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The 'World-Eater’ Myth

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Lady N's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2010

Author - Lost in Hyrule


 

The ‘World-Eater’ Myth, -A Treatise by Imperial Scholar Cassian Mercaius

Much can be said for the recent surge in draconic scholarship. With the recent turmoil centered on Skyrim, many are reinterpreting centuries old understandings of cosmology to align dragons with the divine in a grand cosmological scheme. The theory goes that Alduin, a Nordic deity and harbinger of the end times, is one and the same as the dragon that briefly despoiled the whole of Skyrim. Many even claim that Alduin is in some way a piece of the great Akatosh, rather than an alternative name for Akatosh as was largely believed previously. This borders on heresy against the leader of the Eight Divines!

The argument now being made is that Alduin has a Divine mandate to end the world, as the Nordic myths suggest. In so doing, the Divines may once again create the world, and the cycle starts anew. Thus, our world, the whole of the Mundus, is in no way special, but is rather the current iteration of an unknown number of other worlds.

Those especially versed in mythologies of the beginning times may recognize distinct parallels to the Redguard ideas about the origins of our world. While uncommonly referenced by those outside of Hammerfell, I have seen important concepts expressed therein that have great bearing on our current understanding of the Divines. In their beliefs, Satakal is a great serpent that constantly devours all that is. Things would come into being and then be destroyed before long. Eventually, some beings learned to avoid being eaten, to ‘jump between worldskins’ as the story describes it. Eventually, the spirits create a new world far away from Satakal, formed from the old ‘worldskins’.

The image of ‘worlds’ being ‘eaten’ by a ‘serpent’ is exceedingly obvious, and I wish my fellow scholars in the Heartland would more readily engage with this parallel. I believe that Alduin is a remnant of the pre-Mundus time, but is still being ladened with Dawn Era concepts which no longer apply. As spirits began to form, with Akatosh being the foremost, Time took effect throughout the Aurbis. With the concept of Time came both Beginnings and Endings. It may well be that the spirits or concepts associated with ‘all things come to an end’ were subservient to Akatosh, and came to be seen as Dragons (or a Serpent) who destroyed. More concrete spirits came to be, and found ways to avoid Ending, but whole ‘worlds’ were still lost to Time’s relentless march.

Then came Creation. The Divines took from all that had come before, all that Time had not fully consumed, and gave birth to the Mundus. While Time still held sway here, the bedrock of the world was formed by those who had learned to defy Endings. This world was made solid, not subject to the constant cycle of spirits seen in the Dawn. Though this creation is certain, we still hold legends of the way things were from before. The dragons may well be the physically realized forms of those old Ending spirits. Within the Mundus, their role has become much smaller in scope. The idea of Endings has become one of destruction, of razing and burning away old things.

And so, I submit that these pervasive beliefs that Alduin was a god are misplaced. Alduin is nothing but a shadow of the Dawn Era ideas of Endings. However, our world was created with the blessings of mighty Akatosh, ruler of all Time. It is foolishness to think that a lowly servant could ever overcome the King.

Lady N's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2010

This piece was written for our 20th anniversary fan art contest! It is strictly property of its original creator - you may not modify, publish, or redistribute it without explicit permission from the artist.