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I'm a big fan of both the Elder Scrolls and Mythology, Skyrim has its own in-game mythology. But I have no clue what myths the story of the Dragonborn and the World Eater is based on.

Key Points:

  • The savior of the world is connected by ancestry to the threat to the world.
  • Dragons ending the world.
  • Dragons representing time.
  • Dragons eating the world.


- Is it based on one or more myths or is it completely made up by the writers?
- What could it possibly be based on?

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    Part of the difficulty with questions like this is the expertise of Mythology contributors is rooted in the canons of various mythological traditions, as opposed to invented or transmogrified mythologies in contemporary literary mediums such as comics, film.television and games. To that end, the more details you can provide on specific elements within the Skyrim mythos, it would be helpful. – DukeZhou Jun 1 '17 at 19:33
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    @DukeZhou I took it it to actually ask about men born from dragons saving the world from something that will destroy it. There is something positively gigantic about the idea, maybe I'll write up something to supplement Gibet's post, since I think bringing up Tiamat was right on the money. – C. M. Weimer Jun 16 '17 at 18:22
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Elder Scrolls Lore

This passage is for people wanting to know a little bit about Skyrim lore.

Skyrim is the 5th official game in the Elder Scrolls series (I do not count the other games and spin-off novels and such)
The Elder Scrolls is situated in Tamriel in a typical Medieval fantasy setting (So you will find orcs, elves, and dwarves). Skyrim is a northern province. Its inhabitants, the Nords, are obviously using Viking as a reference. The Redguards are using the Arabic culture. The Imperials, Rome.

In the game, Skyrim the ancient God Alduin, The World Eater, a dragon of immense power is coming to Tamriel and precisely Skyrim to... destroy the world. He is helped by an army of immortal dragons he is raising. Unfortunately for Him a powerful warrior, the Dragonborn, a warrior who can absorb the souls of the dragons, thus killing them will rise against him.

Answer

You have one thing to see when talking about the Elder Scrolls in general: The mythology behind the Elder Scrolls is the Elder Scrolls. First and foremost this is what is followed and nothing else. That is to say that Skyrim is, yes, "Norse", but "Norse", is much more a general "feeling" than following "Norse" mythology.
You have also to see that the Elder Scrolls are taping, vastly, in way more things than "Norse". The Imperials are following the Roman empire, seated in a Medieval period. The werewolves are inspired by the modern representation of the modern beast; etc.
I will illustrate, here, how "Norse" will taint Skyrim:

  • In the opening sequence, on the cart, you meet a "horse thief" named "Lokir of Rorikstead". Anyone knowing the Norse mythology will see an amusing reference to Loki, father of Sleipnir (Odin's horse) and god of deception (thievery).
  • During the companion quest you try to put back together the shattered mythical axe Wuuthrad, that is fairly clearly inspired by the shattered sword of Sigurd/Siegfried Gram.

Note also that: Broken weapons are not especially Norse stuff (think about Narsil in the Lord of the Ring). I still do believe that both Lokir, and Wuuthrad are "referencing" Norse things more than anything else.

Now regarding your specific question. Alduin is a legendary dragon. In term of myth, dragons, malevolent one, as Alduin, are omnipresent. Example: Tiamat, in Mesopotamia, or Apophis in Egypt. Notice both those dragons are as close reference to Alduin as the one I am giving you:
Niddhogr is a giant dragon that eats the root of the World tree Yggdrasill. Niddhogr is completely as malevolent as Alduin, both are god-like creatures. Both are trying to put an end to the world.

As everywhere in the Elder Scrolls, what matters to them is the "Elder Scrolls' lore first and foremost. In the case of Skyrim, this lore is tainted all over with Norse mythology. But it is only a far taint (rightfully). You will not see Odin, Fricka or Valkyries entering the Elder Scrolls pantheon. so don't expect the Elder Scrolls lore to fit the Norse mythology. They just bring some "Norse mythological elements" to have this little Norse feeling in the game.

Bibliography

The Volsunga Saga This is where Gram the shattered sword is found Norse Mythology by John Lindow Poetic Edda by Snorri Sturluson

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I'm not to sure about the story of the Dragonborn and Alduin, but I know that Alduin was an actual dragon.

Alduin's actual name in Norse Mythology was Niðhöggr (Bethesda also got the Miasma off of Niðhöggr)

If you search up Niðhöggr then you'll be sure to find it.

  • Hello and welcome to Mythology Stack Exchange. The point of an answer is to sufficiently explain and satisfy the question to the point the questioner doesn't have to look anything up, save for fact checking. Fact checking is usually easier when links are provided to the place you got the information. NOTE: A link only answer will be down voted and most likely deleted. If you wish to provide a link with useful and relevant information, but not an anwser, you have to build up sufficient reputation to comment on posts other then your own. – Andrew Johnson May 6 '18 at 23:49
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One fairly obvious mythological inspiration is that of Sigurd/Siegfried from the Völsunga Saga inspiring the Dovahkiin/Dragon born. Both are legendary dragonslayers, who once the dragon has been slain consume it's heart/soul and gain an ability to understand a magical language.

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