Elder Scrolls


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For the quest involving the character of the same name, see Paarthurnax (Quest).
"What is better - to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?"

Paar-thur-nax (Dovahzul: PAaRTHUrNAX, "Ambition-Overlord-Cruelty"), called "the Old One" by other dov, 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]

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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 their excursion to Sovngarde and battle against Alduin, and they will hint at their 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 Paarthurnax 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%.

Meditation dialogueEdit

"Speak, I will listen."
I wish to meditate on a Word of Power. "Which calls to you Dovahkiin; Fus, Feim or Yol?"

Fus "It is called "force" in your tongue. But as you push the world, so does the world push back. Think of the way force may be applied effortlessly - imagine but a whisper pushing aside all in its path. That is Fus, let its meaning fill you. Su'um ahrk morah.Breath and focus. You will push the world harder than it pushes back."
Feim "Fade" in your tongue - mortals have greater affinity for this word than the DovDragonkind. Everything mortal fades away in time, but the spirit remains. Ponder the meaning of spirit, unslaad ziiEternal spirit. Where mortal flesh may wither and die, the spirit endures. That is Feim, let that meaning fill you. Su'um ahrk morah.Breath and focus. You will find that your spirit will give you more strength."
Yol In your tongue, the word simply means "fire." It is change given form, power at its most primal. That is the true meaning of Yol - suleykpower, power. You have it, as do all DovDragonkind. But power is inert without action and choice. Think of this as the fire builds in your su'umbreath, in your breath. Su'um ahrk morah.Breath and focus. What will you burn? What will you spare?"





  • 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. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  / XB1  ,  PS3  / PS4  ,  PC  / MAC  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person-anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  •  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.
  •  PC   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

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