The Thalmor is the governmental representation of the Third Aldmeri Dominion, the union of Valenwood, the Summerset Isles and the client states of Elsweyr. As explained by Delphine, the members of the Thalmor are "elven supremacists" who seek to end the Empire and eradicate the worship of Talos. They claim sole responsibility for closing the Oblivion Gates in the Dominion (much like the An-Xileel). Although this is partly true, Martin Septim was the one who definitely ended the Oblivion Crisis by destroying the Amulet of Kings and invoking the avatar of Akatosh.
Philosophy and traitsEdit
As a branch of the Aldmeri Dominion, the Thalmor seeks to unify the Provinces of Tamriel through one-government leadership, with Elves holding all places of power. The reasons behind the ban on the worship of Talos are shrouded in doubt, however, the two most probable hypotheses are either that there simply is animosity towards what Talos represents (human turned god and the victories of Tiber Septim) or that it may just be intended to cause distress in provinces like Skyrim and thus weaken the Empire. Deeply offended by Tiber Septim's victory in Valenwood, members of the Thalmor have sworn to root out Talos worship in the Empire. The White-Gold Concordat, effectively ending the war in Cyrodiil, gave the Thalmor legal authority to eradicate Talos worship, although many devout believers, including Ulfric Stormcloak and Elisif the Fair revolted, either openly or secretly.
Origins and early historyEdit
Thalmor was the name of the provisional government set up by the Bosmer and the Altmer during the Second Aldmeri Dominion. Claiming the Summerset Isles for themselves, they renamed them Alinor in the Fourth Era. The Thalmor sought to unify the land, even before, along with parts of Hammerfell, to align it against seafaring threats that plagued the isles for centuries. The endeavor was thwarted by Tiber Septim and the "Brass God" of Dwemer origin.  This sparked a deep-seated hatred for the Septim Dynasty and the man who apothesised into the deity, Talos.
The Oblivion Crisis and Fourth EraEdit
Before the Oblivion Crisis, the Altmer organization that would become the Thalmor were little more than a loud mouthed fringe group mocked openly by Altmeri society. In the waning years of the Third Era, they led numerous boycotts of Imperial goods.
When the Oblivion gates began opening all over Tamriel, the Summerset Isles were thrown into anarchy. Refugees were slaughtered by the thousands. Those who tried to flee by boat found the Daedra had conjured storms to prevent escape and were cut down on the wharves and docks. Many were forced into the raging sea and drowned.
Towards the end of what would become forever known as, "The Oblivion Crisis", only the legendary Crystal Tower of the High Elves stood fast against the Daedric hordes. It was there they made their last stand, in the ensuing battle the Altmer Sorcerers and Archers killed so many Daedra that they scaled the walls over mounds of their own dead. It was not enough however, and the Crystal Tower fell, literally torn asunder by Daedric machines. In those final moments, the hordes of Daedra vanished completely.
Though many disputed the Thalmor's miraculous claims, one by one they had their reputations ruined by Thalmor perpetuated rumors and were exiled. Those who continued, even in exile were often assassinated. One such famous example was the great seer-mage Rynandor the Bold. He had commanded the defense of the Crystal Tower, and was considered a great hero of the Oblivion Crisis.
Rynandor was quickly assassinated aboard a ship bound for Anvil thereafter.
Potentate Ocato's murder began the Stormcrown Interregnum. The Elder Council fractured, leading into seven years of ruthless in-fighting, plots and backstabbing. With the Empire submerged in this mayhem, the Thalmor were quick to act. They overthrew the rightful Kings and Queens of the Altmer in a violent uprising.
Then the first of many pogroms descended on Summerset Isle. They slaughtered any who were not "of the blood of the Aldmer" as well as many remaining dissidents. The Thalmor never wasted an opportunity.
The newly empowered Thalmor reacquired Valenwood during the Fourth Era through a coup d'etat, and the Former Confederacy of Elsweyr, shaken by political strife, became a protectorate of the new Aldmeri Dominion. The Thalmor's ambitions would not cease there however.
The Great WarEdit
- Main article: Great War
The Thalmor initiated the Great War against Cyrodiil during the reign of Titus Mede II, seeing the frailty of the ruling class and the office of Emperor, after the Elder Council had struggled for decades to place rulers on the throne. The war was vast and bloody. During riots in Bravil, the crypt of the Night Mother was destroyed along with the last Listener, Alisanne Dupre, causing discord with the Dark Brotherhood and slowing its operation in Tamriel significantly, as invokers of the Black Sacrament no longer had their prayers voiced to assassins through the Night Mother. Four years of rampant bloodshed forced Mede II to sign the White-Gold Concordat, which included the removal of Talos from the Pantheon of Gods; the Nine Divines reduced to Eight. Ulfric Stormcloak, a Legionnaire in the Imperial Army was imprisoned. During Ulfric's incarceration, his father was killed by the Thalmor. Facing heavy torture by First Emissary Elenwen, Ulfric was eventually released, in the hope he might stir up unrest in the region thus destabilizing the Empire further.
Hammerfell and the Markarth IncidentEdit
At this time, the Thalmor unsuccessfully attempted to siege Hammerfell, retreating after suffering extreme losses. Busied by continuing conflicts in Cyrodiil and Hammerfell, Jarl of Windhelm, Ulfric Stormcloak was able to defeat the Breton natives occupying The Reach in what came to be known as the "Markarth Incident". Ulfric asked only one promise as payment - agreement to uphold the worship of Talos against all else. Quickly responding to the threat in Markarth, the Thalmor gave Jarl Igmund an ultimatum - forbid the worship of Talos or declare war against the Dominion. He forsook his promise to Ulfric. Meanwhile, the Bretons stewed in anger at this defeat, vowing to retake the The Reach and renaming themselves the "Forsworn". After the Markarth incident, the Thalmor presence in Skyrim increased, as it sought to enforce the ramifications of the Concordat.
Role in SkyrimEdit
Rooting out Talos worshipEdit
Active throughout Skyrim, the Dragonborn may have encountered them randomly in several ways. Initially, members of the Thalmor are non-hostile and will only attack when provoked.
Thalmor patrols can be encountered along most of Skyrim's major roadways and usually consist of three Justiciars with two bodyguards and one Mage. A prisoner for interrogation may accompany the party to the Embassy. The prisoner can be freed by interacting with him and giving him weapons. After attacking a patrol, the Thalmor send another group of Thalmor agents to kill the Dragonborn.
College of WinterholdEdit
An advisor named Ancano was sent to the College of Winterhold to oversee its studies. During his stay, Ancano attempts to absorb the power of the Eye of Magnus, killing Arch-Mage Savos Aren in the process. The Dragonborn, armed with the Staff of Magnus, ended the endeavor.
The Blades and the Dragon CrisisEdit
Narrowly escaping the Thalmor during the Great War, Delphine, the last acting Grandmaster of the Blades hid at the Sleeping Giant Inn in Riverwood. There, she located and stole the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller, hoping to lure the Dragonborn to her. With the Dragonborn's aid, she hoped to halt the resurrection of the Dragons. Suspecting the Thalmor of causing the Dragon Crisis and the return of Alduin, she sent the Dragonborn undercover to the Thalmor Embassy near Solitude. There, the Dragonborn learned that the Thalmor was not behind the return of the Dragons. Instead, the Dragonborn discovered that a Dragon Loremaster and Blade named Esbern was alive, hiding somewhere in Riften.
The Dragonborn freed Etienne Rarnis and killed his torturer, Rulindil, returning to Delphine with the news. Traveling to Riften, the Dragonborn cooperated with the Thieves Guild and located Esbern in The Ratway Vaults beneath the city. After convincing Esbern to bring him to Delphine, the two were attacked by Thalmor agents. Reunited, Esbern, Delphine, and the Dragonborn reclaimed the lost Sky Haven Temple and plotted the destruction of Alduin.
Although not blatantly offering aid to either side, the Thalmor took a keen interest in the Civil War. They were more interested in weakening the morale of Skyrim and keeping the Empire divided than supporting either cause.
Thalmor bases in SkyrimEdit
- Thalmor Archer
- Thalmor Justiciar
- Thalmor Soldier
- Thalmor Wizard
- Northwatch Archer
- Northwatch Guard
- Northwatch Mage
- Northwatch Interrogator
- Elenwen - First Emissary
- Ancano - College advisor
- Ondolemar - Head Justiciar charged with enforcing the ban on Talos worship.
- Rulindil - Head Interrogator in Skyrim and Third Emissary
- AncarionDB - Thalmor agent on a mission to acquire Stalhrim weaponry.
- Captain Valmir - Undercover Thalmor agent investigating Forelhost.
- Estormo - Thalmor agent reporting to Ancano.
- Agent Lorcalin - Thalmor agent hunting Talos worshippers.
- Agent Sanyon - Dead Thalmor agent killed while fighting Talos worshippers.
- Gissur - Though not an official member, he is a Thalmor informant found at the Thalmor Embassy during 'Diplomatic Immunity'. If he is not killed there he can be found in The Ratway during 'A Cornered Rat'.
- Shavari - A Khajiit spy working for the Thalmor found around the Riften market during 'A Cornered Rat'. When the Dragonborn first enters the city she will act as if she is a normal citizen. But when they leave the Ratway with Esbern she will turn hostile and attack. In combat with the player she will say things like "Now you pay for meddling in the Thalmor's affairs!"
- J'datharr - A Khajiit assassin working for the Thalmor. He can be killed during the quest 'Find The Thalmor Assassin'.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- An Elder Scrolls Novel: Lord of Souls (Mentioned only)