The History Of Alduin The World-Eater And Why All Should Fear Him, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
“Those Who Do Not Bow Will Be Devoured”
“And the Scrolls have foretold, of black wings in the cold, That when brothers wage war come unfurled! Alduin, Bane of Kings, ancient shadow unbound, With a hunger to swallow the world!” – Song of the Dragonborn –Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
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Alduin has had many names since the beginning of Nirn. And long before the races of Tamriel uttered his name in whispers of fear, Alduin has been dubbed the First Dragon, Twilight God, World-Eater, and even “First Born of Akatosh.” A bold expression gloated from Alduin’s own arrogant tongue.
Whatever you call him, Alduin is referred to as the harbinger of the apocalypse and his very name translates to three meanings from Dragon tongue, Destroyer, Devour, Master.
We are going to explore what makes Alduin such a terrifying dragon and antagonist to the people of Tamriel and Skyrim.
To do this we will delve into a bit of mythology and representations in other fantasy while looking back to the history of Skyrim and the events that occurred in the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
A Treacherous Villain for the Vast Land of Skyrim
By the time we hit the events of the Elder Scrolls: 5 Skyrim, Alduin is all but a legend known in myth and song. Bethesda does a great job of highlighting the strain cast between the Imperials and Nords through conflicting beliefs. While also underlining a background of lore on Alduin and Akatosh through this subtle world-building.
This is done by taking an inherently good entity and Nord God and suggesting that it is in fact the same as a purely evil God.
The popular belief by Imperial scholars is that Alduin is in fact the same entity as Akatosh. However, there are Nords who wager on a different belief…
The player can obtain a book in Skyrim, titled Alduin is Real, written by Nord Thromgar Iron-Head. The book entertains the notion that Alduin is in fact a separate entity altogether. However, the book is poorly written with an abundance of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
Thromgar Iron-Head states: “Alduin is a real dragon, with flesh and teeth and a mean streak longer than the White River. And there was a time when Alduin tried to rool over all of Skyrim with his other dragons. In the end, it took sum mitey strong heroes to finally kill Alduin and be dun with his holy sorry story. So I got to ask – does that sound like Akatosh to you? No, friend. No it does not.”
Alduin’s Cruel Rule Over Skyrim
There was a time when dragons ruled over the people of Skyrim. Alduin rejected his role as World Eater for a desire to be worshiped. Dragons are often depicted as arrogant, drunk on power, and extremely vain. While they are powerful, these characteristics are often the reason for their doom. However, not before laying waste to cities and homes.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is fairly dated now and it’s often the case while playing the game that there is a void of emotion which is created by the voice acting, animations, and bugs. Therefore it can be argued that nowadays it is easy to disconnect from the world of Skyrim.
However, Skyrim’s lore is dark and paints a land of domination, slavery, and barbaric deeds by dragons and men. You see at the height of Alduin’s rule, people were sacrificed to dragons by priests who held significant power over the people of Skyrim.
The player can discover artifacts all across Skyrim showing evidence of the rule of Dragons. From wall murals to tombs filled with the dead of the Dragon’s underlords as well as their own burial sites.
Although this reign of tyranny would not last as he was betrayed by Paarthurnax, Alduin’s second in command. Paarthurnax taught the future heroes of Skyrim the powerful thu’um. Together they created a powerful shout, called Dragonrend, to defeat Alduin. However, while victorious, they would fail in fully defeating Alduin.
An Overlook of the Return of Alduin
Travel to Sky Haven Temple and you’ll discover within a wall mural depicting the great battle at the Throat of the World. The heroes of Skyrim knew that one day, Alduin would return. The song ‘The Dragonborn Comes’ and the ancient lost song are a warning to the future inhabitants of Skyrim That the World-Eater will return.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim begins with the player witnessing the return of Alduin. While news travels quickly to nearing settlements of a dragon sighting. Many disregard this as mere lies, jarls have no time to waste their time on tales as they prep for war.
One of the biggest disregards is the fact that Alduin can travel on many planes. Upon entering Sovngarde we are greeted by Nords that have died. Playing Skyrim you will become aware that the Nords believe that once they have died and deemed worthy they can travel to Sovngarde much like Valhalla in Norse mythology.
However, we come to realize that Alduin has been growing in power by feeding on the souls of fallen Nords. It’s a terrifying realization that all who are destined for Sovngarde are wiped from existence. Furthermore, as the Dragonborn, we discover Alduin’s plan to consume the world fulfilling his purpose as World-Eater.
It’s a true bedtime story that is terrifying, as the people of Skyrim not only fear Alduin in the mortal realm but also fear him after death.
Alduin in Parallel to Norse Mythology
A lot of Skyrim has a liking to nordic countries, from its landscape, cold weather, and even some parallels to Norse Mythology. Such as Alduin resembling Níðhöggr or Nidhogg. A giant serpent/dragon that lives in the roots of the world tree Yggdrasil which contains all Norse realms.
The dragon Nidhogg gnaws on the roots of the tree and it is prophesied that when Ragnarok (apocalypse) comes, Nidhogg will fly from Yggdrasil to war against the gods. (Hmmm sound familiar?)
Further comparisons can be made to Fenrir, the son of Loki whose form is that of a wolf. Fenrir is a feared god in Norse mythology and like Alduin, Fenrir is also a harbinger of the apocalypse. It is said that once Fenrir breaks free from his chains, he will begin to devour the world.
“he will break free and run throughout the world with his lower jaw against the ground and his upper jaw in the sky, devouring everything in his path” – The Viking Spirit: An Introduction to Norse Mythology and Religion
Therefore, Alduin is a similar physical manifestation for the Nords of Skyrim. Comparing Alduin to Fenrir and Nidhogg from Norse mythology, we can start to fathom the depths of fear that Alduin holds over the people of Skyrim.(Get The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition for $10 here)