The Elder Scrolls has a fantastic cast of characters no matter where one looks. Whether it be a guild leader, a random citizen on the street of a city, or a Daedric Prince, they all have fleshed out personalities and stories for the player to explore and learn from.
Not only does this help capture players’ imagination, but it also brings Tamriel and other dimensions to life by grounding them with personalities that players can connect with.
One of the most popular characters across the series is the Daedric Prince of Madness Sheogorath. He has proven to be such a great character that he is the focus of many quests in every game since Morrowind, including the center of Oblivion‘s second DLC, The Shivering Isles, so there is a lot to know about him.
Key Info Up Front:
Appearances: Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, The Elder Scrolls Online
Role: Daedric Prince of Madness
Oblivion Realm: The Shivering Isles
Related Characters: Jyggalag, Chamberlain Haskill, Duke of Mania, Duchess of Dementia, Hero of Kvatch
While his appearance has changed throughout the series, Sheogorath tends to take the form of an older man who is well-dressed despite Daedric Princes not having any innate gender.
His fine suits also tend to be very colorful. They have been primarily purple contrasted with either red-orange or yellow-green to represent the dichotomy of his realm. His appearance is not what most mortals would expect from the Daedric Prince of Madness, and that is precisely the point as it makes them easier to be swayed along “The Golden Road” to reach true madness.
While Sheogorath may not look like many would expect him to, he certainly acts the part. His favorite activity is driving mortals insane closely, followed by making them perform trivial actions that seem to be more silly than having any particular goal or purpose. Sheogorath’s actions often seem very random, as does his speech.
He usually puts on an exaggerated accent that is a mix of Scottish and Irish, while his authentic voice only comes out when he grows angry. He frequently speaks in strange metaphors contrasted by gruesome descriptions of violence and an obsession with cheese as he talks.
The two create a dichotomous contrast that keeps those interacting with him on their toes, never knowing whether he will call for their entrails to be pulled out or a nice wheel of aged cheddar.
This dichotomy is also reflected in his realm of Oblivion, The Shivering Isles. The Shivering Isles is a realm constructed entirely by Sheogorath’s will and is split into two sections, Mania and Dementia. Mania houses tortured artists, unbelievably colorful, and insane revelers, while Dementia is home to the depressed, despondent, and dangerous.
The realm itself looks similar to Tamriel, although with the twist of strange plants like giant mushrooms and scary creatures like the Scalon and Grummites. The northern half of the realm’s main island is filled with expansive grasslands and forests for Mania, while the south is the domain of Dementia and is primarily dense swamps.
While Sheogorath is the sovereign of the entire realm, he is assisted by his right-hand attendant Chamberlain Haskill and the politicians the Duke of Mania and Duchess of Dementia. Haskill has remained constant for many millennia, but the Duke and Duchess have changed numerous times, with the newcomers killing their predecessors to claim the title.
Each of the two halves of the realm also has a unique daedric guard, with the Saints guarding Mania and the Seducers guarding Dementia. The domain also employs many Flesh Atronachs created by the sorceress Relmyna Verenim who was invited to take residence in the realm by Sheogorath after the Mages Guild rejected her practice of Necromancy.
Despite Sheogorath often seeming mad beyond reason, there have been many occasions where he has proven himself just as capable as his fellow Daedric Princes. Not only did he assist the player in Daggerfall, but he has also tricked or overcome many others.
One of his most visually impressive was when he revolted against the Tribunal Temple as it began to come to power in the province of Morrowind. Sheogorath claimed that the Tribunal was founded on mocking the heavens, so he tricked the moon known as Baar Dau into throwing itself at the Tribunal’s capital city of Vivec.
The Tribunal suspended the moon above the city, but the act was still a massive display of Sheogorath’s actual ability.
Sheogorath also plays a massive role in Oblivion as he is the center of its second DLC, The Shivering Isles. In it, he makes a door to his realm suddenly appear in Niben Bay to tempt mortals to enter it and attempt to become his champion.
This ends up being done by the player, the Hero of Kvatch. He learns that Sheogorath needs their help in saving his realm from the coming Greymarch that has ritualistically destroyed the realm every thousand years at the hands of the Daedric Prince of Order, Jyggalag.
In the end, however, it is revealed that, like all things related to Sheogorath, he and Jyggalag are two sides of the same coin and are, in fact, the same person. To prevent the destruction of the realm, he helps the Hero of Kvatch mantle to take his place, supposedly bringing the curse to an end by having a new mortal adopt the cover of Sheogorath.
The Mortal Who Tricked Sheogorath
Sheogorath’s history is primarily filled with stories of him tricking other Daedric Princes to subvert their plans or get the better of them and him tricking mortals into being driven insane. However, one Dunmer known as Talym Rend is renowned for having beaten Sheogorath at his own game in the Fourth Era.
It began when Talym struck a deal with Sheogorath to make him completely forget his involvement in the death of his son Novos. Eventually, Sheogorath agreed, but only after corrupting Talym’s mind to think he was trying to cure his son of madness. A bargain was struck, stating that Sheogorath would cure Novos’ fever in return for Talym turning three other souls to madness, which he did.
However, when Talym arrived home, he discovered that Novos was dead and had been the entire time. He returned to the Shivering Isles to confront Sheogorath but was repeatedly denied an audience.
This left him to wander the lands of The Shivering Isles aimlessly until he was driven mad by constantly answering questions that were never answered. That was until he stumbled on Knifepoint Hollow, where he learned of Dyus, the librarian of Jyggalag that Sheogorath keeps imprisoned in his realm.
Dyus told Talym that he would be granted an audience with Sheogorath to find an artifact of Jyggalag. He eventually found the Sword of Jyggalag and was awarded an audience. Sheogorath then used a Memory Wand on him to reveal his original intent, angering Talym and driving him to turn the Memory Wand back to Sheogorath, torturing him with his memories of his old curse.
The memories were so painful for Sheogorath that he agreed to let Talym and all of his companions go from the Shivering Isles with their minds restored, cementing one of the few recorded times in history that Sheogorath was bested.
While players can learn a lot about Sheogorath by reading lore books as they play, perhaps the best way is to interact with him through the number of quests he is featured in across the series.
Ever since Sheogorath’s brief appearance in Daggerfall, he has not missed any mainline Elder Scrolls title, including Elder Scrolls Online. His associated quests are usually well remembered by fans as they stand out from the other content in the game because of their sense of humor and often weird objectives.
In Morrowind, Sheogorath plays a role in three unique quests. The first is titled Sheogorath’s Quest and sees him challenging the Nerevarine using an artifact of his known as the Fork of Horripilation and then using it to kill a Giant Bull Netch. The fork has to be taken by a mad hermit living in the wilds of the province, and the Nereverine must then travel to a remote island where the Giant Bull Netch awaits them.
Sheogorath also plays a role in Azura’s Quest, where he has sent a small unit of Daedra and Golden Saints to disturb Rayna Drolan because of a bet he made with Azura. Azura then recruits the Nereverine to stop Sheogorath’s meddling and find proof of it so that she wins the bet.
Finally, he appears in the quest Sheogorath of the House of Troubles. In that quest, the Nereverine is tasked with traveling to a hidden shrine of Sheogorath to acquire a unique spell named Blessings of the Fourth Corner that can be used to bolster their attributes and debuff an enemy’s.
While I have already touched on Sheogorath’s involvement in Oblivion‘s Shivering Isles DLC, he also has a quest in the base game titled Sheogorath.
The Hero of Kvatch gets the quest by finding Sheogorath’s shrine in the wilderness of Cyrodiil and is tasked with making a small village known as Border Watch think that its prophecy about the end of the world is coming true. The Prince of Madness’ reasoning for this is because he finds the peaceful little village boring and whats to see what madness the end of the world will drive them to.
Sheogorath also has his quest in Skyrim called The Madness of Pelagius. The Dragonborn is recruited by one of Sheogorath’s followers, Dervenin, to get Sheogorath to return from his vacation. The vacation happens to be inside the insane mind of the late Emperor Pelagius Septim III.
To get Sheogorath to return to ruling the Shivering Isles, the Dragonborn has to help him piece together the fractured remnants of Pelagius’ mind so that his spirit can find some peace after Sheogorath is gone.
Elder Scrolls Online
The MMO Elder Scrolls Online also features Sheogorath in several quests. His most significant role comes in the form of the primary antagonist of the Mages Guild questline. He attempts to drive the high-ranking member Valaste insane with a series of complicated trials.
He also plays a role in the sidequests The Grip of Madness, The Lunacy of Two Moons, and Chaos Magic. The Grip of Madness sees the player freeing a small town by Southpoint from his maddening grip. The Lunacy of Two Moons regards priests at Tenmar Temple acting crazy to turn people away from their religion. Chaos Magic revolves around Sheogorath offering to let the player take the magical weapon Volendrung to use in the three-way civil war at the center of Elder Scrolls Online.
Like any Daedric Prince, Sheogorath also enjoys partitioning off a portion of his power and spirit to create powerful artifacts that can be used to influence mortals and the happenings of Tamriel. With how often Sheogorath has been featured in the games and his sadistic personality, it is no surprise that he has more known artifacts than any other Daedric Prince that range from the powerful to the essentially useless.
The Folium Discognitum is a magical book of Sheogorath’s introduced as a quest item in Elder Scrolls Online. When used, it grants the player two Skill Points, and it is obtained by completing the quest The Mad God’s Bargain if the player decides to side with Sheogorath.
Because of its limited appearances, little is known about the Folium Discognitu. Still, its in-game description says it is an entire book filled with random scrawlings that are impossible to read and that move across the page to avoid one’s gaze.
Fork of Horripilation
The Fork of Horripilation is one of Sheogorath’s more comical artifacts as it is nothing more than an enchanted fork that one would find in any kitchen across Tamriel. He has a penchant for tasking mortals to complete complex tasks with the fork, especially as it has the effect of draining the Magicka of anyone who wields it.
So far, the Fork of Horripilation has appeared in Morrowind, Oblivion‘s The Shivering Isles, Skyrim via the Creation Club, and Elder Scrolls Online. Sheogorath has challenged mortals to kill difficult creatures with the fork to win his favor. However, in Elder Scrolls Online, it is just a quest item that cannot be equipped and does not impact the player’s Magicka.
The Gambolpuddy is a weirdly named enchanted right glove that appears in Morrowind. The Nereverine obtains the Gambolpuddy during the quest Sheogorath of the House of Troubles and has to use it to strike a new deal to keep Sheogorath from driving Dunmer insane in the province.
Like many aspects of Sheogorath, Gambolpuddy has a positive and a negative side. When equipped, it buffs the user’s Agility, Intelligence, Luck, and Personality while draining their Endurance, Speed, Strength, and Willpower. This makes it an artifact that will only be useful to a particular character outside of completing its quest.
Spear of Bitter Mercy
The Spear of Bitter Mercy first appeared as a generic Daedric artifact in Battlespire before being attributed to Sheogorath in Morrowind despite the spear having an unknown level of relation to the Daedric Princes Hircine and Mehrunes Dagon.
Regardless, Sheogorath gives the Nereverine the Spear of Bitter Mercy after completing his quest. The spear is quite mighty and grants the player 20-30% of spell reflection and summoning a Storm Atronach to fight by their side for 30 seconds. The spear has not appeared in any games since, although referenced.
Staff of the Everscamp
The Staff of the Everscamp is an artifact that continuously summons a group of four everscamps that are weaker versions of regular scamps. Once somebody obtains the staff, they cannot get rid of it except by giving it to another person who agrees to bear the burden or by taking it to an altar in Darkfathom Cave.
The staff is only found in Oblivion and is given to the Hero of Kvatch during the quest Whom Gods Annoy. Once the player has the staff, the everscamps will only help the player in combat when influenced by a Command Creature spell, and otherwise, just follow the player around Cyrodiil.
Staff of Sheogorath
The Staff of Sheogorath is the symbol of office for the Madgod of the Shivering Isles. It was introduced during The Shivering Isles in Oblivion, where the Hero of Kvatch is given it to help them mantle. Once the player completes the DLC, they can also take advantage of the staff’s Voice of Sheogorath ability.
The ability sees Sheogorath’s voice shouting “Hold” from the staff, freezing enemies within 75 feet of the caster for 15 seconds. During that time, the player cannot be killed, but it is a valuable tool to escape or make preparations in the middle of an encounter.
The Wabbajack is a staff and also Sheogorath’s most iconic artifact. In Daggerfall, it can turn enemies into random creatures, ranging from a Rat to a Zombie or even a Lich. In Oblivion, it turns any creature into another one for 30 seconds, with Daedroth, Goblin Skirmishers, Deer, and Xivilai all possibilities, among a few others. In Skyrim, the powers of the Wabbajack were expanded to include many other effects.
A few of these involve casting Fireball, instantly killing a creature, replacing enemies with a randomized amount of cheese, and granting the target invisibility. In Elder Scrolls Online, the Wabbajack is a limited use staff for a quest that turns targets into different creatures and objects.
Key Relationships and Quotes
There are two particular characters that Sheogorath has an essential relationship with, Jyggalag and the Hero of Kvatch. Jyggalag is a part of Sheogorath. As he tells it in Oblivion, Jyggalag feared the other Daedric Princes because he was so confident and at ease with his purpose of determining justice across the realms.
This made them fear that he would grow much more powerful than all of them and eventually take control. To stop him, they worked together to curse Jyggalag to go insane, giving creation to Sheogorath. Then, after Sheogorath made the Shivering Isles how he saw fit over a thousand years, he would be forced to briefly turn back into Jyggalag and destroy it out of rage. Afterward, he reverts to the Prince of Madness to rebuild the realm and repeat the cycle all over again.
With the help of the Hero of Kvatch, Sheogorath attempted to end this cycle. To do this, he had the Hero of Kvatch perform a process known as mantling that allowed him to take Sheogorath’s place as Sheogorath effectively. The technicalities of the process are still a bit obtuse, but Sheogorath hoped that doing so would break the curse as the Hero of Kvatch was never Jyggalag, to begin with.
So, the Hero of Kvatch stopped Jyggalag’s destruction of the Shivering Isles at the end of the Third Era and took the throne as the new Prince of Madness and Sheogorath. This could explain why Sheogorath looks so different in Skyrim, but whether or not the process brought an end to the inevitable return of Jyggalag has yet to be confirmed.
Sheogorath’s madness has also led to him having some fan-favorite lines regarding his quests and talks on madness and his realm of Oblivion. The best and most defining of him as a character are listed below.
“I see you have completed my little errand. Well done. Perhaps you’ve gotten a taste of madness as well? Do not believe madness to be a curse, mortal. For some, it is the greatest of blessings. Bitter mercy perhaps, but a mercy non the less.” – Sheogorath, Morrowind
“Greetings! Salutations! Welcome! Now go away. Leave. Run. Or die.” – Sheogorath, Oblivion
“Time. Time is an artificial construct. An arbitrary system based on the idea that events occur in a linear direction at all times.” – Sheogorath, Oblivion
“Another Daedric Prince. Not a nice one. I don’,t think ANY of the other Princes like him, actually. I mean, Malacath is more popular at parties.” – Sheogorath, Oblivion
“Was it Molag? No, no…Little Tim, the toymaker’s son? The ghost of King Lysandus? Or was it…Yes! Stanley, that talking grapefruit from Passwall.” – Sheogorath, Skyrim
“Welcome to the deceptively verdant mind of the Emperor Pelagius III. That’s right! You’re in the head of a dead, homicidally insane monarch.” – Sheogorath, Skyrim
Question: Is Sheogorath Good or Bad?
Answer: Attaching a morality to most Daedric Princes is difficult, especially for Sheogorath. While he does harmful and helpful acts alike, his existence does not fit well into mortal morality since he is so powerful and the life of a mortal is so short it is nearly meaningless to him.
Question: What races worship Sheogorath?
Answer: Sheogorath is worshipped by Khajiit, who recognize all of the Daedric Princes while the Dunmer used to worship him before the rise of the Tribunal. Now, the Dunmer regard him as one of the four corners of the House of Trouble.
Question: Who is more powerful, the Aedra or Daedra?
Answer: Daedra tend to be more powerful as the creation of Nirn drained much of the power of the Aedra. However, the Aedra often have more influence over the mortal realm since they are directly connected to it and are not affected by the veil that protects Nirn from invasion by Oblivion.
Sheogorath is a fascinating Daedric Prince and one of the most engaging characters in Elder Scrolls. It is no surprise that he has played such a significant role in the games since his introduction, and, hopefully, he will continue to be explored as the series moves forward. Until then, the best way to learn about him is undoubtedly Oblivion‘s fantastic Shivering Isles expansion.