I read all 337 books in Skyrim so you don’t have to | Unraveled


Ah, the Elder Scrolls, games chock-full of
lore. And Skyrim is no different. Hidden amongst the draugr and dragons is a
plethora of books full of very important and incredibly niche details. But with all the spellcasting and shouting
you must do as dragonborn, who really has the time to read all those books. I DO. APPARENTLY. I read every book in Skyrim in order to answer
the eternal question, “Should you read every book in Skyrim?” And I’m here to give you my top five recommendations
of books, here in my SKYRIM BOOK REPORT. Skyrim book report! How many books are there, really, in Skyrim? After all, there are only eight people credited
as writers on Skyrim. Those eight people are responsible for every
quest, every voice acting line, every response you can give to an NPC. How much time do they have to write all those
other books? A lot! Because they wrote this many books. This many books. *pained grin* Or at least they wrote most of them because
a few of them have been grandfathered in from other Elder Scrolls games. Before I get into the nitty gritty, let me
explain my process on how I did this Skyrim Book Report. I printed out every book in Skryim, and then
I spent multiple eight-hour days reading EVERY. SINGLE. BOOK. I whittled it down to 338 books because I
didn’t include journals or diaries. Everyone knows that self-published doesn’t
count. In total, that’s 571 pages, five and a half
point font, over three hundred and sixteen THOUSAND words. I had two reactions to this. My first reaction was, “Wow.” This is an incredible amount of world building. To write 300,000 words that could essentially
be skipped over while still having the full Skyrim experience, it’s amazing, and it’s
a level of world building that could only exist in an interactive medium. And for that, I commend you, Bethesda. My second reaction to this, was WHAT THE FUCK. HEY TODD? WHAT THE FU- In my Skyrim Book Report, I will
be discussing: *smack* That’s a smash cut. Hopefully. If I do my editing correctly. 338 books. Uh, actually, 337, I just realized, um, over
here, Songs of Skyrim, I put both of them in there, but there’s a revised edition. I lied. It’s just 337 books now. Obviously, I don’t have time to synopsize
all of these, and believe me, you wouldn’t want to watch that even if I could. I’ve split them into categories to make
this a little bit easier. First up, historical books! These book titles you see rolling up the screen
are all biographies or histories. What I categorized as histories was anything
that had big historical dates in them, explanatory histories, or pretty much anything that was
boring. History’s so BORING. UGHHHH. J.R.R. Tolkien *kiss* did the world a disservice
by making every single fantasy writer think that they need to chronicle every goddamn
minute of their world in order for it to be legitimate. I don’t give two shits about a king who
lost a war 700 years ago. *snoring noises* Get OUTTA here! Some of these biographies are actually pretty
interesting. But a lot of them are written like The Chronicles
of Nchuleft. I didn’t tab it out ‘cause it’s a shitty
story. “It happened in Second Planting (P.D. 1220)
that Lord Ihlendam, on a journey in the Western Uplands, came to Nchuleft; and Protector Anchard
and General Rkungthunch met him there, and Dalen-Zanchu also came to the meeting. They talked together long by themselves; but
this only was known of their business, that they were to be friends of each other. They parted, and each went home to his own
colony.” RIVETING. Ugh. History’s so boring. I’m done with this. Next category: Instructional books! These are all field guides or basic recipes
about how to make good armor or what flowers go in which potions. At best, they are in-fiction instructional
books. At worst, they are so obviously trying to
get you to go do specific things. Pulls you right out of the fiction! C’mon man. That’s all I’m gonna say about that. Everyone’s favorite: the academic books. Fun fact about academic books that I learned
in college is that no one has ever enjoyed writing
or reading an academic paper. WHY’D YOU PUT IT IN A VIDEO GAME. Mythicaaaaal stories. It’s kind of weird to differentiate things
between myth and history, especially in this world where you can talk to demon princes. I split these two up because these are very
boring and these are slightly more palatable. They’re more like creation myths, or they’re
just like random stories that are fun to read, so they’re getting closer to good fiction. The poetic and dramatic. Everyone knows that poetry and theatre are
meant to be seen and not read. And you have NO IDEA how much it pains me
that I do not have time to do staged readings of all these. Oh my GOD I would have loved that. We have “eh.” What genre is “eh?” It’s the catchall. Um, these tend to be accounts, kind of like
medieval fantasy op-eds. So I… I just put ‘em here. EH! We’re done with these now, so… Get outta here! Finally, we have 59 books that I would consider
good fiction. GooooOOOD fiction. What I did here is I gave myself three criteria
about what would make good fiction in the realm of Skyrim. Number one, does it help build the world around
us? Number two, does it give us an interesting
or different perspective on that world? And number three, is it good? Now you might say, “Brian, what gives you
the right to say what is good fiction?” I READ ALL 338 YA DINGUS. BELIEVE ME WHEN I SAY THAT THESE WERE THE
ONLY GOOD ONES. THIS IS ALL I’M QUALIFIED TO DO NOW. I need a drink. *deep breath* Okay! There’s still 59 of these, so I obviously
can’t summarize all of them, but I have left five off, and they are my top five books
of Skyrim. So we’re gonna talk about those. Number five, Advances in Lockpicking. Now Advances in Lockpicking is actually an
instructional book. But I think it does more than just the other
instructional books, where you open them up and suddenly you’re better at lockpicking,
because it’s written by a thief in a very interesting voice. There’s a great ending line for this book:
“Some thieves can’t read. If you can’t read, get someone to read this
book to you. It will make more sense then.” That’s great. I think that’s a much more fun way than
saying, “Here is how you pick a lock. This is what this set of armor is.” Better than instructional. Just good fiction. Number four, Palla. In a world where crazy creatures exist, how
do you make fiction that is compelling that people can just kind of experience in their
own life. Palla is a necromantic romantic book. It’s a story about a man who sees this beautiful
statue of a woman fighting a beast and falls instantly in love with this woman. Turns out, she’s dead! From fighting that beast. He decides to get into necromancy to bring
her back from the dead. I kind of don’t want to ruin the surprise
for you. It manages to tell an interesting story while
also introducing these ideas of monsters and necromancy. It’s kind of weird, but it’s very well
written. I’m gonna go ahead and put up three and
two. Why do I put up the Argonian Account and Feyfolken
at the same time? Turns out, it’s written by the same fictional
author: WAUGHIN JARTH. This one’s for you, Waughin! I’m a big Jarth head! He’s not actually in the story at all, I
couldn’t find any instance of, like, him as an NPC. So I really hope he’s in the next one. Because I want to meet Waughin. I just want to meet Waughin Jarth. These ones were not actually written specifically
for Skyrim. They were grandfathered in. But they do an incredible job of building
the world around you. The Argonian Account is actually the second
story in a series all about Decumus Scotti. This is kind of like the Hobbit of Tamriel,
where we’re taking this unassuming character and thrusting them into this completely foreign,
amazing landscape, except instead of a hobbit, it is a midlevel bureaucrat. It’s full of screwball comedy and wonderful
worldbuilding about the Black Marsh which is where all the Argonians live. You have to fast travel by being eaten alive
by a worm. That’s great. I want to see that whenever we go to the Black
Marsh. It’s so flavorful, and that’s why I’m
a Jarth head. Feyfolken. It’s a story about a scribe who’s terrible
at his job but gets this enchanted quill that forces him to be amazing. Sends himself into this madness, and he kills
himself at the end of the book, spoiler alert. But that’s not what this story is really
about. It’s an interesting fiction that teaches
you about different Daedric princes, and which ones could have caused this specific enchantment
on the quill. That’s good worldbuilding! I am interested in the story! You told me something that I can learn about
the world. I had a good time reading Feyfolken! Jarth, ya did it again! And that leaves us with the number one book. It’s not The Lusty Argonian Maid. I feel like I should broach this subject. I’ll tell you why I didn’t include it
in my good fiction list, and it’s not because I’m a prude, who doesn’t love a little
erotic lizard fiction? *OOH COME ON BABY* The reason I didn’t include
The Lusty Argonian Maid as one of the best pieces of fiction is because it’s SEVEN
ACTS LONG. Seven acts? There is no way you can manage to maintain
that level of erotic tension for seven acts. That’s like five and a half hours! As a person who has done one or two plays
in my life, that’s just unfeasible. Okay? I’d like to see them try. ~I would like to see them try~ *OOH COME ON
BABY* Before I go to number one, I gotta go get a flu shot. This is not a joke. It’s important to get your flu shot. Alright, I’m back. The number one piece of fiction in Skyrim,
not Waughin Jarth, I’m sorry. It’s Beggar, Thief, Warrior, King. It’s four books, actually. But it’s all part of Eslaf Erol’s story. It is completely fiction even within the fiction
of Skyrim. The reason I put it first is because it’s
the only book that was legitimately hilarious. I straight up chortled. *chortle* That’s what I did. In real life. That’s amazing. The writing style of these four books is just
naturally hilarious. There are so many bland, cookie-cutter stories
in Skyrim that follow the same set up, twist, punchline. This doesn’t have that. It’s just a good story. One of these writers was just flexing, and
I think that’s wonderful that a writer had a chance to—within the fiction of Skyrim—write
something that’s just naturally funny. You should all go home, onto your computers,
boot up Skyrim, find these four books, and then read them, in order. It’s worth it! That’s my quest, for you in Skyrim. 300 gold points. That’s it! That’s it, that’s all of the books. So like, what did I learn from reading all
338 books of Skyrim? Surprisingly, a whole lot. Like, there are two main takeaways that I
pulled from this. Number one, this is a masterclass on how to
write effective flavor text. Between all of these, historical, instructional,
the good fiction, and, you know, the iffy fiction. This is a way to learn what to do and what
not to do. Obviously, not everyone is going to connect
with certain types of flavor text. I’m sure there’s a lot of people that
disagree with me and think that the historical is the most important flavor text. And you know what? They are valid. And they’re wrong. And they always seem to find my comment sections. When you take something good like Feyfolken
which teaches you about the Daedric princes, but in an interesting way, it really shines
in comparison to the three and a half million biographies of Barenziah. You don’t even see them in Skyrim. I don’t care about Barenziah. IT’S BORIIIIIII- But not like Feyfolken! That’s really interesting and effective. Also it just teaches you about all these wonderful
forms of fiction. If you’re a fiction teacher, like, teach
your kids with Skyrim! TEACH THE KIDS. WITH SKYRIM. I got a creative writing degree. That’s all I have to say about that. Second takeaway, this is a wonderful teaching
device about unreliable narrators. So many of these histories are negating other
ones. This is a wonderful way of showing people
you need to read everything if you’re going to get the whole picture. I read everything. I am the keeper of the picture. That’s every book in Skyrim. So it’s time for us to revisit that ever
present question, “Should you read every book in Skyrim?” NO! WHAT? HOW COULD YOU WATCH THIS WHOLE 10+ MINUTE
VIDEO AND THINK THAT I WOULD SAY ANYTH- WHAT? NO! I BORE THIS BURDEN! FOR YOU! DON’T READ THEM! NO! Please don’t read them all. DON’T READ THEM! You can read the top five, that’s fine. GRRRRR. HOW DARE YOU JETTISON MY GIFT! DON’T READ THEM! NOOOOOOOOOOO If you want to see me keep doing things like
this, make sure to hit that subscribe button. And now for a staged reading of The Sultry
Argonian Bard. Pat: I could never perform your request. BDG: Oh! Is it too fast for you. Pat: I fear I may damage my… instrument. BDG: Ah, but you seem to handle it so well
my darling. Pat: My lady you flatter me. BDG: Well it is such a LARGE and MAGNIFICENT
piece.

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