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Note: Elder Scrolls lore is generally not clear-cut. Reasons for this range from biased in-universe sources intentionally only giving you only one side of a story, to sources lacking critical information or working from false information, to the implication that All Myths Are True, despite the contradictions, or that at least all myths are Metaphorically True. Out-of-game developer supplemental texts (frequently referred to as "Obscure Texts" by the lore community) are more trustworthy, but are frequently left 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 alter the timeline, both may literally be true in-universe.)

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The Elder Scrolls - Tropes H

  • Hades Shaded: Allegedly the case for the Dunmer, who have ashen gray skin and red eyes. They were formerly the Chimer, close relatives of the Altmer with pale golden skin. These changes are said to be indicative of a cursed placed on them by their Daedric patron, Azura, for disobeying her in regards to the Heart of Lorkhan as well as the Tribunal (likely) murdering her champion, Nerevar.
  • Had To Be Sharp: The Nords, a hardy Proud Warrior Race with Horny Vikings elements. Skyrim, their homeland, is filled to the brim with dangerous predators such as wolves, bears, sabretooth cats, and frostbite spiders. Giants wander the wilderness occasionally attacking settlements looking for goodies. Werewolves lurk in the night-time forests. The draugr are restless in their Ancient Tombs. Ancient Dwemer ruins dot the landscape, still full of their Mecha-Mooks and Death Traps. As if that wasn't enough already, the climate is freezing cold and unpredictable, especially in the northern holds of Winterhold and The Pale. Even to claim Skyrim during the Merethic Era, the Ancient proto-Nords/Atmorans who settled there had to contend with Falmer (Snow Elves) and Dragons; the former native to the land, and the latter who maintained their base of power and cults there.
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  • Hailfire Peaks: The Shivering Isles are the realm of Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. The Isles are split down the middle to represent the dual nature of madness. The northern half of the Isles, Mania, represents the positive aspects of madness, and is full of exotic plant life and brightly colored monsters. The southern half, Dementia, embodies the negative aspects of madness, and consists mostly of dreary swampland.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Generally averted or at least significantly downplayed throughout the series, as several in-game books and backstory details indicate that each race of Men (Imperial, Breton, Redguard, Nord) and Mer ("Elves" - Altmer, Dunmer, Bosmer, Orsimer/Orcs) can indeed interbreed, with the race of the offspring being virtually identical to the mother (averting All Genes Are Codominant) with a few of the father's traits potentially sprinkled in.note  Downplayed in large part simply because it is difficult to distinguish the offspring from the race of the mother, so only those who are aware of the race of the father would be in a position to discriminate.
  • Half-Human Hybrid:
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    • As mentioned above, interracial children almost totally favor the race of their mother, making them Uneven Hybrids and averting this trope in individual instances.
    • However, over many generations, this trope can come closer to being played straight. This is actually how the Breton race came into being. Their (human) ancestors were Breeding Slaves to the Direnni Altmer of High Rock. Over the course of many generations, some of the Elven traits started to come through with greater dominance. This has led the Bretons to be the most magically inclined race of Men in Tamriel at the cost of some of the Humans Are Warriors traits of the other races of Men. It still isn't accurate to call the Bretons "half human" hybrids, however. They are still almost entirely human with some Altmeri ancestry.
    • Similar to the Bretons, the Bosmer (Wood Elves) are said to have come into being when the Aldmer (the Precursors to all the modern races of Mer) who settled in Valenwood started taking "Mannish wives." Opposite the Bretons, the Bosmer are still far more Mer than Men.
    • Minotaurs come the closest to playing it straight out of the races of Tamriel. They are said to descend from the Divine Date coupling of St. Alessia (a Nedic woman) with Morihaus (an Aedric demi-god "man bull"). Their son, Belharza, was said to be the first Minotaur and ruled the First Empire following Alessia's death. Pelinal Whitestrake, Alessia's "champion" and Morihaus' divine "uncle," specifically warned Morihaus against this relationship, believing that they would "beget more monsters on this earth." (Which, if this is the true origin of Minotaurs, proved to be the case.)
    • The Septim dynasty, who ruled the Third Empire of Men out of Cyrodiil, were known to have a varied ancestry. Depending on the source, Tiber Septim himself was probably a full-blooded Nord (though this may have been propaganda designed to make the Nords more supportive of Septim's empire). Imperial, Breton, and even a little Dunmer genes made their way into the dynasty as well over its 500 year reign. And that's without getting into the supposed metaphysical "divine" ancestry the Septims claimed via connections to former Emperors Alessia and Reman Cyrodiil.
    • The Tsaesci, a race supposedly made up of "snake vampires" hailing from Akavir who once invaded Tamriel in the last 1st Era, supposedly left behind offspring with the Tamriellic races who are considered "beautiful, if frightening." (Other sources indicate that the Tsaesci are men little different from those in Tamriel, downplaying the trope if true.)
    • Demiprinces are a form of lesser Daedra born from the union of a Daedra and a mortal. Their dual nature gives them an odd perception of the world and time itself.
    • Averted in the case of Dragonborn, who are fully mortal but are given the souls of dragons by the Divines. This doesn't prevent people from assuming that Dragonborn are this trope.
  • Hammerspace:
    • Throughout the series, the Bound Weapon spells essentially allow the caster to pull a powerful weapon from hammerspace and use it for a fixed duration. This has been variously explained as either you're creating the weapon out of pure magicka, or you're temporarily summoning the weapon from Oblivion (similar to standard "summon" spells). In several games, there is also a "Bound Armor" spells which is the same effect, but summons and equips temporary armor.
    • The only real limit on what you can carry is your "Encumbrance" limit. You can have an infinite number of items on your person (including numerous large weapons, sets of armor, thousands of arrows, enough food to feed an army, enough books to fill a library, gallons of potions, literally millions of gold coins, etc.) and none of it will show unless you specifically equip them. (Essentially, your inventory is a Bag of Holding minus the "Bag" itself.) As long as the combined weight of the items is below your Encumbrance limit, you can move around without issue. (And Skyrim changes the system so that you can't run while over-encumbered, but you can still walk. You can carry literally billions of tons of items and move, albeit it at a snail's pace.)
  • Hammerspace Police Force: Played straight throughout the series. Starting with Morrowind, you can kill all of the guards present in a particular settlement at one time, but they will respawn after the reset period has passed for the game in question. (Usually 3 in-game days.) The new guards are just as skilled and equipped as the previous guards.
  • Hand Blast: Ranged magical attacks function like this throughout the series. For example, Fire-based Destruction spells can be either Fireballs or gouts of flame launched in this fashion.
  • Handicapped Badass:
    • Tiber Septim, the founder of the Third Tamriellic Empire who ascended after his death as Talos, the Ninth Divine, could use the power of the Thu'um early in his campaigns. He used it to "shout down" the walls of Old Hroldan, which earned him much attention and acclaim. However, a failed assassination attempt left him with his throat slashed and unable to speak in more than whisper. He still completed his conquest of Tamriel (with the help of the Numidium at the end). He would, of course, also later ascend to Godhood.
    • The Moth Priests, members of the Cult of the Ancestor Moth, dedicated to Julianos, the Aedric Divine of Knowledge, are tasked with keeping and reading the eponymous Elder Scrolls. Even with their special protective rituals, repeated readings of the Scrolls will render them blind. Blinded Moth Priests are sent into retirement, but despite this handicap, are still quite capable of defending themselves in combat.
    • Several famous heroes have been missing an eye. St. Jiub is one famous example, as well as Hakon One Eye and Olaf One Eye from Nordic history. A massive scar over one eye is often a frequent option for Player Characters during creation, and it doesn't hinder them a bit.
  • Hand Wave: There have been several major changes to the game world and/or the races living within it that have changed over the course of the series. Most have since been given an official in-universe explanation of varying quality and coherence. To note a few major examples:
    • Until Oblivion showed it as a mostly temperate hardwood forest, the nation of Cyrodiil was referred to as a tropical jungle. The in-universe explanation is that it was a jungle, until Talos used his powers as a newly ascended god to perform a Cosmic Retcon, changing Cyrodiil to make the Imperial soldiers who served him so well more comfortable. Online, which is a prequel to the main series, shows it much the same as it is in Oblivion, meaning that Talos' changes were apparently retroactive as well.
    • The Art Evolution of the Argonians and Khajiit throughout the series has since been explained a result of in-universe forces. To note:
      • The Argonians owe their changes to the Hist, whose sap the Argonians drink to grow. The Hist began to change the Argonians around the time of the Oblivion Crisis, making them stronger and more aggressive to prepare for the coming chaos and wars.
      • The Khajiit have various sub-species which look different as adults depending on the phases of Nirn's two moons under which they were born. Certain sub-species are more common in different provinces, leading to their changing appearance throughout the series.
  • Happily Married: Lost Orphaned Royalty and the future Queen of Morrowind, Barenziah, was the last surviving member of her noble Dunmeri family after Tiber Septim's Imperial Legions sacked Mournhold. Septim's Dunmeri General, Symmachus, convinced Septim to spare the girl as she would prove useful as a Puppet Vassal Queen down the line. After escaping from her Imperial-loyalist foster family and having plenty of adventures in her youth, including spending time as The Artful Dodger and participating in The Oldest Profession, Symmachus tracked her down and sent her to live with Septim himself. After an affair with Septim turned ugly, Barenziah would marry Symmachus and take the throne as Queen of Morrowind. Despite the potential for issues given their history, her marriage to Symmachus turned out to be a very happy one. However, Symmachus was killed during unrest in Morrowind and, fearing for her life and the lives of her children, Barenziah abdicated the throne and fled to the Imperial City. There she met King Eadwyre of Wayrest in High Rock, and the two would enter a marriage of political convenience. Once again, despite the potential for issues inherent is such an arrangement, the marriage was by all accounts a happy one.
  • Happy Ending Override: No matter how happy the ending (and the endings of some of the games are already Downers or Bittersweet at best), future games in the series almost always override it by showing the consequences of the events of the game one the world. A full breakdown is available on the trope page.
  • Happy Place: The Myriad Realms of Revelry are thousands of pocket realms of Oblivion which serves as the Daedric Plane of Sanguine, Prince of Debauchery and Hedonism. The Realms constantly reform to become the pleasure paradise of whoever is visiting.
  • Hard-Coded Hostility: Present throughout the series in general with the various random enemy bandits, smugglers, necromancers, and any other form of Mook. They will generally attack you on sight, and while there are temporary ways to make them non-hostile (a Calm spell, for instance), they'll go right back to being hostile once it wears off.
  • Harmless Villain: Played for laughs regarding the Mythic Dawn between Oblivion and Skyrim. In Oblivion, they are led by The Dragon and worship the Big Bad, and very nearly succeed in destroying the world. Two centuries later in Skyrim, a half-crazed fanboy of the Mythic Dawn collects their old books and ceremonial garments, starts a Mythic Dawn Museum, and dreams of reviving the cult. He's serious about it but laughably incompetent and absolutely nobody takes him seriously...except Mehrunes Dagon, Daedric Prince of Destruction and former patron of the Mythic Dawn, who doesn't really like clueless wannabes exploiting the heritage of his most devoted and successful servants.
  • Harping on About Harpies:
  • Hate Plague: The series has long included the status effect "Frenzy", which can be achieved by spells in the Illusion school. This effect causes the target to attack anything in sight, including members of his own faction. The results are even better when the spell has a large area of effect, enabling you to turn entire groups against each other.
  • Have You Seen My God?:
    • This is frequently the case for the Aedra, "original spirit" beings who sacrificed much of their divine power to create Mundus, the mortal plane, and are worshiped throughout Tamriel as the Eight (later Nine) Divines. This act left them in a greatly weakened state, unable to interfere with mortal affairs as freely as the Daedra (who maintain their full power). As such, they prefer a lighter touch when influencing mortal affairs, at most typically acting through mortal agents. Any acts of direct intervention are rare and typically reserved for averting The End of the World as We Know It. For this reason, the primary view of the Divines is as impersonal, generally benevolent spirits, worthy of worship and reverence but without any strong direct relationship. During the Dawn and Merethic Eras, the Aedra who would become the Eight Divines still had somewhat enough power to take limited manifestations on Nirn, so there are tons of legends of them directly interacting with mortals. However, by the time of the 1st Era, all of them had vanished except within shrines and temples, where they could perform limited actions. One source attributes this to Akatosh's pact with St. Alessia and the Dragonfires; this pact, designed to keep Daedra from being able to walk into Mundus with all or most of their power (as Mehrunes Dagon did at the end of the Oblivion Crisis), also greatly restricts the Divines.
    • The Nedes, human ancestors to most of the modern races of Men, had the study and worship of the stars as a major part of their culture. They also worshiped beings known as "celestials", though exactly who or what they were has been lost to time. As the Nedes began to evolve into the modern races of Men, the last remaining group who identified themselves as Nedes survived deep in the deserts of Hammerfell. This group turned away from worship of the stars and celestials as they did nothing to help stop the decline of their race. (Eventually, the Redguards would arrive in Hammerfell and wipe out this remnant of the Nedes.)
  • Healing Factor:
    • As of Skyrim, all NPCs have a mild healing factor that constantly regenerates health slowly in combat, and slightly faster outside of combat, with certain magical effects increasing this rate.
    • Argonians have one as a racial power, which drastically increases their rate of healing for a real-life minute and can be used once per day.
    • The Necromancer's Amulet is a recurring artifact item throughout the series. Among the many powers it grants the wearer is a healing factor.
    • This is a trait of many creature types throughout the series, including Spriggans, some Vampire bloodlines, and several forms of lesser Daedra.
  • Healing Hands:
    • The series has numerous "Heal Other" spells, most of which are of the "On Touch" variety, naturally classed in the Restoration school of magic. For bonus points, Skyrim actually has one called "Healing Hands".
    • St. Veloth, the legendary Chimer mystic who led his people away from the decadence of the Summerset Isles to their new homeland in Morrowind, was known to be a remarkable healer. Many Tribunal Temple healing spells bear his name, and one of his most famous artifacts is Veloth's Tear, a crystallized tear with immense restorative properties.
  • Healing Potion: Present throughout the series. Numerous other healing methods are available as well (spells, scrolls, enchantments), but in terms of effectiveness, affordability, ease of use, and item weight (potions the size of a 2 liter bottle of soda don't weigh nearly as much), nothing beats a healing potion. It also helps that they are plentifully found throughout dungeons and nearly all non-specialized vendors sell a few to replenish your stock as well.
  • Healing Shiv: The Dagger of Friendship and Truncheon of Submission are pre-made examples. There is also nothing stopping you from enchanting a weapon with a "Heal Other" spell of a greater magnitude than the weapon's damage. In fact, this can even be beneficial as a training weapon. Simply find an enemy who poses no real threat to you and fight them with the weapon as long as you please. The repeated successful strikes will raise your skill level with that weapon type without killing the enemy.
  • Heavily Armored Mook:
    • Generally averted for generic NPC enemies such as Bandits who come with a wide variety of armor types and offensive skills, none of which are treated as any "better" than the others. In fact, an enemy with high-level light armor (or no armor at all, as the case may be for an enemy mage) may be far more dangerous that one decked out in lower-quality heavy armor.
    • Played straight for "creature" or undead enemies. Generally, if you see a heavily armored goblin/Falmer/skeleton, you'll have a tougher fight on your hands than you would with its non-armored kin.
  • The Hedonist: Sanguine, the Daedric Prince of Debauchery and Hedonism, is the very embodiment of Hedonism. He exists to tempt mortals into sin through various vices, and enjoys seeing others become hedonists as well.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Shows up in some quests throughout the series. You can also choose to invoke it yourself at any time. After you've finished a quest and have chosen to spare the person attempting to make the Heel-Face Turn, you can immediately turn around and kill them.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Meridia, a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals, but is associated with Life Energy, Light, and Beauty, is typically considered to be one of the few "good" Daedra throughout Tamriel. However, her actions in the series to date plant her squarely in this trope. In one instance, she'll be acting as the Big Good in defending mortal lives from hostile takeover by supernatural forces. Then in another, she'll be giving aid to a being who seeks to overthrow the Nine Divines and enslave the races of Men. Ultimately, whatever actions Meridia takes are going to be for her benefit, not anyone else's. It just so happens that, especially with her extreme hatred of anything undead, her actions come off as benevolent toward mortals more often than not.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Dragons, creatures of aggression and domination for whom it's in their blood to be cruel and contemptuous, are capable of this. Some dragons are known to have been capable of suppressing their desire to dominate and have allied themselves with mortals, such as Nafaalilargus and Paarthurnax.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: In the series' backstory, during the 1st Era, the Nordic Empire, led by the Tongues (masters of the Thu'um), was expanding rapidly out of Skyrim. Their armies invaded deep into Morrowind, slaughtering both the Chimer (ancestors of the Dunmer) and Dwemer. The leaders of these long time enemy races, Lord Indoril Nerevar and Dumac Dwarfking, agreed to form an Enemy Mine. Their combined forces met at the base of Red Mountain, where the Chimer/Dwemer alliance "annihilated" the Nord army, a truly shocking defeat in this history of the Proud Warrior Race Nords. The most powerful of the Tongues, Jurgen Windcaller, survived but fell into Heroic BSoD despair. Despite the advantage conferred by the Thu'um, the Nord army was soundly crushed. For seven years, Windcaller meditated and reflected on the defeat, coming to the conclusion that it was a punishment from the gods for misusing the Thu'um. He would use the defeat as inspiration to discover the Way of the Voice and found the Greybeards, a monastic order who espouse nonintervention and pacifism, and only use the Voice to honor the gods.
  • Heel–Race Turn: Early in the series, Orcs were simply random Always Chaotic Evil enemy Mooks. In Arena, crossing over with Early Installment Weirdness, they had no real backstory beyond being standard fantasy Orcs. In Daggerfall, they get more fleshed out. They're actually a subspecies of Mer (Elves), the "Orsimer", meaning "Pariah Folk". As such, they are in an eternal state of Fighting for a Homeland while facing extreme Fantastic Racism from the other races of Tamriel. Due to a Cosmic Retcon/Time Crash at the end of Daggerfall (which is an in-universe way of Merging the Branches of its Multiple Endings in a Broad Strokes fashion), their homeland is recognized as a province of the Empire and they become citizens. Come Morrowind and every game after, they are fully Promoted to Playable.
  • Hegemonic Empire: The Third Tamriellic Empire (ruled by the Septim dynasty) is one of these. While initially forged by the iron fists of the Imperial Legions (with an assist from the Dwemer-crafted Numidium) under the leadership of Tiber Septim, it quickly shifted to a (mostly) benevolent force of good, espousing generally liberal values like religious and racial tolerance while establishing strong diplomatic and mercantile ties between the provinces. Throughout the first four games in the main series, the Septim empire is in dire straights facing numerous threats (both internal and external, supernatural and mundane) and is only held together through the massive schemes of Emperor Uriel Septim VII. By the time of Skyrim, it has completely descended into a Vestigial Empire status, with the few remaining provinces in a very fragile state.
  • Hell: The series has Oblivion loosely in this role. Oblivion is one of the three parts of the Aurbis, essentially, the knowable universe. It is the infinite void surrounding Mundus, the mortal realm (which contains the planet Nirn, and the continent Tamriel, where every game in the series to date has taken place). Beyond Oblivion is Aetherius, the realm of magic. While Oblivion itself is said to be infinite, it contains the 16 known "planes" of Oblivion, each belonging to one of the Daedric Prices, as well as over 37,000 "pocket realities" and "chaos realms". In addition to the Daedric Princes, these planes and realms are home to all manner of lesser Daedra as well. As the Daedra are the et'Ada ("original spirits") who did not make any sacrifices to create Mundus, the mortal realm, they retain their Complete Immortality. While their physical bodies can be slain (within Oblivion or manifested on Mundus), their spirits simply return to Oblivion to reform. The planes of the Daedric Princes are very much Eldritch Locations crossed over with elements of Genius Loci where the Princes themselves are Fisher Kings. Just as the Princes themselves are technically Above Good and Evil, operating within their own scale of Blue and Orange Morality, but who can appear more malevolent depending on how their actions impact mortals, their planes are similarly varied. Some are said to be quite beautiful and wonderful places, like Azura's realm of Moonshadow or Sanguine's "Myraiad Realms of Revelry". Others are much more hellish. Typically, mortals who pledge their souls to the service of one of the Daedric Princes end up in that Prince's realm after death. In some cases, the Princes are able to forcibly capture souls as well. To note some of the more hellish Daedric planes:
    • Mehrunes Dagon is the Daedric Prince of Destruction. His realm is known as the "Deadlands", a very Fire and Brimstone Hell location with seas of lava and the land itself being a blasted hellscape. Despite its appearance, it is also said to feel deathly cold to mortals, who feel an "unearthly chill" within. You'll spend plenty of time within during the main quest of Oblivion.
    • Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Corruption and Domination, goes more for the Bloody Bowels of Hell aesthetic for his Daedric plane, known as Coldharbour. It resembles a ruined and desecrated copy of Nirn that is filled with suffering and "spattered" with blood and excrement. It contains charnel houses full of the dead and slave pens beyond count. It is said that no mortals willingly visit this place except in error. It is said that the smell of the place alone is enough to kill most mortals.
    • Numerous other "hellish" planes of Oblivion exist, and they can be read about in greater detail on the series' "Daedra" Characters sub-page.
  • Hellhound: Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Bargains and Wishes, is typically accompanied by his external conscience, Barbas, in the form of a Canine Companion. Subverted in that Barbas may look like a Hell Hound in his statues, but is much closer to a Big, Friendly Dog in terms of personality and in appearance when he manifests in the mortal world.
  • Hellish Horse: Shadowmere in each game where it appears. Shadowmere is an immortal, possibly undead horse with sleek black fur and glowing red eyes, in service to the Dark Brotherhood.
  • Hell of a Heaven: In the series' most prominent Creation Myth, Lorkhan, one of the et'Ada ("original spirits") convinced/tricked some of his fellow et'Ada to sacrifice a large portion of their power in order to create Mundus, the mortal plane. Most races of Mer (Elves) view this as a malevolent act which robbed the pre-creation spirits of their divinity and forced them into a mortal prison where they experience loss and suffering. However, the races of Men generally view pre-creation as the "prison", consisting of unchanging stasis. Lorkhan, in a benevolent act, freed the spirits from this prison, giving them the opportunity to achieve enlightenment and greater ascension in Mundus.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The series has long allowed you to give the Player Character a name. However, this name only appears in text dialogue and occasionally on some in-game documents. In terms of spoken dialogue, your character will only be referred to via his/her Red Baron nickname. (The Nerevarine, the Dragonborn, etc.)
  • Hereditary Curse: Ultimately played straight, though in a roundabout way, with one means to cure Lycanthropy in the series' lore. The means is to infect someone who has a dormant, hereditary version of the disease. Passing it on to such a person removes the disease completely from the original Lycanthrope.
  • Here There Be Dragons: Topal the Pilot was an Aldmeri Bold Explorer and poet who was the first to discover and explore Tamriel during the Merethic Era. A skilled cartographer, Topal was on an in-universe Cartography Sidequest from the Aldmer to explore and document Tamriel's inland regions, which were very mysterious to them at the time. While he didn't encounter actual dragons (that we know of), he did encounter "cat demons", "human lizards", (believed to be primitive ancestors of the Khajiit and Argonians respectively) "bat lizards" (believed to be related to Morrowind's Cliff Racers), and a race of now-extinct "Bird People".
  • Hermaphrodite:
    • Sload, a race of "slugmen" native to the archipelago of Thras to the southwest of Tamriel, are said to be hermaphrodites. It is believed that they absorb their sexual organs by the time they are capable of surviving on land, and indeed, there is never any mention of a Sload with a given sex.
    • Vivec, the Dunmeri Tribunal diety, is a hermaphroditic Physical God, though he is typically referred to as male. It's important to his mythic role as the Trickster/Stranger figure, where Sotha Sil is male (Clockwork King of the Three-And-One) and Almalexia is female (Face-Snaked Queen of the Three-And-One). Whether he was a hermaphrodite as a mortal is a source of debate amongst the fandom and is really only touched upon by developer written "obscure texts" not in the games themselves.
    • Vivec's "Anticipation" in the Dunmer religion is Mephala, a Daedric Prince whose sphere is "obscured to mortals" (but is typically associated with manipulation, lies, sex, and secrets). Mephala is stated to be a hermaphrodite as well, though opposite of Vivec, is typically referred to as female and speaks with a feminine voice. Her statues and other depictions also include female secondary characteristics.
  • The Hero:
    • The Player Character of nearly every game in the series, naturally. While the protagonist can be played in anyway the player wants, whether as an Ideal Hero or even as a Villain Protagonist, they all go through similar trials and patterns displayed in the Hero Cycle.
    • The sole notable exception is the Champion of Cyrodiil in the main quest of Oblivion, who subverts the trope instead. Though the Champion is the playable character, the narrative of the main quest focuses around Martin Septim, the bastard son of Uriel Septim VII and Hidden Backup Prince heir to the throne following Uriel VII's assassination. Due to his bloodline, Martin is The Chosen One and the only person who seal the gates of Oblivion to end the Oblivion Crisis. The Champion meanwhile serves as a combination Hypercompetent Sidekick, Lancer, and Supporting Protagonist. The Champion is unquestionably the hero in each expansion, however.
    • On a wider scale, the concept of 'The Hero' plays into the wider argument about You Can't Fight Fate, particularly in relation to the ritual Elder Scrolls. Essentially, a Hero in the cosmological sense of this universe is an individual who, through the nature of their birth (Morrowind), being the focus of a prophetic dream (Oblivion), a divine lineage (Skyrim), or any number of other factors, is unbound for the whims of fate and can affect the world in ways that normal people can't and potentially can alter the course of history. Every player character thus far has been one of these 'Heroes', along with notable historical figures like St. Alessia, Tiber Septim, and others.
  • Heroes Fight Barehanded: The "Hand to Hand" skill is a combat skill available through Oblivion and allows you to effectively fight barehanded if you choose. Skyrim removes it as a skill, however, making it much harder to do as there are very few and limited options to get better at it.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords:
    • Depictions of Talos, the Aedric Divine God of War and Good Governance (and the ascended god form of Emperor Tiber Septim, possibly along with some others), depict him wielding a sword. His Nordic depictions make it a BFS to boot. Additionally, his shrines are in the shape of a sword hilt. Talos is considered a "god-hero to mankind" and a Greater-Scope Paragon within Mundus, the mortal realm.
      • Tiber Septim, even before becoming Talos, was associated with swords. According to the heretical tales of his life, he studied with "the sword masters of Alcaire", the supposed place of his birth in High Rock.
    • Trinimac was a prominent deity among the early Aldmer and served as the champion of Auri-El, the Aldmeri aspect of Akatosh. Trinimac was a warrior spirit, said to be the strongest of the et'Ada ("original spirits"), and in some places was even more popular than Auri-El. According to Aldmeri religious tradition, it was Trinimac who led the Aldmeri armies against Lorkhan's supporters, the races of Men. Trinimac slew Lorkhan and removed Lorkhan's heart from his body. At least the races of Mer, this was a very heroic act. Trinimac is associated with "the blade". The end of the Almderi veneration to Trinimac reads:
      "By the blade of Trinimac I swear, and call for his aid."
    • The Blades have long served the emperors of Tamriel as bodyguards and spies, and are almost always found using swords, particularly their namesake katanas. In Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, the Blades contribute directly to the defeat of the game's Big Bad, confirming their heroism. (Though Skyrim introduces some significant Gray and Grey Morality between them and the Greybeards...)
  • Heroic Albino: Pelinal Whitestrake, the legendary 1st Era hero of mankind/racist berserker. Believed to have been a Shezarrine, physical incarnations of the spirit of the "dead" creator god Lorkhan (known to the Imperials as "Shezarr"), Pelinal came to St. Alessia to serve as her divine champion in the war against the Ayleids. Pelinal was known to have white hair despite his young appearance, though it was often stained brown with elfblood. To the races of Mer, he was instead an Evil Albino.
  • Heroic BSoD: During the 1st Era, the Nordic Empire, led by the Tongues (masters of the Thu'um), was expanding rapidly out of Skyrim. Their armies invaded deep into Morrowind, slaughtering both the Chimer (ancestors of the Dunmer) and Dwemer. The leaders of these long time enemy races, Lord Indoril Nerevar and Dumac Dwarfking, agreed to form an Enemy Mine. Their combined forces met at the base of Red Mountain, where the Chimer/Dwemer alliance "annihilated" the Nord army, a truly shocking defeat in this history of the Proud Warrior Race Nords. The most powerful of the Tongues, Jurgen Windcaller, survived but fell into despair. Despite the advantage conferred by the Thu'um, the Nord army was soundly crushed. For seven years, Windcaller meditated and reflected on the defeat, coming to the conclusion that it was a punishment from the gods for misusing the Thu'um. He would use the defeat as inspiration to discover the Way of the Voice and found the Greybeards, a monastic order who espouse nonintervention and pacifism, and only use the Voice to honor the gods.
  • Heroic Fantasy: The series is one of the most prominent video game examples in modern media, at least from the perspective of each individual game. Taking a broader look at the series in its entirety (as well as digging deep into the rich backstory), and its High Fantasy elements come into greater focus.
  • Heroic Mime:
    • The Player Character throughout the series is a Downplayed example. To date, none of the games have given spoke dialogue to the player character beyond battlecries (and in Skyrim, Shouts). However, they are nevertheless quite talkative in the dialogue choices.
    • This is lampshaded in the Dark Brotherhood questlines in both Oblivion and Skyrim, which give you the dialogue option to "stay silent" when performing assassinations.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In the series' primary Creation Myth, Lorkhan, one of the et'Ada ("original spirits") convinced/tricked some of his fellow et'Ada into creating Mundus, the mortal plane. However, doing so cost these et'Ada a large portion of their divine power. For his perceived treachery, the other et'Ada "killed" Lorkhan, tore out his divine center ("heart"), and cast it down into the world he made them create where his spirit is forced to wander. However, according to some tellings of the myth, Lorkhan submitted to this punishment voluntarily. It has been his plan all the long to be "killed" and have his spirit "impregnate" the mortal world.
    • Inheriting an Empire wracked with internal strife and floundering support in the provinces, Emperor Uriel Septim V would lead the Third Empire back to greatness by launching a series of invasions outside of Tamriel. Over a span of 13 years, he conquered several island nations in the Padomaic Sea to the east of Tamriel. Then, he invaded Akavir itself. Despite initial successes, he would fail to conquer Akavir as he had hoped, and would fall there in battle himself, making a heroic sacrifice to cover the retreat of his legions.
    • Martin Septim pulled one to firmly end the threat of the Oblivion Crisis. Unfortunately, due to the state of the crumbling Empire and the Thalmor claiming credit for ending it, his sacrifice seems to have gone down as a footnote in history, at best.
  • Heroic Willpower: Meridia is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals, but is associated with Life Energy, Light, and Beauty. She was originally one of the Magna-Ge, the "star orphans" who abandoned the creation of Mundus (the mortal plane) part way through along with their "father", Magnus. However, Meridia was banished from Aetherius for "consorting with illicit spectra", implied to be the Daedra. Considered a "trespasser" in Oblivion by the Daedra, Meridia, through sheer force of will, "bent and shaped" the rays of Magnus to create her own Daedric realm in Oblivion and became one of the Daedric Princes.
  • Hero Killer: In the backstory, the ancient Atmorans (Precursors of the modern Nords) went to war with Skyrim's native Falmer (Snow Elves) after the Falmer sacked and slaughtered the Atmoran colony of Saarthal in Skyrim, with the Atmorans going so far as to attempt to drive the Falmer to extinction. After nearly wiping them out on the mainland, the Atmorans pursued the remaining Falmer to the barren, frozen island of Solstheim. During the Falmer's Last Stand at the Battle of the Moesring, an individual known only as the Snow Prince single-handedly turned the tide of the battle, killing many prominent Atmoran heroes in the process including Ulfgi Anvil-Hand, Strom the White, Freida Oaken-Wand, and Heimdall the Frenzied. The Atmorans, despite their hatred of the Falmer, considered the Snow Prince such a Worthy Opponent for his deeds that, after his death, he was buried with full honors befitting any great warrior, with guards even stationed at his tomb, which would one day become Jolgeirr Barrow.
  • Hero of Another Story: Jiub in his Morrowind appearance. He lets the Nerevarine known they've arrived in Morrowind and asks for the Nerevarine's name, and is never seen again once the Nerevarine exits the ship. Despite his very limited role, he was popular enough with fans to generate countless Fan Fics and Game Mods which add him back into the game. Bethesda took notice and, in Oblivion, mention that became a Saint in Morrowind for driving the (much reviled) Cliff Racers to extinction. His spirit makes a cameo in Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC, where he offers a sidequest in the Soul Cairn.
  • Hero's Evil Predecessor: Jagar Tharn served Emperor Uriel Septim VII as Imperial Battlemage before imprisoning the Emperor and usurping his throne during the Imperial Simulacrum. After Tharn's defeat, the Emperor named High Chancellor Ocato to the position, where he serves as a very Reasonable Authority Figure for the Empire until his death in the early 4th Era.
  • A Hero to His Hometown: The legendary thief Rajhin is still beloved by the Khajiit people, even hundreds of years after his death. He is considered a folk hero and, possibly, even a demigod. Given that the Khajiit are a very pragmatic race with no word for "rules" in their language, it should not come as a surprise that a legendary thief is beloved by them.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Meridia is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals, but is associated with Life Energy, Light, and Beauty. She, in different ways, manages to be this trope and a Villain with Good Publicity. Most of Tamriel is skeptical, or at least cautious, toward Daedra in general (especially after the Oblivion Crisis at the end of the 3rd Era). Some groups, such as the Vigilant of Stendarr, actively oppose any and all Daedra regardless of intention. Meridia, however, still undertakes actions on behalf of mortals despite this and sometimes has to work through a proxy (like Sees-All-Colors in Online) for groups that would never collaborate with her willingly.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: This is common in both Vampire and Werewolf hunters. Because both are diseases which can be transmitted via any wound inflicted by an infected individual, literally becoming what they once hunted is a common fate for these hunters who aren't outright killed. Most carry disease curing potions or items on their person for immediate consumption in the event they become infected. (Both can be cured easily within the first few days of being contracted, but if the diseases progress, they becomes much more difficult.)
  • Hidden Depths: This is the case for Malacath, the Daedric Prince of the Spurned and Ostracized. Malacath is near universally considered one of the "bad" Daedric Princes throughout Tamriel, with Orcs being the main exception. (To them, he is their patron deity.) According to most religions traditions, Malacath was once the Aedric deity Trinimac. Boethiah (the Daedric Prince of Plots) "ate" Trinimac in order to manipulate Trinimac's followers, who would become the Chimer. After being tortured in Boethiah's stomach, the remains of Trinimac were "excreted". These remains became Malacath and his remaining followers were transformed into the Orsimer (Orcs). Despite his many malevolent traits, Malacath keeps a "garden of slender trees" that have "vines festooned with lilylike flowers wound about the trunks". In this garden, a "multitude of spheres [move], deep in the colorless sky, as distant and pale as moons". Malacath describes it as a "shadow of a garden", and an "echo of something that once was".
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Bosmer (Wood Elves) are a Forest Ranger race whose homeland is Valenwood, a region almost totally composed of thick, dense forests and tall, sometimes ''migratory'' trees in which the Bosmer make their homes. As such, Bosmer villages are often connected only by narrow footpaths which make them difficult for non-Bosmer to find.
  • Hide Your Children:
    • Played straight in Arena, Morrowind, and Oblivion out of the main series.
    • Subverted in Daggerfall and Skyrim, as both include children, but they are unkillable without mods.
  • Higher-Tech Species: The Dwemer were the most technologically advanced race in all of Tamriel. Where the setting is mostly High Fantasy with all of its people living in a medieval level society, the Dwemer were effectively a late Information Age society, with massive industrialization and automation, an incredibly deep understanding of Nirn's physics, creature comforts and luxuries comparable to or exceeding what we have today in the real world, and their "calling" ability may well have been a fantasy equivalent of the internet. All that exists of Dwemer technology today is up and working thousands of years later and its all that will ever be, since no one being able to replicate their tech after their mysterious disappearance ages ago.
  • High Fantasy: Throughout the series, the individual games are more in line with Heroic Fantasies - your Player Character needs to save the world from a malevolent Big Bad seeking to take it over or end it outright, while you get to have some fun exploring the Wide Open Sandbox game world. However, when you take a step back and look at the series as a whole, as well as dig deep into the rich backstory, you can easily seem more of the High Fantasy elements. Overarching "Good vs. Evil" themes emerge, while in other instances, these waters are muddied, with many of the aforementioned Big Bads having Well-Intentioned Extremist slants and the like. Essentially, the Elder Scrolls universe is a High Fantasy setting, and each main series game is a Heroic Fantasy story told within that universe.
  • The High King: The province of Skyrim is traditionally ruled by a High King. Originally hereditary starting with Ysgramor, this practice mostly ended when the last in Ysgramor's line was killed without an heir, causing a Succession Crisis. Fifty years of infighting cost the Nords their 1st Era Empire until the Pact of Chieftains ended with the election of a new High King. Ever since, when the High King dies or is otherwise deposed, a "moot" is held by the Jarls of Skyrim to elect a new one. As part of the Cyrodiilic Empire, the High King of Skyrim is subservient to the Emperor of Tamriel. However, shortly before the events of Skyrim, pro-independence Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak challenged High King Torygg to a duel for his throne. It is an archaic but legitimate practice among the Proud Warrior Race Nords. Stormcloak wins by using the Thu'um to kill Torygg. Victorious, Stormcloak and his followers feel that he should be the named the new High King of Skyrim. The Jarls of Skyrim, who vote for the new High King, are torn due to Stormcloak's use of the Thu'um being seen as cheating. Eastern Skyrim secedes under Stormcloak's leadership, while western Skyrim (and the Empire) support Torygg's widow, Elisif, for the throne, leading to Civil War.
  • High Priest:
    • After defeating the Ayleids and founding the First Cyrodiilic Empire, St. Alessia upheld her end of the Bargain with Heaven by making the religion of the Eight Divines (which worships the eight Aedra who aided her during the Alessian Revolt) into the official religion of her new Empire. This new religion was a compromise between the traditional Aldmeri pantheon (which her Cyrodiilic followers, as slaves to the Ayleids, were accustomed to) and the Nordic Pantheon of her Nord allies, who refused to accept any "Elven" gods. Thousands of years later, through several Empires, the religion of the Eight (later Nine) Divines continues to serve as a Saintly Church to much of Tamriel.
    • The Dunmeri (Dark Elf) Tribunal Temple was formed to worship the Tribunal, a trio of living flesh and blood gods. The Tribunal (Vivec, Almalexia, Sotha Sil) were the formerly mortal advisors to Lord Nerevar, the leader of the ancient (then known as Chimer) Dunmer people, who obtained godhood by tapping into the power of the Heart of a "dead" god. For thousands of years, the Tribunal lived and worked among their people. However, they still had "Archcanons" responsible for running the more practical business of leading the Temple. A few centuries prior to the events of Morrowind, the Tribunal's ancient enemy, Dagoth Ur (long presumed to be dead), returned and ambushed the Tribunal on one of their annual pilgrimages to restore their divinity at the Heart. He managed to capture two of the three tools needed to tap into the Heart, depriving the Tribunal of the ability to recharge. After this, in order to conserve power, the Tribunal was forced to withdraw from the day-to-day affairs of their people. More and more responsibility fell onto the Archcanons and other mortal leaders of the Temple, leading to significant corruption.
  • The High Queen:
    • Barenziah, former Queen of Morrowind and Wayrest and later Queen Mother of Morrowind, is portrayed as such in her official biography, Biography of Queen Barenziah, as well as in Imperial and Tribunal Temple propaganda. In those, she possesses beauty and goodness of the highest order, and exudes loyalty to the Empire with her every word and action. However, it is subverted and heavily deconstructed in her "unofficial" biography, The Real Barenziah. It reveals that in her youth as Lost Orphaned Royalty, she got into all sorts of adventures that would be unbecoming of a Queen, including spending time as The Artful Dodger (as a member of the Thieves' Guild no less) and engaging in The Oldest Profession for a time. She had some extremely negative experiences when dealing with Tiber Septim and his Empire, and any loyalty to it came out of either love for her husband, Symmachus, a retired Imperial Legion General, or because the Empire was the "Gray" in a Gray and Black Morality scenario. Naturally, The Real Barenziah version of events is denied by the official Imperial histories and the Dunmeri Tribunal Temple, who wanted to put the author to death for heresy, but Barenziah herself is said to have enjoyed the book, befriended the author, and spared his life. Make of that what you will.
    • Ayrenn, the Altmeri Queen of the Aldmeri Dominion through the 2nd Era. She does not possess any of the extreme Fantastic Racism that many of her predecessors (or later successors) cling to, viewing her Bosmeri and Khajiiti allies (as well as her underlings in general) as valued partners and equals. While she is opposed to a human-dominated Tamriel, she would ultimately prefer peace and co-existence with humanity over conflict.
  • The Highwayman: A few pop up throughout the series. How "gentlemanly" they are varies from case to case. Specific examples are listed by game on the trope page.
  • Hijacked by Jesus: This happens In-Universe with the religion of the Eight (later Nine) Divines absorbing and replacing other pantheons. Elements of those deities tend to be absorbed by their most-similar Divine equivalent, which leads to to some of the bizarrely conflicting traits and spheres of influence present in the Divines. For example, Kynareth, the Divines' Goddess of the Air with a Friend to All Living Things slant, absorbed the Valkyrie/Psychopomp role of her Nord and Khajiit equivalents in Kyne and Khenarthi. One rare exception comes with regards to Akatosh (the chief deity of the Divines Pantheon and "Dragon God of Time") and Ruptga (the "Tall Papa" chief deity of the Yokudan/Redguard pantheon). While some sources associate the two, they are typically treated as separate entities. The biggest difference seems to be that Akatosh participated in Lorkhan's plan to create Mundus (the mortal plane), while Ruptga did not "participate or approve" of Sep's (Lorkhan's Yokudan counterpart) plan. The act of creating Mundus severely weakened the Divines, so not participating would leave Ruptga at full divine power with Complete Immortality, closer to the Daedric Princes.
  • Hijacking Cthulhu: This has happened to some of the series' divine beings, the Aedra and the Daedra, at different times in history. To note:
    • The Aedra ("our ancestors" in Old Aldmeris) were the et'Ada ("original spirits") who sacrificed a significant portion of their divine power during the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane. Worshiped throughout much of Tamriel as the Eight (later Nine) Divines, they have been "tampered with", so to speak, by mortals. The most significant of these events are known as "Dragon Breaks", where something (usually mortals using some sort of divine implements) tampers with Akatosh, the draconic God of Time, leading to a Time Crash with a dose of Reality-Breaking Paradox. The most significant Dragon Break is known as the "Middle Dawn", during which, for a period of 1008 yearsnote  in the 1st Era, Reality Was Out To Lunch. Bizarre and impossible events occurred during this time; people gave birth to their own parents, some sources mention wars and major events which never happened according to other sources, the sun changed color depending on the witness, and the gods either walked among the mortals or they didn't. Another occurred at the conclusion of the events of Daggerfall following the activation of the Reality Warping Humongous Mecha Lost Superweapon known as the Numidium. Akatosh fixed this one by having the timelines (and thus, Daggerfall's mutually exclusive Multiple Endings) recombine violently, with all of the events having occurred at once, but none to the same extent they would have individually.
    • This can also occur to the Daedric ("not our ancestors") Princes, who are the et'Ada who did not make any sacrifices during the creation of Mundus and thus, maintain their full divine power. However, due to their greater power, it usually takes another divine entity (like another Daedric Prince) to cause this. To note:
      • The Daedric Prince Malacath came into being when the Daedric Prince Boethiah "ate" the Aedric spirit Trinimac, twisted Trinimac in his belly, and then "excreted" him as Malacath. (Malacath himself somewhat confirms this, but also complains that the story is far too "literal minded".)
      • The Daedric Prince Jyggalag was feared by the other Princes for his growing power, so they came together and trapped him in the form of Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. Sheogorath would later device a means to pass the mantle of Sheogorath onto the mortal Champion Of Cyrodiil, freeing Jyggalag once again.
      • Alduin the World Eater, the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse and "first born" of Akatosh, is tasked with "eating" the world at the end of every kalpa, or cycle of time, so that it can be remade. When he discovered that a lowly and friendly "demon" was saving pieces of the old worlds, he cursed that demon to become an Omnicidal Maniac hell bent on destroying all that he had saved from the old worlds (which, Alduin presumes, he will never be able to actually accomplish, adding to his fury). That demon's name? Mehrunes Dagon, now the Daedric Prince of Destruction.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade:
    • Ysgramor, the first king of Men in Tamriel, was a Atmoran (ancient proto-Nord) hero who led his family and some like minded individuals from their homeland of Atmora to the northernmost area of Tamriel, now known as Skyrim, after Atmora became embroiled in a massive civil war. Ysgramor later led the Atmoran people in colonizing Skyrim from their landing point of Hsaarik Head. He also became the first historian of mankind and developed the first written human language based on Atmoran and Elvish linguistic principles. After the Falmer, native "Snow Elves" of Skyrim, massacred an Atmoran city, Ysgramor and his sons returned to Atmora. There, they gathered a group of potent warriors known as the 500 Companions, and handily slaughtered the majority of the Falmer population and drove the remainder underground. However, some scholars suggest that the accomplishments credited to Ysgramor were actually performed by several early Nordic kings. Additionally, his claim that the Falmer attack on Saarthal was "unprovoked" is disputed by numerous records of the Elves who say that the attack was in response to repeated "provocations and blasphemies" committed by the early Nords.
    • Pelinal Whitestrake, known as the "Divine Crusader", was the legendary 1st Era hero of mankind/racist berserker. Believed to have been a Shezarrine, physical incarnations of the spirit of the "dead" creator god Lorkhan (known to the Imperials as "Shezarr"), Pelinal came to St. Alessia to serve as her divine champion in the war against the Ayleids. Pelinal would fly into fits of Unstoppable Rage (mostly directed at the Ayleids) during which he would be stained with their blood and left so much carnage in his wake that Kyne, one of the Divines, would have to send in her rain to cleanse Ayleid forts and village before they could be used by Alessia's forces. In one particularly infamous fit of rage, Pelinal is said to have damaged the lands themselves, nearly causing the Divines to leave the world in disgust. His hatred of non-human races extended even beyond the Elves to the Khajiit, whom he slew in droves mistaking them for another race of Elf. Imperial dogma (and his portrayal in Knights of the Nine expansion) conveniently forgets about his blatant racism and psychopathic episodes, focusing only on his heroic aspects.
    • Reman Cyrodiil, founder of the Reman Dynasty who would forge the Second Cyrodiilic Empire of Tamriel, is said to have had divine origins which made him The Chosen One and was coronated at no older than age thirteen. However, there is evidence that his "divine" origins were fabricated in order to legitimize his rule. Further, modern Imperial propaganda has covered up most of his debauchery and psychoses. Despite this, he is (justifiably) remembered as one of the greatest rulers in Cyrodiilic history.
    • Tiber Septim (aka Talos Stormcrown, Hjalti Early-Beard, et al), was the first emperor to unite all of Tamriel and is held up as a paragon of mankind, especially by the Imperials and Nords. Following his death, he did become the god Talos, God of War and Good Governance, and even took the top spot as the chief deity on the Nordic pantheon. However, elements of his past are almost certainly embellished and/or outright fabricated as part of Imperial propaganda to appeal to the Nords, whose support he badly needed in order to forge his empire. He may have had a hand in the assassination of King Cuhlecain (who Septim served as General) so that he could usurp the position. Many of his best known exploits can quite possibly be attributed to others (the Underking, Wulfharth Ash-King, Zurin Artus) or, at the very least, his role in them was highly embellished. His legions were brutal in conquering Tamriel, committing many atrocities along the way (such as slaughtering the ruling family of Morrowind down to their young daughter). He almost certainly betrayed and killed one of his closest advisors (Zurin Arctus) in order to power the Numidium to complete his conquests (and then had his propaganda machine paint Arctus as the villain). Of course, the worship of him isn't entirely unfounded, as there is evidence that he really did ascend to Godhood... and may be one of the last things holding Mundus together. Additionally, it is speculated that he may have used his divine powers post-apotheosis to alter reality to make his version of events "true".
    • With the Dwemer gone, Nerevar dead, and Azura a Daedric Prince who doesn't often openly communicate with most mortals, the Dunmeri Tribunal combined this with Written by the Winners in regards to themselves following the Battle of Red Mountain. They took credit for all of the positives that came out of the event, as well as many of Nerevar's accomplishments before, while blaming the Dwemer or Dagoth Ur for the negatives, including the death of Nerevar. As such, the Tribunal Temple's official story about what happened there is the most widely accepted version, even though it is clearly the version most full of Blatant Lies and Metaphorical Truths out of those that comprise The Rashomon once you've done a little research. All stories to the contrary are considered heresy, kept alive only by the actions of the Ashlander Nerevarine Cult and the Dissident Priests.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Zurin Arctus was the first Imperial Battlemage of the Third Empire, serving under Emperor Tiber Septim. Septim has a Multiple-Choice Past, of which only the most heroic version of the events of his life is recognized by official Imperial history. In any case, Arctus was an invaluable asset to Septim, even being Septim's Hypercompetent Sidekick according to the more "heretical" tales of Septim's life. Arctus brokered the Armistice between Septim and the Dunmeri Physical God Vivec, and was then tasked by Septim to find a way to reactivate and control the Numidium, a Humongous Mecha of Dwemer construction which warped reality merely by being activated that Vivec traded to Septim in exchange for special privileges. In order to accomplish this, he either took the heart (soul) of Wulfharth, a Shezarrine, or gave up his own heart (soul) in order to create the Mantella, the new power source of the Numidium. (Or possibly both, as he was killed by Wulfharth after soul-trapping him, and it is possible that they merged into the same undead entity.) In any case, he would become The Underking, an undead wizard bound to the Mantella. He created the Totem of Tiber Septim to control the Numidium, so that only someone of royal lineage or a supernatural connection could use it. When Septim began to use the Numidium in a way that Arctus/the Underking did not intend, he tried to reclaim the Mantella. However, the process devastated both the Numidium and Arctus/the Underking, while blasting the Mantella into Aetherius. In order to prevent political unrest, Septim had the event covered up while claiming that Arctus betrayed him and attempted to assassinate him. To this day, official Imperial history sees Arctus as a villain, while it's highly likely that the Third Empire never could have came to be without his contributions.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: A viable strategy throughout the series, especially for Fragile Speedster ranged combat focused characters and Glass Cannon mages. As long as you're able to drop most enemies before they can get into melee range of you, you can forgo things like armor and heavy melee weapons, allowing you to focus on mobility (and lowering your carry weight so you can haul more loot).
  • Hit So Hard, the Calendar Felt It: The series' timeline is divided into "Eras," with each beginning and ending due to major events. To note:
    • The Dawn Era is Nirn's Time of Myths, where Mundus (the mortal plane) was still settling following the events of creation. The et'Ada ("original spirits") who participated in that creation walked the earth, with some further sacrificing themselves to become the "Earthbones," the laws of nature and physics that would allow for life, while others made children with one another, who would become the Ehlnofey, ancestors to all the mortal races of Nirn. The Dawn Era came to an end when Akatosh, the Dragon God of Time, established linear time as a concept.
    • The Merethic Era, the era of the Mer (or Elves), then followed. Fleeing some unrecorded threat to their ancient homeland of Aldmeris, the Aldmer (ancestors of the modern races of Mer, whose closest living relative is the Altmer), came to the continent of Tamriel and established a new homeland in the Summerset Isles. Over time, typically due to religious differences, the other races of Mer (the Bosmer, Dunmer, Falmer, Ayleids, Orsimer, and Dwemer) all split off and settled different parts of Tamriel. The Merethic Era came to an end when the Camoran Dynasty was founded in Valenwood, forever after limiting the influence of the Altmer on their mainland brethren.
    • The 1st Era saw the human Atmorans of the northern continent of Atmora successfully invade Tamriel and establish the first major threat of Men to the races of Mer. The First (Alessian) and Second (Reman) Cyrodiilic Empires were rose and fell in this Era, with the 1st Era ending after the last of the Reman line was assassinated without an heir.
    • The 2nd Era saw the Akaviri Potentates rule for the first several centuries of the new Era in a continuation of the Second Empire until they too were assassinated. Tamriel experienced the "Interregnum," their own version of the Dark Ages where petty kingdoms fought in fruitless wars and Tamriel was under attack from all manners of threat, including both mundane and supernatural. The 2nd Era came to an end after Tiber Septim successfully completed his conquest of all of Tamriel, becoming the first person to ever succeed in this feat, establishing the Third Cyrodiilic Empire. The spin-off games Redguard and The Elder Scrolls Online take place during this Era.
    • The 3rd Era ran for the duration of the Septim Dynasty and is the time when each of the first four games in the main series are set (as well as the spinoff game, Battlespire). It came to an end at the conclusion of the Oblivion Crisis, which saw the last of the Septim line die without an heir.
    • The 4th Era is the current Era of the series as of Skyrim. The Third Cyrodiilic Empire is in dire straits as internal strife, the Aldmeri Dominion, and the return of the dragons all stand against it as major threats.
  • Hive Mind: Downplayed but extant with the Argonian race. Argonians are said to be able to "feel" the Hist (sentient and possibly omniscient trees native to the Argonian homeland whose sap young Argonians drink to grow) inside of them at all times, connecting them with the Hist and to each other. The farther an Argonian travels from Black Mark (their homeland), the weaker the connection is said to get. Sensing the upcoming Oblivion Crisis, the Hist were able to use this ability to recall most of the Argonians in Tamriel to Black Marsh in preparation for the trials to come. The Hist began to change the Argonians, making them into more effective weapons of war.
  • Holding Out for a Hero: Played straight in general throughout the series. In many, many cases, it's almost as if Quest Givers are simply waiting around for the Player Character to come along. Granted, this can be considered Justified by the fact that the player character is always the Hero of the Age, foretold by prophecy and "blessed" with the ability to rule their own fate (also the justification for the player's involvement), so effectively superhuman.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the late 1st Era, this trope was exploited by the Akaviri Advisor to take over the Empire as Potentate. He piggy-backed on an existing assassination plot against Emperor Reman Cyrodiil III, which was brought about by actions resulting from Reman's own paranoia.
  • Hollywood Density:
    • Throughout most of the main series (Daggerfall being the exception), gold coins do not have a weight. Thanks to all of the series plentiful Money for Nothing, it isn't unusual to see players running around with tens of thousands of gold coins, yet not be slowed in the slightest.
    • While most objects (swords, articles of clothing, Vendor Trash, etc.) have semi-realistic weights, this trope is still in play for metals. For example, gold ingots typically weigh the same as iron or silver ingots of the same dimensions.
  • Holy Ground: Giants have sites set aside strictly as the final resting place for their dead. They typically do not live near these locations and do not guard them. Giants who feel that they are nearing the end of their lives will travel to these sites to die. If a Giant dies elsewhere, other Giants will carry his body to one of these sites.
  • Holy Is Not Safe:
    • The eponymous Elder Scrolls themselves are referred to as "fragments of creation", and are (usually) kept under close guard by the Cult of the Ancestor Moth, a sect of specially trained "Moth Priests" who are the only people typically allowed to access or attempt to read the Scrolls. Despite the divine nature of the Scrolls, mortal readers are typically struck blind and insane following readings. Moth Priests undergo a lifetime of rigorous training which allows them to overcome these side effects, but only for a finite number of readings before they too are struck blind.
    • While most of the series Legendary Weapons and other artifacts of great power are associated with the (often amoral) Daedric Princes, the (typically more benevolent) Aedric Nine Divines have gifted objects of great power to mortals as well. The Crusaders Relics are prime example - a set of blessed armor and weapons granted to Pelinal Whitestrake, the divine champion of St. Alessia in the 1st Era during her conflict with the Daedra-worshiping Ayleids. Included are a mace and sword enchanted to inflict fire-damage. Pelinal used this equipment to commit near-genocide against the Ayleids.
  • A Home Owner Is You: In every main-series game starting with Daggerfall, the player has the option to purchase or build homes. It is also possible to simply take over an abandoned dwelling, or kill the former owner and make it your own. After the series' 3D leap with Morrowind, they also offer plenty of opportunity to become an Interior Designer, mostly by displaying your questing treasures and turning it into your own Superhero Trophy Shelf.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Zenithar, the Aedric Divine God of Work and Commerce, preaches that this is the type of person to be in business, and that the path to peace and prosperity is through earnest work and honest profit. He's described by his followers as the one most in-touch with mortal affairs, and is also described as the "god who will always win", as he makes it so he stands to gain from any action.
  • Honor Among Thieves: Believed and actively practiced by the Thieves' Guild throughout the series. A book written by a member outlining the Guild's ideals and rules is actually called "Honor Among Thieves."
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • The Proud Warrior Race Nords place a high value on honor in their culture, which can, of course, lead to these issues. For instance, one of the core causes of the 4th Era Skyrim Civil War is that the secessionist Stormcloaks believe that the Empire sacrificed their honor and dignity by accepting the terms of the White-Gold Concordant with the Aldmeri Dominion to end the Great War, particularly the provision outlawing Talos worship. (Talos is one of the most popular deities in modern Nord religion.) On the other hand, Imperial loyalists among the Nords accept that the Empire (which was founded by Talos) has fallen on hard times, but believe that real honor means never abandoning an ally just because the going's gotten tough. Additionally, the Empire hasn't really bothered to even enforce those bans. Further, the Stormcloaks are painted as short-sighted in starting the Civil War, as both sides recognize that a second Great War with the Dominion is inevitable. Loyalists believe that a united Skyrim backing the Empire gives them the best chance of victory, while the Stormcloaks feel that a united Skyrim on its own has the best chance without being bogged down by the declining Empire.
    • Throughout the series, this is a trait of some of the more intelligent varieties of lesser Daedra, including the Dremora and Golden Saints. Both are Proud Warrior Races with arrogance and superiority toward mortals as associated traits. They don't always think things through and prefer to attack issues head-on, which, despite their power, isn't always the best course of action.
    • Dragons have an extreme sense of honor that guides their every action. A real dragon in a losing fight is expected to Face Death with Dignity and keep fighting to the bitter end, and will also always respond to challenges, even if they're clearly being led into a trap. Justified, as dragons can only be permanently killed when another Dragon (or Dragonborn) absorbs their souls, so they can afford to be a bit reckless.
  • Hope Bringer: The Snow Prince was one for the Falmer (Snow Elves) in their seemingly Hopeless War against the invading Atmorans (Precursors of the modern Nords), who were attempting to to outright drive the Falmer to extinction. After nearly wiping them out on the mainland, the Atmorans pursued the remaining Falmer to the barren, frozen island of Solstheim. During the Falmer's Last Stand at the Battle of the Moesring, the Snow Prince single-handedly turned the tide of the battle, killing many prominent Atmoran heroes in the process. His very presence inspired the Falmer to turn the battle from a sure rout into a near-victory, but he fell during the battle. His death was what convinced many Falmer to turn to the Dwemer for help against the Nords, and the state of the modern Falmer shows just how that turned out...
  • The Horde:
    • This is a common depiction of the Nords by their enemies (especially the races of Mer, who have been at constant odds with the Nords since time immemorial), along with being a Barbarian Tribe. The truth is somewhere in the middle, however, as the Nords do love to battle and can be viewed as uncultured by the Crystal Spires and Togas Altmer or Ancient Rome-inspired Imperials, but they are also lovers of music and mead with a strong bardic tradition and a deeply spiritual and traditional people with a strong sense of honor (too strong, in some cases). The Nords themselves don't seem particularly offended by this image and are even known to play it up for intimidation.
    • The ancient Atmorans, ancestors to the Nords, also fit the trope. It is said that they had no knowledge of agriculture and survived off of hunting, a way of life which likely encouraged their ceaseless warfare. They also did not have a written language until they came to Tamriel (where they adopted one from the elves, blending it with Atmoran language principles). From the perspective of the Elves (who settled Tamriel long before the Atmorans cross the sea), the Atmorans really were illiterate, elf-hating barbarians who swept in from their frozen homeland hell bent to Rape, Pillage, and Burn everything the Elves had built.
    • While normally Gentle Giant Noble Savages who lead solitary (or small groups at most), nomadic lives herding their mammoths, the Giants have been known to form into clans numbering in the hundreds at different points throughout history. The ancient Giant Clan led by Sinmur the Terrible was one such example. Sinmur led an army of hundreds of Giants against the forces of the Atmoran Ysgramor and his 500 Companions. Both sides suffered massive casualties, but the war ended when Ysgramor personally slew Sinmur.
  • Horn Attack:
    • During the Alessian Revolt against the Ayleids, the Divines themselves sent aid to the revolting Nedic people under Queen Alessia. In particular was the Aedric demi-god Morihaus, the "winged man-bull". Going with his "man-bull" theme, his favored style of combat was to gore enemies with his horns. When Alessia's divine champion, Pelinal Whitestrake, was cut to pieces after his battle with Umaril the Unfeathered (Big Bad leader of the Ayleids), Morihaus scared off the remaining Ayleids when he "shook the whole of the tower with mighty bashing from his horns." The tower in question was the massive White-Gold tower that now stands as the Imperial Palace in the Imperial City.
    • Minotaurs, said to be the result of Alessia's coupling with Morihaus as part of their Divine Date, are massive half-man half-bulls. They are known to use their horns in combat, which are hard and sharp enough to rend even the toughest armor.
  • Horned Humanoid:
    • Several of the Daedric Princes are known to have horns in their most common humanoid forms, including Hircine, Clavicus Vile, Mehrunes Dagon, and Molag Bal. Specifics are available on the trope page.
    • Numerous forms of humanoid lesser Daedra possess horns. These include the Dremora, Xivilai, Ogrim, Herne, and Skaafin.
    • The Frost Giants of Skyrim and Solstheim are roughly the same size and build of standard Giants, but have white fur, five eyes, and two long, curved horns on their heads.
  • Horny Devils: A trait of Daedric/Dark Seducers, a feminine form of lesser Daedra in service to Sheogorath.
  • Horny Vikings:
    • The Nords, a brawny race of Men with a Proud Warrior Culture who hail from the frigid northern province of Skyrim, are the Viking expies of the ES universe. However, much like the real life Vikings, they Subvert and Deconstruct this trope as often as they Play It Straight. To note:
      • To the other races of Tamriel, especially the races of Mer (Elves) who have warred with the Nords (and their ancestors) since time immemorial, the Nords play the trope entirely straight. They are viewed as uncultured, often drunken, brute-strength warriors who Do Not Like Magic and gleefully Rape, Pillage, and Burn whenever they get the chance. It is not unheard of for the Nords to play up this image when dealing with other races for the sake of intimidation. Additionally, the Nords themselves have Blood Knight tendencies, will put Honor Before Reason, and seek to enter Sovngarde (a Valhalla expy) when they die. Aesthetically, the Nords also play this trope straight, complete with the famous Viking horned helmets present in various fashions.
      • Despite this, the Nords also Downplay, Subvert, and Deconstruct the trope with elements of their culture. Skyrim in particular, with it being set in the Nordic homeland, is quite dedicated to showing that the Nords do not play this trope straight. It shows them to be a thoroughly civilized Proud Warrior Race with great reverence for their gods (and is in fact the catalyst for the game's civil war), who have a strong bardic element with feasting, family, and tradition just as important to their culture as fighting. Those Nords who do play the trope straight are shown to be criminal elements on the fringes of their society and are actively loathed by their kinsmen for giving Nords a bad name to outsiders.
    • In the backstory, the Nedes (ancestors to most of the modern races of Men) are said to be this. Or, at least, that is the claim made by the Septim Empire's propaganda. Other sources state that they probably weren't from Atmora (where the ancestors of the Nords are said to hail from), instead being one of Tamriel's many indigenous human tribes (or the collective name for these tribes). Additionally, from the elements of their culture we get to see from various sources, they were closer to pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures along with elements of the early Chinese Empire. (These elements survived in their Nibenese Imperial descendants at least until the 3rd Era.) The whole bit about them being classic "Horny Vikings" like the Nords is believed to be Blatant Lies designed to make the mighty Nords more accepting of the Cyrodiilic Empire.
    • The actual ancient Atmorans, who migrated from the frozen northernmost continent of Atmora to Skyrim, played this quite straight and passed (at least) the aesthetic on to their Nord descendants. The Atmorans were closer to a Barbarian Tribe with proto-Viking elements - they never discovered agriculture and did not have a written language, but were still master shipbuilders and sailors, and it took an army of a mere 500 of their greatest warriors to topple the civilization of the Falmer (Snow Elves) and create a lasting foothold for mankind on Tamriel.
  • Horror Hunger:
    • The various lycanthropes, werewolf or otherwise, are magically cursed to hunt down man or mer monthly, if not nightly, or be at the edge of death when the transformation ends in the morning. Unusual for this trope, there's no actual eating involved in the game's canon; this particular form of Horror Hunger is due to the lycanthropy being a "gift" provided by the Daedra Hircine, whose sphere is the hunt.
    • Many Vampire bloodlines can pass as non-Vampires as long as they feed regularly. However, the longer a Vampire goes without feeding, the more monstrous they become in both appearance and temperament, until the point that they go irrevocably insane and feral. These feral Vampires are referred to as "Bloodfiends."
    • The Ideal Masters are immortal beings who were once powerful mortal sorcerers during the Merethic Era. After finding their mortal forms to be too weak and limiting, they entered Oblivion as beings of pure energy and settled an area of "chaotic creatia", forming the Soul Cairn. The Ideal Masters are most infamous for their trafficking in souls, especially "Black" sapient souls. All souls trapped in soul gems end up in the Soul Cairn and are considered property of the Ideal Masters. They are desperate to fill the Soul Cairn up with more souls, often making deals with mortals to give them more. While the Ideal Masters tend not to take physical forms, they can giant soul gem forms within the Soul Cairn, in which they can drain the souls from any mortals who get too close.
  • Horse of a Different Color:
    • There exist 17 known sub-species of Khajiit dictated by the phases of Nirn's two moons under which they were born. The largest of these sub-species, the Senche and Senche-raht, can be as tall as two men and weigh upward of four tons. Built like apes and moving as quadrupeds, they allow their kin to ride them in battle. Imperial Legion troopers have nicknamed them "battle cats" as a result.
    • Rieklings (a race of diminutive blue-skinned humanoids native to Solstheim) tame Tusked Bristlebacks (Solstheim's native wild boars) to use as mounts and as Beasts Of Battle.
    • The Maormer (Sea Elves) are said to tame and use sea serpents in this fashion.
    • The Dunmer of Morrowind have long used the native Silt Striders, giant flea-like insects, for transportation of both passengers and cargo.
  • Hot God:
    • Dibella, the Aedric Divine Goddess of Beauty, logically plays it straight. She is typically depicted as a voluptuous and attractive female.
    • Almalexia, the Dunmeri Tribunal deity, is described as one of the most beautiful beings on Nirn in-universe. She also tends to wear Stripperific outfits and Vapor Wear, which do not hurt her case.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action:
    • There are 17 sub-breeds of the Khajiit, with the phases of the moons determining which one they will become. At birth they're almost indistinguishable from plain old regular kittens but what they will become as adults becomes obvious fairly quickly. These sub-breeds can supposedly range in size from house cats, to a number of variations of humanoid Cat Folk, to outright tigers large enough to be ridden as steeds in battle. Additionally, the offspring any pairing produces has nothing to do with the parent subspecies, but rather, the phases of the moons under which they are born.
    • Several in-game books and backstory details state that each race of Men (Imperial, Breton, Redguard, Nord) and Mer ("Elves" - Altmer, Dunmer, Bosmer, Orsimer) can indeed interbreed, with the race of the offspring being virtually identical to the mother (averting All Genes Are Codominant) with a few of the father's traits potentially sprinkled in.note  These races can vary greatly in size and appearance. There are reports of Giants and Ogres interbreeding and producing offspring with the other races of Tamriel, of whom even the largest are at most half the size of an average Giant or Ogre.
    • While there are no examples of offspring being produced by a Khajiit pairing with a race of Man or Mer, there are several examples of those races at least having sex with a Khajiit. Like real-life cats, male Khajiit have spines on their penises, which obviously make the act extremely uncomfortable for a female. The original version of The Real Barenziah in Daggerfall has a (very NSFW) scene with a Khajiit and the titular Dunmer Lost Orphaned Royalty where this detail comes up. The book appears in the later games, but said scene is unsurprisingly censored (both in-game and in-universe). Additionally, in Morrowind, there is an optional Romance Sidequest line with a female Khajiit named Ahnassi, though the relationship is only implied. Morrowind also has an easily missable throw-away line hinting at this trope: in Suran, there is the "House of Earthly Delights," which is essentially a strip club. If the Player Character is a male Khajiit, one of the strippers will comment "Not another Khajiit. I'm still smarting from the last one."
    • One race that is not believed to be able to interbreed with the others are the egg-laying Argonians. However, that doesn't stop sex from happening. "The Lusty Argonian Maid" is a book/play in which an Imperial male and the titular Argonian maid treat the subject from a... different standpoint. ("Polish my spear" indeed...) A sequel and a Gender Flipped version ("The Sultry Argonian Bard") have also appeared.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: By the 4th Era, the Dark Brotherhood and the Skyrim branch of the Thieves' Guild are both in dire straights after having once been much more influential.
  • Hub City: Each game typically has at least one city which is much more massive than any other in the game, offers the greatest number of services, and typically plays an important part in main quest. Specific examples by game are available on the trope page.
  • Hufflepuff House: The continent and inhabitants of Akavir. Every game to date in the series has taken place on the continent of Tamriel, with Akavir lying far to the east. Though Akavir has been mentioned in historical contexts and in in-game books throughout the series, no living member of the four known Akaviri races has appeared in any game to date.
  • Hulk Speak: Scamps are the weakest and smallest known form of lesser Daedra, as well as the least intelligent of the sentient Daedra. Scamps who are able to speak Tamriellic tend to do so in this fashion, sometimes crossing over with You No Take Candle.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: There is some evidence that the Altmer want to be completely incomprehensible to humans, and that the fact that they are not is evidence of this trope to them. (During Morrowind development, it was suggested that Altmer actually be written as completely incomprehensible to humans, but the idea was dropped.) That said, their culture does still have some bizarre moral components and beliefs, such as the mortal world being a prison for their immortal souls and that seeking to undo creation is a noble cause.
  • Human Pincushion: Starting with Oblivion, characters can be turned into human pincushions with literally dozens of arrows sticking out of them. If their health is high enough, they can keep going. If this happens to the player character, some of those arrows show up in their Player Inventory, where they can be equipped and fired back.
  • Human Popsicle:
    • The Kamal, a race of "snow demons" native to the yet-unseen in the series continent of Akavir, are said to freeze every winter and thaw out every spring. When they thaw out, they attack the Tang Mo, an Akaviri race of "monkey folk" who always successfully defend themselves. The one time the Kamal broke this Vicious Cycle was to attack Tamriel (the land where all of the ES games have taken place to date) and that attack failed as well.
    • This is said to be the fate of the Atmorans, natives of Nirn's northernmost continent of Atmora. In the 1st Era, many migrated from the slowly freezing-over Atmora to Skyrim in the north of Tamriel. After toppling the civilization of the Falmer (Snow Elves) and nearly driving them to extinction, the Atmorans settled and interbred with Tamriel's native race of men, the Nedes, making them the ancestors of the modern Nords. Expeditions to Atmora in the 2nd and 3rd Eras found it to be nothing more than a frozen wasteland with no signs of intelligent life. According to the Dunmeri Physical God Vivec in his Lessons of Vivec book series, he traveled there with Lord Nerevar and "found nothing but frozen bearded kings".
  • Human Sacrifice:
    • Unsurprisingly involved in rituals to summon and appease some of the more malevolent Daedric Princes, including Boethiah and Molag Bal.
    • The now-extinct Ayleids of Cyrodiil enslaved the Nedes (ancestors to most of the modern races of Men) and inflicted vile tortures upon them. In some cases, as mentioned in the Adabal-a, they sacrificed their slaves to appease their various deities.
    • Hagravens, a species of flightless harpy who were once mortal women that performed a ritual to trade in their humanity for access to powerful magic. A human sacrificenote  is required for the ritual to even become a Hagraven, and Hagravens serve as Evil Matriarchs to Reachmen clans as well as generally being an Enemy to All Living Things. Naturally, they have feathers, beak-like noses, and talons for fingers and toes.
    • One known cure for Lycanthropy requires bringing a human sacrifice to the Glenmoril witches coven. The witches will kill the sacrifice, infect the sacrifice's flesh with the disease, and the resurrect the sacrifice. The original Lycanthrope must then kill the sacrifice a second time, which will also permanently destroy their inner beast.
  • Humans Are Average:
    • Averted by the Nords, Redguard, and Bretons who are tilted toward physical abilities (in the case of the two former) and the magical abilities (in the case of the latter).
    • The Imperials play it straight as the closest to a Jack-of-All-Stats among the races of men (and in competition with the Dunmer for the most balanced overall). Imperials are outclassed in each skill category (combat, magic, stealth) by at least 2-3 other races each, but also lack the deficiencies of those races. The Imperials have managed to forge three empires from their homeland of Cyrodiil (under the Alessian, Reman, and Septim dynasties) thanks to their skills in leadership, diplomacy, mercantilism, and by having a greater focus on tactics and collective martial prowess, making them the soldiers to the Nord/Redguard warriors. In terms of gameplay, they are a Boring, but Practical race to play as, making them a very diverse and accessible race. Their bonuses make them good diplomat-style characters who can back that up with solid cross-class combat ability.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The races of Mer, especially the Altmer, believe this about the races of Men. They see Men as having pitifully short lives filled with violence and savagery who disrupt everything the elves try to achieve. According to Altmeri religious beliefs, the creation of Mundus (the mortal world) was seen as an act of malevolence as it forced them to experience mortal suffering, loss, and death while removing their spirits from a place of pre-creation divinity. While most are content to toil in this mortal "prison" with "more limitations than not," some extremists, like the Thalmor, actively seek to undo creation to return to that state of pre-creation divinity. However, they believe that not just the existence of mankind, but the existence of the possibility of mankind keeps them trapped in Mundus. (According to their beliefs, mankind were made up from the "weakest souls" by the "dead" creator god Lorkhan to spread Sithis (chaos) "into every corner," ensuring that there could never again be the "stasis" of pre-creation.)
  • Humans Are Diplomats: This is one of the hats of the Imperial race, who have forged three empires throughout history that have spanned much or all of Tamriel. They are known to be skilled diplomats (showing in-game as bonuses to the Speechcraft skill and/or racial abilities that act as Calm or Command spells). While the strength of their legions obviously played a large part in forging their empires, it is their ability as diplomats that has kept these empires together.
  • Humans Are Flawed:
    • This is the opinion of the Daedra (both the Daedric Princes and lesser Daedra) toward mortals. They perceive mortals as weak, foolish, and doomed from birth. What they cannot understand is why, despite knowing their lives are finite, mortals do not despair.
    • The Magna-Ge, aka "Star Orphans", are et'Ada ("original spirits") who fled during the creation of Mundus (the mortal plane) along with their "father" Magnus after realizing the sacrifices it would take to create. They too have a rather low opinion of mortals, calling them "M-Null", while believing they are "affected by tainted magic" and owe their growth and prosperity to greater beings.
    • In terms of mankind specifically, this is the opinion of the races of Mer along with thinking that Humans Are Bastards. To the elves, mankind lives pitifully short lives filled with violence and savagery. Their version of the Creation Myth even states that mankind was specifically created out of the "weakest souls" to be bastards by a Jerkass God.
  • Humans Are Leaders: While there are several races of Men, they (mostly) more closely fit the Humans Are Warriors mold. The exception are the aptly-named Imperials, who have been at the epicenter of Tamrielic politics since St. Alessia, and have founded three empires (under the Alessian, Reman, and Septim dynasties) from their home of Cyrodiil. While their Imperial Legions obviously play a large part in forging their empires, it is their ability as leaders, diplomats, and merchants that keep their empires together. At times in their various dynasties, they've had members of the other races (most notably Nords, Bretons, and even one prominent Dunmer) in the position of Emperor (or Empress) while successfully maintaining their empires. While other races have, throughout history, also successfully taken over large parts of Tamriel, none have been as successful in ruling it as the various Cyrodiilic Empires. In-game, this trait typically manifests as bonuses to the Speechcraft skill and/or racial abilities that act as Calm or Command spells.
  • Humans Are Smelly: The Imga, an ape-like species native to Valenwood who hold the Altmer in high regard and have significant Fantastic Racism toward humans, claim that this is the case. They wear Pimped Out Capes at all times, with one perfumed corner which they hold over their noses when humans are around.
  • Humans Are Special:
    • Though lacking the longer lifespans and natural talents in various types of magic inherent in the races of Mer (Elves), it has been the races of Men who have forged four empires (one by the Nords, three by the Imperials) which dominated Tamriel for the better part of the past 3000 or so years.
    • It helps that the races of Men, especially the Nords and Imperials, seem to have the favor of the Divines, as well as the spirit of Lorkhan/Shezzar/Shor and, more recently, Talos, who have intervened directly on their behalf (subtly or otherwise) in their conflicts with the Elves through the ages. Perhaps the clearest example comes from the 1st Era Slave Revolt of the Nedes (human ancestors of most of the modern races of Men) under the leadership of St. Alessia. The Nedes were infamously enslaved by the Ayleids (Wild Elves) of Cyrodiil, who were needlessly vile in their torturing of the Nedes. Alessia, an escaped slave, prayed to the Aedra for aid against the Daedra worshiping Ayleids, and the Aedra who would go on to become the Eight Divines responded, sending aid (directly and indirectly) to the Nedes in their revolt that would, eventually, drive the Ayleids to extinction as a unique race. In the words of one of their own, the Divines are said to "belove" the races of Men in particular, who find "strength-in-weakness" in their mortal forms (as opposed to most of the Elves who feel that the mortal world is a prison) and who live with passion and hope despite always being doomed to death in the end.
    • The Altmer call Stendarr, the Aedric Divine God of Mercy and Justice, an "apologist for Men", and Stendarr has intervened directly on behalf of mankind when they are threatened. Some Altmeri religious sects do not consider him worthy of veneration for this reason.
  • Humans Are Warriors:
    • Played straight by the Nords, Redguards, and Imperials, though the Imperials tilt more toward the soldier side of things. Though each has different specialties in combat, each makes for some of the greatest warriors/soldiers in Tamriel.
    • The only "human" race which doesn't obviously qualify are the Bretons of High Rock, an Uneven Hybrid race created via an ancient eugenics experiment by breeding Direnni Altmer with their human slaves (modern Bretons are solidly human with a small bit of elven ancestry). The result is a Witch Species that is second only to the Altmer themselves in terms of natural magical prowess, particularly as Magic Knights, but which also has Anti-Magic traits in their blood that make them great Mage Killers. Though they lack some of the physical combatant qualities of their human cousins, they still have a strong chivalric tradition with various knightly orders
  • Humans Are White:
    • Subtly played with. Of the four races of "humans" in Tamriel, three (Imperials, Bretons, Nords) are primarily white.note  The Redguards are the fourth human race, and they are dark-skinned with their culture being a mish-mash of Arabs, North Africans, and even a little Japanese influence. However, the Redguards have a different origin (they come from the now-lost continent of Yokuda) and have a very different pantheon/belief system that is as alien to the other human races (who all likely share a common ancestor and have similar belief systems) as the various races of Elves.
    • The few descriptions of the supposedly extinct (or absorbed by the Tsaesci) Men of Akavir describe their physical appearance as similar to that of real life east Asians, another aversion if true.
  • Human Subspecies: The four races of Men in Tamriel are all different enough to have unique racial abilities and innate proficiency in certain skills. Three (the Nords, Imperials, and Bretons) all share a common ancestor in the Nedes, one of the indigenous human tribes (or a collective name for those tribes) of Tamriel. Additionally, the races of Men and Mer (Elves) also share a common ancestor even further back in history known as the Ehlnofey. Each race of Men and Mer can interbreed and produce viable offspring, which almost entirely takes after the mother, averting All Genes Are Codominant.
  • Humongous Mecha:
    • The Dwemer crafted Numidium is a Reality Warping example prominent in the backstory, and then as a major plot point in Daggerfall. Tiber Septim used it to complete his conquest of Tamriel, something he likely would not have been able to do without it. It was so massive and so powerful that merely activating it warped time and reality, right up to affecting even Akatosh himself. Here is a size comparison, with the tiny specks at the bottom being full-sized people.
    • The Dwemer in general were fond of constructing mecha ranging from human-sized to the humongous variety. Parts of unfinished giant mechas can be found in their ruins, often guarded by smaller SteamPunk mechas.
    • In C0DA, an Obscure Text written by former series developer Michael Kirkbride who still does some freelance work for the series, Numidium makes a comeback as the primary obstacle, having successfully destroyed the world and unbound time.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted:
    • Throughout the series, Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt, has this as part of his modus operandi. Though Hunting the Most Dangerous Game as an Egomaniac Hunter is what his "sphere" is all about, he does not consider it a true hunt unless the prey has a sporting chance to do this. This is best exemplified in Morrowind's Bloodmoon expansion, where he serves as the Big Bad and Final Boss of the end game "hunt." After surviving his hunting dogs (read:werewolves) and your fellow competitors in the hunt, you'll face Hircine himself. Because a Daedric Prince at full power would easily crush any mortal, he gives you the choice of one of his three weaker "aspects" to fight to give you a sporting chance. If he defeats you, he wins. If you defeat him, he still wins, because what greater expression of this trope (which is a big part of his sphere as a Daedric Prince) is there than that?
    • Hircine's servants, the Werebeasts, especially his Werewolves, embody the idea of this trope. At night, they are dangerous monsters and hunt mortals while they have the advantage. During the day, however, they revert to their own weaker mortal forms and must flee from the mortals they were just preying on.
  • Hunter of Monsters:
    • Those who are Dragonborn are considered the ultimate dragon slayers. According to lore, the Dragonborn are sent by Akatosh for the sole purpose of acting as a natural predator to dragons.
    • St. Jiub earned his fame by driving Morrowind's much hated Cliff Racers to eradication. He claims to have done so as a form of atonement for his sordid past.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game:
    • Throughout the series, the were-creatures, especially werewolves, exemplify this trait. The disease which causes the transformation was created by the Daedric Prince of the Hunt, Hircine, and the were-creatures are his minions. For most were-creatures, this is an Involuntary Transformation at nightfall, with the exact frequency varying depending on the particular strain of the disease. They are overcome with an intense bloodlust and typically must hunt and kill at least one sentient being while transformed. If they fail to do so, they will return to their original form in an extremely weakened state.
    • This is a trait of the Dremora, an intelligent race of lesser Daedra who are most commonly found in the service of Mehrunes Dagon as his Legions of Hell. Every Dremora sees himself as a huntsman, with puny mortals as his prey.
  • Hybrid Overkill Avoidance: Throughout the series, Vampirism and Lycanthropy are both diseases which can be spread like any other. However, each makes you immune to all other diseases, making them mutually exclusive. (Barring cheats or exploits, of course.)
  • Hybrid Power:
    • Averted over the course of a single generation, as interbreeding between the races results in offspring who almost entirely take after the mother. For example, the child of an Altmer father and Nord mother won't come out as a mixed Magic Knight, but will be 99.9% Nord in appearance and abilities with the the chance of having a slight point to his ears or perhaps a slight change to his complexion.
    • Over the course of many generations however, this is played straight. Fore example, the Bretons were born of a eugenics program which mated the Direnni Altmer of High Rock with the Nedes, one of Tamriel's indigenous human tribes (or a collective name for those tribes) who are the common ancestors of most of the modern races of men (except for the Redguards). As a result, the Bretons have a greater natural magical prowess than their fellow races of men, while having hardier constitutions (especially in terms of inherent magical defenses) than their Altmeri ancestors. The Bretons make for exceptional Mage Killer Magic Knights.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Played straight throughout the series, where it is possible to gulp down hundreds of pounds of food/alchemical ingredients and gallons worth of drinks/potions with no ill effect (unless the item you are eating is designed to have an ill effect, as certain items like some fungi are meant to be brewed into poisons instead). This is actually beneficial for Level Grinding your Alchemy skill, with the in-universe justification that sampling the ingredients increases your knowledge of their effects once brewed into a potion. In addition to actual food and beverages, the series, at various points, allows you to eat precious gemstones, metal ores, chunks of scrap metal, raw Organ Drops, and otherworldly substances such as Ectoplasm, vampire dust, and Daedric body parts. Yum!
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick:
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: The only real limit on what you can carry is your "Encumbrance" limit, determined by your Strength attribute (and Health in Skyrim). You can have an infinite number of items on your person (including numerous large weapons, sets of armor, thousands of arrows, enough food to feed an army, enough books to fill a library, gallons of potions, literally millions of gold coins, etc.) and none of it will show unless you specifically equip them. (Essentially, your inventory is a Bag of Holding minus the "Bag" itself.) As long as the combined weight of the items is below your Encumbrance limit, you can move around without issue. (And Skyrim changes the system so that you can't run while over-encumbered, but you can still walk. You can carry literally billions of tons of items and move, albeit it at a snail's pace.)
  • Hyperspace Mallet:
    • Prior to Oblivion, equipped items do not appear on character models until they are drawn. This can lead to a seemingly unarmed character pulling a gigantic warhammer from thin air over his shoulder upon being agro'd.
    • A serious example are the Bound Weapon/Armor spells available throughout the series. Crossing over with Spontaneous Weapon Creation, the spell essentially uses magic to create a temporary Spectral Weapon Copy out of thin air. (The Bound item usually has no weight and shares its stats with Daedric level equipment, typically the most powerful generic crafting material available in the series.)
  • Hypocrite: The Dunmer were frequent hypocrites throughout their history. They were xenophobic and didn't like outlanders settling in Morrowind, but they had no problem invading other nations in order to kidnap their inhabitants as slaves. Additionally, the Tribunal Temple outlawed necromancy and made it punishable by death despite it being legal (with certain limitations) elsewhere in the Empire. However, the Temple faithful would summon the spirits of their ancestors or reanimate their corpses to serve as guards for their tombs and other holy sites. This was considered a holy act in reverence of their ancestors, with any other forms of necromancy being a sacrilege. However, at the beginning of the 4th Era, their culture went into a sharp decline and was dealt a devastating blow when the Ministry of Truth crashed down causing Red Mountain to erupt which destroyed most of Vvardenfell and rendered much of Morrowind uninhabitable due to choking ash. Then, one of their former slave races (the Argonians) invaded and captured much of what was left of habitable Morrowind. The Dunmer have paid for their hypocrisy and then some, now scattered with many of them settling on the frozen, barren island of Solstheim and in Skyrim, where they are treated as second-class citizens (at best) by the native Nords.


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