Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For other uses, see Paarthurnax.

Paarthurnax is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Delphine and Esbern learn that Paarthurnax is the leader of the Greybeards. They inform the Dragonborn of Paarthurnax's former position as the chief lieutenant of Alduin during the Dragon War and claim that he was responsible for many unspecified atrocities against humans. Bound by their oaths as Blades, they refuse the Dragonborn further assistance until Paarthurnax is slain. This quest is optional; it does not need to be completed in order to finish the main quest.


Delphine and Esbern have discovered that Paarthurnax was one of Alduin's chief allies during the ancient Dragon War. They refuse to give me any more help until I kill Paarthurnax.


  1. Kill Paarthurnax
  2. Talk to Delphine


"He needs to die. He deserves to die. And it falls to you to kill him. Until he's dead... well, I'm sorry, but we would dishonor our oaths as Blades if we continued to help you."

This quest is optional, but in order to continue the Blades storyline, it must be completed before the conclusion of the Main Quest. However, doing so will prevent any further communication with the Greybeards, including the radiant quest to locate Words of Power. The conclusion of the main storyline slightly differs depending on whether or not Paarthurnax is still living. Working with all factions prior to engaging Paarthurnax runs the risk of making the quest impossible to complete.

Killing Paarthurnax[]

Defeating Paarthurnax is not especially difficult, as he displays only the usual powers common to all dragons and, at this point, the Dragonborn would have had access to both the Dragonrend shout and the Dragonbane sword.

Sparing Paarthurnax (PC only)[]

It is possible to complete this quest without needing to slay Paarthurnax by typing this command into the console:

setstage MQPaarthurnax 100

This way, Paarthurnax will remain alive, the Greybeards will still be hospitable, and the Blades will talk once more. The speech options regarding Paarthurnax's termination are still available when speaking with Arngeir, however.

If this quest is received during "Season Unending" and not completed before the end of the Main Questline, it will disappear from the list of active quests.

The console command setessential <baseID> 0 can also be used to avoid killing Paarthurnax, which allows the Blades to be killed instead.


Paarthurnax – MQPaarthurnax
ID Journal Entry
20 Delphine and Esbern have discovered that Paarthurnax was one of Alduin's chief allies during the ancient Dragon War. They refuse to give me any more help until I kill Paarthurnax.
  • Objective 10: Kill Paarthurnax
50 Delphine and Esbern have discovered that Paarthurnax was one of Alduin's chief allies during the ancient Dragon War. I killed him, as they requested.
  • Objective 20: Talk to Delphine
  • Quest complete


  • When speaking to Arngeir regarding the Blades' request, he will tell the Dragonborn about Paarthurnax's reason for siding with Alduin and later, his rebellion which brought about Alduin's first demise. There is the option to tell Arngeir that Paarthurnax must die or that he is going to be spared. This will affect the conversation between Esbern and Arngeir in "Season Unending", during the negotiation of a treaty.
  • Should the Civil War questline be complete (thus bypassing "Season Unending"), Delphine and Esbern will remain in Sky Haven Temple. However, they remain in disapproval and the quest disappears from the log.
  • This quest is still possible to complete after completing "Season Unending" by depleting all of Paarthurnax's health then quickly fast traveling to Sky Haven Temple.
  • It is possible to kill Paarthurnax directly after the quest "Alduin's Bane," since he is no longer an essential character. Once he is dead, traveling to Sky Haven Temple and talking to Esbern will get him to introduce the Dragonborn to the quest to kill Paarthurnax. At that point, the Dragonborn can tell him Paarthurnax is already dead. Note that this will not interfere with "Season Unending".
  • If one has already completed the Civil War questline and then receives the "Paarthurnax" quest from Delphine, completing "Dragonslayer" and then talking to Arngeir and saying that they will not kill Paarthurnax will make the quest disappear from the quest log; it is not categorized by the game as "failed" (and as such would appear in the finished quests list), but simply disappears. This means that if one should change their mind, they need to reload a save from before talking to Arngeir.


This section contains bugs related to Paarthurnax (Quest). 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.
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  •  PC   360   PS3   Paarthurnax is invincible immediately after receiving the quest because he is perched on the altar. However, this can be exploited to level up one's skills.
    • Reloading a previous save will resolve this, as long as the Dragonborn does not engage in conversation before killing him.
    • Getting a follower to attack him will cause Paarthurnax to fly up and get into an attack position; from there he can be killed.
      •  360   Followers will say that attacking Paarthurnax is "not possible," so the above option may not work.
    • Using Dragonrend and attacking a few times may solve this.
    • A possible solution is to continue to attack Paarthurnax until his health runs out, even if he never leaves his perch. Once his health runs out, it will start regenerating. By immediately fast traveling away, it should say that Paarthurnax is dead.
    • Another solution is to not use Dragonrend on him, instead letting him fly off. If he does not fly off, ranged attacks may also work.
    • Attacking him with Mehrune's Razor will entice him to reciprocate combat and attack.
    • Attacking him with Paralyze while not sneaking will cause him to leave the altar and thus become vulnerable.
    • Shooting him with an ebony bow and an elven arrow while sneaking will get him to attack.
    • Once the Dragonborn has returned to the Throat of the World after defeating Alduin, Paarthurnax can be spoken with. After a brief dialogue, he will begin to fly away. Once he is hovering in the air saying his final farewells, if he is attacked a couple of times, he will become a killable target and will try to fight. This method allows the main quest line to be completed and also continue the Blades quest line at the same time.
  •  360   PS3   The quest will disappear from the journal. This is known to happen if the main quest line is completed and he is still alive.
    • Solution: Attack and kill him. This will cause the quest to reappear in the journal. However, in some cases Paarthurnax will remain invincible even after the quest has disappeared, preventing further progress in the Blades storyline.
  •  PC   360   PS3   After the first fight with Alduin, Paarthurnax must be spoken to; after initiating dialogue with him, he may randomly fly into the air and spin in circles while dialogue remains active. He will get too high and he will be too quiet to hear without subtitles.
    • This can be solved by exiting the dialogue and going back to him later.
  • If the civil war quests are finished and "Season Unending" was skipped, the Dragonborn must go to Sky Haven Temple and talk to Esbern or Delphine for this quest to trigger. Note that this is not a way to be able to talk to both Blades and Greybeards forever.
  • It is possible, if the Dragonborn tries to defeat Odahviing before finishing this quest, that Odhaviing will be invincible, therefore making it impossible to progress further unless they kill Paarthurnax first.