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(RefID: 00019DFD)
(lore page)
Location The Ratway, then Sky Haven Temple
Race Elder Gender Male
Level PC×0.75 (range=10-30) Class Conjurer
RefID 00019DFD BaseID 00013358
Other Information
Health 50+(PC-1.3)×6.2
Magicka 150+(PC-1.3)×5
Stamina 50
Primary Skills Conjuration, Restoration, Alteration, Destruction
Class Details CombatMageConjurer
Morality No Crime Aggression Unaggressive
Essential Yes
Voice Type Unique
Faction(s) CrimeFactionRift; FavorExcludedFaction; TownRiftenFaction; WIAdditem03ExclusionFaction; all friends in here

Esbern, an elderly Nord conjurer, is a chronicler and agent of the Blades who has survived the investigations of the Thalmor by hiding in Riften's Ratway. Long obsessed with the foretold return of the dragon Alduin, the World-Eater, Esbern serves as your mentor, guide, and advisor. Despite this, once he learns of Paarthurnax's existence, he will demand that you slay him and will refuse you any aid until you have done so.

Esbern wears miner's clothes initially, but changes into mourner's clothes once you reach Sky Haven Temple with a pair of boots, and carries an ebony dagger and a selection of lower-class items and gold. In combat, he relies on mainly Destruction spells, and occasionally summons leveled atronachs.


Esbern knows the following spells:

Conjure Flame Atronach, Conjure Frost Atronach, Conjure Storm Atronach
Fireball, Firebolt, Flame Cloak
Fast Healing, Steadfast Ward

Related Quests[edit]

Main Quests[edit]

Blades Quests[edit]

Quest-Related Dialogue[edit]

A Cornered Rat[edit]

In The Ratway Warrens:

"Go away!"
Esbern? Open the door. I'm a friend.
"What?! No, that's not me. I'm not Esbern. I don't know what you're talking about."
It's okay. Delphine sent me.
"Delphine? How do you... so you've finally found her, and she led you to me. And here I am, caught like a rat in a trap."
The Thalmor have found you. You need to get out of here.
"Oh, how reassuring! Most likely you're with the Thalmor and this is just a trick to get me to open the door!"
Delphine needs your help to stop the dragons. (Persuade)
"So Delphine keeps up the fight, after all these years. You'd better come in and tell me how you found me and what you want."
I'm the one the Blades have been searching for. I'm Dragonborn.
"What's that you said? Dragonborn? Then... there really is hope after all? You'd better come inside. Quickly now, Thalmor agents have been seen in the Ratway."
There are Thalmor agents in the Ratway. Looking for you.
"And no doubt you're one of them. Leave me alone!"
Delphine said to "remember the 30th of Frostfall."
"Ah. Indeed, indeed. I do remember. Delphine really is alive, then? You'd better come in then and tell me how you found me and what you want."

While opening the door:

"This'll just take a moment..."
"This one always sticks... there we go."
"Only a couple more."
"There we are!"
"Come in, come in! Make yourself at home."
"That's better. Now we can talk."

After entering Esbern's home:

"So Delphine keeps up the fight, after all these years. I thought she'd have realised it's hopeless by now. I tried to tell her, years ago..."
The Thalmor have found you. We have to get out of here.
"Yes, yes, so you said. But so what? The end is upon us. I may as well die here as anywhere else. I'm tired of running."
What do you mean, "the end is upon us"? / What do you mean, "it's hopeless"?
"Haven't you figured it out yet? What more needs to happen before you all wake up and see what's going on? Alduin has returned, just like the prophecy said! The Dragon from the dawn of time, who devours the souls of the dead! No one can escape his hunger, here or in the afterlife! Alduin will devour all things and the world will end. Nothing can stop him. I tried to tell them. They wouldn't listen. Fools. It's all come true... all I could do was watch our doom approach..."
Alduin... the dragon who's raising the others?
"Yes, yes! You see, you know but you refuse to understand! Oh, yes. It's all been foretold. The end has begun. Alduin has returned. Only a Dragonborn can stop him. But no Dragonborn has been known for centuries. It seems the gods have grown tired of us. They've left us to our fate, as the plaything of Alduin the World-Eater."
You're talking about the literal end of the world?
"Oh, yes. It's all been foretold. The end has begun. Alduin has returned. Only a Dragonborn can stop him. But no Dragonborn has been known for centuries. It seems the gods have grown tired of us. They've left us to our fate, as the plaything of Alduin the World-Eater."
It's not hopeless, Esbern. I'm Dragonborn.
"What? You're... can it really be true? Dragonborn? Then... then there is hope! The gods have not abandoned us! We must... we must... We must go, quickly now. Take me to Delphine. We have much to discuss."

While packing his items:

"But, give me... just a moment... I must gather a few things..."
"I'll need this... No, no, useless trash... where'd I put my annotated Anuad?"
"One moment, I know time is of the essence, but mustn't leave secrets for the Thalmor... there's one more thing I must bring..."
"Well, I guess that's good enough... let's be off..."

If approached again:

"You'll have to speak up. I'm a little deaf in my right ear."

Wait here. "All right. Don't be long."
Follow me. "Good. We should keep moving."
Do you know the way out of here? "Yes, yes. We should proceed cautiously."
What's so important about me being Dragonborn? "Not yet, not yet. When we get to Riverwood... with Delphine... I'll tell you both then, when I've collected my thoughts. I never expected... well, suddenly here you are and now I'm too muddled to explain myself. I still need some time to get used to the idea that there might be hope after all."
Who are you? How do you know Delphine? "Hasn't she told you? We were both Blades, back when that still meant something. Now we're just fugitives from the Thalmor. I didn't know she was alive, but I'm not surprised. She was a survivor."
Why are the Thalmor so interested in finding you? "Well. They've been hunting down Blades since the Great War, on general principle. But if you mean me, now, in particular... maybe they've started to get an inkling of what the return of the dragons means. I don't suppose they want the world to end any more than we do. Or at least, they'd prefer it to end on their terms."
What happened on the 30th of Frostfall? "It was a cold day. The end of Frostfall is nearly winter in the Jerall Mountains. We heard the news at Cloud Ruler by courier, riding hard from the Imperial City. 30th of Frostfall, 171. Thirty years ago. The Great War started that day. The Thalmor ambassador his ultimatum to the Emperor Titus Mede: the heads of every Blades agent within the Aldmeri Dominion. I knew, that day, that it was truly the beginning of the end."
"We should keep moving."

Alduin's Wall[edit]

In the Sleeping Giant Inn:

"I've told you where Sky Haven Temple is. I'll trust you to get us there in one piece."

I'll meet you at Karthspire.
"Very good. I'll trust you to get there in one piece. Don't be long."
Tell me about Alduin's Wall.
"Alduin's Wall was created by the ancient Akaviri Dragonguard, the forerunners of the Blades. One of the lost secrets of the Blades. Where they recorded all they knew of Alduin and his return. Part history, part prophecy. Its location was lost for centuries, but I know where it is: Sky Haven Temple, an ancient Blades sanctuary, hidden within the crags of the Reach."
How do we get to Sky Haven Temple?
"Ah, yes. The entrance seems to be near to what's now known as the Karthspire. We'll have to see what we find when we arrive."
What's so important about me being Dragonborn?
"It's the prophecy, don't you see? Only a Dragonborn can stop Alduin and avert the end of the world! But... I don't yet know how you can stop him. The prophecy doesn't say. But Alduin's Wall does. I hope."

At Karthspire:

"Are you sure this is the right way?"
How do we find the entrance to Sky Haven Temple?
"We should be careful. There's no telling what traps and wards the ancient Blades may have set."
"We'd best be careful in here."

At the bridge in Karthspire:

Delphine: "This looks promising."
Esbern: "Yes. Definitely early Akaviri stonework here."
Delphine: "We've got to get this bridge down. These pillars must have something to do with it."
Esbern: "Yes. These are Akaviri symbols. Let's see... you have the symbol for "King"... and "Warrior"... And of course the symbol for "Dragonborn." That's the one that appears to have a sort of arrow shape pointing downward at the bottom."
"Yes, that's it. The symbol on the middle/left pillar."

In the pressure plate room:

Esbern: "Wait."
Delphine: "Why are you stopping?"
Esbern: "We should be careful here. See these symbols on the floor?"
Delphine: (To you)"Hmm, Esbern's right. Looks like pressure plates."
Esbern: "Be careful."

Once the room is safe:

Delphine: "Looks safe now. Let's move."
Esbern: "Yes, yes! I think we must be close to the entrance."

At the Blood Seal:

"Wonderful! Remarkably well preserved, too. Ah... here's the "blood seal." Another of the lost Akaviri arts. No doubt triggered by... well, blood. Your blood, Dragonborn. Look here! You see how the ancient Blades revered Reman Cyrodiil. This whole place appears to be a shrine to Reman. He ended the Akaviri invasion under mysterious circumstances, you recall. After the so-called "battle" of Pale Pass, the Akaviri went into his service. This was the foundation stone of the Second Empire."

After unsealing the blood seal:

"There's no telling what we might find inside!"

Inside Sky Haven Temple:

"Isn't it amazing?"
I just want to know how to defeat Alduin.
"Ah. Of course. Not everyone has an appreciation for the artistic wonders of the world. Let me see if I can find the right panel..."
It is. Carry on.
"Ah. Thank you! Excellent. Now... where were we?"

If approached after reading Alduin's Wall:

What's so important about me being Dragonborn?
"Haven't you been paying attention to anything I've said? Only you can finally defeat Alduin and avert the end of the world! If we can just find out what Shout the ancient Nords used, you may have a chance. Or not. There's no gaurantee with prophecy. Merely hope."
Any advice for fighting Dragons?
"You're in luck. There is a blessing the Blades used on the eve of battle. It's supposed to prepare the mind for slaying dragons. I doubt the blessing's effects last for very long, so ask whenever you're heading out, and I'll perform the proper rites."
I need that dragon slaying blessing.
"May the scales of the dragonkind splinter at the touch of your arrows, and crack under the weight of your sword." That's all there is to it, Dragonborn. Good luck."

Elder Knowledge[edit]

In Sky Haven Temple: "You'll have to speak up. I'm a little deaf in my right ear."

Any idea where to find the Elder Scroll? "Do you know the College of Winterhold? They have a deep interest in such arcana."

Sometimes, when you go to talk to Esbern about finding an Elder Scroll, he can be found in the exterior courtyard of Sky Haven Temple, telling Delphine by torchlight about an ominous (and apparently prophetic) dream he used to have:

"I used to dream of it. In the dream, I was standing… someplace high up… a tower, or a mountain. It was always just before dawn. The whole world was in darkness. Then came the flash of light – just on the horizon, within the clouds that mark the border between worlds. It could have been lightning, but there was no thunder. In the dream, the sense of foreboding grew, but I could never wake up. Then it came again, this time more distinct. Closer. Definitely not lightning now. It was orange – brilliant orange, the color of hearth and dawn. And a sound, too. Distinct and indistinct. Not thunder… something else. Something I should recognize, but in the dream I cannot place it. I want to leave my high place, to seek shelter. From what, I don't yet know. In the manner of dreams, I cannot escape. I'm forced to wait and watch. Then, finally, realization and horror arrive together. The orange is flame, heat. The sound a roar, a challenge in their ancient tongue. But now it's too late for escape. The dragon is upon me – fire and darkness descending like a thunderbolt. And not just any dragon, but the Dragon – Alduin, the World-Eater, the dragon who devours both the living and the dead. And then I would wake up. And hope that it was just a dream… but know that it was not."

The Fallen[edit]

"Did you find the Elder Scroll? What happened when you took it back to the Throat of the World?"
I defeated Alduin, but he escaped. I need to find him.
"He must have returned to Sovngarde to feed on the souls of the dead. If you don't find him soon, he'll return, stronger than ever!"
I know. That's why I need to find him.
"Yes, yes. We must think. He must have some means of travelling to and from Sovngarde. But no tale tells where that might be."
His dragon allies must know where this portal is...
"Very true! Hmm. I wonder... do you know the Jarl's palace in Whiterun?"
You mean Dragonsreach?
"Yes, exactly! Most people don't know that it was originally built to hold a captive dragon - hence its name."
What's the Jarl's palace have to do with this?
"Well, you see, the palace - Dragonsreach - was originally built to hold a captive dragon. Hence its name."
I thought there weren't any dragons until Alduin came back.
"Oh, this was thousands of years ago, before the Akaviri crusaders cleansed Skyrim of dragons. Skyrim's mountains were still infested with dragons. One of the early Nord Kings caught a dragon and kept it in Dragonsreach."
So if I could lure a dragon into Dragonsreach...
"You could trap him there, exactly. Although... it might be difficult to persuade the Jarl to allow you to use his palace as a dragon trap... I'm sure you'll manage it, though. If you can defeat the World-Eater, surely sweet-talking the Jarl of Whiterun isn't beyond you."

(After this point the quest Paarthurnax starts, and Esbern will discuss the matter with the Dragonborn.)

If approached again:

Where has Alduin gone?
"Haven't you been listening to me? All the old tales agree that he has some means to travel to Sovngarde itself. There he devours the souls of the heroic dead to feed his power. You must find this portal to Sovngarde before he returns, stronger than ever."

Season Unending[edit]

Upon your arrival at High Hrothgar, you will be able to witness a heated argument between the Blades and the Greybeards:

Delphine "So, Arngeir, is it? You know why we're here. Are you going to let us in or not?"
Arngeir: "You were not invited here. You are not welcome here."
Delphine: "We have as much right to be at this council as all of you. More, actually, since we were the ones that put the Dragonborn on this path."
Arngeir: "Were you? The hubris of the Blades truly knows no bounds."
Delphine: "If it were up to you, the Dragonborn would sit dreaming on this mountain doing nothing!"
Esbern: "Delphine, we're not here to rehearse old grudges. The matter at hand is urgent. Alduin must be stopped. You wouldn't have called this council if you didn't agree. We know a great deal about the situation and the threat that Alduin poses to us all. You need us here if you want this council to succeed."
Arngeir: (after a long pause) "Very well. You may enter."

If you have already started the quest Paarthurnax and have done the deed, the fourth and fifth dialogue lines above become:

Arngeir: "I know what path you set him/her on. And now Paarthurnax's wisdom is lost to us, just when we need it most."
Delphine "He/She did what had to be done. It was long overdue. My only regret is that I wasn't able to kill him myself."

If you instead have agreed to not kill Paarthurnax, these lines become:

Arngeir: "We know what path you've set him/her on. But he/she has made a different choice. Paarthurnax is still safe from your malice."
Delphine "For now. The Blades' memory is long, as you know."

After their conversation, the Blades will then make their way to the council table. If you try to initiate a conversation with Delphine, she will only say, "We should get started. Alduin is only getting stronger." or "What are we waiting for?"

Delphine doesn't actually play a part in negotiating a truce; she merely remains quiet at her seat throughout the negotiations, except for one part when Esbern interjects the war of words between Ulfric Stormcloak and General Tullius:

Esbern: "Stop! Are you so blind to our danger that you can't see past your petty disagreements? Here you sit arguing about... nothing! While the fate of the land hangs in the balance!"
Ulfric: "Is he with you, Delphine? If so, I advise you to tell him to watch his tongue."
Delphine "He is with me. And I advise you both to listen to what he has to say, before you do anything rash."

Esbern will then continue lecturing the delegations about the mortal danger involved with the return of the dragons, after which the negotiations will resume proper.

Esbern: "Don't you understand the danger? Don't you understand what the return of the dragons means? Alduin has returned! The World-Eater! Even now, he devours the souls of your fallen comrades! He grows more powerful with every soldier slain in your pointless war! Can you not put aside your hatred for even one moment in the face of this mortal danger?"
Elenwen: "A very pretty speech, but what does it have to do with..."
Ulfric: "Shut up. If he's right about Alduin... we both have just as much to lose here, Tullius, remember that." or
Tullius: "That's enough out of you. I don't know about the end of the world, but this dragon situation has gotten out of hand. If this truce will help the Dragonborn here put an end to that menace, we both gain. Remember that, Ulfric."


"I'm afraid there's a further problem. A serious one. I've discovered who the Greybeards' leader really is."

You know... what? "He's a dragon. Not just any dragon, but the right hand of Alduin, responsible for many atrocities during the ancient Dragon War."
Turns out he's a dragon. But he helped me. "All well and good. But did you know that he was Alduin's chief lieutenant in ancient times? Responsible for terrible atrocities? It's true that his crimes are long in the past, but justice does not count the passage of years."

"The Blades have been hunting him for centuries, but he was protected by the Greybeards and then the Emperors. Justice demands that he die for his crimes. Until he is dead, I'm afraid my oath as a Blade prevents me from offering you aid and comfort."

Why does he need to die? "Paarthurnax was the author of many atrocities during the Dragon War - crimes great enough to be remembered for thousands of years. True, he turned traitor to Alduin and helped overthrow the Dragon Cult, but that does not excuse or expiate his previous deeds. Whether or not he has truly repented, or merely acted to save himself, justice demands that he pay with his life."
About Paarthurnax. "Justice can be harsh. But it is still justice. Paarthurnax deserves to die."

If Dragonslayer is completed:

Esbern: "You've done it... Just as the prophecy said... I knew you could do it... I believed in you, and yet... I still didn't think I'd live to see this day. Thank you. Thank you, Dragonborn. You've done a great service for us all."
Delphine: "There's still the matter of Paarthurnax. I'm not ungrateful for what you've done. Esbern speaks for both of us. But our oath as Blades binds us. Paarthurnax must die. There's no excuse now that Alduin is dead."
Esbern: "I'm afraid she's right. I'm deeply sorry this has to come between us. But just as Paarthurnax's later deeds does not expiate his crimes, your deeds do not allow us to ignore our duty. I hope you will return to us soon with the news that justice has finally been done. With both Alduin and Paarthurnax dead, a dark chapter in history will finally be closed."

If the quest is not complete: "I wish there were another way, Dragonborn, but it falls to you to serve justice upon Paarthurnax."

If the quest is completed: It's done. Paarthurnax is dead.

"At long last. An ancient evil is avenged. The shades of many Blades salute you this day."

Dragon Hunting[edit]

Find any dragons to hunt?
"It's quiet for now, Dragonborn. Perhaps later we'll find where one of those serpents is hiding."
"I have. One of the old Akaviri records names a dragon living nearby. Shall we send the Blades to help you?"
I'm not ready yet. "Let me know when you are, then."
Tell them to meet me there. "Good luck, Dragonborn."
The dragon of [Dragon Lair] is dead. "Good. The dragon's soul should be making you stronger. Come back another time, and we'll track down another one for you."

Dragon Research[edit]

Find any dragons to hunt? "I have. One of the old Akaviri records names a dragon living nearby. Shall we send the Blades to help you?"
I'm not ready yet. "Let me know when you are, then."
Tell them to meet me there. "Good luck, Dragonborn."
The dragon of [Dragon Lair] is dead. "It's good to see the Blades fighting alongside the Dragonborn once again. To think we're treading in the footsteps of thousands of years past. While you're out hunting, keep a sharp eye open for any dragon scales and bones you might find. I'd be interested in looking at them."
Here's a dragon scale and a bone. "Have you ever heard of the expression, "the scale of the Argonian that bit you?" No, I guess not. Well, the principle applies here. It's a potion, made from those dragon parts. Give it a try."

Rebuilding the Blades[edit]

Delphine mentioned you're studying dragon lairs.
"I am. The Blades of the 2nd Era hunted down many dragons in their day, and they have records of where the beasts lived. Only you can truly defeat these monsters, Dragonborn, but you do not have to do so alone. The Blades can help you. Just ask whenever you're ready to take on a dragon. We will send the Blades to help you fulfill your destiny."


Esbern's return:

Esbern: "Delphine! I... it's good to see you. It's been... a long time."
Delphine: "It's good to see you, too, Esbern. It's been too long, old friend. Too long. Well, then. You made it, safe and sound. Good. Come on, I have a place we can talk."
Delphine: "Orgnar, hold down the bar for a minute, will you?"
Orgnar: "Yeah, sure."

Annals of the Dragonguard:

Delphine: "Now then. I assume you know about..."
Esbern: "Oh yes! Dragonborn! Indeed, yes. This changes everything, of course. There's no time to lose. We must locate... let me show you. I know I had it here, somewhere..."
Delphine: "Esbern, what..."
Esbern: "Give me... just a moment... Ah! Here it is. Come, let me show you. You see, right here. Sky Haven Temple, constructed around one of the main Akaviri military camps in the Reach, during their conquest of Skyrim."
Delphine: "Do you know what he's talking about?"
Esbern: "Shh! This is where they built Alduin's Wall, to set down in stone all their accumulated dragonlore. A hedge against the forgetfulness of centuries. A wise and foresighted policy, in the event. Despite the far-reaching fame of Alduin's Wall at the time - one of the wonders of the ancient world - its location was lost."
Delphine: "Esbern. What are you getting at?"
Esbern: "You mean... you don't mean to say you haven't heard of Alduin's Wall? Either of you?"
Delphine: "Let's pretend we haven't. What's Alduin's Wall and what does it have to do with stopping the dragons?"
Esbern: "Alduin's Wall was where the ancient Blades recorded all they knew of Alduin and his return. Part history, part prophecy. Its location has been lost for centuries, but I've found it again. Not lost, you see, just forgotten. The Blades archives held so many secrets... I was only able to save a few scraps..."
Delphine: "So you think that Alduin's Wall will tell us how to defeat Alduin?"
Esbern: "Well, yes, but... there's no guarantee, of course."
Delphine: "Sky Haven Temple it is, then. I knew you'd have something for us, Esbern."


Esbern: "Fascinating! Original Akaviri bas reliefs... almost entirely intact! Amazing... you can see how the Akaviri craftsmen were beginning to embrace the more flowing Nordic style..."
Delphine: "We're here for Alduin's Wall, right, Esbern?"
Esbern: "Yes, of course. We'll have more time to look around later, I suppose. Let's see what's up ahead."

Alduin's Wall:

Esbern: "Shor's bones! Here it is! Alduin's Wall... so well preserved... I've never seen a finer example of early second era Akaviri sculptural relief..."
Delphine: "Esbern. We need information, not a lecture on art history."
Esbern: "Yes, yes. Let's see what we have... Look, here is Alduin! This panel goes back to the beginning of time, when Alduin and the Dragon Cult ruled over Skyrim. Here the humans rebel against their dragon overlords -- the legendary Dragon War. Alduin's defeat is the centerpiece of the Wall. You see, here he is falling from the Sky. The Nord Tongues -- masters of the Voice -- are arrayed against him."
Delphine: "So, does it show how they defeated him? Isn't that why we're here?"
Esbern: "Patience, my dear. The Akaviri were not a straightforward people. Everything is couched in allegory and mythic symbolism. Yes, yes. This here, coming from the mouths of the Nord heroes -- this is the Akaviri symbol for :"Shout." But... there's no way to know what Shout is meant."
Delphine: "You mean they used a shout to defeat Alduin? You're sure?"
Esbern: "Hmm? Oh, yes. Presumably something rather specific to dragons, or even Alduin himself. Remember, this is where they recorded all they knew of Alduin and his return."
Delphine: "So we're looking for a Shout, then. Damn it."
Esbern: "Look, here. In the third panel. The prophecy which brought the Akaviri to Tamriel in the first place, in search of the Dragonborn. Here are the Akaviri - the Blades - you see their distinctive longswords. Now they kneel, their ancient mission fulfilled, as the Last Dragonborn contends with Alduin at the end of time. Are you paying attention, Delphine? You might learn something of our own history. I know the prophecy by heart. Once all Blades knew it.
'When misrule takes its place at the eight corners of the world'
'When the Brass Tower walks and Time is reshaped'
'When the thrice-blessed fail and the Red Tower trembles'
'When the Dragonborn Ruler loses his throne, and the White Tower falls'
'When the Snow Tower lies sundered, kingless, bleeding'
'The World-Eater wakes, and the Wheel turns upon the Last Dragonborn.'
Delphine: "Well, I'm going to look around some more. See what the Blades left for us."
Esbern: "Yes... yes, that's an excellent idea. Who knows what lost treasures we might discover?"

Skyrim Official Trailer[edit]

In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Official Trailer, Esbern says the following:

"You should have acted. They're already here. The Elder Scrolls foretold of their return."
"Their defeat was merely a delay … to the time after Oblivion opened … when the Sons of Skyrim would spill their own blood."
"But no one wanted to believe — believe they even existed."
"And when the truth finally dawns, it dawns in fire."
"But … there's one they fear."
"In their tongue, he is "Dovahkiin." Dragonborn!"


  • If you have not started any quests involving him, he will simply open the porthole and tell you to go away, promptly closing it afterwards.
  • After arriving at Sky Haven Temple, Esbern can grant the Dragonslayer's Blessing which gives a 10% increased Critical Hit Chance vs. dragons for five days.
  • Esbern is voiced by Max von Sydow.
  • He can be a very useful follower. After you free him from his cell during A Cornered Rat, he will be an invincible follower, and will remain so as long as you avoid Delphine (and therefore Riverwood).
  • Alternatively, you can take him to Delphine and have them both follow you for two invincible followers. You may also have a regular follower with you.
  • He shares his name with another person in Oblivion.


  • When you first meet Esbern during A Cornered Rat as part of the main quest, sometimes his voice will be missing and/or he doesn't answer the door. Visit this page for details and possible solutions.
  • After arriving in Sky Haven Temple, Esbern may not engage in the correct dialogue to activate or complete any of his quests.
  • If you tell Esbern to wait somewhere, he may disappear when you return for him.
    • He can sometimes be found in Riverwood (waiting to engage in conversation with Delphine), in Riften, or traveling the road.
  • After being escorted to Sky Haven Temple, Esbern might appear wherever you fast travel.
    • To fix this, you must unpatch your Skyrim game. It only appears on patch 1.5 and after the Alduin's Wall quest.
  • After completion of the quest Dragonslayer, Esbern may randomly be found wandering dungeons.