Elder Scrolls Lore » Discussions

Western Skyrim & Snowhawk

  • Member
    October 12, 2020

    Didn't get around to posting a Research: Western Skyrim thread for ESO's Greymoor. I figured it's a bit late now, although we certainly could if others want to post what they've come across in their adventures. I think also that it would be shorter than previous research discussions, as my personal opinion is that Western Skyrim feels a bit more as though the story just happens to be set there rather than the in-depth look into the region's people, culture and history that Summerset and Elsweyr were.

    That's not to say the Greymoor chapter didn't give us some good stuff, though, as pretty early on we are likely to stumble across the Divines and the Nords book which pretty much makes The Nord's Totemic Religion design doc posted by MK and Lady N way back when canon. Continuing the spiritual theme, Jhunal the Rune God is worth mentioning in that, as of 2E 585, he seems to be falling out of favour - possibly alluding to the old Varieties of Faith texts.

    We can also find the Cheeses of Skyrim series of books which shed some very interesting light into various folk customs of Skyrim's Holds. For instance, the Riften and Falkreath volume has this little gem:

    As an aside, I learned that Falkreath still practices an ancient Nord custom, the "grave curd." According to the practice, a fresh farmer's cheese is interred atop a loved one's coffin. Every year, on the anniversary of the departed's death, the grave curd is exhumed and a fifth of it is consumed by the bereaved. Many would balk at eating from a grave, but gods help me—the piece that was served to me was delicious!

    Old Mjolen, the Clever Woman who features prominently in the zone's main story, also deserves discussion. There's a fair few mentions of Shor in connection to her magic or how she's perceived by others that is simply fascinating, bringing a bit of those Old Norse Odin and Loki characteristics into the figure of Shor. I wish I'd taken screenshots, now.

    For sure, there's a fair bit to discover and enjoy while adventuring around. Honourable mentions go to a shape-shifting Priestess of Kyne and a female Orsimer chief. However, I wanted to discuss Snowhawk in this post as I think it's a topic of pure conjecture with very little in the way of fact, thus making it interesting to speculate on, imo.

    I took this screenshot at about 03:00 Tamrielic time, which in ESO is when the first rays of light from the rising sun appear on the horizon. Sadly, the weather was awful (which is always the case when I want to take photographs):

    This is pretty much taken from the site which will become Fort Snowhawk in 4E 201, some 950-odd years after the events of ESO. In the Second Era, the area appears to be an ancient ritual site:

    Interestingly, the two central monoliths on the alter frame these first rays of dawn perfectly:

    During the recent Lost Treasures of Skyrim event, it struck me just how much this site reminded me of British stone monolith sites, such as Stonehenge and how that particular structure is arranged so that the stones frame the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset.

    I found this fascinating as, to my knowledge, there isn't much in the way of solar-worship to be found in Nordic culture. This led me to wonder whether the future site of Snowhawk is actually built on a Nedic ritual site. It is my belief, judging from a few barrows in Craglorn and history seen in Songs of the Return and the lore of Saarthal, that what we call Nordic architecture is, in fact, Nedic, and that structures we see can, in some cases, predate the Return and final waves of Atmoran migration.

    UESP's Lore Page on Snowhawk tells us it was a city-state ruled by King Torbens at the time of the Imperial Simulacrum of the late-Third Era and had a rivalry with Solitude. We know from TES V Skyrim that, by 4E 201, all that remains of this city-state will be a ruined fort inhabited by necromancers.

    This sort of leaves Snowhawk completely open to interpretation as we just don't know how it will look or what its policies will be. Recently, the Summerset Celebration event gave us the Snowhawk Mage style, an outfit look inspired by Skyrim's mages:

    Is it possible that Snowhawk will eventually become a centre of magical learning and arcane study, indicating a time when Jhunal the Rune God was in favour? After all, nearby Labrynthian was built by one of Tamriel's greatest wizards - the Archmage Shalidor. Is it possible the Oblivion Crisis will spell the end of Snowahwk and marginalise the study of magic in Skyrim?

    What do you think? Is there a connection between the Snowhawk Style and the city-state-turned-necromancer's lair that will one day sit upon this ancient ritual site? What is Snowhawk in your imagination and how does it fit into Skyrim's themes, history and overall narrative?