Elder Scrolls

High King

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High King Torygg in Sovngarde.

"For too long he's been hand-picked by the Emperor, and given emphatic nods by milk-drinking Jarls addicted to Imperial coin."
Ulfric Stormcloak on the office of High King[src]

The High King or High Queen is the leader of Skyrim. Governing the province, those holding this office become a member of the Elder Council of the Empire of Tamriel. Originally, the High King was based in Windhelm, as it was the first capital city established by Ysgramor in the late Merethic Era. The Capital had also shifted to Winterhold sometime in the First Era, but as of the Fourth Era, the High King reigns from Solitude.


The High King or Queen typically inherits the throne by birth and rules for life or until abdication. In the event that no direct heir to the throne exists, High Kings are selected by a moot, or vote, conducted by the current Jarls of each of the nine Holds[1]. Votes occur most commonly when the previous High King dies, but an emergency vote can be called to order if the High King is bested in a duel. A High King cannot refuse a duel requested by a Jarl.[2]

The High King swears fealty to the Emperor, and as such Solitude is the city most directly influenced by Imperial culture and politics, the Jarl of Solitude has served as High King for generations. The Moot, therefore, is more formality and theater than anything else.[1]

Ulfric JarlElisif the Fair

Ulfric Stormcloak (left) and Elisif the Fair
(right) are the most likely
candidates for High King or Queen
of Skyrim during the Skyrim Civil War.

The Fourth EraEdit

In the Fourth Era, upon the death of High King Torygg, the Jarls could not agree on the next High King. Torygg's widow, Elisif the Fair, Jarl of Solitude, had a legitimate claim to the throne[3], although according to Ulfric, ancient Nord tradition dictates that when the High King is bested in battle, the winner can call a Moot to have a new High King chosen.[3] Ulfric Stormcloak, Jarl of Windhelm, believed this gave him a stronger claim to the throne.[3] This resulted in Civil War because the Empire considered the duel unfair and an act of murder, due to Ulfric's use of the Thu'um.[4] It is strongly implied that Ulfric initiated the challenge, plotting to intimidate the other Jarls into naming him High King.[3][2][3] However, if the city of Solitude is taken by the Stormcloaks and the war resolved in their favor, Ulfric rescinds his earlier statement, saying he supports the decision of the Moot, whether he is crowned King or not.[3]

Previous rulersEdit

Listed below are the previous High Kings and Queens of Skyrim followed by their respective reigns:

City-State MonarchsEdit

Not all kings and queens within the province of Skyrim attain the mantle of High King. While many people outside of Skyrim consider Jarls of the Fourth Era to be pseudo-kings and queens, they are often not royalty. It should be noted that it is possible that Imperial scholars with no real understanding of Nordic society incorrectly labelled these individuals as monarchs when they were in fact Jarls. 

The following are individuals who have been recorded as monarchs of individual city states throughout the history of Skyrim:

The Jagged CrownEdit


The Jagged Crown, the Crown Jewel of the High King of Skyrim.

Main article: The Jagged Crown

The Jagged Crown is the crown of the High King of Skyrim and was used to symbolizes the power over Skyrim. It is made from the teeth and bones of dragons. It is believed to date back to the time of King Harald and is said to contain a portion of the power of every king or queen who wore it since.[25]

The last monarch to wear the crown was King Borgas, but it was believed lost when he was killed in the Wild Hunt of 1E 369. Legend holds that his body was secretly returned to Skyrim and buried with the crown, but the exact whereabouts were lost in the following War of Succession.[25] During the Civil War questline, the Dragonborn can help recover the crown for either the Imperial Legion or the Stormcloaks, providing a great symbolic victory to the side in question.

The Crown of VerityEdit

Main article: Crown of Verity

The Crown of Verity was an alternative to the Jagged Crown created when the Jagged Crown was lost in the Wild Hunt of 1E 369. It infamously rejected Asurn Ice-Breaker as High King in the fifth century of the First Era, cementing its authority deep into Skyrim's politics.[13]

Other nobilityEdit


  • In ancient and Early Medieval Ireland, the high king (Ard Ri) was a symbolic ruler who professed to have lordship over the whole of Ireland. However, most high king's actual power rarely extended past their native tuatha (tribal kingdom).
  • Similarly, in ancient and medieval Germanic Europe (on which Skyrim and the Nords are largely based), authority was usually bestowed upon a high king or emperor, who held the title but had varying levels of authority, depending on the country (in England and Germany, very little; in Scandinavia a fair amount). This system was developed out of ancient Germanic tribal tradition, where their rulers were elected by the freemen of the tribe (and in turn, higher rulers were elected from these representatives of the tribes).
  • Hammerfell also has a High King. [26]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Skyrim's Rule
  2. 2.0 2.1 Dialogue with Elisif the Fair
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Dialogue with Ulfric Stormcloak
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dialogue with Sybille Stentor
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Plaque outside of the Palace of the Kings
  6. Frontier, Conquest
  7. Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Skyrim
  8. King Edward, Book X -a work of fiction.
  9. The Aetherium Wars
  10. A History of Daggerfall
  11. 11.0 11.1 Rislav the Righteous
  12. The Five Songs of Wulfharth
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 The Crown of Freydis
  14. Events of The Elder Scrolls Online
  15. Walking the World, Vol XI
  16. Nords Arise!
  17. Dialogue with Oengul War-Anvil
  18. Events of The Elder Scrolls Online
  19. Events of The Elder Scrolls Online
  20. 20.0 20.1 The Wolf Queen, Book II
  21. The Wolf Queen, Book VIII
  22. 22.0 22.1 The Madness of Pelagius
  23. Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Skyrim
  24. Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Skyrim
  25. 25.0 25.1 Dialogue with Galmar Stone-Fist
  26. Intro of The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard

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