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The Moot is a council made up of the jarls of each Hold of Skyrim and convened upon the death of the High King to formally choose a successor to the throne from among qualifying members of the royal family.[1][2] In the absence of a legitimate heir, the Moot instead chooses a successor from among the jarls.[1] The Moot can also reconvene during a living High King's reign if he breaks some taboo which makes the jarls lose confidence in him, such as refusing a challenge made in accordance with the old Nord traditions of martial combat.[3]


According to some scholars, the first Moot was held by King Harald at his Windhelm mead-hall around the year 1E 184[4]. It was a gathering of jarls and clan-chiefs under the patronage of the High King and in keeping with Skyrim's tradition of being a patchwork of rather autonomous Holds united under a common central authority. Since Harald lived to be 108 years old, and was survived by only three of his sons, a Moot made up of delegates from all over the province was given the job of choosing the next High King from among the remaining members of the royal family[2]. It decided upon the short-lived Hjalmer, who died after one year on the throne in 1E 222 and was succeeded by his younger brother King Vrage the Gifted. Eventually this Moot became both permanent and partisan.

In 1E 369, the War of Succession began in Skyrim after the death of High King Borgas.[5] Imperial historians attribute the war to the Moot's failure to appoint "the obvious and capable" Jarl Hanse of Winterhold.[2] The war, which lasted until 1E 420 and resulted in the collapse of the First Empire of the Nords, was brought to an end with the Pact of Chieftains, which dictated that the Moot only be convened when the High King died without any direct heirs.[2] The war ended and Olaf One-Eye was named the High King.[6] While the pact of chieftains was selecting a new leader, Cyrodiil reclaimed the territories in southern Skyrim that had been lost to them during the times of the First Empire of the Nords.[7] Several inkwells used to sign the document survived until the Interregnum.[8] The Moot served in its limited role well, and was only called upon three times until at least the late Second Era.[2]

The first of these occasions came with the death of High King Olaf One-Eye,[9] the very man who was crowned at the conclusion of the War of Succession.[6] Olaf's rule was marked by great strife among the Nords, and amid fears of another contentious Moot, each of Skyrim's holds sent a mage to a special convocation to craft a magical artifact capable of testing the worth of potential rulers. The result was the Crown of Verity, which replaced the lost Jagged Crown as the symbol of Skyrim's monarchs. When the Moot selected the warrior and chieftain Asurn Ice-Breaker to be the next High King, they mandated that he also don the Crown of Verity. Upon Asurn's unequivocal rejection by the crown, he threatened to kill the Moot, but one member challenged Asurn to lawful combat. Asurn was swiftly struck down, and the duel's victor, Kjoric the White, was then accepted by the Crown of Verity and pronounced High King by the Moot.[9]

The Moot continued using the Crown of Verity to determine the worthiness of candidates for the throne, and the practice was accepted without question until the assassination of High King Logrolf in 2E 431. Logrolf's daughter, Freydis, was in line to succeed him as High Queen, but Jarl Svartr of Solitude denied her legitimacy and demanded a Moot be called to choose a successor. Freydis was accepted by the Crown of Verity, subsequently renamed the Crown of Freydis in her honor, and crowned High Queen in Windhelm, but a partial Moot convened in Solitude and declared Svartr to be High King. This marked the division of Skyrim into eastern and western kingdoms, a schism that lasted for many years afterwards.[9]

Following the death of king Hoag Merkiller, Wulfharth was elected by the Pact of Chieftains.[10]

In the late Third Era the Moot still gathered to recognize the new High King, but it had been reduced to a little more than a formality. This was due to Skyrim's capital becoming the city most directly influenced by Imperial culture and politics, meaning the Jarl of Solitude typically served as High King without dispute.[1] This held true up until the reign of High King Torygg in the second and early third centuries of the Fourth Era.[3].

The Great MootEdit

A Great Moot

In the Second Era, the Ebonheart Pact was governed by a separate body called the Great Moot, wherein decisions were ratified by representatives from the Pact's three member nations. The Great Moot convened in the Pact's capital of Mournhold.[11] In 2E 572, Jorunn the Skald-King of Eastern Skyrim was named acting High King of the Great Moot after he thwarted an Akaviri invasion with the aid of Dunmer and Argonian forces.[12] In 2E 582, Jorunn's rule was again ratified at the summit of Skuldafn following his brother Fildgor Orcthane's failed attempt to usurp the throne.[13]


  • The term moot is also used to describe important meetings of political nature among Orcs[14] and Reachfolk.[15]