King Harald plaque in Windhelm
|Previous Ruler||Position Established|
High King Harald, also known as Harald Hand-Free, was the 13th in the line of Ysgramor at the dawn of recorded history, and he's considered the first historical Nord ruler. During his reign, which started in 1E 143, the Elves were finally driven from the present boundaries of Skyrim (at least, driven from most of the inhabited surface, as Dwemer and Falmer remained underground). Harald is remembered for being the first king to relinquish all holdings in Atmora and properly found Skyrim as an independent nation with Windhelm as its capital.
In 1E 139 and 140, the forces of "Lord Harald" also found, besieged, and eradicated the last known bastion of the Dragon Cult in Skyrim. The Jagged Crown dates back to the reign of Harald, if not before. The Moot was also first formed under his reign, and Skyrim apparently made many advances in record-keeping and scholarship. He is also remembered for defeating the treacherous sons of Archmage Gauldur with the help of Archmage Geirmund and a company of battlemages. The Gauldur legend was so dangerous that Harald instigated an age-long attempt to erase them from history, though this ultimately proved unsuccessful. Harald had an unusually long reign of 78 years (for a Nord) and outlived all but three of his sons: the eldest Hjalmer (who died soon after), Vrage (who carried on his father's campaign of expansion), and Olmgerd the Outlaw (an illegitimate son who fought and died in Morrowind).
- Some sources apparently conflate Harald's "reign" with his entire life. Frontier, Conquest accredits the years 1E 113 to 221 to him (108 years). Both the Daggerfall Chronicles and the 1st Edition Pocket Guide state that he died at the age of 108, placing his birth at 1E 113. The 3rd Edition Pocket Guide states that by 1E 113, "the entirety of modern Skyrim was under the reign of King Harald", suggesting his birth and reign coincided. However, a memorial plaque in Windhelm confirms that his reign began in 1E 143, when he was about 30 years old.
- Skorm Snow-Strider's Journal indicates "Lord Harald" was in a leadership position, likely as a Jarl, in 1E 139, before he became High King. According to Geirmund's Epitaph, Harald's personal battlemage was Archmage of Windhelm, and since Harald was a direct descendant of Ysgramor, who reigned from Windhelm, it is probable Harald was Jarl of Windhelm before becoming High King.
- Harald bore the Fists of Randagulf, which he said granted him greater strength.
- Daynas Valen's Notes — Daynas Valen
- Events of Morrowind
- The Annotated Anuad
- Frontier, Conquest — University of Gwylim Press, 3E 344
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Skyrim — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- Events of Skyrim
- The Aetherium Wars — Taron Dreth
- Skorm Snow-Strider's Journal — Skorm Snow-Strider
- Before the Ages of Man — Aicantar of
- Lost Legends — Talsgar the Elder, Archivist of Winterhold
- King Edward, Part X
- Tamrielic Lore — Yagrum Bagarn