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** Nine divines? Or eight? Did Tiber Septim really ascend from being human to become the god Talos, or are the Thalmor correct this is just a belief promoted by the Imperials to justify having themselves in charge of the Empire? In any case, would an ascended human actually count as one of the Aedra, or be something else entirely?


** Like Lorkhan, the Aedra also get this In-Universe: Every culture of Tamriel worships or acknowledges the Divines in some fashion, but each mythological tradition gives them different names, personalities, and motivations. The Imperial religion of the Nine Divines is a political creation which blends some of these different aspects in a BroadStrokes fashion. For example, the Altmer see the [[TopGod chief Aedric deity]] as Auri-El, the golden eagle "king of the gods". The races of Men instead see him as Akatosh, the draconic god of time.

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** Like Lorkhan, the Aedra also get this In-Universe: Every culture of Tamriel worships or acknowledges the Divines in some fashion, but each mythological tradition gives them different names, personalities, and motivations. The Imperial religion of the Nine Divines is a political creation which blends some of these different aspects in a BroadStrokes fashion. For example, the Altmer see the [[TopGod chief Aedric deity]] as Auri-El, the golden eagle "king of the gods". The races of Men instead see him as Akatosh, the draconic god of time. Making this even more complicated is how Cyrodiil and High Rock were Mer-controlled for a time, so ''their'' takes on Akatosh came to include some Altmeri influences.

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* Like Boethiah, Mephala (a Daedric Prince whose sphere is "obscured to mortals" but is associated with manipulation, lies, sex, and secrets) is another In-Universe case. She is generally regarded as one of the "bad" Daedra to most in Tamriel, with the Dunmer as a major exception. The Dunmer believe that Mephala taught them the skills they would need to [[CloakAndDagger evade their enemies or to kill them with secret murder]]. In their early days, as the Chimer, they were few in number and surrounded by enemies (primarily the [[HornyVikings Nords]] and [[OurDwarvesAreDifferent Dwemer]]) on all sides. She is also credited with organizing [[TheClan the "clan"]] systems that would eventually become the Dunmeri Great Houses.

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* Another In-Universe case with Boethiah, Daedric Prince of Plots, whose sphere also includes Deceit, Conspiracy, Murder, Assassination, Treason, Unlawful Overthrow of Authority, and Betrayal. Given that list, it is unsurprising that he ([[GenderBender sometimes she]]) is near-universally regarded as one of the "bad" Daedra throughout Tamriel. The Dunmer, however, see Boethiah as a [[GoodIsNotNice brutal but positive]] force, driving them to be tougher and stronger, and to be guarded against treachery and betrayal. In effect, Boethiah's harsh trials and ruthless betrayals push the the Dunmer to [[YouAreBetterThanYouThinkYouAre become greater than they think they are]].


** Is the Champion of Cyrodiil really just a wayfaring adventurer who gets a lucky break, or are they actually a [[MagnificentBastard magnificent]] [[TheChessmaster chessmaster]] who take advantage of the political crisis brought on by Uriel Septim's assassination to pole-vault into a position whereby they are the head of ''every single major guild'' in Cyrodiil, all at once? Think about it - by the end of the various questlines, every mage, thief and assassin in the province now works for them directly, and headship of the Fighters' Guild gives them their own personal army as well. Meanwhile, the fact that they're the Grand Champion of the Arena (and Champion of Cyrodiil) means they're a popular hero as well, while possible membership of the Blades gives them an ear in the political backrooms of the Imperial Palace. The player character need never overthrow the paralysed Elder Council - they rule the province far more directly than the council ever could. Oh, and since they may also be a [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampire]], they could conceivably hold this power ''forever''. [[spoiler: And this without mentioning that the PC also becomes one of the Daedric Lords, the MadGod of the Shivering Isles.]]

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** * Is the Champion of Cyrodiil really just a wayfaring adventurer who gets a lucky break, or are they actually a [[MagnificentBastard magnificent]] [[TheChessmaster chessmaster]] who take advantage of the political crisis brought on by Uriel Septim's assassination to pole-vault into a position whereby they are the head of ''every single major guild'' in Cyrodiil, all at once? Think about it - by the end of the various questlines, every mage, thief and assassin in the province now works for them directly, and headship of the Fighters' Guild gives them their own personal army as well. Meanwhile, the fact that they're the Grand Champion of the Arena (and Champion of Cyrodiil) means they're a popular hero as well, while possible membership of the Blades gives them an ear in the political backrooms of the Imperial Palace. The player character need never overthrow the paralysed Elder Council - they rule the province far more directly than the council ever could. Oh, and since they may also be a [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampire]], they could conceivably hold this power ''forever''. [[spoiler: And this without mentioning that the PC also becomes one of the Daedric Lords, the MadGod of the Shivering Isles.]]

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* The Daedra in-general, again in-universe. Complicating their [[AboveGoodAndEvil characterization as mostly "evil"]] and their BlueAndOrangeMorality is that different cultures see specific Princes in different lights. For example, Boethiah is considered a "good" Daedra by the Dunmer. Meanwhile, Malacath is considered a "bad" Daedra by the Dunmer, but the [[OurOrcsAreDifferent Orsimer]] consider him their patron deity and divine ancestor.


** Like Lorkhan, the AEdra also get this In-Universe: Every culture of Tamriel worships or acknowledges the Divines in some fashion, but each mythological tradition gives them different names, personalities, and motivations. The Imperial religion of the Nine Divines is a political creation which blends some of these different aspects in a BroadStrokes fashion. For example, the Altmer see the [[TopGod chief Aedric deity]] as Auri-El, the golden eagle "king of the gods". The races of Men instead see him as Akatosh, the draconic god of time.

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** Like Lorkhan, the AEdra Aedra also get this In-Universe: Every culture of Tamriel worships or acknowledges the Divines in some fashion, but each mythological tradition gives them different names, personalities, and motivations. The Imperial religion of the Nine Divines is a political creation which blends some of these different aspects in a BroadStrokes fashion. For example, the Altmer see the [[TopGod chief Aedric deity]] as Auri-El, the golden eagle "king of the gods". The races of Men instead see him as Akatosh, the draconic god of time.


* The Aedra (Nine Divines): Benevolent Gods or SealedEvilInACan? The Daedra play the opposite, Sealed evil or benevolent Gods?

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* The Aedra (Nine Divines): Divines):
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Benevolent Gods or SealedEvilInACan? The Daedra play the opposite, Sealed evil or benevolent Gods?Gods?
** Like Lorkhan, the AEdra also get this In-Universe: Every culture of Tamriel worships or acknowledges the Divines in some fashion, but each mythological tradition gives them different names, personalities, and motivations. The Imperial religion of the Nine Divines is a political creation which blends some of these different aspects in a BroadStrokes fashion. For example, the Altmer see the [[TopGod chief Aedric deity]] as Auri-El, the golden eagle "king of the gods". The races of Men instead see him as Akatosh, the draconic god of time.

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** Is he an Aedric being for suggesting the creation of Mundus? Or is he a Daedric being, due to his lack of sacrifice, Padomaic basis, and indestructible "divine center"? Or does his nature as the demiurge that brought the Mundus into existence [[TakeAThirdOption make him neither]]?

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''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' lore is generally not clear-cut. Reasons for this range from [[UnreliableNarrator biased]] in-universe sources intentionally only giving you only one side of a story, to sources [[CriticalResearchFailure lacking critical information]] or working from [[BlatantLies false information]], to the implication that AllMythsAreTrue, despite the contradictions, or that at least all myths are MetaphoricallyTrue. [[WordOfGod Out-of-game developer supplemental texts]] (frequently referred to as "Obscure Texts" by the lore community) are more trustworthy, but are frequently left [[LooseCanon unofficial]] and sometimes later contradicted. Because of this, it is entirely possible for two contradictory statements in the below examples to ''both'' be true. (And due to frequent events in-universe that [[TimeCrash alter the timeline]], both may ''literally'' be true in-universe.) Because of this, the series has Alternative Character Interpretations (including In-Universe examples) pouring out of it.

!!Series Lore and Backstory Examples
* In-Universe for Lorkhan, the [[OurGodsAreDifferent et'Ada]] who either tricked or convinced (depending on the culture of the storyteller) the Aedra to create Mundus.
** Is he, as most [[OurElvesAreBetter races of Mer]] teach, a [[GreaterScopeVillain malevolent]], [[ManipulativeBastard manipulative]] [[TricksterGod agent of chaos]] who tricked the spirits out of their pre-creation divinity? Or, as most races of Men teach, is he a [[GreaterScopeParagon benevolent savior]] who rescued the spirits from the static and unchanging prison of pre-creation?
*** Even within the races, there is further alternative interpretations. The Dunmer, going against the other races of Mer, have some manner of respect for Lorkhan, believing that he "exposed" the Aedra as false gods. Meanwhile, the [[ScaryBlackMan Redguards]], going against the other races of Men, see Lorkhan as a serpent with insatiable hunger who tries to prevent mortal spirits from reaching [[WarriorHeaven The Far Shores]].
* The Aedra (Nine Divines): Benevolent Gods or SealedEvilInACan? The Daedra play the opposite, Sealed evil or benevolent Gods?
* Mehrunes Dagon, Daedric Prince of Destruction: The closest the series has to a BigBad, or the Fake FinalBoss before the Real BigBad, who happens to be the chief god of the Imperial Pantheon? Cue EpilepticTrees a-shakin' when an in-Universe document about how the Nords view the creation of the world has Akatosh turning Dagon into what he is in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]''.
* Azura, Daedric Prince of Dusk and Dawn: Just how much of a 'Good' Daedra is Azura, really? For that matter, ''did'' she curse the Chimer into becoming the Dunmer, or did she just point it out while warning the Tribunal that there was going to be consequences for what was done? (The official interpretation is that ''none'' of the Daedra are truly good or evil. [[BlueAndOrangeMorality They all have their own goals]], it's just that Azura's tend to be aligned with traditionally "good" mortals more often.)
* The Septim Dynasty: Benevolent Emperors or conniving Machiavellian rulers? (At for the non-[[TheCaligula Caligulan]] ones...) Berenziah's bio shows both benevolent and conniving sides of Tiber Septim.

!! ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]''
* Vivec: A just and kind [[PhysicalGod god-king]] who had to do some bad things for the greater good, or a murdering traitor who may or may not have been redeemed over the four millennia since he became a god? Is he a genuine humanitarian as suggested be works x, y and z, or is he a petty- but MagnificentBastard as suggested by works 1, 2 and 3? Is he, in fact, right when he says that all beings are the illusions of a gigantic dreaming god that he is aware of and therefore the only absolute God of the 'verse, or is that simply an excuse for Michael Kirkbride to continue using him as an AuthorAvatar after he lost his plot importance. There's even debates as to whether the constant use of him when Kirkbride writes in-Universe documents makes him simply a very heavily examined character or an outright MartyStu. Or is he all at once? Or is THAT idea simply a way for people to believe one thing or another about him despite evidence to the contrary?
* [[PlayerCharacter The Nerevarine]]: Is the hero of Morrowind Lord Nerevar reborn seeking to regain his power? A true reincarnation but lacking in any of the original's memories? A simple adventurer who'll fulfill whatever prophecy he has to if it stops the annoying storms? A master manipulator who's using the prophecies to gain unimaginable power over every faction - even ones that otherwise hate each other? It's a question only you can answer.[[spoiler: In addition to this, the PC is TheAgeless and [[IdealIllnessImmunity immune to all diseases]], so can hold this position ''forever''.]]
* King Hlaalu Helseth: Brilliant, fair minded MagnificentBastard who skillfully manages to both act in the best interest of his people and province ''and'' keep a healthy diplomatic relationship with the rest of the Empire, or a tyrant who ruthlessly exploits and oppresses his people for personal gain?

!! ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]''
* Mannimarco and the Order of the Black Worm: Genocidal, batshit insane sadists that give Necromancy a bad name, or staunch freedom fighters boldly fighting against Archmage Traven's tyranny?
* Hannibal Traven: On the other side of the coin, is he the OnlySaneMan in the Mages Guild who recognized the threat and evil of necromancy and did right in washing the Guilds hands of it? Or is he a KnightTemplar whose zealous actions only ended up weakening the Guild as a whole?
* Necromancy: merely an icky branch of magic that ''tends'' to attract the wrong sorts, inherently wrong due to messing with the dead, or is there something about it that drives people towards being genocidal, batshit insane sadists? In ''Morrowind'', where necromancers ''cannot'' be upstanding citizens - by longstanding and deeply held tradition and law, necromancy is punished by death in the region it takes place in - yet we meet more than one necromancer that, while not necessarily good, aren't evil, either. In ''Oblivion'', where necromancy is perfectly legal and, up until shortly before the game began, openly done by the Mages' Guild, there are no non-evil necromancers to be found.
** Is the Champion of Cyrodiil really just a wayfaring adventurer who gets a lucky break, or are they actually a [[MagnificentBastard magnificent]] [[TheChessmaster chessmaster]] who take advantage of the political crisis brought on by Uriel Septim's assassination to pole-vault into a position whereby they are the head of ''every single major guild'' in Cyrodiil, all at once? Think about it - by the end of the various questlines, every mage, thief and assassin in the province now works for them directly, and headship of the Fighters' Guild gives them their own personal army as well. Meanwhile, the fact that they're the Grand Champion of the Arena (and Champion of Cyrodiil) means they're a popular hero as well, while possible membership of the Blades gives them an ear in the political backrooms of the Imperial Palace. The player character need never overthrow the paralysed Elder Council - they rule the province far more directly than the council ever could. Oh, and since they may also be a [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampire]], they could conceivably hold this power ''forever''. [[spoiler: And this without mentioning that the PC also becomes one of the Daedric Lords, the MadGod of the Shivering Isles.]]

!! ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]''

* Is the [[PlayerCharacter Last Dragonborn]] a selfless hero with a heart of gold that's out to free Skyrim from the ever-looming threat of the dragon invasion, or a power-hungry bastard that becomes a master with his voice, highly influential in the major cities of Skyrim, the head of each guild, a member of either the original government or the new upcoming one (depending on the player's choice), the person that brings the Dark Brotherhood back into prominence, a possible monster of lycanthropic or vampiric power, and ultimately the chessmaster that aims to replace Alduin as the most powerful threat to Skyrim [[spoiler: hinted at even more by having a shout that's similar to the one most often used by Alduin]]. (As with all the other TES protagonists above, one has to note that, since the game generally uses a pretty "hands off" attitude when it comes to characterizing them, these interpretations could all be completely and one hundred percent true depending on the player.)
* The Stormcloaks: Brave rebels fighting against religious and imperialist oppression, StupidGood pawns of the [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Thalmor]] playing into their DivideAndConquer strategy, or racist bastards. The Empire, meanwhile, is either a tyrannical pawn of the Thalmor, a pitiful VestigialEmpire due to be wiped away, or the only hope Tamriel has against Thalmor oppression that's simply playing along with their decrees until it can defeat them.
* Paarthurnax: An [[TheAtoner Atoner]] who feels genuine remorse for his actions during the Dragon War and wants to lead the remaining dragons into a peaceful coexistence with humanity, or a [[TheStarscream Starscream]] to Alduin who uses the PlayerCharacter to dispose of him so that he can take over?
* The Blades: By the same token, are the Blades Esbern and Delphine justified in demanding Paarthurnax killed for the crimes he committed and right to believe that, since he betrayed Alduin once, he is likely to one day betray the people of Skyrim as well, or are they just unable to get past the fact that, due to the Thalmor, they've been hunted and driven underground and can't truly trust anyone, as well as loyalty to their cause as dragon-hunters?

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