Geek, gamer, writer, graphic artist. Ced's favorite shows and adventures are those that allow him to enjoy the world from his bedroom.
If you are a gamer and you haven’t played The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you are missing out big time. My friend. The vessel for one of the most detailed gaming worlds ever created, journeying through Skyrim is an endless scroll of adventure— no pun intended.
To assist new players with the rich lore behind Skyrim and earlier The Elder Scrolls episodes, creator Bethesda Studios also included hundreds of books within the game. Think of these as medieval PDFs acquired through a variety of ways, with content ranging from multi-part historical narrations, to diary entries, to comedic short stories.
For me, one of the greatest pleasures of playing Skyrim is to collect these books and read them when I tire of slaying zombies and dragons. Without further ado, allow me to share my five favorite The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim books. I’m sure you will be able to easily discern the incredible amount of creativity and work Bethesda placed into writing these stories. I’m sure you’d also agree going through these stories is as entertaining as playing the game itself.
1. "The Wolf Queen"
One of the longest Skyrim stories and spread over eight books, The Wolf Queen is a novella set against one of the most tumultuous periods of the Septim dynasty of Tamriel.
Shakespearean in both feel and plot, the most unforgettable aspect of The Wolf Queen is the strong characterization of the eponymous lead character, a tragic figure destined for notoriety but never for greatness.
If a live-action movie of The Elder Scrolls were ever to be made, The Wolf Queen would definitely be a strong contender for the plot too; already, I can think of a few names to play the title role. Coming back to the story, The Wolf Queen gives a great feel of the savagery underlying the game’s frigid world. This is a land that is not only chilly, its history and its rulers are absolutely brutal too.
2. "The Black Arrow"
Numerous gamers have commended this story in online video game forums. Written in the first narrative, the tale recounts the first job of a bard during his youth, one that ended on a most intense and tragic note.
Of all the Skyrim books that I have read, I also consider The Black Arrow the best written in terms of language and technique, with the paced, confident build-up pulling you in like an irresistible magnet. Should you give it a try, I’m sure you’d feel the murderous justice of the black arrow as I did, particularly when it is shot for the final time. The explanation implied in the epilogue will likewise astound and impress you.
Wabbajack is one of the shortest Skyrim books. As well as one of the creepiest.
Without giving too much away, let me just say this chiller strongly reminded me of one of Stephen King’s short stories. Specifically, the awful one about a doctor marooned on an island.
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Wabbajack incidentally contains Lovecraftian elements too. Lovecraft, of course, acknowledged by King himself as a major source of inspiration. To summarize, fans of psychological horror would surely adore this disturbing rant. For the rest of you, try not to read this creepy soliloquy too late in the night. It is not a tale to go to bed with.
4. "The Lusty Argonian Maid"
A perennial favorite among The Elder Scrolls fans, The Lusty Argonian Maid is divided into two parts and written as a comedic script.
What is the story about? Well, try visualizing both acts as one of those naughty, hysterical skids enjoyed by rowdy countryside peasants, while under the summer night and surrounded by copious amounts of mead and ale. The script itself is chock full of suggestive sexual innuendoes, but never once overtly vulgar or rude.
In short, it’s just too bad there are only two scenes available. Last I checked online, thousands of Elder Scrolls fans are still painfully awaiting more scenes to be added. I’m included in this lot.
5. "Surfeit of Thieves"
Surfeit of Thieves is short, and truth be told, not entirely unpredictable too as far as the ending is concerned.
I still love it though for the straightforward prose and the Tales from the Crypt flavor throughout. In fact, I can quite easily imagine the Crypt Keeper himself playing a role in this nasty little dinner story.
As for you, if you enjoy black comedy, you will love this wicked tale. You’d likely enjoy more than a sinful giggle too, when reading the twisted conclusion.
Where Do I Find My Collected Books in the Game?
Where Can I Read “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” Books?
The first way is, of course, to buy the game. Skyrim, being several years old now, is available at very good prices for all platforms. Nothing beats reading the lore, then being a part of the world that the stories speak of. Incidentally, Skyrim and other Elder Scrolls games have also won numerous awards for their graphics and gameplay. Outside of the books, you are assured endless hours of fantasy entertainment.
The second way is to browse through the Skyrim Wiki. All stories listed there are in full. I must highlight, though, that while it is still entertaining to read Skyrim books this way, the experience is somewhat compromised. Main reason being you do not pair it with actually seeing and journeying through Tamriel.
Lastly, if you prefer to read the books the traditional way, Bethesda has compiled the stories into various hardcover collections. These are a little pricey, especially if you wish to own all of them. However, I do feel they are worth every cent, if only for their creative worth.
They would furthermore be good evidence to show to friends that gaming nowadays is no longer just mindless slashing. Games has long evolved into a respectable form of storytelling.
© 2017 Ced Yong