Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Becoming Thane of Whiterun

For other uses, see Thane.

Becoming Thane consists of a series of quests in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, in which the Dragonborn can become a Thane of all the holds in Skyrim. The standard formula for each hold is to complete a specific quest, or objective for the Jarl and then help out a specific number of citizens within the hold, either by doing quests, miscellaneous objectives, or helping out in some other way. However, the number of citizens that need to be helped varies based on if the hold is a major one, which includes a palace for the Jarl to live in, or a minor one, where the Jarl lives in a longhouse.

Becoming a Thane of a Hold carries several perks, including gaining a housecarl if there is property in the hold, and the ability to demand that guards ignore minor crimes.

Many of the potential quest giving citizens are at risk of death from dragon attacks, and vampire attacks if The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard is installed. To completely avoid this, after talking to the Jarl of Whiterun, simply do not return the Dragonstone to Farengar Secret-Fire, thus beginning the quest "Dragon Rising," and only visit settlements during daylight hours to avoid vampires. No dragons will be encountered (their burial sites will still be intact) and vampires do not appear during the day so the quests to purchase all properties, except Breezehome and Hjerim, can be safely completed. Dragonsreach can still be entered as long as the Dragonstone is not given to Farengar Secret-Fire.

Eastmarch (Capital: Windhelm)[]

Main article: Thane of Eastmarch

Imperial Legion Questline[]

After completing the "Reunification of Skyrim" quest, Brunwulf Free-Winter will become Jarl of Windhelm. The Dragonborn must speak to Brunwulf, and Brunwulf will offer the title of Thane contingent on them helping five people of Windhelm and purchasing Hjerim from Brunwulf's steward. After these two objectives have been completed, Brunwulf will grant the Dragonborn the title of Thane, giving them a random leveled weapon of Eastmarch, and appoint a housecarl to serve them.

Stormcloak questline[]

After progressing through the questline, "Liberation of Skyrim," and liberating Falkreath Hold, the Dragonborn will receive the option to become a Thane. This is done by selecting the "My Jarl, is there anything further you need?" conversation option. Ulfric Stormcloak will respond that there is a place in his court for a new Thane, but the title can only be given to one known throughout the hold and that owns property in Windhelm.

Regardless of the questline followed, there are two requirements to becoming Thane of Eastmarch:

  • Purchase Hjerim from Jorleif for 12,000 Gold
  • Assist five citizens of Eastmarch.

There are several easy ways to assist the people of Eastmarch:

While completing "Blood on the Ice" is not a prerequisite of becoming a Thane of Eastmarch, the quest will automatically start upon the purchase of Hjerim. Also, if on the Legion's side in the Civil War, Brunwulf's bandit quest must be done to become a Thane anyway.

Falkreath Hold (Capital: Falkreath)[]

Main article: Thane of Falkreath
TESV Banner Falkreath.png

In brief[]

There are many ways to become Thane as detailed in the section below. This is a set of steps you can take to become a Thane of Falkreath.

  1. Get a bottle of Black-Briar Mead
  2. Meet with the Jarl, Siddgeir.
    • Jarl Siddgeir may ask the player to bring a bottle of mead to him, depending on their level.HF
  3. The Jarl will ask you to kill the Bandit Leader of a radiant location. Kill the Bandit Leader.
  4. Jarl will ask you to help three citizens. A full list of who you can help is below, but the easiest three are:
    1. Sell vegetables to Mathies
    2. Talk to Thadgeir (chopping wood outside Gray Pine Goods); deliver ashes to the Priest for him
    3. Go to Half-Moon Mill and chop wood for Hert
  5. Become Thane

In detail[]

Upon speaking to Jarl Siddgeir, he will request a bottle of Black-Briar Mead. If the Dragonborn waits to reach level 9 without visiting Falkreath, the Jarl will request to see them by sending a letter via courier.HF Starting the quest via letter will skip the "Rare Gifts" quest for Siddgeir.

The starting quest for the Jarl to obtain a drink is a "radiant" quest that cannot be started if the Dragonborn is already on one of the following quests considered to be part of "Rare Gifts."

After getting his drink, the Jarl will give the Dragonborn a quest to kill a bandit leader in a radiant location. Upon completing this objective, the offer of becoming a Thane will be made.

Assist three citizens of Falkreath Hold. This can be done in several ways, including:

  • Selling vegetables at Corpselight Farm.
  • Delivering ashes to the Hall of the Dead for Thadgeir (Dengeir's house).
  • Retrieving Runil's journal from a radiant location.
  • Selling firewood at Half-Moon Mill.
  • Investing in a store.
  • Stealing a private letter from Lod for Dengeir.
  • Dropping a piece of armor in front of a citizen may cause them to ask if they can keep it. Allowing them to keep it counts as helping a citizen.

Because Falkreath has the fewest citizen quests of any hold, and because the town is so open to dragon attacks, if the Dragonborn waits until the mid-game or endgame to become Thane, it can be difficult to find enough citizens alive to do three quests. This becomes an even worse problem with Dawnguard installed, as citizens will also be attacked by vampires. Lod (the blacksmith) and Narri (the tavern worker) can be killed. Players can usually find the remaining quests they need by finding citizens who tend to stay inside buildings and by investing 500 gold in Gray Pine Goods using the Investor Speech skill.

The quest objective for the Jarl will be different depending on civil war quests. If the Hearthfire expansion is installed (and enabled), the Dragonborn may receive a letter at any time early in their adventures from Siddgeir requesting a meeting at his longhouse in Falkreath. If this is the case, if the Dragonborn goes to meet him, the first part of this quest will be skipped entirely in favor of the next part of the quest to become a Thane.

The Jarl of Falkreath is added as a citizen so when the quest is started only two citizens need to be helped.

Rewards for earning this title include the Blade of Falkreath, along with the standard Thane option for dealing with pursuing guards in the hold.

Haafingar (Capital: Solitude)[]

Main article: Thane of Haafingar
TESV Banner Solitude.png

In brief[]

  1. Go to Blue Palace and wait for the peasant from Dragonsbridge to finish addressing the Jarl.
  2. Talk to Falk Firebeard
    1. Clear out Wolfskull Cave
  3. Talk to Jarl Elisif the Fair
    1. Deliver Horn to Shrine 
  4. Purchase Proudspire Manor (requires 25,000 septims)
  5. Assist five residents
    1. Sell firewood to Hjorunn at the Solitude Sawmill
    2. Sell vegetables to Katla at Katla's Farm
    3. Give a septim to Noster Eagle-Eye
    4. Give a septim to Dervenin
    5. Go to the Winking Skeever and talk to Sorex Vinius, he will ask you to deliver Rum to Falk Firebeard
  6. Talk to Jarl, become Thane

In detail[]

Talk to Falk Firebeard in the Blue Palace and he will give the quest "The Man Who Cried Wolf," investigating the lights and sounds coming out of Wolfskull Cave, which is located in the mountains west of Solitude. After completing the quest, talk to Falk again for a reward. Then speak directly to the Jarl herself and she will thank them and assign one more task.

She will ask that Torygg's war horn be placed on a Shrine of Talos, as a tribute to her late husband. Take the war horn to the specified Shrine and place it at the foot of the statue of Talos, then return to Elisif. She will invite the Dragonborn to become a Thane, but only after meeting the following requirements:

There are several ways to assist the people of Solitude, including:

Once this has been done, return to Jarl Elisif and become a Thane of Haafingar and be given the Blade of Haafingar.

Sometime after Wolfskull Cave has been cleaned out and the Dragonborn has leveled up at least once, a courier arrives with a letter from Falk requesting a meeting. This initiates the quest to hunt down Potema's spirit, "The Wolf Queen Awakened." It is not required to become a Thane, but completing it counts toward the total of helping citizens in Solitude.

Hjaalmarch (Capital: Morthal)[]

Main article: Thane of Hjaalmarch
TESV Banner Morthal.png

In brief[]

  1. Talk to Inn Keeper of Moorside InnJonna.
  2. Talk to Jarl, Idgrod Ravencrone.
    1. Complete Laid to Rest
    2. Wipe out the threat to Morthal
  3. Help three citizens (see full list of options below)
    1. Sell wood to Hroggar
    2. Sell wood to Jorgen
    3. Challenge and defeat Benor in a fist fight
  4. Talk to Jarl, become Thane

In detail[]

Becoming Thane of Hjaalmarch is fairly straightforward. Investigating the house that burned down, then completing the subsequent quests, will cause the grateful Jarl to say that she would be happy to make the Dragonborn a Thane once "known through her Hold." This translates into taking miscellaneous quests to help three different people, most of whom can be found in Morthal. Note that completing the quest "Laid to Rest" may count as one of these assistance quests.

If the only reason for becoming Thane is to purchase the land for the Hearthfire DLC, it is not necessary to actually finish helping with the three tasks before being allowed to purchase the land. Upon finding and speak to Aslfur, he may have a dialog option for buying a house, at which point he will say that while there are no houses available, he can sell some land.

  • Idgrod the Younger asks that a note be delivered to Danica Pure-Spring in Whiterun.
  • Challenge and beat Benor in a fistfight, or drop armor near him then talk to him and select the option that lets him take the armor, allowing him to be recruited as a follower.
  • Sell firewood to Jorgen at the mill.
  • Sell firewood to Hroggar at the mill.
  • Deliver a message from Gorm to Captain Aldis in Solitude.
  • Invest in Lami's alchemy shop.
  • Sell ore at Rockwallow Mine.

The title also includes being awarded the Blade of Hjaalmarch.

Similar to Falkreath, if this is attempted late in the game, it may be difficult to find three citizens alive to help, especially if Dawnguard is installed.

The Pale (Capital: Dawnstar)[]

Main article: Thane of the Pale

Thane of The Pale is obtained by completing the following tasks: The quest "Waking Nightmare," which is begun by talking to Erandur in the Windpeak Inn. Then complete three minor quests. Alternatively, the player can complete the Civil War questline by siding with the Empire and get the title from Brina Merilis without having to complete Waking Nightmare, though they still must complete the three minor quests.

The Dragonborn must be level 22 to obtain the quest to kill a giant, which then leads to the offer to become a Thane (after completing the three minor quests).

The Blade of the Pale is awarded along with the title.

  • An eighth quest for the local museum also exists, but it does not count towards the quest.
  • When selling firewood to Aeri, she will ask that a letter be delivered to the Jarl; this does not count towards the quest.

The Reach (Capital: Markarth)[]

Main article: Thane of the Reach

To become a Thane of Markarth, the Dragonborn needs to kill groups of Forsworn for the Jarl and his steward. They then must retrieve Hrolfdir's Shield (this quest is only given when at level 20 or higher). The Dragonborn must then help five citizens of Markarth and own Vlindrel Hall to become a Thane.

Alternatively, the Dragonborn can side with the Stormcloaks and take The Reach by force through the Civil War quests. This will change the Jarl to Thongvor Silver-Blood and the Dragonborn will immediately be granted the permission to purchase property and become a Thane without doing anything else.

The above is also possible if the Dragonborn negotiated the exchange of Markarth during Season Unending. The Blade of the Reach is awarded along with the title.

The Rift (Capital: Riften)[]

Main article: I Done Got Thaned!

Speak to the Argonian named Wujeeta in the fishery on the docks outside the city. Give her the Potion of Healing that she asks for, then ask her about her skooma dealer. Speak to the Jarl to begin the "Skooma Trade" Quest.

Unlike every other Thane quest, at least 5 other quests to help citizens of the Rift must be completed before the Jarl will offer the title. When enough citizens have been helped, a new miscellaneous quest will appear named, "Speak to the Jarl of Riften." Before the title can be accepted, Honeyside must be purchased (normally 8,000 Gold, it can be purchased with only 5,000 Gold). There are a number of quests that can be completed to assist the citizens of the Rift. They include:

Whiterun Hold (Capital: Whiterun)[]

Main article: Thane of Whiterun

The Dragonborn becomes a Thane of Whiterun as part of the main quest. After killing the dragon at the Western Watch Tower and revealing that they are the Dragonborn, the Jarl becomes eager to dub them Thane of Whiterun. After becoming a Thane of Whiterun the Jarl will award them the Axe of Whiterun.

Siding with the Stormcloaks in the Civil War places Vignar Gray-Mane on the throne as Jarl of Whiterun and the Dragonborn's status as Thane is revoked. To become a Thane again, the Dragonborn must assist five citizens of Whiterun and purchase Breezehome, (if this has not already been done). Speak to Vignar after he is promoted to Jarl about becoming a Thane. He will award a Blade of Whiterun and grant them the title of Thane again.

Winterhold (Capital: Winterhold)[]

Main article: Thane of Winterhold

Retrieve the Helm of Winterhold from a radiant location for the Jarl Korir, and then help three people in the hold.

Alternatively, if the Legion wins the Civil War the Dragonborn can simply talk to the new Jarl and then help three people in the hold, thus bypassing the retrieval of the Helm of Winterhold.

Helping three people can be done by:

The Blade of Winterhold will be awarded, along with the new title.


  • The miscellaneous objective to help hold citizens as a step towards becoming a thane is referred to in the game's files as "Making Friends and Influencing People," a reference to Dale Carnegie's bestselling self-help book How to Win Friends and Influence People. These files can only be viewed on PC with the console or the Creation Kit.
  • Giving a coin to a beggar counts as assisting a citizen.
  • Dropping an item and granting a character's request to take it counts as assisting a citizen.
  • Some quests do not count as assisting a citizen, even if it seems it should.
  • Investing in a shop using the Investor perk from the Speech skill tree counts as helping a citizen.
  • Defeating a Dragon inside any town will count towards helping citizens.
  • Helping a blacksmith in any town counts. (Can only be done once.)
  • Helping one character on two different missions will only count as assisting one citizen.
  • Winning a brawl with a citizen counts toward helping the citizens.


This section contains bugs related to Becoming Thane. 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  /  PS5  ,  XS  , 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.
Click to show Bugs


  • Occasionally when first speaking to the Jarl, instead of offering quests he will immediately grant the title of Thane of Markarth, and allow the purchase of property and assign a housecarl.
  •  PC   360   PS3   If the Forsworn were aided in the quest "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine" before starting the quest chain to become a Thane, the steward may no longer offer the quests required, making that route to becoming Thane inaccessible.
    •  PC   This can be fixed on the PC by using the console command "SetStage Favor157 10" to force start the quest to obtain the shield. Pressing M while the quest is highlighted on the log will cause the map give directions. Once given the shield, the Jarl will offer to let the Dragonborn buy a house, and the steward will have the dialogue to sell it.
  •  360   Argis the Bulwark may not be appointed as housecarl and never appear in Vlindrel Hall.
    • May be fixed by buying all the upgrades to Vlindrel hall.
  • If already a Thane before the quest "Season Unending," the citizens of The Reach may need to be helped again.


  •  PS3   Sometimes after speaking to Jorgen to complete the "Mehrunes' Razor" quest he disappears for good.
  •  360   Neither investing in Lami's shop nor bringing her a copy of Song of the Alchemists will count towards "Assist the people of Hjaalmarch."


  • After completing the "Skooma Trade" quest in Riften for the Jarl, a miscellaneous quest indicates to return and speak to her. When done, the next step is to buy Honeyside from her steward. If Honeyside is visited immediately after purchasing it, and then the Dragonborn tries speaking with the Jarl, the quest to return to the Jarl of Riften remains in the quest log and the dialogue to become a Thane never triggers.
    •  PC   Using the console command "Player.setstage FreeformRiftenThane 200" may solve the problem.
    • After waiting for a while and returning to her, the option to become a Thane appears.
  • An enchanted iron weapon may be received instead of the Blade of the Rift.
  • If the Civil War is completed by siding with the Imperials, the Dragonborn will be granted the ability to receive the house immediately, but will be unable to become a Thane and reap the benefits, as the topic of becoming a Thane never appears.
    • Exception: It will appear if the Dragonborn's relationship status with Maven is high enough. However, this requires not only completing the thieves guild quest line and interacting positively with her. The Dragonborn will also have to complete the "Quill of Gemination" quest.
    • If the above fails, PC users can use the console and enter: setstage FreeformRiftenThane 10
      The quest should progress normally from there.
  • If the Dragonborn obtains any of the quests listed above for Riften and does not complete one of them (i.e. it is still listed on the journal), but completes 3 alternative quests, the option to purchase a house will not appear.
    • A solution is to complete the outstanding quest(s).
  •  PC   360   PS3   Return to the Jarl of Riften or Speak to the Jarl of Riften may be unable to be completed after purchasing and upgrading Honeyside. Jarl will have no option to name the Dragonborn a Thane. The only apparent way to avoid this is to speak to the Jarl after purchasing Honeyside but before visiting it.


  •  PC   360   Jarl Elisif will say that the Dragonborn may become a Thane by buying a house and helping five people in her hold, but the quest does not initiate. This causes it to be impossible to become a Thane of Solitude (though the house may still be purchased).
    • Quest will not be active after speaking with Elisif if the house has not been purchased. Once the house is purchased and any of the helping actions have been done, the quest will appear in the quest log "Assist the People of Haafingar number/5." Completing the necessary remaining items will properly transition to the next task of speaking to Elisif. If five citizens have already been helped, finding and completing a sixth will move it forward and add the task of speaking with Elisif.
  •  PC   360   PS3   The completed quest "Assist the People of Haafingar (5/5)," may get stuck in the quest list after completion, even after becoming a Thane. This may happen if the citizens were helped before the quest to help five citizens was received.
    • A solution is to help any other citizen (either do an additional side quest, give money to Dervenin or invest in a store with the investor perk). Selling vegetables at Katla's farm works but it may take some time for the objective to complete. The count will update to "6/5" and the quest will complete and be removed.
  •  360   After completing the quest to place Jarl Elisif's husband's horn at the Shrine of Talos, picking it back up immediately does not allow for the dialog box to appear on return of the completed quest. It can be picked up afterwards.


  • If siding with the Stormcloaks, after capturing the city, Vignar Gray-Mane will offer the title of Thane again. However, Brill, Vignar's new Steward, may be found dead at the front gates with nothing equipped.


  • During the quest it is possible for Ranmir to be killed by the magical orbs that invade Winterhold rendering his quest unavailable.
  •  360   Sometimes if the Dragonborn becomes the Archmage of the college before speaking to the Jarl, the Jarl may not give the option to become a Thane.
  • After the Helm of Winterhold has been given to the Jarl, it is possible that Jarl Ulfric will ask that the Helm of Winterhold be retrieved again and again.
  • If the Helm of Winterhold is found after finishing the Imperial Questline, it may be necessary to lockpick Jarl Brunwulfs house to find Jarl Korir inside. After giving the helm to him the quest will not update making it impossible to become a Thane of Winterhold.
  •  PC   360   Upon returning the Helm of Winterhold, the Dragonborn may be asked to retrieve it again, but from a different dungeon.


  •  PS3   Before being given the first radiant quest by Jarl Siddgeir to get him some Black-Briar Mead, the Dragonborn may have to accept a quest from Nenya, the Jarl's steward, to kill a bandit leader in one of the nearby hideouts. Once the bandit leader has been killed, the Dragonborn is directed back to Nenya to complete the quest. However, when she is spoken to, the dialog option to finish the quest does not appear.
    • It is still possible to finish it by speaking to the Jarl instead, who will give the appropriate dialog.
  •  PC   The favor counter can get stuck before reaching 3/3, regardless of which quests are done.
    • This can be fixed by selling cabbages to Mathies.
    •  PS3   There is a bug in which Jarl Siddgeir does not offer the quest to acquire Black-Briar Mead. There is no known way to fix this.
  • It is possible for Lod and Mathies from Falkreath to spawn dead. Not being killed by a dragon or any other thing, but just spawn that way. This bug can prevent the Dragonborn from becoming the Thane of Falkreath.