Open main menu

UESPWiki β


< Lore: People: P
Grandmaster Paarthurnax
Grandmaster Paarthurnax
Race Dragon Gender Male
Born Dawn Era
Resided in Throat of the World
Appears in Skyrim, Legends
"What is better - to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?" — Paarthurnax

Paarthurnax, a legendary dragon whose name means "Ambition Overlord Cruelty" in the Dragon Language, is the leader of the Greybeards who resides at the top of the Throat of the World. His younger dragon brothers refer to him as "the Old One".[1] He was once the lieutenant of Alduin, but rebelled against him and with the help of Kyne taught humanity how to use the Thu'um.[2] He has since lived out a peaceful life, constantly struggling against the primal need to conquer and dominate, and teaching the Greybeards under Jurgen Windcaller's philosophy of the Way of the Voice.[3][UOL 1] When Alduin reappeared in 4E 201, he aided the Last Dragonborn in defeating him.[4] In the aftermath, Paarthurnax sought to teach the dragons now scattered across Tamriel the truth and rightness of the Way of the Voice.[3] Interestingly, Paarthurnax is missing the tip of his right horn.[5]


Paarthurnax and his brother, Alduin

Paarthurnax acted as the lieutenant of Alduin, his older brother, during the Dragon War, purportedly committing many atrocities in the process.[6] During this time, he taught other dovah how to become masters of the thu'um.[7] Eventually, Paarthurnax rebelled against Alduin and instead taught mortals how to use the thu'um. Nords believe this was ordered by, or at least willed by, the goddess Kyne. Paarthurnax implies that one of his motivations for rebellion was that Alduin claimed the lordship of Akatosh.[3][8][2] When Alduin was defeated by being cast forward in time through use of an Elder Scroll, Paarthurnax used meditation to overcome his draconic instinct and lust for power. He retired to the peak of the Throat of the World, where he took up practice of the Way of the Voice, a philosophy discovered by Jurgen Windcaller.[4][9] He served as the leader of the Greybeards, a monastic order also dedicated to the Way of the Voice.[4] Paarthurnax evaded death because of the protection provided by the Greybeards, and then by the Emperors, although he remained a high-priority target of the Blades for centuries.[6][10]

Throughout the eras, Paarthurnax spent most of his time meditating, rarely communicating even with the Greybeards and never with outsiders. Being allowed to see him is a great privilege, and only those whose Voice is strong can find and walk the perilous path to him.[9] He recalls visiting the captured dragon, Numinex, in Dragonsreach around the first era. He attributes the decline of the dragon race to the Akaviri, who slaughtered his brothers in the late first era and dwindled their numbers drastically.[3] In 4E 201, Alduin reappeared and the prophesied Last Dragonborn arrived in Skyrim. The Dragonborn was soon summoned to High Hrothgar by the Greybeards, and eventually met with Paarthurnax, who had not trained another in over a hundred years[3] and aided the Dragonborn in defeating Alduin.[4] When confronting Paarthurnax at the Throat of the World, Alduin noted that his brother had weakened in power and offered him the chance to join him once more or perish, but Paarthurnax refused.[3] Paarthurnax then took it upon himself to teach the Way of the Voice to the remaining dragons who had been resurrected by Alduin, so that they too could control their lust for power.[1][3] However, the Blades discovered Paarthurnax's whereabouts, and appealed to the Dragonborn to kill Paarthurnax as punishment for his ancient crimes against humanity. Paarthurnax's fate is currently unknown.[11]



  • Durnehviir and Paarthurnax had never met before his imprisonment in the Soul Cairn.[UOL 2]

See AlsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Dialogue with Odahviing
  2. ^ a b Etched Tablets of High Hrothgar
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Dialogue with Paarthurnax
  4. ^ a b c d Events of Skyrim.
  5. ^ Appearance of Paarthurnax
  6. ^ a b Esbern's dialogue in Skyrim.
  7. ^ Dragonclaw Rock quest in Legends
  8. ^ The Dragon WarTorhal Bjorik
  9. ^ a b Arngeir's dialogue in Skyrim.
  10. ^ Atlas of DragonsBrother Mathnan
  11. ^ Possible events of Skyrim

Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.