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Not to be confused with Alduin (Online).
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"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[src]

Alduin (Dovahzul: ALDUIN), the World Eater,[1] is a mighty dragon who ruled over Skyrim during the Merethic Era. Worshipped as a god-king by the ancient Nords through the Dragon Cult, Alduin is sometimes considered the "wellspring" of the Nordic pantheon, as well as the harbinger of the apocalypse, and is believed to have a pivotal role in the reshaping of the world.[1]

By game

History

During the early Merethic Era, the ancient Atmoran people worshiped numerous animal totems which would become the Nordic Pantheon—the hawk, wolf, snake, moth, owl, whale, bear, fox and the dragon—as the avatars of the gods.[2][UL 1] Possibly at Alduin's urgings, the people of Atmora and later Skyrim came to deify the dragons, through this establishing the Dragon Cult as the dominant belief system of ancient Nordic culture.[3]

Alduinwall1

The subjugation of Men by the dragons, as depicted on Alduin's Wall.

Some consider that Alduin's desire to be worshiped by the mortal races was him having forsaken his proper role as World Eater because of his own pride and arrogance.[4] Regardless, throughout the Merethic Era, Alduin stood as a cruel leader to dragonkind and the ruler of Skyrim. Men were increasingly subjugated, and became enslaved and even sacrificed to the dragons through their underlings, the Dragon Priests, who wielded an authority equal to the kings.[5]

Alduin's chief lieutenant during this period was Paarthurnax, his younger sibling, who was said to have committed unspeakable atrocities against mankind. However, Paarthurnax turned against Alduin at the behest of the goddess Kyne, and would teach humans how to use the Thu'um; granting the most courageous among them the chance to rebel against their dragon overlords. The ensuing conflict between the dragons and the ancient Tongues became the legendary Dragon War.[6] At its height, Alduin was led to the Throat of the World where he battled three Nordic heroes, Felldir the Old, Hakon One-Eye and Gormlaith Golden-Hilt. They created a unique Shout known as Dragonrend through which they managed to subdue Alduin, and then used an Elder Scroll to send him forward in time.[6]

Prophecy

AlduinWall2

Alduin's banishment as depicted on Alduin's Wall.

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"But a day, shall arise, when the dark dragon's lies, Will be silenced forever and then! Fair Skyrim will be free from foul Alduin's maw! Dragonborn be the savior of men!"
Song of the Dragonborn[src]

A prophecy foretelling of Alduin's inevitable return to Nirn is inscribed unto Alduin's Wall, located at Sky Haven Temple, which is a wonder of the ancient world built in the First Era by the Akaviri; and the existence of which is recounted in the Book of the Dragonborn and possibly on an Elder Scroll.[7][8] It warns that the World Eater will eventually return after various tumultuous events have occurred in world history, retelling the events that have led up to this point, and claiming that the Last Dragonborn will come forth at that time to stand against Alduin.

Dragon Crisis

As foretold by the Prophecy, Alduin would resurface in 4E 201 amidst the Skyrim Civil War. After making his presence known with an attack on Helgen, he began visiting the dragon burial sites across Skyrim to resurrect his subordinate dragons and reestablish his dominance over Skyrim. The resurgence of the dragons and their ancient reign of terror became known as the Dragon Crisis. It was during this time that the Last Dragonborn emerged to challenge the World Eater. Only the Dragonborn was able to hinder the dragons' onslaught and only they could put a permanent end to them by absorbing their souls. With guidance from Paarthurnax, the Dragonborn dealt Alduin a minor defeat at the Throat of the World. The final confrontation came in the Nordic afterlife of Sovngarde, where the three Nordic heroes who defeated Alduin in the past joined the Dragonborn to stop the dragon once and for all, or until the end of time comes, as Esbern speculates.[6]

Nature and Identity

Nordic legends assert that Alduin is a god-like entity which destroyed the last world in order to begin the current one, in what is considered the creation of a new Kalpa.[1] He bears resemblance to the Yokudan god Satakal, the Argonian god Atakota, and the Skaal know him as Thartaag the World-Devourer.[9][10][11] As a result, Alduin has been seen both as creator and destroyer by various cultures of Men, with his existence predating the creation of Nirn itself. There are legends of his battles with the god Shor at the beginning of time.[12] He also conspired with Orkey to reduce all the Nords to children, until he was again defeated by Shor by request of King Wulfharth.[12]

The Dragon - Alduin

An ancient Nordic depiction of one of Alduin's Dragon Priests.

Imperial scholars speculate that Alduin is the name by which the ancient Nords knew Akatosh, the dragon god of time and later patron deity of the Empire.[1][13] However, some Nords consider this a mischaracterization, maintaining that Alduin and Akatosh are indeed regarded as separate beings in Nordic legend.[3] Alduin called himself the "First-Born of Akatosh".[14] According to Paarthurnax, Alduin's dragon peers considered him Akatosh's most acclaimed "creation".[4] Some sources suggest he was split from Akatosh, or possibly the greater Aka-Tusk, and that Alduin embodies a particular aspect of Akatosh.[UL 2]

Gallery

Appearances

References

Notice: The following are unlicensed references. They are not copyrighted by a ZeniMax Media company, but can still be considered part of The Elder Scrolls lore and are included for completeness.
  1. Excerpt from a TESV: Skyrim design document
  2. The Seven Fights of The Aldudagga

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