The map from "The Elder Scrolls: Arena" is the largest and first in-game map of Tamriel, covering the entirety of Tamriel's mainland. However, when comparing this map and it's submaps to other games, wide discrepancies appear. Many of the provinces are lacking important locations that we see in subsequent games and some locations in-game never (explicitly) appear again. So is the Arena map canon for the Third Era? Here are some things I noticed:
- In Arena, Snowhawk is a major city within Skyrim. However, in TES 5 Skyrim, Snowhawk is seemingly replaced with Fort Snowhawk. This example and others found throughout Arena are locations that serve as possible proof that the Arena map is canon with either vast retcons that change a location's purpose or representations of changes throughout the timeline (Ex. Snowhawk could've been abandoned and there forth only used as a fort.)
- Throughout Arena's Tamriel, most major cities such as Mournhold and Daggerfall are kept canon by future games. Even some smaller locations such as Dragon Bridge and Lainlyn are kept canon as well.
- In Arena, the only location in Cyrodiil/Imperial Province is the Imperial City. This is either to show that the Imperial City is the only location in Cyrodiil or that the Imperial City is the only place worth visiting. I find the latter more convincing, meaning that it is possible that locations that appear in later games (like Anvil or Vivec City) are not shown in Arena due to their unimportance to the story. This can apply to the rest of Tamriel as well.
- ESO possibly creates major problems for Arena's part in the canon. In ESO (2nd Era) and Skyrim (4th era), Kynesgrove is a small town that exists in eastern Skyrim. However in Arena (3rd Era), Kynesgrove is non-existent. This could be dismissed because of the reason above, were it not for the village of Dragon Wood in the exact same spot in Arena. This could ruin the whole prospect of Arena's map being canon due to Dragon Wood's absence in future games. Or, Kynsegrove was renamed Dragon Wood in the 2nd or 3rd era and vice versa for the 4th era.
I'm not familiar with the geographic lore of "The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall", but it appears that this map is only representing city-states and therefore cannot be used for reasoning in this post's context because the specific locations of most cities, towns, and villages are omitted.
With these considerations, I find it possible that Arena's map is a little more than just loosely canon. I think that some locations are emitted for story importance and other locations just change throughout the years or just change their names. Are most of these changes the result of continuity failure? Definitely. Can we still appreciate the locations given and how they still exist in their own small ways (Ex. Snowhawk)? I think so.
How much of the Arena Map do you think is canon? Please let me know your thoughts!
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