As the Tarnished in Elden Ring, you were initially fated to die alone in your maidenless, pathetic obscurity. As if the game’s crushing difficulty wasn’t enough already, its NPCs also loved to rub it in your face how insignificant you are. But that doesn’t last long; Melina will soon present herself.
She’ll pretend to be your maiden and even give you a “car,” or a weird 2nd hand horse in this case. The only catch is that you don’t ask questions and do as she says. Of course, being the curious pup that you are, you’ll eventually need Melina explained, because she’s obviously disingenuous and is just using you. We’re here to provide a bit of insight into Melina’s true nature.
Who is Melina?
In order to ascend to godhood and claim the empty throne in Elden Ring, a candidate will need a special companion called a Finger Maiden. She’s to serve as a conduit between the player character and the Two Fingers– the envoys of the Greater Will. Being Tarnished (basically undead), the players are inherently maidenless.
That is until Melina presents herself as your improvised maiden, serving as a catalyst and requisite fulfillment for your quest to become an Elden Lord. As we stated above, she even gives you a mount and directions, though the nature of your accord with her is questionable and even defies common conventions within the game’s established lore.
Melina, the Mysterious Maiden
Melina’s introduction into the game suggests that she plays a role akin to the level-up maidens in the Dark Souls trilogy serving as a hub for the players to level up. That’s her primary gameplay purpose though it ties more seamlessly into the story compared to other Souls games.
As the Elden Ring storyline unfolds, it becomes clear that she is far more than a simple maiden guiding the player on their quest.
She won’t reveal much, sadly. Most of her interest in you lies in your claiming of the Great Runes from the shardbearers, thus helping further her own agenda. Even then, her goal of saving the Lands Between from chaos is a vague notion, considering how plenty of factions and entities in Elden Ring regard the Erdtree and the Greater Will as oppressive and vain.
A Baffling Connection to Ranni
One peculiar aspect of Melina’s character is her connection to Ranni, the Witch. Melina is blind in her left eye while Ranni is blind in her right eye. This implied that they might be the same person (or at least related) and that they can peer through each other’s eyes though even that remains ambiguous. For all we know, they could be sisters.
As the story progresses, it becomes apparent that there is more to their relationship than initially meets the eye (no pun intended). Ranni’s journey and Melina’s quest intersect in intriguing ways, creating a parallel between the two characters.
If players choose to follow Ranni’s questline, they can achieve the “Age of Stars” ending, which involves opposing the “Greater Will.”
This opposition mirrors Melina’s decision to empower a Tarnished player with the gift of Runes. Furthermore, both characters share spectral forms. Ranni inhabits a doll body, while Melina’s “true” spectral face seems to be identical to the spectral one alongside Ranni’s doll. Both seem to exist as non-physical apparitions, and the parallels between them are undeniable.
It is thus hinted that Ranni and Melina may be closely related, perhaps sisters, or perhaps halves of the same being. Clues to Melina’s origin are scattered throughout her cryptic dialogue.
She mentions being born inside the Erdtree and being given purpose by her mother, strongly implying that she is an Empyrean born under Queen Marika. Melina’s revelation that her spectral form resulted from her body being “burned away” much like what happened to Ranni.
She Might be the Gloam-Eyed Queen
If you’re puzzled about the Gloam-Eyed Queen’s existence, that’s because this enigmatic character was only mentioned in item descriptions. Still, she played a crucial role in the events leading up to Elden Ring.
Apparently, the Gloam-Eyed Queen controlled Destined Death before Marika had Maliketh seize this power, ushering in the deathless world seen in the game.
The Gloam-Eyed Queen was also believed to have granted the Godskin the power of the Black Flame, capable of slaying even gods when death still existed. Simply put, the Gloam-Eyed Queen controlled death in the Lands Between.
Elden Ring’s current deathless Golden Order could have been a result of Marika and Maliketh attacking and dethroning the Gloam-Eyed Queen, seizing the ancient Elden Ring. The Gloam-Eyed Queen’s death and defeat would explain her tragic fate and Melina’s manifestation could then be seen as a kind of “rebirth” or a response to this upheaval.
Again, this is just speculation and theorizing, but one of the game’s endings, the “Flame of Frenzy” shows Melina shedding her original form and heavily implying that she’s the Gloam-Eyed Queen with a darker hair color and more sinister eyes to boot.
While FromSoftware may leave the true nature of Melina’s character shrouded in mystery, you can anticipate the upcoming Shadow of the Erdtree DLC to shed more light on the Elden Ring lore, particularly for Miquella though you can also expect Melina explained.