Boethiah is one of the Daedric Princes of The Elder Scrolls. While none of the Daedric Princes can be defined as being wholly good or evil, Boethiah is generally considered evil. This is because of his penchant for violence and death, especially when it involves mortals.
However, the Dunmer people of the province of Morrowind view Boethiah much more favorably thanks to his influence on their cultural development. Regardless of your opinion on Boethiah, it is a good idea to know about him and the rest of the Daedric Princes since they have such a significant impact on the world of Nirn.
Key Info Up Front
Spheres: The Unlawful Overthrowing of Authority, Deceit, Conspiracy
Game Appearances: Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim
Realm of Oblivion: Attribution’s Share
Daedric Artifacts: Ebony Mail, Fearstruck, Goldbrand
Titles: Prince of Plots, Dark Warrior, Queen of Shadows, Deceiver of Nations, Fount of Inspiration
Like all Daedric Princes, Boethiah was initially part of a race known as et’Ada, born from the interplay between light and darkness at the beginning of time. The et’Ada was a mighty race, and one of them, named Lorkhan, tricked many into devoting some of their power into creating the new mortal realm of Mundus, modernly known as Nirn.
Lorkhan decision to do so is still subject to debate and speculation, but the et’Ada that helped create Nirn lost a lot of their power and became the Aedra that are not intrinsically tied to the mortal realm.
Those that did not help create Nirn became Daedra. Instead, they were inspired by Lorkhan and used their power to make the various realms of the plane of Oblivion. This allowed them to have complete control over their domains and gave them incredible power within them.
These Daedra became the first Daedric Princes, with each one eventually taking on a sphere of influence intrinsic to their own goals and personalities. The Daedric Princes are so powerful and infinite that their morals, goals, and perspectives are impossible to comprehend for mortals. They are older than the stars, than souls, and than time as we know it.
One exciting aspect of Boethiah’s depiction throughout the series is changing gender. Daedra overall doesn’t have any real gender or sex, but most tend to appear to mortals and thus be depicted in cultures in a consistent form. Molag Bal and Mehrunes Dagon are usually described as male, while Azura is typically female.
However, Boethiah’s gender has fluctuated in the games. Boethiah is referenced as a female in Arena, Daggerfall, and Skyrim during an appearance as a male in Morrowind and Oblivion.
Boethiah also delights in the suffering and death of mortals. She is known to view battle and war as a blessing and a way for mortals to devote their deaths to something worthwhile, such as overthrowing an oppressive government.
Her cult is known to stage huge tournaments in her honor to gain favor, but Boethiah has been known to end up turning on their cults as well. It may seem cruel, but it does make sense with their spheres being conspiracy and sedition, among other aspects.
Boethiah’s realm of Oblivion has received numerous name changes throughout history for unknown reasons. Its most known name was Snake Mount, but it’s most modern is Attribution’s Shrine. The realm has been described as a mind-boggling maze of bureaucratic restrictions and labyrinthine laws. It is characterized by maze gardens and twisting towers that easily get lost if mortals manage to even make their way out of the mazes.
The realm is also one of the few that mortals have successfully gone to and returned frequently. This is because Boethiah is known for hosting the Tournament of the Ten Bloods for their amusement.
The events pits champions from each of the ten mortal races of Tamriel against one another in fights to the death. The winner is proclaimed the victor of Boethiah and is rewarded with her powerful Goldbrand artifact and the title of Chosen One.
Influence on Dunmer Culture
While Boethiah is widely regarded as one of the evilest of Daedric Princes, the Dunmer people of Morrowind believe her as a good Daedra because of her role alongside Azura and Mephala in creating the race. The story started in the Merethic Era when the Aldmer people worshipped the Aedra named Trinimac.
The Aldmer at the time hated Lorkhan, who they viewed as having stolen their immortality, subjecting them to a limited life of pain and suffering. Boethiah then appeared to a small group of Aldmer and offered them a new perspective. The Aldmer were mortals because they had become unworthy of their immortality and needed to subject themselves to the tribulations of mortal existence to prove themselves.
Trinimac did not take kindly to Boethiah’s interference with his favorite worshippers and tried to intervene. However, Boethiah was a much more powerful trickster than Trinimac gave her credit for, and he was tricked into allowing himself to be eaten by Boethiah.
Boethiah was then able to take the form of Trinimac and speak in his voice, allowing them to lead the Aldmer, who went by the name of Chimer, to go and start a new civilization in Morrowind. When Trinimac passed through Boethiah, they were reanimated as dung and became the Daedric Prince Malacath, who turned Trinimac’s remaining devoted into Orcs.
Once the Chimer were in Morrowind, Boethiah guided their cultural and philosophical development. She taught them magic, influenced their architecture, and even introduced them to the clan-based political system that has been the standard in the province ever since.
Azura and Mephala also helped Boethiah’s lessons. Still, they are said to have only enabled the Chimer to understand Boethiah’s lessons and adhere to them rather than contributing their own opinions and perspectives. Even after the Chimer were transformed into the Dunmer by Sotha Sil, Boethiah kept them as her favored worshippers. The Fourth Era was responsible for leading the Dunmer into the future with new teachings.
Relationship with Molag Bal
Throughout history in The Elder Scrolls, Boethiah has interacted with most of her fellow Daedric Princes. Still, she has also become a bitter rival to Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of torture and cruelty. Molag Bal subjects the souls contained in his realm to countless tortures and cruelties while hoping to merge his realm of Coldharbour with Nirn to take control of it as well.
With Molag Bal’s totalitarian personality, it is no surprise that Boethiah does not get along with him very well, especially since her sphere is the overthrowing of authority. This has led to the two Daedric Princes becoming rivals as old as time. They have frequently counteracted one another’s plans, seemingly for the sole reason of not wanting the other to succeed.
Related Daedric Artifacts
Daedric Artifacts are an essential part of their influence on the mortal realm. They are created by the Daedric Prince in question putting part of their very essence into a weapon or object, giving it incredible power, and allowing them to spread their influence over the realm without having to be there themselves. Boethiah has three known artifacts in the series: Ebony Mail, Fearstruck, and Goldbrand.
The Ebony Mail is a powerful suit of armor that Boethiah bestows on her champions. It has appeared in every mainline entry in the series except for Oblivion. In Arena, the Ebony Mail has a Base Armor value of -9 while also giving the wearer the effects of Resist Fire, Spell Shield, and Shield.
In Daggerfall, the player is rewarded with the artifact after completing an elimination mission for the Daedric Prince. It has a Base Armor value of 8. In Morrowind, the player earns the Ebony Mail after doing an assignment for Boethiah.
The armor has a Base Armor value of 100, is classified as Medium Armor, and has the additional effects of Resist Fire, Resist Magicka, and Shield. In Skyrim, the Ebony Mail is obtained by killing Boethiah’s previous champion. It is classified as Heavy Armor and has a Base Armor value of 45 and the effects of allowing the Dragonborn to move quietly and poisoning enemies who get too close by five points of poison damage per second.
Fearstruck has not appeared in any of the games but is a fabled artifact found in the series’s lore. It is said to have been a shield given to the hero Lyrisius to help him fend off an Akaviri invasion of Tamriel. It is unknown why Boethiah gave him the artifact, but it is said to have been irreparably destroyed when Lyrisius used it to block a dragon’s breath.
Goldbrand is a golden katana known to burn its enemies with fierce flames. It is another artifact that Boethiah gifts to her favorite champions so that they can travel across Tamriel, killing those who she wishes.
In Morrowind, Goldbrand deals 10-50 Chop damage, 10-45 Slash damage, and 10-25 Thrust damage. It also has an enchantment that deals 10-30 points of fire damage to the target with each hit. Goldbrand also appeared in Oblivion, where it dealt 25 base damage on top of 22 points of fire damage as well.
In Daggerfall, the hero can undertake a quest for Boethiah to go and kill a target that has angered the Daedric Prince.
In Morrowind, the Nerevarine can undertake a quest known as Boethiah’s Quest. The quest is started by finding the destroyed shrine to Boethiah and communing with him there. The player is then tasked with helping Boethiah reconstruct his shrine to make it worthy of his power and influence over the people. Once the shrine has been finished, the player is rewarded with Goldbrand as a new shrine to Boethiah towers over the lands of Morrowind.
In Oblivion, the Hero of Kvatch can commune with the Daedric Prince to begin their unique quest. The player is invited to participate in the Tournament of Ten Bloods. The Hero of Kvatch is taken directly to Attribution’s Shrine, although it appears the same as the realm of the Deadlands that the player visits through the game’s various other Oblivion Gates.
Once there, the Hero of Kvatch has to face off against a procession of nine of Boethiah’s champions, each one of a different race and fighting style. Once they stand victorious above all others, the player is rewarded with Goldbrand.
In Skyrim, the Dragonborn must gain the attention of Boethiah by sacrificing a follower at her shrine. This gets Boethiah to talk to the Dragonborn, upon which she asks him to slay everyone in her cult at Knifepoint Ridge. The cult is holding a fighting tournament to win Boethiah’s favor at the time, and once they are all dead, Boethiah will use the last one killed as a conduit to talk to the Dragonborn one more time.
She tells them that she has grown bored of her previous champion and started running a disappointing gang. She tasks the Dragonborn with killing the entire gang and the winner silently so that they do not have the honor of fighting back. Once the quest is completed, the Dragonborn is rewarded with the Ebony Mail.
“I am called Boethiah. Many names have mortals given me. But I am not interested in names. I am interested only in deeds.” –Skyrim.
“Take Goldbrand, sheath it in your enemies, and offer their souls as praise to me.” –Oblivion.
“Ahhhhgh. Wearing flesh is so…distasteful. You have caught my attention, mortal. That is most unwise.”-Skyrim.
Question: Is Nerevar, the son of Boethiah?
Answer: In the lore book the Five Songs of King Wulfharth, it is stated that Nerevar is the son of Boethiah. However, how literal that is supposed to be taken is unclear. It is possible that Nervar was merely a student of Boethiah or influenced by her teachings rather than being born by them.
Question: Is there a way to beat Boethiah’s Calling in Skyrim without sacrificing a follower?
Answer: There is a way to glitch your way through the requirement of sacrificing a follower, but there is no legitimate way to beat the quest without sacrificing a follower.
Question: Is Boethiah a good Daedra?
Answer: Boethiah is considered suitable only by the Dunmer. While Daedric Princes don’t have morality as we understand it, it makes sense that the other mortal races think she is pretty evil due to how much she enjoys killing them.
Boethiah Guide: Conclusion
Boethiah is another very interesting Daedric Prince in The Elder Scrolls. Their constantly shifting goals and alliances make them a very captivating character to come across in any game, and their powerful artifact is always a welcome quest reward.
With her dedication to overthrowing authority figures, it will be exciting to see what roles she could play in the future of the series, so hopefully, she will receive a more prominent role akin to Molag Bal or Mehrunes Dagon.