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.

Pictured: Neill DeGrasse Tyson, destroyer of dreams.

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?


28 thoughts on “On Nirn and Jupiter

  1. I love the idea, but I noticed one flaw. In your comparison with modern-day Jupiter and Nirn, you say “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.” Morrowind and Red Mountain, however are not the island below the continent, that island is the Sunmerset Isles. Morrowind is actually to the far northeast of the continent. The only way I could see Red Mountain becoming the Red Sopt is if the planet turned completely upside down as it turned into the gas giant we see today.

      • Besides that one point, I completely loved the whole idea, and it really does make perfect sense. Who knows, maybe Bethseda is actually composed of Imperials with the Elder Scrolls that tell them of the ancient past!

      • You never know! It could explain how they’re so effective at selling us games… perhaps they’ve been using the Voice of The Emperor power on us all this time.

    • North is only north because we say it is. There is no NSEW outside our atmosphere, so if you just flipped the solar system upside down and kept the map of Nirn as it is… or more easily flipped a Nirn globe upside down and left the solar system as is, the volcano and red spot align! ooooooo magic!

  2. wow….. one problem though, what happened to Nirn’s moons? and what about the other continents of Nirn? i also have a few theories about Nirn’s past…. well, conveniences that incorporate settings from other campaigns that i have done for D&D…. quite the quest-line actually, but that’s not the point, the point is this: this is the most obscure and absurd idea i have read in a while……. and i LOVE it! we need people with your kind of imagination in the game development area, and game testing area, especially with table-top games….. still diverging from the topic, but hey, keep up the good work!

    • Thanks for the comment! As to Nirn’s moons, Jupiter has 66 of them, whereas Nirn has only Masser and Secunda. However, the 66 moons orbiting Jupiter are all of varying size and shape; I could theorize that perhaps Masser and Secunda were shattered in the same cataclysm that destroyed Nirn itself.
      Alternately, I could say that Nirn’s two moons were brought crashing into the planet, just like the Ministry of Truth was brought down on Vivec; having the two massive moons crash into, say, Imperial City, would surely kick up a hell of a lot of rubble into orbit, accounting for the other moons in Jupiter’s orbit.

    • You are correct. It is just a computer game. It is, however, a blank slate in that the world has not been established to exist either inside or outside of our own reality, or even our own timeline. As such, it’s open to interpretation, as is every work of fiction. 😉

  3. Really fascinating idea, and maybe some game designer really did it like that! 🙂
    But the “red dot” on Jupiter isn’t always there. The atmosphere of Jupiter is very unstable and shifting, much like Earth’s atmosphere. So maybe you and the game designer both failed at this *giggles*

  4. Interesting concept, I like it. That is only going to make it even more painful for me to shoot it down and prove you wrong. If you had taken a stroll down reddit.com/r/teslore or read “/The Annotated Anuad/A Children’s Anuad” from Morrowind and Oblivion/Skyrim(respectively), you would understand that Nirn doesn’t exist in any universe. The collective ‘universe'(for lack of a better term) that Nirn is in is Aurbis, specifically Mundus, where Nirn and the planets of the Aedra exist, outside of which is Oblivion, with the Sun and Stars acting as holes to Aetherius. Also, did I mention this entire universe takes place within the confines of a sleeping god, and those who happen to understand this either are erased from existence or become post-godlike beings? It is a concept called CHIM.

    Hope this taught you something, and have a lovely day, sera!

    • I’m actually aware of that specific lore, having read darn near every book ingame. (I try to stay away from Reddit, as it’s populated with filthy outlanders and ignorant N’wahs.)
      Most of what I write here is decidedly tongue-in-cheek, and I’m aware that the Elder Scrolls series takes place in its own universe.
      However, what I did here was go beyond mundane fact-repeating from the ingame books and/or online communities and put forth an original theory based on an original thought.
      I recommend it. You may go into it knowing full well that you’re wrong, but it’s fun enough once you get away from the safe harbors of Internet forums and into the deep uncharted waters of your own crazy imagination.

      I have learned nothing that I did not already know. You have a lovely day, and be aware, Lord Dagoth Ur’s awakened eyes are upon you.

  5. Introduction

    First I want to say you have obviously put quite a bit of time into your Jupiter theory and you have an awesome imagination I love it and I am in no way trying to put you down I am just giving you something else to think about. However, there are a couple of flaws in your theory. Pertaining to astrophysics, a super massive volcano like Red Mountain erupting on a terrestrial planet such as Nirn would never cause the planet to degrade and transform into a gas giant like Jupiter. The eruption would render the planet useless and unsustainable for life but never turn into a gas giant. Sorry. There is currently a super massive volcano on Mars called Olympus Mons; it is the largest volcano not only on Mars but in our entire solar system. If it were to erupt tomorrow Mars would still be there in the next billion years. Now on to my theory.

    How about this for a theory; lets combine rationality, history, astronomy, and a pinch of some good old-fashioned science fiction. This is a theory I have had on my mind for a while and this is the first time I am writing it down so bear with me.

    Let us assume for a second that Nirn really is a planet. Instead of placing it in our own solar backyard, let’s place it on the other side of the Milky Way. Our galaxy alone consists of approx. 100 billion stars, one of them has to contain a system of planets that could sustain life, and it seems incredibly absurd that we’re the only planet with that capability. Anyways, the various human nations of Nirn have striking resemblances to some of the ancient cultures of Earth. For example the Nord culture of Skyrim is similar to ancient Scandinavian and medieval Viking culture. The Redguard culture resembles the Moorish culture of medieval North Africa. The Bretons are obviously the ancient Celtic societies of ancient Britain. And last but not least the Imperials are similar to the ancient Romans.

    The Theories

    So how then, do these similarities between our ancestors on Earth link to the human nations of a planet on the other side of the galaxy? Scientifically speaking, the odds of a single species evolving on two different planets on the opposite ends of the galaxy and physically looking the same is pretty much impossible. So that being said, it seems sometime in Nirn’s ancient past, when elves were the ruling species on the planet, an assortment of our Scandinavian, African, British, and Roman ancestors somehow made it the millions of light years to Nirn from Earth. So here’s what I propose, and I’ll leave it to you the reader to decide for yourself which idea seems more plausible.

    1) The Stargate Theory

    Sometime in Earth’s ancient past various cultures from Earth discovered some sort of ancient device, perhaps left by ancient super intelligent aliens, which could transport matter across the known universe. It does not necessarily have to be a “Stargate”, but some sort of device that could sustain a worm hole and fold space-time.

    2) Alien Transportation Theory

    Again sometime in Earth’s ancient past, our ancestors were visited and abducted by super intelligent aliens capable of space travel and brought to Nirn.

    3) Aliens Mistaken For Gods

    This theory is a combination of the two above. Perhaps the various Deadra worshiped by the elves, and the Nine Divines worshiped by the humans, are actually super intelligent aliens who created transportation devices between the two worlds. This theory works particularly well with the Oblivion Crisis. You need a gate to travel between Nirn and the plains of Oblivion, which I don’t know if anyone else has made this connection but does not the red plains of Oblivion bear a striking resemblance to the giant red moon Masser? Something to think about.


    Whichever of the theories above you choose, let’s assume that the ancient aliens or device brought our ancestors to Nirn and dropped them on the continent of Atmora to the north of Tamriel. Just like the anthropological theory of Homo sapiens evolving and migrating out of Africa and populating the Earth through various land and ice bridges, could it be possible that the human races of Nirn migrated out of Atmora. The ancient Moors built ships and sailed to Yakuda and eventually became the Redguard. The ancient Celts sailed to High Rock. The ancient Scandinavians and Romans sailed to Skyrim (e.g. the legend of Ysgramor being the first human to sail from Atmora to Tamriel) and from there migrated to Cyrodiil. And eventually through time and assimilation the various ancient human races of Earth become the races of Nirn we know and love today.

    • Canon called. Your theory is 100% wrong. For starters, all planets save for nirn are infinitely large, so there go all your size discrepancies.

      And no, daedra are not super intelligent aliens. Really? They’re original spirits from before creation. You know all this is in the game right?

      • I do know that it is all ingame.
        However, as I said, this is a theory.
        …A theory that I wrote three years ago, mind you (thanks for the necro-bump).

        Also, on the alien/daedra part, who is to say that our interpretation of aliens aren’t someone else’s interpretations of daedra and aedra?

        This was a fun theory, not meant to be taken as anything more.

  6. The Elder Scrolls series take place in an alternate universe, another dimension, called Mundus. So, there’s no way for Nirn, or anyone living on, or around it, to be able to interact with Earth. Also, Morrowind is not an island. It’s part of the “main continent”. Morrowind is located to the very east of Tamriel, right next to Skyrim and Cyrodiil, and north of Black Marsh. So the Red Mountain does not match with Jupiter’s Red spot by location. Also, there are events, taking place on Nirn after the Oblivion gates and the Red Mountain eruption. The fifth game takes place after both of these events. And lastly, how in hell did the Imperials move to another planet? Even the Dwemer couldn’t do that. And the Dwemer were the most advanced civilisation in the Elder Scrolls lore. After all, they were capable of building huge freaking robots, while the rest of Nirn still used bows and arrows.

    • I agree with all of your points completely.
      When I wrote this, I never thought that it would get the number of replies it’s gotten! This has easily been my most-discussed post ever, still drawing attention more than a year after I wrote it.
      Of course I’m aware that the Elder Scrolls series takes place in a wholly separate universe; at the time, I thought it would be fun to try to draw parallels between that universe and our own.
      It’s certainly been a rewarding experience to see that so many people are so passionate about the Elder Scrolls series and Morrowind in particular!

  7. Ok, so the theory of nirn becoming Jupiter is very interesting and I have my own theory to add on what happened to Nirn. Now the plot of both Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls Online is about a Daedric Prince trying to invade Nirn from their plane of existence, be it Molag Bol or Meruhnes Dagon. So what if these Princes were real, then it could be possible that one of these Princes brought their world into Nirn and accidentally rapidly expanded the planet, swelling it to the size of Jupiter and destroying it in the process. This leaves to question how the races survived. This could be caused by Azura or Meridia considering they are the most helpful of the Daedra and saved who they could and sent them to what we now call earth. What do you think?

  8. An ever so mild flaw in your theory comes from the lore behind the Elder Scrolls. The sun does not exist in the Elder Scrolls universe as a star, and is rather a big hole leading into Aetherius, along with the stars (which are smaller holes).

  9. i love this theory i myself was looking into Nirn’s continents looking suspiciously like Earth’s super continent of Panagea and the different races of Nirn being of correct(ish) origin compared to us here on earth; dragons in the east with the Akavari and barbarians who believe in dragons although they are rare to the north. i do however like your theory and think it hold some very interesting points. Ps; you seem to have some experience at this so how do i keep those pesky men in white coats out, every now and again one slips over the electric fence and i have to release the hounds its a very messy business not to mention an inconvenience to my work

    • I find landmines to be the best defense against pesky NIMH employees. I simply release the hungry opossums afterward for easy cleanup.

  10. Have you considered why the Imperials got rid of their ‘advanced technology’ and reverted back to the ways they used to live, after coming to Earth?

    • Hrmmm. Okay, since it’s just a silly theory, I’ll make something up. They dropped their advanced technology, which they had spent centuries piecing together from Dwemer artifacts, because they had inadvertently caused the cataclysm that opened untold Oblivion gates leading to the destruction of Nirn.

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