Lydia is a Nord housecarl obtained upon completion of the quest Dragon Rising. She receives the title of Housecarl from Jarl Balgruuf the Greater in Dragonsreach immediately after the Dragonborn is promoted to the title of Thane. As Housecarl, she is sworn to protect the Dragonborn with her life, and to carry their burdens.
Just like other followers, Lydia can die if she does not get the opportunity to heal herself when knocked down. This can happen if she is hit by enemies or if the Dragonborn damages her.
If the Dragonborn and Lydia part ways, she returns to Dragonsreach, or to Breezehome in Whiterun if it is purchased. If enough time was spent with her, she gifts the Dragonborn with an item upon reuniting with her.
Lydia, like most followers, has the option of being recruited into The Blades by being brought to Delphine at Sky Haven Temple after the quest Alduin's Wall is completed. She can still be recruited as a follower, but her default Steel apparel will be replaced with a full set of Blades Armor and a Blades sword. This change is permanent.
Before Patch 1.5, it was only possible to marry Lydia through console commands. If the Dragonborn does marry her, then she opens a shop in town and gives the Dragonborn 100 septims per day. She can be asked to move to a different house, if a house other than Breezehome is owned. Like all the other candidates for marriage, she will cook a Homecooked Meal once a day that regenerates Stamina, Health, and Magicka. She can only be married once Breezehome has been purchased.
Combat Behavior and Skills
|Stats at level 50|
Lydia is primarily a melee-type character and uses no spells. As with some other melee-oriented followers, she has tendency to simply rush into combat, possibly leading to her death.
She can use spell scrolls and staves (although other forms of magic are beyond her ability), potions and food if available, and favors Heavy Armor and One-Handed weapons, but will use any equipment if it beats the current base armor or damage rating.
She also has very low Sneak skill, alerting enemies of her presence nearly immediately. This may cause problems if the Dragonborn has low sneak skill, but may prove as an advantage if the Dragonborn has a higher sneak level, since it allows the Dragonborn to lure enemies using Lydia. Although her Sneak skill isn't high enough to have the perk to do this, she can sometimes be seen doing a roll (when the Dragonborn is crouching) in order to catch up.
Armor and Jewelry
Lydia's default armor is steel armor (the version without pauldrons), boots, gauntlets, and shield. Her default equipment provides a total armor rating of 169. She does not wear a helmet by default, but can equip any if given one. She can also wear any ring or necklace given to her by the Dragonborn, which can be useful due to the added effects these items may have. She can equip armor given to her, if its armor rating surpasses that of her default equipment. She can and will wear light armor, but her high Heavy Armor skill makes it difficult without a high Smithing skill or high-end armor, or the "equipitem" console command. The steel armor appears in her loot if she is killed. It should be noted that, similar to other followers, there are multiple options to change her gear. She may be dismissed then pickpocketd to remove her default gear using the Perfect Touch Pickpocket perk. Alternatively, she may be married so that she opens a shop - this then allows the Dragonborn to buy her default clothes, which forces her to wear alternative gear.
She only uses a shield if the best melee weapon in her inventory is One-Handed, otherwise she uses a Two-Handed weapon. Lydia's default weapon is a steel sword. If her sword is removed or if opponents are out of melee range, she uses a Hunting Bow, with an infinite supply of what appear to be iron arrows (the arrows cannot be taken from her). Similar to her melee weapon and armor, she can be given stronger arrows and a stronger bow, which she will always use instead.
Her initial steel sword is a regular item and can be taken away from her. Her boots, gauntlets and shield are not shown in the inventory swap, but can be stolen away with Pickpocket, so that she is not burdened by their weight. Her bow is more problematic, as it does not show up in the pickpocket menu. However, this is a minor issue, as it is light and she defaults to a better one easily.
For an NPC, Lydia is a very popular character in the Elder Scrolls community. She is arguably the most used follower in the game, likely due to being one of the first NPCs found who is eligible to be a follower.
- “I am sworn to carry your burdens.” (unenthusiastic voice) — When asked to trade items.
- “A healing spell? Are you a priest?” — When healed by Healing Hands or Heal Other.
- “I am your sword, and your shield.” — When approached or passed by.
- “Long life to you, Thane.” — When approached or passed by.
- “Honor to you, my Thane.” — When approached or passed by.
- “I am sworn to protect you.” — When approached or passed by.
- "Honored to see you, my Thane" — When approached or passed by.
- “As you wish, my Thane.” — When asked to do something.
- “I have a bad feeling about this.” — When entering certain areas in cave or ruin.
- “Is that one of the old ruins?” — When entering certain areas in cave or ruin.
- “I have never seen anything quite like that.” — When approaching large, and often spectacular, areas.
- “Oh!" and "Huh?” — When the Dragonborn "pushes" her, urging her to move.
- “What's the hurry?” — When the Dragonborn sprints into or past her.
- “Hey, look, a cave. I wonder what's inside.” — When approaching cave entrances.
- “Look over there, that's a Dwemer ruin.” — When near a Dwemer Ruin.
- “You'll die this day, dragon!” — When fighting a dragon.
- “Slay it! Slay the dragon!” — When fighting a dragon.
- "Stupid dog." — When left in a room with a dog.
- "You stupid excuse for a Nord!" — When fighting Nordic bandits.
- "Ahh, don't do that!" — When hit with a Calm spell.
- "Skyrim belongs to the Nords!" — When fighting.
- "Damn you!" — When damaged.
- "I'll head back to Dragonsreach if you need me." — When she returns to Dragonsreach.
- "You don't belong here." -- When approached in Dragonsreach after forcing Balgruuf to surrender in the Stormcloak Civil War questline.
- "I'll head home if you need me." — When she returns to Breezehome.
- "I've never been more ready!" — When hit with a Courage spell.
- "We heading out?" — When approached while waiting.
- "Wow, you must really need that." — Upon seeing the Dragonborn steal in The Ragged Flagon.
- "You should have stayed in your precious forests, elf!" — When fighting a Bosmer.
With The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn, Lydia has been updated with a set of quotes unique to her, making her much more expressive than before. She may comment on various locations in both Skyrim and Solstheim.
|"So this is Raven Rock, eh? Not all that much to look at."||In Raven Rock|
|"I've come a long way to kill you."||Fighting Ash Spawn or a Netch.|
|"I don't plan on being killed by the likes of you."|
|"What next, carnivorous rabbits?"||Fighting a Riekling.|
|"I don't know whether to kill it or pet it."|
|"That's a nice trick, but it won't save your skin."|
|"She fights well enough, for a Skaal."||About Frea, during The Temple of Miraak.|
|"I've heard tales of the mushroom towers of Morrowind. Never thought I'd see one."||Upon seeing Tel Mithryn.|
|"Someone's been busy."||Near Temple of Miraak, if Miraak is still alive.|
|"There's something... wrong here."||Near All-Maker Stones, not cleansed.|
|"Hmm. Reminds me of the standing stones back home."||Near All-Maker Stones, cleansed.|
- Oddly enough, if Lydia does not have a helmet, she chooses enchanted mage's robes in her inventory over any other type of armor, which lends to some roleplaying situations but offers little to no practical combat advantage. If she has a helmet in her inventory, she will then equip that and remove the robes.
- If Lydia dies, a courier will approach the Dragonborn whenever they get to town and give them money left for the Dragonborn in Lydia's will. The amount will normally be 300 gold, but it will be 400 if they are married. In either case, a tax of 30 gold will be kept by the Jarl's court.
- Lydia is one of many followers that tends to stand in front of a doorway when the Dragonborn walks into a small room. Unrelenting Force can be used to push her out of the way. Alternatively, sprinting into her will stagger her back. The Dragonborn can also order her to wait somewhere else through dialogue commands.
- The Dragonborn can give Lydia a single arrow of the best type they can find, then she will use an infinite supply of those arrows. However, it is recommended to give her at least two of them and removing any other type, since Lydia tends to use equipment worse than the best avaiable.
- Lydia will not follow over rough or steep terrain. She will instead take an easier path around and catch up. This could result in her not being seen her for several minutes or her attracting danger to herself. Since Lydia is not a very adept swimmer, it will be easier to keep her close if the Dragonborn uses bridges or close islands when crossing water. If a destination is reached, waiting may bring her back. Also, entering any door will cause her to reappear.
- If the Dragonborn sides with the Stormcloaks during the Battle for Whiterun, Lydia will fight by their side against the Whiterun guards. After the battle, she will still regard the Dragonborn as Thane, even if the title has not been restored by the new Jarl.
- She is voiced by Colleen Delany, the same voice actress as Ria and Mephala.
- Since the release of The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard, the Dragonborn now has the option to turn her into a vampire if she is their spouse. This can only happen if the Dragonborn sides with the vampires.
- If she is given a better bow than her default bow, the arrows in the inventory will be limited. To help her with ranged combat, the choice is to either give her a better bow and have her use her default iron arrows or to simply give her a better arrow to infinitely use with her default bow.
- If she is recruited to the Blades, Hrongar may send hired thugs after the Dragonborn, though this happens rarely.
- Lydia's dialogue differs depending on the Dragonborn's race.
This section contains bugs related to Lydia. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
|Click to see bugs encountered|