Surely you’ve seen stuff online indicating how the next Elder Scrolls title will take place in Black Marsh/Argonia, Akavir, Elsweyr, or Valenwood. Let’s be real, though, in Bethesda’s canon, their games often have had in-game hints that point towards the next game. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind dropped several hints that foreshadowed the events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Fallout 3 had several characters from the Commonwealth, which would later become the setting of Fallout 4. Hell, The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard, released in 1998, straight up had the titles of the next two main Elder Scrolls games, Morrowind and Oblivion, hidden in its opening sequence, long before either game was announced. This shows that Bethesda obviously thinks of these things far in advance and have a long-term game plan. I will be going over the information we have in the Elder Scrolls games that might help us solve this puzzle.
The Significance of Tower Lore
So, while each Elder Scrolls game has its own self-contained story, one thing that is not considered as often is that each one of these games is part of a larger narrative. If you have never considered this, buckle up and let me explain.
Very early in the timeline of the Elder Scrolls, when the gods where creating the world, they created the Adamantine Tower with the Zero Stone at its heart. The tower was the site of an event known as the Convention, during which the Divines punished Lorkhan (aka Shor or Shezarr) for tricking them into creating the world (Mundus). As a punishment, they ripped out his heart, fastened it to an arrow and shot it into Nirn, an event which created Morrowind’s Red Mountain. Red Mountain, in itself, became the second “tower,” with Lorkhan’s heart as its “stone.” Together with the Adamantine Tower, they would work to reinforce and strengthen the structure of Mundus like pillars, keeping reality itself from falling apart.
Ever since, the elves would try to emulate their gods by creating towers of their own. We’ve seen many of them in the games already. Creating more of these towers reinforces reality, while destroying them weakens it. The word “tower” can be taken very broadly here-we have literal towers, but we also have mountains, such as Red Mountain and the Throat of the World, a massive tree and even a giant brass robot. The significance of the towers is not really explicitly touched upon on any of the games, but it comes up on the sidelines, most notably in Skyrim. The hottest piece of information on this is the Dragonborn prophecy itself, which recounts the events of the previous games:
When misrule takes its place at the eight corners of the world
When the Brass Tower walks and Time is reshaped
When the thrice-blessed fail and the Red Tower trembles
When the Dragonborn Ruler loses his throne, and the White Tower falls
When the Snow Tower lies sundered, kingless, bleeding
The World-Eater wakes, and the Wheel turns upon the Last Dragonborn.
Further proof of their significance lies in one of the Elder Scrolls novels, The Infernal City: “Well, some think that the White-Gold Tower—and some other towers around Tamriel—help, well, hold the world up, or something like that. […] They help keep Mundus—the World—from dissolving back into Oblivion. Or something like that.” That’s pretty significant. If they were to all fall, it would certainly mean the end of Mundus as we know it. Each Elder Scrolls game since Daggerfall seems to focus on a tower, and the “fall” of said tower.
- Daggerfall – Fall of the Brass Tower with the destruction of the Numidium.
- Morrowind – Fall of the Red Tower with the disappearance of the Heart of Lorkhan.
- Oblivion – Fall of the White-Gold Tower with the destruction of its stone, the Amulet of Kings.
- Skyrim – This one is a little bit open for interpretation. Snow Tower is most definitely the Throat of the World in Skyrim. As far as the stone of the tower, we have to look at it a little more creatively. The stone is most likely a dragon, since they are magical creatures descended from the time god, Akatosh, and would provide the magical mojo we need. There are two that fit this bill: Paarthurnax, who has been hanging out on the mountain since the Merethic Era, or Alduin, who is connected to the mountain through the Time Wound created there by the Dragon Elder Scroll. Alduin “dies” as part of Skyrim’s main questline, and Paarthurnax can die as a part of an optional side quest. This means that if the “stone” is one of these two dragons, Snow-Throat is most likely no longer active as a tower.
I’m not going to touch into who or what is trying to make the towers fall- the important thing that we can see and infer is that the narrative of the Elder Scrolls games as of Skyrim has Mundus slowly inching closer to being unraveled via the fall of the towers. Logically, if the games follow this pattern, the next Elder Scrolls game will also feature a “tower” and have a story centered around it, either directly or indirectly. So this narrows down our list of possible locations for TESVI to a few places:
- Adamantine Tower – If the next story features the Adamantine Tower, the game could return us to the region of High Rock. This is a region that has been heavily featured in previous games, especially Daggerfall and Elder Scrolls Online. If they want to keep the story human-centric, this is our most likely option.
- Crystal Tower – The tower of the High Elves in the Summerset Isles was supposedly destroyed off-screen during the events of Oblivion. However, the truth may be more complicated than it seems, and we know very little about these events. Could this tower somehow still be active, even though its physical form was destroyed by the Daedra? It’s possible-after all, we’re dealing with high elf lore, which more often than not takes turns into the magical.
- Green-Sap Tower – We know even less about the tower of the Wood Elves. We know that it is a tree, of which there are many in Valenwood, but this has to be a very special tree. A lore book in ESO, which heavily features Valenwood, talks about a “Great Tree” that is hidden somewhere in Valenwood, and it seems to hold some sort of great power. Another theory is that it may be the walking tree-city of Falinesti. Either way, there seems to be a tower out there somewhere in this forested region.
So, there you have it. The three remaining towers point to the next game being set in High Rock, Summerset Isles or Valenwood. We’ve seen High Rock in several of the games already, so I’m willing to place my bets on the latter two. This is helped by the outcome of events in Skyrim‘s story. By the end of the game, the militant Thalmor still stand as the one of the most dangerous forces in Tamriel. If you recall, they HATE humans, and want to see them be enslaved, if not eradicated completely. This is a plot thread that will have to be touched upon in the next game, since it was left wholly unresolved. I’m placing my bets on either Summerset Isles or Valenwood. Unless there are towers that we don’t know about, I doubt we will see Black Marsh, or any other location outside of this. If I’m wrong, I will take a picture of myself eating my shoe and will post it on here! Disagree? Feel free to let me know, I love discussion!