YMMV / The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim


  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The Empire of Tamriel ranges from the last bastion of goodness against the Aldmeri Dominion, to an oppressive foreign power that doesn't belong in Skyrim, to a fractured shell that deserves to collapse until someone worthy can reunite the continent.
    • Is the Emperor a craven appeaser, who doesn't care what happens to his people as long as he can hold some power for himself? Is he a good man and a political realist, who signed the White-Gold Concordat to buy time for the Legion to recover? Is he simply an unremarkable person in an age that demands heroes? His behavior during the final mission of the Dark Brotherhood plotline shows that, whatever else he may be, he's definitely not a coward.
    • Is Ulfric Stormcloak a revolutionary hero who wants to restore Skyrim to its former glory, a power-hungry tyrant interested only in taking the throne and exterminating the Mer and Beast races of Skyrim, or a Stupid Good rebel who doesn't realize the long-term consequences of his actions? Just how controlled was he by the Dominion? Is he the kind of guy who thinks that, for anyone who died fighting the Thalmor, it was their own fault for being too weak and un-Nord-like to survive?
    • The Dunmer:
      • Do they live in such conditions because they are being mistreated and forcibly segregated, or because the Nords have no pity to spare for them and they have been sitting on their hands since they came from Morrowind waiting for someone to take pity on them instead of trying to improve their conditions?
      • According to Faryl Atheron, the Dunmer who complain about the way they're treated in Windhelm effectively ostracize and condemn those Dark Elves who try to make their way in Skyrim by working for Nords, despite the fact that that's the only way for the majority to make ends meet. While he himself admits that a Dunmer in Windhelm doesn't have many good opportunities, he also expresses a great deal of exasperation over what he considers his brothers continually harping on "injustices" as he puts it, and being ashamed of him and his sister for working for the Nords. So there's that to add fuel to the debate also.
      • All of the Dunmer the player character meets in Windhelm have jobs and contribute meaningfully to Windhelm's economy and society: one Dunmer woman works as a secretary for the Shatter-Shields, one is a Nord child's nanny, one Dunmer man is a shopkeeper and another a market stall trader, several Dunmer work at the New Gnisis Cornerclub, the minstrel working at the local inn is a Dunmer, and several Dunmer work crappy minimum-wage jobs for the Nords even if their kin ridicule them for it. Also, there is a rich Dunmer who owns and works one of the local farms.
      • Excaberated by the books "The Dunmer of Skyrim" and "The Scourge of the Grey Quarter". The former is almost a Bastardly Speech of ridiculous Master Race ideology, proclaiming the Nords to be dumb animals and threatening to kill all of them in their sleep, even considering the Grey Quarter itself a conquest of Dunmer superiority, and the latter explains the grey water was a perfectly fine place to live until the Dark elves went and squatted there, doing nothing as it fell into squalor.
    • Connected to the Dunmer example, it's possible to make this case for Brunwulf Free-Winter. Is he an overly soft-hearted old fool who's trying too hard to uplift the new minorities in Windhelm by affording them special status in spite of few of them barely doing anything to truly uplift themselves and contribute meaningfully to Windhelm? Or is he simply a reasonable, good man trying to afford basic dignity to every resident of his city?
    • Are the Argonians being left at the docks of Windhelm because of pure Fantastic Racism, or because Ulfric is trying to keep peace by not letting the once enslaved race into Windhelm, where they could come face to face with their former slavers?
    • Amaund Motierre. Is he, as Astrid suggests, trying to get the Emperor assassinated to better his own position within the Elder Council or could it be a more collective feeling calling for desperate measures in desperate times? The Emperor seems to be aware of harsh opposition amongst his political elite. Is he really ruling that badly? Not to mention how, after the deed is done, Motierre seems to genuinely believe that the Emperor's death has "saved" the Empire.
    • Paarthurnax. Is he a genuine atoner who will (attempt to) lead the dragons to a peaceful future, or a very patient and manipulative Starscream with a Meaningful Name? Is this a case of Blue and Orange Morality, or perhaps of a forsaken namesake?
    • This trope also counts for Paarthurnax's arch-enemies, the Blades. Are they indeed the heroic order they used to be, or are they just an embittered remnant of an age long gone? Is their hate for Paarthurnax reasonable or are they just too narrow minded to see beings can change?
    • For that matter, Arngeir raises the question as to whether or not the Blades serve the Dragonborn, or if the Blades direct the Dragonborn toward their own ends under the pretense of support. Delphine and Esbern's comments, actions and tone make the matter even more difficult to discern.
    • The Greybeards. Indecisive wishy-washys who sit out every conflict, or guardians of a power that's too dangerous to let be abused? Or overly cautious guardians of a power that is too dangerous to let be abused but too useful to not use at all? Jurgen Windcaller, the founder of the Greybeards, implies arguing for the second point if the Dragonborn talks to him in Sovngarde.
      Jurgen Windcaller: My disciples still follow the difficult path - the Way of the Voice is neither wide nor easy. But if you stray from wisdom, then to Sovngarde, you will not return.
    • The Snow Elves. A bunch of religious zealots who launched a genocidal campaign on the ancient Nords at Saarthal, to which Ysgramor responded by raising an army and driving them underground, where they suffered their own karmic genocide at the hands of the Dwemer? Or a race of peaceful and religious Elves that the Ancient Nords painted as the aggressors, hunted to the verge of extinction, who were then betrayed by the Dwemer, the very people they turned to for help? Or something in between? It doesn't help that none of the sources for what actually happened at Saarthal are even remotely unbiased, considering they consist of a) ancient Nord records and b) the testimony of a Snow Elf. Likewise, was the attack on Saarthal simply because the ancient Nords had uncovered the Eye of Magnus, an artifact that potentially could cause The End of the World as We Know It if misused?
    • The Psijic Order. Are they a collective of wise ancient keepers who safeguard magical artifacts because The World Is Not Ready? Or are they a bunch of manipulative bastards who used the Dragonborn to retrieve the Eye of Magnus for them, all the while never really bothering to explain exactly what the Eye is, what it does, or what they actually want from it?
    • Ralis Sendarys in 'Dragonborn, at the end of his questline. Was he genuinely Brainwashed and Crazy? Not Brainwashed? Genuinely brainwashed but playing Jekyll?
    • The Dragonborn.
      • Are you a heroic figure who protects the land from threats and rose to the top of several guilds due to your inherent skill and badassery? Or are you essentially nothing more than a reckless demigod who abuses the power of the Thu'um for your own ends and to help you gain influence throughout Skyrim?
      • If you choose to play Dragonborn last, you've slain multiple Dragons, amassed an army of loyal followers and have, on several occasions, proven that you're not afraid to screw over a Daedric Prince. Aside from him being openly malevolent, what exactly makes you any different than Miraak?
      • For some Dragonborns, they don't even have "not openly malevolent." You can, if you choose, massacre entire populations.
    • Miraak himself is prone to a lot of different interpretations by the fan base, due to how much is unknown about him. Is he a Fallen Hero who was corrupted and seduced by Mora into becoming his champion? Or is he simply a monster, whose fall was caused by his own hubris? The game only gives hints.
    • As proposed here, are mammoths the giants' livestock, or are the giants actually 'controlled' and used by the mammoths to defend their herds?
  • Angst? What Angst?: Serana was turned into a vampire lord (it's implied that this was accomplished through her being raped by Morag Bal), caught between a family war between her parents, and sealed away for centuries with an Elder Scroll, and when she wakes up her parents are more concerned with their respective plots against the other than with her safety and her wishes. All things considered, she takes it pretty well outside the handful of moments she calls out the relevant parties for their behavior.
  • Annoying Video Game Helper:
    • Barbas can be a potential companion, and makes for a reasonably effective tank, especially as he can't be killed. However, he stays extremely close to you, often pushing you around, and as long as he's in your party you can't do anything stealthy, and he reports crimes you commit. Seeing as how he's Clavicus Vile's conscience and wants to be reunited with him, this makes sense.
    • Almost every follower is this to a stealth-based character.
  • Anticlimax Boss:
    • Bethesda Boss Syndrome hits twice in during the main quest. The only plot relevant Dragon Priest (extremely powerful undead sorcerer) is easily the weakest of them all and Alduin only appears to differ from the elite Ancient Dragons by having a few more hitpoints. It's even worse during the final battle in the afterlife, since you are assisted by the souls of three legendary Nord warriors
    • At the end of the Thieves' Guild questline, a big deal is made about how powerful Mercer Frey is and why you won't be able to fight him alone. But the final battle ironically ends up as a one-on-one fight against someone who's no different than any regular old mook, aside from the ability to briefly turn invisible. Then again, he did waste the Agent of Subterfuge power on Brynjolf, so he couldn't use it on you.
      • And all of that's before factoring in that, much like Vyrthur as mentioned below, the design of the room he's fought in makes it ludicrously easy to administer Mercer a healthy dose of instant death fall damage via Unrelenting Force just by climbing the stairs on either side of the statue.
    • True to form, it happens again in Dawnguard: The fight with Vyrthur in the penultimate quest (during which he's sending dozens of Falmer at you and tearing the building apart around you) makes the final confrontation with Harkon seem less cool by comparison, no matter how many of his Vampire Lord abilities he tries to use on you.
      • Again with Vyrthur, who can be defeated without as much as readying for battle: He stands atop a balcony. With proper positioning and Unrelenting Force, he can be tossed off. This ends exactly as expected, and his remains can be gathered below after defeating Naaslarum and Voslarum.
    • Also in Dawnguard, the fight with Durnehviir. Despite him being a Dracolich, the battle plays out like just another dragon encounter, the only difference being the waves of minor undead spawning, which are a mere nuisance.
    • There's also the Dragon Priest Morokei. He holds the Staff of Magnus, which has a very interesting spell tied to it that he casts through the battle. It's pretty much all he casts through the battle. The spell? Well, it drains all your magicka. This is really only a nuisance to mages - but then, when the magicka is completely drained, it starts sucking away at your health. Normally, this would be formidable, as a mage wouldn't be able to cast, and a warrior or rogue wouldn't have enough magicka to act a shield from the health drain. However, if you are a mage, there is an easy solution. Equip high level robes or enchantments which regenerate magicka at over 75% or so, have a high total magicka (which you should, since this encounter is part of the questline for the College of Winterhold), and equip a melee weapon. Then just run up and whack at the guy who keeps plucking away at a stat that won't stay down. It's basically a Curb-Stomp Battle, which is a shame because it was built up pretty heavily.
      • It can be done even more simply than that. Equip a good bow and have a decent archery skill, and you can bring Morokei down with a few arrows before he ever even reaches the platform where you confront him.
  • Awesome Ego:
    • J'Zargo. He's arrogant, but also one of the most competent companions.
    • Master Neloth in the Dragonborn DLC fits. The hilarity of his arrogance is sure to amuse, but he really is willing to get his own hands dirty (as demonstrated by his sojourn with you into the nearby Dwemer ruin Nchardak), and is no slouch in a fight.
    • Arguably, Miraak from Dragonborn as well; despite being arrogant and prideful, he's one of the most powerful enemies encountered, and can back up his claims.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Base-Breaking Character:
  • Best Level Ever:
    • Blackreach. An absolutely huge underground cavern (approx. four square miles) home to an abandoned Dwarven city and some of the most unique and breathtaking environmental design in the entire game. It even comes with its own Bonus Boss! You'd have to spend several hours exploring the vast compound to find everything, but you'll love every bit of it.
    • Dwemer ruins in general are pretty fun. They're full of the unique and badass construct enemies, you can stock up on good loot like soul gems and other crafting agents, and the general Magitek Steampunk aesthetic makes them considerably more memorable than the caves and tombs where you'll spend the rest of your time. This continues into the DLCs, where the developers come up with increasingly creative puzzles involving Dwemer technology, and each ruin in turn begins to feel more unique.
    • The Black Book levels in Dragonborn. They're just so... so... alien.
    • The Soul Cairn, for pretty much the same reason as the Black Books. It's easy to get lost in there, but there's enough stuff to look for you don't care.
    • The Forgotten Vale of Dawnguard is almost as massive as Blackreach, has some of the most beautiful visuals in the game, and even has two bonus bosses that are actually quite challenging and fun to fight.
  • Broken Base:
    • Winning the Game & Developer of The Year awards at the Spike VGAs - You either thought the awards were deserved, or were absolutely dumbfounded that the team which released a game that was borderline unplayable on one of the formats for which it was released won these awards over other deserving titles & developers.
      • And in a meta sense, it's this among gamers in general. Skyrim, Batman: Arkham City, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword were easily the best games of 2011. So... which game truly deserved the GOTY awards? The Nintendo 3D game, continuing a standard of excellence when it comes to Zelda console titles? The Batman game, which took Arkham Asylum's premise and expanded (and even perfected it at moments)? Or Skyrim, which, while not perfect, was still another example of continuing a standard of excellence and proved an exciting and incredibly fun experience?
    • The Microsoft exclusivity rights for the Dawnguard DLC. It had been planned since the game came out, but a lot of fans didn't really pay attention to this until it was stated at E3. Cue hordes of PC and PS3 gamers getting righteously pissed. Another, later announcement suggested that the PS3 fans might not get it at all, and the announcement and release of Hearthfire for Xbox 360 and PC did nothing to appease them. Fortunately, all three DLC packs have since been made available for all platforms.
    • A minor crack has shown up between console gamers and some PC gamers due to Hearthfire's release. PC gamers argue that all of the Hearthfire content can be done with existing Game Mods, while console gamers note that they don't have access to mods without hacking their systems, and that Bethesda can release whatever optional content they want.
    • One patch for PS3 caused some glitches which make files created prior to the patch completely unplayable. Not all the fixes work. PS3 Bethesda hatred is reaching critical mass.
    • Following the announcement and subsequent release of the DLC onto the PS3, there was a small but fairly vocal minority of PS3 players claiming PS3 users were being further ripped off by being offered half price on the DLC on their respective weeks of release.
    • And since then, they've announced there'll be no more DLC for Skyrim. You either think it's because Dragonborn would have caused a Tough Act to Follow incident with the next DLC and understand, or you're pissed off because the game only got three DLC packs, especially since Fallout 3 got 5 and New Vegas got 4, and Oblivion, while only having two important DLCs, had the various mission packs (Vile Lair, Fighter's Stronghold, and so forth).
    • Valve's decision to have paid mods for Skyrim was met with such a visceral, vocal, vitriolic Internet Backdraft that it made headlines. The Skyrim community was well-established and years-old by the time this happened, and an attempt to make money off of Skyrim mods was an incredibly divisive move that led to fans immediately seeing it as an egregious example of Executive Meddling and as little more than an out-of-nowhere cash grab from a game released years earlier, seeing as how Valve and Bethesda were taking 75% of the profits from mods that were sold, and that's not even getting into possible legal issues involving content theft from other mods, and the fear that previously open-source scripts used in mods would become closed-source once profit became a motive. Several users pulled their mods from the workshop out of spite, the number one mod on Steam Workshop became an in-game protest against paid mods, and Gabe Newell's Reddit Ask Me Anything session about the subject... well, the fans ripped him a new one. After being served with a petition with 130,000 signatures demanding the paid mods idea be scrapped, Valve had no choice but to cave, just four days after it was implemented, and even admitted that they clearly Did Not Think This Through.
    • On a community level, the liberty the Unofficial Skyrim Patch took in "fixing" the game is a major point of contention. While they did fix a lot of bugs, they also remove some otherwise harmless exploit like necromage vampire and restoration loop and add some new unnecessary contents.
  • Catharsis Factor: At the end of "Season Unending", the major Civil War leaders are leaving High Hrothgar: Tullius, Ulfric, Balgruuf, Elisif, potentially Elenwen, and the Blades Delphine and Esbern. These are the major players in the main storyline and, taking into account for alignment and their personalities, there are least two members in their number you can't stand... all walking down the mountain. You know what to do — be sure to have a quicksave ready so you can repeat it until satisfaction is had. Bonus fun because if you attack any of them normally, they're all essential so it's a puny 40 septim bounty, and any of the others who turn hostile will keep walking if you sheathe your weapon.
  • Crazy Awesome: Neloth in Dragonborn may be mad, dangerous, and perhaps a bit unstable; but the spells he creates and teaches you are some of the best in the game. His own ego is practically the reason he's the only non-Skaal character who is unaffected by Miraak.
  • Creepy Awesome: Cicero.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Chaurus. They're extremely tough, do a lot of damage in melee, and use a health draining-poison which they can also spit at you. It certainly doesn't help that the Falmer are often in the area and gang up on you.
    • Speaking of which, Falmer. Thanks to the company they keep, all their weapons are poisoned, when they're armored it's with heavy armor, their spellcasters use both ice and lightning, and all the equipment is ridiculously heavy so looting them weighs you down really fast. If something so much as looks like it was influenced by the Dwemer, expect to find these guys around.
    • With Dawnguard, we now have a lovely new addition to the Chaurus family: Hunters. Take a Chaurus Reaper, put it on steroids, and give it wings. Or rather, they pulled out the much hated Cazadores from Fallout: New Vegas and give them a nice Palette Swap.note 
    • Giant Sabrecats. 900 pounds of pure muscle and feline fury coupled with a nasty disposition and a tendency for creeping up on you from behind, and even later in the game they can do tremendous amounts of damage (early on they pretty much kill you in a couple swipes). And they are insanely fast for something the size of a bear, too. Given how they are basically saber-toothed tigers, it makes sense, but it gets a little ridiculous when Sabrecats are scarier than dragons.
    • Dwemer robots. The spiders are very strong for their size, with some types able to shoot lighting and even explode after "death". The sphere guardians are extremely fast and hit like a brick (but tend to telegraph their attacks). Finally, the centurions are the same size as giants, every bit as strong and tough, and have a steam blast attack that causes more damage than dragon flame.
    • Bears. These things camp on or near roads, have a huge aggro radius that's hard to avoid, can nearly keep pace with a sprinting horse, and takes as much hurt as it can dole out (which is a lot). Unlike wolves, which howl pretty much as soon as they're aware of you, the bear drowsily gets up from its nap in silence, by which time you've probably already wandered into its aggro radius. And they're freakin' everywhere. After Unrelenting Force, your most used shout will be Kyne's Peace or Animal Allegiance because of them.
    • If you are a warrior type, mages fall into this category. At least half can use Ice Storm, which damages your health and stamina, robbing your ability to do Power Attacks. It also slows you down, turning you into a sitting duck. To make it worse, the spell has a huge area of effect, increasing your chance to get hit by it. The lightning ones are even worse, because they cannot miss. This extends to higher level mages as well, because magic does fixed damage; unless you been you've raising your health or bolstering your magic/elemental resistance, higher level spellcasters will tear you to shreds in seconds. Even the racial resistance given to Nords, Dunmer, and Bretons won't save you most of the time. In other words, get that Alteration skill up quick, or else prepare to die a lot. This is probably why Alteration is literally the easiest skill in the game to train up.
    • Elder and Ancient dragons. Just when you're powerful enough to be convinced that Blood and Frost dragons aren't any more of a threat, these bastards show up and start two-shotting you. Dawnguard introduces the Revered and Legendary dragons which have a lot more health, do more damage, and have their own version of Drain Vitality (it drains health, magicka, and stamina ), with which they hit you ALL THE TIME. So much for Dragons being a Degraded Boss.
    • Spriggans. They crawl out of trees so you don't know they're coming; then they hit like a truck, heal themselves back to near-full health when they're in trouble, and have a health-draining bee spell they love to use on you. Oh, and they also summon bears. Nothing quite like a Demonic Spider that can summon more Demonic Spiders. Plus, Dawnguard introduces Spriggan Earth Mothers - they're bigger, stronger, and have a cloud of poisonous insects around them.
    • Forsworn, especially the Briarhearts. Their encampments include mages who will blast you with ice and lightning to deplete your magic and stamina, archers who can stagger you, and their melee warriors often dual-wield and can deal insane damage even with capped armor. The Briarhearts can be any of these but are usually the melee warriors, and they're plain stronger than the rank and file Forsworn.
      • Also keep in mind that almost every Forsworn camp has at least one Hagraven, and when they're not blasting devastating fireballs at you, they're tearing you apart with their claws for massive damage.
    • Dragonborn brings in a couple of nasty enemies, namely Lurkers and Seekers. Lurkers are tall lumbering fish-things whose physical attacks can stagger you, they have a ton of health, can cause tentacle explosions when you attack them, further damaging you, and a projectile attack. The Seekers are also annoying, floating wizard-like creatures that love spamming draining spells, are unaffected by some of your shouts (that means no Fus Ro Dah), can turn invisible, and the worst part, they can create a copy of themselves which can also attack you. Thankfully, killing the original eliminates its clones. Oh yeah, and in Apocrypha, the things are everywhere!
    • Pretty much any enemy who can use finishing moves on you. Did you ever laugh when you first saw a guard being bitten and tossed by a dragon? You won't be laughing when it happens to you. The worst part is that the system that governs when it happens takes no regard for resistances: Armor rating, shield up, behind cover... When it wants to kill-cam you, it will kill-cam you.
    • With Dawnguard installed, vampires become this. If it's night, they can show up pretty much anywhere, can be relatively dangerous, and in early levels are very hard to kill as they drain the life from you. This isn't the worst part, though. Boss-level hostile vampires and some mooks alongside them get dropped into cities filled with the brim with perishable, low-level, unique NPCs with no self-preservation instinct. It can potentially reduce even the five major cities to ghost towns, forcing you to be proactive and deal with the main quest quickly; the spawn rates in cities drop massively once it is finished, but this is small comfort.
    • In the snowy areas, you'll encounter Ice Wraiths. They hit hard and often, but the worst thing about them is their sheer agility. You're likely to spend lots of stamina and magicka not hitting them since they're so freaking fast. One more reason to invest in good area of effect fire spells and the corresponding perks.
    • Any humanoid enemy wielding a two-handed weapon. Even lowly bandits can do tremendous damage is they're packing a battleaxe or warhammer. If you see a Bandit Chief in full platemail or Nordic Carved Armor charging you while toting a warhammer made of a shiny metal, brace yourself.
    • Draugr Deathlords. They can use both Unrelenting Force and Disarm, will often be wielding powerful Ebony weapons, and their arrows pack a deadly punch even if you have the Deflect Arrows perk. To make matters worse, the Dragon Priest Rahgot will summon at least five Deathlords when you confront him.
    • Rieklings. While a single Riekling is little more than cannon fodder, they can deal a surprising amount of damage and attack in packs, allowing them to chip away at your health deceptively quickly. On top of this, a group will almost always contain a mounted Riekling that can sponge quite a bit of damage, keeping you occupied while the rest stand back and pelt you with spears.
  • Disappointing Last Level:
    • While the actual location where the Final Boss is fought, Sovngarde, is very atmospheric and impressive, the final dungeon to get there is this trope. It's a Nordic tomb full of Draugr and a handful of Frostbite Spiders, with a Word Wall, some of the spinning block puzzles, and a claw puzzle door. In other words, there's nothing that makes the final level any different from the many other Nordic tombs in the game you've raided by that point other than the boss waiting at the end.
    • The final level of the Dawnguard DLC. For the Volkihar side, there isn't even a level; you just return to Castle Volkihar and fight the final boss. For the Dawnguard side, you besiege Castle Volkihar; but that amounts to just fighting a lot of vampires at once, and they're the same vampire-type enemies you've fought throughout the DLC, plus you have the entire Dawnguard helping you. If the attack happens at night, you don't even get to use the MacGuffin around which the questline is centered, because its powers can only be used when the sun is out.
  • Discredited Meme:
    • Virtually everyone got absolutely sick of the "Arrow in the Knee" jokes as early as a month after the game came out. It got so bad that the developers of Borderlands 2 actually apologized for including a reference.
    • Readers on the Skyrim board at GameFAQs have also become sick of the Toeh meme spawned there.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Despite all that the quest/story designers did to make you want to hate the Thalmor (see A Nazi by Any Other Name)... some people still inexplicably like them, and not in a "love to hate" way. Take a look at this soft mood-lighting and Unfortunate Implications riddled bit.
    • Many players feel that the Forsworn are misunderstood freedom fighters working for a just cause to overthrow a government that demonizes them, and wish that they could join them in the Civil War. Hmm... perhaps it's the raiding, genocide, cannibalism, hagraven worship, and Cruelty Rich Leather they practice that explain why it's not an option.
    • Speaking of the Civil War, expect around half of the player base to do this for the side they support while invoking Ron the Death Eater on the other. Ulfric in particular gets hit with this trope, since he's a much more interesting and developed character than his Imperial counterpart, Tullius. Expect many official Bethesda Games forum users who are pro-Imperial to facepalm upon remembering the popular "Official Ulfric Fangirl Thread."
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Lydia, again. Most were very disappointed when a minor (and fixable) bug prevented players from marrying her. (Fixed in the 1.5 patch, or by mods on the PC before that.) Ascended, as Lydia has received more specific dialogue with each DLC. Hearthfire gave Lydia character development to eventually lose her snarky attitude to the Dragonborn... and in Dragonborn she gets it back, making snide comments about everything else.
    • The Spectral Assassin, in other words, Lucien Lachance rides again.
    • Paarthurnax, due to him being The Mentor and one of the three friendly dragons. Several players have tried to slaughter the Blades for even suggesting killing him. The fact that he's voiced by Charles Martinet doesn't hurt either.
    • Brynjolf of the Thieves' Guild. With his accent, friendliness, and tendency to affectionately call your PC lass/lad, so many players were disappointed to find he's not a marriage option.
    • The Circle members of the Companions - Vilkas, Farkas, and Aela - are all very popular for their attractive designs, being met early in the game, and being very badass. Farkas in particular is well-liked, due to the fact that he's one of the only Companions to be friendly toward the Dragonborn from the start.
    • Cicero is also one of the most loved characters in the game, due to his hilarious dialogue and his sheer hamminess, although he's a bit of a Base-Breaking Character and some people find him annoying or/and creepy.
    • Serana and Knight-Paladin Gelebor from Dawnguard. Serana is frequently praised for her well-developed character and the depth given to her relationship with the Dragonborn, leading many in the fanbase to ship the two despite her not being a marriage option. Being voiced by Laura Bailey only adds to her popularity. Gelebor is also immensely popular, due to being a Badass Pacifist and (apparently) the last of the Snow Elves, which makes his attractive design very unique.
    • One of the more surprising ones is Emperor Titus Mede II. Yes, he signed the White-Gold Concordant that outlawed the worship of Talos and set in motion the Civil War storyline. Yes, his policies since the war have seen high taxation on the people of Skyrim. Yes, he may even be a Daedra worshiper. But once you arrive to assassinate him, he accepts his fate, faces his death with grace, and simply asks you, rather kindly, to kill whoever put a contract on him.
    • Brunwulf Free-Winter, replacement Jarl of Windhelm and quite possibly the "Nicest Guy in Skyrim."
    • Miraak from the Dragonborn DLC is quite popular, despite having most of his backstory lost in legend and ambiguity.
    • Also from the Dragonborn DLC is Teldryn Sero, an unassuming faceless Dunmer spellsword hireling sitting in the corner of the Retching Netch cornerclub, who has nonetheless gained a fan base that enjoys his cool voice, sheer amount of unique dialogue, snarky attitude, subtle badassery, mysterious tendency to refuse to take off his helmet, and ability to defend himself competently. Finding out that he doesn't look half bad when players were finally able to take off his helmet only added to his appeal.
    • Among the adoptable children, Sissel has become quite popular. This is notable because, unlike the four orphans roaming the streets of the major Holds or the orphans from Honorhall, she wasn't specifically designed to invoke your sympathy and get you to adopt her. Her father, Lemkil, is also still alive, meaning you have to kill him first. Because the guy is such an abusive bastard and because poor Sissel also gets bullied by her twin sister all day long, many players find themselves traveling to Rorikstead just to kill Lemkil and adopt Sissel.
    • Among the various followers in the game, Mjoll the Lioness, Erandur and J'zargo are a few of the most well-liked due to being very interesting characters who are also very competent in battle. Mjoll is actually unkillable, as she is flagged essential; while Erandur isn't essential, he quite handily subverts the Squishy Wizard stereotype, and Jízargo can master both Destruction and Heavy Armor and level up to 81.
      • Erandur's popularity reached the point that he got an entire forum thread on the Elder Scrolls Wiki complaining about players being unable to marry him and/or make him a Steward.
    • Jarl Balgruuf the Greater is one as well, being the first Jarl you meet and the one you'll have the most interaction with in the whole game. It also helps that he trusts the Dragonborn after the first time s/he saves his city (as opposed to everyone else who promptly forgets).
    • Blaise, Lucia, and Sofie tend to be popular adoption choices. Blaise has a hellish life, tending horses and sleeping in a pile of hay. Lucia had a good life until her parents died, at which point her aunt and uncle threw her out for being "useless" and she was forced to live on the streets of Whiterun, where only the local beggar treats her kindly. Sofie's mother died long ago and her father never returned from the war, and she shivers on the snowy streets of Windhelm while trying to feed herself by selling flowers. Many players lament that they can only take in two of them, even though they all deserve a good home.
    • Karita, the Giftedly Bad bard in Dawnstar.
    • As far as the Thalmor go, Ancano and Ondolemar seem to be the only ones with remote popularity, due to Ancano being very competent compared to his comrades, and Ondolemar, despite being a massive Smug Snake, is implied to be a Punch Clock Villain and is affable enough to treat you with respect. Coming from a Thalmor, thatís saying something. If the Kink Memes are anything to go by, almost any named male High Elf has some popularity, likely because of their height, attractiveness, and fashion sense.
    • Legate Fasendil, the only Legion officer (apart from Tullius and Rikke) who has anything to say beyond the stock Imperial soldier lines. Some combination of his interesting backstory, down-to-earth personality, and open hatred of the Thalmor have caused a significant number of players to cite him as a big reason they chose to side with the Empire.
    • Kharjo, the nice Khajiit companion, has become one mostly in the French community because of the French let's player Bob Lennon.
    • Sheogorath was always popular, but his Skyrim incarnation is especially well-liked, given that it's all but out-right stated he's the Champion of Cyrodill.
  • Escapist Character: Being the Dragonborn kicks ass.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Alduin. He's a douche, but there's no denying that he's badass.
    • Miraak is also quite the evil badass.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: The Dragonborn and Serana is a minor one, due to the loads of Ship Tease between the two despite the fact that she's not a romance option. The Dragonborn can actually propose marriage to her, but she turns you down, stating that though she does care very much for the Dragonborn, she believes she doesn't deserve that kind of blessing
    • Teldryn Sero gets almost no Ship Tease with the Dragonborn, but is still shipped with them simply for being cool and likable. The same can be said for Brynjolf.
    • Of all the characters that can be married in an unmodded game, the Companions are by far the most popular, largely for their incredible badassery. Their popularity as spouses likely also stems from the fact that they are the only main characters in any major questline that can be married, and they can only be married at the end of the questline, which makes it feel more like the player character has developed a real, close bond with them (in stark contrast to the Fourth Date Marriage scenario with most of the other potential spouses).
  • Game Breaker: See its entry on The Elder Scrolls.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • See if you can find a copy of the book Palla lying around somewhere - the opening lines are a reworking of Nabokov's Lolita.
    • A book called "N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!" often confuses players by being complete gibberish. If you know Esperanto, it's a simple cipher with certain letter sequences swapped for others. Once deciphered, the text either breaks the fourth wall, or it's an ancient Sload necromage magazine article that highlights some of the issues between print and Internet-based magazine versions, like image copyrights.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Apart from getting a 40/40 from Weekly Famitsu (the very first western game to get it), Skyrim seems to be growing in popularity in Japan.
    • Conversely, quite a number of western gamers like the Japanese dubbed voices of the game (which for the PC can easily be had by a simple language change), particularly that of Paarthurnax.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Necromancers. It isn't that they toss frost spells or summon skeletons, that's easy. It isn't that they come in packs, though that is more worrisome. No, the frustrating thing about necromancers is that they can revive each other. And you always seem to miss one.
    • Lesser draugr in general (The Scourge and Deathlord are Demonic Spiders). They're more annoying than hard, since many dungeons have a lot of them. They also drop very little valuables and their rusty weapons are heavy and aren't worth much when sold.
    • Wolves are fairly weak, even at the start, and even if they ambush you (which happens a lot) they don't do much damage. What puts them in this category, however, is that they transmit Rockjoint, which will cut down your melee damage by 25%. And it's almost impossible to stop them from getting at least one hit in, so you'll be traveling back to town a lot to get it cured. This can somewhat be remedied with Cure Disease potions but they are fairly expensive early game and all but one the ingredients to make your own are very uncommon. Hearthfire remedies this, sort of, by letting the player bake garlic bread which has Cure Disease as an effect. You have to build a house and then build a house with a garden, a kitchen, and a butter churn first and building all those things will cost you back quite a bit of Septims for having the meal on hand for cheap.
    • Skeevers can be problematic for similar reasons. And on rare occasions, there is a glitch where you have become a werewolf yet nevertheless get the disease anyway, even though logically you shouldn't physically be able to do so.
    • Nothing is more comically annoying than a mudcrab with zero self-preservation instincts that scuttles up behind you while you're fighting a dragon and starts stabbing away. Sure, you can turn around and one-hit kill the thing, but you have to take your eyes off the dragon to do it. By the same tokens, dragons can get distracted by the little pests and fly off from your battle to deal with them, which forces you to chase the dragon.
    • Frostbite Spiders. Only the biggest version is dangerous, but like wolves these things just show up when you aren't expecting anything. Worse, while the wolves warn you, the spiders announce themselves by poisoning you when you aren't paying attention.
    • Falmer are weak, but they are pretty common in the game and tend to fight in packs. The fact that they're replacement goblins fits this trope to a T. Stronger variations can be Demonic Spiders to an extent, as they can be surprisingly tough, use virulent poisons and many cast ice spells.
    • Goddamn the Magic Anomalies. Offensively, they're kind of a joke - they don't hit really hard, and the worst they can really do to the Dragonborn is an ice bite. However... they have surprisingly high amounts of health and are very tiny and mobile targets, making them hard to hit (especially at range). Rather terrifyingly, Anomalies are the only enemy in the entire game to level up with the Dragonborn indefinitely, which means that no matter what level you are, those damn things will never be easy to kill. Oh, and when you're fighting them, you're either fighting a whole horde of them running rampant, or they're spawning to pester you during a boss fight where it's quite hard to damage the boss in the first place (thankfully they pester the boss too). Luckily, once you're done with that quest chain you're pretty much done with them forever.
      • More specifically: Magic Anomalies' levels will always be 75% higher than yours. For reference, Miraak will only be 10% higher leveled than you, and even then, he has a (very high) level cap. Infuriatingly, this also means they actually get harder to kill as you level up simply due to the level disparity.
    • The slaughterfish are considered this since combat is disabled underwater. To get rid of these fishes, you will need to lure them to shore to enable your combat. Not to mention they are enemies that disables your fast travel.
  • Good Bad Bug: Wouldn't be a Bethesda game without them. From ragdoll hilarity to physics gaffes to invisible hats that you can wear with other hats, the game has it all!
    • The Saber Cats seem to be the defining example next to Giants.
    • Who stole the courier's clothes?
    • Enemy NPCs continuing their yell "YOU NEVER SHOULD HAVE COME HERE!" after you've cut their heads off in mid-sentence.
      • It is possible to kill enemies so quickly that they'll react like a friendly NPC you accidentally punched instead of a hostile NPC that just got an axe to the skull.
    • At several points in the main questline, you'll be granted a Word of Power and will then be granted the understanding of the word from someone else, unlocking the Word in the Shout without needing a dragon soul. However, if you open a menu before that granting of understanding occurs and expend a dragon soul to unlock the new Word, the game will grant you a second new Word for the Shout and automatically unlock it. This now only allows you to skip searching for one of the Word Walls for that Shout, but if used with Unrelenting Force specifically (provided you can find another dragon soul before visiting the Greybeards, which is perfectly possible if you know how), you get the full version of the Shout without having to do the Tomb of Jurgen Windcaller. Now go forth into the world and let the Thu'ums fly!
    • Derkeethus' follower quest is so buggy that it frequently never properly starts; you usually have to find him yourself in Darkwater Pass. The upside, though, is that his essential status never gets removed after the quest is complete, meaning he can't be killed under any circumstances. Even if his stats are only average at best, this fact alone makes him one of the most useful followers in the game.
    • Crossed with Gender Bender: Male Dunmer Dovahkiins' grunts sound like those of female Dunmer in Oblivion.
    • Normally, killing a chicken (with a conventional weapon) will earn you a bounty. Doing the same by running it over with a cart will not (as seen in this video at around 5:30).
    • A case of Artificial Stupidity will make a normally rather difficult quest much easier. The "Man Who Cried Wolf" quest near Solitude involves a cave full of Necromancers and Draugr, often leveled to be quite difficult to deal with mainly due to their large numbers, and those at the top of the highest structure in the cave are the most powerful. However, if you shoot an arrow into that tower while sneaking, the NPCs there and nearby will be alerted, but for some reason the Necromancers and the Draugr become hostile towards each other and subsequently fight, and the Necromancers being rather weak physically end up getting killed first. Among those is the lead Necromancer, whose death will result in the quest being completed, and all you'll need to do at this point is mop up the easier enemies and just leave the place.
    • A player with their bow drawn walks slower than normal, but an overencumbered player doing the same walks faster. Not much faster, but enough that the difference is noticeable.
    • There are two possible Daedric artifacts you can receive from Hircine; the one you get depends on the actions you took during his quest. However, there is a bug that allows you to obtain both, meaning that you can pass up one of the other artifacts (such as the one you have to kill Erandur to get) and still obtain the Oblivion Walker achievement.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: North of Riften you can find a bandit camp which includes a wolf imprisoned in a cage. Naturally it is hostile, so the player's best course of action is to kill it while it's caged so it can't fight back. Come 2013, try telling this to a Game of Thrones fan; especially if you're using a crossbow, you've just re-enacted Grey Wind's murder at the Red Wedding.
  • He Really Can Act: Charles Martinet's role as the wise dragon Paarthurnax has been very well received, especially by fans of his most well-known role in which he's little more than a cheerful everyman.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • An in-game book describing the events of Oblivion takes special care to mention that it was the Mythic Dawn, and not the Dark Brotherhood, who assassinated Uriel Septim. The author even points out that it would have been suicidal for the Brotherhood to have taken out a contract on the Emperor, since it would have brought the whole of the Empire's forces down on them and destroyed them. Guess what you get to do after joining the Dark Brotherhood in Skyrim? Also possibly Harsher in Hindsight.
    • Imperial-aligned characters often claim that Ulfric shouted High King Torygg to pieces - something that Ulfric constantly denies, since Unrelenting Force can only ragdoll people. In the Dragonborn DLC, you can actually use Unrelenting Force to disintegrate enemies thanks to an upgrade you can get from Hermaeus Mora.
    • One of the alchemy ingredients in the game are "Large Antlers" which can be found on deer and elk and which restore stamina in potions. In 2013, NFL superstar Ray Lewis was the subject of a bizarre rumor accusing him of using a performance enhancing snake oil made from ground-up deer antlers to give him energy to rehab from an injury.
    • One of M'aiq the Liar's lines in this game is a Take That against MMOs. Then Zenimax announced The Elder Scrolls Online, an MMO. Whoops...
    • Dragonborn adds the ability to enchant weapons with Chaos damage. Yes, Dark Souls fans, that means you can finally make your own Bass Cannon with a Skyforged Greatsword (the closest thing Skyrim has to a Zweihander). Throw on some dwarven armor and a dragon priest mask, and you now have a very convincing Giantdad-lookalike.
    • Upon completion of the Dark Brotherhood questline, guards may occasionally greet you with "Psst! I know who you are! Hail Sithis!" Following the release of a certain film in which there is a similar reveal and meme, this can quickly become gut-bustingly hilarious.
    • There's a hotel in Turkey named Azura Deluxe. And yes, they have a statue similar to TES Azura's. According to information gleaned from this reddit, the building was finished in 2015, and it is Allen Azura's Delux. The current theory is that the designer or the person who commissioned it, we're TES fans.
    • In Dawnguard, the mission in which you meet and possibly recruit Serana is named "Awakening." Guess which other game with that title prominently features another character voiced by Laura Bailey?
    • One of the reasons for fighting that Stormcloak commanders can mention is that they are seeking to "make their land great again". Given the 2016 election campaign promises of Donald Trump, this raises the question of if he's actually played Skyrim.
  • Hype Aversion; Due to its insane popularity, some hardcore gamers vilify Skyrim, feeling that a proper RPG wouldn't be as popular as Call of Duty or Minecraft.
  • Hype Backlash: Since its release, Skyrim is regarded as one of the best RPGs ever created. While it's true, commercially, gamers point out the game's various flaws and shortcomings, especially when it comes to story and characters. Some are irritated that Skyrim is treated like second coming of lightsaber-wielding mecha Jesus, mostly by casual gamers who found Skyrim far more accessible than Oblivion or Morrowind. And don't even try discussing Skyrim on /v/.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • The Civil War storyline. Debates regarding how and why one side is better than the other can quickly get rather flame-hot and passionate. Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize that this is how people often react with one another when discussing similarly broad Real Life disputes.
    • Bethesda received some heavy flack due to the entire DLC debacle, mostly stemming from the delayed releases of the DLC for various platforms (particularly Dawnguard, as noted above) followed by the announcement that there wouldn't be any more. And it's best to just leave it at that.
  • It's Short, so It Sucks:
    • Some of the games' major subplots could be finished in an afternoon, and the main quest will take about 20-30 hours. Given that only one or two of these hours is Disappointing Last Level compared to others in the series... it's probably a bit better that they didn't decide to lengthen the story. Once you finish, however, there are a ton of sidequests available, ranging from questlines like the College and Companions to just retrieving an item for someone, and there's also finding all the Words of Power. Even if you don't have a quest to do, the game world is just so deep that you can pick a compass direction and head off into the unknown, where you're bound to come across a new tomb or cave you haven't explored yet. Thus, if you're planning to plumb the game for all it has to offer outside the two main story quests, you're going to be spending a lot of time in Skyrim.
    • Because of the new random quest system, there are fewer scripted storyline quests for all the questlines compared to previous Elder Scrolls games, so it can feel a bit jarring to be proclaimed a trusted and veteran member of your guild and their Chosen One just shortly after joining. These sorts of Pacing Problems are particularly obvious with the Companions questline, where one gets to join their Circle of most trusted veteran warriors literally after the initiation and then doing one more quest. (However, there is an in-game explanation - your swift progress is helped along by support from the Harbinger, Kodlak, because he recognizes you from a prophetic dream.)
    • Many reviewers feel the main questline of Dragonborn was too short, at least compared to Dawnguard; they usually say the amount of other quests make up for it, though.
  • Iron Woobie: Knight-Paladin Gelebor. His entire race was destroyed save for his brother, who is Brainwashed and Crazy, and he's spent thousands of years resolutely guarding the ruins of their temple. Nevertheless, he's a Nice Guy and remains dedicated to his god.
  • It Was His Sled: Alduin has returned, and the dragons are returning because he's reviving them.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Ulfric Stormcloak. Yeah, he might be indifferent to non-Nords and slightly frosty, but his torture at the hands of the Thalmor was completely undeserved and he honestly feels that Skyrim's plight cannot be resolved in any other way apart from Civil War.
    • Delphine and Esbern may be rude and impolite, and few fans condone their attitude towards Paarthurnax, but the fact of the matter is that they've been hunted for decades, with most of their friends murdered in cold blood.
    • Braith in Whiterun earned her place in the Scrappy section below for being a rude, aggressive bully to pretty much everyone. Talk to her and listen to her conversations with her parents, and you learn that she bullies a boy her age because she has a crush on him and can't figure out how to express it, and isn't getting any help from her mother (who pretty much ignores her) or her father (who tries to help and is pretty clueless about how). Suddenly she seems less like an archery target and more like an ordinary confused kid.
    • Tobjorn Shatter-Shield in Windhelm. He may be a Corrupt Corporate Executive that treats his Argonian workers like dirt and hires pirates to attack his competitors, but the man's also depressed from the murder of his daughter, has to support a grieving wife who took said murder even harder, and to top it off, his family's Ancestral Weapon was stolen by a family friend who pinned the blame on another family friend. It gets even worse if you choose to kill his remaining daughter, who is an optional target for the Dark Brotherhood questline: his wife will be Driven to Suicide, leaving him all alone. The man cannot seem to catch a break.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Hermaeus Mora. He's the only Daedric Prince you actually have to deal with to get through the main story, since he sets up a meeting with you when you go looking for an Elder Scroll to help you against Alduin so that you can run an errand for him while you're at it. What's more, the Dragonborn DLC has him manipulating the hell out of you, while making it incredibly difficult to say no due to all the nice things he gives you to play around with and the fact that you pretty much have to play by his rules if you want to be able to defeat Miraak. Not to mention that he gets away with it.
    • Ancano. While his true intentions didn't come off as a surprise, he made a valiant attempt in hiding it. He almost succeeded achieving the thalmor's main plan on his own in a short amount of time by using the Eye of Magnus to create the apocalypse.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Lydia quickly became one. Though housecarls in general are pretty tough, Lydia is the one almost every player has. She can survive being hurled off a mountain.
    • Giants, too, due to a Good Bad Bug that lets them knock players into the sky with their clubs.
    • Ysgramor, in-universe. He could eat soup with a fork.
    • Horses.
    • For most people, slaying a dragon is the most awesome thing you can do in your life. For the Dovahkiin, it's all in a day's work.
    • While they're more well know for their annoying lines, the hold guards actually scale with the player up to level 50. It's amusing when the battle music blares up in a town because a wild dragon decided to attack and the guards then proceed to annihilate the poor bastard before the Dragonborn can show up.
    • Many fans have declared Neloth the only NPC who has earned the right to brag about himself.
  • Memetic Molester: Unsurprisingly, Hermaeus Mora, due to his tendency to get rather... physical with his tentacles.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • This piece of concept art was mistaken by many people to be depicting the player facing a bear with tentacles coming out of its lower half (due to mammoths having four tusks in-universe). Tentacle bears are bound to come up in any discussion about the game. It's a bear eating a mammoth, in case you're wondering.
    • "FUS RO DAH!!" In particular, the first glimpse of "FUS RO DAH!" from the trailer, always preceded by the "But there's one they fear..." narration and followed by the game's theme song, quickly became a Youtube Poop trend.
    • Weightless Carrots. This has become the rallying cry of those who decry the constant "ruined" mentality over the most inane things. Because someone actually did complain about them at one point on the Bethesda forums.
    • Attacking Lydia, Dragon Shouting Lydia, siccing Lydia on a dragon, watching a giant launch Lydia into the air. And then, watching Lydia get back on her feet.
    • "Then I stripped the corpse naked and threw it in the river" has rapidly become the standard ending to any story involving bandits, Thalmor agents, or anyone else a player fights. In some cases, it's actually become custom for dealing with dead NPC characters who don't disappear after being murdered, as for many it essentially becomes a funeral.
    • "I used to be a [insert occupation] like you... then I took an arrow in the knee.", said by every town guards ever due to the recycled script of the generic guards. This phrase is then used to a tongue-in-cheek versions of the trope I Coulda Been a Contender!, and the Skyrim guards is a popular subject of fanarts, usually with TONS of arrows at his knee. Now an Ascended Meme on XBox versions, as "Arrow in the Knee" is an official Avatar accessory, but the overusage of this makes it veer to Discredited Meme.
  • Mondegreen: The lyrics in the trailer were initially thought by some to be English, but are actually in the language of dragons:
    Dovahkiin, Dovahkiinnote 
    Naal ok zin los vahriinnote 
    Wah dein vokul mahfaeraak ahst vaalnote 
    Ahrk fin norok paal graannote 
    Fod nust hon zindro zaannote 
    Dovahkiin, fah hin kogaan mu draalnote 
    • Hilariously, as one YouTube commenter pointed out, it's also possible to mishear it as a spot-on Stormcloak anthem!
      For the king! For the king!
      For the sons of Skyrim!
      For our land! For our home! For the Empire's blood!
      For the Nords! For the gods! For the sole single note  son!
      Our king, our king who'll dawn with victory!
    • Also, this bit of misheard lyrics, by many a Youtuber, from the trailer (starts just after the Fus Ro Dah) and they couldn't be more true:
    Praise the Lord
    Go to school
    Oh my God
    Me gusta
    It's not fair
    Fat laaaard
    Watch my tie rectal staple my heart to the floor.
    • Or alternately:
    Dovahkiin! Dovahkiin! Not a single sardine!
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The Thalmor crossed it on the 30th of Frostfall, 4E 171. That day, the Emperor's birthday according to lore, the Thalmor entered the Imperial palace and delivered the heads of every Blade in Thalmor territory. If they didn't cross it then, their torture of Ulfric Stormcloak certainly counts.
    • One of the Dragon Priests, Rahgot, forced his entire cult to commit mass suicide... even the children.
    • In the eyes of many players, the refusal of the Blades to help you should you refuse to kill Paarthurnax counts, to the point that it's not uncommon for players to just ditch them. This in fact spawned many mods to rectify it, ranging from forcing the Blades into line to making a quest where you had to kill them.
    • Depending on what actions you take to cause a distraction at the Thalmor Embassy, Erikur will end up getting a Bosmer slave girl sent to the Embassy's torture chamber simply because she turned down his advances. Luckily you can rescue her later.
    • If Alduin didn't cross it when he indirectly caused the events of ''Battlespire'' and ''Oblivion'' through his corruption of Mehrunes Dagon, he definitely crosses it either when he razes Helgen to the ground or when he starts eating the souls of the dead in Sovngarde.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • Get used to hearing enemy NPCs tell you that YOU NEVER SHOULD HAVE COME HERE!
    • Heimskr, who might be considered something of an expy of Cromwell, the preacher from Megaton in Fallout 3. Even the wiki has a list of ways to stealth kill him to shut him up.
    • Nazeem's remark of "Do you get to the Cloud District very often? Oh, what am I saying? Of course you don't." At least he wanders near the front gate for handy vampire death.
    • If you install Dawnguard and don't bother starting it for a while, you'll get very tired of hearing "Heard they're reforming the Dawnguard..."
    • Speaking of Dawnguard, potential follower Serana is a fountain of annoying phrases. If she's accompanying you, you'd better get used to hearing "Where did you come from?" and "Done and done" every single time you enter and leave combat. To make matters worse, due to a bug, Serana also loves to say "Yes? What did you need?" every few seconds between the quests "Prophet" and "Chasing Echoes". Especially grating when you're forging, enchanting or brewing potions and she decides to stand right beside you and repeat it over and over again.
    • Shopkeepers in general have the same problem, especially if you're borrowing their facilities (alchemy, enchanting, smithing). They only have around three stock sayings every single time you want to buy or sell something, which will be often. Hearing them say "Odds and ends, and that sort of thing" for the 500th time can get pretty grating.
      • Most of the in-game spouses decide to become shopkeepers to keep themselves amused while you're not home. Ask them what they have for sale, and they offer the same phrases. "Some may call this junk; me, I call them treasures" is not made any more endearing by coming out of the Dragonborn's beloved's mouth.
    • The children of Skyrim have this down to an art. "Another wanderer, here to lick my father's boots. Good job." "I thought adventurers were supposed to look tough." "I bet my papa could beat you up." The list goes on, inspiring modders to defy Infant Immortality.
    • For some fans, Cicero is this in general, with his constant yelling and cheering in his screechy voice.
    • Mjoll the Lioness as a follower is basically an embodiment of this. You'll be nursing a nice headache after hearing about her hunting trips to Morrowind, and her love of the cold about every 5 minutes.
    • The Spectral Assassin also counts, for similar reasons as Mjoll.
    • The Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary contains a friendly Frostbite Spider right next to the alchemy/enchanting stations. If you plan on using your trade skills in the Sanctuary, the sound of the spider walking around in its enclosure may prompt you to stealth-kill it just to get it to shut up.
    • If you side with the Legion and go looking for the Jagged Crown, you'll end up in a part of the dungeon where you'll have to find a well-hidden lever in order to open a gate. If you can't find the lever right away, get used to Legate Rikke asking you every ten seconds if you've seen a lever anywhere.
    • If you choose not to do Jaree-Ra's quest, be prepared to constantly hear him say "You should see me when you get bored, stranger," whenever you're in Solitude. Some good-aligned players have agreed to do the quest just so he'll shut up.
    • While the Dead Thrall spell can be handy (it effectively gives you an extra follower with unlimited carry weight, for starters), it also causes just about every NPC to start greeting you with some variant of "That spell looks dangerous... Keep your distance." This will get on your nerves very quickly.
  • Narm:
    • The marriage dialogue.
    Player: "Interested in me, are you?"
    NPC: "Well, yes. Why wouldn't I be? Are you... interested in me?"
    Player: "Yes. Yes, I am."
    *Wedding*
    • Gormlaith shouting "Skyrim WILL! BE! FREE!"
    • All NPCs have combat lines that relate to their position and race. Normally this isn't a problem, but hearing Lydia yelling "Skyrim belongs to the Nords!" while fighting mud crabs is a bit narmy.
    • There is a lot of overlap between helping out an NPC via a favor or miscellaneous quest, and possibly going against them in another sidequest. For example, after completing both "Taking Care of Business" and his miscellaneous quest, the waiter at the Riften inn will be admonishing you for defeating in a brawl/intimidating the innkeeper one moment, and singing your praises for helping him make his wedding ring the next.
    • The overly dramatic tone in Karliah's voice when, near the end of the Thieves' Guild questline, she warns you that once you've chosen your Nightingale power, you can't change it for at least a day.
    • The cutscene of the three Nord heroes defeating Alduin in the past comes off as funny rather than epic, watching these actors swing their weapons around clumsily while screaming fearsome battle cries.
    • The female Argonians in the game have voices that make them sound much older than they actually are. Because of this, it's really hard to take a heartwarming moment like marriage seriously.
    • When assassinating Vittoria Vici in the Dark Brotherhood questline, one of the guests' responses is "Oh no no no this is so wrong." Which would be appropriate for the situation if the line wasn't delivered in a complete deadpan.
  • Narm Charm: There is something about Neloth's idiosyncrasies that makes him seem both so over the top and a complete badass.
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • Peryite's quest, "The Only Cure". You can meet a passive Afflicted early on, which indicates to you that The Virus in this example rots your skin somewhat. In the quest itself, you encounter aggressive Afflicted who can attack you Linda Blair-style with streams of vomit. Oh, and the condition is a "blessing" according to Peryite.
    • Namira's Daedric quest, where you slaughter a man in cold blood on a rather disturbing-looking altar and then shovel gobs of his raw flesh into your mouth with your bare hands. Then Namira speaks to you and congratulates you for your actions. Notable in that, if you want 100% Completion, doing this is mandatory.
    • A tamer one comes at the very beginning of the game, after the guy before you has his head chopped off. You are placed on the chopping block next, with a perfect few seconds in which you can clearly view his severed head right below you.
  • Nightmare Retardant: The Revered dragons are a little too goofy looking to take seriously.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Roggvir only gets a few minutes in one scene to chew the scenery, and he makes a meal of it.
  • Pandering to the Base: Probably the main reason the Spectral Assassin, aka Lucien Lachance was added to the game, because he was an extremely popular character in Oblivion, and players sorely missed him after he was killed at the end of the Dark Brotherhood questline.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • Dragons can attack you anywhere where the sky is visible. Even inside cities. Half the time your only warning that a dragon is about to attack is when it suddenly roars and drops down on you. The other half of the time, they don't even do that. Even in the courtyard of the mage college, in the middle of a thick snowstorm.
    • Wondering why you can't fast travel when you have no enemies in sight? Keep your eyes open and checking the skies and your ears expecting a loud roar, a dragon might come down breathing fire/ice on your head soon enough.
    • Hired thugs are even worse; they can show up inside dungeons, and have tendency to attack you in towns while you're doing things like using a smelter or arcane enchanter.
    • A specific plot instance is Alduin's soul-snaring mist in Sovngarde. You can't see him, and it is quite possible to come up to a random anonymous soldier who barely has time to tell you to run before he gets snatched away and his very soul devoured.
    • When you kill Grelod the Kind, Aventus gives you the reward, all's well and good, right? Wrong. A courier shows up with a message from someone. Whoever sent it was pretty eager to get it to you, apparently. So you read the note. Wanna know what it says? "We know" below a black handprint. Sleep tight.
      • Better yet, don't. That's how they kidnap you.
    • In barrows, the mummified corpses that rise up to attack you and the ones that just sit in their tombs and sarcophagi look very similar. In an early playthrough, it's almost impossible to be sure which ones are undead and which aren't. It gets better as become more savvy and level up, but then you run into the problem of enemies and sarcophagi that don't "trigger" because your Sneak is too high, and suddenly find yourself surrounded because you made just a tiny bit of noise...
    • During the quest "A Cornered Rat," you might notice an oddity in Riften; there's a Khajiit named Shavari wandering around the city proper, something you won't find anywhere else. Other than that, she doesn't seem very noteworthy, doesn't have much to say, and isn't particularly friendly. But if you pay special attention to her, you'll notice she's both watching and following you from a safe distance. When you escape the Ratways with Esbern, you'll find out she's working with the Thalmor. You can also pickpocket her and find a note that specifically says that the Thalmor are tracking you and that you'll lead them to Esbern.
    • Spriggans appear literally out of nowhere, right next to you, and hit hard when they do. As a result, you'll never feel safe in wooded grottoes.
    • The fact that players can be killed by the kill-camera mechanic makes combat into a tense affair for all the wrong reasons. It doesn't matter if the player has made themselves into an unstoppable juggernaut clad in the best armor in Skyrim; the game causes the kill-cam if the enemy's attack could reduce the player's health to zero in one strike without taking armor, blocking, or resistances into the equation. The only defenses against this is to pump health up, immediately chug health potions as quickly as possible, or download mods specifically meant to prevent this mechanic from affecting the player.
    • Have Dragonborn installed? Finished your business at the tomb of Jurgen Windcaller and been proclaimed Stormcrown by the Greybeards? Keep an eye out for some oddly-dressed fellas wandering around. They've been sent by Miraak, and they're looking for you. You'll have to fight them to begin the DLC quest, but if you spot them in any of the cities, run, because otherwise half the town could end up dead.
    • With Dawnguard, vampires will randomly attack people on the streets in cities at night. You'll also encounter a "mysterious traveler" who is actually a roaming vampire who will attack people at night. You can stop him/her from killing someone, but you have to spot him/her first. Better keep those detection spells handy...
    • Also in Dawnguard, you can also encounter Vampires pretending to be Vigilants of Stendarr. There are also Bandits dressed as Imperials, who attempt to shake the Dragonborn down for money.
    • Frostbite Spiders can drop down off of the ceiling to attack the player. While most of the time you can anticipate it and see the enemy icon before they drop, if you're sprinting under the spot they drop...ergh.
  • Player Punch:
    • If you decide to kill Paarthurnax, you'll find that he doesn't try to fight back until you chip off 50% of his health. He constantly says "Su'um ahrk morah" in what may be an attempt to plead with you, as he's trying to remind you to follow the Way of the Voice. Perhaps worst of all, he's only level 10, no stronger than the early-game dragons, so he hardly seems like the threat the Blades make him out to be. It really feels more like murder than a battle... especially when you absorb his soul.
      • And to make matters worse, he clearly is throwing the fight. He's strong enough to hold his own against Alduin, so the only reason he's such an easy opponent is that he doesn't want to kill you.
      • "Su'um ahrk morah" means "Breath and focus", and seems to be a Dragon goodbye. An alternate interpretation is that he is not pleading - he is acknowledging that you need to kill him and saying his last farewells to you. Depending on your perception, this can make killing him easier or even worse.
    • For Imperial-aligned players who nonetheless have a degree of sympathy for the Stormcloak point of view, killing Ulfric can be one of these. The contrast between Rikke and Tullius's attitudes is especially jarring: Rikke clearly finds the whole thing tragic, while Tullius simply mentions that they'll put his head on a pike.
    • Narfi's side quest leaves you with one hell of a Sadistic Choice. You can either tell him the truth about his sister's death and crush his spirit, or feed him false hope by telling him she'll be back soon, which is likely to just crush him even worse in the future. It gets even worse if you continue through the Dark Brotherhood questline, as you eventually have to kill him. And all but one of the responses is talking down to the poor man. The only respectable reply you can give him is silence before you do the deed.
    • In Hearthfire, there are four orphans living in the streets. You can only adopt two.
    • Visiting the Soul Cairn. All those poor bastards whose souls you stole to make that awesome enchanted armor you're wearing (or whatever you chose to do with them)? This is where you sent them.
  • Porting Disaster:
    • While the Xbox and PC versions are relatively stable for a Bethesda game, the PlayStation 3 version of Skyrim is plagued with massive slow-downs, almost to the point of being unplayable. This is especially frustrating for gamers who utilize larger saving files, since they will have to wait for Bethesda to release a patch, although it is unclear how effective the patch will be.
    • While the PC version does not suffer many technical problems (well, no more than the Xbox version — this is an Elder Scrolls game, after all), the UI is very console-adapted, to the point that it has caused problems with using a mouse for many users (as in, the game doesn't properly register that you clicked on something). Bethesda has said they have no intention of modifying the UI themselves, but luckily this is one porting problem that can be (and already has been) fixed by modders.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Bosmer in general seem to have gotten out of the scrappy heap for people have more or less accepted the current look of the male Bosmers over the previous game's comical, dwarflike appearances, and a few characters (such as Enthir and Faendal) are well liked among the fandom. If anything, people are upset that you can't marry a Bosmer in the game. Having them as Woobie Species by forcefully becoming indentured servants to the Thalmor probably gives them sympathy points.
    • Originally known as the guy who just gives you 10 gold for giving him a powerful item in Morrowind, fans have been much more receptive to Neloth for his mad and rude, yet humorous personality. Having him give you much better rewards such as useful spells and the ability to create staves as well as helping out the player in Dragonborn's main quest with no strings attached has helped him as well.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • It's mind-numbingly common to see either side in the Civil War storyline demonize the other whenever it's brought up. For example, go to any popular Youtube video that is about the Imperial Legion and count how many "Hail Stormcloaks!" comments there are.
    • The Blades, especially Delphine. They're allies for a good portion of the main quest, provide you with a lot of information and aid, and will hunt dragons with you. However, then they ask you to kill Paarthurnax, and many players turn on them, depicting them as jerkasses subject to Fantastic Racism that order the player around.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Heimskr, due to his endless preaching about Talos. Makes it even worse when he loses his house and thus preaches more. He's one of the two things both Imperial and Stormcloak sympathizers agree to hate.
    • The other would be the Thalmor. They're generally hated by everyone. As one fan put it, people hate the Nazi elves more than the world-eating dragon. If the general NPC attitude towards them is any indication, this was likely intentional. Many will even go out of their way to kill them when it's not beneficial, and even if they're Imperial-aligned. Ancano and Ondolemar seem to be the only ones with remote popularity, as the former is a Badass and actually doing something, while the latter is polite enough to at least give you respect and Dummied Out content gives him a Defiant to the End moment.
    • Delphine and Esbern. Forcing the player character to serve as their errand boy as well as ordering him/her to kill Paarthurnax does not win them love from the fans. There is even a player-made mod to force them to see things your way and continue to support you if you don't kill him, or simply one that gives you an option of killing them as a legitimate means to end the quest.
      • Although Esbern doesn't get it quite as bad as Delphine since he at least shows some reluctance about making you kill Paarthurnax, provides the voice over for the trailer, and is a Cool Old Guy voiced by Max von Sydow besides.
    • Nazeem. He's what happens when you take Upper-Class Twit Up to Eleven. His dialogue consists entirely of arrogant and condescending remarks, not just with you but in his ambient conversations as well, and since he spends most of his day right in the middle of town, chances are you're going to pass him three or four times every time you're in Whiterun. He's right up there with Heimskr as far as highly murderable NPCs go.
    • One of Skyrim's most loathed characters is easily Maven Black-Briar. Most players hate her for her untouchability, as she has the city guard in her pocket, goes out of her way to talk condescendingly to everyone, uses her Thieves' Guild associations to harass other businessmen, and is the sole reason why Riften is a Wretched Hive. To make it worse, she is essential, and becomes Jarl of Riften if you side with the Empire during the Civil War.. Anytime someone is asked which Skyrim characters they hate the most, you can always expect her name to make the list.
      • If you've become the Master of the Thieves' Guild and/or the leader of the Dark Brotherhood, her smug, arrogant threats take on a humorous (or grating) edge: she's basically threatening you with yourself.
    • Out of the children NPCs, Braith. She's both Small Name, Big Ego and The Bully put into one, and is the only child that many players actually hate.
      • Jarl Balgruuf's children aren't much better, which is rather jarring given that the Jarl himself is a Reasonable Authority Figure. Nelkir will mock you for allegedly coming to "lick his father's boots", while Dagny is a horrific Spoiled Brat.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The broken-as-hell yielding system. In Oblivion, all you needed to do to yield was block and press a button, which the enemy would recognize and guards always accepted. In Skyrim, you need to put your weapon away and just stand there. Most of the time it doesn't work, meaning guards will keep trying to kill you for a forty-gold bounty, no matter how many times you try to surrender.
    • Marriage. Despite being an interesting new aspect of the game with great potential, many people have taken issue with it. Courtship is easy and short. The dialogue with your spouse is rather boring and often buggy, and you can't have any meaningful interaction with them apart from setting them as a follower, talking about various banal topics, or buying items. The only benefits it offers are certain status buffs, a source of income, and a free follower. It's become enough of a problem that there are numerous mods to improve marriage, including ones that allow you to marry more characters.
    • As of Dawnguard, every town has a chance to be attacked at night by a Vampire Master and two or three Vampire Thralls. Many players have noted that this wreaks havoc with nonessential quest givers and merchants.
    • If you travel to Soltheim and start the main quest of Dragonborn, Miraak will appear and steal the soul of some of the dragons you kill until you finally defeat him at the end of the main quest, even if you travel back to Skyrim. The only saving grace is that when you do kill him, you get all the souls he stole from you earlier.
    • The Grab system (picking items up) is notorious for being immensely annoying and broken, you can't rotate items and decorate your house properly without accidentally knocking other items over. Thought that was bad? Sometimes when you enter your home, you'll find that all the items you took so much time and effort to place where you want them are all KNOCKED OVER ON THE FLOOR!
    • Kill cams, both how they interfere with certain play styles and how it can instantly kill players without warning. They have a nasty habit of missing with projectile kill cams, they interrupt player control, and there's mounting evidence that they disregard all damage-mitigating factors: damage resist, magic/elemental resist, blocking, cover, not being anywhere near close enough to be kill-cam'd... Not much of a problem when you inflict it on people, but when that dragon bite-thrash-toss kill-cams you when you were nowhere near, had capped armor, your shield raised, had over half your health left, and were beyond their bite range. The worst part is that the game checks for the kill cam at the beginning of the attack animation, so a bandit could be swinging a slow warhammer at you and you'll be immediately killed before you have the chance to drink any potions, dodge out of the way, or use a shout. There are mods that exist just to prevent the player from kill cams.
    • The radiant quests specific to Dawnguard. Rather than just let you complete a specific quest series, you have to bounce back and forth between multiple quest givers who force you into dungeon raids (on dungeons you may or may not have already slaughtered your way through) or pointless assassinations, trying to get them to lead you back to the quest givers who actually give out meaningful rewards, and even they sometimes just send you on a pointless quest instead. It serves no practical purpose except to waste your time on meaningless nonsense, and the worst part is that it can even put the quest in Dragonborn-specific locations, even if you haven't even touched that questline. Even Save Scumming doesn't help that much.
    • Pickpocketing. Not the skill itself, but the fact that it caps at a 90% success rate, making taking multiple things a hassle.
    • Unlike Oblivion, you can not push NPCs out of the way by walking into them. This can result in frequent instances of your follower or another NPC hindering you in a tight corridor, hallway or door, with you unable to get through until they move.
    • Destruction magic in general. While frying your opponent with lightning bolts or freezing scores of enemies with sweeping blizzards might be cool, it's diminished when one notices that spells don't scale and there's no real method to reliably boost their damage other than wear a bunch of enchanted equipment to reduce their cost and spam the hell out of them. Additionally on top of all this, the master level destruction spells cost far too much to use without enchanted equipment, and require a four second pose to charge that, while cool, makes the player a sitting duck. And to make it worse, there are plenty of shouts that cost nothing to use and give similar if not better results, making destruction magic even more redundant!
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: For many people, Skyrim was their entry to The Elder Scrolls franchise as a whole. Given how differently Skryim plays from its predecessors, it can incite this response from players who decide to check out the older games (which is entirely possible, since in 2013, Bethesda re-released all five games in one package).
  • Sidetracked By The Golden Saucer:
    • As before with Elder Scrolls games, you can spend so long reading books.
    • And as with a lot of freeform exploration games, it is absurdly easy to get sidetracked while en route to a quest. Something as simple as stopping to investigate a curious landmark while en route to another quest site can result in the player ending up on the far side of Skyrim engaging in another questline entirely unrelated to the first one. Note that Skyrim has about 400 locations to visit.
    • The Hearthfire DLC will make you spend time building your houses and forget everything else.
  • Spoiled by the Format: Delphine. Her importance to the plot is supposed to be hidden until a good bit into the main quest, but observant players may notice before then that she's one of the rare characters with a unique voice, which would be an oddity for an unimportant innkeeper.
  • Squick:
    • Awesome, yet totally horrid, is a werewolf's double-swipe power finisher; they grab their foe, lift them off the ground, and pop their head off like they're crushing a grapefruit.
    • Wear the Ring of Namira, and guards will comment on how rotten your breath smells and ask what you've been eating. The answer, if you have the ring, is of course human flesh.
    • Cicero talking about oiling the Night Mother "...get all the hard to reach places...".
    • Eating alchemy ingredients to learn their properties. Find a sardine in a burlap sack in the bottom of a thousand year old tomb? Gulp it down to figure what kind of potion you can make with the next one you find! Insects, giant's toes, human and inhuman hearts, the list goes on...
    • As noted above the Linda Blair-style mode of attack employed by some of the Afflicted in Peryite's quest. That whole questline in general has made some people want to take multiple showers to feel clean again.
  • Special Effect Failure: There are several mods that exist solely to address the fact that the water troughs used by the blacksmiths' have no animation whatsoever.
    • If you (for some reason) strip a character naked, you'll notice their feet look like mittens with lines engraved for their toes.
    • Children only seem to have one outfit, based on their gender. This is even true of Babette, whom you would expect to look more like she belongs in the Dark Brotherhood.
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • Nazeem's own wife snarks to anyone within earshot about him stuffing himself up the Jarl's backside.
    • If you go into Maven's house and into her basement you'll find a locked room where she's attempted to perform the ritual to contact the Dark Brotherhood, and a letter angrily ranting about how they've repeatedly ignored her summons. It's a bit cathartic to see her futile and pathetic rage... not much, mind you, but probably the best one can expect a borderline-Creator's Pet like her to get.
  • That One Attack:
    • ZUN HAL VIIK, the Disarm Shout used by Draugr Deathlords. Not only is it frustrating to hunt down the weapon that was taken from your grasp while you're fighting an already annoying-to-kill enemy, but due to the buggy nature of the game, more often than not, the weapon will simply clip through the ground and will be unobtainable. This is especially frustrating when this happens to weapons with superb enchantments.
    • The Giants also definitely qualify as this when they run up to you and smash the ground, sending you to the skies.
    • Magic users for a character not specifically geared toward thwarting it. Magic does a lot of damage to an unprotected player, and it's especially bad with the lightning-throwing mages that cannot miss so long as they're in range. They make the early game hell in certain places.
    • Ice Storm, when used by enemy cryomancers and magic traps. For some very odd reason, Ice Storm does stupid amounts of damamge when enemies cast it, meaning that you'll likely be annihilated unless you act quickly. Not to mention it slows you for a few seconds.
  • That One Boss:
    • The Ghost of Sigdis Gauldurson, during the "Forbidden Legend" quest. He's a Doppelganger boss where you have to play whack-a-draugr to find the real deal, they're all archers (and hurt a lot when they hit), and each one, doppelgangers and all, pack an Unrelenting Force shout powerful enough to send you flying. Even if you whack a few of the doppelgangers, the remainder will shout you onto your ass and you take forever to get back up, meaning he resets his doppelgangers all over and you probably didn't land a single hit. By that time you'll be frantically restoring whatever health was lost when you were a sitting duck getting pincushioned by arrows after being shouted over. Of course, you can always just hide behind a pillar and take pot-shots. You even have to fight Sigdis twice during the quest. And the second time he is part of a Boss Rush along with his brothers.
    • The Dragon Priests. In particular, one is entombed at the summit of Shearpoint... with a dragon! Hope you killed the dragon before getting to the word wall, because it's a nasty surprise for players that don't know better. There's also Zahkriisos and his Lightning Storm spell, which he can cast while moving and with only one hand. And his mask boosts the damage of lightning spells even further. If you've been neglecting your magic resistance (or even if you haven't), you will die very quickly.
    • Malyn Varen can be pretty nasty. He sics three Daedra enemies on you before fleeing to his chamber, and they're fond of powerful fire spells. If you're unlucky, all three of them will gang up on you at once. Hope you brought some fire resistance and healing potions.
    • Malkoran is considered this not because of his shades, but because of his extremely powerful frost spell that can potentially kill in one hit even in the lowest difficulty.
    • Movarth has several vampire servants that can cast powerful ice spells and heal themselves as well. Combined with Movath's own powerful spells and tendency to decapitate in melee, many players will be seeing the same loading screen over and over again.
    • Captain Hargar of Broken Oar Grotto. Sure, he's easy enough to stealth and his men are very weak, and you don't even have to kill him to finish the quest "Lights Out!", but if you try to face him head on, expect to see what it's like on the wrong end of a two-handed finishing move.
    • Hamelyn can be a big surprise if you proceed through the Thieves' Guild questline for the first time. While most of the quests involve just stealing and doing hits on targets, the last thing that a new player expects is fighting a fireball-happy madman who can kill you in a few hits and pretty much automatically knows you're there because his skeever buddies will almost certainly spot you on the way in, thus warning him. You can even confront the quest giver about this afterwards.
    • Potema can be hard, but is even more confusing than anything. Once you enter her room, she will be invulnerable in spectral form and will continually toss lighting spells at you while at the same time making you fight various draugr (and there should be at least one deathlord among them). Once you kill them once, she will resurrect them and make you fight them again (so loot them as you kill them to weaken them). Once you wipe the room clean, you will then finally fight her physical form which is much easier, but still capable of killing you, especially if you have been weakened from the earlier fight.
    • The Boneyard Keepers in the Soul Cairn all wield Dragonbone weapons, which is the strongest material in the game.
    • During Dragonborn it is possible to revive Karstaag, from Bloodmoon, by finding his skull in a dungeon and reuniting it with the rest of his bones. Your reward for this endeavour? He immediately transforms into a huge, ethereal Frost Giant with a raging blizzard surrounding him, who will one-shot you before you can blink. Even if he doesn't, he is immensely powerful and difficult to kill. The worst part? Unless you're a long time TES player, you probably won't be expecting any of this to happen, since the area where his remains are found is just a standard cave of Rieklings.
    • Falx Carius is very tough, as his weapon "The Champion's Cudgel" does massive damage that can likely 2-3 hit KO the player; also, the weapon randomly shocks, freezes or burns you. Adding to that he has three Ash Spawn in the battle that are also quite tough.
  • That One Level: The penultimate dungeon consists of the same Draugr enemies you've seen in every ruin and tomb up to that point, the only catch is this time you have no follower and the dungeon is a lot longer. Depending on how much you've leveled, this can mean either a swarm of standard Draugr, or Scourges who may have shouts (and will destroy your stamina with frost spells) and Deathlords who do have shoutsnote  and, on top of that, take lots of abuse before going down, plus one Dragon Priest who's surprisingly fragile. Given that dungeons aren't even that long, it's an improvement. The game also throws a couple of dragons at you there... but they don't level-scale, so they'll probably end up as the easiest to kill for you.
    • The Corridor Cubbyhole Run in Labyrinthian. Have fun getting pelted to death by magical traps in a hallway too narrow to dodge effectively, with safe spots placed far enough that you may not get to them without getting hit. And may the Nine help you if you brought a follower, because they're not smart enough to take cover and will cause you to take a boatload of splash damage as a result.
  • That One Sidequest: Many could qualify, but one in particular is Azura's Star, a reusable soul gem. No matter which side you take in the quest, you're ultimately sent inside the gem to take out the wizard who trapped his soul in there. See the entry for Malyn Varen above.
    • Taking on Lost Tongue Overlook, a dragon lair south of Riften. Why? There's a spell trap on the narrow mountain path that casts Ice Storm, which, for some bizarre reason, does much more damage than you could ever hope to cause with it. So, of course, you'd try Cutting the Knot by knocking the soul gem out of it, right? Sometimes, that might not be enough to turn the damn thing off. Not even picking it up and putting it away may help, meaning you better be fast as hell.
    • Autumnwatch Tower, another dragon lair near Riften, due to its tendency to spawn two dragons at once. Better call Odahviing to even the odds.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The Thalmor's actions give them a ton of potential as villains, with the signs of their actions being far more visible than Alduin's along with the notes them crossing the Moral Event Horizon more than once, and the player barely gets to interact with them.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • To some, the Civil War plotline was underutilized. The in-game story clues and documentation reveal a long and complex backstory involving war and political intrigue between many nations and factions leading to the start of the civil war. The war itself has distinctive factions with heaps of Gray and Grey Morality associated with them, many ways to interpret all sides, and an overarching conflict with the Thalmor. However, the civil war itself takes a backseat to the main quest centering around Alduin, and while the civil war questline is one of the largest in the game, it generally involves similar missions across Skyrim, just in different locations depending on faction. You can actually discuss this with the head of the Bard's College in Solitude, who comments that the war in Skyrim is just another war in history, and that kings and empires rise and fall regularly, but that the conflict between the Dragonborn and Alduin is something much more unique and noteworthy.
    • Remember how Ondolemar is nowhere to be found in Markarth after the Stormcloaks take it, and you find his coffin in the mausoleum? In the cut-out sieges for the other two major cities (Riften, Markarth), there is a special scene for the new jarl kicking out the old. And for Thongvor kicking out Igmund? The aftermath involves Galmar doing a "Not so fast!" to Ondolemar, who is forced to his knees, says some last pithy comments... and then Galmar axes him dead. We never get to see this, alas, because it's cut.
    • The College of Winterhold starts out with the player as a new apprentice to a Wizarding School, being introduced to their fellow apprentices and their new teachers and their first quest involves a practical magic lesson and a class trip to an ancient magical excavation side. Instead of a story involving study in a magical college, however, the main College questline involves saving the world, with "studying" at the College itself serving as a number of sidequests involving the various master-level mage trainers.
    • The Thalmor plotline is never resolved, as you don't get to take them down once and for all, nor does there seem to be a sequel that will resolve this anytime soon.
  • Ugly Cute: Your adopted kids may try to take on rabbits or foxes as pets, which is ordinary cute. They might also opt for a mudcrab or a skeever or even a frostbite spider, which falls into this trope since they're tiny and more adorable than their bigger, annoying cousins.
    • The Rieklings from the Dragonborn expansion, particularly those you can befriend in the Thirsk mead hall.
  • The Untwist: While he does an valiant job in hiding it, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Ancano is every bit of the bad guy the rest in Winterhold suspects him to be.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The new engine attempts to solve this issue, with the faces being a vast improvement over previous games although animations are still a bit awkward.
    • The new characters also attempt to carry on their daily duties while glancing at the player if you speak to them. While this is normally fine, sometimes it can break in crowded areas such as a tavern when multiple NPCs think the character is about to start a conversation; as a result, everyone stares at the player every time they look up from what they're doing.
    • Someone made a mod that makes the horses in-game look like they came from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. The results look like someone tried to render a pony realistically.
      • Another attempt to combine the two series, which uses pre-existing 3D models of the characters, also falls into the valley.
    • Adults have very distinct appearances. Children, clothing aside, look like clones. Worse, many of the animations for children weren't properly rigged. When a child NPC does something like sit down on a chair, or uses an Alchemy station, their dimensions will stretch out and make them the same size as the adults.
    • Lack of facial expressions lead to this. Sometimes you get a close up view of an enemy's face making a blank stare while having the crap beat out of them.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Skyrim looks amazing, especially the landscape, which is very rugged and treacherous, and full of forests, mountains, snow and seas to behold. This screenshot contains some amazing Scenery Porn, and is really in-game effects. And for the rest of the game, the characters, weapons and locations are finely detailed.
  • The Woobie:
    • Any of the orphans, but particularly the ones added in Hearthfire, who don't live at the orphanage and are variously required to sleep on the streets, in a stable, in the nearby mine, etc. Even sadder is that you can only adopt two orphans. No Orphanage of Love for you!
    • Karliah. She lost Gallus, the love of her life, to Mercer Frey and has had to go on the run for twenty-five lonely years, with very few people she could trust, after Mercer slandered her name to the rest of the Thieves' Guild and led them to believe that she was the one who murdered the Guildmaster. Not only that, but she has had to live with not only her failure to protect Gallus from Mercer, but her failure to protect the Twilight Sepulcher, her responsibility as a Nightingale, and prevent its defilement by that same bastard, which greatly displeased her goddess Nocturnal. Let's just say Karliah has every reason to despise Mercer, and by the time you finally meet her and have been betrayed by Mercer as well, you will have plenty of reason to share her feelings, even before you find out what Mercer has done to the Guild he was supposed to lead.
    • Knight-Paladin Gelebor. He's the last untainted Snow Elf, with little hope of any others being in Skyrim or the rest of Tamriel. The only other untainted Snow Elf is technically a vampire, and his brother, whom he feels is now too dangerous to be kept alive. May also be a case of Iron Woobie, owing to the fact that he's reasonably composed about the whole thing and somehow manages to remain a Nice Guy.
    • Malborn. His family were killed by the Thalmor, he winds up working at their embassy for years in an attempt to slow them down, and in the end he accomplishes nothing against them, and unless you have lightning reflexes, they kill him, too.
    • Laila Law-Giver. She's fully aware that Riften is a Wretched Hive and wants to clean up the city and protect her people, but she's so incompetent and naive that she has no idea how deep the corruption truly runs, trusting her advisers when they're all in Maven's pocket; and if you side with the Imperials, Maven takes her seat and exiles her from Riften. As foolish as Laila is, she's pitiable for it.
    • Paarthurnax. He did the best he could to atone for his misdeeds by helping the Nords to rise up against the dragons, but in spite of this he's aware that he could give in to his primal instincts and has to isolate himself away from most people. And after that, the Blades still want him dead.
    • Durnehviir made the mistake of conducting a deal with the Ideal Masters for power, dooming himself to an eternity in the Soul Cairn. His greatest desire is to return to the skies of Tamriel, except he's been sealed away for so long that departing the Soul Cairn would kill him. In fact, he teaches you to summon him in the hopes that you can allow him to fly the skies once more, however briefly.
  • Woobie Species:
    • The Falmer once you learn about how they became who they are now. The last untainted Snow Elf reveals that the race was mainly a peaceful race who just simply want to pray to their gods before the Nords came and claimed Skyrim as their ancestral land, simultaneously causing population problems and forcing them out. Most of the Snow Elves allied with the Dwemer out of desperation to avoid extinction, only to be turned into the Falmer (or the Betrayed, as he calls them). The only reason Arch-Curate Vyrthur wasn't turned into a Betrayed is because his chantry was isolated from the rest of the Snow Elves' community underground.
    • Although not to the extent of the Falmer, every other Mer race in this game have it pretty rough. The Dunmer have lost half of Morrowind to the Argonians, and the other half was pretty much destroyed by Red Mountain after the Oblivion Crisis; they have only recently begun to rebuild Morrowind. Orsinium has been destroyed yet again and the Orcs are now scattered across Skyrim and Hammerfell while building another Orsinium. Valenwood has been forcefully annexed into the Aldmeri Dominion and Bosmer are being treated as indentured servants. Even Altmer who are openly against the Thalmor are being hunted down by them, and those who aren't so open are scared of them.
    • Even a few of the human races get into this a bit, thanks to the Thalmor. The Nord way of life is under attack by the Thalmor-directed Empire leading to a bloody war, the Bretons are becoming slaves in all but name to the Thalmor, and the Imperials have been whittled down to a Vestigial Empire under the Thalmor's thumb and are being forced to wage a war they didn't want.
      • One race of men who managed to avert it somewhat are the Redguards. After rejecting the White-Gold Concordant, which would have ceded large parts of Hammerfell to the Thalmor, they fought a war against the Thalmor independent of the empire and managed to win, forcing the Thalmor into a separate treaty. Hammerfell, though now independent, was devastated and exhausted from the fighting.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/TheElderScrollsvSkyrim