Comparing Lord of the Rings to Oblivion

The Lord of the Rings is an epic trilogy of adventure, camaraderie, and fantasy. The worldwide phenomenon is arguably one of the greatest movie series to ever be made.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is the fourth game of the Elder Scrolls series, and upon its release in 2006 revolutionized how gamers play. People still ten years later actively play and discover the hundreds of hours of adventure, exploration, and quest lines the great game has to offer.

There are a few obvious similarities between the two: there’s the fantasy element, dragons, orcs, wizards, but there are several more subtle attributes relating these two epic journeys.

 

If you’ve never seen the Lord of the Rings and or played Oblivion this contains spoilers.

The Grand Finale:

In the Lord of the Rings, a hobbit named Frodo Baggins lives a simple, peaceful life in the shire until one day his estranged uncle Bilbo bequeaths to him a mysterious ring before disappearing. As it turns out, the ring was forged by the Dark Lord Sauron and is the most powerful ring ever forged, it acts as a tether to a world of doom and destruction. Frodo volunteers for an unexpected journey to destroy the ring with the help of a fellowship, a group of brave men who set out on a quest to Mount Doom where he can throw the ring back into the fires of which it was created and save Middle Earth from the horrific destruction threatening to be inflicted by Sauron.

As his long journey finally comes to an end and the dark walls of Mount Doom threaten to collapse around him, Frodo did what he had traveled many miles to do. Tapping into his last reserve of strength he hurled The Ring into the fiery depths of Mount Doom and barely escaped with his life. Outside, he and his friend Sam flung themselves onto a ledge as lava gushed out around them.

Many miles away a different battle was happening; Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Gandalf were fighting for their lives and the lives of all men. They fought the orcs relentlessly, almost to the death. As friends and foes alike fell around them a shriek pierced the air. The instant the ring sank into the lava of Mount Doom the change was obvious, Sauron’s eye, which once ominously loomed over them all shattered, and the army of orcs fled as the ground cracked beneath their feet. Aragorn was crowned king and restored peace to the realm of men.

On the continent of Tamriel in another world of men and mer, a different hero was emerging.

The hero of Kvatch, who started as nothing but a lowly no one has overcome unimaginable challenges for this final, epic battle in the Imperial City. The heart of the free world of men. The choices: defeat Mehrunes Dagon or watch Cyrodiil and all of Tamriel fall into the gates of Oblivion. But the hero cannot do it alone, he needs Martin Septim. Martin, the last, secret, air of the Septim Dynasty. Only he can wear the amulet of kings.

The battle is not easy, many die, including Martin; who sacrifices himself for the good of Tamriel. As this final battle happens and Martin defeats Mehrunes Dagon the gates of oblivion seal shut forever and as they close, the hellions that once poured out of scatter and flee. Their ties to this world severed.

Here are a few more subtle connections between the two tales –

  • The gates of oblivion are the inverse of Sauron’s eye.

  • The hero prefers to be secret: Aragon AKA Night Rider only assumed the throne of Gondor when all else had failed. And Martin lived a quiet, secret life before taking the ancestral form of a Dragon to defeat Mehrunes Dagon and save Tamriel from destruction.
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy takes place in Middle Earth, the realm of men. Oblivion takes place in Cyrodiil, the center of Tamriel and the province of men.
  • When Sauron’s Eye falls the army of Orcs flee as the ground shatters and crumbles beneath them. When Mehrunes Dagon is defeated and the gates of Oblivion explode the army of Daedra flee and ultimately vanish from Tamerial.
  • The events of the Lord of the Rings take place in the Third Age of Middle Earth and as Aragorn is crowned king so begins the Fourth Age, the age of men. The Oblivion Crisis is the closing event of the third era and upon the defeat of Mehrunes Dagon and the assassination of the last of the Septim Dynasty the fourth era begins.
  • In the Lord of the Rings, Sauron created the ring in the First Age when he tried to take over the world using the One Ring to control all the others,

“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”

 

He was defeated and fled to strengthen his armies and grow his power. Ages past and eventually the One Ring was forgotten with the tales of time. During the Third Age Sauron attempts his final plan for world domination which fails when Frodo destroys the ring.

Mehrunes Dagon first attempts to conquer Tamriel in the First Era in the province of Morrowind but he was defeated and reemerged in the third era with the aid of the Mythic Dawn cult who carried out his commands of assassinating all the living Septims, except for Martin, whose identity had been kept secret which leads to his final demise.

The deeper you read into the lore of the two series you the more connections you discover.

While the events of the Oblivion Crisis are carrying out a larger prophecy that began in the very first Elder Scrolls game, Arena, which released in 1994 it’s clear that the Bethesda Game designers were fans of the Lord of the Rings and reflected their admirations into their own designs. This provided an excellent sense of familiarity to their fan base and celebrated the carrying on of a successful recipe for excellent fantasy entertainment.