I find the personality section on the wikia for Miraak really fucking annoying for a couple of reasons. Either the person who wrote it is an idiot, Bethesda is comprised of idiots, or I’m an idiot. It’s probably the latter, but either way, I’m going to fucking explain why it’s bullshit.
So, first of all, we know that Miraak is the first Dragonborn and was once a Dragon Priest under the rule of the dragons. I said dragon three times. Doesn’t matter. Miraak then read a Black Book, some shit happens, and now Miraak is Hermaeus Mora’s champion and knows a forbidden shout that can bend other’s will.
Considering that Miraak rebelled against the dragons/read that Black Book around the time that the other Nords were rebelling against the dragons (since Hakon One-Eye, Gormlaith Golden-Hilt, and Felldir the Old had all begged for his help as Dragonborn to help defeat Alduin), we have to assume that Miraak was sick of being under the dragon’s rule. I mean, he probably had a good fucking life, he had his own temple for fuck’s sake, and rebelling against the dragons would’ve been an extremely risky move. Did Miraak want more power, or did he just want true freedom? I see it as a man who was finally given the opportunity to rebel, a fleeting chance at defeating the dragons, and he took it. He had a shout to control dragons, and the inborn ability to devour their souls. Wombo-fucking-combo.
Now, had Miraak joined the original rebellion in the rest of Skyrim (I say the rest of Skyrim as opposed to just Skyrim since Solstheim was still attached to Skyrim at this point), he probably would’ve been much more successful. But, since his personality is “very arrogant and rash,” he said fuck it and made his own rebellion that failed SPECTACULARLY. I have no idea what he did to “announce” his rebellion, but Miraak had three acolyte priests on his side as well, so I don’t think this was a spur of the moment “Oh I’m just going to go out and kill a dragon now.” I feel like this was a rebellion long in the works, maybe for as long as Miraak had been a dragon priest. He literally convinced three other Dragon Priests to join his side, and Dragon Priests were so loyal to the dragons that they serve them past their deaths. This motherfucker got not one, not two, but three whole ass Dragon Priests to join his little rebellion! So, oh yeah, this wasn’t an overnight deal. I’m quickly delving into headcanon territory, but I think Miraak (head of the Priest rebellion, which is a secret rebellion at this point) and the others actively sought out a power to give them more of an edge against the dragons, because apparently Miraak being Dragonborn wasn’t enough. And then you can bet your entire ass that Herma Mora was like “Oh I can take advantage of this situation!”
Was Miraak tricked into becoming Hermaeus Mora’s champion? Oh hell fucking no. But did Miraak read the entire Becoming a Champion of a Daedric Prince Contract? Hell fucking no as well. We are talking about Miraak, the dude who hated being under the rule of the dragons so much, that he sought forbidden knowledge to defeat them. And he just signs his life away like that? He’s just going from being under one rule to another. He’s not actually gaining anything.
Back to the whole “dragons raze his temple” part, Miraak isn’t defeated by dragons. He’s defeated by a fellow Priest. Vahlok. Dude, the fight was rigged though. I’m seeing it as this: Miraak has just defeated twenty one (as seen by the amount of skeletons outside of his temple) dragons, and he may be powerful from the souls he’s just absorbed, but you do not fight twenty one fucking dragons and come out unscathed. Was he at the height of his power at the time? Yes. Was he at his full potential though? No. Miraak is almost defeated by Vahlok, his acolyte priests either fled or dead (fled, they fled, but Miraak doesn’t know that yet), Vahlok was probably 0.2 seconds away from the final blow, and Hermaeus Mora was like “Hey wait no that’s my champion you can’t do that this fight isn’t fair,” and fucking SWOOPS Miraak out of Nirn and drops him in Apocrypha.
Let’s say you just fought a really bloody battle, and somebody who you know saves you last minute and takes you back to their house to recover as part of a contract you signed with them (the contract was that if you gave them your life, they’d help you and save yours). It’s a cool house, it has a great library, and you learn a good amount of stuff while you’re recovering. When you get better, you’re like, “Hey, I’m ready to get back out there and keep fighting!” But they just shake their head, and only now you realize that the windows are barred and the door has seemingly disappeared. Maybe, just maybe, this somebody you know wants you to learn more before you go back out to fight. That’s valid, right? Maybe they just don’t think you’re ready yet. So, you head back to that really awesome library they have and start hitting the books. You learn a lot, like, a lot a lot. But you’ve been reading for so long now, and you kind of want to go back outside. You’ve even cleaned up the house and done all sorts of errands and chores for this somebody, you’ve helped so much and you’ve been so loyal. Look! It’s a sunny day! It’s nice out! Why won’t they let you outside?
They never let you go.
And four thousand fucking years past, everyone you once knew is dead, and the world moved on without you. You’re just a footnote in history, long forgotten, with nobody who cares about you. And this somebody, this fucking somebody, still won’t let you leave. You’ve read through the library a thousand times now, you’ve gotten smarter, quicker, and stronger. When you signed that contract, you had no idea an eternity was this long. You now realize that after all this time, you have the chance to free yourself, to be a master of your own life again. So you take that chance.
That’s what I believe it was like for Miraak. It’s a far more interesting and bittersweet story than what’s put together on the wikia.
Now that I’ve explained all of that, I can finally get into why I hate that part of his wikia page so much. It says that Miraak “seems to be motivated solely by his lust for power” and can be seen through “his initial betrayal of the Dragons at the height of their power.”
What? Sorry, what? His lust for power? His “lust for power” isn’t a “lust for power,” it’s a desire for freedom. His initial betrayal shows jack shit about him having any sort of lust for power, it seems more like a man trying to gain control of his life through ulterior means. Hermaeus Mora offered the power to defeat the beings that had all of Solstheim and Skyrim under their grasp. And then the wikia says that his “lust for power” can also be be seen “through his resistance to the effects of Apocrypha as it is said that all those who venture there become prisoners of their own thirst for knowledge and are unable to leave, whereas Miraak appeared unaffected.”
IF MIRAAK HAS A LUST FOR POWER, THEN HE WOULD SUCCUMB TO THE THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE IN APOCRYPHA. BUT HE DOESN’T, SO HE DIDN’T. HE STAYED SANE BECAUSE HE DOESN’T HAVE A FUCKING “LUST FOR POWER.”
“This is the only way, Dragonborn. The only way I can be free.”
That doesn’t sound like a man lusting for power, that sounds like a man desperate for freedom.
Basically, if you replaced “lust for power” with “want for freedom,” everything would make more sense. However, I do agree when they say that he’s fiercely independent and extremely arrogant. Like, literally, when he says he could’ve defeated Alduin but chose otherwise, pretty fucking arrogant. But in the same breath, he admits that Alduin would’ve been troublesome for him, and thanks the Last Dragonborn. He respects the Dragonborn in combat as well. He says shit like “You are strong. Stronger than I believed possible.” and “The Greybeards taught you well.” and “You could have been mighty, if fate had decreed otherwise.” and “You fight valiantly against fate, but I am stronger here.”
He really actually does respect the Last Dragonborn and their fighting abilities and resilience, but since Miraak already believes he will win (again, arrogant nature), they’re kind of backhanded compliments. But have you noticed that he keeps going on about fate as well? He believes it is his fate to be free. He believes that if he no longer acts as Hermaeus Mora’s pawn, he automatically has control over his own fate, his own destiny. One of his last lines before he dies, he says “This cannot be. I am master of my own fate!”
He’s shocked that he lost due to his arrogance and in disbelief that he failed since he truly believed he had control over his fate. But it was all an illusion. He never had control. He was just a puppet on Hermaeus Mora’s stage, where the script was already written and it read that the Last Dragonborn was victorious. The Last Dragonborn is not the “good guy” in this situation. The Last Dragonborn played right into Hermaeus Mora’s little scheme. And now the Last is Herma’s new champion as well.
I’ve already made my point with the wikia section, and I’m just rambling now. Miraak is painted like the bad guy from the start because he bent the will of the inhabitants of Solstheim in order to gain his freedom. He had a self-serving (but justifiable) goal, and was forced to use “bad” means to serve his own means. It’s like he’s consistently backed into a corner and is forced to do things. In the first case, it was using forbidden knowledge that Hermaeus Mora gifted him, and in the second, it was controlling the minds of the inhabitants of Solstheim to build shrines to him so he can gain enough power to return to Nirn. It’s an extremely upsetting story.
There’s one more thing I want to talk about, and that’s Miraak’s Mantra.
“Here in my shrine
That you have forgotten
Here do you toil
That you might remember
By night you reclaim
What by day was stolen
Far from yourselves
I grow ever near to you
Your eyes once were blinded
Now through me do you see
Your hands once were idle
Now through them do I speak
And when the world shall listen
And when the world shall see
And when the world remembers
That world shall cease to be.”
Let’s break this motherfucker down.
“Here in my shrine; That you have forgotten.” Self explanatory, Miraak’s influence and past has long been forgotten on Solstheim. But the way it’s phrased almost insinuates that the All-Maker Stones were once originally Miraak’s. Were the stones corrupted in the past when Miraak still lived, or were they created while he was alive as shrines to him? The Skaal preach about their sacred traditions and fuck not, but their history keeping skills are really fucking shitty since they don’t write anything down. This can all be more simply said as: who made the stones, and were they originally shrines?
“Here do you toil; That you might remember.” Self explanatory again, people work at the shrines, and the more they work there, the more they start to remember who Miraak was/is.
“By night you reclaim; What by day was stolen.” Now this I find interesting again. The night part makes sense because the inhabitants of Solstheim can only go under the mind control influence of the shrines when they fall asleep (I kind of wonder why too? Why only night? Is it because people lose control of their body? And the way the people of Raven Rock recall being under the spell, they recall it as a vague dream. I honestly just answered my own question, the spell or whatever makes it seem like it’s a dream, so the brain is still asleep and in it’s dream state, but the body is awake and working on building/rebuilding the shrines/temple), but the day part, hoo boy. It could mean something simple as hell, maybe Miraak was defeated four thousand years ago when it was daytime. Or maybe, it means something EVEN simpler, like how as the years and days passed, the memory of Miraak faded more and more and more. The daily lives of the people took over, and so, by day, Miraak just became a distant passing thought. “The name sounds familiar… but I just can’t place it.”
“Far from yourselves; I grow ever nearer to you.” The far from yourselves part obviously refers to the mind control aspect of this. The further the people get from “surfacing” and waking up from their mind control state, the more progress is made on the shrines, and the closer Miraak gets to returning. “Your eyes once were blinded; Now through me do you see. Your hands once were idle; Now through them do I speak.” Same concept as I just explained.
“And when the world shall listen; And when the world shall see; And when the world remembers; That world shall cease to be.” Now we’re getting juicy. The world listening, seeing, and remembering all adheres to what I’ve said above already, but the last part? That very last chilling line? “That world shall cease to be.” I think it has a different meaning than what the surface portrays. When somebody says the world shall cease to be, you first think about the world ending, right? Alduin the World Eater Apocalypse style, right? I don’t think it’s so. Miraak gains nothing whatsoever for bringing the end of the world, nor does he ever show in his dialog and actions that he wants to destroy what he’s working so hard to gain again. The world he’s talking about is the world that has forgotten who is he, the world that has forgotten the bloodshed, the world that has forgotten it’s own history. When Miraak returns, that deaf, blinded, and amnesiac world will cease to be; and an enlightened one will be born from it.
Alright, well that was a fucking ride. Got way too long. Whatever. Fuck man. SHIT.
Have this homemade meme now.