Durnehviir is an undead dragon met in the Soul Cairn during the events of Dawnguard. His name, according to
the shout he teaches
translates roughly as "curse never dying." This is an apt name, for Durnehviir resents his condition of unlife. However, he wasn't born undead, I doubt he ever resented the fact that all dragons are immortal, and even if he did, he probably did not do so from the moment of his birth. Thus, I'm a bit confused about when exactly he got that name.
I can think of two obvious possibilities:
- He knew in advance that he was going to become undead.
- He only got that name after he became undead, and before that, he had a different name (or no name at all?).
I could imagine (1) being true in a Tale of the Five kind of way (where the dragons know everything that has happened or will happen to them, but are powerless to change or avert it), but that doesn't seem to match the rest of the lore very well. Elder Scrolls dragons are portrayed as immortal, but they don't normally transcend time in this fashion. That leaves us with (2).
Did Durnheviir have a previous name? When and how did he get his current name?