Lore Keepers- An Interview About Fans and Creativity



Fiction is an important part of society. Stories have captivated people's imagination for ages, with high emotions that mirror our lives and make them seem larger at the same time. They have been told at gatherings around fires at night, and stone stages where all actors wore masks, and projected into 47-feet-tall screens.

Nowadays movies, tv shows, books, and games are created in the hopes that their story will be the next big thing, so that people talk about them and eagerly await the next instalment. But there's a subset of fans who are unsatisfied with simply watching, reading, or playing, and take these stories into their own hands to expand them. Writing new scenarios with or drawing the characters, expanding on what's already there, fandoms have been growing for decades. With the new way the internet has allowed us to communicate, fan creativity has been gaining more notoriety.

I sat down to have a chat about this with Darya Makarava, a 23-year-old concept artist and longtime fan of The Elder Scrolls video game series. She's been creating fan content for the series since she played Morrowind, the 3rd game in the series, and her screenname, Lady Nerevar, comes from one of the game's characters. She is an artist and writer who has participated in the Tamriel Rebuilt modding project and currently helps maintain the Imperial Library lore archive.

Usually the first few questions are just introductory, so you could say a little about yourself!

I'm a professional concept artist in the mobile games industry who does entirely too much fan stuff for other people's properties. I mostly do sketches and quick drawings, though I think my most talked about works are various maps and charts. Occasionally I write short form, world-building focused prose.

Although I'm an artist, I'm not really too interested in the artistic aspects of art. I prefer the cultural context, the world building and design opportunities, and just engaging with people on shared ideas. I like looking at other people's immaculately cartooned characters, but it's not really something I like to do myself.

So there's that aspect of community that draws you in?

Definitely. I think that's why I prefer drawing fan art or expanding on existing Intellectual Properties to creating my own.

When something is mine, it's just whatever I can think of in my own brain. When something is shared, we've got dozens (or thousands) of minds to pull from, bounce ideas of off. I think all the best ideas are created through collaboration. If I draw a random woman in a random Scandinavian dress, it doesn't really mean anything to anyone. If I say that this woman is a Nordic queen, there are all these other related ideas that people can respond to and engage with. There's an instant connection between the art and its viewers.

You've said things about the community feedback, but I find it really curious how people first decide to create things for existing properties in the first place. You've had years to think over this experiences, but how would you say it was like when you started making fan content?

I didn't really think of it as fan content when I first started making it, I suppose. I was young and hadn't gotten involved in the internet yet (not to mention that "the internet" wasn't as widespread yet), so I really had nothing to compare to. I drew pictures of Morrowind scenery and doodled dungeon layouts on graph paper with the intention of making them mods. It was something I did to pass the time between playing the game, but I didn't really assign any value to it. Neither did people around me, since Morrowind (or videogames in general, really) wasn't a mainstream thing.

I didn't really start thinking of myself as a fan artist/writer until I started doing things for myself outside of the Tamriel Rebuilt project. It's a different experience to release something into a team to be integrated with a greater whole than releasing something into the wild all by yourself and seeing what comes back.

Was it drawing and writing, things like that? What were they about?

Yeah, mostly drawing. By the time that I kind of went off on my own I had a good idea of what interested me in The Elder Scrolls. I knew that I liked the lore, especially the less traditional and less explored stuff, and that I liked the opportunity to use my interest in history and anthropology. I knew that I loved Hammerfell and Cyrodiil [provinces of the fictional continent of Tamriel] from my time in Tamriel Rebuilt, researching them in a semi-professional setting. I spent a lot of time answering questions and engaging in lore discussion, and that kind of naturally bled into writing new lore and or making new lore visually. I mentioned earlier that I like to do various maps and charts in addition to more typical fan art - I think that's because helping people and encouraging discussion has always interested me.

I think my stuff has chiefly been about things in TES that people haven't seen yet. I've done proper fan art for characters, but that's usually more sketchy catharsis than my main motivation.

So really it was digging deeper into what you were originally given? Because there's the idea among people that entertainment (games, books, movies, etc) is something that you look at but don't do anything else with it, but I think that fan artists are creating their own relationships with these stories. Would you say it's something like that?

Right, exactly. I think "look but don't touch" has been falling away more and more in recent years. I remember when Lost was a big thing and mainstream magazines were writing with fascination about how fans were meeting in online communities and discussing theories. All I could think of was "wait, I've been doing this for years, this isn't anything new." Now, it's pretty rare to find a company that doesn't highlight its fans creations in some way.

It's not new in a historical context, either. Most of our classics are fan art or fan fiction. Dante's works were so popular that people today have trouble distinguishing them from the works they were expanding (Christianity). The classical Greek authors, Euripides and the like, were just writing fan fiction of their myths, and fan fiction of each other's fan fiction. You'd be hard pressed to find a painting from before the 1800s that's not based on some kind of previous canon (or directly on life). Artists, writers, regular people had these common universes to enjoy, these themes and symbols which they all understood and could draw on.

At some point we lost that. Not sure why - maybe the idea of the artist as some lone brilliant genius. But it's coming back now. All the people looking at pictures of Dragon Age characters and responding to them are no different than the Greeks responding to another version of the Medea story. It's just digital now, across timezones and continents.

Yeah, things like that are definitely coming more into view, but if I step out of my circle of friends there's still people who aren't familiar with fan creations. The most common example seems to be 50 Shades of Grey, which ok, but there's so much great stuff that you can do as a fan. The Elder Scrolls kind of gives itself to that since it's centered around player-choice and setting.

Also, just for fun, could you give us an example of something specific that caught your interest in the The Elder Scrolls lore?

Definitely a generational component, yes. I think older people may know about it on some level, and maybe have even done it themselves, but they just don't have the vocabulary to describe it as we do.

As for interest, I guess Morrowind was the first thing. All the weirdness is definitely what drew me in. After that, I was enamored by how deep and contradictory the history was. All the fantasy I'd seen and read prior (and much of what I've seen after) was very cut and dry. "This happened. And then that happened." Tamriel was totally different. The story of Red Mountain, for example, was told in five different viewpoints, all sharing some ideas and contradicting on others. I know some people find that frustrating, but I love it. It gives the viewer some ownership of the world by letting them make their own decisions about the setting, and it mimics the way real history works. In the real world we can make educated guesses, but in the end much is lost and we'll never know anything for certain.

After all that, I became enamored with the inclusion of non-western elements within the world, and by the possibility of including even more. As an artist with an interest in history, I relish the ability to include, for example, Han dynasty fashion in Cyrodiil, and have it still fit in. It's not something you see in your typical fantasy setting.

Yeah it's a very realistic take on how history plays out doesn't it? Morrowind really dug into that but, for example, I started the series with Oblivion and even there you could tell that there wasn't a clear-cut black and white morality in the setting

Definitely. Oblivion was less upfront about it, but it was still there.

Also you kind of answered another question I had about the modern relationship we have with stories. It's a shame that they're seen just as a product now, but people find ways to interact with them, or make them their own, things like that

There's a quote about that I reblogged to my tumblr a long time ago that I'll try to find.

Is it about how fanfiction is the way we've reclaimed our oral traditions, or something similar? I saw that one a long time ago -sadly I lost the author and where I saw it- but I think the quote could be expanded to describe any kind of fan creativity

Yeah, something like that.

"Fan fiction is a way of the culture repairing the damage done in a system where contemporary myths are owned by corporations instead of owned by the folk."

That's exactly the one!

So going back to the community aspect of all this, what's your experience with other fans been like? Beyond sharing your ideas, how has it been like navigating these spaces?

In general, wonderful. Most people I met when I was starting out, and most people I meet still, are eager to talk, to help, or just to share things. People helped me discover what I wanted to do in life, encouraged me even when I said dumb things and made bad work. They were there on IRC or the forums when I wanted to vent about some real life trouble, and they celebrated with me when I had some new joy in my life. Even the frustrating moments most often ended in lessons learned and relationships strengthened. I had a lot of people help me out throughout the years, and I try to give back by helping out by writing and making things that help new people engage with and understand the universe better.

I've met some of my best friends in these communities. That's a common story, I think, because the internet is one of the few places where you get to befriend people solely based on their personality and interests, rather than based on circumstantial factors like location.

That's not to say that I've not had bad experiences, too. When I was new, the negative experiences centered mostly on my inexperience with the community and the internet in general. Now that I've been here a while, I've found that the more people know you the harsher you are judged and the less eager people are to engage with you as a person. Once people think that you've got power, you tend to become an entity rather than just another fan. There's problems with cliques, infighting, and general differences in philosophy about the universe, too. But that's a whole different essay entirely

Internet community stories tend to either be all positive or all negative, but if there's one thing I want to emphasize is that despite the distance and the technology, we're still people.

I see. You've talked about how you were going through some personal difficulties when you first joined Tamriel Rebuilt, so how was it starting there and putting forth your own ideas for others to see?

I kind of completely divorced my real life self from my online self. I don't remember worrying about what people were going to think of my work or being self-conscious or anything like that. I kind of just put myself out there, did the best I would do, and kept coming back. I was able to completely reinvent myself, present myself in the way I wanted to be seen.

Right, like you were saying before, having the shared interest kept you coming back, and having a common ground lets you have more control over how you present yourself?

I think that's part of it, but the internet is a bigger part. You can choose exactly how, when, and where you interact with people. You can edit your words to get your point across as best you can, and you can accompany those words with the right emoticons. In life, if you don't know some cultural reference (like I didn't, much of the time), you're stuck there looking awkward. On the internet, you google it, watch a youtube video, and come back an expert in 5 minutes.

The Elder Scrolls series has developed a lot, with new games and also fans coming in, so what are the things that still draw you to the series and fandom?

Every new game or book brings new lore and new ideas to talk about. Bethesda has gotten really good with balancing totally new information, old information, and new information which expands on old information. And now, with Elder Scrolls Online, new things are coming out every month. I think the question here is less what keeps me, but more what would it take to drive me away? It's a universe that's always growing and always being reinterpreted by fans, and it's a universe that I have a lot of attachment to. I can't really see myself leaving it anytime soon.

The community has also started to emphasize fan involvement and lore creation more in the recent years, and I think that's led to more people becoming involved with the community. Before, most people just talked about the games - now, many people also write their own parts of the game's universe for others to talk about.

If there's a piece of work or project that you're currently working on, would you like to talk a little about it?

I'm working on two big things right now. One is updating the Imperial Library with information from Elder Scrolls Online. We've got the in-game books, and most of the supplementary material, but there is still so much in terms of in-game events, dialogue, and article updating that needs to be done. The other project is an updated map of Tamriel. The last big map predates Skyrim, and doesn't feature all the new information we gathered from Skyrim, Elder Scrolls Online, or the maps with the Anthology release. I'm aiming to it make the most complete and accurate map of the series to date.


Far cry 4 games is expert marketing assignment writer very fantastic game at present. Most of the teen age like this game. I also like this game. After reading your content now i found lot of update information about it. Thank you so much for your update.

I think at present you are a best writer!! Do you know why? Because of your great content. Just now i read your whole information then i get knowledge about B basics of writing characters.I want to expert marketing assignment writer like you. Hope you will help me to complete my task. Thank you so much for your great post.Keep it up your writing.......

I think at present you are a best writer!! Do you know why? Because of your great content. Just now i read your whole information then i get knowledge about B basics of writing characters.I want to expert assignment writer like you. Hope you will help me to complete my task. Thank you so much for your great post.Keep it up your writing.......

I think at present you are a best writer!! Do you know why? Because of your great content. Just now i read your whole information then i get knowledge about B basics of writing characters.I want to expert marketing assignment writer like you. Hope you will help me to complete my task. Thank you so much for your great post.Keep it up your writing.....

After reading your article I was amazed. I know that you explain it very well. And I hope that other readers will also experience how I feel after reading your article. I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it.
Top Engineering college in Chandigarh

Apple products are revered for its quality, precision and great design. SRSG started its operations as Apple technology partners in the year 1997.
Apple authorized service center delhi
Apple iphone 7 dealers in kolkata
Apple product dealers in Delhi
ipad dealers in Guwahati
Mac pro service center in Mumbai

Solutions Middle East, works to Envision, Execute and Empower our clients by offerings design, implementation and on-going support services.
Nutanix Premier Partner
Citrix Platinum Partner
VDI in a box
Staff Outsourcing
SMS Gateway providers
Citrix Mobility Solutions

DPS has a very good hostel for the students where they get homely environment. Students of various age groups and different places live in the hostel.
Best CBSE school in Rajasthan
CBSE Boarding School in NCR

The Fairdeal Group of Companies is a fast-growing group with the ambition of helping people across Kenya build their dream homes and offices.

Furniture in Kenya

Dealers in metal beds Nairobi

Visitors Chair dealers in Kenya

Dealers in Affordable Office Chairs

Dealers in household accessories

Moonlight Films and Theatre Studio operates under the Moonlight Films and Theatre Society , a non-profit association whose goals are to spread knowledge of and interest in theatrical and media arts through education.

Acting institute in Delhi
Diploma in filmmaking in Delhi
Acting school in Delhi

VIGYAN DHARA is the first Indian IIT-JEE/ NEET/AIIMS coaching Institute which is purely based on Historical Indian Education System that is the Gurukul Tradition of Education where students leave their homes during their studies.
IIT coaching institute in hisar
IIT Coaching center in hisar

SCS is focused on providing the most comprehensive, heterogeneous, integrated IT Software solutions to enterprises around the world.
SysTrack for VDI
FOIP Connection
AMC Services and technical support
Online Faxing solutions provider
SMS Alert Solutions

Take One School of Mass Communication considered as a part of the Top Mass Communication Colleges in India. It was set up in the year 2003 by honing media experts who met with a mutual vision of giving a stage to the adolescent of the nation.
Top mass communication colleges in Delhi
Journalism courses in Delhi

Accidentally I have come across this site and came to know about this Montrealties Gaming. It Is good to see the interview about fans and creativity over here. People at any age group always had a curiosity in gaming. Keep update more details regarding this game. modular homes prices

Today i am watching movie in which hero lost his mountain bike and he has taken shares of the company called prime bikes which too had fallen after the death of his father.

Leave a comment

Visit our community forum!