Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls
"The High King is ruler above all, and is always one of the Jarls, selected by a body called the "Moot" - a specially convened council of all the Jarls, who meet with the express purpose of choosing Skyrim's High King."
Skyrim's Rule[src]

The High King or High Queen[note 1] is a monarch who is typically responsible for governing the province, although in places with High Kings or Queens, the holds, regions, or provinces usually have more autonomy than in other places.[source?]


High King Torygg in Sovngarde.

In Skyrim, the High King or Queen typically inherits the throne by birth and rules for life or until abdication.[citation needed] 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] High Kings are traditionally either related to the previous High King,[2] or a Jarl of one of the Holds.[1] Votes occur most commonly when the previous High King dies. By Nordic tradition, a High King can be challenged in a duel of arms for the right to the throne. If they refuse, the challenger has grounds to call for a moot to elect a new High King.[3][4]

The High King swears fealty to the Emperor, and as such Solitude is the city most directly influenced by Imperial culture and politics; thus the Jarl of Solitude has served as High King for generations. According to some source the Moot is, therefore, more formality and theater than anything else.[1] Other sources state that the Moot always meets to select a new High King.[5] Originally, the High King was based in Windhelm, as it was the first capital city established by Ysgramor in the 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.


Second Era[]

As a result of the Reman Empire's fall in 2E 431, High King Logrolf was assassinated. When Jarl Svartr claimed his daughter Freydis was illegitimate, a partial moot in Windhelm convened Freydis was High Queen, while a partial moot in Solitude convened Svartr was High king. As a result, the province was split into the West and East kingdoms, ruled separately by each High Kings of the capitals.[6] In 2E 582, High King Svargrim ruled the West Kingdom until his death in in that year,[7] while High King Jorunn the Skald-King ruled the East Kingdom.[8]

Fourth Era[]

Ulfric Jarl.pngElisif the Fair.png

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

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, the Jarl of Solitude, had a legitimate claim to the throne.[4] However, according to Ulfric Stormcloak, the Jarl of Windhelm, 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.[4] Ulfric believed this gave him a stronger claim to the throne.[4] 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.[3] It is strongly implied that Ulfric initiated the challenge, plotting to intimidate the other Jarls into naming him High King,[9][4] though Ulfric and his supporters maintained it was a lawful challenge to prove Torygg's weakness as a leader and Skyrim's wretched condition.[4][10] However, if the city of Solitude is taken by the Stormcloaks and the war resolved in their favor, Ulfric's earlier statement is proven true; saying he supports the decision of the Moot, whether he is crowned King or not. However, he still asks Elisif to swear fealty to him,[4] and all Jarls who fought against him are replaced.[11]

Previous rulers[]

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

The Jagged Crown[]

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 Verity[]

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.[6]

High Rock[]

High King Emeric

Main article: Emeric of Cumberland

In High Rock there has only ever been one High King, Emeric of Cumberland. A master warrior, brilliant politician, well-rounded in trading, speechcraft, and a brilliant strategist, he was also the King of Wayrest, High King of High Rock, the founder and Leader of the Daggerfall Covenant, and the founder of the Cumberland Dynasty.


Nedic civilization[]

Summerset Isles[]

Other nobility[]


  • 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).



  1. 1.0 1.1 Some female holders of this role are referred to as High Kings, such as Roleke, who ruled in the late First Era, according to Scandals of Solitude's Royalty.