- "I am a part of you, little mortal. I am a shadow in your subconscious, a blemish on your fragile little psyche. You know me. You just don't know it ... You can call me Ann Marie. But only if you're partial to being flayed alive and having an angry immortal skip rope with your entrails. If not, then call me Sheogorath, Daedric Prince of Madness. Charmed." — Sheogorath
Sheogorath is the Daedric Prince of Madness, Fourth Corner of the House of Troubles, Lord of the Never-There, and Sovereign of the Shivering Isles.[nb 1] His motives are said to be unknowable. He is sometimes referred to as the Mad Star, the Mad Lord, the Mad One, and the Mad God among other things. His realm, best known as the Shivering Isles, has also been called the Madhouse. It's believed that those who go there lose their sanity forever.[nb 2] Of course, only the Mad God himself may decide who has the privilege to enter. The Golden Saints, or Aureals, and Dark Seducers, or Mazken, are his servants. The Mad God typically manifests on Nirn as a seemingly harmless, well-dressed man often carrying a cane, a guise so prevalent it has actually been coined "Gentleman With a Cane". Worship of Sheogorath is widespread in Tamriel, but historically, he has been especially revered in Morrowind and Elsweyr.
- "A change is coming. Everything changes. Even Daedric Princes. Especially Daedric Princes."
Sheogorath was one of four Daedric Princes first mentioned in written history. They say he is the "Sithis-shaped hole" of the world brought into being when Lorkhan's divine spark was removed. One superstition is to avoid thunderstorms, for they belong to Sheogorath.[nb 3] Another is that madmen are driven to that state by speaking with Sheogorath, who gives them advice and information which is beyond their capacity to know. History is littered with stories of worshippers of Sheogorath doing great harm to themselves and others, as well as mortals succumbing to madness thanks to his efforts and those of other daedra. Such people are said to be "touched by Sheogorath", or "Sheogorath-kissed".
The stories of Sheogorath
Legends of Sheogorath abound. New Sheoth, the divided capital of the Shivering Isles, is said to have been founded at his whim. Myths of Sheogorath is an anthology of tales: "Sheogorath Invents Music" (from the body parts of a young woman), "Sheogorath and King Lyandir" (who was killed by his deranged son after his entire kingdom fell to madness), and "The Contest of Wills" (which Sheogorath wins without even trying). Fall of Vitharn tells the tale of a Count in the Shivering Isles who disrespected Sheogorath, and who Sheogorath rewarded with an overabundance of madness in his family, leading to their demise. 16 Accords of Madness are stories of Sheogorath's encounters and inevitable triumphs over other Daedric Princes, such as besting Hircine in a duel of champion beasts (by letting Hircine's beast run itself to death), winning a wager with Vaermina (by doing nothing), and claiming the soul of an Orc who had murdered one of his followers (by letting Malacath do the work and kill the Orc, who turned out to be Malacath's own son). The general theme is that he lets his opponents defeat themselves, remaining impervious and yet doing relatively little unless he's in a bout of (often violent) creativity.[nb 4]
The Blessings of Sheogorath, a prayer among Sheogorath worshippers, asserts that without Sheogorath, "all Thought would be linear and all Feeling would be fleeting". They praise him because it is Sheogorath "who tricks us when we are foolish, punishes us when we are wrong, tortures us when we are unmindful, and loves us in our imperfection".
The Chimer revered Sheogorath in their ancient ancestral worship. However, when the Tribunal Temple took power in Morrowind, Sheogorath, as well as Mehrunes Dagon, Malacath, and Molag Bal, became known as one of the "Four Corners of the House of Troubles" to the Dunmer. He is said to have rebelled against the Tribunal, and this is why worship of Sheogorath became punishable by death.[nb 5] Nevertheless, Vivec apparently made an agreement with Sheogorath to protect his people from madness, an agreement the Dunmer must occasionally renew by performing the Pilgrimages of the Four Corners. Sheogorath's shrines were abandoned, but many have remained standing into modern times. Legends say Daedra Lords such as Sheogorath built the great shrines themselves because mortals could not build anything grand enough to suit them.
Dunmer believe Sheogorath tests them for psychological weakness. In many legends he is called upon by one Dunmer faction against another, though whether he betrays or helps those who call him proves unpredictable. They often associate him with the fear other races have of them, especially those who might prove useful allies. Though nascent for thousands of years in Morrowind, Sheogorath worship began picking up again following the Armistice with the Empire, and his shrines began receiving more visitors as more and more Dunmer fell into "dark worship".
It is written that when he rebelled against the Tribunal, Sheogorath tricked the moon Baar Dau, inspiring it to hurl itself at the city of Vivec, and justified his actions by claiming Vivec was built in mockery of the heavens. Vivec is then said to have frozen Baar Dau in its descent with one gesture; the moon then swore itself to the Tribunal's service forever. After the Nerevarine released the heart of Lorkhan and Vivec disappeared, Baar Dau eventually resumed its descent, destroying Vivec City and instigating the disasters of the Red Year.
- "The Greymarch comes, and Jyggalag walks. Or runs. Never skips, sidles, or struts. Mostly, he just destroys everything around him."
Sheogorath was, in fact, Jyggalag, the Daedric Prince of Order. The story goes that Jyggalag had, in times beyond memory, grown in power so much that the other Daedric princes grew jealous and fearful. They cursed Jyggalag to live as Sheogorath, the incarnation of the thing he hated most. At the end of every Era, Jyggalag was allowed to take on his true form once again, and reconquer his lands, an event known as the Greymarch. After that, however, he would be transformed back into Sheogorath, and Sheogorath would spread madness upon his lands once more.
The Champion of Cyrodiil reportedly ended the cycle by defeating Jyggalag during the Greymarch at the end of the Third Era. This released Jyggalag from his curse, allowing him to remain in his true form instead of transforming back into Sheogorath. After defeating Jyggalag, the mortal Champion of Cyrodiil became Sheogorath. The "Gentleman With a Cane" continues to stroll through Tamriel, and, as always, one can never be sure what his visits will bring.
- "Take this trinket of mine. Perhaps it will serve you well. Or look lovely on your corpse."
The Folium Discognitum is a Daedric artifact created by Sheogorath. It is a tome of knowledge, filled with insights compiled from the ramblings of madmen. The pages bear near incomprehensible scrawls that move to avoid your gaze when read. The power obtained from reading these insights is the equivalent of absorbing at least six skyshards.
Sheogorath has been known to offer the tome to mortals as part of a deal. Arch-Mage Shalidor, ever hungry for knowledge, traded the island of Eyevea for the tome in the First Era. He went on to regret the deal, and in 2E 582 he returned to Tamriel to win back Eyevea from Sheogorath. Valaste, the Mages Guild's Master of Incunabula who aided Shalidor in his attempt, was slowly driven mad by Sheogorath. When the time came to reclaim the island, the Mad God gave an adept of the guild the choice to either restore Valaste's sanity, or take the Folium and allow Valaste to remain in the Shivering Isles for eternity. It is unknown which option was taken.
Fork of Horripilation
The Fork of Horripilation is a cursed artifact created by the Daedric Prince Sheogorath, who refers to it affectionately as Forky. In appearance and in function, it is a mundane iron fork. However, it is imbued with an enchantment which excites and synergizes magicka around it, and can produce dramatic results when held by certain people. Sheogorath is fond of forcing mortals to use it as a weapon, in which case it curses the wielder with Fork's Wound, a magical effect which stunts the wielder's magicka or drains it completely. The Fork smells lightly of roast beef. It is unknown what relation the fork has to horripilation.
In the Merethic Era, Sheogorath paid a visit to the Dragon Priest Korthor in Vuldngrav, during the time of the Dragon Cult in Skyrim. The Mad God "lost" the Fork during this visit, and Korthor was later entombed in Vuldngrav with it. In 2E 582, Arch-Mage Shalidor and the Soulless One recovered the Fork from Korthor during one of Sheogorath's trials.
In 3E 427, the fork was in the possession of Big Head, a mad Argonian hermit and a worshipper of Sheogorath who lived in a small shack on an island in the Sheogorad region of Morrowind. Big Head was obsessed with forks and spears, which he had filled his hut with. Sheogorath instructed the Nerevarine to kill a giant Bull Netch with the fork. Big Head willingly gave the fork to the Nerevarine, who then killed the Bull Netch and returned the fork to Sheogorath to earn the Prince's favor.
In 3E 433, Sheogorath returned the fork to the Shivering Isles, his Plane of Oblivion. Rumors circulated among the mortal population of the Isles about its return. Big Head entered the Isles in search of the fork, which "sang" to him, and took up residence in Bliss, where he collected a great many forks. The fork was of great importance to both the Heretics and Zealots, two outcast religious factions. The Heretics had obtained possession of the fork and had taken it to Longtooth Camp, near the Gates of Madness on the Mania side of the Isles. However, news of this reached the Zealots, who launched an attack on the Heretic base. The Fork supposedly changed hands several times, with the Zealots bringing it to Hardscrabble Camp, their nearby base in Dementia, only to have it reclaimed by the Heretics. Eventually, Big Head requested the assistance of Sheogorath's Champion, who then learned of its location from the beggar Bolwing. The Champion recovered the fork from the outcasts and returned it to the grateful Big Head.
Spear of Bitter Mercy
According to Reachmen myth, the Daedric Prince Hircine was said to wield the Spear when he took on the aspect of Alrabeg the Hunter. Other legends speak of a Nord hunter named Thane Icehammer, who unknowingly killed several were-creatures while on a hunt. Angered by this, Hircine thrust the Spear into Icehammer's side, where upon the tip broke off and remained lodged inside him. Slowly, the magic of Hircine's Spear corrupted Icehammer's mind and he became bitter and angry. This eventually resulted in him murdering an acolyte of Kyne in a fit of rage, and fleeing to an ancient burial vault near Cragwallow, where upon he was sealed within as punishment.
Over time, the Spear resurfaced and according to some legends it was used by a mighty hero during the fall of the Battlespire. The hero was aided by the Spear in the defeat of Mehrunes Dagon and the recapturing of the Battlespire. Since that time, the Spear of Bitter Mercy has made few appearances within Tamriel. It was last reported to be in the hands of the Nerevarine, who received it as a reward from Sheogorath in 3E 427. The Nerevarine sold it to Torasa Aram, who put it on display in the Mournhold Museum of Artifacts.
Staff of Sheogorath
The Staff of Sheogorath, a powerful Daedric artifact, is the symbol of the Daedric Prince of Madness. It contains the power of the Shivering Isles, and is needed to assume the title of Mad God and sit upon the Throne of Madness. The Staff is the namesake of Sheogorath. In its traditional appearance, the Staff is a simple walking stick, often with an eyeball attached to the top. During each Greymarch, the Staff's power waned and it became a useless twig. This marked the beginning of Sheogorath's transformation into Jyggalag.
Staff of the Everscamp
The Staff of the Everscamp is a Daedric staff associated with Sheogorath. Once the staff is activated by reading its engraved rune, four non-hostile Everscamps appear and follow the staff's bearer. The staff's bearer is no longer able to put down or get rid of the staff. There are only two ways to get rid of the staff: find someone else who is willing to take it, or return to its original location, namely the shrine of Sheogorath in Darkfathom Cave.
The Wabbajack is a Daedric artifact created by the Daedric Prince Sheogorath. It takes the appearance of a Daedric staff, sometimes engraved with angry gaping faces at the top. As befits the Prince of Madness, his artifact is unpredictable in its effects. The staff has the power to transform its target into a completely random creature. This can be helpful to the wielder, turning a fearsome opponent into a docile animal; similarly, it can be detrimental, transforming a relatively weak enemy into a powerful monster. The staff can produce other effects, such as damaging, healing, turning to stone, or instantly killing the target.
An anonymous author wrote about his obtaining of the staff in the book Wabbajack. In his search for the Oghma Infinium, the author was tricked into summoning Sheogorath, believing him to be Hermaeus Mora. After serving the prince, Sheogorath's servant gave him the Wabbajack. Some time in the late First Era, the staff came into the possession of Prince Maleel al-Akir, a formidable Yokudan warrior. In death, Maleel was entombed in the necropolis of Asakala in the Alik'r along with his generals and army. During the Alliance War, the dead of Asakala rose from their graves due to the ongoing conflict in the region. In 2E 582, Arch-Mage Shalidor and the Soulless One recovered the Wabbajack from Maleel, who guarded it fiercely even in undeath. The Soulless One was then commanded to use the staff on denizens of the Shivering Isles as part of Sheogorath's trials.
In the events leading up to the Warp in the West, an unknown agent of the Blades summoned Sheogorath and dispatched a battlemage who had displeased the Prince. In return, the agent was given the Wabbajack from a worshipper of Sheogorath. In 3E 433, Sheogorath was aided by the Champion of Cyrodiil in tormenting the Khajiit settlement of Border Watch in Cyrodiil. The inhabitants were very superstitious, and were driven into a state of frenzy when the Prince simulated their K'sharra Prophecy, said to mark the end of the world. These occurrences were reported in a special edition of the Black Horse Courier newspaper entitled Rain of Burning Dogs!. It is unknown whether this took place before or after the Champion assumed the position of Sheogorath; regardless, the Champion received the Wabbajack from either Sheogorath or Haskill.
In 4E 201, the Last Dragonborn unknowingly entered the mind of the dead Pelagius Septim III, tasked with convincing Sheogorath to return to the Shivering Isles. He agreed to return, but only if the Dragonborn could escape Pelagius' mind. Sheogorath decided to assist the Dragonborn by providing the Wabbajack, along with instructions on how to use it to remedy Pelagius of his insanity. Having completed several challenges and conquering the dead emperor's inner fears, the Dragonborn was able to return to Tamriel, but not before being given the Wabbajack by Sheogorath as a parting gift.
The Shivering Isles
- "Change will preserve us! It is the lifeblood of the Isles. It will move mountains! It will mount movements!"
The Shivering Isles, also called the Madhouse or the Asylums, is the Daedric realm of Sheogorath, Prince of Madness. The realm consists of a main landmass surrounded by a group of smaller islands, the area of which is divided in half: the northern half of these lands is called Mania, and the southern half Dementia. This divide represents Sheogorath's split personality, the "two shades of madness". The isles are inhabited by mortals as well as Daedra, but they have been driven insane.
At the end of the Third Era, a mysterious portal opened on an island in Niben Bay which led to the Isles. The realm was reported to be similar to other societies in Tamriel - but with obvious and glaring exceptions, of course. The mentally ill, bifurcated populous held a range of beliefs about Sheogorath. Some zealots revered him as a living god, while others, labeled heretics, thought he was nothing more than a mortal impostor. Some urged armed uprising, and many committed various deranged acts in attempts to gain his favor.
All that's agreed upon is that the Sovereign of the Shivering Isles is, above all, unpredictable. He has been known to sentence a man to death for the crime of trying to grow a beard. His favorite threat is one written on the back of an Argonian concubine. And at last report, the Lord of Madness was returning from a holiday within the mind of his favorite emperor, Pelagius Septim III.
- For game-specific information, see the Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Shivering Isles, Skyrim, and ESO articles.
- 16 Accords of Madness — Hircine's Tale
- The Blessings of Sheogorath — The 13 Blessings of Sheogorath
- The House of Troubles — Chronicle of the Daedra who decided not to submit to the Tribunal
- Myths of Sheogorath by Mymophonus — Magical myths about the Madgod himself
- Saints and Seducers by Andoche Marie — Sentinels of the Isles: A treatise on Golden Saint / Dark Seducer culture and history within the Shivering Isles
- Varieties of Faith... by Brother Mikhael Karkuxor — An expansive list of the pantheons and associated divine spirits of Tamriel's dominant cultures.
- Sheogorath's dialogue in Skyrim.
- The Book of Daedra
- Tholer Saryoni's dialogue in Morrowind.
- Death Decree
- The Pilgrim's Path — Tribunal Temple
- Invocation of Azura — Sigillah Parate
- Sinnammu Mirpal's dialogue in Morrowind.
- Events of The Shivering Isles
- The Doors of Oblivion — Seif-ij Hidja
- Guide to New Sheoth — Brenith Aralyn
- Saints and Seducers — Andoche Marie
- Myths of Sheogorath — Mymophonus
- Varieties of Faith in the Empire — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor
- Sheogorath's dialogue in Shivering Isles.
- On Oblivion — Morian Zenas
- Chance's Folly — Zylmoc Golge
- The Liturgy of Affliction — Anias Gae (transcribed)
- Feyfolken — Waughin Jarth
- Vitharn: the Fall
- Rislav the Righteous — Sinjin
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: All the Eras of Man, A Comprehensive History of our History — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- The House of Troubles
- Events of Morrowind
- Dunmer dialogue in Morrowind.
- The Infernal City — Gregory Keyes
- Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi to her Favored Daughter — Clan Mother Ahnissi
- Events of Skyrim
- Sixteen Accords of Madness, v. VI
- Heretical Thoughts
- Bark and Sap
Note: the following references are not found in-game. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.