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The real identity of the Volkihars - theory

Nissowolf
Nissowolf
✭✭✭
I will get to the main point real quick. I was speaking with a friend about the history of the grey host, along the way we started to speak about the volkihars and harkon, and serana, and i mentionned that serana was using in skyrim the breton model, but harkon was using the nord model along with valerica. This thought made me actually wonder :

is the volkihar FAMILY an actual nordic family ?

I don't have a lot of evidence, to say none, but mostly hints.
To begin with, when you free serana from the crypt, she mentions two things :
1- When she was imprisonned, cyrodiil was NOT the seat of an empire, which says that she was imprisonned before the birth of the alessian empire in 1E242.
2- She asks the dragonborn "who is the high-king of skyrim", which says that at the time she was imprisonned, nords were already there, and organized as jarl voting for a high king.

So, she was imprisonned after the arrival of Ysgramor, at the very least, and the birth of the alessian empire. Ysgramor arrived in skyrim in the late merethic. Moreover, in skyrim, kodlak says the Companions are "nearly 5000 years old", which would indicate that the Return occurred sometime in the last five centuries of the Merethic Era.
If i'm not mistaken we have therefore a 700 years time period in which serana was imprisonned wich is consistent with what is said in this Q&A.

But then, what about the birth of the volkihar family ?
It is said that they are nords, but there is something that bugs me in this explanation.
First, Harkon, when talking about himself, says that "In an age long forgotten to history, I ruled as a mighty king". He does not say "Jarl", as a nord would normally say, he says "King".
One explanation would be that he had been the High-King of skyrim, but he does not say it.
He does not say that he once "Ruled over skyrim", he says "My domain was vast, my riches endless and my power infinite".
Why ?
Moreover, serana asks us who is the high king of skyrim now, which she would probably not if his immortal and all-mighty father was. So what is harkon the king of ?

The answer that i find most satisfying and realistic is that they are actually ancient nedes, like Lamae Bal. More then that, the name "Harkon Volkihar" does not sound that nord, when you think about it. but i find it closer of "Lamae Boelfag" which was the nedic name of Lamae Bal.

As a conclusion, i do think that Harkon Volkihar pledged himself to molag bal and became a vampire lord, along with his wife and daughter when he was a nede king, ruling over what will become centuries later the skyrim we know.


Edit to add sources used :

About serana and her dialogues
https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Serana
https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Serana

About the time she was imprisonned
https://www.elderscrollsonline.com/en-us/news/post/699

About Harkon and his dialogues
https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Lord_Harkon
https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Harkon

For the time of Return
https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Merethic_Era

For the birth of the Alessian empire
https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:First_Era
Edited by Nissowolf on December 1, 2022 12:34PM
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  • KingArthasMenethil
    KingArthasMenethil
    ✭✭✭
    Serana is between Empires not before them all this is confirmed by Bethesda saying she is from the Second Era. Cyrodiil not being a seat of an Empire simply means that an Empire had fallen especially when she talks of being gone longer then they had planned right after the surprise of Cyrodiil has arisen as an Empire again.

    Harkon was most likely a Jarl of Solitude as Jarl and King are interchangeable and with ESOs changes to the area the closest Human kingdom would be the Jarldom of Solitude since Jehanna doesn't exist in ESO and Farrun is a Orc stronghold that the Bretons havn't taken yet.
    Edited by KingArthasMenethil on December 1, 2022 1:08AM
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  • prof-dracko
    prof-dracko
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    Serana is between Empires not before them all this is confirmed by Bethesda saying she is from the Second Era. Cyrodiil not being a seat of an Empire simply means that an Empire had fallen especially when she talks of being gone longer then they had planned right after the surprise of Cyrodiil has arisen as an Empire again.

    Harkon was most likely a Jarl of Solitude as Jarl and King are interchangeable and with ESOs changes to the area the closest Human kingdom would be the Jarldom of Solitude since Jehanna doesn't exist in ESO and Farrun is a Orc stronghold that the Bretons havn't taken yet.

    Interesting how OP provided a source in their breakdown, but you didn't. Far more evidence to suggest they're first era events as opposed to second
  • KingArthasMenethil
    KingArthasMenethil
    ✭✭✭
    Serana is between Empires not before them all this is confirmed by Bethesda saying she is from the Second Era. Cyrodiil not being a seat of an Empire simply means that an Empire had fallen especially when she talks of being gone longer then they had planned right after the surprise of Cyrodiil has arisen as an Empire again.

    Harkon was most likely a Jarl of Solitude as Jarl and King are interchangeable and with ESOs changes to the area the closest Human kingdom would be the Jarldom of Solitude since Jehanna doesn't exist in ESO and Farrun is a Orc stronghold that the Bretons havn't taken yet.

    Interesting how OP provided a source in their breakdown, but you didn't. Far more evidence to suggest they're first era events as opposed to second

    You mean this from a Bethesda
    https://www.imperial-library.info/content/forum-archives-matt-grandstaffs-posts
    When did Serana get put to sleep? (09/05/2013)

    The intention was that Serana went to sleep in the late second era, between the Reman and Septim empires. Her initial dialogue is just her surprise that there’s an Empire in Cyrodiil, as there hadn't been when she went to sleep.


    She also can't be before any Empire because she does not reference Chimer or act surprised on the Dunmer.
    Edited by KingArthasMenethil on December 1, 2022 12:48PM
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    Selvia Sulla 50 Cyrodiil Templar.
    Attrebus Mede 50 Cyrodiil Warden.
    Zirath Urivith 50 Dunmer Dragonknight.
    Dame Edwinna Gelas 50 Breton Dragonknight.
    Agrippina Tharn 50 Cyrodiil Necromancer.
    Bedal Dren 50 Dunmer Dragonknight.
  • Nissowolf
    Nissowolf
    ✭✭✭
    That's actually a very valid objection even though it lacks sources.

    It is official that there is no official period in which Serana is put to sleep. We have 2 (3 actually, but i could not check myself the third) sources that indicate 2 time different.

    1- The Q&A previously mentionned, dated from the 11/18/2013, saying serana is put to sleep in the beginning of the first era.

    2- An answer from Matt Grandstaff, a senior community manager for bethesda softworks, dated from the 09/05/2013, saying serana is put to sleep in the late second era, between the reman and septim empires.

    As to why the answer from matt Grandstaff seems flawed to me and less valid then the Q&A
    - The fact that she is surprised by the existence of an existing empire in cyrodiil. She surely would know about history and the reman empire. Yes the empire did not "officially" existed again until the septim empire, but it should not be that surprising to learn that a once great political power is a great political power again.

    - But if there was no empire at all at the time she was imprisonned, she should be surprised that much by how it rose to become that powerful.

    I would add to this that the Q&A is more recent by a few month, which should indicate that it is more up-to-date. And i would, personnally, favor the words of a Q&A in which a loremaster may have taken part rather then the only answer from a community manager.
    Edited by Nissowolf on December 1, 2022 12:53PM
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  • KingArthasMenethil
    KingArthasMenethil
    ✭✭✭
    Nissowolf wrote: »
    That's actually a very valid objection even though it lacks sources.

    It is official that there is no official period in which Serana is put to sleep. We have 2 (3 actually, but i could not check myself the third) sources that indicate 2 time different.

    1- The Q&A previously mentionned, dated from the 11/18/2013, saying serana is put to sleep in the beginning of the first era.

    2- An answer from Matt Grandstaff, a senior community manager for bethesda softworks, dated from the 09/05/2013, saying serana is put to sleep in the late second era, between the reman and septim empires.

    As to why the answer from matt Grandstaff seems flawed to me and less valid then the Q&A
    - The fact that she is surprised by the existence of an existing empire in cyrodiil. She surely would know about history and the reman empire. Yes the empire did not "officially" existed again until the septim empire, but it should not be that surprising to learn that a once great political power is a great political power again.

    - But if there was no empire at all at the time she was imprisonned, she should be surprised that much by how it rose to become that powerful.

    I would add to this that the Q&A is more recent by a few month, which should indicate that it is more up-to-date. And i would, personnally, favor the words of a Q&A in which a loremaster may have taken part rather then the only answer from a community manager.

    If you read Serana's line she's surprised at time passed because directly after she talks of being gone longer then they planned ""Cyrodiil is the seat of an empire? I must have been gone longer than I thought. Definitely longer than we planned. Please, let's hurry. I need to get home so I can figure out what's happened.""
    Her surprise is like I've been in stasis and the British or Roman Empire has arisen after I woke up.

    ZoS's Q&A doesn't actually say when in the First Era but the intention of Serana is being post an Empire not before them all because if she is before all Empires then that would be before the First era due to the Ayleid Empire of Cyrodiil.

    I'd more support Bethesda answer then a early ESO Q&A given how early ESO was with stuff.
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    Selvia Sulla 50 Cyrodiil Templar.
    Attrebus Mede 50 Cyrodiil Warden.
    Zirath Urivith 50 Dunmer Dragonknight.
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  • Nissowolf
    Nissowolf
    ✭✭✭
    "She also can't be before any Empire because she does not reference Chimer or act surprised on the Dunmer."

    Also a very valid point. It is true that if i'm correct, then Serana should probably not aware of the Dunmer as they are cursed around 1E700 so way later.
    Moreover, i've found mentions in the game's dialogue of the college of winterhold which is supposed to be founded by Shalidor in the first Era according to the book A minor Gaze, and serana said, quote :
    "Well, back before I... you know. The College of Winterhold was the first place I'd think to go for any kind of magic or historical thing. The wizards know about all kinds of things that people probably shouldn't know about."

    As it is not explicitly said that she was mortal at the time, we can't say that she meant "Back before i became a vampire" as she could be saying "back before i was imprisonned" which would be a valid explanation too even though would be surprising that she is hesitant to talk about it.

    As you yourself mention too, If she was before all empire, it would also mean to be imprisonned before the ayleid empire, which is way before the tyranny of the sun was created, in the first era.

    As a matter of fact, it is implied that the Tyranny of the Sun is created in the centuries around 1E700. After all, the falmer attacked the chantry of Auri-El and it it during this event that vyrthur was infected. The falmer probably freed themselves from the dwemer when they disappeared, i don't think they would go wild like that otherwise.
    So Serana was necessarily imprisonned after this date which would be logical. This is coherent with the affirmation that she was imprisonned in the second era.
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  • Nissowolf
    Nissowolf
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    But this is all related to the time she was imprisonned, not the time of her birth as a vampire. I'm still looking for more evidences.

    Right now i have then 2 theories about who harkon might actually be :
    1- First theory, he has been turned vampire during the merethic era, and is therefore and ancient nedic king.
    2- Second theory, he is indeed an ancient nordic king, one of the first king of solitude.

    I am for now more inclined to keep favoring my first theory, as i, for now, did not found a mention of a king of solitude who killed 1000 of his own people (i mean, except svargrim) during the first Era.

    The investigation is still ongoing.
    Edited by Nissowolf on December 1, 2022 2:04PM
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  • KingArthasMenethil
    KingArthasMenethil
    ✭✭✭
    Nissowolf wrote: »
    "She also can't be before any Empire because she does not reference Chimer or act surprised on the Dunmer."

    Also a very valid point. It is true that if i'm correct, then Serana should probably not aware of the Dunmer as they are cursed around 1E700 so way later.
    Moreover, i've found mentions in the game's dialogue of the college of winterhold which is supposed to be founded by Shalidor in the first Era according to the book A minor Gaze, and serana said, quote :
    "Well, back before I... you know. The College of Winterhold was the first place I'd think to go for any kind of magic or historical thing. The wizards know about all kinds of things that people probably shouldn't know about."

    As it is not explicitly said that she was mortal at the time, we can't say that she meant "Back before i became a vampire" as she could be saying "back before i was imprisonned" which would be a valid explanation too even though would be surprising that she is hesitant to talk about it.

    As you yourself mention too, If she was before all empire, it would also mean to be imprisonned before the ayleid empire, which is way before the tyranny of the sun was created, in the first era.

    As a matter of fact, it is implied that the Tyranny of the Sun is created in the centuries around 1E700. After all, the falmer attacked the chantry of Auri-El and it it during this event that vyrthur was infected. The falmer probably freed themselves from the dwemer when they disappeared, i don't think they would go wild like that otherwise.
    So Serana was necessarily imprisonned after this date which would be logical. This is coherent with the affirmation that she was imprisonned in the second era.

    She has been to Winterhold before which is probably the only place she talks of being outside of the Castle. To get the dialogue you have to go to Winterhold during the Elder Scroll quest and then she'll approach you for it. Trying to find more information about it this bit of dialogue is awkward to find.
    unknown.png

    We don't have a timeframe for the events that happen in the Forgotten Vale it's more it happened long ago could be first or second as there's no timeframe given for Dawnguards events other then when Devs say Serana was locked away. And well I'd imagine it would be quite hard for the Falmer to keep track of dates since they're separated from the outside world and thus have zero idea of when eras are changed like the Falmer there might still think it's the Merethic Era sort of deal. We also have no idea how long it took for that Elder Scroll to be found and translated for Harkon to hear of it and get obsessed over it.

    I think the only sort of Timeframe you get from dawnguard ingame is that at least it is post Cult of Ancestor Moth being more well known, Winterholds importance that Serana was taken to Winterhold by family, Post an Empire from Cyrodiil and post the Battle of Red Mountain.
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  • KingArthasMenethil
    KingArthasMenethil
    ✭✭✭
    Nissowolf wrote: »
    But this is all related to the time she was imprisonned, not the time of her birth as a vampire. I'm still looking for more evidences.

    Right now i have then 2 theories about who harkon might actually be :
    1- First theory, he has been turned vampire during the merethic era, and is therefore and ancient nedic king.
    2- Second theory, he is indeed an ancient nordic king, one of the first king of solitude.

    I am for now more inclined to keep favoring my first theory, as i, for now, did not found a mention of a king of solitude who killed 1000 of his own people (i mean, except svargrim) during the first Era.

    The investigation is still ongoing.

    Problem is we have no Nedic Kings of Skyrim and the Northeastern part of High Rock is now pure orc land from the Dawn Era I think it was from ESOs Wrothgar (whatever that museum map thing was). The closest Human power we now have to Harkons Castle is Nordic Solitude as bretic kings and Queens of Jehanna and Farrun have been moved forward with ESOs changes with Wrothgar.

    Skyrim before the Atmorans was between the Dwemer and the Falmer. The local Nedes weren't a power in Skyrim. The ones in Falkreath were being exported to the Ayleid Empire and I think one of the Nedic groups got pushed into Morrowind to where the Chimer killed them.

    Nord/Atmoran wise we also have no idea if Harkon was ever discovered since that doesn't get brought up as surely they'd go after his other Castle. And if he was discovered I'd bet they'd destroy records of him as the Nords/Atmorans are known for doing that as seen with Gaulder and probably why the Falmer fell into Myth as if you look at ancient Atmoran/Nord texts they rarely if ever say Falmer or Snow Elf it's always Elf or Elven. So like Harkon could just fit just about anywhere and well if he's First/Meethic era you'd never hear of him killing those people because the Nords/Atmorans did not care what happened to their slaves if one reads about the creation of Windhelm.


    I would note that TES wise we never actually get a full history for things as they leave things open this is why we only really know the most of Emperors/Empresses of Tamriel then say Kings/Jarls of Solitude and whatever the Ayleid title for Emperor was outside of Umaril.


    Gaulder
    https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Daynas_Valen's_Notes
    And when it was done, King Harald issued an edict: the name and deeds of Gauldur and his sons were to be expunged from every record, every chronicle. Under pain of death, no word of them was to be spoken, lest any try to recover the amulet that had been sealed at so great a cost.


    Umaril
    https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Oblivion:The_Prophet
    "Umaril the Unfeathered, the sorceror-king of the Ayleids who ruled over this land for long ages before the rise of Men."

    https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Umaril_is_Undone
    "We must forge a unified front against these upstart Men or we might share the same fate as our liege-lord. I trust I'll have your support." - A message sent to an Ayleid King and referring to Umaril as the Liege-Lord of that King.

    Nedes of Falkreath exported to the Ayleid Empire
    https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:The_Adabal-a
    "Ayleids herded in men from across all the Niben: kothri, nede, al-gemha, men-of-'kreath (though these were later known to be imported from the North), keptu, men-of-ge (who were eventually destroyed when the Flower King Nilichi made great sacrifice to an insect god named [lost]), al-hared, men-of-ket, others; but this was Cyrod, the heart of the imperatum saliache"

    Orcs in North Eastern High Rock since at least the Dawn Era
    https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Map_of_Clans
    "Worn by time and stained with water, ale, and blood, Thugbo's Map of Clans indicates where he believed each of the 13 clans established their homes at the end of the Dawn Era. "

    Creation of Windhelm
    https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Songs_of_the_Return,_Vol_19
    "The elven captives were set to work, bringing forth stone to build in their conqueror's fashion. As many elves died in the building of the city as had the crew of the Ylgermet slain while on way to its site, and Ysgramor drove the wretches ever more, to build higher, to lay a claim to the river so that none might pass into the interior of this land without first showing due respect to its rightful claimant."
    Edited by KingArthasMenethil on December 1, 2022 3:33PM
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    Selvia Sulla 50 Cyrodiil Templar.
    Attrebus Mede 50 Cyrodiil Warden.
    Zirath Urivith 50 Dunmer Dragonknight.
    Dame Edwinna Gelas 50 Breton Dragonknight.
    Agrippina Tharn 50 Cyrodiil Necromancer.
    Bedal Dren 50 Dunmer Dragonknight.
  • TX12001rwb17_ESO
    TX12001rwb17_ESO
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    ✭✭✭
    She cannot have come from before Alessia because Serana mentions Cyrodiil, during the times of Alessia it was known as Cyrod.
    Edited by TX12001rwb17_ESO on December 4, 2022 9:19AM
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