Elder Scrolls Lore » Discussions

HoonDing: The Unyielding Serpent

  • April 30, 2015

    Good day everyone. So this was an interesting revelation I had a few days ago. Now I'm obviously a huge fan of the Redguards, but you guys have also probably noticed that I hold particular interest in the God of Make Way, HoonDing.

    He's quite a unique god, really. First of all, mortals 'become' him, in a way. Almost like the Shezarrines, except if a Shezarrine is Captain America then HoonDing is the Hulk. Cyrus, protagonist of The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard, was able to slay an extremely powerful dragon with its power. I know his word is often met with scrutiny and skepticism here, but Michael Kirkbride put the HoonDing near the top of his most powerful beings list. Keep in mind, Kirkbride was probably the most influential writer behind Redguard lore (at least as far as I know).

    But I'm not here to start a HoonDing circlejerk (that's just a side effect), I'm here to try and answer the question, "What's his deal? What is the HoonDing?" So let's get started...

    I'll start off with a little excerpt from the Yokudan Creation Myth. "Sep, however, needed more punishment, and so Tall Papa squashed the Snake with a big stick. The hunger fell out of Sep's dead mouth and was the only thing left of the Second Serpent." (The Monomyth)

    For those who don't know, Sep is the Yokudan Lorkhan. What does this have to do with the HoonDing though? Quite simple: HoonDing is the body of Sep the Second Serpent, without the hunger. At least that's what I will be trying to prove with this article.

    First let's cover some terms and concepts you'll need to know.

    • Walkabout: The method the original spirits used to avoid the hunger of Satakal. They would walk from dead skin to dead skin. It was a hard path compared to the one Sep promised.
    • Yokudan's view of Mundus: In the Yokudan creation, Mundus was created by Sep as a way to mislead the spirits. He promised an easy life. No more striding from skin to skin. 
    • HoonDing: Several mortals have taken the mantle of HoonDing, namely Frandar Hunding, Diagna, and Cyrus.
    • The Hunger: The Hunger is a very strange part of Yokudan mythology. At first, in the form of Akel, it helps the spirits, but tricking Satak into killing itself. However, it is later seen as a corrupting and malevolent force. The death of Satak likely changed Akel in someway.

    That covers the basics, now let's connect some of these dots.

    Redemption for the Sinner

    We've established that the Walkabout wasn't exactly an easy path to live, but it got easier for the spirits under the guidance of Ruptga. But it still wasn't the easiest option. No, the easiest option was promised by Sep and his promise of a new world created from the remains of the old. But this laziness and lack of will was punished. The spirits were forever trapped on Mundus and Sep was crushed.

    One of the themes of Yokudan theology is "Get over it." The spirits on Mundus were simply told by Ruptga to find a new way to follow the stars he had set. But what about Sep? Is there no redemption for him? I believe there is still a chance of redemption for him. I think he not only starts to see the true meaning of the Walkabout, I think he becomes the biggest advocate ever.

    How does the Walkabout work? Well you walk from place to place. How does the HoonDing work? It goes from mortal to mortal. I believe the HoonDing is doing his own Walkabout, but he's not walking from place to place or dead skin to dead skin, he was walking from soul to soul. And this is the reason that no mortal remains the HoonDing forever. Because it goes against the Walkabout he keeps himself to.

    But there's something else, this line from the Monomyth: "...promising them this was how you reached the new world, by making one out of the old." Perhaps that's how the HoonDing came to be, something new made from the old.

    Lorkhan's Endeavours

    Ughhh, back to the Tamrielics again. Can't take one step here without someone shoving it in my face, but Phil was adamant. I don't pretend to be an expert on non-Redguards, so if I get anything wrong, please correct me.

    So what's the motivation of the HoonDing? Redeeming himself is one thing, but I said in my original message to Phil that I think the HoonDing is trying to stop the Redguards from following in his steps. He wants to keep them on the right path. He is called the God of Make Way, it makes perfect sense that he acts as a sort of moral guide.

    But what about his (alleged) counterpart, Lorkhan? I'll let my good buddy Phil handle that. "So after seeing the wheel sideways and knowing he's trapped inside a dream he cannot escape, Lorks tricks the others into creating a Mundus so that the mortals can learn to escape and do what he cannot." This is backed up by a few sources, namely the Psijic Endeavour and Vehk's Teaching. Some may argue the veracity of these sources, but from my brief reading of them, they don't carry that Kirkbride craziness that accompanies a lot of his work (looking at you, cocaine whale).

    If you want to push it further, the Khajiiti view of Lorkhan could also apply to the HoonDing if you go by my theory: "And they said, 'We curse you, noisy Lorkhaj, to walk Nirni for many phases.'" (Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi)


    Summary: When Sep was crushed by Ruptga, the Hunger left him and, as he intended, something new was created from something old, though maybe not what he had in mind. Now without the corrupting force of the Hunger, he goes to keep the Redguards from befalling the same fate he did. A strange alternative to the Tamrielic Lorkhan, who failed so others could succeed. He is constantly performing his own Walkabout, striding from soul to soul through history. Sounds pretty badass, if I do say so myself.

    I'd like to thank Phil for feedback and proofreading.

  • Member
    April 30, 2015

    I love it Matt. You truly are the HoonDingery of MATTOMPHI

    The parallels between Shezarrines and the HoonDing (dammit, put a link to your build in there already or I will) are plain to see but it's the differences which fascinate me and really bring to life the culture of the Redguards.

    I mean, characters like Ysmir, Pelinal, Hans the Fox are Nordic legends and they appear frequently in tales because the Nords tell tales frequently. It's part of their culture. Ask a Nord if Ysmir really did this, or if Hairy-Breeks did that and the answer will be "yes of course, also he did this, this and this". Whether true or not is irrelevant, it makes a good story and that's all that matters - and that the story makes it true: Ysgramor were a dragon but he weren't

    The Redguards, though, have a whole different outlook. Their culture as you demonstrate so nicely is one of "sack-up and get on with it." Not prone to the tall tales of the north, their version is a lot rarer and a helluva lot more powerful (Hulk indeed) and suits their culture nicely. Of course I probably wouldn't be brave enough to tell a Redguard that the HoonDing is the same as a Shezarrine, but I reckon they might agree there are certain similarities, enough to make the creation myths hold more than just the possibility of a basis in fact.

    The fact that this theory of yours explains what may have happened to the body of Sep is awesome and ties up a loose end to the Yokudan creation myth. It also begs another essay explaining the Serpent in astronomy. No pressure Matt

  • April 30, 2015

    I know very little about the constellations.

    I see what you're saying about the HoonDing and Shezarrines, they're definitely very similar. I think the Captain America/Hulk analogy sums it up really well.

    BTW, I corrected the Shezarrine spelling. Shezzar. Shezarrine. I give up.

  • Tom
    April 30, 2015

    I'm wondering out loud, so take this post with a grain of salt, if HoonDing, Shezzarine, Mane, and Dragonborn aren't so much the same things but iterations of the same thing. These are non-mortal spirits resurfacing again and again, representatives of the particular culture's version of Lorkhan (Akatosh replaces Lorkhan for the Cyrodiils).

  • April 30, 2015
    The Mane being an incarnation of Lorkhaj would be interesting. The Mane is believed to be born when a third moon appears, so that could hold some interesting implications. It's probably not*, but any chance the third moon is the Necromancer's Moon? I'm assuming the Mane subrace has been around longer than that.

    Phil also mentioned the Dragonborn having some Lorkhan in him. Can you explain that? Is it his connection to the Wheel? *I mean it's probably not the Necromancer's Moon, not directing that towards your idea.
  • Member
    May 1, 2015

    That Dragonborn/Lorkhan thing is complex but it boils down to being named Ysmir, Dragon of the North by the Greybushes. As Tom says in his Shezarrine article the title has belonged to many supposed Shezarrines throughout history.

    Being told you're Ysmir and being recognised/confused as Hjalti Neckbeard by the ghost in Hroldan are the two biggest indicators TLD is a Shezarrine. Relating that back to your article, whenever a Shezarrine appears, something big is going to happen much like when the HoonDing manifests.

    It's like a triple-blessing: Dragonborn from Akatosh who is Lorkhan, and Shezarrine because you're Lorkhan's spirit. It's one of the few times Lorkhan and Aka are working together, like Pelinal all over again.

  • Member
    May 1, 2015

    @Tom I like it. It's like they're cultural memes. The Dragonborn appears when the Nords need him most because they expect him to appear, likewise the HoonDing manifests when the collective will of the Redguards need it to.

  • Tom
    May 1, 2015

    Actually, I'd argue the Dragonborn was created retroactively by the Dance of the Selectives with Akatosh.

    The Dragonborn functions like the Shezzarine. If Akatosh is Auriel fused with Lorkhan's ideals, then the Dragonbon is Akatosh's Shezzarine. It explains to me so many of the similarities and issues I have with the purpose of the Dragonborn.

  • Member
    May 2, 2015

    What issues are those Tom? Is it worthy of a discussion in it's own right?

    I see what you're saying about Akatosh, but the dov themselves may be shards of a more primordial concept, which in turn make the dragon soul of TLD of the same substance.

    Saying Akatosh in relation to the dragonborn could be a shorthand way of communicating a more complex idea.

  • Tom
    May 2, 2015

    That's sort of the point. Why would Akatosh create a being whose main purpose is to permanently kill dragons? Why is this being always representing the interests of Man just like a Shezzarine, when the deity it sprouts from is in opposition to everything that Lorkhan represents. They're literally the complete opposites of each other, so why do both spawn near demi-god like mortals who go forth and do such immense actions and events as to drastically change the history of Nirn, all in apparent favor of Man?

    By all rights, Dragonborn should arise as Mer and work towards unmaking the world or helping Alduin instead of preserving the world to let it continue on.