattered the Elden Ring. If the Elden Ring simply refers to a council that was broken by certain events, there probably wouldn’t be a mystery about who “shattered” the ring (unless you want to suggest that we’re actually looking for whoever stole the Rune of Death and killed Godwyn, which really requires you to buy into the idea that the “Runes” are kind of their own thing).
For now, though, I’d say that most of the official information that has been shared about the game’s plot tends to suggest that the Elden Ring is an actual ring that was broken into shards by a mysterious individual at some point.
While elements of the ring’s origins and possible powers remain a mystery, it is worth noting that the Elden Ring prologue states that the player will be “guided by grace to brandish the power of the Elden Ring” and that the Elden Ring is the “the source of the Erdtree” (which is a kind of “World Tree” that some fans believe connects The Lands Between to the entities known as The Greater Will and the blessings they provide). That makes it sound like the person who controls the ring essentially controls the favor of the gods and the fate of The Lands Between. Presumably, Godwyn the Golden, Queen Marika, and their offspring shared that power prior to The Shattering.
Of course, if you have any additional theories about what the Elden Ring is, be sure to share them in the comments below.
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