Shor is the Nordic representation of the god Lorkhan, who after his creation of the mortal realm of Nirn took sides with the forefathers of Men in the Ehlnofey Wars of the Dawn Era. He is considered the husband of the goddess Kyne by the Ancient Nordic Pantheon and is the embodiment of the afterlife of Sovngarde.
Legend and lore
According to Nordic legend, the "Elven Giants," the Aldmeri Pantheon, harboring bitterness against Shor for his creation of the mortal plane of Nirn, conspired against and brought about the god's demise at Red Mountain in the Dawn Era, dooming Shor to the underworld. Storms and rain, natural phenomena associated with the goddess Kyne, are said to have first begun to occur after these legendary events.
Ancient Atmoran tradition depicts Shor as a bloodthirsty warrior-god, who led the descendants of the Wandering Ehlnofey (the Men) to victory over their Old Ehlnofey oppressors (the Mer) time and again. Due to this close association with the races of Men, Shor is sometimes also referred to as the Children's God. Before his doom, Shor was called the King of the Gods, a title which has only been attributed to one other divinity; Akatosh.
Beliefs involving Shor
The afterlife of Sovngarde is believed by Nordic culture to be a divine covenant between Lorkhan (Shor) and the descendants of Wandering Ehlnofey who fought at Shor's side in the Dawn Era (most commonly, the Atmorans and their own descendants, the Nords). This ancient belief holds that those of Men, who are linked by ancestry to these Ehlnofey, upon death find their souls judged not by how they lived but by how they died. Hence, the souls of such mortals who fall in battle or die fighting for their beliefs are given passage to the afterlife of Sovngarde per Shor's decree, where in Lorkhan's own image, they earn a place in Sovngarde's Hall of Valor among the fallen heroes of Men.
Shor may be considered the de facto ruler of this afterlife of Sovngarde, as other divinities who hearken back to the Dawn Era, such as Tsun, also reside there and they refer to Shor as their sovereign. This is a surprising revelation, as Shor's continuing active agency in his realm runs counter to Lorkhan's status as a "dead" god. This may be due to the fact that the Aedra can be killed as part of the divine contract of creation, meaning they too may have access to an afterlife of their own making, unlike the Daedra.
Among Nords, as well as others who can trace lineage to the Ehlnofey that stood at Lorkhan's side, Shor is often held in great reverence. Venerated as a Chief-God alongside Akatosh despite his status as "deceased," and as the noble Lord of Sovngarde, many Nordic characters are heard to swear by Shor, and his name is regularly invoked in expressions of emotion. On several of the Word Walls that were erected by the ancient Nords during the Merethic Era, references to Lorkhan are inscribed in the Dragon Language, in which Shor is referred to as the "hoar father." Tellingly, one such inscription upon the Word Walls translates as follows:
- "Noble Nord, remember these words of the hoar father: Fear not the specter of death, for he is the herald of glory and your guide to great Sovngarde."
Relationship to Sovngarde
When the Last Dragonborn ventures into Sovngarde in pursuit of Alduin the World-Eater during the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, only Shor's vacant throne is found within the Hall of Valor. The spirits of the Atmoran and Nord heroes who dwell within Shor's hall will remark upon the apparent absence of the god, stating that Shor's light would blind the Dragonborn's mortal eyes.
The ancient Nordic god of trials against adversity, Tsun, who had been Shor's Shield-Thane during the Dawn Era and now guards the Whalebone Bridge leading to the Hall of Valor, recounts to the Dragonborn that no few among the heroic souls within Sovngarde were eager to confront Alduin as the dragon entered their realm, but that Shor restrained their wrathful onslaught. The spirit of Ysgramor likewise states that Sovngarde's honored dead had sheathed their blades at Shor's command, as the god apparently had foreseen the "fateful errant" of the Dovahkiin.
Relationship to Nirn
Together with Akatosh, Shor (Lorkhan) is one of two deities mentioned in the religious traditions of almost all cultures in Tamriel. Universally recognized as the divinity most responsible for the world's creation, interpretations of Lorkhan differ between the cultures of Men and Mer in particular: The former often view him as a fallen hero-god or patron deity to mortal kind, whereas the latter uniformly vilify him as a trickster or demon-god, responsible for separating their immortal essence from the spirit world.
When the Dragonborn enters Sovngarde and presents himself as Arch-Mage of the College of Winterhold, Tsun welcomes them with the words: "Well met, mage of Skyrim. The Nords may have forgotten their forefathers' respect for the Clever Craft, but your comrades throng this hall. Here in Shor's house we honor it still." This remark by Tsun reveals Shor is well-informed about the realm of the living despite his status as a "dead" god.
Shor's lingering connection to the mortal world he created is evinced again by the Call of Valor Shout, a boon which Tsun bestows on the Dragonborn in Shor's name for the vanquishment of Alduin. This Thu'um enables the Dragonborn to bring one of Sovngarde's heroes to Nirn for a brief time, illustrating how Shor has the power to return the dead to the realm of the living; a divine clout the god shall wield in full at the final reckoning, when he and the heroic souls he congregated will ride out to show their final, best worth.
- "And the Ash King, Wulfharth, hoary Ysmir, went and made peace with the Orcs in spite of his Nordic blood ... Many Nords could not bring themselves to ally with their traditional enemies ... Then Wulfharth said: "Don't you see where you really are? Don't you know who Shor really is? Don't you know what this war is?" And they looked from the King to the God to the Devils and Orcs, and some knew, really knew, and they are the ones that stayed."
Shor's Tongue is the first of five songs that recount the tale of the Nordic king Wulfharth, dating back to 1E 500. After the defeat of the Alessian army at Glenumbria Moors, where King Hoag Merkiller was slain, Wulfharth of Atmora was elected by the Pact of Chieftains. His Thu'um was so powerful that he could not verbally swear into the office, and scribes were used to draw up his oaths. Immediately thereafter, bards scribed the first law of his reign: a fiery reinstatement of the traditional Nordic Pantheon. The edicts of the Alessian Order were outlawed, their priests put to the stake, and their halls set ablaze. The shadow of King Borgas had ended for a span. For his zealotry, Wulfharth was called "Shor's Tongue," and Ysmir, Dragon of the North.
- "Shor's bones(!)" is a common exclamation amongst Nords, generally used to express surprise or shock.
- Shor – Nordic Pantheon
- Sheor – Bretony Pantheon
- Shezarr – Imperial Pantheon
- Lorkhan – Altmeri, Bosmeri and Dunmeri Pantheons
- Lorkhaj – Khajiiti Pantheon
- Lorkh – Reachfolk Pantheon
- Sep – Redguard Pantheon