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Paarthurnax TotW
Race Dragon
Gender Male
Level 10
Faction Greybeards
Rank Grandmaster
Services Meditations on the Words of Power
Essential Yes, before the start of Paarthurnax
Ref ID 0003C57D
Base ID 0003C57C
For the quest involving the character of the same name, see Paarthurnax.
"What is better - to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?"

Paarthurnax (called the Old One by other dragons, or PAaRTHUrNAX in the dragon language), is the leader of the Greybeards. He served as Alduin's lieutenant during the Dragon War in the Merethic Era, during which he was said to have committed and witnessed unspeakable atrocities against mankind.[1]


Despite dragons being immortal, Paarthurnax shows clear signs of great age, including tattered skin on his wings and tail, broken and chipped horns and chin-spikes, dulled color in his skin and eyes and several teeth missing.


Merethic EraEdit

Paarthurnax claims it was Alduin's false claim of godhood that turned him against his older brother.[2] However, Nordic legend states that it was Kyne herself who intervened, and sent Paarthurnax to assist mankind.[3] Either way, Paarthurnax, along with several other Dragons, betrayed their former master and taught mankind to use the Thu'um.[2] Mankind eventually prevailed and Alduin was banished from Mundus.

As with all Dragons, the lust for power was innate and still strong within him and if left unchecked, he would surely revert to his old ways. To overcome this, he retired to the peak of the Throat of the World and lived in seclusion so that he could meditate and focus on the Way of the Voice, a pacifist creed developed by Jurgen Windcaller that preached the Thu'um should only be used for the worship and glory of the gods rather than martial exploits.[4][5]

Jurgen Windcaller also founded the Greybeards, a monastic order dedicated to mastering the Way of the Voice. He built High Hrothgar,[3] located near the peak of the Throat of the World, which served as the monastery where the Greybeards meditated and perfected their Voice. Paarthurnax became the grandmaster of the Greybeards, but continued to live in seclusion at the peak of the mountain.[5]

Music-icon Play
Length: 0:07
Description: Paarthurnax speaking to the Dovahkiin

First EraEdit

Some time after 1E 420, he would often visit the legendary Dragon Numinex during his imprisonment in Dragonsreach. He recalls that Numinex was so lonely and disturbed by his captivity that he could not remember his own name.[2]

Fourth EraEdit

The Blades kept a record of any known surviving Dragons from the Dragon War. According to the Atlas of Dragons, Paarthurnax is recorded as one of the only dragons that survived. Given his history, and the atrocities he committed during the Dragon War, the Blades are very keen to see him brought to justice.


The Throat of the WorldEdit

Paarthurnaax (night)

Paarthurnax at night, with aurora in background.

After the Greybeards teach the Clear Skies shout to the Dragonborn, they use it to approach the summit of the Throat of the World, seeking Paarthurnax for information on the location of an Elder Scroll.

Paarthurnax is not surprised when the Dragonborn is confused over his form as a dragon. When this is mentioned, he replies with "I am as my father Akatosh made me." He teaches the Dragonborn the Fire Breath shout. If the first word has already been learned, he will teach the second, and if the first and second words have been learned he will teach the third one. He can also help the Dragonborn to meditate on their shouts, giving them additional perks depending on the word chosen.

Alduin's BaneEdit

After the Dragonborn recovers the Elder Scroll from the Tower of Mzark and reads it at the Time Wound, Paarthurnax helps the Dragonborn in defeating Alduin. After the latter escapes to Sovngarde, Paarthurnax will devise a plan to capture a dragon in Dragonsreach to find out where Alduin has gone.


After the Blades learn that Paarthurnax aided Alduin during the Dragon War, they seek to kill him. When the Dragonborn mentions that Paarthurnax betrayed Alduin, the Blades will state that this simply means that he has the ability to betray them and others as well. If he is not killed, he appears for a small speech in the Epilogue. This quest will not go away until the Dragonborn kills him, or until the Greybeards are sought out afterwards, sitting at their table at High Hrothgar. They will give the Dragonborn a debriefing on his/her excursion to Sovngarde and battle against Alduin, and they will hint at his/her fate and future accomplishments.


If Paarthurnax was not killed at the request of the Blades, he appears at the Throat of the World in this quest, which is immediately after Tsun sends the Dragonborn back to Mundus upon completion of the final quest, Sovngarde. Paarthurnax then speaks of his intent on bringing the "Way of the Voice" to all dragons and flies off. However, he can still be found perched on the mountain's Word Wall at any given time, and will still aid the Dragonborn in meditating on Shouts. Although Paarthumax behaves at this point like an essential character, it is possible to kill him after meditating (see below) upon a shout, but a very strong Poison of Lingering Damage Health can overcome his healing rate. At such point, the Dragonborn may return to Delphine at Sky Haven Temple to further his progress on the Blades quests.


Paarthurnax will guide the Dragonborn in meditating on words of power. Meditating on a word grants a perk related to that shout until the Dragonborn meditates on a different word. There are three choices:

  • "Fus" grants the "Force Without Effort" perk, which increases the Dragonborn's stagger resistance by 25% and causes the Dragonborn to stagger opponents 25% more. Note that this is for all forms of stagger, not just stagger relating to Unrelenting Force.
  • "Feim" grants the "Ethereal Spirit" perk to the Dragonborn, causing 25% faster health regeneration while ethereal. The effect is only triggered while the Become Ethereal shout is active. No constant effect is added to the active effects list.
  • "Yol" grants "The Fire Within" perk, which increases damage done by the Fire Breath shout by 25%.





  • His name means "Ambition Overlord Cruelty."
  • Paarthurnax claims he visited Numinex after he was captured, he also claims the dragon couldn't even remember his own name.
  • Paarthurnax is voiced by Charles Martinet, best known for his work as the voice of Mario, LuigiWario, among others in the Super Mario Bros. video game franchise.
  • When attacked and killed before the start of the quest Paarthurnax, he makes a pose, typical for humanoid essential NPCs.
  • Sometimes, one of the little girls running around Rorikstead, Sissel, may say "I had a dream that there was a good dragon. He was old and grey but he wasn't scary."
  • Despite formerly being one of Alduin's lieutenants during the Dragon War, and appearing to be a powerful dragon, Paarthurnax is relatively low leveled compared to other Dragons.


This section contains bugs related to Paarthurnax. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Confirm all bugs with other editors on the talk page before adding them below.
  2. Always try reloading an old save first, before asking for assistance.
  3. Do not discuss possible bug fixes or origins. Leave those and all other first-person-anecdotes on the talk page, not the article.
  4. Always add  360  ,  PS3  , or  PC   to clarify which system the bug appears on.
  •  PC   360   PS3  When the Dragonborn is told by the Blades that Paarthurnax should be slain, Paarthurnax may remain essential.
    •  PC  To remedy this, simply open the command console, click on Paarthurnax with the cursor, and enter Disable. Paarthurnax will disappear and the game will act as if he was killed. The soul will still be absorbed, sometimes with sound and sometimes without. Fast Traveling right after disabling Paarthurnax will not stop the soul from being absorbed.
  • During the initial conversation with Paarthurnax, his flying animation can lock up, resulting in a rapid flailing which ultimately results in his disappearance. Even with Paarthurnax gone, the conversation proceeds despite the dragon being too far away to hear. The speech can be read if subtitles are enabled.
    • Fix: Exit the conversation, and Paarthurnax will fly back down and land on the Word Wall he sat on before. Then, re-initiate the conversation.
  •  PS3   When talking to Paarthurnax, he might circle up above in the air or simply exit the conversation.
  •  360   Followers may attack Paarthurnax on sight.
  •  360   During the fight with Alduin atop the Throat of the World, Paarthurnax may get stuck in the ground.
  •  PS3   If Paarthurnax is attacked while teaching "Yol", he may fly off and not return.



  1. Dialogue with Delphine
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Dialogue with Paarthurnax
  3. 3.0 3.1 7000 Steps Etchings
  4. Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Skyrim
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dialogue with Arngeir

Start a Discussion Discussions about Paarthurnax

  • Reason why you kill (or don't kill paarthurnax )

    49 messages
    • I never kill Paarthurnax.  They say he did terrible deeds long ago, as if dragons are the only ones with dark pasts. Yes, I am the Dragonbo...
    • {Applauds} Amen to that, man. Amen to that! Besides, I look at it like this. What do the Blades offer me? A little back up with Dragon killi...
  • Interestingly strange glitch

    7 messages
    • For just linking again (not embedding).
    • Ok, from dragons to wikia information, I got that now. Thanks for telling me, better than finding out after I break the rules! I did read ...

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