In psychology, there is a concept known as the “Dark Triad.” This is a set of three negative traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. It is my theory that these traits correlate very well with the three characters in Elder Scrolls that have achieved CHIM, Vivec, Talos, and (according to many theories) Molag Bal.
Let’s begin with Vivec, who I believe correlates to narcissism. I link narcissism to Vivec for a few reasons. It’s readily apparent that Vivec is at best prideful, and at worst a pathological liar obsessed with being loved. Firstly, he essentially holds the entire city of Vivec hostage with a meteor, and threatens to drop it if his subjects don’t love him enough. According to Sotha Sil in ESO, Vivec is obsessed with “being everything” so that people will worship him as the god-hero he sees himself as. Lastly, Vivec wrote 36 entire books about himself. There’s a decent chance that these books are propaganda to make Vivec look better, or at least half-truths exaggerated by Vivec.
Talos can be a bit confusing, but I see Machiavellianism as representing Hjalti Early-Beard specifically. Machiavellianism describes people who are so focused on obtaining power and success that they don’t care about other people or morality in general. Throughout his life (what little we know about it) Hjalti makes it clear he’s after power for its own sake. He allied himself with Zarin and Wulfhearth to take over most of Tamriel and form a new empire. For most, this would be enough, but not Hjalti. Despite working with Zurin and Wulfhearth for years, he sacrifices the souls of both to power the Numidium; this is done for no other reason than so Hjalti can have a shot at conquering the Summerset Isles. It is also heavily implied that Hjalti planned the assassination of his commanding officer so he could advance in the ranks. Not to mention that he purposely became a god after his death, never satisfied with what he has.
Finally, Molag Bal as psychopathy. This one is pretty obvious, you don’t really have to know much about Bal to realize he’s a murderous, emotionless psychopath. Let’s start with the elephant in the room, the fact that he is known as “The King of Rape.” A common trait among psychopaths is their inability to truly love anyone, and they often seek out relationships solely for sex. Combined with their lack of empathy for anyone and lack of guilt for their actions, it’s not hard to see why Molag Bal turned out the way he did. Bal is also sometimes called the Prince of Schemes, which ties into other psychopathic traits. Psychopaths are often cold, calculating, and very manipulative. They hold no one above themselves, and feel justified in whatever they do. This fits Molag Bal perfectly.
To conclude, some of you might be wondering “Where does Lorkhan fit in? Wasn’t he the first to achieve CHIM?” I believe that Lorkhan represents all three of the traits in the Dark Triad. Firstly, his willingness to trick his fellow et’ada into creating Mundus and becoming mortal seems fairly Machiavellian. Shezzarines, such as Pelinel Whitestrake and (possibly) Ysgramor are unstoppable, merciless murderers; this fits the general profile of a psychopath. Finally, I think anyone who achieves CHIM has to have a bit of an ego. To do so is to see the universe on its side, and what is the first thing that comes to mind?
They must see a reflection of themselves in the Aurbis, and despite all evidence, insist on their own individuality. In doing so, they become an integral part of everything, and this can seemingly lead you to some very dark behaviors.