What happened to Sellen in Elden Ring and can you save her?

By Steven Rondina

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Apr 1, 2022

Reading time: 3 min

Regardless of what choices the Elden Ring player makes or who they side with, Sellen does not come out of her questline in a good spot. Is there a way to save Sellen, though?

While nobody really comes out of their questlines better off than they were when they entered it in Elden Ring, the possible endings to Sellen’s quest are all a gutpunch. Sellen stands out as one of the coolest and most “normal” NPCs in the entire game but players need to choose between two different tragic ends to her story.

The player can choose to help her until the very end, at which point her ambition comes back to bite her by transforming her into a Graven Mass. On the other hand, the player can personally betray her by joining Witch-Hunter Jerren in tracking her down and killing her. There are good rewards in both directions, but neither choice involves a happy ending for Sellen.

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Sellen’s true face in Elden Ring.

So can Elden Ring players keep Sellen alive or save her while still completing her questline? Here’s what can be done for the beloved sorcery teacher.

What happened to Sellen in Elden Ring? Why did she turn into a ball of heads?

At the end of Sellen’s questline in Elden Ring, players can find her in Rennala’s boss arena at the center of Raya Lucaria Academy. Initially, Sellen is in this room alone celebrating her victory but after reloading the area, Rennala is back in her usual spot while Sellen has been transformed into a School of Graven Mages. This is the formal term for the gigantic ball of heads that shoots lasers from the sky at the player.

A popular fan theory is that Rennala returned and transformed Sellen into this monstrous form. Either that or Ranni the Witch did so in order to protect her mother, similar to how she transforms Rennala during the final Raya Lucaria boss fight.

This likely isn’t the case, however. Turning into a rock is apparently just a normal occurrence for sorcerors and the School of Graven Mages is a part of that. 

“The primeval current is a forbidden tradition of glintstone sorcery. To those who cleave to its teachings, the act of collecting sorcerers to fashion them into the seeds of stars is but another path of scientific inquiry,” the description for the Graven-School Talisman reads.

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Alongside this, the helmets dropped by Lusat and Azur both allude to sorcerors who dabble with the primeval current transforming into rocks. Both state that the legendary mages saw their brains and skulls mutated and turned into rock. Lusat’s equipment states that he was “near-inorganic” by the time the player meets him.

As such, it’s likely that Sellen had an Icarian experience with the primeval current. Except instead of flying too close to the sun and having her wings melt, she messed with cosmic sorcery and got turned into a big rock.

Can you save Sellen in Elden Ring?

You cannot save Sellen if you want to finish her questline and receive all the rewards. The only way to have things work out alright for her is to end her questline prematurely. 

The best outcome for Sellen sees the player purchase her sorceries, find Azur, then get Jerren to kill her in Witchbane Ruins before completing her request to find Lusat. If the player then kills Jerren while he is in Witchbane Ruins, Sellen will remain alive and can have her new body without advancing to the point where she turns into a Graven School of Mages.

The trouble is that by not completing this questline, the player doesn’t receive the great rewards offered by this quest which include valuable spells and armor for sorcerors or an Ancient Dragon Smithing Stone from Jerren. Players also don’t have the ability to re-spec through Rennala while Sellen is in the arena.

While saving Sellen is certainly a nice idea, players are sacrificing quite a lot to do so. It’s also a safe assumption that she’ll still ultimately meet a bad end within the canonical version of events regardless.

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