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Type Plane
Realm Aetherius
Appears in Skyrim, ESO
Sovngarde (Skyrim)

Sovngarde is the storied afterlife of the Nords,[1][2] a part of Aetherius[3] where the greatest Nord heroes go when they die to enjoy an eternity of feasting and merriment.[4]:631 It is ruled by Shor and contains the Hall of Valor, a supposedly gigantic feasting hall where the mead "flows like a waterfall". Those who cross the threshold of the living and entered the afterlife are greeted below the red glow of the eternal sunset, following the pathway down between the mammoth tusks and the monolithic cowled statues and into the valley of mists—the Shadowed Vale.[4]:150 Tsun currently guards the mythical Whalebone Bridge past the Vale,[5] which leads to the Hall of Valor. At Shor's bidding, he has taken on the role of the master of trials, asking new arrivals to the utopia to prove their strength in combat against him before they can enter Shor's Hall.[6]

Excluding the rare usage of portals, the realm can supposedly only be reached by true Nords who die valiantly or in battle, regardless of personality.[7] This excludes those afflicted with Lycanthropy, as Hircine takes them to his Hunting Grounds instead.[8] Those without souls also cannot go to Sovngarde.[9] Nords who live lives without combat, purportedly, do not go to Sovngarde.[10] Bodies interred deep within Blackreach cannot reach the realm.[11] Atmorans may also go to Sovngarde when they die.[12]

It is unclear whether or not other races may ascend to Sovngarde. A priest from the Cult of the Ancestor Moth who lived during the Interregnum claimed that mortals decide the destinations of their own souls through the choices they make in life.[13] Additionally, in a prophetic dream, Fourth Era Harbinger of the Companions Kodlak Whitemane saw all Harbingers who came before him enter Sovngarde, ending at Terrfyg, who took up Lycanthropy.[8] As Terrfyg ruled after them, this would mean that Henantier the Outsider, an elf, and Cirroc the Lofty, a Redguard, went to Sovngarde.[14] Another Redguard, a renowned warrior in the Fourth Era, believed he could go to Sovngarde.[15]

A few Nords have received divine premonitions of Sovngarde. Kodlak Whitemane of the Companions dreamt of Sovngarde, seeing generations of Harbingers ascend to the Hall of Valor, as well as Terrfyg being pulled into the Hunting Grounds. The dream also predicted the arrival of the Last Dragonborn.[8] Skardan Free-Winter, a soldier in the Imperial Legion, had a dream of Sovngarde where he met Ysgramor in the Hall of Valor, filling him with determination to win the upcoming Battle of the Red Ring.[16]

Spirits have been known to depart Sovngarde to contact the living. The Five Hundred Companions once appeared to King Jorunn after the defeat of Sinmur.[17] Queen Nurnhilde appeared to a force of the Ebonheart Pact, giving them vital information to entering Sovngarde.[18] The Direfrost Clan, within their keep's mead hall, house an artifact known as the Direfrost Flame, a sacred fire that gives the Clan access to commune with their ancestors in Sovngarde.[19] Ulfgar the Unending was able to manifest as a spirit after reaching Sovngarde, blessing a stone with his magical energies.[20]

Some people regarded Sovngarde as a myth by the Fourth Era.[21]


During the Merethic Era, a group of Ysgramor's Five Hundred, after successfully taking Skyrim from the elves, began to search for the entrance to Sovngarde. This group consisted of Ulfgar, Hunroor, Erlendr, Nikulas, and Grimkell. The group was close to finding an answer on the island of Solstheim, but before they could, Grimkell betrayed them, casting a spell that turned the group to stone in attempt to create a portal to Sovngarde. Ulfgar, however, resisted the spell, becoming a living stone and killing Grimkell for what he had done. He would spend the next several millennia wandering Tamriel, searching for the entrance to the elusive realm.[20]

In or before the First Era,[22] the necromancer Azaran the Cruel attempted to bind the dead souls of Sovngarde to the living world, but failed. He was later buried somewhere in Skyrim.[23]

In 2E 582, Fildgor Orc-Thane located a hidden passage to Skuldafn, a Nordic stronghold far in the Velothi Mountains with a portal to Sovngarde. He used his royal blood to enter the realm and attempted to fuse his soul with that of his dead sister, Nurnhilde, in order to usurp the throne using the Crown of Verity.[18] Forces loyal to King Jorunn pursued him to the stronghold. A Pact soldier, later given the title King's Arrow for their deeds, then entered Sovngarde with the blessing of Nirnhilde's spirit and defeated Fildgor. It is unknown whether he was killed by the soldier, by Jorunn, or was spared.[24]

By 3E 427, Ulfgar the Unending had made his home on Solstheim, not far from Brodir Grove, where his companions were turned to stone. An adventurer, who found out that Sovngarde was reached by an honorable death in battle, slew the ancient Atmoran in battle.[25] Ulfgar then joined his companions in Sovngarde.[20]

In 4E 201, Alduin, a godly tyrant from the Dragon War, returned to Tamriel, having been sent into the future during the Merethic Era. Alduin made his base of operations in Skuldafn. Using Skuldafn's portal to Sovngarde, Alduin began to ensnare the realm in mist and feast upon the souls of the dead, building his power in the process, a privilege he withheld from his subordinates.[26][27] Later that year, the Dragonborn breached Skuldafn and entered Sovngarde. After besting Tsun, they continued into the Hall of Valor and rallied the spirits of Gormlaith Golden-Hilt, Felldir the Old and Hakon One-Eye, whom had previously bested Alduin atop the Throat of the World.[28] Together, they were able to defeat Alduin, cleansing Sovngarde of his soul snare.[29][30]

In the same year, Harbinger Kodlak Whitemane of the Companions was killed by the Silver Hand.[31] Due to his Lycanthropy, he was taken to Hircine's Hunting Grounds upon his death, despite his desires for Sovngarde.[8][32] The remaining members of the Circle then convened, reassembling the legendary axe Wuuthrad and breaching Ysgramor's Tomb, where a magical relic known as the Flame of the Harbinger resided.[33][31] After burning the head of a Glenmoril hagraven and defeated Kodlak's wolf spirit in battle, a new Harbinger was selected for the Companions and Kodlak's soul was freed.[32][29][12]

Kodlak hoped that someday, he and other honored warriors could invade the Hunting Grounds and rescue the souls of the Companions who did not have the chance to free themselves from Hircine's grasp before death. He called this imagined battle "The Harrowing of the Hunting Grounds",[32] but it is unknown if it ever occured.


See Also[edit]