For anyone who is at least a little bit cool — and kind of nerdy — knows The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an open-world action role-playing video game that is put out by Bethesda. There are lots of things going on in the game, but the main point involves figuring out how to defeat Alduin the World Eater, who is a dragon that has been prophesied to destroy the world. And man, do you really want to defeat him.
I mean, sure it’s cool to go around collecting herbs and getting all sorts of super cool gear so when you hang out with your friends you look totally rad, but the main point of all of this is that you want to kill the bad guy and come out on top. Why do you want to do that? Well, because if you don’t kill the bad guy and come out on top, then the bad guy is going to kill you, and who wants that?
The thing is, when it comes to Skyrim, there are all sorts of villains that can mess you up. Some are totally menacing and terrifying, while others are just kind of ridiculous, but all of them are worthy opponents, if only to make us feel better about ourselves. After all, how can you be a hero without being heroic from time to time?
Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Skyrim’s Villains.
Well, we might as well start with the big dog. In all of Skyrim, Alduin is the biggest tough guy, the one that puts all other villains to shame. He was originally defeated by the Ancient Nord Heroes who used an Elder Scroll to make him lost in time with the hope that he would never be seen again, but you know, things don’t always work out like we want them too. Alduin is very arrogant, which I suppose is rather common with dragons. What is not so common is that his name in draconic language translates to “Destroyer-Devour-Master.” Who would have thought? Another thing you might not know about Alduin is that he is way bigger than any other dragon you would see anywhere else in Skyrim.
14. General Tullius
Not all villains in Skyrim are fire-breathing dragons of course, some of them are just awful people. One of these is General Tullius, the leading officer of the Imperial Legion’s Skyrim branch. Tullius could care less about the Nordic customs — he just wants to advance his own agenda and the agenda of those that pay his salary. Tullius is a bit of a d-bag. He bribes officials, plants spies, and exaggerates reports of Stormcloak activity. He is also fine leaving innocent people to be imprisoned or executed. Any way you slice it, Tullius is pretty much an awful person, which is kind of what being a villain is all about. He might not have all sorts of superpowers, but sometimes, just being evil is enough.
13. Ulfric Stormcloak
If your parents named you Ulfric, then you probably would have turned out bad too. Come on, what were they thinking? Ulfric is the leader of the Stormcloak rebellion and can be a villain or an ally, depending on what storyline you choose. Now, it isn’t that Ulfric is totally racist, but lets just put it this way, if you aren’t a Nord, he doesn’t care a whole lot about what happens to you. He also claims to care for the people that follow him, but he’s also not that concerned if you and his people die for his cause. Ulfric may not be the most villainous being you will come across in Skyrim, but he may just be the type of villain that you’ll most likely to encounter in the real world.
Ancano is best known for being the main antagonist of the College of Winterhold questline. He is also known for being ridiculously quotable, saying such things like, “The power to unmake the world at my fingertips, and you think you can do anything about it?” and “I have many important things on my mind. Your concerns are not among them.” In other words, he is a total d-nozzle. It isn’t hard to figure out what is going to happen to characters like this when you come across them in a game like Skyrim. What you should be thinking about, however, is how much fun you are going to have when you finally get to take him down!
11. Lord Miraak
Lord Miraak is a dragon priest who is, in theory, the first Dragonborn ever known. How does that happen anyway? How does one become the first of anything? I suppose that is a conversation that should be had another time. Unlike all of the other dragon priests in the game, Lord Miraak is a not undead and fights like a human. His name in draconic language means “Allegiance-Guide.” He is definitely not someone you want to mess with — not by choice anyways. He’s known to have turned on his dragon masters, killed them, and devoured their souls. This is one guy you definitely don’t want to invite to a housewarming party, and if you do, you probably want to make sure that he has a really good time.
10. Mercer Frey
Frey is the leader of a crime ring who, when you first join as a player, is a total jerk. Although, I guess most leaders of crime rings didn’t adopt that role by being nice guys. He also tends to be kind of wordy, saying the following to the Dragonborn before he stabs him or her: “How interesting. It appears Gallus’s history has repeated itself. Karliah has provided me with the means to be rid of you, and this ancient tomb becomes your final resting place. But do you know what intrigues me the most? The fact that this was all possible because of you. Farewell. I’ll be certain to give Brynjolf your regards.” What is it with villains? Why do they always want to talk so much? I honestly have no idea.
Boethia is a Daedric prince, or princess for that matter since gender is actually unknown as all Daedrics of this ilk are called “prince.” Boethia is one bad dude/chick and is known for being deceitful and murderous, and is often inspiring assassination or treason. Boethia is known for being brutal and cruel even to those who are ardent followers. To be honest, Boethia is one of the worst villains in Skyrim.
Elenwen doesn’t have it good in Skyrim, no matter how you slice it. Not that you need to feel bad for her, she is a villain for crying out loud! But with that said, she sure does have a hard time. During the negotiations around Skyrim’s civil war, it is highly likely that she ends up being killed by the Dragonborn. But even if she doesn’t end up being killed in this manner, it is pretty likely that you are going to come upon her corpse in the wild one way or another. Whether it be bandits, wolves, bears, sabre cats, orc hunters, or stormcloaks, it is almost for certain someone is going to kill Elenwen. Well, at least when she does die, she ends up dropping some good loot. So what are you waiting for? Have fun and loot her corpse!
7. Clavicus Vile
Clavicus Vile is a prince of wishes and trickery. His whole thing is granting wishes and then watching them backfire on people to his great delight. One of the things that he has said is if someone asked him to end the civil war, he would just make everyone die, which of course would end the war. It makes sense, really. How could the war continue on if everyone was dead? He does have a magical dog who acts as his conscience and keeps him from going totally out of his mind and screwing with everyone. Let’s be honest, though, if we were all depending on our dogs to keep us in check, all that would happen in life is that we would buy a lot more treats for them.
6. Commander Maro
Commander Maro is the leader of the Emperor’s security force. He seems relatively rational until his son is killed and then pretty much goes totally nuts. He is the only main antagonist in a particular questline that one can actually choose to spare and not kill. He is also one of the few antagonists who is actually redeemable, meaning that he is flawed but still has some decent qualities. Not a whole lot is known about his past, but one thing for sure about Maro is that he is totally dedicated to his job and will protect the Emperor no matter what, which is one of the things that makes him redeemable. Hey, he isn’t evil — he’s just on the wrong side!
Faendal is not necessarily someone that is going to be an antagonist in Skyrim, it all depends on who Camilla chooses to marry. If you have her choose Faendal, then all is cool, but if you have her choose Sven, then you just made yourself an enemy. The other option is that you, the player, can choose to marry Camilla yourself. If that is the case, then get ready to see Faendal “visiting” your wife from time to time. This whole thing is really kind of creepy, but to be honest, it’s also sort of the way things are in real life. The heart wants what the heart wants. If you are going to get totally into someone, then be prepared to have some enemies, both in real life and in Skyrim.
4. Hajvarr Ironhand
Hajvarr is the leader of a group of bandits at White River Watch, which is a cave located near the banks of the White River. He isn’t one of the biggest bosses in the game, but he still manages to cause some problems, just like most leaders of gangs of bandits do. You can find him in a cave watching over the road, waiting for people to show up for him and his gang to rob. If you are low level, he can be a bit of a problem to beat, but is rather easy for anyone that has a high level of any sort. Once he is killed, he drops a journal for you to read. While he is not much of a big deal in the game, he is still mentioned numerous times and also plays a role in another side quest.
3. Grelod the Kind
Grelod the Kind is the leader of an orphanage. In pretty much all games, as well as movies and books, if someone is the leader of an orphanage, they are either really sweet or totally awful. Guess which one Grelod is? Maybe this quote from her will give you a clue: “And one more thing! I will hear no more talk of adoptions! None of you riff-raff is getting adopted. Ever! Nobody needs you,nobody wants you. That my darlings is why you are here. Why you will always be here, until the day you come of age and get thrown into that wide, horrible world.” Yeah, Grelod the Kind is totally awful.
2. Otar The Mad
With a name like Otar the Mad, you might think that this particular villain has some issues. If you did think that, then you wouldn’t be wrong. Otar the Mad used to be thought of as a fair and just ruler. However, something went down that ended up causing him to lose his mind. When he is killed, he drops something called the Otar Mask, which is one of 8 masks that one needs to do an unmarked quest that restores the Dragon Priest Shrine. You have to feel a little bad for Otar, after all, he is totally crazy. The thing is, when it comes to things of this nature, a villain is a villain, and if you don’t take them out, don’t think they’ll spare you. So no mercy for Otar.
With a name like Vex, you know that this villain is not going to be a hero. Even if he wanted to be good, let’s be honest, what hero would hang out with someone named Vex? Vex also talks a good game, saying things like, “If I see Frey, I’ll pluck his eyes from his skull with my bare hands!” Frey is a member of the Thieves Guild and is known for being incredibly arrogant, which when you think about it, makes Vex either a very good thief or a very bad one indeed. Why would someone who was a thief draw attention to themselves by being a total jerk? Vex is known to be very good at infiltrating other groups, which might explain his arrogance, but still, it’s just not a good look!