Trying to make sense of Elden Ring‘s lore can be particularly challenging. Much information in the game is only told through item descriptions, and even major characters don’t know the extent of their backstory. This is the case for many events and people involved with Malenia, a secret boss that’s arguably tougher than any other. Even though she’s seen in the game’s intro, her connections to other characters and her own motivations are arguably a mystery. Fans of Elden Ring and its lore will need to dive deep to understand Malenia as well as the affliction of rot she carries.
Elden Ring Lore: Who is Malenia the Severed?
Malenia is the child of Queen Marika and Radagon, the second Elden Lord. She and Miquella were born as twins, leading to her becoming extremely attached to him above all the other demigods. However, because of the existing connection between Radagon and Marika, both twins were born with a curse. Malenia was afflicted with the deadly Scarlet Rot disease, which would eat away at her body and eventually take her eyes and right arm. Scarlet Rot affects both the body and mind, likely being a reason as to why Malenia is so quick to attack the player when entering her arena.
Before the Shattering, Miquella crafted a needle to help keep Malenia’s rot at bay. This needle defends against the influence of outer gods, referencing the fact that Scarlet Rot is sourced from such a god. Likewise, Malenia would defend Miquella to the best of her ability, staying by his Haligtree up until the war of the Shattering began. She would go on to battle against Godrick the Grafted, humiliating him in battle before eventually going on to face Radahn in a final duel. This duel would lead to no victor, with Malenia triggering the Scarlet Rot within her to create a massive, blooming flower that covered all of Caelid — especially Radahn — in her affliction. She only managed to survive thanks to the efforts of a loyal Cleanrot Knight carrying her comatose body back to the Haligtree, where she would await Miquella’s return fruitlessly.
Interestingly, the NPC Millicent is said to share her blood with Malenia, but the extent of her relationship is not known. Additionally, it is stated in the description of Malenia’s Scarlet Aeonia spell that she will become a goddess when she “blooms” a third time. She uses the spell multiple times throughout the fight and is even titled as “Goddess of Rot,” but the message that appears after defeating her is simply “Demigod Slain.” Each of her two blooms seem to occur during her fight with Radahn and during her fight with the player. In other words, Malenia never manages to reach her true potential by the time players manage to defeat her.
How to Fight Malenia
While players can simply cheese Malenia with frostbite and blood loss, learning most of her attacks will make the fight incredibly simple. Malenia has deceptively good range thanks to her long sword. Many of her swipes will hit the player if they choose to dodge backwards, especially when she does attacks like her quick 4-swipe combo and her leaping thrust. It’s better to dodge diagonally towards her, moving into her side so her wider slashes will miss you entirely. This will set you up to deal some big damage with charged attacks and weapon skills without a need to worry about repercussions.
Malenia’s deadliest attack is her Waterfowl Dance, which will easily destroy any player unprepared for it. Trying to dodge it while too close to her will simply lead to your death. Instead, prepare yourself for when her health is around 75% and try to stay as far away from her as possible. Then, run away from her first volley of slashes and use rolls to avoid the second and third volleys. Alternatively, you can use items like Freezing Pots or equipment like shields with 100% physical blocking ability. The former will knock her out of the attack before she can even use it while the latter will help you avoid any damage at the cost of your stamina and some of her health being restored.
In phase 2, Malenia will use new attacks that might not be so easy to predict. Her Scarlet Aeonia will have her try to slam into the player before blooming a deadly flower of rot. You’ll want to dodge her slam and run away as fast as possible. Even just a petal could tear through your health in seconds! She’ll also add a jumping slam to some of her combos, creating an explosion of Scarlet Rot that leaves her surprisingly open to retaliation. She can also use a long, jumping sweep that ends in a thrust. On occasion, she’ll combine this with flowery apparitions of herself, unleashing a volley of slices at the player. You can avoid this fairly well by timing your rolls, but you can also block the apparitions to avoid damage with practically no drawbacks.
Even if many of Malenia’s attacks can be blocked and even parried, you shouldn’t rely on your shield too much. Each attack she lands will heal her even if it only hits a shield. You’ll have to be just as aggressive as her, especially considering how easy it is to stagger her. Jumping attacks will commonly leave her open for a quick light attack follow-up. You’ll also be able to eventually break her stance and deal a critical hit, but she’ll regain her posture fairly quickly. Keep an eye out for when she kneels to the ground!
Fire and Lighting are particularly effective against Malenia. They’ll be the strongest sources of elemental damage even when taking the water in her arena into account. If you’re having trouble with her second phase, consider taking along items or spells that can remove Scarlet Rot. This will prevent her from outlasting you as long as you can consistently dish out damage while avoiding her attacks. In terms of lore, Malenia might be the strongest boss in all of Elden Ring. But in terms of gameplay, enough skill and patience is all it’ll take for you to overcome her!
Elden Ring is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
- This article was updated on January 27th, 2023