Often, it seems as though magic is cast by force of will, but in past games there was a spell called "Silence" that temporarily prevented the casting of magic. However, also in past games, it was possible to cast some spells in situations where speaking would be impossible (e.g. underwater), and the only times the games actually show words being spoken to cast spells are during rituals and the like.

So, what's the deal?

  • 3
    Just because it's called "silence" doesn't mean all it does is prevent someone from talking.
    – Kevin
    Apr 23, 2015 at 22:04
  • I believe there are also mentions of incantations in lore books. Apr 23, 2015 at 22:09

2 Answers 2


Lore: Magic -uesp.net

Magic is the general term used for the focusing of raw energy into various properties and for various purposes. This raw energy, often referred to as magicka, flows from Aetherius into Mundus by way of the sun and stars, and from it the Mundus was created. Magicka comprises every spirit, it is the energy of all living things and can be harnessed in a variety of ways. Despite thousands of years of study, there is an enormous amount of speculation about how magic is generated, how it might be used by Aedra and Daedra, and how it might flow between living things.

Spellcasting does not require vocalization.
Inexplicably tapping "arcane energies"1 by "force of will" is the only explanation I'd accept.

1. See my answer here, after the line break: If magic is real, can it be true that rational scientific thought should exclude it? -World Building

  • The caster may not be speaking, but casting the spells does generate sound... Potentially that is what the "silence" type spells are suppressing, and the rest of the effect along with it.
    – Perkins
    Mar 16, 2017 at 0:30

"Silence" is not unique to The Elder Scrolls, for example both Dota and League have silences. It seems to just be a general convention across many universes and not actually related to verbalizing spells.

  • 2
    This answer needs to be improved, as it does not answer the OPs question. As it stands, this is better suited as a comment.
    – Firebat
    Apr 23, 2015 at 23:00
  • 1
    Actually, other than the link I stole from usep, this is all of the answer the question needs.
    – Mazura
    Apr 24, 2015 at 3:48
  • 1
    Well it's a shame I can't comment then isn't it
    – Probst
    Apr 24, 2015 at 15:32
  • It answers half the question: What's the deal with the Silence “spell”? As for the other half, implied by the title and — IMHO — rather meanderingly described with the absence of Silence in Skyrim and also with the inability to perform spells or attacks while in a swimming state: alas, it does not quite attend to those. gaming.stackexchange.com/q/49833/172815 Jun 4, 2017 at 6:58

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