For other uses, see Thane.
Whiterun Skyrim

Whiterun, one of nine holds to become thane of.

"By my right as Jarl, I name you Thane of Whiterun. It's the greatest honor that's within my power to grant. I assign you Lydia as a personal Housecarl, and this weapon from my armory to serve as your badge of office. I'll also notify my guards of your new title. Wouldn't want them to think you're part of the common rabble, now would we?"
―Jarl Balgruuf the Greater[src]

Thane is an honorary title which is given by the jarl of a hold to a person of great importance in a particular city. The title is given to someone who has contributed to a hold significant deeds that have helped the Jarl of the hold and its people. Newly titled Thanes receive housecarls, sworn bodyguards who protect the Thane, their spouses, and their property.


The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimEdit

The title of Thane is an honor gifted by a city's Jarl to the Dragonborn. It is only granted if the Dragonborn completes tasks for people of the hold, and personally assists the Jarl in official or unofficial business, depending on the city. Rarely, if the Dragonborn has enough GoldIcon, the title of Thane may be given.

Hold Guards will excuse the Dragonborn from crimes if they mention they are the Thane in a dialogue option when confronted, but this only works once. After being proclaimed Thane in a city, the Dragonborn can purchase houses from the Jarls' stewards, alongside various improvements and furniture for said house. In a few rare cases, purchasing a home within a Hold is a prerequisite for becoming a Thane of said Hold, such as the Rift.

The Elder Scrolls OnlineEdit

During the Second Era, Thanes are prevalent throughout Skyrim, each having contributed deeds and acts of heroism for their Holds. The Vestige meets and helps out most of the Thanes with dealing with the Stormfist Brigade as part of the royal retinue of King Jorunn going around Eastmarch. Though it is not specified to which holds most of the thanes belong to, they are all part of the royal council of the King as he meets with the other leaders of the Ebonheart Pact in Skyrim.

Other thanesEdit

The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimEdit

The Elder Scrolls OnlineEdit


  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the title of Thane may be lost if power over the Hold of which the Dragonborn is Thane is transferred to the opposite side of the ongoing Civil War. It can be attained again, however, by completing the normal tasks needed to become Thane once more, this time for the newly instated Jarl.
  • Occassionally Jarls will show up at the Dragonborn's wedding if they are thane of a hold.

Real-world meaningEdit

The Thanes (Thegns) were the minor nobility of Anglo-Saxon England and Viking Scandinavia—the word literally means a retainer to a king or high-ranking official. This, however, has been observed to have been an honorary task and title in many early medieval Scandinavian cultures.

Many runestones in Sweden and Denmark honor dead men as good thanes.


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