The Elder Scrolls

An in depth reason on the reasons that I believe the College of Winterhold is a Falmer construct.

Is the College of Winterhold a Falmer construct?

( – For the visuals)

Well, for us to answer this question, we must turn to two sources – One, we must turn to Shalidor himself, his alleged rumours of constructing the College, and then we must turn our gaze to the “Chantry of Auri-El” to put this discussion at rest. We must also consider the timeline of events of which the Falmer interceded with the Nords, as well as Shalidor’s own timeline.

First, we must acknowledge the rumour that Shaldior created the College of Winterhold – Of which was allegedly with a single whisper. ‘

Second, we must investigate the ruin known as “Shalidor's Maze”, which resides in Labyrinthian – Of which he built upon a pre-existing settlement. In ESO he said;

  • Shalidor, why have you returned? – "To protect my legacy. While this Guild was … after my time, I accomplished much in Tamriel. I founded schools of magic, oversaw the construction of the Great Maze, and bore my Spellmirror into battle."

While it states that Shalidor did indeed construct the maze, there is no mention of him building the College. While it did claim that he founded schools of magic, there is no claim he founded the College of Winterhold. The maze itself is more reminiscent of nordic architecture, with irregular stonework unbefitting of the architecture shown in the College. However, the floors themselves are in a similar fashion to the college (Of which means nothing, for the Nords could and have expanded upon the structure in the college itself) but not an exact replica either (Which could be explained through the means of refurbishing etc.)

So now we look to the Chantry of Auri-El, in the Hidden Vale. I would like to take a look at the pillars of which hold up the College of Winterhold and then the ones that hold up the interior of the Chantry.

The timeline states that the Nords had came to Hsaarik Head and called the land Mereth, in tribute to the Aldmeri who had colonized most of the land already (Meaning Falmer structures and such were apparent recently close to Hsaarik Head in proximity, of which I propose resided in Winterhold) and then founded Saarthal. We also know that the Nords and Falmer had relative peace for a while. We also know that Saarthal was the first settlement constructed through the Nords, and Falmer holdings in Winterhold would prove to be sensical knowing that the Falmer would sack the city, and Ysgramor leaving Saarthal and whatnot. Winterhold having Falmer presence makes a lot of sense, and evidence suggesting that would have been lost in the Great Collapse. I propose then that when the Falmer were driven out of Skyrim, Winterhold was left untouched until the arrival of Shalidor.

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We should also take a look at Winterhold's motif.

What is Winterhold’s motif? If we take a deeper delve, it is a blinker no doubt of which some have said to have a laurel, or crown.

I disagree, for I think it is a representation of the god Magnus, or even Auri-El.

As we know, when Magnus left Nirn he left a hole in the skies known to the inhabitants of Tamriel as Magnus as well (Of which is said to be a connection to Aetherius), and I do believe that the “spikes” adorning the motif are sunbeams instead (Which goes with the notion the Snow Elves had a reverence for the sun, which also ties with the Falmer pantheon as well (For the Falmer came from Alinor, and had similar gods to the Altmer including Magnus). The statue in the center of the College is said to be of Shalidor, but I contest this for a few reasons – Being that we see Shalidor in ESO and he has a beard and different garbs (Albeit he could have grown out a beard and the garbs changed over the course of his life so I will leave this matter unsettled, and vouch that the members of the college erected the statue sometime later. I can attest that the statue does indeed look human) of which lead me to the conclusion that the college had built upon the structure (For I doubt that Shalidor himself built a statue of himself, albeit that COULD be the case).

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However, some have said that the Falmer do not worship Magnus – So I present two options, but we first must quote Gelebor;

"Our empire had temples to some of the other deities: Trinimac, Syrabane, Jephre and Phynaster rounded out the rest. But those temples paled in comparison to the glory of the Chantry and its wayshrines." – Gelebor.

Now, I either propose that the Falmer had no temples to Magnus, and that perhaps homes of wizards, or institutions of magic itself functioned as shrines to Magnus. Or that Auri-El himself overlapped Magnus, seeing as how the two conflict over their role as “The Sun” and the College serves as a monument to Auri-El, which potentially makes sense seeing that the statue of Auri-El has 5 spikes on the crown, much like the Winterhold emblem (Of which is said to be Shalidor’s).

There is also the potential that the Nords of Winterhold didn’t adopt the motif of the Falmer (Since it IS Shalidor’s emblem), which does make sense – But I think that the Nords, specifically Shalidor adopted the emblem (For whatever reasons of his own) and that tradition has passed on for generations, and generations.

I have no doubts either that Shalidor researched the Falmer and their various magicks, and I wholly believe he turned the former Falmer structure into the College of Winterhold (Considering it was Shalidor who founded the settlement, of which seems to not have been tampered with before he came about which gives reason for the architectural preservation when the rest of Skyrim lacks Falmer ruins – This also gives incentive for the founding of Winterhold as well, being a Falmer/magical institution). I can get accustomed to the idea that this is the emblem of Shalidor and NOT the Falmer, but this can be interpreted and I will leave it to be so.

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Update: I have heard that Shalidor had an artifact name “The Glamoril”, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Auri-El (For Akatosh was uncommon in Skyrim during his era), the College of Winterhold (In some fashion, perhaps remote), Falmer and Shalidor are all somehow connected, albeit this is speculation. However, with this new connection to Auri-El and great powers, it gives incentive for adopting the emblem of the Falmer civilization, and Auri-El.


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