The aim of Written in Uncertainty is to get down into the guts of some difficult questions in the Elder Scrolls, look at the possible answers and see where they all come from. This will be covering a range of metaphysical concepts present in the series, as well as particularly contentious events or characters within the series.
However, I’d like to begin by discussing my perspective on the lore, and what that means for how I’ll be talking about it in the podcasts. This will involve two things: a narrative device called the Unreliable Narrator, and a discussion of a fairly contentious topic in The Elder Scrolls, that of series canon.
The Unreliable Narrator
The Unreliable Narrator is a narrative device whereby the person or thing telling you something cannot trusted to tell the whole truth.
In The Elder Scrolls, the unreliable narrator is present in that the background texts we are given are presented in-universe, with named authors who have their own potentially limited perspectives on what they’re talking about. Some texts totally contradict each other. We never get presented with information that is necessarily absolutely true, like we are in the Dragon Age franchise, for example.
That means that there’s always room for interpretation, which, in my opinion, is what makes the lore of The Elder Scrolls so engaging and enjoyable. It also means that knowing the source for something is important, as the author or speaker may have biases or a lack of information, which we can try to counterbalance if we know where it comes from.
For these podcasts, I’ll try to flag the sources for these ideas, both inside TES universe and out. I’ll occasionally be using sources outside the universe in order to frame the texts better, fill in any gaps, that sort of thing.
Quick note to clarify here, when I say “texts”, I mean anything that gives us information about something, not just books. A computer game is a text, a film is a text, an audio recording is a text etc.
A canon is a series of texts that are taken as as acceptable sources of information about a thing. The term usually gets bounced around when talking about religious texts or particular stories within a fictional universe. Canon texts are those sources that are deemed to be official or, in some cases, true.
I don’t think canon itself matters in the context of a fictional universe. What matters to me is how well particular texts fit with what we already know (or think we know) about the world of The Elder Scrolls, not where it comes from as such. I’ll also be highlighting where the points I’ll be making come from, and discussing my opinion on the sources at times. If you don’t think they come from valid sources, feel free to disagree with me, and I look forward to hearing your opinion on the comments.
I’m not so concerned about whether things are true or false, I don’t think that we can always get there in TES, but I’m interested in weak or defensible arguments, asking questions like, “does it fit with what we already know?” “what texts support the interpretation?”
I’ll try to upload a new episode once a fortnight. If you have any suggestions for any new questions for me to discuss, please feel free to let me know in the comments, and I’ll do my best to either answer there or address it with a future episode.
Also, I can be contacted at email@example.com for any direct questions. In the meantime, please enjoy the podcasts!