Elden Ring DLC: How is Radahn alive in Shadow of the Erdtree? Ending explained

Elden Ring
Promised Consort Radahn in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Over the course of your adventures in the Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC, its intriguing narrative centered around Miquella — Queen Marika's Empyrean son, destined for godhood — slowly unravels, hinting at his motives and ultimate purpose in the Land of Shadow. At the apex of Enir-Ilim, the journey culminates in one of the wildest boss battles in FromSoftware history that reveals an equally wild twist: General Radahn is back, and he's Miquella's "promised lord" and consort. But how? And also, why?

These are the burning questions many Elden Ring players are asking right now, and while some of the answers aren't concretely clear yet, I'll do my best to explain exactly what's going on with the ending of Shadow of the Erdtree and how it ties into the lore and story of the base game.

How is Radahn alive in the Elden Ring DLC?

The Tarnished prepares to fight Promised Consort Radahn. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Put simply, the reason why General Radahn is alive in the Elden Ring DLC even though we killed him in the base game is because Miquella brought his soul back and used the remains of Mohg, Lord of Blood as a vessel for it (he's the other boss you had to beat as part of the Elden Ring DLC requirements). This is revealed through progress in Sir Ansbach's questline, and it's why you can summon him to help you in the fight against Promised Consort Radahn — he wants Mohg's remains to be laid to rest. Notably, Ansbach also says Miquella charmed Mohg to "gain entrance to the Land of Shadow," confirming that he used his abilities on Mohg to enslave and force him to take the Empyrean's cocoon from the Haligtree.

This was done as part of a vow between Miquella and Radahn, with Radahn's side of the pact being the return of his soul to help Miquella supersede the Golden Order with his own "gentler" rule. Miquella speaks about this directly during the final boss fight's opening cutscene:

"My loyal blade. And champion of the festival.

Both your deeds will ever be praised in song.

Now, the vow will be honoured, and my Lord brother's soul will return.

So that he may be my consort."

The Remembrance of a God and a Lord you get for defeating Promised Consort Radahn notes that Miquella wanted Radahn to be his consort because of "his strength, and his kindness," which lines up with how he was characterized in lore from the base game.

Another thing worth noting is that a quote in the description for the Secret Rite Scroll you show to Sir Ansbach suggests Radahn's initial death was necessary for this partnership — perhaps so that he might be more "one" with Miquella upon his return. Specifically, the quote reads: "A lord will usher in a god's return, and the lord's soul will require a vessel." Understanding this is important to understanding the final cutscene.

Elden Ring DLC final cutscene ending explained

Miquella in the Elden Ring DLC's final ending cutscene. (Image credit: Windows Central)

So, how does the DLC's final cutscene that plays after you beat the final boss tie into things? Well, it's strongly implied that the aforementioned vow was indeed a pact made between Miquella and Radahn, and not a promise that one made to the other. The cutscene is a memory of a conversation the two had long ago, long before the events of Elden Ring:

"Lord brother.

I'm going to be a god.

If we honour our part of the vow,

promise me you'll be my consort.

I'll make the world a gentler place."

Though it's not outright confirmed anywhere, it's very likely that — given Radahn's love of combat — the part of their vow he wanted Miquella to fulfill was to give him an honorable death on the battlefield.

We finally know what Malenia was whispering to Radahn. (Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Speaking of that: "our" in that dialogue is referring to both Miquella and Malenia, his Empyrean sister who was born afflicted with the Scarlet Rot and became his sworn blade. The description of the Young Lion Armor Set you can purchase after defeating Promised Consort Radahn reveals the bombshell that Malenia fought Radahn to put Miquella's plan in motion, and likely to give Radahn a good death:

When Malenia, Blade of Miquella, let the rotflower blossom in Aeonia, Radahn heard a murmur in his ear— "Miquella awaits thee, O promised consort."

(You can actually see her whispering to him in Elden Ring's 2021 story trailer, by the way!)

While Malenia's intent seemed to be to kill Radahn here, the ultimate outcome of the battle was that she was forced to retreat after unleashing the Scarlet Rot in Caelid. In the wake of the conflict, Radahn was left alive and driven mad by the disease until we, the Tarnished, eventually came to defeat him during the Radahn Festival.

So, there you have it — the best explanation I can offer for Radahn's return and the events of Shadow of the Erdtree's ending, as well as how it connects back to the rest of Elden Ring's story. All of this is directly supported by in-game evidence, so while I might be wrong about a few details here or there, I'm confident that most of this explanation is correct. I'll update this article if that ends up not being the case, though.

The Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC is finally here, and it makes one of the best Xbox games and best PC games of all time even better. It's out now on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and Windows PC for $39.99.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree | $34.89 at CDKeys (Xbox)

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree | $34.89 at CDKeys (Xbox)

Shadow of the Erdtree is Elden Ring at its most refined, with the base game's overly formulaic elements cut away and some of FromSoftware's best boss fights. The result is a 40-hour-long masterpiece of a DLC that's an absolute must-play for any Soulsborne fan.

Also see: Shadow of the Erdtree (PC, $37.09) | Deluxe Edition (PC, $90.89)

Collector's Edition: Bandai Namco Store (€249.99)

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.