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The non-Civil War factions of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. For the full list of characters, click here.


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The Companions

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

    The Companions in General 
  • Anarchy Is Chaos: Averted. They operate without a defined leader, although the Harbinger comes fairly close to one.
  • Animal Motifs: Their uniform carries a very heavy wolf motif, and they refer to new recruits as "whelps" (a common term for baby wolves). Given their predicament, this is ironic.
  • Anti-Hero: They're good people who protect Whiterun and are noble warriors, but several of them are also werewolves, many of whom embrace the gift and indulge it frequently. Some of them are also not that nice, though they warm up as you prove yourself on quests for them.
    • And when it comes down to it, they're really just a group of sellswords and bounty hunters, albeit ones in good standing with the rest of Skyrim.
  • An Axe to Grind: They gather and protect the fragments of Wuuthrad, legendary axe of the first Nord king, Ysgramor. You acquire the reassembled weapon at the end of the questline.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Silver Hand serves as the Companions' primary enemies in their questline.
  • Badass Army: Started out as this: 500 warriors that settled Skyrim against all adversities.
  • Badass Crew: Later downgraded to this. When the game takes place, there's less than a dozen of them, but they're still some of the finest warriors in Skyrim.
  • Boring, but Practical: Their signature Skyforge Steel weapons. Elven-tier note  damage, Steel-tier note  everything else, and this effectively makes it better than both. Eorlund gives you one freebie once you're past your probationary period, and any subsequent pieces he sells aren't all that expensive either. Plus, they gain the improvement benefits of the entry-level Steel Smithing perk in the Smithing tree. Players may hold on to their Skyforge steel for some time.
  • Deal with the Devil: As a result of a pact a previous Harbinger made with Hircine, members of the Companions' inner circle have the ability to transform into werewolves, but in return Hircine will claim ownership of their souls when they die. However, if you manage to cure your lycanthropy, the deal is broken, even if you're cured after your death.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Joining the Companions gets you access to Skyforge Steel weapons, which are Steel weapons with the stats of Elven weapons, meaning that it'll probably be one of the better weapons you can find early-game.
  • Dwindling Party: Non-lethal example, but when you travel with the Circle into Ysgramor's Tomb, not all of them make it to the end. Vilkas backs out in shame of losing control while avenging Kodlak, and Farkas bails halfway due to his fear of Frostbite Spiders.
  • Establishing Character Moment: What's the first thing you see when first entering Jorrvaskr? A spat between two members that devolved into a fistfight by the time you enter. And everyone else just sits back and cheers it on - including Circle members, the de facto leaders of the group.
    • You might also get your first glimpse of them fighting a giant at a farm. You can help them kill it, and they'll gladly talk to you afterwards—Aela will congratulate you if you helped, or criticize you if you didn't.
  • Family of Choice: Most if not all of the members consider the Companions to be their true family.
  • Friendly Neighbor Hood Vampire: The Circle members are all werewolves. However, Vilkas and Farkas will eventually request that you help them cure their lycanthropy. The Dovahkiin can cure themselves too, and since both Skjor and Kodlak are dead by this point, doing so leaves Aela as the only remaining werewolf in the Circle (and, by extension, the entire guild).
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Wuuthrad has the same stats as a Daedric battle-axe, making it one of the most powerful weapons in the game. Its inability to be tempered was actually a bug in the game that was never fixed... until the Unofficial Patch came along. With that, Wuuthrad becomes perhaps the most powerful battleaxe in the game. However, it does not benefit from crafting specialization (not a bug), so in order to bring it to its maximum potential, a player would need to elevate his Smithing skill beyond 100 via enchanted gear or alchemy potions. Thus, the Companions quest-chain is quite profitable for a two-handed warrior character. Add on top of this the fact that its natural bonus damage to elves is not, in fact, counted as an enchantment, and as such it can be enchanted on top of that with a variety of new features, making it extremely effective.
  • Like Brother and Sister: They refer to one another as "Shield-Brother" and "Shield-Sister." Doesn't stop rumors that some of them are sleeping together, or you from marrying one.
  • Meaningful Name: Like the name suggests, completing their quests will eventually give you access to seven potential companions. Most of them are even potential candidates for marriage.
  • Monster Adventurers: Due to having their lycanthropy bestowed on them by the Glenmoril Witches, the Companions can transform at will and have a far better control over their bestial urges when in werewolf form, unlike regular werewolves. Even whilst in human(oid) form, they can make use of the benefits of their beast blood - for example, it renders them impervious to illness. This aids them in protecting the people of Skyrim.
  • Named Weapons: According to the Songs of the Return, 'Wuuthrad' means 'Storm's Tears'.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: They were blessed by Hircine with lycanthropy and it's noted that their gift is different than that of normal were-creatures, since they still mostly keep control of themselves while transformed rather than attacking indiscriminately.
  • Private Military Contractor: What they basically are. However, they have a strict stance on political neutrality and mostly take jobs to deal with criminals (either through violence or intimidation), to kill trespassing dangerous animals in people's homes, or to clear out crypts. Since the two formal military forces in the province are busy bleeding each other in a civil war, this means business is good for the Companions since strong sword-arms are still needed by the populace for some things.
  • Protectorate: They are the avowed protectors of Skyrim, especially Whiterun.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Nords in general are this, but these guys are more or less the epitome and template standard to which other Nords might aspire. They are not as exclusive as some Nords are seen to be, though; the guild has a history of accepting people of other races into their ranks. Currently, this includes Athis (a Dunmer), Ria (an Imperial), and the Dovahkiin (if playing as anything other than a Nord).
    • Further adding to their image as the ultimate Horny Vikings, their ancient mead hall of Jorrvaskr is an upside-down Viking longboat, still bearing the name of that ship amongst the fleet of Ysgramor's Five Hundred Companions.
  • Rated M for Manly: They're a guild of grizzled Vikings who live in a great mead hall to rival Heorot, who value strength and honor above all else, and who never shy away from battle. And don't forget the whole turning into werewolves thing. Even the few ladies among them are manlier than most people you'll encounter.
  • Tribal Facepaint: All the Companions have facial markings, except Torvar and Vignar Gray-Mane.
  • True Companions: As well as being part of their name, it's emphasized that the group is essentially like a family and consider each other brothers/sisters in arms. Of course, there are limits to this, such as the case of Arnbjorn, who was kicked out for presumably being too bloodthirsty for the group.
    • It's worth noting that, if you get in trouble with the guards after joining the Companions, they will drop whatever they're doing and help you fight the guards.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying: Wuuthrad deals bonus damage to elves, though an elven Dragonborn can carry it without any problems.
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    Kodlak Whitemane 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kodlak_4953.JPG
"Glory in battle, honor in life."
Voiced by: Michael Donovan

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


  • Badass Beard: He's a Nord, he leads the Companions, he has the sobriquet "Whitemane". Need we say more?
  • Badass Grandpa: His sobriquet isn't "Whitemane" for nothing...
  • But Now I Must Go: After the Dragonborn and remaining Companions enact the ritual to break his curse and defeat his wolf-spirit, he thanks the Dragonborn, declares them the new Harbinger, and announces that he must go, as he plans to wage battle from Sovngarde with the honored dead heroes against Hircine to free the spirits of other Companions who did not get the option to be freed from their curse.
  • Cool Old Guy: The guy's a badass father to his men.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: After his death and you are declared the new Harbinger, you can find his journal in his room; reading it will reveal that he dreamed that you would aid him in battling the beast spirit and freeing him to go to Sovngarde some time before he actually met you, and that this dream is largely responsible for the trust he had for you.
  • Drop the Hammer: His weapon of choice is a Steel Warhammer.
  • A Father to His Men: His role as Harbinger basically positions him as a father figure to the Companions, dispensing guidance and wisdom on matters of honour. Specifically, however, he's a father figure to the player; he's the only Companion aside from Farkas who starts out warmly receiving you. His journal also sings your praises and he laments that he hasn't had more opportunities to speak with you. And after his death you are told he loved you very much, like a father might.
  • Just the First Citizen: Harbingers aren't supposed to be "leaders" of the Companions, per se, so much as senior councilors. Everyone in the group is free to go their own way, and he chides Vilkas for calling him "master" (right before strongly suggesting there'd be no harm in letting the player join, so his word still has some weight).
  • Meaningful Name: Like most of the rest of the Companions. Derived from 'vulkodlak,' a Balkan word for werewolf/vampire/shapechanger.
  • The Mentor: To the entire guild, and to you in particular.
  • Miles to Go Before I Sleep: He longs for the Nordic afterlife of Sovngarde, but his obligations as Harbinger and his knowledge that werewolves are bound for Hircine's Realm are keeping him from it.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Because Nords are. He's also unhappy his illness is keeping him from battle; according to the strategy guide, he contracted "the rot" about a year prior to the game, and is slowly succumbing to it.
    Kodlak: When you get to be my age, you'll come to miss the smell of blood. Strange, I know.
  • Real Men Love Talos: When sending you off to slaughter the Glenmoril witches to avenge their cursing of the Companions and to help reverse that curse, he gives you a heartfelt "Talos guide you, lad/lass."
  • Undying Loyalty: Even in death. He relishes the fact that with his curse broken, he can now seek to raise arms with the honored dead in Sovngarde to free other long dead Companion souls from Hircine's hunt, and thanks the Dragonborn for doing so.
  • Viking Funeral: Gets killed in the course of the Companions' main quest by the group's mortal enemies, the werewolf-hunting Silver Hand. His funeral pyre is in the fire pit of the Skyforge, attended by a lot of notables from Whiterun, including the current Jarl. His ashes somehow reinvigorate the Skyforge and allow the player to re-craft the Ancient Nord weapons found in dungeons as Nord Hero weapons.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gives you a mild one when he finds out about your and Aela's private crusade against the Silver Hand. He points out that you avenged Skjor's death when you killed Krev the Skinner and that should have been the end of it.

    Aela the Huntress 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/aela_3793.JPG
"I don't know how those cozy lords manage to draw themselves out of bed every day. Why bother if you're not living?"
Voiced by: Claudia Christian

One of the members of the inner Circle of Companions. As a member of the Circle, she's also a werewolf, and is the one that most embraces lycanthropy.


  • Absolute Cleavage: Her default outfit has a split that goes almost to her navel.
  • The Archer: Has high stats in Archery and is an Expert Archery trainer. As such, she tends to favour the bow in combat.
  • Badass Family: Comes from a long line of former Companions - notably, a line of female Companions. She had an Action Mom, who had an Action Mom of her own, and so on all the way back to Ysgramor's Five Hundred.
  • Blood Knight: She's the only member of the Companions who's vocal about wanting to fight in the Civil War. However, she doesn't state a preference for either side; she's just worried that others are stealing honor and glory that belongs to the Companions. She also has a lust for hunting.
    • She'll fight for your side in the Battle for Whiterun if you're married to her, have her as your follower, and side with the Stormcloaks. She's stationed by the Imperial archers and starts taking them out the moment you get to the gate.
  • Cool Big Sis: Certainly has this vibe, especially towards the newer members of the Companions such as Ria and the Dragonborn.
  • Cursed with Awesome: She embraces her lycanthropy and views it as a gift instead of a curse. After the Dragonborn becomes Harbinger, she's the only member of the Circle, besides possibly the Dragonborn, who chooses to keep her lycanthropy, as opposed to Vilkas and Farkas, who decide to purge themselves of the condition the same way Kodlak was. Indeed, Aela's personal quest is all about making the werewolf form stronger by tracking down the Totems of Hircine.
  • Cynical Mentor: She initially believes the Dragonborn needs to earn the right to be one of the Companions.
    • However, once you are a Companion, she accepts your worthiness fully. She agrees to be your "forebear" in the Circle (meaning you drink of her blood to become a werewolf), and after Skjor's death, you are the only one she recruits to participate in her campaign of revenge.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: If she's kidnapped as a Dawnguard radiant quest, when rescued, she'll respond by saying "Thank you for saving me, my love," even if you're not married to her. If you've followed through most of the Silver Hand side of the Companions questlines, it could explain a bit more of their relationship.
  • Fiery Redhead: Easily one of the livelier members of the Companions.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Despite how much she enjoys being a werewolf and her devotion to Hircine, Aela only ever actually changes into her werewolf form once, during the scripted event where she acts as the Dragonborn's forebear. Unless you use certain mods, there's no way to make her actually be a werewolf as a companion.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: If the Dovahkiin chooses to marry her.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Starts out arrogant and condescending (especially if you're not much help against the Giant if that's where you first encounter her), but she steadily warms up to you as you rise through the ranks.
  • Knife Nut: Wears a dagger and, according to ambient dialogue between Ria and Vilkas, favors them over swords.
  • May–December Romance: Subverted. There's a rumor going around that she's involved with Skjor, but while they are very close, she states that it is untrue. Their actual reason for heading out alone together at night is to hunt in werewolf form.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Her outfit reveals a lot of skin.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Aela ropes the Dragonborn into assisting with her Roaring Rampage of Revenge after Skjor's death, which leads to the Silver Hand retaliating, which in turn leads to Kodlak being killed when they attack Jorrvaskr.
  • Older Is Better: Apparently believes this, since she wears Ancient Nord Armour as her default outfit.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Being both a huntress and an enthusiastic werewolf, it's unsurprising that Aela seems to gravitate to the worship of Hircine, Daedric Prince of the Hunt, and the Father of Manbeasts. Aela's post-Harbinger personal quest involves her and the Dragonborn hunting down three special Totems of Hircine that enhance the abilities of a werewolf, specifically, its howl. Once a single totem is recovered, Aela will spend much of her time praying to it if she's not the Dragonborn's companion, or spouse (and living away from Jorrvaskr). Kodlak's journal mentions that when he first broached the possibility of the Circle ridding themselves of their beast blood so they might know Sovngarde after death instead of being claimed by Hircine for his Hunting Grounds, Aela apparently implied she'd prefer the Hunting Grounds to Sovngarde as her afterlife of choice.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After the Silver Hand kills Skjor, she enlists the Dovahkiin's help in taking the fight to them.
  • Sideboob: Owing to her outfit.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Her armor shows a lot of her back as well, with only straps and clear lack of a bra.
  • Stripperific: If the two above tropes don't clue you in...
  • Undying Loyalty: Even if she disagrees with Kodlak about certain matters, she respects his wishes. Any time she challenges him, or mocks him for trying to find a cure to their werewolf curse, she then immediately turns around, realizes what an ass she sounds like for saying such things and apologizes, before clarifying that Kodlak should be free to pursue the afterlife he wishes, but that she prefers the thrill of the hunt in the here and now. She's also the only one who sticks with the Dragonborn all the way through the final major quest for the Companions, to free Kodlak's spirit, long after Vilkas and Farkas have tagged out and chosen to hang back at the entrance to Ysgramor's Tomb
    • Applies to the Dragonborn after they become the new Harbinger as well. Regardless of the Dragonborn's stance on the curse, she accepts them as the new Harbinger, and becomes marriageable.

    Farkas 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/farkas_4697.JPG
"I've never been a smart one. But the Companions welcome anyone with the heart of a warrior."
Voiced by: Michael "Popeye" Vogelsang

A strong, simple man. Twin brother of Vilkas.


  • Adorkable: He's identified as this by many players. It's one of the reasons he's very popular as both a follower and a marriage option.
  • Badass Baritone: Has quite the deep voice, and can hold his own in a fight, being a Companion and all.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Quite possibly the nicest of the Companions, but pose as a threat to him or his shield-brethren, and he will tear you a new one.
  • BFS: His default weapon. However, his skills make him better with one-handed.
  • Buffy Speak: In fitting with his Dumb Muscle image, he's not terribly articulate, such as calling Frostbite Spiders "the big crawly ones" and referring to the Silver Hand as "bad people who don't like werewolves". After the Dragonborn becomes the next Harbinger, he refers to you as "The New Kodlak". (However, if the Dragonborn marries him, he stops using this particular terminology, as it gets replaced by the more affectionate spouse dialogue.) However, he becomes quite verbose when swearing you in as a Companion; whether he actually has a bigger vocabulary than he lets on or if he just memorized the words, it indicates that he's smarter than he lets on, backed by his maxed-out Speech stat.
  • Chew Toy: To Aela and Skjor.
  • Dumb Is Good: Although not very smart, he's the nicest and friendliest Companion, aside from Kodlak. This is especially true when you compare him to his brother Vilkas, who is more clever and knowledgeable, but rather abrasive most of the time.
  • Dumb Muscle: He's aware he is, though it doesn't faze him much. He's not quite as dumb as everyone (including him) would have you believe, though; see Hidden Depths, below.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Likely the first time you see him is when Aela and Skjor, who have been giving you a bit of a frosty welcome, summon him to show the new recruit to their sleeping quarters. Aela calls him "ice brain," but he shrugs it off as friendly teasing and offers the Dovahkiin some reassurance, adding, "I hope we keep you."
  • Five-Finger Discount: Believe it or not, he has the highest pickpocket stat of any potential follower.
  • Follower-in-Law: Can become this if the Dragonborn marries Vilkas.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Has gained a little fandom notoriety for his completely misallocated statpoints that absolutely don't fit with his image or even his ambient conversations, mostly due to the fact that his class isn't Warrior as is the case with most of the other companions, but 'Blacksmith':
    • Despite constantly proclaiming the superiority of large swords over smaller ones he's much more proficient with one-handed weapons than with two-handed ones.
    • Despite wearing a full suit of heavy steel armor and being the Master trainer for Heavy Armor he has an abysmal Heavy Armor stat (and is, in fact, slightly better with Light armor).
    • Despite saying himself that his brother is better at talking than him and Eorlund remarking that none of the Companions know how to operate the Skyforge he has extremely high Speech and Smithing stats; he also has extremely high Sneak and Pickpocket stats that aren't even remotely hinted at in-game.
  • Gentle Giant: A bear of a man, but he's also one of the friendliest Companions, and one of the friendliest NPCs the Dovahkiin encounters in the entire game. He's quick to accept you into the group (especially compared to his brother, who isn't convinced you're good enough) and is in fact the only Companion, apart from Kodlak, to be nice to you from your first meeting.
  • Guttural Growler: Most of the time. If the Dragonborn marries him, however, he adopts a softer, sweeter tone when speaking to his beloved. It's actually quite amusing to have him along as a follower after the marriage, because he alternates between the honey talk and the guttural growling.
  • Hidden Depths: Everyone, including Farkas himself, talks about how dumb the man is, but there's implied evidence against this if you examine his skills. Although you can't make use of either talent, he's been trained as a blacksmith and actually has a maxed-out Speech level of 100. He's also the Master trainer for the Heavy Armor skill, and the placement of a lute in his Jorrvaskr bedroom suggests that he's musically inclined.
  • Hunk: He's got most of the physical attributes of the trope, particularly the build.
  • Informed Flaw: He's supposedly become terrified of Frostbite Spiders after your first mission with him and can't make it through Ysgramor's tomb because of it, but after that one quest, it's never brought up again and he has no problem fighting them.
    • However, should you return to the tomb later and help Farkas cure his lycanthropy, he mentions that he was too ashamed to enter the tomb the last time he was there, but now he wanted to take some time to explore it, indicating that he might have been lying about fearing spiders the entire time.
  • Made of Iron: All of the Companions are flagged as essential until the end of the guild's questline, but Farkas for some reason retains the essential flag. His inability to be killed makes him a popular choice for follower.
  • Meaningful Name: Hungarian for "wolf".
  • Mr. Fanservice: Has his share of fangirls among the community.
  • Nice Guy: One of the friendliest Companions, and among the few to give you a warm welcome after joining. Similarly, the first thing he says to the Dragonborn after they witness him transforming into a werewolf and proceeding to slaughter his way through the Silver Hand mercenaries is indicative of his kind nature.
    Farkas: I hope I didn't scare you.
  • Noodle Incident: Aela mentions that his first transformation gave them a lot of trouble, something only topped when the Dragonborn's first transformation ended with them running through the streets of Whiterun.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: He and Vilkas were brought to Jorrvaskr as young children by Jergen, a member of the Companions. They have no memory of their mother, and aren't entirely certain whether or not Jergen was actually their father, but he more or less filled that role until he left to fight in the Great War, from which he never returned.
  • Perma-Stubble: He doesn't have a full beard like many Nords, but neither is he ever clean-shaven.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: He's the stronger of the twins, even regarding his lycanthropy; he can withstand the bloody urges of his bestial nature better than his brother.
  • The Quiet One: When taken along as a follower, his remarks on your surroundings are few and far between, and usually rather short and to the point.
    Farkas: That's... that's... wow.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Compared to his brother, he appears to be the red, but he's actually the blue.
  • Stone Wall: Although he may appear to be a Mighty Glacier, he is actually this; his weapons skills are not that impressive, with his one-handed being average and his two-handed being actually somewhat low. On the other hand, he is - as noted above - the Master trainer for the Heavy Armor skill and the only Companion who remains flagged as essential after the guild's questline is complete, making him a wonderful meat shield.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Both Farkas and Vilkas mean the same thing, although in different languages.
  • Walking the Earth: In a different vein from Vilkas. According to the Elder Scrolls wiki, Farkas can, for no explained reason, wander into and out of the orc strongholds with perfect impunity. He has no reason to be there; he just opens the gate and strolls through the hold. The orcs don't mind.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: His above fear of spiders; if he could just get past the psychological block he has regarding them, he can obviously tear them up (as seen in the above-referenced first mission together). In fact, he never mentions this Weaksauce Weakness again after it forms that small plot point, and if you bring him along as a follower, he will attack the spiders without complaint. If you cure his lycanthropy, he admits that the real reason he stayed behind was out of shame over not being a "true" Nord due to his werewolf curse, and now that he's free of it, he's quite eager to see the tomb for himself.
  • Why Does It Have To Be Spiders?: He becomes afraid of frostbite spiders after your first mission together, to the point that he doesn't accompany you into the spider-nest at Ysgramor's Tomb during "Glory of the Dead". Later turns out to be a subversion: during "Purity" he mentions that it was shame that kept him from accompanying you any further into the tomb.

    Vilkas 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/vilkas_8800.JPG
" There's been a group called the Companions for over 4000 years. It's been many different things in that time. A conquering army. Ruthless mercenaries. A band of drunken louts. And the esteemed company you see before you. But there's always been a kind of honor to it."
Voiced by: Michael Gough

Twin brother to Farkas, a more contemplative, thoughtful and (paradoxically) hot-blooded counterpart to his twin.


  • The Berserker: Doesn't look like it at first, but when Kodlak is killed by the Silver Hand, you'll witness it for the first time. Kodlak's journal also indicates as much. He's also the Master trainer for Two-Handed weapons, the buffing potions of which are tagged as "of the Berserker."
  • BFS: His default weapon, like his brother. He's the Master trainer for the Two-Handed Weapon skill. He's also seen lecturing other Companions on the finer points of two-handed weapons.
  • Cynical Mentor: Unlike his brother, he doesn't think you're Companion material, and says as much outright to Kodlak when you first join. However, if you perform especially well against him (i.e., deal a lot of damage), he compliments your combat prowess greatly. And at the end of the Companions questline, he accepts you as Harbinger, with the knowledge that you're an especially good fighter.
    • During your proving fight, he'll restart the bout if you use an enchanted blade, mocking you for resorting to magic.
  • Follower-in-Law: Can become this if the Dragonborn marries Farkas.
  • Genius Bruiser: He's said to have the intellect of Ysgramor.
  • Heroic BSoD: After his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, he realizes that it isn't what Kodlak would have wanted, and is so overwhelmed by his guilt and sadness that he can't follow the Dragonborn, Farkas, and Aela into Ysgramor's tomb.
  • Hunk: Like his brother, he has many of the attributes.
  • Insufferable Genius: Has shades of this. It goes away when the Dragonborn becomes Harbinger.
    Vilkas: I know our history almost as well as Vignar by now. Except I can remember it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: A bit rough around the edges, but he's a good man at the end of the day. If you marry him, he actually turns out to be one of the more affectionate male options. He also loves his brother and will say as much if you ask him about something Farkas says to you.
  • The Lancer: For you should you join the Companions.
  • Meaningful Name: Lithuanian for "wolf". Also Finnish & Hungarian for "lively", ironically.
  • The Mentor: Not to you, but to Ria. Ambient dialogue has her frequently conferring with him about her training.
  • Number Two: He seems to become your second-in-command when you become Harbinger, since your other responsibilities don't let you stay in Jorrvaskr on any sort of permanent basis.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: He and Farkas were brought to Jorrvaskr as young children by Jergen, a member of the Companions. They have no memory of their mother, and aren't entirely certain whether or not Jergen was actually their father, but he more or less filled that role until he left to fight in the Great War, from which he never returned.
  • Perma-Stubble: He hasn't grown it out enough to have a beard per se, but it's quite noticeable.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: The smarter of the twins, he's more prone to and fearful of succumbing to the more savage urges of lycanthropy.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: He initially appears to be the blue in contrast to his brother, but he's actually the red.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Kodlak is killed by the Silver Hand, he and the Dragonborn set off to their encampment, both to recover the guild's stolen artifacts and to completely wipe out the Silver Hand.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Both Farkas and Vilkas mean the same thing, although in different languages.
  • Walking the Earth: He seems to do a lot of this. Once the Companions questline is completed, it's quite common to find him wandering around Skyrim on various errands, often accompanied by one of the "whelps."

    Skjor 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/skjor_3617.JPG
"I would trust anyone here with my life, which is more than I'd say for the milk-drinkers who raised me."
Voiced by: Brandon Ellison

One of the members of the inner Circle of Companions.


  • All There in the Manual: The official strategy guide lists him with the full title "Skjor the Scarred".
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Not seen, but apparently he and Kodlak once defeated 101 orc berserkers in battle together, according to Ria. He claims it was more like 40, though it's still a good achievement.
  • Bald of Awesome: The guy has one shiny head.
  • Blood Brothers: He's stood side by side in battle with every member of the Companions, and trusts each of them with his life, which is more than he can say about the family that raised him. As he puts it, "The bonds of sweat are stronger than those of blood."
  • Cursed with Awesome: Like Aela, he embraces his lycanthropy despite Kodlak's concerns, and is looking forward to spending an eternity in Hircine's Hunting Grounds.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Kind of inevitable if you run into enemy territory, heavily outnumbered.
  • Handicapped Badass: He's blind in one eye.
  • Innocent Bigot: He once assured Athis, the only elf in the Companions, that his race wasn't an issue because "even an elf can be born with the heart of a Nord". Athis is clearly well aware of the mildly racist connotations of this, but claims that he knows it was meant to be a compliment and so elected to take it as one. The aforementioned compliment is in fact the same line that was uttered in the first era by a dying Harbinger who named an elf, Henantier, as his successor. Henantier became known as the first Elven Harbinger.
  • Jerkass: He'll constantly deride your accomplishments even when you've been inducted - at his invitation - into the Inner Circle of Companions.
    Skjor: You still need to prove yourself, whelp.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: However, when he leads you to the Underforge, he says he's glad you've joined them, that the Companions have rarely had such a fierce warrior amongst them, and that you are due more honor for your valor than simple feasting.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: He dies after charging into a Silver Hand encampment and getting in over his head.
  • Meaningful Name: Skjor is Norwegian for 'fragile'. Guess how long he lasts in this quest chain.
  • Number Two: Through ambient conversations with Kodlak it becomes clear that he is not only the Companion with the second-most authority, but that Kodlak is in fact grooming him to become his successor as Harbinger. Unsurprisingly, his death leads promptly to a Succession Crisis.
  • Undying Loyalty: The strategy guide notes that he's the Companion with the greatest sense of duty and honor, and that he doesn't really have any ambitions other than to be a steadfast friend to those who have earned his loyalty.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Due to an amusing bug, he may eventually reappear alive and well in Jorrvaskr.
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    Njada Stonearm 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/njada_7756.JPG
"Fight well, don't be a lout, and you'll be fine. You don't need my help."
Voiced by: April Stewart

  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She becomes much nicer toward you once you complete the questline, even going so far as to be a marriage option.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While not every Companion is thrilled about you joining their ranks, Njada is the only one that's openly hostile, and nearly everything she says to you is some sort of insult. If you listen in on the ambient conversations, though, she's almost always respectful towards members of the Circle, and that extends to you after you become Harbinger... mostly.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Favors a sword and shield combo, and trains in the Block skill.
    Skjor: I'm imagining you just standing your ground and letting them tire themselves out.
    Njada: I'm telling you, it works. Let them ring their own ears on my shield, then scoop them up off the ground.
  • Meaningful Name: "Stonearm." She's a trainer for the Block skill.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Apparently, she and Athis just don't like each other. When you first enter Jorrvaskr, they start to brawl and she ends up beating the hell out of him. By the comments made by some of the other Companions who are watching, this is a fairly regular occurrence.
  • Tsundere: Type A. Her usual reactions to you aren't all that friendly, but every now and then you can spot the nice. This is especially true if you marry her, in which case pretty much all the jerk in her dissolves - for you, at least. She is also always respectful of you once you become Harbinger.

    Ria 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ria_59.JPG
"This group... this family... this band... this is the best thing I've ever been a part of."
Voiced by: Colleen Delaney

The newest member of the Companions, before the Dragonborn comes along.


  • Naïve Newcomer: Also a Wide-Eyed Idealist. She has quite an idealistic view about the Companions, mostly because she grew up hearing legendary tales about them. She's also the newest member of the group (other than you).
  • Plucky Girl: She doesn't have a whole lot of experience, and is one of the only Companions who can't train you in anything, but she's determined to be part of what's going on around her.
  • Token Minority: The only Imperial in the group, unless the Dovahkiin is one.

    Athis 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/athis_9618.JPG
"Fortune and glory, friend. Fortune and glory."
Voiced by: Keith Szarabajka

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


  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Fairly subtle about it, but when discussing weapon preferences with Torvar, he claims that with his One-Handed weapon, he could strike the Nord several times before he finished his swing.
  • Fragile Speedster: Favors this fighting style. He's notably the only Companion who gets incapacitated during the Silver Hand attack.
  • Glory Seeker: The reason why he joined up, as detailed in his quote above.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite being a bit of an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy, he chides Torvar for thinking the Circle is lording above them, because young warriors should listen to the older ones, because they lived.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he can be quite passive-aggressive, even to the Dragonborn after they become Harbinger, he's a loyal Companion at the end of the day and never voices any real complaints.
  • Knife Nut: Prefers shortblades. Gets into arguments with other Companions over their effectiveness.
  • Stealth Insult: One of his default remarks when you are near him is how he hadn't expected the Companions to accept him, but now it seems "they'll let anyone in these days."
  • Those Two Guys: He and Torvar are rarely seen apart.
  • Token Minority: The only elf currently in the group, unless the Dovahkiin is one. In a bit of irony, the Companions were founded by Ysgramor to fight elves. Athis being a Companion isn't without precedent, however, as there have been Elven members before and some of them even became Harbingers.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: Getting into a conversation with him will reveal that Athis was once assured by Skjor that his being an elf wasn't an issue - not because all races are equal, but because "anyone can be born with the heart of a Nord". Thankfully, Athis seems more amused by this comment than anything.

    Torvar 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/torvar_2791.JPG
"...when I'm in trouble, I always have someone on my side. We have Shield-Siblings to keep our backs as dangerous as our fronts. I think."
Voiced by: William Salyers

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


  • Properly Paranoid: The strategy guide claims that he's not taking well to the training and is becoming increasingly weary and anxious, because he's afraid of dying in battle. Considering what happens to Skjor and Kodlak during the questline, you can't blame him.
  • The Slacker: Conversations show that Torvar hates training and would rather just fight, only to be told by Farkas that fighting isn't enough.
  • Those Two Guys: Almost always seen in the company of Athis.

    Vignar Gray-Mane 
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    Brill 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/brill_215.png
"I'd be dead if not for Vignar."
Voiced by: Thor Edgell

A Nord who dwells within Jorrvaskr, but is not actually a member of the Companions. He lives there because he feels he owes a life debt to Vignar Gray-Mane.


  • The Alcoholic: He was this when Vignar found him, helped him clean up, and got him a job.
  • I Owe You My Life: How he feels about Vignar.
  • Number Two: If the Stormcloaks win the Civil War, Vignar becomes Jarl of Whiterun, and Brill becomes his steward. (If he is killed prior, however, Proventus Avenicci keeps the job.)
  • Undying Loyalty: To Vignar.

    Tilma the Haggard 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tilma_4252.JPG
"Oh, I'm just a servant, dear. You'll want one of the Companions, I'm sure."
Voiced by: Alice Hirson

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


  • Cool Old Lady: Quite old - the Companions can be heard to joke that they built the mead hall around her - and quite respected and trusted.
  • Maid: She keeps Jorrvaskr clean.
  • Parental Substitute: Said to be the closest thing Vilkas and Farkas have ever had to a mother.
  • Secret Keeper: "I see everything, hear everything, and know everything." Meaning she knows the Circle are werewolves.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Unlike the other residents of Jorrvaskr, it's impossible to have any dialogue with her.

    Eorlund Gray-Mane 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/eorlund_3008.JPG
"And dragons were once a myth, and elves ruled over all of Skyrim. Just because something is, doesn't mean it must be."
Voiced by: Paul Ganus

The master blacksmith who works the legendary Skyforge, which is capable of creating steel of exquisite quality. Like Tilma and unlike his brother Vignar, he's not an actual member, but a supporter.


  • Always Someone Better: A few other smiths throughout Skyrim will note that they've heard that Eorlund is the greatest blacksmith in the land, and they intend to challenge that title with their own work. By contrast, the other Whiterun smith, Adrianne Avenicci, says she has no intention to try and outdo him; she just asks a fair price for her own modest work.
    • On the other hand, Oengul War-Anvil offers the theory that Eorlund's legendary skill is actually the work of the Skyforge itself and could be replicated by anyone working the forge. Of course, as a rival blacksmith, Oengul is obviously somewhat biased.
    • Eorlund actually is the best smith in Skyrim (he's the only one with the ability to train the Dragonborn to 90), although there is one master smith who can match him - Gunmar, who smiths for the Dawnguard. Gunmar doesn't have access to the Skyforge, though.
  • Badass Beard: To go with his long gray hair.
  • Badass Grandpa: Eorlund won't hesitate to help you take out a dragon if it attacks, and he'll even fight the city guards if they're after you.
  • The Blacksmith: Considered by most to be the finest in Skyrim, and by some to be the finest in Tamriel. As noted above, at least one of his competitors mentions that while Eorlund is exceptionally skilled, working the Skyforge gives him an unfair advantage. Aside from weapons, he also does some work as a jeweler, with his wife selling various necklaces made by him.
  • Cool Old Guy: Offers the player advice on how to handle themselves in the Companions, telling them not do whatever they're told just because they're the new meat.
    • Irony: He then asks you to do a small favor for him. You have the option to point out the irony. He'll immediately rebuke you, pointing out that he didn't order you to help him and is only asking as a favor to an old man. You have to do the favor either way.
  • Happily Married: It's not overly apparent, but he really is. The Skyforge is closed every night so Eorlund can go home to his wife, Fralia, the mother of his three children. Fralia sells Eorlund's crafts by day as a merchant in Whiterun's marketplace. If you speak to her and ask who is the best smith in Skyrim, she will proudly inform you that it's her husband.
  • Hates Small Talk: Judging by his grouchiness when you attempt to engage him in conversation, it's rather clear he'd prefer to continue working the forge in peace rather than engage in idle chit-chat with people. When you finally ask to buy something from his store:
    Eorlund: Gods be praised.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Can come off as a bit of a jerk at times when responding to questions he finds obvious. Though when that's said and done, he encourages the player to be independent if they can, and appears to genuinely care for the other Companions, even leading Kodlak's funeral and saying some kind words. He also insists that you're the one worthy of carrying Wuuthrad.
  • Not So Different: He points this out about the Stormcloaks and Imperials, saying that both sides presume to think that they can tell people how to live their lives. However, he'd rather hear it from a real Nord than some Emperor who doesn't know anything about him.
  • Secret Keeper: Like Tilma, he's entirely aware that many of the Companions are werewolves.
  • Sixth Ranger: While not an official member of Companions, Eorlund nonetheless serves as their resident Ultimate Blacksmith and is heavily entrusted to carry out matters relating to the guild, such as the reforging of Wuuthrad.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: He fashions a weapon made of Skyforge steel (Elven-tier damage, Steel-tier everything else) of your choosing when you are accepted into the Companions. After Kodlak's funeral, he reforges Wuuthrad, the fabled axe of Ysgramor, founder of the Companions. He's also the Master Smithing trainer.
    • Also runs the Ultimate Forge, the Skyforge — something about that forge just makes the coals burn hotter and the steel forged in it stronger, which is why the steel Skyforge weapons are just as good as Elven weapons (three tiers higher in quality). After the final Companions quest, the Skyforge can forge a unique set of equipment and weapons, with Eorlund stating his belief that Kodlak's ashes have somehow revitalised the Skyforge.

The College of Winterhold

The only major facility in all of Skyrim where significant amounts of magical study and practice occur. It used to be a major center of study, but hard times since the Fourth Era started have led to a drop in student body size.

    The College in General 
  • Ambiguously Evil: The faculty come across as this, at least in regards to how they operate the College. While they will throw people out for going too far, as long as students don't kill anyone in pursuit of magical experimentation or can provide at least a reasonable explanation for what they are doing, the faculty are willing to look the other way.
  • Anti-Hero: For the most part they're decent enough folk, some more than others. Still, they excavate Nord burial sites without regard for disturbing the dead, and they fully tolerate necromancy and daedra summoning, so long as it doesn't intentionally kill another member of the college. They're also willing to look the other way if you conduct unsavory experiments, as long as you're careful not to get the locals riled up. On the other hand, they will also be very quick to send mages down to Winterhold to deal with the out-of-control anomalies spawned by Ancano's attempt to destroy the world.
  • For Science!: Only Tolfdir has any actual desire to teach. Most of the rest of the faculty seems too wrapped up in their research.
  • Heroic Neutral: While they will move quickly to defend Winterhold and act against Ancano's plot, for the most part, the College just want to be left alone to do their research, to the point that they refuse to acknowledge communications from the Synod and College of Whispers in Cyrodiil because they know that doing so will just be used by either side for political gain.
  • High Turnover Rate: So high in fact that you can find almost as many mages in the game that were formerly members of the college as such that currently are.
  • Hostile Weather: The area is so prone to blizzards that you might find yourself using that "Clear Skies" shout after a while.
  • Mage Tower: While the College was not built as one, it has been left with this appearance due to the collapse of most of Winterhold into the Sea of Ghosts, leaving it perched precariously on top of a large rock formation.
  • Magical Library: Many visitors come to Winterhold to visit the College's Library, containing some of the oldest documents and records in Skyrim.
  • Noodle Incident: Phinis Gestor's lecture on College policy is filled with these, including:
    • Warning students to not enter the Midden even though "the outbreak" was contained, as the area is still hazardous.note 
    • That once again they need to stop summoning Atronachs so close to Winterhold.
    • That some students have been using invisibility to play pranks in Winterhold, and no one has seen any sign of the perpetrators.
    • That "While Drevis appreciates the spellcasting skill that went into somehow cramming several hundred apples into his pillow... He would ask that it please not happen again."
  • Nord Mages Get No Respect: Magic is stigmatised in Skyrim, and while it's never confirmed or denied, there's a widely held belief that it was some magical experiment at the College that's to blame for Winterhold collapsing into the sea. Many people are also heard to criticize the mages for, if not actively causing it, failing to use their magic to prevent the collapse.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Apparently, students getting killed by mishaps isn't exactly unusual. And they have an entire underworks beneath the College filled with more than a few things of a dangerous nature... all in the hands of a blithe student.
    • Simply entering the College requires crossing a crumbling stone bridge, which is suspended haphazardly a hundred feet above the ocean below, covered in snow and ice, and frequently battered by gale-force winds. The bridge itself appears to have been damaged in the Great Collapse, suggesting that either no one has bothered (or been able) to fix it in over eighty years or that magic is the only thing keeping it still standing.
  • Only Shop in Town: While there are other sources, most of Winterhold's economy comes from travelers heading to the College.
  • Wizarding School: Naturally.

    Savos Aren 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/savos_1622.JPG
"What you learn here will last you a lifetime. Several, if you're talented."

The Archmage (leader) of the College of Winterhold.

  • The Archmage: His position at the College.
  • Badass Beard: He's one of the few Dunmer to grow one.
  • Break the Cutie: Savos was initially very eager and energetic to explore the Labyrinthian; by the end, not so much.
  • Dark Secret: When he was a young mage, he and several other students of the College ventured into Labyrinthian seeking the Staff of Magnus. They found it... in the hands of an ancient, powerful, undead Dragon Priest named Morokei, whom they awakened with their presence. Savos ended up having to sacrifice his two surviving colleagues - the others having died along the way - to keep Morokei down there, before escaping the dungeon empty-handed and alone. When the Dovahkiin follows in his footsteps, Morokei first assumes they must be Savos. No one at the College seems to know that Savos ever did such a thing.
  • Killed Off for Real: Killed when Ancano starts harnessing the power of the Eye of Magnus. He's hit so hard, he's blown out of the Chamber of Elements and into the courtyard.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: His policy toward the Augur of Dunlain.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: He continues the trend of groups that the Dragonborn joins abruptly losing their leaders.
  • My Greatest Failure: Despite the player never hearing him talk about it in life, it's clear through flashback scenes in Labyrinthian that he views his past ill-fated expedition there as this. He got his fellow students to accompany him to what turned out to be a dangerous crypt, egged his fellow students to press onward despite being part of a Dwindling Party, and ended up having to sacrifice the last two to keep Morokei sealed away. He is left as a very distraught sole survivor. It can be inferred, though it's never outright confirmed, that a potential reason for his observed lackadaisical approach in running the college is because he doesn't view himself as worthy enough of the position, on account of how he helped lead several fellow mages to their deaths. Additionally, in hidden dialogue within the game files, he explicitly refers to the entire incident using the trope name.
  • Take Up My Sword: Left instructions that in the event of his death, Mirabelle should pass on the Torc of Labyrinthian when the time was right. It seems that, after his initial attempts to dissuade the Dragonborn from their goal of finding the Staff of Magnus failed, he decided to subtly prepare the Dragonborn to finish what he started long ago.

    Mirabelle Ervine 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mirabelle_3157.JPG
"Please don't bother the Arch-Mage unless it's absolutely necessary."
Voiced by: Mozhan Marnò

She's the Master Wizard - second-highest-ranking member - of the College of Winterhold.


  • Heroic Sacrifice: Faces Ancano alone, knowing it'll result in her death, in order to give her colleagues time to escape.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: A lot more active in the administration of the College than Savos.
  • Killed Offscreen: After she sends you to Labyrinthian to retrieve the Staff of Magnus, Mirabelle dies protecting her colleagues from Ancano.
  • Number Two: Second-in-command at the College of Winterhold.
  • Only Sane Man: Like Tolfdir, she's one of the few mages in the College that are down-to-earth and care to run the place strictly and efficiently. At least, she tries.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Mirabelle is much more willing to listen to you and give advice during the main quest for the College than Savos, even if she remains somewhat skeptical on the whole business surrounding the Eye of Magnus and the Staff of Magnus.
  • Stern Teacher: Though not unreasonable.

    Tolfdir 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tolfdir_6499.JPG
"It's always encouraging to see the younger generations embracing education."
Voiced by: George Coe

The Alteration specialist in the college's faculty.


  • Absent-Minded Professor: He tends to lose his alembic a lot. The Dovahkiin gets a very small gold reward and a Soul Gem for returning it to him, but it's really just a tip on top of the warm fuzzy feeling.
  • Badass Grandpa: He's an old man who isn't afraid to torch the opposition with fire spells.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: A mild-mannered mage, until he takes out the fire...
  • Cool Old Guy: Quite possibly the nicest member of the Winterhold faculty.
  • Cool Teacher: He's the only member of the faculty still concerned with teaching.
  • Cultural Rebel: Judging by his name and appearance, he's a Nord, and as as one of the senior mages of the College, he obviously doesn't care about the Nords' usual bias against magic.
  • Dissonant Serenity: In Saarthal, he'll marvel at the Nordic architecture while torching Draugr left and right.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Even after becoming Arch-Mage, there's nothing you can actually do to control or influence the operations of the college, and you still have to answer to him if you break the rules, so he's effectively the one in charge once the questline is finished.
  • Nice Guy: He's nothing but kind, respectful, and caring, especially toward his students.
  • Number Two: He takes over as Master Wizard, replacing Mirabelle, once you become Archmage.
  • Only Sane Man: Believes caution must be used when practising magic, unlike the more laissez-faire attitude of his colleagues.
  • Playing with Fire: When he decides to get dangerous.
  • Reality Warper: His field of expertise, Alteration magic, is a low-impact form of this (according to texts like Reality and Other Falsehoods).
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He evidently cares about the well-being of his students and the college. It's only appropriate that he replaces Mirabelle as Master Wizard.
  • Wizard Beard: He's a Nord and a wizard, so this shouldn't be surprising.

    J'Zargo 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jzargo_1325.JPG
"Khajiit are not known as mages, so J'zargo has much to prove."
Voiced by: André Sogliuzzo

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


  • Anti-Hero: Pragmatic Anti-Hero.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: J'Zargo is sizing up his classmates as potential rivals when you first meet him. Your first potential dialogue with him consists of basic pleasantries before he asks if you've mastered Expert-level Destruction yet. Which leads into...
  • Break the Haughty: If you have mastered Expert Destruction (i.e. taken the perk) when he springs the question on you, he'll be rather taken aback, clearly not expecting an affirmative answer. He'll sound disheartened for a moment before quickly bouncing back to admit that he has much to learn, and happy that there is some actual competition.
  • Five-Finger Discount: He seeks anything that will help him become a better mage. Preferably things that are small enough to fit in pockets and will not be missed.
  • Genius Ditz: If it doesn't involve magically induced carnage, he doesn't have an opinion on it.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: His kung-fu arrogance appears mostly in jest, and he warms up after you earn his friendship.
  • Insufferable Genius: He's skilled and competent, sure, but also feels the need of being a walking billboard about it.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: He has decent stats in several areas, along with mastery of others, which helps him avoid being a Master of None.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Like almost everybody else at the college, he doesn't actually carry any weapons, so if he ever runs out of Magicka (almost impossible at higher levels) he'll start going to town with his bare hands. Unlike his colleagues, though, he's a Khajiit and gets the full benefit of his claws.
  • Magic Knight: Skilled in heavy armor and one-handed weapons, he can take damage as well as he can dish it out.
  • Master of Illusion: The highest Illusion stat of any follower in the game.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Despite having arguably the most developed and distinct character out of your classmates in the College, he's the only one of the three that isn't a marriage option due to him being a Khajiit.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: It's impossible to tell if he's an impulsive idiot, or cleverly exploiting the reputation Khajiit have for being a bit dim.
  • Playing with Fire: His quest involves testing out some flame cloak spells he devised, on undead. Spells that take off a significant chunk of the user's health in the process, by way of explosion.
    J'Zargo: Did you try them? Were they magnificent?
    Dovahkiin: Were they supposed to explode? Because they exploded.
  • The Rival: To everyone he meets.
  • Shock and Awe: Lightining spells are his primary offense in battle.
  • Squishy Wizard: Averted strongly. Heavy Armor is one of his best skills.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: His entire reason for being, so far as he's concerned.
  • Third-Person Person: A common trait with Khajiit. J'Zargo sure likes to speak about J'Zargo whenever J'Zargo has the opportunity.
    • Special mention should go to one of his "Follow" responses, where he talks about his race in third person.
    J'Zargo: Khajiit will follow.
    • Averted if you make him a Blade; the stock Blade responses override the Khajiit ones.
  • To Be a Master: J'Zargo wants to become the best in the world at destruction magic.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Once you earn his friendship.
  • Worthy Opponent: Sees the Dragonborn as one, particularly if they become Archmage.
    J'zargo: J'zargo had expected to be named Archmage... but there is still time.

    Brelyna Maryon 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/brelyna_2707.JPG
Voiced by: Corri English

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


  • Adorkable: Between her friendly nature, occasional mishaps, profuse apologies for same, and how enthusiastic she gets whenever you take her to one of the eleven million awesome places in Skyrim, Brelyna can easily come across this way. Especially in a romance.
    • Additionally, as a follower, anytime she is dismissed, she always remembers to make sure you're safe without her help before leaving.
  • Badass Bookworm: She's both bookish and a powerful mage, though she's somewhat nervous about using her abilities.
  • Baleful Polymorph: See below.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: When you offer to be her test subject for spells, she'll first turn you green (you'll see everything through a green filter, too). You have to wait for it to wear off. In her next experiment, she accidentally turns you into a cow. And then a horse. And a dog. Then she fixes it and apologises profusely.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Avoids rushing into combat in favour of using summons, subterfuge and defensive magic.
  • Cute Bookworm: Often is shown to begin reading whenever she stands idle.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Even when she's completely botching the spells she casts on you is she utterly adorable.
  • Cute Witch: In contrast to the rather dour, world-weary attitude of most dark elf NPCs, she has an innocent and sunny demeanour.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Not usually, but she does get a few light barbs here and there. The most notable and pointed instance is when she first meets the Dragonborn, assuming that they're about to unload on her with questions that she's sick and tired of answering.
    Tolfdir: So, as I was saying, the first thing to understand is that magic is, by its very nature, volatile and dangerous. Unless you can control it, it can and will destroy you.
    Brelyna: Sir, I think we all understand that fairly well. We wouldn't be here if we couldn't control magic.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Though they're often hidden by her hood.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Is the most enthusiastic and congratulatory if the Dragonborn becomes Archmage.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: If you try to open her inventory as a follower, she quips, "I'm a mage, not a pawnbroker, you know".
  • Irony: Can cause this unintentionally, given how glitchy Skyrim can be. While you're helping her with her assorted experiments, your Miscellaneous quests list will include a line about waiting for the effects of the current experiment to wear off. It's possible for this waiting to become stuck there, preventing you from moving on to the next one or from ever having any further dialogue with her. The irony comes in when you consider how buggy her experiments are in the first place - it's almost like the game glitches on purpose as a joke.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: One of the Dovahkiin's possible reactions to the spell-testing ordeal.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Possibly. The official strategy guide states that she isn't actually from mainland Morrowind or Vvardenfell, but from Solstheim. When you travel there as part of the Dragonborn expansion, there is only one Telvanni wizard there, and he fits every description she gives of her family. Given his age and abilities she needn't necessarily be his daughter; she could just as well be his granddaughter, great-granddaughter, niece, or opposite-sex-clone.
  • Like Father Unlike Sun: The strategy guide states that she's from Solstheim, implying that she grew up with Neloth. While he may or may not actually be her father (the game gives no indication either way and never gives you an option to ask either of them), he's pretty much her polar opposite in every way.
  • Nice Girl: She's one of the kindest and friendliest faces at the College.
  • Royal Blood: She's a descendant of House Telvanni, one of the Great Houses of Morrowind. She mentions that at home, her lineage causes others to put a great deal of pressure on her to excel, and she prefers the more relaxed, study-focused atmosphere of the college.note 
  • Squishy Wizard: Brelyna has a fairly low health pool and level cap, and unlike her fellows does not specialize in Heavy Armor, meaning that she doesn't hold up well under fire.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Her reason for being at the college.
    • Can lead to a very heartwarming moment if you marry her after completing the college quest line, giving her something to help herself meet her family's high expectations - marrying the Archmage themself.

    Onmund 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/onmund_2901.JPG
"I was hoping I wouldn't be the only Nord here, but I guess I should have thought better."
Voiced by: Jason Marsden

Another fellow apprentice at the College of Winterhold.


  • Adorkable: His cheerful, friendly demeanor makes him an enjoyable follower.
  • Cultural Rebel: Notable for being one of the few Nords who actually puts faith in magic.
  • Due to the Dead: He may be interested in magic, but he's still a Nord, and believes that the dead of Saarthal deserve to rest in peace instead of the College conducting an excavation.
  • Magic Knight: Has specs in One/two-handed, Destruction, Illusion, and heavy armor.
  • Nord Wizards Get No Respect: Lampshades this during his initial conversation. If the Dragonborn is a Nord, he's rather happy to discover that he's not the only one who sees the benefit of studying magic.
  • The Pollyanna: The official strategy guide says that he's puzzled as to why nobody around him seems to be as happy as he is, and that while his attempts to make friends and engage in social activities often don't work out, it hasn't dampened his enthusiasm.

    Arniel Gane 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/arniel_7612.JPG
Voiced by: Richard Epcar

A member of the College of Winterhold who is working on a personal research project involving the long-lost Dwemer.


  • Bare-Fisted Monk: His A.I. is bugged, so if he finds himself in combat before his transformation into a Shade, he tends to forget that he has access to Destruction spells and tries to punch his opponents to death instead.
  • Butt-Monkey: Seems to be this to most members of the college. It was made more obvious in some dialogue that doesn't appear in the game due to a bug, but it's still implied, since nobody seems to care about his work or even acknowledge his disappearance.
  • Came Back Wrong: Seems to have lost his mind or is in pain as a Shade, with his only lines of dialogue being groans and a desire to end life.
  • Freak Magical Accident: The conclusion of his questline sees him smacking at a Warped Soul Gem with Keening and subsequently vanishing in a small explosion... only to turn up in the player's spell inventory as a summon.
  • It's All About Me: Even when Winterhold and the entire world are endangered by Ancano, his first concern is whether his research is okay.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: He turns into a Shade after death, which the player can summon through their spell inventory. Unfortunately, it's possible for the game to glitch in such a way that he's completely useless as a summon, and won't even converse with you properly.
  • Shock and Awe: Prefers to dual-cast electric spells as a Shade, though he also throws fireballs on occasion.
  • Too Dumb to Live: He's planning to recreate the events that led to the Dwemer vanishing, without telling anyone what he's doing or allowing anyone to provide oversight or feedback on his methods. Moreover, he's trying it in the middle of the college with weak counterparts of the proper items that were involved. Everyone is fortunate that turning himself into a Shade is all he does.

    Enthir 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/enthir_8740.JPG
"Nothing illicit going on here, Arch-Mage. You can be sure of that."
Voiced by: Stephen Russell

A shady black-market dealer on the campus.


  • Blatant Lies: If you talk with him after becoming Archmage, he always begins the conversation by saying that there's nothing underhanded happening.
  • Chain of Deals: In a small way, since he has a personal rule about never, ever going back on a deal. As in, if you traded something to him and now you want it back, tough. You should have thought of that before you made the deal. However, if someone else makes a trade for the object and then gives it back to you, he doesn't mind... which leads to the Dovahkiin running around doing favours for Enthir to get things he's traded to others so they can give them back to their owners.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: If you do the College of Winterhold questline first, you can get the vibe that something's up with this guy. Then, if you do the Thieves' Guild questline...
  • Even Evil Has Standards: To a degree. He'll sometimes regret selling powerful magical items to dangerous individuals like rogue mages and vampires. See Hypocrite below for more details.
  • Friend in the Black Market: He has connections with the Thieves' Guild and will even act as a fence for stolen goods once the player gets far enough along in the Thieves' Guild questline. He also sells the highly illegal and unethical Black Soul Gems.
  • Hypocrite: Will never issue refunds, but has a habit of giving powerful objects to nasty people (like vampires) and then realising that was probably a bad idea, which leads him to send the Dovahkiin to, typically, murder the nasty people and steal back the objects to cover his own ass. If you call him on this, he claims it's far too economically complex and subtle for you to understand.
  • Pet the Dog: If your Persuasion is good enough, Enthir can be convinced to make an exception for Onmund and he returns Onmund's family heirloom free of charge. He will also help Karliah decode Gallus' journal for free to uncover the truth behind his departed friend's murder, and reminisce fondly and sadly about how he and Gallus met.

    Faralda 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/faralda_8492.JPG
"The College is an asset to Skyrim, even if it goes unnoticed or unappreciated."
Voiced by: Susan Eisenberg

The go-to elf for everything Destruction.


  • Actually Pretty Funny: When she asks why you're at the college, one possible response is "I just wanted to see what it looks like inside." She knows that's probably not the reason you're actually there, but gets a laugh out of it anyway and admits that people with a sense of humor are in short supply at the college.
  • The Big Guy: Tall like all Altmer, but what makes her this trope is the fact that she's pretty much the gate guard for the College and is a strong magical fighter. She's also the first of the mages to charge into the fray when Ancano summons wisps to attack Winterhold.
  • Big Sister Mentor: While she comes across as indifferent toward the Dragonborn at first, she quickly warms up to them once they prove worthy of entering the college, and is the only College trainer aside from Tolfdir that expresses particular fondness toward the Dragonborn when they interact. Her concern for the Dragonborn is to the extent that, when Dragonborn asks her about Ancano, her immediate reaction is to warn them to keep their guard up around the Thalmor Mage.
  • Cool Teacher: Not as active in teaching as Tolfdir, but she's still one of the more reasonable faculty members. If you get her to teach you about Destruction magic, she'll happily hand out advice in a patient, respectful, and humble manner to make sure that you don't blow yourself up.
  • Dummied Out: She was originally to be part of a quest where Nirya would want you to take Faralda's research notes. You could either complete it in Faralda or Nirya's favor for a option to marry them.
  • Girly Bruiser: The pigtails and dainty walk only accentuate her ability to nuke everything in sight.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Revealing to her that you're the Dragonborn and demonstrating your mastery of the Thu'um is enough for her to let you into the College without performing a normal magical demonstration, and she's rather excited about being able to see an ancient and near-forgotten form of magic in action.
  • The Rival: According to the Prima strategy guide, she and Nirya have a rivalry going on, spawning from the fact that both of them have their eye on the Master Wizard position. Sergius Turrianus, aware of the rivalry, attempts to instigate conflict between the two in the hopes that Faralda will go running to him for comfort when she's upset.
    • Unknown Rival: Most of the above doesn't actually appear in-game; instead, she seems to be on the receiving end of an unknown rivalry. Nirya complains to the Dragonborn about Faralda, but Faralda appears to barely spare her a thought.
  • Shock and Awe: Her preferred form of Destruction magic.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Being a Altmer, she's taller than almost everyone, and is better looking than most Altmer women.
  • Threshold Guardian: One of her duties in the College seems to be to guard the bridge to the College, requiring a demonstration of magical potential before she will allow anyone admission into the College.
  • Token Enemy Minority:
    • For an organization working for the benefit of her whole race, she really doesn't seem to have much respect for the Thalmor.
    • Like many of residents of the college she also subverts the common stereotype of her race, showing at least the barest humility in the face of other races and showing the Dragonborn due respect after being welcomed by the college.

    Nirya 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nirya_8627.JPG
Voiced by: Julianne Buescher

A self-confident elf student looking to make a name for herself.


  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Fancies Ancano despite not trusting him at all.
  • Dummied Out: There was to be a small quest she would give wherein the Dragonborn must steal Faralda's notes for some gold, or the notes could be given to Faralda. Similarly to the Love Triangle between Camilla Valerius, Faendal, and Sven in Riverwood, this would have allowed the woman you helped to become marriageable.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even she knows not to trust Ancano.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: She spends far too much time brooding over Faralda's relative success, and obviously feels stuck in her shadow.
  • Jerkass: Big time. If you kill her, you're liable to get a letter from Faralda saying she knows it was you, but she's not planning to rat you out for it.
  • The Rival: According to the official strategy guide, she and Faralda have a rivalry going on, spawning from the fact that both of them have their eye on the Master Wizard position.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Very arrogant and confident, but she has only Apprentice level spells, and won't serve as a trainer.
  • Teacher's Pet: To the Dragonborn when they become Archmage. "I do hope you'll remember who has been the most helpful during your time here, Archmage." It's a strange thing for her to say, considering she is literally the only member of the College (barring, of course, Ancano) who doesn't ever actually do anything even remotely helpful.
  • Unknown Rival: While the strategy guide makes it clear that both she and Faralda are involved in the rivalry for the position of Master Wizard, in-game, Nirya seems to be the only one that feels this way: to her, Faralda is an obstacle to overcome. Every hint of advice is a ploy to weaken her self-confidence, and Nirya is initially hostile to the Dragonborn because she suspects they might be sent by Faralda. Given the trope this entry is about, you can tell who's the unknown one in this rivalry.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The strategy guide notes that Sergius Turrianus gives Nirya hints on how to sabotage Faralda; as mentioned above, he's trying to make Faralda upset so that he can comfort her and make her like him. Nirya does suspect he's using her, but can't figure out why, so she just goes with it without worrying too much about it.

    Phinis Gestor 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/phinis_3941.JPG
"There are few places where one can pursue my type of work without fear of persecution."

The college's Conjuration-specialized faculty member.


  • Creepy Good: With a pleasant tone and a helpful smile, he assures you that, should you die, he will see to it your remains are put to good use.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: He is quite insistent that necromancy is a tool like any other magic school.
  • Fair-Weather Mentor: He lost no less than four previous conjuration students who went off to do dangerous experiments. He wonders where they ended-up but it is an idol curiosity, not actual concern. None of them are coming back.
  • Necromancer: Almost certainly. He's the master of the Conjuration school, which includes necromancy spells, and promises you that if you die on college grounds, he'll make sure your remains are put to good use. Furthermore, he openly claims that necromancy is a tool to be used and policies against it are "archaic."
  • Noodle Incident: One in Morthal, which he insists was a misunderstanding, despite what the guards claim.
  • Nothing Personal: Most of the rest of Skyrim fears magic and even quite a few other mages have hang-ups about necromancy. He is quite aware of this, but as long as the school provides him a safe place to practice his craft he really doesn't bear any ill will to the fearful masses.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Becoming a Conjuration Master under him requires binding a Daedra, something he has no intent to do for you. If you want to toy with binding the forces of Oblivion that's on you.
  • Summon Magic: He specializes in the school of Conjuration, and he is the one who sells you Master-level Conjuration spells after you do the necessary quest.
  • Token Evil Teammate: A very mild example, depending on how you feel about necromancy.

    Colette Marence 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/colettemarence_8557.JPG
"Restoration is a perfectly valid school of magic, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!"

Resident Restoration expert at the college.


  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: She's incredibly paranoid that her colleagues don't respect her mastery of the Restoration school, which is why she'll frequently try to remind you of its many practical applications.
  • Hippie Teacher: According to the Prima strategy guide, the others at the college view her as one (a "peace-loving star-gazing Spriggan-hugger," to be exact). She tried to break out of that image but found that she was treated even worse, so she stopped trying to change their view of her.
  • Irony: She gets a lot of disrespect at the college for being the Restoration School's expert. Out in the rest of the world, however, Restoration is the one school of magic that even the Nords consider valuable. Guards frequently note their respect for the Restoration School and that Skyrim needs more healers, although that may be based on current events.
  • Signature Line: "Restoration is a perfectly valid school of magic!"

    Urag gro-Shub 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/urag_2824.JPG
"I don't want to see you treating any of these books poorly. Are we clear?"
Voiced by: Noah Nelson

The librarian of the College.


  • Badass Bookworm: Being an orc usually means being badass, and the bookworm part is implied by his love of books.
  • Cultural Rebel: Orcs are mainly Proud Warrior Race Guys that are really into fighting, so Urag's love of books and spells is unusual for his people.
  • Cultured Badass: He's probably the single most well-read Orc in the game, if not the series.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: This is what he does when you treat his books poorly.
  • Jerkass: If you deliver a book from a dangerous cave to him, he'll be more concerned about the book's condition and he only pays like 30 septims. At least he thanks you for finding the book.
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: He's still an Orc despite his chosen occupation, and it shows.
    Urag: You are now in the Arcanaeum, of which I am in charge. It might as well be my own little plane of Oblivion. Disrupt my Arcanaeum, and I will have you torn apart by angry Atronachs. Now, do you require assistance?
    • Slightly averted, as Urag still maintains contact with the various Orc strongholds, and his word is enough to gain you entry should you help him find books.
  • Magic Librarian: He's in charge of the Arcanaeum, and he's every bit the mage the other members are.
  • Mr. Exposition: He's the go-to guy when it comes to the Elder Scroll and will point you in the right direction.
  • Older Than They Look: He looks to be in his 70s. His dialogue implies he's been in the college since the Second Era, more than 600 years ago.
  • Scary Librarian: Most librarians will make you pay a fine if you damage their books. Urag gro-Shub is not most librarians. He threatens to sic Atronachs on you. Doesn't mean he will, though.
  • Serious Business: Is fiercely devoted to his duties tending to books and threatens to have you torn apart by Atronachs if you damage them.
  • Square Race, Round Class: Even if Elder Scrolls orcs are Blizzardian-type, you still wouldn't expect to see one as the librarian at a magical college.
  • Squee!: After the main questline, you can give him the Elder Scroll you retrieved in order to learn Dragonrend, and his response is basically this.

    The Augur of Dunlain 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/augur_3864.JPG

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


    Drevis Neloren 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/drevis_6794.png
"Confound it all! I was sure I was invisible, or at least transparent..."
Voiced by: Jon Curry

The resident Illusionist at the college.


  • Absent-Minded Professor: When you first talk to him, he's under the impression that he has an invisibility effect on himself. You can string him along or you can tell him up front that it's not working.
  • Master of Illusion: Don't let the invisibility incident fool you; he's the Master level Illusion trainer.
  • You Can See Me?: Yes, yes we can. Or wait... No, no we can't.

    Sergius Turrianus 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sergius_7057.png
Voiced by: Jim Cummings

The faculty enchanter.


    Quaranir 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/quaranir_5831.png
"A great many things obscured to you are quite clear to us. We have long believed you would prevail."
Voiced by: Neil Dickson

A member of the secretive Psijic Order, an ancient order of Mages, who is the first to warn you about the looming threat you will face in the College questline.


  • Big Good: of the College quest line. He's the one that steers you down the path to thwarting Ancano abusing the Eye of Magnus to apocalyptic ends.
  • The Chooser of The One: At the conclusion of the questline, he shows up and, as part of his monologuing, declares you to be the new Archmage of the college. Tolfdir agrees, which is apparently all that's needed to make it official.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Does this to annoy Ancano and slip out of the college after conversing with you.
  • Reality Warper: Apparently he can bring time to a standstill to converse with someone while right in front of the (time-frozen) people that he doesn't want to overhear the conversation. It's possible that this is a standard power among the Psijics.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: He states that some in the Order would view his contacting you directly by traveling to the College as overstepping his bounds.

    Ancano 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ancano_4213.JPG
"I have many important things on my mind. Your concerns are not among them."
Voiced by: Alexander Brandon

A high-ranking Thalmor wizard who works in the College of Winterhold as an adviser to Arch-Mage Savos Aren.


  • Arc Villain: Of the Winterhold College questline.
  • Blatant Lies: The only Thalmor who tries to claim that with the war over, the Thalmor are interested in maintaining peace with Skyrim and the Empire. The rest are more honest about their intentions.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: He goes off the deep end very quickly after tapping into the Eye of Magnus.
  • Evil Chancellor: Is evidently an adviser of Savos Aren, though you never actually see him do any actual advising.
  • Evil Genius: Seems to be his role, given his plan.
  • Evil Is Sexy: invoked Invoked. Nirya, an Altmer mage at the College, says that he's up to something, but admits that he's handsome.
  • Evil Sorcerer: What he turns out to be. It's known from the start that he's a sorcerer; his ambitions, on the other hand, are not until it's almost too late.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Behold, the only Thalmor NPC with any understanding of tact. He will state without irony that the Thalmor only seek to help enrich the lives of the people of Skyrim and help them lead to a new glorious age of happiness, while emphasizing equality. He is, of course, lying and everyone else at the College says not to trust him, but he's a good enough liar to make it almost sound sincere.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: During his boss fight, it's entirely possible for him to be killed by the very Magic Anomalies he ended up summoning while trying to use the Eye of Magnus.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: His aim to destroy Mundus is something he's pursuing a lot quicker than most of colleagues, even Elenwen, and he comes pretty damn close to achieving it too. To put it in perspective, Elenwen's idea of delaying them and causing Mundus to fall apart is to start a civil war, which has ultimately led to a revival in Talos worship and has taken several years to engineer. In the span of merely a few weeks, Ancano nearly destroys the world single-handedly.
  • Jerkass: Goes without saying; it's the natural state of mind for Thalmor lackeys. That said, he's a lot better about keeping his ruder side in check than most of his colleagues.
  • Kick the Dog: Just in case you didn't get that he's the bad guy, he ends up killing Savos Aren, then Mirabelle Ervine.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Ancano is male, has long white hair, and is an elf. The rest follows naturally from that.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: All Thalmor are this, to a man.
  • Obviously Evil: Even in-game, nobody trusts him. Even the two Altmer ladies on campus don't like much him hanging around to "observe" (though one of them does think he's rather attractive).
    • He does try and make some effort of hiding it, at least at first. He claims he's simply there to foster relations, because that now that the great war is over, the Thalmor only want to co-exist with the Empire and help Skyrim. Compared to other Thalmor, who openly say that "the Empire exists because we allow it to exist" and "we're totally getting ready for another attack on you guys", Ancano is downright subtle.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: He plans to use the Eye of Magnus to destroy Mundus and return all Altmer to pre-creation divinity. This is the long-term goal of all Thalmor; he's just a lot more proactive about it.
  • Properly Paranoid: He is very concerned when a member of the Psijic Order visits the College asking specifically for you, and suspects you're keeping things from him and Savos about everything that's going on. He's absolutely right.
  • Underestimating Badassery: He woefully underestimates the Dragonborn, despite them making their way through Labyrinthian, defeating the Dragon Priest Morokei, and mopping the floor with the Thalmor assassin sent to eliminate them.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: He's got white hair and he's a bad guy.

The Thieves' Guild

The Skyrim-local organization for thieves, racketeers, and other people of ill (though not murder-level ill) repute. The guild has fallen on hard times, but for the most unexpected reason...

    The Guild in General 
  • Badass Cape: Standard attire for the Nightingales.
  • Broken Masquerade: As noted by Karliah, after the events of the main questline and the actions of Mercer Frey, most of the Guild are now aware that the existence of the Nightingales goes far beyond that of mere myth. Karliah even admits that wearing your Nightingale armour in the Ragged Flagon isn't likely to raise any eyebrows. Because of this, the Thieves' Guild HQ will have a temple of Nocturnal to which you can pray.
  • Consummate Professional: It's clear that many of the Thieves' Guild members consider themselves professionals at what they do, with their policy of not killing during jobs (unless absolutely necessary) being part of what elevates them beyond simple bandits.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Even after the Dragonborn restores the Guild to province-wide respect and power, makes everyone in it rich, avenges the death of the previous Guildmaster, and becomes Guildmaster themselves, the only one who will treat them any differently is Delvin (and, to a lesser extent, Vex). Special mention needs to go to Vekel the Man, who continues to refer to them as "Brynjolf's protege" and remark that they don't seem to be "anything special"; and Dirge, who will still threaten to bash their skull in if they make trouble.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Despite their own disdain for killing, the Thieves' Guild nonetheless maintains a mutually beneficial working relationship with the Dark Brotherhood, with Delvin Mallory having spent time in service of both organizations and serving as their primary contact with each other. It's mentioned that both sides have come to an arrangement to stay out of each other's respective fields, whilst sharing any useful information on prospective jobs. It's all strictly business, of course.
  • Honor Among Thieves: They're outlaws but they certainly have a code of honor and morality, especially in their own ranks. One member, Thrynn, will tell the story of how he was a member of your standard bandit brigade, until the leader once, for no rational reason, ordered his men to kill the women and children of a caravan they had knocked over. Thrynn turned on him instead.
  • In the Hood: Part of the standard uniform for the guild. The Nightingales wear hoods as well, but add a mask.
  • Karma Houdini: Much like Maven, there's no way to bring the Thieves' Guild to justice without the use of console commands or mods. You can kill many of the members if you like; but the higher-ranking ones, like Brynjolf, Vex, and Delvin, are marked as essential and cannot die. Subverted, however, in that at the beginning of their questline, the Daedric Prince of Luck has turned against them, which means that if you wish them not to be Karma Houdinis, then you should simply not enter the Guild and help them, leaving them to their misfortune.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: To the Dark Brotherhood. The Thieves' Guild may be unscrupulous and amoral, but they're still thieves, not assassins.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Most of the members, for obvious reasons.
  • Open Secret: Everyone in Riften knows that they operate out of the Ratways. However, the sewers are such a warren to navigate, filled with other outcasts and generally unpleasant to trek through, that the Riften Guards simply can't be bothered to wade in and clear them out. Of course, this might simply be an excuse on their part, with a few bribes in some pockets providing the real reason.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: They allow it if it has to be done, but they prefer that no kills be done on the job - you don't want to kill someone who might be useful later, and bodies are problematic in many more ways than a ring or a goblet that's been "misplaced". They also recognize the value of doing jobs properly so as to not piss off clients and thus make things more complicated for themselves.
  • The Remnant: Their hideout is in shambles, their membership is waning, and their coffers are running dry. It's so bad they've resorted to selling snake oil to make cash and recruiting people (like you) off the street.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Most of their quests are set up to be this, with you evading and tricking guards and sneaking into places you aren't allowed. On the other hand, you can usually just run in sword swinging and cut your way to the objective like any other dungeon in the game (though the jobs Delvin and Vex send you on will be marked as failed if you get caught).
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In past Elder Scrolls games, the Thieves' Guild was a Robin Hood-esque organization that protected the poor and downtrodden, policed violent and petty crime in their own ways, and some law authorities unofficially let them operate out of recognition that they helped keep the peace in their own ways. The Skyrim chapter of the guild, though, is much more ruthless — they extort money from people who can't afford it, are comparatively lax on their "no killing" rules, and if anyone who doesn't fall in line with their demands, the Guild will blackmail them, plant stolen property in their house to frame them for the theft, or just beat them up. To make this distinction clear, the first two quests you get from them are to steal a ring from a merchant and plant it in another's pocket (both merchants are perfectly nice and have done nothing wrong), and the second is to extort money from three shopkeepers through either verbal or physical intimidation. This is justified in two ways:
    1. The Guild has fallen on hard times and is struggling to make ends meet, hence their more brutal methods of getting funds;
    2. They're under the leadership of Mercer Frey, a selfish bastard who's only in it for his own greed and cares nothing about the Guild's traditions or well-being.
Once these two problems are resolved by the end of their main questline, the Guild becomes a bit gentler in its dealings.
  • We Are Everywhere: The radiant quests are specifically to get them up to this level - do small jobs around Skyrim until someone with influence in a particular hold hears of them and calls for a job, and in return you get contacts in that hold to expand the guild's power.

    Brynjolf 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/brynjolf_205.JPG

A higher-ranking member of the Thieves' Guild, and the first one you meet.


  • Affably Evil: He's quite friendly and personable for a thief.
  • Big Brother Mentor
  • The Dragon: To Mercer and eventually you when you become Guildmaster.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Discussed. When you and he stop to discuss leadership of the guild once Mercer's betrayal is exposed, he rejects the idea of taking over himself, as he doesn't like being a leader and thinks you'd be a better fit.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: He seems to be more concerned with the operations of the Guild and its operatives than Mercer. This is entirely justified, since Mercer is planning to run out on the Guild and leave it to fall apart. Once the Guild is under your rule, you of course don't stick around long, so Brynjolf takes over active leadership in your stead, and until you do the quests to be named Guildmaster, he's the de facto leader in the meantime.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Takes this trope to a higher level in some dialogue. If you ask him how you're going to steal Madesi's ring, he says, "Do you want me to hold your hand as well?". And if you insult the guild headquarters by calling it messy, he'll tell you to stop acting like a child.
  • Friend to All Children: With the Hearthfire DLC, your children will mention how friendly he is. A daughter will say that he gave her an apple. On the other hand, a son will say that Brynjolf offered to show him a few "tricks" when he's older...
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Possibly. The first time you meet him, he will say that you must be the type of person who's never earned an honest day's work in your life, no matter how you've been playing so far.
    • Alternately, this could just be a standard routine he does to anyone he thinks could be a useful recruit; if it turns out they're not the thieving type and rebuff him, oh well, no skin off his back.
    • Clear-cut example, however, in that he initially fully trusts Mercer and considers him as a respectable leader. He is not alone in this, though.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He comes off as just a straight-up Jerkass at first, but he's actually this with a side of Punch-Clock Villain. He'll sing your praises to a skeptical Mercer and the rest of the Guild, especially if you do well on the jobs he assigns. He will also come looking for you after you and Mercer go missing, according to Vekel.
  • Lovable Rogue: So much so that many players are disappointed to find he's not a marriage option without the use of mods or console commands.
  • Number Two: To both Mercer Frey and you, once you run the guild. He does the more day-to-day things while the Guildmaster plots big jobs and makes big decisions with the input of the rest of the Guild.
  • Pet the Dog: He is willing to give to the beggars out in Riften's market square.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: To even talk to him, you have to participate in a scheme of his by planting some evidence while he creates a distraction. His next test is sending you into the Ratways, Riften's filth-, crime- and pest-ridden sewers, to find the Guild hideout (and no, he won't give you directions). If you succeed, though, he's impressed and becomes much friendlier toward you.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: His method (before your arrival) of getting funds for the Guild, peddling "genuine Falmerblood elixir" in the Riften marketplace. That's how low they've sunk.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: He says this during one of the late Thieves' Guild quests:
    Brynjolf: Crime is one thing. Murder is another. Mercer will answer for this.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Becomes a Nightingale along with the Dovahkiin, and a pretty competent one at that.
  • Unexplained Accent: He's the only character in the game with a Scottish accent, though it might be a reference to Morrowind and Redguard, in which Nords had Scottish accents (particularly in Redguard).

    Mercer Frey 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mercerfrey_608.JPG
Voiced by: Stephen Russell

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


  • Big Bad: Of the Thieves' Guild questline.
  • Blood Knight: Judging by his fight dialogue, he really likes killing things. He'll even be vaguely disappointed if it's over too quickly.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: When you search his house, you can find a shopping list that includes "Bread, Eggs, Milk, Cauterizing Agent..."
  • Broken Pedestal: To the entire guild, once his crimes against them come to light.
  • Mugging the Monster: The final phase of his plan consists of luring Karliah, Brynjolf, and the Dragonborn to Irkngthand, where he believes his Nightingale abilities and the Full Potential Upgrade provided by the Skeleton Key will allow him to kill all of them in a straight-up fight. This plan does actually make sense against other thieves like Karliah and Brynjolf, whose skill sets are more geared towards infiltration. But against someone like the Dragonborn, who's already used to fighting the likes of bandits, werewolves, ancient vampires, and dragons, that's just not enough.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Thanks to the true power of Nocturnal's Skeleton Key. Most thieves just think of it as a simple unbreakable lockpick (and, indeed, this is all you can use it for), but the Key unlocks everything that can be unlocked, including the limits of human potential. Mercer demonstrates this at one point when he single-handedly knocks down a multi-ton stone column to bar your path.
  • Cynical Mentor: He doesn't have the faith in you that Brynjolf does and is more occupied by his own business, but he'll eventually see your worth.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    Mercer Frey: Ah, it's one of the infamous Nordic puzzle doors. How quaint.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Stole the Skeleton Key to empty the Guild vaults - and in doing so betrayed Nocturnal, Daedric Prince of shadows and patron of thieves, despite being pledged to serve her in both life and death. The Key's powers also allow Mercer to freely abuse all three of the Agent of Nocturnal powers (as seen in the final confrontation with him) in further defiance of Nocturnal's rules.
  • Dual Wielding: A sword and a dagger.
  • Expy: Garrett has certainly gotten older. And grumpier. And of course, he also stole a priceless artifact known as the Eye. Although he wasn't this dickish.
  • Honor Among Thieves: Defied. Mercer mocks the idea that the Thieves' Guild is anything more than a den of thieves and ne'er-do-wells, and claims that it's a delusion to believe otherwise. You can agree or disagree, but you kill him anyway.
  • Jerkass: Snappish, condescending, and dismissive of the Dovahkiin even if they've proven their worth repeatedly. You may also notice he always sounds like he's speaking through gritted teeth, as if he's barely holding back the urge to lay a beatdown on you regardless of whether you've actually done anything wrong. He makes it clear that he'd prefer not to have to deal with them at all outside necessity, and the other thieves comment on his temper with the implication that the Guild's decline is taking its toll on him. This is true, in a sense, since he caused it and has spent two decades fruitlessly pursuing the only obstacle to his getting away with it.
  • Kick the Dog: When he corners Karliah in Snow Veil Sanctum, he kills her horse to make sure she's got no means of escape.
  • King of Thieves: He is the Guildmaster of the Thieves Guild.
  • Master of Unlocking: He can unlock Nordic puzzle doors without the relevant keys or knowing the solution to the puzzles, and offers to teach you his trick for doing so (though there's no way to take him up on the offer). As it turns out, the trick is to use an artifact stolen from a Daedric Prince.
  • Master Swordsman: His skill with the blade are held in awe and he certainly shows it off in the Snow Veil Sanctum, where he disposes of any draugr almost effortlessly. Being armed with an enchanted blade also helps a lot.
  • Mole in Charge: In the sense that he wants to destroy the Thieves' Guild for his own benefit.
  • Not So Different: When you confront him in the last mission, he'll claim that both you and he are opportunists that willfully lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want.
  • Perpetual Frowner: His face seems locked in a permanent scowl. Understandable, given recent events.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Tries to psyche out the Dovahkiin with a speech along these lines - they're all thieves, after all, and there's no honour among thieves. You can dismiss his argument or even agree, but whatever your answer, you end up throwing down with Mercer.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Granted, he had 25 years to do so, but unless he managed to spend every single last coin either on himself or in trying to track down Karliah, what happened to the rest of the treasure he'd stolen from the Guild's vaults? The implication is that he had it somehow spirited away under the guild members' collective noses, but no real explanation is ever given.

    Karliah 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/karliah_4713.JPG
Voiced by: Moira Quirk

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


  • And the Adventure Continues: After the end of the storyline, she resumes her Nightingale duties in addition to going back to being a thief.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Definitely has this vibe.
  • Deal with the Devil: She explains very explicitly that this is the relationship the Nightingales have with Nocturnal, not worship. Most thieves aren't good at religion, but they understand contracts.
  • Fall Guy: For Mercer.
  • Famous Ancestor: Being Barenziah's granddaughter is pretty distinctive in its own right, regardless of her exact lineage. Additionally, being part of the Indoril line means that she is likely a distant relative of Saint Indoril Nerevar, with whose reincarnation the player may be familiar.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: After she and the spirit of Gallus say their goodbyes and he moves on to serve Nocturnal, she returns to her old profession to honor him. (And also because money's nice. She is a thief, and regaining her powers as a Nightingale has just made the job a whole lot more lucrative.)
  • Honey Trap: Mercer theorizes this was how she got close enough to Gallus to kill him. He's lying. She loved him.
  • Interspecies Romance: She's a Dunmer, Gallus was an Imperial, and they were lovers.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Behind the rise of Honningbrew Meadery and the sale of Goldenglow Estate, both of which were done in order to discredit the Guild.
  • My Greatest Failure: Mercer believes his was letting her escape after Gallus' murder. She believes falling in love with Gallus was hers. It distracted them both and allowed Mercer to get the drop on Gallus.
  • Purple Eyes: Notable because every single other Dunmer has blood-red eyes. May be partly due to her:
  • Royal Blood: She's the granddaughter of Tiber Septim and Queen Barenziah, if Gallus's books are to be trusted. (However, most accepted lore says that it is a very slim chance at best that she is actually descended from Tiber Septim. Her mother, Barenziah's daughter Dralsi Indoril, claims that her father is Drayven Indoril. Barenziah's pregnancies by Septim and Drayven were about 300 years apart, meaning that Dralsi would no doubt know if Drayven was her father or not judging by her own age. Further, according the in-game book The Real Barenziah, Septim had Barenziah's pregnancy by him forcibly aborted.)
  • Staged Shooting: A variant with a poisoned arrow. You catch it in the chest, your vision blurs, you fall over. Turns out it was just a paralytic. Then Mercer pops up and stabs you while you're paralyzed. Then it turns out that the paralytic prevented you from bleeding out from the stab wound and Karliah just blew decades of planning to save your life.
  • Tranquil Fury: Outwardly, she's probably one of the calmest, most level-headed characters associated with the Thieves' Guild questline. She almost never raises her voice. Her hatred for Mercer Frey, however, seethes.
  • Turn Out Like Her Grandmother: Karliah's mother and grandfather were both Nightingales. Her grandmother, Barenziah, was also a member of Riften's Thieves' Guild, according to The Real Barenziah.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: A great believer in this school of thought. Ideally, the victim's first clue she's there should be finding an arrow sticking out of his throat.
  • Xanatos Gambit: More than likely. For a master of trickery who spent a lot of time and money on her plans for Honningbrew and Goldenglow, Karliah left an obscure but definite trail of clues to her identity for any Thieves' Guild member that investigated. In other words, if Honningbrew and Goldenglow were successful, the Guild would lose favor with Maven; and if they acted to fight back, they'd find her clues, which would lead Mercer to her lair.

    Gallus Desidenius 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gallus_3071.JPG
Voiced by: Craig Sechler

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


  • Gentleman Thief: As per his relationship with counterpart Classy Cat-Burglar Karliah. So charming, he was more than once caught in the act of robbing someone and ended up becoming that person's friend. Most of the contacts the Guild had came from him because he had such a diverse set of acquaintances, and when he died all those contacts dried up.
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason he died. He came too close to uncovering the source of all of Mercer's sudden wealth. The Dovahkiin very nearly suffers the same fate when they find out who really murdered Gallus.
  • In Harm's Way: According to Enthir, Gallus had a scholarly bent, but could never take that path in life as it lacked the excitement of being a thief.
  • Interspecies Romance: Was an Imperial in a relationship with Karliah, a Dunmer.
  • King of Thieves: He was the previous Guildmaster and considered a legendary thief.
  • Loveable Rogue: Had this personality type, evidenced by being able to talk his way out of trouble when caught in the middle of a job.
  • Meaningful Name: Possibly unintentional, but 'Gallus' is Latin for 'Rooster'. The man was cocky.
  • Minored in Ass-Kicking: A thief through and through, but also a scholar, historian, and linguist. It helped in plotting heists. He learned an entire extinct, forgotten language so he could use it to write journal entries no one would understand, and also wrote and published actual books. He even discovered the existence of the Nightingales and learned how to become one more or less single-handedly, bringing Mercer and Karliah along for the ride.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Nightingale ghosts are souls given access to the mortal realm through the Ebonmere, and they're called Spectral Guardians. Every Nightingale serves a time after death in this state before moving on to the Ebonmere proper.
  • Posthumous Character: He died many years before the events of the game, and is only mentioned by other characters in the past tense (at least until you meet him).
  • Spirit Advisor/Dead Person Conversation: For the Dovahkiin in the Twilight Sepulcher.
  • Together in Death: Though he's still dead and the reopening of the Ebonmere means he has to move on and become "one with the shadows", he assures Karliah he'll be waiting for her when she passes, too.
  • Unfinished Business: He's the only Spectral Guardian left in the Twilight Sepulcher who hasn't faded away or gone nuts. This trope is the main reason why.

    Delvin Mallory 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/delvin_4849.JPG
Voiced by: Enn Reitel

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


  • Affably Evil: You don't get to be that familiar with the Dark Brotherhood without having done something nasty. Also, if you ask for a Torture Chamber for the Dawnstar Sanctuary at the end of the Dark Brotherhood questline, he seems oddly pleased by that particular request.
  • All There in the Manual: The Prima official strategy guide lists his backstory: He grew up in the Honorhall Orphanage in Riften, and was taken in by Gallus. He accidentally killed someone while on a robbery, so Gallus arranged for him to hide with the Dark Brotherhood for a year (where he became Astrid's lover), and he returned to the Guild after the death was forgotten.
  • Big Brother Mentor: He really likes to make the player feel right at home. And when you finish your last special assignment to restore the Guild to full strength, he will admit to you that you are the best thief in the Guild. Of course, he tells you he'll deny that if you tell anybody else.
  • Covert Pervert: In the most literal manner possible. Unlike most of the Thieves' Guild, Delvin doesn't particularly show a flirty attitude toward any of the women in the guild. However, a note from Vex on the table where you speak with him warns this "Master of Sneaking" in no uncertain terms that if he tries to watch her bathe again, she'll...cut off something valuable. So yes, he is a "covert" pervert in every possible sense of the term.
    • And if the Dragonborn is in the Dark Brotherhood, Astrid will eventually send them to meet with him. He makes a few comments about their "lovely mistress" and urges them to tell her to drop by sometime and "catch up." He was her lover once, so this is only covert to anyone who doesn't know that fact.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Everybody in the Guild thought Delvin was a little loopy for suggesting there was some sort of "curse" on the Guild that made their big jobs fail.
  • Hidden Depths: Aside from the aforementioned note, the quote after Mercer betrays the Guild indicates that he may have been a Dark Brotherhood member at some point, but quit due to a similar betrayal. (As it turns out, that's not quite accurate; see the entry for All There in the Manual for the truth about it.)
  • Screw Destiny: He believes that the guild must be cursed to have that amount of bad luck. He tells the Dragonborn to "spit in that curse's face" and they will overpower the curse through hard work.
  • Stealth Expert: He's the Master trainer for the Sneak skill.
  • Stock British Phrases: He's a fountain of these.
  • Unexplained Accent: Like Brynjolf, he has a unique accent (a thick Cockney accent) for some reason. It might have something to do with him being a Breton; however, not even his brother speaks with the accent. Given his name, it might (just like Brynjolf) be a Call-Back to a previous game - Daggerfall, where the Bretons (while not voiced) were more English-themed than they became in later games.

    Vex 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/vex_6745.JPG
Voiced by: Kari Wahlgren

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


  • Defeat Means Friendship: She once held off eight wolves by herself (killing three) until a guy showed up to help. After he did, she then tried to mug him for his money. Afterward, when they fought to a standstill, she invited him to join the Guild without a word otherwise or an apology. So more like "draw means friendship".
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: In her first conversation, she tells you in no uncertain terms that you will never surpass her as a thief. She continues to toss out insults, backhanded compliments and frigid apathy almost every time you speak to her. However, once you start shooting up the ranks she doesn't mind too much, helps you, and will eventually (and begrudgingly) congratulate you on your skill.
  • Dude Magnet: The male members of the Guild tend to hit on her an awful lot, despite her verbally flaying them alive every single time.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Another character, who is encountered separately from the Thieves' Guild questline, believes that his fiancée left him for Vex, and similarly believes that Vex is male.
  • Ice Queen: She's not overly friendly to anyone in the guild, to say the least. However, she does eventually make an exception for the Dragonborn.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Somewhat of a trend in the Thieves' Guild, for obvious reasons.
  • Master of Unlocking: Literally. She's the Master trainer for the Lockpicking skill.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: When asked about Delvin's supposition that the Guild has been cursed, she says that in her opinion, it is just plain bad luck, and that it has nothing to do with curses. In fact, the Guild has been cursed... with bad luck. They're both right.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Considering that Vex regularly threatens to castrate any man who attempts to hits on her, the revelation that she was once in a relationship with Vald is jarring to say the least.

    Sapphire Mallory 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sapphire_3394.JPG
Voiced by: Susan Eisenberg

A member of the Guild who joined after bandits murdered most of her family. In Dragonborn, it's revealed that her Disappeared Dad, Glover Mallory, is alive and currently resides in Solstheim, having abandoned the family before the bandit raid. Delvin Mallory is also revealed to be her uncle.


  • Broken Bird: Doesn't let anyone get too close, and still has issues dealing with the tragedy of her past.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Even her father calls her "Sapphire" in his letter to her in Dragonborn, since it was the name by which he'd known her when they first met in the Guild, long before he found out she was his daughter.
  • Dude Magnet: Similar to Vex a lot of the male members of the guild hit on her with similar results, The exception being a male Dragonborn.
  • In the Blood: Sapphire joined the Thieves' Guild, completely unaware that her father and uncle both happened to be members at the time. Lampshaded, in her father's letter, that it was clearly meant to be.
  • Loan Shark: Takes advantage of a Hammerfell immigrant by loaning him money to make a delivery, attacking the caravan, then bullying the immigrant to pay back the money loaned.
  • Meaningful Name: Possibly. Her birth surname, Mallory, is Norman French for "unlucky," which seems to fit her backstory. Whether this was deliberate on the developers' part is unknown.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: When asked about her real name and after she tells her story, she comments that she might tell you someday, but not today. Despite this, however, her real name is never revealed to the audience.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her father, Glover Mallory, abandoned Sapphire and her mother because he couldn't think of settling down and becoming a simple farmer. He even admits that he was a coward for doing so. Judging by his letter to her, Glover unknowingly served with her for a brief time when she first joined the Thieves' Guild, but after he discovered her identity, he couldn't bear to reveal the truth to her and left for Solstheim.
  • Rape as Backstory: Mention that she's never told you her name, and she will tell you the story of how she was kidnapped by bandits and raped for a fortnight before gaining their trust and slitting their throats as they slept.
  • Ship Tease: Similar to Serana; if you're nice to her, she becomes closer to the Dragonborn than anyone else and even flirts with a male Dragonborn (which says something since, like Vex, she verbally flays everyone else alive when they come on to her). You can even help her resolve her Daddy Issues. Also similarly to Serana, you can't marry her.

    Vipir the Fleet 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/vipir_3332.JPG
Voiced by: Michael Gough

Pickpocketing expert of the Guild.


  • Butt-Monkey: Because of his Embarrassing Nickname.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Ask him about his nickname and he will tell you the story of how he and Vex once robbed a house in Windhelm, only to walk out of it and into the waiting arms of the guards because their client had sold them out. Vex gave the guards the slip and disappeared, and Vipir ran right out of Windhelm and all the way south, on foot, to Riften... and discovered Vex had beaten him there, because she'd remembered her horse and he hadn't. After that, they started calling him Vipir the Fleet.
  • Five-Finger Discount: He's the Master trainer for the Pickpocketing skill.
  • Handsome Lech: He can occasionally have a conversation with Sapphire in which he tries to coax her into having some fun with him in bed. Naturally, Sapphire finds his offer disgusting, mocking him that he's named after his bedroom prowess.

    Cynric Endell 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cynric_8237.JPG
Voiced by: Stephen Russell

A member of the Guild who was formerly a jail breaker before joining.


  • Affably Evil: He's a very nice guy, accepting of the Dragonborn from the moment they join up, and willing to give advice freely. He also mentions that before he joined the guild, he worked as a jail breaker, getting arrested and then breaking out. He mentions that a good portion of his jobs were subcontracted by the Dark Brotherhood, and expresses no moral qualms about having killed people for a living. He also explains that the only reasons he joined up with the Thieves' Guild instead of the Dark Brotherhood was because it was less risk for more pay.
  • Expy: Even more so than Mercer Frey. Wears a hood that covers half his face, while his vocal pitch and facial features (what little of them you can see past his hood) are more or less identical to Garrett's. He's a master locksmith who became a thief rather than an assassin because the former was more lucrative, and spent most of his early career breaking people out of prisons. (On top of that, when you first walk in on him, he's standing next to a target and practicing his marksmanship.)
  • Great Escape: Was much sought after to plan these in the past, before one jailbreak went wrong and he spent three years rotting in a High Rock prison, convincing him to give it up.
  • Only in It for the Money: His primary motivations for his career as a jailbreaking assassin and thief.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Admits he joined the Thieves' Guild, rather than the Dark Brotherhood, not because he dislikes murder but because the money is better and there are far fewer risks of getting caught.

    Thrynn 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thrynn3_7456.JPG

A member of the Guild who was formerly a bandit.


  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Cynric sometimes teases him by asking him if it's true that bandits get "friendly" with Skyrim's wildlife. Thrynn calls him an idiot in response.
  • The Big Guy: The official strategy guide notes that he's not all that experienced in stealth, but that he's usually picked for cases where brute strength is needed.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He used to be a member of a bandit clan, but had a violent disagreement with the chief when he was asked to murder some unarmed merchants for absolutely no reason and despite having just robbed them of everything they had. The disagreement ended with the chief's head on a pike.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After refusing to kill the merchants, he turned on his former comrades, set the merchants free, and decided to join the Thieves' Guild, seeing it as more "honest" work.

    Dirge 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dirge_2584.JPG
"Stay out of trouble, or there's gonna be trouble."
Voiced by: Popeye Vogelsang

The Ragged Flagon's bouncer.


    Vald 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/vald_1595.JPG
Voiced by: Thor Edgell

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


  • The Dragon: To Mercer.
  • Dumb Muscle: He's not very bright, to say the least.
  • Epic Fail: The reason he has a hefty debt he owes to Maven is because he dropped a priceless item into the lake beside Riften.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: If you clear his debt to Maven by getting her a priceless item from Vald's old ship, he'll happily let you investigate Mercer's house without a fight.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Alongside losing that item he was fetching for Maven, he'll happily assault the Dragonborn even though by this point the Dragonborn could be Archmage of the College of Winterhold, Harbinger of the Companions, and/or Listener for the Dark Brotherhood, as well as be accompanied by a powerful follower. It might be that he just has nothing to lose, but even so.

    Etienne Rarnis 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/etienne_9755.png
Voiced by: Gideon Emery

A Breton and Mauve Shirt member of the Thieves' Guild, who you will likely encounter when escaping from the Thalmor during "Diplomatic Immunity." The Thalmor are trying to find Esbern, the other member of the Blades, and are thus torturing Etienne for information.


  • Affably Evil: Should you rescue him, and help him escape from the Thalmor, he will always be polite to you and is extremely grateful for you saving him, even if you've screwed up a Guild job that normally alienates everybody else.
  • Berserk Button: If you dress up as the Thalmor and scare him when you rescue him, he gets a bit (understandably) pissed off at you, though not so much that he'll attack you.
  • Break the Badass: His aforementioned torture. He's a whimpering wreck by the time the Thalmor are done with it - not that you can blame him, of course.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: He's on the receiving end of this from the Thalmor, who are searching to find out about Esbern, the other surviving Blades member. He doesn't know a thing, but they're torturing him anyway, even when he explicitly spells it out to them.
  • Distressed Dude: Owing to the torture.
  • Recurring Extra: He doesn't play a huge role, but can be found in the headquarters quite often.

The Dark Brotherhood

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

    The Brotherhood in General 
  • Affably Evil: They're all quite friendly for a band of remorseless serial killers, though obviously some are more friendly than others.
  • Back from the Brink: At the start of the game, the Brotherhood is basically on its last legs. The entire Black Hand is dead, the Night Mother is essentially on the run and there is only one active Sanctuary in all of Tamriel. It's pretty clear that if the Dragonborn hadn't joined when they did, the Brotherhood wouldn't have lasted much longer.
  • Dark Is Evil: The name should be a dead giveaway.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: A Redguard assassin, a nutty Imperial jester, a child vampire alchemist, a Dunmer archer, an old Imperial mage, and an Argonian Shadowscale, led by a Nord assassin and her werewolf husband. And no matter your race or fighting style of preference, you can join them all the same. Also, the generic assassins they may send to kill you can be Khajiit or Argonian.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The entire group loves one another despite being an assassins' guild. That said, they're less tolerant of Cicero.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Astrid notes when she kidnaps you and mentions Grelod the Kind that, contract on her aside, "the old crone had it coming".
  • Murder, Inc.: Their standard format is that somebody performs the Black Sacrament, a Speaker retrieves the contract, and another agent completes the mission, upon which they receive payment.
  • Ninja: Their armor has such a vibe to it this time, complete with optional face cowl.
  • The Purge: They are on the receiving end of this trope no matter what. If you choose to destroy the Brotherhood, you carry it out yourself. But if you side with them, they will eventually be purged by the Penitus Oculatus on Commander Maro's orders.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The colour scheme of their uniforms.
  • Religion of Evil: They're supposed to serve Sithis and the Night Mother, but with the Night Mother silent, the actual religious element has fallen by the wayside.
  • Red Shirt: Once you complete their quests, a pair of nameless Dark Brotherhood Initiates will become available as followers. While you'd expect them to be these, they're actually not, as they're essential and have no level cap.
  • The Remnant: The loss of a Listener to commune with the Night Mother has reduced them to glorified sellswords, scoping out contracts by rumors about who's looking for their aid.
  • We Are Everywhere: The point of their questline is to restore them to their former reputation and put the fear of their boundless reach back in the minds of the public. But even when they recruit you, no matter where in Skyrim you are, you're abducted from your bed to be hauled before Astrid, even if you went to sleep in your own home in the middle of Solitude surrounded by your family and comrades.
    • After completing their quests, random town guards will pull you aside to let you know that they're secretly members of the Brotherhood.

    The Night Mother 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nightmother_9836.JPG
Voiced by: Lani Minella

The true leader of the Dark Brotherhood, but she only communicates with her chosen Listener. She is said to be the Bride of Sithis, the patron god of the Dark Brotherhood.


  • Big Bad: She's the true power behind the Brotherhood.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: She became the Night Mother by murdering her five children, one of whom was said to hold frightening divine power.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Whatever she is, she doesn't seem to be mortal, Aedra, or Daedra.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Though only you can hear it, and her voice is slightly higher than most male examples.
  • Humanoid Abomination: When she was alive. It's never confirmed outright, but one legend about her states that she was Dunmer. Though one theory is that she's the Daedric Prince Mephala, masquerading as the will of "Sithis" as some kind of bizarre scheme. Sermon 22 of the 36 Lessons, on the other hand, draws connection between her and Vivec.
  • Offing the Offspring: According to one legend, she bore Sithis five children... and murdered them to gain his approval.
  • Posthumous Character: Her physical form is little more than a desiccated corpse in a fancy coffin.
  • Spirit Advisor: Though only through a designated Listener.

    Astrid 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/astrid_8302.JPG
Voiced by: Cindy Robinson

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


  • Affably Evil: She actually comes across as quite polite, and will talk to you with respect and explain your situation calmly when you first meet her. She also genuinely loves her family.
  • The Baroness
  • Big Bad: She acts as the de facto leader of the Dark Brotherhood in absence of a Listener.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Kidnapping and acting smug might intimidate a normal person, but the Dragonborn? A friendly conversation to goad them into joining the Brotherhood (and make up for the kill steal) might have been a better idea, given that the Dragonborn could decide to simply kill her (and, depending on the player's choice, might).
  • Control Freak: She's the "Matron" of the Dark Brotherhood and dislikes the idea of a Listener usurping her authority.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Yes, she is an unrepentant murderess, but she genuinely loves her adopted family.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Gives this impression during your first meeting with her, claiming that the Brotherhood has by right control over all assassinations and that you owe them penance for killing someone that was rightfully theirs to do so. You don't have to accept this.
  • Exact Words: If you tell her that you don't wish kill anyone, she tells you that "No one is leaving here until someone dies." Note that she never specifically says who and, if you do choose to kill Astrid, it's implied by her last words that she's aware of this.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: She doesn't put much stock in the Night Mother, despite worshiping Sithis and living in a world full of active gods. Then again, this is mostly due to her being a Control Freak who doesn't want to be overthrown.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: She sells out the Dovahkiin to Commander Maro in order to save the Sanctuary. It doesn't work.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: She initiates the Dragonborn by forcing them to kill one of three bound and gagged individuals. The player can either do so (not that they're particularly likable people) or kill Astrid instead, which will change the questline to destroying the Dark Brotherhood.
    • Extra funny in that the victims are a terrified mercenary named "Fultheim the Fearless," a jerkass Nord woman (although given that she's been kidnapped from her family, not unjustifiably), and a Faux Affably Evil Khajiit.
    • Though the game won't tell you you can do it, you can actually identify the right target in this case by casting Clairvoyance, which points toward the Khajiit. Not coincidentally, this is the only victim you can kill where Astrid won't cast some subtle doubt on the decision.
  • Mugging the Monster: Do you have any idea who you've just kidnapped, Astrid? Sitting there close up to the Dragonborn is one of the worst places to be at this point.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Astrid makes it clear upon her arrival that she views the Night Mother as a threat to her leadership, and doesn't want anything to do with her. The red flags don't go up until just before she sends you off to assassinate the Emperor, and she addresses you as Listener. She sees you as a threat and is sending you into a trap. This is further cemented by her mention of calling in every favor she could to ensure your clean exit, whereas before now she's expected you to find your own getaway.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Though by her own request after her Heel Realization.
  • Suicide by Cop: Following Commander Maro's attack and her Heel Realization, she uses her horribly burned body as a Black Sacrament to put a contract on herself.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Can do this to the Dragonborn when kidnapping them, and also does it to Commander Maro.
  • Unholy Matrimony: She's married to Arnbjorn, though she doesn't like talking about it to avoid showing favoritism.
  • Uriah Gambit: Her attempt to save the Sanctuary from Maro's wrath involves sending the Dovahkiin into his hands. It doesn't work.
  • Worthy Opponent: If, instead of killing her hostages on first meeting her, the Dragonborn manages to kill her, she might whisper, "Well... done." Astrid did intend for them to become an assassin, after all, and what better way to do so than to off the very best?

    Arnbjorn 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/arnbjorn_5258.JPG
"You're part of a family now, hamshank. I trust you, you trust me ...got it?"
Voiced by: Popeye Vogelsang

Nord Husband of Astrid and gruff werewolf assassin.


  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    Arnbjorn: Here's all you need to know: I'm a werewolf. I like killing things. I love Astrid. I hate annoying people. And the color blue gives me a headache.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Judging by the fact that he's a werewolf, it's highly probable he was a member of the Circle before he got kicked out of the Companions.
  • An Axe to Grind: Carries around a battleaxe as his main weapon.
  • Beard of Evil: Sports a rather bushy one.
  • Blood Knight: To the point that his bloodlust was too much for the Companions.
  • Catchphrase: Insert the phrase 'my beautiful wife' or the word 'meat' and/or any synonym to his dialogue, and you have an instant catch phrase.
    Arnbjorn: Well, well. It's raw meat. Oh, my beautiful wife has told me all about you.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: He goes barefoot everywhere, most likely due to his lycanthropy.
  • The Dragon: To Astrid.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He is not impressed by the notion of murdering a bride at her wedding, sarcastically asking if the next targets will be sleeping orphans.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Of Gogron gro-Bolmog, the orc member of Oblivion's Dark Brotherhood. Like Gogron, Arnbjorn is somewhat unsuited for stealth, though unlike Gogron, he wears Light Armor. Also has shades of M'raj-Daar in that Arnbjorn just plain doesn't like you especially after you get named Listener and become a threat to his wife's authority and there's really nothing you can do about that. Like M'raj-Daar, Arnbjorn also starts to warm to you right before he dies, though at least this time it's not by your hand.
  • Happily Married: To his "beautiful wife" Astrid.
  • Killed Off for Real: During Maro's attack on the Sanctuary, or by you if you "Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!" instead of joining it.
  • Jerkass: Alongside Festus, he will be hostile to you from the get-go, though less so if you are a werewolf.
  • Last Stand: When Maro attacks the Sanctuary, he's fighting off his attacks as he's cut down. Notably, his death is scripted, so there's nothing you can do about it; if he does actually defeat the soldiers he's fighting, he will spontaneously keel over immediately afterward.
  • The Nicknamer: He tends to refer to you as food, like "Beef Roast", "Ham Hock" or "Morsel", though he states he doesn't mean anything by it since, as a werewolf, he sees everyone as food.
  • Square Race, Round Class: He's an assassin who's not only a werewolf, but also a former member of the Companions (a faction who are generally disdainful of stealth) who uses a battleaxe as his main weapon. However, he wears the Shrouded Armor of the Dark Brotherhood.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Not for the Dark Brotherhood, obviously, but he used to be this for the Companions. Eventually, they kicked him out over it.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After you take care of Cicero, he is much kinder towards you, to the point of calling you tidbit.
  • Unholy Matrimony: He's married to Astrid, and he loves being married to his "beautiful wife".

    Nazir 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nazir_6832.JPG
Voiced by: Erik Todd Dellums

A Redguard assassin who helps manage contracts.


  • Actor Allusion: Could reasonably be considered the Evil Twin of Three Dog, with the Deadpan Snarker turned Up to Eleven.
  • Black Dude Dies First:
    • Inverted - he's one of the only two survivors of the Penitus Oculatus raid on the Sanctuary, especially since, among those that can survive, he's the only one whom you can realistically expect to die. Cicero, at that point, is either dead by your hands or safe in the Dawnstar Sanctuary, and Babette, being (ostensibly) a child, is protected under Bethesda's policy of "no child-killing".
    • But if you decide to destroy the Dark Brotherhood instead of joining them, you do kill him, and only Babette and Cicero survive. Nazir's still not the first to die, though, since the first person you're likely to encounter upon entering the sanctuary will be either Arnbjorn or Veezara.
  • The Comically Serious: Has a lengthy list of entertainers he hates. He'll also complain about Cicero's dancing if you spared him.
  • Consummate Professional: Compared to others, he's more concerned with getting contracts done rather than with the more religious aspects of the Dark Brotherhood. He doesn't care too much how they're done, though, just that they are.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
  • Defrosting Ice King: A dark version, but he gradually warms up to you.
  • The Dragon: He becomes your Number Two in the Dawnstar Sanctuary.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: He has the deepest voice of anyone in the Sanctuary.
  • Fragile Speedster: Subverted. He's the Master Trainer for Light Armor, but oddly enough, he does not wear it himself (his Redguard-themed attire is classed as plain clothing) and he's actually closer to being Made of Iron, given that he survives the raid as noted above.
  • Meaningful Name: Arabic for "harbinger", appropriately enough for a guy who hands out contracts to kill people.
  • No True Scotsman: His sentiments toward a Redguard Dragonborn at their first meeting.
    "I am Redguard if you hadn't noticed, but not like you, no, not like you."
  • Pungeon Master: After you complete one of your first contracts.
    Nazir: Of course the miner is dead, I've heard their industry is rather... cutthroat! And those hours? Murder. I can keep this up all day.
  • Scary Black Man: He's a Redguard with a Badass Baritone working with the Dark Brotherhood, and he's not too friendly either.
  • Self-Made Orphan: After his father taught him to cook, Nazir killed him. Why he did this is never mentioned.
  • Sergeant Rock: While working for Nazir, count on him to take the piss out of you pretty regularly. The best you will get is a "good enough" because his standards are uncompromising. As shown during the siege on the Sanctuary, he has the fortitude and skill to be well worth those standards.
  • Sincerity Mode: One of the contracts he offers is on a vampire; after you do the deed, Nazir says, "No sarcasm this time, my friend," and praises you for fighting a vampire and living to tell the tale.
  • Sinister Scimitar: One of the very few named NPCs of any prominence to wield one in the game. Unsurprising, as he basically looks like a red-garbed Alik'r warrior, who all wield "curved swords".
  • Sleepy Head: Due to a bug, he may be found lying in bed almost all of the time in the PC version.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Astrid. Later this shifts to the Dragonborn, after Astrid's death and the Falkreath sanctuary's destruction.
    Nazir: I'll follow you until I'm dust in the breeze. You realize that, right?
  • Ungrateful Bastard: See Self-Made Orphan.

    Babette 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/babette_3023.JPG
"You're only young once. Trust me, I know."
Voiced by: Harley Graham

A 300-year-old vampire who uses her childlike appearance to her advantage.


  • Beneath Suspicion: Her survival is possibly foreshadowed in her conversation with the Dragonborn, where she recites her rehearsed story that the Dark Brotherhood killed her parents and took her captive. With the multiple purges the Brotherhood has suffered since the Oblivion Crisis, Babette might have had to use this story before.
  • Cheerful Child: Hey, just because she's a three hundred year-old vampire doesn't mean she can't act her apparent age. Babette is overall one of the chirpier, more welcoming members of the Brotherhood.
  • Creepy Child: She was turned into a vampire when she was ten years old.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Her default murder method is to pretend to be a naive helpless little girl, get her target alone, and then turn them into a bloody stain on the cobblestone.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Her preferred tactic when assassinating is to pretend to be a normal innocent child.
  • Enfant Terrible: She may look like any other kid, but she's a vampire assassin of three hundred years.
  • Expy: Of Vicente Valtieri from Oblivion's Dark Brotherhood, who was also a vampire. Unlike Vicente, though, she doesn't give you any quests and never offers to turn you into a vampire like he did.
  • Infant Immortality: Both literally and figuratively. She doesn't even show up if you decide to take the "Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!" route, and if you go through the faction questline, the Dark Brotherhood is eventually attacked by Commander Maro's troops and she ends up being one of the few survivors, along with you and Nazir (and Cicero, if you spared him).
  • Karma Houdini: Due to the fact children can't be killed in the game, if you decide to wipe out the Dark Brotherhood, she doesn't appear, and presumably escapes justice. If you join the Dark Brotherhood, she's also one of the only two members present at Commander Maro's attack (the other being Nazir) who isn't killed by Imperial troops.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Beyond Aventus Aretino's contract and Astrid's abduction, the Establishing Character Moment of the Dark Brotherhood itself has her narrating to her teammates how she took advantage of her appearance to bait and kill a child molester.
  • Little Miss Badass: You don't see her fight anyone, but she has a few tales of such. Also, she has to be a badass to not get slaughtered by Commander Maro's troops like everyone else in the Brotherhood save Nazir, although since you meet her and Nazir after the fact, how she survived is left unclear.
  • Master Poisoner: The master trainer for Alchemy. Given that she's a member of the Dark Brotherhood, the implications of what she uses that knowledge for should be obvious.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The only vampire in-game who isn't an adult.
  • Really 700 Years Old: She's over three hundred on account of her vampirism.
  • Undead Child: Cicero even calls her "the unchild."

    Veezara 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/veezara_6433.JPG
Voiced by: Tim Blaney

An Argonian assassin from the extinct Shadowscale order.


  • Affably Evil: He's a soft-spoken, all-around pleasant Nice Guy, except for the fact that he's also a cold-blooded murderer.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Before meeting the Dark Brotherhood, at least.
  • I Owe You My Life: To Astrid, who gave him a reason to live again... specifically, killing people.
  • Killed Off for Real: During Maro's attack on the Sanctuary, if you don't opt to destroy the Brotherhood yourself.
  • Last of His Kind: He's the last known Shadowscale. Unfortunately, once you finish the questline, the order has become extinct; depending on whether you destroyed the Dark Brotherhood or joined them, he's killed by either you or Commander Maro's troops.
  • Taking the Bullet: When Cicero loses his temper with Astrid for insulting the Night Mother, Veezara gets in the way and protects her from being hurt by the jester's knife. He survives.
  • We Need a Distraction: Helps divert attention from you after a deliberately public assassination.

    Gabriella 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gabriella_9645.JPG
Voiced by: Julianne Buescher

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


  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: She likes moonlit nights, seaside strolls, unicorns, and knitting. She then recounts when she stabbed a unicorn to death with a sewing needle while on a moonlit walk on the beach.
  • Familiar: Lis the Frostbite Spider is her familiar, according to the official strategy guide, though it notes that Lis is treated more like a pet than anything.
  • Foreseeing My Death: Claims to have already predicted the circumstances of her death, although she doesn't discuss the details.
  • Killed Off for Real: During Maro's attack on the Sanctuary (or yours, if you "Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!" instead of joining it).

    Festus Krex 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/festus_1973.JPG
Voiced by: Jim Cummings

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


  • Berserk Button: When this man says he wants his bath water tepid, he means tepid. His wife found out the hard way that lukewarm is not tepid.
  • The Brute: He isn't stupid, mind you, as he's an accomplished sorcerer. But unlike his comrades, he prefers brutally murdering his targets point blank with powerful spells as opposed to stealth and sneaky tactics. Despite that, he has a special ring that boosts Destruction and Sneak that he'll give the player as a bonus if they hide The Gourmet's body.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Towards you.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Murdered his wife because she made lukewarm bathwater for him instead of tepid.
  • Evil Old Folks: The oldest member of the Brotherhood.
  • Evil Sorcerer: He's practically obsessed with the more gruesome applications of magic, almost to a When All You Have Is a Hammer... level.
  • For Science!: Was formerly a professor at the College of Winterhold before he decided that he wished to explore the "intricacies" of the Destruction school. Specifically, making spells that killed in more gruesome ways.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Describes himself as the "cranky old uncle" of the Dark Brotherhood family.
  • Human Pincushion: When you find him dead, he's pinned to a tree by about twenty arrows.
  • Kill It with Fire: All of his Destruction spells are fire-based.
  • Killed Off for Real: Either during Maro's attack on the Sanctuary, or yours.
  • Laughably Evil: His grumpy mannerisms help in this.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: His preferred method of assassination is the liberal application of powerful Destruction spells directly to the target. If asked for advice on your current mission, he'll recommend this for you as well. Ironically, when the Dark Brotherhood sanctuary is attacked by the Penitus Oculatus, Festus is found pinned to a tree by twenty arrows.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: He appreciates the stealth aspect of assassination, but he prefers to simply... well, he says it himself:
Festus: Do what I do. Walk up to your target, introduce yourself, melt their skin off, and then run like the wind. Works every time.

    Cicero 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cicero_2990.JPG
"The Night Mother is part of you now. You get to hear voices in your head! The rest of us should be so lucky."
Voiced by: Andrew Morris

A psychotic Imperial jester and the Keeper of the Dark Brotherhood, responsible for taking care of the Night Mother.


  • Ax-Crazy: His default state of mind. If he's your follower, anyone showing any kind of hostility toward you will get knifed to death, which may lead to bounty problems if this happens in a major city.
  • Berserk Button: Disrespecting the Night Mother makes him even more murder-happy than usual; after all, as Keeper, it's his job to guard her. He threatens to shank the Dragonborn on the spot when he finds them inside the Night Mother's coffin (long story) until they give him her Trust Password, and later tries to murder Astrid for slandering her name.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: He can be encountered on the road with a broken wagon. If you convince a farmer suspicious of him to have him arrested, said farmer will end up dead.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: It's possible to encounter him (and his "passenger") on the road long before you ever join the Dark Brotherhood, or even if you never do.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: The only Dark Brotherhood member who still cares about the Night Mother, regularly attempting to communicate with her. His isolation, obsession, and the deaths of his fellow assassins in Cyrodiil have left him... quite unhinged.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He manages to incapacitate Arnbjorn with just his knife. As a follower, he's relatively powerful.
  • Evil Redhead: Has shoulder-length red hair that's mostly obscured by his hat.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: No one in the Dark Brotherhood is particularly fond of him, tolerating his presence solely because he's a member of the Brotherhood. Ironically, the one that actually tolerates him the most is Festus.
  • Giggling Villain: Likely a mix of his jester persona and his own craziness.
  • Happy Dance: Once in a while, he'll do a jig on the spot.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: See Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
  • In-Universe Nickname: He calls himself "The Fool of Hearts". Everyone else just calls him a fool.
  • Karma Houdini: Along with Babette, he will not be present in the Sanctuary if you're there to wipe out the Brotherhood. Evidently, he'll never finish the trip.
  • Knife Nut: His preferred weapon is a simple dagger.
  • Large Ham: What else would you expect from an Ax-Crazy jester?
  • Monster Clown: The most openly psychotic member of the Dark Brotherhood whose devotion to the Night Mother comes off as more than a bit Oedipal in nature. The persona is partly because his last contract before becoming the Keeper was to kill a jester, which - combined with his Sanity Slippage - eventually came to break him.
  • Nice Hat: It's a jester's hat, of course.
  • Obviously Evil: When he's stranded in the middle of the road due to a damaged wheel of his carriage, a local farmer refuses to help him because of Cicero's incredibly suspicious behavior. Should you decide to involve yourself in the matter, the farmer will end up dead if you don't persuade him to help Cicero.
  • Random Event: He's a walking one of these, in that Cicero is the only member of the Dark Brotherhood you might encounter even if you never commit the murder that brings you to the guild's attention. Meeting him is especially likely if you have Hearthfire installed; the farm where his wagon breaks down is the immediate neighbor of the plot of land where Heljarchen Hall (the home you can build if you become Thane of the Pale) is constructed.
  • Sanity Slippage: His journals reveal that years of obsessively watching over the Night Mother without ever once being named Listener or encountering a Listener while the Dark Brotherhood collapsed all around him really took their toll on his mind.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To Mathieu Bellamont, being an Ax-Crazy member of the Brotherhood who's obsessed with his mother and betrays them due to his obsession. Although in Cicero's case, he's obsessed with the Night Mother rather than his biological one and doesn't kill any of them for it, only wounding two of them after coming to blows with Astrid.
  • Sycophantic Servant: Towards the Night Mother. If he's alive by the end of the Dark Brotherhood questline, he becomes this to the Dragonborn.
  • Third-Person Person: He slips in and out of this rather inconsistently. It helps that he's completely mad.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: He appears badly injured when he asks you to spare his life. If you attack him but are not strong enough to kill him in one hit, he's as spry as ever.
  • Yandere: For the Night Mother. And even starts to show shades of this towards the player if you spare him.
  • You Fool!: If you spare him and head to the Dawnstar Sanctuary later in the questline, he'll greet you with a monologue about how much of a fool you were to spare him and that he'll kill you now. He then reveals that he was just kidding, while laughing at the apparent look on your face.

    The Spectral Assassin 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/spectral_9069.JPG
Voiced by: Wes Johnson

An ancient assassin which you call forth from the Void. Actually the ghost of Lucien Lachance.


  • Awesome, but Impractical: The ghost of Lucien Lachance has arguably the most badass and well-voiced combat dialogue of any character in the game. It's a shame that his sole fighting tactic is to charge headlong into the thickest of the fighting clad in only light armor and brandishing an iron dagger. Higher level-scaled enemies tend to make short work of him. That is, until you install Dawnguard, craft a Dragonbone Bow enchanted with Absorb Health and Paralysis and a set of Dragonbone Arrows, and drop both beside him before combat starts. Time it right, and Lucien will actually ignore all the fighting, pick up the set and thereafter become a permanently self-reliant, committed long-ranged killing machine who fast travels with the set until he's dispelled by another summon or killed by overwhelming force.
  • Ax-Crazy: While Lucien Lachance could hardly be considered a man of peace, he seems to have entirely dispensed with the "stealth" aspect of his vocation after becoming one with the Void. He will not sneak when the player does and will instead draw attention to himself by eagerly charging at any nearby enemy with only a knife.
    "Perhaps we should find... a random stranger to murder! Practice does make perfect..."
  • Belated Happy Ending: Despite his rather horrific end in Oblivion, he's deemed important and loyal enough to Sithis and the Night Mother to endure beyond death, likely because the Night Mother herself vouched for his devotion to the Black Hand.
  • Blood Knight: "I grow restless... as does my blade."
  • Came Back Wrong: He's certainly less collected than he was in the last game, perhaps due in part to the details of his death (see the Nightmare Fuel page for a description).
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Courtesy of his VA. Highlight the spoiler to work it out.
  • Expy: He's essentially an evil Obi-Wan Kenobi with a bit of Darth Sidious on the side.
  • Fearless Undead: "There is no pain in the Void!"
  • I Am Who?: Lucien Lachance
  • Implacable Man: Of a sort. He will assist you until he falls, and can be summoned again if he does.
  • Large Ham: I LIVE AGAIN!
  • Motor Mouth: A variant of this trope in that while Lucien's speech is still perfectly coherent and steady, he never shuts up. He'll go off on an echoing deep-voiced tangent about past events or enacting violence (or both) in any location to which he accompanies you without being prompted, even in the middle of a Falmer- or draugr-infested dungeon or a conversation with another NPC. This wouldn't be too much of a problem... until you've heard "the tale of Mathieu Bellamont and the great treachery of Cheydinhal" for the millionth time. So much for preferring the "symphony of death".
    • It's gotten to the point where players have written guides on how to "kill" him without incurring a penalty for it.
  • Pet the Dog:
    "Shadowmere... my old and dear friend."

    Shadowmere 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/shadowmere_5045.JPG

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


  • Ambiguous Gender: Considered male by Astrid, but Lucien calls Shadowmere a "she" in Oblivion.
  • Blood Knight: If an enemy is nearby, it will feel this horse's hooves.
  • Hellish Horse: This Brotherhood-exclusive steed is the hardiest in all of Skyrim.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Has more health than other horses and regenerates it extremely quickly. The only things that can kill her are very long vertical drops and amplified backstabs.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Has glowing red eyes.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Even if something manages to get through its massive amount of regenerating health to kill it, it will come back to life ten days later at the point where you originally met it outside the (original) Dark Brotherhood sanctuary.

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