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King Ysgramor
King Ysgramor in the Hall of Valor
Race Atmoran Gender Male
Born Merethic Era
Resided in Saarthal
Appears in Skyrim, ESO

Ysgramor, "the harbinger of us all",[1] was an ancient Atmoran king who came to Tamriel before recorded history as a refugee fleeing civil war in Atmora.[2][3] He is generally regarded as the first human ruler of Skyrim.

Some Elven scholars insist Ysgramor was responsible for unspecified "provocations and blasphemies" that led to the genocide known as the Night of Tears, when the human settlement Saarthal was attacked by the Snow Elves and all humans purportedly were slain except Ysgramor and his two sons, Yngol and Ylgar,[4] though some scholars believe this attack was unprovoked.[5] Ysgramor fled back to Atmora, gathered the legendary Five Hundred Companions, then sailed back to Hsaarik Head and drove the Elves from Skyrim and Solstheim, cementing himself as a "culture hero" of the Nords.[2][6][7] He wielded the axe Wuuthrad in battle[8] and rode upon a Storm Atronach Bear conjured for him by his personal Clever Man.[9]

Since he is the first known human to transcribe Nordic speech using Elven principles of writing, Ysgramor is credited with being the first human historian.[2] Because of his exploits, he is known as "the first Harbinger, the first Man, [and] the bringer of Words", and the modern-day Companions still revere him as their only true leader.[10] His progeny ruled Skyrim until 1E 369, when the death of King Borgas brought an end to his direct line of known heirs.[5] However, his bloodline survived,[11] and he is still believed to be the wellspring from whom all Nordic kings are descended.[12]


Much of Ysgramor's life is clouded by myth and poorly kept records. It is suspected that Ysgramor is credited with the deeds of several early Nordic kings.[5] Most myths associated with him have Herma-Mora, the "Demon of Knowledge", as the antagonist.[13] Apparently, some historians have misrepresented Ysgramor as being the leader of the first large group of human settlers from Atmora, when in fact he was merely following what was already a long-established tradition of migration.[5][14]

During his voyage to Tamriel with his Five Hundred Companions, Ysgramor lost his son Yngol to the "sea-ghosts" (likely an ancient, superstitious term for the dangers in the Sea of Ghosts),[15] and Ysgramor braved a storm to search for him in the treacherous waters.[4][16] When Yngol was found dead, Ysgramor wept with grief and killed a "dozen dozen beasts" in Yngol's honor.[4][16] Ysgramor ordered that a great city be built south of Yngol's burial place so that he could gaze at it from his palace. The great city came to be called Windhelm.[15]

Ysgramor's death was met with great sorrow and mourning among his kin, and the news quickly spread across Tamriel.[17] Although a grand tomb was built for him beneath Windhelm in preparation for his passing, Ysgramor instead chose to be buried with his most trusted generals in a barrow on the northern shores of Skyrim, facing towards Atmora.[15][18] His son, Ylgar, subsequently took up the mantle of leadership.[19] In death, Ysgramor journeyed to the Hall of Valor in Sovngarde, where he continued to watch over the Nord people and the Companions.



See also[edit]

  • For game-specific information, see the Skyrim and ESO articles.


  1. ^ Songs of the Return
  2. ^ a b c Before the Ages of ManAicantar of Shimerene
  3. ^ The Annotated Anuad
  4. ^ a b c Songs of the Return, Vol 2
  5. ^ a b c d Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: SkyrimImperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
  6. ^ Fall of the Snow PrinceLokheim
  7. ^ Vernaccus and BourlorTavi Dromio
  8. ^ Events of Skyrim
  9. ^ Storm Atronach Bear mount description in ESO
  10. ^ Great HarbingersSwyk the Long-Sighted
  11. ^ Anska's dialogue in Skyrim
  12. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Throat of the World: SkyrimImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  13. ^ Varieties of Faith...Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
  14. ^ Frontier, ConquestUniversity of Gwylim Press, 3E 344
  15. ^ a b c Songs of the Return, Vol 19
  16. ^ a b Yngol and the Sea-Ghosts
  17. ^ Songs of the Return, Vol 56
  18. ^ Vilkas' dialogue in Skyrim
  19. ^ Skald Svari's dialogue in ESO.