Housecarl (or Huscarl) is a title bestowed upon the bodyguard of an important person in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Generally excelling at physical combat, the housecarl protects their liege, their home, their family, and their assets until death. The nine Jarls of Skyrim each have a housecarl. It is common practice for Thanes to have housecarls as well. Persons of extreme notability, such as the Dragonborn who emerged during the Dragon Crisis of the Fourth Era, to have several housecarls, each of whom might have accompanied them into combat as a follower or served them as a spouse.
Relationship to liege
A housecarl is a formidable warrior, and is usually found next to, or close by their master. If their Jarl or Thane is attacked, the housecarl will be the first to enter the battle to fight for his or her liege's life. It is socially acceptable for a Thane to marry their housecarl.
In Falkreath, the title seems to be more of an office — as Helvard puts it, "I protect the Jarl, whoever that might be." This means that the Housecarl of Falkreath is not sworn to protect a single individual and continues his service if a new Jarl takes over. On the other hand, it may simply be Helvard's personal preference.
Housecarls to notable figures
- * Serves as Housecarl even before his master becomes Jarl.
Housecarls appointed to the Dragonborn
Becoming the Thane of a Hold will grant a personal housecarl. In the base game, all available housecarls are Nord warriors, as is Gregor, the housecarl for the Pale, who is added by The Elder Scrolls V: Hearthfire. Of the other two Hearthfire housecarls, Valdimar is a battlemage rather than a warrior, and Rayya is a Redguard rather than a Nord.
The five housecarls in the base game have the same base gear: a set of Steel Armor without a helmet, accompanied by a Steel Sword and Shield. The three Hearthfire housecarls each have a slightly different equipment: Rayya duel-wields scimitars; Gregor uses a two-handed Steel Greatsword; and Valdimar wears light Scaled Armor, wields a Steel Mace, and uses Destruction spells.
Housecarls match the player's level at the time of appointment, with a level cap of 50.
There is not currently a housecarl available in Winterhold.
|Argis the Bulwark||Vlindrel Hall, Markarth||The Reach||M||Nord||Yes|
|Gregor †|| The White Hall|
or Heljarchen Hall
|Iona||Honeyside, Riften||The Rift||F||Nord||Yes|
|Jordis the Sword-Maiden||Proudspire Manor, Solitude||Haafingar||F||Nord||Yes|
or Breezehome, Whiterun
|Rayya †|| Jarl's Longhouse|
or Lakeview Manor
|Valdimar †|| Highmoon Hall|
or Windstad Manor
† Only available with The Elder Scrolls V: Hearthfire.
In Medieval Scandinavia, the housecarls (húskarl) were personal male servants of Scandinavian Jarls and Kings, their roles encompassed many aspects, including personal advisors, military troops and servants. The word housecarl is a direct translation of the Nordic word húskarl (house man). The term was also used in Anglo-Saxon England, where the Housecarls were not just bodyguards but the elite fighters and leaders of the Earl's armies.
- Rayya, Faleen, and Irileth are the only housecarls in the game who aren't Nords, with Irileth being a Dunmer and the housecarl to Balgruuf the Greater, Rayya being a Redguard and the housecarl to the Thane of Falkreath Hold, and Faleen being a Redguard and the housecarl to Igmund.
- Mjoll the Lioness, the Dragonborn does not receive a housecarl when a house is purchased from a Jarl's steward, because Aerin, Mjoll's companion, lives with her and thus her husband or wife should she marry. This happens because there would be no sleeping quarters for a housecarl because Aerin takes the only remaining bed. Marrying