One thing that I love in gaming is a fantastic villain. I’ve mentioned this many times here on MGL if you follow My Work. There are so many great ones out there in gaming. Pagan Min in Far Cry 4, Kessler from infamous, Diablo, Mundus, but to name a few. And I wanted to talk about a villain I will be meeting again, very, very soon. Alduin, the leader of the dragons of Skyrim and one I can’t wait to take on again.
Alduin is the antagonist of Skyrim. In case you didn’t play the game before, you should know he is a powerful dragon. It is prophesied he will destroy all life on Tamriel, unless he can be stopped by the also prophesized Dragonborn.
This just happens to be you in Skyrim!
Skyrim is one of my favourite games in general. It’s also fellow Editor Rossco’s too who believes the re-release of Skyrim could even be one of the best RPGs available in 2016. Here I am going to focus on your foes in the world of Tamriel and look at how the dragons make this game so exciting. Plus some details on the main antagonist of the game, Alduin The Worldeater.
Now, don’t panic this overview will be Spoiler Free. Skyrim maybe an older game but this will not reveal anything on the main plot for those gamers picking the game up for the first time. Drop me a comment using Disqus if you are getting the game or just want to talk more great villains!
The Magic Dragon
Many of the dragons in Skyrim are unnamed (more on that later) and are defined solely by their powers or appearance. For example lesser Frost Dragons, which drain stamina as well as health and Brown Dragons that are… well, Brown.
My character being a predominantly magic based build, struggled most against dragons with electric attacks, as this would cause damage and drain mana.
You will face a great many dragons in Skyrim as you explore. Each can strike at any time, in any way, and have exceptional power. To become more powerful you must seek out powers around the land of Skyrim. There are many to be found but the big ones are the Shouts, these are what give a dragon it’s power such as fire or ice breath. Shouts are ancient dragon language that you, as a dragonborn can also use.
To unlock them you need to defeat dragons, take their soul and use that to unlock additional power.
There are several named dragons in the game (see I allude to stuff and deliver on it). Now, I pledged to remain spoiler free, as much as possible here so I will tread lightly. The main dragon you meet from the named ilk is Paarthurnax – a dragon who turned against Alduin before. This ancient beast will aid the hero in their quest, but has his own agenda too.
Paarthurnax is found early in the story but there are more of them to discover on your adventure.
But Paarthurnax and the other dragons are secondary to the main monster, a creature of unspeakable power and cruelty.
About Alduin “The Worldeater”
Alduin is a fire breathing deity level beast. He feeds on souls, and wants to re-enslave mankind, and return dragons to their throne as gods of the world.
This motivation stems not just from his arrogance, but from the fact he had been worshipped by men in eons before the events we see. Alduin’s drive to wipe out man, as well as other species on Nirn, makes him a dangerous and destructive force.
What we know from the game is that, long ago, Alduin and his dragonkin were defeated by man, but Alduin couldn’t be killed. When the mortals who challenged him used an Elder scroll, they inadvertently sent him into the future, to the events of Skyrim.
This was an insult to the once worshiped deity-like Alduin, and his hubris would require him to prove that those on Nirn belong to him.
The game’s own folklore (and a whole bunch of sources such as the many Elder Scrolls Wiki pages) show that Alduin was possibly Akatosh’s child. The reason I wanted to mention this, is because so few sources note the very real world comparison.
Akatosh is principal deity of Nirn, which compares nicely to the real world religious teachings. Jehovah (or Yahweh – the Christian God’s proper name) has a very comparable son, Lucifer; Satan, the Devil, Samael. Not really a “son” in the biological sense, but in the land of the gods and creation.
Lucifer in Christian mythos becomes jealous of man. And when believing that he deserves to rule of man, and the heavens, he is cast out of heaven.
The reason I make this comparison (and not to more obvious resemblances to Norse mythology) is because of the boldness of the world of Elder Scrolls. Each of principal deities and demons in the Elder Scrolls, is a real, tangible figure. Alduin is a very real, very dangerous villain, whose history is steeped in a mythology that has some semblance in reality. His story is clearly a nod to the complex and held beliefs of real world religions.
Alduin is a dragon, I mean that isn’t a spoiler, as it is part of the core concept of why the player character is the ‘Dragonborn’. The imposing black dragon is one of the first things you will see in game.
In what I would define a moment of brilliant gaming irony, the opening sequence lets you control the main character. But, you are bound by the hands and legs, being taken by the Imperials to an executioner. With just moments to go before the hero will be dead, Alduin appears and attacks.
Albeit unintentionally, Alduin just saved his own destroyer’s life in his rage.
Once you escape the town besieged by Alduin you will be off on your adventures, and each time you face Alduin he will pose a genuine threat. But I won’t go too far into these encounters, spoilers and that.
I will say, on PC versions for a while now (and on console versions soon) mods have allowed for variations of the opening sequence, it interests me that this allows for even the slightest change in tone to the concept.
What Makes Alduin an Awesome Antagonist
Alduin is rather unique in gaming, both an imposing, powerful presence, and a seemingly cunning, intelligent beast. He is both smart and strong, plus he’s a freaking dragon.
Alduin is always out there, and his kin want you dead. He sets traps and uses all his knowledge of Nirn and power long since hidden away, to keep ahead of the Dragonborn.
He has the power to absorb energy from his defeated enemies, which makes him potentially as powerful as the player character!
What also sets him apart from many other villains, is that whilst his attitude seems petulant, his methods and reasoning make sense. Like all good villains, there are moments when you can actually sympathise with him. But his malevolence and arrogance soon stop that and all you want to do is slay the beast.
His ability to control dragons, plus his worshippers make him dangerous, and very few other villains can boast his array of powers.
Is Alduin the best baddie on the block? Do you chomp at the bit to slap the Fus-Ro-Dah off his smug dragon face again? What is your favourite moment with a dragon?
I had a dragon soar past me and then attack a band-it camp! An any other comments totally welcome below! Hit me up on my Twitter too and lets talk some Skyrim and other games. But for now,