Weird question about soul gems

#1 Posted by EODTech (83 posts) -

Alright, probably a weird and certainly a useless question about Skyrim. Say you've got a soul trapped in a soul gem. What happens to the soul after the gem is consumed? Is the soul consumed as if it never existed, or is it then free to move on to whatever afterlife or Daedric plane (or whatever) its owner believed in? What about enchanting armor: the enchantments in armor never need to be recharged...does that mean the soul is "trapped" in the garment for all time?

Doesn't matter really, it is just a game, but I'm wondering if it's explained in the canon anywhere. I've searched most of the books in Skyrim having to do with enchanting and conjuring, and can't find anything about it on the internet. Anybody able to shed light on this?

#2 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8698 posts) -

I think they just turn the soul into raw energy and the soul is 'gone' as soon as you use it for a purpose.
They're all happy dangling in your backpack before that moment however, which is a fun thought.

#3 Edited by JonSmith (171 posts) -
#4 Posted by TEHMAXXORZ (1199 posts) -

Firstly, the planes of Oblivion are not the afterlife of the TES series.

Secondly, animal souls (white souls) are continuously in existence, so yes the souls are used as raw energy and their 'essence' or 'lifeforce' is released to become a new animal. But, men, mer and beast have 'black souls' which are temporary things but are much, much more powerful. It's why you need a black soul gem to hold them, and once you use them I don't think they're 'released', probably destroyed.

#5 Posted by RedRoach (1191 posts) -

I always found that really dark. You're taking this dude's soul to enchant your weapon, taking his entire afterlife for some bonus damage. And people are selling these things, they are selling souls to you.

#6 Posted by Vampir (137 posts) -

@Jason_Bourne: They really seem like they should be some kind of hot, black market item.

#7 Posted by EODTech (83 posts) -

@TEHMAXXORZ said:

Firstly, the planes of Oblivion are not the afterlife of the TES series.

Secondly, animal souls (white souls) are continuously in existence, so yes the souls are used as raw energy and their 'essence' or 'lifeforce' is released to become a new animal. But, men, mer and beast have 'black souls' which are temporary things but are much, much more powerful. It's why you need a black soul gem to hold them, and once you use them I don't think they're 'released', probably destroyed.

So as I understand what you're suggesting, for example, even if he has earned his place in Sovngarde, if you've capture a Nord's soul and then use it to recharge a weapon, then oh well, no Sovngarde for him. Is that what you're saying?

#8 Posted by BraveToaster (12590 posts) -

I never really thought about that until I read this thread. It would be interesting to read the lore behind it.

#9 Posted by TEHMAXXORZ (1199 posts) -

@EODTech said:

@TEHMAXXORZ said:

Firstly, the planes of Oblivion are not the afterlife of the TES series.

Secondly, animal souls (white souls) are continuously in existence, so yes the souls are used as raw energy and their 'essence' or 'lifeforce' is released to become a new animal. But, men, mer and beast have 'black souls' which are temporary things but are much, much more powerful. It's why you need a black soul gem to hold them, and once you use them I don't think they're 'released', probably destroyed.

So as I understand what you're suggesting, for example, even if he has earned his place in Sovngarde, if you've capture a Nord's soul and then use it to recharge a weapon, then oh well, no Sovngarde for him. Is that what you're saying?

Maybe. I'm not entirely sure though. I know animal souls are permanent and eternal, and that a man, mer or beast soul isn't eternal, but I'm not sure whether or not it's destroyed or sent to an afterlife.

#10 Posted by Jimbo (9804 posts) -

This is worse than the time I found out Jelly Babies had names.

#11 Posted by CaptainObvious (2996 posts) -

Because vidya gaems.

#12 Edited by believer258 (11808 posts) -

I don't generally think about it, though I like this answer the best:

@TEHMAXXORZ said:

Firstly, the planes of Oblivion are not the afterlife of the TES series.

Secondly, animal souls (white souls) are continuously in existence, so yes the souls are used as raw energy and their 'essence' or 'lifeforce' is released to become a new animal. But, men, mer and beast have 'black souls' which are temporary things but are much, much more powerful. It's why you need a black soul gem to hold them, and once you use them I don't think they're 'released', probably destroyed.

With this answer, capturing animal souls doesn't hold as many moral issues as capturing the souls of men. Granted, it's iffy no matter how you put it, but this isn't bad. For animals, it's like hunting for food and using their furs on coats and stuff so they still have a use, plus here they are reborn somewhere else and for humans - well, it's a good reason to make sure that trapping humans is still a more evil act.

Off-topic: I asked this very same question about Full Metal Alchemist's

philosopher's stones, which are powered in a similar way. If the rules for the original show and Brotherhood were the same, then the souls did indeed stay alive and conscious of what was going on until they were turned into fuel, as evidenced by Hohenheim who spent four hundred years getting to know each and every soul that was inside him.
#13 Posted by Panpipe (473 posts) -

@Vampir said:

@Jason_Bourne: They really seem like they should be some kind of hot, black market item.

This is from the Elder Scrolls wiki:

"They are generally regarded as unethical, and their use is prohibited at The College of Winterhold, despite the institution's lenient stance on the practice of Necromancy. Soul Trapping humanoids is considered a crime in many of Skyrim's Holds."

#14 Posted by RedRoach (1191 posts) -

@Panpipe said:

@Vampir said:

@Jason_Bourne: They really seem like they should be some kind of hot, black market item.

This is from the Elder Scrolls wiki:

"They are generally regarded as unethical, and their use is prohibited at The College of Winterhold, despite the institution's lenient stance on the practice of Necromancy. Soul Trapping humanoids is considered a crime in many of Skyrim's Holds."

Yet every court wizard has them.

#15 Posted by Vampir (137 posts) -

@Jason_Bourne: Maybe they sell them for "animal soul use only", like those shops that sell lots of tie-dye and glass pipes for "tobacco enthusiasts".

#16 Posted by FoxMulder (1681 posts) -

I always wondered that too, but I was just like oh well...I need my fire sword to do more fire!

#17 Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG (4308 posts) -
@Jason_Bourne said:

I always found that really dark. You're taking this dude's soul to enchant your weapon, taking his entire afterlife for some bonus damage. And people are selling these things, they are selling souls to you.

Goddamn, theyre like the record companies!!
#18 Posted by fisk0 (4036 posts) -

I imagined the souls getting trapped in the gear you enchant with them, though I don't think I've found any books in any of the games on the matter. But that would seem consistent with how the Dwemer used them?

#19 Posted by Capum15 (4880 posts) -
@Jason_Bourne said:

@Panpipe said:

@Vampir said:

@Jason_Bourne: They really seem like they should be some kind of hot, black market item.

This is from the Elder Scrolls wiki:

"They are generally regarded as unethical, and their use is prohibited at The College of Winterhold, despite the institution's lenient stance on the practice of Necromancy. Soul Trapping humanoids is considered a crime in many of Skyrim's Holds."

Yet every court wizard has them.

Regular soul gems that cannot hold humanoid souls are sold by everyday merchants. Like someone said - it's similar to hunting for food / furs.

Black Soul Gems are rather rare, and are the ones that are "frowned upon" or whatever, and not sold by everyday merchants. Quote from the UESP wiki, "Standard merchants do not sell Black Soul Gems. To purchase one you must talk to either Enthir at the College of Winterhold while he is in his quarters, or Falion in Morthal."
Online
#20 Posted by fetchfox (1260 posts) -

@EODTech: Your question seems to have been answered, but there is actually some official lore (as in books) to the nature of souls/soul gems (see link). It doesn't answer your question specifically, but it is interesting nonetheless http://uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Souls,_Black_and_White

#21 Posted by Ksaw (343 posts) -

Just completed a Daedric quest that relates to your question. POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW.

In the quest you must remove the soul of a demented mage from a Daedric artifact known as the Black Star, an infinite soul gem. Since the soul gem is infinite and cannot be depleted, the mage viewed storing his soul in the artifact as a way of achieving immortality. However if you succeed in removing his soul from the gem, the person who helps you remove his soul says something like "at least now his soul will know peace, even if that peace is nonexistence."

So there you go, apparently as soon as a soul leaves a gem it ceases to exist.

#22 Posted by EODTech (83 posts) -

Thanks fetchfox (et al) for the info. Funnily enough, only a couple of hours after posting my original question, I stumbled across a Skyrim book which discusses soul gems. Didn't really answer my question but was close enough that it was amusing. I am reading all the books of Skyrim in one huge ebook on my Nook, and this just happened to be the next book after I created this thread. Unfortunately I don't remember the name of the book...like I said, it's every book in Skyrim in one huge file.

#23 Posted by fetchfox (1260 posts) -

@EODTech: You're welcome duder. I have the same collection on my iphone (ibooks I think), genius on public transport or similar. Who knew Argonian lore could be that interesting.

#24 Posted by EODTech (83 posts) -

@fetchfox said:

@EODTech: You're welcome duder. I have the same collection on my iphone (ibooks I think), genius on public transport or similar. Who knew Argonian lore could be that interesting.

Yeah, reading those really makes me hope that a DLC or maybe a future Elder Scrolls game takes place in Elseweyr and/or Blackmarsh. Both of them sound fascinating and beautiful.

#25 Posted by fetchfox (1260 posts) -

@EODTech: In Elder Scrolls online, all regions will (supposedly) be open to you. But it's far to early to say anything about the games quality.

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