Sovngarde is the Nordic afterlife created by Shor that exists in Aetherius. Warriors who have proven their mettle in battle arrive in Sovngarde after death. Fleshly pain and maladies evaporate upon entering its Hall of Valor. Spirits here enjoy mead-drinking and contests of physical prowess. It should be noted that this is only for Nordic and Atmoran warriors – other groups have their own afterlives. For example, when Nordic Werewolves die, Hircine claims their soul for his Great Hunt just as he would with any other Werewolf, thus preventing them from reaching Sovngarde. There are some exceptions, such as members of a different race can enter Sovngarde by proving themselves worthy.
Legend versus reality
Stories of Sovngarde have been told since the early Merethic Era. Since then, scholars have attempted to study Sovngarde, looking for tangible evidence of its existence. Many more paradise-seekers sought an entrance to Sovngarde other than the traditional mode—death. One such explorer, Rolf the Large, failed to discover Sovngarde after a lifetime of searching. Defeated, he returned to Skyrim, where he was slain by giants. After passing into Sovngarde, he wrote letters of correspondence with a psychic medium named Felga Four-Fingers, detailing the existence of this Nordic paradise of drinking and merriment. The letters were discovered in the medium's residence in Cyrodiil.
The Dragonborn and Odahviing
The Dragonborn enters Sovngarde in the Fourth Era after setting Odahviing free in the quest "The World-Eater's Eyrie." In return, Odahviing carries the Dragonborn to Skuldafn, where a portal guarded by the Dragon Priest Nahkriin is found leading to Sovngarde.
Once inside Sovngarde, the Dragonborn discovers that Alduin laid a mist where he hides and feeds upon trapped souls to gain strength. The Dragonborn needs to gain entrance to the Hall of Valor by defeating Tsun, the Nordic god of trials against adversity, positioned there to test those who wish to enter the hall by challenging them to a battle.
Once the Dragonborn gains entrance into the hall, they meet with the three heroes who the Dragonborn saw in a vision of the past that showed the last defeat of Alduin during the Dragon War. The heroes, Gormlaith Golden-Hilt, Hakon One-Eye, and Felldir the Old are then permitted by Shor, the chief deity of the Nordic pantheon, to join the Dragonborn in the battle against Alduin.
The Last Dragonborn finally kills Alduin in Sovngarde alongside the three other heroes of Sovngarde, Hakon One-Eye, Felldir the Old, and Gormlaith Golden-Hilt. Thus, Alduin is banished from the world forever, although Arngeir and Paarthurnax theorize he may return in the future to fulfill his destiny as the World-Eater.
Kodlak, the Harbinger of the Companions, dies as a werewolf and does not go to Sovngarde. The Dragonborn is able to mend this by killing the Wolf spirit within him after breaking the spell that made him a werewolf.
- Felldir the Old, Ancient Nordic hero.
- Gormlaith Golden-Hilt, Ancient Nordic hero.
- Hakon One-Eye, Ancient Nordic hero.
- Jurgen Windcaller, founder of the Greybeards.
- Olaf One-Eye, former Jarl of Whiterun.
- Torygg, former High King of Skyrim.
- Tsun, Nordic God of Trials, guards the whalebone bridge.
- Ysgramor, Atmoran warrior and Harbinger of the Five Hundred Companions.
- Erlendr, Nikulas and Hunroor, who were turned to stone by the wizard Grimkell while on a quest to find Sovngarde.
- Ulfgar the Unending, the hero who defeated Grimkell.
- Unnamed Heroes of Sovngarde, generic male and female Nordic Heroes wearing random armor or clothes.
- Ulfric Stormcloak, leader of the Stormcloak Rebellion. (Only appears if the Imperial Legion won the Civil War)
- Galmar Stone-Fist, second in command of Ulfric Stormcloak. (If the Imperial Legion won the Civil War)
- Legate Rikke, Chief Lieutenant of the Imperial Legion in Skyrim. (If the Stormcloaks won the Civil War)
- Froki Whetted-Blade, male Elder. (If killed in his home, Froki's Shack)
- Svaknir, Bard to Olaf One-Eye. (If the quest "Tending the Flames" is completed)
- Kodlak Whitemane, the former Companions' Harbinger. (Completion of the Companions questline)
- Stormcloak Soldier, member and soldier of the Stormcloak Rebellion.
- Imperial Soldier, member and soldier of the Imperial Legion.
- Projected across the sky of Sovngarde are the three constellations: The Thief, The Mage, and The Warrior. They appear in the sky exactly as they appear in the Skill Menu, circling around a great ball of light.
- Fast traveling to another place is not possible from this location. Entry and exit are entirely scripted and cannot be done more than once.
- Using the map while in Sovngarde shows the map centered on Riverwood. This may be due to Riverwood being the center of the map. Alternatively, this is also viewed as the first location to fulfilling your destiny once you have escaped Helgen.
- Sovngarde has many similarities to Asgard, the home of the gods in real world Norse mythology. However, other aspects of it are more similar to Valhalla.
- "Søvn" or "sov" in several Scandinavian languages means "Sleep" (as a noun), and "Gard" means an enclosed space; "Sovngarde" almost translates into "a place for sleep," or "resting place."
- Like the Werewolves to Hircine, Nordic members of the Nightingales are likely exempt from going to Sovngarde, as they are sworn to serve Nocturnal and guard the Twilight Sepulcher and Evergloam even after death.
- This theory is implied to be true within a dialogue option with Tsun regarding the Dragonborn's right to enter the Hall of Valor. If the Dragonborn, as a Nightingale, says "By right of plunder. I am a Nightingale of Nocturnal," Tsun will state his contempt towards them, as thievery is not an honorable right of passage to Sovngarde and that the Nightingale's contract binds their souls to the Evergloam.
- Despite having completed countless quests and defeated several opponents and openly wishing to join the Nords in their paradise, the Ebony Warrior never appears in Sovngarde if the Dragonborn reaches player level 80 and slays him before the main quest Sovngarde. This is likely because only Nords and Atmorans have the birthright to enter Sovngarde, considering that the Ebony Warrior is a Redguard. Proof is the fact that every single inhabitant of Sovngarde encountered is either a Nord or an Atmoran, whom are the ancestors of the Nord race.
- The phrase "Victory or Sovngarde!" is only used by Nords voiced by Michael Gough.