Lore:Jagar Tharn

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Jagar Tharn
AR-npc-Jagar Tharn.png
Jagar Tharn as seen in Arena
Race Unknown[nb 0] Gender Male
Born Valenwood
Died 3E 399
Imperial Palace
Previous Ruler Welloc
Next Ruler Ria Silmane
Resided in Cyrodiil
Appears in Arena, Shadowkey

Jagar Tharn (pronounced jay-gar tharn[1][2][3][4]) was the Imperial Battlemage of Tamriel who secretly imprisoned Emperor Uriel Septim VII, and used Illusion Magic to masquerade as the Emperor for a decade.[5] From 3E 389 to 3E 399, a period since known as the Imperial Simulacrum,[6] Uriel VII was held captive in a realm of Oblivion while his battlemage reigned over the war-torn Empire.[5][6] He was finally killed, and Uriel VII was freed and restored to the Ruby Throne.[5][7] The Emperor dubbed the Hero who accomplished this the Eternal Champion, and granted him a place by his side.[8] It is not entirely known what Tharn's goals and personal accomplishments were during his reign.

Jagar Tharn was known to align himself with The Dark, a dualistic force better known as Padomay or Sithis.[9][UOL 1] Further, he had ties to the Cult of Mehrunes Dagon, who were in alliance with and working alongside the Dark Brotherhood circa 3E 427.[10][11] Ocato of Firsthold believed Tharn to have heard the "call of Dagon," and that Dagon's subtle more influences of destruction can destroy one's self or soul, "A weakening of morals, a bit of callousness towards those once cherished, and a slow lack of empathy and care for values and ideals once held dear."[UOL 2] Other sources may imply some connection to the Temple of the One,[12] and that he was once a mage-priest within the Brotherhood of Setheite.[13]



"We Tharns have held positions of power throughout Cyrodiil since the days of the Potentate. We are prized for our loyalty to the Empire, our deft political machinations, and our ruthless subjugation or elimination of dissenters within Imperial territories. What we do is grim work, but it is necessary if the Empire is to endure."
Abnur Tharn, Imperial Battlemage[14]

Jagar Tharn's exact lineage remains unclear.[nb 0] One piece of historical fiction claims that Jagar Tharn was born in southern Valenwood to a Wood Elven mother, that he lacks much human ancestry and that his racial traits are a result of interethnicity among elves, specifically citing High Elven and Dark Elven ancestry. Additionally, he was made out as a descendant of Clan Ra'athim of Ebonheart and King Moraelyn.[12] Another source however, discredits these notions and instead cites Drayven Indoril as being the real figure who took in Tharn's place in that original source, which would imply Drayven may be descended from Clan Ra'athim, rather than Jagar Tharn.[15] Jagar's surname of Tharn and his high status within the Imperial Province would very much imply that Jagar belonged to the prestigious House Tharn of Nibenay, which is a family of Cyrodiils.[16][17]

Tharn was a member of Cyrodiil's Battlemage Aristocracy.[8] It is made out implicitly that Jagar Tharn was once one of the five war mage administers of the Battlespire, the training ground and testing facility for the Shadow Legion, before his appointment to the office of Imperial Battlemage of Tamriel.[18]

The Theft[edit]

The Staff of Chaos

One source of historical fiction claims, that, at some point long before his appointment to Imperial Battlemage of Tamriel, Jagar Tharn was in Camlorn, and that there he was a mage-priest in the Temple of Sethiete. It goes on to claim that Tharn stole valuable information on powerful spells, and also where he could locate the Staff of Chaos.[13]

When Jagar began to put his plan into action is unclear. The first known step was the theft of the Staff of Chaos, which was apparently stolen from its sanctuary beneath the city of Mournhold circa 3E 376.[nb 1] Historians recorded that it was stolen by a bard named the Nightingale, a man who Queen Barenziah of Morrowind later recognized to be Jagar Tharn himself.[7][12] However, an alternative account later emerged which asserts the bard who stole the Staff was actually a master thief named Drayven Indoril, a member of the Nightingale Trinity (hence the name), and that the truth was covered up for political reasons. Nevertheless, this narrative maintains that it was Jagar who commissioned the theft and ultimately took possession of the Staff (after which he unsuccessfully tried to kill Drayven).[15]

Uriel VII was gravely concerned by the theft. The task of tracking down the Staff and those responsible for taking it was entrusted to his then newly-appointed Imperial Battlemage.[12]

The Trust[edit]

In the decades after Emperor Uriel Septim VII took the Ruby Throne in 3E 368, he aggressively expanded Imperial influence, especially in the eastern provinces. As Uriel's close advisor, Jagar brought shrewd counsel to complement the Emperor's ambition and agile mind in these endeavors. They even formed a sort of master-pupil relationship. The Emperor, and the Empire, greatly benefited from Tharn's arcane powers and wisdom.[5]

History records that Uriel eventually surpassed his teacher at balancing the skills of threat and diplomacy, and Tharn's role became less important as time went on. But it's also suggested that Tharn was just carrying on the facade of an out-paced counselor, feeding Uriel's ego and earning his complete trust while he executed plans of his own.[5]

The Betrayal[edit]

Depiction of Tharn's betrayal of Ria Silmane (Arena)

Jagar plotted for months to bring his plan to fruition. Finally, he requested to meet with the Emperor to discuss rumors of treachery.[8][nb 2] Using the Staff of Chaos, Jagar imprisoned the Emperor (and General Warhaft[nb 3]) in a dark prison owned by Mehrunes Dagon[18]:180 somewhere in Oblivion, where he experienced nothing but inexplicable and haunting nightmares[8][5] (though others claim that it was a dimension of Tharn's own invention).[19] Time moved much slower in this alternate plane of existence, thus it would be centuries before the Emperor died. Jagar drained the Staff of Chaos of its power, as it was the only key to releasing the Emperor. He imbued its energy, along with his own life force, into the Jewel of Fire. Then, he divided the Staff into eight segments, which he hid in places of power throughout the Empire. By utilizing Illusion magic, he then took on the guise of the Emperor. Even if someone discovered his deception, they would have to recover the pieces and reassemble the Staff, only to discover it to be useless without the Jewel of Fire. And all the while, Tharn would be able to bring all of his considerable resources to bear against his opponents. He dismissed the Emperor's inner circle and guards and replaced them with loyal servants.[8][nb 4]

Several people were reportedly held captive as a result of Tharn's efforts, but one is known to have died by his hand: his own apprentice, Ria Silmane. Jagar's cover story was that he had taken a leave of absence to pursue magical studies, and put his assistant Ria in his place as Imperial Battlemage. But in truth, when Ria learned of what Jagar had done to the Emperor, she attempted to tell the Elder Council.[8] Jagar reportedly used the power of the Staff of Chaos to kill her.[7] But death would not silence her.

The Simulacrum[edit]

"-old troubles resurfaced, forgotten grudges rekindled, and wars flared throughout the land. In the east, Morrowind attacked Black Marsh in the Arnesian War; in the north, Skyrim battled High Rock and Hammerfell in the War of the Bend'r-mahk; in the south, Elsweyr took arms against Valenwood in the Five Year War; in the west, Valenwood also lost land to its old ally Summerset in the War of the Blue Divide."
A Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: All the Eras of Man
Jagar Tharn
Drawing of Tharn on the Ruby Throne (Arena)

Jagar Tharn's "neglect and mismanagement of Imperial affairs" was later attributed to being the root cause of the notable decline in the Empire's economic prosperity during his ten-year reign, which was subsequently labeled the Imperial Simulacrum.[5] However, little is known of just what Jagar sought to accomplish during this time.

Jagar apparently had associations with worshippers of Mehrunes Dagon, such as the battlemage Carecalmo, but details of these relationships are not known.[20][21] In 3E 397, he and another mage, Pergan Asuul, vied to gain control of the Umbra' Keth, a "Shadow of Conflict" which was created by the ongoing War of the Bend'r-mahk. Jagar evidently bribed many prominent Hammerfell families to support Skyrim and sought to use the conflict to advance Imperial influence in the area. Ultimately, both mages were foiled when the Umbra' Keth was destroyed.[22]

Xivilai Moath helped engineer Jagar Tharn's involvement in the Battlespire's fall.[18]:158 Indeed, from the resulting bargain, Mehrunes Dagon and his forces were free to invade the Battlespire, and in exchange, they were required to slay all five of the mighty battlemage administers who governed it. This was to free Jagar from the troublesome competition for his position as Imperial Battlemage of Tamriel, as the Battlespire administers were traditionally selected for his own position.[18]:18 The facility was ultimately destroyed, and almost all who had been upon it were killed, although an apprentice managed to banish Dagon.[21]

The Fall[edit]

The spirit of Ria Silmane appeared in the dreams of Eadwyre, King of Wayrest, and told him of what Jagar had done to her. She also told him of a friend of hers, who was then a prisoner of Jagar's, but who had the potential to help stop him. Eadwyre enlisted the help of Queen Barenziah, and together, the monarchs worked out a plan. Barenziah charmed Jagar and managed to not only learn the locations of the pieces of the Staff, but arrange to give the prisoner a fighting chance to escape and reassemble the Staff. Ria also entered the dreams of the prisoner, passing along this knowledge and what had to be done to foil Jagar's plan.[8][7][12][15]

Ria's champion proved unstoppable at every turn, recovering piece after piece of the Staff despite the hordes of undead and other minions Jagar threw in the way. Using magical visions to communicate, he sent periodic threats to the champion demanding surrender. However, he grew more desperate as the champion continued to defy all his expectations. He began making offers of power, eventually even eternal life, but to no avail. That Jagar had drained the power out of the Staff proved to be a surprising obstacle, but not an insurmountable one. With the last of her energy, Ria got her champion into the Imperial Palace in search of the Jewel of Fire. Despite the extraordinary amount of defenders, including Jagar himself, the champion was able to touch the Staff to the Jewel, releasing the energy within. This both freed the Emperor and caused Jagar to die.[8] On the topic of Tharn's demise, High Chancellor Ocato said: "Tharn is dead. He is actually worse off, but I will not discuss those details."[UOL 2]


Upon retaking the Ruby Throne, Uriel VII commenced the Restoration to heal the Empire, although he did so through more subtle means, no longer displaying the brashness he had before his captivity. The audacity and scope of Jagar's plot captured the public imagination, and he went down in history as one of the most infamous, insane villains ever to walk Tamriel.[5][13][nb 5] Speculation abounded on the things he had done. Decades later circa 3E 427, it was still widely rumored that the Emperor's own heirs had been replaced by Tharn's doppelgangers. Many people were killed when the Imperial Guard charged a mob which had been demanding the destruction of the "false heirs".[20] Circa 3E 432, the last of Jagar's known associates were prisoners awaiting their deaths in The Rose, an infamous prison in Black Marsh.[23]



  • 0.  At the time of Arena the Imperial Province had no real defined race, such as the Imperial race that was introduced in later canon. In the first games, designer Ted Peterson imagined the folk who lived in the Imperial Province as possessing a complete mix of racial traits from the folk who inhabited the other eight provinces.[UOL 2] The Real Barenziah written by Marilyn Wasserman of the Council of Wisdom imagines Jagar Tharn as an absolute Elf, with some ancient human ancestry via his descent from Clan Ra'athim.[12] However, layers of backfilling introduced later seem to disagree with that assertion, with The Elder Scrolls Online introducing the Tharns as a significant family of Cyrodiils within the Imperial Province; it is inferable that the developers of Online introduced House Tharn as a concept based on Jagar Tharn.[16][17] Under the rules of genetics as presented in Notes on Racial Phylogeny, which Ted Peterson subscribes to (as a way to explain why there aren't more half-races and characters of interethnicity from a gameplay perspective), Jagar Tharn would have possessed the racial traits of his Wood Elven mother.[24] However, other examples from Online show modern canonical depictions of clear interethnicity. So, the question of Tharn's race is not deducible from pure logic.
  • 1.  The Real Barenziah and Biography of Queen Barenziah indicate that Hlaalu Helseth was conceived around the time of the theft of the Staff of Chaos. According to The Daggerfall Chronicles, Helseth was born in 3E 376.
  • 2.  According to the game manual for TES Arena, Ria Silmane feared that the evil first "took form" at a Mid Year's festival (the 16th of Mid Year), the last place she had met the Eternal Champion. She believed that Jagar refrained from killing Uriel VII because the Amulet of Kings would have warned the Elder Council of the Emperor's death.
  • 3.  In the Floppy Disk releases of Arena, Warhaft is shown leaving Oblivion with Uriel VII, and thanks the Champion for his service. In the CD-ROM releases of Arena, only Uriel VII is seen leaving Oblivion, with no mention of Warhaft whatsoever.
  • 4.  Jagar had great knowledge of Necromancy, transferred his own life force into a physical receptacle, and the release of energy from this receptacle brought his destruction. This is all generally consistent with what is known about attempts to achieve Lichdom.[25][26] However, Jagar was never explicitly described as a lich.
  • 5.  Jagar is mentioned in The Mystery of Princess Talara and plays a key role in the plot. It claims that he was a mage-priest in the "Temple of Sethiete" in Camlorn, and that is from there that he stole secret knowledge regarding the Staff of Chaos which allowed him to become Imperial Battlemage. It also accuses of him of having nearly the entire royal family of Camlorn murdered circa 3E 385 in order to cover his tracks. Besides the existence of the kingdom of Camlorn, little of the novella series can be corroborated by other sources. It is unclear whether the series is meant to be understood as conveying historically accurate information.
  • The in-world validity of The Real Barenziah's contents is disputed. See the notes section of Barenziah's lore page for a corroborated explanation. It remains inconclusive exactly how much the novel depicts in-world truth or falsity.
  • Early ideas surrounding the Oblivion Crisis story propagated by Michael Kirkbride involved at least one clone-simulacrum of Jagar Tharn and his sleepers as antagonists,[UOL 1][UOL 3][UOL 4] with the simulacrum being called Tharnatos Ultimo who resided in the "starry heart of Nirn",[UOL 5] whom had ties to the Morag Tong,[UOL 1] seemingly via the Tong's simulacrum/incarnation mechanism and their additional ties to Sithis / Padomay / The Dark.[27][UOL 1][UOL 3] Jagar Tharn's lineage as established in The Real Barenziah, where Tharn is made out to be descended from the elves of Morrowind (via his descent from Clan Ra'athim) would explain the contents of Redguard Forum Madness, where Tharn's connections to the Chimer, the "Padomay of Morrowind," and the Morag Tong are teased.[12][UOL 1] These ideas was trimmed around later, with the cult of Mehrunes Dagon in Morrowind working with the Dark Brotherhood, rather than the Morag Tong.[10] Tharnatos Ultimo went unused for the published Oblivion Crisis story, with the core ideas being inferably morphed into the character of Mankar Camoran.[28] Whether or not the Mythic Dawn movement introduced in Oblivion has any in-world parallels or association in canon to Jagar Tharn's extremely similar plans teased in Battlespire[3][29] and also a bit in Morrowind[10][30] has not been explained.

See Also[edit]

  • For game-specific information, see the Arena and Shadowkey articles.



  1. ^ Ria Silmane's dialogue in Arena
  2. ^ Daggerfall CES Cinematic
  3. ^ a b Sirran Angada's dialogue in Battlespire
  4. ^ Jauffre's dialogue in Oblivion
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h A Life of Uriel Septim VIIRufus Hayn
  6. ^ a b Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: All the Eras of Man, A Comprehensive History of our HistoryImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  7. ^ a b c d Biography of Queen BarenziahStern Gamboge, Imperial Scribe
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Events of Arena
  9. ^ The Light and the DarkIrek Unterge
  10. ^ a b c Morag Tong Quests in Morrowind
  11. ^ Eno Hlaalu's dialogue during Ultimatum for Carecalmo quest in Morrowind
  12. ^ a b c d e f g The Real BarenziahPlitinius Mero
  13. ^ a b c Mystery of TalaraMera Llykith
  14. ^ Chronicles of the Five Companions 4Abnur Tharn
  15. ^ a b c The NightingalesGallus Desidenius
  16. ^ a b Events of Online
  17. ^ a b House Tharn of NibenayCount Opius Voteporix
  18. ^ a b c d Battlespire Athenaeum — Ronald Wartow
  19. ^ Brief History of the Empire, v 4Stronach k'Thojj III
  20. ^ a b Events of Morrowind
  21. ^ a b Events of Battlespire
  22. ^ Events of Shadowkey
  23. ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The War with the Trees: Argonia and the Black MarshImperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
  24. ^ Notes on Racial Phylogenythe Council of Healers, Imperial University
  25. ^ The Path of TranscendenceCeledaen
  26. ^ Ascendancy: Pathway to LichdomGullveig the Ascendant
  27. ^ Dram Character Biography - Redguard.com
  28. ^ Main Quest in Oblivion
  29. ^ The Waters of Oblivion
  30. ^ Latest Rumors topic in Morrowind

Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.