Inspired by Rick Knight’s insightful article “Mass Effect 3: Reveal Trailer Analysis”, I’ve decided to give the reveal trailer for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim the same treatment. Because while there have been two great articles written about the Elder Scrolls series, namely Evan Griffin’s "Dimming the Radiant AI in Oblivion" and Michael Rougeau’s “Morrowind vs. Oblivion, and why I’m (probably) skipping Skyrim”, there hasn’t been much buzz about the impending 11-11-11 release of the next installment in the series.

Without further delay, here’s the trailer.

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Once again, Bethesda has succeeded in making their traditional theme music ten times more epic than before.

At any rate, here’s a transcription of the narration:

You should have acted; they’re already here.
The Elder Scrolls told of their return.

Their defeat was merely delay, until the time after Oblivion opened,
When the sons of Skyrim would spill their own blood.
But no-one wanted to believe – believe they even existed.
And when the truth finally dawns, it dawns in fire.
But, there's one they fear.
In their tongue, he's Dovahkiin – Dragon Born!

A New Threat

The first two lines don’t reveal anything too surprising. Like previous Elder Scrolls titles, the proverbial fire that you’re brought in to put out has already been kindled. In Morrowind that threat was demigod Dagoth Ur hanging out under his volcano while in Oblivion it was dimensional hell-portals spawning like blemishes on a teenage gamer’s face.

Unforeseen Consequences

Line three is a bit more forthcoming with useful information. Evidently this threat is ancient and was beaten back once before – but it was only temporary. The narrator then makes reference to the events of Elder Scrolls IV – confirming rumors that this would be a direct sequel to Oblivion. It’s possible that something the protagonist did in the previous game directly effected events in its sequel. After all, transforming the last remaining heir of a royal bloodline into the avatar of a Dragon-God so that he can defeat a trans-dimensional demon-deity is bound to have some consequences.

Sons of Skyrim

The next line, along with the title of the game itself, tells us where we’ll be vacationing for a few hundred hours. Skyrim, located on the northern edge of the continent, has been said to be a cold, mountainous and rough stretch of country. You don’t have to take my word for it – we’ve heard of Skyrim and its Nord inhabitants before – in the Morrowind expansion Bloodmoon, which takes place on the island of Solstheim.

If Solstheim, which is located off the edge of the northern coasts of both Skyrim and Morrowind, is any indication of what we’ll be seeing geographically – expect a lot of snow, trees and mountains. As for what to expect from the Nords, just go watch Braveheart. Just like those guys, apparently the Nords have gone to war…with each other.

Somebody better put that out.

The Truth Dawns in Fire

The latter half of the trailer is where things really get exciting, both visually and in terms of narrative. In terms of the visuals, we see nothing of the game engine but I’m willing to bet that this is part of the opening cinematic, if anything. That ancient threat that’s returning is apparently dragons – who appear to be pissed. Don’t worry though, because apparently they’re afraid of somebody – somebody called “Dragonborn”. Gee, I wonder who that might be. If you listen carefully, you’ll notice that at one point the voices chant “Dovahkiin”. They’re singing about you!

Though I’m sure a lot of couples will be getting married on the apparently mythological date of November 11, 2011, I know a lot of us will be doing something of slightly more significance – we’ll be slaying dragons.

How about all of you? Any theories or speculation? Let's get some discussion going!