Highlights Ysgramor, the founder of the Companions, played a crucial role in Skyrim’s history and is revered as a hero and leader by the Nords and the Companions. The Five Hundred Companions, the early ancestors of the Nords, were instrumental in defeating the Snow Elves and establishing the Companions’ shield. Their numbers dwindled over time, but they emphasized teamwork in battle. Kyrnil Long-Nose restored honor to the Companions after a period of corruption and dishonor. The creation of The Circle ensured that the Companions would uphold their honor and set examples for new recruits.
The Companions are an important footnote in the history of Skyrim. Although most guilds and cults are known throughout all of Tamriel, the Companions seem only important to the land of Skyrim, hence their recognition and detailed quest within The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. As one of the newer factions, it’s great for fans to learn more about the Companions, and their place in the franchise.
Much like every The Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim provides players with detailed bouts of lore for those that listen and seek it out. There is plenty of interesting facts about the Companions for players to learn, and further show love and knowledge of the series through the Companions, a great set of characters with a great history.7 Ysgramor The Founder
One of the most legendary Nord heroes in Skyrim is Ysgramor. This character played one of the most important roles in the history of Tamriel, by helping humans ascend and become the Nords that they are known as today. Players can find many shrines of Ysgramor, as well as his name mentioned in heroics. However, he is perhaps most well-known for his role as the founder of the Companions.
Ysgramor may have begun as an Atmoran warrior, but his courage in battle, and the truth to his words, helped him lead five hundred men and women to war. Ysgramor’s importance and feats can be seen in the titles that he was given, such as “First Man” and “Harbinger of Us All”. He is adored by Nords and especially the Companions.6 The Five Hundred Companions
On the topic of Ysgramor, it’s worth noting his most loyal followers, the Five Hundred Companions. Although their names may not be recognizable, or sung in mead halls, they were vital to the victory of Ysgramor and helped to create the very shield that the Companions follow. The Five Hundred Companions were forged due to Ysgramor’s words on the treachery of elves, and the many men and women that became an army to avenge the fallen.
The fact that there were five hundred Companions shows just how strong this Skyrim faction was at the time. Yet, the numbers dwindled with each decade and century past. The importance of teamwork in battle led to the known phrases like “Shield-Brother” and “Shield-Sister” being used by the Companions to recognize each other.5 Atmorans Vs Snow Elves
The Five Hundred Companions were the early ancestors of Nords known as Atmorans. Due to the Night of Tears, in which early elven races known as the “Mer” slaughtered the innocent human settlers due to their growing population, the Atmorans returned in greater numbers to seek revenge, and claim Skyrim as their own.
The battle between the Atmorans and the Mer was a bloody one, and the Mer lost. War ravished the lands for years, until the Snow Elves were eventually banished, and sought sanctuary with the Dwemer. However, the Dwemer were a cruel and cunning species, and their uneasy alliance with the Snow Elves saw them forever twisted and blinded into the Falmer, all due to their war with the Companions.4 Kyrnil Long-Nose Fixed The Companions
For a long time, the Companions were plagued by darkness ever since Ysgramor’s death. Without their leader, Skyrim faced a dark cloud of sadness. The late Second Era in Skyrim was a violent one, in which several Harbingers held control over the Companions and Jorrvaskr, only to tarnish the name of the Companions with their corruption and dishonor. However, it was Kyrnil Long-Nose that brought honor back to the Companions.
Thanks to Kyrnil Long-Nose, Jorrvaskr was cleaned of usurpers and dishonor through his blade. Many began to trust Kyrnil and follow his new ways of the Companions. This led to the creation of The Circle, in which trusted advisors and captains would set grand examples for new Companion recruits to follow, keeping their honor at the forefront of their name.3 Lycanthropy Curse
After the course correction from Kyrnil, a new Harbinger, Terrfyg, made a deal with the witches of Glenmoril Coven to receive great power. However, it was a trick, and this great power was Lycanthropy, which saw those turned into werewolves owe their afterlife to Hircine, the Daedric Prince. This became a part of Companion tradition, in which those that became a part of The Circle would forfeit their place in Sovngarde when they die, and instead join Hircine’s Hunting Grounds for eternity.
The Lycanthropy Curse continued throughout the Companions’ history since the Third or Fourth Era. The sacrifice of their eternal rest for mortal superhuman strength and werewolf transforming abilities was one of the best-kept secrets of the Companions. Despite many seeing this as true power, some members of the Companions saw Lycanthropy as a curse, and yearn for the days of freedom so that they can roam Sovngarde in death.2 Impartial To War
One of the most impressive things about the Companions can be found in the ‘Great Harbingers’ book, located around Skyrim. This book details the Companions and their stance on war. The Dragonborn can even ask their Companion Shield-Brothers and Shield-Sisters, to which most, if not all, will say they have no opinion or care for the Civil War.
It’s great to see the Companions act as neutral ground, and there is not a political divide between the Companions to those that favor Imperials or Stormcloaks. It shows that the Companions will stick to their traditions and not interfere. However, there are no restrictions or rules to say Companions can’t go off and join the fight if they so choose.1 No Bigotry
When the First Era saw its end, the Companions were one of the first groups of people to disavow and disband the rules set in place by the Atomoran. As per tradition, only the pure Nords could join the ranks of the Companions. However, this soon changed, and the Companions welcomed anyone with open arms, disregarding criminal past and race. This made the Companions a haven for those that would be called outsiders by Nords.
The Companions, despite being based in Skyrim and originating from Nords, have evolved past a sense of racial purity, and allow anyone to join their ranks, as long as they have the heart of a warrior. This is why by the time of the Last Dragonborn, the Companion’s numbers are filled with different races, showing a true family outside of the bigotry of the civil war.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is available now on PC, PS3, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.