The Best Skyrim NPC Quotes

NPCs in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim lay somewhere between the ridiculousness of Oblivion NPCs and the over-elaborate Morrowind NPCs who often seemed to speak in riddles. Some of the most famous (and hilarious) quotes in gaming are from the fifth Elder Scrolls entry, but there are plenty that stick with players for good reasons, too.

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Skyrim players who first made it to the peak of the Throat of the World, for example, were greeted with the poetic and verbose Paarthurnax whose every line is like something out of an ancient tome. Well-written voice lines help greatly to characterize NPCs and build immersion, and the best stick in players' minds even a decade after the game's initial release.

10 Hrongar's Total Confidence

Hrongar is the younger brother of the Jarl of Whiterun, Jarl Balgruff the Greater, who is usually found sitting at the great dining table in Dragonsreach. Hrongar is a fervent believer in the Old Ways of the Nords, and remarks on the player's interactions with the Greybeards when the trio first summons them to High Hrothgar.

When the player talks to him outside of a cutscene, Hrongar will sometimes remark the above, a metaphor that gives the impression that he isn't someone to be messed with succinctly.

9 Urag gro-Shub Hasn't Got Time For Dumb Questions

Urag gro-Shub is the enigmatic Librarian of the College of Winterhold's Arcaeneum, whose library and rare tomes offer a glimpse into the many corners of Tamrielic lore. Urag gro-Shub is protective of his library and is particularly rude to the Dragonborn, even if they become the leader of the College of Winterhold.

Later in the game, when asking who wrote the Elder Scrolls, gro-Shub will answer, "It would take a month to explain to you how that very question doesn't even make sense." He then begrudgingly wraps up the origins of the Elder Scrolls in a few sentences, though one gets the feeling that it goes much deeper than a minute's worth of voice lines.

8 Paarthurnax's Great Question

Paarthurnax is the secretive head of the Greybeards, a dragon older than just about everything else in Tamriel whose voice sounds like none other. The player gets many opportunities to talk with Paarthurnax towards the end of the main questline, and he serves as a fountain of knowledge and inspiration for the Dragonborn.

When asking Paarthurnax about the dragons, and about the evilness of Dragons, Paarthurnax asks the question, "What is better - to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?" It's a deeply philosophical question whose answer isn't presented to the Dragonborn, or the player for that matter.

7 Conjuration For Hire

If the player is particularly proficient in one area of the game, or if they have enough skill in Magicka specifically, NPCs will start to react to the player as they pass by. Guards in particular comment on the weapon or spell the player currently has equipped if it is out, sometimes warning about using dangerous spells.

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Sometimes, a Guard who notices a Magic-oriented player will snidely remark, "hail summoner, conjure me up a warm bed would you?" It's one of those things that makes one wish it was easier to get away with killing Guards, but alas.

6 The Lowly Guardsman

Guards have a lot to say, despite the player never seeing their face beneath their helmets (unless looting their corpse, that is). Guards in Whiterun have particularly well-remembered lines as it's a place most players are intimately familiar with, being one of the very first major settlements in the game.

When passing by Whiterun guards in particular, they might remark, "My cousin's out fighting dragons, and what do I get? Guard duty." It makes one feel a little sad for the guard, but he's probably safer inside the city walls anyway.

5 Miraak's Mantra

Miraak is a source of strife for the Dragonborn and a source of great voice acting and quotes for players to enjoy. He challenges the Dragonborn on the Morrowind-inspired island of Solstheim, and his followers recite a chant that is reminiscent of the foretelling Song of the Dragonborn used for Skyrim's main menu and in the main quest.

Miraak's followers learn a chant that ends with, "and when the world shall listen, and when the world shall see, and when the world remembers, that world shall cease to be." This chant is found specifically around the All-Maker stones of the island.

4 General Tullius' Musings on Skyrim...

General Tullius is there at the very outset of Skyrim getting ready to perform the execution of Ulfric Stormcloak alongside the player. He is then found as the head of the Imperial Legion based out of Solitude, and has much to say on his involvement in the province's ongoing civil war.

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When asking about Skyrim itself, General Tullius will say, "Skyrim's harshness has a way of carving a man down to his true self." It's a Skyrim NPC quote that describes the region's particularly brutal landscape, and one can easily see how not being born with the powers of a Dragonborn could make life pretty tough in Tamriel.

3 ... And Paarthurnax's Musings on Power

Paarthurnax's musings on the world and his thoughts on meta subjects like power and choice are practically dripping with meaning, both in terms of the in-game story of Skyrim and the real-world implications of what he says. Of all the Skyrim NPC quotes, those of Paarthurnax are some of the few that truly inspire the player through words alone.

When the Dragonborn speaks with Paarthurnax, the ancient Dragon will say, "Power. You have it, as do all Dov. But power is inert without action and choice." In essence, Paarthurnax is saying that having the ability to do something is meaningless if actions aren't taken.

2 The Dog Can Talk? The Dog Can Talk!

The Daedric questline in Skyrim belonging to Clavicus Vile is one of the most memorable. Taking place in the Falkreath Hold on the southern side of Skyrim, the player meets a Dog named Barbas who, as it turns out, is also a servant of Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Power, Trickery, and Bargains.

When asking about the fact that Barbas appears as a dog who talks, he appears to take offense, and remarks, "...you're surprised by me? Yes. I just talked. And am continuing to do so."

1 The Entirety Of Heimskr's Erratic Speech on Talos

Heimskr is first encountered just below the stairs leading to Dragonsreach in Whiterun shouting and screaming about Talos and the Elven influence on Skyrim in recent years. His speech is more than a bit unhinged, but it's something that's worth sitting around for – if for nothing else, to give the poor rambling man just a morsel of attention.

His speech and ramblings are very long-winded, but they detail the world of Skyrim through the eyes of a devout Talos worshipper immaculately. It's a prime example of incredible world-building, and if you can't stick around to hear him shout in-game, his whole speech verbatim follows.

"To you we give Praise! We are but maggots writhing in the filth of our own corruption! While you have ascended from the dung of mortality, and now walk among the stars! But you were once man! Aye! And as man you said, 'Let me show you the power of Talos, Stormcrown, born of the North, where my breath is long winter. 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! Love! Even as man, great Talos cherished us. For he saw in us, in each of us, the future of Skyrim! The future of Tamriel! And there it is, friends! The ugly truth! We are the children of man! Talos is the true god of man! Ascended from flesh, to rule the realm of spirit! The very idea is inconceivable to our Elven overlords! Sharing the heavens with us? With man? Ha! They can barely tolerate our presence on earth! Today, they take away your faith. But what of tomorrow? What then? Do the elves take your homes? Your businesses? Your children? Your very lives? And what does the Empire do? Nothing! Nay, worse than nothing! The Imperial machine enforces the will of the Thalmor! Against its own people! So rise up! Rise up, children of the Empire! Rise up, Stormcloaks! Embrace the word of mighty Talos, he who is both man and Divine! For we are the children of man! And we shall inherit the heavens and earth! And we, not the Elves or their toadies, will rule Skyrim! Forever!"

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is available on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 3, 4, and 5, and Xbox 360, One and Series S|X

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