The Bannered Mare, serving as Whiterun's most popular gathering place, functions as a tavern and inn that offers mead, food and a warm, welcoming fire. Almost anyone can be found in the tavern after the shops and stalls close. Its sign is that of a horse carrying a banner.
Hulda, the publican, is fond of telling the story of the horse, which belonged to a Nord king who died in battle; the king may have died, but his favorite filly carried his banner still, inspiring the leader’s warriors to victory.
Ysolda often tells the Dragonborn that after she has made enough money from trading with the Khajiit Caravans she is going to buy the Bannered Mare from Hulda, however this never actually happens in-game, unless Hulda is killed. Hulda also mentions, when asked about the inn, that she is ready to retire and perhaps she will sell the inn to Ysolda.
The building has a central tavern area and an adjacent kitchen with a business ledger and strongbox near the roasting spit. To the rear of the main bar area is a small bedroom and office where shady deals may be done. There are two sets of steps to separate bedroom areas. Hulda will always send Saadia over to the player, offering food and drink or, in the quest "In My Time of Need," an option about the Alik'r.
A "loot" shadowmark resides on to the lower right of the door.
- Bed – 10
- Food – sold by Hulda & Saadia
- Listen to Hulda tell rumors.
- Music – played by Mikael. He offers The Age of Aggression and Ragnar the Red as songs and the Tale of the Tongues after finishing the main quest line.
- Brawl against Uthgerd the Unbroken (and Mikael, if the option to persuade him to stop bothering Carlotta Valentia).
- If the Dragonborn takes a seat in the chair or on the bench by the fire, Saadia will be reminded by Hulda to serve them.
- Once the Dragonborn has started the quest "In My Time of Need," the Dragonborn can sleep for free in the small bedroom across from Saadia's room.
- If the Dragonborn sells firewood to Hulda, the Dragonborn can sleep in the small room across from Saadia's room or the main bedroom (usually rented) for free. This lasts for the rest of the game.confirmation needed The containers in these rooms are not "safe," meaning the items left in them may disappear.
Several Alik'r bounty hunters may approach the Dragonborn in Whiterun, searching for a runaway fugitive. The fugitive, now going by the name Saadia, can be found in the room left of the main tavern room or upstairs. Regardless of whom the Dragonborn decides to help, they must return here to speak with Saadia again.
After accepting the contract Amaund Motierre gives at Volunruud, he resides at the Bannered Mare. He must be approached after Emperor Titus Mede II is killed. Optionally, he may be killed in his room near the rear of the facility.
Mikael, the bard, must be convinced to stop bothering Carlotta.
Investigate The Whispering Door.
- Uthgerd the Unbroken, a potential follower.
- Saadia, a Redguard woman of mysterious origin.
- Mikael, the bard.
- Hulda, the proprietor.
- Amaund Motierre, Elder Council member who appears during "To Kill an Empire" and stays there forever.
- Ysolda, a possible marriage partner.
- Rexus, bodyguard of Amaund Motierre.
- Hulda can be befriended by selling her firewood for 5 a piece, allowing the Dragonborn to take almost everything in the Bannered Mare, including the Argonian Ale. It will also allow the Dragonborn to use the rentable bed for free.
- If Hulda is killed and Saadia is taken away during "In My Time of Need," Ysolda will take their place. Since Ysolda is essential throughout the game, she will be a permanent innkeeper.
- Standing on the fireplace in third person blocks the light being emitted from the flame and therefore causes the room to darken.
- The bench closest to the counter is unable to be sat on. The prompt is still given, though, and other characters can be seen sitting on it.
- Pointing the camera above the fireplace when facing it can cause the smoke and flame to turn invisible. The heat and light emitted won't be affected, though.