These are minor characters who do not fit in the other categories, but are still unique in their own way. For other Skyrim characters, click here.
Housecarls are warriors assigned by the Jarl of a hold to protect the Dragonborn and their property. In order to earn a housecarl, you must become a Thane (in other words, an acknowledged hero of the hold), which generally involves directly assisting the Jarl in question, helping the citizenry of the hold, and, in the case of the major holds (Whiterun, Eastmarch, the Rift, the Reach, and Haafingar), purchasing property. With Hearthfire installed, you can also gain housecarls from Falkreath, Hjaalmarch, and the Pale's Jarls after purchasing land (Winterhold alone does not have purchasable property).
- Action-Hero Babysitter: With the addition of the Hearthfire DLC, the housecarls become these. They will do everything in their power to protect the Dragonborn's children from bandits and other random attacks.
- Artificial Brilliance: If a fight is beginning to look a little one-sided, they'll snatch up a staff they found lying on the ground and use it to even the odds.
- Badass Bisexual: They'll hit on you and you can marry them if you wear an Amulet of Mara regardless of your character's gender.
- Badass Normal: They don't need fancy magic or an ancient language to keep up with the Dovahkiin. But they won't hesitate to use a staff if you give one to them, or it is lying around for them to use.
- Battle Butler: They carry your goods if you request it, and, when not following and protecting you, they stay at home to guard your house, your children and anything you own. Starting with Hearthfire, they share this position with your Stewards.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Jordis, Lydia, and Iona respectively.
- Bodyguard Crush: If you wear an Amulet of Mara while speaking to them...
- Bodyguarding a Badass: That badass being you, of course.
- Catchphrase:"Honor to you, my Thane."
"Long life to you, Thane."
"I am sworn to carry your burdens."
"As you will, my Thane. I will protect you with my life."
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: They have special trash talk reserved for dragons!"You'll die this day, dragon!"
- The Dragon: To an evil Dragonborn. They won't hesitate to murder a defenseless old lady if you give them the order.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: They can generally scout traps and be aware of an enemy's presence before you are. They can absorb more punishment than you (technically, since they're difficult to kill) and at early levels, they might be stronger than you. Also, unlike you, they and all other followers have no cap on either armor or magic defense, allowing them to block nearly all damage, potentially, rather than capping at 80% for the Dovahkiin.
- Insult Friendly Fire: As almost all of them are Nords, they are prone to using "Skyrim for the Nords!" as well as various racial insults as a battlecry, even if they happen to serve a non-Nord.
- The Lancer/Number Two: They are "your sword and your shield".
- My Master, Right or Wrong/Undying Loyalty: They will put up with almost anything you do and agree to almost any order. In fact, it's easier to list the things they won't let you get away with:
"Not for you. Not for anyone."
- Attacking them repeatedly.
- Becoming a Stage 4 vampire (if Dawnguard isn't installed) or werewolf (if they are not a follower).
- ...And making them sleep in someone else's bed.
- Particularly notable is that Housecarls will fight by your side even if you're fighting against the very Jarls who assigned them to you. Lydia and Jordis the Sword-Maiden will stay right by your side while invading Whiterun or Solitude, with Lydia actively participating in directly fighting the very Jarl who assigned her to you, personally.
- Only Six Faces: The female Housecarls seem to have the exact same faces, to the point where Lydia and Jordis the Sword-Maiden almost look like palette-swaps of one another. Iona at least has a different hairstyle.
- Static Role, Exchangeable Character: They all have the exact same role in the game, the same stats, almost the same equipment, and, before Dragonborn added some unique dialogue for Lydia, the same lines as well.
- Trash Talk: All of them use it when facing down enemies.
For the housecarls of Falkreath, Hjaalmarch, and the Pale, see Skyrim: DLC.
Housecarl to the Dragonborn upon being named Thane of Whiterun. Most likely the first Housecarl you will obtain, and the one players remember the most.
- Action Girl: She's likely the first female follower you can recruit, and is a proficient warrior.
- Ascended Meme: Lydia originally had only one sarcastic line. This was upped in Dragonborn.
- Breakout Character: She's pretty much the poster girl for the game, as the first Housecarl met and likely the player's first companion (Sven or Faendal in Riverwood can be missed easily), and she has a bit of sarcasm and badassery to make her memorable. The Hearthfire and Dragonborn DLC further expand her personality in subtle ways with new dialogue and changes to her behavior, something done for no other Housecarl.
- Cuteness Proximity: A very strange example. When fighting the diminutive but murderous Rieklings:Lydia: I don't know whether to kill it or pet it.
- Deadpan Snarker: Aside from the classic line above, Lydia gets a tremendous boost to her snarkiness in the Dragonborn DLC, especially if you start using the Black Books.
- Disc-One Nuke: She's one of the first followers you can recruit, and her invincibility combined with her high stats and strong default equipment make her possibly more powerful than you when you recruit her. She'll continue to be just as powerful late into the game.
- No Hero to His Valet: No matter how badass, famous or influential the Dragonborn is, Lydia will keep snarking the same or otherwise harmlessly disrespect them.
- Sarcastic Devotee: She is sworn to carry your burdens. Doesn't mean she's happy about it, though. With Hearthfire, she eventually drops the snarkiness the more you travel with her. She has a lot more sarcastic dialogue in Dragonborn.
Housecarl to the Dragonborn after being named Thane of Eastmarch in the capital of Windhelm.
- Heroes Want Redheads: If you marry him.
- Hot Blooded Sideburns: He sports an impressive pair of muttonchops.
Housecarl to the Dragonborn after being named Thane of The Rift in the capital of Riften and helping to clear out a den of skooma dealers.
- Action Girl: Like all female companions, she's a very powerful fighter.
- Heroes Want Redheads: If you marry her, of course.
Argis the Bulwark
Housecarl to the Dragonborn after being named Thane of The Reach in the capital of Markarth after taking care of several Forsworn camps.
- Badass Baritone: Has the gruffest voice of the housecarls.
- Badass Beard: The only housecarl with a full, manly mane (Hearthfire notwithstanding).
- Continuity Nod: His name and the house he protects, Vlindrel Hall, are both nods to Knights of the Nine. Fort Bulwark was where you found the Shield of the Crusader and Berich Vlindrel was one of the original knights.
- Facial Markings: The only housecarl with war paint.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Of the good variety.
- Handicapped Badass: He's also blind in one eye.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: As his sobriquet implies, he prefers a shield and one-handed weapon combination, and utilizes blocking and shield bashing in combat.
- They Call Him "Sword": His sobriquet.
Jordis the Sword-Maiden
Housecarl to the Dragonborn after being named Thane of Haafingar in the capital of Solitude and helping to save Solitude from a crisis.
- Action Girl: Her name says it all.
- Awesome, but Impractical: As stated before, all housecarls are equal in stats, which is unfortunate considering how much cost and effort one must undertake to get Jordis.
- Badass Adorable: She has the default "young lady" voice, and tends to express glee when brought along into exotic and impressive locales.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Her voice and dialogue give the impression that she's the friendliest out of the housecarls. Doesn't make her any less brutal in a fight, nor does it keep for from yelling threats in battle.
- Precision F-Strike: She might yell, "Die, damn you!" in the middle of a fight.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Name version. "Jordis" means "Sword Maiden" in Norwegian, which makes her name Sword Maiden the Sword-Maiden.
- The Fettered: She takes her oath to serve you very seriously. Unlike Lydia, she says "I am sworn to carry your burdens" without a hint of sarcasm.
- Nice Girl: Nothing short of the nicest character in the entire Elder Scrolls franchise, and that is just the vanilla version. Mods replacing cut dialogue make Jordis three times as vocal and helpful, and she is such a sweetheart and so kind and friendly she is a popular voice option for fan made content.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Well, man or woman. Cut dialogue has her latch onto the Dragonborn like they were already married, and if you go through with it Jordis is this Up to Eleven.
- They Call Him "Sword": Her sobriquet.
- What the Hell, Hero?: If you don't fight back against enemies attacking you Jordis will call you out on it and demand you defend yourself.
The headsman and head jailer of Solitude. He can be made a follower if you grant him a request of eliminating a prisoner he accidentally let escape.
- An Axe to Grind: He carries a unique Battleaxe. It's the same axe he uses to execute people.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Despite his duties, he comes off as a fairly decent person who treats his job as what it is: a job.
- Establishing Character Moment: You'll likely notice him immediately upon entering Solitude, as the headsman in charge of executing Roggvir.
- Off with His Head!: It's his job. He's pretty blase about it, however. Ironically, he doesn't have the Devastating Blow perk that would allow him to lop off heads in combat.
- Scary Black Man: Aside from his job, he's notably much larger and more muscular than other Redguards as well as having a rather deep voice.
A miner in Darkwater Crossing who prefers adventuring to getting stuck in the mine, unlike her husband.
- Action Mom: She has a daughter.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: While the ore vein she discovered was prosperous enough to establish the settlement of Darkwater Crossing and its associated mine, this unfortunately led to Small Town Boredom when she realized she was now tied down in one place.
- Follower-In-Law: The Dragonborn can marry her daughter.
- Founder of the Settlement: She was the one who discovered the mine, leading to the establishment of Darkwater Crossing.
- Older Than They Look: She has a full-grown daughter, which would make her in her late thirties or early forties at least. She certainly doesn't look it; in fact, when standing next to her daughter, they look like they could be sisters.
- Parenting The Wife: Her husband, Verner, desperately wants her to act her age. It doesn't work.
- Retired Badass: Until she returns to adventuring alongside the Dragonborn.
- Small Town Boredom: Her reason for following the Dragonborn.
- Wet Blanket Wife: Inverted. She wants to do some adventuring, to the annoyance of her husband.
A Nord mercenary found in Solitude's inn.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: He shows excitement when visiting ancient Nordic tombs.
- Deflector Shields: He often uses the Ward spells.
- Magic Knight: Prides himself on being a spellsword."Versatility is the key to survival. Hire me, and you'll well-prepared to face threats both magical and mundane."
- Nice Guy: Stands out among the followers as this. He doesn't have a Dark and Troubled Past, a dark secret, or a hidden agenda; he's just a mercenary who loves life and will happily adventure across Skyrim at your side. Even his obligatory inventory-carrying joke is more lighthearted than passive-aggressive.
- Stone Wall: He can be even tougher than housecarls because he buffs and heals himself.
A Nord warrior hanging around the Guardhouse in Morthal. He will follow you upon beating him in a brawl.
- Above the Influence: It's possible for Alva to hit on him, and Benor says he'll agree, if Alva leaves that "kinslayer" Hroggar. Alva says Hroggar doesn't have to know, but that causes Benor to flatly turn her down, refusing to "cuckold" Hroggar even if Benor thinks Hroggar's a murderer.
- An Axe to Grind: He's wielding an iron battleaxe when you first recruit him, and he prefers Two-Handed weapons.
- Defeat Means Friendship: How you recruit him. It also allows to marry him.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: During the "Laid to Rest" quest, he's part of the Torches and Pitchforks party who goes to Morvath's lair, and then is too afraid to actually enter the vampire's den. At this point, he's normally scripted to go back to Morthal with the other NPCs, but if he's already available as a follower, asking him to team up with you results in Benor entering the cave anyway, with no other consequence.
- Knight In Sour Armor: He's not pleased with the Jarl of Morthal, whom he feels isn't doing enough to protect the citizens of Morthal. He feels Morthal used to be a quiet place, back when the world made sense. So what does he do about it? He joins up with Morthal's guards to help them out.
- Not Distracted by the Sexy: Well, not distracted by Alva's sexy, anyway, as described in the Above the Influence trope. The player can marry him, though.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Sort of. He's the blue oni to his good friend Gorm's red. You can learn this in a minor conversation, but Gorm wants to do something immediately about his and Benor's mutual dissatisfaction with Morthal's Jarl, while Benor would prefer to wait until the time is right, when they're sure.
A talking dog found outside Falkreath.
- Animalistic Abomination: Only looks like a Big, Friendly Dog.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Calls the player out on this, if they make the You Can Talk? observation.Barbas: Yeah, Skyrim is full of giant, flying lizards and two-legged cat-men, and you're surprised by me? Yeah, I just talked. And am continuing to do so.
- Artificial Stupidity: He has a habit of pushing players off cliffs. He is also set to stay very close to you.
- Big, Friendly Dog: He's really this terrifying Daedric creature, and yet he still barks at butterflies.
- Deadpan Snarker: Much like his master, in fact, but not at all malicious.
- Made of Iron: He seems to be completely invincible. Justified in that he's an aspect of sorts to Clavicus Vile, who - as a Daedric Prince - can't be killed. With one exception: taking up Clavicus Vile on his offer to give Barbas the axe. Literally.
- Morality Pet: Literally, to Clavicus Vile. He says this in a bit of unused dialogue:Barbas: I tend to be the voice of reason and he finds that... irksome.
- Talking Animal: The Dragonborn can bring up this fact, whereupon Barbas will comment on their Arbitrary Skepticism.
- Taken for Granite: Reuniting him with Clavicus causes him to reclaim his post as the other half of the Daedric Prince's statue.
- Unexplained Accent: Barbas speaks with what appears to be a Brooklyn accent. Though a good number of characters speak with (nondescript) American accents, such a specific accent can come off as... out of place.
Borgakh the Steel Heart
An Orc warrior, and the daughter of the chieftain of Mor Khazgur stronghold. Her eventual fate would have been to be married off to another stronghold, which the Dragonborn has a chance to prevent - by either passing a Speechcraft check to talk her into running away, or by paying off her bride-price.
- Action Girl: As a female Orc, this is a given.
- Amazonian Beauty: She's a tall, muscular woman who is quite pretty.
- Arranged Marriage: She joins up with you to escape one.
- Awesome Mccoolname: Borgakh the Steel Heart is a pretty nice name. You can even melt her steel heart if you marry her.
- Badass Normal: Not a mage or anyone specially trained, just a Orc warrior.
- Blood Knight: One of her random comments is, "My blood's calm. I prefer it boiling."
- Boobs of Steel: She's quite buxom, but also a good fighter.
- The Chief's Daughter: She has most of the traits but wants to escape a arranged marriage.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: A minor example, but if you use Healing Hands on her to heal her wounds, she'll complain that an Orc lets wounds heal naturally.
- Hot Guy, Ugly Wife: Possibly (she can be married); but for an Orc, she's fairly attractive.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: An odd case in that her stats are geared for a sword-and-shield one-handed approach, but she seems to prefer using bows at long range in battle instead unless you make sure she doesn't have any bows or arrows.
- Marry for Love: She does this, happily, if you ask her to marry you. She comments that marriage feels right this time and compliments your cleverness and strength.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Once again, as a female Orc. When married, she'll frequently tell you "Conquer your enemies, my love."
- Rebellious Princess: As the daughter of the chief, she doesn't want to be "the third wife of some lowly chieftain" and will gladly follow you should you persuade her to do so.
- Statuesque Stunner: Since she's a orc, and a attractive one at that, she's taller than any race but Altmer.
- Stealth Expert: She's got surprisingly good sneak ability.
- Stone Wall: She's skilled in heavy armor and her default armor levels up to Orcish in quality, giving her good defense, and you can give her even better armor.
- Technicolor Eyes: She has yellow eyes with cross-shaped pupils and smaller dark specks in the irises.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: If you're playing as anyone but a Nord, Altmer, or another Orc, she'll be noticeably taller than you.
- Tribal Facepaint: Has blood-red tears painted on her face (as if her eyes are welling up and running over).
- Video Game Caring Potential: She's going to be forced into a Arranged Marriage against her will, and you can either pay off her bride-price or persuade her to opt out of it. You can even have her marry you.
- You Keep Using That Word: A minor goof by Bethesda. She calls the goods Mor Khazgur would get in exchange for her a "dowry," but the correct definition of that term would be goods or money given to her husband in addition to her. The correct term is something like "bride-price".
The only Argonian follower, a miner at Darkwater Crossing who was apparently a prisoner of the Falmer.
- Artificial Stupidity: Due to a glitch, he can become inexplicably trapped in the cave where you find him, unable to follow you out of the exit.
- Catchphrase: "Ours is to follow, friend."
- Idiot Ball: How he got imprisoned by the Falmer. Upon freeing him, the first thing he does is to kick himself for about how utterly stupid it was to swim into an unexplored cave when he didn't know what was in there first.
- I Owe You My Life: Derkeethus follows you because you saved his life and will stand by your side no matter what. "To Oblivion and back, as they say."
- Made of Iron: Due to the incredibly buggy nature of his recruitment quest, his essential status never gets removed, making it impossible for enemies to kill him. This means that, while his stats are average at best, he's actually one of the most useful followers in the game.
- Recruitment by Rescue: You recruit this guy by rescuing him from a Falmer den.
- Rescue Romance: If you choose to marry him.
- Runaway Groom: Because of a glitch, when attempting to marry him, he has a tendency to sprint out of the chapel in the middle of the ceremony.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Entering a vast room with no enemies to be seen? He sees this a mile away.
- Weapon of Choice: The bow, which he will use as long as he has arrows, even if you give him ridiculously powerful melee weapons. The solution, of course, is to give him ridiculously powerful bows instead. In melee combat, he almost always uses his pickaxe and will simply resort to Dual Wielding if given another melee weapon.
A follower of the Daedric Prince Namira.
- Affably Evil: She's rather polite for a bloodthirsty cannibal.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Don't let yourself be fool by her first impression; she's pretty much a psychotic cannibal.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: She seems a bit like this when you first meet her, especially as she goes on about how she knows you know what it's like to be a cannibal... even if you haven't actually eaten any human flesh up to this point in the game. Even though the Dragonborn has a Multiple-Choice Past already, it's likely this is just a seduction tactic; tellingly, if you flat out refuse her right off the bat, she'll just say "To Oblivion with you, then!" and attack you.
- Dark Action Girl: Female, psychotic, and very good at kicking ass.
- Handicapped Badass: Being blind in one eye doesn't hamper her any.
- I'm a Humanitarian: She's part of a cult of cannibals who worship Namira.
- Magic Knight: Efficient on One-Handed combat and Destruction magic.
- Necromancer: Eola is the only follower in the base game capable of reanimating fallen enemies.
- Nightmare Fetishist: She is part of a cannibal cult worshiping the Daedric Prince of Revulsion. Can hardly fit the trope better.
- Psycho Sidekick: Granted, the game's universe is a huge case of Grey and Gray Morality, but Eola's right up there with Cicero when it comes to psychotic followers.
Erandur (formerly Casimir)
An aged Dunmer priest, Erandur joins you following the "Waking Nightmare" quest, which can be started in Dawnstar.
- The Atoner: Used to be a Daedric Lord's priest, but abandoned his order and became a priest of Mara instead.
- Badass Preacher: Being a priest of Mara and being a powerful mage are not mutually exclusive.
- The Bard: He used to attend the Bard's College in Solitude, but was kicked out for worshiping Vaermina.
- Battlecry: "Feel the benevolence of Mara!"
- Catchphrase: "Blessings of Mara upon you."
- Developers' Foresight: Erandur is one of the few followers with different remarks for basically every location in Skyrim, from major cities to bandit camps. The most notable is his remark that he's always wanted to make a pilgrimage to the Temple of Mara, should you take him there.
- Good Parents: He claims that he had good parents and has no bad memories of them; he thinks he'll visit their resting place sometime.
- HeelFaith Turn: He used to worship a Daedric Prince, but turned good and started worshiping Mara instead.
- Kill It with Fire: One of his favorite spells is a ramped-up fireball.
- Kung-Fu Wizard: Erandur can take almost as much of a beating as Lydia or your other companions.
- Magic Knight: He often uses a mace and a fire spell. He's also a mean hand with Destruction staves.
- Master of None: Sadly, he becomes this at higher levels, despite being a Crutch Character at lower levels, because he uses the Priest class, which is not only a civilian class, but also has terrible synergy with his abilities. He will end up with an above-average HP pool because of his high level cap, but because he has no armor skills, he can't serve well as a tank, and he also gets a huge stamina pool, but because he has no weapon skills, he isn't a good offensive fighter either. He can cast some spells, but his Magicka pool is a very tiny 50 points and never increases, making him sub-par as a mage as well.
- Nice Guy: One of the few followers who are fine with hauling your stuff around.
- Older Than They Look: He states that he grew up in The Pale and has lived there for most of his life, which is longer than the Dovahkiin may think.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Erandur's battle dialogue and some of his unique lines said when he isn't being spoken to directly are in the normal, nasal Dark Elf voice, as opposed to his usual Badass Baritone. Keith Szarabajka wasn't able to go the full Joshua Graham route for this preacher.
- Sadistic Choice: It's either have him as follower, or kill him and gain possession of a nice magic staff. Of course, it's not really sadistic if you're a good guy, since doing the bidding of the Lady of Nightmares is not something you'd be inclined to do even if it didn't involve killing a decent man. However, if you're attempting to get the "Oblivion Walker" achievement, letting him live means giving up the chance to acquire one of the fifteen required artifacts. (Your best bet in that case is to leave his quest for the last of the fifteen, save the game before the choice, and then wait until the achievement unlocks before reloading.)
- That Man Is Dead: "I no longer use that name [Casimir]. I'm Erandur, priest of Mara."
- Unexplained Accent: He has quite a fantastic one compared to other followers, though it's mainly because no other follower in the game shares his voice type.
- Weapon of Choice: Tends to favour using Destruction magic in battle, despite his stats revealing that he's far more skilled at Conjuration. One explanation for this might be that his HeelFaith Turn from a Daedra worshiper is why he doesn't use it anymore, since that school is heavily associated with the Daedra and Oblivion.
Erik the Slayer
A young man from Rorikstead who dreams of being an adventurer.
- Adorkable: He's very cheerful and excitable. When you come back to him after having dismissed him, he's so happy about going on another adventure that his voice squeaks.
- Ascended Fanboy: A meta example. Erik the Slayer is based off of Erik West, who was known as "Immok the Slayer" on the forums before he died of cancer in May 2011.
- Farm Boy: Subverted in that he's not resistant to adventure - it's his biggest dream, and he doesn't miss farming at all.
- Jumped at the Call: Takes the first opportunity that he can to just leave and start adventuring.
- Missing Mom: She died when he was a little child.
- Nice Guy: To the point where he's actually enthusiastic about helping you carry stuff. Really, he's almost too nice to become a feared mercenary.
- Mythology Gag: One of his ancestors may have been a guard in Cyrodiil, since he'll say in combat "This is the part where you fall down and bleed to death!"
- Overprotective Dad: Mralki is so protective of Erik that when you say you want to talk about his son, he assumes Erik must have been hurt, and sounds close to panic.
- Pet the Dog: The Dragonborn can offer to pay for his armor, so his father won't go into debt.
- Red Baron: "The Slayer". Erik explains that his father wanted him to take a sobriquet that fits him, but he chose this one to make himself seem more impressive to potential enemies. After all, no one's gonna quake in fear of "Erik Greenthumb" or "Erik Hoe-Pusher".
- Small Town Boredom: Why he wants to be an adventurer.
- Strong Family Resemblance: He looks a fair bit like his father, the owner of the village inn. He inherited his mother's eye and hair color, presumably, as those don't match. And hopefully his mother's hair retention, as Mralki is bald on top.
A Bosmer from Riverwood. He is in a Love Triangle, competing with Sven for Camilla Valerius' attentions. He will offer to follow you if you help him out (either by telling Camilla that Sven had written a fake note to pretend it was from Faendal, or by giving Camilla the fake note he wrote to pretend it was from Sven).
- Adorkable: Somewhat.
- Archer Archetype: Skilled in archery, light armor and sneak.
- Badass Normal: He can only level up to level 30 and he doesn't know any magic, but he's so good with his bow that it often doesn't matter.
- Deadpan Snarker: "Riverwood's agreeable enough, I suppose. For a Nord village."
- Disc-One Nuke: Getting him as a follower is not only possible within five minutes of leaving Helgen, but he's also a trainer, and as a companion you can get Archery lessons from him and then take back the gold from his inventory for free lessons. Enjoy having your pumped-up bow skills deal a One-Hit Kill to early enemies.
- Love Triangle: With Sven over Camilla. He's no better and no worse than Sven; both of them hatch a completely identical plot to win over Camilla's affections: write a forged note insulting Camilla and make it look like the other guy wrote it, so Camilla will turn on him and fall for the forger instead. Faendal's letter is the more blunt, being essentially a Stylistic Suck poem on Stay in the Kitchen, while Sven more or less depicts Faendal as a stereotypical Thalmor elf.
- Never Hurt an Innocent: His morality is set to 3 (will not commit any crimes), which means he'll turn on the Dragonborn if they instigate a fight with a civilian.
- Nice Guy: All Love Triangle issues aside, he's perfectly happy to help you out, he's extremely loyal to the point where he never objects if you turn him into a pack mule, and he's got none of the Fantastic Racism most of his species does.
- Not So Different: He's actually just as bad (good?) as Sven, as revealed when he tries to get you to manipulate Camilla into dumping Sven.
- Unfortunate Name: If you read his name as a Norwegian word, it effectively translates to "fuck-valley". Makes one wonder how the writers came up with this blunder, or maybe not?
- Weapon of Choice: The bow is his default weapon, which he will use most of the time. He can also train you in Archery up to level 50.
- Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Ask him to kill a civilian and he will say, "Not for you, not for anyone." Kill one yourself without due cause (basically in cold blood) and he'll join the guards in killing you. If one of them attacks you first, however, he'll side with you since they started it.
A Nord warrior who meets the Dragonborn at Hillgrund's Tomb, where his ancestors are being experimented on by a necromancer. After the Dragonborn helps him, he offers his services as a follower.
- Abusive Parent: His dad locked him in Hillgrund's tomb for three days. It's an ambiguous example, however, because the note from his aunt says that it was actually his brother who did it. So it's hard to say what actually happened in that specific instance (to muddy the waters further, the Unofficial Skyrim Patch changes the note to say it was his father), but Dad sounds like a nasty piece of work regardless.
- Disappeared Dad: But that may be for the best. His dad was a drunken bastard.
- Fantastic Racism: Defied; when describing what the Necromancer (a Dark Elf) is doing to his ancestors, he talks about "filthy Dark Elf Necromancy". If the Dragonborn is a Dark Elf, however, he will immediately add that there was "no offense intended", as he assumed they weren't in that kind of practice.
- Nice Guy
- What the Hell, Hero?: Calls the Dragonborn out if they steal treasure from his family's ancestral tomb. He reluctantly agrees that they can keep it as a reward for helping him out, but he's clearly not happy about it. note
Ghorbash the Iron Hand
An Orc warrior who can be found at the Orc stronghold of Dushnihk Yal, slightly southeast of Markarth. He's the brother of the stronghold's chief and can become a follower if you pass a Speech check.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Let's face it, "Ghorbash the Iron Hand" has a very nice ring to it.
- Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: One of the dialogue options for recruiting him essentially boils down to this. Ghorbash takes it as a challenge.
- Retired Badass: Previously served in the Imperial Legion before returning to the stronghold.
- Small Town Boredom: Of a sort. Although his brother acted against usual orcish sensibilities by welcoming his brother back into the stronghold after Ghorbash left to serve in the Legion, he still has a strong urge to wander. The speech check required to make him a follower calls him out on this.
- Weapon of Choice: The bow, as befits a Ranger, Ghorbash's listed class.
An Imperial witch. She enlists the Dragonborn to help stop her mother from becoming a Hagraven.
- Action Girl: A pretty good witch.
- The Atoner: It's implied that she did many morally questionable things before her Heel Realization.
- Heel Realization: Upon realizing that she simply isn't comfortable with crossing the Moral Event Horizon.
- Hot Witch: She's really fairly attractive, unlike some of her ilk.
- An Ice Person: Her primary combat spells are ice based.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How most of her kills will end up, due to her reliance on Icy Spear for offense.
- It Only Works Once: Due to a bug, you may only get the follower recruitment dialogue with her once. It can even be squandered if you already have a follower when you ask.
- Not What It Looks Like: What she says after the Dragonborn witnesses her killing another witch.
- Self-Made Orphan: Although it's in self-defense.
- Video Game Caring Potential: After you help her end her quest, she doesn't really know what to do anymore and becomes a follower for you as a way to move on, staying in the tower where she killed her mother when you dismiss her. On the bright side, she is available to become a Steward in Hearthfire, so it is possible to recruit her, thus giving her a new home, a new life, and a new purpose.
The Dunmer Priestess at the Shrine of Azura, and the last faithful follower who there remains. She joins the Dragonborn after they complete Azura's quest.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Azura is a Daedric Prince, but she's one of the nicer ones. Aranea is completely loyal to her and is quite nice herself.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: After Azura informs her she won't receive any more visions, she's left lost, not knowing what to do, and decides to join you as a result. Unlike Illia, she's not an option for Steward in Hearthfire; however, she can be recruited into the Blades.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: If you decide to turn Azura's Star into the Black Star, Aranea will threaten to kill you any time you return to the shrine, but will never actually attack.
- High Priestess: Of Azura.
- Really 700 Years Old: It's implied she was one of the original pilgrims that built the Shrine, over two centuries ago. She likewise mentions that Azura granted her a vision foretelling the Dragonborn's arrival at the Shrine, long before they were even born.
- Undying Loyalty: She is the only follower of Azura who remained at the statue after waiting a couple hundred years. Even after Azura stops giving her visions and she decides to join you, she will still stay at the Shrine in her free time to pursue her duties as a High Priestess.
A Dunmer mercenary found in Whiterun's Drunken Huntsman. Will follow for 500 gold.
- Affably Evil: She makes no bones about being a killer, but she also likens it to an art and generally remains polite and professional about it.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: If she's taken into a mine, she'll bemoan the fact that the very people who dig up precious minerals are so poor.
- Blood Knight: Enjoys fighting a lot.
- Combat Aestheticist: She gushes over the aesthetics of blood spray, and describes combat as "making great art".
- Dual Wielding: One of the few followers who prefer dual wielding over using a shield.
- In Love with Your Carnage: She can be married after being hired.
- Professional Killer: Sees herself as an assassin.
- Übermensch: Has strongly held views which are uniquely hers, and is very outspoken about them.
A Khajiit caravan guard for the Khajiit Traders traveling between the Pale and Rift. His Moon Amulet, his only reminder of home, is stolen by a quick-fingered bandit. Return it to gain his friendship and favor. One of only two Khajiit followers.
- Made of Iron: Starting in steel plate, he makes a great tank.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Unlike most Khajiit (including J'Zargo, the only other Khajiit follower, and even his own employers, who can become fences for the Thieves Guild late in the questline), he refuses to do anything illegal if you ask him, stating that "even Khajiit have their limits".
- Nice Guy: One of the few Khajiit who is genuinely friendly to the Dragonborn.
- The Nose Knows: Played with. "If anyone tries to sneak up on us, I will smell them coming. Or... I might not. We will see."
- Off the Wagon: Kharjo advises you that drinking and gambling do not mix - whatever he did when he combined the two resulted in him landing in prison. Akhari got him out and he is repaying the debt by guarding the caravan.
An Imperial magician usually found in the inn in Riften who can be hired.
- Adventure Archaeologist: He claims to be highly knowledgeable on the topic of Nordic ruins and will consider taking a few items from Dwemer ruins to take back to Cyrodiil.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: "If these ruins frighten you, take comfort in the knowledge that I am here."
- Badass Bookworm: Some of his dialogue suggests he is well-educated.
- Deadpan Snarker: He's one of the more talkative followers who often make comments on some places even when not talked to, and complains that you're using him as a pack mule when asked to carry things.
- Disc-One Nuke: He's actually one of the more offensively powerful followers, and will join you as long as you have 500 gold when you get to Riften.
- Shock and Awe: Uses Lightning Bolts as his main spells.
- Trigger Happy: Since he has Chain Lightning, he can (and will, repeatedly) electrocute you in combat.
- Tsundere: If you marry him and use him as a follower, then you'll get both the standard marriage dialogue and his snarky remarks.
Mjoll the Lioness
A former adventurer, she retired after a brush with death in the depths of a Dwemer ruin. She's taken it upon herself to try and clean up Riften, but hasn't had much luck. If you can return her enchanted blade Grimsever, she will take up adventuring again at your side.
- "Awesome McCool" Name: You don't get a sobriquet like "the Lioness" by being a pushover.
- Berserk Button: She considers the Thieves' Guild even lower than the Dark Brotherhood, since she believes the latter have some degree of standards. As a follower, however, she can be taken to the Ragged Flagon with no ill effect and can even be present during your initiation as a Nightingale.
- Blood Knight: She loves to fight, as repeatedly stated in her dialogue.
- Boisterous Bruiser: A rare female example.Mjoll: Ha! Think you can take me?
- Deadpan Snarker: When talking to Maven Black-Briar, she's much more rude and sarcastic, naturally.Mjoll: Maven. How's the criminal underworld treating you this fine day?
- Developers' Foresight: She comments on it if you bring her to Mzinchaleft, where she was severely injured.
- Dummied Out: She was originally going to be more active against the Thieves' Guild, and potentially help you destroy it, a la "Destroy The Dark Brotherhood," but the questline was removed from the game due to time constraints. (This is actually the reason she is Made of Iron; she was to be flagged essential until the end of her questline, and you can't complete her questline because you can never start it.)
- Foil: To Maven Black-Briar. Both are Nord women who live in Riften; while Maven is a corrupt businesswoman who backs the Thieves' Guild and treats the player with hostility even after they help her more than once, Mjoll is a warrior who opposes all corruption, despises the Thieves' Guild, and is never rude to the player (even if they're in the guild). Ironically, though, Mjoll's morality is set to 0 (Any Crime) whereas Maven's morality is set to 3 (No Crime), so Mjoll will commit any crime the player asks her to whereas if modded as a follower, Maven would refuse.
- Friendly Enemy: It's never mentioned in-universe, and it's most likely just a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation, but you can befriend her even if you are a Thieves' Guild member, or even the Guildmaster. That's right, you can be friends with her even though, from her perspective, you are pretty much part of the Big-Bad Ensemble (the other part being Maven Black-Briar).
- Just Friends: Apparently, herself and Aerin. Aerin will go anywhere Mjoll goes - including your house, should you marry her. He will even follow her to Sky Haven Temple, should you get her to join the Blades!
- Made of Iron: Because of her quest (and her Dummied Out role against the Thieves' Guild), Mjoll is permanently tagged as "essential" and thus literally cannot be killed by any enemy in the game. This alone makes her one of the most useful companions in the game, as you don't have to worry about her getting killed in combat, though she'll still turn on you if you attack her enough.
- Motor Mouth: One of the more talkative followers, to the point that she will talk during excursions into danger-filled caves and tombs and will talk over other NPCs during scripted story moments.
- Named Weapons: Her sword, Grimsever.
- Older Than They Look: You'd never know it from just looking at her, but some of her comments imply that she's somewhat past her prime.
- Permanently Missable Content: Before patch 1.9, if you were level 81 before talking to her the first time, you could never recruit her.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Despite her claims to be an opponent of the Thieves' Guild and the Black-Briars, she's never seen doing anything other than lamenting their presence in Riften. Even if you tell her that you're interested in joining the Thieves' Guild, she simply expresses mild disappointment at you. Dialogues between her and Aerin suggest that she does have run-ins with them offscreen, but he tries to convince her into limiting her actions to avoid having Maven send her to jail. She also does help the guards take down thieves whenever one shows up.
- Platonic Life-Partners: With Aerin, to whom she remains very close even if she marries the Dragonborn.
- Retired Badass: Though you can inspire her to make a comeback.
- Tribal Face Paint: Wears blue face paint on half of her face.
- Unknown Rival: To the Thieves' Guild. Despite being the only resident of Riften who openly opposes them, none of them seem that concerned with her as they never even talk about her. That said, there is a "Danger" shadowmark on her door.
- We Help the Helpless: Her reason for staying in Riften.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She dislikes Dwemer ruins, after almost losing her life in Mzinchaleft, and will wearily remind you of this if you take her into one, remarking that she had hoped to never see one again. If you take her to Mzinchaleft in particular, she will mention that she had never intended to return there.
- Woman Of The City: Sees herself as Riften's protector, and vehemently opposes both the Thieves' Guild and Black-Briar dynasty (or at least she claims to do so). As noted above, it's been indicated that there was supposed to have been a questline in which she worked more actively against them, but it was cut.
A Nord bard living in Riverwood who, like Faendal, is a potential companion if you side with him in his love triangle.
- Berserk Button: If you complete the love triangle quest in Faendal's favor, he becomes very frosty towards you.
- Joke Character: He's a cowardly twit who lives with his mom, he's one of the weakest fighters, and he has the shortest span before he can stop leveling up. It's one of the reasons that he often gets snubbed and people travel with Faendal.
- Love Triangle: Both Sven and Faendal are competing for Camilla's affections. Sven is no better and no worse than Faendal; both of them hatch a completely identical plot to win over Camilla's affections: write a forged note insulting Camilla and make it look like the other guy wrote it, so Camilla will turn on him and fall for the forger instead. Faendal's letter is the more blunt, being essentially a Stylistic Suck poem on Stay in the Kitchen, while Sven more or less caricaturizes Faendal as a stereotypical Thalmor elf.
- Not Now, Kiddo: At first, he believes his mother is crazy for thinking a dragon attacked Helgen. He takes it back (though not to her face) if you inform him there really was a dragon.
- Not So Different: Sven is no different than Faendal: each one hatches exactly the same plot to turn Camilla against his rival; only the Dragonborn makes the difference as to which of them succeeds.
- Quirky Bard: Sven's job is to stand around in an inn and keep people entertained with music. Are you really surprised in any way that he's terrible in combat? Well, you can always just sacrifice him to Boethiah.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Sort of. Sven is a bard and plays in the Sleeping Giant Inn. That's the "pink" of this trope. He's also a lumberjack, as dialogue from Hod reveals that he works at the town's sawmill. That's the "real men" of this trope.
Uthgerd The Unbroken
A Nord warrior found in the inn in Whiterun. She was a candidate to become a Companion, but was rejected because she accidentally killed her sparring partner.
- Action Girl: Implied by her love of fighting, and her attempt to join the Companions.
- Best Her to Bed Her: It's possible to marry Uthgerd, but only if you defeat her in a fistfight first.
- Brawn Hilda: A female Nord warrior with rough facial features, whose starting gear includes a bulky armor, and who can only be hired after being defeated in a fist fight. Though she's probably not supposed to be unattractive in-universe, since she's one of the potential spouses.
- Defeat Means Friendship: To get her to follow you, you need to defeat her in a brawl.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: To an extent, she's this; the only thing that seems to make her at all happy is fighting. She's a popular choice for recruitment into the Blades, because it means she can spend the rest of her life doing exactly that.
- Does Not Know Her Own Strength: To the point of beating someone to death in a practice fight.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Assuming you don't recruit her for some adventures, she spends 24 hours a day drinking quietly in a corner of the Bannered Mare in Whiterun. She will never even visit the house she owns in the city.
- The Lad-ette: Due to buggy AI, she just stays in the inn drinking all day.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: In true Nord fashion.
- Stone Wall: She has steel plate armor at the start.
- Underestimating Badassery: She claims that the Companions purposefully sent a "young whelp" to fight her for practice because they underestimated her for being a woman. She ended up killing him on accident. Of course, there exists no on-screen sexism other than maybe the Empire having no female troops.
An infamous bandit lord that has taken over the Dwarven ruins of Raldbthar. Sometime before the events of the game, he took advantage of Clan Shatter-Shield's grief over Friga's death to con a large sum of gold from them and fled the city, leaving his fling Miuri to take the fall for the theft.
- Asshole Victim: Most Dark Brotherhood contracts are genuinely nice people who absolutely do not deserve their fates. Alain is not one of them.
- Drop the Hammer: Wields the unique warhammer Aegisbane, which he stole from the Shatter-Shields.
- Sequence Breaking: It is entirely possible to come across Raldbthar and kill him and his men without ever even joining the Brotherhood.
The innkeeper of the New Gnisis Cornerclub in Windhelm. He is a Dunmer supporter of the Empire and extremely vocal about his dislike of Nords.
- Freudian Excuse: His abrasiveness is due to Ulfric's mistreatment of the Dunmer.
- Jerkass: While his hatred of Nords is understandable, he treats his fellow dark elf Suvaris Atheron like a Category Traitor for working for Nords. He will also be snarky towards the player if they are non-Dunmer (specially if they are Nords themselves), but he will be otherwise friendly to you if you are a Dunmer.
- Missing White Woman Syndrome: Inverted. He is uncaring towards the victims of Windhelm's serial killer because they were Nords.Rendar: None of that matters to me. Until someone takes a Dunmer, I let Windhelm deal with its own problems.
- No Sympathy: He is very inconsiderate towards Dunmer that work for Nords, as well as the serial killer's female victims.
A young boy whose mother recently passed away. Aventus was sent to the Honorhall Orphanage in Riften, but he flees back to Windhelm to escape Grelod the Kind's abuse, and rumors start circulating of his attempts to contact the Dark Brotherhood.
- Creepy Child: He's a little boy trying to contact a cult of death-worshiping assassins using what are heavily implied to be his dead mother's remains as the necessary body parts for the Black Sacrament. It's also clear that some time has passed between his mother's death, his stay at the orphanage, and his return to Windhelm - meaning that he would have had to go grave-robbing to retrieve her remains, if they are even hers.
- Confirmation Bias: In-Universe. When you speak to him, no matter how you try to say otherwise, he will refuse to see you as anything other than the Dark Brotherhood assassin savior sent to him by the Night Mother.
- Determinator: No matter how exhausted he is ("So... very tired..."), he won't stop chanting and praying the Night Mother until you put an end to his misery by talking to him.
- Heartwarming Orphan: Bizarrely enough, he still manages to be this too. He's only contacting the Brotherhood because he wants to save his friends from Grelod's horrible abuse.
- Hero-Worshipper: To the Dark Brotherhood after you fulfill his contract. He tells you that he's going to become an assassin when he grows up, so he can help other children like you helped him.
- Folk Hero: Becomes one to the children at the Orphanage, who cheer Aventus for getting the Dark Brotherhood to kill Grelod and leaves at least one of them musing on the things that can be accomplished through murder. Nice work, Dovahkiin.
- Take That, Audience!: His quest, and the overall introduction to the Dark Brotherhood, is carefully designed to make you feel a little ashamed of yourself. In Oblivion, it was possible to be contacted by the Brotherhood by accident, but not so in this game. Specifically, you must break into Aventus's home, get mistaken for or pretend to be someone you're not (although the only other choice is to walk away and leave the quest unfinished), murder an Asshole Victim in cold blood, and then return to a child and tell him that you just solved all of his problems through murder. He also tells you, quite happily, that he's going to grow up to be an assassin like you so he can help children, too. Also, due to a bug, he'll never actually return to the orphanage so you can't adopt him (with the Hearthfire DLC) and potentially guide him towards a nobler path.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Arentino's childish attempts to contact the Brotherhood ultimately determine the future of the Brotherhood itself, ranging from its potential destruction to the death of the Emperor.
- Vague Age: Not counting Babette, he's the sole aversion of this trope among the children in Skyrim. A letter in his house very clearly states he was 10 when his mother died, making him either 10 or 11 during the events of the game.
The eccentric proprietor of Windhelm's House of Curiosities, where he has an interesting variety of items on display. And a very dark secret.
- Affably Evil: He's pretty friendly for a brutal murderer.
- Alas, Poor Villain: The reveal from his journals that he was trying to resurrect his sister elicit some sympathy for him.
- Angsty Surviving Twin: If asked, he talks about his departed sister Lucilla, whom he's still mourning. The official strategy guide mentions that they were twins.
- Beware the Nice Ones: His cheery and eccentric demeanour masks a core of stone-cold lunacy.
- BrotherSister Incest/Twincest: This may have been the case, though it's not confirmed. After you confront and kill Calixto at the end of the quest, you can loot his body to get the key to his personal trunk, then enter his house/museum and go upstairs to unlock said trunk. Inside is his journal, in which he writes as though speaking to his sister, and some of the wording is a little squicky.
- Chekhov's Gunman: When you first come upon a murder victim in Windhelm, he'll be one of the witnesses, and the game sets him up as just a random bystander. Turns out, he's a just little more important than that...
- Collector of the Strange: Among other things, he's collected some embalming tools from ancient Nord barrows, a shelf full of rare alchemy ingredients, several soul gems, a 'Book of Fate' (which looks blank to you, but it's supposed to reveal your futurenote ), and a supposedly mystical flute whose tune could make any listener dance uncontrollably.
- Freudian Excuse: He lost his sister while adventuring, and committed the murders as part of a ritual to resurrect her.
- Memetic Badass: He tells a story about an in-universe one: Ysgramor, who was able to eat soup with a fork. And he has the very implement on display! (It's even labelled 'Ysgramor's Soup Spoon' despite being a fork.)
- Misanthrope Supreme: His disdain for the people of Skyrim is made evident in one of his journals. The one person he doesn't hate is his sister.
- Necromancer: Speaking with him about the mysterious amulet found in Hjerim suggests that despite his supposed ignorance, he knows a great deal on the subject. It's later revealed that it's actually the infamous Necromancer's Amulet and belonged to him, with his Butcher journal revealing that his entire killing spree was to acquire parts to resurrect his sister.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: His cheerful persona and (according to Wuunferth) ignorance of most of the magical items in his shop are revealed to be a ruse, designed to deflect suspicion off himself.
- Red Herring: Bring him the Strange Amulet you find among a murderer's possessions and he'll identify it as a Wheelstone, tokens given to some court mages upon their appointment to the position. Describe it to Windhelm's actual court mage and he'll all but facepalm at the misidentification. Of course, this is entirely deliberate on Calixto's part - he's throwing you off the trail. The Amulet is a powerful necromancer's token.
- Astute players might Spot the Thread if you show it to Jorleif, the steward in the Windhelm court, who pretty much says, "I dunno what it is, take it to Calixto." That he doesn't recognize it as an heirloom of the Windhelm court is telling.
- Retired Badass: Journeyed all over Tamriel with his sister.
- Serial Killer: He targets women (or womer) and surgically removes parts of their bodies for use in his ritual to resurrect his sister.
- Sibling Team: He and his sister apparently went on all sorts of adventures in the past.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- Many probably won't notice it, but he is without a doubt one of the most worthy people of this trope in the game. He somehow thinks he can get away with murdering someone right in the middle of the market area of Windhelm, and what showers him with this trope even more is the fact that even though he isn't wearing any robe or hood, or mask, he is doing this during the daytime in the middle of a public area where everyone can see him.
- The person he attacks is this too. If you go to the Steward instead of the Court Mage, the Mage gets imprisoned and Calixto somehow manages to get away with that murder.
- Walking Spoiler: Him being the Butcher of Windhelm is not initially made clear and has to be pieced together throughout the "Blood on the Ice" quest.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He adored his sister and desperately searched to find some artifact or method to bring her back to life; eventually, he did find one. Unfortunately, that's proven a little problematic, leading him and sanity to say goodbye to one another.
Ulfric Stormcloak's steward, tasked with the day-to-day operations of the hold, as his own mind is focused on the civil war.
- Honest Advisor: The reason why Ulfric occasionally asks for his council even on matters that he isn't an expert on, because he doesn't hesitate to speak his mind.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: He is basically in charge of Windhelm, because Ulfric and Galmar are too occupied with the war.
- Loyal to the Position: Unlike other stewards, Jorleif remains in his position when the Jarl is deposed and continues his day-to-day duties. His post-Civil War dialogue has him expressing relief that it's over even if the Stormcloaks lost.
- Reasonable Authority Figure
Wuunferth the Unliving
The Court Mage of Windhelm, and a master of the Destruction school of magic. He has a a bit of a ferocious reputation, but is a mostly decent fellow aside from his anti-social ways. By his own admission he does little around the castle, but Ulfric allows him to stick around and work undisturbed due to their friendship with each other.
- "Awesome McCool" Name: The Unliving, despite not being actually unliving, or even a necromancer.
- Badass Bookworm: He's an extremely capable Destruction Wizard, and provides training in that school.
- Badass Beard: The most epic beard of any of the Court Wizards.
- Badass Boast: Makes one when you meet him.Wuunferth: Whatever you've heard I can do is probably true.
- Court Mage: To Ulfric, but Ulfric has little need for magic on account of his mastery of the Voice, so Wuunferth is mostly allowed to work on personal projects.Dragonborn: Does Ulfric have much need for magic?
Wuunferth: No. But then, I have little need for Ulfric. We mostly just leave each other to our work.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Despite living in the darkest part of the Palace of Kings, and his sobriquet implying he may be a Necromancer, he's actually one of the most reasonable and sensible wizards to be found in Skyrim. And unlike Farengar, he doesn't let the Nordic suspicion of magic turn him into a passive-aggressive asshole.
- His potentially being a Necromancer — or at least well-versed in the subject — isn't even illegal, according to the Mages in the College of Winterhold, who admit that even when it was banned by the Mages' Guild, the law was never enforced in Skyrim.
- Grumpy Old Man: He's polite, but kind of irritable.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Over the course of the questline to find the Butcher, the player can go to him and tell him what they've found. While he takes offense to being suspected of necromancy, he quickly gets over it and starts readily sharing some very extensive knowledge that proves integral in capturing the murderer, and holds no hard feelings to the player for idiotically suspecting him of being the culprit with no proof.
- Red Herring: For the "Blood on the ice" quest. When you find the killer's diary detailing his past at the College of Winterhold, Wuunferth is the obvious suspect, since he is the only known mage in town and spends nearly all of his time brooding alone in his room in the palace, and both Viola Giordano and Callixto Corrium will tell you to immediately go to the steward and have him arrested. This is all a trap to lead you off the trail of the real killer.
- Undying Loyalty: To Ulfric. Everybody else can go hang, far as he's concerned.Wuunferth: If Ulfric needs a favour, he has it. Anyone else better pay well for the service.
- Wizard Beard: By far one of the most traditional-looking wizards in Skyrim.
A family in mourning, they are trying to cope with a pair of recent tragedies. First, Friga Shatter-Shield was murdered by the Windhelm serial killer, and then they were robbed, seemingly by a family friend.
- Ancestral Weapon: Aegisbane is the family warhammer that was stolen by Alain Dufont. While you can loot it from his corpse, there is no way to return it to them.
- Asshole Victim: Torbjorn and Tova are not exactly as innocent as they seem, though there is no way to see this unless you do "Rise in the East," a quest unrelated to the Dark Brotherhood. See Corrupt Corporate Executive and Fantastic Racism below.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: For all their woes, they still have a decent sobriquet.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: They paid the Blood Horker pirates to attack traders of the East Empire Trading company.
- Driven to Suicide: If Nilsine dies by the time of "Mourning Never Comes", Tova commits suicide in her grief, leaving her husband Torbjorn as the only surviving member.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Torbjorn Shatter-Shield has taken to alcohol to cope with his daughter's death.
- Fantastic Racism: They only pay the Argonian dock workers a fraction of Nord workers' pay. Some of the workers admit to stealing cargo from them, but this is clearly only a result of said wages.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: You can find Alain Dufont, kill him (regardless of whether you're with the Dark Brotherhood or not), and take the stolen Shatter-Shield family weapon from his corpse. But there's no dialogue option that lets you return it to Torbjorn to prove Muiri's innocence.
- It's All Junk: If you eavesdrop on conversations in the Windhelm marketplace, Tova requests to bring some of Friga's belongings to Revyn Sadri to sell, noting that "my daughter doesn't need them anymore." He very gently assures her he'd be happy to look at them whenever it's convenient for her.
- Miscarriage of Justice: Muiri, a family friend, came to share in the family's grief, only to be charmed by the bandit Alain Dufont. He managed to rob the family and convince them that Muiri did it, ruining their relationship. Muiri took this so hard that she puts Nilsine as a bonus objective for her Dark Brotherhood contract on Alain - her fuzzy logic is that with both of their real daughters dead, Torbjorn and Tova will look on her as their daughter instead.
- Pet the Dog: If you speak to Torbjorn about the dock workers' pay disparity, after helping him ease his wife's grief with an Amulet of Arkay (it's supposed to remind her that their daughter is in a better place), he agrees to drastically increase their pay with no protest - primarily out of respect for you.
A retired Nord ship captain that can often be found in Candlehearth Hall. He was meant to replace Jorlief as Windhelm's steward if the Imperials win the Civil War, but a bug prevented this. Version 1.3.2 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch fixes this.
- Honest Corporate Executive: When asked why Brunwulf chose him as Steward, he says it's because he always knew how to keep his men loyal, and always knew when to either spend or save coin, both of which come in handy for Brunwulf's goal to refill Windhelm's coffers to renovate the Grey Quarter, as well as working to ease the tensions between the Nords and Argonians.
- The Rival: To Viola Giordano, who is also his Abhorrent Admirer.
- Undying Loyalty: When asked about the important people of Windhelm, he speaks of Ulfric with downright reverence in his voice.Captain Lonely-Gale: ... And of course, there is Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak, the true High King.
The Altmeri proprietor of The White Phial in Windhelm, he's spent his entire life searching for the legendary alchemy flask of the same name.
- Despair Event Horizon: After learning that the White Phial is broken, and the knowledge to fix it is long gone.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: No matter when you retrieve the White Phial from its hiding place, Nurelion will not start dying until after you've proceeded far enough in the main quest to be able to visit Paarthurnax on the Throat of the World, which is where one of the components required to repair it is located.
- Grumpy Old Man: Generally rather rude.
- Hope Spot: You finally find the phial and return it to him. However, see Despair Event Horizon above for how that turns out.
- Incurable Cough of Death: His very first 'words' when you enter his shop and see him and his assistant talking.
- Insufferable Genius: Lampshaded by his assistant, who mentions that once you get past all the abrasiveness, Nurelion really is a brilliant alchemist. He's so well-regarded in his field, his assistant came all the way from Cyrodiil just to learn from him.
- Jerkass: His assistant admits that Nurelion can be rather abrasive. After you show Nurelion the broken Phial, he only tips you five gold for your troubles, which is just insulting. Then again, Nurelion is facing the prospect of dying with his lifelong dream unfulfilled. His assistant apologizes for his master's manners and gives you a more substantial reward.
- Last Request: He knows he's dying and wants the chance to experiment on the phial before he goes.
- Let Them Die Happy: His assistant eventually repairs the Phial with your help (mostly), and is able to show it to him seconds before his last breath.
- Retired Badass: He used to be an adventurer but has settled down after years of disappointment in his quest for the White Phial.
The local blacksmith. A huge supporter of Ulfric, so much that he wants a copy of a sword given to a legendary Queen of Skyrim to give to Ulfric to have as High King. He wishes to prove that he is the best smith in Skyrim. He has an apprentice, Hermir Strong-Heart.
- "Awesome McCool" Name: War-Anvil. Overlaps with Meaningful Name too, as he's a blacksmith who manufactures for the Stormcloak freedom fighters.
- Determinator: Openly states that he'd gladly smith a thousand swords and shields for the Stormcloaks if it helps win them the war.
- Heroic BSoD: Gets one if the Stormcloaks lose the Civil war, considering dropping his trade and just leaving (though where he would go is never explained). He decides to stay for the sake of his apprentice.
- The Rival: Sees himself as this to Eorlund Gray-Mane.
- Unknown Rival: But Eorlund never even mentions him.
- Worthy Opponent: He has the utmost respect for Eorlund and regards him as a great smith. His observation that the Skyforge does give Eorlund a certain advantage over other smiths is not incorrect in the slightest, since the forge is described in several sources as being magical. His opinion of the man is nevertheless overwhelmingly positive.
- You Bastard!: While he doesn't outright admonish you following an Imperial victory in the Civil War, he does become noticeably passive-aggressive towards you. His apprentice, however, is much more open about her anger towards you.
Oengul's apprentice, and a huge supporter of Ulfric and the Stormcloaks.
- Fangirl: Of Ulfric.
- Hidden Depths: But should the Imperials win the war, she'll freely admit to still supporting the Stormcloaks and any leader they might have in the future, showing that she cares more about Skyrim's freedom and what Ulfric represented for her than about Ulfric himself.
Brother to Galmar. Rolff is seen when one first enters Windhelm bullying a Dunmer, Suvaris Atheron. He spends his days at or around the Candlehearth Hall drinking, and his nights in the Grey Quarters shouting racist insults at the local Dunmer populations, whom he is convinced are all Thalmor or Imperial spies.
- The Alcoholic: Often gets drunk before shouting abuse at Dunmer or Argonians.
- Bullying a Dragon: Rather rude to the Dragonborn when they could theoretically kill him several times over.
- Butt-Monkey: Owing to his essential status for many Thieves' Guild quests, he can't be killed and therefore is a great target for Videogame Cruelty Potential. He's also this In-Universe for many Dunmer owing to his alcoholic stupidity. In fact, several mods exist which take away his "essential" status, while many other PC players opt to kill him with console commands, just because of how annoying he is.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Beat him in a brawl and he'll consider you a friend, even if you are a Dunmer or Imperial. Unfortunately, he won't actually shut up about his racism, even if it's the reason you kicked his arse in the first place.
- Establishing Character Moment: The first thing you see him do is bullying a Dunmer and threatening her.
- Fantastic Racism: He proudly proclaims his entirely unfounded hatred of Dunmer and Argonians, even if you belong to one of the races, and he walks about the streets of Windhelm at night shouting racial slurs even if no one is there to hear him.
- If you're a Dunmer, the first thing he'll say to you is "You damn gray-skin. Go back to Morrowind!"
- Hypocrite: He complains the Dunmer must be spies because they do not support or help the Stormcloaks... yet he himself does not do anything to help them, either. He also claims they are parasites, thieves and just living off the Nords - big accusations from a man who does not actually have a job and spends all his days at the inn drinking. Note that unlike his friend, the beggar Angrenor Once-Honored, Rolff doesn't have the excuse of having suffered a debilitating injury on the front line of the rebellion.
- Insane Troll Logic: He believes that all Dunmer are Imperial spies... owing to the fact that an entirely different species of Mer is manipulating the Empire. He also has no proof that the Dunmer are spying whatsoever.
- Jerkass: He really does and says everything he can to make you not want to like him. Frankly, it's a wonder he's related to Galmar at all.
- Patriotic Fervor: Not in a good way, unfortunately, as his definition of patriotism is "be a dick to any non-Nords in the nearby vicinity".
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Not exactly evil per se, but he definitely makes other Stormcloaks (or sympathisers in his case) look downright liberal. To keep this in perspective, his brother and Ulfric will allow you to join regardless of race and you can rise to the second-highest rank possible regardless of race. Rolff will just shout abuse at you until you punch him in the face, and even after he doesn't moderate his views to anybody except you.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: Possibly. Rolff reached his conclusion that all Dunmer are Imperial or Thalmor spies based entirely on his Fantastic Racism. However, if you poke around the Dunmer-operated New Gnisis Cornerclub, you'll find Imperial armor and memorabilia prominently displayed, indicating that a few Dark Elves might indeed be Imperial spies. (Some of them might also be retirees from the Legion, or just like to collect Imperial memorabilia, but there's some ground for suspicion, at least.)
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Galmar Stone-Fist is a Reasonable Authority Figure for the Stormcloaks who's willing to accept any recruit, regardless of race. Rolff is a drunken slob who does basically nothing other than persecute Dunmer.
- We Have Ways of Making You Talk: He threatens various Dunmer with this.
An Altmer merchant in the Windhelm marketplace. Some of her dialogue at first appears... less-than-trustworthy, and for good reason once you find out that she has ties to the Thieves' Guild as well as their rival guild, the Summerset Shadows.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Trafficking stolen goods is just fine, but stealing from the dead is not.
- Friend in the Black Market: She has connections to the Thieves' Guild as well as the Summerset Shadows. After dealing with the latter, she goes back to dealing with the Guild and acts as a fence for you.
- Mob War: Finds herself in the middle of one between the Thieves' Guild and the Summerset Shadows. With enough persuasion, she'll sell out the Shadows to you, since they're a lot less honorable than the Guild and they forced her to work for them in the first place.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: You can witness her conversation with Jora, wife of Lortheim; the couple are a Priest and Priestess of Talos. She subtly offers to have them smuggled out of the city if the Thalmor were to strike in some way, and even though they refuse, they are grateful for the consideration.
- Pet the Dog: Offering to smuggle Jora and Lortheim out if the Thalmor attack certainly counts.
- Robbing the Dead: This is the Summerset Shadows' M.O., and what makes them so detestable to Niranye.
- Statuesque Stunner: She's rather cute and, being a Altmer, is taller than anyone else.
- Technicolor Eyes: In the Special Edition, her eyes are so brightly golden that they almost glow.
One of the many Argonians working at Windhelm's docks, who can ask the Dragonborn's help to get her stolen Amulet of Zenithar back. She is the only female Argonian available for marriage.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: If you choose to marry her.
- HeelFaith Turn: If you complete her quest, she will confess she used to be a thief before starting to pray to Zenithar, and teach you some of her old tricks as a reward.
- Hot Guy, Ugly Wife: Potentially, if you marry her, though whether you find Argonians ugly or not really is a matter of personal opinion and whether or not you're playing an Argonian yourself.
- Nice Girl: Always salutes you politely when you engage conversation with her, and unlike other Argonians in Windhelm, she doesn't seem to feel any grudge against Nords.
- The Pollyanna: She lives in miserable conditions, in a province where her species is ignored at best and despised as worse, on the dock of a city she is not allowed, and paid pittance to do back breaking-labor. She still manages to keep a happy and cheerful attitude."Sometimes life puts you in difficult circumstances you didn't choose. But being happy or unhappy is a choice you make, and I've chosen to make the best of things that I can."
A Dunmer merchant running a pawn shop in the Gray Quarter, who accidentally becomes involved in criminal activity.
- Bad Liar: He continually insists that "all [his] goods are legitimate," before admitting his guilt: he had accidentally purchased a ring before realizing it had been stolen from one of the city's more wealthy and prolific citizens.
- Failed a Spot Check: He will continue to remark that he only deals in legitimate merchandise and doesn't need trouble with the law, which crosses into this trope if his spouse the Dragonborn is leader of the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood.
- Nice Guy: Usually friendly and good-natured, and appears to be very charismatic and generous. He thanks the player profusely, should they help him in his dilemma; however, his demeanor takes a sharp turn if you choose to tattle.
- Strong Family Resemblance: His sister, Idesa, really just looks like a modified version of his model; they even wear the same (gender-specific) outfit.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Emphasizes to visitors that he buys his goods fairly and legitimately; all it really takes is a suspicious look to make him immediately backtrack.
Susannah the Wicked
A barmaid working in the Candlehearth Hall in Windhelm and the most recent victim of a serial killer who already killed four women.
- Bi the Way: She hits on the Dragonborn regardless of gender, referring to them as "handsome" if male or "my beauty" if female.
- Ironic Nickname: For someone known as the Wicked, she is actually kind of sweet. In contrast to Grelod the Kind...
- Nice Girl: She is one of the few Nords that shows sympathy for the Dunmer's plight, and while her interactions with the Dragonborn are limited, she is very complementary and welcoming.
- Plot-Triggering Death: Her death at the hands of the Butcher is scripted to kickstart the "Blood on the Ice" sidequest, and there is nothing that can be done to prevent it. Due to the way the sidequest works, it's entirely possible for Susannah to turn up dead as soon as you first set foot in Windhelm.
- The Tease: She is rather flirty, but according to Elda, its just to get better tips.
Orc leader of Cracked Tusk Keep and protector of the blade shards of Mehrune's Razor.
- Badass Grandpa: When was the last time you saw an Orc with white hair?
- Crazy-Prepared: Ghunzul doesn't simply use himself and his bandits to protect the shards. He keeps them locked in the dungeon, protected by several button-activated bars, numerous tripwire traps, and spikes that stab at anyone who opens the chest containing them.
- Retired Badass: The book The Keepers of the Razor suggests he once served in the Imperial Legion.
- Secret Keeper: He is the eighth descendant of the Inner Circle that shattered Mehrune's Razor and divided the fragments across Skyrim.
Altmeri priest of Arkay, and overseer of the graveyard that puts Falkreath on the map.
- The Atoner: He was a Dominion battlemage, and he's now a Priest of Arkay to atone.
- Cool Old Guy: One of the nicest Altmer you will meet in Skyrim.
- Cultural Rebel: He's very grateful for the friendship and respect the humans of Falkreath have shown him during his time there. Contrast this with his former masters in the Aldmeri Dominion, who would love nothing more than to see humanity wiped off the face of Nirn.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Runil has a dream portending the coming of Alduin, and of his own eventual path-crossing with the Dragonborn. His first scene in your presence has him giving last rights over a grave, just as his dream foretells.
- Good Shepherd: As a priest of Arkay, the god of birth and death, he presides over funerals and comforts the family and friends of the deceased.
- HeelFaith Turn: He explains that he became a follower of Arkay and presumably defected from the Aldmeri Dominion after the Great War, feeling the weight of all the people he killed and hoping to be redeemed.
- Retired Badass: A veteran of the Great War who's still quite skilled.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Much like Madena, he's got some shell shock over all the lives he terminated during the Great War with his magefire. His journal indicates he was on the Aldmeri Dominion side, who weren't known for holding back in the magic department either.
- Summon Magic: He is the common-level Conjuration trainer.
A Nord imprisoned in Falkreath jail for murdering a child. He's actually a werewolf who got cursed by Hircine for stealing his Ring.
- The Atoner: He admits that he probably deserves to die for what he's done, and if you choose to spare him, he promises to never return to society.
- Blessed with Suck: Hircine's Ring was supposed to allow him to control his transformations, but thanks to Hircine cursing it as revenge for his theft, it ended up causing him to transform randomly and lose even more control over his transformations.
- Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Attempted this by stealing Hircine's ring. It didn't work out well for him.
- Sadistic Choice: Either kill him under Hircine's orders and get new armor, or help him kill the other hunters and gain the uncursed Ring of Hircine. Or do both, to exploit a bug to get you both rewards.
- Tragic Monster: He didn't want to murder the child, but owing to Hircine's curse he ended up doing so against his own will.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Justified, due to him being a werewolf.
A Nord ranger who lives in a shack high upon a mountain ridge south of Falkreath. Born and raised in Helgen, she decided to live alone in the wilderness after her family was killed, having grown tired of the townspeople all feeling sorry for her.
- Archer Archetype: An aloof hermit who lives in the wilderness, honing her archery skills on any foolish bandits that come close.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Part of the reason why she lives outside of society. Offer your sympathies after she tells you her story and she'll get angry.Angi: Don't be like them. Don't feel sorry for me.
- Doomed Hometown: She was born and raised in Helgen.
- Friendly Sniper: First impressions notwithstanding; she threatens to put an arrow in your head when you first meet her, but that's only because most of the people visiting her shack are either trying to rob her or kill her. If you act friendly towards her, she happily teaches you her formidable archery skills, gives you her personal bow when you pass all her tests, and thanks you for keeping her company.
- The Hermit: Lives alone on a mountain ridge, but doesn't mind.
- Kick the Dog: Can be on the receiving end of a major one from the Dragonborn; see "You Have Outlived Your Usefulness" below.
- Only Friend: The Dragonborn can become this to her.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: She made sure the two drunk Imperial soldiers that killed her family got what they had coming to them.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Implied, even before Helgen was destroyed. The Imperial Legion probably wasn't too happy when she murdered those two soldiers, justified or not. Good thing she already wanted to leave town.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After she has taught the Dragonborn everything she knows about archery and offered them her special bow as a parting gift, the player can tell her that she is of no more use to them and they are now going to kill her.
A Nord vampire who runs Half-Moon Mill. She provides lumber for Falkreath, and used to also provide for Helgen before Alduin destroyed it. She's actually rather friendly with the Dragonborn, and will provide them with lumber for their homesteads as well.
- Affably Evil: She's extremely polite to the Dragonborn and pays them well if they chop firewood for her. If she likes the Dragonborn, she'll even let them have free lumber as long as they cut it themselves. That being said, she's still a vampire who feeds off of travelers.
- Cute Monster Girl: She's this in the vanilla game. Not so much with Dawnguard installed, though.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: She actually makes an honest living selling lumber.
- Karma Houdini: If you choose to destroy the Dark Brotherhood rather than join it, you can never get the quest directing you to kill her and her husband and they'll be free to keep killing innocent travelers. Since they're not marked essential, however, you can kill them independently of the quest, though the game will simply treat it as common murder in spite of their wickedness.
- Schmuck Bait: Some of her random dialogue will have her offer to let you stay the night, although you have no way to accept this. Lucky for the Dragonborn, as the various fed-upon corpses in the basement reveals what happens to those who do.
- Unholy Matrimony: She's married to Hern, another vampire and a Dark Brotherhood contract.
An elderly woman who lives in a secluded shack north of Lake Ilinalta. She comes off as very friendly and lonely, but she's actually a powerful witch attempting to start a new coven.
- Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: Her sister is Moira, the Hagraven to whom the Dragonborn gets drunkenly engaged during "A Night to Remember".
- Evil Old Folks: Again, she's a witch.
- Faux Affably Evil: When you first meet her, she remarks on how nice it is to have a visitor. She even has the typical "friendly old lady" voice set.
- He Knows Too Much: If you go snooping around in her basement, she'll attack you when you come back out.
- Most Definitely Not a Villain: When you talk to her, she may say that she's just a poor old woman with nothing interesting.
The Altmer steward of Falkreath Hold and right hand woman of Jarl Siddgeir.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Of Siddgeir. He's too lazy to run the hold, so he has her run it, which she does well.
- Nice Girl: She's nice and does her best to look after the people of Falkreath.
- Older Than They Look: She served under Dengeir when he was young, and now Siddgeir, but she still looks very young. Justified, since she is a Altmer, who can live for hundreds of years.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: She runs Falkreath Hold, due to Siddgeir being disinterested in actually running it and she truly does what's best for the people.
- Right Hand Woman: Of Jarl Siddgeir, and Dengeir before him. She runs the day-to-day operations in the Hold.
- Shout-Out: She shares her name with Galadriel's ring of power.
- Statuesque Stunner: She's very cute for a Altmer and she towers over every other non-Altmer.
A Bosmer slave girl who works for Elenwen. She is seen during Elenwen's party. Gets sent to the torture chambers after Erikur frames her because she rejected his romantic advances.
- Break the Cutie: She serves Elenwen against her will. Then she may be sent to the torture chambers for not reacting to Erikur's advances. If you decide to save her, she's shivering in fear, very confused, and doesn't know where to go at all.
- Maid: Heavily implied to be forced into this role.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Can invoke this trope after fleeing the Thalmor Embassy. If a player goes their own way after freeing her, she is known to disappear without a trace. This is because she's set to go to Windhelm, but because she's very weak, she has a high chance of dying during her travels, as well as the fact that, for some reason, her A.I. isn't as good at finding its way to the city as Malborn's.
Captain of the Guard in Solitude. He's in charge of training the guards against outside threats... and a possible siege by the Stormcloaks.
- Benevolent Boss: He is concerned with the progress his soldiers are making, and seems to be concerned with training them so that their skill will save their lives rather than just achieve victory.
- Berserk Button: While normally a reasonable man, he becomes extremely hostile if you approach him in Stormcloak armor. You can apologize and he'll let you off with a warning, or you can declare allegiance to Ulfric, which causes him to slap a bounty on your head and attack, backed by every guard in the vicinity.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Forgoes the Solitude Guard helmet.
- I Did What I Had to Do: In regards to Roggvir's execution. He respected Roggvir and saw him as a good man, but, according to him, he really was wrong and his execution was the only valid answer.Aldis: You don't have to hate a man to kill him... although it helps.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: He's a loyal soldier of Solitude, regardless of what side it's on in the Civil War.
- Nice Guy: Didn't want to break the news to poor Angeline about her daughter's death, but can be easily persuaded that telling her the truth is the right thing to do.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: While he does conduct Roggvir's execution, he agrees to let Styrr, the city's Priest of Arkay, give the man's body a proper Nord burial despite his crimes.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Aldis disappears if the Civil War is won for the Stormcloaks, presumably being either removed from his position or killed in battle.
An arrogant and shady Thane of Haafingar. Has close ties with the Thieves Guild.
- 0% Approval Rating: Nobody likes this man, considering that he's very upfront about being a self-absorbed Smug Snake.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: If you kill him, his own sister or housecarl might send you a letter thanking you for it.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Most of Elisif's court is made up of decent people. Erikur is not one of them.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Or rather, corrupt indulgent businessman, but the majority of his influence comes from his investments and so forth.
- Faux Affably Evil: Very well-mannered and welcoming, but also a sociopath and needlessly cruel.
- Hypocrite: Should you lower his disposition to you, he will have this to say: "Well, if it isn't the bully who goes around hurting people".
- Jerkass: In addition to just being generally unpleasant, he causes a Bosmer slave girl to be sent to the Thalmor torture chambers, just because she refused his romantic advances.
- Karma Houdini: As mentioned, he causes a Bosmer slave girl to be sent to the Thalmor torture chambers, just because she refused his romantic advances. Sadly, the player cannot make him repent the deed, as he is an essential (unkillable) character. To make matters worse, this will raise his disposition towards you, so every time he encounters the player afterward, he acts overly friendly towards them. On the other hand, his "essential" tag gets removed after Vittoria Vici's wedding, so after that he's free game. The only thing his death screws up is an achievement/trophy tied to the Thieves' Guild questline, and even then, only if you don't wait to obtain and complete a single specific quest beforehand.
- You can also punish him non-lethally; if you are a vampire, for example, he is a perfect choice of character to feed from without feeling remorse.
- Kick the Dog: The aforementioned Bosmer slave girl incident.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Don't you dare lump Erikur in with those common Nords! With their obsession with strength, honor, and warrior skill! He's good at one thing, and one thing only: making money!
- Only in It for the Money: Why he supports the Empire. One bit of ambient dialogue involves a discussion with his housecarl, where he mentions that he'd be perfectly willing to sell weapons to the Stormcloaks if they gave him a good offer. His housecarl points out what a shining example of loyalty Erikur is setting.
- Small Name, Big Ego: While he is a Thane and thus an important person, Erikur is convinced that he's the most important person in the Blue Palace. According to his sister, though, Falk Firebeard is the real power in the Palace, and Erikur is just a self-important fop.
- Smug Snake: He's an arrogant snob that talks down to everyone, including the player, who's not only infinitely more badass than he is, but may very well have equal standing in the court of Solitude.
- The Sociopath: Talking to his sister Gisli reveals he does not think about others. Really cements this position by causing a Bosmer slave to get tortured for not liking him, without any form of regret.
- Unexpected Successor: There is a Dummied Out second Daedric Quest for Boethiah in the game data called "Boethiah's Bidding," which would have ended with Elisif's assassination by the Dragonborn at the Daedric Prince's behest. Unused dialogue in the Creation Kit indicates Erikur would replace her as Jarl of Solitude and pardon the Dragonborn for the act, implying he was behind it all.
The steward of Jarl Elisif's court. Has his hands full with his job's duties as well as curbing the exuberance and inexperience of his lady Elisif.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Being a bearded ginger in a land of people fond of giving sobriquets does have its perks.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Elisif is an over-eager young woman, to say the least. Falk realizes that she means well, and appears genuinely fond of her, but she'd be lost without him.
- It's Probably Nothing: Has this reaction to the reports of weird things being heard from Wolfskull Cave. Of course, it's never just nothing. This is Skyrim, after all. He wises up very quickly when he realizes the "nothing" he was planning to dismiss as natural phenomena was actually the activities of a cult trying to resurrect Potema, and as soon as complications arise, he immediately sends word out to the Dragonborn.
- Oh, Crap!: Has this reaction when the Dragonborn confirms that a necromancer cult was really trying to raise Potema from the dead.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: After you stop the resurrection of Potema once, Falk gains complete faith in you and vouches for you in the Jarl's company. If you complete the Wolf Queen questline and then ask for permission to go into the forbidden Pelagius Wing of the Palace, he will at first turn you down, but you can turn that around by saying, in layman's terms, "Dude, c'mon, it's me."
- Retired Badass: According to the strategy guide he is actually a former member of the Companions. There are absolutely no clues to this in the game itself.
- Secret Relationship: With Bryling, one of the other thanes of Solitude. They have to keep it a secret, lest Erikur find out and force him to resign, which would enable Erikur to bend Jarl Elisif around his finger. Once the war has ended, however, Falk would gladly resign if it means they can stop sneaking around.
The librarian of the Bard's College, and Viarmo's right hand. He assists the Dragonborn with finding Olaf's Verse, as well as selling them several tomes regarding Dragons. He is also the Master Speech trainer.
- Badass Bookworm: Seeing how he is both a Bard (which in this universe requires a significant amount of knowledge of the history of Nirn) and a librarian...
- Cultured Badass: Well, he is a bard.
- Guile Hero: It comes with being the Speech master.
- Nice Hat: One of the few to sport the Fine Hat variant that wouldn't look out of place on Santa's head.
- Number Two: To Viarmo.
- Retired Badass: Used to be in the Legion. If you find the drum of a legendary bard for him, he'll teach you a few of his old tricks - giving you a skill point in each martial skill.
Jaree-Ra and Deeja
Argonian siblings who are involved with a band of marauders.
- "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Jaree-Ra describes his sister and himself as "Treasure Hunters" rather than thieves or pillagers.
- Blatant Lies: When trying to convince you to shut down the lighthouse so his band can loot the Icerunner, he assures you that there won't be any victims, and that you will even be able to pass for a hero by saving them. Of course, when you actually reach the Icerunner later, the boat is full of dead bodies.
- Brother-Sister Team: They commit crimes together.
- Bullying a Dragon: They are just two of the many characters in the game stupid enough to think trying to use the Dragonborn as an Unwitting Pawn is a good idea.
- Faux Affably Evil: Jaree-Ra acts polite and friendly when he first meets you, but it's just a facade to lure you into helping him. Once he's gotten the loot and silenced the witnesses, he has his men (try to) dispose of you.
- Jerkass: Deeja doesn't even try to feign friendliness towards you until Jaree-Ra sends you to meet her, which makes it all the more satisfying if, when she attacks, you're lucky enough to finish her with a kill cam involving stabbing her through the stomach. "Knives in your belly," indeed.
- Moral Myopia: During the final confrontation with Jaree-Ra, he calls you out for murdering his men and his sister. Given that he ordered said sister and men to kill you (on top of all the other murders that they were likely responsible for), he's hardly one to talk.
- Shame If Something Happened: How Jaree-Ra "masks" what he wants the Dragonborn to do.
- Smug Snake: Both of them are too confident for their own good.
- Too Dumb to Live: Even if you're decked out in scary Daedric or Dragonbone armor and lugging around an Infinity +1 Sword, they still think of you as an easily-disposed schmuck.
- For added stupidity, when Deeja prepares to eliminate you after You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, she tries to do it herself, while she is alone with you in an isolated room, even though there are no witnesses and she has all her men close. She is likely to get killed before any of them can lift a finger to stop you.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: They try to pull this on you. It goes as well as you would expect.
A Bosmer servant at the Thalmor Embassy. He is an associate of Delphine's, and helps you infiltrate the embassy during the main quest.
- Expecting Someone Taller: The first thing he says when you tell him Delphine sent you is "Really? You're who she picked!?"
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Your first impression of him is...not endearing, to say the least. Furthermore, if you find him in Windhelm after "Diplomatic Immunity," he'll be bitterly sarcastic toward you, even though by this time you've already saved his life twice. He eventually admits that he's just been so scared and that he should be more grateful.
- Non-Action Guy: He carries no weapons and cannot fight, which is made worse by the fact that he will still try. The final act of "Diplomatic Immunity" has you protecting him from Thalmor soldiers and then a frost troll, and he has an extremely high chance of dying. If he survives, he'll be holed up in Windhelm, hiding from a Thalmor assassin waiting for him outside. After that, he'll run for Morrowind, but will likely be killed by animals unless you go along and protect him once again.
- Properly Paranoid: One of your options during the Thalmor assassin quest is to tell him he's just being paranoid. Of course, he has a lot of really good reasons to be paranoid, and there actually is an assassin after him.
- Right Under Their Noses: Malborn's family were killed in The Purge in Valenwood for political reasons. Delphine says that if the Thalmor knew who he really is, he wouldn't be working in the embassy.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: He gets caught during your escape from the embassy, and it's possible for the game to glitch in such a way that even if you kill the Thalmor who capture him, he completely disappears - you won't even find his body.
A necromancer who hid in the ruins of an old temple dedicated to the Daedric Lord Meridia, desecrating corpses to create his undead minions and using her Daedric Artifact Dawnbreaker to fuel his magic. Meridia tasks the Dragonborn with slaying him.
- Back from the Dead: Once you manage to slay his human form, he raises himself as an undead shadow, forcing you to kill him a second time. However...
- Clipped-Wing Angel: ....in his shadow form, he stops using ice magic and instead uses lighting magic mixed with a fire aura. Since his ice magic was so powerful in his human form, hes much easier to kill.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Meridia, who hates undead with a burning passion, tasks you with teaching this guy why practicing necromancy in her temple with her artifact is a really bad idea.
- Flunky Boss: In typical necromancer fashion, he fights you using an entire squad of undead to support him.
- An Ice Person: His human form primarily fights using ice-based spells.
- Necromancer: He is desecrating corpses to raise them as his minions.
- Shock and Awe: In contrast with his mortal form, his Shadow form fights using lightning spells.
- The Voiceless: Unlike virtually every other boss in the game, he doesnt say a thing- he doesnt even grunt when you hit him.
A high-ranking Redguard in the East Empire Company and regular attendee of parties at the Thalmor Embassy. During the "Diplomatic Immunity" quest, the Dragonborn will often use him as a distraction, even if not intentionally...
- The Alcoholic: He attends Elenwen's parties mainly for the alcohol and is already drunk when he arrives at the embassy, to the point where the Thalmor refuse to give him any more. If you want him to cause the distraction, you first need to get a drink from either Malborn or Brelas and bring it to him.
- Butt-Monkey: With the sole exceptions of his own and Brelas/Erikur's, every distraction that might be available to the Dragonborn during the party involves someone walking up to him and falsely accusing him of various things.
- Noodle Incident: If you get someone else to cause a distraction by hassling him, Razelan will protest to Elenwen that this time he's innocent. If you get him to cause the distraction, he'll trash-talk Elenwen, leading one to wonder what kind of colorful comments and acts he's been responsible for in the past.
- We Need a Distraction: And one way or another, he'll end up providing it.
- Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: After whoever you get to hassle him backs down from having him thrown out, he continues to protest his innocence for a second.
The player will witness him being executed upon their first entry into Solitude (there's no way to stop this), because he allowed Ulfric Stormcloak to escape Solitude by opening the main gate.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: In-universe; most people describe him as a good man and a true Nord who was at worse misguided and at best a martyr, but Sorex Vinius describes him as a bully and a jerk who deserved his fate. In general, only the Nords of Solitude have any sympathy for him. Sorex Vinius remembers him as a schoolyard bully, and Vivienne Onis thinks he is a jerk for letting Ulfric escape, starting a war in which her cousin was killed.
- Badass Bystander: This is the man who, more or less, allowed the Civil War to come to be. If you win the Civil War for the Stormcloaks, then he essentially becomes a liberator of Skyrim by proxy.
- Barred from the Afterlife: Despite his Last Words, he's nowhere to be seen when you visit Sovngarde during the main quest; whether his soul got devoured by Alduin or he just never was granted entry in the first place is unknown.
- Cool Uncle: His niece seems to think he was.
- Face Death with Dignity: And how.
- Last Words: And by Talos, he's got some awesome ones at that."On this day, I go to Sovngarde..."
- Nice Guy: Even the man who ordered his execution has nice things to say about him."It's a shame, Roggvir. You were a damned good man."
- No True Scotsman: Feels that any true Nord would understand what Ulfric did, and would have opened the gate in his place.
- Not Quite the Right Thing: Letting Ulfric escape Solitude, as viewed by the people of Solitude. Sure, he may have been following ancient laws (of dubious validity), but he aided and abetted regicide by allowing Ulfric to escape retribution. The people of Solitude, being staunchly Imperial, are not impressed.
- Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: According to Sorex Vinius, when they were kids Roggvir tormented him after learning he had a crush on a girl. He even somehow slipped a beehive into the guy's bed. Evidently he continued bullying Sorex into adulthood.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: He opened the gates for Ulfric Stormcloak when he escaped the city, which means that everyone in Solitude blames him for a war that could have been stopped before it began. To his last breath, though, he stands by his decision.
The court mage for Jarl Elisif's court. She is actually a vampire, which seems to be a well-kept secret among the higher members of the Haafingar court.
- Ambiguously Evil: While she acts benevolent, if very curt, there are some hints she might not be so good at all. In Dawnguard, she is heavily implied to have helped the vampire Venarus Vulpin use Skooma addicts as food source. And if you use Auriel's Bow to darken the sun, she will gladly proclaim "the Tyranny of the Sun is over". It's also implied that she is disgusted with other vampires not so much for moral reasons (such as feeding on innocents), but more due to their living conditions.
- Boomerang Bigot: Finds baser vampires disgusting, as she prefers finery and civilized company such as one finds in a palace.
- Court Mage: For Elisif.
- Expy: She's basically a female version of Janus Hassildor.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: She's a bit of a Jerkass, sure, but when compared to most vampires out there, at least she's a good guy. Of course, if you use Auriel's Bow to blot out the sun, she'll run outside and proclaim that the Tyranny of the Sun is over.
- Heavy Sleeper: Due to a bug, she spends her entire time following the conclusion of "The man who cried wolf" sleeping in her bed.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's not entirely nice, but she means well and will praise you for doing what you do if you help Elisif. She also treated High King Torygg like a son.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: It's implied that she tends to... spend a lot of time in the dungeons, with the worst of the criminals. Apparently, it's how she keeps fed.
- Lady of Black Magic: She's the Expert trainer of Destruction Magic.
- Like a Son to Me: High King Torygg was. She helped raise him as a boy, and was shocked by his death.
- Older Than They Look: She claims to have aged well. Of course, she neglects to mention how.
- Open Secret: Though her status as a vampire is never openly referenced in conversation, its implied her secret is well-known beyond Solitude's court. The headsman, the dungeon guards, and Erikur's housecarl Melaran know that she feeds on the prisoners when she has a bad day, and the Blue Palace's cook is absolutely terrified of her if you talk with him. Considering how despised vampires are, it's truly a wonder they keep her nature secret, much less let her close to the Jarl; however, given that she helped to raise King Torygg, she probably has seniority over the rest of the court, and they don't have the authority to dismiss her even if they would wish it.
- Secret Keeper: She seems to be aware of Falk Firebeard and Bryling's Secret Relationship. She doesn't do anything with that information, however, aside from snarking about how unsubtle they are about it.
- The Undead: An open secret, at least among the court of Solitude.
The High Elven proprietor of The Radiant Raiment and tailor. She runs the shop with her sister, Endarie.
- Brutal Honesty: She will flat-out call your clothes "old rags" when meeting you and suggest you pass by her shop to get something better. If called out for insulting people, she will clarify that she didn't see it as an insult:Dragonborn: Do you always insult people when you meet them?Taarie: It's not an insult, just an observation. If I were walking around with a wound, I would want you to tell me to see a doctor. Your outfit is sort of an open wound... where attire is concerned.
- Girlish Pigtails: Has her hair done up in pigtails.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's slightly nicer than her sister and reprimands her sister when she's being rude to the customers. She's also nicer if you've invested in her shop.
- Older Than They Look: Being an Altmer, that's a given, but she first appeared in Morrowind, more than 200 years before Skyrim.
- Rich Bitch: Looks down her nose at you, and disparages your clothes, even if you're wearing Radiant Raiment's own Fine Clothes. Downplayed in that her attitude is more patronizing than truly disdainful.
- Thicker Than Water: If you marry her, Endarie will follow her to whatever town or homestead she goes to.
- Tsundere: She can be married and still has some of the haughtier aspects of her tone, but is much friendlier.
The High Elven headmaster of the Bards' College. He enlists the Dragonborn's help in convincing Elisif to allow the Burning of King Olaf festival in the wake of Torygg's murder, and afterwards has them recover several stolen ancient instruments.
- Cool Old Guy: As far as Altmer go, he is one of the nicest; he welcomes you with open arms to the Bards' College regardless of your race, is very grateful when you help him save King Olaf's festival, and generally has a thoroughly affable attitude. He's also a bit of a Large Ham, if his dramatic reading for the Jarl is any indication.
- Cultural Rebel: He has a great appreciation for Nordic culture, evidenced by his enthusiasm for traditions such as the Burning of King Olaf and the Poetic Edda. The Thalmor, on the other hand, have nothing but scorn for anything created by humans, and historically the Altmer and the Nords were bitter enemies.
- Guile Hero: If you opt to reconstruct the poem, he'll back you on it with only a little hesitation.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: He is pretty much the antithesis of the Thalmor personality-wise. Even his voice type (Stephen Russell, or "MaleSlyCynical" as labeled in the Creation Kit; you know, the same voice type used for Erikur, Lemkil, and Sibbi Black-Briar?) is in contrast to his warm personality.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: To the Bards' College.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: Subverted with his quest; he sends you to recover King Olaf's verse, in the hopes that the text will allow him to convince Elisif to allow the festival. When you successfully recover said verse, it turns out the copy is so old that most parts are missing, meaning it's useless as it is. The subversion comes when the Dragonborn suggests they make up the missing parts to reconstruct the poem, and it actually works.
A cousin of the Emperor who manages the shipment of goods for the East Empire Trading Company at Solitude's docks. She is engaged to Asgeir Snow-Shod, but thanks to the Dark Brotherhood, that arrangement may be short-lived.
- The Chew Toy: Not only does she get whacked on her wedding day by the Dark Brotherhood, the game gives you multiple options for carrying out the assassination. Players often set aside an entire save file just to find different ways to kill her messily.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Downplayed as she doesn't appear too corrupt in the game itself, but according to the Creation Kit, she's the boss of Jaree-Ra and Deeja. You know, those two Argonians in charge of a group of bandits. A very-rarely played scene implies this also extends to Gulum-Ei, the Solitude Thieves' Guild fence.
- Death by Looking Up: One of the options for killing Vittoria is to dislodge a loose gargoyle over her head.
- Never a Self-Made Woman: Defied; despite her Blue Blood, Vittoria had to work her way up through the Company's ranks."Some say I got my position because my cousin is the Emperor. Nonsense. The man's given me nothing. He can't even be bothered to attend my wedding."
- Widowed at the Wedding: Her groom will be, and you get to do it, if you join the Dark Brotherhood. Killing him as well is optional, of course.
- Your Cheating Heart: The Creation Kit indicates that she's cheating on her betrothed.
Wolf Queen Potema Septim
An insane necromancer from the second century of the Third Era who attempted to usurp the Imperial throne, but was defeated and killed. Her story can be read in the Flavor Text book series The Wolf Queen if you find and collect all eight volumes. The Dragonborn stumbles upon a plot by a group of necromancers to resurrect her and bind her to the mortal realm.
- 0% Approval Rating: As noted on the main list of tropes, absolutely no one in Skyrim has anything nice to say about her, and for very good reasons.
- Animal Motifs: Savage Wolves, as indicative of her title, and also very savage.
- Ax-Crazy: The one thing she's best remembered for by the citizens of Skyrim. Falk is very right to be worried about her returning to life.
- Bad Boss: A quote of hers on one of the Loading Screens bluntly states that she would gladly sacrifice her servants to the Daedra in exchange for some comforts. By all accounts, she did.
- Big "YES!": Her reaction to being summoned and then bound by the necromancers in Wolfskull Cave falls under both of these.Potema: Yes! YES! Return me to this realm!
- Climax Boss: Before you can even face her, you must fight wave after wave of high level draugr and vampires, and when you finally confront her, she quickly proves to be as much of a master mage in death as she was in life. Not to mention the fancy light show that occurs in the arena.
- Dead Guy Junior: Her son, Uriel, was named after her grandfather, who arranged for her marriage to the King of Solitude.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Once sent a woman to the Soul Cairn for criticizing her dress.
- Evil Is Hammy: Between her dramatics in life and the Big "YES!" which introduces her in the game, she fits the trope.
- Flunky Boss: She is invulnerable at first, and while attacking you with lightning, she sends various draugr and vampires to fight you.
- Gas Leak Cover-Up: At first, Falk Firebeard dismisses the odd lights and sounds in Wolfskull Cave as natural phenomena, but welcomes your offer to go into the cave and clear out anything you find, just in case. After you find out the truth and Potema's return is evident, Falk implores you that you must keep Potema's near-return a secret to avoid a major panic in Solitude.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: In life, her greatest crime was the plunging the Septim empire into a civil war known as the War of the Red Diamond, being the party most responsible for the assassination of her niece (the Empress at the time). In the war that followed, Potema very nearly destroyed the Empire by herself - truly frightening, when you consider that even after the extinction of the Septim bloodline, an Oblivion invasion, a siege by the Aldmeri Dominion, and nearly two hundred years of decline, the Empire is still a powerful force in Tamriel. And if that isn't enough, when the war was over, and her subjects finally started abandoning her because of her sheer ruthlessness, she eventually began sacrificing her servants in order to form contracts with Daedra - selling their souls for more power and "comforts", and then raising them as undead to serve her, refusing to concede fighting a losing battle or surrender her rule right to the very end. Death has not improved her demeanor.
- Guide Dang It!: The last part of her questline is only unlocked by leveling up. If you start this quest after reaching level 81, you will never receive the courier's message from Falk. No longer a concern with patch 1.9, as you can make a skill Legendary and keep leveling up.
- Human Resources: She resurrects human corpses as her servants and, after being opposed and abandoned by most of Haafingar, once ruled Solitude with a court of the undead.
- Humanoid Abomination: She's less of a ghost and more of a force of nature bound into vaguely human shape.
- Irony: The local priest of Arkay notes that a resurrected Potema would actually be the rightful Empress of Tamriel, since she is a member of the Septim line, which makes it that much more important to prevent her return.
- For more potential irony, defeat one of the greatest necromancers of all time as a vampire.
- I Shall Taunt You: She's really very grateful to you for preventing her binding, but feels it would be best for all involved if you just lay down, let her current subjects take you away, and then you can rise up and stand by her side, resplendent with her glory... as her undead thrall.
- Manipulative Bitch: She was this in life, if The Wolf Queen contains any truth to it. (It reads like a novel more than a straight-up biography, so separating fact from fiction is difficult.)
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: By defeating the necromancers attempting to revive her, you stopped them from binding her to their will - but you weren't quick enough to stop her spirit from coming back to Nirn. When you complete the first quest, you witness her spirit escaping the cave, and later a courier brings a message from Falk Firebeard informing you that Potema's spirit is loose and slowly gaining power. Now you have to finish her off for good and purify her remains.
- Necromancer: She was very good with her skills in raising the dead in life considering she replaced her own kingdom with an undead army after almost everyone ditched her because of how much of a nutcase she was, and she still has the Lazarus touch even in death, as she reanimates a small army of draugr and skeletons to help her in her quest to revive herself.
- Trap Is the Only Option: The second quest begins with the player traveling into Potema's Catacombs, and before even entering the first section, it becomes obvious that Potema is not only expecting you, but has been drawing you there because she wants you as the ideal undead minion. You have no choice but to take the bait to continue the quest.
- The Undead: Is one and specializes in resurrecting and controlling them.
- Villainous Breakdown: As you are descending in her catacombs to come for her, she keeps taunting you and encouraging you to come to her so she can turn you in one of her undead servants. When you actually start fighting her and her council, her reaction gradually goes from the taunt to "don't flatter yourself too soon, worm", to yelling at her minions to rip your eyes open. She finally gets desperate enough to repossess her own skeleton to have one final shot at killing you, before being slain for good.
- Was Once a Woman: It's speculated in-game that Potema has become... something else since her death. She's certainly no mere ghost.
- We Can Rule Together: After the Dragonborn prevents her binding, she decides they would make an excellent undead minion.
- Would Hurt a Child: If The Wolf Queen is to be believed. It speculates, at the end, that she may have been responsible for causing her nephew Pelagius to go mad by giving him a cursed amulet when he was a boy.
A local woman who recently started a relationship with Hroggar after his wife and daughter died in a tragic fire.
- Bi the Way: Can be seen hitting on Jonna, the innkeeper, who finds the attention disquieting.
- False Soulmate: To poor Hroggar.
- Honey Trap: For Hroggar, and apparently, Movarth had planned for her to seduce all of the guards, one at a time.
- Impossibly-Low Neckline: Wears the infamous and exceedingly rare female version of "Tavern Clothes".
- Informed Species: In a way. She's not actually flagged as a vampire in the game data, and consequently does not get the associated Glowing Eyes of Doom if Dawnguard is installed, though she does use Vampiric Drain in battle.
- Karma Houdini: If she survives the quest which involves her, she remains in Morthal and nobody seems to care. This is apparently a programming oversight; if Hroggar survives as well, he'll thank the player for saving him from Alva while she's sleeping in his basement.
- Manipulative Bitch: And it backfired in her face, completely.
- The Mole: For her sire, Movarth.
- Monster Sob Story: Her diary provides one, as she was an innocent, if naive, girl before she was turned. All she wanted was to be loved.
- Our Vampires Are Different: She sleeps in a coffin, unlike most vampires in the Elder Scrolls universe. There's no real reason stated to do so. Further, her ruse is helped by the fact that she's a Daywalking Vampire, and she doesn't even hide out in caves or dress in dark robes like the more conspicuous ones of her kind (like Movarth himself).
- Romancing the Widower: The locals don't approve, believing it's Too Soon for Hroggar to move on after his family died in such suspicious circumstances. Not that there's any real love involved - Hroggar is just Alva's thrall.
- Tragic Monster: Read the first passage in Alva's journal and you'll see that she was once a doe-eyed, innocent girl who dreamed of being loved and romanced by a handsome Nord. Then she met Movarth...
- The Undead: She's actually a vampire.
- The Vamp: Literally and figuratively - her master Movarth sent her to Morthal to seduce and enslave the people there.
- Would Hurt a Child: She had instructed a turned Laelette to kill Hroggar's wife and daughter. Her plans backfired because Laelette didn't want to hurt Helgi, and in fact tried to turn her.
A Redguard mage who left the College in protest of its restrictive policies on certain studies. If the Dragonborn ever contracts vampirism, he will be willing to provide them with a cure... for a price.
- Bad Powers, Good People: He secretly practices Necromancy and studied vampirism, and even almost became a vampire himself. However, despite his jerky attitude, he really is protecting Morthal from mystical threats, provides cures for vampirism, and is guided by his desire to protect his ward. When you ask for training in Conjuration, he says "You deal with powerful forces. Take care they do not overwhelm you."
- Berserk Button: The College of Winterhold and Arch-Mage Savos Aren in particular. When Agni brings up the possibility of studying there he immediately dissuades her. Phinis Gestor will tell you that Falion could never get along with Savos and disliked the way he ran the College, so he decided to leave altogether.
- Court Mage: Serves as a de facto court mage to the Jarl of Hjaalmarch.
- Cultural Rebel: Redguards generally dislike Illusion and Conjuration magics, and have strong cultural and religious taboos against necromancy. Falion is a Conjuration specialist, and probably a necromancer to boot. What's more, he's open about it; he's probably the only person in normal Skyrim society who would admit to practicing Conjuration - besides his former student, Phinis Gestor at the College of Winterhold.
- Dark Is Not Evil: He practices necromancy, generally believed to be an evil art both in Skyrim and Hammerfell, but he uses his knowledge to protect Morthal.
- Dimensional Traveler: He's extensively explored Oblivion realms and even claims to have encountered the Dwemer somehow, wherever they are after their disappearance.
- Failed a Spot Check: He claims to protect Morthal from otherworldly dangers and is one of the continent's foremost scholars on vampirism... but fails to notice that his next-door neighbor is one. This is especially odd, since nearly half the town is involved in said quest. Even his sister is involved in it, yet he is not.
- Immortality Seeker: But not for himself so much as for his ward, Agni - he knows that he'll die one day and leave her alone, and he's worried that this could happen before Agni can take care of herself. He made a study of vampirism as a way to extend his life, but abandoned it because it might have put her in danger.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a good man at heart, if a bit bitter. Of course, just about anyone would be somewhat bitter if they were holed up in a swamp where everyone else hates them.
- Knight In Sour Armor: The whole of Morthal thinks he's a creepy jerk. He protects them from mystical threats anyway, though he's pretty grudging about it.
- Morality Pet: Has one in the form of Agni, his ward, who adores him.
- Necromancer: Likely. He's a conjuration specialist, he's looking for ways to manipulate life, he left Winterhold College due to irreconcilable differences, and the other residents of Morthal don't like his studies (though that's probably the Nord prejudice against almost all magic). If nothing else, the ritual required to restore a vampiric Dovahkiin to true life requires a filled black soul gem.
- Older Than They Look: He actually trained Phinis Gestor, the College of Winterhold's resident Conjuration expert.
- Overrated and Underleveled: He is presented as one of the most powerful mages in the game, but he is only at level 15 and, more glaringly, doesn't know any spells. The same applies to most court wizards who also don't know any spells, but it is especially noticeable with him, because he leaves his house every night to visit a stone circle outside of town and is very likely to stumble onto random wildlife on the way there. It is rather embarrassing to see one of Skyrim's most powerful mages running in terror from a mudcrab.
- Scary Black Man: A Redguard necromancer feared by most inhabitants of Morthal.
- Secret Keeper: If the player is a vampire and comes looking for a cure, he tells you outright that he knows you're one.
- Summon Magic: He's the master-level Conjuration trainer.
Nord warrior and housecarl for Jarl Idgrod Ravencrone.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: Despite his loyalty to Idgrod, he wishes to see her removed from her position because he thinks her powers are taking their toll on her and she isn't fit for duty anymore. It's as much for her own safety as it is for Morthal. Nothing really comes of it, since his confidant Captain Aldis isn't wholly convinced.
- Undying Loyalty: Despite questioning her ability to rule, he still respects Idgrod, and warns the Dragonborn to do the same.
Hroggar's daughter. She and her mother recently died in a mysterious fire, and she now exists as a ghost. She is the one who allows the Dragonborn to find out about Alva's scheme.
- Cheerful Child: Being dead hasn't gotten her down. When you meet her, she invites you to play hide-and-seek with her just like other children in Skyrim. Her "hiding" place is her grave.
- Go into the Light: Once Movarth has been destroyed, Helgi's spirit appears for a final time, thanking the Dragonborn and noting that "Mother says it's time to rest now." By resolving her murder, you set her spirit free.
- Kill the Cutie: Her backstory.
- Spanner in the Works: Completely unravels the schemes of Alva and her master Movarth by winning over Alva's pawn Laelette with her adorableness. It doesn't save her from dying, but Laelette's attempt to turn Helgi rather than make her death look like an accident is what causes suspicions among the townspeople, and leads to the Jarl permitting the Dragonborn to investigate. Then, by appearing to play with the Dragonborn, she indirectly leads them to the true culprits behind Morthal's troubles.
- Undead Child: Not that she minds much.
A lumberjack whose wife and daughter died in a tragic and mysterious fire. His neighbors believe he had something to do with it, since he immediately moved in with Alva the very next day.
- Acquitted Too Late: If you try to enter Alva's house at night and your stealth skill isn't high enough to let you go undetected, you'll be forced to kill him, unless you use a Calm or Fear spell.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Comes with being a vampire's thrall.
- Incriminating Indifference: Him shacking up with another woman one day after his family died while showing little in the way of grief makes him very suspicious in the eyes of his neighbors.
- Mistaken for Murderer: Understandably, considering the conditions, everyone assumes he caused the fire that killed his wife and daughter. He didn't; Laelette did, following Alva's orders.
- Survivor Guilt: If he survives the quest involving his family, he's crushed and no longer feels any joy in life, even though he's thankful that you saved him (and astonished that you'd even want to speak to him after all he's done).
- Ungrateful Bastard: Due to a programming quirk. If you finish "Laid to Rest" without killing him, he does occasionally thank you for releasing him from "Alva's evil spell", but killing Alva actually lowers his disposition towards you. This will result in him sincerely thanking you one moment and rudely brushing you off the next.
Idgrod the Younger
The daughter, elder child, and heir to Jarl Idgrod Ravencrone.
- All There in the Manual: According to the official strategy guide, Idgrod is, like her mother, actually a sort of mage. She isn't aware of it herself, but her visions are caused by her subconscious manipulation of Magicka.
- Blessed with Suck: There's no "off-switch" to the abilities of premonition she inherited from her mother.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Not as severe as her little brother, but she still has "The Gift" from her mother to some degree, as indicated with several random conversations with Lami, the town's alchemist.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: She is this for her little brother, who has "The Gift" from their mother even more than she herself does.Idgrod The Younger: Please don't mind Joric. He's not mad. Really, he's not.
- Nice Girl: She comes across this way, especially regarding her attempts to help her little brother.
- Strong Family Resemblance: If you use the console commands on the PC to de-age the elder Idgrod, you'll find that Idgrod the Younger is her spitting image.
Jarl Idgrod's steward is also her husband and the father of her two children.
- All There in the Manual: It's really only in the strategy guide that there's any clear mention of the relationship between Idgrod and Aslfur, although if you enter the Jarl's longhouse during the night, you'll find them sharing a double bed.
- Bodyguard Crush: How their romance began, apparently. In her youth, Idgrod roamed the breadth of Skyrim in quest of wisdom, and Aslfur traveled with her as her protector. They got married prior to returning home to Morthal.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: He's this for his wife, who often gives cryptic advice that the rather simple folks of Morthal often don't understand.
- Happily Married: They seem to be this, and Aslfur is rather protective of his wife; he initially asks that the Dragonborn come to him with concerns rather than approaching Idgrod directly.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Should the Dragonborn kill Gorm, Aslfur will send a thank-you note about it. If questioned about the matter, he will acknowledge sending the note, and then add that their conversation never took place.
An Orc bard "working" at the Moorside Inn, famous for being the worst bard in all of Skyrim, and a potential target in the Dark Brotherhood storyline.
- Dreadful Musician: He is such a terrible bard that not only have people recruited the Dark Brotherhood to kill him off, but there were so many that Astrid actually had to draw a lottery to determine exactly whose contract to honor.
- Epic Fail: Being a terrible bard is one thing. Being such a terrible bard that people want to kill you is something else. Failing so badly at being a bard that the Listener-deprived (read: only getting contracts via scouring for word of mouth) Dark Brotherhood can't keep up with all the people that want you dead? That's this trope.
- Expy: A Dreadful Bard with a major case of Small Name, Big Ego? Sounds a lot like Cacofonix.
- Giftedly Bad: Lurbuk believes himself the greatest bard in Skyrim. If the Dark Brotherhood is to be believed, at least half of Skyrim's population disagrees.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: You can ask him for a song before killing him. While the "song" is tuneless and rambling, Lurbuk's actual singing voice isn't all that terrible. One gets the impression that if he wised up and took a few classes at the Bard's College, he'd be okay.
- Literal-Minded: In the Dark Brotherhood contract to kill him, it's possible to threaten him before you kill him by telling him to sing "A song of fear, and death." He apparently doesn't get the hint and starts actually singing a (really, really bad) song about fear and death.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Seriously, how often have you ever seen an Orc Bard?
- Small Name, Big Ego: Despite obviously being a terrible bard, he is convinced that he's talented and destined to become famous, and oblivious to the hatred people have for him. If you tell him the Dark Brotherhood has been hired to kill him, he will just laugh and call such a thing ludicrous, stating that no one would want to "deprive the world" of his unique talent.
The master vampire behind Morthal's recent troubles. He originally appeared in Oblivion as a significant character in an in-game book called Immortal Blood, which can also be found in Skyrim.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Movarth used to be a devoted vampire hunter; it was an obsession that consumed his life. Then he met the author of Immortal Blood. Now he's everything he once fought against and worse.
- Ascended Extra: Was initially introduced in Oblivion as a character from one of the many books available over the course of the game. Skyrim gives him his first (and presumably last) actual appearance in-game.
- Bald of Evil: Not necessarily in the vanilla game, where his appearance was randomly generated, but by Dawnguard, he has a definite appearance and plays this trope straight.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Used to be one back when he was alive (in the present day, as typical of vampires, he prefers magic), claming that you never know when a weapon can fail you, but you always know both the capacities and the limitations of your body. By his own account, he could "land a thousand blows without losing [his] balance, provided [he got] the first strike."
- Big Bad: Of the Morthal questline.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Started out fighting vampires, only to end up as one himself.
- Looks Like Orlok: With Dawnguard. Doesn't have the ears, but plays this much straighter than any other Elder Scrolls vampire, barring the Vampire Lords.
- The Man Behind the Man: To Alva.
- Oh, Crap!: Upon The Reveal that the anonymous author of Immortal Blood was a vampire themself. As the author states: "He was surprised, even stunned by the pallor of my flesh, the dark hunger in my ageless eyes, and the teeth. Oh, yes, I think the teeth definitely surprised the man who could not afford to be surprised."
- Retcon: The ending of Immortal Blood heavily implies that Movarth was killed when the author attacked him; but as Skyrim reveals, he suffered not mere death but undeath.
- They Killed Kenny Again: A bug causes Movarth to respawn if his lair is targeted for a Radiant quest, making it possible to kill him multiple times.
- Tragic Monster: Like Alva, he wasn't bad at all before being turned into a vampire. He was a well-meaning hunter who failed to guess the very simple reason that his teacher in vampire-hunting knew so much about them...
- The Undead: He's a vampire.
A former Jarl of Whiterun who became High King. It was he who captured the dragon Numinex, whose head is displayed in Dragonsreach, where he imprisoned the beast. In present times, he's known as a tyrant and an annual festival in Solitude burns an effigy of him.
- 0% Approval Rating: Not only does Solitude have an annual festival denouncing him and celebrating his death, but when it gets cancelled (Elisif feels it's in poor taste with Torygg's recent passing), people protest.
- Ambiguously Evil: He's certainly seen as evil in Skyrim these days, and his corpse is fought as the boss of a tomb. But when you get to Sovngarde, he's living it up in the Hall of Valor and is shown to be a personable, friendly man. He's Affably Evil at worst.
- Americans Hate Tingle: In-universe example; Olaf One-Eye is hailed as a hero and a legend in Whiterun (with Jarl Balgruuf descending from him), to the point that most historians don't know that High King Olaf and Olaf One-Eye are the same person, finding his popularity in Whiterun to be irreconcilable with the hatred Solitude has for him.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: He became High King because his defeat of Numinex made him such an inspirational figure to all of Skyrim. Some versions also claim he became Jarl of Whiterun as a reward for the defeat.
- Drop the Hammer: Wields a warhammer in Sovngarde. In Olaf and the Dragon, he instead has an axe, but the book itself notes this isn't known for sure.
- Easily Forgiven: He doesn't seem to mind that Svaknir's tales of him have defamed him so much over the centuries, and hopes to welcome the bard into the Hall once Alduin is slain.
- Future Imperfect: Viarmo, one of the more learned historians in the game, is completely shocked to discover that High King Olaf and Olaf One-eye are the same person. As mentioned above, it's likely due to the difficulty reconciling Solitude's historical hatred of King Olaf and Whiterun's hero worship of Olaf One-eye.
- Guile Hero: According to King Olaf's Verse, he came to power in Skyrim through deals and promises of power to get the holds to fall in line. However, see Literary Agent Hypothesis.
- Handicapped Badass: The name should be a hint.
- A Hero to His Hometown: Though reviled elsewhere in Skyrim, Olaf is still remembered as a hero to the people of Whiterun for defeating and imprisoning the dragon Numinex. He may or may not have originally been from Whiterun, but the people of the town apparently took him up as one of their own just the same, in some tales even naming him their Jarl.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Can be taken Up to Eleven when filling in the blanks of King Olaf's Verse. Whatever he did in real life, he most certainly was not Numinex in human form.
- Literary Agent Hypothesis: In-universe, the legend of Olaf's battle with Numinex is obscured, and it's theorized by one author that this is on purpose - that Olaf's defeat of Numinex was for whatever reason anticlimactic, so they made up a more heroic tale. As well, the bard Svaknir's account of Olaf's rise to power is heavily biased against him, and is further muddied by you the player randomly filling in missing parts of the last remaining copy of the tale, with the option to declare that Olaf was Numinex in human form. Your improvisations, which may or may not have any truth to them, are likely to be further passed down through history as truth now.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: He had the Thu'um.
- Noodle Incident: He certainly did something to make Solitude hate him so much, although what it was is never made entirely clear.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He performed one of the only known dragon captures in history, and is revered as a hero by the people of Whiterun.
- Worthy Opponent: Apparently considers Svaknir one. Olaf comments in Sovngarde that Svaknir is a "fool of a poet", but nevertheless an honest enemy he respects, and he hopes to see him make it into the Hall when the threat of Alduin is passed.
SvaknirA bard who opposed Olaf One-Eye and the writer of King Olaf's Verse. His ghost haunts the tomb where Olaf is buried. You later find his spirit wandering the mists of Sovngarde, if you finished the questline in the tomb and put him to rest.
A necromancer obsessed with women that was exiled from Dawnstar because of his disturbing experiments, he now lives in the ruins of Yngvild. The bartender of the Ragged Flagon tasks the Dragonborn with finding and bringing back the journals describing his (very disturbing) experiments.
- Amazon Brigade: A particularly horrifying example; his undead minions, be it draugr or ghosts, are all female, and it's heavily implied that he sleeps with them.
- Evil Sorcerer: A very perverted necromancer that kills women and turns them into his undead slaves.
- Karmic Death: A stealthy Dragonborn can sneak behind his throne and remove the soul gem that controls his guards or shoot it off the pedestal with an arrow, turning them against Arondil and killing him.
- I Love the Dead: While it's never outright said out loud, his diaries heavily imply it, and there is also the fact you can find a ghost sleeping in his bed...
- Power Perversion Potential: He's a necrophiliac who practices necromancy. The rest should fall into place from there.
- Stalker with a Crush: A very creepy example towards Dawnstar's milkmaids. His journals mention that after being exiled from Dawnstar, he misses them and has wet dreams about them. Then one of them accidentally makes it to Yngvild later and is captured by his minions, leading him to kill her so he can Leave No Witnesses. Then he finds out he can reanimate her as a ghost, and starts actively sending his minions to abduct more of them in Dawnstar for him to kill and raise...
Leader of the Vigilant of Stendarr, she leads the militantly anti-Daedra sect from the Hall of the Vigilant, south of Red Road Pass.
- Everyone Has Standards: Despite leading an extreme, militant order of monster and Daedra-hunters, Carcette felt that even Isran took things a bit too far with his hatred of vampires.
- Fantastic Racism: The sect is not very polite to Orcs, presumably because of their connection to Malacath.
- Healing Hands: She's the Expert-level Restoration trainer, not that it means much with Dawnguard installed as there's no realistic way to train Restoration up to its cap with her before the Hall of the Vigilant is destroyed. At least Colette Marence will still be around, and Dawnguard-aligned players get Florentius to compensate.
- Killed Offscreen: Everyone in the Hall of the Vigilant, Carcette included, is slain by Volkihar vampires once Dawnguard is installed (if the player is level 10 or higher - lower level players and new characters can still visit the hall before it's destroyed).
- Last Stand: If you go to Hall of the Vigilant after it's destroyed, there are several dead vampires and death hounds in the hall, meaning they didn't die easily.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Carcette wasn't too remarkable in the vanilla game, isn't attached to any quests, and there was no indication that the Hall of the Vigilants was under any threat. Then you install Dawnguard, and she becomes one of its first casualties.
- Too Dumb to Live: Dawnguard reveals that not only did she not accept that the Volkihar vampires were out of the Vigilants' league, but when warned about it by the leader of the Dawnguard, Carcette ignored him.
- Underestimating Badassery: She and her Vigilant fail to realize the threat represented by the Volkihar vampires, leading to their demise.
Fellow veteran to Brina Merelis, who becomes her housecarl should she be anointed Jarl of the Pale.
- Bald of Awesome: A veteran legionnaire who's gone bald. He's got balls enough to wear legion officer armor when walking with Brina in the middle of a Stormcloak-occupied hold.
- Platonic Life-Partners: With his former commander, Brina Merelis.
- Retired Badass: One who comes out of retirement. It takes guts to dust off the old Legion armor in a Stormcloak city when the Jarl wants him executed.
- Undying Loyalty: To the Legion, and to Brina for shared service time in the Legion. His loyalty is so deep that he openly antagonizes the initial Stormcloak-allied Jarl by dusting off his old Legion armor and wearing it about town.
Court mage for Dawnstar. A retired Legion battlemage, she's seen more than she cares for of war.
- Court Mage: For Dawnstar.
- Mr. Exposition: You can see her (futilely) trying to convince Silus Vesuius to close his museum, and if you ask her on this afterwards, she can give you a brief introduction to the Mythic Dawn.
- Put on a Bus: Subverted. The player can listen to her asking the very Stormcloak-allied Jarl to basically do this, and grant her some time away from court, and he very crossly denies the request.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: After taking part in the defense of the Imperial City during the Great War, she's seared, frozen, and electrified far too many young elves for her peace of mind, and is thus pretty much a pacifist. Unfortunately, she's so high-strung from serving under Skald that if the Imperials take Dawnstar and Brina Merelis takes the throne, she tends to assume the worst when Brina asks something of her. The fact that Brina's housecarl Horik doesn't trust her can't be helping, either.
A descendant of a family of Mythic Dawn members, he opens a museum dedicated to the Mythic Dawn and asks the Dovahkiin to find the pieces of Mehrunes' Razor for him.
- Black Shirt: Believes that the Mythic Dawn should be remembered for holding the fate of the Empire within their grasp.
- Call-Back: His entire quest is one to Oblivion.
- Face Death with Dignity: If you decline his offer of money in exchange for sparing his life and decide to just kill him, he elects to go down fighting and attacks you.
- Genre Blind: Frighteningly oblivious to the fact that Evil Is Not a Toy.
- Nightmare Fetishist: He seems a little too enthusiastic about the Daedric cult of his ancestors.
- Pet the Dog: If you let him live and he survives the Dremora attack, he'll sincerely thank you for it.
- Sadistic Choice: You can either betray and kill Silus to get Mehrunes' Razor, or spare his life and forfeit the chance to reforge the weapon, leaving you with only the disassembled fragments.
- Too Dumb to Live: He not only tries to find all the fragments of Mehrunes' Razor to complete his collection, but he actually decides to find one of the Dagon's shrines and ask him to repair it. You can call him out on the fact that messing with the Daedric Prince of Destruction's Artifact of Doom is a terrible idea, not that he'll listen. It may just prove to be his undoing.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Mehrunes Dagon declares this, although it's up to the player whether to actually kill him or not.
The Breton chef in the Understone Keep, he plays a small but significant role during the Dark Brotherhood storyline.
- Asshole Victim: Considering his xenophobic attitude against the Reachmen and his abuse of his assistants, he is one of the targets late in the questline that the player won't feel so bad about offing.
- Bad Boss: Mistreats his assistants and during a idle chat, he may threaten to cut off the fingers from one of them to teach her a lesson.
- Fantastic Racism: Virane really dislikes the Reachmen, even the ones that are not Forsworn. He takes offense at being called one and insists that he is a Breton from High Rock.
- French Jerk: The fantasy counterpart at any rate, since he is a chef, a jerk, and a Breton.
- He Knows Too Much: The Dragonborn will interrogate him about the Gourmet's location and he will quickly spill the beans. However, they are instructed to silence Virane so that their mission to assassinate the Emperor won't be tracked up to him.
- Supreme Chef: The reason why he is tolerated, according to his assistant Rondach. "Only reason the Jarl keeps Anton on is because he cooks up a storm."
Borkul the Beast
An Orc bandit who serves as Madanach's bodyguard in the Cidhna Mines.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In his own words, he was sentenced to life in prison for "Murder. Banditry. Assault. Theft. And lollygagging".
- Blood Knight: If you decide to challenge him to a brawl in order to get the right to see Madanach, he won't hide his delight. It's also implied to be the reason he joined the Forsworn in the first place.
- Brick Joke: Guards all over Skyrim tersely inform the player that there is to be no lollygagging. Borkul actually got arrested for it.
- The Dragon: To Madanach.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: One of the inmates claims that he once ripped off another prisoner's arm and beat him to death with it.
- In Love with Your Carnage: It's implied the reason he joined the Forsworn was because he admires their violence and cruelty. He will also appreciate if you tell him you found your first murder exciting.
- Token Minority: If you help Madanach and the Forsworn escape Cidhna Mine, Borkul goes with them to Druadach Redoubt, dons Forsworn gear, and proclaims that "The Reach will be ours again!" — despite not being a Reachman. It's mentioned in the Pocket Guide to the Empire that the Reachmen historically had strong ties with the Orcs, and learned hedge-magic from them, so it's possible the Forsworn consider Orcs fellow aboriginals.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: In Cidhna Mine, he goes around wearing nothing but ragged trousers. If you help the Forsworn escape, he will then go for Forsworn armor, which leaves him shirtless as well.
A somewhat eccentric Altmer scholar and archaeologist who serves as the court mage and also runs the Markarth Museum. Obsessed with the Dwemer, he invites anyone (via letter) to come to his museum and will pay handsomely for any Dwarven items they're willing to give him. He is also currently overseeing an excavation of one of the many Dwemer ruins dotting the Reach.
- Absent-Minded Professor: Most frequently exhibited by his parting phrase.Calcelmo: What? Oh, goodbye.
- Adorkable: There really isn't a better word to describe him during the "Book of Love" quest.
- Amazon Chaser: For Faleen.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Has the hots for Faleen, Jarl Igmund's housecarl, but can't bring himself to make a move. You help things along during a quest in praise of Mara, the goddess of love and marriage.
- Cool Uncle: He's assisted in his researches by his nephew Aicantar, who seems very fond of him.
- Court Mage: For the Reach.
- Interspecies Romance: With Faleen, a Redguard.
- MayflyDecember Romance: Faleen can't possibly be more than 40, while Calcelmo has centuries behind him and centuries left to go.
- Shoplift and Die: He takes the security of his museum very seriously, and has an entire unit of Markarth guardsmen and an entire, heavily armed bandit clan guarding its halls at all times. They'll let you explore the museum to your heart's content if Calcelmo gives you the key, provided you don't touch anything, but will attack on sight if you use the key to unlock his private laboratory.
- Stalker Without a Crush: He somehow knows exactly when you've purchased a Dwarven item, even if you purchased it from your spouse in the privacy of your own home. Possibly hand waved by the fact that he's a mage.
- Twice Shy: It appears Faleen has felt the same for him all along, because when you approach her with the poem, it turns out she has a love letter for him on her person, and she finally musters the courage to have it sent to him by that point.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Even after you kill Nimhe for him, collect the journals of the missing archaeological team, and help him with his love problems, he still refuses to let you use his Falmer translator to translate an important document in the Thieves' Guild questline, so you have no choice but to do it in an illegal way. However, this is justified, as his Falmer translator is his life's work (and being an elf, that is a very long time), and he can't risk somebody else stealing his research.
Calcelmo's nephew and assistant, and an obstacle to you translating Gallus' journal for the Thieves' Guild.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Manages to reassemble and control a broken Dwarven spider, which you can sic on some guards in one quest.
- Video Game Caring Potential: He'll confront you in Calcelmo's lab while you're using the Falmer translator, and will be hostile on sight. Some players, however, find him so sweet that they choose to skip fighting by going immediately into the next room. After you finish the quest, he'll go back to his usual duties and won't remember you breaking in.
A Breton beggar and former smelter worker.
- Career-Ending Injury: Suffered some sort of injury that left him unfit to work at the smelter. As for the details, Degaine seems to make up new stories on a regular basis.
- Dirty Old Man: He was reportedly kicked out of the Temple of Dibella, with his tone when asked about the event suggesting that he wasn't there for the worship. He also gives you a miscellaneous quest to steal a statue of Dibella for the temple, again with the implications that he's going to be using it for less-than-savory purposes.
- Entitled Bastard: Unlike every other beggar, who at least attempts to garner your pity, he basically tells you to throw money at him because he's a beggar that needs it more than you.
- Jerkass: While most beggars thank you for your kindness if you give them money, Degaine basically takes your coin and tells you to piss off. He's also a habitual liar and a sleazebag to boot.
- Pet the Dog: Stealing the statue of Dibella for him makes him a little bit nicer to you. Incidentally, this also makes him a prime candidate for feeding the Ebony Blade, especially since completing "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine" also erases your bounty in the Reach.
A Breton living in Markath who recruits the Dragonborn's help to investigate a conspiracy involving the Forsworn.
- Facial Markings: Not immediately apparent, due to him mostly staying in a dark area, but he has tattoos all over his face◊.
- Disappeared Dad: He was only a boy when his father died. Tragically, Eltrys himself becomes this trope when he is killed by the city's guards; earlier in the quest chain, he off-handedly mentions that his wife is pregnant, meaning that his child will become Someone to Remember Him By.
- Freudian Excuse: A discussion with him will reveal his father was killed in the conspiracy when he was a child. He has been haunted by this ever since, leading to his obsession with figuring out why his father died.
- He Knows Too Much: Thonar's corrupt guards eventually find out about his investigation and kill him to cover up the conspiracy.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Not to him, sadly, but his wife, Rhiada. She is in the same room as Betrid Silver-Blood when Betrid is attacked. Due to her pregnancy, quite a few players reverse-pickpocket a stronger weapon on her, to help her so she doesn't die.
Jarl Igmund's Redguard Housecarl who already served his father.
- Amazonian Beauty: Calcelmo certainly thinks so.
- Cultured Badass: She has a weak spot for poetry.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: To Igmund. She's probably half the reason why he is still in power by the time the game starts. The other half is probably his uncle and steward, Raerek.
- Undying Loyalty: To Igmund, and his father before him.
A group that operate primarily in the Reach. They are mostly composed of Reachmen, the original inhabitants of the Reach descended from Nords and Bretons living on the border between Skyrim and High Rock. This has given rise to the claim the territory is theirs by right and they have a long history of bloody conflict with the local Nords over control of the Hold. Several years before the events of Skyrim, they actually managed to take control of Markarth, only to be brutally overthrown by Nord militia led by Ulfric Stormcloak in what became known as the infamous Markarth Incident. Despite this brutal loss, the Forsworn are still determined to take back what they believe is rightfully theirs, and have begun consorting with Hagravens to become powerful mage-warriors known as Briarhearts.
- Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: It's not uncommon to see Forsworn running at you yelling battle cries only to immediately turn tail and run when you loose an atronach or a zombie on them.
- Axe-Crazy: They are perceived as this by most people due to their aggressive behaviour and Rape, Pillage, and Burn actions. One of the in-game books mentions that they sometimes attack people and slaughter them, without bothering to steal any goods from them.
- Black and Grey Morality: Can be either this or Gray and Grey Morality depending on which of them you take in account. The Forsworn as a whole definitely are brutal, vicious, and cruel bandits and implied Daedra-worshipers who cause violence in the Reach, but it's mentioned that several of their members started out as innocents and ended up joining them in the first place because of the brutal and unfair Nord retribution after Ulfric took back Markarth. And that's excluding the corruption of the Silver-Blood family.
- Boomerang Bigot: Their hatred of the Nords, as they are historically descended from both Bretons and Nords.
- Deal with the Devil: The ritual used to turn a Forsworn into a Briarheart gives them greater combat skill, but robs them of their free will.
- Dual Wielding: Most of them favour this.
- Elite Mooks: The Briarhearts.
- Failed a Spot Check: Many of their hideouts are in ancient Nordic ruins that have been around for thousands of years, yet they think that they have the stronger claim of being native.
- Fantastic Racism: Particularly toward Nords, whom they see as oppressive invaders, though they really don't care for anyone who isn't pledged to their cause.
- Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Several NPCs (as well as, potentially, the Dragonborn) admonish them for using what the Nords did to them as their excuse to slaughter people indiscriminately.
- Genuine Human Hide: The dialogues heavily imply their armors are at least partially made from the tanned skins of the people they have killed.
- Glass Cannon: Their light armors made of skin, fur and bones offer very little resistance, since they favor Dual Wielding, most of them can't block, and their most powerful warriors have a Logical Weakness that makes them very easy to kill in certain circumstances. However, they move very fast, and that same Dual Wielding means that even their weaker units can inflict insane amount of damage. Many of them are powerful spellcasters besides.
- Hates Everyone Equally: If you're not Forsworn, then the Forsworn hate you.
- I Am A Humanitarian: Although never outright stated, it is heavily implied that at least some of them are cannibals.
- Literal Change of Heart: The Briarhearts, Forsworn chieftains who have had their hearts magically replaced with Briarheart seeds by Hagravens. Pickpocketing the Briarheart instantly kills them.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Directed at them. Many non-Forsworn Reachmen are as fed up with their antics as the Nords are.
- Omnicidal Neutral: They are hostile to the empire, the Stormcloaks, the Blades, the Thalmor, the Orc strongholds, other Reachmen who don't support their cause, and random bystanders not affiliated with any of those factions.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: It doesn't matter if a person is a Nord or not. To the Forsworn, if a person is not a "Reachman", they are trespassers who deserve utter destruction.
- Rooting for the Empire: An in-universe example, as one of the books you can find dotted about Skyrim is written by a scholar as a serious defense of the Forsworn and attempts to justify their rightful historical claim to the Reach.
- Stripperiffic: Their armors leave most males shirtless, and females with... a lot of skin visible.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: In their eyes, they are fighting to take back their homeland. The fact that they have slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent men, women, and children doesn't matter to them.
Ghost of Old Hroldan
The ghost of a warrior that haunts the Old Hroldan Inn, and seems to have been a companion to Tiber Septim in his early days.
- Ghostly Goals: His ghost is restless due to "Hjalti" (aka Tiber Septim) apparently promising to grant him his sword after a battle as a sign that they were sworn brothers. For some unstated reason - though it's strongly implied that the warrior died before or during the battle in question - this never happened. After mistaking the Dragonborn for Hjalti (due to both being Dragonborn), he begs them to find the sword and fulfill this oath.Ghost: "Even after the enemies' arrows dug into my chest and their hammers crushed my bones. I've waited."
- Go into the Light: After thousands of years of waiting, receiving Hjalti's sword finally releases his soul to do this.
- Haunted House: His presence technically makes the Old Hroldan Inn this. However, the way the inn's owner reacts to seeing him seems to indicate that it's the presence of the Dragonborn which causes him to appear.
- Mistaken Identity: Perhaps because the Player Character and "Hjalti" were both Dragonborn, the Ghost believes the Last Dragonborn is Hjalti.
The King in Rags, leader of the Forsworn.
- Affably Evil: The Forsworn aren't exactly paragons of virtue, but Madanach is personable enough.
- Badass Grandpa: Proves himself quite the powerful mage if you help him escape the mine (or try to off him inside it).
- Badass Moustache: An awesome 'stache for a king and terrorist/freedom fighter.
- Boxed Crook: Thonar keeps him alive in prison instead of executing him so he can use Madanach's Forsworn as his personal assassins. Thonar doesn't have nearly as much control over Madanach as he believes, though.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Even if you help him escape, Forsworn will still attack you, with a few exceptions. Could be a bit of Reality Is Unrealistic; Forsworn are under orders to attack everyone on the roads on sight. Even if Madanach were to make an exception for you, he likely wouldn't have a way to communicate it quickly to his scattered people or provide them with an effective means of determining your identity. The one camp where they don't attack you after his release is the one where he is personally staying.
- Fighting for a Homeland: High Rock and Skyrim have fought over the Reach in the past, but Madanach wants to see it independent.
- Good Old Ways: From his point of view, anyway. Like all Forsworn, he worships the unidentified "old gods" (which are implied in various NPC dialogue to be the Daedric Princes) rather than the Nine Divines.
- Impoverished Patrician: There's a reason he's called "the King in Rags".
- Killed Off for Real: One way to resolve the quest. Instead of killing the prisoner he wants killed and helping everyone escape, you can kill him - you have no weapons, but you have your Shouts and magic spells as well as fists - and then loot the key from his body and escape on your own.
- Knight Templar: Madanach talks a lot about the "injustice" of The Reach, but he's hardly a saint himself.
- Luxury Prison Suite: By the standards of Cidhna Mines, at least. He not only has his own private cave with a personal bodyguard, it includes a bed, desk, drawers filled with books and paper and ink, whereas everyone else has to sleep on the ground and mine silver all day long.
- Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: Despite being a prisoner of Cidhna Mines, Madanach is still capable of coordinating the Forsworn, a fact which Thonar exploits for his own ends.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Most NPCs call him "Mad-a-nock", but at least one refers to him as "Ma-da-nack". What's strange about this is that the NPC who does so has the same VA as Madanach.
- Not So Different:
- Argues this when you've been unjustly arrested in Markarth. It's more poignant when you're a Nord.
- Madanach is not dissimilar, ideologically, from his enemy Ulfric Stormcloak; different gods, same basic goals.
- Rebel Leader: For the Forsworn.
- Red Baron: The King in Rags.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: While he claims that his ultimate goal is peace once the Reach gains independence, he's not overly concerned about who has to die to accomplish that, and he hates the Nords. He does make an exception for a Nord Dragonborn, though, if only because he needs help getting out of Cidhna Mine. Granted, that won't protect you from all future attacks, but that's true regardless of race.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
- Says this about Grisvar the Unlucky, whom he tells the player to kill as a test of loyalty.
- He also essentially says this to you, if you help him and his men escape. He and the Forsworn stationed at his camp won't be hostile to you, but Madanach does pretty much tell you before he runs off that his allegiance with you is basically done.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Dragonborn can hear the Forsworn's side of the story of the Reach from him.
A young Breton girl working for the Markarth apothecary. Despite her innocent demeanor, she experienced a tragic past, causing her to become obsessed with revenge. She's obsessed to the point of summoning the Dark Brotherhood to carry it out.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: If the Dragonborn kills both Alain and Nilsine, her dialogue indicates she falls for them, and she becomes a marriage option.
- Break the Cutie: She lived in Windhelm and was good friends with the well-known Clan Shatter-Shield. When one of said family's daughters was killed by The Butcher, Muiri was comforted by a man called Alain Dufont. It turns out that Alain only used Muiri to get to the Shatter-Shields and rob them. The Shatter-Shields blamed Muiri for this robbery and effectively banished her from Windhelm, taking away the life she built there.
- Broken Bird: She presumably used to be a nicer person, until Alain Dufont happened and Clan Shatter-Shield wanted nothing more to do with her. Now she's broken enough to put out a hit on one of the people in the family she was once friends with.
- Dude Magnet: She notes the men in the city wont leave her alone.
- Miscarriage of Justice: The victim of a frameup that ruined her relationship with Clan Shatter-Shield.
- She Who Fights Monsters: Also puts the innocent Nilsine Shatter-Shield on the murder contract, just to make the family matron Tova feel rotten.
Nepos the Nose
An old and rich Reachman living in Markath. Secretly a Forsworn escapee from the Nord purge and an agent of Madanach while he is in Cidhna Mine.
- Affably Evil: When you track back to him, he congratulates you for your success, answers every question you ask, then politely informs you he can't let you get out alive.
- Badass Grandpa: He is clearly much more dangerous than he lets it appear.
- He Knows Too Much: Tries to pull this on you, and is implied to have done it many times before.
- Ignored Epiphany: His journal reveals that he genuinely feels guilt for sending so many young men to their deaths in the terrorist acts he accomplishes under Madanach's orders, but he apparently thinks he has gone too far to stop now.
- Sunk Cost Fallacy: He knows he's wasted time, money, and lives on Madanach's rebellion, but he says that that isn't a reason to stop. He tries to explain that to stop now would be a bigger waste; see the above Ignored Epiphany. The Dragonborn will almost certainly kill him for it.
- Underestimating Badassery: He clearly underestimates the Dragonborn.
- Undying Loyalty: He hasn't seen Madanach in decades, but he still calls him his king and carries out all his orders without question. It is rather disconcerting hearing him talk about his master and gives you an idea just how fanatical the Forsworn are. He even lampshades it himself.
Jarl Igmund's steward is also his uncle.
- Blackmail: He is secretly a Talos worshipper. If you join the Stormcloak war effort, you will be sent to blackmail him with this information and obtain some valuable intel.
- Cool Old Guy
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Far more competent than Igmund himself. His concerns regarding the Silver-Blood family in particular are completely justified.
A member of the corrupt Silver-Blood family who runs Markarth's Treasury House.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: He mentioned that he used Madanach to get rid of "competitors, agents, idiots".
- Asshole Victim: If you side with the Forsworn during "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine" he'll show up personally with a contingent of guards to confront the escapees. Given that the Forsworn and the guards at his back are all much more durable than he is and that he stands right at the front, he'll almost certainly be the first to die, with no sympathy spared.
- Big Bad: Of the short Forsworn questline consisting of the "Forsworn Conspiracy" and "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine" quests.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: With his brother, Thongvor. Thonar runs the family business and Thongvar concentrates on politics.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: As far as he's concerned, hiring mercenaries to hound his competitors and forcing criminals to mine for him for the rest of their lives is perfectly fine if he gets more silver out of it.
- Jerkass: He doesn't try to put on any pretense of being likable or caring about anything other than money.
- Karma Houdini: A possible outcome of the Forsworn questline. The player can kill Madanach, after which Thonar will thank and pardon you, but still continue with his corrupt activities. Still, not a complete Houdini with the Kick the Son of a Bitch aspect taken into account.
- Karmic Death: A possible outcome of the Forsworn questline. The player can ally with Madanach and help him escape, after which they and the other prisoners attack and (probably) kill Thonar. He gets slain by the people he tried to seal away.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: He loses his wife in a Forsworn attack on his own treasury. Even if you choose the sympathetic "I'm sorry" response, he's savvy enough to know he's an asshole and doesn't believe you. You can also basically invoke the trope by telling him "You deserved this."
- Laser-Guided Karma: Of course, there's nothing stopping you from murdering him after the quest is done, since he's no longer tagged as essential. A particularly delicious way is to enter stealth and shoot him in the back with a Forsworn arrow, making it appear as if he was yet another victim in the string of assassinations carried out by the "Forsworn".
- You can also cast Frenzy on him, having the corrupt guards that do his bidding kill him, instead.
- If you take his route out of Cidhna Mine (killing the Forsworn present and escaping), then he conveniently becomes a connection to you. A connection you can sacrifice to empower the Ebony Blade. Possibly one of the few times a player will feel glee at hearing "Excellent work, my child~".
- Meal Ticket: To his wife, Betrid, who proudly boasts of being a Gold Digger.
- Smug Snake: Much like Maven Black-Briar, and admittedly it's not entirely unreasonable as he's been keeping up a rather impressive operation with only a very few key players knowing (unlike Maven, who is rather open and direct about who's really in charge of Riften) for twenty years now. It's entirely probable that even his brother doesn't know what he's been doing. Thonar believes he has fully cowed Madanach and has the Forsworn completely under his thumb: even Madanach admits it wasn't until around the time of "The Forsworn Conspiracy" that the Forsworn had finally built up the resources to finally make their move against him. Thonar is later brutally proven wrong when Forsworn agents in his own house murder his wife and try to kill him too.
- Trophy Wife: Probably Betrid; she looks to be younger than him by a fair bit. Despite this, he seems genuinely grief-stricken by her death.
Red EagleA famous Reachman hero from back when the Reach wasn't controlled by the Nords. He led the Reachmen's resistance against the Empire when they invaded Tamriel, and was the first Briarheart.
- The Chosen One: A weird subversion; he was supposed to become this according to a prophecy, which stated he would unite the ten kings ruling the Reach. However, the Empire arrived and invaded the Reach, killing or bribing the ten kings and ruining all his chances to fulfill the prophecy.
- Cool Sword: Red Eagle's Fury (or Red Eagle's Bane in its true form), his Weapon of Choice, also serves as the key to his tomb.
- Deal with the Devil: He made one with a Hagraven; in exchange for sacrificing his heart, his will, and his humanity, he gained incredible powers and became a pitiless spirit of vengeance. It was this deal that inspired the Briarheart.
- Flaming Sword: Regardless of which version of the sword you have on you, it has a fire damage enchantment on it. When you fight him, he's packing a fire-enchanted BFS.
- Full-Frontal Assault: It was said that he made his Last Stand "robed in nothing but his righteous fury".
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: He appears as a regular Draugr boss in-game - complete with dragon Shouts - despite his backstory having nothing to do with the Dragon Cult.
- Meaningful Name: His birth name, Faolan, is a mix of this and Line-of-Sight Name. It translates as 'red eagle,' and according to The Legend of Red Eagle, he was named for the cry of an eagle that was heard when he was born and the fact that it was autumn and the trees were covered in red leaves.
- Last Stand: As mentioned above, he confronted the Imperial Legion on his own with nothing but his sword in the final battle, and managed to slaughter a thousand of them before dying.
- One-Man Army: While alive, he managed to kick the Imperial Legion out of the Reach, and even though they came back and eventually defeated him, he managed to slaughter a thousand enemies before dying.
- The Paragon: Seen as this by the Forsworn.
Brand-Shei (Brandyl Telvanni)
One of the merchants in Riften marketplace. Seemingly the first target of the Thieves' Guild (though you can fail it on purpose).
- Aerith and Bob: You can comment on him having weird name for a Dark Elf, though there is a very good reason for it.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: A walking example if the Dragonborn DLC has been installed. He's one of the last surviving members of House Telvanni. If the Dragonborn completes Master Neloth's quests, they are made an honorary member of the same house. Unfortunately, there's no option at any point to tell Brand-Shei about this, or make any sort of offer to introduce him to Neloth.
- In the first quest for the Thieves' Guild questline, you are told that framing him would only put him in jail for a few days - but Bethesda never programmed a time frame for him to be released so he'll stay in prison indefinitely. However, you can subvert sending him to jail in the first place by simply dropping the ring you are asked to plant on him. You can then tell your guild contact that you "lost it;" naturally, he assumes you were pickpocketed like a chump.
- Good Parents: He was raised by a kindly Argonian couple. Just so we're clear, this is the Dunmer and Argonians we're talking about — two races known for their animosity toward each other.Context This makes Brand-Shei's adoptive parents one of the best examples of this trope ever.
- Happily Adopted: His backstory.
- Nice Guy: Snarks aside, he easily is one of the nicest merchants in Riften, especially compared to Grelka. He politely salutes you whenever you pass close to his shop, gladly explains his origins to you, and is very grateful when you help him recover a clue about said origins.Brand-Shei: I really appreciate what you've done for me. I'll never forget it.
- Orphan's Plot Trinket: The journal you can find for him.
- Raised by Natives: Raised by Argonians.
- Secret Legacy: He's actually one of last surviving members of House Telvanni.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: With Brynjolf in the starting Thieves' Guild quest.
- Video Game Caring Potential: The first Thieves' Guild mission has you frame him for stealing, which leaves him in jail for the rest of the game. But if you prefer, you can drop the ring that you were supposed to place on him; he never gets arrested, and you still get into the guild.
Chieftain of the Orcs at Largashbur. His tribe has recently been besieged by giants sensing weakness in them, and they worry Malacath has turned his sight from them.
- Asshole Victim: He either dies when he foolishly tries to fight the giant leader himself or does so when he tries to kill the Dragonborn to cover up the truth. Either way, he certainly had it coming.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: As per usual with orcs, the chieftain proves he's worthy of his position by being a great warrior. The problem for this particular tribe is that Yamarz very, very much isn't.
- Boisterous Weakling: He talks a big game and if you make him fight the giant leader himself, he claims that it'll only take a second. He's not wrong about that last part.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: If you talk him into fighting the leader of the giants himself, he's summarily crushed.
- Dirty Coward: In very sharp contrast to most Orcs. When challenged to defeat the leader of the giants by Malacath, he immediately demands your help in the task; since he was only told to kill the leader, he wants you to kill the rest. On the trip through the cave to said leader, he pointedly flees from the giants, and once you actually get to the leader, he tries to bribe you to kill it and let him take the credit.
- Jerkass: Even before you learn he is a Dirty Coward and an Ungrateful Bastard, you will most likely already find him unsympathetic due to him being rude and xenophobic toward you.
- No True Scotsman: He will express this opinion toward an Orc Dragonborn, whom he will call a "filthy city Orc". Ironically enough, this trope is what Malacath thinks of him.Malacath: You don't deserve to call yourself an Orc! You're weak, you're small, and you're an embarrassment!
- Too Dumb to Live: Besides the fact that he tries to off you after you just killed the giant he was too cowardly to face himself, does he really think he can put one over on a Daedric Prince who cursed his tribe in the first place because he knew Yamarz was a wimp?
- Ungrateful Bastard: Even though you make efforts to help him and his tribe to get rid of their curse, not only does he keep acting rude toward you all along, but he also tries to pull a You Have Outlived Your Usefulness on you.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: If you agree to kill the Giant for him, he will try to kill you immediately after you are done to ensure you won't tell the truth.
An elderly hunter who worships the old Nordic goddess Kyne. Notable for being the grandfather of Haming, the child Hadvar rescues during Alduin's attack on Helgen, who lives with him now.
- Great White Hunter: For religious reasons, out of respect for Kyne's animals.
- Grumpy Old Man: Stemming from how city Nords now worship the Nine Divines, which he (more or less accurately) believes are "stolen idols" and watered down versions of the Nordic pantheon.
- The Missionary: Judging by his reaction when he first sees you, he really does not like these.
- Outliving One's Offspring: His son, Haming's father, is killed during the dragon attack in the prologue.
- Screw Politeness, I'm A Senior!: Upon seeing you, he insults you, believing you have come to tell him about the Nine Divines. He warms up if you tell him you don't believe in the Divines.
A rather unlikable Nord armor merchant working in the Riften marketplace.
- Fantastic Racism: If you visit Haelga's Bunkhouse while she is there, you can hear a conversation in which she insults Madesi and clearly expresses her dislike of Argonians.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Nothing is stopping you from marrying her as an Argonian in the Special Edition, though.
- Jerkass: Basically tells you to just buy something or leave whenever you try to engage conversation with her. Also, see Fantastic Racism above.
- Missing Secret: Looking in the game's code reveals that Grelka was intended to be a potential spouse; but because she doesn't offer any quests, it's impossible to raise her disposition towards you and she never becomes available for marriage, barring mods or using console commands to make her like you. This was eventually fixed in the Special Edition; she will give you a miscellaneous quest and becomes available for marriage after that.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: This is her motivation; she wants to get as much money as possible so she can leave Skyrim. Considering the country is in the middle of a Civil War, dragons are coming, and she lives in a Wretched Hive to boot, you can hardly blame her. However, no matter how much gold you personally spend at her stall, she never actually leaves, nor does fixing any of those things lessen her desire to go.
- Tsundere: If you complete her miscellaneous quest, she sometimes will have some more tender lines towards you.
Grelod the Kind
Manager of Honorhall Orphanage and the target of Aventus Arentino's Black Sacrament.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: The reaction to her death.
- With one notable exception: Constance Michel, who never endorsed Grelod's cruelty but defended Grelod, saying she's old and has no other life. Constance's reaction to Grelod's death is to panic at the thought of someone being murdered in cold blood, but everyone else engages in much rejoicing.
- Played with via the Hold Guards. Those outside of Riften, who didn't know Grelod personally, consider the news to be that of the tragic murder of an elderly woman. Hold Guards inside Riften, however, consider her such an Asshole Victim that they don't bother to arrest you, even if they see you leave the orphanage on the day she was killed.
- Asshole Victim: When she's killed, the children cheer, and her more kind-hearted assistant is more shocked by how blatant and abrupt the murder was than by the fact that it happened at all. You don't even get a bounty for killing her and everybody in town just rolls with it because everyone agrees that she was a horrible person. Considering what Riften is like, this says a lot about her.
- This even extends into Astrid's opinion of her, since she outright says that the "old crone had it coming".
- Child Hater: To put it mildly. When you visit the orphanage for the first time, she's in the middle of telling the children that she'll never let them be adopted and if they don't work hard enough, they'll get an extra beating. Then she demands that they tell her they love her. She even has a cell in the orphanage with shackles on the wall.
- Defiant to the End: To give her credit, she can face her death apathetically and fearlessly if the Dragonborn tells her that they are part of the Dark Brotherhood or saying they are here on Arentino's behest.
- Evil Old Folks: Her treatment of the children at her orphanage should be proof enough. Even the Riften guards think so, and will let you off the hook for killing her simply because they agree that she had it coming.
- Evil Orphanage Lady: To an extreme: starving and beating children, locking them in shackles, constantly telling them how worthless they are, refusing to let anyone adopt them, complaining that nobody's adopting them...
- Expy: Shows similarities to Miss Hannigan from Annie.
- Fantastic Racism: She carries a book titled The Pig Children, which is all about how horrible Orcs are.
- Hate Sink: The first thing you hear when you enter the orphanage is her warning the kids that if they shirk their chores, they'll get an extra beating. She is obviously designed to be a cruel, hateful, awful creature, so you can kill her without feeling a shred of remorse.
- I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: Some of the guards in Riften are happy to tell you that they saw you walk out of the orphanage on the day she was murdered, but won't arrest you for it. Yes, even if you walk up to her in full view of the children and breath fire in her face using a Shout! (One of the guards will even call you a Greybeard for it.)
- Ironic Nickname: She's called "the Kind", but is anything but. Even adults know that it's a complete lie.
- Jerkass: If spending your days verbally and physically abusing children doesn't make you this, then what does?
- Karmic Death: One of the ways to kill her is to use a fear spell to chase her out of the orphanage. There, Edda the beggar will, suddenly, kill her instead. The only explanation for this is the possibility that Edda grew up in Grelod's "care" before being thrown out into the streets of Riften.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: Since she's an old lady, she's not exactly tough. You can kill her just by punching her in the face.
- Paper Tiger: She's shamelessly abrasive to anyone who has the misfortune of speaking to her, and she physically abuses the children in her care. She has the lowest amount of health and will die in one strike.
The owner of the bunkhouse in Riften, which houses many of the city's residents.
- Expy: Of Mirabelle Monet, a rude innkeeper from Anvil in Oblivion who also really got around.
- Jerkass: Even if you haven't done anything to make her dislike you, she will frequently tell you that you are not welcome in her Bunkhouse, since she only allows workers and not travelers or adventurers to be there. She is also mentioned to be abrasive toward her niece, Svana.
- Jerkass Has a Point: If you stick long enough in the Bunkhouse, you might hear a dialogue between her and Svana revealing that Svana is in a flirting relationship with Sibbi Black-Briar. Haelga tells her niece rather cynically that Sibbi just wants to sleep with her. While it's mean to say such a thing, considering what we know of Sibbi, she is almost certainly right.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: One of the missions required to join the Thieves' Guild includes collecting money for protection from various persons in Riften, her included. You will most likely not feel sorry when coming for her.
- Noodle Implements: Poking around her bed shows that she has shackles attached to the wall, which is kinky but not this trope. However, under the bed you'll find some leather straps and a horker tusk. A letter from one of her lovers also mentions her prowess in bed while wearing Daedric boots, which begs the question not only of what their purpose is but also where she acquired them in the first place.
- Pet the Dog: If you give her one of the brochures from the Temple of Mara while doing that small sidequest for the priestess, Haelga acknowledges that she's more into the teachings of Dibella (and boy is she ever); but she'll accept the brochure nonetheless and even promises to read it with some slight interest. It's pretty much the closest thing to a pleasant conversation you can have with her.
- Really Gets Around: Much to her niece's disgust. A sidequest even involves collecting "Marks of Dibella" from the various men she slept with recently. Mentions from said men include her doing it in the stables and an implication that she might have drugged one of them so she could sleep with him (though it's left ambiguous if he is telling the truth or not). According to overworld conversations, she's even interested in Madesi.
Owner of the Riften Stables.
- Defeat Means Friendship: You can brawl him, and after you defeat him, he becomes much friendlier and you can ride any of his horses for free.
- Embarrassing Nickname: It comes from a time when he was drunk and tried to ride a colt instead of a full-grown horse; he accidentally broke the colt's back. He has decided to no longer ride horses thanks to that.
Daughter to Maven Black-Briar and part of the infamous family. She's easily the most personable of the bunch, but she still has her... issues.
- Affably Evil: Aside from being a Black-Briar and an aspiring Master Poisoner, Ingun is one of the most genuinely friendly people in Riften.
- The Apprentice: To Elgrim.
- Death by Irony: The entire reason she likes alchemy - that the same ingredients that can be used to create, save or restore life can be used to kill or maim.
- Defector from Decadence: Double-subverted. While she bemoans her family's greed and decadence, it's because she feels that it's pointless, not because it's wrong. She feels that she was meant for more than they can offer. Considering her particular focus in alchemy, she could potentially be the most dangerous of them all.
- Fetch Quest: She has one of the most long-spanning and exhausting fetch quests in the game, asking you to find 20 of each of three relatively rare alchemy ingredients - Nightshade, Deathbell, and Nirnroot. It's not so bad if you know where to look (Nightshade and Deathbell are plentiful in Morthal, and you can even raise them in your own gardens if you have Hearthfire installed), but still a lot harder than finding 20 Salt Piles would be. It's also worth noting that all three ingredients are used in deadly poisons...
- Like Father, Unlike Son: Ingun may share her appearance with Maven, but while Ingun is rather up-front about her more questionable quirks but is a decent person otherwise, Maven is just an asshole through and through.
- Mad Scientist: In the making.
- Nice Girl: Her creepier predilections aside, she is always very polite to you, pays well for your hard work, and even provides a renewable source of alchemy goods if you complete the quest, simply because of a sense of noblesse oblige.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Her reasons for being interested in alchemy are... disturbing to say the least. She seems to have a thing for the morbid and macabre.
- Strong Family Resemblance: She looks exactly like a young Maven. They even wear the same outfit, for Mara's sake.
- To Be a Master: Of alchemy.
- "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: Her other motivation. She wants to make her mother proud.
An Argonian merchant who sells jewelry in Riften. The first quest to join the Thieves' Guild involves stealing one of his rings and framing Brand-Shei for it. He can also give the Dragonborn a quest to collect materials for his jewelry.
- Nice Guy: He's always polite and rewards you well for his quest. Really, he rivals Brand-Shei as one of the nicest people in Riften.
- Unwitting Pawn: The very first Thieves Guild quest has you steal one of his rings and plant it on Brand-Shei in order to frame the latter and "teach him a lesson."
A Redguard Priest in charge of the Temple of Mara in Riften. He is the one selling Amulets of Mara and arranging weddings, including, potentially, the Dragonborn's.
- Babies Ever After: According to dialogue you can overhear, his wife is pregnant with their first child.
- Happily Married: To Dinya Balu, one of the priestesses in the Temple.
- Interspecies Romance: His wife is a Dark Elf.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: This usually is how most people in Riften react to his preaching. Obviously, it's not easy being the priest for a Divinity of Love in a Wretched Hive.
Right-hand man of Maven Black-Briar and her primary enforcer on the street. His brother, Dirge, is the bouncer for the Ragged Flagon. Should Maven be named Jarl, Maul becomes her housecarl.
- Arms and Armor Theme Naming: "Maul" is more likely a nickname, or maybe a self-selected appellation, but he's still named after a weapon.
- The Dragon: To Maven Black-Briar.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: To maul is to wound by scratching and tearing. A maul is basically a big ass hammer.
A Dark Elf working at the Black-Briar Meadery, who secretly steals mead to sell illegally in his own business.
- Blatant Lies: "The Dreth family doesn't steal, Indaryn." Not only was his ancestor most likely a criminal, but he himself is smuggling Black-Briar mead to sell it cheaper and make profit for himself.
- Continuity Nod: He is a descendant of Valen Dreth, the Jerkass Dark Elf from the beginning of Oblivion. One of his conversations with innkeeper Keerava involves him narrating an exaggerated tale of his ancestor during the Oblivion Crisis.
- Denying the Dead Parent's Sins: Possibly; Oblivion clearly shows his ancestor Valen was a jerk and most likely a criminal, but Romlyn still insists that "The Dreth family doesn't steal" and delivers ridiculous stories portraying Valen as a hero. Either he really is oblivious to his ancestors real past, or he is in denial about it.
- Lovable Rogue: Especially compared to his ancestor. He is stealing mead and selling it on the black market, yes, but the people he is stealing it from are far from sympathetic, and if you help him in his business without denouncing him, he will prove pretty grateful, to the point he becomes available for marriage.
A stable worker in Riften and an apprentice of Hofgrir Horse-Crusher. He gets scammed by Sapphire and fears for his life because of it.
- Entertainingly Wrong: He assumes his life is in danger because he owes money to the Thieves' Guild and has no way to make that payment. This would be logical, except he doesn't know that the guild has strict rules against its members killing people except as a last resort.
- Interspecies Romance: Listening in on his marketplace interactions reveals that he has an attraction to Marise Aravel the food merchant, as he will invite her for a drink at the Bee and Barb and is saving up for a trinket from Madesi. Whether or not she's aware is unknown, although she's certainly not opposed to the idea of getting that drink.
One of Maven Black-Briar's sons. Considered by Mjoll the Lioness to be the worst member of the family. Currently incarcerated in Riften Jail because even his mother got sick of his out of control nature.
- The Casanova: Makes it clear to the Dragonborn, when the latter visits, that he's out to get all the women he can get his hands on - this is effectively what landed him in jail. He even flirts with a female Dragonborn.
- Con Man: Sold Louis Letrush a horse that actually belongs to the whole Black-Briar family.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Maven had him jailed for eight months just so she wouldn't have to deal with this for a while. Apparently, murdering a guy in public was the final straw for her.
- It's All About Me: His dialogue consists entirely of him whining about his predicament. He honestly believes his fiancee was wrong to be offended by his infidelity. He also blames her for his current incarceration (she confided in her brother about Sibbi's infidelity, angry brother confronted Sibbi, Sibbi stabbed her brother to death and got jail time for it, and he blames her) and wants her dead for it.
- Jerkass: Mjoll will tell you that he's the worst Black-Briar. Considering what the Black-Briar family is like, that is saying something.
- Karma Houdini: Averted; where the rest of his family is tagged essential, you only need to wait until you're through with the quest to steal Frost before you can kill him.
- Luxury Prison Suite: Sibbi gets all of the comforts of home in his cell during his eight month incarceration for murder. And the only reason he was imprisoned at all was because Maven thought he needed to cool off. Sibbi still complains.
- The Sociopath: Sibbi has a hugely inflated opinion of himself and no regard for the thoughts and feelings of anyone else. He's not as superficially affable as most examples, but otherwise fits the description like a glove.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Thinks his mother's being too harsh with him by giving him a long overdue time-out when he ought to be grateful he's not getting a worse punishment for murdering someone.
An Nord upper-class family living in Riften. Notable for being outspoken Stormcloak supporters. The family consists of Patriarch Vulwulf, his wife Nura, a priestess of Talos, and their sons Unmid and Asgeir, the former of which serves as Jarl Laila's housecarl. They also used to have a daughter named Lilja, who joined the Stormcloak forces and was killed in action.
- The Dutiful Son: Asgeir.
- Father, I Don't Want to Fight: Asgeir aspires to become a businessman, has made some influential Imperial contacts, and is due to marry the Emperor's first cousin. Vulwulf is immensely disappointed in him.
- Grumpy Old Man: Vulwulf.
- Honest Corporate Executive: Both Vulwulf and Asgeir, who apparently have no idea about their partner Maven Black-Briar's business practices.
- I Want Grandkids: Nura, as seen at her son's wedding:Nura Snow-Shod: Vittoria may be pretty, but does she have the right hips for the job? I want grandchildren, and lots of them.
- Interspecies Romance: Unmid, who is apparently sleeping with Jarl Laila's Bosmeri steward Anuriel. You can occasionally overhear them talking about their "special weapon training."
- Let Her Grow Up, Dear: Nura occasionally tries to mediate this way between her husband and her son Asgeir.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Vulwulf, whom you can find bickering about politics even at his son's wedding with his daughter-in-law's (equally obnoxious) mother. Nura by contrast tries her best to invert this.
- Outliving One's Offspring: And they're bitter about it.
- Rainbow Pimp Gear: Unmid may be a powerful warrior, but his fashion sense is certainly rather odd. That elven armor would look garish even without the red mohawk or the purple face paint.
- Shoot the Medic First: What apparently happened to Lilja. She wasn't a combatant, but a healer, seeing as she was trained as a priestess of Talos by her mother.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Asgeir again.
Court mage for The Rift, and perennially scatter-brained.
- Absent-Minded Professor: If her rambling at you for two minutes in Magi Babble wasn't indication enough, she'll send you out to find some experiment materials she misplaced. In three different cities. When you return them, of course, she's completely forgotten she sent you out to find them or that she lost them in the first place, but she's grateful and rewards you all the same.
- Cloudcuckoolander: The College of Winterhold treasures her correspondence letters, which are apparently complete and utter nonsense; she once requested a sample of the Heart of Lorkhan. She blithely asked them to give her the heart of the dead creator-god which may or may not be responsible for the vanishing of the Dwemer, and who definitely disappeared himself centuries ago. However, in the letter that mentions the Heart of Lorkhan sample, another mention is made of her requesting "greenmote," a mind-altering and potentially lethal drug found only in the Shivering Isles, but which the senders take to refer to "greenspore", a dementia-inducing disease found only in fish.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Turns out that there actually is a working model of the Heart of Lorkhan in the College - namely, Arniel's warped soul gem. However, since no one else in the College is aware of this fact, it's presumably some sort of lucky guess on her part.
- Court Mage: For Riften.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Implied. The guide says she acts this way so people will leave her alone. In-game, she's awfully clear and concise when telling Hemming Black-Briar to stop harassing her.
A Dunmer who came to Ivarstead with the intention to find the treasure in Shroud Hearth Barrow, and disappeared soon before the place was found out to be haunted. Or so it seems; in truth, he is himself posing as a ghost to scare away the villagers so he can keep searching in peace.
- Accidental Truth: While Shroud Hearth Barrow doesn't have ghosts (or at least doesn't appear to), it does have restless dead guarding it in the form of the usual Draugr; they just happen to be in areas Wyndelius couldn't reach.
- Becoming the Mask: Thanks to his Sanity Slippage, he ended up believing he really was a ghost guarding the Barrow.
- Grave Robbing: Originally came to steal treasures inside the Barrow. By the time you meet him, he's switched to keeping other potential grave-robbers out.
- Irony: The Sapphire Claw, the search for which apparently drove him mad because he couldn't find it, actually was owned by the very innkeeper he was trying to scare away. To add insult to injury, when you do get to the Barrow's treasure room, you find out it has a secret entrance which opens... the back wall of Wyndelius' lab. There was no way for him to access it, but he was practically sleeping right next to the treasure all along without realizing it.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It isn't clear if his Sanity Slippage was caused by a side effect of his potion, a combination of despair from failing and isolation, or actual ghosts tormenting him. Or maybe two or all three.
- Sanity Slippage: As revealed by his journal, he started out merely as a Con Man posing as a ghost to scare away villagers. As he kept searching in vain for the Sapphire Claw needed to access the lower chambers of the Barrow, however, he gradually lost his sanity, until he started really believing he was a ghost guarding the place. This arguably makes fighting him to the death a Mercy Kill.
- "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: He is using an alchemical potion of his invention to make himself glow like a ghost, allowing him to scare away villagers so he can keep searching for a treasure.
Alvor, Sigrid, and Dorthe
A Riverwood family who runs the village smithy. The Legionnaire Hadvar is Alvor's nephew by blood.
- The Blacksmith: Alvor is the town blacksmith, and since he is likely the first smith you come across, he is also likely the smith who gives you the Smithing tutorial.
- Cool Uncle: Hadvar is clearly very fond of both Alvor and Sigrid, and they of him; Sigrid's first remark when she sees him is to say how worried they've been about him.
- Daddy's Girl: To a degree with Dorthe. She much prefers being a junior apprentice to Alvor in the smithy than doing womanly chores with Sigrid."My father is Alvor, the blacksmith. I'm his assistant. I mean, apprentice."
- Fair Weather Friend: Defied by Alvor's speech, saying Nords are not fair-weather friends, and that the Stormcloaks are wrong for turning their back on the Empire because of its recent hardships.
- Family of Choice: Its very possible to get an inheritance from him if he dies in a dragon attack (he's likely to charge the dragon bare-handed if Riverwood is attacked).
- Good Parents: Both are nurturing to their daughter Dorthe, but Dorthe seems to gravitate towards her father.
- Happily Married: Implied by Sigrid's preemptive rebuffing of a male Dragonborn, though her warning a female Dragonborn to stay away from Alvor makes her come across as a Clingy Jealous Girl.
- Mr. Exposition: Alvor gives an Imperial-biased one to the player concerning the Civil War, as well as a few other things.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Alvor has his grievances with the Empire, but as he states above, he believes True Nords aren't just Fair Weather Friends, and that the right thing to do is to stick together with the Empire.
- Sacred Hospitality: Somewhat. If you go with Hadvar, Alvor takes both his nephew and the Player Character into his home and offers some supplies and food for free. For the rest of the game, the higher level of relationship makes many of his household stuff (under a certain coin value) available simply for the taking. However, unlike Gerdur, he does not give a key and free rein to come and go within his house as you please. Still, since he's the village smith, this makes it much easier to get equipment upgrades early on than going with Ralof to his sister's family.
- Tomboy: Dorthe is turning into one, much to Alvor's delight (he wanted a son but sufficed with Dorthe), while Sigrid is concerned she isn't ladylike enough."Dorthe, listen to me. Your father and your friend may treat you like a boy, but you're not. Do you understand? So please. Be a girl. For me."
- Unreliable Narrator: Alvor never outright lies but as an Imperial supporter, he gives a very biased view of the Civil War, shifting most of the blame onto the Stormcloaks. For instance, his statement that secret Talos worship was common for years until those evil Stormcloaks started kicking up a storm and forced the Empire's hand conflicts with the fact that the Markarth incident (where the Empire promised Ulfric open Talos worship only to betray him afterwards) happened very shortly after the Great War.
- Women Are Wiser: Dorthe has a more sensible head on her shoulders than her friend Frodnar, and takes common sense to his prank plan to dress up his dog as a frostbite spider; either no one would believe it, or they'd kill the dog if they did.
- Wanted a Gender-Conforming Child: Dorthe is enamored with her father Alvor and his profession of Blacksmithing. Her mother Sigrid is not thrilled with this.
- Ye Goode Olde Days: Defied as well. Alvor calls Ulfric's barbaric means of "succession" a hearkening back to the "bad old days".
A Redguard in the city of Whiterun, and a retired mercenary, who requests the Dragonborn's help in retrieving his family's ancestral sword.
- Good Parents: He is one to his daughter. At least, he tries to be.
- Happily Married: To Saffir, a Redguard woman.
- Honor Before Reason: His wife thinks he is this because he values his father's sword so much that he intends to go take it back from thieves, risking his life in the process. However, his approach of the task is fairly reasonable, as he intends to recruit either mercenaries or members of the Companions to help him, and will agree to let you find it for him.
- Like Father, Unlike Son: Given that he's one of the nicer people in Whiterun, it might come as a surprise to learn that his daughter is Braith.
- Nice Guy: Virtually nothing you can say to him will annoy him, plus he's a good parent and husband.
- Retired Badass: He used to be a mercenary, and will help improve your block and one-handed weaponry skills if you complete his quest. He'll also recommend you try mercenary work.
- Vendor Trash: Despite trying to argue the opposite, it eventually turns out that Saffir was right; his father's sword is just a bottom-tier Iron Sword. What's even more ludicrous is he already has a sword that is more powerful and will not even bother dequipping it for his father's sword if you return it to him. Most likely he just wants the sword returned as a Memento MacGuffin, since it's a family heirloom.
Imperial man, and Steward to Jarl Balgruuf. Doesn't get a lot of the Nordic culture.
- Commander Contrarian: May come across as this often.
- Good Parents: He's implied to be this, given how often his daughter asks if you've met him and boasts that he's the steward at Dragonsreach.
- Innocently Insensitive: Refers to the legend of the Dragonborn as "Nord nonsense." Hrongar chews him out for it, but Avenicci claims he meant no disrespect.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He comes across as a bit stuck-up, but he's polite and does his best to help, as out of touch as he may be.
- Puppet King: Puppet Adviser, anyway. Apparently, half the advice he gives the Jarl is actually from his daughter, or so she claims.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: In term of Jarl Balgruuf's advisers, he's the blue oni to Irileth and Hrongar's red.
The high priestess in the Temple of Kynareth in Whiterun. However, due to the civil war and her eminent skill in Restoration magic, she's finding herself doing more healing than preaching lately.
- Healing Hands: She's the Restoration magic master trainer.
- In Harmony with Nature: Though she needs to be reminded of that if you opt to replace the dead Gildergreen tree in Whiterun's forum with a new sapling.
- Nun Too Holy: Consoles Ahlam on the fact that her husband Nazeem is a total lout, noting on the bright side that, if the Stormcloaks ever decide to attack the city, he might get himself killed. This can happen.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Toned-down example, in that she doesn't seem to realize she is acting like one; in her quest, she asks you to use a Hagraven weapon to get a sample from the Eldergleam in order to revive the Gildergreen in Whiterun, apparently not realizing that this involves hurting the Eldergleam and profaning a sanctuary of the very Goddess she is worshiping. Fortunately, there is another way to resolve the quest without doing this, and upon hearing your explanation, she very reasonably accepts it.
Court Mage for Whiterun. The first magical vendor you're likely to encounter, and involved in the initial main quest as pertaining to Whiterun. Fascinated with dragons.
- Badass Bookworm: He is a scholar first and foremost, but that doesn't mean he cannot do tremendous damage with his magic. He is also of the opinion that the most dangerous weapon a person can have is their mind.
- Brutal Honesty: He is anything if not honest when he explains to you why he needs your help - namely, going through a tomb full of bandits and Draugr to get a mysterious stone that might or might not be there.
- Court Mage: For Whiterun.
- For Science!: Farengar seems to be more interested in researching dragons for the research's own sake, rather than the urgently-desired "how to fight them" intel that the Jarl wants him to focus on. When Odahviing is captured, he tries to take some samples for research. The dragon strenuously objects.Irileth/Olfina: Farengar. Very bad idea. Even for you.
- Idiot Ball: See the spoilered parts of For Science!.
- Insufferable Genius: He can be rather supercilious at times, but most of it stems from bitterness that Nordic culture distrusts magic.
- Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: Especially not from angry dragons. He's also frustrated with people who are too closed-minded.Farengar: One sure mark of a fool is to think anything outside of one's experience is impossible.
- No Social Skills: Farengar doesn't go out of his way to be condescending or dismissive, but it's clear that he's not good at the whole "social interaction" thing.
- Oblivious to Love: It's heavily implied that, Arcadia, the owner of the Whiterun alchemy shop has a crush on him, and he almost certainly isn't aware of it.
- Secret Keeper: One of only two people aware of the Ebony Blade's existence in Dragonsreach's basement, the other being Jarl Balgruuf himself. He also may be aware that Delphine is one of the Blades, although this is not confirmed.
Hod, Gerdur, and Frodnar
A Riverwood family. Gerdur is the sister of Stormcloak soldier Ralof. She owns the town sawmill.
- Action Girl: Subverted. Gerdur mentions that she's very proud of Ralof taking up the sword to free Skyrim and laments that she's gotten too old to fight herself.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Frodnar shows shades of this, being rather bossy towards the player (no matter how intimidating the player can be) and coming up with plans to make his dog look like a frostbite spider (which Dorthe talks him out of doing, because it would either fail or get his dog killed by the adults of the town)."You're new around here, so I'll go easy on ya, but don't get on my bad side."
- Good Parents: Both Hod and Gerdur are this to Frodnar.
- I Own This Town: Gerdur owns the sawmill, which is the main business of the town and the reason Riverwood exists, according to Alvor, and certainly his smithy gets most of its work from Gerdur's mill. In a subversion of the trope, though, Gerdur doesn't really use that influence over the village for anything in particular. If anything, Frodnar shows a more entitled attitude than she does (see Bratty Half-Pint). She mostly just uses her position to provide employment to the rest of the town; Sven, Faendal and Alvor are all technically in her employ.Gerdur: It's my mill... some folk think it's my town too, but it ain't. The Jarl of Whiterun owns both the land and the town; I just pay the taxes.
- Loyal Animal Companion: Frodnar has one in his dog Stump.
- The Prankster: Frodnar, much to his friend Dorthe's displeasure, according to him. His father, however, approves of and encourages it."My friend Dorthe doesn't like my pranking. 'You're being mean, Frodnar!' So what if I am?"
"Get me mad, and I'll prank ya. And not a little. A lot."
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Balgruuf himself says that Gerdur is a pillar of the community. But Gerdur, being a firm Stormcloak supporter, doesn't care much for him.
- Mrs. Exposition: Gerdur gives a Stormcloak-biased one to the player concerning the Civil war, amongst other things.
Clans Gray-Mane and Battle-Born
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Clan Battle-Born.
- Awful Truth: The truth about the disappearance of Thorald Gray-Mane. He was taken prisoner by the Thalmor. If you ask Idolaf Battle-Born about the matter directly, he says this is why he refuses to tell Fralia what happened to her son.
- Badass Family:
- Clan Gray-Mane has the Ultimate Blacksmith, a former Companion member, and one man all too eager to launch a three-man raid (four if you come) on a Thalmor stronghold.
- Add in Olfina Gray-Mane, who becomes (Jarl) Vignar Gray-Mane's Housecarl after the Stormcloaks take Whiterun and, during the operation to capture Odahviing, actually helps out.
- The Blacksmith: Eorlund Gray-Mane spends most of his time at the Skyforge, making weapons for the Companions or anyone who wishes to buy.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Clan Battle-Born's battlecry paints them as this somewhat."For Clan Battle-Born! First into the fray and last to quit their ale!"
- Call to Agriculture: At some point in Clan Battle-born's history, since their clan sobriquet is now that of a family that owns a farm around Whiterun.
- Catchphrase: Both Olfrid Battle-Born and Vignar Gray-Mane have comments that will burn themselves into your brain if you wander around Whiterun (or in Vignar's case, inside Jorrvaskr) very much.Olfrid: Olfrid! Patron of the great clan Battle-Born! A name I'm sure you know well.
Vignar: When the Empire surrendered to the Aldmeri Dominion, they shamed us all!
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Olfrid. See below.
- Expy: They're basically "Capulets and Montagues: Skyrim edition."
- Friend in the Black Market: Olfrid becomes the main contact of the Thieves' Guild in Whiterun after contacting them to help bail a friend out from prison for murder.
- Feuding Families: Complete with Montague and Capulet style Star-Crossed Lovers.
- Happily Married: Eorlund and Fralia. One of the rare examples in Skyrim, a province full of bickering married couples.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Avulstein Gray-Mane will remain in hiding even if his uncle Vignar becomes Jarl of Whiterun and insist on carrying out a covert mission to rescue his brother even if the Stormcloaks have won the civil war and control all of Skyrim.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Olfrid Battle-Born suggests that Clan Gray-Mane started the feud because they were jealous of the Battle-Born fortune.
- Played for laughs in some of the interactions between Jon Battle-Born and Olfina Gray-Mane. Among other things, she's trying to encourage him to return to the Bards' College and continue his work there, and he doesn't want to leave her, making jokes about how she's waiting for him to go so she can find herself a rich husband and have a ton of babies. She jokes in return that now he's uncovered her master plan and will probably never leave.
- Impoverished Patrician: Clan Gray-Mane has fallen on hard times. They still carry themselves proudly despite their currently modest circumstances (though whenever you offer to buy from Eorlund, he always says "Gods be praised!").
- Grumpy Old Man: Both Olfrid and Vignar.
- Jerkass: Neither clan is particularly nice overall. The Battle-Born males openly mock the grandmotherly Fralia Gray-Mane when her son is missing, asserting that he's dead when they know he's actually a prisoner of the Thalmor, and if the Stormcloaks take Whiterun and Clan Gray-Mane rises to power, the Battle-Born family is subjected to at least two robberies. While Vignar doesn't specifically target them, he doesn't allow them justice either, saying that they made their choice when the troubles began.
- Kick the Dog: Both clans can do this to the other.
- The Battle-Borns will frequently brag about their wealth. They also mock Thorald's disappearance to Fralia's face. They know Thorald is a Thalmor prisoner and if Thorald escapes, then he'll join the Stormcloak rebellion. If the Dragonborn joins the Empire, then Thorald may become an unnamed victim of the war.
- If the Stormcloaks conquer Whiterun, the Gray-Manes will use their newfound authority to punish the Battle-Borns for abandoning long-standing traditions. They punish the Battle-Borns by allowing the Stormcloak soldiers to bully and rob them.
- Meaningful Name: Everyone in Clan Gray-Mane has white hair, for one reason or another.
- Nice Guy: Jon Battle-Born, who's also the Only Sane Man. Olfina Gray-Mane is also a nice person as well (if you're female) and takes the position of Only Sane Woman for her family. Fittingly, the two are more than a little fond of each other.
- Not So Different: They may make different accusations about each other and support different sides in the Civil War, but at the end of the day, they're both just families bickering with each other for inane and petty reasons.
- Only in It for the Money: The Gray-Manes assert that the Battle-Borns are weak and only care about their money.
- Red Herring: During your investigation into the disappearance of Thorald Gray-Mane, it turns out that not only are the Battle-Borns are not responsible for his disappearance, but that Idolaf made attempts to find out what happened to him. In truth, the Thalmor are behind his disappearance.
- Spartan Sibling: Lars Battle-Born, a child, will say that his family regards him as a milk-drinker and a weakling due to 'allowing' himself to be bullied by Braith.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Jon Battle-Born and Olfina Gray-Mane, the sole members of each clan who don't care for the feud, are in a secret relationship. The player can overhear interactions which illustrate this clearly, and can even pickpocket Jon's love letter from Olfina.
- Straw Feminist: Olfina Gray-Mane can come across this way. She'll hail a female Dragonborn by telling her not to let the men treat her badly, but snaps (unprovoked) at a male Dragonborn, asking if he just can't stand the sight of a strong woman. The straw part comes in when you realize there is no such on-screen sexism in the game.
- Warrior Poet: Jon Battle-Born wants to study at the Bards' College and is very proud of his profession as a skald, upholding the history, honor, glory, and tradition of his people through song and poetry. He finds men who practice the bardic arts solely for coin and women insulting. But more than anything, he laments that Nords are forgetting poetry and romance, becoming "obsessed with death."
- We Used to Be Friends: The two families used to be very close, but were driven apart after taking opposite sides in the war.
- With Us or Against Us: Idolaf Battle-Born tries to invoke this after you enter Whiterun for the first time, asking, "Gray-Mane or Battle-Born?" If you ask for clarification, he elaborates and repeats the question. If you remain neutral, he simply asserts that everyone chooses a side eventually.
Self-professed prophet of Talos, he perpetually preaches about the God-Emperor by his shrine in Whiterun.
- Butt-Monkey: He's only involved in one minor quest (a potential kidnap victim in a Companions radiant quest), does nothing of importance, and can be incredibly annoying, so it's not uncommon for players to kill him in whatever way they deem fit. Achievement Hunter even made a video solely dedicated to showcasing the numerous ways a player can mess with the poor guy.
- Canon Immigrant: Not the man himself, but his speech, which was first written as canon (but unofficial) background lore by The Elder Scrolls writer Michael Kirkbride for display on the Imperial Library lore website. You can find it here.
- Character Filibuster: He never shuts up about the glory of Talos and his disdain for those trying to snuff out his worship.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: It's implied that Talos actually does take some interest in him, though probably not to the extent Heimskr believes.
- Despair Speech: Part of his speech: "We are but maggots! WRIIIIIIIIITHING in the filth of our OWN CORRUPTION!"
- Enemy Mine: He seems to want the Empire and the Stormcloaks to put aside their differences and remember that their true enemy is the Thalmor. And given the Thalmor's interests and agenda, he's got a point.
- Expy: Of Cromwell, the preacher of the Children of Atom in Fallout 3, who was likewise encountered singing the praises of his god in the center of the first major town you visit. However, Heimskr is louder, and what he preaches make more sense in universe.
- Irony: Considering his zeal when it comes to Talos, it can easily be inferred that he would rather side with the Stormcloaks over the Imperials... but during the Battle for Whiterun, his house gets destroyed by a Stormcloak catapult.
- Large Ham: Extols the glories of Talos to anyone who'll listen, or indeed anyone within earshot, which is most of Whiterun because he does it at the top of his lungs.
- Love Freak: "And as man you said, 'Let me SHOW you the power of Talos, Stormcrown, BORN of the North, where my breath is looooooong winterrrrrr. I breathe now in royalty and reshape this land which is mine. I do this for you, Red Legions, for I LOVE YOU!' Aye, love! LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!"
- Meaningful Name: Heimskr in Old Norse means "foolish/silly". Likewise, the similarly spelled word "Heimskur" is Icelandic for "stupid".
- No Indoor Voice: Note the amount of caps, italics, and bold in his quotes, here used to emphasize the hamminess of his sermon.
- Only Sane Man: Sees himself as this.Heimskr: Trust in me, Whiterun! Trust in Heimskr! For I am the chosen of Talos! I alone have been anointed by the Ninth to spread his holy word!
- Preacher Man: He's a priest of Talos, and preaches non-stop. One has to wonder if the townsfolk are grateful to the Dragonborn for talking to him at any point, since it forces him to pause.
- Rousing Speech: He certainly thinks he is giving one: "So rise up! RIIIIIIIIIIIIISE up, children of the Empire! Rise up, Stormcloaks!" It's literally a long loop of dialogue - it has no clear beginning or end, but simply repeats over and over.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Though it crosses into Too Dumb to Live, because while the Empire and the Jarls may not enforce the ban on Talos worship that strongly, belting out his glories in a town known to be a trading hub of the country is a good way to attract the wrong kind of attention. Tellingly, after the Imperial Battle for Whiterun that puts the hold solidly on the Imperial side, he is supposed to be imprisoned in Dragonsreach, though a couple different bugs can prevent this.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Downplayed. At worst, he annoys the ever-living crap out of anyone within earshot of his very loud sermons; he never does anything morally ambiguous. As annoying as he might be, keeping Talos worship alive is basically him doing his part to stave off metaphysical annihilation.
- You Can't Go Home Again: If his house gets destroyed in the Siege of Whiterun, he instead camps out in front of Jorrvaskr.
- You Have to Believe Me!: As per his character quote.
Member of the Dragonsreach court and younger brother to Jarl Balgruuf. Staunchly pro-Imperial.
- Badass Boast: "I'm not a man, I'm a weapon in human form. Just unsheathe me, and point me at the enemy."
- Mr. Exposition: Serves as this about the legend of the Dragonborn, once the Greybeard summons goes out and you report back in to Jarl Balgruuf after your first dragon kill.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Proof that classical barbarian Nords exist on the pro-Imperial side too.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to both his elder brother Jarl Balgruuf and the court steward Proventus. He encourages Balgruuf to take part in the Civil War on the Imperial side, whereas Balgruuf prefers to stay neutral as long as he can and Proventus favors a more careful approach.
- Spare to the Throne: In a Dummied Out quest portion that would have resulted in Balgruuf's murder by his own children, Hrongar would have inherited the title of Jarl of Whiterun Hold.
- War Hawk: He is constantly agitating for Whiterun to enter the Civil War on the side of the Empire. Jarl Balgruuf can even be overheard telling Hrongar to stop pestering him with his warmongering.
Dunmeri housecarl to Jarl Balgruuf the Greater of Whiterun Hold.
- Action Girl: Pretty much a prerequisite for a female housecarl, and she gets to show it by leading the charge against Mirmulnir.
- Dare to Be Badass: When rallying the Whiterun guards in "Dragon Rising": "Now what do you say? Shall we go kill us a dragon?"
- Dummied Out: When asked about the dangers of her job, she will mention that sometimes it feels as if even the Jarl's own children are planning to murder him. This is just dark humor in the final game, but in the game files there are vestiges of a different ending to an existing quest that would have culminated in the children falling under the influence of a Daedric prince and doing just that.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Is this with Balgruuf. Before his days as a Jarl, they were adventurers together.
- Magic Knight: That lightning bolt you saw flying at Mirmulnir during the first dragon fight? Irileth. She's also packing a frost-enchanted sword.
- Platonic Life-Partners: Again, with Balgruuf. It's incredibly obvious how much he trusts her and respects her opinion, and she would lay down her life for his in a heartbeat. But there's no romantic chemistry whatsoever.
- Properly Paranoid: Apparently attempts on Balgruuf's life are not unusual. She keeps a wary eye on the player even after they've ingratiated themselves to the Jarl, and her suspicion is proven correct should the player join the Stormcloaks.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Proventus Avenicci's blue as Jarl Balgruuf's advisers.
- Seen It All: According to her, at least. Her reaction to the Dragonborn is "I've seen plenty of things just as outlandish as this."
- Token Minority: She is the only non-human housecarl at the start of the game, being a Dark Elf instead of a Nord.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: She considers stabbing a viable solution against obsequious functionaries and incompetent bureaucrats that hound the Jarl. Unfortunately, she's not allowed to actually do it.
A Nord horse thief from Rorikstead who's captured along with the Dragonborn, Ulfric Stormcloak, and Ralof by the border to Cyrodiil. After realizing that he'll be executed, he tries to run but is killed by Imperial archers.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: As he comes closer to the execution, he begs for the Divines to save him.
- Death by Irony: Had he waited, he may have had a chance to escape thanks to Alduin's attack.
- Dummied Out: As revealed in the "Opening Scene Overhaul" mod (which for the most part brought out many unused assets from before the game's release), Lokir had a different personality (and a different voice type, having Stephen Russell's "MaleSlyCynical" voice rather than Richard Epcar's "MaleCowardly" voice), chewing out Ulfric and Ralof for being the reason they all are set for execution and is much sturdier with his composure at first. However, this composure breaks when he is incorrectly accused of being a Stormcloak, and attempts to run while shouting that all he did was steal a horse, only to be killed. His personality was changed greatly for the final game, among other things, to avoid confusing a new player.
- Famous Last Words: "You're not gonna kill me!" How wrong he is...
- In the Back: Shot by archers while trying to escape.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Helps establish that in Skyrim, people can and will die.
A farmer living in Rorikstead with his daughters, twins Sissel and Britte. His wife died giving birth to them, and he's basically resented them ever since.
- Abusive Parents: He beats both of his children and considers them worthless. Most of his dialogue in some way or another is complaining about what a burden they are. His children in turn thank you if you kill him.
- Always Identical Twins: Sissel and Britte are only distinguishable by the color of their dresses and their personalities. (Of course, all of the children in Skyrim look more or less alike, so it's hard to say whether they're this trope or not.)
- Asshole Victim: Though it is possible to incur a bounty unlike Grelod the Kind, practically nobody in Rorikstead will mourn his death should you kill him, and his daughters even say he will not be missed.
- Child Hater: "Do yourself a favor and don't have children, they're good for nothing at all!"
- Death by Childbirth: His wife died giving birth to their children.
- Hate Sink: Yeah, he's up there as one of the most unpleasant characters you may have the misfortune to meet.
- Bethesda outright encourages you to kill him. How? His name is an anagram for "kill me".
- Jerkass: Again; most of the guy's dialogue is to complain about how much he hates his daughters, and he beats them to boot. It's a common tale among players that, opting out of the four orphans Hearthfire added, they chose to kill Lemkil and adopt at least Sissel to give his kids a better home.
- Papa Wolf: Horribly inverted. He will pay you should you assault one of his daughters.
- Pet the Dog: For all his bad attitude, he will still pay you for harvesting crops. You even raise his disposition towards you by doing so, thus making him, say, a viable guilt-free target for the Ebony Blade, if you're so inclined.
- Significant Anagram: Possibly. As noted above, the letters in his name can be rearranged to spell "kill me," suggesting that even the devs intended the Dragonborn to murder him.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Quite a few people kill him to be this towards his daughters. Britte is a bully, but mostly only because he's such a dickbag to her, and Sissel is a frequent target of adoption after he's killed, not just because she's a sweetie, but also because she has dreams of Paarthurnax.
A "successful" Redguard trader who wanders around the Plains District of Whiterun, insulting the merchandise and talking down to the vendors. He owns Chilfurrow Farm, though he apparently sleeps in the Bannered Mare whilst conducting business in Whiterun. His incredibly pretentious and supercilious manner, his naked condescension, and his total lack of relevance to any story-related activity make him one of the most detested characters in Whiterun.
- Bi the Way: Maybe. He gets "unseasonably warm" if you approach him with no clothes on, regardless of gender. On the other hand, this could mean that he feels warm to at least have clothes on while you are completely naked... in the cold, especially since this is in Skyrim.
- Catchphrase: "Do you get to the Cloud District very often? Oh, what am I saying? Of course you don't." Of course, at no point in the game does he actually go the Cloud District; his schedule involves him walking around the Plains and Wind Districts all day, unlike people who have actual business in Dragonsreach. It verges on laser-guided stupidity when you remember that (unless you're doing a non-dragon run) Whiterun is the Hold in which you will most likely become Thane first - yet he continues to say this to you even once you've been made a member of the Jarl's court.
- Dirty Coward: If you fight him, he'll run away incredibly quickly.
- Hate Sink: He's pretty easy to dislike both in and out of universe. Even his wife talks crap about him.
- Jerkass: Listen in on the market conversations and you'll note that he's unpleasant to pretty much everybody.
- Pet the Dog: He'll occasionally state that you're "less insufferable" than most people he has to deal with, and give you a random gift in appreciation.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Very much so. His wife comments on this frequently.Ahlam: Looking for my husband Nazeem? Check the Jarl's backside — that's usually where he stuffs himself these days.
- The Scrappy: An in-universe example. Almost no one likes him, and his wife is no exception, to the point where she and Danica can be found jokingly discussing the possibility that he might be killed if the Stormcloaks ever decide to attack the city. If he is killed, his wife makes only one comment about it, showing how much he's (not) missed.
- Self-Made Man: He sees himself as one, though there's the fact that his farm is actually rather small. Still, given his upper-class clothes and loot, he obviously did something right on the way to where he is now.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Completely convinced that he's more important than everyone else in Whiterun. Amusingly, one radiant vampire faction quest in Dawnguard tasks you with murdering a citizen of a major hold, and an optional objective is to kill a "high profile" citizen. You will fail this objective for killing Nazeem, proving just where he actually stands.
- Smug Snake: Not outright villainous, but very smug.
- Very Punchable Man: Between his condescending attitude, snide remarks, and the fact that no one cares if he dies, it's pretty clear that he's a walking punching bag.
A Redguard woman who works in the Bannered Mare Inn for Hulda. She has a central role in the "In My Time of Need" sidequest.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: According to Kematu.
- Damsel in Distress: If you believe her side of the story.
- The Last DJ: If you believe her side of the story, she openly spoke against the Thalmor after they had gained influence in her city.
- Mysterious Past: A traitor that sold her city to Thalmor, or The Last DJ that openly spoke against Thalmor when their influence spread throughout Hammerfell? The game never reveals which side, if either, is telling the truth.
- Older Than They Look: Both sides of story indicate she is at least in her 30s.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: According to Kematu, she sold out her city to the Thalmor.
- Take a Third Option: The Dragonborn can lure her to a stable, accept the payment from Kematu, kill Kematu, cast Calm on Saadia, accept payment from her, and kill her.
- Too Dumb to Live: She is a fugitive on the run unwilling to trust the local authorities because how easily they can be bribed... yet she places her trust on a complete stranger like the player character, who might decide to sell her out to her enemies.
- The Un-Reveal: It's not made clear whether she was a traitor or not, and there is no way to determine the truth. For what it's worth, if you look into any Thalmor documents, there are no mentions of her nor of any supporter/traitor from Hammerfell in Skyrim, which implies that both she and Kematu are lying. Adding to this is the fact that if you let Kematu take her, Saadia's belongings will eventually show up in the Whiterun Hall of the Dead just like when a hold citizen dies, despite Kematu's reassurance that she wouldn't be harmed prior to arriving in Hammerfell.
- Unstoppable Rage: Should you decide to sell her out to Kematu and then kill him, she will attack you whenever she sees you, requiring you to either use Calm or kill her (you won't incur a bounty since it was in self-defense).
- Walking Spoiler: As you can see, every character trope entry here for her has a spoiler block, indicating that she's far more than your average tavern waitress.
An Imperial farmer who owns Pelagia Farm just outside Whiterun. Most of his produce goes to Carlotta's stall.
- Call to Agriculture: He used to be a soldier, likely in the Imperial Legion, but by the time of the game he's content to settle down on a farm.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: During the Battle for Whiterun, courtesy of a Stormcloak catapult destroying his house with him inside it.
- Mauve Shirt: You can sell vegetables to him for a small amount of gold and he has a couple of lines, but otherwise he's another generic NPC who doesn't last too long.
Lucan and Camilla Valerius
Imperial immigrants to Skyrim, siblings, and proprietors of the Riverwood Trader. Camilla journeyed from Cyrodiil to start a new life with Lucan after the war with the Thalmor left the province in ruins. When the Dovahkiin meets them, they are arguing over what to do about the theft of the Golden Claw, ostensibly a bauble that Lucan found on his travels, but actually much more... They are the owners of the first general store in the game and give one of the first quests.
- Alpha Bitch: Camilla surprisingly turns out to be one to a female Dragonborn. She warns her not to intrude on her turf:Camilla: The men here like my attention and I like theirs. Best know your place.
- Brainless Beauty: Camilla has shades. In idle conversation with Lucan, she suggests a sale to attract new customers with jugglers, going on the road to sell their wares, or carrying specialty merchandise for picky customers. Lucan points out that everyone in Riverwood already shops at their store, so there are no "new customers" to attract, and the other two ventures would be a major investment of resources they lack.
- Brother-Sister Team: They run the Riverwood Trader. Camilla will take over selling gear if, at any point, Lucan is killed.
- Dogged Nice Girl: Camilla to a male Dragonborn who doesn't romance her.
- Dude Magnet: Camilla has basically every guy in town after her; even Hod, who is by all appearances Happily Married, will candidly admit to the Dragonborn that he finds her rather alluring. This can also include the Dragonborn. Good thing she doesn't live in a bigger town.
- Girl Next Door: Camilla.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lucan. He's a bit abrasive and Camilla calls him "a child;" but if you help him out, he pays you well, lets you grab some supplies for free off his shelves, and declares that you and he are the only people in the world who are "not fools." He also sincerely loves his sister, despite how much they sometimes snipe at each other, as indicated by the Heroic BSoD entry below.
- Heroic BSoD: Lucan basically has one of these if his sister is killed; he never really recovers from the shock of her loss. He only snaps out of it somewhat if the Dragonborn murders her and he's aware of it, as he basically growls at you about it.
- Love Interest: Camilla becomes a potential one after you return the Golden Claw.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Camilla and Lucan respectively. Lucan waits for someone to get the Golden Claw back for him. Camilla is willing to go to Bleak Falls Barrow herself until the Dovahkiin shows up.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Camilla. And neither of the two men courting her are that great. The Dovahkiin can Take a Third Option for the Love Triangle and marry her themselves.
An aspiring Nord merchant who can often be seeing wandering the marketplace in Whiterun.
- Dark Secret: "Dark" is a bit of a stretch, but: if you enter the cave in the Sleeping Tree Camp, you may find a dead orc with a note from Ysolda, which says that he was supplying her with Sleeping Tree Sap and it also mentions a "Skooma trouble", which concludes that Ysolda's "merchant trade" also includes drug dealing. The Dovahkiin can confront her about it, which will make them able to sell Sleeping Tree Sap to Ysolda.
- Fantastic Racism: Completely averted, at least toward the Khajiit. She seems to admire them and is trading with their caravans.
- Go-Getter Girl
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Among the drunken antics in the quest "A Night to Remember", the Dragonborn buys a wedding ring off Ysolda and runs off to get married to a Hagraven of all things. This will occur even if they are already married to Ysolda.
- Love Interest: Ma'dran, the leader of one Khajit caravans, asked her for a Mammoth Tusk. If the Dovahkiin brings one to her, she will become avaliable for marriage.
- Nice Girl: She is generally friendly and polite towards the Dovahkiin and the other NPCs, with a few exceptions such as Nazeem for obvious reasons.
The Jarl's Steward (regardless of which side of the Civil War is controlling the town). Due to being a Dunmer, Korir assumes he has ties to the College of Winterhold, and as such recruited him. In truth, Malur is a slouch with no marketable skills, but goes along with it to benefit from the position.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: His answer if you ask him what he does as a Steward:Malur: Me? Nothing. And I hope to keep it that way.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: After doing his Favor Quest, he will teach a level of Speech along with dropping this line:Malur: This should come in handy. Here. Let me show you a few tricks I've learned about buttering up royalty.
- Sure, Let's Go with That: He is just a regular Dark Elf, with no particular experience or knowledge of magic; but because he is an elf, Korir assumed he must have ties with the College of Winterhold, and recruited him as a steward. Malur reacted with this trope so he could benefit from the position.
Expelled from the College of Winterhold, this Altmer mage lives at the Frozen Hearth Inn, staying within the city of Winterhold.
- Affably Evil: The 'evil' part is a bit of a stretch, since Nelacar is personable, helpful, endearing, and very possibly the nicest Altmer in the game next to Viarmo. However, he's also probably a necromancer who has done some vile, vile things. Should the Dragonborn have completed the College questline, he respectfully addresses them as "Archmage". Of course, it's entirely possible he might simply be trying to get on their good side to be allowed back into the College.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Seems to believe this, as he seems to believe that corrupting Azura's Star into the Black Star is preferable than turning it over to its "evil" Daedric master.
- Everyone Has Standards:
- He's probably done some vile things during his time, but he personally thinks his former teacher went far too far.
- On the other side of the coin, he got himself kicked out of the College of Winterhold somehow, even though the College itself is more tolerant of necromancers than most.
- Evil Smells Bad: Or more specifically, according to Dagur, like a beast that's "been turned inside-out and exploded."
- Necromancer: Probably, given his involvement with Malyn Varen's experiments into immortality and his general comfort with the concept of black soul gems. Conversely, he did express being appalled at the lengths to which his former teacher was willing to go when studying Azura's Star.
An ingenious but insane wizard living in a remote island in the Sea of Ghosts.
- Affably Evil: He's nice enough for a madman, but he openly admits that he's done some very nasty things in service to Hermaeus Mora.
- Cloudcuckoolander: He's a bit eccentric due to having his brain scrambled by Elder Scrolls.
- Deal with the Devil: He's dealt with Hermaeus Mora due to his thirst for knowledge.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: Probably a contributing factor to his insanity, but the main cause of it is that...
- Go Mad from the Revelation: He went insane when he looked upon an Elder Scroll. It's implied that four or more dimensions got crammed into his poor little three-dimensional brain, too.
- The Hermit: He lives all by himself in a outpost north to Winterhold, which is already far from civilization as it is.
- Junkie Prophet: Judging by the empty Skooma bottles at his outpost, it's likely.
- Mind Screw: His book, Ruminations on the Elder Scrolls, shows up in Online, which takes place more than a thousand years before the events of Skyrim. The Moth Priest who found it in the library stacks noted that the postscript says it came from "4E 195", making him suspect it is a transcription error... but he's not 100% sure on that, considering what he deals with.
- There's some theories that suggest that he didn't die to Mora but that he came to the same conclusions about the nature of the universe that Talos did because he read Mora's book. Unlike Talos, though, he wasn't ready for the truth and thus ceased to exist completely instead of gaining godlike powers. This is based on the idea that the daedric gods can't just kill people from beyond their own dimension, because otherwise they wouldn't need Champions and cultists to do the killings for them.
- Mathematician's Answer: When asked where one can find an Elder Scroll, he says it is very close... in the sense of being in the same three-dimensional plane as them. Of course, this is actually one of the longer quests in the game, because you can't travel in four dimensions!
- Rhymes on a Dime: He tends to speak like this.
- Unwitting Pawn: Hermaeus Mora's. He thinks that Mora's helping him retrieve the Heart of Lorkhan. He's actually being used by Mora to unleash the Oghma Infinium on the world.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Due to his insanity, Hermaeus Mora no longer considers him useful and he turns into a pile of ash upon finding the Oghma Infinium.
M'aiq the Liar
A Khajiit monk who wanders the land. He is named after his ancestors and carries on the family tradition of delivering cryptic Take Thats to the player as well as toward the creators themselves.
For more information on M'aiq outside of the context of Skyrim itself, see his entry on the Elder Scrolls Recurring Characters page.
- Artifact Title: In-universe example. M'aiq the Liar served as an Author Avatar giving cryptic Take Thats right from his introduction in Morrowind, but the in-universe untruthfulness of (most of) his comments were toned down for Oblivion and Skyrim.M'aiq: Some say Alduin is Akatosh. Some say M'aiq is a liar. Don't you believe either of those things.
- Author Avatar: The only reason he has a role in the game is to voice the creators' opinion about the Unpleasable Fanbase.
- Beware the Silly Ones: One possible variant of his encounter can consist of finding him standing next to a burned cart, several dead human bodies, and the corpse of a dragon.
- Catchphrase: Averted. He sometimes does utter the catchphrase of his ancestor ("M'aiq knows much, tells some. M'aiq knows many things others do not."), but does not use enough to make it his own catchphrase.
- Cloudcuckoolander: He comes over as very detached from the setting. Logical, since he is something of a literal Author Avatar.
- Deadpan Snarker: Some of his speeches are very sarcastic.
- Easter Egg: As a Meta Guy Fourth-Wall Observer who runs randomly around Skyrim. It's entirely possible to play for hours without running into him, and his dialogue is mostly just for fun.
- Legacy Character: There was also a Khajiit with his name 206 years earlier in Morrowind and 200 years earlier in Cyrodiil. This is explained by the fact that the name is passed down to newer generations.M'aiq: M'aiq's father was also called M'aiq. As was M'aiq's father's father. At least, that's what his father said.
- Mushroom Samba: He always has Skooma on his person, which might explain his bizarre, if fairly accurate, view of the world.
- Noodle Incident: He was soul-trapped once and didn't appreciate the experience. Come the Dawnguard expansion and the reveal of the Soul Cairn, a not-very-nice place where trapped souls end up, it's not hard to see why.
- Take That!: Just about every speech he makes is a reaction the makers have about an aspect of the game fans aren't pleased about.
- Take That, Us: He also starts snarking at some minor gripes concerning Oblivion. A noteworthy snark is when he repeats a much ridiculed line about mudcrabs from the previous game. He also mocks several bits about Skyrim's lack of immersion in spots, such as the supposed 7,000 steps.
- Third-Person Person: Like most Khajiit, M'aiq talks about M'aiq in this fashion almost every time M'aiq speaks.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: For whatever reason, he won't attack the player if they're in Vampire Lord, or Beast Form, nor will he attack the player if they're a stage four vampire.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: M'aiq is marked as essential and isn't affiliated with anyone, meaning that he can be assaulted to grind your combat skills with no repercussions.
An aging Orc found in the wilderness. He has been looking for a good death, and the Dragonborn can give it to him.
- Badass Grandpa: Fittingly. He's also fairly tough as NPCs go; if you encounter him at a low level, it's probably in your best interest to just ignore him.
- Death Seeker: He has seen a vision from Malacath telling him to seek a glorious death. By the time the Dragonborn gets to him, he's surrounded by saber cat corpses. Apparently, they weren't glorious enough.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: From his point of view, his death at the hands of the player counts. Especially if the latter's Dragonborn identity has been revealed. And especially especially if you have already completed Malacath's Daedric Quest: that way, not only does the Old Orc die in battle as he wanted, but he also dies at the hands of a legendary dragonslayer who was acknowledged by Malacath himself as his Champion. Bonus points if you use Volendrung, Malacath's own artifact weapon, during the battle.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: His character name is just "Old Orc." And that's exactly what he is!
- Face Death with Dignity: He explains that he wishes to die while he can "still call himself a proper man", elaborating that he doesn't want to linger on to the point where he's frail and feeble. He further explains that it's "unseemly" to cling to something after it becomes useless, even more so when that thing is yourself.
- Honor Before Reason: He's honestly not that old, but he's past his prime in traditional Orc culture. Even though you can tell him this, and point out his potential usefulness to others outside the strongholds, he still insists on dying because Malacath wills it.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: If asked, he'll clarify that he can't kill himself because "it would displease Malacath."
Head of the Khajiit caravans. Ri'saad leads one of them and is behind forming the other two, who work for him.
- Hypocrite: The Khajiit caravans are not allowed inside any of the cities, because the Nords think them to be thieves and smugglers. Ri'saad laments this "racist" attitude... except he openly sells illegal Moon Sugar and Skooma. Join the Thieves' Guild, and one mission shows that Ri'saad and his caravans willingly smuggle goods and act as fences for little more than a few bribes.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Though the Khajiit Kingdoms of Elsweyr joined the Aldmeri Dominion willingly, he regards Khajiit working with the Thalmor poorly, calling them "Thalmor Filth" and noting that they give all Khajiit a bad name.
- Nice Guy: He (if you talk to the other Khajiit merchants) was the guy who helped them all carve out a lucrative trading niche in the economy of Skyrim, and he even took a few with troubled backgrounds and made them respectable. Ysolda of Whiterun, who wishes to be a shopkeeper, also states that despite their reputation, the Khajiit are fairly honest businessmen by her account.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: A possible way to look at him being a fence for the guild and selling moon sugar. If he's going to be shunned anyway, he might as well make a profit from it...
Talsgar the Wanderer
A Nord bard occasionally found wandering the main roads.
- Cultured Badass: One version of his appearance code brings a pair of bandits along with him, both of whom he beats quite handily. Of course, since he's marked an essential NPC, it's basically impossible for him to lose. At higher levels, he can be found going one on one against Frost Trolls and even dragons.
- Noodle Incident: One where it's pretty easy to fill in the blanks. You can ask him to train you in Speech, but he'll politely refuse, saying, "Ah. Well. After a little incident with a roguish lad and the daughter of a prominent thane... Well, let's just say, best not."
The Gauldurson Brothers
The three sons of the archmage Gauldur from an age long past, who conspired to murder their father and claim his magical amulet. Their deeds led to them being hunted down, slain, and sealed away with the amulet's fragments, and their names struck from the annals of history alongside Gauldur's own... But the past never seems to stay buried.
- Arc Villain: All three of them, for the quest "Forbidden Legend."
- Barrier Change Boss: Jyrik surrounds himself in an elemental cloak that gives him heavy resistance to either fire, frost, or shock. You'll have to use one of the other elements to beat him (or just bash his face in with a weapon).
- Boss Rush: At the end of their quest, all three brothers reappear to fight you in succession. Once beaten again, they prepare to all attack you at once, but Gauldur's spirit puts an end to that.
- Doppelgänger Spin: Throughout his fight, Sigdis will periodically create clones of himself that can attack with both arrows and Shouts.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: Mikrul is the Fighter, as he attacks you up close with a gaggle of Draugr flunkies, and carries the health-boosting piece of the amulet. Sigdis peppers you with arrows from long range, and his piece of the amulet gives a stamina boost, making him the Thief. Jyrik wields magic to protect himself and attack you, and his amulet piece boosts the magic stat, so he's the Mage.
- Final Boss Preview: When encountered, Jyrik will draw power from the Eye of Magnus to make himself invulnerable until Tolfdir starts draining that power away. At the end of the College questline, Ancano uses the same strategy and must be defeated the same way.
- Flunky Boss: Mikrul fights accompanied by a number of Draugr Thralls. They're exceedingly weak, unarmed, and die when Mikrul himself goes down, so they're not much of a problem, and an archer Dragonborn can actually take Mikrul out before he has the chance to summon most or even all of them from their tombs.
- MacGuffin Guardian: Each holds a piece of Gauldur's amulet. Jyrik pulls double duty by also guarding the Eye of Magnus in the College of Winterhold questline, making him the one you're most likely to encounter first.
- Magic Staff: Jyrik's staff possesses a unique shock spell that burns magicka equal to double its damage; most other shock spells burn a lesser or equal amount to the damage dealt. However, he doesn't actually use it; it's instead lying on a table in front of him.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": When Archmage Gauldur's spirit rises from his grave behind them, the brothers can only exclaim his name before he banishes their souls for good.
- Mutual Kill: The fate of the living Sigdis Gauldurson, in battle with King Harald's personal battlemage Geirmund. There's a reason why the tomb where Sigdis is found is named Geirmund's Hall.
- Self-Made Orphan: They conspired together to murder their father in order to claim the power of an enchanted amulet he created for themselves.
- Un-person: To ensure that the lure of the Gauldur Amulet would never lead to more bloodshed, High King Harald had Gauldur and his sons' names erased from all records. His efforts did not stand up to the passage of time.