Our mini-series began in part 1, with the settling of Skyrim by the early Nordic settlers and the development of the land through the first and second eras. In part 2, we examined Skyrims history throughout the third era, its interactions with the Septim Empire and the short-lived Imperial Simulacrum. Now, we conclude in part 3 by examining the current state of Skyrim as of the time of Oblivion, leaving us to speculate on how the nation will develop in the 200 years that follow, until we get to visit Skyrim ourselves for the first time.
So what does Septims pocket guide to the Empire tell us about current affairs in Skyrim, as of the time of Oblivion?
Northern Solitude grew in power and wealth, controlling much of the frigid northern coastline. Internal politics led to the marriage of King Thian with Marcella, the queen of Dawnstar to the east, leading to this control over the coast. Disparate northern islands such as Roscrea, traditionally ruled by the Septim Empire, have been annexed by Solitude, and exploratory missions to the desolate Sea of Ghosts have even begun.
Could this form the basis of quests or lands to explore in the new game? Could we get to visit Roscrea, or even new islands further north? The plot of the new game states the royal line is lost, but perhaps whispers of the union between Thian and Marcella might be seen in the games plotline…?
To the north-east, the city of Winterhold (Solitudes longtime rival) has also felt newfound power and prestige. Influences from Morrowind have enriched the culture and stimulated merchant spirit, and scholars have flocked to Winterhold since it became home to the Ysmir Collective (an ancient library from the east held safely in the College of Winterhold).
Can we expect to see this realised in our visit to Skyrim, 200 years on? Winterhold, a city of wealth and mercantile spirit? The place to go to buy and sell? Will we be able to visit the Ysmir Collective, for training, learning spells or developing skills or as part of the game plot…?
But all was not so well in Hrothgar and Whiterun at the time of our last visit to Tamriel. Feuds, attacks from the Hörme cabal and viscious forest trolls, and devastating winters and floods have all taken their toll, devastating the once-Imperial city of Skyrim. First, backlash was aimed at the leader of the witches coven Jshashe, self-proclaimed as a priestess of Lorkhan. But then… backlash turned to awe and exaltation as the population looked for a figurehead to take them out of dark tidings. While at that time, the area was yet to recover, Jshashe had instituted herself as the Witch-Queen of Whiterun.
Will Hrothgar and Whiterun have recovered in the 200 years that follow, or will this situation persist? Will these cities even exist when we get to visit Skyrim for the first time? Will the descendants of Jshashe, or even the Witch-Queen herself, still exist and be part of quest and exploration in the new game?
So, what have we learned from our mini-series of the history of Skyrim? Only that the nation is rich with history, hinted at by resources we can grasp from previous visits to Tamriel, and that surely some of this history will form the basis of the land we get to visit… the more we know, the better we are prepared.
But now, over to you – have you unearthed any of Skyrims lore or history? Perhaps in some media you have access to, or through discoveries you have made in the Elder Scrolls I to IV? We want to know! Head on over to our Forums and share your scholarly knowledge or speculations! Facts, theories, wild guesses – we want to hear it all!