Housecarl (or Huscarl) is a title bestowed upon the bodyguard of an important person in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Generally excelling at physical combat, whether in ranged or melee weapons, the housecarl dedicates their entire life to protect their liege, their home, their family, and their assets. The nine Jarls of Skyrim each have a housecarl. It is common practice for Thanes to have housecarls as well. Persons of extreme notability, such as the Dragonborn, who emerged during the Dragon Crisis of the Fourth Era, may have several housecarls, each of whom might have accompanied them into combat as a follower or engaged them as a spouse.
Relationship to liege
A housecarl is a formidable warrior, and is usually found next to, or close by their master. If their Jarl or Thane is attacked, the housecarl will be the first to enter the battle to fight for his or her liege's life. It is socially acceptable for a Thane to marry their housecarl.
In Falkreath, the title seems to be more of an office — as Helvard puts it, "I protect the Jarl, whoever that might be." This means that the Housecarl of Falkreath is not sworn to protect a single individual and continues his service if a new Jarl takes over. On the other hand, it may simply be Helvard's personal preference.
Housecarls to notable figures
- * Serves as Housecarl even before his master becomes Jarl.
- Irnskar Ironhand, housecarl to Bryling, Thane of Solitude.
- Melaran, housecarl to Erikur, Thane of Solitude.
Housecarls appointed to the Dragonborn
Becoming the Thane of a Hold will grant a personal housecarl. In the base game, all available housecarls are Nord warriors, as is Gregor, the housecarl for the Pale, who is added by The Elder Scrolls V: Hearthfire. Of the other two Hearthfire housecarls, Valdimar is a battlemage rather than a warrior, and Rayya is a Redguard rather than a Nord.
The five housecarls in the base game have the same base gear: a set of Steel Armor without a helmet, accompanied by a Steel Sword and Shield. Should they be provided with a more damaging weapon than their default one, they will automatically switch to said weapon.
The three Hearthfire housecarls each have a slightly different equipment: Rayya duel-wields scimitars; Gregor uses a two-handed Steel Greatsword; and Valdimar wears light scaled armor, wields a Steel Mace, and uses Destruction spells.
Housecarls match Character Level at the time of appointment, with a level cap of 50.
No housecarl is available in Winterhold.
|Argis the Bulwark||Understone Keep
or Vlindrel Hall, Markarth
|Calder||Palace of the Kings
or Hjerim, Windhelm
|Gregor HF||The White Hall
or Heljarchen Hall
|Iona||Mistveil Keep or Honeyside, Riften||The Rift||F||Nord||Yes|
|Jordis the Sword-Maiden||Blue Palace
or Proudspire Manor, Solitude
or Breezehome, Whiterun
|Rayya HF||Jarl's Longhouse
or Lakeview Manor
|Valdimar HF||Highmoon Hall
or Windstad Manor
In Medieval Scandinavia, the housecarls (húskarl) were personal male servants of Scandinavian Chieftains, Jarls and Kings, their roles encompassed many aspects involving a person's home, such as organizing the household, guarding the master's properties, and were also in charge of protecting their master's interests. The word housecarl is a direct translation of the Norse word húskarl (house man).
The term was also used in Anglo-Saxon England, where the Housecarls were not just bodyguards and keepers of household, but the elite fighters and leaders of the Jarl's armies. Though this aspect isn't directly addressed in game, Irileth also commands the Whiterun guards, suggesting that it may also be true in Skyrim.
- Rayya, Faleen, Teeba-Ei, Melaran and Irileth are the only housecarls in the game who are not Nords, with Irileth being a Dunmer and the housecarl to Balgruuf the Greater, Rayya being a Redguard and the housecarl to the Thane of Falkreath Hold, Teeba-Ei being an Argonian and the housecarl to Sorli the Builder (if sided with the Stormcloaks in the Civil War), Melaran being an Altmer who serves as the housecarl to Erikur in Solitude, and Faleen being a Redguard and the housecarl to Igmund.
- Argis the Bulwark is the only housecarl who cannot be hired as a steward, due to not having appropriate dialog recorded.
- Lydia is the only housecarl that needs to be unlocked to complete the main quest. She is automatically unlocked after completing the quest "Bleak Falls Barrow."
- Valdimar is the only housecarl who employs magic along with melee weapons.
This section contains bugs related to Housecarl. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- Mjoll the Lioness, the Dragonborn does not receive a housecarl when a house is purchased from a Jarl's steward, because Aerin, Mjoll's companion, lives with her and thus her husband or wife should she marry. This happens because there would be no sleeping quarters for a housecarl because Aerin takes the only remaining bed. Marrying
- Dialogue with Helvard.