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Kamal "Snow Demons", Frost Giants?

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Tailin Sero's picture
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In The Arcturian Heresy it is mentioned that Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal, a Snow Demon King of Kamal, tried to invade Morrowind, but was defeated by The Underking (Wulfharth) and Almalexia at Red Mountain.
 
I believe the “Snow Demons” of Kamal are what people of the 4th Era call “Frost Giants”, since the last Tamrielic encounter with the “Snow Demons” was in 2E 547. The best description of the Kamal is in Mysterious Akavir:
 
“Kamal is "Snow Hell". Demons live there, armies of them. Every summer they thaw out and invade Tang Mo, but the brave monkey-folk always drive them away. Once Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal, a king among demons, attempted to conquer Morrowind, but Almalexia and the Underking destroyed him at Red Mountain.”
-Mysterious Akavir
 
I think that the Frost Giant on Solstheim, Karstaag, is actually a Snow Demon that lived on the island north of Morrowind since the Kamal invasion.
 
When comparing a Frost Giant with a normal (common) Giant of Skyrim you find very little similarities. The common Giant appears more “human”, where the Frost Giant appears for demon-like.
 
Frost Giant:
Common Giant:
 
“...Every summer they thaw out and invade Tang Mo...”
 
If we imagine the kingdom of Kamal is built out of ice castles like Karstaag’s (and we know that the doors of Karstaag’s castle are frozen shut) then we can assume that the Snow Demons are trapped in their homes for the duration of winter . Only when temperatures in Akavir warm-up are they finally able to leave their homes and invade other nations. Karstaag is also more civilized than his southern ‘relatives’.
 
“It [Karstaag’s Castle] is a castle made of ice on the northwest part of Solstheim. There lives the frost giant Karstaag. The Skaal have lived in peace with the monster for many years...”
-Korst Wind-Eye
 
Stygies VIII's picture
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He looks even less giant-ish in Bloodmoon. It's certainly not a giant, like the Dwemer are not Dwarves, they just got that nickname.

So, he lived in peace with the Skaal for a long time. Why did he stop? Did he feel the need to conquer another nation, to escape his ice castle and roam Solstheim and kill everyone? I don't remember the explanation and I might look for it later. It seems that the Ice Giants/Demons can't stay out of conflict for long.

Tailin Sero's picture
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@Lusty:

He was taken by Hircine to participate in the Hunt, as a part of the Bloodmoon DLC for Morrowind.

WeAllDevolvedFromMarukh's picture
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In Dawnguard we see more Frost Giants, which resemble a cross between Frost Trolls & Giants. Yours is an interesting theory, but I doubt it based on their appearance.

Tailin Sero's picture
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The frost giants from the Dawnguard DLC are found in the Forgotten Vale. Like other creatures in the Vale, they don't really make sense.

Exhibit A:

This 'elk' looks like the Hypnotoad from Futurama.

WeAllDevolvedFromMarukh's picture
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Hypnotoad, Hypnotoad, Hypnotoad, Hypnotoad, Hypnotoad, ....

 

Bibliophael's picture
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Have you ever seen an actual goat's eye? They really look like that.

Voshu Ornim's picture
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Interesting. We see Kamali weapons (and likely also armour, but that's not confirmed) in ESO though. They don't really seem to have been made for the likes of Frost Giants.

Tailin Sero's picture
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That's cool. In all fairness though, those items are crafted to fit the player. You can find examples of weapons/armors and their motifs here.

Voshu Ornim's picture
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Of course, but the Frost Giants don't seem like the kind to craft such fine and ornate weapons, at least not in Skyrim. Note that only the tier three swords and shields of the Akaviri style has been confirmed to actually be Kamali, the other swords, for example, are Tsaesci.

Tailin Sero's picture
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Maybe the lack of Snow Demon society has made Karstaag more primitive. As for the ones in the Forgotten Vale... well... they're "forgotten".

The Silver Lion of Camlorn's picture
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Interesting.the frost giants in dawngaurd might be the sameand theres also the possibilty of evolution, or in this case, deevolution where they lost thier culture and intelligence over genrations. good post.

Tailin Sero's picture
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The Silver Lion of Camlorn wrote:

...there's also the possibility of evolution, or in this case, devolution where they lost their culture and intelligence over generations.

Reminds me of Argonians actually (I don't know if that is just ESO lore or not).

Stygies VIII's picture
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Voshu Ornim wrote:

Interesting. We see Kamali weapons (and likely also armour, but that's not confirmed) in ESO though. They don't really seem to have been made for the likes of Frost Giants.


 

I think it's like with the Dwemer armour. Player character has an armour fit for them, made of scrap metal from the ruins. It's not the original armour the Dwemer had. Same with the Kamali armour, it's probably a version for humans/mer.

Voshu Ornim's picture
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Quote:
I think it's like with the Dwemer armour. Player character has an armour fit for them, made of scrap metal from the ruins. It's not the original armour the Dwemer had. Same with the Kamali armour, it's probably a version for humans/mer.

But we also see weapons and armour that are specifically stated to have been used by the Kamali invaders, and they look the same.

Tailin Sero's picture
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Voshu Ornim wrote:

Quote:
I think it's like with the Dwemer armour. Player character has an armour fit for them, made of scrap metal from the ruins. It's not the original armour the Dwemer had. Same with the Kamali armour, it's probably a version for humans/mer.

But we also see weapons and armour that are specifically stated to have been used by the Kamali invaders, and they look the same.

Dev. error, maybe?

Maninjadog's picture
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It is an interesting thought. My train of though is Giants are from Atmora, correct? Maybe when the Continents of Nirn where a Pangea, Different tribes of Giants moved with those parts of the Continents. Kamal to Akavir and Wrothgar to Tamriel. Whilst the Skyrim Giants stayed in Atmora. Over time they evolved and adapted differently. Extra sets of eyes to see through snow for the Kamal, darker skin and smaller frame for the Wrothgar.

Tailin Sero's picture
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Maninjadog wrote:

It is an interesting thought. My train of though is Giants are from Atmora, correct? Maybe when the Continents of Nirn where a Pangea, Different tribes of Giants moved with those parts of the Continents. Kamal to Akavir and Wrothgar to Tamriel. Whilst the Skyrim Giants stayed in Atmora. Over time they evolved and adapted differently. Extra sets of eyes to see through snow for the Kamal, darker skin and smaller frame for the Wrothgar.


Makes sense. I actually really like this idea.

Tailin Sero's picture
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This guy's idea says that the Kamal could be the Ice Tribes found in TES Travels: Dawnstar. Though I think the Ice Tribes are supposed to be Rieklings.

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I think it is very likely that the Snow Demons are a offshoot of Frost giants. I have multiple reasons to believe so:

First of: The Nords believe they descended from the giants, which would explain why they are the tallest of all races of man. It also helps to understand that the nords have 100% frost resistance and 50% shock resistance in TES-III and 50% frost resistance in TES-V. It is well known Nords in the lore better resemble the ones from TES-III, so I'll go off of that. Nords are unbothered by the freezing climate of skyrim. 

Giants in Skyrim have 33% resistance to all magics, and are very clearly shown to not give a damn about the freezing weather, even more so than the nords, in some cases wearing nothing more than a loin cloth. 

The Frost Giants are like the giants on steroids, boasting a 100% frost resistance, 33% magic resistance, but also a 33% weakness to fire. In my eyes they much better resemble how TES-III handled stats than they resemble the stats of the way more casual gamer focused TES-V, which could be because it is DLC, and not the base game. Because of this I think it would be safe to assume that the magic resistance of giants, specifically to frost, should also be considered to be higher in lore.

What we can take from all this is simply: Magic resistance is in their blood, both the nords and the giants have it, especially frost resistance.

More evidence to suggest the nords and giants are related to each other is that a nord and giant can breed, and birth a living offspring.

But how do we know the Giants and Frost Giants are related?

To start of: Giants have a varying amount of stumps on their head. Frost giants also have a varying amount of stumps on their head, as well as a well defined pair of horns. Nords do not have any horns evidently, but they do wear horns on their helmets, and they've done so since they first left Atmora, despite how incredibly dumb it is to wear horns on helmets. Horns are extra weight on your neck, they make moving difficult and are easily stuck in branches, the latter isn't too bad in the open tundras of skyrim or the frozen wastelands of atmora, but regardless, for a people that know war it would be expected they'd be better equipped. My hypothesis is that they started wearing horns is to make up for losing them themselves while the other giants kept them.

We do know from lore that there were two main giant factions in Atmora that became the giants and nords. One group had to go into hiding. This group over time grew in size and lost some of their intelligence. The other group kept their intelligence but shrunk in size, becoming the nords.

How would you explain the different amount of eyes? Well, if you look at Karstaag you'll see he has 5 eyes. The frost giants found in the Forgotten Vale have 4, and that's not the only differences. They look very different from one another. On summerset used to be another race of giants, the  llyadi, that had a face full of eyes. The size of giants also widely vary: From 11 feet to literally as tall as a mountain, we can say that the giants vary wildly in appearance. Would it therefor be such a stretch to think frost giants and giants are related?

 

If you look at trolls and frost giants you'll see even more likeness. Especially if you look at the trolls of ESO, which is cannon bdw. Especially the three fingered hands are a dead giveaway, as well as the stumps on their back and head. Also do trolls have a varying amount of eyes, just like giants, and trolls in ESO even have horns very similar to those of a frost giant. Trolls used to grow to massive sizes, but don't do so anymore, similar to the nords. They are even known to be capable of basic literacy. They sometimes organize themselves into tribal structures, similar to giants and frost giants. To my surprise trolls turn out to be even more alike giants than I imagined.

If you look at concept art for multiple TES games you'll see giants, but with white hair and blue skin. For me at least, that suggests that giants and frost giants were going to be closely related.

 

But what good does it do to determine that trolls, giants, and nords are all related? Well, we know for sure that the nords used to be from Atmora. That means that the common ancestor of trolls, giants and nords also lived on Atmora, and from atmora could've gone to either Tamriel or Akavir.

From what I've gathered, and a fair bit of guessing, nords and giants are closely related. Frost giants and trolls are also closely related. All of them have the same ancestor, but trolls split off very early on, quickly followed by frost trolls. Way later, the giants and nords split off. I have found barely any information on the kamalian, but they are described to be giants with icy spikes sticking out of their back. Since they also freeze during winter, or at the very least hide away under layers of ice, it should be safe to assume they have a 100% frost resistance, and might be adept in some form of frost magic. We know ancient nords are adept in frost magic, and we know they're also frost resistance, just like the frost giants. Because of this I'm guessing the frost demons must've split off before the nords and giants, but after the frost giants. They're probably closer related to the nords and giants than the frost giants, seeing how they're a lot smarter, a conclusion derived from them being able to cross the ocean with an army, something frost giants couldn't do. Aside from Karstaag perhaps, but he's way more intelligent than any other frost giant, which should also explain why he's more civilized than his relatives in the south.

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They are humans with ice magic, and this can be confirmed by the presence of the men of Rimmen. I am just gonna go out on a limb here and say that neither giants nor ice elementals could produce offspring that look like the humans we see in Rimmen. The people of Rimmen are not just Tsaesci. Half their lineage comes from the invaders from Kamal.