After successfully repelling evil, most role-playing heroes from The Elder Scrolls experience mysterious fates: while the protagonist in Daggerfall is either completely wiped out or never seen again, the Nerevarine from Morrowind has been missing since he left for Akavir. And in Oblivion? If the Dragonborn from Skyrim doesn’t top that – we’ll probably only find out in Elder Scrolls 6 – hero number 4 is the (lucky?) winner of this strange ranking.
Together with Skyrim expert Ardko, we explored what became of our old character and why she had to sacrifice herself to save the world. But if we’re honest: The new entry is probably the coolest in the whole TES series.
The prince of madness and his dark secret
As a reminder, in the final Oblivion DLC, Shivering Isles, we fought a god of crystal, Jyggalag. This final battle will decide the future of the Shivering Isles, a realm deep in Oblivion divided between happiness and sorrow, to which we have been called to aid.
After a final blow, the god falls to the ground. Enough, I’ve been defeated. The gray march is over!’ exclaims Jyggalag. You have completed the cycle. Now you wear the cloak of madness. It’s over. I will go, and you will stay, mortal. Mortal? King? God? That is unclear. This kingdom is yours!. What he means by that will only be revealed after a long time.
Skyrim, Two Hundred Years Later: Entering an abandoned corridor in the Palace of Solitude, the Dragonborn is suddenly drawn into the mind of the late Emperor Pelagius. In a misty playground of madness that is strongly reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, we meet our character from Oblivion again.
He’s now white-haired, always happy, dressed in purple and red. » I’m a mad god, THE mad god, strictly speaking. It’s a family title. Lend it to me every few thousand years, he proclaims. Call me Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. Delighted.
Skyrim expert Ardko classifies the curious twist for you:
In The Elder Scrolls, the Daedra are known to be demonic lords who always have fun with humans. Sheogorath is considered the most powerful of them and appears in all games. He belongs to the pantheon of Dark Elves, who believe that Sheogorath will always test them with trials in life. He’s insane and messy, like the Joker from the Batman universe. Therefore, it is not surprising why he is so popular with the players.
However, many players are unaware of its interesting backstory, which is told in Oblivion’s Shivering Isles DLC and ultimately explains the fate of the Oblivion player. Because initially, Sheogorath was not the god of madness at all but the god of order: Jyggalag.
The eternal struggle between order and madness
It is said that all other Daedra both feared and envied Jyggalag. Because of his power and his plans, explains the YouTuber. But since Daedra are immortal, they couldn’t just take him out. So instead, they put a curse on him to hinder him. Thus, he became Sheogorath, using his power only for chaos and nonsense, as we know him from the games.
In-game books such as The Sixteen Chords of Madness tell stories about the prince and his nature. So he kept organizing competitions with the other Daedra. For example, with Hircine, when it came to creating the worst monster. While the Daedra of the Hunt created a terrible nightmare, Sheogorath chose a small bird instead.
The competition of different monsters had a surprising ending: the bird flew around the beast, and the beast tore itself trying to catch the bird. This is the mad lord’s hallmark: Sheogorath always solves it with cunning no matter what the contest.
‘Clever as Sheogorath appears, the danger is not over. The problem is that his curse is temporary. At the end of each era, Jyggalag returns. Then two different personalities fight for control in the same body, Jyggalag for order, Sheogorath for madness. Similar to Gollum and Sméagol from The Lord of the Rings. In this regard, Sheogorath is calling for our help as Oblivion players and is taking us via a portal to his realm, the Shivering Isles, to stop Jyggalag and his so-called Gray March of Order.«
Fascinating: The architecture perfectly reflects the personality of Sheogorath. The happy, colorful lands of Mania represent his euphoria, the dark, sad lands of Dementia his depression, motifs also reflected in his split dress style. Over several quests, we bring one island area after the other under our control in the DLC.
Eventually, despite our actions, Sheogorath fully transforms back into Jyggalag. The colors fade, the extremes disappear, and the god of order appears in pure gray and hard crystal. The sad end of the Chaos Lord? No, not at all, explains Ardko:
The player wins the battle, but Sheogorath is lost. The only way to save him and end the curse forever is to take his place. In TES, there is the process of mantling, which states that if two people become more and more alike, they can merge into one another. For example, Tiber Septim also became the god Thalos. And the character who took back the Shivering Isles was now enough like Sheogorath to sit on his throne.
Jyggalag disappears into Oblivion. We stay and also get some extraordinary abilities. We can summon troops, control the weather, and teleport to the palace – now we can rule as we like as Sheogorath!
A joker forever
In the Skyrim quest The Spirit of Madness, we travel into the mind of a deceased emperor and meet the Oblivion player in the form of Sheogorath. To end their wicked banter with Emperor Pelagius, the Dragonborn must endure some curious trials from Sheogorath. Knowing that we’re facing our Oblivion character gives new meaning to certain statements made by the Daedra, Ardko says.
Butterflies, blood, a fox, a severed head alludes to the murder of the Emperor, the Thieves’ Guild, and other events in Oblivion. Likewise, his idea could be used to reference the mantling itself when he says, It’s a family title. Bestow it upon me every few millennia. Is there anything else we can elicit from the Oblivion character who is now Sheogorath?
A lot of the statements are difficult to pin down to our last character or Sheogorath since they are now the same person anyway. However, nuances can be seen in some places, says Arko. So, for some reason, Sheogorath ranks Emperor Martin among the best sevenths, although history would contradict here. This good opinion could have come from the Oblivion period when we spent a lot of time with the Emperor. Furthermore? We can say that the Oblivion hero not only accepts his destiny but enjoys it completely. There seems to be no conflict here, unlike Jyggalag and Sheogorath.
Whenever The Elder Scrolls 6 comes out, we can be very confident that the Prince of Madness will grace us again. And inside him, hidden somewhere deep down, also an old friend, namely our former Oblivion character. The fun fact at the end: The name Sheogorath references HP Lovecraft’s Shoggoth monster and is also named after the game designer and TES co-creator Theodore Peterson.