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What happened to the Telvanni family? They don't seem to appear in games set in later timeframes, and I was wondering if they are still around somewhere.

Please note that I'm not referring here to the Great House1 here, but to the members of the original Telvanni bloodline, those that bear this surname.

It is known that inside Great House Telvanni advancement often means killing those that have a superior rank to take their place, and I suppose it is for this reason that the Councilors (at least during the timeframe of TES3:Morrowind) don't belong to this bloodline2.

I'm pretty sure that there aren't any individuals in TES3:Morrowind that carry this surname, but I've only played this game and TES2:Daggerfall, so I can be lacking knowledge. As a term of comparison, many individuals of House Hlaalu also carry the Hlaalu surname, so it is highly reasonable to infer that the name of a Great House derives from an actual surname, possibly of the original founder bloodline.

Are there known individuals that belong to the original bloodline during other games, and it is known or at least possible to reconstruct the history of the family and what happened to them, to make them basically disappear during the timeframe of Morrowind?


1. A Dunmer Great House is something similar to a clan / political party, not unlike what an Ancient Roman Gens was. Basically, it is an enlarged clan that can be joined not only by birth but also by marriage, adoption, and possibly other means.

2. Granted, the Councilors are mainly known only by name, but I think that it is reasonable to infer that belonging to the original Telvanni bloodline was something of high prestige, so if someone was indeed a true Telvanni, it would have used the surname.

3

Nobody with the surname "Telvanni" exists anymore

There are no characters with the surname "Telvanni" in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall or in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (although there is Tonas Telvani, who has a different spelling in her name and is not associated with the Great House). Nor are there any in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. So I think it's safe to say there are no people from the original bloodline alive by the Third and Fourth Eras.

This is in sharp contrast to The Elder Scrolls Online, set during the Second Era, in which there are a number of living Telvannis (e.g. Kalina Telvanni) and spirit Telvannis (e.g. Fyrayn Telvanni).

My take is that, since the Great Houses can be joined by any interested person (as the hero of Morrowind discovers) anybody from the Telvanni line was long ago killed off, leaving only those who joined of their own volition. This explains why there are no councillors with that name. Besides, I imagine that being a descendent of the original Telvannis made you a big target for their assassination-promotion system.

But was somebody supposed to be part of it?

The closest thing to this is the in-game book Lymdrenn Tenvanni's Journal, written in 4E 6 (six years after the events of Oblivion), which describes how House Telvanni was destroyed, but Lymdrenn survived and gave birth to a son, Brandyl. Is "Tenvanni" a typo of "Telvanni" given that L and N are close together on the keyobard? Who knows.

Since the death of my wife, I haven't been able to bring myself to give my son a proper name. It never felt right without her. But my own life reaches its final hours as the luxury of time is [sic] escapes my embrace. I name him now: Brandyl, son of Lymdrenn and sole living heir to House Telvanni. I will wrap him in his t'lonya, his birthing swaddle and leave his fate to Azura's will.

Lymdrenn Tenvanni's Journal, first appearing in Skyrim

We know that House Telvanni still exists by the time of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, given that Brelyna Maryon is part of it, but again, nobody with the surname is around any more.

  • Other surnames that sound similar, and are probably related to the main bloodline, are Telvayn and Demnevanni – Sekhemty Mar 7 '18 at 14:49
  • "Sole living heir" sounds pretty definitive to me. – Kevin Mar 7 '18 at 17:24
  • @Kevin Unfortunately, we don’t know much about how House Telvanni inheritance works. If everybody but the hero of Morrowind died, would they inherit the House’s assets, should they be a member of it? Or is there some bloodline system among who is the true inheritor of House Telvanni? We don’t know. – Thunderforge Mar 7 '18 at 17:28

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