“Elves are Jews with Pointy Ears and Gay Magic”: White Nationalist Readings of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionGame Studies. 2020, 20(3)
This paper explores White Nationalist interpretations of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios 2011) through the concepts of encoding-decoding (Hall 1973) and affordances (Gibson 1977), using the White Nationalist forum Stormfront as case The paper shows how Skyrim has become a cherished game by the forum’s community as forum users find themselves represented by the Stormcloak rebellion fighting against the multiculturalism of the Septim Empire and a free “Skyrim for the Nords”. On Stormfront the forum users discuss how their nationalist struggle in the real world resembles that of the fictional Stormcloaks, and how the issues they believe they face in society are mirrored in the struggles in Skyrim. In particular they find the racial and ethnic tensions in the game world parallel to their own ideology of conflict. The article explores the fluidity of traditional schemes of decoding texts, as the players on Stormfront debate the intentions and positions of the game developers, while the open world nature of the game may encourage their preferred, racialized interpretations.