Skyrim Diary – Of Racism, Terrorism and Religious Persecution

Bethesda manages to address some tough real life issues

By on 25 Nov 2011, 00:01 GMT

Video game are often blamed for the fact that they are pure escapism, removed from the problems of the real world, lacking sympathy when it comes to life as we know it but I am here to tell you that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the kind of game that made me think a lot about how to treat racists, about the causes and effects of terror and about religious conflicts.

I wanted to like the Nords, these golden haired, blue eyed fighters who suffered so much in the service of the Empire and have seen their own God sold out in the final peace accords.

Seeing how the Altmeri Dominion is treating Talos, the man who ascended to godhood, made me love the Nords who were willing to worship him and face the consequences and I devoted myself to Talos for some time simply as a political position.

But as I learned more about the Stormcloack rebellion and about their aims I also discovered but most if not all the leaders are racists, trying to make the province of Skyrim "pure" by pushing out foreigners, including the ones who are the most different in physiological terms, like the Khajit and the Dark Elves.

I have not decided if racism can be tolerated for a people who have suffered so much or if the Imperials should be commended for their commitment to diversity, both racial and religious, up to a point and I wonder whether the game will allow me to support the Nords and at the same time change their views.

Terror attacks also appear in Skyrim and in a much subtler and intelligent way that in Modern Warfare 3, with the also downtrodden Fornsworn targeting the people of a city in the Reach in order to persuade the Nords and the Imperials both to leave the area and allow self rule.

Speaking to the various characters there shows the facets of their struggle and again I am torn between supporting them (this might not even be an options in the game, as far as I see) and continuing to work with the Empire to keep stability.

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