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Elden Ring: The Roundtable Hold, Explained

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  • Where Is The Roundtable Hold?
  • What Is The Purpose Of The Roundtable Hold?
  • Why Doesn't The Greater Will Stop Us?

In Elden Ring, The Roundtable Hold will be a familiar presence to any Tarnished who explore the Lands Between. It is a safe haven for war-weary warriors to stop and take a breath. To upgrade weapons, convene with old friends, and to exchange pearls of wisdom. For many, it will be fondly remembered as a checkpoint akin to Firelink Shrine in the Dark Souls series.

While the warm atmosphere may seem inviting at first, a harder look into the strange place reveals more sinister truths. The first odd thing players will notice is that the Roundtable Hold can only be accessed by fast traveling. It is almost as if it sits in a realm parallel to the Lands Between. A realm that could only be created by the power of an Outer God.

Where Is The Roundtable Hold?

Before we dive into the meddling of Outer Gods, let's first get a good idea of what exactly the Roundtable Hold is. A good place to start is to identify where exactly the place is. This is kind of a trick question because the Roundtable Hold actually occupies space in two areas of Elden Ring.

The first is its physical location in the world. Once the Tarnished reaches Leyndell, Royal Capital, some exploration can uncover many interesting secrets. One such secret is an exact replica of the Roundtable Hold, sans NPCs and the giant Site of Grace in the center. So we know the Roundtable Hold that we visit is a copy of this physical version, though it is entirely separate from the Hold that we frequent.

This means that our Hold lies somewhere inaccessible outside of teleportation. This leaves many options for where exactly the Hold could be. Let's explore a few theories. One option is that it sits in an extra-dimensional space. It seems that these spaces do exist in the game, as the only way to access Moghwyn Palace is to teleport to it. That said, this is unlikely, as every other space in the game, from Miquella's Haligtree to Farum Azula, are accessible to the player on the same plane of existence. It is more likely that Mogh has burrowed himself into a great cave system somewhere, and sealed all the entrances until he is ready to come out.

The Roundtable Hold could also take a page out of Bloodborne's book, and it could exist in the consciousness of the beings of the Lands Between. We know that spaces like the Hunter's Dream exist, as the player can enter the dreams of Fia at the end of her quest to fight a boss. An interesting concept but also unlikely. This dream travel is, we assume, the first time the technique has appeared in The Lands Between, since Fia is the first person to find the Prince of Death since his passing. It is surely not refined enough to make such a detailed liminal space. We also know that this cannot be the case because the Hold reacts to the player's actions in the overworld.

Specifically, when the Erdtree burns, the player will find the Roundtable Hold in flames. This means that the Hold is intrinsically connected to the Erdtree. Not only that, but the Roundtable Hold could exist within the Erdtree itself. Where exactly, whether it be nestled in the branches or in the center of the trunk, we do not know, but our not knowing its exact location makes sense for reasons we will get into later. This location would also explain why the Site of Grace inside the Hold is so massive: It is as close to its power source as it can get.

What Is The Purpose Of The Roundtable Hold?

This is a hotly debated topic, as no one comes right out and says it in the game. In fact, the vast majority of NPCs just ignore the existence of the Hold and take it for what it is: A safe place to hang your hat at the end of a long journey. That said, there are plenty of breadcrumbs left around the world for the player to pick up on.

First, let's start with the obvious. The Roundtable Hold is a construct of The Greater Will, and it is in control of it. This is a fairly obvious deduction since the Two Fingers make this their home base. For those of you who don't know, the Two Fingers are the physical embodiment of The Greater Will and can speak to it directly. Essentially, the Hold is a place for the greatest warriors of the Lands Between to gather together under one roof. The question you are probably asking now is: Why would The Greater Will gather everyone in the world together who has the potential to burn this tree down?

This question can actually be answered, and it shows off the chilling amount of control that The Greater Will really exerts on the world. It is true that The Greater Will sets everyone on the path to mending the Elden Rune, but he does it for its own purposes. Our answers here come in the form of Sir Gideon Ofnir, and Ensha, two important NPCs of the Hold. After discovering the first half of the Haligtree secret Medallion, Ensha will intercept our teleport to the Hold and attempt to kill us. Ensha's master, Sir Gideon will dismiss this when asked, but near the end of the game, he will attempt to stop us from reaching the burning Erdtree.

It seems that The Greater Will has a multi-staged plan at play, and the first stage is gathering the strongest heroes in a Hold that is under his influence. Here, it will try to turn the Tarnished to its dogma and use the most powerful heroes to kill or impede "heretics" who do not submit to its will. The goal of The Greater Will is to sustain its reign for all of eternity, so it makes up propaganda about it being the ultimate form of order in the world and convincing others that it must be defended at all costs. This would explain why the Hold doesn't show up on our maps. If a heretic ever found out just how close they were to the Erdtree, they may attempt to breach the walls…

Why Doesn't The Greater Will Stop Us?

This final and perhaps biggest question about the Roundtable Hold is: Why are we allowed to continue? For anyone who has beaten the game, they know that burning the Erdtree and mending the Elden Rune in one of six ways is the inevitable outcome. If The Greater Will really is as omniscient and powerful as we asserted before, why doesn't it simply bring the Hold crumbling around our ears when we step inside? As always, there are a few possible explanations.

The first, and most likely explanation, is that The Greater Will is only a shadow of its former power. The planting of the Erdtree was an event that happened so long ago that the details have almost passed from memory at the time of the games. However, we do know that Marika shattered the Elden Rune, and either this act or the act of planting the Erdtree were such heretical actions that Marika had to be imprisoned in the Erdtree. But what if this wasn't quite true? After beating Radagon, we are thrust into a fight with the Elden Beast, a likely candidate for The Greater Will's physical manifestation in the Lands Between. Perhaps Radagon realized the danger that the Greater Will posed, and sealed it within the Erdtree to dampen its power. That would explain why it seems that the god can only pull strings and send whispers into people's ears rather than directly affecting actions in the world.

Another more disturbing line of thinking is that all of this was The Greater Wills plan all along. From the gathering of powerful Tarnished to the slayings of the Demigods, even to the burning of the Erdtree. It could all be a plot by The Greater Will to eliminate all of its most powerful foes and make the most powerful Tarnished in history its unchallenged puppet and ruler. This is a huge gamble on its part, as the tarnished can choose to install a new Outer God instead. Or worse they could discover Miquella's Needle, a powerful artifact that can dispel Outer Gods. This would certainly explain why Ensha wants us dead as soon as we start sniffing around about the Haligtree.

Finally, and perhaps the most depressing theory: The Tarnished is only the hollow puppet filled with the essence of an Outer God. Not only in Elden Ring, but in Bloodborne, and Dark Souls, our player is always a mute, unstoppable force. We are always given a task as soon as we manifest, and we follow that goal blindly, never asking questions until the very end. We thrust ourselves at impossible foes time and time again with no regard for our pain or our sanity until we overcome every obstacle. It could be that in every FromSoftware game, we are simply a hollow shell created by the ruling forces who want to kickstart a stalling world. In Elden Ring, we wouldn't know which Outer God has us in their clutches until we make that important decision of how to mend the rune. In Dark Souls, are we a pawn of Gwyn or of Darkstalker Kaathe? In Bloodborne, do we usurp the lord of the nightmare, and become the next ruler, or do we become a vessel for new dreams to be born? Perhaps all of our choices were only illusions all along.

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