Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a new game from Bethesda with a lot of history. I've heard a lot about the Elder Scrolls predicting various things. But my question is, what are the Elder Scrolls and how did they come about? How're they linked to the storylines? Are there any tie-in books that go further into explaining them?

  • 3
    All 5 of them?! And what if I want to know the story, not play the games ;)
    – AncientSwordRage
    Jan 23, 2012 at 3:01
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    Well, the first two are actually available for free through the official site ... Jan 25, 2012 at 13:52

2 Answers 2


Little is known about the scrolls origin. But some hints are given away in the games themselves. Wikipedia has made this list of the in-game info:

The physical Elder Scrolls play a very limited role in the storyline of the series, serving only as framing plot device (i.e., "[the events in this game] were foretold in the Elder Scrolls..."). The Elder Scrolls themselves are rarely referred to in-game, or even in the in-game literature. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion marked the first actual appearance of the scrolls, as a MacGuffin in the final quest of the Thieves Guild questline. The scroll itself appears as an incomprehensible chart, containing glyphs.

In the game series a sect of monks, the Order of the Ancestor Moths, devote their lives to the reading and interpreting of the Elder Scrolls. Senior members who read the scrolls wear blindfolds at all times when they are not divining the scrolls' content. Retired Moth Priests are completely blind, and continue to wear blindfolds for ceremonial purposes. However, cosmically-important individuals, or individuals that are the subject of prophecy, have been able to see writing on the Elder Scrolls without the associated rituals. A book entitled "Lost Histories of Tamriel" provides further insight on the Elder Scrolls, stating that when any event has actually occurred, it sets itself unchangeably into the scrolls, and no action, magical or otherwise, can alter this.

In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the scrolls are described as "pieces of creation", and play a vital role in the main questline. They are said to be very descriptive works of writing and without vast knowledge of the arts, one may go insane trying to decipher them. The player is tasked with retrieving an Elder Scroll from an expansive Dwemer ruin known as Blackreach, located underground. During gameplay, if the player tries to read the Elder Scroll they will temporarily go blind. It is discovered that the Elder Scroll was used by the ancient Nords to battle Alduin, the ancient Dragon prophesied to destroy the world, inadvertently sending him forward in time. The player character uses the Scroll to travel back in time to gain the knowledge of how the Nords were able to combat Alduin. It is also described that the number of the Scrolls is unknown not because of their immense quantity, but because the number itself is unknowable, as the Scrolls "do not exist in countable form". The actual number and placement of elder scrolls fluctuates constantly as it is said that they technically exist and do not exist at the same time.

Two books are avaible, I have not found any info about them telling any more about the scrolls.



  • Hmm, I thought the games were about these scrolls.
    – Secko
    Aug 4, 2012 at 11:10
  • Quick explanation of the whole game: youtube.com/watch?v=kw9_M8w-N1c
    – Secko
    Aug 5, 2012 at 13:19
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    @ Secko The games are really pretaining to the world of Tamriel that happens to involve the Elder Scrolls. Each of the games use them in some fashion, but they are not the point (save for Skyrim, where it is a part of the main quest).
    – Jersey
    May 31, 2013 at 18:26

Just a guess, no pressure on me please. The Elder Scrolls might be objects created to break a certain natural law each, such as time, or space, or death and resurrection. Just guessing, take it as a opinion.

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    Some speculation is tolerated here, but it has to be corroborated with evidence or supporting material.
    – John O
    Mar 16, 2014 at 4:15
  • The Elder Scrolls were not created (in game) and do not "exist" per se, they just "are". They are sometimes obtainable by inhabitants of different worlds (Nirn, Coldharbour, Apocrypha, The Shivering Isles etc.) occasionally. They exist outside of time and space.
    – SBoss
    Jul 16, 2014 at 9:15

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