The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim is one of the most popular RPG games of all time. Yet its themes of dormant dragons and those destined to awaken them bear striking similarities to the plot of Game of Thrones, both the original books and the television series. Long ago, the studio responsible for the game, Bethesda, was asked to turn the novels into a game but declined.
Instead, they used the inspiration for their own narrative. So, just how similar are they?
Similar Mythical Beasts
One major reason the books and Oblivion are similar is due to their inclusion of mythical beasts. This could be said of most fantasy franchises, yet it is the focus on very specific ones, namely giants, that draws comparisons between the two. After dragons, these creatures are the most feared in both franchises and can be found almost everywhere.
In Game of Thrones, one of these giants is turned into a massive frost beast by the White Walkers. In Skyrim, they can cause you untold damage and are extremely hard to take down. A single hit from one can send you hurtling across the map. In CyberGhost’s take on the greatest video game glitches of all time, they go on to explain how no one knows if this mechanic was intentionally put in by the developers or was a glitch in the game. Studio Bethesda is well known for having games with some unique bugs in them, so it could be plausible. However, they declined to comment on it and left it in, making it part of Skyrim lore.
However, probably the most obvious factor that binds them together is that both books focus on dragons. How they deal with this theme also has a lot of similarities. Both worlds have not seen dragons in hundreds of years, meaning they toe the line between fading into mythology and sitting uneasily in the back of people’s minds. Both also concentrate on a ‘second coming’ for dragons and figures who can awaken and control them.
In the HBO series adaptation of Game of Thrones, this person is Daenerys Targaryen, and her long narrative is integral to the story. However, in Skyrim, you play the part of the Dragonborn, who can ‘take’ a dragon’s soul and even harness some of its power. The difference here is that you get to choose what type of character that person is, crafting their personality type.
Lastly, the whole political structure of both realms is not only similar but in almost identical states. Based on a feudal structure, different areas are ruled by various lords. In Bethesda studio’s Skyrim, the rivalry is divided largely between the Stormcloaks and the Imperials. In Game of Thrones, this is much more complicated, involving anyone who fancies a shot at being king at any given point.
Anyone not under the protection of the lords has outsider syndrome and is classed as a savage. Skyrim uses the Forsworn for this, and in Game of Thrones, they are the wildlings. Luckily, in both, they soon come to be found as people who are just misunderstood.
Those who are superfans of both will be able to explain many more similarities – these are just a start. For anyone else, both the similarities and differences just mean we have two fantastic fantasy worlds to explore, no matter how similar they are.