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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The Empire of Tamriel ranges from the last bastion of goodness against the Aldmeri Dominion, to an oppressive foreign power that doesn't belong in Skyrim, to a fractured shell that deserves to collapse until someone worthy can reunite the continent.
    • Is the Emperor a craven appeaser, who doesn't care what happens to his people as long as he can hold some power for himself? Is he a good man and a political realist, who signed the White-Gold Concordat to buy time for the Legion to recover? Is he simply an unremarkable person in an age that demands heroes? His behavior during the final mission of the Dark Brotherhood plotline shows that, whatever else he may be, he is definitely not a coward
    • Is Ulfric Stormcloak a revolutionary hero who wants to restore Skyrim to its former glory, a power-hungry tyrant interested only in taking the throne, or a Stupid Good rebel who doesn't realize the long-term consequences of his actions? Just how controlled was he by the Dominion? Is he the kind of guy who thinks that, for anyone who died fighting the Thalmor, it was their own fault for being too weak and un-Nord-like to survive?
    • Amaund Motierre. Is he, as Astrid suggests, trying to get the Emperor assassinated to better his own position within the Elder Council or could it be a more collective feeling calling for desperate measures in desperate times? The Emperor seems to be aware of harsh opposition amongst his political elite. Is he really ruling that badly? Not to mention how, after the deed is done, Motierre seems to genuinely believe that the Emperor's death has "saved" the Empire.
    • Paarthurnax. Is he a genuine atoner who will (attempt to) lead the dragons to a peaceful future, or a very patient and manipulative Starscream with a Meaningful Name? Is this a case of Blue and Orange Morality, or perhaps of a forsaken namesake?
    • This trope also counts for Paarthurnax' arch enemies, the Blades. Are they indeed the heroic order they used to be, or are they just an embittered remnant of an age long gone? Is their hate for Paarthurnax reasonable or are they just too narrow minded to see beings can change?
    • The Graybeards. Indecisive wishy-washys who sit out every conflict, or guardians of a power that's too dangerous to let be abused? Or overly cautious guardians of a power that is too dangerous to let be abused but too useful to not use at all?
  • And the Fandom Rejoiced:
    • DLC was announced on May first, 2012.
    • The announcement of the new engine, and its features, caused plenty of praise. For starters, talking with NPCs no longer freezes the world, and the person you're talking with still goes around their business and walks around, in addition to more detailed talking animations with full motion and better facial expressions.
    • Holy Shit! What is this? Forged in God's very flames!
    • The Oblivion-style level scaling isn't going to be used.
    • Played for laughs on the InsideXbox show SentUAMessage. After getting lots of questions about Elder Scrolls V, the two hosts are glad the questions about it are gonna be over when the game comes out... Then one of them brings up the fact that people will be asking about Elder Scrolls VI right from the get go.
    • M'aiq the Liar is still alive after two hundred years, and will serenade you with his sonorous falsehoods all you like should you find him.
    • After completing a few Dark Brotherhood quests, you gain the ability to summon a spectral assassin to help you. Guess who that assassin is? Lucien Lachance, still voiced by Wes Johnson!
    • The much larger pool of random lines and voice actors (and the fact that said voice actors are not keyed to a particular race and gender, mostly) severely reduces the incidence of Talking to Himself and Welcome to Corneria.
    • Beards. They're baaaaaack!
      • Predictably, M'aiq snarks about the fanbase being happy they can give their characters beards.
    • With the 1.5 update, Lydia can now be married.
    • A beta patch for the 1.6 update has been released, featuring the ability to fight on horseback. Players have been wanting to do that since Oblivion!
    • The Dawnguard announcement trailer and other material. Frost Giants, dragons that can dive under ice, master vampires, crossbows, spears, and a fascinating slew of new locations (including Oblivion!). In addition, there are also new perk trees, including ones for both werewolves and vampires, as well as options to change character appearance, new Thu'um shouts, and dragonbone weaponry.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Bethesda Boss Syndrome hits twice in during the main quest. The only plot relevant Dragon Priest (extremely powerful undead sorcerer) is easily the weakest of them all and Alduin only appears to differ from the elite Ancient Dragons by having a few more hitpoints. Its even worse during the final battle in the afterlife, since you are assisted by the souls of three legendary Nord warriors
    • At the end of the Thieves' Guild questline, a big deal is made about how powerful Mercer Frey is and why you won't be able to fight him alone. But the final battle ironically ends up as a one-on-one fight against someone who's no different than any regular old mook aside from the ability to briefly turn invisible.
  • Base Breaker:
    • The Civil War campaign is the catalyst for a few of these. Jump in any forum topic about it and expect to see a Flame War. Are the Empire the last, best hope for ensuring humanity's prosperity and survival against the genocidal Thalmor, or brutal oppressors holding on to a shadow of their former glory and crossed the line trying to appease the Thalmor? Are the Stormcloaks a bunch of heroic freedom fighters pushing a brutal empire out of their land and the Only Sane Men who know the only real way to deal with the Thalmor, or are they a bunch of bull-headed, racist idiots that are unwittingly giving the Thalmor exactly what they want and ultimately are just as bad as the Thalmor?
    • The Thalmor: Players either hate them to the point where they go out of their own way to kill every single Thalmor member out there even for no reason or are seen as Draco in Leather Pants.
    • Cicero. He does have a pretty big fanbase who finds him adorable and hilarious, but he also has lots of people who loathe him and see him as obnoxious and absolutely irritating. Astrid also gets this, with half the fans liking her for her strong family values and understand her reasons for selling you out to Commander Maro and half loathing her for not following the Five Tenants and for seeing her as an unlikable control freak. It seems that there's no middle ground for either of these characters.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty: The famous quote from the guards actually goes "Then I took an arrow in the knee", not "to the knee" as it's often quoted.
  • Best Level Ever: Blackreach. An absolutely huge underground cavern (approx. four square miles) home to an abandoned Dwarven city and some of the most unique and breathtaking environmental design in the entire game. It even comes with it's own Bonus Boss! You'd have to spend several hours exploring the vast compound to find everything, but you'll love every bit of it.
  • Broken Base: Winning the Game & Developer of The Year awards at the Spike VGAs - You either thought they were deserved, or absolutely dumbfounded that the team which released a game that was borderline unplayable on one of the formats it was released on won these awards over other deserving titles & developers.
  • Complete Monster: The Thalmor as a whole are certainly this, with stand-out examples being Elenwen and Ancano.
    • As usual for the Elder Scrolls, it's possible for your character to be such a monster that he/she puts the Big Bad to shame.
    • One of the named Dragon Priests (Rahgot) ritualistically mass murdered children, just so his tomb would have undead to defend it once he died. He also had one of his own followers brutally murdered just because she questioned him. Another one by the name of Hevnoraak had a very compelling voice and used it to gather a group of followers, and used his voice to torture them, knowing that they'd have no way to fight back due to his voice's strength.
    • In the Thieves Guild questline, Mercer Frey turns out to be this. He betrayed not only the guild but basically his goddess, murdered his master and friend and then framed the other friend (who was also the first friend's lover) for the crime, then spent years using Nocturnal's stolen artifact to steal all the guild's income while continuing to lie about it the whole time. He also tries to kill you to keep you from finding out the above... which leads to you finding out the above.
    • Arondil, a necromancer living north of Dawnstar has been kidnapping women and murdering them so he can resurrect them to use as a zombie harem.
    • Another nasty necromancer is Sild the Warlock, who makes his home in an abandoned crypt that he turned into a torture chamber. He lures adventurers in with promises of treasure but instead traps them in a cage and slowly burns them to death. When they die, he raises their spirits to be used as guardians for his lair, and they're entirely self-aware and anguished by this fate when you battle them. And to make things worse? His journal reveals that he's trying to find ways to drag out the torture process before he snuffs out the lives of his victims permanently, and makes a note at the end saying that it feels very sweet to take the life of another person.
    • Thonar Silver-Blood of the Forsworn Conspiracy and No One Escapes Cidhna Mine quests is slowly revealed to be one. It's one thing that he's the wealthiest man in Markarth and morally ambiguous enough he uses prisoners to mine the silver that makes him rich, but it really starts hitting when it's relieved that he's the one that makes the Forsworn Rebellion possible in the first place. To clarify, he manipulates Madanach while he's behind bars to control the Forsworn as a whole. Not because he believes in their cause, but because in return for letting the Forsworn terrorize the Reach he can use the Forsworn to occasionally take care of 'problems.' If you help him during the assault on the Treasury House, he won't even care if you try to console him over his wife's death and tell you he's going to throw your ass in jail. Then, he has Eltrys murdered for learning 'too much'. He's even knows he's enough of an asshole that you probably don't mean it when you take the dialogue option to say you're sorry for the loss of wife.
    • The infamous Wolf Queen Potema Septim makes an appearance in the game from beyond the grave, and she's just as monstrous as she was in life.
  • Creepy Awesome: Cicero. The guy is like a male Harley Quinn. Really, the Dark Brotherhood in general is this.
  • Crowning Level Of Awesome: Blackreach.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome:
    • The main theme, Dragonborn. Yes, they're singing in the Dragon language. Lyrics here.
    • Try to listen to this theme without imagining yourself standing in a Norse lord's hall.
    • All hail the glorious dead.
    • Let's just say the whole damn soundtrack and be done with it. They've even gone and lifted some Crowning Musics Of Awesome from the previous games without so much as a remix.
    • Hell, even the 40-minute plus piece titled "Skyrim Atmosphere" is really, really good.
    • Under your voice they will cower!
    • It's got the usual remixes of varying quality, but this one stands out, combining one of the tavern songs with the main theme... and the singer's voice is about as beautiful as the graphics in the game.
    • Another, by the same singer.
    • When it comes to remixes, this takes the cake.
    • Another cover of the main theme...with an electric violin.
    • "Far Horizons" is just gorgeous.
    • This singer portraying an entire Draugr choir and actually singing in Dragon language, complete with acoustic effects and drums to fit the dark chilling atmosphere, is just beyond words.
    • Here's a gorgeous vocal and guitar cover of Tale of the Tongues
    • One They Fear is a song that has got many a player killed, simply because they got so pumped while it was playing that they attacked the dragon in question head-on.
    • The music they play when you learn a Word of Power or slay a Dragon and absorb it's soul. They gave you your own Theme Music Power-Up for this game.
  • Degraded Boss: Dragons. At the beginning of the game every time you encounter a dragon it feels like an adequately epic battle, especially with the music that accompanies it. By the end of the game(or some levels into it, considering that this game doesn't actually "end") you will be able to force dragons to the ground and kill them with a few hits in under 10 seconds before the music even has a chance to kick in. They become more of a nuisance than an epic battle. At least until you start meeting the Elder and Ancient Dragons.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Chaurus. They take forever to kill, spit poison, and will kill you pretty much instantly if they get close enough to melee.
    • Giant Sabrecats. 900 pounds of pure muscle and feline fury coupled with a nasty disposition and a tendency for creeping up on you from behind, and even later in the game they can do tremendous amounts of damage (early on they pretty much kill you in a couple swipes). And they are insanely fast for something the size of a bear, too. Given how they are basically sabretooth tigers, it makes sense, but it gets a little ridiculous when Sabrecats are scarier than dragons.
    • Pretty much all of the enemies you find inside Dwemer ruins are this. The spiders due to them being very strong for their size and ambushing you from pipes, the sphere guardians due to them being very hard to outrun and hard to take down head-on, and the centurions due to their sheer strength ad toughness, and their steam blast
    • Bears. Huge aggro radius that's hard to avoid, runs nearly fast enough to keep up with a sprinting horse, takes as much hurt as it can dole out (IE: a lot) and always ends up in the middle of the damn road you want to travel down. Unlike wolves, which howl pretty much as soon as they're aware of you, the bear slothly gets up from its nap silently, by which time you've probably already wandered into its aggro radius. And they're freakin' everywhere. After Unrelenting Force, your most used shout will be Kyne's Peace because of them.
      • Or Animal Allegiance.
    • If you are a warrior type, mages that use the Ice Storm spell fall into this category. Ice Storm is a spell that damages your health and stamina, robbing you from your ability to do Power Attacks. It also slows you down, turning you into a sitting duck. To make it worse; the spell has a huge area of effect, increasing your chance to get hit by it.
      • Hell, mages in general are this in the higher levels. Since spells are damage-locked and not affected by armor (Only magic resistance, and they're still tough with it), you're able to be quickly pulverized by powerful spells, and are essentially screwed if you run into a group of them without any way to pick them off from a distance or with stealth.
    • Elder and Ancient dragons. Just when you're powerful enough to be convinced that Blood and Frost dragons aren't any more of a threat, these bastards show up and start two-shotting you. Hitting them with Dragonrend just puts them on the ground, where they can more easily kill you. (It helps to bring a shield along, especially enchanted ones like the Spellbreaker, to defend against their breath blasts and bites, if you don't mind giving up the use of two-handed weapons.)
    • Spriggans are ridiculous. They can appear seemingly out of nowhere in forested areas, and they're more than capable of killing you fast by either quickly draining your health with insects or tearing huge chunks of your health out with their claws. And once you get them down to low health, they're able to quickly fully restore their health making you have to wear them down all over again. Oh, and did I mention that they can summon bears as well?
    • Forsworn Briarhearts must be fought with extreme caution. They're able to quickly rip huge amounts of health from you with their powerful dual-wielding attacks, and they're more than happy to leave you as a sitting duck with the aforementioned Ice Storm spell. And they rarely appear alone, so even if you're able to defeat the Briarheart, his weaker but still formidable lackeys are more than capable of picking you off.
  • Disappointing Last Level: The penultimate dungeon consists of the same Draugr enemies you've seen in every ruin and tomb up to that point, the only catch is this time you have no follower and the dungeon is a lot longer. Depending on how much you've leveled, this can mean either a swarm of standard Draugr, or Scourges who may have shouts (and will destroy your stamina with frost spells) and Deathlords who do have shouts and, on top of that, take lots of abuse before going down. Given that dungeons aren't even that long, and the Disappointing Last Level of Morrowind... it's an improvement.
  • Discredited Meme: Youtube commentors got absolutely sick of the "Arrow in the Knee" jokes as early as a month after this game came out!
    • Readers on the Skyrim board at Game FAQs have also become sick of the Toeh meme spawned there.
  • Disc One Nuke: Transmute, an Adept-level Alteration spell that turns iron ore into silver, and silver ore into gold, can be found pretty early in the game if you know where to look[1], and can be used to make absolute boatloads of money by transmuting iron into gold, then making jewelry and selling it.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Despite all that the quest/story designers did to make you want to hate the Thalmor (see A Nazi by Any Other Name )... some people still inexplicably like the Thalmor, and not in a "love to hate" way.
    • Many players feel that the Forsworn are misunderstood freedom fighters working for a just cause to overthrow a government that demonizes them, and wish that they could join them in the Civil War. Hmm...perhaps it's the raiding, genocide, and implicit rape, cannibalism, and Cruelty Rich Leather they practice that explains why it's not an option.
    • Speaking of the Civil War, expect around half of the player base to do this for the side they support while invoking Ron the Death Eater on the other.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Lydia, again. Most were very disappointed when a minor (and fixable) bug prevented players from marrying her. (Fixed in the 1.5 patch, or by mods on the PC before that.)
    • The Spectral Assassin, in other words, Lucien Lachance rides again.
    • Paarthurnax, due to him being The Mentor and one of the two friendly dragons. Several players have tried to slaughter the Blades for even suggesting killing him.
    • Brynjolf of the Thieves' Guild. With his accent, friendliness, and tendency to affectionately call your PC lass/lad, so many players were disappointed to find him unmarriable.
    • Vilkas and Farkas, of the Companions. Happily, you can marry them. Aela is also pretty popular, can't imagine why.
    • If the kink memes are anything to go by, Ondolemar, Ancano, Nelacar--really, almost any named male High Elf, likely because of their height, attractiveness, fashion sense, and Bastard Boyfriend-ish attitudes.
    • Cicero is also one of the most loved characters in the game, due to his hilarious dialogue and his sheer hamminess.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Astrid, "Matron" of the Dark Brotherhood.
    • Alva, scantily-clad vampiric seductress extraordinaire.
    • Not a perfect example due to being a Daedric Prince (Their morality is vastly different from Tamriel's sentient species), but Nocturnal is certainly this due to being the patron of the Thieves' Guild
  • Fail O'Suckyname: Vekel the Man may have the stupidest sobriquet ever.
  • Fountain of Memes: The entire game.
  • Game Breaker:
    • The Windshear, a unique sword found aboard The Katariah causes unfailing stagger to EVERY enemy. Even Alduin. This effectively makes melee fighting anyone or anything with one on one combat a guaranteed win.
    • You can create some ridiculously overpowered equipment if you have maxed out the enchanting and smithing skills with the skills' respective perks.
    • According to the Skyrim wiki, your follower is able to pick up a giant's club (as you can't do it yourself). They will be able equip it and and thus be able to inflict over 200 points of damage...The trick is actually finding one, however. This is likely to be patched out, if it hasn't been already.
    • Max Enchanting plus the relevant perks lets you craft a set of equipment that reduce the mana costs of two magic schools to zero, letting you cast spells from those two schools for free.
    • Max Conjuration plus perks lets you summon two Dremora Lords at once. For reference, ONE Dremora Lord can kill a Giant in around three hits. This would not be a Game Breaker if it weren't for the fact that there is a trivially easy way to level Conjuration: Cast Soul Trap repeatedly on a dead body. Or merely hold a bound weapon in your hands with some hostiles in the area.
    • Max Smithing and its perks lets you build and upgrade the strongest possible weapons. You can even upgrade some of the unique artifacts like the Mace of Molag Bal and Spellbreaker. Meshes well with Max Enchanting too.
    • Add in Alchemy and you can boost your Enchanting and Smithing skills past the 100 limit. Make a potion that boosts the effectiveness of Enchantments, then enchant a few armor pieces with Fortify Alchemy to boost the effectiveness of your brewed potions. Repeat ad infinitum, then make a few Fortify Smithing potions, add the enchantment of the same to some armor pieces, then upgrade your equipment for weapons that do over 100 damage a hit, without any bonuses, and armor pieces with the same in defense, body armor maxing over 200. Then you can add on to them your choice of enchantments, two for each armor piece plus a ring and necklace. Make yourself immune to magic, immune to Frost, Flame and Shock, double the regen rate of your stats or more, etc.
      • You can speed the process along by making Fortify Restoration potions, which, likely due to a glitch, enhance the capabilities of your other enchanted equipment after taking it off and putting it back on again. Making a full set of Fortify Alchemy equipment and then performing this loop can lead to potions so strong they loop around into negative numbers after a few iterations. Make some Fortify Enchantment and Smithing potions once you're at the apex and even your pathetic starting equipment and a few petty soul gems can be made to one-shot anything in the game. And the ingredients for Fortify Restoration aren't even rare.
    • Once again the Skeleton Key makes Lockpicking a joke. It just requires a lot of patience. You have to give up the very next quest after getting it, and it's only acquired near the end of the Thieves Guild questline, but there's nothing stopping you from taking your sweet time getting around to it. There's a Lockpicking perk with the same effect, so once you've had your fun with the Skeleton Key and leveled up enough, you can finish the quest and not lose a stitch.
    • The Oghma Infinium. It adds 5 skill points to all six branches of a relevant skill tree (Thief, Mage, Warrior), for a total of 30 points overall. However, there's also a glitch that allows players to level all the way up to 81, and you can acquire the Infinium at any point after achieving Level 15.
    • The Shadow Warrior perk, combined with the damage-boosting sneak attack perks makes you capable of literally walking up to an enemy's face, crouching for a second, and immediately attacking. Shadow Warrior not only makes the player invisible for a second, but completely erases the "Detected" status, making the sneak attack multipliers work even against an enemy standing right in front of you. This means you can one-shot every single enemy in the game if your weapon damage is high enough. If you're using a dagger (and why wouldn't you be, with the 15x sneak damage buff from the Assassin's Blade perk) you'll also usually get the hilarious effect of you teleporting behind your enemy to slit their throat before they can finish saying "Where are you?"
    • Max Illusion perks and vampirism. Vampires gain an extra 25% effectiveness to Illusion (even if the stat is already maxed) and the Vampire Seduction ability (with Stage 3 vampirism). With this combination, your character can offset every Illusion resistance in the game, and according to the UESP wiki, there is no character capable of defending against it.
    • The Impact perk, which allows you to stun any opponent if you double cast a projectile spell, effectively nullifies all possibility of you taking damage, should you stock up on enough mana potions because of the length of the stun. The only exception is other mages with tough wards.
    • Combining all the needed Smithing perks and the appropritate skills of an Assasin (eg the Assasin's perk and the Back Stab enchantment, which further boost a weapon's damage while sneaking), you can One-Hit Kill any unit, even Dragons! And if your Sneak skills are at maximum with all the needed perks, you can possibly sneak up to any unit even in broad daylight, and right in clear view of them, and strike them dead in on swipe, and no one will notice.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Apart from getting a 40/40 from Weekly Famitsu (the very first western game to get it), Skyrim seems to be growing in popularity in Japan.
    • Conversely, quite a number of western gamers like the Japanese dubbed voices of the game (which for the PC can easily be had by a simple language change), particularly that of Paarthurnax.
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: When you're infiltrating the skeever caverns under the Honningbrew Meadery, you're probably expecting a boss enemy guarding the nest, and you find an insane former student of the College named Hamelyn who is breeding a skeever army to destroy Whiterun.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Necromancers. It isn't that they toss frost spells or summon skeletons, that's easy. It isn't that they come in packs, though that is more worrisome. No, the frustrating thing about necromancers is that they can revive each other. And you always seem to miss one.
    • Not to mention, low level Draugr. They're easy to kill but they tend to appear in large numbers making them annoying to fight, and the loot they drop isn't really anything special.
    • Wolves are fairly weak, even at the start, and even if they ambush you (which happens a lot) they don't do much damage. What puts them in this category, however, is that they transmit Rockjoint, which will cut down your melee damage by 25%. And it's almost impossible to stop them from getting at least one hit in, so you'll be traveling back to town a lot to get it cured (unless you stock up on "Cure Disease" potions).
  • Good Bad Bug: Wouldn't be a Bethesda game without them. From ragdoll hilarity to physics gaffes to invisible hats that you can wear with other hats, the game has it all!
  • Hell Is That Noise: Wait....that sounded like wind...rushing past a giant pair of wings? By Akatosh, that's a dragon!
    • Was that a roar? Oh fuck there's a red dot BY AZURA, TO ARMS! A DRAGON!
    • Are those bees? SWEET TALOS THOSE ARE BEES!
    • Did I hear a clicking sound - CHAURUS BY MARA THAT'S A CHAURUS GET IT AWAY!
      • Hmm, was that another clicking sou- BLESSED KYNARETH, IT'S A FROSTBITE SPIDER! KILL IT KILL IT!
    • Hmm... Was that a growl I just heard o- BY YSMIR IT'S A DRAUGR!
    • Was that a "whoosh" soun- SWEET STENDARR IT WAS! FIREBALL!
    • What was that clattering noi– GREAT BOETHIAH, A FALMER ARCHER! RUN!
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: An in-game book describing the events of Oblivion takes special care to mention that it was the Mythic Dawn, and not the Dark Brotherhood, who assassinated Uriel Septim. The author even points out that it would have been suicidal for the Brotherhood to have taken out a contract on the Emperor, since it would have brought the whole of the Empire's forces down on them and destroyed them. Guess what you get to do after joining the Dark Brotherhood in Skyrim?
  • Informed Attractiveness: Carlotta Valentia in Whiterun, who claims to get "a lot of attention from men". She's not unattractive but far from being someone men would be falling over themselves to get to.
  • Internet Backdraft: The Civil War storyline. Debates regarding how and why one side is better than the other can quickly get rather flame-hot and passionate. Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize that this is how people often react with one another when discussing similarly broad Real Life disputes.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks:
    • Some of the games' major subplots could be finished in an afternoon, and the main quest will take about 20-30 hours. Given that only one or two of these hours is Disappointing Last Level compared to others in the's probably a bit better that they didn't decide to lengthen the story. Once you finish however, there's a ton of sidequests quests, ranging from questlines like the College and Companions to just retrieving an item for someone, and there's also finding all the Words of Power. Even if you don't have a quest to do, the game world is just so deep that you can pick a compass direction and head off into the unknown, you're bound to come across a new tomb or cave you haven't explored yet. Thus, if you're planning to plumb the game for all it has to offer outside the two main story quests, you're going to be spending a lot of time in Skyrim.
    • Because of the new random quest system, there are fewer scripted storyline quests for all the questlines compared to previous Elder Scrolls games, thus it can feel a bit jarring to be proclaimed a trusted and veteran member of your guild and their Chosen One just shortly after joining. These sorts of Pacing Problems are particularly obvious with the Companions questline, where one gets to join their Circle of most trusted veteran warriors literally after the initiation and then doing one more quest.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Lydia quickly became one. Though housecarls in general are pretty tough, Lydia is the one almost every player has. She can survive being hurled off a mountain.
    • Giants, too, due to a Good Bad Bug that lets them knock players into space with their clubs.
    • Ysgramor, in-universe. He can eat soup with a fork.
    • Horses.
    • For most people, slaying a dragon is the most awesome thing you can do in your life. For the Dovahkiin, it's all in a day's work.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Mondegreen: The lyrics in the trailer were initially thought by some to be English, but are actually in the language of dragons:

 Dovahkiin, Dovahkiin

Naal ok zin los vahriin

Wah dein vokul mahfaeraak ahst vaal

Ahrk fin norok paal graan

Fod nust hon zindro zaan

Dovahkiin, fah hin kogaan mu draal

    • Which translates to:

 Dragonborn, Dragonborn

By his honor is sworn

To keep evil forever at bay

And the fiercest foes rout

When they hear triumph's shout

Dragonborn, for your blessing we pray

    • Hilariously, as one Youtube commentor pointed out, it's also possible to mishear it as a spot-on Stormcloak anthem!

 For the king! For the king!

For the sons of Skyrim!

For our land! For our home! For the Empire's blood!

For the Nords! For the gods! For the sole single [2] son!

Our king, our king who'll dawn with victory!

    • Also, this bit of misheard lyrics, by many a youtuber, from the trailer (starts just after the fus ro da) and they couldn't be more true:

 Says the Lord

Fucking cool

Oh my God

Me gusta

  • Moral Event Horizon: Whether or not various members of the various factions cross it and if so, when, is probably a subject of huge debate...but one thing is for sure: If the player is out for One Hundred Percent Completion (and sometimes even if they aren't), the Dragonborn is GOING to cross this. It's only a matter of which completely irredeemable act is performed first, to catapult the Dovahkiin into Complete Monster territory--the Namira, Boethiah, Molag Bal, Mehrunes Dagon, Mephala, and a smattering of Dark Brotherhood quests are all good candidates.
    • And of course the Thalmor started the game on the wrong side of this.
    • Delphine crosses it when she orders you to murder Paarthurnax. Esbern at least has the excuse of being paranoid and isolated for a big portion of his life.
    • Erikur crosses this when he gets a Bosmer slave girl sent to Elenwen's torture chambers for not returning his affection.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • Get used to hearing enemy NPCs tell you that YOU NEVER SHOULD HAVE COME HERE!
    • Heimskr, who might be considered something of an Expy of Cromwell, the preacher from Megaton in Fallout 3. Even the wiki has a list of ways to stealth kill him to shut him up.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: When the barbarian choir starts singing, something awesome is always going to happen.
    • When you kill them (And it's easy to do, they go down in about one shot), skeletons make a delightful clattering sound when their bones hit the floor.
  • Narm:
    • The marriage dialogue.

 Player: "Interested in me, are you?"

NPC: "Well, yes. Why wouldn't I be? Are you... interested in me?"

Player: "Yes. Yes I am."


    • The werewolf ritual's Special Effects Failure. The arm is lifted, a dagger runs across it, and SPLAT! The basin is instantly half-filled with blood.
    • Gormlaith shouting "Skyrim WILL! BE! FREE!"
    • All NPCs have combat lines that relate to their position and race. Normally this isn't a problem, but hearing Lydia yelling "Skyrim belongs to the Nords!" while fighting mud crabs is a bit narmy.
    • Among the things guards can say to you is "You're like me, eh? Don't fancy those clunky two-handed weapons." They can say this while they are holding two-handed weapons. They can say this when YOU are holding two-handed weapons. This goes for any skill with high levels, no matter how non-obvious it may be ("Best offense is a good defense, right?" (the message for a high skill in heavy armor) when you are not wearing any heavy armor at all, etc.). Also, guards' Mood Whiplash towards you, such as first of all greeting you as the Dovahkiin/a Companion, then going straight to being suspicious of you, such as "Go fiddling with any locks around here, and we're going to have a real problem".
      • Though the commentary on skills when you don't have the equipment to match could be justified by your reputation.
    • There is a lot of overlap between helping out an NPC via a favor or misc quest, and possibly going against them in another sidequest. For example, after completing both Taking Care of Business and his misc quest, the waiter at the Riften inn will be admonishing you for defeating in a brawl/intimidating the innkeeper one moment, and singing your praises for helping him make his wedding ring the next.
    • Babette is a preteen girl who is Really Seven Hundred Years Old. Taking this into account, Bethesda wrote her (appropriately creepy) lines like those of an adult woman. However, since they had to get an actual 10-year-old for the voice acting, a lot of them just sound like... well, a ten-year-old girl reading lines written for an adult woman. This is noticeable especially when she struggles with the pronunciation of "alchemy reagents".
  • Nausea Fuel: Peryite's quest, "The Only Cure". You can meet a passive Afflicted early on, which indicates to you that The Virus in this example rots your skin somewhat. In the quest itself, you encounter aggressive Afflicted who can attack you Linda Blair-style with streams of vomit. Oh, and the condition is a "blessing" according to Peryite.
    • Namira's Daedric quest, where you slaughter a man in cold blood on a rather disturbing-looking altar and then shovel gobs of his raw flesh into your mouth with your bare hands. Then Namira speaks to you and congratulates you for your actions. Notable in that, if you want One Hundred Percent Completion, doing this is mandatory.
      • If, on the other hand, you're not out for 100% completion, you can kill every last one of the cannibals and get a nice reward from Brother Verulus.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • Dragons can attack you anywhere where the sky is visible. Even inside cities. Half the time your only warning that a dragon is about to attack is when it suddenly roars and drops down on you. The other half of the time, they don't even do that. Even in the courtyard of the mage college, in the middle of a thick snowstorm.
    • A specific plot instance is Alduin's soul-snaring mist in Sovngarde. You can't see him, and it is quite possible to come up to a random anonymous soldier who barely has time to tell you to run before he gets snatched away and his very soul devoured.
    • When you kill Grelod the Kind, the kid gives you the reward, all's well and good, right? Wrong. A courier shows up with a message from someone. I wonder who it is? Whoever it is was pretty eager to get it to you, apparently. So you read the note. Wanna know what it says? WE KNOW below a black handprint. Sleep tight.
      • Um... You may want to rethink the sleeping part...
    • In barrows, the mummified corpses that rise up to attack you and the ones that just sit in their tombs and sarcophagi look very similar. In an early playthrough, it's almost impossible to be sure which ones are undead and which aren't. It gets better as become more savvy and level up, but then you run into the problem of enemies and sarcophagi that don't "trigger" because your Sneak is too high, and suddenly find yourself surrounded because you made just a tiny bit of noise...
    • During the quest "A Cornered Rat," you might notice an oddity in Riften; there's a Khajiit named Shavari wandering around the city proper, something you won't find anywhere else. Other than that, she doesn't seem very noteworthy, doesn't have much to say, and isn't particularly friendly. But if you pay special attention to her, you'll notice she's both watching and following you from a safe distance. When you escape the Ratways with Esbern, you'll find out she's working with the Thalmor. You can also pickpocket her and find a note that specifically says that the Thalmor are tracking you and that you'll lead them to Esbern.
    • Spriggans appear literally out of nowhere, right next to you, and hit hard when they do. As a result, you'll never feel safe in wooded grottoes.
  • Porting Disaster:
    • While the Xbox and PC versions are relatively stable for a Bethesda game, the PlayStation 3 version of Skyrim is plagued with massive slow-downs, almost to the point of being unplayable. This is especially frustrating for gamers who utilize larger saving files, since they will have to wait for Bethesda to release a patch, although it is unclear how effective the patch will be.
    • While the PC version does not suffer many technical problems (well, no more than the Xbox version — this is an Elder Scrolls game, after all), the UI is very console-adapted, to the point that it has caused problems with using a mouse for many users (as in, the game doesn't properly register that you clicked on something). Bethesda has said they have no intention of modifying the UI themselves, but luckily this is one porting problem that can be (and already has been) fixed by modders.
  • Ruined FOREVER:
    • Skyrim will no longer have attributes. This has caused some fans to completely forsake the game due to the "dumbing down." Historically, they've said that for every Elder Scrolls game, so make of it what you will.
      • As it turned out, it might've been a good thing. Eliminating attributes also largely eliminated Empty Levels.
    • The addition of relationships and marriage has also caused some to cry foul, declaring it unnecessary fanservice and a waste of resources that should have been used to bring back all of those Morrowind features that Oblivion didn't have...
    • The removal of classes, which hardly anybody used anyway.
      • The removal of class creation appears to be what bugged most fans, as now players have almost no amount of character customization beyond physical appearance and minor skill buffs/powers. In addition, the removal of major/minor skills makes very little sense when the community presented the idea that both major and minor skills could simply contribute equally to leveling, while major skills would start higher and level faster (much in the way of the standing stones).
    • People are still complaining about the lack of polearms. For reference, out of the five games in the series, only Morrowind had polearms, which were extremely unpopular due to them being horrendous weapons (two handed weapons that did less damage than most one handed weapons).
    • The fact that you're pretty much required to play the game on Steam. Although this a much less common issue now, since Steam's been well established and doesn't have any of the bugs it once did (not to mention the automatic patching being a godsend for a series and genre known for being full of glitches on launch). Strike that, there was an update released on Nov 21st that now makes the Launcher-bypass execution that didn't require Steam running to now require it.
    • You can now only equip one ring at a time. While admittedly fairly minor, it is pretty hard to justify.
  • The Scrappy: Heimskr due to his endless preaching about Talos. Makes it even worse when he loses his house and thus preaches more. He is one of the two things both Imperial and Stormcloak sympathizers agree to hate.
    • The Thalmor. They're generally hated by everyone. As one fan put it, people hate the Nazi elves more than the world-eating dragon. If the general NPC attitude towards them is any indication, this was likely intentional.
    • Delphine and Esbern. Forcing the player character to serve as their errand boy as well as ordering him/her to kill Paarthurnax did not win them love from the fans.
    • Maven Black-Briar is also reviled among many people of the fanbase. She's a crime lord who is more-or-less solely responsible for Riften being a scum-filled hellhole, and she goes out of her way to talk down to others and make their lives miserable in general. And unfortunately, she's not like Nazeem where you can simply run her trough with a greatsword or obliterate her with various Dragon Shouts, she's essential, and to make things even more infuriating, she becomes Jarl of Riften if the Imperials win the Civil War. All in all, there's absolutely no way to humble her, call her out on what she does, kill her, or anything to get rid of her, which makes her among the game's most loathed characters.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: The broken-as-hell yielding system. In Oblivion, all you needed to do to yield was block and press a button, which the enemy would recognize and guards always accepted. In Skyrim, you need to put your weapon away and just stand there like an idiot. Most of the time it doesn't work, meaning guards will keep trying to kill you for a forty-gold bounty, no matter how many times you try to surrender.
    • Marriage. Despite being an interesting new aspect of the game with great potential, many people have taken issue with it. Courtship is easy and short. The dialogue with your spouse is rather boring and often buggy, and you can't have any meaningful interaction with them apart from setting them as a follower, talking about various banal topics, or buying items. The only benefits it offers are certain status buffs, a source of income, and a free follower. It's become enough of a problem that there are numerous mods to improve marriage, including ones that allow you to marry more characters.
  • Sidetracked By the Golden Saucer: As before with Elder Scrolls games, you can spend so long reading books.
    • And as with a lot of freeform exploration games, it is absurdly easy to get sidetracked while en route to a quest. Something as simple as stopping to investigate a curious landmark while en route to another quest site can result in the player ending up on the far side of Skyrim engaging in another quest-line entirely unrelated tot he first one.
  • Squick:
    • Awesome yet totally horrid is a werewolf's double-swipe power finisher, where they grab their foe, lift them off the ground and pop their head off like they're crushing a grapefruit.
    • Wear the Ring of Namira around and guards will comment on how rotten your breath smells and ask what you've been eating. The answer, if you have the ring, is of course human flesh.
  • Take That Scrappy: Nazeem is so despised that many Youtubers have made montages and "sending him to the could district."
    • As well as a mod that literally deletes him from the game.
  • That One Boss:
    • The Ghost of Sigdis Gauldurson at the end of the Forbidden Legend quest. He's a Doppelganger boss where you have to play whack-a-draugr to find the real deal, they're all archers (and hurt a LOT when they hit), and each one, doppelgangers and all, pack an Unrelenting Force shout powerful enough to send you flying. Even if you whack a few of the doppelgangers, the remainder will shout you onto your ass and you take forever to get back up, meaning he resets his doppelgangers all over and you probably didn't land a single hit. By which time you'll be frantically restoring whatever health was lost when you were a sitting duck getting pincushioned by arrows after being shouted over.
    • Still, you can own him easily by hiding behind a pillar and shooting him with a bow
    • You even have to fight Sigdis twice during the quest. And the second time he is part of a Boss Rush along with his brothers.
    • Those Eight Dragon Priests! They make Alduin look like a pushover! (Except for Nahkriin.)
      • One of them even ambushes when you when you're trying to learn a new word of power after killing a dragon.
      • May Talos have mercy on your soul when you wake said Dragon Priest while still fighting the actual dragon.
      • Aside from leveling up, some good ways to deal with them include sniping (for stealth types), shield bashing (for melee types), and ganging up on them (for those who like using summons and followers).
    • Malyn Varen can be pretty nasty. He sics three Daedra enemies on you before fleeing to his chamber, and they're fond of powerful fire spells. If you're unlucky, all three of them will gang up on you at once. Hope you brought some fire resistance and healing potions.
      • The single fastest way to beat him is to not let him flee. Pull a Shut UP, Hannibal and shoot him with a poisoned arrow.
    • Malkoran is considered this not because of his shades, it is because of his extremely powerful frost spell that can potentially kill in one hit (Confirmed at Level 26) even in the lowest difficulty.
      • If you have the Ice Form shout, it's an excellent counter against him. Put him on ice, and before he has a chance to recover, beat the crap out of him.
    • Morvarth has several vampire servants that can cast powerful ice spells and heal themselves as well. Combined with Morvath's own powerful spells and tendecy to decapitate in melee, many players will be seeing the same loading screen over and over again.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: To some, the Civil War plotline was underutilized. The in-game story clues and documentation reveal a long and complex backstory involving war and political intrigue between many nations and factions leading to the start of the civil war. The war itself has distinctive factions with heaps of Gray and Grey Morality associated with them, many ways to interpret all sides, and an overarching conflict with the Thalmor. However, the civil war itself takes a backseat to the main quest centering around Alduin, and while the civil war questline is one of the largest in the game, it generally involves similar missions across Skyrim, just in different locations depending on faction. You can actually discuss this with the head of the Bard's College in Solitude, who comments that the war in Skyrim is just another war in history, and that kings and empires rise and fall regularly, but that the conflict between the Dragonborn and Alduin is something much more unique and noteworthy.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The new engine attempts to solve this issue, with the faces be a vast improvement over previous games.
    • The new characters also attempt to carry on their daily duties while glancing at the player if you speak to them, while this is normally fine sometimes it can break in crowded areas such as a tavern when multiple NPCs think the character is about to start a conversation, as a result, everyone stares at the player every time they look up from what they're doing.
    • Someone made a mod that makes the horses in-game look like they came from My Little Pony. The results look like someone tried to render a My Little Pony realistically. And what happens when you try to render a cartoon realistically? Yep. You'd be right...
    • Speaking of mods, witness Miku Hatsune methodically slaughtering enemy mooks, with a straight face, in Bullet Time. Even being hit by an arrow doesn't stop her.
    • And now Luka Megurine has joined in the fun as well, with even more frightening efficiency.
    • Adults have very distinct appearances. Children, clothing aside, look like clones.
      • Worse, many of the animations for children weren't properly rigged. When a child NPC does something like sit down on a chair, or uses an Alchemy station, their dimensions will stretch out and make them the same size as the adults.
    • Clothing especially, with the children. They only seem to have one outfit, based on their gender. Even Babette, who you think would look more like she belongs in the Dark Brotherhood.
    • If you (for some reason) strip a character naked, you'll notice their feet look like mittens with lines engraved for their toes.
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • Once you get married, no matter what type of life your spouse was living and what type of person they are, at your request they'll move into your home halfway across Skyrim and spend the rest of the game being a homemaker who runs what could only be described as a junk shop and dotes on you when you come home.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
  • Wake Up Call Boss: Hamelin, the guy squatting in caves underneath the Honningbrew Meadery. Up to this point in the Thieves Guild questline, your jobs have been burglarizing, extortion, pickpocketing, and arson--usually with specific instructions not to kill anyone or cause more harm than is necessary. Then WHAM!, they hit you with this guy. Surrounded by an army of skeevers and spiders, Hamelin boasts impressive fireball spells, has resistances to several types of damage, runs at a stunningly fast speed and is nigh impossible to sneak to or past at lower levels (if you alert his "pets", you alert him as well). There is absolutely no warning that this guy is part of the mission, making it highly possible you didn't bring the right gear with you. Good luck with that.
    • It's even lampshaded. The guy who hired you for the job KNEW about him, he just didn't want to scare potential recruits away. Would YOU have taken the job, if you knew what you were in for?
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Ysgramor could eat soup with a fork.
    • Dual-wield pickaxes. Mine like a boss!
  1. Halted Stream Camp, northwest of Whiterun
  2. or perhaps "prodigal"