Miraak, the First Dragonborn, in Apocrypha.

For other uses, see Dragonborn.

Dragonborn, also referred to as Dovahkiin in the Dragon Language, are individuals with the body of a mortal, but the blood[1] and soul of a Dragon.[2][3] Some believe that Dragonborn appear on the world in times of great need by the command of the Gods.[4]

Cultural beliefs[edit | edit source]

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"Dragons have the inborn ability to learn and project their Voice. Dragons also are able to absorb the power of their slain brethren. A few mortals are born with similar abilities -- whether a gift or a curse has been a matter of debate down through the centuries. What you have already learned in a few days took even the most gifted of us years to achieve. Some believe that Dragonborn are sent into the world by the gods, at times of great need."
Arngeir[src]

By Nord tradition, a Dragonborn represents what a Nord should strive to be. The Nords believe Dragonborn represent the end of all of Skyrim's foes.[5] Nord tales likewise tell of Dragonborn of old who were great and powerful Dragonslayers,[1] a belief which the Blades of the late-Fourth Era also believe to be the reason why the old Akaviri Dragonguard came to serve the Dragonborn.[6]

It is unknown as to how a Dragonborn is chosen. The various dynasties of Dragonborn Emperors led to a common belief that the Dragon blood is hereditary, though since it is a blessing of Akatosh himself it cannot be known how or why it is bestowed. It is unknown if the Dragonborn Emperors were Dragonborn, and thus able to wear the Amulet of Kings and light the Dragonfires, or if these acts were the sign of Akatosh's blessings for these individuals Dragonborn. Aside from the Dragonborn Dynasties, it is also unknown if more than one Dragonborn can exist at the same time.[1]

The Greybeards[edit | edit source]

After slaying a Dragon, and learning the meaning of a Word of Power, the Greybeards are able to sense this and summon the Dragonborn. Should a Dragonborn choose to answer the summons of the Greybeards, they are first tested to see if they truly possess the Thu'um.[7] A Dragonborn has the inborn ability to both learn and master a new Word of Power far quicker than a normal mortal can, as regular mortals usually need years of training to learn a word of power. Due to the inborn ability of Dragonborn to use the Thu'um, the Greybeards seek to guide Dragonborn in the proper usage of their power.[4]

In order to truly show a Dragonborn's abilities, the Greybeards send them off to retrieve the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller, the founder of the Greybeards.[8] Upon retrieving the Horn and returning it, the Greybeards formally name the Dragonborn "Ysmir", the "Dragon of the North", to declare the Dragonborn has accepted their guidance.[9]

History[edit | edit source]

Merethic Era[edit | edit source]

Miraak, who lived during the Dragon War of the Merethic Era, became known as the First Dragonborn.[10] The three tongues, Hakon One-Eye, Gormlaith Golden-Hilt, and Felldir the Old, who led the charge against Alduin had asked Miraak for his aid,[11] though Miraak denied, having other plans.[12] Miraak would eventually be defeated in combat by Vahlok the Jailor, though saved by Hermaeus Mora.[13]

First Era[edit | edit source]

During the First Era, the Nedic slave rebellion in Cyrodiil against the Ayleids would take place, being led by Slave Queen Alessia.[14] Alessia, being a Dragonborn,[15] was gifted the Amulet of Kings by Akatosh, which would be used to light the Dragonfires and keep the armies of Oblivion at bay.[16] Alessia's line would continue with more Dragonborn Emperors and Empresses, until their deaths.[1]

In 1E 2703, the Akaviri attempted an invasion of Tamriel, which would eventually be foiled by the efforts of Reman Cyrodiil.[17] The exact nature of the defeat of the Akaviri is unknown, though it is known that they were not seeking for combat with Reman, but were instead searching for him, as he was Dragonborn.[3][1] Under Reman Cyrodiil, the Dragon blood officially became part of becoming a legitimate Emperor, as he included the ritual geas to the Amulet of Kings,[18] and the lighting of the Dragonfires, in the rites of becoming an Emperor.[19] His dynasty would continue until the death of Juilek Cyrodiil during the Four Score War.[17]

Second Era[edit | edit source]

The Soulburst, caused by Mannimarco's treachery.

As of 2E 579, it had been years since the last Dragonborn Emperor had ruled. Following his successful rebellion against the Longhouse Emperors, Varen Aquilarios aimed to legitimize his rule through lighting the Dragonfires. Varen was not a Dragonborn, and was convinced by Mannimarco to participate in a ritual, which would end up being a trick. Instead of becoming a Dragonborn, Varen and his companions were forced to the ground, while Mannimarco corrupted the power of the Amulet of Kings to trigger the Soulburst, and eventually Planemeld,[19] until it was stopped by the Vestige.[20]

Years later, in 2E 828, another Dragonborn would be placed on the world. This Dragonborn being Tiber Septim.[21][22] Tiber Septim would learn the Thu'um from Wulfharth,[21] and meet the Greybeards shortly after, who told him he was destined to unite Tamriel.[22] During his campaigns in Cyrodiil, he would find the Amulet of Kings during the Battle of Sancre Tor against the Nord-Breton Alliance.[23] After having become Emperor, Tiber Septim declared the start of the Third Era.[24]

Third Era[edit | edit source]

Tiber Septim's dynasty of Dragonborn Emperors would continue to rule the Third Empire until the Oblivion Crisis. Under the reign of Emperor Uriel Septim VII, the Mythic Dawn attempted to slay the Dragonborn Emperors and thus provide Mehrunes Dagon with the means to cross over into Tamriel. Uriel Septim and his three sons were assassinated,[25] with only his bastard son, Martin Septim having survived.[26] The leader of the Mythic Dawn cult, Mankar Camoran, was likewise a Dragonborn, able to speak fire[27] and wear the Amulet of Kings.[28] Mankar would eventually be slain in his Paradise,[29] whereas Martin Septim would meet his end after he destroyed the Amulet of Kings in order to banish Mehrunes Dagon.[30]

Fourth Era[edit | edit source]

Alduin, the World-Eater, during the Fourth Era.

During 4E 201, the prophecy of the Last Dragonborn would come to pass. Alduin, who had been banished from Tamriel since the Merethic Era by an Elder Scroll, returned to the land, indirectly helping the Last Dragonborn to escape an Imperial execution at Helgen by destroying the town.[31] The Last Dragonborn would learn of their nature while aiding the city of Whiterun by slaying the Dragon Mirmulnir at the Western Watchtower of Whiterun. Upon defeating the Dragon, the Dragonborn gained its soul,[32] and through the Word of Power that the Dragonborn had learned previously in a mission of the court wizard,[33] was able to use the Thu'um.

After learning Dragonrend, the Last Dragonborn was able to face off against Alduin atop the Throat of the World, winning a minor victory against the World-Eater, though Alduin did escape to Sovngarde.[11] The Dragonborn would give chase, and through the help of Odahviing, they would gain access to Skuldafn and its portal to Sovngarde.[34] In Sovngarde, the Last Dragonborn would meet up with the three Nord Tongues of old, Gormlaith, Hakon, and Felldir, and together they faced off against Alduin, defeating him in combat.[35] It is unknown if Alduin was truly slain, as in contrast to regular Dragons, his soul was not absorbed. The leader of the Greybeards, Arngeir, believed that it may have been possible that he could return to fulfill his true destiny, though that was for the gods to decide.[36]

The First Dragonborn, Miraak, had also gained more power since his defeat by Vahlok. Upon learning of the Last Dragonborn, he had sent out cultists with the orders to defeat the Dragonborn. The Last Dragonborn would travel to Solstheim, where the cultists had originated, in order to find the origin of the cultists.[37] Here, they would discover that Miraak had corrupted the All-Maker Stones in order to increase his power for his planned return. During their quest to stop Miraak, Miraak held the power to transport to the Last Dragonborn every time they slew a Dragon, and steal the Dragon's soul before the Last Dragonborn could absorb it.[38] With the aid of Hermaeus Mora, the Last Dragonborn would learn the necessary powers required to defeat Miraak, primarily the Bend Will Shout.[39] The Last Dragonborn would travel to Apocrypha one last time to face Miraak in combat. After a long battle, Hermaeus Mora ended the conflict by slaying Miraak for his treachery, and naming the Last Dragonborn his champion.[40] This was because Hermaeus Mora did not desire Miraak to be set free from his direct control, and instead wanted a more loyal servant.[41]

Notable Dragonborn[edit | edit source]

  • Miraak, the First Dragonborn, who lived during the Merethic Era and died in the Fourth Era following a fight with the Last Dragonborn.[40]
  • Saint Alessia, the first Dragonborn Empress, who lived during the First Era and would rule the Alessian Empire until her death in 1E 266.[42]
  • Wulfharth, a Nord Dragonborn[43] who fought against the Direnni and the Alessian Order until his death in 1E 533.[44]
  • Reman Cyrodiil, an Imperial Dragonborn, who would become Emperor of the Reman Empire and adopt the Akaviri Dragonguard into his private bodyguard. He died peacefully in 1E 2762.[45]
  • Tiber Septim, a human Dragonborn, who would become the first Emperor to unite all of Tamriel under the Septim Empire. Tiber Septim died peacefully in the year 3E 38.[46]
  • Mankar Camoran, an Altmer Dragonborn, who attempted to give Mehrunes Dagon domination over Tamriel. He was slain in Paradise by the Hero of Kvatch in 3E 433.[29]
  • Martin Septim, an Imperial Dragonborn and last of the Septim dynasty of Emperors. He sacrificed himself and the Amulet of Kings in order to beat back Mehrunes Dagon and permanently seal the gates to Oblivion in 3E 433.[30]
  • Last Dragonborn, the Dragonborn prophesied on Alduin's Wall by the Akaviri,[47] and in the Elder Scrolls,[48] who was destined to defeat Alduin.[1]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • To address the confusion that arose from the existence of a Dragonborn predating Alessia, Michael Kirkbride, former writer at Bethesda, stated "Alessia didn't have the power to absorb dragon souls. Hers was a much more nuanced power: to dream of liberty and give it a name and on her deathbed make Covenant with the Aka-Tusk."[UL 1]
  • The Nerevarine was referred to as "Dragon-born" in The Lost Prophecy, but the explanatory notes of this text claim this means they were part of the Empire, which is usually represented by a dragon.
  • During the events of Skyrim, various Heroes of Sovngarde will proclaim themselves to also be Dragonborn.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 The Book of the Dragonborn
  2. Loading Screens in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim'
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Rise and Fall of the Blades
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dialogue with Arngeir during "The Way of the Voice"
  5. Songs of Skyrim
  6. Dialogue with Delphine during "Alduin's Wall"
  7. Events of "The Way of the Voice"
  8. Events of "The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller"
  9. Dialogue with Arngeir during "The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller"
  10. Dialogue with Miraak during "At the Summit of Apocrypha"
  11. 11.0 11.1 Events of "Alduin's Bane"
  12. Combat quotes of Miraak during "At the Summit of Apocrypha"
  13. The Guardian and the Traitor
  14. The Amulet of Kings
  15. Of the Dragonfires (Fragment)
  16. Trials of Saint Alessia
  17. 17.0 17.1 Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Cyrodiil
  18. Varieties of Faith in the Empire
  19. 19.0 19.1 Chronicles of the Five Companions 1
  20. Events of "God of Schemes"
  21. 21.0 21.1 The Arcturian Heresy
  22. 22.0 22.1 Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Cyrodiil
  23. Battle of Sancre Tor (Book)
  24. The Third Era Timeline
  25. Assassination!
  26. Events of "Find the Heir"
  27. Mythic Dawn Commentaries 1
  28. Events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  29. 29.0 29.1 Events of "Paradise"
  30. 30.0 30.1 Events of "Light the Dragonfires"
  31. Events of "Unbound"
  32. Events of "Dragon Rising"
  33. Events of "Bleak Falls Barrow"
  34. Events of "The World-Eater's Eyrie"
  35. Events of "Dragonslayer"
  36. Dialogue with Arngeir during "Epilogue"
  37. Events of "Dragonborn"
  38. Events of "The Temple of Miraak"
  39. Events of "The Gardener of Men"
  40. 40.0 40.1 Events of "At the Summit of Apocrypha"
  41. Dialogue with Hermaeus Mora during "The Gardener of Men"
  42. The Cleansing of the Fane
  43. Dialogue with Balgruuf the Greater during "The Way of the Voice"
  44. Wulfharth's Plaque in Windhelm
  45. Description of Reman Cyrodiil's Tomb in Sancre Tor
  46. Brief History of the Empire, Book I
  47. Dialogue with Esbern during "Alduin's Wall"
  48. Dialogue with Paarthurnax during "The Throat of the World"
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