This is not a joke. I'm not sure if this is something theorized or discussed before, but I thought it'd be fun to bring up.
I am about to explain to you why Lokir of Rorikstead, the horse thief that we see shot dead in front of us mere moments into the start of Skyrim, is, historically speaking, the most significant NPC in Skyrim, maybe in the entire series. Again, this is not a joke, so try to stay with me.
There are two significant things in lore that I will be referencing when it comes to my saying this – the Prophecy of the Dragonborn as cited in The Book of the Dragonborn, and the rites of banishing that were invoked by Felldir the Old.
First, the Prophecy of the Dragonborn:
"When misrule takes its place at the eight corners of the worldWhen the Brass Tower walks and Time is reshapedWhen the thrice-blessed fail and the Red Tower tremblesWhen the Dragonborn Ruler loses his throne, and the White Tower fallsWhen the Snow Tower lies sundered, kingless, bleedingThe World-Eater wakes, and the Wheel turns upon the Last Dragonborn."
This prophecy, as most know, recounts the events of series in order to make them all have significance in the game of Skyrim. The abuse of the Staff of Chaos by Jagar Tharn in Arena, the waking of Numidium and the Dragon Break in Daggerfall, the fall of the Tribunal and the eruption of Red Mountain in Morrowind, the fall of the Septim Dynasty in Oblivion, and finally the assassination of High King Torygg and the civil war in Skyrim. These events happened in sequence. Call them a domino effect or a butterfly effect or what have you, but one event happened because of the previous events. The most obvious of these is the civil war being a direct result of the Oblivion Crisis, which gave room for the Thalmor and Mede Empires to rise to power and thus led to the White-Gold Concordat. So, by this logic, it means that the civil war had to happen for Alduin to return. If we accept this, why is that the case? More still, why did he only return now, so long into the civil war?
If you believe my above statement about the civil war to be speculation, then listen to what Felldir the Old says to Alduin in order to banish him.
"Hold, Alduin on the Wing! Sister Hawk, grant us your sacred breath to make this contract heard! Begone, World-Eater! By words with older bones than your own we break your perch on this age and send you out! You are banished! Alduin, we shout you out from all our endings unto the last!"
His last words to the World-Eater before Alduin is cast through time is what we should pay attention to. They are the terms of 'this contract'. Alduin is banished from this age, 'from all our endings unto the last'. 'Our' clearly does not refer just to Felldir, Hakon, and Gormlaith, or he would've returned much sooner. No, what Felldir has bound this banishment to is blood. As we see with Serana in Dawnguard, even being a descendant of someone shows your blood can hold potency, even in powerful rites such as portal magic. Whether it means the descendants of those three, or all ancient tongues, it is clear to me that Alduin was banished from existing in time until "all their endings" came to pass.
This is why Lokir of Rorikstead is so important. The civil war in Skyrim culled untold masses of the descendants of the ancient tongues. From The Reach to The Rift, bodies fell whose blood was warding the world against the threat that would signal the end of days, none of us the wiser. This culminated in one man, trying to escape the harsh ravages of Skyrim to Hammerfell, being the last man whose blood kept Alduin at bay. When those archers killed him, the contract was fulfilled, and he was banished no longer. The ironic thing is, this means, since the civil war is an orchestration of the Thalmor, that Delphine was right in a rather direct way – they are responsible for the return of the dragons.
Again, my apologies if this is something that has been discussed before. It's something that's been going through my head for years now, I just never thought to put it to words.
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