To this day, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ranks among the finest titles to play for all gaming enthusiasts. Besides graphics and gameplay, Skyrim’s immersive storyline and characters are a huge factor behind its enduring fame.
It is a well-known fact that no storyline can grab the attention of the masses unless it consists of enjoyable, memorable characters. When it comes to characters with the potential to stand the test of time, Skyrim has plenty. In this post, I have curated some of the best characters in the world of Skyrim. Let’s have a look.
➡️ Different Races in Skryim
Skyrim is a decade-old game, and you obviously won’t get the level of customization that modern AAA titles offer. However, Skyrim has one trick up its sleeve that makes a huge difference to the gameplay; choosing your race. It is noteworthy that all the characters you meet in the game will also be from one of these races.
As soon as you are about to be executed in ‘Unbound‘, you get the option to choose a race. Here are all the 10 races you can choose between:
- Argonian : It has disease and raw meat resistance.
- Breton: It has magic resistance and magic absorption skills.
- Dark Elf: It can resist fire and fatigue longer.
- High Elf: It can regenerate magicka faster and resist fatigue.
- Imperial: Imperial luck helps you find more gold and calms people around better.
- Khajit: It has deadly claws and amazing night vision powers.
- Nord: It can resist frost and make targets flee.
- Orc: It can mitigate enemy damage and inflict double the damage while having good hunger and fatigue resistance.
- Redguard: It can resist poison better and regenerate stamina faster.
- Wood Elf: It can make animals an ally and survive fatigue better.
The characters in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are some of the most diverse, vast, and interesting personalities in the entire gaming world. That is why it is difficult to make such a list. But I analyzed their overall personae and came up with the following list:
Jarl Balgruuf The Greater
Balgruuf The Greater is the Jarl of Whiterun, and the second Jarl you meet in The Elder Scrolls V (the first is Ulfric Stormcloak, whom I will talk about later).
Balgruuf is among your earliest associates as well. This Nord warrior makes the Dragonborn Thane of his hold. In my view, this is hugely beneficial, especially in the initial stages of the game, as it makes purchasing a house in Whiterun easier.
I love Balgruuf’s readiness to go along with certain schemes that may seem too over the top to the ordinary, such as taking a dragon captive alive in his palace.
Plus, he has commendable leadership skills, never leaving his people’s side no matter what.
Serana is an ancient vampire that makes an appearance in the Dawnguard DLC and develops an association with you.
In case you were unaware, Serana belongs to the batch of original vampires – the Daughters of Coldharbour that the Daedric Prince Molag Bal created.
What fascinates me the most about her is that Serana comes from a time so ancient when even the Empire did not come into being.
I also like her amazing storytelling abilities, telling players tales about her life and vampires.
Serana is hands down one of the most multifaceted, well-written characters in the entirety of Skyrim. Also, did you know that you can find Serana and make her a follower?
Delphine is a Breton who owns a small inn, namely the Sleeping Giant Inn. She is one of the remaining Blades in Skyrim.
Her most memorable role in the game, besides trying to reawaken the Blades, is guiding you in your aim to defeat the evil Alduin.
While there is no way to deny her obstinacy at times, what I like most about Delphine is her boldness in admitting her wrongs. This rare quality, along with her will to assist you in times of need, is bound to win anybody’s appreciation.
Aela The Huntress
As a Dragonborn, you are most likely to join The Companions faction based in Whiterun. Aela The Huntress is a Nord Werewolf and an elite member of this faction. Besides, she is a delegate of The Circle.
Although I have found the other “elite” members of The Companions rather generic, Aela certainly stands out. She is stubborn, speaks her mind, and as a bonus, is a master of archery.
Also, I liked the fact that, unlike a majority of her Companion brethren, Aela is reluctant about abandoning her werewolf form. Instead, she shows pride in embracing what she is.
Such an instance of self-acceptance demands appreciation not only in the gaming world but in real life too.
Grelod The Kind
When talking about the feeblest NPCs in Skyrim, Grelod The Kind is number one. This old Nord lady is the headmistress of the Honorhall Orphanage.
The irony is, despite the presence of “Kind” in her name, she has a bad repute for harboring intense malice and callousness. Her mean nature is on full display in her treatment of the kids of her own orphanage.
But she ultimately faces a tragic end, as you have to kill her in front of her pupils to set off the Dark Brotherhood questline.
Although Grelod is a bad individual, murdering her like that with her students watching can be disturbing for some, tormenting them for a long time. At least, I felt a little sorry afterward.
Let’s be real: The Dark Brotherhood questline in The Elder Scrolls V introduces players to some of the most unique and unorthodox characters the game has to offer.
While Babette is a child, she is no ordinary child. She is a vampire and an assassin. As you may already know, vampires do not age like humans. That is why her youth is eternal.
When I first saw Babette in the secret sanctuary of the Dark Brotherhood, it took me aback. You don’t see such bizarre things every day, do you? Therefore, it is something that is bound to stay in your brain for years.
Also, Babette is a merchant of various potions and ingredients, including rare Daedra Hearts that you can utilize in alchemy and different Daedric recipes. So, she is indeed a remarkable character. So, she provides another way through which you can get Daedra hearts in Skyrim!
The Shadowmere horse is a returning character from the previous title, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. If you have played Oblivion, seeing Shadowmere again will, no doubt, be a delightful experience.
Although Lucien Lachance originally owned the steed, Astrid lets you make use of Shadowmere during ‘The Cure for Madness’ for fast-travel purposes.
Upon completion of the quest, you get the mare as a reward. For the unaware, this pitch black-colored horse with glowing red eyes has the most health out of all the horses available in the game.
Plus, it regenerates its health pretty fast and has twice the stamina compared to an ordinary horse.
I think Shadowmere is the ultimate package you can hope for, and once you obtain it, you will not feel like using any other horse.
Paarthurnax is a dragon that stands out because of his keenness to talk. Although there is no shortage of dragons in the world of Skyrim, only a few will like to converse with you.
He is ashamed of his wrongdoings in the past and thus, has reformed himself. Paarthurnax resides on the Throat of the World in seclusion.
Having a conversation with such a mature dragon who has seen a lot is truly an exceptional experience. Despite his isolated state, he cherishes deep conversations.
I love Paarthurnax to a great extent, as he is a living, breathing reminder that anyone can overcome their dark past and do better.
Alduin is the primary villain of Skyrim’s main questline. This dark, ominous, scary dragon that you are acquainted with during the opening of the game.
Moments before the Dragonborn is about to face execution, Alduin attacks Helgen, averting the disaster. You defeat this terrifying creature in the final chapter, ‘Dragonslayer’.
But rest assured, he is one of the most iconic characters in Skyrim and will remain in your heart forever. The tale of the World Eater lives on!
Miraak is the main antagonist of the Dragonborn expansion. Known as the First Servant, Miraak was a dragon priest who double-crossed his dragon overlords. The reason behind the betrayal was his insatiable hunger for power.
The more you observe Miraak, the more you realize that he is the exact opposite of you – the last Dragonborn. Besides, he gives players an idea of what they could achieve if they become as power-hungry as him.
I liked his multifaceted motives and the worth he proved on the battlefield. Overall, Miraak is an exceptional Skyrim character that is hard to erase from your mind. You can meet Miraak after you reach Raven Rock in Skyrim!
Esbern is an old Nord, Delphine’s ally, and among the last living Blades whom you first meet within the bowels of Riften.
Just like the odd nature of the location of this encounter, Esbern will first seem odd to you. The fact that his abode is kind of a doomsday bunker only boosts this peculiarity. Yet, Esbern foretold the Dragon’s reappearance before everybody else.
Due to his old age and plethora of experience, Esbern is the perfect one for players to learn about the rich history of the land. Plus, he is extremely well-behaved towards the Dragonborn. So, that is a bonus.
You first meet Farenger Secret-Fire when you have to recover a stone from Bleak Falls Barrow. He is the court wizard for Jarl Balgruuf and is known for his studies on magic and dragons.
He has trust in you and thus chooses you to carry out the said task. What I find most interesting about Farenger is that although he can be a bit rude now and then, he is actually a lovable man.
While he is a side character that appears only in select quests, the mark he leaves on the players’ hearts is irremovable.
Also Read: How to Increase Carry Weight in Skyrim
Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak
As I mentioned earlier, Ulfric Stormcloak is the first Jarl you meet in The Elder Scrolls V. I know you remember Ulfric all too well.
And why won’t you? At the end of the day, he is the main reason behind your capture in the game’s beginning.
He is the Jarl of Windhelm and the leader of the Nord rebels known as Stormcloaks in their battle for independence against the Empire.
Although he has way lesser relevancy than most in the main questline, he is an interesting character (let’s put your annoyance aside for a minute, okay?).
The player is free to either support or fight Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak. Fascinatingly enough, in case you kill Ulfric before the main questline is over, he will make an appearance in Sovngarde – the Nordic afterlife.
Also, his charisma is hard to ignore, making him a notable character in Skyrim.
Arngeir is the leader of the Greybeards and acts as a mentor for you in the Way of the Voice. He is the spokesperson for the Greybeards because of the inability of others to communicate without using Thu’um.
When your identity as the last Dragonborn becomes known, Arngeir and other Greybeard monks invite you to the Throat of the World.
Besides mentoring you, he also informs you about many significant things and the history of the land.
Unlike the Blades, Arngeir wants Paarthurnax, the reformed dragon, to stay alive and is vocal about it.
He also possesses knowledge about the Words of Power and does not hesitate to disclose their locations across the world of Skyrim to you.
Also, it is Arngeir who grants you the Clear Skies shout that plays a vital role in reaching the mountaintop.
Odahviing was once the right-hand dragon of the chief antagonist on the main questline, Alduin. But later in the game, he becomes your ally.
You can summon him with the Call Dragon shout while in the open and benefit greatly from his assistance. None of your enemies will be able to kill him, and he won’t abandon you until all of your foes have bitten the dust.
Apart from Paarthurnax, Odahviing is the first dragon that abides by the player and displays any noteworthy personality.
Having a conversation with Odahviing after capturing him in Dragonsreach will unveil many unknown facts about dragons and how they live.
The best thing about Odahviing is the fact that you can ride him. Yes, it is the only dragon available for a ride in the game if we do not take the Dragonborn DLC into account. So, Odahviing is bound to have a lasting mark on your memory.
No matter what game you play, one thing is for certain, the first character you interact with becomes a permanent impression. Whenever you hear about that game, one of the first things you associate with it is that character.
In the case of Skyrim, Ralof is the first person to speak in the game’s opening sequence. Ralof is a Nord rebel belonging to the Stormcloaks and a fellow prisoner of the Dragonborn. Upon waking up, you see Ralof saying, “Hey, you’re finally awake.” If you are into social media and memes, you should know this particular line.
Netizens have made innumerable memes using the screenshot of this scene and the line. It has penetrated the realm of pop culture so deeply that even those who have never heard of Skyrim are likely to recognize this opening sequence.
M’aiq The Liar
Talking about remarkable Skyrim characters and not mentioning M’aiq The Liar – the unparalleled source of lies – would be a crime.
He is a Khajiit that you can randomly encounter on the streets. Many players reported seeing him early on in Helgen. But for that, completing the Unbound quest is a prerequisite.
What cracks me up is his indifference to the player speaking to him. After trying to initiate a conversation with him around five times, he will give a short response stating his tiredness and walk away. Too funny, if you ask me.
But sometimes, he may respond in your first attempt if he feels like it.
M’aiq’s character acts as a comic relief in an otherwise serious game. So, it is impossible not to appreciate the humor of the developers.
A memorable character in a game does not have to be a lovable one at all. And Maven Black-Brair is a prime example of that. Maven – a Nord and the matriarch of the Black-Briar clan is a character I love to hate.
But I am certainly not alone; any Skyrim player whom I have asked about Maven said the exact same thing.
A simple coincidence? Nah, I think not. The developers knew pretty well what they were doing while creating this character, and I must say, they were successful.
While the Jarls of Skyrim deal with most political matters, she pulls the strings one way or another. Such a character that is this integrally odious is impossible to forget even if one tries.
As you can see, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is full of amazing, striking characters that elevate the game to an unforeseen height.
Here, I gave you a list of handpicked Skyrim characters that help it stand the test of time and maintain its relevancy even to this day. Play the game yourself, and you will realize why they deserve this shout-out. Happy gaming, Dragonborn!
Now that you know the best characters in Skyrim, you may want to figure out how to use the Atronach Forge to craft and upgrade your weapons and gear.