The Elder Scrolls Lore – Pt.1 – Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls has some of the most in-depth and elaborate sets of lore in video games. With so many sources of lore, let’s take a look at some of it and piece together what we can about the game.
With Skyrim quickly approaching, it is important to know some of the background of the world within The Elder Scrolls series. While Skyrim will be a totally different story from Oblivion, it is certain that they both take place in the same world with the same consistent histories. All of the information provided will be taken from The Imperial Library, a very reputable and trusted source for any bit of lore dealing with The Elder Scrolls which finds its lore from the in-game books, notes, etc., so let’s start with something basic (as the lore can become quite complex and confusing), and take a look at the basic lore and history of the region known simply as Skyrim, home to the Nordic people of Tamriel. In this section, we shall be taking information from a piece called The Throat of the World: Skyrim, by the Imperial Geographical Society.
Skyrim is the northern province of Tamriel, a land of breathtaking beauty and lethal winters. It is one of the ancient seats of power in the Empire and well-populated by the Nords. As if to compensate for their freezing environment, the Nords are famously hot-blooded and the political climate can be as shifting and dangerous as the winds.
Looking at virtually any vista in Skyrim, one is looking at the remains of a battlefield. The great Aedric cataclysms that brought Tamriel into existence in primeval times seem to have spent most of their fury in this northern land. Vast majestic mountain ranges from the spiny twisted backbone of the province and one can hear echoes of the early Nedic people’s battle cries whistling in the winds of the valleys.
Tradition has it that the first humans came to Tamriel from the continent of Atmora in ancient days. It was a not a single invasion but a series of them over hundreds of years, creating many different Nedic cultures, the new-arrived Atmorans always clashing with the generations that had already established themselves. The region around Saarthal in the high northern coastal mountains exchanged hands many times, becoming more powerful and more permanent, like the Nords themselves, by default.
Though Cyrodiil was considered a separate domain, the Nords and the early Imperials formed a loose alliance against their elven opponents, their cultures mixing together, creating the foundations of modern day Aedric worship. Yet Skyrim remained the dominant human nation in Tamriel until it was torn apart by rivalries within the Ysgramor clan, a clan derived from one of the most iconic Tamrielic figures, Ysgramor, from whom all Nordic kings are descended. As individual chieftains fought each other, Skyrim gradually lost her holdings in present day Morrowind and High Rock, and certain localities in Skyrim became independent kingdoms. For brief periods, one ruler has managed to unite all of Skyrim, but the Nord character is one essentially of conflict, and the confederacies never last. The Cyrodilic Empire and later the Septim Empire was able to take advantage of this tendency and recruit the warlike Nords to their side before they became a force of the opposition. Eventually, Skyrim became the “strong arm” of the Cyrodilic Empire, boasting many strong and iconic warriors.