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- "Long life to you, my Thane."
- Action-Hero Babysitter: With the addition of the Hearthfire DLC, the housecarls become these. They will do everything in their power to protect the Dragonborn's children from bandits and other random attacks.
- Artificial Brilliance: If a fight is beginning to look a little one-sided, they'll snatch up a staff they found lying on the ground and use it to even the odds.
- Badass Bisexual: They'll hit on you and you can marry them if you wear an Amulet of Mara regardless of your character's gender.
- Badass Normal: They don't need fancy magic or an ancient language to keep up with the Dovahkiin. But they won't hesitate to use a staff if you give one to them, or it is lying around for them to use.
- Battle Butler: They carry your goods if you request it, and, when not following and protecting you, they stay at home to guard your house, your children and anything you own. Starting with Hearthfire, they share this position with your Stewards.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Jordis, Lydia, and Iona respectively.
- Bodyguard Crush: If you wear an Amulet of Mara while speaking to them...
- Bodyguarding a Badass: That badass being you, of course.
- Catchphrase:"Honor to you, my Thane.""Long life to you, my Thane.""As you will, my Thane. I will protect you with my life."
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: They have special trash talk reserved for dragons!"You'll die this day, dragon!"
- The Dragon: To an evil Dragonborn. They won't hesitate to murder a defenseless old lady if you give them the order.
- 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.
- Insult Friendly Fire: As almost all of them are Nords, they are prone to using "Skyrim for the Nords!" as well as various racial insults as a battlecry, even if they happen to serve a non-Nord.
- The Lancer/Number Two: They are "your sword and your shield".
- 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:
"Not for you. Not for anyone."
- Attacking them repeatedly.
- Becoming a Stage Four vampire (if Dawnguard isn't installed) or werewolf (if they are not a follower).
- ...And making them sleep in someone else's bed.
- 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 and Jordis the Sword-Maiden will stay right by your side while invading Whiterun or Solitude, with Lydia actively participating in directly fighting the very Jarl who assigned her to you, personally.
- Only Six Faces: The female Housecarls seem to have the exact same faces, to the point where Lydia and Jordis the Sword-Maiden almost 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.
- Voiced by: Colleen Delaney"I am sworn to carry your burdens...."
- Action Girl: She's likely the first female follower you can recruit, and is a proficient warrior.
- Ascended Meme: Lydia originally had only one sarcastic line. This was upped in Dragonborn.
- Breakout Character: She's pretty much the poster girl for the game, as the first Housecarl met and likely the player's first companion (Sven or Faendal in Riverwood can be missed easily), and she has a bit of sarcasm and badassery to make her memorable. The Hearthfire and Dragonborn DLC further expand her personality in subtle ways with new dialogue and changes to her behavior, something done for no other Housecarl.
- Cuteness Proximity: A very strange example. When fighting the diminutive but murderous Rieklings:Lydia: I don't know whether to kill it or pet it.
- Deadpan Snarker: Aside from the classic line above, Lydia gets a tremendous boost to her snarkiness in the Dragonborn DLC, especially if you start using the Black Books.
- Disc-One Nuke: She's one of the first followers you can recruit, and her invincibility combined with her high stats and strong default equipment make her possibly more powerful than you when you recruit her. She'll continue to be just as powerful late into the game.
- Genre Savvy: Will often say "I have a bad feeling about this" when taken into dangerous areas.
- No Hero to His Valet: No matter how badass, famous or influential the Dragonborn is, Lydia will keep snarking the same or otherwise harmlessly disrespect him/her.
- Sarcastic Devotee: She is sworn to carry your burdens. Doesn't mean she's happy about it, though. With Hearthfire, she eventually drops the snarkiness the more you travel with her. She has a lot more sarcastic dialogue in Dragonborn.
- Voiced by: Michael Gough
- Heroes Want Redheads: If you marry him.
- Hot Blooded Sideburns: He sports an impressive pair of muttonchops.
- Voiced by: Claudia Christian
- Action Girl: Like all female companions, she's a very powerful fighter.
- 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.
Argis the Bulwark
- Voiced by: Popeye Vogelsang
- Badass Baritone: Has the gruffest voice of the housecarls.
- Badass Beard: The only housecarl with a full, manly mane (Hearthfire notwithstanding).
- Facial Markings: The only housecarl with war paint.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Of the good variety.
- Handicapped Badass: He's also blind in one eye.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: As his sobriquet implies, he prefers a shield and one-handed weapon combination, and utilizes blocking and shield bashing in combat.
- They Call Him "Sword": His sobriquet.
Jordis the Sword-Maiden
- Voiced by: Corri English
- 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.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Her voice and dialogue give the impression that she's the friendliest out of the housecarls. Doesn't make her any less brutal in a fight, nor does it keep for from yelling threats in battle.
- Precision F-Strike: She might yell, "Die, damn you!" in the middle of a fight.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Name version. "Jordis" means "Sword Maiden" in Norwegian, which makes her name Sword Maiden the Sword-Maiden.
- 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 declare that "I don't like where this is going" when entering a suspicious area.
- They Call Him "Sword": Her sobriquet.
- Voiced by: Popeye Vogelsang
- An Axe to Grind: He carries a unique Battleaxe. It's the same axe he uses to execute people.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Despite his duties, he comes off as a fairly decent person who treats his job as what it is: a job.
- Establishing Character Moment: You'll likely notice him immediately upon entering Solitude, as the headsman in charge of executing Roggvir.
- Genre Savvy: He is pretty aware that Jaree-Ra is bad news.
- Off with His Head!: It's his job. He's pretty blase about it, however.
- Scary Black Man: Aside from his job, he's notably much larger and more muscular than other Redguards as well as having a rather deep voice.
- Voiced by: Colleen Delaney
- Action Mom: She has a daughter.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: While the ore vein she discovered was prosperous enough to establish the settlement of Darkwater Crossing and its associated mine, this unfortunately led to Small Town Boredom when she realised she was now tied down in one place.
- Follower-In-Law: The Dragonborn can marry her daughter.
- Founder of the Settlement: She was the one who discovered the mine, leading to the establishment of Darkwater Crossing.
- Older Than They Look: She has a full-grown daughter, which would make her in her late thirties or early forties at least. She certainly doesn't look it; in fact, when standing next to her daughter, they look like they could be sisters.
- Parenting The Wife: Her husband, Verner, desperately wants her to act her age. It doesn't work.
- Retired Badass: Until she returns to adventuring alongside the Dragonborn.
- Small Town Boredom: Her reason for following the Dragonborn.
- Wet Blanket Wife: Inverted. She wants to do some adventuring, to the annoyance of her husband.
- Voiced by: Michael Gough
- Adventurer Archaeologist: He shows excitement when visiting ancient Nordic tombs.
- Deflector Shields: He often uses the Ward spells.
- Magic Knight: Prides himself on being a spellsword."Versatility is the key to survival. Hire me, and you'll well-prepared to face threats both magical and mundane."
- Stone Wall: He can be even tougher than housecarls because he buffs and heals himself.
- Voiced by: Popeye Vogelsang
- Above the Influence: It's possible for Alva to hit on him, and Benor says he'll agree, if Alva leaves that "kinslayer" Hroggar. Alva says Hroggar doesn't have to know, but that causes Benor to flatly turn her down, refusing to "cuckold" Hroggar even if Benor thinks Hroggar's a murderer.
- An Axe to Grind: He's wielding an iron battleaxe when you first recruit him, and he prefers Two-Handed weapons.
- Defeat Means Friendship: How you recruit him.
- Knight in Sour Armor: He's not pleased with the Jarl of Morthal, whom he feels isn't doing enough to protect the citizens of Morthal. He feels Morthal used to be a quiet place, back when the world made sense. So what does he do about it? He joins up with Morthal's guards to help them out.
- Not Distracted by the Sexy: Well, not distracted by Alva's sexy, anyway, as described in the Above the Influence trope. The player can marry him, though.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Sort of. He's the blue oni to his good friend Gorm's red. You can learn this in a minor conversation, but Gorm wants to do something immediately about his and Benor's mutual dissatisfaction with Morthal's Jarl, while Benor would prefer to wait until the time is right, when they're sure.
- Voiced by: Stephen Russell
- Animalistic Abomination: Only looks like a Big, Friendly Dog.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Calls the player out on this.Barbas: "Yeah, Skyrim is full of giant, flying lizards, cats walking on two legs, and you're surprised by a talking dog?"
- Artificial Stupidity: He has a habit of pushing players off cliffs.
- Big, Friendly Dog: He's really this terrifying Daedric creature, and yet he still barks at butterflies.
- Deadpan Snarker: Much like his master, in fact, but not at all malicious.
- Made of Iron: He seems to be completely invincible. Possibly justified in that he's an aspect of sorts to Clavicus Vile, who - as a Daedric Prince - can't be killed. With one exception: taking up Clavicus Vile on his offer to give Barbas the axe. Literally.
- Morality Pet: Literally, to Clavicus Vile. He says this in a bit of unused dialogue:I tend to be the voice of reason and he finds that... irksome.
- Talking Animal: The Dragonborn can bring up this fact, whereupon Barbas will comment on their Arbitrary Skepticism.
- Taken for Granite: Reuniting him with Clavicus causes him to reclaim his post as the other half of the daedra's statue.
Borgakh the Steel Heart
- Voiced by: Diane Salinger
- Action Girl: As a female Orc, this is a given.
- Arranged Marriage: She joins up with you to escape one.
- Badass Normal
- Blood Knight: One of her random comments is "My blood's calm. I prefer it boiling."
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: A minor example, but if you use Healing Hands on her to heal her wounds, she'll complain that an Orc lets wounds heal naturally.
- Hot Guy, Ugly Wife: Possibly (she can be married). Although for an Orc, she's fairly attractive.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: An odd case in that her stats are geared for a sword-and-shield one-handed approach, but she seems to prefer using bows at long range in battle instead unless you make sure she doesn't have any bows or arrows.
- Proud Warrior Race Girl: Once again, as a female Orc.
- Statuesque Stunner: Since she's a orc, and a attractive one at that, she's taller than any race but Altmer.
- Tribal Facepaint: Has blood-red tears painted on her face (as if her eyes are welling up and running over).
- You Keep Using That Word: A minor goof by Bethesda. She calls the goods Mor Khazgur would get in exchange for her a "dowry," but the correct definition of that term would be goods or money given to her husband in addition to her. The correct term is something like "bride-price".
- Voiced by: Tim Blaney
- Artificial Stupidity: Due to a glitch, he can become inexplicably trapped in the cave where you find him, unable to follow you out of the exit.
- Catch-Phrase: "Ours is to follow, friend."
- Idiot Ball: How he got imprisoned by the Falmer. Upon freeing him, the first thing he does is to kick himself for about how utterly stupid it was to swim into an unexplored cave when he didn't know what was in there first.
- 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."
- Made of Iron: Due to the incredibly buggy nature of his recruitment quest, his essential status never gets removed, making it impossible for enemies to kill him. This means that, while his stats are average at best, he's actually one of the most useful followers in the game.
- Recruitment By Rescue: You recruit this guy by rescuing him from a Falmer den.
- Rescue Romance: If you choose to marry him.
- Runaway Groom: Because of a glitch, when attempting to marry him, he has a tendency to sprint out of the chapel in the middle of the ceremony.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Entering a vast room with no enemies to be seen? He sees this a mile away.
- Weapon of Choice: The bow, which he will use as long as he has arrows, even if you give him ridiculously powerful melee weapons. The solution, of course, is to give him ridiculously powerful bows instead. In melee combat, he almost always uses his pickaxe and will simply resort to Dual Wielding if given another melee weapon.
- Voiced by: Susan Eisenberg
- Affably Evil: She's rather polite for a bloodthirsty cannibal.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Don't let yourself be fool by her first impression; she's pretty much a psychotic cannibal.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: She seems a bit like this when you first meet her, especially as she goes on about how she knows you know what it's like to be a cannibal... even if you haven't actually eaten any human flesh up to this point in the game.
- Dark Action Girl: Female, psychotic, and very good at kicking ass.
- Handicapped Badass: Being blind in one eye doesn't hamper her any.
- I'm a Humanitarian: She's part of a cult of cannibals who worship Namira.
- Magic Knight: Efficient on One-Handed combat and Destruction magic.
- Necromancer: Eola is the only follower in the base game capable of reanimating fallen enemies.
- Nightmare Fetishist: She is part of a cannibal cult worshiping the Daedric Prince of Revulsion. Can hardly fit the trope better.
- Psycho Sidekick: Granted, the game's universe is a huge case of Grey and Gray Morality, but Eola's right up there with Cicero when it comes to psychotic followers.
Erandur (formerly Casimir)
- Voiced by: Keith Szarabajka
- The Atoner: Used to be a Daedric Lord's priest, but abandoned his order and became a priest of Mara instead.
- Badass Preacher: Being a priest of Mara and being a powerful mage are not mutually exclusive.
- The Bard: He used to attend the Bard's College in Solitude, but was kicked out for worshiping Vaermina.
- Battle Cry: "Feel the benevolence of Mara!"
- Catch-Phrase: "Blessings of Mara upon you."
- Developers' Foresight: Erandur is one of the few followers with different remarks for basically every location in Skyrim, from major cities to bandit camps. The most notable is his remark that he's always wanted to make a pilgrimage to the Temple of Mara, should you take him there.
- Good Parents: He claims that he had good parents and has no bad memories of them; he thinks he'll visit their resting place sometime.
- Heel–Faith Turn: He used to worship a Daedric Prince, but turned good and started worshiping Mara instead.
- Kill It with Fire: One of his favourite spells is a ramped-up fireball.
- Kung-Fu Wizard: Erandur can take almost as much of a beating as Lydia or your other companions.
- Magic Knight: He often uses a mace and a fire spell. He's also a mean hand with Destruction staves.
- Nice Guy: One of the few followers who are fine with hauling your stuff around.
- Older Than They Look: He states that he grew up in The Pale and has lived there for most of his life, which is longer than the Dovahkiin may think.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Erandur's battle dialogue and some of his unique lines said when he isn't being spoken to directly are in the normal, nasal Dark Elf voice, as opposed to his usual Badass Baritone. Keith Szarabajka wasn't able to go the full Joshua Graham route for this preacher.
- Sadistic Choice: It's either have him as follower, or kill him and gain possession of a nice magic staff. Of course, it's not really sadistic if you're a good guy, since doing the bidding of the Lady of Nightmares is not something you'd be inclined to do even if it didn't involve killing a decent man. However, if you're attempting to get the "Oblivion Walker" achievement, letting him live means giving up the chance to acquire one of the fifteen required artifacts.
- That Man Is Dead: "I am no longer Casimir. I am Erandur, priest of Mara."
- Unexplained Accent: He has quite a fantastic one compared to other followers.
- Weapon of Choice: Tends to favour using Destruction magic in battle, despite his stats revealing that he's far more skilled at Conjuration. One explanation for this might be that his Heel–Faith Turn from a Daedra worshiper is why he doesn't use it anymore, since that school is heavily associated with the Daedra and Oblivion.
Erik the Slayer
- Voiced by: Jason Marsden
- Adorkable: He's very cheerful and excitable. When you come back to him after having dismissed him, he's so happy about going on another adventure that his voice squeaks.
- Ascended Fanboy: A meta example. Erik the Slayer is based off of Erik West, who was known as "Immok the Slayer" on the forums before he died of cancer in May 2011.
- Farm Boy: Subverted in that he's not resistant to adventure - it's his biggest dream, and he doesn't miss farming at all.
- Jumped at the Call: Takes the first opportunity that he can to just leave and start adventuring.
- Missing Mom: She died when he was a little child.
- Nice Guy
- Overprotective Dad: Mralki is so protective of Erik that when you say you want to talk about his son, he assumes Erik must have been hurt, and sounds close to panic.
- Pet the Dog: The Dragonborn can offer to pay for his armor, so his father won't go into debt.
- Small Town Boredom: Why he wants to be an adventurer.
- Strong Family Resemblance: He looks a fair bit like his father, the owner of the village inn. He inherited his mother's eye and hair color, presumably, as those don't match. And hopefully his mother's hair retention, as Mralki is bald on top.
- Voiced by: Jon Curry
- Adorkable: Somewhat.
- Badass Normal: He can only level up to level 30 and he doesn't know any magic, but he's so good with his bow that it often doesn't matter.
- Deadpan Snarker: "Riverwood's agreeable enough, I suppose. For a Nord village."
- Disc-One Nuke: Getting him as a follower is not only possible within five minutes of leaving Helgen, but he's also a trainer, and as a companion you can get Archery lessons from him and then take back the gold from his inventory for free lessons. Enjoy having your pumped-up bow skills deal a One-Hit Kill to early enemies.
- Love Triangle: With Sven over Camilla. He's no better and no worse than Sven; both of them hatch a completely identical plot to win over Camilla's affections: write a forged note insulting Camilla and make it look like the other guy wrote it, so Camilla will turn on him and fall for the forger instead. Faendal's letter is the more blunt, being essentially a Stylistic Suck poem on Stay in the Kitchen, while Sven more or less depicts Faendal as a stereotypical Thalmor elf.
- Never Hurt an Innocent: His morality is set to 3 (will not commit any crimes), which means he'll turn on the Dragonborn if they instigate a fight with a civilian.
- Nice Guy: All Love Triangle issues aside, he's perfectly happy to help you out, he's extremely loyal to the point where he never objects if you turn him into a pack mule, and he's got none of the Fantastic Racism most of his species does.
- Not So Different: He's actually just as bad as Sven, as revealed when he tries to get you to manipulate Camilla into dumping Sven.
- Unfortunate Name: If you read his name as a Norwegian word, it effectively translates to "fuck-valley". Makes one wonder how the writers came up with this blunder, or maybe not?
- Weapon of Choice: The bow is his default weapon, which he will use most of the time. He can also train you in Archery up to level 50.
- Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Ask him to kill a civilian and he will say, "Not for you, not for anyone." Kill one yourself without due cause (basically in cold blood) and he'll join the guards in killing you. If one of them attacks you first, however, he'll side with you since they started it.
- Voiced by: Michael Gough
- Abusive Parent: His dad locked him in Hillgrund's tomb for three days. It's an ambiguous example, however, because the note from his aunt says that it was actually his brother who did it. So it's hard to say what actually happened in that specific instance, but Dad sounds like a nasty piece of work regardless.
- Disappeared Dad: But that may be for the best. His dad was a drunken bastard.
- Fantastic Racism: Defied; when describing what the Necromancer (a Dark Elf) is doing to his ancestors, he talks about "filthy Dark Elf Necromancy". If the Dragonborn is a Dark Elf, however, he will immediately add that there was "no offense intended", as he assumed he/she wasn't in that kind of practice.
- Nice Guy
- What the Hell, Hero?: Calls the Dragonborn out if they steal treasure from his family's ancestral tomb. He reluctantly agrees that they can keep it as a reward for helping him out, but he's clearly not happy about it. note
Ghorbash the Iron Hand
- Voiced by: Noah Nelson
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Let's face it, "Ghorbash the Iron Hand" has a very nice ring to it.
- Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: One of the dialogue options for recruiting him essentially boils down to this. Ghorbash takes it as a challenge.
- 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 Legion, he still has a strong urge to wander. The speech check required to make him a follower calls him out on this.
- Weapon of Choice: The bow, as befits a Ranger, Ghorbash's listed class.
- Voiced by: Colleen Delaney
- Action Girl: A pretty good witch.
- The Atoner: It's implied that she did many morally questionable things before her Heel Realization.
- Heel Realization: Upon realizing that she simply isn't comfortable with crossing the Moral Event Horizon.
- An Ice Person: Her primary combat spells are ice based.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How most of her kills will end up, due to her reliance on Icy Spear for offense.
- Not What It Looks Like: What she says after the Dragonborn witnesses her killing another witch.
- Self-Made Orphan: Although it's in self-defense.
- Video Game Caring Potential: After you help her end her quest, she doesn't really know what to do anymore and becomes a follower for you as a way to move on, staying in the tower where she killed her mother when you dismiss her. She is also available to become a Steward in Hearthfire, so it is possible to recruit her, thus giving her a new home, a new life and a new purpose.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Azura is a Daedric Prince, but she's one of the nicer ones. Aranea is completely loyal to her and is quite nice herself.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: After Azura informs her she won't receive any more visions, she's left lost, not knowing what to do, and decides to join you as a result. Unlike Illia, she's not an option for Steward in Hearthfire; however, she can be recruited into the Blades.
- High Priestess: Of Azura.
- Really 700 Years Old: It's implied she was one of the original pilgrims that built the Shrine, over two centuries ago. She likewise mentions that Azura granted her a vision foretelling the Dragonborn's arrival at the Shrine, long before they were even born.
- Undying Loyalty: She is the only follower of Azura who remained at the statue after waiting a couple hundred years. Even after Azura stops giving her visions and she decides to join you, she will still stay at the Shrine in her free time to pursue her duties as a High Priestess.
- Affably Evil: She makes no bones about being a killer, but she also likens it to an art and generally remains polite and professional about it.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: If she's taken into a mine, she'll bemoan the fact that the very people who dig up precious minerals are so poor.
- Combat Aestheticist: She gushes over the aesthetics of blood spray, and describes combat as "making great art".
- Dual Wielding: One of the few followers who prefer dual wielding over using a shield.
- Professional Killer: Sees herself as an assassin.
- Übermensch: Has strongly held views which are uniquely hers, and is very outspoken about them.
- Voiced by: André Sogliuzzo
- Made of Iron: Starting in steel plate, he makes a great tank.
- 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."
- Off the Wagon: Kharjo advises you that drinking and gambling do not mix - whatever he did when he combined the two resulted in him landing in prison. Akhari got him out and he is replaying the debt by guarding the caravan.
- Voiced by: Jon Curry
- 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: "If these ruins frighten you, take comfort in the knowledge that I am here."
- Badass Bookworm: Some of his dialogue suggests he is well-educated.
- Deadpan Snarker: He's one of the more talkative followers who often make comments on some places even when not talked to, and complains that you're using him as a pack mule when asked to carry things.
- Disc-One Nuke: He's 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.
- Trigger Happy: Since he has Chain Lightning, he can (and will, repeatedly) electrocute you in combat.
- Tsundere: If you marry him and use him as a follower, then you'll get both the standard marriage dialogue and his snarky remarks.
Mjoll the Lioness
- Voiced by: Martina Lotun
- 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 follower, 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."Ha! Think you can take me?"
- Deadpan Snarker: When talking to Maven Black-Briar, she's much more rude and sarcastic, naturally."Maven. How's the criminal underworld treating you this fine day?"
- Developers' Foresight: She comments on it if you bring her to Mzinchaleft, where she was severely injured.
- Dummied Out: She was originally going to be more active against the Thieves' Guild, and potentially help you destroy it, a la "Destroy The Dark Brotherhood," but the questline was removed from the game due to time constraints.
- Foil: To Maven Black-Briar. Both are Nord women who live in Riften; while Maven is a corrupt business woman who backs the Thieves Guild and treats the player with hostility even after helping her more than once, Mjoll is a warrior who opposes all corruption, despises the Thieves' Guild, and is never rude to the player (even if they're in the guild).
- Friendly Enemy: It's never mentioned in-universe, and it's most likely just a case of Story And Gameplay Segregation, but you can befriend her even if you are a Thieves' Guild member, or even the Guildmaster. That's right, you can be friends with her even though, from her perspective, you are pretty much part of the Big Bad Ensemble (the other part being Maven Black-Briar).
- Just Friends: Apparently, herself and Aerin. Aerin will go anywhere Mjoll goes - including your house, should you marry her. He will even follow her to Sky Haven Temple, should you get her to join the Blades!
- Made of Iron: Because of her quest, Mjoll is permanently 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 you don't have to worry about her getting killed in combat, though she'll still turn on you if you attack her enough.
- 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.
- Named Weapons: Her sword, Grimsever.
- Older Than They Look: You'd never know it from just looking at her, but some of her comments imply that she's somewhat past her prime.
- Permanently Missable Content: Before patch 1.9, if you were level 81 before talking to her the first time, you could never recruit her.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Despite her claims to be an opponent of the Thieves' Guild and the Black-Briars, she's never seen doing anything other than lamenting their presence in Riften. Even if you tell her that you're interested in joining the Thieves' Guild, she simply expresses mild disappointment at you. Dialogues between her and Aerin suggest that she does have run-ins with them offscreen, but he tries to convince her into limiting her actions to avoid having Maven send her to jail. She also does help the guards take down thieves whenever one shows up.
- Retired Badass: Though you can inspire her to make a comeback.
- Tribal Face Paint: Wears blue face paint on half of her face.
- 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 of this if you take her into one, remarking that she had hoped to never see one again. If you take her to Mzinchaleft in particular, she will mention that she had never intended to return there.
- Woman Of The City: Sees herself as Riften's protector, and vehemently opposes both the Thieves' Guild and Black-Briar dynasty (or at least she claims to do so). As noted above, it's been indicated that there was supposed to have been a questline in which she worked more actively against them, but it was cut.
- Unknown Rival: To the Thieves' Guild. Despite being the only resident of Riften who openly opposes them, none of them seem that concerned with her as they never even talk about her.
A Nord bard living in Riverwood who, like Faendal, is a potential companion if you side with him with his love triangle.
- Berserk Button: If you complete Faendal's quest, he becomes very frosty towards you.
- Joke Character: He's a cowardly twit who lives with his mom, he's one of the weakest fighters, and he has the shortest span before he can stop leveling up. It's one of the reasons that he often gets overlooked and people travel with Faendal.
- Quirky Bard: Sven's job is to stand around in an inn and keep people entertained with music. Are you really surprised in any way that he's terrible in combat? Well, you can always just sacrifice him to Boethiah.
- Love Triangle: Both Sven and Faendal are competing for Camilla's affections. Sven is no better and no worse than Faendal; both of them hatch a completely identical plot to win over Camilla's affections: write a forged note insulting Camilla and make it look like the other guy wrote it, so Camilla will turn on him and fall for the forger instead. Faendal's letter is the more blunt, being essentially a Stylistic Suck poem on Stay in the Kitchen, while Sven more or less caricaturizes Faendal as a stereotypical Thalmor elf.
- Not Now, Kiddo: At first he believes his mother is crazy for thinking a dragon attacked Helgen. He takes it back (though not to her face) if you inform him there really was a dragon.
- Not So Different: Sven is no different than Faendal: each one hatches exactly the same plot to turn Camilla against his rival; only the Dragonborn makes the difference as to which of them succeeds.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Sort of. Sven is a bard and plays in the Sleeping Giant Inn. That's the "pink" of this trope. He's also a lumberjack, as dialogue from Hod reveals that he works at the town's sawmill. That's the "real men" of this trope.
Uthgerd The Unbroken
- Voiced by: Claudia Christian
- Action Girl: Implied by her love of fighting, and her attempt to join the Companions.
- Best Her to Bed Her: It's possible to marry Uthgerd, but only if you defeat her in a fistfight first.
- Defeat Means Friendship: To get her to follow you, you need to defeat her in a brawl.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: To an extent, she's this; the only thing that seems to make her at all happy is fighting. She's a popular choice for recruitment into the Blades, because it means she can spend the rest of her life doing exactly that.
- Does Not Know Her Own Strength: To the point of beating someone to death in a practice fight.
- Stone Wall: She has steel plate armor at the start.
- Underestimating Badassery: She claims that the Companions purposefully sent a "young whelp" to fight her for practice because they underestimated her for being a woman. She ended up killing him on accident. Of course, there exists no on-screen sexism other than maybe the Empire having no female troops.
People of Eastmarch
Eastmarch is a hold in eastern Skyrim, with its primary geographical feature being its volcanic tundra, dotted with steam vents and hot springs. Its capital is Windhelm, whose climate is more akin to Winterhold, which lies directly to its north. Its banner is a profiled head of a roaring bear on a blue background, an emblem shared by the Stormcloak Militia.
- Voiced by: Reese C. Hartwig
- Creepy Child: He's a little boy trying to contact a cult of death-worshiping assassins using what are heavily implied to be his dead mother's remains as the necessary body parts for the Black Sacrament. It's also clear that some time has passed between his mother's death, his stay at the orphanage, and his return to Windhelm - meaning that he would have had to go grave-robbing to retrieve her remains, if they are even hers.
- 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.
- Folk Hero: Becomes one to the children at the Orphanage, who cheer Aventus for getting the Dark Brotherhood to kill Grelod and leaves at least one of them musing on the things that can be accomplished through murder. Nice work, Dovahkiin.
- 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, get mistaken for or 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. He also tells you, quite happily, that he's going to grow up to be an assassin like you so he can help children, too. Also, due to a bug he'll never actually return to the orphanage so you can't adopt him (with the Hearthfire DLC) and potentially guide him towards a nobler path.
- 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.
- Vague Age: Not counting Babette, he's the sole aversion of this trope among the children in Skyrim. A letter in his house very clearly states he was 10 when his mother died, making him either 10 or 11 during the events of the game.
- Voiced by: George Coe
- Affably Evil: He's pretty friendly for a brutal murderer.
- Beware the Nice Ones: His cheery and eccentric demeanour masks a core of stone-cold lunacy.
- Brother–Sister Incest: This may have been the case, though it's not confirmed. After you confront and kill Calixto at the end of the quest, you can loot the key to his personal trunk off his body, enter his house/museum, and go upstairs to unlock said trunk. Inside is his journal, in which he writes as though speaking to his sister, and some of the wording is a little squicky.
- 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.
- Freudian Excuse: He lost his sister while adventuring, and committed the murders as part of a ritual to resurrect her.
- 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: Speaking with him about the mysterious amulet found in Hjerim suggests that despite his supposed ignorance, he knows a great deal on the subject. It's later revealed that it's actually the infamous Necromancer's Amulet and belonged to him, with his Butcher journal revealing that his entire killing spree was to acquire parts to resurrect his sister.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: His cheerful persona and (according to Wuunferth) ignorance of most of the magical items in his shop are revealed to be a ruse, designed to deflect suspicion off himself.
- 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 facepalm at the misidentification. Of course, this is entirely deliberate on Calixto's part - he's throwing you off the trail. The Amulet is a powerful necromancer's token.
- Astute players might Spot The Thread if you show it to Jorleif, the steward in the Windhelm court, who pretty much says "I dunno what it is, take it to Calixto." That he doesn't recognize it as an heirloom of the Windhelm court is telling.
- Retired Badass: Journeyed all over Tamriel with his sister.
- Serial Killer: He targets women (or womer) and surgically removes parts of their bodies for use in his ritual to resurrect his sister.
- Sibling Team: He and his sister apparently went on all sorts of adventures in the past.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- Many probably won't notice it, but he is without a doubt one of the most worthy people of this trope in the game. He somehow thinks he can get away with murdering someone right in the middle of the market area of Windhelm, and what showers him with this trope even more is the fact that even though he isn't wearing any robe or hood, or mask, he is doing this during the daytime in the middle of a public area where everyone can see him.
- The person he attacks is this too. If you go to the Steward instead of the Court Mage, the Mage gets imprisoned and Calixto somehow manages to get away with that murder.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He adored his sister and is desperate to find some artifact or method to bring her back to life. Unfortunately, that's proven a little problematic, leading him and sanity to say goodbye to one another.
Wuunferth the Unliving
- Awesome McCoolname: The Unliving, despite not being actually unliving, or even a necromancer.
- Badass Bookworm: He's an extremely capable Destruction Wizard, and provides training in that school.
- Badass Beard: The most epic beard of any of the Court Wizards.
- Badass Boast: Makes one when you meet him.Wuunferth: Whatever you've heard I can do is probably true.
- Court Mage: To Ulfric, but Ulfric has little need for magic on account of his mastery of the Voice, so Wuunferth is mostly allowed to work on personal projects.Dragonborn: Does Ulfric have much need for magic?Wuunferth: No. But then, I have little need for Ulfric. We mostly just leave each other to our work.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Despite living in the darkest part of the Palace of Kings, and his sobriquet implying he may be a Necromancer, he's actually one of the most reasonable and sensible wizards to be found in Skyrim. And unlike Farengar, he doesn't let the Nordic suspicion of magic turn him into a passive-aggressive asshole.
- His potentially being a Necromancer - or at least well-versed in the subject - isn't even illegal, according to the Mages in the College of Winterhold, who admit that even when it was banned by the Mages' Guild, the law was never enforced in Skyrim.
- Grumpy Old Man: He's polite, but kind of irritable.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Over the course of the questline to find the Butcher, the player can go to him and tell him what they've found. Wuunferth instantly starts readily sharing some very extensive knowledge that proves integral in capturing the murderer, and holds no hard feelings to the player for idiotically suspecting him of being the culprit with no proof.
- Undying Loyalty: To Ulfric. Everybody else can go hang, far as he's concerned.If Ulfric needs a favour, he has it. Anyone else better pay well for the service.
- Wizard Beard: By far one of the most traditional-looking wizards in Skyrim.
Clan Shatter-ShieldA family in mourning, they are trying to cope with a pair of recent tragedies. First Friga Shatter-Shield was murdered by the Windhelm serial killer, and then they were robbed, seemingly by a family friend.
- Asshole Victim: Torbjorn and Tova are not exactly as innocent as they seem, though there is no way you see this unless you do some other quest unrelated to the Dark Brotherhood. See Corrupt Corporate Executive and Fantastic Racism below.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: For all their woes, they still have a decent sobriquet.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: They paid the Blood Horker pirates to attack traders of the East Empire Trading company.
- Driven to Suicide: If Nilsine dies as well, Tova commits suicide in her grief, leaving her husband Torbjorn as the only surviving member.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Tova Shatter-Shield has taken to alcohol to cope with her daughter's death.
- Fantastic Racism: They only pay the Argonian dock workers a fraction of Nord workers' pay. Some of the workers admit to stealing cargo from them, but this is clearly only a result of said wages.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: You can find Alain Dufont, kill him (regardless of whether you're with the Dark Brotherhood or not), and take the stolen Shatter-Shield family weapon from his corpse. But there's no dialogue option that lets you return it to Torbjorn to prove Muiri's innocence.
- Memento MacGuffin: Averted. If you eavesdrop on conversations in the Windhelm marketplace, Tova requests to bring some of Friga's belongings to Revyn Sadri to sell, noting that "my daughter doesn't need them anymore." He very gently assures her he'd be happy to look at them whenever it's convenient for her.
- Miscarriage of Justice: Muiri, a family friend, came to share in the family's grief, only to be charmed by the bandit Alain Dufont. He managed to rob the family and convince them that Muiri did it, ruining their relationship. Muiri took this so hard that she puts Nilsine as a bonus objective for her Dark Brotherhood contract on Alain - her fuzzy logic is that with both of their real daughters dead, Torbjorn and Tova will look on her as their daughter instead.
- Pet the Dog: If you speak to Torbjorn about the dock workers' pay disparity, after helping him ease his wife's grief with an Amulet of Arkay (it's supposed to remind her that their daughter is in a better place), he agrees to drastically increase their pay with no protest - primarily out of respect for you.
Captain Lonely-GaleA retired Nord ship captain that can often be found in Candlehearth Hall. He was meant to replace Jorlief as Windhelm's steward if the Imperials win the Civil War, but a bug prevented this. Version 1.3.2 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch fixes this.
- Honest Corporate Executive: When asked why Brunwulf chose him as Steward, he says it's because he always knew how to keep his men loyal, and always knew when to either spend or save coin, both of which come in handy for Brunwulf's goal to refill Windhelm's coffers to renovate the Grey Quarter, as well as working to ease the tensions between the Nords and Argonians.
- The Rival: To Viola Giordano, who is also his Abhorrent Admirer.
- Undying Loyalty: When asked about the important people of Windhelm, he speaks of Ulfric with downright reverence in his voice.Captain Lonely-Gale: ... And of course, there is Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak, the true High King.
- Despair Event Horizon: After learning that the White Phial is broken, and the knowledge to fix it is long gone.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: No matter when you retrieve the White Phial from its hiding place, Nurelion will not start dying until after you've proceeded far enough in the main quest to be able to visit Paarthurnax on the Throat of the World, which is where you retrieve one of the components to repair it.
- Grumpy Old Man: Generally rather rude.
- Hope Spot: You finally find the phial and return it to him. However, see Despair Event Horizon above for how that turns out.
- Incurable Cough of Death: His very first 'words' when you enter his shop and see him and his assistant talking.
- Insufferable Genius: Lampshaded by his assistant, who mentions that once you get past all the abrasiveness, Nurelion really is a brilliant alchemist. He's so well-regarded in his field, his assistant came all the way from Cyrodiil just to learn from him.
- 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 apologizes 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: His assistant eventually repairs the Phial with your help, 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.
The local blacksmith. A huge supporter of Ulfric, so much that he wants a copy of a sword given to a legendary Queen of Skyrim to give to Ulfric to have as High King. He wishes to prove that he is the best smith in Skyrim. He has an apprentice, Hermir Strong-Heart.
- Awesome McCoolname: War-Anvil. Overlaps with Meaningful Name too, as he's a blacksmith who manufactures for the Stormcloak freedom fighters.
- Determinator: Openly states that he'd gladly smith a thousand swords and shields for the Stormcloaks if it helps win them the war.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Gets one if the Stormcloaks lose the Civil war, considering dropping his trade and just leaving (though where he would go is never explained). He decides to stay for the sake of his apprentice.
- The Rival: Sees himself as this to Eorlund Gray-Mane.
- Unknown Rival: But Eorlund never even mentions him.
- Worthy Opponent: He has the utmost respect for Eorlund and regards him as a great smith. His observation that the Skyforge does give Eorlund a certain advantage over other smiths is not incorrect in the slightest, since the forge is described in several sources as being magical. His opinion of the man is nevertheless overwhelmingly positive.
- You Bastard: While he doesn't outright admonish you following an Imperial victory in the Civil War, he does become noticeably passive-aggressive towards you. His apprentice, however, is much more open about her anger towards you.
Hermir Strong-HeartOengul's apprentice, and a huge supporter of Ulfric and the Stormcloaks.
- Fangirl: Of Ulfric.
- Hidden Depths: But should the Imperials win the war, she'll freely admit to still supporting the Stormcloaks and any leader they might have in the future, showing that she cares more about Skyrim's freedom and what Ulfric represented for her than about Ulfric himself.
Brother to Galmar. Rolff is seen when one first enters Windhelm bullying a Dunmer, Suvaris Atheron. He spends his days at or around the Candlehearth Hall drinking, and his nights in the Grey Quarters shouting racist insults at the local Dunmer populations, whom he is convinced are all Thalmor or Imperial spies.
- The Alcoholic: Often gets drunk before shouting abuse at Dunmer or Argonians.
- Bullying a Dragon: Rather rude to the Dragonborn when they could theoretically kill him several times over.
- Butt-Monkey: Owing to his essential status for many Thieves' Guild quests, he can't be killed and therefore is a great target for Videogame Cruelty Potential. He's also this In-Universe for many Dunmer owing to his alcoholic stupidity. In fact, several mods exist which take away his "essential" status, while many other PC players opt to kill him with console commands, just because of how annoying he is.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Beat him in a brawl and he'll consider you a friend, even if you are a Dunmer or Imperial. Unfortunately, he won't actually shut up about his racism, even if it's the reason you kicked his arse in the first place.
- Establishing Character Moment: The first thing you see him do is bullying a Dunmer and threatening her.
- Fantastic Racism: He proudly proclaims his entirely unfounded hatred of Dunmer and Argonians, even if you belong to one of the races, and he walks about the streets of Windhelm at night shouting racial slurs even if no one is there to hear him.
- If you're a Dunmer, the first thing he'll say to you is "You damn gray-skin. Go back to Morrowind!"
- Hypocrite: He complains the Dunmer must be spies because they do not support or help the Stormcloaks... yet he himself does not do anything to help them, either. He also claims they are parasites, thieves and just living off the Nords - big accusations from a man who does not actually have a job and spends all his days at the inn drinking. Note that unlike his friend, the beggar Angrenor Once-Honored, Rolff doesn't have the excuse of having suffered a debilitating injury on the front line of the rebellion.
- Insane Troll Logic: He believes that all Dunmer are Imperial spies... owing to the fact that an entirely different species of Mer is manipulating the Empire. He also has no proof that the Dunmer are spying whatsoever.
- Jerkass: He really does and says everything he can to make you not want to like him. Frankly, it's a wonder he's related to Galmar at all.
- Patriotic Fervor: Not in a good way, unfortunately, as his definition of patriotism is "be a dick to any non-Nords in the nearby vicinity".
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Not exactly evil per se, but he definitely makes other Stormcloaks (or sympathisers in his case) look downright liberal. To keep this in perspective, his brother and Ulfric will allow you to join regardless of race and you can rise to the second-highest rank possible regardless of race. Rolff will just shout abuse at you until you punch him in the face, and even after he doesn't moderate his views to anybody except you.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: Possibly. Rolff reached his conclusion that all Dunmer are Imperial or Thalmor spies based entirely on his Fantastic Racism. However, if you poke around the Dunmer-operated New Gnisis Cornerclub, you'll find Imperial armor and memorabilia prominently displayed, indicating that a few Dark Elves might indeed be Imperial spies. (Some of them might also be retirees from the Legion, or just like to collect Imperial memorabilia, but there's some ground for suspicion, at least.)
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Galmar Stone-Fist is a Reasonable Authority Figure for the Stormcloaks who's willing to accept any recruit, regardless of race. Rolff is a drunken slob who does basically nothing other than persecute Dunmer.
- We Have Ways of Making You Talk: He threatens various Dunmer with this.
An Altmer merchant in the Windhelm marketplace. Some of her dialogue at first appears... less-than-trustworthy, and for good reason once you find out that she has ties to the Thieves' Guild as well as their rival guild, the Summerset Shadows.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Trafficking stolen goods is just fine, but stealing from the dead is not.
- Friend in the Black Market: She has connections to the Thieves' Guild as well as the Summerset Shadows. After dealing with the latter, she goes back to dealing with the Guild and acts as a fence for you.
- Mob War: Finds herself in the middle of one between the Thieves' Guild and the Summerset Shadows. With enough persuasion, she'll sell out the Shadows to you, since they're a lot less honorable than the Guild and they forced her to work for them in the first place.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: You can witness her conversation with Jora, wife of Lortheim; the couple are a Priest and Priestess of Talos. She subtly offers to have them smuggled out of the city if the Thalmor were to strike in some way, and even though they refuse, they are grateful for the consideration.
- Robbing the Dead: This is the Summerset Shadows' M.O., and what makes them so detestable to Niranye.
One of the many Argonians working at Wildhelm's docks, who can ask the Dragonborn's help to get her stolen Amulet of Zenithar back. She is the only female Argonian available for marriage.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: If you choose to marry her.
- Heel–Faith Turn: If you complete her quest, she will confess she used to be a thief before starting to pray to Zenithar, and teach you some of her old tricks as a reward.
- Hot Guy, Ugly Wife: Potentially, if you marry her, though whether you find Argonians ugly or not really is a matter of opinion.
- Nice Girl: Always salutes you politely when you engage conversation with her, and unlike other Argonians in Windhelm, she doesn't seem to feel any grudge against Nords.
- The Pollyanna: She lives in miserable conditions, in a province where her species is ignored at best and despised as worse, on the dock of a city she is not allowed, and paid pittance to do back breaking-labor. She still manages to keep a happy and cheerful attitude."Sometimes life puts you in difficult circumstances you didn't choose. But being happy or unhappy is a choice you make, and I've chosen to make the best of things that I can."
Revyn SadriA Dunmer merchant running a pawn shop in the Gray Quarter, who accidentally becomes involved in criminal activity.
- Bad Liar: He continually insists that "all [his] goods are legitimate," before admitting his guilt: he had accidentally purchased a ring before realizing it had been stolen from one of the city's more wealthy and prolific citizens.
- Nice Guy: Usually friendly and good-natured, and appears to be very charismatic and generous. He thanks the player profusely, should they help him in his dilemma; however, his demeanor takes a sharp turn if you choose to tattle.
- Strong Family Resemblance: His sister, Idesa, really just looks like a modified version of his model; they even wear the same (gender-specific) outfit.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Emphasizes to visitors that he buys his goods fairly and legitimately; all it really takes is a suspicious look to make him immediately backtrack.
Susannah the WickedA barmaid working in the Candleheart Hall in Windhelm and the most recent victim of a serial killer who already killed four women.
- Bi the Way: She hits on the Dragonborn regardless of gender, referring to them as "handsome" if male or "my beauty" if female.
- Ironic Nickname: For someone known as the Wicked, she is actually kind of sweet. In contrast to Grelod the Kind...
- Killed Off for Real: Her death at the hands of the Butcher is scripted to kick start the "Blood on the Ice" sidequest and there is nothing that can be done to prevent it.
- Nice Girl: She is one of the few Nords that shows sympathy for the Dunmer's plight and while her interactions with the Dragonborn are limited, she is very complementary and welcoming.
- The Tease: She is rather flirty, but according to Elda, its just to get better tips.
Alain DufontAn infamous bandit lord that has taken over the Dwarven ruins of Raldbthar. Sometime before the events of the game, he took advantage of Clan Shattershiel's grief over Friga's death to con a large sum of gold from them and fled the city, leaving his fling Miuri to take the fall for the theft.
- Asshole Victim: Most Dark Brotherhood contracts are genuinely nice people who absolutely do not deserve their fates. Alain is not one of them.
- Drop the Hammer: Wields the unique warhammer Aegisbane.
- Sequence Breaking: It is entirely possible to come across Raldbthar and kill him and his men without ever even joining the Brotherhood.
People of Falkreath Hold
Falkreath Hold is the southern-most hold of Skyrim, and is noted for its verdant evergreen forests. Its capital shares the hold's name, and is home to the largest graveyard in Skyrim. Its banner is a stag with tangled antlers, on a lavender background.
- Voiced by: Noah Nelson
- 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 descendant of the Inner Circle that shattered Mehrune's Razor and divided the fragments across Skyrim.
- Voiced by: George Coe
- The Atoner: He was a Dominion battlemage, and he's now a Priest of Arkay to atone.
- Cool Old Guy: One of the nicest Altmer you will meet in Skyrim.
- Cultural Rebel: He's very grateful for the friendship and respect the humans of Falkreath have shown him during his time there. Contrast this with his former masters in the Aldmeri Dominion, who would love nothing more than to see humanity wiped off the face of Nirn.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Runil has a dream portending the coming of Alduin, and of his own eventual path-crossing with the Dragonborn. His first scene in your presence has him giving last rights over a grave, just as his dream foretells.
- Good Shepherd: As a priest of Arkay, the god of birth and death, he presides over funerals and comforts the family and friends of the deceased.
- Heel–Faith Turn: He explains that he became a follower of Arkay and presumably defected from the Aldmeri Dominion after the Great War, feeling the weight of all the people he killed and hoping to be redeemed.
- Retired Badass
- 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, who weren't known for holding back in the magic department either.
- Summon Magic: He is the common-level Conjuration trainer.
- Voiced by: Thor Edgell
- 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.
- Blessed with Suck: Hircine's Ring was supposed to allow him to control his transformations, but thanks to Hircine cursing it as revenge for his theft, it ended up causing him to transform randomly and lose even more control over his transformations.
- Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Attempted this by stealing Hircine's ring. It didn't work out well for him.
- Sadistic Choice: Either kill him under Hircine's orders and get new armor, or help him kill the other hunters and gain the uncursed Ring of Hircine. Or do both, to exploit a bug to get you both rewards.
- Tragic Monster: He didn't want to murder the child, but owing to Hircine's curse he ended up doing so against his own will.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Justified, due to him being a werewolf.
- Voiced by: Martina Lotun
- Archer Archetype: An aloof hermit who lives in the wilderness, honing her archery skills on any foolish bandits that come close.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Part of the reason why she lives outside of society. Offer your sympathies after she tells you her story and she''ll get angry.Angi: Don't be like them. Don't feel sorry for me.
- Doomed Hometown: She was born and raised in Helgen.
- Friendly Sniper: First impressions notwithstanding - she threatens to put an arrow in your head when you first meet her, but that's only because most of the people visiting her shack are either trying to rob her or kill her. If you act friendly towards her, she happily teaches you her formidable archery skills, gives you her personal bow when you pass all her tests, and thanks you for keeping her company.
- The Hermit: Lives alone on a mountain ridge, but doesn't mind.
- Kick the Dog: Can be on the receiving end of a major one from the Dragonborn; see "You Have Outlived Your Usefulness" below.
- Only Friend: The Dragonborn can become this to her.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: She made sure the two drunk Imperial soldiers that killed her family got what they had coming to them.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Implied, even before Helgen was destroyed. The Imperial Legion probably wasn't too happy when she murdered those two soldiers, justified or not. Good thing she already wanted to leave town.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After she has taught the Dragonborn everything she knows about archery and offered them her special bow as a parting gift, the player can tell her that she is of no more use to them and they are now going to kill her.
HertA Nord vampire who runs Half-Moon Mill. She provides lumber for Falkreath, and used to provide for Helgen before Alduin destroyed it. She's actually rather friendly with the Dragonborn, and will provide them with lumber as well for their homesteads.
- Affably Evil: She's extremely polite to the Dragonborn and pays them well if they chop firewood for her. If she likes the Dragonborn, she'll even let them have free lumber as long as they cut it themselves. That being said, she's still a vampire who feeds off of travelers.
- Cute Monster Girl: She's this in the vanilla game. Not so much with Dawnguard installed, though.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: She actually makes an honest living selling lumber.
- Schmuck Bait: Some of her random dialogue will have her offer to let you stay the night, although you have no way to accept this. Lucky for the Dragonborn, as the various fed-upon corpses in the basement reveals what happens to those who do.
- Unholy Matrimony: She's married to Hern, another vampire and a Dark Brotherhood contract.
AniseAn elderly woman who lives in a secluded shack north of Lake Ilinalta. She comes off as very friendly and lonely, but she's actually a powerful witch attempting to start a new coven.
- Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: Her sister is Moira, the Hagraven to whom the Dragonborn gets drunkenly engaged during "A Night to Remember".
- Evil Old Folks: Again, she's a witch.
- Faux Affably Evil: When you first meet her, she remarks on how nice it is to have a visitor. She even has the typical "friendly old lady" voice set.
- He Knows Too Much: If you go snooping around in her basement, she'll attack you when you come back out.
- Most Definitely Not a Villain: When you talk to her, she may say that she's just a poor old woman with nothing interesting.
People of Haafingar
Haafingar is in the northwestern corner of Skyrim, and is known for its opposite extremes in climate: its southern regions are warmer from the Karth River flow, while its northern regions are more typical of its latitude. Its capital is Solitude, built upon a gigantic natural rock arch spanning the mouth of the Karth River. Its banner is a wolf head on a red cross background.
BrelasA wood elf slave girl who works for Elenwen. She is seen during Elenwen's party. Gets sent 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 may be sent to the torture chambers for not reacting to Erikur's advances. After the Dovahkiin saves her, she's shivering in fear, very confused, and doesn't know where to go at all.
- Maid: Heavily implied to be forced into this role.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Can invoke this trope after fleeing the Thalmor Embassy. If a player goes their own way after freeing her, she is known to disappear without a trace. This is because she's set to go to Windhelm, but because she's very weak, she has a high chance of dying during her travels.
- Voiced by: Paul Ganus
- Benevolent Boss: He is concerned with the progress his soldiers are making, and seems to be concerned with training them so that their skill will save their lives rather than just achieve victory.
- I Did What I Had to Do: In regards to Roggvir's execution. He respected Roggvir and saw him as a good man, but, according to him, he really was wrong and his execution was the only valid answer."You don't have to hate a man to kill him... although it helps."
- 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.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: While he does conduct Roggvir's execution, he agrees to let Styrr, the city's Priest of Arkay, give the man's body a proper Nord burial despite his crimes.
- Voiced by: Stephen Russell
- 0% Approval Rating: Nobody likes this man, considering that he's very upfront about being a self-absorbed Smug Snake.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: If you kill him, his own sister or housecarl might send you a letter thanking you for it.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Yes, yes they are.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Or rather, corrupt indulgent businessman, but the majority of his influence comes from his investments and so forth.
- Faux Affably Evil: Very well-mannered and welcoming, but also a sociopath and needlessly cruel.
- Hypocrite: "Well, if it isn't the bully who goes around hurting people" comes to mind.
- Jerkass: In addition to just being generally unpleasant, he causes a Bosmer slave girl to be sent to the Thalmor torture chambers, just because she refused his romantic advances.
- Karma Houdini: As mentioned, he causes a Bosmer slave girl to be sent to the Thalmor torture chambers, just because she refused his romantic advances. Sadly, the player cannot make him repent the deed, as he is an essential (unkillable) character. To make matters worse, every time he encounters the player afterward, he acts overly friendly towards him/her. On the other hand, his "essential" tag gets removed after completing the Civil War questline, so after that he's free game. The only thing his death screws up is an achievement/trophy tied to the Thieves' Guild questline.
- You can also punish him non-lethally; if you are a vampire, for example, he is a perfect choice of character to feed from without feeling remorse.
- Kick the Dog: The aforementioned Bosmer slave girl incident.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Don't you dare lump Erikur in with those common Nords! With their obsession with strength, honor, and warrior skill! He's good at one thing, and one thing only: making money!
- Only in It for the Money: Why he supports the Empire. One bit of ambient dialogue involves a discussion with his housecarl, where he mentions that he'd be perfectly willing to sell weapons to the Stormcloaks if they gave him a good offer. His housecarl points out what a shining example of loyalty Erikur is setting.
- Small Name, Big Ego: While he is a Thane and thus an important person, Erikur is convinced that he's the most important person in the Blue Palace. According to his sister, though, Falk Firebeard is the real power in the Palace, and Erikur is just a self-important fop.
- 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.
- Voiced by: Michael Gough
- Awesome Mc Coolname: 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. Falk realizes that she means well, and appears genuinely fond of her, but she'd be lost without him.
- It's Probably Nothing: Has this reaction to the reports of weird things being heard from Wolfskull Cave. Of course, it's never just nothing. This is Skyrim, after all. He wises up very quickly when he realizes the "nothing" he was planning to dismiss as natural phenomena was actually the activities of a cult trying to resurrect Potema.
- 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."
- Secret Relationship: With Bryling, one of the other thanes of Solitude. They have to keep it a secret, lest Erikur find out and force him to resign, which would enable Erikur to bend Jarl Elisif around his finger. Once the war has ended, however, Falk would gladly resign if it means they can stop sneaking around.
- Voiced by: Jon Curry
- Badass Bookworm: Seeing how he is both a Bard (which in this universe requires a significant amount of knowledge of the history of Nirn) and a librarian...
- Cultured Badass: Well, he is a bard.
- Guile Hero: It comes with being the Speech master.
- Number Two: To Viarmo.
- Retired Badass: Used to be in the Legion. If you find the drum of a legendary bard for him, he'll teach you a few of his old tricks - giving you a skill point in each martial skill.
Jaree-Ra and Deeja
- Voiced by: Tim Blaney (Jaree-Ra) and Renee Victor (Deeja)
- Affably Evil: Jaree-Ra acts this way when he first meets you. It's just a facade to lure you into helping him, though.
- "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Jaree-Ra describes his sister and himself as "Treasure Hunters" rather than thieves or pillagers.
- Blatant Lies: When trying to convince you to shut down the lighthouse so his band can loot the Icerunner, he assures you that there won't be any victims, and that you will even be able to pass for a hero by saving them. Of course, when you actually reach the Icerunner later, the boat is full of dead bodies.
- Brother–Sister Team: They commit crimes together.
- Bullying a Dragon: They are just two of the many characters in the game stupid enough to think trying to use the Dragonborn as an Unwitting Pawn is a good idea.
- Moral Myopia: During the final confrontation with Jaree-Ra, he calls you out for murdering his men and his sister. Given that he ordered said sister and men to kill you (on top of all the other murder that they were likely responsible for), he's hardly one to talk.
- Smug Snake: Both of them are too confident for their own good.
- Suicidal Overconfidence: Even if you're decked out in scary armor and carrying Game-Breaker weapons, they still think of you as an easily-disposed schmuck.
- For added stupidity, when Deeja prepares to eliminate you after You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, she tries to do it herself, while she is alone with you in an isolated room, even though there are no witnesses and she has all her men close. She is likely to get killed before any of them can lift a finger to stop you.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: They try to pull this on you. It goes as well as you would expect.
- Voiced by: Jon Curry
- Expecting Someone Taller: The first thing he says when you tell him Delphine sent you is "Really? You're who she picked!?"
- Jerkass Façade: Your first impression of him is not endearing, to say the least. Furthermore, if you find him in Windhelm after "Diplomatic Immunity," he'll be bitterly sarcastic toward you, even though by this time you've already saved his life twice. He eventually admits that he's just been so scared and that he should be more grateful.
- Non-Action Guy: He carries no weapons and cannot fight. The final act of "Diplomatic Immunity" has you protecting him from Thalmor soldiers and then a troll, and he has an extremely high chance of dying. If he survives, he'll be holed up in Windhelm, hiding from a Thalmor assassin waiting for him outside. After that, he'll run for Morrowind, but will be killed by animals unless you go along and protect him once again.
- Properly Paranoid: One of your options during the Thalmor assassin quest is to tell him he's just being paranoid. Of course, he has a lot of really good reasons to be paranoid, and there actually is an assassin after him.
- Right Under Their Noses: Malborn's family were killed in The Purge in Valenwood for political reasons. Delphine says that if the Thalmor knew who he really is, he wouldn't be working in the embassy.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: He gets caught during your escape from the embassy, and it's possible for the game to glitch in such a way that even if you kill the Thalmor who capture him, he completely disappears - you won't even find his body.
- Voiced by: Michael Gough
- Alternative Character Interpretation: In-universe; most people describe him as a good man and a true Nord who was at worse misguided and at best a martyr, but Sorex Vinius describes him as a bully and a jerk who deserved his fate. In general, only the Nords of Solitude have any sympathy for him. Sorex Vinius remembers him as a schoolyard bully, and Vivienne Onis thinks he is a jerk for letting Ulfric escape, starting a war in which her cousin was killed.
- 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 seems to think he was.
- Face Death with Dignity: And how.
- Last Words: And by Talos, he's got some awesome ones at that."On this day, I go to Sovngarde..."
- Nice Guy: Even the man who ordered his execution has nice things to say about him."It's a shame, Roggvir. You were a damned good man."
- No True Scotsman: Feels that any true Nord would understand what Ulfric did, and would have opened the gate in his place.
- 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 and abetted regicide by allowing Ulfric to escape retribution. The people of Solitude, being staunchly Imperial, are not impressed.
- Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: According to Sorex Vinius, when they were kids Roggvir tormented him after learning he had a crush on a girl. He even somehow slipped a beehive into the guy's bed. Evidently he continued bullying Sorex into adulthood.
- 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.
- Voiced by: Susan Eisenberg
- Boomerang Bigot: Finds baser vampires disgusting, as she prefers finery and civilized company such as one finds in a palace.
- Court Mage: For Elisif.
- Expy: She's basically a female version of Janus Hassildor.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: She's a bit of a Jerkass, sure, but when compared to most vampires out there, at least she's a good guy. Of course, if you use Auriel's Bow to blot out the sun, she'll run outside and proclaim that the Tyranny of the Sun is over.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's not entirely nice, but she means well and will praise you for doing what you do if you help Elisif. She also treated High King Torygg like a son.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: It's implied that she tends to... spend a lot of time in the dungeons, with the worst of the criminals. Apparently, it's how she keeps fed.
- Lady of Black Magic: She's the Expert trainer of Destruction Magic.
- Like a Son to Me: High King Torygg was. She helped raise him as a boy, and was shocked by his death.
- Older Than They Look: She claims to have aged well. Of course, she neglects to mention how.
- Open Secret: Though nobody whispers a word about her status as a vampire, its implied her secret is well-known beyond Solitude's nobility. The headsman and the dungeon guards know what she does and the Blue Palace's cook is absolutely terrified of her if you talk with him.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: As seen in the picture above, with the Dawnguard DLC, she gains Glowing Eyes of Doom and other blatantly vampiric features.
- Secret Keeper: She seems to be aware of Falk Firebeard and Bryling's Secret Relationship. She doesn't do anything with that information, however, aside from snarking about how unsubtle they are about it.
- The Undead: It's a well kept secret. Not so much by ''Dawnguard''.
- Voiced by: Stephen Russell
- Cool Old Guy: As far as Altmer go, he is probably one of the nicest; he welcomes you with open arms to the Bards' College regardless of your race, is very grateful when you help him save King Olaf's festival, and generally has a very affable attitude.
- Cultural Rebel: He has a great appreciation for Nordic culture, evidenced by his enthusiasm for traditions such as the Burning of King Olaf and the Poetic Edda. The Thalmor, on the other hand, have nothing but scorn for anything created by humans, and historically the Altmer and the Nords were bitter enemies.
- Guile Hero: If you opt to reconstruct the poem, he'll back you on it with only a little hesitation.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: He is pretty much the antithesis of the Thalmor personality-wise.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: To the Bards' College.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: Subverted with his quest; he sends you to recover King Olaf's verse, in the hopes that the text will allow him to convince Elisif to allow the festival. When you successfully recover said verse, it turns out the copy is so old most parts are missing, meaning it's useless as it is. The subversion comes when the Dragonborn suggests they make up the missing parts to reconstruct the poem, and it actually works.
Wolf Queen Potema Septim
- Voiced by: Claudia Christian
- 0% Approval Rating: As noted on the main list of tropes, absolutely no one in Skyrim has anything nice to say about her, and for very good reasons.
- Animal Motifs: Savage Wolves, as indicative of her title, and also very savage
- Ax-Crazy: The one thing she's best remembered for by the citizens of Skyrim. Falk is very right to be worried about her returning to life.
- Big "YES!": Her reaction to being summoned and then bound by the necromancers in Wolfskull Cave falls under both of these.Potema: Yes! YES! Return me to this realm!
- Bad Boss: She even states that she would gladly sacrifice the souls of her servants for even a little bit of comfort.
- 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 in death as she was in life. Not to mention the fancy light show that occurs in the arena.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Once sent a woman to the Soul Cairn for criticizing her dress.
- Flunky Boss: She is invulnerable at first, and while attacking you with lightning, she sends various draugr and vampires to fight you.
- Gas Leak Cover-Up: At first, Falk Firebeard dismisses the odd lights and sounds in Wolf Skull Cave as natural phenomena, but welcomes your offer 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 - truly 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 started 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.
- Humanoid Abomination: She's less of a ghost and more of a force of nature bound into vaguely human shape.
- 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 of Tamriel, 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... as her undead thrall.
- Manipulative Bitch: She was this in life, if The Wolf Queen contains any truth to it. (It reads like a novel more than a straight-up biography, so separating fact from fiction is difficult.)
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: By defeating the necromancers attempting to revive her, you stopped them from binding her to their will - but you weren't quick enough to stop her spirit from coming back to Nirn. When you complete the first quest, you witness her spirit escaping the cave, and later a courier brings 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.
- Necromancer: She was very good with her skills in raising the dead in life considering she replaced her own kingdom with an undead army after almost everyone ditched her because of how much of a nutcase she was, and she still has the Lazarus touch even in death, as she reanimates a small army of draugr and skeletons to help her in her quest to revive herself.
- 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 specializes in resurrecting and controlling them.
- Villainous Breakdown: As you are descending in her catacombs to come for her, she keeps taunting you and encouraging you to come to her so she can turn you in one of her undead servants. When you actually start fighting her and her council, her reaction gradually goes from the taunt to "don't flatter yourself too soon, worm", to yelling at her minions to rip your eyes open. She finally gets desperate enough to repossess her own skeleton to have one final shot at killing you, before being slain for good.
- 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.
People of Hjaalmarch
Hjaalmarch is directly southeast of Haafingar, and features a large frozen salt marsh. Its capital is the quiet town of Morthal. Its banner is a simple triskelion on a green background.
- Voiced by: Susan Eisenberg
- Bi the Way: Can be seen hitting on Jonna, the innkeeper, who finds the attention disquieting.
- 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".
- Karma Houdini: If she survives the quest which involves her, she remains in Morthal and nobody seems to care. This is apparently a programming oversight; if Hroggar survives as well, he'll thank the player for saving him from Alva while she's sleeping in his basement.
- Manipulative Bitch: And it backfired in her face, completely.
- The Mole: For her sire Movarth.
- Monster Sob Story: Her diary provides one, as she was an innocent, if naive, girl before she was turned. All she wanted was to be loved.
- Our Vampires Are Different: She sleeps in a coffin, unlike most vampires in the Elder Scrolls universe. There's no real reason stated to do so. Further, her ruse is helped by the fact that she's a Daywalking Vampire, and she doesn't even hide out in caves or dress in dark robes like the more conspicuous ones of her kind (like Movarth himself).
- 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 dreamed of being loved and romanced by a handsome Nord. Then she met Movarth...
- The Undead: She's actually a vampire.
- The Vamp: Literally and figuratively - her master Movarth sent her to Morthal to seduce and enslave the people there.
- 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.
- Voiced by: Stephen Russell
- Bad Powers, Good People: He secretly practices Necromancy and studied vampirism, and even almost became a vampire himself. However, despite his jerky attitude, he really is protecting Morthal from mystical threats, provides cures for vampirism, and is guided by his desire to protect his ward. When you ask for training in Conjuration, he says "You deal with powerful forces. Take care they do not overwhelm you."
- Berserk Button: The College of Winterhold and Arch-Mage Savos Aren in particular. When Agni brings up the possibility of studying there he immediately dissuades her. Phinis Gestor will tell you that Falion could never get along with Savos and disliked the way he ran the College, so he decided to leave altogether.
- Court Mage: Serves as a de facto court mage to the Jarl of Hjaalmarch.
- Cultural Rebel: Redguards, like Nords, generally dislike magic. Falion is not only a mage but a Conjuration specialist, and probably a necromancer to boot. What's more, he's open about it; he's probably the only person in normal Skyrim society who would admit to practicing Conjuration - besides his former student, Phinis Gestor at the College of Winterhold.
- Dark Is Not Evil: He practices necromancy, generally believed to be an evil art both in Skyrim and Hammerfell, but he uses his knowledge to protect Morthal.
- Genre Savvy: The reason he abandoned the idea of being a vampire; he realized that by doing so, he might endanger Agni, which defied the purpose he had in the first place by doing so.
- 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 this 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.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a good man at heart, if a bit bitter. Of course, just about anyone would be somewhat bitter if they were holed up in a swamp where everyone else hates them.
- 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.
- Morality Pet: Has one in the form of Agni, his ward, who adores him.
- 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.
- Older Than They Look: He actually trained Phinis Gestor, the College of Winterhold's resident Conjuration expert.
- Scary Black Man: A Redguard necromancer feared by most inhabitants of Morthal.
- Summon Magic: He's the master-level Conjuration trainer.
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.
- Voiced by: Harley Graham
- 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.
- Go Into the Light: Once Movarth has been destroyed, Helgi's spirit appears for a final time, thanking the Dragonborn and noting that "Mother says it's time to rest now." By resolving her murder, you set her spirit free.
- Kill the Cutie: Her backstory.
- 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 among 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.
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 and your stealth skill isn't high enough to let you go undetected, you'll be forced to kill him, unless you use a Calm or Fear spell.
- 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: Understandably, considering the conditions, everyone assumes he caused the fire that killed his wife and daughter. He didn't; Laelette did it, following Alva's orders.
- 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 (and astonished that you'd even want to speak to him after all he's done).
Idgrod the Younger
The daughter, elder child, and heir to Jarl Idgrod Ravencrone.
- All There in the Manual: According to the official strategy guide, Idgrod is, like her mother, actually a sort of mage. She isn't aware of it herself, but her visions are caused by her subconscious manipulation of Magicka.
- Blessed with Suck: There's no "off-switch" to the abilities of premonition she inherited from her mother.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Not as severe as her little brother, but she still has "The Gift" from her mother to some degree, as indicated with several random conversations with Lami, the town's alchemist.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: She is this for her little brother, who has "The Gift" even more so than her from their mother.Idgrod The Younger: Please don't mind Joric. He's not mad. Really, he's not.
- Nice Girl: She comes across this way, especially regarding her attempts to help her little brother.
- Strong Family Resemblance: If you use the console commands on the PC to de-age the elder Idgrod, you'll find that Idgrod the Younger is her spitting image.
- Voiced by: Brandon Ellison
- All There in the Manual: It's really only in the strategy guide that there's any clear mention of the relationship between Idgrod and Aslfur, although if you enter the Jarl's longhouse during the night you'll find them sharing a double bed.
- Bodyguard Crush: How their romance began, apparently. In her youth, Idgrod roamed the breadth of Skyrim in quest of wisdom, and Aslfur traveled with her as her protector. They got married prior to returning home to Morthal.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: He's this for his wife, who often gives cryptic advice that the rather simple folks of Morthal often don't understand.
- Happily Married: They seem to be this, and Aslfur is rather protective of his wife; he initially asks that the Dragonborn come to him with concerns rather than approaching Idgrod directly.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Should the Dragonborn kill Gorm, Aslfur will send a thank-you note about it. If questioned about the matter, he will acknowledge sending the note, and then add that their conversation never took place.
An Orc bard "working" at the Moorside Inn, famous for being the worst bard in all of Skyrim, and a potential target in the Dark Brotherhood storyline.
- Dreadful Musician: He is such a terrible bard that not only have people recruited the Dark Brotherhood to kill him off, but there were so many that Astrid actually has to draw a lottery to determine whose contract to honor.
- Expy: A Dreadful Bard with a major case of Small Name, Big Ego? Sounds a lot like Cacofonix.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: You can ask him for a song before killing him. While the "song" is tuneless and rambling, Lurbuk's actual singing voice isn't all that terrible. One gets the impression that if he wised up and took a few classes at the Bard's College, he'd be okay.
- Literal-Minded: In the Dark Brotherhood contract to kill him, it's possible to threaten him before you kill him by telling him to sing "A song of fear, and death." He apparently doesn't get the hint and starts actually singing a (really, really bad) song about fear and death.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Seriously, how often have you ever seen an Orc Bard?
- Small Name, Big Ego: Despite obviously being a terrible bard, he is convinced that he's talented and destined to become famous, and oblivious to the hatred people have for him. If you tell him the Dark Brotherhood has been hired to kill him, he will just laugh and call such a thing ludicrous, stating that no one would want to "deprive the world" of his unique talent.
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 author of Immortal Blood. Now he's everything he once fought against and worse.
- Ascended Extra: Was initially introduced in Oblivion as a character from one of the many books available over the course of the game. Skyrim gives him his first (and presumably last) actual appearance in-game.
- Bald of Evil: Not in the vanilla game, where his appearance was randomly generated, but by Dawnguard, he has a definite appearance and plays this trope straight.
- Big Bad: Of the Morthal questline.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Started out fighting vampires, only to end up as one himself.
- Looks Like Orlok: With Dawnguard. Doesn't have the ears, but plays this much straighter than any other Elder Scrolls vampire, barring the Vampire Lords.
- The Man Behind the Man: To Alva.
- Oh, Crap!: Upon The Reveal that the anonymous author of Immortal Blood was a vampire him/herself. 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 as Skyrim reveals, he suffered not mere death but undeath.
- They Killed Kenny Again: A bug causes Movarth to respawn if his lair is targeted for a Radiant quest, making it possible to kill him multiple times.
- Tragic Monster: Like Alva, he wasn't bad at all before being turned into a vampire. He was a well-meaning hunter who failed to guess the very simple reason his teacher in vampire-hunting knew so much about them...
- The Undead: He's a vampire.
A former Jarl of Whiterun who became High King. It was he who captured the dragon Numinex, whose head is displayed in Dragonsreach, where he imprisoned the beast. In present times, he's known as a tyrant and an annual festival in Solitude burns an effigy of him.
- 0% Approval Rating: Not only does Solitude have an annual festival denouncing him and celebrating his death, but when it gets cancelled (Elisif feels it's in poor taste with Torygg's recent passing), people protest.
- Ambiguously Evil: He's certainly seen as evil in Skyrim these days, and his ghost is fought as the boss of a tomb. But when you get to Sovngarde, he's living it up in the Hall of Valor and is shown to be a personable, friendly man. He's Affably Evil at worst.
- Americans Hate Tingle: In-universe example; Olaf One-eye is hailed as a hero and a legend in Whiterun (with Jarl Balgruuf descending from him), to the point that most historians don't know that High King Olaf and Olaf One-eye are the same person, finding his popularity in Whiterun to be irreconcilable with the hatred Solitude has for him.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: He became High King because his defeat of Numinex made him such an inspirational figure to all of Skyrim. Some versions also claim he became Jarl of Whiterun as a reward for the defeat.
- Drop the Hammer: Wields a warhammer in Sovngarde. In Olaf and the Dragon he instead has an axe, but the book itself notes this isn't known for sure.
- Easily Forgiven: He doesn't seem to mind that Svaknir's tales of him have defamed him so much over the centuries, and hopes to welcome the bard into the Hall once Alduin is slain.
- Future Imperfect: Viarmo, one of the more learned historians in the game, is completely shocked to discover that High King Olaf and Olaf One-eye are the same person. As mentioned above, it's likely due to the difficulty reconciling Solitude's historical hatred of King Olaf and Whiterun's hero worship of Olaf One-eye.
- Guile Hero: According to King Olaf's Verse, he came to power in Skyrim through deals and promises of power to get the holds to fall in line. However, see Literary Agent Hypothesis.
- Handicapped Badass: The name should be a hint.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Can be taken Up to Eleven when filling in the blanks of King Olaf's Verse. Whatever he did in real life, he most certainly was not Numinex in human form.
- Literary Agent Hypothesis: In-universe, the legend of Olaf's battle with Numinex is obscured, and it's theorized by one author that this is on purpose - that Olaf's defeat of Numinex was for whatever reason anticlimactic, so they made up a more heroic tale. As well, the bard Svaknir's account of Olaf's rise to power is heavily biased against him, and is further muddled by you the player randomly filling in missing parts of the last remaining copy of the tale, with the option to declare that Olaf was Numinex in human form. Your improvisations, which may or may not have any truth to them, are likely to be further passed down through history as truth now.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: He had the Thu'um.
- Noodle Incident: He certainly did something to make Solitude hate him so much, although what it was is never made entirely clear.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He performed one of the only known dragon captures in history, and is revered as a hero by the people of Whiterun.
- Worthy Opponent: Apparently considers Svaknir one. Olaf comments in Sovngarde that Svaknir is a "fool of a poet", but nevertheless an honest enemy he respects, and he hopes to see him make it into the Hall when the threat of Alduin is passed.
SvaknirA bard who opposed Olaf One-Eye and the writer of King Olaf's Verse. His ghost haunts the tomb where Olaf is buried. You later find his spirit wandering the mists of Sovngarde, if you finished the questline in the tomb and put him to rest.
People of The Pale
The Pale is centrally north in the province, and has a predominantly winter forest landscape. Its capital is the port town of Dawnstar. Its banner is a four-pointed star.
- Voiced by: Colleen Delaney
- Everyone Has Standards: Despite leading an extreme, militant order of monster and Daedra-hunters, Carcette felt that even Isran took things a bit too far with his hatred of vampires.
- Fantastic Racism: The sect is not very polite to Orcs, presumably because of their connection to Malacath.
- Killed Offscreen: Everyone in the Hall of the Vigilant, Carcette included, is slain by Volkihar vampires once Dawnguard is installed (if the player is level 10 or higher - lower level players and new characters can still visit the hall before it's destroyed).
- Too Dumb to Live: Dawnguard reveals that not only did she not accept that the Volkihar vampires were out of the Vigilants' league, but when warned about it by the leader of the Dawnguard, Carcette ignored him.
- Underestimating Badassery: She and her Vigilant fail to realize the threat represented by the Volkihar vampires, leading to their demise.
- Voiced by: Paul Ganus
- Platonic Life Partners: With his former commander, Brina Merelis.
- Retired Badass: One who comes out of retirement. It takes guts to dust off the old Legion armor in a Stormcloak city when the Jarl wants him executed.
- Undying Loyalty: To the Legion, and to Brina for shared service time in the Legion. His loyalty is so deep that he openly antagonizes the initial Stormcloak-allied Jarl by dusting off his old Legion armor and wearing it about town.
- Voiced by: April Stewart
- Court Mage: For Dawnstar.
- Put on a Bus: Subverted. The player can listen to her asking the very Stormcloak-allied Jarl to basically do this, and grant her some time away from court, and he very crossly denies the request.
- 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 for her peace of mind, and is thus pretty much a pacifist.
- Voiced by: Keith Silverstein
- Black Shirt: Believes that the Mythic Dawn should be remembered for holding the fate of the Empire within their grasp.
- Call-Back: His entire quest is one to Oblivion.
- Face Death with Dignity: If you decline his offer of money in exchange of sparing his life and decide to just kill him, he elects to go down fighting and attacks you.
- Genre Blind: Frighteningly oblivious to the fact that Evil Is Not a Toy.
- Nightmare Fetishist: He seems a little too enthusiastic about the Daedric cult of his ancestors.
- Sadistic Choice: You can either betray and kill Silus to get Mehrunes' Razor, or spare his life and forfeit the chance to reforge the weapon, leaving you with only the disassembled fragments.
- Too Dumb to Live: He not only tries to find all the fragments of Mehrunes' Razor to complete his collection, but he actually decides to find one of the Dagon's shrines and ask him to repair it. 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
The Reach is the westernmost province, and is dominated by craggy canyons of the Karth River and its tributaries. Its capital is Markarth, built into the ruins of an old Dwarven city. Its banner is a rack of ram horns.
Borkul the Beast
- Voiced by: Noah Nelson
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In his own words, he was sentenced to life in prison for "Murder. Banditry. Assault. Theft. And lollygagging".
- Blood Knight: If you decide to challenge him to a brawl in order to get the right to see Madanach, he won't hide his delight. It's also implied to be the reason he joined the Forsworn in the first place.
- Brick Joke: Guards all over Skyrim tersely inform the player that there is to be no lollygagging. Borkul was actually arrested for it.
- The Dragon: To Madanach.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: One of the inmates claims that he once ripped off another prisoner's arm and beat him to death with it.
- In Love with Your Carnage: It's implied the reason he joined the Forsworn was because he admires their violence and cruelty. He will also appreciate if you tell him you found your first murder exciting.
- Token Minority: If you help Madanach and the Forsworn escape Cidhna Mine, Borkul goes with them to Druadach Redoubt, dons Forsworn gear, and proclaims "The Reach will be ours again!" despite not being a Reachman.
- It's mentioned in the Pocket Guide to the Empire that the Reachmen historically had strong ties with the Orcs, and learned hedge-magic from them. It's possible the Forsworn consider Orcs fellow aboriginals.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: In Cidhna Mine, he goes around wearing nothing but ragged trousers. If you help the Forsworn escape, he will then go for Forsworn armor, which leaves him shirtless as well.
- Voiced by: George Coe
- Absent-Minded Professor: Most frequently exhibited by his parting phrase.Calcelmo: What? Oh, goodbye.
- Adorkable: There really isn't a better word to describe him during the "Book of Love" quest.
- Amazon Chaser: For Faleen.
- 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 during a quest in praise of Mara, the goddess of love and marriage.
- 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 on her person, and she finally musters the courage to have it sent to him by that point.
- Cool Uncle: He's assisted in his researches by his nephew Aicantar, who seems very fond of him.
- Court Mage: For the Reach.
- Interspecies Romance: With Faleen, a Redguard.
- Mayfly–December Romance: Faleen can't possibly be more than 40, while Calcelmo has centuries behind him and centuries left to go.
- Shoplift and Die: He takes the security of his museum very seriously, and has an entire unit of Markarth guardsmen and an entire, heavily armed bandit clan guarding its halls at all times. They'll let you explore the museum to your heart's content if Calcelmo gives you the key, provided you don't touch anything, but will attack on sight if you use the key to unlock his private laboratory.
- Stalker Without a Crush: He somehow knows exactly when you've purchased a Dwarven item, even if you purchased it from your spouse in the privacy of your own home. Possibly hand waved by the fact that he's a mage.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Even after you kill Nimhe for him, collect the journals of the missing archaeological team, and help him with his love problems, he still refuses to let you use his Falmer translator to decrypt an important document in the Thieves' Guild questline, so you have no choice but to do it in an illegal way. However, this is justified, as his Falmer translator is his life's work (and being an elf, that is a very long time), and he can't risk somebody else stealing his research.
- Voiced by: Jon Curry
- Gadgeteer Genius: Manages to reassemble and control a broken Dwarven spider, which you can sic on some guards in one quest.
- Video Game Caring Potential: He'll confront you in Calcelmo's lab while you're using the Falmer translator, and will be hostile on sight. Some players, however, find him so sweet that they choose to skip fighting by going immediately into the next room. After you finish the quest, he'll go back to his usual duties and won't remember you breaking in.
EltrysA Breton living in Markath who recruits the Dragonborn's help to investigate on a conspiracy involving the Forsworn.
- Freudian Excuse: A discussion with him will reveal his father was killed in the conspiracy when he was a child. He has been haunted by this ever since, leading to his obsession with figuring out why his father died.
- He Knows Too Much: Thonar's corrupt guards eventually find out about his investigation and kill him to cover up the conspiracy.
- "The Reach will be ours again!"
- Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: It's not uncommon to see Forsworn running at you yelling battle cries only to immediately turn tail and run when you loose an atronach or a zombie on them.
- Axe-Crazy: They are perceived as this by most people due to their aggressive behaviour and Rape, Pillage, and Burn actions. One of the in-game books mentions that they sometimes attack people and slaughter them, without bothering to steal any goods from them.
- Black and Grey Morality/Gray and Grey Morality: Can be either of those tropes depending on which of them you take in account. The Forsworn as a whole definitely are brutal, vicious and cruel bandits and implied Daedra-worshippers who cause rampage in the Reach, but it's mentioned that several of their members started out as innocents and ended up joining them in the first place because of the brutal and unfair Nord retribution after Ulfric took back Markarth. And that's excluding the corruption of the Silver-Blood family.
- Boomerang Bigot: Their hatred of the Nords, as they are historically descended from both Bretons and Nords.
- Deal with the Devil: The ritual used to turn a Forsworn into a Briarheart gives them greater combat skill, but robs them of their free will.
- Dual Wielding: Most of them favour this.
- Elite Mooks: The Briarhearts.
- Failed a Spot Check: Many of their hideouts are in ancient Nordic buildings that have been around for thousands of years, yet they think that they have the stronger claim of being native.
- Fantastic Racism: Particularly toward Nords, whom they see as oppressive invaders, though they really don't care for anyone who isn't pledged to their cause.
- Genuine Human Hide: The dialogues heavily imply their armors are at least partially made from the tanned skins of the people they have killed.
- Glass Cannon: Their light armors made of skin, fur and bones offer very little resistance, and, since they favor Dual Wielding, most of them can't block. However, they move very fast, and that same Dual Wielding means that even their weaker units can inflict insane amount of damage. Many of them are powerful spellcasters besides.
- Hates Everyone Equally: If you're not Forsworn, then the Forsworn hate you.
- I Am A Humanitarian: Although never outright stated, it is heavily implied that at least some of them are cannibals.
- Literal Change of Heart: The Briarhearts, Forsworn chieftains who have had their hearts magically replaced with Briarheart seeds by Hagravens. Pickpocketing the Briarheart instantly kills them.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Directed at them. Many non-Forsworn Reachmen are as fed up with their antics as the Nords are.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: It doesn't matter if a person is a Nord or not. To the Forsworn, if a person is not a "Reachman", they are trespassers who deserve utter destruction.
- Rooting for the Empire: An in-universe example, as one of the books you can find dotted about Skyrim is written by a scholar as a serious defense of the Forsworn and attempts to justify their rightful historical claim to the Reach.
- Stripperiffic: Their armors leave most males shirtless and female with... a lot of skin visible.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: In their eyes, they are fighting to take back their homeland. The fact that they have slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent men, women and children doesn't matter to them.
Ghost of Old Hroldan
- Voiced by: Craig Sechler
- Ghostly Goals: His ghost is restless due to "Hjalti" (aka Tiber Septim) apparently promising to grant him his sword after a battle as a sign that they were sworn brothers. For some unstated reason - perhaps because the warrior died during the battle in question - this never happened. After mistaking the Dragonborn for Hjalti (due to both being Dragonborn), he begs them to find the sword and fulfill this oath.
- Go Into the Light: After thousands of years of waiting, receiving Hjalti's sword finally releases his soul to do this.
- Haunted House: His presence technically makes the Old Hroldan Inn this. However, the way the inn's owner reacts to seeing him seems to indicate that it's the presence of the Dragonborn which causes him to appear.
- Mistaken Identity: Perhaps because the Player Character and "Hjalti" were both Dragonborn, the Ghost believe the Last Dragonborn is Hjalti.
- Voiced by: Stephen Russell
- Badass Grandpa: Proves him quite the powerful mage if you help him escape the mine (or try to off him inside it).
- 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 if 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 where he is personally staying.
- 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 worships the unidentified "old gods" (which are implied in various NPC dialogue to be the Daedric Princes) rather than the Nine Divines.
- Impoverished Patrician: There's a reason he's called "the King in Rags".
- Killed Off for Real: One way to resolve the quest. Instead of killing the prisoner he wants killed and helping everyone escape, you can kill him - you have no weapons, but you have your Shouts and magic spells as well as fists - and then loot the key from his body and escape on your own.
- Knight Templar: Madanach talks a lot about the "injustice" of The Reach, but he's hardly a saint himself.
- Luxury Prison Suite: By the standards of Cidhna Mines, at least. He not only has his own private cave with a personal bodyguard, it includes a bed, desk, drawers filled with books and paper and ink whereas everyone has to sleep on the ground and mine silver all day long.
- Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: Despite being a prisoner of Cidhna Mines, Madanach is still capable of coordinating the Forsworn, something that Thonar exploits.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Most NPCs call him "Mad-a-nock", but at least one refers to him as "Ma-da-nack". What's strange about this is that the NPC who does so 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: For the Forsworn.
- Red Baron: The King in Rags.
- 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, whom he tells the player to kill as a test of loyalty.
- He also essentially says this to you, if 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.
- Voiced by: Corri English
- Break the Cutie: She lived in Windhelm and was good friends with the well-known Clan Shatter-Shield. When one of said family's daughters 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 life she built there.
- Miscarriage of Justice: The victim of a frameup that ruined her relationship with Clan Shatter-Shield.
- She 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...
Nepos the NoseAn old and rich Reachman living in Markath. Secretly a Forsworn escapee from the Nord purge and an agent of Madanach while he is in Cidhna Mine.
- Affably Evil: When you track back to him, he congratulates you for your success, answers every question you ask, then politely informs you he can't let you get out alive.
- Badass Grandpa: He is clearly much more dangerous than he lets it appear.
- He Knows Too Much: Tries to pull this on you, and is implied to have done it many times before.
- Ignored Epiphany: His journal reveals that he genuinely feels guilt for sending so many young men to their deaths in the terrorist acts he accomplishes under Madanach's orders, but he apparently thinks he has gone too far to stop now.
- Sunk Cost Fallacy: He knows he's wasted time, money, and lives on Madanach's rebellion, but he says that that isn't a reason to stop. He tries to explain that to stop now would be a bigger waste; see the above Ignored Epiphany. The Dragonborn will almost certainly kill him for it.
- Underestimating Badassery: He clearly underestimates the Dragonborn.
- Voiced by: Christian Svensson
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: He mentioned that he used Madanach to get rid of "competitors, agents, idiots".
- Big Bad: Of the short Forsworn questline consisting of the "Forsworn Conspiracy" and "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine" quests.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: With his brother, Thongvor. Thonar runs the family business and Thongvar concentrates on politics.
- 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.
- Jerkass: He doesn't try to put on any pretense of being likable or caring about anything other than money.
- 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 Kick the Son of a Bitch 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. He gets slain by the people he tried to seal away.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: 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 basically invoke the trope by telling him "You deserved this."
- Laser-Guided Karma: Of course, there's nothing stopping you from murdering him after the quest is done, since he's no longer tagged as essential. A particularly delicious way is to enter stealth and shoot him in the back with a Forsworn arrow, making it appear as if he was yet another victim in the string of assassinations carried out by the "Forsworn".
- You can also cast Frenzy on him, having the corrupt guards that do his bidding kill him, instead.
- If you take his route out of Cidhna Mine (killing the Forsworn present and escaping), then he conveniently becomes a connection to you. A connection you can sacrifice to empower the Ebony Blade. Possibly one of the few times a player will feel glee at hearing "Excellent work, my child~".
- Meal Ticket: To his wife, Betrid, who proudly boasts of being a Gold Digger.
- Smug Snake: Much like Maven Black-Briar, and admittedly it's not entirely unreasonable as he's been keeping up a rather impressive operation with only a very few key players knowing (unlike Maven, who is rather open and direct about who's really in charge of Riften) for twenty years now. It's entirely probable that even his brother doesn't know what he's been doing. Thonar believes he has fully cowed Madanach and has the Forsworn completely under his thumb: even Madanach admits it wasn't until around the time of the "Forsworn Conspiracy" that the Forsworn had finally built up the resources to finally make their move against him. Thonar is later brutally proven wrong when Forsworn agents in his own house murder his wife and try to kill him too.
- Trophy Wife: Probably Betrid: she looks to be younger than him by a fair bit.
Red EagleA famous Reachman hero from back when the Reach wasn't controlled by the Nords. He led the Reachmen's resistance against the Empire when they invaded Tamriel, and was the first Briarheart.
- The Chosen One: A weird subversion; he was supposed to become this according to a prophecy, which stated he would unite the ten kings ruling the Reach. However, the Empire arrived and invaded the Reach, killing or bribing the ten kings and ruining all his chances to fulfill the prophecy.
- Cool Sword: Red Eagle's Fury (or Red Eagle's Bane in its true form), his Weapon of Choice, also serves as the key to his tomb.
- Deal with the Devil: He made one with a Hagraven; in exchange for sacrificing his heart, his will, and his humanity, he gained incredible powers and became a pitiless spirit of vengeance. It was this deal that inspired the Briarheart.
- Flaming Sword: Regardless of which version of the sword you have on you, it has a fire damage enchantment on it. When you fight him, he's packing a fire-enchanted BFS.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: He appears as a regular Draugr boss in-game - complete with dragon Shouts - despite his backstory having nothing to do with the Dragon Cult.
- Last Stand: As mentioned above, he confronted the Imperial Legions on his own with nothing but his sword in the final battle, and managed to slaughter a thousand of them before dying.
- One-Man Army: While alive, he managed to kick the Imperial Legions out of the Reach, and even though they came back and eventually defeated him, he managed to slaughter a thousand of enemies before dying.
- The Paragon: Seen as this by the Forsworn.
People of The Rift
The Rift is in the southeastern corner of the province, and features a perpetually autumnal forest. Its capital is the crime-ridden Riften. Its banner is a pair of crossed swords on a purple background.
Brand-Shei (Brandyl Telvanni)
One of the merchants in Riften marketplace. Seemingly the first target of the Thieves' Guild (though you can fail it on purpose).
- Aerith and Bob: You can comment on him having weird name for a Dark Elf, though there is a very good reason for it.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: A walking example if the Dragonborn DLC has been installed. He's one of the last surviving members of House Telvanni. If the Dragonborn completes Master Neloth's quests, s/he is made an honorary member of the same house. Unfortunately, there's no option at any point to tell Brand-Shei about this, or make any sort of offer to introduce him to Neloth.)
- Good Parents: He was raised by a kindly Argonian couple.
- Just so we're clear, this is the Dunmer and Argonians we're talking about — two races known for their animosity toward each other.note This makes Brand-shei's adoptive parents one of the best examples of this trope ever.
- Happily Adopted
- Nice Guy: Snarks aside, he easily is one of the nicest merchants in Riften, especially compared to Grelka. He politely salutes you whenever you pass close to his shop, gladly explains his origins to you, and is very grateful when you help him recover a clue about said origins.Brand-Shei: I really appreciate what you've done for me. I'll never forget it.
- Orphan's Plot Trinket: The journal you can find for him.
- Raised by Natives: Raised by Argonians.
- Secret Legacy: He's actually one of last surviving members of House Telvanni.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: With Brynjolf in the starting Thieves' Guild quest.
- Video Game Caring Potential: The first Thieves' Guild mission has you frame him for stealing, which leaves him in jail for the rest of the game. But if you prefer, you can drop the ring that you were supposed to place on him; he never gets arrested, and you still get into the guild.
- Voiced by: Noah Nelson
- Asskicking Equals Authority: As per usual with orcs, the chieftain 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. When challenged to defeat the leader of the giants by Malacath, he immediately demands your help in the task, since he was only told to kill the leader, he wants you to kill the rest. On the cave to said leader he pointedly flees from the giants, and once you actually get to the leader he tries to bribe you to kill it and let him take the credit.
- Jerk Ass: Even before you learn he is a Dirty Coward and an Ungrateful Bastard, you will most likely already find him unsympathetic due to him being rude and xenophobic toward you.
- No True Scotsman: He will express this opinion toward an Orc Dragonborn, whom he will call a "filthy city Orc". Ironically enough, this trope is what Malacath thinks of him.Malacath: You don't deserve to call yourself an Orc! You're weak, you're small, and you're an embarrassment!
- 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?
- Ungrateful Bastard: Even though you make efforts to help him and his tribe to get rid of their curse, not only does he keep acting rude toward you all along, but he also tries to pull a You Have Outlived Your Usefulness on you.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: If you agree to kill the Giant for him, he will try to kill you immediately after you are done to ensure you won't tell the truth.
- 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'm 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.
A rather unlikable armor merchant working in the Riften marketplace.
- Fantastic Racism: If you visit Haelga's Bunkhouse while she is there, you can hear a conversation in which she insults Madesi and clearly expresses her dislike of Argonians.
- Jerk Ass: Basically tells you to just buy something or leave whenever you try to engage conversation with her. Also, see Fantastic Racism above.
- Missing Secret: Looking in the game's code reveals that Grelka was intended to be a potential spouse, but because she doesn't offer any quests it's impossible to raise her disposition towards you and she never becomes available for marriage, barring mods or using console commands to make her like you.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: This is her motivation; she wants to get as much money as possible so she can leave Skyrim. Considering the country is in the middle of a Civil War, Dragons are coming, and she lives in a Wretched Hive to boot, you can hardly blame her. However, no matter how much gold you personally spend at her stall, she never actually leaves, nor does fixing any of those things lessen her desire to go.
Grelod the Kind
Manager of Honorhall Orphanage and the target of Aventus Arentino's Black Sacrament.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: The reaction to her death.
- With one notable exception: Constance Michel, who never endorsed Grelod's cruelty but defended Grelod, saying she's old and has no other life. Constance's reaction to Grelod's death is to panic at the thought of someone being murdered in cold blood, but everyone else engages in much rejoicing.
- Played with via the Hold Guards. Those outside of Riften, who didn't know Grelod personally, consider the news to be that of the tragic murder of an elderly woman. Hold Guards inside Riften, however, consider her such an Asshole Victim that they don't even bother to arrest you, even if they see you leave the orphanage on the day she was killed.
- Asshole Victim: 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 by the fact that it happened at all. You don't even get a bounty for killing her and everybody in town just rolls with it because everyone agrees that she was a horrible person.
- Evil Old Folks: Her treatment of the children at her orphanage should be proof enough. Even the Riften guards think so, and will let you off the hook for killing her simply because they agree that she had it coming.
- Expy: Shows similarities to Miss Hannigan from Annie.
- Fantastic Racism: She carries a book titled The Pig Children about how horrible Orcs are.
- Hate Sink: The first thing you hear when you enter the orphanage is her warning the kids that if they shirk their chores, they'll get an extra beating. She is obviously designed to be a cruel, hateful, awful creature, so you can kill her without feeling a shred of remorse.
- I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: Some of the guards in Riften are happy to tell you that they saw you walk out of the orphanage on the day she was murdered, but won't arrest you for it. Yes, even if you walk up to her in full view of the children and shout "YOL TOOR SHUL!" in her face! (One of the guards will even call you a Greybeard for it.)
- Ironic Nickname: She's called "the Kind" but is anything but. Even adults know that it's a complete lie.
- Jerkass: To put it mildly. When you visit the orphanage for the first time, 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. Then she demands that they tell her they love her. She even has a cell in the orphanage with shackles on the wall.
- Made of Plasticine: Since she's an old lady, she's not exactly tough. You can kill her just by punching her in the face.
The owner of the bunkhouse in Riften, which houses many of the city's residents.
- Jerkass: Even if you haven't done anything to make her dislike you, she will frequently tell you that you are not welcome in her Bunkhouse, since she only allows workers and not travelers or adventurers to be there. She is also mentioned to be abrasive toward her niece, Svana.
- Jerkass Has a Point: If you stick long enough in the Bunkhouse, you might hear a dialogue between her and Svana revealing that Svana is in a flirting relationship with Sibbi Black-Briar. Haelga tells her niece rather cynically that Sibbi just wants to sleep with her. While it's mean to say such a thing, considering what we know of Sibbi, she is almost certainly right.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: One of the missions required to join the Thieves' Guild includes collecting money for protection from various persons in Riften, her included. You will most likely not feel sorry when coming for her.
- Legacy Character: Of Mirabelle Monet, a rude and slutty innkeeper from Anvil in Oblivion.
- Pet the Dog: If you give her one of the brochures from the Temple of Mara while doing that small sidequest for the priestess, Haelga acknowledges that she's more into the teachings of Dibella (and boy is she ever); but she'll accept the brochure nonetheless and even promises to read it with some interest. It's pretty much the only pleasant conversation you can have with her.
- Really Gets Around: Much to her niece's disgust. A sidequest even involves collecting "Marks of Dibella" from the various men she slept with recently. Mentions from said men include her doing it in the stables and an implication she might have drugged one of them so she could sleep with him (though it's left ambiguous if he is telling the truth or not).
- According to overworld conversations, she's even interested in Madesi.
Hofgrir Horse-CrusherOwner of the Riften Stables.
- Defeat Means Friendship: You can brawl him, and after you defeat him, he becomes much friendlier and you can ride any of his horses for free.
- Embarrassing Nickname: It comes from a time when he was drunk and tried to ride a colt instead of a full-grown horse; he accidentally broke the colt's back. He has decided to no longer ride horses thanks to that.
- Voiced by: Corri English
- Affably Evil: Aside from being a Black-Briar and an aspiring Master Poisoner, Ingun is one of the most genuinely friendly people in Riften.
- 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. Considering her particular focus 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 of each of three relatively rare alchemy ingredients - Nightshade, Deathbell, and Nirnroot. It's not so bad if you know where to look (you can even raise Nightshade and Deathbell in your own gardens if you have Hearthfire installed), but still a lot harder than finding 20 Salt Piles would be. It's also worth noting that all three ingredients are used in deadly poisons...
- Like Mother, Unlike Daughter: Ingun may share her appearance with Maven, but while Ingun is rather up-front about her more questionable quirks but is a decent person otherwise, Maven is just an asshole through and through.
- 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 obliege.
- 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.
- Strong Family Resemblance: She looks exactly like a young Maven. They even wear the same outfit, for Mara's sake.
- To Be a Master: Of alchemy.
- "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: Her other motivation. She wants to make her mother proud.
MadesiAn Argonian merchant who sells jewelry in Riften. The first quest to join the Thieves' Guild involves stealing one of his rings and framing Brand-Shei for it. He can also give the Dragonborn a quest to collect materials for his jewelry.
- Nice Guy: He's always polite and rewards you well for his quest. Really, he rivals Brand-Shei as one of the nicest people in Riften.
MaramalA Redguard Priest in charge of the Temple of Mara in Riften. He is the one selling Amulets of Mara and arranging weddings, including potentially the Dragonborn's.
- Babies Ever After: According to dialogue you can overhear, his wife is pregnant with their first child.
- Happily Married: To Dinya Balu, one of the priestesses in the Temple.
- Interspecies Romance: His wife is a Dark Elf.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: This usually is how most people in Riften react to his preaching. Obviously, it's not easy being the priest for a Divinity of Love in a Wretched Hive.
- Voiced by: Popeye Vogelsang
- Arms and Armor Theme Naming: "Maul" is more likely a nickname, or maybe a self-selected appellation, but he's still named after a weapon.
- The Dragon: To Maven Black-Briar.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: To maul is to wound by scratching and tearing. A maul is basically a big ass hammer.
A Dark Elf working at the Black-Briar Meadery, and secretly steals mead to sell illegally in his own business.
- Blatant Lies: "The Dreth family doesn't steal, Indaryn." Not only was his ancestor most likely a criminal, but he himself is smuggling Black-Briar mead to sell it cheaper and make profit for himself.
- Continuity Nod: He is a descendant of Valen Dreth, the Jerk Ass Dark Elf from the beginning of Oblivion. One of his conversations with innkeeper Keerava involves him narrating an exaggerated tale of his ancestor during the Oblivion Crisis.
- Denying the Dead Parent's Sins: Possibly; Oblivion clearly shows his ancestor Valen was a jerk and most likely a criminal, but Romlyn still insists that "The Dreth family doesn't steal" and delivers ridiculous stories portraying Valen as a hero. Either he really is oblivious to his ancestor’s real past, or he is in denial about it.
- Lovable Rogue: Especially compared to his ancestor. He is stealing mead and selling it on the black market, yes, but the people he is stealing it from are far from sympathetic, and if you help him in his business without denouncing him, he will prove pretty grateful, to the point he becomes available for marriage.
- Voiced by: Jason Marsden
- Entertainingly Wrong: He assumes his life is in danger because he owes money to the Thieves Guild and has no way to make that payment. Which would be logical, except he doesn't know that the guild has strict rules against its members killing people.
- Nice Guy
- Voiced by: Stephen Russell
- The Casanova: Makes it clear to the Dragonborn, when the latter visits, that he's out to get all the women he can get his hands on - this is effectively what landed him in jail. He even flirts with a female Dragonborn.
- Con Man: Sold Louis Letrush a horse that actually belongs 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 jail time for it, and he blames her) and wants her dead for it.
- Jerkass: Mjoll will tell you that he's the worst Black-Briar. Considering what the Black-Briar family is like, that is saying something.
- Karma Houdini: Averted; where the rest of his family is tagged essential, you only need to wait until you're through with the quest to steal Frost before you can kill him.
- 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.
- 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.
- Voiced by: Colleen Delaney
- 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.
- 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. She blithely asked them to give her the heart of the dead creator-god which may or may not be responsible for the vanishing of the Dwemer, and who definitely disappeared himself 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", a dementia-inducing disease found only in fish.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Turns out that there actually is a working model of the Heart of Lorkhan in the College - namely, Arniel's warped soul gem. However, since no one else in the College is aware of this fact, it's presumably some sort of lucky guess on her part.
- Court Mage: For Riften.
People of Whiterun Hold
Whiterun Hold is centrally located, with an expansive sub-arctic tundra. Its capital shares its name, and is strategically vital for both sides in the civil war. Its banner is a stylized horse head on a yellow background.
Alvor, Sigrid, and Dorthe
A Riverwood family who runs the village smithy. The Legionnaire Hadvar is Alvor's nephew by blood.
- The Blacksmith: Alvor is the town blacksmith, and since he is likely the first smith you come across, he is also likely the smith who gives you the Smithing tutorial.
- Daddy's Girl: To a degree with Dorthe. She much prefers being a junior apprentice to Alvor in the smithy than doing womanly chores with Sigrid."My father is Alvor, the blacksmith. I'm his assistant. I mean, apprentice."
- Fair Weather Friend: Defied by Alvor's speech, saying Nords are not fair-weather friends, and that the Stormcloaks are wrong for turning their back on the Empire because of its recent hardships.
- Good Parents: Both are nurturing to their daughter Dorthe, but Dorthe seems to gravitate towards her father.
- Happily Married: Implied by Sigrid's preemptive rebuffing of a male Dragonborn, though her warning a female Dragonborn to stay away from Alvor makes her come across as a Clingy Jealous Girl.
- Mr. Exposition: Alvor gives an Imperial-biased one to the player concerning the Civil War, as well as a few other things.
- Sacred Hospitality: If you go with Hadvar, Alvor takes both his nephew and the Player Character into his home and offers some supplies and food for free. For the rest of the game, the higher level of relationship makes many of his household stuff (under a certain coin value) available simply for the taking. Since he's the village smith, this makes it much easier to get equipment upgrades early on than going with Ralof to his sister's family or going with neither.
- Tomboy: Dorthe is turning into one, much to Alvor's delight (he wanted a son but sufficed with Dorthe), while Sigrid is concerned she isn't ladylike enough."Dorthe, listen to me. Your father and your friend may treat you like a boy, but you're not. Do you understand? So please. Be a girl. For me."
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Alvor has his grievances with the Empire, but as he states above, he believes True Nords aren't just Fair Weather Friends, and that the right thing to do is to stick together with the Empire.
- Ye Goode Olde Days: Defied as well. Alvor calls Ulfric's barbaric means of "succession" a hearkening back to the "bad old days".
- Voiced by: Jon Curry
- Good Parents: He is one to his daughter.
- Happily Married: To Saffir, a Redguard woman.
- Honor Before Reason: His wife thinks he is this because he values so much his father's sword that he intends to go take it back from thieves, risking his life in the process. However, his approach of the task is fairly reasonable, as he intends to recruit either mercenaries or members of the Companions to help him, and will agree to let you find it for him.
- Like Father, Unlike Son: Given that he's one of the nicer people in Whiterun, it might come as a surprise to learn that his daughter is Braith.
- Nice Guy: Virtually nothing you can say to him will annoy him, plus he's a good parent and husband.
- Retired Badass: He used to be a mercenary, and will help improve your block and one-handed weaponry skills if you complete his quest. He'll also recommend you try mercenary work.
- Voiced by: Richard Epcar
- Commander Contrarian: May come across as this often.
- Innocently Insensitive: Refers to the legend of the Dragonborn as "Nord nonsense." Hrongar chews him out for it but Avenicci claims he meant no disrespect.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He comes across as a bit stuck up, but he's polite and does his best to help, as out of touch as he may be.
- Puppet King: Puppet Adviser anyway. Apparently, half the advice he gives the Jarl is actually from his daughter, or so she claims.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: In term of Jarl Balgruuf's advisers, he's the blue oni to Irileth and Hrongar's red.
- Voiced by: Martina Lotun
- Healing Hands: She's the Restoration magic master trainer.
- In Harmony with Nature: Though she needs to be reminded of that if you opt to replace the dead Gildergreen tree in Whiterun's forum with a new sapling.
- Nun Too Holy: Consoles Ahlam on the fact that her husband Nazeem is a total lout, noting on the bright side that, if the Stormcloaks ever decide to attack the city, he might get himself killed.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Toned-down example, in that she doesn't seem to realize she is acting like one; in her quest, she asks you to use a Hagraven weapon to get a sample from the Eldergleam in order to revive the Gildergreen in Whiterun, apparently not realizing that this involves hurting the Eldergleam and profaning a sanctuary of the very Goddess she is worshiping. Fortunately, there is another way to resolve the quest without doing this, and upon hearing your explanation, she very reasonably accepts it.
- Voiced by: Christian Svensson
Come to Dragonsreach to discuss the recent hostilities, like the rest of the 'great warriors'?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.
- Badass Bookworm: He is a scholar first and foremost, but that doesn't mean he cannot do tremendous damage with his magic. He is also of the opinion that the most dangerous weapon a person can have is their mind.
- Brutal Honesty: He is anything if not honest when he explains to you why he needs your help - namely, going through a tomb full of bandits and Draugr to get a mysterious stone that might or might not be there.
- Court Mage: For Whiterun.
- For Science!: Farengar seems to be more interested in researching dragons for the research's 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.Irileth: Farengar. Very bad idea. Even for you.
- Idiot Ball: See the spoilered parts of For Science!.
- 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. He's also frustrated with people who are too closed-minded.One sure sign of a fool is to think anything outside of one's experience is impossible.
- Oblivious to Love: It's implied that the owner of the Whiterun alchemy shop has a crush on him, and he almost certainly isn't aware of it.
Gerdur, Hod and FrodnarA Riverwood family, Gerdur is the sister of Stormcloak soldier Ralof. She owns the town sawmill.
- Action Girl: Subverted. Gerdur mentions that she's very proud of Ralof taking up the sword to free Skyrim and laments that she's gotten too old to fight herself.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Frodnar shows shades of this, being rather bossy towards the player (no matter how intimidating the player can be) and coming up with plans to make his dog look like a frostbite spider (which Dorthe talks him out of doing, because it would either fail or get his dog killed by the adults of the town)."You're new around here, so I'll go easy on ya, but don't get on my bad side."
- Good Parents: Both Hod and Gerdur are this to Frodnar.
- I Own This Town: Gerdur owns the sawmill, which is the main business of the town and the reason Riverwood exists, according to Alvor, and certainly his smithy gets most of its work from Gerdur's mill. In a subversion of the trope, though, Gerdur doesn't really use that influence over the village for anything in particular. If anything, Frodnar shows a more entitled attitude than she does (see Bratty Half-Pint). She mostly just uses her position to provide employment to the rest of the town; Sven, Faendal and Alvor are all technically in her employ.Gerdur: It's my mill... some folk think it's my town too, but it ain't. The Jarl of Whiterun owns both the land and the town; I just pay the taxes.
- The Prankster: Frodnar, much to his friend Dorthe's displeasure, according to him."My friend Dorthe doesn't like my pranking. 'You're being mean, Frodnar!' So what if I am?""Get me mad, and I'll prank ya. And not a little. A lot."
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Balgruuf himself says that Gerdur is a pillar of the community. But Gerdur, being a firm Stormcloak supporter, doesn't care much for him.
- Mrs. Exposition: Gerdur gives a Stormcloak-biased one to the player concerning the Civil war, amongst other things.
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. Tropes specific to Vignar Gray-Mane can be found on the Skyrim Civil War page, and tropes specific to Eorlund Gray-mane can be found on the Skyrim Factions page.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Clan Battle-Born.
- Awful Truth: The truth about the disappearance of Thorald Gray-Mane. He was taken prisoner by the Thalmor. If you ask Idolaf Battle-Born about the matter directly, he says this is why he refuses to tell Fralia what happened to her son.
- 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.
- The Blacksmith: Eorlund Gray-Mane spends most of his time at the Skyforge, making weapons for the Companions or anyone who wishes to buy.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Clan Battle-Born's battlecry paints them as this somewhat."For Clan Battle-Born! First into the fray and last to quit their ale!"
- Catch-Phrase: Both Olfrid Battle-Born and Vignar Gray-Mane have comments that will burn themselves into your brain if you wander around Whiterun (or in Vignar's case, inside Jorrvaskr) very much.Olfrid: Olfrid! Patron of the great clan Battle-Born! A name I'm sure you know well.Vignar: When the Empire surrendered to the Aldmeri Dominion, they shamed us all!
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Olfrid. See below.
- Expy: They're basically "Capulets and Montagues: Skyrim edition."
- 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.
- Feuding Families: Complete with Montague and Capulet style Star-Crossed Lovers.
- Happily Married: Eorlund and Fralia. One of the rare examples in Skyrim, a province full of bickering married couples.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Olfrid Battle-Born suggests that Clan Gray-Mane started the feud because they were jealous of the Battle-Born fortune.
- Played for laughs in some of the interactions between Jon Battle-Born and Olfina Gray-Mane. Among other things, she's trying to encourage him to return to the Bards' College and continue his work there, and he doesn't want to leave her, making jokes about how she's waiting for him to go so she can find herself a rich husband and have a ton of babies. She jokes in return that now he's uncovered her master plan and will probably never leave.
- Impoverished Patrician: Clan Gray-Mane has fallen on hard times. They still carry themselves proudly despite their currently modest circumstances (though whenever you offer to buy from Eorlund, he always says "Gods be praised!").
- Grumpy Old Man: Both Olfrid and Vignar.
- 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 doesn't allow them justice either, saying that they made their choice when the troubles began.
- Meaningful Name: Everyone in Clan Gray-Mane has white hair, for one reason or another.
- Nice Guy: Jon Battle-Born, who's also the Only Sane Man. Olfina Gray-Mane is also a nice person as well (if you're female) and takes the position of Only Sane Woman for her family. Fittingly, the two are more than a little fond of each other.
- Not So Different: They may make different accusations about each other and support different sides in the Civil War, but at the end of the day, they're both just families bickering with each other for inane and petty reasons.
- Only in It for the Money: The Gray-Manes assert that the Battle-Borns are weak and only care about their money.
- Red Herring: During your investigation into the disappearance of Thorald Gray-Mane, it turns out that not only are the Battle-Borns are not responsible for his disappearance, but that Idolaf made attempts to find out what happened to him. In truth, the Thalmor are behind his disappearance.
- Spartan Sibling: Lars Battle-Born, a child, will say that his family regards him as a milk-drinker and a weakling due to 'allowing' himself to be bullied by Braith.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Jon Battle-Born and Olfina Gray-Mane, the sole members of each clan who don't care for the feud, are in a secret relationship. The player can overhear interactions which illustrate this clearly, and can even pickpocket Jon's love letter from Olfina.
- Straw Feminist: Olfina Gray-Mane can come across this way. She'll hail a female Dragonborn by telling her not to let the men treat her badly, but snaps (unprovoked) at a male Dragonborn, asking if he just can't stand the sight of a strong woman. The straw part comes in when you realize there is no such on-screen sexism in the game.
- Warrior Poet: Jon Battle-Born studied at the Bards' 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 for the first time, 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.
- Voiced by: Michael Gough
Trust in me, Whiterun! Trust in Heimskr! For I am the CHOSEN of Talos! I alone have been anointed by the Ninth to SPREAD... HIS HOOOOLY WORD!!!Self-professed prophet of Talos, he perpetually preaches about the God-Emperor by his shrine in Whiterun.
- Butt-Monkey: He's only involved in one minor quest (a potential kidnap victim in a Companion radiant quest), does nothing of importance, and can be incredibly annoying, so it's not uncommon for players to kill him in whatever way they deem fit.
- Canon Immigrant: Not the man himself, but his speech, which was first written as canon (but unofficial) background lore by The Elder Scrolls writer Michael Kirkbride for display on the Imperial Library lore website. You can find it here.
- Character Filibuster: He never shuts up about the glory of Talos and his disdain for those trying to snuff out his worship.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: It's implied that Talos actually does take some interest in him, though probably not to the extent Heimskr believes.
- Despair Speech: Part of his speech: "We are but maggots! WRIIIIIIIIITHING in the filth of our OWN CORRUPTION!"
- Enemy Mine: He seems to want the Empire and the Stormcloaks to put aside their differences and remember that their true enemy is the Thalmor.
- 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.
- Irony: Considering his zeal when it comes to Talos, it can easily be inferred that he would rather side with the Stormcloaks over the Imperials... but if the fighting gets close enough, his house gets destroyed by a Stormcloak catapult.
- Large Ham: Extols 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.
- Love Freak: "And as man you said, 'Let me SHOW you the power of Talos, Stormcrown, BORN of the North, where my breath is looooooong winterrrrrr. I breathe now in royalty and reshape this land which is mine. I do this for you, Red Legions, for I LOVE YOU!' Aye, love! LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!"
- Meaningful Name: Heimskr in Old Norse means "foolish/silly". Likewise, the word "Heimskur" is Icelandic for "stupid".
- Most Annoying Sound: He's a walking example. Ironically, however, some players grow so used to him that they just can't bring themselves to kill him, citing that Whiterun is too quiet with him gone.
- No Indoor Voice: Note the amount of caps, italics, and bold in his quotes, here used to emphasize the hamminess of his sermon.
- Only Sane Man: Sees himself as this."Trust in me, Whiterun! Trust in Heimskr! For I am the chosen of Talos! I alone have been anointed by the Ninth to spread his holy word!"
- Preacher Man: He's a priest of Talos, and preaches non-stop. One has to wonder if the townsfolk are grateful to the Dragonborn for talking to him at any point, since it forces him to pause.
- Rousing Speech: He certainly thinks he is giving one: "So rise up! RIIIIIIIIIIIIISE up, children of the Empire! Rise up, Stormcloaks!" It's literally a loop of dialogue - it has no clear beginning or end, but simply repeats over and over.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Though it crosses into Too Dumb to Live, because 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.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: As annoying as he might be, keeping Talos worship alive is basically him doing his part to stave off metaphysical annihilation.
- You Can't Go Home Again: If his house gets destroyed in the Siege of Whiterun, he instead camps out in front of Jorrvaskr.
- You Have to Believe Me: As per his character quote.
- Voiced by: Paul Ganas
- Badass Boast: "I'm not a man, I'm a weapon in human form. Just unsheathe me, and point me at the enemy."
- Mr. Exposition: Serves as this about the legend of the Dragonborn, once the Greybeard summons goes out and you report back in to Jarl Balgruuf after your first dragon kill.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Proof that classical barbarian Nords exist on the pro-Imperial side too.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to both his elder brother Jarl Balgruuf and the court steward Proventus. He encourages Balgruuf to take part in the Civil War on the Imperial side, whereas Balgruuf prefers to stay neutral as long as he can and Proventus favors a more careful approach.
- Spare to the Throne: In a Dummied Out quest portion that would have resulted in Balgruuf's murder by his own children, Hrongar would inherit the title of Jarl of Whiterun Hold.
- War Hawk: He is constantly agitating for Whiterun to enter the Civil War on the side of the Empire. Jarl Balgruuf can even be overheard telling Hrongar to stop pestering him with his warmongering.
- Action Girl: Pretty much a prerequisite for a female housecarl, and she gets to show it by leading the charge against dragons.
- Dare to Be Badass: "Now what do you say? Shall we go kill us a dragon?"
- Dummied Out: When asked about the dangers of her job, she will mention that sometimes it feels as if even the Jarl's own children are planning to murder him. This is just dark humor in the final game, but in the game files there are vestiges of a different ending to an existing quest that would culminate in the children falling under the influence of a Daedric prince and doing just that.
- 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 Mirmulnir during the first dragon fight? Irileth. She's also packing a frost-enchanted sword.
- Platonic Life Partners: Again, with Balgruuf. It's incredibly obvious how much he trusts her and respects her opinion, and she would lay down her life for his in a heartbeat. But there's no romantic chemistry whatsoever.
- Properly Paranoid: Apparently attempts on Balgruuf's life are not unusual. She keeps a wary eye on the player even after they've ingratiated themselves to the Jarl, and her suspicion is proven correct should the player join the Stormcloaks.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Proventus Avenicci's blue as Jarl Balgruuf's advisers.
- Seen It All: According to her, at least. Her reaction to the Dragonborn is "I've seen things just as outlandish as this."
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: She considers stabbing a viable solution against obsequious functionaries and incompetent bureaucrats that hound the Jarl. Unfortunately, she's not allowed to.
LokirA Nord horse thief from Rorikstead who's captured along with the Dragonborn, Ulfric Stormcloak, and Ralof by the border to Cyrodiil. After realizing that he'll be executed, he tries to run but is killed by Imperial archers.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: As he comes closer to the execution, he begs for the divines to save him.
- Death by Irony: Had he waited, he may have had a chance to escape thanks to Alduin's attack.
- Famous Last Words: "You're not gonna kill me!" How wrong he is...
- In the Back: Shot by archers while trying to escape.
LemkilA farmer living in Rorikstead with his daughters, twins Sissel and Britte. His wife died giving birth to them, something he's not entirely happy about.
- Abusive Parents: He beats both of his children and considers them worthless. Most of his dialogue in some way or another is complaining about what a burden they are. His children in turn thank you if you kill him.
- Child Hater: "Do yourself a favor and don't have children, they're good for nothing at all!"
- Death by Childbirth: His wife died giving birth to their children.
- Hate Sink: Yeah, he's up there as one of the most unpleasant characters you may have the misfortune to meet.
- Jerkass: Again; most of the guy's dialogue is to complain about how much he hates his daughters, and he beats them to boot. It's a common tale among players that, opting out of the four orphans Hearthfire added, they chose to kill Lemkil and adopt at least Sissel to give his kids a better home.
- Voiced by: Keith Silverstein
- Bi the Way: Hinted at. He gets "unseasonably warm" if you approach him with no clothes on, regardless of gender.
- Although this could mean that he feels warm to at least have clothes on while you are completely naked... in the cold, especially since this is in Skyrim.
- Catch-Phrase: "Do you get to the Cloud District very often? Oh, what am I saying? Of course you don't." Of course, at no point in the game does he actually go the Cloud District; his schedule involves him walking around the Plains and Wind Districts all day, unlike people who have actual business in Dragonsreach.
- It verges on laser-guided stupidity when you remember that Whiterun is almost certainly the Hold in which you become Thane first - yet he continues to say this to you even once you've been made a member of the Jarl's court.
- Dirty Coward: If you fight him, he'll run away incredibly quickly.
- Jerkass: Listen in on the market conversations and you'll note that he's unpleasant to pretty much everybody.
- Pet the Dog: He'll occasionally state that you're "less insufferable" than most people he has to deal with, and give you a random gift in appreciation.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Very much so. His wife comments on this frequently.
- Ahlam: Looking for my husband Nazeem? Check the Jarl's backside - that's usually where he stuffs himself these days.
- The Scrappy: An in-universe example. Almost no one likes him, and his wife is no exception, to the point where she and Danica can be found jokingly discussing the possibility that he might be killed if the Stormcloaks ever decide to attack the city. If he is killed, his wife makes only one comment about it, showing how much he's missed.
- Self-Made Man: He sees himself as one, though there's the fact that his farm is actually rather small.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Completely convinced that he's more important than everyone else in Whiterun. Amusingly, one radiant quest in Dawnguard tasks you with murdering a citizen of a major hold, and an optional objective is to kill a "high profile" citizen. You'll fail this objective for killing Nazeem, proving just where he actually stands.
- Smug Snake: Not outright villainous, but very smug.
- Very Punchable Man: Between his condescending attitude, snide remarks, and the fact that no one cares if he dies, it's pretty clear that he's a walking punching bag.
SaadiaA Redguard woman who works in the Bannered Mare Inn for Hulda. She has a central role in the "In My Time of Need" sidequest.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: According to Kematu.
- Damsel in Distress: If you believe her side of the story.
- The Last DJ: If you believe her side of the story, she openly spoke against the Thalmor after they had gained influence in her city.
- Mysterious Past: A traitor that sold her city to Thalmor or The Last DJ that openly spoke against Thalmor when their influence spread throughout Hammerfell? The game never reveals which side, if either, is telling the truth.
- Older Than They Look: Both sides of story indicate she is at least in her 30s.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: According to Kematu, she sold out her city to the Thalmor.
- Take The Third Option: The Dragonborn can lure her to a stable, accept the payment from Kematu, kill Kematu, cast Calm on Saadia, accept payment from her, and kill her.
- Voiced by: Gideon Emery
- Killed Off for Real: During the Battle for Whiterun.
Lucan and Camilla Valerius
- Voiced by: Stephen Russell (Lucan) and Corri English (Camilla Valerius)
- Brainless Beauty: Camilla has shades. In idle conversation with Lucan, she suggests a sale to attract new customers with jugglers, going on the road to sell their wares, or carrying specialty merchandise for picky customers. Lucan points out that everyone in Riverwood already shops at their store so there are no "new customers" to attract, and the other two ventures would be a major investment of resources they lack.
- Brother–Sister Team: They run the Riverwood Trader. Camilla will take over selling gear if, at any point, Lucan is killed.
- Dogged Nice Girl: Camilla to a male Dragonborn who doesn't romance her.
- Dude Magnet: Camilla who has basically every guy in town after her, this can also include the Dragonborn... Good thing she doesn't live in a bigger town.
- 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 he are the only people in the world who are "not fools." He also sincerely loves his sister, despite how much they sometimes snipe at each other, as indicated by the Heroic B.S.O.D. entry below.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Lucan basically has one of these if his sister is killed; he never really recovers from the shock of her loss.
- Love Interest: Camilla becomes a potential one after you return the Golden Claw.
- 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.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Camilla. And neither of the two men courting her are that great. The Dovahkiin can Take a Third Option for the Love Triangle and marry her him/herself.
People of Winterhold
Winterhold is the northeastern most province, and primarily an Arctic wasteland. Its capital is also called Winterhold, and is a faint shadow of its former self after a cataclysm in the not too distant past. Its banner is a three-pronged crown, with braided strands comprising the lengths of the three prongs.
Malur SelothThe Jarl's Steward (regardless of which side of the civil war is controlling the town). Due to him being a Dunmer, Korir assumes he has ties to the College of Winterhold and as such recruited him. In truth, Malur is a slouch with no marketable skills, but goes along with it to benefit from the position.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Here is his answer if you ask him what he does as a Steward:
- "Me? Nothing. And I hope to keep it that way."
- Professional Butt-Kisser: After doing his Favor Quest, he will teach a level of speech along with dropping this line:
- "This should come in handy. Here. Let me show you a few tricks I've learned about buttering up royalty."
- Sure, Let's Go with That: He is just a regular Dark Elf with no particular experience or knowledge of magic, but because he is an elf, Korir assumed he must have ties with the College of Winterhold, and recruited him as a steward. Malur reacted with this trope so he could benefit from the position.
- Voiced by: Neil Dickson
- Affably Evil: The 'evil' part is a bit of a stretch, since Nelacar is personable, helpful, endearing, and very possibly the nicest Altmer in the game. However, he's also probably a necromancer who has done some vile, vile things.
- Should the Dragonborn have completed the College questline, he respectfully addresses them as "Archmage". Of course, it's entirely possible he might simply be trying to get on their good side to be allowed back into the College.
- 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.
- Everyone Has Standards: He's probably done some vile things during his time, but he personally thinks his former teacher went far too far.
- 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 Malyn Varen's experiments into immortality and his general comfort with the concept of black soul gems. Conversely, he did express being appalled at the depths of his former teacher when studying Azura's Star.
- Voiced by: Paul Eiding
- Affably Evil: He's nice enough for a madman, but he openly admits that he's done some very nasty things in service to Hermaeus Mora.
- Cloudcuckoolander: He's a bit eccentric due to having his brain scrambled by Elder Scrolls.
- Deal with the Devil: He's dealt with Hermaeus Mora due to his thirst for knowledge.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: Probably a contributing factor to his insanity, but the main cause of it is that...
- Go Mad from the Revelation: He went insane when he looked upon an Elder Scroll. It's implied that four or more dimensions got crammed into his poor little three-dimensional brain, too.
- Junkie Prophet: Judging by the empty Skooma bottles at his outpost, it's likely.
- Mathematician's Answer: When asked where one can find an Elder Scroll, he says it is very close... in the sense of being in the same three-dimensional plane as them. Of course this is actually one of the longest quests in the game, because you can't travel in four dimensions!
- Rhymes on a Dime: He tends to speak like this.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Due to his insanity, Hermaeus Mora no longer considers him useful and he disappears in a flash of light upon finding the Oghma Infinium.
M'aiq the Liar
- Voiced by: André Sogliuzzo
- 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.
- Beware the Silly Ones: One possible variant of his encounter can consist of finding him standing next to a burned cart, several dead human bodies, and the corpse of a dragon.
- Catch-Phrase: Averted. He sometimes does utter the catchphrase of his ancestor ("M'aiq knows much, tells some. M'aiq knows many things others do not.") , 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.
- 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.
- Noodle Incident: He was soul trapped once and didn't appreciate the experience. Come the Dawnguard expansion and the reveal of the Soul Cairn, a not-very-nice place where trapped souls end up, it's not hard to see why.
- 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 concerning Oblivion. A noteworthy snark is when he repeats a much ridiculed line about mudcrabs from the previous game. He also mocks several bits about Skyrim's lack of immersion in spots, such as the supposed 7,000 steps.
- Third-Person Person: Like most Khajiit, M'aiq talks about M'aiq in this fashion almost all the time M'aiq speaks.
- Voiced by: Noah Nelson
- 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.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: From his point of view, his death at the hands of the player counts. Especially if the latter's Dragonborn identity has been revealed. And especially especially if you have already completed Malacath's daedric quest : that way, not only does the Old Orc die in battle as he wanted, but he also dies at the hands of a legendary dragonslayer who was acknowledged by Malacath himself as his Champion. Bonus points if you use Volendrung, Malacath's own artifact weapon, during the battle.
- 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, even more so when that thing is yourself.
- 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."
- Voiced by: André Sogliuzzo
- 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.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Though the Khajiit joined the Aldmeri Dominion willingly, he regards Khajiit working with the Thalmor poorly, calling them "Thalmor Filth" and noting that they give all Khajiit a bad name.
- 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 shopkeeper, also states that despite their reputation, the Khajiit are fairly honest businessmen by her account.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: A possible way to look at him being a fence for the guild and selling moon sugar.
Talsgar the Wanderer
- Voiced by: Michael Gough
- 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."