Video Game Atlas: High Hrothgar

Once a week Art Attack will offer you a handy little travel guide to the fictional worlds of video games.

Name: High Hrothgar, Elder Scrolls Series

Population: 4 permanent, many iterant pilgrims

Government: Religious order

Having refreshed myself at the End of Time, I decided to step into a random Gate and let fate decide where I would visit next. I wound up in the realm of Skyrim and the fabled fort High Hrothgar. This was my first visit to Skyrim, though my brother sent me a postcard from the land when he vacationed there.

The fort is located near the top of the Throat of the World, the tallest mountain in Skyrim and indeed the entire Tamriel continent. The people of Skyrim believe that it was at this peak that humanity was first formed, breathed into existence from the sky itself. As such, it is a popular point of pilgrimage for citizens.

Ascent to High Hrothgar begins in the little town of Ivarstead at the foot of the mountain. From there, those who wish to make the summit are required to mount the 7,000 steps leading from the base to the fort door. The number is simply a symbolic representation. Scientific expeditions have found that the number of steps to be significantly fewer than 7,000.

Along the climb are a series of shrines where visitors are encouraged to leave offerings and meditate. Each shrine contains a tablet that explains much of the mythology and history of Skyrim. Full and complete contemplation of these relics will grant a pilgrim the Voice of the Sky.

Voice magic is the skill practiced by the Greybeard religious order at High Hrothgar, though retrieving that information was quite difficult since they are a silent order and often reply only with a whispered, ""Dovahkiin," and a small bow when questioned. When they do speak, the order is capable of raising storms and shaking the very Earth. They teach only a few the incredible power, and a mere five of the order currently remain.

Visitors to High Hrothgar won't find much in the way of commerce, luxury, or entertainment. It's an ancient, holy place that offers both spiritual awakening and a spectacular view of Skyrim in all directions. However, those who brave the absolute peak of the mountain stand to gain an impressive reward.

At the very top of the Throat, south of the Word Wall, is the magical substance known as unmelting snow. Legend says that it is a remnant of the very first snowfall in the world that the Greybeards taught to ignore the sun. From this substance was created the artifacts known as white phials. These flasks can hold an unlimited amount if any liquid, and refill once every day. These phials can be worth up to 500 septims (approximately $2,500 in American dollars).

All tourists are encouraged to arm themselves when making their way up the 7,000 steps or venturing outside the fort. Everything from wolves to dragons has been seen on the mountain, and are feral. It's recommended that you leave horses and pack animals in Ivarstead as they can either be seen as easy meals by predators or can lose their footing on the treacherous paths.

Nonetheless, for those who want to behold a center of ancient majestic and natural beauty, the Throat of the World is the perfect place for a hike.

Previous Entries in the Video Game Atlas

End of Time, Chrono Trigger Series Kakariko Village, Legend of Zelda Series Silent Hill, Silent Hill Series Monkey Island, Monkey Island Series Rapture, BioShock Series The Republic of Dave, Fallout series

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner