The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim continues to feel fresh over a decade after its release for one reason: its memorable, compelling characters. The Dragonborn forges relationships with many NPCs as they traverse Tamriel’s Nordic province. Though many of these characters inject humor, friendship, or even fear into the experience of playing Skyrim, certain NPCs have managed to stick out more among the rest for their contributions to the game.


The quality of Skyrim‘s NPCs is often defined by the quests or cities associated with them. Some are connected to unique, hilarious missions like Sam Guevenne in “A Night to Remember,” while others bring the interesting personalities of Skyrim‘s cities to life like Sapphire in Falkreath. Regardless, these NPCs become integral to players’ experiences of Skyrim, allowing them to connect with the Dragonborn and the game’s setting on a deeper level, or have simply become so recognizable that they’re inextricable from the game itself.

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Ralof’s Opening Quote Makes Him Impossible To Forget

Ralof greeting the Dragonborn in Skyrim's opening cutscene.

Ralof the Stormcloak utters the first words players ever hear in Skyrim: “Hey you! You’re finally awake.” Although a simple line, Ralof’s blank stare and voice actor Michael J. Gough’s delivery have turned Skyrim’s opening cutscene – uploaded to YouTube by ProstoOsen – into the stuff of legend. The Ralof meme format has been a popular one since Skyrim released over a decade ago and continued an Elder Scrolls tradition of beginning the games imprisoned. Ralof has consequently been immortalized in the collective memory for his seemingly cursory remark about the Dragonborn’s consciousness.

Ralof is a great character for his contributions to Skyrim’s story, too. Players who side with the Stormcloaks will be further introduced to the Nordic country by Ralof, who invites the Dragonborn to his sister’s home in Riverwood. From there, he also helps the Dragonborn join the Stormcloak army, conduct a prison break at Fort Neugrad, and claim the Jagged Throne. For being a sayer of famous phrases and helping in popular missions, Ralof is one of Skyrim’s best, most memorable characters.

Lydia Will Follow The Dragonborn Into Any Skyrim Battle

Lydia from Skyrim, standing on a grassy slope and looking up at the camera.

Lydia is likely every Skyrim player’s first follower, and for that, she is often remembered as the most loyal. Jarl Balgruuf the Greater rewards the Dragonborn with this trusted warrior right after completing the first dragon fight in the game. Lydia can then follow the Dragonborn from that point on. Having her join the Dragonborn’s journey at such an early stage of the game makes her a constant presence for many Skyrim players. As such, she’s often intertwined with all the best memories players develop with the game.

Related: Skyrim’s Lydia Has Definitely Seen Monty Python’s Holy Grail Movie

Nazeem Will Always Be Skyrim’s Most Annoying NPC

Nazeem from Skyrim, getting stabbed through the back with a sword.

The words “Do you get to the Cloud District often?” can spark immediate frustration for the Dragonborn because of Nazeem. An upper-class NPC in Skyrim, Nazeem spends his time walking around the city’s marketplace, where he insults anyone he sees as beneath him (which is everyone). He often speaks highly of his work as an advisor to Jarl Balgruuf, who coincidentally has never seen or heard of him in the Dragonsrearch. Nazeem’s lies, condescension, and nasty attitude have made him wonderfully crafted character who players love to hate, so much so that YouTuber Waz even speed runs to kill him.

Nazeem being so frustrating also makes the missions he’s involved in more memorable. In particular, the Companions’ “Hired Muscle” quest has the potential to assign the Dragonborn to beat up the Skyrim NPC. Although this doesn’t always occur because it’s a radiant quest, the ability to beat up Nazeem without repercussions is one of the sweetest moments in all of Skyrim.

Margret and Weylin of Markarth Have An Iconic Introduction

Image of Markarth's Weylin (left) and Margret (right).

The names Margret and Weylin may not immediately stir memories for the Dragonborn, but the scene they participate in is one of Skyrim’s best. When entering Markarth, Weylin murders Margret before being killed by city guards himself. This startling introduction to the city has motivated players to investigate Markarth, reload the game to save Margret, and even create memes of the situation, like one that sees Tony Soprano in the Skyrim scene. So though Margret and Weylin are only briefly seen in the game, their scene in Markarth has secured them a place in Skyrim players’ memories.

The questline that follows Weylin and Margret’s altercation, “The Forsworn Conspiracy,” is also one to the most memorable. This mission has the Dragonborn turn into a detective who gathers clues to figure out why Weylin killed Margret in the first place (or attempted, if players manage to save her). But along the way, they get thrown into jail where they bare-knuckle box an orc and lead a prison break out in Markarth. It’s one of the best missions in Skyrim and stands out when reminiscing about the game for its uniqueness.

Related: Skyrim Characters You Definitely Shouldn’t Marry

Cicero’s Eccentricity Makes Him Stand Out In Skyrim

Skyrim's Cicero standing next to the Night Mother, looking toward the camera.

Cicero’s shrill laugh is enough to haunt any Skyrim player’s memory. Cicero is a unique figure in the Dark Brotherhood; his jester-like garb and attitude, with Freudian obsession over the Night Mother stands in stark contrast with the solemnity of the other members of Skyrim’s Dark Brotherhood. But Cicero is unique in the world of Skyrim in general. His humor, his personality, his instability – they all make Cicero one of Skyrim‘s most compelling characters whose just too difficult to forget.

Sheogarath’s Quest Is One Of Skyrim’s Most Memorable

The Mad God Sheogorath, a Daedric Prince in Skyrim.

Sheogorath is a recurring figure in the Elder Scrolls series, but he is fondly remembered for his amazing appearance in Skyrim. As the Daedric Prince and Madness, Sheogorath leads the most inspired and eccentric mission in the game. The Dragonborn is asked to retrieve him from his vacation in the mind of the long-since-passed Pelagius the Tormented, where he hosts an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party. Sheogorath’s sense of humor, silly pranks, and whimsical challenges make him stand out in a province filled with strait-laced Nords, making him and his unusual vacation one the best moments in all of Skyrim.

M’aiq The Liar Has Some Of Skyrim’s Most Memorable Quotes

Image of M'aiq the Liar wandering Skyrim.

Although players ought to forget anything M’aiq the Liar, one of Skyrim‘s weirdest NPCs, says to them, his quotes are just too memorable. Similar to Sheogorath, this Khajiit character appears in several Elder Scrolls games as a harbinger of chaos. M’aiq is a compulsive liar, as his name suggests. But beyond that, M’aiq breaks the fourth wall to comment on the game and Bethesda: he’ll talk about how Skyrim added same-sex marriage, how snow never collects on the ground, and how mysticism was removed as a school of magic. M’aiq is consequently a source of many of Skyrim’s best quotes.

Serana’s Complexity Makes Her A Skyrim NPC To Remember

Skyrim NPC Serana, standing with her hands on her hips and looking at the camera.

Serana may only be a part of the Dawnguard DLC, but she stands out as one of the best characters (and followers) in Skyrim upon recollection. Unlike many other followers, Serana has a distinct personality and motivations of her own. Her alliance with the Dragonborn is based not on her admiration or debt to them but rather a common interest: defeating Lord Harkon. That Lord Harkon being Serana’s father only makes her a more interesting, complex, and memorable character in Skyrim.

More: Skyrim Characters That Should Have Been Marriage Options But Weren’t

Sources: ProstoOsen/YouTube, Waz/YouTube



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