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|“||You do not even know our tongue, do you? Such arrogance, to dare take for yourself the name of Dovah.||„|
|~ Alduin to the Dragonborn.|
|“||Bahloki nahkip sillesejoor. My belly is full of the souls of your fellow mortals, Dovahkiin. Die now and await your fate in Sovngarde!||„|
|~ Alduin to the Dragonborn.|
Alduin, also known as The World-Eater, is the Nordic God of Destruction and the main antagonist of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. He is the eldest son of the main god in the series, Akatosh, the god of time, and his evil counterpart. He is also the elder brother of Paarthurnax, who was his chief lieutenant during the Dragon War but ended up betraying him and helped the mortals instead.
Long ago, Alduin, the eldest son of Akatosh, the god of time, was defeated by the Ancient Nord Heroes Gormlaith Golden-Hilt, Hakon One-Eye and Felldir the Old, who used an Elder Scroll to send him forward in time and hopefully never return. Unfortunately, he came out of his temporal snare in the land of Skyrim, which is when the game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim takes place. Taking the form of a monstrous black dragon, he sets out to destroy Nirn (the world where The Elder Scrolls takes place) with the help of his servants (dragons). It is up to the player, the last of the Dragonborn, to stop him.
Alduin first appears just before the Dragonborn is about to be executed for a petty crime in the small town of Helgen. The attack coincidentally and unknowingly frees the prisoner, who also happened to be the Dragonborn, and they escape the town alongside General Tullius and Ulfric Stormcloak, either helped by Hadvar or Ralof.
Eventually, the Dragonborn learns of their true identity and is contacted by one of the remaining members of the Blades named Delphine to actually confirm their identity. They set out to Kynesgrove, where the two witness Alduin resurrecting a dragon named Sahloknir, one of his lieutenants slain in the aftermath of the Dragon War from the nearby mound. The Dragonborn and Delphine defeat Sahloknir, and the former then absorbs its soul, confirming Delphine's suspicions. She sends the Dragonborn to the Thalmor Embassy, believing that they might have had something to do with the dragons returning to Tamriel, only to find out they know nothing about it. Later on, Esbern, a forerunner of the Blades, who is located in the Ratways in Riften, the capital city of the Rift Hold, reveals information about Sky Haven Temple, a temple located in the Reach, containing everything the Dragonguard, the predecessors of the Blades, knew of Alduin's return on a structure known as "Alduin's Wall".
Eventually, the Dragonborn is tasked to learn Alduin's Bane, a shout called Dragonrend which temporarily grounds dragons mid-flight. In doing so, the Dragonborn and Paarthurnax are ambushed by him after activating the (unusual) time warp with the Elder Scroll, but the two of them manage to hold off and defeat Alduin temporarily, despite his taunts and claims of power. Afterwards, he flees, only for the Dragonborn to learn from Paarthurnax that he is attempting to head for Sovngrade, the Nordic heaven to absorb the souls dwelling there.
After a conference with many heads of power atop High Hrothgar (or not if either General Tullius or Ulfric Stormcloak are killed). The Jarl of Whiterun (Balgruuf the Greater or Vignar Gray-Mane, depending on who is sided with) allows the Dragonborn to use Dragonreach as a means to lure and trap Alduin's second-in-command, a dragon named Odahviing. The plan works, and the Dragonborn successfully captures Odahviing. The dragon then bargains with the Dragonborn that in exchange for being freed, he will lead them to Alduin's hideout, as he never liked or trusted him in the first place. The Dragonborn agrees and Odahviing willingly leads him/her to a temple known as Skuldafn, where a portal leading to Sovngarde is guarded by two dragons and a dragon priest.
The Dragonborn manages to defeat and (presumably) kill Alduin in Sovngarde, while he was absorbing souls to rebuild his strength, though was not able to absorb his soul as they did to other defeated dragons, his body incinerates in an explosion of light. When the Dragonborn asks Arngeir about this, he remarks that Alduin may return and bring the end of the world to fulfill his destiny, indicating that only his physical body was destroyed while his soul may be allowed to return to destroy the world if the gods permit it; however, the exact date of his return remains unknown and shrouded in mystery.
Alduin is the son of Akatosh, the chief deity of the Nine Divines in the Elder Scrolls lore. In fact, all dragons are children of Akatosh. Since the Dragonborn has the soul of a dragon, Alduin could technically be the Dragonborn's brother, but this is subjected to debate as they are also mortal.
Ironically, despite referring to the Dovahkin as being arrogant, it was his own arrogance that led to his demise.
Like many typical villains, Alduin is very arrogant, a trait he attempts to counter by accusing his opponents of. Once his goal is revealed in the storyline, it is revealed that he is also misanthropic, believing that Dragons (or Dovah) are superior species against men. As stated by Odahviing, Alduin's former right-hand, many of the Dovah have begun to question Alduin's lordship because of his arrogance and his defeat atop the Throat of the World by the Dragonborn and Paarthurnax.
|“||Oh, yes. It's all been foretold. The end has begun. Alduin has returned, just like the prophecy said.||„|
|~ Esbern to the Dragonborn.|
|“||And the scrolls have foretold, of black wings in the cold that when brothers wage war, come unfurled! Alduin, Bane of Kings, ancient shadow unbound, with a hunger to swallow the world!||„|
|~ Song of the Dragonborn.|
|“||Face me, then! Zu'u Alduin!||„|
|“||"Dovahkiin", you call yourself, arrogant mortal.||„|
|~ Alduin mocking the Dragonborn.|
|“||Fen du hin sille ko Sovngarde!||„|
|“||Nivahriin joorre! What have you done? What twisted Words have you created?! Tahrodiis Paarthurnax! My teeth to his neck!||„|
- Alduin's name in draconic language translates into "Destroyer-Devour-Master".
- Alduin'a size is significantly larger than any other dragon encountered in the game.
- Alduin uses a unique shout called Dragon Storm Call, which is similar to the normal Storm Call shout except it summons meteors instead of lightning. The words of power, however, are unknown to the player.
- Alduin's Dragon Storm Call can be ended by using the Clear Skies Shout.
- If fought while the Dragonborn is wearing Daedric Armor, Alduin declares that even the Daedra fear him. It is unknown whether this is true or simply a sign of his extreme arrogance.
- Despite being the World-Eater and the "First-Born of Akatosh", Legendary Dragons introduced in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard are stronger than Alduin in terms of shouts, health, and damage, even though Alduin is fifty resistant to all damage.
- Alduin is one of three Dragons whose souls are unable to be absorbed by the Dragonborn or Miraak, the other two being Durnehviir and Odahviing.
- At the beginning of the game, Alduin ironically saves the Dragonborn from execution, though Alduin presumably didn't know the Dragonborn was there when he attacked.
- Alduin's role as the "World Eater" bears a similarity to the real-life mythological figure of Old Norse religion, Níðhöggr (meaning "Malice Striker"), a dragon/serpent who gnaws at a root of the world tree, Yggdrasil. Additionaly, Alduin shares a few yet signifficant similarities with Lucifer/Satan, as according to their respective lores both are (or at least once were) the crown and pinacle of the creation of their respective creators (God in the case of Lucifer and Akatosh in the case of Alduin) and allowed themselves to be consumed by pride and arrogance, as well as hating mortals and viewing them as inferior beings. Furthermore, Paarthurnax claims that Alduin tried to claim lordship over what rightfully belonged to Akatosh, which would further emphacise their similarities as, according to christian doctrine, Lucifer constantly tries to "take lordship" of God's domain and go against the latter's plan. Whether Alduin was directly or indirectly inspired by either Níðhöggr or Lucifer, however, is moot.