Written by. Marco Farinaccia based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-07-19 17:33 JST)
In the period since Elden Ring first launched, one character who has continued to be adored by fans is the friendly NPC Miriel, Pastor of Vows. In this article, we will look at the extent to which players have held Miriel in high regard, from the time of the game’s release until now.
Please note that this article may contain spoilers for Elden Ring.
Almost five months have passed since FromSoftware’s action RPG Elden Ring was released. The game was a major hit, delivering an experience that satisfied the enormous expectations many fans had. It generated a wealth of excitement among the global gaming community, and even today, players continue to enthusiastically discuss the game.
Elden Ring includes an abundance of characters, ranging from hostile bosses to NPCs who assist the player. These characters have rich personalities, and many have left a big impression on fans. Examples of popular characters include the Lunar Princess Ranni, an important character from one of the questlines, Iron Fist Alexander, a warrior jar that the player can befriend, and bosses like the overwhelmingly huge Starscourge Radahn and the powerful Malenia, Blade of Miquella, who has caused many a player to cry out in despair. And there’s one more character that enjoys a rather special kind of devotion from the members of the Elden Ring subreddit: Miriel, Pastor of Vows.
What immediately makes Miriel stand out is that he is a massive turtle who can speak. There’s also the fact that he is one of the most virtuous characters in the game. Elden Ring is full of eccentric NPCs, and while some are good natured, the majority are somewhat disquieting and seem to want to take advantage of the player character to further their own objectives. Yet Miriel is never guarded or reticent, even when first meeting the player. On the contrary, he does his best to assist the player by kindly explaining the world’s history, teaching Sorceries and Incantations, and so on.
What’s more, even if the player attacks Miriel, he will not retaliate. Instead, he will just endure it until his life runs out, all the while attempting to discourage the player from this violent act. Also, after resting at a Site of Grace or spending some time away from him, Miriel will again address the player kindly as if nothing had happened.
Miriel is commonly known among fans as the “Turtle Pope,” likely because of the mitre hat that he wears. Before long, Miriel, who possesses deep faith and shows unconditional affection toward the player, had become revered by fans almost as if he was a religious symbol.
A great deal of Miriel fan art has been shared on the Elden Ring subreddit. Popular posts include artworks of him being depicted in different styles and even a comic that tells the tale of his sorrow. And the variety doesn’t end there. Here’s a look at some Miriel embroidery and a three-dimensional crochet Turtle Pope.
There have even been people who dressed up their pet turtles in Miriel cosplay. Posts related to Miriel often get hundreds or even thousands of upvotes, and he has also been the source of many memes. The character is essentially an idol at this point.
Miriel’s willingness to teach the player both Sorceries and Incantations is quite an uncommon thing in the world of Elden Ring, as they are depicted as incompatible forces. Yet, even if the player hands Miriel a Sorcery scroll, he will kindly teach the spell to the player, philosophically stating, “Heresy is not native to the world; it is but a contrivance. All things can be conjoined.” As Sorceries are considered heretical, it shows that he is quite open-minded. Miriel is also an exemplification of forgiveness: He serves as guardian of the Church of Vows, a place where the player can reverse any antagonization they have with NPCs, thereby making them friendly again.
Some Reddit threads seek to imitate his pardoning of sins (Confess your gravest Elden Ring sins before the Turtle Pope. All is forgiven), while others condemn the barbaric murder of innocent NPCs (not even Pope Turtle will forgive you). One particular thread that gathered a lot of attention was created by someone who murdered Miriel (I killed Pope Turtle, so you don’t have to).
This poster said that curiosity led them to attack the passive Miriel, and described how afterwards they were left with nothing but strong feelings of guilt. They said that they regretted the act and would never do it again. Even in terms of gameplay it is a massive loss, since Miriel is a very handy NPC who can teach both Sorceries and Incantations. The poster finished by stating, “I have to live with this on my soul now, don’t do this. There is nothing to gain, and you lose not only the convenience of him, but you lose a part of yourself too.” It’s almost like a confession of a real-life crime.
There is a certain grace in Miriel’s enduring popularity, and it almost feels like he is worshipped as a real saint. We hope that Miriel fans are overcome by warm feelings when they reflect on just how much love the character has received.