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Daedra Dossier: Sheogorath

  • Member
    January 31, 2015


    On this particular prince so much has been written and explored that it is an almost pointless task recounting what we already know from a multitude of other sources. With that in mind, this Daedra Dossier is intended to be a brief overview on the subject rather than an exhaustive piece of scholarship. My aim here is to simply give a reader new to The Elder Scrolls series a basic introduction to the topic and provide a reference point for the more experienced adventurer of Tamriel on the subject of Sheogorath, Daedric Prince of Madness.






    TES Shivering Isles by Coupleofkooks


    Who is Sheogorath?


    “I suppose an introduction is in order. I'm Sheogorath, Prince of Madness. And other things. I'm not talking about them. You've probably figured that out by now. Let's hope so. Or we're in real trouble... and out come the intestines. And I skip rope with them!”


    Depicted in shrines as a flamboyantly dressed gentleman leaning upon a cane, Sheogorath  is one of the four daedric princes first to be recorded in written history. (On Oblivion) He has been called many names (but never Ann Marie), given the titles The Mad God, Daedric Prince of Madness and Lord of the Never-there, and is fearfully respected in most areas of Tamriel. (Varieties of Faith in the Empire)


    Sheogorath by Ilmatar-Art


    In the Aldmeri creation myths Sheogorath is said to have been created when Lorkhan’s divinespark was removed and in these tales he is the “Sithis-shaped hole in the world”, although this idea has been refuted by some scholars. (Interview with two denizens of the Shivering Isles)


    Sheogorath’s faithful hold various “virtues” in high regard and worship their god  “who tricks us when we are foolish, punishes us when we are wrong, tortures us when we are unmindful, and loves us in our imperfection”.  (Blessings of Sheogorath)


    In Morrowind Sheogorath is known as The King of Madness and is one of the Four Corners of the House of Troubles. One of the Ancestral Spirits to accompany Saint Veloth and the Chimer into Morrowind, Sheogorath rebelled against the Tribunal when they rose to power.  As one of the Four Corners Sheogorath provides an obstacle to the dunmer people as a personification of madness, helping or hindering, turning them against each other and testing them for mental weakness. (House of Troubles)


    To understand this it might pay to imagine what life was like for the Chimer. In the long pilgrimage to the east the Chimer were psychologically affected. They had to leave all that they knew behind, forging a new identity on the way. It was tough and left mental scars. Once in Morrowind, they had to acclimatise to a new way of life using materials alien and  unknown to them. They needed to adapt, learn and become masters of themselves again.


    Once the system of the Great Houses were established and they left the traditions of the Ashlanders behind, there were political intrigues and betrayals to deal with. All these things became attributed to the machinations of Sheogorath.


    In one Dunmer legend it is Sheogorath who “tricks” the asteroid Baar Dau into crashing into the city of Vivec, claiming it was built in mockery of the heavens. Vivec, of course, saves the day and gets the moon to swear fealty to the Tribunal. (The Pilgrim's Path)


    To the Khajiit he is called Sheggorath the Skooma Cat (“for what is crazier than a cat on Skooma?”) and has a prominent place in their pantheon. (Words of the Clan Mother)




    Sheogorath by Ljuton






    Yep, That's Sheogorath as depicted in Oblivion


    Where is Sheogorath?


    "Time spent in Dementia is time not spent elsewhere."


    The Shivering Isles, The Madhouse or The Asylums is a land divided in two, split down the middle like the personality of it’s ruling Prince. To the North is Mania, a bright, golden land representing creativity, artistry and vibrancy, it’s forests of spore trees with fruit bearing branches are home to the Elytra and the Gnarl.( Namlir's Shivering bestiary)


    To the south is Dementia, a brooding and dismal land reflecting the Prince’s darker emotions. It’s swamps and tangled woods are home to various fearsome creatures such as the Scalon and the Baliwog.


    Each side is also home to various religious factions. The Heretics who make their homes in Mania believe that Sheogorath is not a god or a Daedric Prince, but rather simply flesh and blood, a mere mortal. They believe Arden-Sul to be the true lord of the Isles. (Heretical Thoughts)


    In contrast to this view, The Zealots of Dementia believe Sheogorath to be a living god, of whom arden-Sul was an avatar who will return again. (Zealotry)


    Of the truth about Arden-Sul not much is known. Even the stories of his death are conflicting, with both the demented and manics having their own version. What cannot be disputed is the occasional parallel this being shares with the Champion. Indeed, it is not hard to imagine that the cycle of the Graymarch ended once before by a chosen champion of Sheogorath. (The Prophet Arden-Sul and Arden Sul)


    The capital of the Shivering Isles and the seat of Lord Sheogorath is New Sheoth. Slap-bang on the border between Dementia and Mania, the city is split in half just like the rest of the Isles. Bliss is the name of the Mania half, Crucible the Dementia half. Each side is policed by Sheogorath’s favoured daedra who enforce the will of Sheogorath; the Auriel (or Golden Saints) patrol Bliss and Mania, while the Mazken (or Dark Seducers) look after Crucible and Dementia. (Guide to New Sheoth)


    The Blue Palace houses the ruling duke or duchess of each half which is known as the Court of madness, not to mention The Mad God himself.




    Golden saint vs Dark Seducer by Fury-Flame


    The Legacy of Sheogorath.


    “A change is coming. Everything changes. Even Daedric Princes. Especially Daedric Princes."


    Jyggalag by Rono22


    Sheogorath had a secret. He was once the personification of order, the Daedric Prince Jyggalag cursed by the other Princes to become Sheogorath in a thousand year cycle. Every millennia the Mad Prince would transform back into Jyggalag in an event known as the Graymarch. (The Predecessors) As the embodiment of order, Jyggalag and his Knights would destroy everything in the realm in an effort to undo the hated chaos of madness. Once this was achieved, Jyggalag would revert back into Sheogorath who must rebuild the land once more.


    Yet Sheogorath is clever, and has beaten the other princes before. During the onset of another Graymarch, The Lord of the Neverthere opened a portal in Tamriel as an invitation to a champion.


    This Champion entered into the portal and, through a process of mantling, eventually stopped the Graymarch, became Sheogorath and defeated Jyggalag. However, it is unclear now whether the Graymarch has truly been halted despite Jyggalag’s claim to once again walk the voids of Oblivion in freedom. There are two pieces of fascinating apocrypha which contradict each other on this point, (Interview with Two Denizens of the Shivering isles, and Arden Sul) Both are worth a read.






    The Artefacts of Sheogorath




    The Wabbajack! Huh? Huh? Didn’t see that coming, did you?




    The Wabbajack is staff of immense, if unpredictable, power. Often engraved with numerous faces displaying different emotional states, the Wabbajack can be both helpful and detrimental to the wielder. One owner of the staff had this to say:


    Maybe the Wabbajack is the Book of Knowledge. Maybe I'm smarter because I know cats can be bats can be rats can be hats can be gnats can be thats can be thises. And that doors can be boars can be snores can be floors can be roars can be spores can be yours can be mine. I must be smart, for the interconnective system is very clear to me. Then why, or wherefore do people keep calling me mad? (The Wabbajack)


    During the Oblivion Crisis the small Khajiit community of Border Watch, just to north of Cyrodiil’s Leyawiin, experienced a unique phenomenon. On an otherwise normal day, the skies above the small village suddenly darkened, and burning dogs rained down from the heavens. The carnage was terrible, according to witnesses. Charred dog carcasses littered the village, and the smell alone was enough to drive many residents into their homes. (The Black Horse Courier).


    So far experts are unsure what caused this, but rumours circulate that the the mad God was summoned close by right before the event.




    For a more complete overview of this artefact in its current incarnation, I point you to Henson’sWabbajack: The Probablity of Awesome.








    The Staff of the Everscamp




    The top of this staff is adorned with little statues of Scamps. If these totems and the name of the staff itself didn’t give anything away, the wielder unlucky or foolish enough to read it’s engraved runes will soon find themselves surrounded by four foul-smelling scamps. This artefact is more of an annoyance than a danger but the only way to get rid of the staff is to find a volunteer to take it, or return it to the shrine of Sheogorath from whence it came.






    The Staff of Sheogorath




    “The Staff is the symbol of power in this Realm. He who rightfully holds the Staff may hold the throne of the Shivering Isles.”




    The very symbol of the Mad God’s power, this staff played a crucial role in the CoC’s apotheosis. In order to restore power to the staff which was lost when Sheogorath transformed, his champion needed to find two crucial components; the eye of one who had “witnessed an unseen secret firts hand”,the other being a branch from one the realm’s oldest tree, the Tree of Shades.


    With theses items in possession, the Champion imbued the staff with the “lifeblood of the Isles” by dipping it into the Pools of Madness in the Fountain Head below New Sheoth. With the staff now coursing with the essence of the realm and “rightfully held” by the Champion, a new Sheogorath, Mad God of the Isles was able to end the Graymarch and defeat Jyggalag.




    Myths of Sheogorath


    The books Myths of Sheogorath and The Fall of Vitharn attribute various feats to the Madgod, from inventing music to cursing an entire bloodline with madness for the patriarch’s crime of disrespect.


    Of the many stories associated with the Prince of Madness, some the most compelling tales are to be found in the 16 Accords of Madness. In these tales Sheogorath is pitted against three rival Lords of Misrule, Hircine, Vaermina and Malacath.


    In Volume VI of the series set among the peaks of Skyrim, Hircine and Sheogorath embark on a contest to see who can breed the greatest beast to defeat the other’s champion in a fatal battle. Hircine creates a lycanthropic monstrosity out of a summoned Daedroth, while Sheogorath reveals his creature to be a little songbird.


    The Daedroth lunges and lashes but cannot defeat the bird, who flaps and dances around the beast as it tears itself apart in it’s attempted kills.


    In Volume IX Sheogorath pits himself against Vaermina, Prince of Scary Dreams, in a contest to see who can inspire a mortal subject to be hated. Sheogorath wins, teaching Vaermina that madness, creativity and dreams go hand in hand.


    In Volume XII, Sheogorath gives the sword Neb-Crescen to an Orc who goes mad once he draws the blade and uses it to kill a one of his own kind who was under the Madgod’s influence. Sheogorath later summons Malacath to the scene and talks the prince of Outcasts into killing the murderer with Neb-Crescen. Malacath agrees but is overcome with the blade’s bloodlust. it isn’t until after the deed is done that he realises he has killed one of his own children.


    Questions and Discussion


    There are many things we know about Sheogorath, but there is also still a bit of mystery to be unravelled. For instance, why does he appear blind in TES VI Skyrim? Has the Graymarch truly been ended once and for all? Was Arden-Sul a previous champion of Sheogorath who became the Lord of the Shivering Isles much like the CoC did? 


  • August 21, 2015

    Sorry for late reply, Phil. But I´m here for you, buddy!

    I was thinking about Arden-Sul for some time. It is possible that Arden-Sul might have become Sheogorath, but what if there is much simpler answer?

    What if Arden-Sul was champion of Sheogorath in previous cycle who passed throught the "mantling" but eventually failed in deafeating Jyggalag? This way he would be a nearly-Sheogorath, but because he was killed by Jyggalag, true Sheogorath had to return.

    Also, that Haskill thing you posted in Classics is really interesting. It points that Sheogorath isn´t actually one Daedric Prince but many succesors? I find this really weird...but fascinating at the same time.

  • Member
    August 21, 2015

    Ok continuing the discussion from the other thread 

    Sheogorath: "This time, I'll beat him."

    This line has me wondering if the hero is the first new Sheogorath to succeed, and if so does that mean sheo and jyggalg are now permanently separate beings?

  • August 21, 2015

    I believe that it is the case. The Hero of Kvatch might be first to defeat the Jyggalag and break the cycle.

    Because, try to imagine that Arden-Sul might already have defeated the Jyggalag and became Sheogarath. This might be complicated but bear with me.

    Jyggalag was cursed to become Sheogorath long time ago. Arden-Sul came and with help of Sheogorath passed through the mantling, became new Sheogorath and defeated Jyggalag. But what´s next? Daedric Princes again cooperated and cursed Jyggalag again? So "true" Sheogorath then went, killed the "false" Sheogorath, took the title of Madgod again and after a thousand years, he would become Jyggalag again? If you thought that the original Greymarch cycle was complicated, try to imagine this mad cycle of re-cursing Jyggalag every now and then..

  • Member
    August 21, 2015

    What was the new piece of lore that you and Phil mentioned? If it's from ESO I probably wont have seen it.

    Ah but then the whole point of Sheogorath was to punish/torment Jyggalag, and so wouldn't an incredibly confusing and convoluted cycle just make it all the more tormenting? Although I do believe that the Hero is the first "New" Sheogorath to succeed.

  • August 21, 2015

    An Interview with Haskill

    This one is new to me too and I haven´t read it yet. I´ll have to take a look at it today to have some knowledge so I could make few arguments at least.

  • August 21, 2015

    Well, there is nothing else except that part Phil already linked.

    Chamberlain Haskill says, “I have had similar questions about my 'nature' from Alessandra, Legoless, and an Unnamed One, so I suppose I must address the matter. I am a Vestige, all that remains of a mortal from your world who 'mantled' Sheogorath during an event in a previous time. As a fragment, my memory of the event is … fragmentary. I am hazy on the entire concept of 'mantling,' but it had something to do with Lord Sheogorath, myself, and this Jyggalag of whom you speak. I have asked the Mad God to explain it to me, but he just laughs and says maybe he'll tell me about it 'next year,' whatever that means.

    “Sometimes the Master irritates even me. I can't remember why I put up with it, actually."

    He says he mantled Sheogorath during an event in previous time and that it involved Jyggalag.

    This might support my theory about Arden-Sul. Haskill said he mantled Sheogorath, but if Jyggalag wasn´t defeated...

    Could Haskill be Arden-Sul?!

  • Member
    August 21, 2015

    Thank you Karver and Golden, I'd long since given up hope of anybody replying to this

    Karver, I really like that theory that only the CoC has succeeded at lifting the curse. It makes the role of Hero unique to the player as is the case with every game. I think maybe the sources about Arden-Sul may contradict the idea a bit as he is held in extremely high regard by the citizens of the Isles but it's a good idea anyway. There is definitely more to Arden-Sul than we know, whether one prefers yours or Lady Nerevar's theory as to why the Graymarch didn't end with him. 

  • August 21, 2015

    I guess it all depends on what is the goal of Greymarch. I mean, it is said that Jyggalag destroys everyhting Sheogorath creates, but does that mean denizens of Shivering Isles too? It is complete annihilation?

  • Member
    August 21, 2015

    What about The Fork of Horripilation?