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< Skyrim: People
(RefID: 000198CB)
(lore page)
Home City Solitude
Location Bards College
Race High Elf Gender Male
Level 4 Class Bard
RefID 000198CB BaseID 000132AD
Other Information
Health 73 Magicka 63
Stamina 59
Primary Skills Illusion
Morality No Crime Aggression Unaggressive
Essential Yes
Voice Type MaleSlyCynical
Faction(s) CrimeFactionHaafingar; JobBardFaction; SolitudeBardsCollegeFaction; TownSolitudeFaction
Lunch at the Winking Skeever

Viarmo, a High Elf bard, is Headmaster of the Bards College in Solitude and as such, oversees the efforts of the three teachers, Inge Six Fingers, Pantea Ateia, and Giraud Gemane. His pride and joy is the Burning of King Olaf, an annual festival held by the College in order to celebrate Solitude. Due to the recent murder of High King Torygg, the mourning widow and current Jarl, Elisif the Fair, has put a stop to the festival. She reasons that burning a king in effigy is in poor taste, and you will have to help out a discouraged Viarmo prove her wrong during the quest Tending the Flames.

His room is located in the northeastern wing on the ground floor of the college and he sleeps there every night between 7pm and 6am. He will then find his usual spot in the lobby where he enjoys a one-hour breakfast at 7am. He stays in the lobby until 10am when he heads up to the Winking Skeever for a three-hour lunch with Giraud and Pantea (see notes). At 1pm he is back in the lobby where he spends the entire afternoon. After a one-hour dinner at 6pm he goes straight to bed. This daily routine only triggers upon completion of Tending the Flames; until then, Viarmo will wander around the ground floor of the Bards College 24 hours a day, with a few major exceptions listed below.

Viarmo wears a set of fine clothes along with a pair of fine boots. He carries a key to the college and a selection of common items and gold.

Related QuestsEdit


His greetings:

"Welcome to the Bard's College. I am the headmaster here. How may I help you?"
"Welcome to Solitude. Home of the arts here in Skyrim."
"It is my personal mission to ensure that the Bards College preserves the great deeds of the past, in both poetry and song."
"Never forget, the most important job of any bard is to entertain. The day you lose your audience is the day you cut your lute strings."
"I generally don't involve myself in politics. Good tales deal with the issues of the day, but a wise bard remains a neutral observer."
"We bards record history - we do not make it. You'd do well to remember that."

When spoken to:

What do you know about dragons?
"Not much, to be honest. Their return was a shock to us all. Giraud Gemane has some tomes about them in the library, if you're interested."
Has the war affected your college much?
"Not much. But as a bard, I find the whole affair depressing. There are no heroes in this war. No winners to be had and no real conclusion. If you want something a bard can dig into look to the dragons. A thousand years from now Skyrim will have changed rulers dozens of times but the return of the dragons, that story is once in an era."

If you have conquered Solitude for the Stormcloaks, he will change this statement: "There are no heroes in this war. Even with Ulfric here in Solitude, there are no winners to be had. No real conclusion."


As headmaster, Viarmo will often ask the three teachers about their progress with the students:

"Complacency is the bane of art."

Viarmo: "How are your students coming along?"
Inge: "Some of them have a long way to go, but they're mostly passable. Don't let them hear I said that, though!"
Viarmo: "Of course not! Complacency is the bane of art. They're in good hands with you, Inge."
Inge: "Yes, Headmaster."

Viarmo: "How are your students coming along?"
Pantea: "Passably. Aia is my star pupil. None of the others can hold a candle to her. Especially not that wretched llldi."
Viarmo: "Try not to play favorites, Lady Ateia. It does a disservice to the whole class."
Pantea: "Yes, Headmaster."

Viarmo: "How are your students coming along?"
Giraud: "Bunch of distractions, if you ask me. They just interrupt the rest of my work."
Viarmo: "I'm sorry to break it to you, Giraud, but students are an unfortunate necessity of a college. Do try to persevere."
Giraud: "Yes, Headmaster."

Quest-Related DialogueEdit

Tending the FlamesEdit

I'm looking to apply to the college.
"Always a pleasure to meet a prospective bard. You should be aware that many apply but we accept very few people. When possible, we ask applicants to perform tasks the college needs completed. In this case, I do have a task befitting an aspiring bard..."
What do you need me to do?
"Elisif has forbidden the Burning of King Olaf, a Festival put on by the Bards College. We need to change her mind. To convince her I want to read King Olaf's Verse. A part of the Poetic Edda, the living history of Skyrim. Unfortunately the verse was lost long ago."
And that's where I come in?
"Yes. According to Giraud, our histories keeper, the portion of the Edda dealing with King Olaf might still exist in Dead Man's Respite. I need you to retrieve the poem."
So what is the Poetic Edda?
"I think Giraud here would give you the best explanation of both it and the history of King Olaf's Verse. You should speak to him about it."
Why did Elisif forbid the festival?
"As you may be aware Elisif's husband High King Torygg was recently killed. Elisif mourns her husband deeply and she feels that a festival that burns a King in effigy is... distasteful. I've tried to convince her the festival is many centuries old and celebrates Solitude but I need proof. I believe King Olaf's verse will provide that proof."

When leaving the conversation he will say:

"I wish you luck in finding the verse."
"Now let's take a look at this..."

When you return from Dead Men's Respite with King Olaf's Verse in hand, an anxious Viarmo will greet you:

"Ah, you have returned. How goes the task I gave you?"
I found King Olaf's Verse.
"I have to admit I didn't think it would actually be there. Now let's take a look at this... Oh. Oh-no. This won't do at all. The copy is incomplete, it's aged to the point that parts are unreadable. And the parts that are readable... well... bardic verse has come a long way since ancient times. It means I can't read it to the court. Without the verse I won't be able to convince Elisif of the importance of The Burning of King Olaf Festival. If she isn't convinced of the festival's importance then she won't reverse her decision to stop the effigy burning. It means that the Burning of King Olaf, which the Bards College has held for time immemorial, won't be happening."
Can't we just make up missing parts the verse?
"Make it up? That doesn't seem appropriate... I suppose I could copy his style based on what you brought me but I have no idea what happened in between these verses."

If you leave the conversation before he has a chance to continue, he will comment:

"You're leaving? Okay, we'll just work on the verse in a bit."

Regardless, Viarmo will start to read the books' passages for you, hoping for an input. First, he will recite the first verse:

""O, Olaf, our subjugator, the one-eyed betrayer;" "death-dealing demon and dragon-killing King." "Your legend is lies, lurid and false;" "your cunning capture of Numinex, a con for the ages." King Olaf was Olaf One-Eye? He famously captured the dragon Numinex and took him to Dragonsreach. What do we say really happened?"
We can do this. What's the first verse?

Three options are available at this point, all of which will reflect how the poem will turn out. Note that your Speech skill needs to be 25 or higher for a successful persuasion:

Olaf found him asleep. "Ha! All right, I'm writing that in. I'm not sure about the court but I find that much more probable than Olaf capturing a dragon."
Olaf made a deal with Numinex. "Hmmm, Olaf did become king and Numinex escaped later. It's entirely possible... and I'm sure the court will like that, I'm writing it in."
Olaf was Numinex. A dragon in human form! (Persuade) "I find that highly unlikely... but the court will love it. I'm writing it in." OR "I find that highly unlikely... I think it would be irresponsible to write that in to the verse."

Okay, what's next?
""Olaf grabbed power, by promise and threat;" "From Falkreath to Winterhold, they fell to their knees;" "But Solitude stood strong, Skyrim's truest protectors." "Olaf's vengeance was instant, inspired and wicked." Strange. According to history Solitude attacked Winterhold, but Aesgeir seems to be saying Olaf reacted. What do we say happened?"

You will have to provide your input to fill out the rest. Note that your Speech skill level must be 50 or higher to persuade him successfully:

Olaf ordered disguised troops to attack Solitude? "And they got the orders backwards. Ha ha ha. Yes, I'm writing that in. It should be good for a laugh from the court."
He convinced Solitude to attack Winterhold. "It's not the most exciting answer but the most likely. I'll write it in."
He sacked it and used magic to blame Solitude. "That sounds good. I'm not sure the court will believe that Olaf had wizard powers but we shall see."
Olaf sacked it in dragon form! (Persuade) "Oh that is exciting! I'm sure the court and the Jarl will love it. I'm writing it in now." OR "No, that's pushing it too far. Very exciting but highly unlikely, I can't possibly write that in."

"I wish to present King Olaf's verse from the Poetic Edda."

After that, an excited Viarmo will declare the improvised poem finished:

Is that it?
"It has a few final lines but that's all we needed to add. I need to head to court immediately and present this. You should come."

He will then be on his way to the Blue Palace, eager to present it to Elisif the Fair. If you approach him on the way, he will comment:

"I do hope the court likes the verse. I think we've done an excellent job of recreating it."

He will also exit conversation with:

"We should really get to court."

Upon arriving in the Blue Palace, Viarmo will politely take a seat in the lobby, waiting for you to arrive:

Are we ready?
"I think my voice is ready. I hope we've done this well."

He will then walk up the stairs, determined to perform the Edda, and will only say:

"Not now."

When he stands before jarl Elisif, she will say:

Elisif: "Ah, Viarmo. I assume you are here to petition for the reinstatement of the Burning of King Olaf Festival."
Viarmo: "I am, Jarl. I wish to present King Olaf's verse from the Poetic Edda. Recovered this very day from the Bards Tomb."
Elisif: "Ah, you mentioned something that would convince us the festival should take place but I didn't expect King Olaf's lost verse. Please proceed."

Viarmo will then start, and his recitation will reflect what you chose back at the college:

"O, Olaf, our subjugator, the one-eyed betrayer;"
"death-dealing demon and dragon-killing King."
"Your legend is lies, lurid and false;"
"your cunning capture of Numinex, a con for the ages."
No shouting match between dragon and man, no fire or fury did this battle entail.
(Olaf found Numinex asleep): Olaf captured a fast-sleeping dragon, a mighty feat which the meek would not fail.
(Olaf made a deal with Numinex): Olaf struck a deal to make himself king, Numinex let go though none tell that tale.
(Olaf was Numinex. A dragon in human form!): Olaf was Numinex in human form, on moonless nights he would spread wings and sail.
Olaf grabbed power, by promise and threat;
From Falkreath to Winterhold, they fell to their knees;
But Solitude stood strong, Skyrim's truest protectors.
Olaf's vengeance was instant, inspired and wicked.
Olaf gave orders, Winterhold disguises. An attack on Solitude total destruction to follow.
(Olaf sacked Winterhold and used magic to blame Solitude): Because Solitude would not soon bend knee, Olaf would hurt them while his status accrued. He sacked Winterhold his only true ally, and used magic bold to blame Solitude.
(Olaf sacked it in dragon form!): Because Solitude would not soon bend knee, Olaf would hurt them while his status accrued. He sacked Winterhold in dragonform, and bent their minds to blame Solitude.
(Any other suggestion): His men dressed up and then went out to fight, but they reversed Olaf's orders much to Winterhold's sorrow.
So ends the story of Olaf the liar, a thief and a scoundrel we of Solitude commit to the fire.
In Solitude bards train for their service, they also gather each year and burn a King who deserves it.
"You have proven your point, Viarmo."

After his powerful performance, Viarmo will be silent while Elisif will be seemingly convinced that the festival is nowhere near distasteful:

Elisif: "You have proven your point, Viarmo. The festival is truly a celebration of Solitude and a condemnation of false kings."
Viarmo: "I thank you and the college thanks you, Jarl."
Elisif: "Furthermore, I believe that such a fine poem deserves some payment of Patronage. The college will be moderately/generously rewarded."
Viarmo: "Thank you yet again. I will make sure our applicant, who was instrumental in... recovering the poem will be well rewarded."

While the court returns to their daily routine, Viarmo will turn to you:

"Unbelievable! You have done us a great service here. I can't begin to thank you enough."
Does that mean I'm a Bard now?
"Soon, soon. These things must be done properly, you will be inducted as part of the Festival itself. I need you to go speak to Jorn. He was preparing the Effigy of King Olaf. Tell him to finish the preparations, the Festival is back on."

He will then return to the college and will only say: We should have the festival soon. He will also exit conversation with a reminder:

"Don't forget to speak to Jorn when you're ready for the festival."
"Welcome, people of Solitude!"

Once outside, you will find half the city gathered around the effigy of King Olaf, including Viarmo with a lit torch in his hand. When everything is ready he will provide a speech:

"Welcome, people of Solitude! We of the Bards College are pleased to be here to celebrate the Burning of King Olaf. The festival would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of our latest applicant. With the lighting of the effigy... He becomes a full-fledged member of the Bards College. Please welcome our newest Bard!"

There is another round of applause while King Olaf burns. Viarmo will then walk up to you:

"I think they like you."
So I'm a bard?
"Yes. Congratulations, you are now a full-fledged member of the Bards College. Due to your adventurous nature several of the college professors have some things they wish you to do. What's more, Elisif has declared the Burning of King Olaf should become a weekly event. And finally, there's the matter of the Patronage that Elisif wanted me to give you."


  • During his lunch break at the Winking Skeever, Viarmo was meant to have several conversations with the other members of the Bards College. However, the conversations requires the participation of student Aia Arria, who will never set foot at the Skeever, so these conversations will never be heard:
Speaker Conversation
Pantea "Viarmo, the college really must take a stand on the war!"
"Viarmo, don't you think it's time that the Bards College officially declared support for the empire?"
Viarmo "Lady Ateia, it is the official position of the college to remain neutral in all political affairs. We cannot risk our history by choosing sides."
"Now, now, our duty is to record the great tales of history, not to pick sides in them. Best to stay out of the warfare, I feel."
Aia "But I'm sure those Skyrim dogs would stand down if the keepers of the tales showed their patriotism!"
"Maybe if we stopped singing about their silly Nord heroes, the rebels would stop making such a fuss!"
Pantea "Aia, please be quiet. Viarmo and I are discussing matters of national politics."
"Aia, this is a delicate matter. Why don't you review your lessons and be silent for a while."
Viarmo "Pantea, perhaps you should attend to your students, and leave the politics to me."
"That is precisely why we remain neutral. Ours is to tell tales of empires, not to make or break them."


All the bards performing all over Skyrim will point you towards the Bards College, and some of them will even mention the Headmaster: "I think the Bards College might be looking for recruits. You should speak to the head of the college, Viarmo, if you're interested.", "If you go there, talk to Viarmo. He's the headmaster." and "If you're thinking of applying, talk to Viarmo in Solitude." A statement from local food merchant Jala proves that Viarmo is in high regards: "Everyone who's anyone. Viarmo bought an apple the other day, said he was looking for a new student.", while one of the students at the college, Jorn, is less impressed: "It's an honor to have Viarmo for instruction on drum, but he's far too reserved for my tastes." and "Viarmo is too concerned with precision. What of instinct? Hmm? What of passion?"


  • After the related quest, Viarmo may hold the burning torch from the festival permanently, even when he is sleeping in bed.
    •   The Unofficial Skyrim Patch, version 1.0, fixes this bug.
    •   To fix this, open the console and select Viarmo. Then, type removeitem 0001d4ec 1, followed by equipitem 0001d4ec, and finally removeitem 0001d4ec 1.
    • Attack Viarmo until he kneels down on the floor; he won't die as he is essential. Once he does that, he shouldn't be holding the torch any longer. A bounty will be earned if you use this method. Another method is by reverse-pickpocketing another torch into his inventory. This fixes the issue with minimal bloodshed. From then on, he will only equip the torch when appropriate.
  • Due to two different bugs in Tending the Flames, the recitation may not match your choices, and some of the recitation can never be heard at all.
    •   The Unofficial Skyrim Patch, version 1.0, addresses this issue. One of the bugs is fixed, however the other is outstanding—see the quest page for more details.