A Dovahkiin or Dragonborn is a mortal man or woman born with the soul of a dragon, or what the dragons would call "Dovah Sos" (dragonblood). It enables them to use the dragon's ability to absorb a slain dragon's soul to receive knowledge of the Thu'um, rather than having to learn through practice. You are a Dragonborn in Skyrim.
St. Alessia was the first person to be associated with the title Dragonborn. She is believed to have gained the blood of a dragon after making a covenant with Akatosh to seal the Gates of Oblivion. Since then, there have been many tales of heroes of the dragons' blood who would "kill dragons and steal their power". The ability to absorb dragon souls came first to the dragon priest Miraak. Afterwards, all known dragonborns could learn powerful shouts much quicker than other mortals, who require years of meditation to master them. The monks known as the Greybeards of High Hrothgar become masters of the Way of the Voice under the leadership of Paarthurnax, taking in those willing to learn and guiding dragonborns to their full potential.
Tiber Septim, the first of the Septim Emperors, and Reman Cyrodiil were Dragonborn, and it was believed, through the Amulet of Kings, that all of the heirs of the Septim and Reman Dynasties possessed "dragonblood". It is also suspected that Wulfharth was Dragonborn, as he was also known as "Ysmir, the Dragon of The North", which is a title associated with the Dragonborn, including Tiber Septim. Tiber Septim was also known as "Stormcrown", another title given to you by the Greybeards when formally anointed as Dragonborn.
- While The Lost Prophecy labels the Nerevarine as 'Dragon-born,' this is interpreted by the Dissident Priests to mean merely that he was born outside of Morrowind under the sign of the Empire, rather than that he had the soul of a dragon.
- It is interesting to note that although "Dovah Kiin" translates to "Dragonborn", "Dov Ah Kiin", as a three-word dragon name, translates to "Dragonkind Hunter Born", or "Born Hunter of Dragonkind", a possible reference to the fact that the Dovahkiin is supposed to be the ultimate dragon hunter.
- In response to confusion in the Bethesda Softworks Forums about the announcement of the first Dragonborn in the Dragonborn official add-on who wasn't St. Alessia, Michael Kirkbride said: "Alessia didn't have the power to absorb dragon souls. Hers was a much more nuanced power: to dream of liberty and give it a name and on her deathbed make Covenant with the Aka-Tusk."[OOG 1]
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.