Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. If you have not played the game yet, be warned that this will discuss one of the major side quests of the game.
The following is a theory I have had for some time about something in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The Silver Hand are a group of werewolf hunters who are enemies of the companions, but we don’t really know much about them. But there are some hints from the game’s lore that may point to a backstory that explains their actions much more.
The Companions were the group led by Ysgramor in his conquest of Skyrim from the Falmer. They became established soon after as the warrior’s guild. They had strong anti elven sentiments for a long time, and did not allow elves to join as full companions In fact, they had issues with most non Nords, although they accepted non Nord Humans into their ranks and eventually grew to respect them after Cirroc The Lofty joined. He was of Redguard descent and changed how the companions treated human outsiders, when he was made Harbinger, especially since that was the time period when the Nords became obsessed with Nordic identity after being Atmorans culturally. The elves however, were still discriminated against until Henantier the Outsider joined. He was made a servant but slowly earned his way up over the years. He became respected by the new members and after one of his pupils was made harbinger, he gained some level of respect. When the harbinger died of old age, he shocked the companions by appointing Henantier as the new harbinger. This led to fierce arguments and many left the companions over this, although most remained and the tradition of tolerance and acceptance became part of the companions.
But what does this have to do with the Silver Hand? One thing that always stuck out was how the Silver Hand actively targeted the companions and stole the fragments of Wuuthrad, the Axe of Ysgramor. Then the idea hit me. What if the Silver Hand were originally a group made from those who left the companions? They seem to have existed for many centuries, and this could mean they have had many incarnations. As the companions’ curse of lycanthropy is relatively recent, it is possible the Silver Hand as a group took on that identity because they have a grudge against the companions. They felt the companions lost their way, and that their new group are the true heirs of Ysgramor.
However, the Silver Hand also are pretty diverse in their membership, which would seem to work against this idea. But that isn’t so. It could easily be explained that over the years, their whole identity became defined less by the ideas of Ysgramor and more by being enemies of the companions. In fact, it could be argues that by the time period Skyrim is set in, the original reasons are long forgotten and all the group knows is that the companions are their enemies.
Of course this is only a theory, but I present this to you all to get your opinion. What do you think?