On Nirn and Jupiter
So here’s a crazy theory that’s been growing larger in the back of my mind for quite a while now: Nirn, the planet setting of the Elder Scrolls universe, is in fact Jupiter, in some proto-ancient state of existence before life in the universe sprang into being as we understand it.
No wait! Come back here!
Okay, so first, my crazy theory: that the Elder Scrolls series takes place in some, well, elder time from before the dawn of recorded history. The planet that the game series takes place on is called Nirn, and the main continent of Tamriel is ruled by a militaristic Imperium, based very closely on Earth’s Roman Empire. But wait! That’s not where the only similarity is, and from this similarity comes my theory: The Imperials at some point fled Nirn and settled on one of the nearby planets, a small blue dot that we now know as Earth, and we are all descendants of the Imperials, who became known as the Romans in our distant past. Some cataclysm wracked the world of Nirn to the point that it could no longer support life and the Imperials were forced to flee; naturally, since they were the most technologically advanced of all the races (aside from the Dwemer,) brought science along with them when they escaped from Nirn.
Let’s look at the evidence to support this cockamamie theory.
First of all, let’s look at Earth and Nirn side by side:
Now, while this may seem to shoot my theory as full of holes as some unfortunate adventurer’s kneecaps full of arrows, it doesn’t necessarily kill it. For comparison, here’s a representation of the Earth as compared to Jupiter, as they both appear today:
Clearly, there’s an ever-so-slight discrepancy in the size of Nirn and Jupiter… but then again, this actually supports my theory in the long run rather than shooting it down.
Please sit down; I scribbled madly on far too many walls for you to walk out now.
Anyway, Jupiter as we know him today is a gas giant, about ten or twelve pounds away from becoming a second star in our solar system. Nirn is nowhere near that size. Under my theory, wherein Nirn was an proto-ancient planet, it was a hell of a lot smaller, about the size in the Earth/Nirn comparison graphic above. What happened? Well, my first theory is this:
1. The Oblivion Gates were finally flung open and the forces of evil invaded, making the planet’s core erupt, causing it to turn into a gas giant.
One of the fundamental aspects of the game series is that the evil forces of… um, evil, want nothing more than to destroy the realm of creation, but are sealed away in the pocket dimension of Oblivion, accessible only through special magical gates scattered across Nirn’s landscape. In fact, the fourth game in the series, Oblivion, sees the player character actually enter the realm of Oblivion to directly combat these forces of chaos and evil, called the Daedra, up close and personal. The landscape is blasted, twisted, and wrong. In fact, it almost looks like the realm itself has no solid form, but is rather the remnants of an older, more ordered universe gone to disorder and ruin.
Oblivion is a nasty place, composed of fire, poisonous gas, and OUTER FREAKING SPACE.
If the Daedra finally flung the gates wide and invaded Nirn, they would have set about making it like their own home, rupturing it and turning it to ruin and death. This leads me to my next point:
2. We can still see certain details on Jupiter that belonged to ancient Nirn.
Yes, that’s right, Nirn has some pretty noticeable details that have continued to stick with Jupiter to this day. Take a look at the map again. Notice that tiny island there just below the main continent? That island is called Morrowind, and is home to a giant volcano called the Red Mountain. The Red Mountain was home to a powerful demon/demigod called Dagoth Ur, who basically wanted the same thing that the Daedra wanted: chaos and disorder, with the slight caveat that he rule the chaos and disorder. Now, after Dagoth Ur was killed at the end of the third game in the series, (the aptly titled Morrowind,) there followed some crazy events in which a tiny floating moon was brought down directly on the island (by a Dadra… bet you didn’t see THAT coming,) and causing the volcano to erupt, and erupt, and erupt some more. In fact, that sucker blew so hard that it destroyed the island, making the thing uninhabitable and barren, as well as belching quite the humongous cloud of red ash up into the stratosphere… where it continues to erupt and blow around to this day. Look where Morrowind is on the map. Now look at Jupiter’s famous red spot. THEY’RE IN THE EXACT SAME FLIPPING PLACE. Need more proof? Okay, how about:
3. Nirn actually inhabits a solar system with nine planets in it.
Yep. The Daedra are the evil forces of destruction in the games, but the forces of creation and good that made Nirn also created eight other physical realms, or planets, and placed them in the night sky. In fact, these other planets are plainly visible in the night sky in some of the games, and even form parts of some of the constellations in the night sky.
Now, I know that Pluto has been demoted, but when the games were first conceived, it was still a planet in good standing with the scientific community.
In any case, the fact that Nirn floats in a solar system with eight other planets and has an extremely similar feature with Jupiter is nothing compared with this next point:
4. The Imperials migrated to Earth and jumpstarted modern culture.
The Imperials, naturally, being the most advanced (culturally and scientifically) society on Tamriel (the continent where the games take place,) would have been able to escape from this cataclysm, whatever the heck it was, and made their way to another planet in the immediate area, the only one capable of supporting life (this is a theory; at this stage, Mars could just as easily have been capable of supporting life as well), which was Earth. Now, there could very well have been other humans on Earth at the time, but of course the Imperials would have brought their culture with them, which, since they appear to be carbon copies of the Roman Empire, would mean that Earth’s Roman Empire was actually created by the Nirn Imperials when they settled there. My next point? That the Imperial national anthem itself gives us a clue as to Nirn’s true identity in Earth’s night sky.
5. The Imperial national anthem itself comes to be known in time as Jupiter’s musical anthem.
The Imperials have a national anthem, which makes its way through all of Cyrrodil’s (The capital of Tamriel and the seat of Imperial power) provinces. This musical anthem sounds like this:
Now, this anthem worked its way into the collective unconsciousness of all of Tamriel, to the point that even the lawless northern realm of Skyrim used the tune as part of their national identity. Naturally, this theme would have been passed down through Earth’s generations, from the Imperials who became known as the Romans in later centuries. This theme became known by a much more famous name, when it was formally composed by Gustav Holst, under the title of Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity.
Skip to 2:45 for the pertinent musical theme.
Please note the name of that piece: Jupiter. Jupiter, as in, Jupiter the planet we came from, also known as Nirn. You cannot deny that Jupiter’s main theme is almost the exact same theme for Cyrrodil’s national anthem. Which brings me to my final point:
6. The Romans worshiped a pantheon of gods, chief among them named Jupiter.
The chief god of all of the Romans was named Jupiter; now, in the Elder Scrolls games, the different realms are named for the different Aedra and Daedra that rule them. Nirn, while not named after an Aedra named Nirn, does not actually have a patron Aedra or Daedra, but is rather a conglomeration of several Aedra that created it (hence the pantheon.) The Imperials, homesick for their once glorious homeworld, would naturally name their greatest diety after their lost home, which over time came to be known as Jupiter.
So there you have it. The Elder Scrolls series takes place on Jupiter at some impossibly distant point in the past. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to put up some more furniture against the doors and windows, as the nice young men in their white coats have been banging on the doors for the last 45 minutes.
Which one of you N’Wah called them?