Lorkhan is one of the few gods that is recognized, but not necessarily worshiped, by almost every Tamrielic culture, but whether he is an Aedra, a Daedra, or neither remains a mystery. He has many names, but they all refer to the same entity.
Lorkhan was responsible for the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane, but not every culture celebrates this event. Most races of Mer revile Lorkhan and view mortality as a curse, while most races of men revere him and celebrate it.
you’re gonna rattle the stars
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(In regards to my abject opposition to Talos supposedly having mantled Lorkhan) There’s a lot of reasons that I’ve ranted about before many, many times.
The biggest is that divine power in the Elder Scrolls is based on belief. The more people have faith that a god exists, the more powerful a god becomes. Which is why the Daedra and Aedra are always meddling, so that they stay relevant to Mundus or else fade into obscurity.
Lorkhan is present in every single pantheon. If he is not worshipped, he is acknowledged. This gives him an incredibly large amount of power, especially considering he’s always (with the exception of the Redguards) being tasked as the one who is responsible for the existence of mortals in the first place.
Meanwhile Talos is only regarded as a god by two cultures. He literally does not have enough power to go about mantling Lorkhan, as there’s not enough people who would believe in such a thing. You’d tell a Dunmer that Lorkhan was replaced by this human god of War and they’d just scoff at you for how ridiculous you’d sound to them.
There’s also the lack of overlap in terms of spheres. Through the Atmoran chieftan Shor mantling Lorkhan early in the Merethic Era, Lorkhan was granted a minor aspect of War in the eyes of one single culture. But his other, primary, actual Spheres - which Talos has absolutely nothing to do with - have absolutely nothing to do with war in any sense.
And then there’s the fact that mantling is the act of replacement or becoming synonymous. “Walk like them until they walk like you”. The word Shor became synonymous with Lorkhan, but Talos is still widely and adamantly considered to be an entirely separate god from Lorkhan, who is worshipped alongside Talos in the only two cultures who worship Talos at all.
The theory falls apart under the laws of it’s own metaphysics. And that’s not even getting into how - as a writer - replacing the most intriguing god in TES with an extremely bland, overused stereotype is one of the worst writing choices you could make and I refuse to believe that TES would make that mistake.
Excerpt from a TESV: Skyrim design document, with slight changes for wording. Art by Adam Adamowicz.
The gods are cyclical, just like the world is. There are the Dead Gods, who fought and died to bring about the new cycle; the Hearth Gods, who watch over the present cycle; the Testing Gods, who threaten the Hearth and thus are watched; and the Twilight Gods, who usher in the next cycle. The end of a cycle is said to be preceded by the Dragonborn God, a god that did not exist in the previous cycle but whose presence means that the current one is almost over.
The Dead Gods
Dead Gods don’t need temples. They have the biggest one of all, Svongarde. Nord heroes and clever men visit the Underworld all the time. They bear a symbol to show that they have, which garners much respect.
The Fox - Shor
The Bear - Tsun
The Hearth Gods
The Hearth Gods have temples appropriate to their nature: Kyne’s are built on peaks, Mara’s are the halls of important Witches, Dibella’s are the halls of important Wives– the temples aren’t like those of the Imperials; as Hearth Gods, they are always homes to someone, and the highest-ranking female of that home is their de facto high priestess.
The Hawk, Kyne
The Wolf, Mara
The Moth, Dibella
The Testing Gods
The Testing Gods don’t really have temples – they are propitiated at battlegrounds or other sites where they caused some notable trouble. Nords understand that the Daedric Temples are something else entirely and think them as much of a waste of time as the formalized religion of the Nine Divines of Cyrodiil.
The Snake, Orkey
The Woodland Man, Herma Mora
The Twilight Gods
The Twilight Gods need no temples– when they show up, there won’t be any reason to build them, much less use them – another waste of time. That said, Nords do venerate them, as they always venerate the cycles of things, and especially the Last War where they will show their final, best worth.
The Dragon, Alduin
Alduin is venerated on the winter solstice by ceremonies at ancient Dragon Cult temples, where offerings are made to keep him asleep for one more year. Alduin is also the source of many common superstitious practices before any event of significance.
The Dragonborn God, Talos
Talos’ totem is the newest, but is everywhere – he is the Dragonborn Conquering Son, the first new god of this cycle, whose power is consequently unknown, so the Nords bless nearly everything with his totem, since he might very well be the god of it now, too. Yes, as first of the Twilight Gods, this practice might seem contradictory, but that’s only because, of all the gods, he will be the one that survives in whole into the next cycle.
Nord view of Imperial Religion
The Eight Divines are viewed by the Nords as a “Southern” import. They retain some of the taint of the Alessian Order, and are basically viewed as a religion for foreigners. Their gods are fine for them, but Nords need Nord gods.
Some of the gods are the same (or similar) – significantly these are the three female gods, which are far more important to the Nords than they are in the Imperial Cult. (Kyne is in fact the de facto head of the Nord pantheon.) The Nords are perplexed and disturbed by the Imperial Cult’s focus on the Dragon God – they regard this as a fundamental misunderstanding of the universe, and one likely to cause disaster in the end. (Which fits perfectly with the pessimistic Nord view of the world in general – things are likely to turn out badly, and it will probably be caused by some foreigner.) Lucky for the world that the Nords are so diligent about keeping Alduin asleep, while the southerners are busy trying to get his attention! Any mention of Akatosh in a Nord’s presence is likely to bring a muttered invocation to Alduin to stay asleep in response.
The Nords believe that, During the Oblivion Crisis, it was Talos (Dragonborn, Martin’s forefather) lending his aid, not Alduin.
“Why do you give these people your money, Y/N?” Loki asked, following you into the bank.
“Because it’s a bank, Loki, that’s what we do on Earth.” you explain to him, grabbing his hand and pulling him along when he stopped to stare at the tourists outside who marveled at his size and stature. “They hold onto it so I don’t have to carry it around.”
“I’ve never known you to be lazy, Y/N.” he mumbled.
“You’ve never known me to be stupid either. You don’t carry all your cash around in New York City, Loki. We’d get mugged.”
“I’d never let anyone lay a finger on you.”
“You’re a wimp without your powers so… I mean, a .22 is going to trump whatever empty threat you come up with.” you smirked.
Aside from all that, there’s no other real way to explain how Talos went from being a revered form of Ysmir to Skyrim’s most important God between Oblivion and Skyrim. And coincidentally when the game introduces “the last dragonborn”.
Why is s/he the last? Akatosh got tired of pooping souls, someone decided they want this Kalpa gone next time Alduin pops in, or Lorkhan no longer needs to poop ghosts… because he’s no longer dead….
Because he’s been mantled. The Nords still revere Shor but not the way they do Talos, not anymore.
And to me there’s a reason for that besides the elves said they can’t worship him anymore.
Wulf, the aspect of Talos in Morrowind also confirms the oversoul enantiomorph theory, and the enantiomorph is all about reenacting the three person interplay that Lorkhan himself also participated in. And Talos did it with three fellow Shezarrine.
I won’t pull C0da out of my ass don’t worry, lol XD but I am a fan of what it showed.
Honestly if Talos wasn’t somehow tied to Shor/Lorkhan, I’d be very surprised but I’m always open to possibilities.