I thought I was pretty hip when I joined Tumblr in 2010. By this I mean I was hip in the general sense, not that joining Tumblr made me hip. I’d been a part of The X-Files community in the late ’90s, so I know about fandom. How naive. I had so much to learn! One concept I learned about: OCs, or original characters. My exposure to OCs is through video games. Players of RPGs like Skyrim and Dragon Age create these elaborate, detailed histories for their player characters. I thought it was a little weird at first. Then I started doing it, too.
The Nords of Skyrim tell tales of a mortal person born with the soul of a dragon. And now, only the Dragonborn has the power to stop Alduin and the other dragons from bringing on the end of the world.
I’m about to start my fourteenth playthrough of Skyrim, so why not check in on some of the other Dragonborn?
My first playthrough, a Nord. She often ran around in her underwear because I didn’t understand how to equip armor. She died a lot because I didn’t understand gravity (falling off cliffs and mountains is deadly). I also didn’t understand combat and would continually try to kill creatures much stronger than I. I didn’t join any factions because I didn’t understand. . . there’s a theme, you can see. Finally made it to the game, but what a slog.
Another Nord, but this one understood how to wear armor and also not to fall off things. Killed everyone in the Dark Brotherhood. Married Ria of the Companions. Rosamund was charmed by Ria. “I killed a bear yesterday. What did you kill?” Ria asked. Mecthild’s response was, “Marry me.”
Another dark-haired Nord. I have a type. After defeating Alduin the World-Eater, Mechtild returned to Solitude. She took over the Bard’s College and spent her days singing her own song.
My first non-Nord! A Redguard woman who joined the Companions, Thieve’s Guild, Dark Brotherhood, Mage’s College, Bard’s College, and found time to marry Marcurio, a mage.
Veera-Zee was an Argonian, a lizard-woman. Sure she was successful in defeating Alduin, but she eventually froze to death because she was a lizard and Skyrim is very cold.
A Bosmer (wood elf), Merrill used magic and hoped to be accepted by the snooty Altmer (High Elves). She was not. She took great delight in destroying their embassy in northern Skyrim.
A sword-and-shield using Imperial. I prefer underdogs and despise empires/authority, so I usually side with the Stormcloaks (the rebellion). But I thought, why not mix it up and join the Imperials? I hated the Imperials, myself, and this character.
8. Azar Naaz
Azar Naaz is a Khajiit, a cat person. Khajiit are not trusted in Skyrim and are viewed with suspician. Azaar Naaz is happy to uphold those stereotypes and steal what she can. Considering most people are ready to judge her, she’s happy to punch them to death.
9. Wealhtheow Golden-Grain
Wealhtheow is my canon character. If I had time to write Skyrim fanfic, I’d write it about her. I do, in fact, have an elaborate backstory for her: her parents, her three younger siblings (one brother, two sisters), the farm she grew up on. She wanted to be a city guard, but was caught in that ambush.
“Wealhtheow” is the name of Hrothgar’s queen in Beowulf. Her name seems to be more descriptive than anything: Wealh means “servant, Briton, Welsh” and theow means “slave, servant.” We don’t know much about her character, so maybe her name means something like “servant from Britain,” especially if her marriage was a political one.
But I’ve decided to ignore conventional linguistics. I think the “wealh” is (should be) related to “weal” meaning “prosperity or happiness.” Isn’t that nice? “Servant of happiness.”
I like to think my character is a small way to restore some power to Wealhtheow.
Anyway, Wealhtheow joined the Companions, Dark Brotherhood, Mage’s College, etc. She defeated Alduin, the Imperials, the vampires, and Miraak. She married Balimund, the smith in Riften, and adopted two children. She made sure to share her wealth with her family and those in need.
And now, as her loved ones sleep, she sits on the porch of her house near Dawnstar, Windstad Manor, and she thinks about the future. She remembers what the old dragon Paarthurnax said. It is in her nature to conquer. And one day, Skyrim will be hers. All of Tamriel will be hers.