For other uses, see Paarthurnax.
"What is better – to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?"

TES5 paarthurnax

Paarthurnax (Dovahzul: PAaRTHUrNAX), 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]

TESV Voice Paarthurnax
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 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, Dragonslayer. 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 will be needed to overcome his healing rate. At such point, the Dragonborn may return to Delphine at Sky Haven Temple to further their progress on the Blades quests.


Main article: Meditations on the Words of Power

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 Dov (Dragonkind). Everything mortal fades away in time, but the spirit remains. Ponder the meaning of spirit, unslaad zii (Eternal 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 - suleyk (power), power. You have it, as do all Dov (Dragonkind). But power is inert without action and choice. Think of this as the fire builds in your su'um (breath), in your breath. Su'um ahrk morah. (Breath and focus.) What will you burn? What will you spare?"


Quote Audio
"Dov wahlaan fah rel. We were made to dominate. The will to power is in our blood. You feel it in yourself, do you not?"
(Dov wahlaan fah rel. = "Dragons were created for domination.")
Paar 1
"I can be trusted. I know this. But they do not. Onikaan ni ov dovah. It is always wise to mistrust a dovah."
(Onikaan ni ov dovah. = "Wisdom is not trusting a dragon.")
Paar 2
"I have overcome my nature only through meditation and long study of the Way of the Voice."
Paar 3
"No day goes by where I am not tempted to return to my inborn nature. Zin krif horvut se suleyk."
(Zin krif horvut se suleyk. = "Honor (is) fighting the lure of power.")
Paar 4
"What is better - to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?"
Paar 5
"They were mighty, in their day. Even to attempt to defeat Alduin... sahrot hunne. The Nords have had many heroes since, but none greater."
(sahrot hunne = "mighty heroes")
Paar 6
"This is the most sacred mountain in Skyrim. Zok revak strunmah. The great mountain of the world."
(Zok revak strunmah. = "Most sacred mountain.")
Paar 7
"Here the ancient Tongues, the first mortal masters of the Voice, brought Alduin to battle and defeated him."
Paar 8
"Drem. Patience. I am answering, in my way."
Paar 9
"Yes and no. Viik nuz ni kron. Alduin was not truly defeated, either. If he was, you would not be here today, seeking to... defeat him."
(Viik nuz ni kroon. = "Defeat but not victory.")
Paar 10
"The Nords of those days used the Dragonrend Shout to cripple Alduin. But this was not enough. Ok mulaag unslaad."
(Ok mulaag unslaad = "His strength (is) unending.")
Paar 11
"It was the Kel - the Elder Scroll. They used it to... cast him adrift on the currents of Time."
Paar 12
"Hmm. How to explain in your tongue? The dov have words for such things that joorre do not."
(dov = "dragonkind", joorre = "mortals")
Paar 13
"It is an... artifact from outside time. It does not exist, but it has always existed. Rah wahlaan. They are...hmm... fragments of creation."
(Rah wahlaan. = "Gods (of) creation." or Creator gods.")
Paar 14
"The Kelle... Elder Scrolls, as you name them, they have often been used for prophecy. Yes, your prophecy comes from an Elder Scroll."
Paar 15
"But this is only a small part of their power. Zofaas suleyk."
(Zofaas suleyk. = "Fearful power.")
Paar 16
"Tiid krent. Time was... shattered here because of what the ancient Nords did to Alduin."
Paar 17
"Yes. Alduin... zeymah. The elder brother. Gifted, grasping and troublesome as is so often the case with firstborn."
Paar 18
"True... But qostiid - prophecy - tells what may be, not what should be."
(qostiid= "prophecy")
Paar 19
"Qostiid sahlo aak. Just because you can do a thing, does not always mean you should."
(Qostiid sahlo aak. = "Prophecy is a weak guide.")
Paar 20
"If you can see your destiny clearly, your sight is clearer than mine."
Paar 21
"Dahmaan - remember, Alduin also follows his destiny, as he sees it."
(Dahmaan = "remember")
Paar 22
"But, I bow before your certainty. In a way I envy you. The curse of much knowledge is often indecision."
Paar 23
"There is nothing else but philosophy to a dovah. It is no accident that we do battle with our Thu'um, our Voices."
Paar 24
"There is no distinction between debate and combat to a dragon. Tinvaak los grah. For us it is one and the same."
(Tinvaak los grah. = "Talk/Speech is battle.")
Paar 25
"Hmm. Yes. They are very protective of me. Bahlaan fahdonne."
(Bahlaan fahdonne. ="Worthy friends.")
Paar 26
"Alduin komeyt tiid. What else would you seek? Alduin and Dovahkiin return together."
Paar 27
"I am as my father Akatosh made me. As are you... Dovahkiin."
Paar 28
"They see me as master. Wuth. Onik. Old and wise. It is true I am old..."
(Onik. = "Wise.")
Paar 29
"Drem Yol Lok. Greetings, wunduniik. I am Paarthurnax."
wunduniik = "traveller"
Paar 30
"You are bold, wunduniik. You dare enter a Dovah's home without permission."
Paar 31
"You have it. The Kel - the Elder Scroll. Tiid kreh... qalos. Time shudders at its touch."
Paar 32
"Do not delay. Alduin will be coming. He cannot miss the signs."
Paar 33
"Odahviing will come to your challenge. Boziik. Krilot. He will not be able to resist your call, from the Hill of the Dovah itself... he will come."
Paar 34
"Lot krongrah. You truly have the Voice of a dovah. Alduin's allies will think twice after this victory."
(Lot krongrah. = "Great victory.")
Paar 35
"Happy? No, I am not happy. Zeymahi lost ont du'ul Bormahu. Alduin was once the crown of our father Akatosh's creation."
Zeymahi lost ont du'ul Bormahu. = "My brother was once the crown of our father."
Paar 36
"But I cannot celebrate his fall. Zu'u tiiraaz ahst ok mah. He was my brother once. This world will never be the same."
(Zu'u tiiraaz ahst ok mah. = "I am sad at his fall.")
Paar 37
"So, it is done. Alduin dilon. The Eldest is no more, he who came before all others, and has always been."
Paar 38





  • The name "Paarthurnax" translates to "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." This is most likely a reference to Paarthurnax.
  • 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.
  • If the Dragonborn kills Paarthurnax, the Greybeards will hate the Dragonborn, and will no longer help them.


This section contains bugs related to Paarthurnax (Skyrim). 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  ,  NX  , 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(Fix)   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.
    •  PC(Fix)   Alternatively, open the command console, click on Paarthurnax with the cursor, and enter setessential 0. Paarthurnax will be rendered as non-essential, and then enter kill to kill Paarthurnax.
  • 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   PS4   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 (Skyrim)

  • Is Paarthurnax the true master of Stealth?

    2 messages
    • Its said that Paarthurnax visited Numinex during his imprisonment in Dragonsreach. How? Hes a dragon, he can't just casually leave The thr...
    • he probably used the become ethreal shout, or another shout that is unknown to us to mask his true form or become unseen
  • Drem yol lok, greetings. *Spoilers*

    7 messages
    • Paarthurnax is probably one of the rare Dov that is a pacifist and prone to conversations with humans. The other Dovah either don't resp...
    • You know, this Thread is 3 years old now...