Being Dragonborn

Critical Essays on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the bestselling and most influential video games of the past decade. From the return of world-threatening dragons to an ongoing civil war, the province of Skyrim is rich with adventure, lore, magic, history, and stunning vistas. Beyond its visual spectacle alone, Skyrim is an exemplary gameworld that reproduces out-of-game realities, controversies, and histories for its players. Being Dragonborn, then, comes to signify a host of ethical and ideological choices for the player, both inside and outside the gameworld. These essays show how playing Skyrim, in many ways, is akin to “playing” 21st century America with its various crises, conflicts, divisions, and inequalities. Topics covered include racial inequality and white supremacy, gender construction and misogyny, the politics of modding, rhetorics of gameplay, and narrative features.

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