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Contents

Dovahkiin/The Dragonborn

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"FUS RO DAH!"

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File:Dovakhiin 7544.jpg

The last thing that the Dragons will see.

The Dovahkiin is The Chosen One of prophecy, foretold to be the one to defeat Alduin, who is poised to destroy all of Tamriel. He or she turns out to be a penniless prisoner waking up in the back of a cart and about to be executed.

  • Action Survivor: After surviving almost being executed by beheading and burnt alive by a dragon, you proceed to become The Chosen One to prevent the end of the world.
  • And the Adventure Continues...: The game doesn't end when you complete the main storyline, and random Radiant Quests ensure you have something to do afterwards.
    • Tsun and Odahviing both say that they doubt your purpose has been completely fulfilled, and Tullius/Ulfric say that they expect to be at loggerheads with the Thalmor again in the not too distant future at the end of the Civil War quests, providing a DLC Hook.
    • Not to mention heightmaps for all the provinces of Tamriel are included in the game, leading some to speculate future DLC will add entire regions to the game. Several of the other provinces have potential enemies as well, mostly Thalmor, but also the Argonians who conquered Morrowind.
  • Anti-Hero: There is no karma meter, but the Grey and Gray Morality of the two main questlines, and possible membership in factions like the Companions, Thieves Guild or Dark Brotherhood can put you anywhere on the scale assuming you just don't decide to be a straight-up villain.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: If you're scouted out to join a group like the Thieves Guild or the Companions, by the time their questline is over, you'll be made their leader in recognition of your skill.
  • The Atoner:
    • You can invoke this by completing the Dark Brotherhood main quest which ends with you killing the Emperor. Afterwards, join the Imperial Legion and help them win the civil war as way of making amends for the crimes you committed against the Empire. See Face Heel Turn below if you do the opposite.
    • The game itself will invoke this trope with you. If you steal from your fellows in the Thieves Guild or kill a colleague in the Dark Brotherhood, you must make restitution (though the latter is a subversion as a fine of 500 gold is all that is assessed for murder). You can also pay off your bounties for crimes committed in various communities. If your skill in illusion is high enough to pacify a guard long enough to accept bounty, you can make restitution for any and all crimes.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Ignoring how you can name your character whatever you want, most characters refer to you as Dovahkiin or Dragonborn, the former sounding very similiar along the lines of names like Alduin, Paarthurnax and Odahviing.
  • Ax Crazy: You can act like this occasionally through dialogue, and of course you can run around and murder people all you want.
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Is Markarth bloody enough for you, stranger?
More blood is always good.

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  • Badass: Possibly the most badass out of all the Elder Scrolls protagonists. Only one other one has met a hostile dragon. For the Dovahkiin, killing dragons is the job description, and as they're random encounters, you'll be mowing them down regularly.
    • Badass Abnormal: The Dragonborn possesses the soul of a Dragon but the body of a mortal.
    • Badass Grandpa: Can potentially be a senior citizen who is still perfectly capable of kicking all kinds of ass.
    • Badass Long Hair: Potentially.
  • Badass Beard: Todd Howard really wasn't kidding when he said that Skyrim would have truly epic beards...
  • Badass Bystander: During Dragon attacks on towns, you can step in, kill it, then go right back to what you were doing.
  • Badass in Charge: Can become leader of multiple guilds.
  • Badass Preacher: If you join a temple to the Divines.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: You can play as a polite, kind and an all around Nice Guy, who is literally capable of bending reality itself to shout their enemies apart.
  • Blood Knight: You can choose to be one. Given that you're in the land of Blood Knights, it comes naturally. Paarthurnax also mentions that as you have the soul of a Dragon, you have an innate desire for destruction.
  • Catch Phrase: One of the first Dragon-Shouts you learn, nonetheless, can prove itself useful in almost any situation.
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Dragonborn: FUS-RO-DAH!

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  • The Chosen One:
    • A slightly unusual case that there's sometimes more than one Chosen One running around: the Player Character just might the only known Dovahkiin. It's heavily implied in the book The Last Dragonborn as well as a very accurate ancient prophecy that you are the last Dragonborn.
    • The Dragonborn is also arguably the chosen one of every other circumstance and guild they run across.
    • This is Taken up to Eleven when you reach Sovngarde and are challenged by the guardian of Shor's Hall, Tsun. He wants to know by what right you should be allowed to enter, and you can say that you're the Dovahkiin... But if you've completed all the other Faction Quests, you can also say that you're Harbinger of the Companions, Arch-Mage of the College of Winterhold, Nightingale of the Thieves Guild, or Listener for the Dark Brotherhood. It's a shame you can't bring up all of these, he'd probably crap his pants.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Being a The Elder Scrolls game, you can backstab basically everyone. Notable example: you kill the Emperor at the end of the Dark Brotherhood questline. Bonus points if you've previously joined the Legion and sworn allegiance to the Emperor. Then you can accept the Emperor's last request to murder the man who ordered his assassination. Less notable example: Help Madanach and the Forsworn escape Cidhna Mine, accept his reward and thanks, then stick a knife in his back when he turns to leave.
  • Co-Dragons: By the final mission in the Civil War questline, you've become the Co Dragon to either Tullius or Ulfric, alongside Rikke or Galmar, respectively.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The kill animations sometimes reach Assassin's Creed-tier brutality and ruthlessness. One of the new ones in the 1.5 update for warhammers involves putting the haft of the hammer around the back of the enemy's neck and then simply twisting until the neck breaks. Another new animation, this one for the battle axe, involves placing the axe sideways behind the opponents head, locking them in place while you headbutt them to death.
  • Cool Helmet: Always depicted as wearing a horned helmet with a face mask in promotional art (the readily available Iron helmet, for those interested). In the game, you can wear a variety, including that one, or none at all.
  • Crazy Prepared: Potentially. A Dovahkiin focused on smithing, enchanting, speech and alchemy (at the expense of perk-placement in other skills directly-related to combat or magic) can have custom-made weapons, potions, and enchanted gear for any eventuality. You essentially sacrifice the ability to be the perfect warrior to instead be Batman.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Dragonborn is essentially The Elder Scrolls' version of Christ, a god in a mortal's body destined to save the world. You even go to the afterlife and then return to the mortal realm. And it's implied that you're destined to lead a new empire.
  • Cursed with Awesome:
    • You can become a werewolf.
    • Not to mention the fact that you are/can be the number one enemy of the most feared and powerful creatures, organizations and even Daedric Princes of Tamriel because of your powers.
  • Deadpan Snarker: There are plenty of sarcastic dialogue options.
  • Defector From Decadence: If the Dragonborn is an Altmer and loyal to the Empire, one of the possibilities for why they arrived in Skyrim is that they are one of the many Altmer fleeing the expanding influence of the Aldmeri Dominion. Due to the White-Gold Condordiat being signed between the Thalmor and the Empire, the Thalmor were effectively granted free-reign to come and go throughout the Empire and the jurisdiction to arrest anyone they wish. One suspects that Altmer not loyal to the Dominion are on the top of their list...
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Can join the Stormcloaks, overthrow the Empire and murder the Emperor... all because you were accidentally arrested and when the mistake was discovered, you were sentenced to execution anyway, because one Imperial clerk didn't want to bother with the paperwork.
  • The Dreaded: Dragonborn, being the only mortals capable of truly killing a dragon, are actually mentioned as being something the Dragons fear above all else. Case-in-point, the music that plays during your fights with Dragons is titled on the soundtrack as "The One They Fear".
    • Literally invoked the first Dragon you face, Mirmulnir, when he realizes far too late just who you are.
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Mirmulnir: Dovahkiin?! NO!

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  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Playing any race other than Nord tends to this, but especially Khajiit, Argonian and Dunmer Dragonborn will still get talked down to by guards and some NPCs, even after defeating Alduin.
    • The Blades, who despite supposedly being sworn to serve the Dragonborn, often treat them as an indentured servant and demand they perform tasks for them.
    • There are some instances where you can simply tell someone that you're Dragonborn and they'll treat you with the respect your status deserves. For example, when entering the College of Winterhold, you're normally expected to make a show of magical aptitude, but if you simply tell Faralda that you're the Dragonborn and fire off a Shout, she'll enthusiastically let you through.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: The Dragonborn always has the option of telling the Daedric Princes, in no uncertain terms, to go to hell.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: You eventually end up defeating Alduin, firstborn of Akatosh, god of Time itself, whose purpose is to bring about the end of the world.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": In the Legion campaign, you're referred to primarily by your rank, starting at Auxiliary and working your way up to Legate.
  • Fantastic Racism: If you meet up with Brunwulf Free-Winter you have the option of saying that Skyrim is for Nords alone. Strangely enough, you get this option even if you're not a Nord.
  • Featureless Protagonist: As in every The Elder Scrolls game.
  • Folk Hero: In-Universe. The bards even composed a song called "The Dragonborn Comes", foretelling your arrival.
  • Genius Ditz:
    • Can invoke this with the Greybeards, saying you have no idea how you can learn new Thu'um quickly, you just do it.
    • If you join the Mage College, but haven't specialized in magic thus far, you essentially are acknowledged as being the least skilled with magic, but potentially one of the most powerful.
  • Glamour Failure: After becoming a werewolf, city guards will comment that the Dragonborn appears to have fur growing out of their ears and a wolfish grin. Even if you are an Argonian, who's ears and facial expressions shouldn't be readily apparent in the first place, or if you're a Khajiit, and have furry ears anyway.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: If you get married, and go to sleep with your spouse (either because you're at the house or you're traveling with them), you get the Lover's Comfort buff, where the Dragonborn is in such a good mood that skill-building becomes a lot easier for a while.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: If you wish, the Dragonborn can have a plethora of manly scars.
  • Handicapped Badass: Your Dragonborn can be missing an eye or be completely blind if you wish, though this doesn't affect gameplay in any way.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: Played with: regardless of the name you pick you're usually referred to as "The Dragonborn", but your name will frequently appear written in notes and journals. The reason for this is obvious.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Even if you're the nicest, most heroic guy imaginable you'll still get a bounty on par with murder if you're exposed as a werewolf.
  • Hot Mom/Hot Dad: Your Dovahkiin can be a hot adopted parent through the Hearthfire DLC.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Is viewed as one by the Dragons, being a mortal who somehow possesses the soul of a Dragon and is able to permanently kill them and use their souls as fuel.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind:
    • Given how the Dragonborn is of the same kith as Dragons, this is to be expected.
    • Most vampires you encounter are hostile, so being one yourself invokes this trope. Being a werewolf can do too (mostly in the Sinding/Hircine quest).
    • Thalmor can invoke this in both directions if you're an Altmer. Once you hit the Thalmor Embassy, they'll start sending execution squads after you, which will only happen to a Dragonborn who has the patience to not brutally murder Thalmor s/he encounters beforehand.
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • One of the quests allows you to become a cannibal.
    • "Human Flesh" is also an alchemical ingredient, and the most obvious method of discovering an ingredient's first trait is to eat it.
    • Furthermore, the most effective method of healing one's self in werewolf form is to take a bite out of some dead human enemies.
  • Informed Attractiveness:
    • People won't be gushing over you, but you'll occasionally hear some NPC banter that paints you as good-looking regardless of your appearance, even if you're non-human, covered in dirt, brutally scarred, partially blind and clad in dragon bones. Given that Skyrim is a land of Blood Knights, however, these might be sexy traits as far as locals are concerned.
    • Some very complimenting examples from Narri of Falkreath:
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To a male Dragonborn: Shor's bones, a handsome man in Falkreath!
To a female Dragonborn: You're going to have the men around here wrapped around your finger in no time.

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  • Instant Expert: Happens in two ways:
    • The first way is what effectively makes the Dragonborn so special. Instead of having to spend years on mastering the Thu'um, you can simply absorb a dragon's soul and use those to master a known word of power. This does have its limits, however, as the Dragonborn does not absorb a full understanding of the Dragon Language itself, something Alduin mocks you about at one point. Similarly, Arngeir only realizes when you ask, that you had no clue what any of the Greybeards actually were saying during your initiation ceremony.
    • The second way is with the skills itself: if you read enough skill books and possess enough money to buy training sessions, you can easily go from being a complete novice in a skill to being fairly passable in it in the course of an in-game afternoon. Its also funny when one considers the perk system: if the Dragonborn decides to take the Dragon Smithing perk, he instantly knows how to forge armors from Dragonscales and bones despite not having done this before.
    • The perk tree is so that you can save all of your perks and use them when you deem the skill necessary. This can result in a novice who barely knows how to aim with a bow at a deer to a master huntsman who can land a killshot on a elite Thalmor Justicar from several miles away.
  • Irony: The Dovahkiin can invoke this if they go with Ralof during the intro. Prior, an Imperial Captain (over Hadvar's objection) commanded you be beheaded despite being innocent of any crime except being in the wrong place at the wrong time. That said, guess who one of the very first Imperials you can kill is as soon as you enter Helgen Keep? And, for bonus points, the first weapon you can get your hands on is an axe.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Entirely possible to do, and even probable if you are playing a thief archetype. Interestingly, while hot property is limited to designated fences for proper sale, there's nothing stopping you from gifting hot property for miscellaneous "I'd love it if you could find me one of those" quests.
  • Known Only By Their Nickname: In the Stormcloak campaign, you're given a series of nicknames by the men. Stormcloak troops will refer to you by these nicknames.
  • Last of His Kind: The Book of the Dragonborn heavily implies you are the Last Dragonborn.
  • Lightning Bruiser: In werewolf form, you can do a sprint slash; you sprint towards your foe, then do a power attack while still sprinting. Massive damage + probable knockdown of your foe. It kind of degrades into Glass Cannon status later on though. You have no armor bonus in beast form, and at higher levels, the health bonus you get is more or less meaningless, meaning you can be shredded pretty easily. But you still move at ridiculous speeds and deal a lot of damage. One combination that absolutely qualifies for this trope, however, is the Elemental Fury shout combined with the orc racial power, berserker rage. Elemental fury increases your attack speed, doubling it at max power, while berserker rage doubles your attack damage while cutting the damage you take in half. This combination renders any and all melee engagements moot: your enemies may as well be fighting an avalanche.
  • Magic Knight: No matter what race the Dragonborn is, s/he can use at least some form of basic magic. The Thu'um shouts further solidify this: a Dragonborn who never expends any magicka will still be blasting enemies with their voice.
  • Magnetic Hero: Although you can only have one follower with you at a time, there are 49 available and you can potentially recruit them all.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Your main method of attacking.
  • Master Poisoner: The Alchemy skill revolves around this.
  • Match Maker Quest: You get to help out a few couples get together in the quest The Book of Love.
  • The Messiah: The salvation of the world is up to you.
  • Mugging the Monster: Its remarkable how many people think attacking you is a good idea.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much:
    • By no means required, but entirely possible. Listing the ways to invoke it for each race would be a page unto itself.
    • The Altmer and Bosmer are the most extreme cases, as for them it is effectively required... the main storyline involves direct action against the Thalmor.
  • Mysterious Past: Although it's left blank for the player to make up, you can make a couple of in game suggestions about it. In Cidnah Mine, you can claim your family is still alive, but in another part of Tamriel, and tell Eola you've already indulged in cannibalism. However, since this optional dialogue and can be refuted in said conversations, it's not definite canon.
  • Names to Run Away From Very Fast: The Dragonborn.
  • Nice Guy: You can be one by helping every helpless civilian you find on your travels, giving mercy to enemies who ask for it, and playing games with children.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: As the game progresses, and you complete guild questlines, main quests, civil war and sidequests, the player will rapidly become an exemplar of this trope. You already start off as part-dragon, which is coupled with your race of choice. Once the guild questlines are finished, you can add Viking champion/Legate, archmage, mentor of another Viking guild, thief, assassin, priest, bard, champion of multiple deities and Daedric princes, ally of the Forsworn, Thane of all nine holds, and werewolf/vampire[1] to the list.
  • Not So Different: Paarthurnax notes that the Dragonborn has the same innate urge to kill, destroy and conquer as all Dragons do.
  • Oh Crap: The reaction of various Dragons when they realize who you are.
  • One-Man Army:
    • A highly trained Dragonborn is able to win battles in which he is heavily outnumbered. This is seen most prominently in the Civil War quests, in which the Dragonborn can liberate entire forts occupied by the enemy army, without needing any help. One quest during the civil war even has the option to barge in alone instead of a more conventional ambush tactic.
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Dragonborn: I have a better plan. You wait here, and I'll take care of it.

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    • Routinely defeating Dragons who could obliterate entire towns also counts.
  • Only in It For the Money: There are multiple parts in the game where you can help out people or take on assassination jobs and make it clear that you're only in for a large sum of gold.
  • Open Secret: Guards will occasionally mention they know that you're in the Thieves Guild, or a member of the Dark Brotherhood (including suspecting that you killed the Emperor himself) but never confront you about it because of a lack of direct evidence and also being terrified of you.
  • Pet the Dog: A literal example. Over the course of your travels, you can rescue stray dogs from enemies. And of course, Dragonborns who play closer to the evil side can still do things like give beggars money and play games with local children.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Comes through most when playing a Nord.
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Jarl of Whiterun: Alduin... The World Eater? But if he has come, then surely it is the end?
Dragonborn: Maybe, but I intend to die fighting!
Jarl of Whiterun: Spoken like a true Nord! I stand with you, Dragonborn!

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  • Psychotic Smirk: After becoming a Werewolf, guards claim that the Dragonborn has a disturbing wolfish grin.
  • Rags to Riches: Can become a Thane to multiple Jarls of Skyrim, and unless you're actually trying not to, you'll probably end up with gold coming out of your ears, especially if you earn the Prowler's Profit perk, which lets you discover tons of gold and precious stones in every chest and urn out there in Skyrim, which are all yours for the taking. Not bad for someone who entered the country a prisoner without a Septim to their name.
  • Real Men Love Jesus:
    • You can wear an amulet of any god, pray at their shrines regularly and serve any temple, should you wish.
    • You're not limited to the divines only. Completing the Sacred Trials of Kyne and selecting the 'I don't believe in the Nine' can make you a Real man who loves the Old Nordic Gods.
    • Joining the Stormcloaks ostensibly makes you a Real Man who loves Talos exclusively.
  • Red Baron: The One They Fear.
  • Reluctant Warrior: Can be played as one.
  • Science Hero: If you specialize in Alchemy, Enchanting and Smithing. You can, with some work, become the Tamrielic equivalent of Tony Stark.
  • Silent Protagonist: Actually averted: the Dragonborn doesn't talk normally, but he/she is actually voiced; besides performing dragon Shouts, the Throw Voice power has you actually throw out a variety of insults at you enemies. Oddly, when using Throw Voice, the male voice of the Dragonborn is snarky and high-pitched, sounding more like Church from Red vs. Blue than a mighty Norse warrior.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Farengar Secret-Fire says this if you ask about him about his work with the Dragon Stone.
  • The Starscream: To Jarl Balgruuf the Greater, if you support the Stormcloaks. After being the one guy to support you wholeheartedly and keep his people out of the war, Ulfric tasks you with laying siege to the city he commands and forcing him out. This is possibly after he made you Thane and welcomed you into his city. Grey and Gray Morality aside, you will feel like a dick for betraying him.
  • The Stoic: The Dark Brotherhood quest line once again gives the option of staying completely silent during most conversations.
  • Took a Level in Badass: You start off as a unlucky prisoner who crossed the border at a bad time then almost got beheaded. The rest of the game sees you becoming the Dragonborn to save the world.
  • Tribal Face Paint: Should you choose.
  • The Undead: You can become a vampire, should you choose.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Most missions/sidequests/quest lines are completely separate and don't overlap. That means that even if you've become Harbinger of the Companions, single-handedly stopped the resurrection of Potema, become the Thane of multiple Holds, and revealed yourself as the Dragonborn and absorbed the souls of dragons, you still need to undergo a petty quest to "prove yourself" worthy enough to join other factions. Somewhat justified in that being an adventurer alone (even the Dragonborn) isn't enough to indicate that you're willing to follow orders or maintain confidentiality, however, this justification does not help the cases where you merely have to prove that you're strong enough to fight. That said, there are a few notable aversions. For example, if you've completed the Wolf Queen questline and started the "Mind Of Madness" questline, you may speak with Falk Firebeard and though reluctant to allow you passage into the haunted and abandoned wing of the Blue Palace, he will make an exception just for you. It especially get ridiculous when you get challenged by some random thief or an overconfident enemy like Ancano's aide whom you encounter after getting the Staff of Magnus, and you clearly demonstrate that they prove to be mere cannon fodder.
  • Warrior Poet: Joining the Bard's College can qualify you.
  • Wild Card: You can tip the balance of power in the Skyrim Civil War, whether for the Legion or Stormcloaks.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Unarmed kill animations include choke slams, suplexes, chokeholds, and in one case an overhead body slam that drops the enemy on their head as of the 1.5 update.
  • You Are the Translated Foreign Word: "In their tongue, he's Dovahkiin - Dragonborn!"
  • Your Soul Is Mine: A rare heroic variation, absorbing the souls of fallen dragons. Can also be done by filling soul gems, which are used to enchant or replenish already enchanted items.

Dragons

Alduin

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Voiced by: Daniel Riordan

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"You do not even know our tongue, do you? Such arrogance, to dare take for yourself the name of Dovah!"

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Nordic interpretation of Akatosh and therefore is Time or an aspect thereof, God of Destruction, the World-Eater, devourer of souls, harbinger of the apocalypse and general big bad nasty. He is revealed to be the "Firstborn" of Akatosh. The Fourth Aldudagga fight[2], suggests "heaven" separated the two.

  • All There in the Manual: His nature, and how it relates to Akatosh, is a bit loopy but it has been talked about in previous games and texts.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In-universe: Alduin may be the Big Bad, but it is debatable whether he can truly be called "evil" as humans would understand the word. Various characters tell you that the destruction of the world brings about a new one, rather than the obliteration of all Creation, so it is debatable whether stopping Alduin is even a good thing (see Blue and Orange Morality below). Even if you take it as read that such destruction is a bad thing, can Alduin be described in the words of human morality any more than an earthquake or any other force of nature can be? Paarthunax states that Alduin was created for the purpose of destroying/rejuvenating the world, and in any case all dragons have the instinct to dominate, so is Alduin "evil" for performing his divinely-appointed role and acting in accordance with his own nature? Can such a powerful and eternal entity be judged by transient mortal ethics any more than Cthulhu can?
    • Though it's hard to justify his actions under this when he's doing something utterly different and alien to his appointed purpose; such as enslaving the Nords in the Merethic Era.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: He interrupts your execution at Helgen, accidentally saving you in his efforts to kill you.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: He is the leader of the dragons for a very good reason. Until you kick his ass, and make the other dragons question whether he truly deserves to lead.
  • Badass Boast: He gives a few.
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I am AL-DU-IN! First born son of Akatosh! Mulagi Zu Klat! I cannot be slain within the bounds of this world, by you or ANYONE!

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  • The Battle Didn't Count: All the battles against him until the final one.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Paarthurnax argues this. Alduin is doing what he was created to do. The problem is that he is doing this before he is supposed to. Or possibly four full Eras after, it's confusing.
  • Big Bad
  • Bigger Bad: Of Arena, Oblivion and Battlespire as he was the one who corrupted Mehrunes Dagon (who in turn was also the Bigger Bad of Arena as he was providing assistance to Jagar Tharn, technically making Alduin the Even Bigger Bad) according to a few obscure texts.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: It is repeatedly stated that Alduin is destined to destroy the world so that it can be reborn, and so there are some (like the Greybeards) who don't automatically accept that stopping him is a good thing. In fact, one of the replies you can give to such a question can be summed up as "I like the world the way it is", rather than a more impartial argument on whether it is right to avert the apocalypse. That said, for a mortal, Paarthurnax admits that 'I like this world' is as good a reason as any for wanting to stop him. There's also the fact that Alduin has a bad habit of trying to flat-out dominate the world as opposed to flat-out ending it.
  • Cain and Abel: The Cain to Paarthurnax's Abel.
  • Combat Compliment: After you beat him at the Throat of the World, he admits that you have become extremely powerful.
  • Dirty Coward: The moment he runs away from you like a bitch is the moment the other dragons realize he doesn't deserve to lead. A true dovah would fight to the end.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Not in appearance, but in terms of being an inconceivably ancient and eternal entity who is arguably beyond human rationality and ethics (see Blue and Orange Morality above), Alduin fits the criteria quite neatly.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: A very literal case of this trope because it is repeatedly stated that Alduin the World-Eater is not going to erase all of Creation from existence, he is "merely" going to destroy the current incarnation so that a new one can take its place. Consequently, some characters (like the Greybeards) question whether stopping him is actually the right thing to do. (see Blue and Orange Morality above).
  • Eternal Recurrence: Alduin was created to destroy the world, so the next can come. Then destroy that one for the next.
  • Evil Overlord: Of dragons.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Alduin has a very cool voice.
  • Get Back Here Boss: This is a plot point! And in more than one sense: he also retreats to Sovngarde to feast upon the souls there and thus regain his strength.
  • Honor Before Reason: See Pride below. It seems to be shared by all dragons.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: I AM ALDUIN! FIRST BORN SON OF AKATOSH!
  • Large Ham: Even for a dragon, Alduin sure loves the sound of his own voice.
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"My belly is full of the souls of your fellow mortals, Dovahkiin!"

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  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: His name means "Destroyer Devour Master". He is also known as the "World Eater".
  • Outside Context Villain: Acts as this for Skyrim itself as the main conflict was the Imperial and Stormcloak war that the Thalmor were also playing a large part in. Suddenly, he shows up out of nowhere though actually sent forward in time by an Elder Scroll and becomes the much bigger threat.
  • Physical God
  • Pride: His dominant flaw is his arrogant security in his own power. For his first defeat, the ancient Nord heroes spoke his name with the Thu'um, which in dragon language is basically a challenge, and upon his arrival, they hit him with Dragonrend. Mere days afters this occurs from Alduin's perspective, he falls for exactly the same trick, and the Dovahkiin hits him with Dragonrend again. After this confrontation, Alduin retreats to Sovngarde to recover strength... which makes the rest of the dragons question his leadership and leads directly to his second, and far more comprehensive, defeat.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: He wasn't actually defeated in the past, merely banished to another time... namely, the time that you live in. It's implied that this may be all that you accomplished in slaying his body, as you did not absorb his soul and spiritual beings can reform over time. Albeit a very long time. This makes sense actually, as if he is destined to destroy the world to let it be reborn (see Eternal Recurrence above), but is simply doing it too soon or too late (see Because Destiny Says So above) it would make sense that he could not be destroyed, only delayed until the time is right. This also calls into question whether he can truly be called "evil" (see Blue and Orange Morality above).
  • Spanner in the Works: For General Tullius, who managed to capture Ulfric Stormcloak, the leader of the Nordic rebellion that had almost managed to rout the Empire completely from Skyrim before Tullius arrived to head the Legion forces there. Had Alduin not shown up when he had, it's likely the Empire would have won the Civil War before the game really started in earnest.
  • Spikes of Villainy: All the dragons are pretty spiky, but Alduin is especially so.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Invoked by Alduin himself. Amongst the many, many powers that Dragon Shouts have is the ability to summon storms, ominous clouds, and fog. Alduin does so several times throughout the story.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When you defeat him in Sovngarde.
  • Villainous Rescue: Accidentally did this when he attacked Helgen. If he hadn't shown up to burn the village to the ground, the Dragonborn would have been executed.
  • We Can Rule Together: Sort of. In Sovngarde, he compliments your persistence and mentions that you would have been an excellent slave. For someone whose fundamental nature is to dominate, that is probably as close as he can come to this trope.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: As firstborn of Akatosh, Alduin has the "right" to consume the souls of the fallen warriors in Sovngarde to replenish his strength. When he is defeated the first time by Paarthurnax and the Dragonborn, he retreats to Sovngarde to feed on the fallen and regain strength. Of course, Shor is displeased with this, and while he won't directly intervene, he does dispatch the old heroes of Skyrim to assist the Dragonborn in putting a stop to it.


Paarthurnax

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Voiced by: Charles Martinet a.k.a. It's-a-me-Mario!

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"What is better? To be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?"

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An ancient dragon who turned against Alduin and aids the Dovahkiin.

  • Armor-Piercing Question: His question on morality. When confronted by a Dovahkiin who is undecided about killing him, Paarthurnax does nothing to argue for his own life and in fact says that killing him is probably the best pragmatic option... but then he just asks the quote above.
  • The Atoner: He admits dragons seek power. And that his punishment for his past evil deeds is to spend every waking moment fighting his own nature boiling inside of him. He's been doing that for several thousand years already.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: The epilogue after defeating Alduin in Sovngarde set on the Throat of the World is essentially the dragon equivalent of acknowledging that he is now the effective ruler of the dragons.
  • Badass:
    • Badass Grandpa: Shows a lot of signs of aging and is quite old even for a dragon. Still, that doesn't stop him from helping kick ass once Alduin shows up.
  • Badass Baritone: Provided by none-other than the voice of Mario!
  • Big Good: In the main quest line.
  • Cain and Abel: The Abel to Alduin's Cain.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Defector From Decadence: Is one of three good dragons in the game and has taken to long periods of meditation so he can quell his more violent urges.
  • Face Death with Dignity: If confronted with the fact that you've been ordered to kill him, he outright admits that The Blades are right not to trust him, and that killing would be the "safer" path for everyone. He then presses the player with the Sadistic Choice below.
  • Heel Face Turn: Used to be Alduin's Dragon, but defected before Alduin's first defeat.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Domination and ego are in a dragon's inherent nature. Apparently, you can't even be a dragon without those traits in your blood (the Dragonborn counts too). But he's tried to find another way, and says he will try to teach other dragons to do it too.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: His name means "Ambition Overlord Cruelty".
  • Not So Different: Points this out to the Dovahkiin: being born with the soul of a dragon, the Dovahkiin has the same innate urge to kill, destroy and conquer as any other dragon.
  • Poirot Speak: In the ancient tongue of the dragons, no less!
  • Properly Paranoid: He believed that Alduin wasn't defeated in the past, knowing that the Elder Scroll would send him 'adrift' in time, but that it would not be permanent. As such, he waited where he knew Alduin would emerge, but aware he had no clue when. It took thousands of years.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: For the Greybeards and promises to be this for the rest of the dragons after Alduin dies.
  • Reformed but Rejected: He's been hiding on the Throat Of the World for thousands of years because he's a dragon, and he did horrible things during the reign of the dragons over man... things that humans will possibly never forgive. Driven home by the Blades, who demand that you kill Paarthunax for what he did millennia ago, even though he's the reason mankind is still breathing.
  • Sadistic Choice: Should the Dragonborn confront him with the Blades' desire to kill him, he states outright that you should never trust a dragon because the urge to dominate is in their blood. He's only become "good" because he took time, every day for thousand years, meditating and suppressing his nature. It doesn't fade either: he's gotten better at keeping it in check, but it hasn't weakened.
  • Straw Man Has a Point: Invoked: when The Blades ask the player to kill him in spite of the fact he's reformed and has helped the player, Paathurnax says the Blades are absolutely right not to trust him, as he has certainly done a lot of evil things, and even if he is reformed, the urge to dominate and destroy is in the blood of a dragon, and he fights the pull to give into those urges every day. He pretty much says if he were in their situation, he wouldn't trust himself either.
  • True Companions: Paarthurnax named the old Nord heroes whom he taught the Thu'um to as his "friends". Considering the timeless nature of the dovah and their desire for conquest and domination, merely naming a mortal a "friend" tells you how much they meant to him, and likewise.
  • Verbal Tic: Paarthurnax frequently slips into the dragon language while talking to mortals. He usually catches himself while doing so and offers a quick translation of what he meant to say. Words that he knows you understand, like "dovah" remain untranslated, and sometimes he'll spout an entire phrase in his tongue (while apparently talking to himself) that he doesn't bother translating.

Odahviing

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Voiced by: Charles Dennis

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"As for myself, you've proven your mastery twice over. Thuri, Dovahkiin. I gladly acknowledge the power of your Thu'um."

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Alduin's right-hand dragon. He ultimately changes sides and helps the Dovahkiin.

  • Afraid of Needles: Isn't afraid of taking on the Dragonborn, who fireballs, shoots arrows into, and repeatedly stabs the dragon. Yet freaks out and spews fire in a panic when Farengar attempts to retrieve some samples of scale and skin tissue.
  • Awesome McCoolname: His name means "Snow Hunter Wing".
  • Big No: Once the Dragonsreach trap's yoke slams down on him and entraps him by the neck, he expresses his despair by exclaiming "No!" in draconic.
  • The Dragon: To Alduin.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side: After you shout Alduin about the head and wings the first time atop High Hrothgar, Odahviing and other dragons engender doubts about the supremacy of Alduin amongst themselves. Odahviing only helps the player because he wants to know who is more worthy as leader.
  • Poirot Speak: Like Paarthurnax. It seems that Paarthurnax has a better command of the mortals' tongue because Odie's speech sounds kinda stilted. Of course, Paarthurnax has been interacting with the various Graybeards over the millennia, while Odahviing has been a pile of bones entombed in a dragon burial mound and probably didn't interact with mortals much beyond domination before the Dragon War.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Once you gain his allegiance, you can summon him to fight alongside by shouting his name.

Mirmulnir

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"Dovahkiin, nii!"

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The first dragon the Dovahkiin officially takes on in the main storyline.

  • Awesome McCoolname: His name means "Allegiance Strong Hunt".
    • Recursive Translation: The Collector's Edition guide refers to him as the "Loyal Mortal Hunter". Going by the translation guide at the back of the book, that should make his name "(something)-Joor-Ah"... never mind that "Joor" is the first word of the Dragonrend shout.
  • Big No: Right before you finish him off.
  • Kill It with Fire: Naturally.
  • Oh Crap: What prompts his Big No as you kill him, realizing too late that he's facing a Dragonborn.
  • The Remnant: According to the Atlas of Dragons book, he is one of a very small number of dragons under Alduin's command that survived the Dragon War.
  • Starter Villain: Serves as this for the Dragons as he is the first one you get to take down in the game.
  • Warmup Boss
  • Worthy Opponent: Calls out that you and the Whiterun guards are such and make for good sport.

Sahloknir

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"I am Sahloknir! Hear my Voice and despair!"

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Another named dragon, encountered at the end of "A Blade In The Dark".

  • Arrogant Kung Fu Guy: Arrogantly declares that the Dragonborn's Voice is no match for his own.
  • Awesome McCoolname: His name translates into "Phantom Sky Hunt".
  • Badass: Other dragons at least admit that the Dragonborn scares them. Sahloknir isn't scared of you in the slightest.
  • Rise from Your Grave: He is the first indication that this is what is happening to the rest of the dragons.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Alduin.
  • "Wake-Up Call" Boss: If you put off the "Blade In The Dark" quest for long enough, he'll spawn as an Ancient Dragon, with absurdly high stats. Note that he'll spawn at this level even when the player is low enough that the Dragonborn will still be fighting regular or blood dragons.
  • Worthy Opponent: Considers the Dragonborn one.

Named Dragons

The other named dragons that aren't major players in the storyline.

  • Awesome McCoolname:
    • Nahagliiv: "Fury Burn Wither".
    • Vuljotnaak: "Dark Maw Eat".
    • Vulthuryol: "Dark Overlord Fire".
    • Viinturuth: "(something) Hammer (something)".
  • Bonus Boss: Surprisingly, Vulthuryol manages to be a secret battle as he can only be fought in Blackreach if you use Unrelenting Force on the large sun-like orb hanging on the ceiling. He isn't all that much tougher than most dragons though.
  • Mini Boss
  • Rise from Your Grave

Housecarls

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"Long life to you, my Thane."

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Housecarls are knights assigned by the Jarls of a hold to protect the Dragonborn and his/her property.

  • Badass: All of the housecarls are amongst the most powerful of your followers (at a similar level, a Housecarl has around 150 to 200 more hit points compared to a regular Warrior-class follower). They are all equal in stats.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Jordis, Lydia and Iona respectively. But you can only marry one of them.
  • Bodyguard Crush: If you wear an Amulet of Mara while speaking to them...
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: That badass being you, of course.
  • Catch Phrase:
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"Honor to you, my Thane."
"Long life to you, my Thane."
"I am sworn to carry your burdens."
"As you will, my Thane. I will protect you with my life."

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  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: They have special trash talk reserved for dragons!
  • The Dragon
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: They can generally scout traps and be aware of an enemy's presence before you are. They can absorb more punishment than you (technically, since they're difficult to kill) and at early levels, they might be stronger than you.
  • Made of Iron: All housecarls are nigh-invincible. They collapse to the ground rather than dying if their health gets below a certain point, but there are certain circumstances (such as health draining poisons or burning damage) where their life can totally deplete and they die.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong/Undying Loyalty: They will put up with almost anything you do and agree to almost any order. In fact, it's easier to list the things they won't let you get away with:
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"Not for you. Not for anybody."

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    • Particularly notable is that Housecarls will fight by your side even if you're fighting against the very Jarls who assigned them to you. Lydia, Calder and Jordis the Sword-Maiden will stay right by your side while invading Whiterun, Windhelm or Solitude, with Lydia and Calder actively participating in directly fighting the very Jarl who assigned them to you, personally.
  • Number Two: They are "your sword and your shield."
  • Only Six Faces: The female Housecarls seem to have the exact same faces, to the point where Lydia and Jordis the Sword-Maiden look like palette-swaps of one another. Iona at least has a different hairstyle.
  • Trash Talk: All of them use it when facing down enemies.

Lydia

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Voiced by: Colleen Delany

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"I am sworn to carry your burdens...."

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Housecarl to the Dragonborn upon being named Thane of Whiterun.

  • Action Girl
  • BFS: She prefers these unless she has a stronger weapon.
    • An Axe to Grind: While she does prefer large weapons, she'll generally favor greataxes over greatswords and warhammers.
  • Disc One Nuke: Despite being one of the most powerful followers, she's also an extremely easy one to obtain and the only one automatically acquired during the main quest.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: She is sworn to carry your burdens. Doesn't mean she's happy about it though.

Calder

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Voiced by: Michael Gough

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Housecarl to the Dragonborn after being named Thane of Eastmarch in the capital of Windhelm.

Iona

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Voiced by: Claudia Christian

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Housecarl to the Dragonborn after being named Thane of The Rift in the capital of Riften and helping clear out a den of skooma dealers.

  • Action Girl
  • Chewing the Scenery: Her dialog sounds surprisingly hammy.
  • Genre Savvy: Upon entering suspicious or hostile areas, she remarks "Trouble ahead. Be careful". She also sometimes exclaims "A good place for bandits to hide" when approaching caves.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: If you marry her, of course.
  • Principles Zealot: While otherwise a typically loyal housecarl, if she catches you stealing (even handling a previously stolen item stored in your house), she'll not only put a bounty on you, but personally scold you.

Argis the Bulwark

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Voiced by: Popeye Vogelsang

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Housecarl to the Dragonborn after being named Thane of The Reach in the capital of Markarth after taking care of several Forsworn camps.

Jordis the Sword-Maiden

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Voiced by: Corri English

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Housecarl to the Dragonborn after being named Thane of Haafingar in the capital of Solitude and helping save Solitude from a crisis.

  • Action Girl: Her name says it all.
  • Awesome but Impractical: As stated before, all housecarls are equal in stats, which is unfortunate considering how much cost and effort one must undertake to get Jordis.
  • Badass Adorable: She has the default "young lady" voice, and tends to express glee when brought along into exotic and impressive locales.
  • The Fettered: She takes her oath to serve you very seriously. Unlike Lydia, she says "I am sworn to carry your burdens" without a hint of sarcasm.
  • Genre Savvy: She'll exclaim "I don't like where this is going" when entering a suspicious area.
  • They Call Him "Sword": Her sobriquet.

Other Followers

Benor

A Nord warrior hanging around the Guardhouse in Morthal. He will follow you upon beating him in a brawl.

Erandur

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Voiced by: Keith Szarabajka

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An aged Dunmer priest, Erandur joins you following the Waking Nightmare Quest, which can be started in Dawnstar.

  • The Atoner: Used to be a Daedric Lord's priest, but abandoned his order and became a priest of Mara instead.
  • Badass: He's unique among followers in that his level is 50% higher than the player's, so if you meet him at level 20, he'll already be at level 30 (almost all other Followers are at the same level as the player). Plus his level cap is 50, one of the highest in the game, matched only by Cicero, the members of The Circle and the Housecarls.
  • Badass Preacher
  • The Bard: He used to attend the Bard's College in Solitude, but was kicked out for worshiping Vaermina.
  • Battle Cry: He will shout "Feel the benevolence of Mara!"... right before smashing/burning the shit out of whoever's in his way. A pity the game doesn't let you get into a theological discussion with this priest of the goddess of love, I'm sure it would be fascinating.
  • Catch Phrase: "Blessings of Mara upon you."
  • Heel Faith Turn
  • Kill It with Fire: One of his favorite spells is an ramped-up fireball.
  • Magic Knight: He often uses a mace and a fire spell.
  • Older Than They Look: He states that he grew up it The Pale and lived there for most of his life, which is longer than the Dovahkiin may think. Of course this is par for the course due to him being a Dunmer, and elven races can live for hundreds of years.
  • Sadistic Choice: It's either have him as follower, or kill him and gain possession of a nice magic staff.
  • Squishy Wizard: Firmly averted. Erandur can take almost as much of a beating as Lydia or your other companions.

Erik the Slayer

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Voiced by: Jason Marsden

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A young man from Rorikstead who dreams of being an adventurer.

Derkeethus

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Voiced by: Tim Blaney

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The only Argonian follower. A miner at Darkwater Crossing who was apparently a prisoner of the Falmer.

  • The Archer: You can give him ridiculously powered swords or axes and he'll still pull out the weak bow he starts with, so long as he still has arrows. The solution, of course, is to give him ridiculously powered bows instead.
  • Catch Phrase: "Ours is to follow, friend."
  • I Owe You My Life: Derkeethus follows you because you saved his life and will stand by your side no matter what. "To Oblivion and back, as they say."
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Entering a vast room with no enemies to be seen? He sees this a mile away.

Illia

An Imperial witch. She enlisted the Dragonborn to help stop her mother from becoming a Hagraven.

Aranea Ienith

The Dunmer Priestess at the Shrine of Azura, and the last faithful follower who there remains. She joins the Dragonborn after they complete Azura's quest.

Golldir

A Nord warrior who met the Dragonborn at Hillgrund's tomb, where his ancestors were being experimented on by a necromancer. After the Dragonborn helps him, he offers his services as a follower.

  • Abusive Parent: His dad locked him in Hillgrund tomb for three days.
  • An Axe to Grind
  • Badass: A fairly capable follower who can be acquired somewhat easily.
  • Disappeared Dad: But that may be for the best. His dad was a drunkard bastard.
  • Nice Guy: He's a fairly decent fellow all around, and even apologizes to an elven Dragonborn after insulting a Dunmer necromancer who is defiling his ancestor's burial ground.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: He will angrily call out the Dragonborn if they loot his family's burial ground, but will grudgingly allow them to do so if it continues.

Jenassa

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Voiced by: Lani Minella

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A Dunmer mercenary found in Whiterun's Drunken Huntsman. Will follow for 500 gold.

  • The Archer: Mainly fights with a bow and arrow.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Listen to her dialogue when she's taken to a mine. She's not impressed by the fact that the rich will often have poorer people slave away in miserable conditions for their business empire.
  • Career Killers: Sees herself as an assassin.
  • Combat Aestheticist: She sees artistry in combat, and has elements of Blood Knight.
  • Dark Action Girl: Not exactly an "Evil" follower per se, though is quite obsessed with death and the like.
  • Hot Amazon: Fairly attractive for a Dunmer and a proud assassin.

Kharjo

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Voiced by: André Sogliuzzo

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A Khajiit caravan guard for the Khajiit Traders in the Rift. His Moon Amulet is stolen by a quick fingered bandit, his only reminder of home. If returned, you will gain his friendship and favor. One of only two Khajiit followers.

  • Made of Iron: Starting in steel plate, he makes a great tank.
  • Nice Guy
  • The Nose Knows: Played with. "Don't worry, if someone tries to sneak up on us, I will smell them. Or not, we'll see."

Mjoll the Lioness

A former adventurer since retired after a brush with death in the depths of a Dwemer ruins. She's taken it upon herself to try and clean up Riften, but hasn't had much luck. If you can return her enchanted blade Grimsever, she will take up adventuring again at your side.

  • Arch Enemy: Maven Black-Briar is hers, as Mjoll sees her as being the main reason why Riften is such a miserable place. The fact that Maven is untouchable to the point of becoming the Goddamned Jarl should the Imperials win the Civil War only furthers her hatred for her.
  • Badass: Mjoll is among the best companions in the game due to being an essential character, which means that she's pretty much an immortal death machine should you recruit her, something that not even the Housecarls have going for them.
  • Berserk Button: She considers the Thieves Guild even lower than the Dark Brotherhood since she believes the latter have some degree of standards. As a companion, however, she can be taken to the Ragged Flagon with no ill effect and can even be present during your initiation as a Nightingale.
  • Blood Knight: She loves to fight, as repeatedly stated in her dialogue.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: A rare female example.
  • Just Friends: Apparently, herself and Aerin. Aerin will go anywhere Mjoll goes, including your house, should you marry her.
  • Made of Iron: Because of her quest, Mjoll is tagged as "essential" and thus literally cannot be killed by any enemy in the game. This alone makes her one of the most useful companions in the game, as with Mjoll you don't have to worry about her getting killed in combat, though she will still turn on you if you attack her enough.
  • Might Makes Right
  • Motor Mouth: One of the more talkative followers, to the point that she will talk during excursions into danger-filled caves and tombs and will talk over other NPCs during scripted story moments.
  • Nice Girl: She's a very moral woman who takes it upon herself to rid Riften of it's corruption and is all around polite to the Dragonborn should they not claim to want to throw in their lot with the Thieves' Guild.
  • Retired Badass: Though you can inspire her to make a comeback.
  • Tribal Face Paint
  • We Help the Helpless: Her reason for staying in Riften.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She dislikes Dwemer ruins, after almost losing her life in Mzinchaleft, and will wearily remind you if you take her into one.

Marcurio

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Voiced by: Jon Curry

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An Imperial magician usually found in the inn in Riften who can be hired.

  • Adventure Archaeologist: He claims to be highly knowledgeable on the topic of Nordic ruins and will consider taking a few items from Dwemer ruins to take back to Cyrodiil.
  • Arrogant Kung Fu Guy
  • Badass Bookworm: Some of his dialogue suggests he is well-educated.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He is one of the more talkative followers who often make comments on some places even when not talked to, and complains that you are using him as a pack mule.
  • Disc One Nuke: Is actually one of the more offensively powerful followers and will join you as long as you have 500 gold when you get to Riften.
  • Shock and Awe: Uses Lightning Bolts as his main spells.
  • Tsundere: If you marry him and use him as a follower, then you'll get both the standard marriage dialogue and his snarky remarks.

Uthgerd The Unbroken

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Voiced by: Claudia Christian

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A Nord warrior found in the inn in Whiterun. She was rejected to be come a Companion because she accidentally killed her sparring partner.

Ghorbash the Iron Hand

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Voiced by: Noah Nelson

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An Orc warrior who can be found at an orc stronghold called Dushnihk Yal, slightly south-east of Markarth. He's the brother of the stronghold's chief and can become a follower following a speech check.

  • The Archer: Ghorbash's class is listed as Ranger, and true to that he can often be seen attacking with a bow if given one.
  • Awesome McCoolname: His name is Ghorbash (pronounced Gore-Bash) the Ironhand for crying out loud! Doubles as Names to Run Away From Really Fast for your enemies.
  • Retired Badass: Previously served in the Imperial Legion before returning to the stronghold.
  • Small Town Boredom: Of a sort. Although his brother acted against usual orcish sensibilities by welcoming his brother back into the stronghold after Ghorbash left to serve in the Legions, he still has a strong urge to wander. The speech check required to make him a follower calls him out on this.

Annekke Crag-Jumper

A miner in Darkwater Crossing who prefers adventuring to getting stuck in the mine, unlike her husband.

  • Action Mom: She has a daughter, and is capable of kicking all kinds of ass.
  • The Archer: Her best skills in combat are focused on archery.
  • Best Friends-in-Law: If you carry out her task of killing a local Bandit Chief, she'll become friends with you and is able to become a follower, which also opens her up to joining the Blades or becoming your Steward should you choose.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond
  • Hot Mom: Considering she has a daughter old enough to be married, she aged incredibly well.
  • Older Than They Look: She has to at least be in her forties, given that her daughter can marry the Dragonborn, but looks like she could easily be in her twenties.
  • Small Town Boredom: She absolutely hates being stuck in the small, boring mining settlement of Darkwater Crossing with nothing to do.

Eola

A follower of the Daedric Prince Namira.

Barbas

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Voiced by: Stephen Russell

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A talking dog found outside Falkreath.

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Barbas: "Skyrim is full of giant, flying lizards, cats walking on two legs, and you're surprised by a talking dog."

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Borgakh the Steel Heart

An Orc warrior, and the daughter of the chieftain of Mor Khazgur stronghold. Her eventual fate would have been to be married off to another stronghold, which the Dragonborn has a chance to prevent by either passing a Speechcraft check to talk her into running away, or by paying off her bride-price.


Heroes of Skyrim

Gormlaith Golden-Hilt

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Voiced by: Lynda Carter

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Know that it was Gormlaith Golden-Hilt who sent you down to your death.

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Hakon: Have you no thought beyond the blooding of your blade?
Gormlaith: What else is there?

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Hakon One-Eye

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Voiced by: Paul Ganus

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Felldir the Old

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Voiced by: Paul Eiding

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Tsun

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Voiced by: Thor Edgell

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Shield-thane of Shor, and guardian of Sovngarde.

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"I have long awaited such a worthy adversary!"

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Greybeards

The Greybeards

A small group of hermits who live in High Hrothgar high atop the Throat of the World. They are human practitioners of the Thu'um, and call the Dragonborn to test their abilities and teach them to hone their skills. To the Greybeards, practicing the Thu'um is a form of worship to honor the gods (particularly Kynareth and Akatosh, who gave the gift of dragon blood to humans), but they also consider it a responsibility and honor to train the Dragonborn.

  • All Powerful Bystander: Despite being very powerful with the Voice, they refuse to take part in the conflicts of Skyrim, and while they eventually help the Dragonborn hold peace negotiations for a temporary truce to the war, they do it with gritted teeth.
    • If questioned about their neutrality, Arngeir will explain that Jurgen Windcaller, original founder of their order, suffered a terrible defeat in battle despite his mastery of the Thu'um. Upon meditating on why this happened, he came to the conclusion that he had misused the power of the Thu'um, which should only be used to glorify and honor the Nine Divines. The Greybeards follow his "Way of the Voice" philosophy to distance themselves from the rest of the world in meditative seclusion.
  • Badass: They can and will utterly flatten anything that directly attacks them. One effective technique to bypass the ice troll on the way up the mountain is to simply run past it and go straight into High Hrothgar, and let the Greybeards splatter it. In the unlikely event that a hostile dragon appears over High Hrothgar, they can kill it in seconds.
    • Badass Grandpa
    • Badass Boast: Their voices alone can cripple dragons, and that's without the use of Dragonrend (a shout made specifically for crippling dragons). This also leads to...
  • Badass Beard
  • Badass Long Robe
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: The Greybeards don't carry physical weaponry (their Shouts are usually more than enough to wipe out anything that threatens them), but in the unlikely event that something survives their voices, they will pummel it to death in short order with bare hands.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Elemental Powers: If you try to take them on in battle they're fond of Frost Breath, Fire Breath, Ice Form and Elemental Fury.
  • Foil: To the Blades, and the reason the two groups don't get along. The Greybeards prefer to study and meditate on the dragons and consider the Blades meddlers in things they don't understand, while the Blades dislike the Greybeards for having vast stores of power and knowledge and not using them to make a difference in the world.
  • Handicapped Badass: Their voices are so powerful, each Greybeard must take a vow of silence so not as to destroy half their temple by uttering the wrong word by accident. While they're not physically handicapped, they're all essentially mutes until they need to fight. Among the four only one ever speaks, seemingly implying either he has less knowledge than the other three or chooses his words very, very carefully.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: They don't approve of everything the Dragonborn does, but they inevitably support them because Paathurnax has seen fit to do so, and they follow his wisdom.
  • Wizard Beard
  • You Are Not Ready: They could teach you a lot more Words of Power than they do, along with a lot of other knowledge about dragons, but feel the Dragonborn needs to learn such things on their own in their own time. Arngeir makes it clear that the Greybeards feel that the process of seeking out and acquiring Words of Power will present the Dragonborn with the training and experience to use the Thu'um with respect and responsibility.

Arngeir

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Voiced by: Christopher Plummer

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The only member of the Greybeards who communicates normally, the Voices of his fellows being too powerful; a word out of place from them could rip you apart.

  • Badass Grandpa: Console commands show him to be level 150. The cap for the player is 81.
  • Berserk Button: When the player mentions that he has been in contact with the Blades, Arngeir refuses to help any more "until you have returned to the path of wisdom." Even though he relents and apologises when one of the other Greybeards reminds him that they are not meant to make judgements of that sort, it is clear that he really dislikes the Blades. Turns out he has good reason for that...
  • The Mentor: To you, the Dragonborn.
  • Voice for The Voiceless: He speaks for the rest of the Greybeards because he's the only one of them strong enough to speak without killing a normal person.

Paarthurnax

See above in the "Dragons" section for the full list for Paarthurnax.

Einarth, Borri and Wulfgar

The other three members of the Greybeards, they usually don't speak because of their otherwise destructive voices.

  • He Who Must Not Be Heard: They try to speak as little as possible. For example, the initiation ceremony with all four Greybeards speaking at once is implied to be incredibly dangerous, taxing the Dovahkiin. And every time they greet you with a simple "Dovahkiin", the temple can be heard shaking.

Jarls

The Jarls are the regional rulers of the Holds[3] of Skyrim. Due to the fact that Jarls can change depending on which side of the civil war controls a hold, the two are split.

Imperial-allied Jarls

Balgruuf the Greater

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Voiced by: Michael Gough

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"I will not stand idly by while dragons burn my hold and slaughter my people!"

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Jarl of the Whiterun hold, his seat is in Whiterun. He only wishes for Whiterun's safety, trying to avoid taking sides.

  • The Good King: Well-liked by (most of) the people, tries to remain neutral for their sake, and personally takes part in the defence of his city.
  • Hypocrite: Despite saying that reliance on Imperial support seems cowardly, he is very reluctant to the idea of the Legion actually walking out on him. His steward addresses his (well-paid) acceptance of the White-Gold Concordant as a counterpoint, but Balgruuf asserts that the Jarls were never approached for their own opinions and he had to roll with it regardless. Of course, there's the fact that without the Legion, Whiterun would be absolutely incapable of staying neutral, what with Ulfric forcing him into an ultimatum.
  • Informed Flaw: Is said to have a temper, but this is never brought up in anyway meaningful to the plot.
    • That said, he is shown snapping at Avenecci at one point. And presenting Ulfric's axe before you've done away with Mirmulnir causes him angrily tell him to wait. Given the precedence of a dragon attack, however, it's understandable he'd be a bit on edge.
  • Neutral No Longer: When asked about which side of the civil war he's on initially, he says "Whiterun's". But eventually, when the Stormcloaks come a-knockin', he casts his lot in with the Imperials. Depending on which side you're on, you either take part in besieging or defending Whiterun.
  • Only in It For the Money: He makes it very clear when he's run out of Whiterun that he only supports the Empire for the economic advantages it affords to Skyrim, in contrary to his speech to Vignar, which seems to imply he supports it for ideological reasons.
  • Really Gets Around: One of his sons claims that he has a different mother than his siblings.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He readily accepts that the dragons have returned after hearing several firsthand accounts, moves to protect his holds immediately, enlists the aid of the person with the most experience with dragons (you, by courtesy of surviving), and instantly acknowledges the status and importance of the Dovahkiin.
  • Sadistic Choice: Balgruuf wants to remain neutral in the war, but Ulfric forces his hand by sending him an axe; keep it and support the Stormcloaks, or return it and be attacked. After some deliberation, he returns the axe and calls the Imperial Army for aid.
    • Alternately, Balgruuf is sent Jarl's Eyes Only intel by an Imperial runner (you) about Ulfric's massing attack, and Balgruuf is the one that sends the axe to ascertain Ulfric's intent (again via you) and also calls for Imperial aid. Ulfric returns the axe because he has already ordered an attack on Whiterun due to Balgruuf's indecisiveness prior.

Elisif the Fair

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Voiced by: Corri English

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Jarl of Haafingar and the Empire's candidate for the title of High Queen of Skyrim. Her seat is in Solitude. She is the widow of High King Torygg, whose murder/death in honorable duel began the civil war.

  • Berserk Button: Stormcloaks in general, Ulfric, specifically, for killing her husband.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Elisif and most of her court will attest that Ulfric literally blasted Torygg apart with his Thu'um. Ulfric states that the truth is far less dramatic: he merely knocked Torygg to the ground with a shout and ran him through (indeed, his one known shout is Unrelenting Force). The claim may be exaggerated, but it was still indirectly responsible for the High King's death.
  • Hair of Gold
  • Hot-Blooded: Very much so, which makes it lucky she has a court full of competent, more cool-headed individuals backing her up. However, this is less due to impatience or a short temper, but her desire to demonstrate that she is an effective ruler, thereby overcompensating. Falk Fire-beard usually reins her in.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side: If The Stormcloaks win the civil war, she declares her allegiance to the Stormcloaks, allowing her to keep the title of Jarl of Haafingar. She still hates the Stormcloaks, but as the Empire is effectively gone from Skyrim, she has no other choice.
  • Puppet Queen: The Empire would like to turn her into one. She's blissfully unaware of it. If the Stormcloaks win, she will pledge allegiance in exchange for remaining Jarl, making it probable that she would be this to Ulfric.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Though not especially competent. Many of her own Thanes will admit that Falk is basically the one running Haafingar. Case in Point, when dealt with an unsubstantiated rumor of Necromantic rituals being undertaken in her hold, she decides to send no less than a full company of men to investigate despite being short of manpower as a result of the war. Her court points this out, and Falk makes sure to opt for the more tempered response. However, somewhat ironically, seeing as the cave really was the home of a necromancer cult attempting to resurrect the Wolf Queen Potema, in hindsight, her response matched the seriousness of the situation. Falk was very lucky that the one he sent on the job happened to be the Dragonborn, or else no one may have known.
  • Reclining Reigner: Averted: she is the only Jarl who sits on a throne with proper posture (even most Dovahkiin models slouch).
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Asks the Dovahkiin to offer her husband's horn to a Shrine of Talos as part of a traditional burial ceremony.
  • Too Soon: In-Universe. Feels this way about the annual burning of an effigy of Olaf One-Eye held by the Bard's College, which she cancels. Since her husband, the High King was just murdered, perhaps a festival celebrating the death of a king (even a tyrant) by burning an effigy of him isn't really appropriate. She can be convinced to uncancel it if you join the Bard's College.
  • Widow Woman

Idgrod Ravencrone

Jarl of Hjallmarch. Her seat is in Morthal. She and her children have a sometimes inconvenient gift of premonition.

  • Cool Old Lady
  • Guile Heroine
  • In the Blood: While her daughter seems normal, her son is haunted by dreams similar to her premonition abilities.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: You get a hint she's no stranger to faking her visions when you enlist her aid in causing a distraction at the Thalmor embassy party should you have ingratiated yourself to her beforehand.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Her daughter Idgrod the Younger looks like a youthful, wrinkle-free version of her.

Siddgeir

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Voiced by: Keith Silverstein

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Jarl of Falkreath hold, seated in Falkreath. Took over for his uncle, who was getting "too old" for his position (read: his uncle was a Stormcloak sympathizer).

  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Even if you are Thane of Falkreath, the kindest thing he'll call you is a whore.
  • Upper Class Twit:
    • He doesn't do much of anything except enjoy the privileges of his station. Fortunately, his altmeri steward Nenya knows what to do so the hold doesn't fall apart.
    • He does pay attention to the bandits in Falkreath. In a nasty twist, he actually allows them to prey on his people in return for a cut of their ill-gotten gains. He sends you to exterminate one gang of bandits that is trying to stiff him to send a message to the other bandits in the region.

Igmund

Jarl of The Reach, seated in Markarth. He strongly supports peace with the Thalmor in order to protect his Hold.

  • Blatant Lies: He insists that there are no Forsworn agents in his city. Either he's an Orwellian Editor or as idiotic as Jarl Laila Law-Giver. Examination of the evidence provided by various people you can speak with about the Forsworn indicates it falls more on the side of Selective Obliviousness. He's likes to pretend he doesn't have a problem, likely because the ones he does have to acknowledge are bad enough already.
  • Geo Effects: He isn't concerned about dragons, as Markarth consists of stone buildings built into a mountainside.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: Originally supported the Stormcloaks, but turned against them to maintain peace with the Thalmor.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Evicted Ulfric and his troops after their worship of Talos resulted in the Thalmor threatening to attack.

Brina Merilis

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Voiced by: Claudia Christian

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Replacement Jarl of The Pale, seated in Dawnstar. A retired Legion legate who found herself at odds with the local Jarl over the civil war.

  • Platonic Life Partners: With her housecarl Horik Half-hand.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Especially compared to her Stormcloak-aligned predecessor, and particularly in terms of guard/troop allocation. Being a retired legate, she knows her stuff on troop allocation. Everyone already looked to her for leadership in Dawnstar, on account of everyone thinking Skald was a spoiled brat in an old man's body.
  • Retired Badass: She had to have done something to earn the undying loyalty of Horik Halfhand, to the point where he is her housecarl after retirement... and to have reached the rank of Legate regardless.

Maven Black-Briar

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Voiced by: Elisa Gabrielli

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Replacement Jarl of The Rift, seated in Riften. Pretty much ran the city even before the Imperials took the hold and made her authority official.

  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: As owner of the Black-Briar Meadery. Your first special job for the Guild involves her hiring you to sabotage a competing meadery in Whiterun.
  • The Don: Has ties to the Empire, the Dark Brotherhood, and is outright patron of the Thieves' Guild. Averted, actually. She's just a local politician that helps the Thieves Guild. At the end, you're the Don.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted: while she sent her son Sibbi to prison for murdering a man in cold blood, it's revealed that it's more of her being annoyed that Sibbi killed someone in broad daylight and is more or less giving him a glorified time-out.
  • Evil Old Folks: While she doesn't quite look super old, she does have children old enough to be adults meaning that she is quite old indeed.
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: Her sons both appear to be at least in their mid thirties, and her daughter is at least in her twenties, but Maven is still quite the looker.
  • I Own This Town: The Black-Briars already controlled Riften; the Imperials just make it official. If you complete both the Thieves' Guild and Dark Brotherhood questlines, however, you effectively control much of what she needs to stay in power.
  • Jerkass: And how. Not counting the moments where she kisses up to Jarl Laila, there are absolutely no moments where she treats anyone civilly, going out of her way to antagonize, belittle, inconvenience and talk condescendingly to others. Even if you become the Guildmaster for the Thieves' Guild, she still goes out of her way to insult you.
  • Karma Houdini: She constantly intimidates people with her Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood contacts and is probably the direct cause of Riften's misery. Sadly for good-aligned players, quests involving her only further her power. Furthermore, she is an unkillable "essential" character. You can cause a few of her contacts to dry up if you destroy the Dark Brotherhood, but it does not seem to affect her much. Aside from that, the only thing you can really do to her is burn too many beehives (costing her money) and steal one of her horses. That's it. And to make it worse, she brushes off the beehives the very next mission, and if you tell her about the horse theft in advance, she doesn't particularly care. And because she's essential, she can't be killed unlike Nazeem and other similar assholes (though for what it's worth, that also means that you're able to beat her senseless, set her on fire, sic atronachs on her, and all around make her life a living hell). Averted if you become Guildmaster. Maven is now your subordinate. If you become Listener of the Dark Brotherhood, you also take away her only other advantage. It has no real effect on gameplay, sadly, but can be gratifying all the same.
  • Parental Incest: It's hard to tell if this was intentional or not, but her son Hemming mentions calls Sibbi and Ingun his children despite the face that Hemming, Sibbi and Ingun are supposed to be Maven's children. And given how Maven is listed as Ingun and Sibbi's grandmother in the game's coding and shares a bed with Hemming... oh dear god no!
    • Though it is worth noting that A. This is a Bethesda game and odd coding is the norm, and B. Hemming may have been intended to be Maven's husband at one point and instead made into her son for some reason.
    • Examination of the game files shows it was intended for Ingun to be Maven's granddaughter, but due to her Missing Mom, it can be reasonably assumed she became Ingun's surrogate mother.
  • Political Correctness: Catches herself several times using more shady language, and then switches to a more fitting phrase for her new station. "Cut of the pay" become "rewards for services rendered" and such.
  • Slouch of Villainy: "The throne suits me, doesn't it?"
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Like Idgrod, Maven's daughter Ingun looks like her sans 20ish years.
  • The Unfettered: She tells you point blank when first sent to her that when it comes to business, only two things matter to her: was the job done, and was it done properly. Anything else is meaningless.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Sort of. Most of Riften's citizens know how much of an asshole she is, but Jarl Laila as well as other associates of Maven's believe her to be a good person, which is ultimately what matters for her.

Kraldar

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Voiced by: Michael Gough

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Replacement Jarl of Winterhold, seated in the city of Winterhold. Believes in good relations with the College of Winterhold and is optimistic that the city can be restored to greatness.

  • Blue Blood: Hails from a long line of nobility and, due to the Great Collapse, may possibly be the last remaining member.
  • The Good Jarl: He believes in amicable relations with the only reason left for Winterhold to exist (the College), and wants to work with them and the Empire to rebuild Winterhold.

Brunwulf Free-Winter

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Voiced by: Michael Gough

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Replacement Jarl of Eastmarch, seated in Windhelm. An odd-man out in the town, he's more tolerant and respectful cultural-wise than his fellow townsmen. And outspoken about it.

  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Holds disdain for the "Skyrim for the Nords" notion.
  • Nice Guy: And how! Even before becoming Jarl, he will pay the Dragonborn to get rid of bandits who are targeting Dunmers and Khajiit caravans because the bandits know that Ulfric will do nothing about it since the victims are foreigners.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Within hours of getting his new job, he's already met the dark elves of the ghetto-like Gray District to develop renovation plans, and is seeking a way to let the Argonians into the city without increasing the town's already huge racial tensions. He even keeps most of Ulfric's staff on hand since they know their job well enough, and offers lodging to the deposed Jarls who were supporting Ulfric.
  • Reluctant Ruler: He much preferred being a soldier to being Jarl, as things were so much simpler and clearer.
  • Retired Badass: He fought in the Legion during the Great War.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Shows signs of this.

Stormcloak-allied Jarls

Ulfric Stormcloak

See below in the "Stormcloaks" section for the full list for Ulfric.

Laila Law-Giver

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Voiced by: Claudia Christian

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Jarl of The Rift, seated in Riften. Contrary to her sobriquet, she's the law in title only.

  • Dirty Coward: General dialogue between her and her court advisor reveals that Laila has an emergency carriage at the ready for her to escape should a dragon attack Riften.
  • Honor-Related Abuse: Treats her younger son Saerlund as mentally ill, to the point of ordering her court mage to find a cure because he supports the Empire. Thankfully, said court mage is an Absent-Minded Professor who almost certainly hasn't really gotten started on that, and aside from being emotionally insensitive (and placing her son under house arrest more or less), she otherwise treats him fairly well.
  • Irony: A woman with the sobriquet "Law-Giver" ruling over the setting's Wretched Hive.
  • Puppet Queen: She's pretty clueless about the state of her town. Her own advisor is in deep with the Guild, and the Guild gets most of its work from the local mead-brewing dynasty. Fittingly, if the Imperials take Riften, she gets replaced by the matriarch of said mead dynasty, Maven Black-Briar.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Albeit stunted by her own incompetence, she is bright enough to recognize talented subordinates (like the Dovahkiin) and rewards them for their service, not to mention she's surprisingly free of racist pretensions.
  • Upper Class Twit: Laila and her children are probably the most prominent example of this trope in the game.

Skald the Elder

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Voiced by: Jim Cummings

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Jarl of The Pale, seated in Dawnstar. He is extremely paranoid of the Imperial Legion, to the point of accusing some of the common folk of being spies.

  • Badass: You have to admit, it does take balls for a frail old man to charge into a massive siege and fight the good fight.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: He believes that every Imperial sympathizer is a spy of some kind, he even threatens to execute Brina Merilis and Horik Halfhand just for being ex-legionaries. One step further than that is his belief that the reasons dragons are attacking Skyrim is because of the ban of worshipping Talos and that they will stop if the Stormcloaks win.
  • Grumpy Old Man
  • Jerkass: His servant Bulfrek wants to join the Stormcloaks to prove himself a worthy Nord. When he asks Skald for leave to do so, Skald laughs at the idea of a servant wanting to be a warrior.
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    • Has this mentality when it comes to allocating troops to the Stormcloak cause, which pretty much leaves Dawnstar undefended. His own housecarl (politely) accuses him of not understanding the magnitude of the Civil War.
    • You may or may not notice him amongst the bedlam that is the Siege of Windhelm; he apparently decides to go down fighting.
  • Man Child: According to the town alchemist, who's even older than him, he's been a brat his entire life since he took the hold's seat when he was a boy.
  • You Have to Believe Me: Often rabbles about how there are Imperial spies in Dawnstar, but no one believes him.

Korir

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Voiced by: Michael Gough

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Jarl of Winterhold, seated in the city of Winterhold. His distrust for the local College of Mages has caused other Jarls to ignore his opinions.

  • Determinator: Even so, he's grimly resigned and dedicated to protecting what remains of his hold to the best of his ability.
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I don't care how many colleges they build! Or how much the sea swallows up! I'll outlast them all!

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  • Does Not Like Magic: He's convinced it blew up his Hold, something the mages deny strenuously. Given that an entire city collapsing doesn't happen on a whim, and the traditional Nordic distrust for magic that isn't purely beneficial, he's steadfast to his assumptions.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: The destruction of most of his city has really damaged his hold's reputation in Skyrim, and he's outraged that he commands little respect and authority among the other Jarls because of this.
  • Fantastic Racism: Has it in for elves pretty bad. He encourages this in his son as well, though he has a hatred of mages that is far more fantastical and prominent. Oddly, this does not stop him from having a Dunmer as his court wizard (who admits to inflating his importance and sucking up to his boss to keep the job), and if you do missions for him, he shows no overt racism regardless of the player's race if you succeed.

Vignar Gray-Mane

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Voiced by: Jim Cummings

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Replacement Jarl of Whiterun hold, seated in Whiterun. A member of an ancient clan in Whiterun who is in a feud against the Battle-Born.

  • Badass: He used to be a member of the Companions. He's still got it.
  • Badass Grandpa
  • Cool Old Guy
  • The Good King: His main preoccupations as Jarl are to sure up the city's defenses against Dragons and Imperials and to ensure that the transition of leadership in no way disrupts the lives of his people.
  • Guttural Growler
  • Pet the Dog: After Brill became a depressed alcoholic, Vignar got him clean and gave him a job.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: He's a devout Talos worshipper.
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If this were my Empire, I'd be able to worship whoever I damned well pleased! You wish to see an Empire without Talos? Without its very soul?

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Dengeir of Stuhn

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Voiced by: Jim Cummings

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Replacement Jarl of Falkreath hold, seated in Falkreath. Formerly the jarl of the hold, he was forced to retire in favour of his more Imperial-aligned nephew.

  • Benevolent Boss: The local blacksmith seems to think so. But Dengeir still thinks he has something to do with the Imperial plot that put Siddgeir in power and will ask you to break into his house. The quest makes it unclear whether or not his suspicions are true.
  • Better the Devil You Know: This is why he supports Ulfric: he's the only Stormcloak Jarl who will openly say he considers Ulfric a self-centered, power-hungry egomaniac who he doesn't trust as far as he can throw (and at his age, he probably can't throw Ulfric very far). Still, he'd rather deal with him, someone he knows what to expect from, than an emperor and a council seated a thousand miles away making decisions about a land they know nothing about. That said, however, he is a crotchety old man who sees betrayal in every corner.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Thinks that there are Imperial spies all around him. Even his own brother (whom he lives with) is kinda fed up with it. Unlike Skald, however, some of his paranoia does have some merits when you do some of his side quests.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: At least more reasonable than Siddgeir.
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"Well, for one thing. I wont drain the town treasury buying myself fancy clothes and expensive mead! Nor will I get involved with criminals trying to take advantage of honest folk!"

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Thongvor Silver-Blood

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Voiced by: Michael Gough

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Replacement Jarl of the Reach, seated in Markarth. His family owns Cidhna Mine, a slave mine consist of prisoners and Forsworns.

  • Badass: The Orcish blacksmith at Understone Keep served alongside Thongvor in the Legion, he mentions him as being a good man and a tough soldier.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: With all the Silver-Blood family does for Markarth, it feels insulting for Jarl Igmund to ignore their advice.
  • The Good Jarl: He's very receptive to the threat of dragons and has efforts made to organize parties to hunt them down. He also has the good sense to leave the Forsworn alone and focus on actual threats like the aforementioned and Imperial raids. He's also rather respectful to a Stormcloak-aligned Dragonborn.
    • Despite these positive traits, his family business is very morally dubious.
  • I Own This Town: His family's mine pretty much makes the income for the city and the miners consist of captured Forsworn and convicted criminals. When he becomes Jarl, this literally happens.
  • Retired Badass: Used to be a legionnaire.

Sorli the Builder

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Voiced by: Claudia Christian

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Replacement Jarl of Hjallmarch hold, seated in Morthal. She oversees an isolated mining settlement along with her husband.

Stormcloaks

The Stormcloaks

Nordic rebels who believe the Empire is no longer fit to rule over Skyrim following the White-Gold Concordat. Led by Ulfric Stormcloak, the Jarl of Eastmarch, they seek to drive both the Empire and the Thalmor from Skyrim.

  • Asskicking Equals Authority: How one advances in the Stormcloak hierarchy.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Between Ulfric Stormcloak and Galmar Stone-Fist, most Stormcloak sobriquets, especially those given to the player, are this trope. Just a taste: we have Hjornskar Head-Smasher, Thoryyg Sun-Killer and Ysralad Three-Pierced.
  • Badass Army: They can go toe to toe with the IVth Legion, one of the branches of the Imperial Military that's in the best shape since the Great War. Not surprising since most of them come from the eastern half of Skyrim, where young Nords must kill an ice wraith as a rite of passage. Galmar has you do the same to prove your worth.
  • Badass Beard: The majority of male Stormcloaks seem to have one of these. The exceptions can literally be counted on one hand.
  • Berserk Button: The Thalmor killing Talos worshippers.
  • Everything's Worse with Bears: Their main Animal Motif. The Stormcloak Officer's uniform (which the player is awarded upon being named Stormblade) includes a cloak fashioned from a bearskin, complete with head, and there's a bear's head on their flag.
  • Faceless Mooks: Depending on the helmet they are wearing.
  • Fantastic Racism: Some of them, but most commonly in Windhelm itself. They don't allow Argonians to live inside the city walls, and they force the Dunmer population to live in the slum known as the Gray Quarter. Interestingly enough, it also possess a rather high Imperial and Altmer population who are more or less left alone, which would make sense before the civil war (since they wouldn't want to pointlessly antagonise either the Empire or the Dominion), but seems strange when they're in a state of open rebellion. Maybe the Imperials and Altmer were allowed to establish themselves so well that they provide essential services, whereas the Dunmer and Argonians don't? Inverted by a Nord in Falkreath, who cites being an ex-Stormcloak as being the reason he is tolerant of strangers (unlike his brother, who is openly racist against a non-Nord Dragonborn). The WMG above about the possibility that the Imperials and Altmer are tolerated because they prove useful is more or less exactly what one Altmer tells you (regarding the Dunmer, if not the Argonians) if you ask her if she is treated as badly as the Dunmer.
  • Good Old Ways: They're basically fighting to protect these, from their own point of view.
  • Gray and Gray Morality: Definitely. Their hatred for the Dominion is totally justified, and their contempt for the Empire's surrender is understandable, but they're sure as hell not the Knights in Shining Armor they see themselves as.
  • Humanity Is Superior: Many of them believe this, though most of them aren't as racist to elves as the Dominion is to Men.
  • Hypocrite: Some of the Stormcloaks despise the Imperial-leaning Nords for "abandoning" their traditional Nord beliefs in favor of the Imperial pantheon despite the fact that they themselves worship Imperial aspects of the Divines like Akatosh [4] or Arkay[5], giving no heed to their old religion.
    • Though to be fair, none of that is really criterion for abandoning the ways of the Nords in their eyes, and they hold no ill-will towards their fellows for doing it. So it's debatable whether or not that counts as 'hypocrisy'. And also it is a given that the Stormcloaks do in fact revere Shor (as they would naturally do, as he presides over their afterlife). To the Stormcloaks, 'abandoning Nordic tradition' is putting aside worship of Talos and serving the Empire and by extension, their Thalmor allies. And while there are indeed many Nords who worship the Cyrodilic Nine Divines, there are just as many who worship the Old Nordic pantheon, such as Ulfric himself (given that he was once a Greybeard-in-training).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Alvor notes that if it weren't for the Stormcloak uprising, the Empire would be content to pretend that the Nords didn't still worship Talos in the closet. The Stormcloaks raising a fuss over it has given the Thalmor the excuse they needed to crack down hard in Skyrim.
  • No True Nord: All Nords will use the term "true Nord" a lot, but the Stormcloaks use this as a call to battle against the Empire and the Thalmor.
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Any unnamed Stormcloak NPC: "If you know any true sons and daughters of Skyrim, tell them to head to Windhelm. Jarl Ulfric would like to see them."

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Ulfric Stormcloak

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Voiced by: Vladimir Kulich

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"I fight for the men I've held in my arms, dying on foreign soil! I fight for their wives and children, whose names I heard whispered in their last breath... I fight so that all the fighting I've already done hasn't been for nothing! I fight... because I must."

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The Jarl of Eastmarch, seated in the city of Windhelm. Leader of the Stormcloak Rebellion and aspiring High King of Skyrim.

  • An Axe to Grind: He uses a steel waraxe, despite having much better weapons close at hand.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Considering how the Stormcloaks work, this is presumably also in effect.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Apparently, Ulfric is a strong believer of this. He challenged High King Torygg to the throne because he felt the King was weak in spirit as well as body. He believes that Skyrim needs fewer politicians and a true warrior king to stand up to the Thalmor, and by extension, the Empire (who are the Thalmor's "dogs"). He also believes that Skyrim must be purified of those who have become weak from drinking Imperial milk or who became somehow not-Nord after being in Cyrodiil, even though he himself is a former legionnaire.
  • Awesome McCoolname
  • Badass
  • Berserk Button: He absolutely refuses to tolerate the Thalmor, especially Elenwen. Most likely a result of being interrogated by her.
  • Big Bad: Of the Imperial campaign.
  • Big Good: Of the Stormcloak campaign.
  • Blood Brothers: With the Dragonborn, should you take the side of the Stormcloaks. Just before the last mission of the Stormcloak campaign, he names you Stormblade, telling you he considers you to be one of his own kin.
  • Blood Knight: The good Jarl enjoys combat a great deal.
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I'm having fun, are you?!

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  • The Chains of Commanding: He does regret some of the things he's had to do in this war.
  • Death by Irony: He started the war by using the Thu'um to literally Shout the High-King to death, if siding with the Imperials, you can have the Dragonborn end the war the exact same way.
  • Defiant to the End: At the end of the Legion questline, he refuses to quietly surrender and will stand and face you alongside Galmar. He will go down fighting, of course, once he's beaten this leads to the trope below.
  • The Dreaded:
    • The Empire and the Thalmor fear him with good reason.
    • He's also hyped a lot in the Imperial campaign as a mighty warrior and master of the Thu'um.
    • When Elenwen, the head of the Thalmor in Skyrim and perhaps the most powerful person sitting at the peace meeting, decides to drone out a Hannibal Lecture, Ulfric tells her in no uncertain terms to shut the hell up. She listens.
  • Elective Monarchy: What he ends up as in the Stormcloak campaign. It's worth noting, that as his victory over the Imperial Legion was absolute, and his army was the most powerful force in Skyrim, he was in the position to bypass this and declare himself king outright. He brings this up in his speech to his men, but he further says that he will not as he respects the tradition too much.
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Dragonborn: So, do I call you High King now?
Ulfric: *laughs* No, no, not yet. We'll wait for the moot to make me High King. It'll be better for all that way.

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  • Face Death with Dignity: If the player sides with the Empire, at the end of the siege of Windhelm, Tullius told Ulfric he could surrender and be publicly executed, or go down fighting. Ulfric chooses fighting, of course. When beaten down and kneeing, he issues his Last Request: that the Dragonborn be the one to deal the final blow, as "it'll make a better song that way."
  • Fantastic Racism: He's apathetic to the problems of non-Nords and makes it clear that he'd prefer a Skyrim without the other races. He goes so far as to say that Nords returning home from the legions are "strangers with familiar faces", as if serving the Empire somehow made them no longer Nords. If you ask him about it when joining the stormcloaks as a non-nord, he notes that race isn't anywhere near as important as loyalty. According to the Dark Elves of Windhelm, their lives have actually gotten worse since Ulfric became Jarl. Strangely, while Argonians and Dark Elves are segregated in Windhelm, they are generally treated normally in most other Stormcloak align holds. In fact, holding high positions as Steward and Housecarls in Winterhold and Morthaal, respectively. Apparently, he doesn't care how the other Jarls deal with minorities so long as they generally follow orders. So maybe this is more like 'Fantastic Indifference'.
  • A Father to His Men: He values his follower's lives. Which is why he is cautious about attacking Whiterun despite how necessary it is that they take it. After the Stormcloaks conquer Solitude, he denies credit for the victory and instead calls the soldiers and the Dragonborn the true heroes of the war.
  • Four-Star Badass: He's managed to keep complete control over half of Skyrim despite the Empire throwing all they have at him. Including one of their best generals.
  • Friendly Enemy: Right up until they directly lay siege to Windhelm, an Empire-aligned Dragonborn can walk up to the leader of the enemy forces and make small talk, without acknowledgement that the Dragonborn is the reason the Stormcloaks are in such dire straits.
  • From a Certain Point of View: His response to allegedly shouting Torygg to death is that it's "Not entirely true, though not entirely false either."
  • The Good King: He takes into account the opinions of his entire court, would rather that he could take Skyrim with the least possible amount of bloodshed and is far more empathetic to the common folk who do not support him, knowing that they're still weighing things in their hearts and have to look after the families, in contrast to Galmar's complete With Us or Against Us view. He's also the only Jarl to reply 'the honour will be mine' when you accept to becoming a Thane of his hold. Nor does he refer to his people as 'the common rabble' when he dubs you Thane. He's also well respected within his hold and by the people of Skyrim in general. And despite his preoccupation with the war, he still makes an effort to protect the people of his city from the murders occurring, having placed every available guardsman (and to their credit, they were making progress) on it. Of course because it's a quest chain, only you can really make a difference, but hey.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Depending on whether you're a Stormcloak or Legionnaire.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: Used to be an Imperial soldier, until he perceived all Nords influenced by Imperials as weak milk-drinkers who were no longer Nord and were now "strangers with familiar faces".
  • Hurting Hero: It really does kill him inside to wage war against his fellow Nords.
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We're ready when you are [to take Whiterun]
Is any man ever ready to give the order that will mean the deaths of many?

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  • Jerkass: He outright threatens the player when they first approach him for daring to speak to a Jarl without a summons (the other Jarls make no such remark, though he also commends your bravery in doing it). He's also considerably rude during the peace negotiations, threatening Elisif personally, and if the player supports fair trade of territory when the civil war questline hasn't been started yet, he gets up to leave because he sees the player as favoring the Empire. He outright storms out of the negotiations afterwards, even if the player sided with his demands, while everyone else stays to listen.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Up to Alternate Character Interpretation depending on if you think he truly does want the best for Skyrim or is just interested in personal power.
  • Just the First Citizen: Despite being the effective ruler of nearly half of Skyrim before the civil war questline begins, and possibly being the ruler of all of Skyrim after, Ulfric is simply called "Jarl", a title appropriate to the ruler of a single hold.
  • Make an Example of Them: "Torygg was merely a message to the other Jarls."
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: He was training to be a Greybeard.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • In-Universe example. An extremely sizable portion of Skyrim treats him like he's the Second Coming.
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They say that Ulfric Stormcloak murdered the High King... with his Voice! Shouted him apart!

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    • According to what first-hand sources (including Ulfric himself) say, he did use the Voice when he killed the High King, but the actual killing blow was done by hand.
  • Modest Royalty
  • My God, What Have I Done?: If killed before finishing the main quest, Ulfric can be found wandering Alduin's mist in Sovngarde. If spoken to before killing Alduin, he laments that he wanted to free Skyrim, but all his war did was kill good men on both sides and now those men's souls are trapped in Alduin's mists, waiting to be devoured by the World Eater.
  • Neutral No Longer: While training to be a Greybeard, he was unable to detach himself from the world's affairs as they do and left to help fight the Thalmor.
  • No Badass to His Valet: The relationship between Ulfric and Galmar is less a king to his general, and more like the friendship between fellow war veterans.
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Galmar: They call themselves Stormcloaks because they believe in you. Because they're the biggest, toughest sons of bitches Skyrim has to offer. And they want this. They want it as much as you. Perhaps they want it more.

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  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: In a sense. Ulfric learned the Thu'um from the Greybeards, but he violated their core tenet of "speaking only in True Need" when he used the Thu'um to kill King Torygg (he was already a far more capable combatant than Torygg without the Thu'um). However, he does concede he's aware he's strayed from their teachings, and does believe the Thu'um should not be used lightly.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: And just to drive the point home, the local priest in Windhelm will mention that he's a very regular temple-goer.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Playing through the Stormcloak campaign shows him not be the power-hungry tyrant Tullius paints him to be, but rather a driven, understandable and determined man with noble intentions at heart.
  • Rebel Leader
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Tullius's blue. However, he's also the blue to Galmar's red.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized:
  • Rousing Speech: Gives several, but is somewhat self-conscious about it, asking Galmar after his victory speech how he did. Depending on your view of Ulfric, this can either show him to be a man who is less confident in his own abilities than he lets on and realises how seriously he must weigh every word and action, or a politician who deliberately manipulates his public image in contrast to the simple proud warrior he presents himself as. It's worth noting, however, he tends to go off on impassioned speeches about his motives in private to his Dragon, who's utterly behind him. So he's at least somewhat sincere.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: And by Talos, is he ever good at it.
  • Slouch of Villainy: While everyone who uses a throne takes this position, Ulfric stands out for two reasons: firstly, he can end up as the Big Bad depending on what path the player takes, and his throne is huge, making him look like he's slouching more than he actually is.
  • The Strategist: He's often conversing with Galmar and Jorleif on strategy. He also likes getting Jorleif's opinion because the 'untrained can see the whole in the parts'.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Ulfric was a high-profile POW during the Great War, and special attention was given to him by interrogators; Ambassador Elenwen, no less. Such time with the Thalmor and being subject to their "reeducation" methods leads to questions as to whether his mind is his own: both the Markarth incident and the Civil War as a whole played right into the Thalmor's hands. The Markarth Incident essentially made it impossible for the Empire to simply pretend the Nords didn't secretly worship Talos in the closet, and the civil war dragging out sapped both Skyrim and the Empire, both being very much to the benefit of the Thalmor. However, the Thalmor dossier on him indicates that while they consider him an "asset" they've lost direct control over him and cannot risk contacting him directly. They're also worried about Ulfric actually winning the war, though it is not clear if this is because they want to prolong the war to further weaken the Empire, or if they're afraid of what Ulfric might do with a united Skyrim behind him. Finally, at the end of the civil war, Ulfric states that defending Skyrim from Thalmor attacks is one of his highest priorities and quickly puts Galmar in charge of training additional troops so that Skyrim is as prepared as possible for such an event. Which shows that he's likely not at all under the Thalmor's thrall per se.
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General Tullius:: The Thalmor stirred up your rebellion here, forcing us to waste resources and good soldiers to put it down.
Ulfric: It's a little more than a rebellion, don't you think?

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  • With Us or Against Us:
    • Read the book "The Bear of Markarth" to see how his liberation of Markarth was not at all as rosy as the Stormcloak sympathizers in the town make it out to be. However, note that this book is written by an Imperial, and thus may be exaggerating the events. Though when you meet up with Stormcloaks, he tells a frothing at the mouth Galmar to be lenient with the commoners who do not support them as they are still 'weighing things in their hearts' as he puts it. This could either mean two things: the book is outright lying about his brutality and is mere character assassination, or in the interregnum he came to realize that this trope wasn't a good way to go about things and decided to be more understanding towards those who don't outright cast their lot for independence.
    • Raerek, the steward to the Jarl of Markarth, mentions that while Ulfric may be right about certain things, he knows that he can be very extreme when he given the chance. Hence why he chooses not to side with the Stormcloaks. That said, the same author of this particular book (and another called 'Madmen' of the Reach) is extremely biased against Stormcloaks and Nords in general and quite sympathetic towards the Forsworn.
  • Warrior Prince: He was an officer of the Imperial army before he became a Jarl. And later on pretty much drove the Forsworn from Markarth single handed as well.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Just wants to see the Empire and Thalmor driven from Skyrim and the restoration of one of his people's most adored deity. If you win the war for the Stormcloaks, he fully makes it clear he intends to see Skyrim as glorious as it was when it was the heart of the First Empire.
  • Worthy Opponent: He considers an Imperial aligned Dragonborn to be this. When you deliver Jarl Balgruuf's ultimatum to him, he commends you on your bravery and laments that you've chosen the wrong side. When you finally defeat him, he requests you as his personal executioner instead of Tullius or Rikke, stating "it'll make a better song." if you killed him before traveling to Sovngarde, you can encounter him in the mists; after defeating Alduin, he will openly praise you as a hero.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Notable aversion: he's often stated as killing the child-king Torygg, though Torygg isn't an actual child so much as he's just very young for the title of High-King.

Galmar Stone-Fist

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Voiced by: Paul Eiding

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Your blood is such a pretty shade of red!

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  • Badass Beard
  • Badass Boast: His declaration of the Stormcloaks being a group of normal men fighting for their beliefs as part of his Rousing Speech before attacking Whiterun is in many ways far more impressive and moving than simple bluster.
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"They say our cause is false, and that we are nothing but thieves, thugs and murderers. But no! We are farmers! We are craftsmen! We are the sons and daughters of shopkeepers, maidservants and soldiers! We are the Sons and Daughters of Skyrim!"

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  • Badass Grandpa
  • The Berserker: He tends to get rather excited in combat. And true to the historical background of this trope (and the fact the Nords are a fantasy counterpart of the medieval Norse), he's actually wearing bear-skins as the Norse berserkers did.
  • The Big Guy: Ironically, he plans the operations for the Stormcloaks, but makes very clear that if he had the choice, he would rush axe-first into the enemies.
  • Boisterous Bruiser
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments.
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Ulfric: Galmar, it looks like you were right.
Galmar: Again?
Ulfric: I'm in no mood to joke.

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That we have forgotten them, this I fear the Gods will remember.

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  • Sophisticated As Hell: When you meet up with him at the camps, he'll make deep observations on motivation and such. When he's in the thick of battle and Imperial lapdogs scream 'For the Emperor', he shouts back, 'The Emperor can kiss my ass!'.
  • Sore Loser: He is not happy to see you in Sovngarde if you killed him.
  • Warrior Poet: Ever so much.
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There are fools who claim Ulfric fights only for power! Do they not see that his anger floats on a sea of tears?
It is hate that brought us out here, but it love that keeps us fighting.
One lives for the things he is willing to die for.

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  • We Used to Be Friends: Served with Rikke during the Great War. Offers her the chance to stand down at the end of the Stormcloak Campaign.
  • With Us or Against Us: Has the opinion that anyone who opposes them can "die with their false kings."

Ralof

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Voiced by: Michael Gough

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  • Action Survivor
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: He's promoted for valor after the Battle for Whiterun is concluded with a Stormcloak victory.
  • Badass: In universe, surviving Helgen qualifies anyone for this label. Additionally, he's one of the few rank and file soldiers who will under all circumstances keep up with both you and Galmar in combat and is one of the few who is with you two when you fight through into Dragonsreach. He also helps you take down Balgruuf.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live
  • Cool Uncle: He has a nephew named Frodnar, they have a great relationship.
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Frodnar: Uncle Ralof! Can I see your axe? How many Imperials have you killed? Do you really know Ulfric Stormcloak?
Ralof: Look at you, almost a grown man. Won't be long until you'll be joining the fight yourself.
Frodnar: That's right! Don't worry uncle, I won't let those Imperials sneak up on you!

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  • Drop the Hammer: He likes using an iron warhammer.
  • Dual-Wielding: Iron axes, while escaping Helgen.
  • Face Death with Dignity: He acts very calm about the opening executions and offers some "before the end" advice to the panicking Lokir.
  • Good Counterpart/Evil Counterpart: To Hadvar, depending on what side the Dragonborn takes in the war.
  • The Lancer: To a Stormcloak Dragonborn.
  • Nice Guy: Regardless of your race, Ralof will try to help you in the prologue, including leading you to safety when you seem disoriented and shocked by the dragon's attack. Considering the Stormcloaks are known for their dislike of other races (especially Imperials and elves), this is quite telling.
  • Not So Different: To Hadvar. Over the course of the Stormcloak questline, Ralof expresses many of the same views as Hadvar about the war, a truce, and taking the lives of the Legionaries. Of course, this is probably because they fill the same role in their respective questlines. It should also be noted that Ralof and Hadvar both know each other, both being from Riverwood, and neither of them like the other.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: As he puts it in his own words: "Damn faithless Imperials."
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: After the Battle for Whiterun, when he next meets up with you, he tells you that he's haunted by the faces of the many men he killed in that siege.

Empire of Tamriel

The Empire

Centered in the land of Cyrodiil, the third Empire of Tamriel was founded by the dragonborn Tiber Septim, and was actually the first to truly encompass all of Tamriel. After the Septim Dynasty fell in the Oblivion Crisis, the potentate Ocato took control, but eventually was assassinated by the Thalmor. After a succession crisis, the Mede Dynasty has taken control over the weakening Empire. About thirty years before Skyrim begins, the Empire fought the Great War with the Aldmeri Dominion and eventually signed a peace treaty named the White-Gold Concordat.

  • Badass Army: Much weaker than during the reign of the Septims, but they still eventually wiped out the Dominion's force in Cyrodiil. Though it should be noted that this feat was the accomplishment of the Imperial legion as a whole, and not the 4th Legion. Who's characters are primarily referred to in this folder.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: The White Gold Concordat essentially yoked them with this.
    • Screw You, Elves: ...But they're waiting for just the right moment to nullify it by force.
  • Cultural Posturing: Some of them like to point out how glorious the cosmopolitan empire is compared to Skyrim.
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Legate Skulnar: Of course, the Nord Kings, Oh I'm sorry, Jarls can't really control their own people.

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  • The Empire: Them being a foreign power who controls different nation, with a different culture, is used for drama.
  • Fantastic Racism: While it cannot be disputed that they are the least racist faction in the setting, they do generally express a low opinion of Nords, thinking them to be primitive, lawless, brutal savages.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Like the Stormcloaks, their situation isn't black and white. On one hand, they banned Talos worship in order to bring peace to themselves, are a foriegn nation controlling one that they might not understand, and half of Skyim doesn't want them there. On the other hand, much of Skyrim does want them to stay, citing that Skyrim was always part of the Empire, and that the Empire brought some stability to Skyrim. The Empire was also founded by Talos in the first place.
  • Hypocrite: Discussed in-universe even. The Empire claims that it fighting against the Aldmeri dominion to defend its way of life is fine, but when the Stormcloaks do it against the Imperials (who are practically an invasion force themselves and have little claim to the land anyway, especially with Torryg's death), it's baleful treason. Bonus points in that when Imperial loyalist characters in the game are confronted with this they literally have no counter-argument.
  • Punch Clock Villain: For a Stormcloak-alligned character, they're this because they don't entirely agree with persecuting Talos worshipers, but they'd rather not get on the Thalmor's bad side either.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: As a whole, they are fairly benevolent.
  • Shoot the Dog: Giving "large sections" of Hammerfell to the Dominion, as well as banning Talos worship, in order to stop the Great War. Needless to say, the Redguards were not pleased about essentially being sacrificed to the Thalmor, and they were able to drive out the Dominion themselves (this is used, both in-universe and by fans, as why the Empire was wrong to surrender). The Nords were likewise not happy about one of their most popular gods being banned, and this is one of the prime motivations for the Stormcloak rebellion.
  • Vestigial Empire: Currently only controls Cyrodiil, Skyrim, High Rock and whatever is left of Morrowind. To make matters worse, much of Skyrim is rebelling against their rule. And since Skyrim bridges all of these regions together, if the Stormcloaks win the civil war, the Empire could be fatally fractured. And it gets better, conversation between Ulfric and Galmar implies that High Rock is barely at all involved in Imperial affairs and is only tangentially allies with the Empire. A fact they tried to use in order to ally with them, but failed in doing so. On the other hand, if the Empire wins the civil war, the Blades are reformed, and the Dark Brotherhood is destroyed, the Empire might actually start to pull itself out of this rut, as this is the most stable it has been in centuries.

General Tullius

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Voiced by: Michael Hogan

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"Battles are won by trained and disciplined men. Wars are won by talented and exceptional individuals."

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Commander of all Legion forces in Skyrim. Sent to the province as a troubleshooter by the Emperor to deal with the Stormcloak rebellion.

  • Anti-Villain: He's just a man doing his job, serving his emperor to the best of his ability and trying his hardest to preserve the Empire that he loves.
  • The Archer: In the Battle of Windhelm, he favors his bow, though he uses a sword too.
  • Big Bad: Of the Stormcloak campaign.
  • Big Good: Of the Imperial campaign.
  • Cultural Posturing: He's fond of this. Then again, the Empire and Skyrim are in the midst of a pretty big Culture Clash, as well as a war, so what the Stormcloaks view as business as usual, the Empire views as anarchy.
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If it wasn't for the Legion the provinces would descend to barbarity and anarchy. Even Skyrim, especially Skyrim.

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  • Deadpan Snarker: A bit of this towards Nords and their warlike customs.
  • Despair Event Horizon: At the end of the Stormcloak questline. By the time you reach him during the Battle of Solitude, he's essentially given up. Rikke even says as much, though he'll still get up and fight you alongside her. Before he's executed, he even tells Ulfric that his rebellion has given the Thalmor exactly what they want.
  • Expy: Of Julius Caesar.
  • Fantastic Racism: He considers Nords and their culture foolish. Unlike Ulfric though, Tullius doesn't let his views influence his policies.
  • A Father to His Men
  • Four-Star Badass: He's pretty handy with a bow and short sword at the Battle of Windhelm, and leads his men from the front at the big battles, but most of the battles the Dragonborn participates in are either commanded by Legate Rikke, Hadvar or the Dragonborn himself, which may seem like this is an Informed Attribute. However, Tullius has to manage the entire war theater in Skyrim, which would leave him with little time to lead raids on individual fortresses, or to personally search for the Jagged Crown when dozens of equally pressing issues crop up as well. Also, the war is at its tail end when the game starts, and both sides agree that, without him, the Empire would have been soundly defeated long ago. He turned it into a stalemate, and then with his capture of Ulfric in the opening, nearly won the war then and there.
  • Friendly Enemy: See Ulfric's entry above. You're welcome to come into Castle Dour and chat him up despite being the reason why the Legion is almost routed from Skyrim. Taken further than Ulfric in that if you're a Stormcloak and on Avulstein Grey-mane's quest, you can request Tulius to release a Thalmor prisoner. He sarcastically tells you that it's impossible, but hey.
  • Grumpy Old Man: You get the feeling that he'd rather get this war over with to prepare for greater threats like the inevitable second war with the Thalmor.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: To Jarl Elisif. He claims he is usually sent as a troubleshooter for problematic areas of the Empire, Skyrim being at the top of that list.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: A lot of Nords consider him to be a straight Jerkass, with some justification. He's snide about Nord traditions and is prone to engage in Cultural Posturing, as he is a career soldier from the cosmopolitan Cyrodiil and Nordic tradition, with its individualistic and honor-bound warrior culture, is completely against the grain from the Imperial norm, never mind insulting the player character when they first meet and is disdainful of peace negotiations with Ulfric Stormcloak, believing that he deserves nothing less than death regardless. Most of the time, Rikke serves as his long-suffering Lancer who irons out the General's ignorance of, and frustration with the country and its people. Over the course of the Imperial campaign, however, he gains a grudging respect for Skyrim and its people, and he comes to love the land in spite of its harshness.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: To a greater extent than Ulfric. While he's a bit snide, he remains very approachable throughout the Imperial campaign, and it shows that he truly cares for his men and the Empire.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Ulfric's red. Also the blue to Rikke's red.
  • Say My Name: When he, you and Rikke make the final confrontation with Ulfric, Tullius shouts out Ulfric's full name (but not titles) before listing off his crimes.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: During the peace treaty, after Ulfric makes a speech about how he considers being present with the Empire an insult, he has this to say.
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"Are you done? Did you just come all the way to make speeches?"

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  • The Strategist: He masterminded Ulfric Stormcloak's capture and had a dragon not attacked Helgen, he likely would have succeeded in snuffing out the Stormcloaks then and there. Hadvar notes that, since taking command, Tullius managed to turn the situation in Skyrim around, from a complete rout for the Empire to a near victory... before Alduin interrupts before Ulfric can be executed.

Legate Rikke

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Voiced by: Claudia Christian

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  • Action Girl
  • Colonel Badass: The structure of Legion ranks puts "Legate" in a position closely akin to "Colonel", which is the highest rank of line officers in modern militaries.
  • Cool Helmet: For some reason, she discards it when you and the Stormcloaks corner her and Tullius in Castle Dour.
  • Deadpan Snarker: If an Imperial-allied player decides to hold the Greybeards' Peace Talks, Rikke will let slip some very snide (and very funny) comments whenever Ulfric speaks.
  • Last Stand: At the end of the Stormcloak campaign, Ulfric and Galmar offer her the chance to stand down out of respect for their past together. She refuses.
  • Military Brat: Both her parents were in the Imperial Legion, and part of the reason she joined was to honor them.
  • Number Two: To Tullius.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Unlike Tullius, who's mainly in Skyrim because it's his duty, Rikke is openly proud of being both a daughter of Skyrim and a legate in the Legion. She sees nothing contradictory in being both.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: When asked about her opinion on her faith, she curtly cuts you off, saying it's not up for discussion. After the deed is done on Ulfric, she gives him the parting words "Talos guide you".
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Tullius's blue.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Though she avoids outright insubordination, she's not afraid to explain to her superior in rather flat terms why his shallow knowledge of Nord culture will lead to disaster.
  • Sergeant Rock
  • We Used to Be Friends: Served with Galmar and Ulfric during the Great War, holds Galmar in high respect, but thinks Ulfric's gone mad with power. Ironically, however, she tries to use her former friendship with Ulfric as a lever to persuade him to cease his rebellion. Right after he pretty much takes Solitude.

Esbern

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Voiced by: Max von Sydow

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  • Conspiracy Theorist: Believes Paarthurnax is evil and refuses to listen to anything contradictory.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Crazy Prepared: As the Blades' archivist, he used to be obsessed with studying the original Dragonslaying campaigns the Blades were created for. Since the dragons were all dead (or believed to be myth in the first place), everybody though he was just some eccentric old fool. Then guess what happens...
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Delphine mentions this trope concerning Esbern in dialog you have with her.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: After one of the story quests, you can return to the Blade hideout to find him recounting a recurring dream he had been having for years about Alduin returning.
  • Eccentric Mentor: He's just a little off-kilter...
  • Genre Savvy:
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  • Last of His Kind: One of the last members of the Blades.
  • Properly Paranoid: First met in Riften's Ratway, hiding among beggars and madmen behind a heavy iron door with roughly half a dozen locks (and he'll open a sliding panel and shout at you in his best "crazy old man" voice if you try to speak to him before the quest demands it). Not two minutes after the Dovahkiin confirms his identity, the Thalmor arrive to have him killed.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Tullius and Ulfric during the peace treaty negotiations, telling them that while they're busy arguing over the terms of a temporary truce, Alduin is in Sovngarde devouring the souls of the people they've slain to grow stronger.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue to Delphine's Red. While Esbern is presented at first as a Cloudcuckoolander conspiracy theorist, once things get going he's far more calm and intellectual, not to mention respectful of the Greybeards, while Delphie is more of an outright Jerkass to both the Dragonborn and the Greybeards, and is less interested in the knowledge of the dragons than she is killing them.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: The Sorcerer to Delphine's Sword.
  • Warrior Poet: His room is filled with books, he admires ancient art and architecture so much he almost has to be dragged away from it (and can identify the technique and period), and he's completely dismayed when he discovers neither you nor anyone else knows much about dragon lore.

Delphine

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Voiced by: Joan Allen

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  • Action Girl: She has killed entire teams of Thalmor assassins by herself. Not to mention retrieving the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller from Ustengrav.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: She'll likely be one of the first NPCs you'll meet in the game since she lives in Riverwood, the first town you visit. Only later do you realize that she's more than the local innskeeper.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Believes the Thalmor are behind everything, including the dragons' return. A mission to their embassy indicates they know nothing.
    • She also follows Esbern's lead in thinking Paarthurnax is evil and absolutely must die. She is a bit more a jerkass about it, to the point of threatening to violate her oaths to the Blades if the Dovahkiin doesn't kill Paarthurnax.
    • Note that according to the Atlas of Dragons, the Blades have known Paarthurnax was on the Throat of the World, "under the protection of the Greybeards" for centuries. The Blades as a whole have been waiting for an opportunity to "exact justice" on him for a long time.
  • Cool Old Lady: It's not apparent at first, but she's in her late fifties. And still kicks plenty of ass.
  • Dual-Wielding: Blades Swords.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: You can tell her that you were after meeting her in the basement of The Sleeping Giant Inn.
  • Jerkass: She's rather rude and demanding, especially on your first meeting. She tricks you into a meeting and demands a demonstration to verify the Dragonborn's identity, but without giving you a reason why she should be indulged. If you decide to simply ignore her and leave, she'll mention she should kill you, but decided she won't. Justified, as she doesn't trust you and has the Thalmor after her head every sleeping and waking moment. Granted, she comes across as more friendly and humble if you talk to her about her background after proving your status as the Dragonborn, and isn't nearly as bad as, say, Colonel Moore.
  • Properly Paranoid: The Thalmor have free rein over pretty much all of Tamriel, meaning the Blades are all hunted. Her dossier pretty much indicates that the only chance the Thalmor have in killing her is overwhelming force, she's just that good.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to Esbern's Blue. While Esbern is presented at first as a Cloudcuckoolander conspiracy theorist, once things get going he's far more calm and intellectual, not to mention respectful of the Greybeards, while Delphie is more of an outright Jerkass to both the Dragonborn and the Greybeards, and is less interested in the knowledge of the dragons than she is killing them.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: The Sword to Esbern's Sorcerer.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Even after everything you do for her, which includes helping her slay a dragon, spying on the Thalmor, rescuing her associate, opening up the Blades' old base of operations, and bringing her new recruits to the order, she'll refuse to have any more dealings with you should you not kill Paarthurnax.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: More or less says this is the case for Paarthurnax.

Hadvar

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Voiced by: Jonas Fisch

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  • Action Survivor
  • The Archer
  • Badass: In universe, surviving Helgen qualifies you.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live
  • Good Counterpart/Evil Counterpart: To Ralof, depending on what side the Dragonborn takes in the war.
  • It Gets Easier: Hadvar discusses this with you at one point, and wonders if it's really a good thing.
  • The Lancer: To a pro-Imperial Dragonborn.
  • Nice Guy:
    • He's visibly uncomfortable with executing people without cause. Won't hesitate to help you when a dragon arrives. And while other Legionnaires are disturbingly gung-ho about killing Stormcloaks, he actually feels bad about killing his countrymen and wishes there could be a peaceful resolution soon.
    • Further, if you escape Helgen with him and follow him to Riverwood he explains various things you pass, fights animals with you, invites you into his Uncle's home, shares supplies, compliments you on your abilities and says to avoid Imperial patrols until you meet General Tullius so that you are not mistakenly arrested again.
  • Not So Different: To Ralof. Over the course of the Legion questline, Hadvar expresses many of the same views as Ralof about the war, a truce and taking the lives of Stormcloaks. Of course, this is probably because they fill the same role in their respective questlines. It should also be noted that Hadvar and Ralof both know each other, both being from Riverwood, and neither of them like the other.
  • Real Men Love Jesus
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: First shows signs of this when he objects to Helgen's Captain ordering your execution (the Captain sharply orders him to shut up), and shows it in full force when he offers to help you escape Alduin despite the fact that you're technically a convicted "Stormcloak".

Commander Maro

Leader of the Penitus Oculatus, the emperor's bodyguards since the fall of the Blades.

  • Expy: Of Adamus Philida, both being Imperial commanders that threaten the Dark Brotherhood.
  • Hero Antagonist: Seeing as the Dark Brotherhood commits many exceptionally monstrous crimes over the course of the game, he ends up, at worst, the former; at best (assuming the Dovahkiin joins the Dark Brotherhood rather than killing Astrid), the latter.
  • It's Personal: His primary motivation for going after the Dark Brotherhood is because you murdered his son and framed him for treason.
  • Oh Crap: He does this if you choose to confront him after the raid of the Dark Brotherhood sanctuary.
  • Praetorian Guard
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge
  • Sarcastic Clapping
  • You Killed My Father: The Dark Brotherhood has his son killed, so he obliterates their sanctuary in return.

Emperor Titus Mede II

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Voiced by: Wes Johnson

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Current ruler of the Empire. His namesake was the founder of the Mede dynasty.

  • Badass Grandpa: A talented general, he managed to encircle the entire Dominion army occupying the Imperial City during the Great War and obliterate it. He then captured Lord Naarfin, the Thalmor commander, and hung him from the White-Gold Tower, alive, for thirty-three days before having him killed. One account suggests the Thalmor commander was carried off by daedra on the thirty-fourth day. However, there are some vague implications that he might be a closeted Daedra worshipper.
  • Bigger Bad: If you're a Stormcloak.
  • The Emperor
  • Face Death with Dignity: And how.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: His, and by extension, the Empire's justification for the White-Gold Concordat.
  • Last Request: Before you kill him, he asks that you kill the man who contracted you to kill him.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure
  • Vindicated by History: In universe, his decision to retreat from the Imperial City and link up with reinforcements from Skyrim. Those armies later crushed the Thalmor and saved the Empire from total destruction at the Battle of the Red Ring.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: Titus II ultimately accomplished his goal in making the Thalmor retreat from Cyrodiil, but was unable to capitalize on that victory because his army and empire were in no condition to continue. The White-Gold Concordat was the best he was able to get out of the Thalmor, but it wasn't acceptable to the Stormcloaks, hence the Civil War. Furthermore, the Concordat also ruined relations with Hammerfell, who rejected the treaty.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: He believes that once you're targeted by the Dark Brotherhood, there is no escaping them.

Legate Fasendil

An altmeri Legate, in charge of the Rift hold.

  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Why he's in the Legion. The Empire isn't perfect, but it's the best option Tamriel has, and the best way he can protect Tamriel is by being a Legionaire.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: He's an Altmer legate in the Legion, and has nothing but scorn for the Thalmor. He was in Hammerfell searching for relatives amongst the dissident refugees from Summerset on the "Night of Green Fire", where Thalmor agents decided to pursue the refugees into Hammerfell to slaughter them wholesale. Despite the best efforts of him and any other on-leave legionaries he could round up, it was for naught.
  • Physical Scars, Psychological Scars: He has a noticeable scar across his face. From the description he gives of his service, one wonders if his permanent scowl is due to typical Altmer haughtiness or from all the grim things he's seen in the service.

Captain Aldis

Captain of the guard in Solitude. He's in charge of training the guards against outside threats... and a possible siege by the Stormcloaks.

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"You don't have to hate a man to kill him... although it helps."

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  • My Country, Right or Wrong: He's a loyal soldier of Solitude, regardless of what side it's on in the Civil War.
  • Nice Guy: Didn't want to break the news to poor Angeline about her daughter's death, but can be easily Persuaded that telling her the truth is the right thing to do.

The Companions

A group of rough-and-tumble folks who excel at strength-at-arms. Their order traces its origins back to the original companions of Ysgramor, the harbinger of humanity when they first landed on the shores of Skyrim. As such, they adhere to an honor code that holds them to a higher standard than any old band of thugs. Headquartered in the mead hall Jorrvaskr, in Whiterun, in front of the legendary Sky Forge.

The Guild In General

  • Anarchy Is Chaos: Averted. They operate without a defined leader, although the Harbinger comes fairly close to one.
  • An Axe to Grind: They gather and protect the fragments of Wuuthrad, legendary axe of the first Nord king Ysgramor. You acquire the reassembled weapon at the end of the quest.
  • Animal Motifs: Their uniform carries a very heavy wolf motif. Given their predicament, this is ironic.
  • Anti-Hero: They're good people who protect Whiterun and are noble warriors, but they're werewolves, and many of them embrace the gift and indulge it frequently. Some of them are also not that nice, though they warm up as you prove yourself on quests for them.
    • They're also not above hiring themselves as hired muscles to intimidate others, specifically trouble-makers.
  • Expy: Meet the local Fighters Guild and werewolves.
  • Five-Man Band: The Circle.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire Subverted: Vilkas and Farkas will eventually request that you help them cure their lycanthropy. The Dovahkiin can cure themselves too, making Aela the only werewolf in the Circle, and by extension, the entire guild.
  • Meaningful Name: Like the name suggest, completing their quests will eventually give you access to seven potential companions.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different
  • PMC: They've been this at points in time. However, they're neutral as far as the Civil War goes and mostly take jobs to deal with criminals or to clear out crypts.
  • Rated "M" for Manly: They're a guild of grizzled Vikings who live in a great meadhall to rival Heorot, value strength and honor above all else, and who never shy away from battle.
  • True Companions: As well as being part of their name, it's emphasized that the group is essentially like a family and consider each other brothers/sisters in arms. Of course, there are limits to this in the case of Arnbjorn, who was kicked out for presumably being too bloodthirsty for the group.

Kodlak Whitemane

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Voiced by: Michael Donovan

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The current Harbinger of the group, he's getting a bit world-weary.

  • Badass:
  • Badass Beard: But of course.
  • Badass Grandpa: His sobriquet isn't "Whitemane" for nothing...
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: After his death, and you are declared the new Harbinger, you can find his journal in his room: reading it will reveal that he dreamed that you would aid him in battling the beast spirit and freeing him to go to Sovngarde some time before he actually met you, and that this dream is largely responsible for the trust he had for you.
  • Drop the Hammer: His weapon of choice is apparently a Steel Warhammer.
  • A Father to His Men: Being a Harbinger is basically being a father figure to the Companions, dispensing guidance and wisdom on matters of honour. But specifically, he's a father figure to the player. As he's the only Companion aside from Farkas who starts out warmly receiving you. His journal also sings your praises and he laments that he hasn't had more opportunities to speak with you. And after his death you are told he loved you very much, much like a father.
  • Miles to Go Before I Sleep: He longs for the Nordic afterlife of Sovngarde, but his obligations as Harbinger and his knowledge that werewolves are bound for Hircine's Realm are keeping him from it.
  • Viking Funeral: Gets killed in the course of the Companions' main quest by the group's mortal enemies, the werewolf-hunting Silver Hand. His funeral pyre is in the fire pit of the Sky Forge, attended by a lot of notables from Whiterun including the current Jarl. His ashes somehow reinvigorate the Sky Forge.

Aela the Huntress

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Voiced by: Claudia Christian

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  • Action Girl
  • The Archer
  • Axe Crazy: A bit.
  • Badass Family: Comes from a long line of former Companions.
  • Blood Knight: She's the only member of the companions who's vocal about wanting to fight in the Civil War. Notably though, she doesn't state a preference for either side, she's just worried others are stealing honor and glory that belongs to the Companions. She also has a lust for hunting.
    • She will fight for your side in the Battle for Whiterun if you are married to her, have her as your follower, and side with the Stormcloaks. She is stationed by the Imperial archers and starts taking them out the moment you get to the gate.
  • Cursed with Awesome: She embraces her lycanthropy and views it as a gift instead of a curse.
  • Cynical Mentor: She initially believes the Dragonborn needs to earn the right to be one of the Companions.
    • Its telling however that she deems you worthy when Kodlak reveals she's only come to you to take on the Silver Hand.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: If the Dovahkiin chooses to marry her.
  • May–December Romance: Subverted. There's a rumor going around that she's involved with Skjor, but she states that it is untrue.
  • Ms. Fanservice
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Aela's Roaring Rampage of Revenge leads to the Silver Hand retaliating and Kodlak being killed.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After The Silver Hand kills Skjor, she enlists the Dovahkiin's help in taking the fight to them.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Her armor shows a lot of sexy back.
  • Sideboob
  • Stripperific
  • Tribal Face Paint

Farkas

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Voiced by: Popeye Vogelsang

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A strong, simple man. Twin brother of Vilkas.

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Quite possibly the nicest of the Companions, but pose as a threat to him or his shield-brethern, and he will tear you a new one.
  • BFS: His default weapon.
  • Different As Night and Day: He's the stronger of the twins, even regarding his lycanthropy: he can withstand the bloody urges of his bestial nature better than his brother.
  • Dumb Muscle: He's aware he is, though it doesn't phase him much.
  • Five-Finger Discount: Believe it or not, he has the highest pickpocket stat of any potential Follower.
  • Gentle Giant: A bear of a man, but he's also one of the friendliest Companions the Dovahkiin encounters and is quick to accept him/her into the group (especially compared to his brother, who isn't convinced you're good enough).
  • Meaningful Name: Hungarian for "wolf".
  • Mr. Fanservice: Has his share of fangirls among the community.
  • Perma-Stubble
  • Stone Wall: He's the Master trainer for the Heavy Armor skill.
  • Why Does It Have To Be Spiders?: Becomes afraid of frostbite spiders after a mission.

Vilkas

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Voiced by: Michael Gough

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Twin brother to Farkas, a more contemplative and thoughtful counterpart to his twin.

  • Badass
  • BFS: His default weapon, like his brother. He's also the Companion's designated Two-Handed Weapons trainer, so he can even teach you a thing or two about over-sized weaponry. He's also seen lecturing the other members on the finer points of two-handers.
  • Cynical Mentor: He tells Kodlak when you first join the Companions that you don't seem Companion material. If you're perform especially well against him (i.e. deal a lot of damage), he compliments your combat prowess greatly, however. And at the end of the Companions Questchain, he accepts you as Harbinger, with the knowledge that you're an especially good fighter.
  • Different As Night and Day: The smarter of the twins, he is prone to and fearful of succumbing to the more savage urges of lycanthropy.
  • Flat Earth Atheist: While his religious beliefs aren't deeply expanded upon, he makes it clear that he doesn't give a damn about the worship of Talos being outlawed, which is his reason for remaining neutral on the civil war (aside from the Companion Tradition of not getting involved in politics). As he puts it, "Who cares who worships which dead gods? Give me a reason to draw my sword!".
    • Yet, there is a copy of Nords Arise! in his room, hinting that he may be a Stormcloak sympathizer and may be resentful of the Talos ban. That or he just reads whatever he gets his hands on.
  • Genius Bruiser: He's said to have the intellect of Ysgramor.
  • Heroic BSOD: After his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, he realized that it was not how Kodlak would have wanted, and was overwhelmed by his guilt and sadness that he can't follow the player character and others into the tomb.
  • The Lancer: For you should you join the Companions. He also seems to be your second-in-command when you're Harbinger.
  • Meaningful Name: Lithuanian for "wolf". Also Finnish and Hungarian for 'lively', ironically.
  • Perma-Stubble
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Kodlak was killed by the Silver Hand, he and the player character set off to recover the stolen artifacts and went on a rampage on the Silver Hand encampment.

Skjor

  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Not seen, but apparently, he and Kodlak once defeated 101 orc berserkers in battle together, according to Ria. He claims it was more like 40.
  • Bald of Awesome
  • Blood Brothers: He's stood side by side in battle with every member of the companions, and trusts each of them with his life, which is more than he can say about the family that raised him. As he puts it, "The bonds of sweat are stronger than those of blood."
  • Cursed with Awesome: Like Aela, he embraces lycanthropy despite Kodlak's concerns.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him
  • Leeroy Jenkins: He dies after charging into a Silver Hand encampment and getting in over his head.
  • Meaningful Name: Skjor is Norwegian for 'fragile'. Guess how long he lasts in this quest chain.

Njada Stonearm

  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Favors a sword and shield combo, and trains in the blocking skill.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Apparently, she and Athis just don't like each other. When you first enter Jorrvaskr, they start to brawl, and she ends up beating the hell out of him. By the comments made by some of the other companions who are watching, this is a fairly regular occurrence.
  • Tsundere: Type A. Her usual reactions to you aren't all that friendly, but every now and then, you can spot the nice. Especially if you marry her, in which case pretty much all the jerk in her dissolves... for you, at least. She's rather schizophrenic about it. After becoming the Harbinger, she sarcastically asks about what guidance you can offer her. When you press E to talk with her, she genuinely calls you a true and great friend.

Ria

Before you came along, she was the newest member of the Companions.

  • Naive Newcomer: Also a Wide-Eyed Idealist. She has quite an idealistic view about the Companions, mostly because she grew up hearing legendary tales about them. She's also the newest member of the group (other than you).
  • Psycho Lesbian: Apparently, there's a glitch that causes her to attack you if you marry Aela. Fandom's chosen to interpret this as her being in love with Aela and trying to kill you in a fit of jealously. There are some subtle hints that she might be into Aela, though its hard to tell if it's Les Yay or hero worship.
  • Token Minority: The only Imperial in the group.

Athis

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Voiced by: Keith Szarabajka

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A Dunmeri bladesman, making him an oddity in the almost entirely Nordic ranks of the Companions.

  • Arrogant Kung Fu Guy: Fairly subtle about it, but when discussing weapon preferences with Torvar, he claims he could strike the Nord several times before he finished his swing.
  • Knife Nut: Prefers shortblades. Gets into arguments with other Companions over their effectiveness.
  • Token Minority

Torvar

A junior member of the Companions who is in it more for the mead-drinking than the fighting.

  • The Alcoholic
  • Blood Knight: Despite joining up for no other reason than to pay off his debts, he does enjoy the combat aspect of his provision as much as the next Nord.

Tilma the Haggard

The housekeeper for Jorrvaskr for as long as anyone can remember. Not officially a member of the Companions, but still a close confidante.

Eorlund Gray-Mane

The master blacksmith who works the legendary Sky Forge, which is capable of creating steel of exquisite quality. Also not an actual member but a supporter.

  • Badass: Reforging the legendary axe of the father of the Nordic people and one of the mightiest weapons of Tamriel perhaps qualifies you for this.
  • Badass Beard
  • Badass Grandpa: Eorlund will not hesitate to help you take out the guards if they're after you.
  • The Blacksmith: Considered by most to be the finest in Skyrim, and by some to be the finest in Tamriel. Though at least one of his competitors mentions that while Eorlund is exceptionally skilled, working the Sky Forge gives him an unfair advantage.
  • Cool Old Guy: Offers the player advice on how to handle themselves in the Companions, telling them not do whatever they're told just because they're the new meat.
  • Jerkass: Can come off as a bit of this at times when responding to questions he finds obvious.
  • The Ultimate Blacksmith: After Kodlak's funeral he reforges Wuuthrad, fabled axe of Ysgramor, founder of the Companions. He's also the master smithing trainer.
    • Also runs The Ultimate Forge: after the final Companion quest, the Skyforge can forge a unique set of equipment and weapons.

The Dark Brotherhood

The Evilly Affable followers of Sithis and the Night Mother. This once infamous order of assassins has fallen on hard times. Only one Sanctuary remains in all of Tamriel, and the Night Mother has fallen silent since the last Listener died. Without her, Black Sacraments have gone unheard, forcing the order to physically scour for those seeking contracts. A new Listener would turn things around, or the wrong person can destroy the organization forever....

The Night Mother

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Voiced by: Lani Minella

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The true leader of the Dark Brotherhood, but she only communicates with her chosen Listener.

Astrid

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Voiced by: Cindy Robinson

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Matron of the Falkreath Sanctuary and de-facto leader of the Dark Brotherhood with the Night Mother silent.

  • Affably Evil: Yes, she is an unrepentant murderess, but she genuinely loves her adopted family.
  • Control Freak: She is "Matron" of the Dark Brotherhood and dislikes the idea of a Listener usurping her authority.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: For all her flaws, she does genuinely love her fellow assassins with the exception of Cicero. Hell, she's even married to one!
  • Flat Earth Atheist: She doesn't put much stock in the Night Mother despite worshipping Sithis and living in a world full of active gods. Then again, this is mostly due to her being a Control Freak who doesn't want to be overthrown.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: She sells out the Dovahkiin to Commander Maro in order to save the Sanctuary. It doesn't work.
  • If You're So Evil Eat This Kitten: She initiates the Dragonborn by forcing him/her to kill one of three bound and gagged individuals. The player can either do so (not that they're particularly likeable people) or kill Astrid instead, which will change the questline to destroying the Dark Brotherhood.
    • Extra funny in that the victims are a terrified mercenary named "Fultheim the Fearless", a jerkass Nord woman, and an incredibly calm and downright hilarious Khajiit gangster.
  • My God What Have I Done?: When found dying as a burnt husk, Astrid shows deep regret for betraying the Dragonborn as it led to most of the Brotherhood being wiped out and apologizes to them after explaining herself, offering herself up as a sacrifice to the Night Mother.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves
  • Suicide by Cop: Following Commander Maro's attack and her Heel Realization, she uses her horribly burned body as a Black Sacrament to put a contract on herself.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Sells the player out to Commander Maro, expecting him to leave the Dark Brotherhood alone forever in return. After having his son killed.
  • Unholy Matrimony: She's married to Arnbjorn, though she doesn't like talking about to avoid showing favoritism.
  • The Uriah Gambit

Arnbjorn

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Voiced by: Popeye Vogelsang

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Husband of Astrid and gruff werewolf assassin.

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"Here's all you need to know: I'm a werewolf. I like killing things. I love Astrid. I hate annoying people. And the color blue gives me a headache."

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  • Big Badass Wolf
  • Blood Knight: To the point that his bloodlust was too much for the Companions.
  • The Brute: Surprisingly so, as one would expect him to be The Dragon given that he's married to Astrid. She doesn't like to play favorites though.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: He goes barefoot everywhere. Most likely due to his lycanthropy.
  • Expy: He's similar to M'raaj-Dar in Oblivion, in that it takes a while for him to warm up to you. He also dies in the end.
  • Killed Off for Real
  • Last Stand
  • The Nicknamer: He tends to refer to you as food, like "Beef Roast", "Ham Shank" or "Morsel", though he states he doesn't mean anything by it since he sees everyone as food.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Not for the Dark Brotherhood, obviously, but he used to be this for the Companions. Eventually, they kicked him out over it.
  • Unholy Matrimony: He's married to Astrid.

Nazir

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Voiced by: Erik Todd Dellums

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A Redguard assassin who helps manage contracts.

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Nazir: Congratulations. You slaughtered an emaciated beggar in cold blood. You are truly an opponent to be feared.

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Nazir: Of course the miner is dead, I've heard their industry is rather... cut throat! And those hours? Murder. I can keep this up all day.

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Babette

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Voiced by: Harley Graham

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A vampire of three hundred years who uses her child-like appearance to her advantage.

  • Creepy Child: She was turned into a vampire when she was ten years old. Also keeps a Frostbite Spider as a pet.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Her preferred tactic when assassinating is to pretend to be a normal innocent child.
  • Infant Immortality: Both literally and figuratively. She doesn't even show up if you decide to "Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!" route.
  • Karma Houdini: Due to the fact children can't be killed in the game, if you decide to wipe out the Dark Brotherhood, she doesn't appear, and presumably escapes justice.
  • Master Poisoner: The master trainer for Alchemy.
  • Our Vampires Are Different
  • Really 700 Years Old: She's over three hundred on account of her vampirism.

Veezara

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Voiced by: Renee Victor

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An Argonian assassin from the extinct Shadowscale order.

Gabriella

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Voiced by: Julianne Buescher

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A Dunmer assassin of "simple, yet refined tastes".

Festus Krex

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Voiced by: Jim Cummings

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An elder assassin who believes that there's a spell for every circumstance.

  • Berserk Button: When this man says he wants his bath water tepid, he means tepid. His wife found out the hard way that lukewarm is not tepid.
  • Evil Sorceror
  • Expy: Of Gogron gro-Bolmog, the orc member of Oblivion's Dark Brotherhood. Like Gogron, Festus urges the player to forgo the traditional methods of assassination (stealth, daggers, etc) in favor of a more direct and gruesome approach. In his case, magic instead of a hammer.
  • For Science!: Was formerly a professor at the College of Winterhold before he decided that he wished to explore the "intricacies" of the Destruction school. Specifically, making spells that killed in more gruesome ways.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Describes himself as the "cranky old uncle" of the Dark Brotherhood family.
  • Killed Off for Real
    • Alas, Poor Villain: His end is rather brutal: he's tied to a tree and shot by what seems to be a hundred arrows.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer: He appreciates the stealth aspect of assassination, but he prefers to simply walk up to the target, politely introduce himself, and melt their face off.
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Do what I do. Walk up to your target, introduce yourself, melt their skin off and then run like the wind. Works every time.

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Cicero

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Voiced by: Andrew Morris

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A psychotic jester who brings the Night Mother's coffin to the Falkreath Sanctuary.

  • Beware the Silly Ones: He can be encountered on the road with a broken wagon. If you convince a farmer suspicious of him to have him arrested, said farmer will end up dead.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: It's possible to encounter him (and his "passenger") on the road long before you ever join the Dark Brotherhood.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The only Dark Brotherhood member who still cares about the Night Mother, regularly attempting to communicate with her.
    • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Unfortunately for Cicero, he isn't the Listener. He takes it well when the true Listener is revealed though.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He manages to incapacitate Arnbjorn with just his knife.
  • The Fool: He even refers to himself as the Fool of Hearts.
  • Knife Nut: His preferred weapon is a simple knife.
  • Nice Hat: It's a jester's hat, of course.
  • Sanity Slippage: His journals reveal that years of obsessively watching over the Night Mother without ever once being named Listener or encountering a Listener while the Dark Brotherhood collapsed all around him really took their toll on his mind.
  • Third Person Person: He slips in and out of this rather inconsistently. It helps he's completely mad.
  • Villainous Harlequin: The persona is partly due to a Jester that was his last contract before becoming the Keeper, which combined with the above experience eventually came to haunt him.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit

The Spectral Assassin

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Voiced by: Wes Johnson

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An ancient assassin which you call forth from the Void. He is actually Lucien Lachance, the Champion of Cyrodil's mentor from Oblivion.

  • Axe Crazy: While Lucien Lachance could hardly be considered a man of peace, he seems to have entirely dispensed with the "stealth" aspect of his vocation after becoming one with the Void. He will not sneak when the player does and will instead draw attention to himself by eagerly charging at any nearby enemy with only a knife.
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"Perhaps we should find... a random stranger to murder! Practice does make perfect..."

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  • Belated Happy Ending: Despite his rather horrific end in Oblivion, he's deemed important and loyal enough to Sithis and The Night Mother to endure beyond death, likely because the Night Mother herself vouched for his devotion to the Black Hand.
  • Blood Knight: "I grow restless... as does my blade."
  • Came Back Wrong: He's... certainly less 'collected than he was in the last game.
  • Captain Ersatz: He is, essentially, an evil Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Fearless Undead: "There is no pain in the Void!"
  • I Am Who?: Lucien Lachance.
  • Implacable Man: Of a sort. He will assist you until he falls, and can be summoned again if he does.
  • Large Ham: I LIVE AGAIN!
  • Motor Mouth: A variant of this trope in that while Lucien's speech is still perfectly coherent and steady, he never shuts up. He'll go off on an echoing deep-voiced tangent about past events or enacting violence (or both) in any location he accompanies you to without being prompted, even in the middle of a falmer/draugr-infested dungeon or a conversation with another NPC. This wouldn't be too much of a problem... until you've heard "the tale of Mathieu Bellamont and the great treachery of Cheydinhal" for the millionth time. So much for preferring the "symphony of death".
    • It's gotten to the point where players have written guides on how to "kill" him without incurring a penalty for it.
  • Pet the Dog:
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Shadowmere... my old and dear friend.

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Shadowmere

The undead horse of Astrid and a few other Dark Brotherhood members before her, who is loaned out to the player character after a few missions and eventually becomes theirs.

The College of Winterhold

Savos Aren

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Voiced by: Keith Silverstein

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  • The Archmage
  • Break the Cutie: Savos was very eager and energetic to explore the Labyrinthian; by the end, not so much.
  • Dark Secret: When he was a young mage, he and several other students of the College ventured into Labyrinthian seeking the Staff of Magnus. They found it... in the hands of an ancient, powerful, undead Dragon Priest named Morokei, whom they awakened with their presence, and Savos ended up sacrificing his two surviving colleagues - the others having died on the way - to keep Morokei down there, before escaping the dungeon empty-handed and alone. When the Dovahkiin follows in his footsteps, Morokei firsts assumes s/he must be Savos. No one at the College seems to know that Savos ever did such a thing.
  • Killed Off for Real

Mirabelle Ervine

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Voiced by: Mozhan Marnò

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Tolfdir

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Voiced by: George Coe

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The Alteration specialist in the college's faculty.

J'Zargo

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Voiced by: André Sogliuzzo

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A Khajit apprentice in the same class as you in the College of Winterhold.

  • Anti-Hero: Type III.
  • The Archer: Has a bow for when he needs to sneak around.
  • Arrogant Kung Fu Guy
  • Badass: The only follower capable of leveling up with you all the way to level 81.
  • Five-Finger Discount: He seeks anything that will help him become a better mage. Preferably things that are small enough to fit in pockets and will not be missed.
  • Genius Ditz: If it doesn't involve magically induced carnage, he doesn't have an opinion on it.
  • Jack of All Stats: He has decent stats in several areas, along with mastery of others.
    • Master of None: Averted. At level 81, he's maxed out in Destruction, Illusion, Heavy Armor and One-Handed.
  • Magic Knight: Skilled in heavy armor and one handed weapons, he can take damage as well as he can dish it out.
  • Master of Illusion: The highest Illusion stat of any follower in the game.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: It's impossible to tell if he's an impulsive idiot, or cleverly exploiting the reputation Khajiit have for being a bit dim.
  • Playing with Fire: His quest involves testing out some flame cloak spells he devised, on undead. Spells that take off a significant chunk of the user's health in the process, by way of explosion.
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J'Zargo: Did you try them? Were they magnificent?
Dovahkiin: Were they supposed to explode? Because they exploded.

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Brelyna Maryon

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Voiced by: Corri English

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A fellow apprentice you meet in your first class at the College Of Winterhold.

  • The Archer: Due to her reluctance to engage in head-on combat, she is fond of pulling out the bow and arrow.
  • Baleful Polymorph: See below.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: When you offer to be her testing dummy for spells, she'll first turn you green (you'll see everything through a green filter, too). You have to wait for it to wear off. In her next experiment, she accidentally turns you into a cow. And then a horse. And a dog. Then she fixes it and apologises profusely.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Avoids rushing into combat in favour of using summons, subterfuge and defensive magic.
  • Cute Witch: In contrast to the rather dour, world-weary attitude of most dark elf NPC's, she has an innocent and sunny demeanour.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: One of the Dovahkiin's possible reactions to the spell-testing ordeal.
  • Royal Blood: She's a descendant of House Telvanni, one of the Great Houses of Morrowind. She mentions that at home, her lineage causes others to put a great deal of pressure on her to excel and she prefers the more relaxed, study-focused atmosphere of the college.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Her reason for being at the college.

Onmund

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Voiced by: Jason Marsden

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Arniel Gane

  • Awesome Yet Practical: A formidable ranged battlemage that can be summoned at Apprentice-level for no magicka cost, no cooldown, is quite resistant to both physical and magical damage and has an AI that keeps enemies at a distance while constantly zapping them with streams of lightning. Having trouble with Malyn Varen's Dremora minions in Azura's Star? Pop in Arniel, sit back and watch the light show.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Despite having access to destruction spells, if he finds himself in combat before his transformation into a shade, he tends to end up trying to punch his opponents to death.
  • Came Back Wrong: Seems to have lost his mind or is in pain as a Shade, with his only lines of dialogue being groans and a desire to end life.
  • Freak Magical Accident: The conclusion of his quest-line sees him smacking at a Warped Soul Gem with Keening and subsequently vanishing in a small explosion... only to turn up in the player's spell inventory as a summon.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different
  • Shock and Awe: Prefers to dual-cast shock spells Sith Lightning-style as a Shade, though he also throws fireballs on occasion.

Enthir

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Voiced by: Stephen Russell

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A shady black-market dealer on the campus.

  • Chain of Deals: In a small way, since he has a personal rule about never, ever going back on a deal. As in, if you traded something to him and now you want it back, tough. You should have thought of that before you made the deal. However, if someone else makes a trade for the object and then gives it back to you, he doesn't mind... which leads to the Dovahkiin running around doing favours for Enthir to get things he's traded to others so s/he can give them back to their owners.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: If you do the College of Winterhold questline first, you can get the vibe that something's up with this guy. Then, if you do the Thieves Guild...
  • Friend in the Black Market: He has connections with the Thieves Guild and will even act as a fence for stolen goods once the player gets far enough along in the Thieves Guild questline. He also sells the highly illegal and unethical Black Soul Gems.
  • Hypocrite: Will never accept refunds, but has a habit of giving powerful objects to nasty people (like vampires) and then realising that was probably a bad idea, which leads him to send the Dovahkiin to, typically, murder the nasty people and steal back the objects to cover his own ass. If you call him on this, he claims it's far too economically complex and subtle for you to understand. Uh huh.
  • Pet the Dog: If your Persuasion is good enough, Enthir can be convinced to make an exception for Onmund, and he returns Onmund's family heirloom free of charge. He will also help Karliah decode Gallus' journal for free to uncover the truth behind his departed friend's murder, and reminiscence fondly and sadly about how he and Gallus met.

Faralda

The go-to elf for everything Destruction.

Phinnis Gestor

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Voiced by: Keith Silverstein

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The college's Conjuration-specialized faculty member.

  • Necromancer: Implied somewhat: he's the master of the conjuration school, which includes necromancy spells, and promises you that if you die on college grounds, he'll make sure your remains are put to good use.
  • Noodle Incident: One in Morthal, which he insists was a misunderstanding despite what the guards claim.
  • Summon Magic: He specializes in the school of Conjuration, and he is the one who sells you Master level Conjuration spells after you do the necessary quest.

Colette Marence

Resident Restoration expert at the college.


Urag gro-Shub

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Voiced by: Noah Nelson

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The librarian of the College.

  • Badass Bookworm
  • Mr. Exposition: Unsurprisingly, he's the go-to guy when it comes to the Elder Scroll and will at least lead you to the right direction.
  • Scary Librarian
  • Serious Business: Is fiercely devoted to his duties tending to books and threatens to have you torn apart by Atronachs if you damage them.

The Augur of Dunlain

A former member of the College, now some sort of... thing living in the caves beneath the College.

The Thieves' Guild

Brynjolf

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Voiced by: Robin Atkin Downes

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  • Big Brother Mentor
  • Jerkass: Can come off to be this when he is first encountered, but he's more like a...
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: With a side of Punch Clock Villain. He'll sing your praises to a skeptical Mercer and the rest of the Guild, especially if you do well on the jobs he assigns. He will also come looking for you after you and Mercer go missing, according to Vekel.
  • Loveable Rogue
  • Number Two: To both Mercer Frey and you, once you run the guild. He does the more day-to-day things while the Guild Master plots big jobs and makes big decisions with the input of the rest of the Guild.
  • Sink or Swim Mentor: To even talk to him, you have to participate in a scheme of his by planting some evidence while he creates a distraction. His next test is sending you into the Ratways, Riften's filth-, crime- and pest-ridden sewers, to find the Guild hideout (and no, he does not give directions). If you succeed though, he's impressed and becomes much friendlier toward you.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: His method (before your arrival) of getting funds for the Guild. That's how low they've sunk.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Becomes a Nightingale along with the Dovahkiin.
  • Unexplained Accent: Despite being a Nord, he speaks with what seems to be a mild Scottish accent which no other character possesses. Might be a reference to Morrowind and Redguard, in which Nords had Scottish accents (particularly in Redguard).

Mercer Frey

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Voiced by: Stephen Russell

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Current Guild Master, with a few insights into why the organization hasn't been doing so well lately. Witnessed the murder of the last Guild Master, Gallus, and harbors an intense grudge toward the perpetrator, who hasn't been seen since. Lies. He's the murderer and determined to wipe out the only witness before leaving the rest of the Guild to rot while he makes off with all their treasure.

  • Big Bad: Of the Thieves' Guild questline.
  • Blood Knight: Judging by his fight dialogue, he really likes killing things. He'll even be vaguely disappointed if it's over too quickly.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: When you search his house, you can find a shopping list that includes "Bread, Eggs, Milk, Cauterizing Agent..."
  • Broken Pedestal
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Apparently the true power of Nocturnal's Skeleton Key. Most thieves just think of it as a simple lockpick (and, indeed, this is all the Player Character can use it for), but the Key unlocks everything that can be unlocked, including the true limits of human potential. Mercer demonstrates this at one point when he single-handedly knocks down a multi-ton stone column to bar your path.
  • Cynical Mentor: He doesn't have the faith in you that Brynjolf does and is more occupied by his own business, but he'll eventually see your worth.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
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Mercer Frey: Ah, it's one of the infamous Nordic puzzle doors. How quaint.

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  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Stole the Skeleton Key to empty the Guild Vaults and in doing betrayed Nocturnal, daedric prince of shadows and patron of thieves despite being pledged to serve her in both life and death. The Key's powers also allow Mercer to freely abuse all three of the Agent of Nocturnal powers (as seen in the final confrontation with him) in further defiance of Nocturnal's rules.
  • Dual-Wielding: A sword and a dagger.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Defied Trope. Mercer mocks the idea that the Thieves' Guild is anything more than a den of thieves and ne'erdowells and claims that it's a delusion to believe otherwise. You can agree or disagree, but you kill him anyway.
  • Expy: My, Garrett has certainly gotten older. And grumpier. And of course, he also stole a priceless artifact known as the Eye. Although even he wasn't this much of a dick.
  • Jerkass: Snappish, condescending and dismissive of the Dovahkiin even if s/he's proven their worth repeatedly. He makes it clear that he'd prefer not to have to deal with him/her at all outside necessity, and the other thieves comment on his temper with the implication that the Guild's decline is taking its toll on him which is true, in a sense, since he caused it and has spent two decades fruitlessly pursuing the only obstacle to his getting away with it.
  • Not So Different: When you confront him in the last mission, he'll claim that both you and he are opportunists that willfully lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want.
  • Perpetual Frowner: His face seems locked in a permanent scowl. Understandable, given recent events.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids: Tries to psyche out the Dovahkiin with a speech along these lines: they're all thieves, after all, and there's no honour among thieves. You can dismiss his argument or even agree, but either way, he attacks you and dies.

Karliah

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Voiced by: Moira Quirk

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Murderer, traitor to the Guild, and the reason for its decline. Whereabouts unknown. Until you find her and get her side of the story, anyway.

  • The Archer: Poisons and arrows are her foremost weapons; she's incredibly skilled with both.
  • Classy Cat Burglar: Definitely has this vibe.
  • Deal with the Devil: She explains very explicitly that this is the relationship the Nightingales have with Nocturnal, not worship. Most thieves aren't good at religion, but they understand contracts.
  • Fall Guy: For Mercer.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: After she and the spirit of Gallus say their goodbyes, and he moves on to serve Nocturnal, she returns to her old profession to honour him (and also because money's nice; she is a thief, and regaining her powers as a Nightingale have just made the job a whole lot more lucrative).
  • Honey Trap: Mercer theorises this was how she got close enough to Gallus to kill him. He's lying. She loved him.
  • Interspecies Romance: She's a Dunmer, Gallus was an Imperial, and they were lovers.
  • My Greatest Failure: Mercer believes his was letting her escape after Gallus' murder. She believes falling in love with Gallus was hers. It distracted them both and allowed Mercer to get the drop on Gallus.
  • Purple Eyes: Notable because every single other Dunmer has blood-red eyes. May be partly due to her:
  • Royal Blood: She's the granddaughter of Queen Barenziah, if Gallus' books are to be trusted.
  • Staged Shooting: A variant with a poisoned arrow. You catch it in the chest, your vision blurs, you fall over. Turns out it was just a paralytic. Then Mercer pops up and stabs you while you're paralyzed. Then it turns out that the paralytic prevented you bleeding out from the stab wound, and Karliah just blew decades of planning to save your life.
  • Tranquil Fury: Outwardly, she's probably one of the calmest, most level-headed characters associated with the Thieves Guild questline. She almost never raises her voice. Her hatred for Mercer Frey, however, seethes.
  • Turn Out Like Her Grandmother: Karliah's Mother and grandfather were both Nightingales. Her Grandmother Barenziah was also a member of Riften's thieves guild according to "The Real Barenziah".
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: A great believer in this school of thought. Ideally the victim's first clue she's there should be finding an arrow sticking out of his throat.

Gallus Desidenius

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Voiced by: Craig Sechler

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The previous Guild Master. His death by betrayal is a big factor in the Guild's current fractured, declining state.

  • Dead Person Conversation
  • Gentleman Thief: As per his relationship with counterpart Classy Cat Burglar Karliah. So charming, he was more than once caught in the act of robbing someone and ended up becoming that person's best friend. Most of the contacts the Guild had came from him because he had such a diverse set of acquaintances, and when he died, all those contacts dried up.
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason he died. He came too close to working out where all Mercer's sudden wealth was coming from. The Dovahkiin very nearly suffers the same fate when s/he finds out who really murdered Gallus.
  • Interspecies Romance: Was an Imperial in a relationship with a Dunmer.
  • Minored in Asskicking: A thief through and through, but also a scholar, historian and linguist. It helped in plotting heists. He learned an entire extinct, forgotten language so he could write his journal in it and also wrote and published actual books. He even discovered the existence of the Nightingales and learned how to become one more or less single-handed, bringing Mercer and Karliah along for the ride.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: They're souls given access to the mortal realm through the Ebonmere, in fact. And called Spectral Guardians. Every Nightingale serves a time after death in this state before moving on.
  • Posthumous Character
  • Spirit Advisor: For the Dovahkiin in the Twilight Sepulcher.
  • Together in Death: Though he's still dead and the reopening of the Ebonmere means he has to move on and become "one with the shadows", he assures Karliah he'll be waiting for her when she passes too.
  • Unfinished Business: The last of the Spectral Guardians in the Twilight Sepulcher who hasn't faded away or gone nuts. This is mostly why.

Delvin Mallory

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Voiced by: Enn Reitel

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One of two members of the Guild that hands special assignments to the player. Also an old friend of Astrid in the Dark Brotherhood and the Guild's main contact between the two factions.

  • Affably Evil: You don't get to be that familiar with the Dark Brotherhood without having done something nasty. Also, if you request a Torture Chamber for the Dawnstar Sanctuary at the end of the Dark Brotherhood questline, he seems oddly pleased by that particular response.
  • Big Brother Mentor: He really likes to make the player feel right at home. And when you finish your last special assignment to restore the Guild to full strength, he will admit to you that you are the best thief in the Guild. Of course, he tells you he'll deny that if you tell anybody else.
  • Covert Pervert: A note from Vex on the table where you speak with him warns this "Master of Sneaking" in no uncertain terms that if he tries to watch her bathing again, she'll... cut off something valuable.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Everybody in the Guild thought Delvin was a little loopy for suggesting there was some sort of "curse" on the Guild that made their big jobs fail. Then you find out about the Twilight Sepulcher, and realize that he was just Genre Savvy.
  • Hidden Depths: Aside from the aforementioned note, the quote after Mercer betrays the Guild indicates that he may have been a Dark Brotherhood member at some point, but quit due to a similar betrayal.
  • Stealth Expert: He's the Master trainer for the Sneak skill.
  • Stock British Phrases: He's a fountain of these.
  • Unexplained Accent: Like Brynjolf, he has a unique accent for some reason. Then again, it might have something to do with him being a Breton.

Vex

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Voiced by: Kari Wahlgren

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The infiltration expert of the Guild, and the second member that hands special jobs to the player.

  • Action Girl: Held off three wolves by herself until a guy showed up to help. After he did, she then tried to mug him for his money. Afterwards...
  • Defeat Means Friendship: ...When they fought to a standstill, she offered him to join the Guild without a word otherwise or an apology. So more like "draw means friendship".
  • Dude Magnet: The male members of the Guild tend to hit on her an awful lot despite her verbally flaying them alive every single time.
  • Hot Amazon: One quote sums it up.
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"I wouldn't want to fight Vex again, but I wouldn't mind a tussle with her."

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Sapphire

  • Broken Bird: Doesn't let anyone get too close, and still has issues dealing with the tragedy of her past.
  • Known Only By Their Nickname: When asked about her real name, she comments that she might tell you someday, but not today.
  • Loan Shark: Takes advantage of a Hammerfell immigrant by loaning him money to make a delivery, attacking the caravan, then bullying the immigrant to pay back the money loaned.
  • Rape as Backstory: Mention that she's never told you her name, and she will tell you the story of how she was kidnapped by bandits and raped for a fortnight before gaining their trust and slitting their throats as they slept.

Vipir the Fleet

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Voiced by: Michael Gough

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  • Embarrassing Nickname: Ask him about his nickname and he will tell you the story of how he and Vex once robbed a house in Winterhold, only to walk out of it and into the waiting arms of the guards because their client had sold them out. Vex gave the guards the slip and disappeared, and Vipir ran right out of Winterhold and all the way south, on foot, to Riften... and discovered Vex had beat him there because she'd remembered her horse and he hadn't. After that, they started calling him Vipir the Fleet.

Cynric Endell

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Voiced by: Stephen Russell

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  • Affably Evil: He's a very nice guy, accepting of the Dragonborn from the moment they join up, willing to give advice freely. He also mentions that before he joined the guild, he worked as a jail breaker, getting arrested and then breaking out. He mentions that a good portion of his jobs were subcontracted by the Dark Brotherhood, and expresses no moral qualms about having killed people for a living. He also explains that the only reasons he joined up with the Thieve's Guild instead of the Dark Brotherhood was because it was less risk for more pay.
  • Expy: Even more so than Mercer Frey. Wears a hood that covers half his face, while his vocal pitch and facial features (what little of them you can see past his hood) are more or less identical to Garrett's. He's a master locksmith who became a thief rather than an assassin because the former was more lucrative, and spent most of his early career breaking people out of prisons (on top of that, when you first walk in on him, he's standing next to a target and practicing his marksmanship).

Thrynn

  • Even Evil Has Standards: He used to be a member of a bandit clan, but had a violent disagreement with the chief when he was asked to murder some defenseless merchants after the clan had robbed them.

Dirge

The Ragged Flagon's bouncer as well as the brother of Maul, Maven Black-Briar's Dragon.

  • Jerkass: Even among a guild of thieves Dirge is ridiculously assholish as he regularly threatens to kill you for so much as looking in his direction. Even if you're the goddamned Guildmaster, he refuses to show you an ounce of respect.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Make him angry, and he'll be the last thing you ever hear.

Vald

Not technically a Guild member, but rather Mercer's loyal bodyguard. So loyal that, even after Mercer's true colors are exposed, he still tries to stop the Dragonborn from tracking him down. It turns out that this is due to a rather hefty debt he owes to Maven.

  • The Dragon: To Mercer Frey.
  • Dumb Muscle
  • Heel Face Turn: If you clear his debt to Maven by getting her a priceless item from Vald's old ship, he will happily let you investigate Mercer's house without a fight.

Thalmor

Thalmor

The Thalmor are the ruling government of the Aldmeri Dominion, which is ostensibly a confederation consisting of the Summerset Isles (renamed Alinor) and Valenwood, with the Khajiit kingdoms of Anequina and Pellitine as vassals. In reality, the Altmer of Alinor make up the majority of the Thalmor and have established a fascist government dedicated to conquering all of Tamriel. To that end, they launched the Great War against the Empire of Tamriel, inflicting massive damage across the continent. Despite ultimately being defeated and driven out, the Thalmor were able to force Emperor Titus Mede II to sign the White-Gold Concordat, banning the worship of Talos in the Empire, allowing Thalmor agents to enforce the Talos ban within the Empire, and ceding southern Hammerfell to the Dominion. They are also involved in the current civil war in Skyrim.

  • 0% Approval Rating: Even other elves in their own country hate them. They're just too damned terrified of the crazy fascist elves to do anything about it. Absolutely everyone in Skyrim hates them. So much so that brutally murdering Thalmor right in front of the Jarl of any hold will net you a tiny bounty (whether for assault or littering is up to your interpretation) which can be negated if you provoke the Thalmor into swinging first.
  • Batman Gambit: Pulled one off in Skyrim. Having intimate knowledge of Ulfric's psyche due to his time as a POW, they are able to goad him into committing seditious acts against the Empire in their bid to weaken it. He may not be a Manchurian Agent, but he's still their Unwitting Pawn. Elenwen's attendance in the peace talks in the "Season Unending" talk can be seen as an attempt to sabotage the peace talks by antagonizing Ulfric, since peace in Skyrim is bad for the Thalmor's plans.
  • Bigger Bad: They're (probably) not bigger than Alduin, but they are bigger than the opposing side of the civil war questline, being the ultimate source of the conflict and the bigger and truly evil enemy to both sides (even if the Empire is more reluctant to acknowledge it).
  • Butt Monkey: Because of just about every other trope listed here, the Thalmor almost universally find themselves on the bad side of every player's Dovahkiin.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: In-universe recognition and perception of this is part of what led to the Skyrim civil war. Ulfric can argue with elves. More importantly, so can the Dovahkiin.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Detailed in one note in the Thalmor Embassy.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: They first came to power by claiming to have saved the Summerset Isles from the Oblivion Crisis when the Daedra attacking it suddenly disappeared as a result of Martin Septim's Heroic Sacrifice against Mehrunes Dagon. They may (it's not revealed whether the Thalmor were responsible for removing and returning the moons or not) have done something similar when the moons disappeared, throwing the Khajiit of Elsewyr into chaos; when the moons returned two years later, the Thalmor claimed they were responsible for restoring them through powerful magic, which instantly ingratiated them with the Khajiit.
  • Fantastic Racism: Even to other elves. One account indicates that the Altmer in Alinor breed like rabbits because the Thalmor are so obsessed with racial purity that they kill nine out of ten newborns for not meeting their standards. They conducted massive purges of Valenwood's population, and they consider humans to be little more than dogs to be either leashed or slaughtered. It turns out that they're using their reputation for Fantastic Racism as a Red Herring. Everyone assumes tha the Thalmor banned Talos worship because they hate the idea of an ascendant human deity. In truth, they banned Talos because he's holding the world together, and they want to destroy the world.
  • Jerkass
  • Magic Knight: Just about all Thalmor troops can use magic as well as fight in melee. If disarmed, they'll whip out a Bound Sword.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Thalmor are not actually all that impressive as a military force, being defeated by the Empire and eventually the weakened Hammerfell cities in their occupied territories. However, they are masters at intelligence and covert operations and at manipulating other factions from behind the scenes. This was how they managed to first come to power and take Valenwood and Elsewyr, as well as how they managed to wipe out the Blades. Many suspect that the real goal of the Great War was to disrupt relations between Hammerfell and the Empire, and the subsequent Skyrim civil war was masterminded by them as well.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Their ultimate goal is to unmake all of existence, believing that they are cursed with mortal forms by Lorkhan when he made Nirn. Since Talos is critical to the continued existence of Nirn, they want to kill him. Stamping out Talos worship weakens him considerably. Though from an in-universe perspective, these goals themselves are not necessarily bad. It's just the methods they are using.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Their opinion on themselves in general. Everyone else, even other elves, disagree.
  • The Purge: At least one survivor of a Valenwood purge agrees to help the Dragonborn break into the embassy because the Thalmor murdered his family.
  • Putting on the Reich: Their robes more than generally resemble Nazi stormcoats.
  • Red Herring: Delphine believes they are behind the dragon attacks. They're not.
  • Screw You, Elves: Everyone, even Bethesda. One dev wanted to put in an "elf grinder" trap that would turn them into sparkly purple powder. "Because they deserve it". They even now provide the image for this trope... in a way.
  • State Sec: Though after the Great War, the Thalmor are struggling to rebuild their military, with much of their invasion force utterly wiped out in the Battle of the Red Ring and subsequent heavy losses in Hammerfell. They don't have the numbers for overt action.... yet.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Their goals are the destruction of Mundus and a return to the original state of existence, a goal which about half the cultures of Tamriel would support. Unfortunately, their current method requires the removal of humanity from the mythic. However, it is possible that the souls of the dead humans would return to the original state along with everyone else, consider their is no such thing as a "human" soul. There is nothing to excuse the fact that they are Nazis By Another Name though.

Elenwen

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voiced by: Jean Gilpin

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Emissary of the Thalmor to the region of Skyrim. Also Ulfric's former interrogator when he was a POW of the Thalmor during the Great War.

  • Ass in Ambassador: Sort of. She is a bit condescending, of course, but she's much more pleasant about it than her immediate subordinate who flat out tells you "we are going to kill or enslave you all" at a party.
  • Bad Boss: If you are her servant, you'd better do what she says or she will send you to the torture chambers.
  • Bigger Bad: She's the leader and/or public face of all the Thalmor in Skyrim, and they're both the reason this whole mess started to begin with as well as a future possible antagonist. They haven't made any big moves yet, what with the unexpected plague of dragons, but a clash somewhere in the future is inevitable.
  • Blatant Lies: She claims that the Civil War in Skyrim is beneath the Thalmors' concern. The Dossier concerning Ulfric Stormcloak reveals that the Thalmor are very concerned about the Civil War in Skyrim and want it to remain unresolved for as long as possible. The Thalmor are also responsible for instigating the Civil War in the first place, though they are worried that Ulfric is becoming too powerful to control. They also worry about a Skyrim under Ulfric's leadership.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: She can be glimpsed briefly on horseback talking to General Tullius in Helgen. She doesn't show up until the end of the first act of the main quest.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: A veteran of this.
  • Lean and Mean
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name
  • Smug Snake: Naturally dislikes the Stormcloaks, but (like all Thalmor) has a clear disdain for their Imperial "allies".

Ondolemar

A high-ranking member of the Thalmor who works in Markarth to arrest Talos worshippers.

  • Butt Monkey: He's a Thalmor, and exceptionally assholish one at that. He's also not wearing any armor, not flagged as essential, and his quest doesn't offer much of a reward, so if you've got a spare forty septims....
  • The Dragon: To Elenwen.
  • Jerkass
  • Karmic Death: It's heavily implied he is killed when/if the Stormcloaks take control of Markarth. He disappears, and a coffin containing items he carries can be found in the Hall of the Dead.
    • Even if he isn't killed by the Stormcloaks, he can easily be killed by you by simply walking up to him and lopping off his head. Killing him and his bodyguards will set all the guards into "Stop right there criminal scum!" mode, but you only have to pay a measly forty septims for assault.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: As with all Thalmor.
  • Smug Snake: "You have the honor of addressing a member of the Thalmor. Bask in it."

Ancano

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Voiced by: Alexander Brandon

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  • Big Bad: Of the Winterhold College questline.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: He goes off the deep end very quickly after tapping into the Eye of Magus.
  • Evil Chancellor: Is evidently an adviser of Savos Aren, though you never actually see him do any actual advising.
  • Evil Sorcerer
  • Jerkass: Goes without saying: it's the natural state of mind for Thalmor lackeys.
  • Long White-Haired Pretty Boy: Ancano is male, has long white hair and is an elf. The rest follows naturally from that.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: All Thalmor are this, to a man.
  • Obviously Evil: Even in-game, nobody trusts him. Even the Altmer mages don't much like him hanging around to "observe" (though one of them does think he's rather attractive).
    • He does at least try and make some effort of hiding it, at least at first. He claims he's simply there to foster relations, that now that the great war is over the Thalmor only want to co-exist with the Empire and help Skyrim. Compared to other Thalmor who openly say that "the empire exists because we allow it to exist" and "we're totally getting ready for another attack on you guys", Ancano is downright subtle.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: He plans to use the Eye of Magnus to destroy Mundus and return all Altmer to pre-creation divinity.

Daedric Princes

Powerful god-like spirits (Daedra) who, while not involved in the creation of the world, are often involved in the affairs of mortals. Most tend to be seen as evil, though this varies between cultures. There are 17 known Daedric Princes following the events of Shivering Isles, but only 16 of them are seen in Skyrim. Note that while they may appear as male or female, Daedric Princes are beyond any such qualification.

Tropes applicable to all Daedric Princes

  • Blue and Orange Morality: Mortals tend to see them as evil or good, but Daedric Princes often insist they are far beyond these petty limits. Even the good Daedra would point out that applying human morality to beings like the Daedra operates on certain flawed assumptions.
  • Evil Is One Big Happy Family: Completely averted. Most of the Princes mortals would call evil can't stand each other. Molag Bal and Boethiah have a particularly heated rivalry.
  • Jerkass Gods: Most of them.
  • Large Ham: All of them, but especially Molag Bal, Hermaeus Mora, Sheaogorath and Meridia.
  • No Biological Sex: Being otherworldly beings, the Daedra don't really have a set biological sex. Several of them are portrayed as male or female in their descriptions and both interpretations are said to be equally valid.
  • Physical God

Azura

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Voiced by: Lynda Carter

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The Daedric Prince of Twilight, Dawn and Dusk and Prophecy. Said to be Nocturnal's sister. One of the few Daedras regarded as "good". Azura is (most likely) the one who turned the Chimer into the Dunmer when they broke their oaths. She also was behind the prophecy of the Nerevarine, which formed the plot of Morrowind. In Skyrim, Azura seeks to give the Dovahkiin her artifact, Azura's Star, a re-usable soul gem. Sadly the star has been taken and tampered with, meaning the Dovahkiin needs to recover it and fix it first...

  • Absolute Cleavage: She shows alot of cleavage on her statue. In Daggerfall, she actually went topless.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: As the loading screens note, she's one of the few Daedric Princes not considered inherently evil.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: If you choose to purify Azura's Star on your own, it becomes a re-usable black soul gem called the Black Star.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Because the Chimer's leaders betrayed her, she cursed the entire race. This being the Elder Scrolls, there is an alternate theory: she showed up to curse the leaders[6] and pointed out the Chimer had turned ashen-faced while she was at it. The fact that no explanation for why or how they were transformed was included meant she got the blame.[7] Even then, the trope still applies: the thing we know she did back then led directly and with her foreknowledge to the devastation of Morrowind.
  • Evil Pays Better: The (mostly) good end of her questline is to purify Azura's Star, receiving it as a reusable white Soul Gem and gaining Aranea Ienith as a potential follower. On the other hand, you can complete the corruption and transform it into the Black Star... which can hold all types of souls, including human. Black Soul Gems are expensive and uncommon, and humans souls produce the most effective enchantments...
  • Good Is Not Nice: That said, she is still a Daedric Prince: she always has her own agenda.

Boethiah

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Voiced by: Jean Gilpin

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Daedric Prince of Treason, Murder, Deceit, Conspiracy and the Overthrowing of Authority. Not a nice prince, although Dunmer tradition disagrees on that. Boethiah is one of two Daedric Princes who has not chosen a definitive gender (gender being a mortal construct) and appears as a woman in Skyrim. Boethiah's artifact is the Ebony Mail, a dark armor capable of poisoning those around the wearer, and able to cloak its user in shadows. Boethiah desires the elimination of his/her previous champion, but first a Human Sacrifice needs to be made.

Clavicus Vile

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Voiced by: Stephen Russell

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Daedric Prince of Pacts and Invocations. Typical "deal with the devil" kind of stuff. Clavicus is perhaps the best example of the moral complexities of Daedra. He can be very self-serving and cruel. Indeed, often he's a Jackass Genie, but he's also shown to be willing to freely reward people who work towards the greater good (as seen in Redguard and Morrowind). His good streak may be due to Barbas, his companion who takes the form of a dog, theorized to be the manifestation of his conscience. Clavicus Vile's artifact is his Masque, known to make the wearer more charismatic.

  • Be Careful What You Wish For: His stock in trade, particularly in Skyrim.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He's an awfully sarcastic god.
  • Deal with the Devil: His modus operandi.
  • Guide Dang It: In the process of obtaining the Masque, Vile sends you to obtain the Rueful Axe, which is (technically speaking) another of his artifacts. If you feel so inclined, you can give up the Masque and keep the Axe if you use it to kill Barbas. However, for the purposes of the Oblivion Walker Achievement/Trophy (obtaining all 15 Daedric artifacts), only the Masque counts. At no point is this ever hinted at, and often you won't find out about it until several hours later when you've finally gotten all the artifacts and don't have an achievement. It's especially infuriating when you consider that the Axe is a possible loading image that accompanies the loading quote about Daedric artifacts (suggesting it should be considered one), and the two other Daedric quests with multiple potential artifacts (Azura and Hircine's) don't have this problem.
  • Jackass Genie
  • Jerkass
  • Mercy Kill/You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After ridding his lair of his vampire patrons (who asked to be cured of their vampirism), he thanks the player for putting them out of their misery.
    • Exact Words: To be specific, they asked for "an end to their curse." A similar request was made by a worshipper who's daughter had become an werewolf: he asked for a way to end her curse, and Clavicus gave him an axe.
  • Morality Pet: Literally: Barbas is his external conscience.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution

Hermaeus Mora

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Voiced by: Wes Johnson

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Daedric Prince of Fate, Treasures, Knowledge (especially the forbidden kind) and Memory. Hermaeus Mora looks like some sort of Eldritch Abomination. It seeks to have the Dragonborn help his current champion open a mysterious Dwemer Box. Fittingly, its artifact is the Oghma Infinium, a tome of forbidden knowledge than can raise all the skills under a specific guardian sign.

Hircine

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Voiced by: Daniel Riordan/Craig Sechler

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Daedric Lord of the Hunt. Known for his Wild Hunts. He's also the patron of werewolves, as he created Lycantropy. It is said that werewolves join him in his hunting grounds in death. Hircine respects only strength and those who use it by showing predator-like qualities. Hircine has two artifacts: a ring that grants a boon to werewolves, and the Savior's Hide, an armor that grants resistance to poison and magic.

  • Big Bad: Of Bloodmoon.
  • Fair Play Villain: He always gives his prey a chance for victory, no matter how small it is.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game
  • Meaningful Name: The word "hircine" means "goat-like" in the English language, although Hircine's forms tend to resemble a deer moreso.
  • Pet the Dog: If you defy his orders to kill Sinding, killing the other hunters instead, Hircine considers it a feat of equal measure and lets you keep the ring Sinding stole from him.
  • The Wild Hunt

Malacath

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Voiced by: Michael Donovan

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Daedric Prince of the Spurned, the Ostracized, the Keeper of the Sworn Oath and the Bloody Curse. According to legend, Malacath was once Trinimac, a hero/ancestor spirit to the Orsimer (orcs). He was devoured by Boethiah (a deed Boethiah claims responsibility for when summoned in Skyrim) which turned him into Malacath and turned the Orsimer into what they are now. According to Sheogorath in Shivering Isles, Malacath is also not popular at parties. The orcs of Skyrim mostly live in strongholds were they follow a strict code of law given to them by Malacath, who respects strength through adversity. One such stronghold has recently lost the favor of Malacath, and they seek to know why... Malacath's artifact is Volendrung, a gigantic warhammer that drains enemy stamina.

  • All of the Other Reindeer: The rest of the Daedric pantheon doesn't consider him a real Prince. Given that he's the patron of pariahs, this is rather appropriate. As Sheogorath puts it, about Jyggalag, "Malacath is more popular at parties! And Malacath is NOT popular at parties!".
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Big believer in this.
  • BFS: Always depicted with one, which is odd as his artifacts (Scourge and Volendrung) are a mace and hammer respectively.
  • Offing the Offspring: According to the 16 Accords of Madness, Sheogorath once tricked Malacath into killing his own son, a noble orc who would have otherwise been destined to be a great hero.
  • Pet the Dog: While harsh and demanding, Malacath genuinely cares about the Orcs and Ogres who follow him, as seen by the quests he gives in Morrowind and Oblivion.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: His shrines always depict him as going sans shirt. Indeed, with the exception of Daggerfall (where he wore black leather pants), he's never depicted as wearing more than a loincloth.

Mehrunes Dagon

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Voiced by: Victor Raider-Wexler

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Daedric Prince of Destruction, Ambition and Change. One of the most hated Daedric Princes known for his multiple attempts to invade the material plane, some of them witnessed in two games of the series, Oblivion and Battlespire, where he was the Big Bad. Mehrunes Dagon will reward the player with his dagger, the Mehrunes' Razor, which has a small chance to automatically kill anything it is used against, if he completes a small task to entertain him...

Mephala

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Voiced by: Colleen Delany

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Daedric Prince whose sphere is hidden from mortals, also known as the Webspinner. Mephala is also one of the Daedric Prince whose gender changes (female voice in Skyrim). He/she seeks to return his/her artifact, the Ebony Blade, into the hands of mortals, who are so easily corrupted. The Ebony Blade is a Dai-Katana who can leech the life of enemies and allies alike, without making the later hostile.

Meridia

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Voiced by: Jean Gilpin

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Daedric Prince of Living Energies and the enemy of the undead. Generally seen as a "friendly" Daedra despite the fact that her servants, the Aurorans, helped the Ayleids oppose the revolt of humans they had enslaved. Commonly considered the least evil of the Daedric Princes, but then, nobody knows about her agenda, apart from that it obviously doesn't involve zombies. For cleansing her temple, she will gift the Dovahkiin with Dawnbreaker, a sword that causes fire damage and an explosive effect that drives away the undead.

  • Cool Sword: Dawnbreaker. A golden sword with what looks like a miniature sun embedded in the pommel (which glows brighter the closer it is to an undead unit) that sets things on fire and sometimes makes zombies explode.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Its up in the air as to just how "good" Meridia is, but she does thoroughly hate the undead and those that prey upon mortals, and entreats the Dragonborn to purge corruption from all corners of Skyrim. In her name, of course.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: One of her big defining traits. Unholy magic in general and necromancy in particular piss her off to no end.
  • The Undead: She hates undead, to the point that people know little else about her.
  • Winged Humanoid: Her statue depicts her as such. The avatar you personally encounter seems like a ball of pure white light.

Molag Bal

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Voiced by: Christopher Smith

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Molag Bal is the Daedric Prince whose sphere is the domination and enslavement of mortals. He is known as the King of Rape. It is believed that he raped a Nede (that is, ancient Nord) girl, thus creating the first vampire. His only desire is to harvest the souls of mortals and to bring mortal souls within his sway, by spreading seeds of strife and discord in the mortal realms. Helping him exact revenge on one of Boethiah's servants sees him grant the player his artifact, the Mace of Molag Bal, which drains the souls of enemies slain with it and turns them into soulstones as long as it's charged (and freaks the hell of many an NPC who witnesses it).

Namira

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Voiced by: Mozhan Marnò

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Daedric Prince of Darkness, Spirits and Decay. Namira's followers in Skyrim are cannibals. And should the player join them in partaking of a meal made from a certain priest the player provides, Namira will grant him her boon. Namira's artifact is the Ring of Namira, a ring that grants a bonus to stamina and health and stamina regeneration if one eats a corpse.

Nocturnal

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Voiced by: Lani Minella

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Daedric Prince of Shadows, Secrets, Mysteries, Suspicions and, it turns out, Luck. Said to be Azura's sister. Nocturnal is also the patron of the Thieves Guild. Nocturnal employs mortal champions known as the Nightingales who defend her temple in life and in death, before becoming one with the Ebonmere - a conduit to her realm, the Evergloam - where they may help living thieves as the luck that protects them. Nocturnal's artifact is the Skeleton Key, which can unlock any barrier physical or metaphysical, such as one's potential.

Peryite

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Voiced by: Craig Sechler

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Daedric Lord of Pestilence, also charged with ordering the lower planes of Oblivion. He sends pestilences and plagues to the mortal realm. He will gift the player with Spellbreaker, a dwemer shield capable of deflecting both swords and spells if the player tracks down and kills one of his priests who turned away from him. His favorite appearance is that of a dragon.

Sanguine

Daedric Prince of Debauchery, Hedonism and Darker Urges. He seeks to lead mortals astray by making them indulge a bit. Also something of a prankster. He will pose as a human and challenge the Dovahkiin to a drinking contest. If the Dovahkiin accepts and retraces his steps after blacking out, Sanguine rewards him for the entertainment. Sanguine's artifact is the Sanguine Rose, which can summon a powerful Dremora (a type of Daedra working for Mehrunes Dagon) to fight for the player.

  • Affably Evil
  • Big Red Devil: A common depiction of him. When revealing his true nature to the Dovahkiin, he opts for a Dremora variant.
  • Gargle Blaster: The Daedric Prince's special brew will get the better of you.
  • It Amused Me: His motivation for the whole quest.
  • Louis Cypher: As Sam Gueyenne in Skyrim.
  • Meaningful Name: The term Sanguine can mean either "cheerfully optimistic" or "bloody": the double meaning is appropriate for a prince whose realm encompasses both the light and dark sides of passion.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Since he takes the form of a Dremora.

Sheogorath

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Voiced by: Wes Johnson

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The Daedric Prince of Madness and Creativity. He shows up in a certain quest in Solitude, taking a vacation, and regales the player with his experience of the Oblivion Crisis, thinking Martin Septim is the best of the Septim bloodline (though he became a Dragon God; and that's hardly sporting; Pelagius the Mad is his second favorite for this reason). His Daedric artifact is the Wabbajack, a magic staff that, true to its creator, casts a random effect each time it's used, ranging from magical blasts to spontaneous goats to duplication to turning the target into all sorts of things. As befits, the effect is not always helpful to the caster: it may make a weak enemy much stronger or transform it into something more dangerous.

  • Be Careful What You Wish For: According to the book "Tales of Sheogorath", there was a king who banned all forms of art and celebration within his kingdom. As a result, his subjects began praying to any Gods who would listen to rescue them from their austere existence. As the Prince of both Madness and Creativity, Sheogorath heard their pleas and decided that since the king had no need of his latter gift then he would receive an overabundance of the former, causing all of the children in his Kingdom born within the next year to be irrevocably insane, including the king's own son.
  • Becoming the Mask
  • Call Back
  • Cloudcuckoolander: He is not exactly in his right mind when you meet him (on the other hand, not in his right mind is his right mind, what with being the Mad God). He's not in someone else's right mind either, for that matter.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Sheogorath is described in some sources as "a Sithis-shaped hole in the world." Either the Dread Father is far friendlier looking than one would expect, or Sheogorath is using A Form You Are Comfortable With. Or the source was speaking metaphorically.
  • Evil Twin/Gollum Made Me Do It: Initially, since he is originally the alter ego of Jyggallag that came into being when he was cursed into something he hates the most at least until the Champion of Cyrodiil takes his place, allowing Sheogorath to become essentially the Evil Twin.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: When Wes Johnson confirmed that the Sheogorath seen in-game is the ascended Champion of Cyrodiil, he also said that the Champion could use the Wabbajack to transform their appearance to any form they wanted. Sheogorath's in-game appearance is one of those forms.
  • Madness Tropes: He is Madness Tropes, literally. He is the physical embodiment of insanity.
  • Pet the Dog: In Skyrim, he essentially conscripts you to act as a literal Warrior Therapist for Pelagius the Mad. This stands in stark contrast to some of the other things the Princes make you do.
  • Previous Player Character Cameo: Implied in-game to be the Champion of Cyrodiil. Confirmed by the character's voice actor Wes Johnson during an interview with him at MAGFest X.

Vaermina

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Voiced by: Carla Delaney

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Daedric Prince of dreams and nightmares. Her artifact, the Skull of Corruption, has been locked away in a local abandoned keep, Nightcaller Temple, and been terrorizing the town of Dawnstar with horrible nightmares. When a priest of Mara requests help in destroying the artifact, Vaermina makes a counteroffer...

Other Characters

These are minor characters who do not fit in the above categories, but are still unique in their own way.

People of Eastmarch

Aventus Arentino

A young boy whose mother recently passed away who was later sent to the Honorhall Orphanage in Riften. Aventus flees back to Windhelm to escape Grelod the Kind's abuse, and rumors start circulating of his attempts to contact the Dark Brotherhood.

  • Creepy Child: He's a little boy trying to contact a cult of death worshiping assassins using his dead mother's bloody remains as the Black Sacrament.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Bizarrely enough, he still manages to be this too. He's only contacting the Brotherhood because he wants to save his friends from Grelod's horrible abuse.
  • Hero Worshipper: To the Dark Brotherhood after you fulfill his contract. He tells you that he's going to become an assassin too when he grows up so he can help other children like you helped him.
  • Take That Player: His quest, and the overall introduction to the Dark Brotherhood is carefully designed to make you feel a little ashamed of yourself. In Oblivion, it was possible to be contacted by the Brotherhood by accident, but not so in this game. Specifically, you must break into Aventus's home, pretend to be someone you're not (although the only other choice is to walk away and leave the quest unfinished), murder an Asshole Victim in cold blood, and then return to a child and tell him that you just solved all of his problems through murder. Congratulations on screwing up a kid even worse than he was before, Dovahkiin!
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Arentino's childish attempts to contact the Brotherhood ultimately determine the future of the Brotherhood itself, ranging from its potential destruction to the death of the Emperor.

Calixto Corrium

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Voiced by: George Coe

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The eccentric proprietor of Windhelm's House of Curiosities, where he has an interesting variety of items on display. And a very dark secret.

  • Affably Evil: He's friendly for a brutal murderer.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: His cheery and eccentric demeanour masks a core of stone-cold lunacy.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: When you first come upon a murder victim in Windhelm, he'll be one of the witnesses, and the game sets him up as just a random bystander. Turns out, he's a just little more important than that...
  • Collector of the Strange: Among other things, he's collected some embalming tools from ancient Nord barrows, a shelf full of rare alchemy ingredients, several soul gems, a 'Book of Fate' (which looks blank to you, but it's supposed to reveal your future) and a supposedly mystical flute whose tune could make any listener dance uncontrollably. There is a reason why the Dovahkiin would only see blank pages in the Book of Fate even if Calixto is telling the truth about it showing one's future: the Dovahkiin doesn't exactly have a defined destiny in the way most others have.
  • Dead Little Sister: After being left a respectable sum of money when their parents died, Calixto and his sister travelled Skyrim to find strange things and sights. When she passed away, he opened the shop in her memory to exhibit what they found, hoping that she'd approve of their finds bringing other people happiness. Oh, and he's murdering people to get the material to resurrect her too.
  • Memetic Badass: He tells a story about an in-universe one: Ysgramor, who was able to eat soup with a fork. And he has the very implement on display (it's even labelled 'Ysgramor's Soup Spoon' despite being a fork)!
  • Necromancer: Possibly. He seems to know a fair amount about the subject and has in his possession the Necromancer's Amulet. [[Necromantic|He's trying to bring his Dead Little Sister back to life]].
  • Red Herring: Bring him the Strange Amulet you find among a murderer's possessions, and he'll identify it as a Wheelstone, tokens given to some court mages upon their appointment to the position. Describe it to Windhelm's actual court mage and he'll all but Face Palm at the misidentification. Entirely deliberate on Calixto's part: he's throwing you off the trail. The Amulet is a powerful Necromantic token.
  • Retired Badass: Journeyed all over Tamriel with his sister.
  • Sibling Team: He and his sister apparently went on all sorts of adventures in the past.

Clan Shatter-Shield

A family in mourning, they are trying to cope with the recent murder of Friga Shatter-Shield and the robbery that followed, seemingly committed by a family friend.


Nurelion

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Voiced by: Jim Cummings

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The proprietor of The White Phial in Windhelm, he's spent his entire life searching for the legendary alchemy flask of the same name.

  • Despair Event Horizon: But it's broken, and the knowledge to fix it is long gone.
  • Hope Spot: You finally find the phial and return it to him.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: His very first 'words' when you enter his shop and see him and his assisting talking.
  • Jerkass: His assistant admits that Nurelion can be rather abrasive. After you show Nurelion the broken phial, he only tips you five gold for your troubles, which is just insulting. Then again, Nurelion is facing the prospect of dying with his lifelong dream unfulfilled. His assistant apologises for his master's manners and gives you a more substantial reward.
  • Last Request: He knows he's dying and wants the chance to experiment on the phial before he goes.
  • Let Them Die Happy: Until his assistant manages to do it, and is able to show it to him seconds before his last breath.
  • Retired Badass: He used to be an adventurer, but has settled down after years of disappointment in his quest for the White Phial.

People of Falkreath Hold

Ghunzul

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Voiced by: Noah Nelson

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Orc leader of Cracked Tusk Keep and protector of the blade shards of Mehrune's Razor.

  • Badass Grandpa: When was the last time you saw an orc with white hair?
  • Crazy Prepared: Ghunzul doesn't simply use himself and his bandits to protect the shards. He keeps them locked in the dungeon, protected by several button-activated bars, numerous tripwire traps and spikes that stab at anyone who opens the chest containing them.
  • Retired Badass: The book "The Keepers of the Razor" suggests he once served in the Imperial Legion.
  • Secret Keeper: He is the eighth descendent of the Inner Circle that shattered Mehrune's Razor and divided the fragments across Skyrim.

Runil

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Voiced by: George Coe

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Altmeri priest of Arkay, and overseer of the graveyard that puts Falkreath on the map.

  • The Atoner:He was a Dominion battlemage, and he's now a Priest of Arkay to atone.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Runil has such a dream portending the coming of Alduin, and of his own eventual path-crossing with the Dragonborn (his first scene in your presence is giving last rights over a grave just as his dream foretells).
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Much like Madena, he's got some shell shock over all the lives he terminated during the Great War with his magefire. His journal indicates he was on the Aldmeri Dominion side though.

Sinding

A Nord imprisoned in Falkreath jail for murdering a child.

  • The Atoner: He admits that he probably deserves to die for what he's done, and if you choose to spare him, he promises to never return to society.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Stole Hircine's ring. It didn't work out well for him.
  • Sadistic Choice: Either kill him under Hircine's orders, or help him kill the other hunters.

People of Haafingar

Brelas

A wood elf slave girl who works for Elenwen. She is seen during Elenwen's party. Gets send to the torture chambers after Erikur frames her because she rejected his romantic advances.

  • Break the Cutie: She serves Elenwen against her will. Then she is send to the torture chambers for not reacting to Erikurs advances. After the Dovahkiin saves her (if they saves her at all), she is shivering in fear, very confused and does not know where to go at all.

Erikur

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Voiced by: Stephen Russell

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An arrogant and shady Thane of Haafingar. Has close ties with the Thieves Guild.

  • Kick the Dog: Causes a Bosmer slave girl to be send to the Thalmor torture chambers, just because she refused his romantic advances.
  • Obviously Evil: Falk and Bryling tell him to his face they know he's not completely on the level, and his motives are anything but pure, they just lack stone cold proof of it.
  • Smug Snake: Talks down to everyone.
  • The Sociopath: Talking to his sister Gisli reveals he does not think about others. Really cements this position by causing a Bosmer slave to get tortured for not liking him, without any form of regret.

Falk Firebeard

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Voiced by: Michael Gough

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The steward of Jarl Elisif's court. Has his hands full with both his stewardly duties as well as curbing the exuberance and inexperience of his lady Elisif.

  • Awesome McCoolname: Being a bearded ginger in a land of people fond of giving sobriquets does have its perks.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Elisif is an over-eager young woman, to say the least.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: After you stop the resurrection of Potema once, Falk gains complete faith in you and vouches for you in the Jarl's company. If you complete the Wolf Queen questline and then ask for permission to go into the forbidden Pelagius Wing of the Palace, he will at first turn you down, but you can turn that around by saying, in layman's terms, "Dude, c'mon, it's me".

Giraud Gemane

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Voiced by: Jon Curry

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The librarian of the Bard's College, and Viarmo's right hand. He assists the Dragonborn with finding Olaf's Verse, as well as selling him/her several tomes regarding Dragons. He is also the Master Speech trainer.

  • Guile Hero: It comes with being the Speech master.


Roggvir

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Voiced by: Michael Gough

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The player will witness him being executed upon their first entry into Solitude (there's no way to stop this) because he allowed Ulfric Stormcloak to escape Solitude by opening the main gate.

  • Badass Bystander: This is the man who, more or less, allowed the Civil War to come to be. If you win the Civil War for the Stormcloaks, then he essentially becomes a liberator of Skyrim by proxy.
  • Cool Uncle: His niece seemed to think so.
  • Jerkass: If one man in particular is to be believed, when he was younger, he intentionally sabotaged other guys' attempts to woo girls they were interested in, just because, and didn't grow any nicer over the years.
  • Last Words: And by Talos, he's got some awesome ones at that.
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"On this day, I go to Sovngarde..."

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  • Nice Guy: However, this account can be taken with a grain of salt, as even the man who ordered his execution has nice things to say about him.
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"It's a shame, Roggvir. You were a damned good man."

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  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Letting Ulfric escape Solitude, as viewed by the people of Solitude. Sure, he may have been following ancient laws (of dubious validity), but he aided a regicide in escaping retribution. The people of Solitude, being staunchly Imperial, were not impressed. Though depending on how you feel about the Imperials, this could be an averted trope.
  • No True Scotsman: Feels that any true Nord would understand what Ulfric did, and would have opened the gate in his place.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: He opened the gates for Ulfric Stormcloak when he escaped the city, which means that everyone in Solitude blames him for a war that could have been stopped before it began. To his last breath though, he stands by his decision.


Sybille Stentor

The court mage for Jarl Elisif's court. She is actually a vampire, which seems to be a well-kept secret amongst the higher members of the Haafingar court.


Viarmo

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Voiced by: Stephen Russell

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The High Elven headmaster of the Bard's College. He enlists the Dragonborn's help in convincing Elisif to allow the Burning of King Olaf festival in the wake of Torygg's murder, and afterwards has him/her recover several stolen ancient instruments.

Wolf Queen Potema Septim

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Voiced by: Claudia Christian

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An insane necromancer from the second century of the Third Era who attempted to usurp the Imperial throne, but was defeated and killed. The Dragonborn stumbles upon a plot by a group of necromancers to resurrect and bind her to the mortal realm.

  • Ax Crazy
  • Climax Boss: Before you can even face her, you must fight wave after wave of high level Draugr and Vampires, and when you finally confront her, she quickly proves to be as much of a master mage as she was in life. Not to mention the fancy light show that occurs in the arena.
  • Gas Leak Coverup: At first, Falk Firebeard dismisses the odd lights and sounds in Wolf Skull Cave as natural phenomena but welcomes you to go into the cave and clear out anything you find, just in case. After you find out the truth and Potema's return is evident, Falk implores you that you must keep Potema's near-return a secret to avoid a major panic in Solitude.
  • God Save Us From the Queen: In life, her greatest crime was the plunging the Septim empire into a civil war known as the War of the Red Diamond, being the party most responsible for the assassination of her niece (the Empress at the time). In the war that followed, Potema very nearly destroyed the Empire by herself (frightening, when you consider that even after the extinction of the Septim bloodline, an Oblivion invasion, a siege by the Aldmeri Dominion, and nearly two hundred years of decline, the Empire is still a powerful force in Tamriel). And if that isn't enough, when the war was over, and her subjects finally abandoning her because of her sheer ruthlessness, she eventually began sacrificing her servants in order to form contracts with Daedra, selling their souls for more power and "comforts", and then raising them as undead to serve her, refusing to concede fighting a losing battle or surrender her rule right to the very end. Death has not improved her demeanor.
  • Guide Dang It: See Lost Forever below.
  • Human Resources: She resurrects human corpses as her servants and, after being opposed and abandoned by most of Haafingar, once ruled Solitude with a court of the undead.
  • Irony: The local priest of Arkay notes that a resurrected Potema would actually be the rightful Empress, since she is a member of the Septim line, which makes it that much more important to prevent her return.
    • For more potential irony, defeat one of the greatest necromancers of all time as a vampire.
  • I Shall Taunt You: She's really very grateful to you for preventing her binding, but feels it would be best for all involved if you just lay down, let her current subjects take you away, and then you can rise up and stand by her side, resplendent with her glory... and also her undead thrall.
  • It's All About Me: In the words of the queen herself, "I'll trade the souls of every last subject of mine for a little comfort."
  • Lost Forever: The second part of the Wolf Queen sidequest is triggered by leveling up. Therefore, if you leveled up to 81 before or during the first part of the quest, you will never receive the courier message which starts the second half.
    • Averted with the last patch to the base game, where you can level up indefinitely.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: By defeating the necromancers attempting to revive her, you stopped them binding her to their will... but not her revival. When you complete the first quest, you witness her spirit escaping the cave, and later a courier sends a message from Falk Firebeard informing you that Potema's spirit is loose and slowly gaining power. Now you have to finish her off for good and purify her remains.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: The second quest begins with the player traveling into Potema's Catacombs, and before even entering the first section, it becomes obvious that Potema was not only expecting you, but was drawing you there because she sought you as the ideal undead minion. You have no choice but to take the bait to continue the quest.
  • The Undead: Is one and specialises in resurrecting and controlling them.
  • Was Once A Woman: It's speculated in-game that Potema has become... something else since her death. She's certainly no mere ghost.
  • We Can Rule Together: After the Dragonborn prevents her binding, she decides s/he would make an excellent undead minion.

Jaree-Ra and Deeja

Argonian siblings who are involved with a band of marauders. They're looking for someone to rope into a scheme that involves crashing a ship and lots of gold...

  • Brother-Sister Team
  • Faux Affably Evil: Jaree-Ra comes off as a charming rogue when he meets you, but he's duping you into getting an entire ship's crew slaughtered the entire time and is in reality a scaly, cold-blooded monster underneath the surface.
  • Jerkass: Deeja. While Jaree-Ra at least pretends to be polite and civil, Deeja is just a gruff asshole until her death.
  • Obviously Evil: Jaree-Ra in particular, as lots of people in Solitude feel that he's up to no good with a few even admitting that they'd love for him to be caught in his obvious wrong-doing so he can be hauled off to the city dungeon.
  • Smug Snake: Both are way too confident in their ability to use and dupe you.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: They try to pull this on you after you crash the ship they're after. Too bad you're the Dragonborn, and they're overconfident, under-equipped schmucks.

People of Hjaalmarch

Alva

A local woman who recently started a relationship with Hroggar after his wife and daughter died in a tragic fire.

  • Bi the Way: Hints at it in her dialogue with the Morthal tavernkeeper.
  • False Soulmate: To poor Hroggar.
  • Honey Trap: For Hroggar, and apparently, Movarth had planned for her to seduce all of the guards, one at a time.
  • Impossibly Low Neckline: Wears the infamous and exceedingly rare female version of "Tavern Clothes".
  • Manipulative Bitch: And it backfired in her face, completely.
  • The Mole: For her sire Movarth.
  • Our Vampires Are Different
  • Romancing The Widower: The locals don't approve, believing it's Too Soon for Hroggar to move on after his family died in such suspicious circumstances. Not that there's any real love involved: Hroggar is just Alva's thrall.
  • Tragic Monster: Read the first passage in Alva's Journal, and you'll see that she was once a doe-eyed, innocent girl who once dreamed of being loved and romanced by a handsome Nord. Then she met Movarth...
  • The Undead
  • The Vamp: Literally and figuratively: her master Movarth sent her to Morthal to seduce and enslave the people of Morthal.
  • Would Hurt a Child: She had instructed a turned Laelette to kill Hroggar's entire family, including his daughter. Her plans backfired because Laelette didn't want to hurt Helgi, and in fact tried to turn her.

Falion

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Voiced by: Stephen Russell

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A Redguard mage who left the College in protest of its restrictive policies on certain studies. If the Dragonborn ever contracts vampirism, he will be willing to provide them with a cure... for a price.

  • Immortality Seeker: But not for himself so much as for his ward Agni: he knows that he'll die one day and leave her alone, and he's worried that could happen before Agni can take care of herself. He made a study of vampirism as a way to extend his life, but abandoned it because it might have put her in danger.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: The whole of Morthal thinks he's a creepy jerk. He protects them from mystical threats anyway, though he's pretty grudging about it.
  • Necromancer: Likely. He's a conjuration specialist, he's looking for ways to manipulate life, he left Winterhold College due to irreconcilable differences, and the other residents of Morthal don't like his studies (though that's probably the Nord prejudice against almost all magic). If nothing else, the ritual required to restore a vampiric Dovahkiin to true life requires a filled black soul gem.


Gorm

Nord warrior and housecarl for Jarl Idgrod Ravencrone.

  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Despite his loyalty to Idgrod, he wishes to see her removed from her position because he thinks her powers are taking their toll on her and she isn't fit for duty anymore. It's as much for her own safety as it is for Morthal. Nothing really comes of it, since his confidant Captain Aldis isn't wholly convinced.
  • Undying Loyalty: Despite the above entry, Gorm still respects Idgrod, and warns the Dragonborn to do the same.

Helgi

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Voiced by: Harley Graham

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Hroggar's daughter. She and her mother recently died in a mysterious fire, and she now exists as a ghost.

  • Cheerful Child: Being dead hasn't gotten her down. When you meet her, she invites you to play hide-and-seek with her just like other children in Skyrim. Her "hiding" place is her grave.
  • Spanner in the Works: Completely unravels the schemes of Alva and her master Movarth by winning over Alva's pawn Laelette with her adorableness. It doesn't save her from dying, but Laelette's attempt to turn Helgi rather than make her death look like an accident is what causes suspicions amongst the townspeople and leads to the Jarl permitting the Dragonborn to investigate. Then, by appearing to play with the Dragonborn, she indirectly leads him/her to the true culprits behind Morthal's troubles.
  • Undead Child: Not that she minds much.

Hroggar

A lumberjack whose wife and daughter died in a tragic and mysterious fire. His neighbors believe he had something to do with it since he immediately moved in with Alva the very next day.

  • Acquitted Too Late: If you try to enter Alva's house at night, you'll be forced to kill him.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Comes with being a vampire's thrall.
  • Incriminating Indifference: Him shacking up with another woman one day after his family died while showing little in the way of grief makes him very suspicious in the eyes of his neighbors.
  • Mistaken for Murderer
  • Survivor Guilt: If he survives the quest involving his family, he's crushed and no longer feels any joy in life, even though he's thankful that you saved him (after being astonished that you'd even want to speak to him after all he's done).


Movarth Piquine

The master vampire behind Morthal's recent troubles.

  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Movarth used to be a devoted vampire hunter: it was an obsession that consumed his life. Then he met the vampiric author of Immortal Blood. Now he's everything he once fought against and worse.
  • He Who Fights Monsters
  • Oh Crap: Upon The Reveal that the anonymous author of Immortal Blood was a vampire himself. As the author states: He was surprised, even stunned by the pallor of my flesh, the dark hunger in my ageless eyes, and the teeth. Oh, yes, I think the teeth definitely surprised the man who could not afford to be surprised.
  • Retcon: In Oblivion, the ending of Immortal Blood heavily implied Movarth was killed when the author attacked him, but now it turns out he survived and became a vampire himself.
  • Tragic Monster: Like Alva, he wasn't bad at all before being turned into a vampire. He was a well-meaning vampire hunter who failed to guess the very simple reason his teacher in vampire-hunting knew so much about vampires...
  • The Undead

People of The Pale

Horik Half-Hand

Fellow veteran to Brina Merelis, and becomes her housecarl should she be anointed Jarl of the Pale.

  • Badass: It takes balls to dust off the old Legion armor in a Stormcloak city when the Jarl wants him executed. Alternatively, at least in the view of said Jarl, it makes him a epic Troll.
  • Platonic Life Partners: With his former commander Brina Merelis.
  • Undying Loyalty: To the Legion, and to Brina for shared service time in the Legion. So much so that he openly antagonizes the initial Stormcloak-allied Jarl by dusting off his old Legion armor and wearing it about town.

Madena

Court mage for Dawnstar. A retired Legion battlemage, she's seen more than she cares for of war.

  • Court Mage
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: After taking part in the defense of the Imperial City during the Great War, she's seared, frozen and electrified far too many young elves than she cares to have, and is pretty much a pacifist.

Silus Vesuius

A descendant of a family of Mythic Dawn members, he opens a museum dedicated to the Mythic Dawn and asks the Dovahkiin to find the pieces of Mehrunes' Razor for him.

  • Black Shirt: Believes that the Mythic Dawn should be remembered for holding the fate of the Empire within their grasps.
  • Call Back: His entire quest is one to Oblivion.
  • Too Dumb to Live: You can call him out on the fact that messing with the Daedric Prince of Destruction's Artifact of Doom is a terrible idea, not that he'll listen. It may just prove to be his undoing.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Mehrunes Dagon declares this, although it's up to the player whether to actually kill him or not.

People of The Reach

Calcelmo

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Voiced by: George Coe

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A somewhat eccentric Altmer scholar and archeologist who serves as the court mage and also runs the Markath Museum. Obsessed with the Dwemer, he invites anyone (via letter) to come to his museum and will pay handsomely for any Dwarven items they're willing to part with. He is also currently overseeing an excavation of one of the many Dwemer ruins dotting the Reach.

  • Adventurer Archaeologist
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Has the hots for Faleen, Jarl Igmund's housecarl, but can't bring himself to make a move. You help things along in a quest in praise of Mara, the goddess of love, marriage, etc, etc.
  • Court Mage
  • Shoplift and Die: He takes the security of his museum very seriously, and has an entire unit of Markath guardsmen and an entire, heavily armed bandit clan guarding it's halls at all times.
  • Twice Shy: It appears Faleen felt the same for him all along, as when you approach her with the poem, it turns out she has a love letter for him in her person, and she finally musters the courage to have it sent to him by that point.

Madanach

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Voiced by: Stephen Russell

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The King in Rags, leader of the Forsworn.

  • Boxed Crook: Thonar keeps him alive in prison instead of executing him so he can use Madanach's Forsworn as his personal assassins. Thonar doesn't have nearly as much control over Madanach as he believes though.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Even after you help him escape, Forsworn will still attack you, with a few exceptions. Could be a bit of Reality Is Unrealistic: Forsworn are under orders to attack everyone on the roads on sight. Even if Madanach were to make an exception for you, he likely wouldn't have a way to communicate it quickly to his scattered people or provide them with an effective means of determining your identity. The one camp where they don't attack you after his release is the one he is personally staying at. However, if you actually wear the Armor of the Old Gods, you can talk to and trade with the Forsworn throughout the Reach.
  • Fighting For a Homeland: High Rock and Skyrim have fought over the Reach in the past, but Madanach wants to see it independent.
  • Good Old Ways: From his point of view, anyway. Like all Forsworn, he keeps to unidentified 'old gods' rather than the Nine Divines.
  • Impoverished Patrician
  • Knight Templar: Madanach talks a lot about the "injustice" of The Reach, but he's hardly a saint himself.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Most NPCs call him "Mad-a-nock", but at least one refers to him as "Ma-nad-nack". What's strange about this is that npc has the same VA as Madanach.
  • Not So Different:
    • Argues this when you've been unjustly arrested in Markarth. It's more poignant when you're a Nord.
    • Madanach is not dissimilar ideologically from his enemy Ulfric Stormcloak: different gods, same basic goals.
  • Rebel Leader
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: While he claims that his ultimate goal is peace once the Reach gains independence, he's not overly concerned about who has to die to accomplish that, and he hates the Nords. He does make an exception for a Nord Dragonborn though, if only because he needs help getting out of Cidhna Mine. Granted, that won't protect you from all future attacks, but that's true regardless of race.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Says this about Grisvar the Unlucky, who he tells the player to kill as a test of loyalty.
    • He also essentially says this to you, after you help him and his men escape. He and the Forsworn stationed at his camp won't be hostile to you, but Madanach does pretty much tell you before he runs off that his allegiance with you is basically done.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Dragonborn can hear the Forsworn's side of the story of the Reach from him.

Muiri

A young Breton girl working for the Markarth apothecary. Despite her innocent demeanor, she experienced a tragic past, causing her to become obsessed with revenge. To the point of summoning the Dark Brotherhood to carry it out.

  • Break the Cutie: She lived in Windhelm and was good friends with the well known Shatter-Shields. When one of the daughters of said family was killed, Muiri was comforted by a man called Alain Dufont. It turns out that Alain only used Muiri to get to the Shatter-Shields and rob them. The Shatter-Shields blamed Muiri for this robbery and effectively banished her from Windhelm, taking away the live she build up there.
  • Broken Bird
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Also puts the innocent Nilsine Shatter-Shield on the murder contract, just to make the family matron Tova feel rotten.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The reason she puts Nilsine as a bonus objective is because, in her broken mind, she believes that once Tova has no one but her husband left, she'll have to let her back into the family. It... doesn't work out that way...

Thonar Silver-Blood

A member of the corrupt Silver-Blood family who runs Markath's Treasury House.

  • Asshole Victim: He loses his wife in a Forsworn attack on his own treasury. Even if you choose the sympathetic "I'm sorry" response, he's savvy enough to know he's an asshole and doesn't believe you. You can also lampshade the trope by telling him "You deserved this".
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: As far as he's concerned, forcing criminals to mine for him for the rest of their lives is perfectly fine if he gets more silver out of it.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: To the Silverblood family: his brother Thongvor is technically the head of the house as the elder brother, but Thonar is the one running all their schemes and doing all the dirty work.
    • It could be more of an example of Big Bad Duumvirate, with Thonar running the family business and Thongvar concentrating on politics.
  • Jerkass
  • Karma Houdini: A possible outcome of the Forsworn questline. The player can kill Madanach, after which Thonar will thank and pardon you but still continue with his corrupt activities. Still, not a complete houdini with the Asshole Victim aspect taken into account.
  • Karmic Death: A possible outcome of the Forsworn questline. The player can ally with Madanach and help him escape, after which they and the other prisoners attack and (probably) kill Thonar, slain by the people he tried to seal away.
  • Smug Snake: Thonar believes he has fully cowed Madanach. He is later brutally proven wrong when Forsworn agents in his own house murder his wife and try to kill him too.

People of The Rift

Grelod the Kind

Manager of Honorhall Orphanage and the target of Aventus Arentino's Black Sacrament.

  • Anticlimax: She might be one of the cruelest persons in Skyrim, but defeating her takes even less than an unarmed punch. It's a wonder the kids didn't off her themselves. Then again, an elderly hag is not the kind of person who provides much of a challenge combat-wise.
  • Asshole Victim: And how! When she's killed, the children cheer and her more kind-hearted assistant is more shocked by how blatant and abrupt the murder was than the fact that it happened at all. You don't even get a bounty for killing her, and everybody in town, even the guards, just roll with it because everyone agrees that she was a horrible person.
  • Blatant Lies/Irony: Her sobriquet. Even adults know its a complete lie.
  • Child-Hater
  • Expy: Shows similarities to Miss Hannigan from Annie.
  • Jerkass: To put it mildly. When you visit the orphanage, she's in the middle of telling the children that she'll never let them be adopted, and if they don't work hard enough, they'll get an extra beating. She even has a cell in the orphanage with shackles on the wall.

Ingun Black-Briar

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Voiced by: Corri English

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Daughter to Maven Black-Briar and part of the infamous family. She's arguably the most personable of all of them, but she still has her... issues.

  • The Apprentice: To Elgrim.
  • Death by Irony: The entire reason she likes alchemy: that the same ingredients that can be used to create, save or restore life can be used to kill or maim.
  • Defector From Decadence: Double-subverted. While she bemoans her family's greed and decadence, it's because she feels that it's pointless, not because it's wrong. She feels that she was meant for more than they can offer. But, considering why she's interested in alchemy, she could potentially be the most dangerous of them all.
  • Fetch Quest: She has one of the most long-spanning and exhausting fetch quests in the game, asking you to find 20 relatively rare alchemy ingredients (Nightshade, Deathbell and Nirnroot). Not so bad when you know where to look, but still a lot harder than finding 20 Salt Piles would be. It's a bit suspicious that all three ingredients have the common attribute of being deadly poisons too...
  • Mad Scientist: In the making.
  • Nice Girl: Her creepier predilections aside, she is always very polite to you, pays well for your hard work, and even provides a renewable source of alchemy goods if you complete the quest, simply because of a sense of noblesse oblige.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Her reasons for being interested in alchemy are... disturbing... to say the least. She seems to have a thing for the morbid and macabre.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: She's sweet, charming and friendly... but likes to watch people suffer from poisonous ingredients and potions. It's like the trope was built for her.
  • To Be a Master: Of alchemy.
  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: Her other motivation. She wants to make her mother proud.

Maul

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Voiced by: Popeye Vogelsang

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Right-hand man of Maven Black-Briar and her primary enforcer on the street. His brother Dirge is the bouncer for the Ragged Flagon. Should Maven be named Jarl, Maul becomes her housecarl.

Sibbi Black-Briar

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Voiced by: Stephen Russell

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One of Maven Black-Briar's sons. Considered by Mjoll the Lioness to be the worst member of the family. Currently incarcerated in Riften Jail when even his mother got sick of his out of control nature.

  • The Casanova: Makes it clear he's out to get all the women he can get his hands on to the Dragonborn when the latter visits. It's also effectively what landed him in jail. He even flirts with the Dragonborn if the latter is female.
  • Con Man: Sold Louis Letrush a horse that didn't actually belong to Sibbi, but rather to the whole Black-Briar family.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Maven had him jailed for eight months just so she wouldn't have to deal with this for a while. Apparently, murdering a guy in public was the final straw for her.
  • It's All About Me: His dialogue consists entirely of him whining about his predicament. He honestly believes his fiancee was wrong to be offended by his infidelity. He also blames her for his current incarceration (she confided in her brother about Sibbi's infidelity, angry brother confronted Sibbi, Sibbi stabbed her brother to death and got jailtime for it, and he blames her) and wants her dead for it.
  • Jerkass
  • Luxury Prison Suite: Sibbi gets all of the comforts of home in his cell during his eight month incarceration for murder. And the only reason he was imprisoned at all was because Maven thought he needed to cool off. Sibbi still complains.
  • The Sociopath
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Thinks his mother's being too harsh with him by giving him a long overdue time-out when he ought to be grateful he's not getting a worse punishment for murdering someone.

Wylandriah

Court mage for The Rift, and perennially scatter-brained.

  • Absent-Minded Professor: If her rambling at you for two minutes in Magi Babble wasn't indication enough, she'll send you out to find some experiment materials she misplaced. In three different cities. When you return them, of course, she's completely forgotten she sent you out to find them or that she lost them in the first place, but she's grateful and rewards you all the same. The official player's guide says this is, to some extent, faked.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The College of Winterhold treasures her correspondence letters, which are apparently complete and utter nonsense: she once requested a sample of the Heart of Lorkhan. As in the heart of the dead creator-god which may or may not be responsible for the vanishing of the Dwemer and that definitely disappeared centuries ago. However, in the letter that mentions the Heart of Lorkhan sample, another mention is made of her requesting "greenmote", a mind-altering and potentially lethal drug found only in the Shivering Isles, but which the senders take to refer to "greenspore", an dementia-inducing disease found only in fish.
  • Court Mage

Froki Whetted-Blade

An old, Kyne worshiping hunter. Grandfather of Haming (who lives with him now), the child Hadvar rescues in Alduin's attack on Helgen.

  • Great White Hunter: For religious reasons, out of respect for Kyne's animals.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Stemming from how city Nords now worship the Nine Divines, which he (more-or-less accurately) believes are "stolen idols" and watered down versions of the Nordic pantheon.
  • The Missionary: Judging by his reaction when he first sees you, he really does not like these.
  • Screw Politeness I Am a Senior: Upon seeing you, he insults you, believing you have come to tell him about the Nine Divines. He warms up if you tell him you don't believe in the Divines.

Chief Yamarz

Chieftan of the orcs at Largashbur, his tribe has recently been beseiged by giants sensing weakness in them and they worry Malacath has turned his sight from them.

  • Asskicking Equals Authority: As per usual with orcs, the chieftan proves he's worthy of his position by being a great warrior. The problem for this particular tribe is that Yamarz very very much isn't.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: If you talk him into fighting the leader of the giants himself, he's summarily crushed.
  • Dirty Coward: In very sharp contrast to most orcs. He tries to hire you to kill the leader of the giants and let him take credit for it to prove himself to Malacath, and in the cave on the way to its lair rather pointedly flees from the normal giants along the way.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Besides the fact that he tries to off you after you just killed the giant he was too cowardly to face himself, does he really think he can put one over on a Daedric Prince who cursed his tribe in the first place because he knew Yamarz was a wimp?

People of Whiterun Hold

Andrianne Avenicci

Runs the blacksmith shop Warmaiden's with her husband,and is the daughter of steward of Whiterun Hold's Jarl.

  • Woman Behind The Man: Claims to be this for her father. According to some comments around town, it's likely true.

Proventus Avenicci

Imperial man, and Steward to Jarl Balgruuf. Doesn't get a lot of the Nordic culture.

  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Some new person in the hall just killed a dragon then suddenly learned how to make weird stuff happen just by shouting, shortly followed by the Graybeards letting all of Skyrim know they expect the Dragonborn to drop by, and what does he do?
  • Commander Contrarian: May come across as this often.

Clans Gray-Mane and Battle-Born

The two major families of Whiterun driven into a grim rivalry when they took opposite sides of the war, Battle-Born with the Empire and Gray-Mane with the Stormcloaks.

  • Awesome McCoolname: Clan Battle-Born.
  • Badass Family:
    • Clan Gray-Mane has the Ultimate Blacksmith, a former Companion member and one man all too eager to launch a three-man raid (four if you come) on a Thalmor stronghold.
    • Add in Olfina Gray-Mane, who becomes (Jarl) Vignar Gray-Mane's Housecarl after the Stormcloaks take Whiterun, and, during the operation to capture Odahviing, actually helps out. She can even become the new Jarl if you assassinate Vignar.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Clan Battle-Born's battlecry paints them as this somewhat.
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For Clan Battle-Born! First into the fray and last to quit their ale!

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  • Friend in the Black Market: Olfrid becomes the main contact of the Thieves Guild in Whiterun after contacting them to help bail a friend out from prison for murder.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Olfrid Battle-Born suggests that Clan Gray-Mane stated the feud because they were jealous of the Battle-Born fortune.
  • Jerkass: Neither clan is particularly nice overall. The Battle-Born males openly mock the grandmotherly Fralia Gray-Mane when her son is missing, asserting that he's dead when they know he's actually a prisoner of the Thalmor, and if the Stormcloaks take Whiterun and Clan Gray-Mane rises to power, the Battle-Born family is subjected to at least two robberies. Though Vignar doesn't specifically target them, he does not allow them justice either. Saying that they made their choice when the troubles began.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Battle-Born tried to get Fralia's son released. Their mockery could be seen as a Cruel to Be Kind attempt to make Fralia give up on her son once they learned that it was an impossibility.
      • Rather Idolaf did, as he and Avulstein were childhood friends. Nothing saying that the other members of the family did so for any reason beyond antagonizing her.
  • Meaningful Name: Everyone in Clan Gray-Mane has white hair, for one reason or another.
  • Nice Guy: Jon Battle-Born.
  • Only in It For the Money: The Gray-Manes assert that the Battle-Borns are weak and only care about their money.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Jon Battle-Born and Olfina Gray-Mane, the sole members of each clan who don't care for the feud, have a thing for each other.
  • Warrior Poet: Jon Battle-Born studied at the Bard's College and is very proud of his profession as a skald, upholding the history, honor, glory and tradition of his people through song and poetry. He finds men who practice the bardic arts solely for coin and women insulting. But more than anything, he laments that Nords are forgetting poetry and romance, becoming "obsessed with death".
  • We Used to Be Friends: The two families used to be very close, but were driven apart after taking opposite sides in the war.
  • With Us or Against Us: Idolaf Battle-Born tries to invoke this after you enter Whiterun, asking "Gray-Mane or Battle-Born?". If you ask for clarification, he elaborates and repeats the question. If you remain neutral, he simply asserts that everyone chooses a side eventually.

Farengar Secret-Fire

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Come to Dragonsreach to discuss the recent hostilities, like the rest of the 'great warriors'?

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Court Mage for Whiterun. The first magical vendor you're likely to encounter, and involved in the initial main quest as pertaining to Whiterun. Fascinated with dragons.

  • Court Mage
  • For Science!: Farengar seems to be more interested in researching dragons for its own sake, rather than the urgently-desired "how to fight them" intel that the Jarl wants him to focus on. When Odahviing is captured, he tries to take some samples for research. The dragon strenuously objects.
  • Insufferable Genius: He can be rather supercilious at times, but most of it stems from bitterness that Nordic culture distrusts magic.
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: Especially not from angry dragons.
  • Oblivious to Love; It's implied the Whiterun alchemy shop owner has a crush on him, and he almost certainly isn't aware of it.

Heimskr

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Voiced by: Michael Gough

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Self-professed prophet of Talos, he perpetually preaches about the God-Emperor by his shrine in Whiterun.

  • Butt Monkey: He's involved in no quests, major or minor, does nothing of importance, and is incredibly annoying, so it's not uncommon for players to kill him in whatever way they deem fit.
  • Character Filibuster: He never shuts up about the glory of Talos and his disdain for those trying to snuff out his worship.
  • Expy: Of Cromwell, the preacher of the Children of Atom in Fallout 3 who was likewise encountered singing the praises of his god in the center of the first major town you visit. However, Heimskr is louder, and what he preaches make more sense in universe.
  • Large Ham: Espouses the glories of Talos to anyone who'll listen, or indeed anyone within earshot, which is most of Whiterun because he does it at the top of his lungs.
  • Meaningful Name: Heimskr in Old Norse means "foolish/silly". Likewise, the word "Heimskur" is Icelandic for "stupid".
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Though it crosses into Too Dumb to Live, while the Empire and the Jarls may not enforce the ban on Talos worship that strongly, belting out his glories in a town known to be a trading hub of the country is a good way to attract the wrong kind of attention.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: His house gets destroyed in the Siege of Whiterun, and he instead camps out in front of Jorrvaskr.

Irileth

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Voiced by: Lani Minella

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Dunmeri housecarl to Jarl Balgruf the Greater of Whiterun Hold.

  • Action Girl
  • Dare to Be Badass: "Now what do you say! Shall we go kill us a dragon?"
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Is this with Balgruuf. Before his days as a Jarl, they were adventurers together.
  • Magic Knight: That lightning bolt you saw flying at Mirmilnur during the first dragon fight? Irileth.
  • Properly Paranoid: Apparently, attempts on Balgruuf's life are not unheard of. She keeps a wary eye on the Player even after ingratiating themselves to the Jarl, and her suspicion is proven should the player join the Stormcloaks.
  • Screw Destiny: Refuses to believe that a chosen hero like the Dovakhiin is needed and insists that all men need to win the war against the dragons are bravery and steel. Unfortunately, this is a Because Destiny Says So setting.
  • Seen It All: According to her, at least.

Nazeem

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Voiced by: Keith Silverstein

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A successful Redguard trader who wanders around the Plains District of Whiterun, insulting the merchandise and talking down to the vendors. He owns Chilfurrow Farm, though he apparently sleeps in the Bannered Mare whilst he is conducting business in Whiterun. His incredibly pretentious and supercilious manner, his naked condescension and his total lack of relevance to any story related activity mean that he is one of the most detested characters in Whiterun.

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Ahlam: Looking for my husband Nazeem. Check the Jarl's backside - that's usually where he stuffs himself these days.

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Lucan and Camilla Valerius

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Voiced by: Stephen Russell (Lucan) and Corri English (Camilla Valerius)

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Imperial immigrants to Skyrim, siblings and proprietors of the Riverwood Trader. Camilla journeyed from Cyrodiil to start a new life with Lucan after the war with the Thalmor left the province in ruins. When the Dovahkiin meets them, they are arguing over what to do about the theft of the Golden Claw, ostensibly a bauble that Lucan found on his travels, but actually much more... They are the owners of the first general store in the game and give some of the first quests.

  • Brother-Sister Team: They run the Riverwood Trader. Camilla will take over selling gear if, at any point, Lucan is killed.
  • Girl Next Door: Camilla.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lucan. He's a bit abrasive and Camilla calls him "a child", but if you help him out, he pays you well, lets you grab some supplies free off his shelves, and declares that you and him are the only people in the world who are "not fools".
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Camilla and Lucan respectively. Lucan waits for someone to get the Golden Claw back for him. Camilla is willing to go to Bleak Falls Barrow herself until the Dovahkiin shows up.
  • Riverwood's Most Beautiful Woman: Camilla Valerius's in-universe reputation (as confined to Riverwood). Faendal, a Bosmer archer, and Sven, a Nord bard, are in a Love Triangle with her.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Camilla. And neither of the two men courting her are that great. The Dovahkiin can marry her though.

People of Winterhold

Nelacar

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Voiced by: Neil Dickson

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Expelled from the College of Winterhold, this Altmer mage stays in the Frozen Hearth Inn, staying within the city of Winterhold.

  • Affably Evil: The 'evil' part is a bit of a stretch, but Nelacar is personable, helpful, endearing, probably the nicest Altmer in the game... and almost certainly a necromancer who has done some vile, vile things.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Seems to believe this, as he seems to believe that corrupting Azura's Star into the Black Star is preferable than turning it over to its "evil" Daedric master.
  • Evil Smells Bad: Or more specifically, according to Dagur, like a beast that's "been turned inside-out and exploded."
  • Necromancer: Probably, given his involvement with Mayln Varen's experiments into immortality and his general comfort with the concept of black soul gems. Conversely, he did say he express being appalled at the depths of his former teacher when studying Azura's Star.

Septimus Signus

An ingenious but insane wizard living in a remote island in the Sea of Ghosts.

Wanderers

M'aiq the Liar

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Voiced by: André Sogliuzzo

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A Khajiit monk who wanders the land. He is named after his ancestors and carries on the family tradition of delivering cryptic Take Thats to the player. This time he also starts snarking to the creators themselves about what they did wrong in Oblivion.

  • Artifact Title: In-universe example. M'aiq the Liar served as an Author Avatar giving cryptic take-thats right from his introduction in Morrowind, but the in-universe untruthfulness of (most of) his comments were toned down for Oblivion and Skyrim.
  • Author Avatar: The only reason he has a role in the game is to voice the creator's opinion about the Unpleasable Fanbase.
  • Catch Phrase: Averted. He sometimes does utter the catchphrase of his ancestor[8], but does not use enough to make it his own catchphrase.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: He comes over as very detached from the setting. Logical, since he is something of a literal Author Avatar.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Some of his speeches are very sarcastic and rude towards certain fans.
  • Easter Egg
  • Legacy Character: There was also a Khajiit with his name 206 years earlier in Morrowind and 200 years earlier in Cyrodiil. This is explained by the fact that the name is passed down to newer generations.
  • Mushroom Samba: He always has Skooma on his person, which might explain his bizarre, if fairly accurate view of the world.
  • Take That: Just about every speech he makes is a reaction the makers have about an aspect of the game fans aren't pleased about.
  • Take That Us: He also starts snarking at some minor gripes in Oblivion. A noteworthy snark is when he repeats a much ridiculed line about mudcrabs from the previous game.
  • Third Person Person: Like most Khajiits, M'aiq talks about M'aiq in this fashion almost all the time M'aiq speaks.

Old Orc

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Voiced by: Noah Nelson

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An aging orc found in the wilderness. He has been looking for a good death, and the Dragonborn can give it to him.

  • Badass Grandpa: Fittingly. He's also fairly tough as NPCs go: if you encounter him at a low level, it's probably in your best interest to just ignore him.
  • Death Seeker: He has seen a vision from Malacath telling him to seek a glorious death. By the time the Dragonborn gets to him, he's surrounded by saber cat corpses. Apparently, they weren't glorious enough.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: His character name is just "Old Orc". And that's exactly what he is!
  • Face Death with Dignity: He explains that he wishes to die while he can "still call himself a proper man", elaborating that he doesn't want to linger on to the point where he's frail and feeble. He further explains that it's "unseemly" to cling to something after it becomes useless, including your own life.
  • Honor Before Reason: He's honestly not that old, but he's past his prime in traditional Orc culture. Even though you can tell him this, and point out his potential usefulness to others outside the strongholds, he still insists on dying because Malacath wills it.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: If asked, he'll clarify that he can't kill himself because "it would displease Malacath".

Ri'saad

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Voiced by: André Sogliuzzo

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Head of the Khajiit caravans. Ri'saad leads one of them and is behind forming the other two, who work for him.

  • Hypocrite: The Khajiit Caravans are not allowed inside any of the cities because the Nords think them to be thieves and smugglers. Ri'saad laments this "racist" attitude... Except he openly sells illegal Moon Sugar and Skooma. Join the Thieves Guild, and one mission shows that Ri'saad and his caravans willingly smuggle goods and act as fences for little more than a few bribes. Of course, if the Nords didn't actively shun the Khajiit and allowed them inside their cities to conduct better, more honest, and profitable commerce, it's dubious if they'd need to act as fences and sell stolen goods. Alternatively, given that Elsewyr has become a vassal of the Aldmeri Dominion willingly (or perhaps were manipulated into doing so), the Nords don't trust any Khajiit. Of course, during a certain quest chain, Ri'saad shows that he considers all Thalmor to be filth. And the way he mentions it seems to suggest that it's a common view amongst Khajiit. Note that Moon Sugar is a vital religious drug for pretty much any Khajiit.
  • Nice Guy: He (if you talk to the other Khajiit merchants) was the guy who helped them all carve out a lucrative trading niche in the economy of Skyrim, and he even took a few with troubled backgrounds and made them respectable. Ysolda of Whiterun, who wishes to be a storeowner also states that despite their reputation the Khajiits are fairly honest businessmen by her account.

Talsgar the Wanderer

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Voiced by: Michael Gough

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A Nord bard occasionally found wandering the main roads.

  • Badass Beard
  • Cultured Badass: One version of his appearance code brings a pair of bandits along with him, both of whom he beats quite handily. Of course, since he's marked an essential NPC, it's basically impossible for him to lose. At higher levels, he can be found going one on one against Frost Trolls and even dragons.
  • Noodle Incident: One where it's pretty easy to fill in the blanks. You can ask him to train you in Speech, but he'll politely refuse, saying, "Ah. Well. After a little incident with a roguish lad and the daughter of a prominent thane... Well, let's just say, best not."

Back to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  1. Vampirism and Lycanthropy are both diseases and both bestow immunity to disease once contracted which normally makes them mutually exclusive.
  2. Nordic legends that exist in a grey area of canon. They get several references in Skyrim.
  3. Read: counties.
  4. Made even worse since Akatosh was hated by the ancient Nords.
  5. As was Arkay, perhaps, depending on whether Orkey is him or Malacath.
  6. With the events of Morrowind.
  7. The alternate explanation for why noting that messing around with the Heart had just shown a clear ability to change an entire race despite the actual action being done by a single individual.
  8. "M'aiq knows much, tells some. M'aiq knows many things others do not."
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