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Dragons In The Elder Scrolls: Their Language And History

Updated on January 22, 2013

Dragons are one of the races in the continent of Akavir which is found East of Tamriel. Ancient Nords used to call dragons drah-gkon, dovah or dov-rha. Dragons are huge reptilian beings several times bigger than a man or elf. Their extremities are slim an long and they possess featherless wings. Dragons have scaly skin and the colors might range from golden bronze till red, green or black depending on the subrace. Dragons have three talons and a dewclaw on each of their paws. One can see in the dragon written language that all the letters in the alphabet have no more than three scratches and occasionally a dot from the dewclaw. Their spoken language has casual words and special magic words which consist of three word shouts. Dragons breathe magic and whenever there are two dragons breathing flames and ice at each other they are actually having a debate.

A Dragon In Skyrim
A Dragon In Skyrim
A Dragon Claw. Notice the three fingers and the dewclaw.
A Dragon Claw. Notice the three fingers and the dewclaw.

Dragon Lore In The Elder Scrolls

Dragons live in mountainous areas where they usually have their own solitary lair. They prefer solitude and are rarely seen flying around in groups. When Nords reached Skyrim they met dragons there and developed several dragon cults. The god Akatosh is told to be the patron of dragons and there are legends that he had been organizing groups of dragons. These legends are actually the only source which tell of dragons abandoning their solitude. Akatosh takes the appearance of a flaming dragon and he created dragons according to his own image. During the Merethic Era dragons were constantly attacking villages. The Nordic dragon priests and their followers were avoiding such destiny by worshiping dovah and working on maintaining peace between men and dovah. Other people however were looking for ways how to kill dragons for it was believed they are immortal.


That was the beginning of the Dragon War. Alduin (In Dragon language Alduin means Destroyer Devour Master), the first born of Akatosh was leading his armies in search for more power. His nickname is 'World-Eater' and it is believed he can eat away the age of his victims. A legend tells that once he ate the age of the whole Nord population till the age of six. However Alduin lost the Dragon War because of his younger brother Paarthurnax (In Dragon language Ambition Overlord Cruelty) who rebelled against him. He defeated Alduin and casted him forward in the time. Paarthurnax worked hard to overcome his draconic instincts that craved for power. He went to live in the Throat of the World, becoming the leader of Greybeards who began working on mastering Thu'um - the power of voice and sharing their knowledge with the men.


Almost all dragons eventually were either murdered or driven off Tamriel. There are legends that say that some gods devoured dragons and that they are gone for good. That is not really true. There are some records that prove that dragons were never extinct. It is sure that least one dragon was living in the volcanic ash of Vvardenfell in the Third Era, also there was another one seen in the Black Marsh and so on although these observations were very rare. At the beginning of the Fourth Era dragons appeared again and started to lead countless attacks on the land of Skyrim. It is because of Alduin who had returned was raising the fallen dragons from death in order to feast upon the souls of the living.

Absorbing Dragon Soul
Absorbing Dragon Soul

Dragonborn or Dovahkiin in The Elder Scrolls

During the Dragon War a big help for Paarthurnax was the organization Akaviri Dragonguard which later turned into the Blades. This organization was built to protect and assist the Dovahkiin (In Dragon language Dragonborn). Dragonborn is a mortal man or a woman who possesses Dovah Sos (literally 'dragonblood'). The first Dragonborn was St Alessia who was also the Empress of the First Empire. Akatosh made a Covenant with her to seal the gates of Oblivion. Akatosh drew blood from his own heart and blessed her with it so that as long as she and the generations after her are loyal to the dragon blood they are safe from daedra. Dovahkiin posses the ability to kill a dragon permanently because they can absorb dragon souls to increase their power. Since then the rulers of the Empire were Dragonborn. With the chaos in the Empire the Blades had lost the track of the Dragonborn lines. They are in a search of the Dragonborn because of The Prophecy of the Dragonborn which tells that when a Dragonborn ruler loses the throne and the World Eater Alduin returns, 'the Wheel turns upon the Last Dragonborn'.


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    • Eranofu profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Europe

      The information on the Alduin's Wall suggests that Akaviri fought together with the ancient Nords. They both were rebelling and when Alduin ceased to go for Akavari to face the Nord resistance, then Akaviri Dragonguard reached into the Nord lands to continue the war against dragons.

      The version that by the time Akaviri reached Nord lands, the war was over is popular but then there is that fragment of the wall which gives a hint that even if they did not participate directly by fighting side by side with Nords, they did assist them by either sharing their Dragon knowledge or maybe even offering direct assistance of Dragonborn.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      No. No.

      No. The Akaviri did not help the ancient Nords rebel against the dragons. This happened in pre-history.

    • Eranofu profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Europe

      Whimsical. :D I wouldn't have thought it's whimsical, hehe. Thanks. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I thought your article was whimsical and interesting. I think you write well and in an informative way. Keep going!


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