Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For other uses, see Dragons.

Dragonkind (Dragon Language: plural D.svgO.svgV.svg Dov, singular D.svgO.svgV.svgAh.svg Dovah;[1] Aldmeris/Ehlnofex: Aka,[UL 1] Ancient Nordic: drah-gkon),[2] often called Dragons, Wyrm,[3] and sometimes dov-rha[2] are a race of Akaviri beings usually described as the immortal children of the "Dragon God of Time" Akatosh. They were once widespread in Tamriel and ruled over men during the Late Merethic Era up until the Dragon War.[UL 2] For the most part, they consider non-dov to be weak minded,[4] and their spoken language can be articulated to cast powerful magic known as Dragon Shouts, originated from the power known as the Voice, inherent to all dragons and their kin, the Dragonborn. Such power was also bestowed upon mortals by the efforts of Kyne and Paarthurnax, rendering men (and especially Nords) capable of shouting, with enough training.[1]

After the Dragon War, dragons no longer ruled over men, and they began to decline in numbers, being hunted by groups such as the Blades. Dragons were widely believed to be nothing but a legend for much of the late history of men, until 4E 201, when they resurfaced in Skyrim with the return of the "World Eater" Alduin.[1]

By game



The precise origin of the dragons is unknown. They are believed to be the children of Akatosh, or of Akha,[5] and as such are specially attuned to the flow of time itself.[6] They were indigenous to the continent of Akavir, but when the Tsaesci attempted to "consume" them, the dragons fled to Tamriel. The Ka Po' Tun of Akavir wished to become dragons (the word Ka meaning dragon), and it is said that their leader, Tosh Raka, has been successful in transforming into a dragon.[7]

Soaring Frost Dragon.pngSoaring Blood Dragon.png

A Frost Dragon (left) and a Blood Dragon (right).

The College of Whispers has questioned several Dremora, who claim dragons simply "were, and are": eternal, immortal, unchanging, and unyielding.[4] In this respect, the dragons are closer to the Aedra than to animals and the mortal races; they are ageless and immortal, with their souls enduring beyond physical death, and they do not mate or breed as animals do. As such, there are no known examples of dragon eggs or dragonlings. The Iliac Bay area has stories of such things, but so far all have proven false. The alleged eggs turned out to be the eggs of oversized lizards, not true dragons.[4]

Alduin, the self-proclaimed "first-born of Akatosh," is believed to be the first dragon to have come into existence.[4] While both Akatosh and Alduin are represented as dragons, many scholars believe the two are separate entities,[8][9] which the Nordic pantheon seems to reflect.

Merethic Era and dragon worship

Concept art of the Dragon Priests found in Skyrim.

"Once, the dragons sought to eliminate or enslave all mortal races. If given the chance, they would surely do so again..."
Skyrim loading screen

When Ysgramor came to Tamriel in the Merethic Era, his people brought with them a faith that worshiped animal gods. Foremost among all animals was the dragon, or drah-gkon in the ancient Nordic tongue. Occasionally the term dov-rha is used, derived from dovah, the dragons' name for themselves. Using either name was forbidden to all except the Dragon Priests. Many of the temples built to honor the dragons survive today as ancient ruins, haunted by draugr and undead dragon priests.[10]

Dragons embraced their role as man's god-kings. In their eyes, they were clearly superior to the tiny, frail, and short-lived beings that worshiped them. To dragons, power is equal to truth, and their power over men was indisputable evidence of their superiority. In exchange for the obedience of their priests, the dragons granted small amounts of power to them, bestowing magical masks upon their most favored priests. In turn, the dragon priests ruled over men, wielding authority equal to the kings.[10]

In Atmora, where Ysgramor and his people came from, the dragon priests demanded tribute and created laws which kept the peace between dragon and man. In Tamriel, their rule was quite different. It is unclear if this was due to an ambitious dragon priest, or a particular dragon, or a series of weak kings. Whatever the cause, the dragon priests began to rule with an iron fist, making virtual slaves of the rest of the population.[10]

When the populace rebelled, the dragon priests retaliated. The dragon priests failed to collect the tribute and their control over the masses began to slip. The dragons' response was swift and brutal.[10] This began the Dragon War. At first, men died by the thousands.

Kyne intervened, and instructed Paarthurnax to assist mankind.[11] Paarthurnax, originally the first lieutenant of Alduin, had become disillusioned with Alduin when the latter proclaimed himself a god. As a result, Paarthurnax betrayed his former master and taught the power of the Voice to mankind.[6]

With the rebellion against the dragon priests, dragons were slaughtered in large numbers. The dragons that survived chose to live in remote places away from men. Alduin himself was banished by a group of Nord heroes on the peak of Skyrim's Throat of the World, where they used an Elder Scroll to send him into another time. While the Nord warriors hoped that Alduin would be lost in time forever, he would eventually return to terrorize Skyrim again in the Fourth Era.[1]

The Dragon Cult itself, however, survived. They built the dragon mounds, entombing the remains of dragons that fell in the war, believing that one day the dragons would rise again and reward the faithful.[10]


Before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the last known sighting of a dragon in Tamriel was in the time of Tiber Septim.[4] He made a pact with the few remaining dragons, swearing to protect them if they would serve him. Despite his promise, dragons were still hunted and slain. It's not clear if the last ones fled Tamriel or if they were exterminated.

Notable dragons


Alduin, the World Eater.

Alduin, the World-Eater, is the Nordic god of time whose return was a result of an Elder Scroll. He was first banished from Tamriel through the last resort of the ancient Nord heroes who used an Elder Scroll to force Alduin to become lost in time and hopefully never return. Instead, he was sent forward nearly 7,000 years to the Fourth Era, to the timeline of events in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and the Dragonborn's story; Alduin's triumph would ensure Nirn's destruction, according to prophecy.[1]


Durnehviir in the Soul Cairn.

Before the Dragon War in the Merethic Era, Durnehviir lived amongst his kin in the skies above Tamriel. While his brethren used more traditional forms of combat, Durnehviir pursued an interest in Necromancy that eventually led him to the Ideal Masters.

His wish was to raise armies of undead for his own ends, so he made a pact with the Ideal Masters to gain access to their realm's undead. The pact specified that Durnehviir was to serve as the keeper of the Soul Cairn, and guard a powerful necromancer named Valerica until her eventual death - terms to which Durnehviir, being an immortal dragon, agreed. The Ideal Masters deceived Durnehviir, as Valerica was a vampire, and thus also immortal. As a result, Durnehviir was doomed to guard the Soul Cairn for eternity.[12]


A dragon who went on a slaughter of Winterhold and Eastmarch in 2E 184. He was killed by the Dragonguard and his name was confirmed with help from mages of the College of Winterhold. [13]


A dragon that was worshipped by a particular sect of the Dragon Cult. According to Tolfdir, the cult was quite fond of ritual sacrifices to the extent that the High Priest would spend a great deal of time sharpening a dagger, named Kahvozein's Fang, so it was always ready for its next victim.[14]


Kaalgrontiid is a dragon that appeared in Elsweyr in the Second Era. He was once locked away in the Halls of Colossus, and unintentionally freed by Abnur Tharn.



Mulaamnir is a dragon that appears in The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr. He was the second-in-command of Kaalgrontiid with whom he was imprisoned inside the Halls of Colossus and later escaped with when Abnur Tharn accidentally broke the seal keeping the dragons imprisoned.

After escaping he assisted Kaalgrontiid in the destruction of Elsweyr by attacking the Khajiiti Defense Force.



Nafaalilargus was a dragon employed by Tiber Septim during his conquest of Tamriel during the Second Era. He served as a powerful ally to the would-be emperor and guaranteed victory for the Imperial Navy in many battles. It was also Nafaalilargus that killed Prince A'Tor, the leader of a rebellion against Septim and his forces.[15]

Nafaalilargus was then trusted with guarding the soul of A'Tor and keeping it from anyone who sought it. However, the Redguard pirate Cyrus confronted Nafaalilargus and managed to slay the dragon, claiming A'Tor's soul.[15]

It is possible that Nafaalilargus was also the dragon known as Nahfahlaar, as they both have similar names and were known to help mortals.[13] Since Cyrus was not a Dragonborn, Nafaalilargus' soul was not absorbed and could have been revived by Alduin.


The skull of Numinex.

King Olaf One-Eye subdued the great dragon Numinex in a legendary duel of Thu'ums, and brought him back to the fledgling town of Whiterun as a captive.[16] It was then that the magnificent keep of Dragonsreach was rebuilt and renamed to serve as a cage for Numinex, whose skull still adorns the Great Hall.[17] Paarthurnax notes that Numinex went mad due to his captivity and forgot his own name.[6]



Odahviing was an ally of Alduin and served as his right-hand dragon. The Dragonborn summons him to Dragonsreach in the main storyline of Skyrim to gain entry into Sovngarde.[18]

After Alduin's defeat Odahviing became a loyal ally to the Dragonborn and would come to assist them whenever he was called upon.


Paarthurnax, the Old One.

Paarthurnax is the leader of the Greybeards and the brother of Alduin. He served as Alduin's lieutenant during the Dragon War in the Merethic Era, during which he was said to have committed terrible atrocities against mankind.[13]

During the Fourth Era he assisted the Dragonborn in defeating Alduin after he returned to Tamriel.



Shulkunaak is a dragon found in the main questline of The Elder Scrolls: Blades from whom the Fugitive requests assistance in defeating the Sorcerer-King at the suggestion of Saashi.[19] He is the last of his breed.

After giving the Fugitive the information they need, he recognized them as a member of the Blades and challenged them to a battle, ultimately being defeated at their hands. Since Shulkunaak had no intention of killing the Fugitive, his challenge served only to demonstrate the Fugitive's ability to defeat the Litch King. He was left alive to mend his wounds despite threatening to kill the Fugitive if they lost.

Later, Henrik Seven-Swords attempted to slay Shulkunaak, but because the dragon did not share his species' propensity for domination, the Fugitive prevented Henrik from doing so. Meanwhile, Saashi, a Khajiit scholar, warned Shulkunaak of the Blade, allowing him to escape.


Skakmat was the dragon familiar of Nulfaga, a powerful female Breton wizard and necromancer. At the Battle of Cryngaine Field, Skakmat produced a mystic fog (under Nulfaga's orders) in an attempt to halt the battle in which Lysandus was to be slain.[20]

Places of worship

When the Dragons ruled Nirn with an iron fist, and the Dragon Priests carried out the orders of the Dragons, there were temples and tombs that the people of Nirn built to worship the Dragon Priests and the Dragons. Most of these locations were also cities where people lived.

Notable places of worship

Types of dragons

See also: Category: Dragons


According to Michael Kirkbride, a former writer at Bethesda, "Jills" or "minute-menders"[UL 3][UL 4] are the female variant of dragons, who serve to mend Dragon Breaks. Mannimarco attributed them to fixing the Warp in the West.[UL 3] Their male counterparts, the "Drakes," are said to be less powerful than them.[UL 5]

Uniquely named dragons





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.