Skyrim: Should I Kill Paarthurnax?


“What is better: to be born good or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?”

Well, you’ve almost reached the end of the main questline, and you’re stuck with a terrible task; to kill the friendliest Dragon in Skyrim.

You meet Paarthurnax as the leader of the Greybeards, a wise and good friend to the Dragonborn, who helps us defeat Alduin from destroying the world.

While to kill Paarthurnax or not is the final choice in the game, I remember making my choice almost 12 years ago, and the game still hasn’t ended for me because of the elaborate side quests and DLCs.

Skyrim is one of the few games where the devs worked more on the side quests as compared to the main quest. This, in no way, is a claim that the main story isn’t great, but if you’ve got the patience to pursue the main story while keeping all of the side quests and guilds for the very end like I did, then you’ll have to kill one of the nicest characters in Skyrim.

Let’s check out who Paarthurnax is; should you kill him or spare him, and the consequences of doing either in Skyrim. Read on!

Who Is Paarthurnax?

Paarthurnax is one of the oldest Dragons in Skyrim and plays a major role in the game’s main quest, and players are presented with the choice of whether to kill him or spare him. This decision significantly impacts the game’s story, lore, and the player’s experience.

Related Article: Types of Skyrim Dragons (9 dragons to rule them all)

Paarthurnax is one of the few dragons who can speak Tamrielic, the language of mortals. He is a mentor and guide to the player, and his role in the game is to teach the player about the Thu’um.

He also helps the player understand the ancient dragon culture and their philosophy. The dragon race in Skyrim is an ancient and powerful one. All once feared them, but over time, they became a myth and legend.

Dragons were known to be ruthless and powerful creatures, feared by many. Many legends are told in Skyrim of how dragons were once a scourge on the land, but with the rise of human civilization, they disappeared and became nothing more than a distant memory.

This decision creates a moral quandary for players, who must choose whether to spare the dragon or fulfill their mission and kill him. Whether to kill Paarthurnax raises many important themes in the game, such as the morality of violence and the cost of power.

Does Paathurnax Deserve To Die?

Paarthurnaax was a lieutenant of Alduin during the Dragon War and was responsible for untold atrocities at the orders of his master. This is why the Blades are on a mission to kill one of the oldest Dragons in all of Tamriel.

Killing Paarthurnax would’ve been easy until he proved to the Dragonborn that he had changed himself for the better. Moreover, he helps the Dragonborn kill Alduin.

While killing Paarthurnax has significant consequences in the game’s main quest and the lore, it ultimately offers a less rewarding gameplay experience.

The belief that all dragons are naturally evil and driven by power is a possibility, but it’s not a certainty. Paarthurnax’s ability to control himself shows that dragons in The Elder Scrolls can exercise restraint, even if they often don’t. It may be difficult, but it’s not impossible makes it tough to excuse Paarthurnax’s past actions.

By judging Paarthurnax personally, you’re missing important factors that he himself brings up. Paarthurnax argues that he has overcome his innate desire for power, and it is important to consider this perspective as well.

What Happens If You Kill Paarthurnax?

By killing Paarthurnax, the player gains the trust of the Blades and continues to progress in the main quest.

But in terms of the game’s lore, the death of Paarthurnax is a significant loss. He was a wise and powerful dragon who had much to teach the player about the ancient dragon culture and philosophy. His death also implies that the player’s character has chosen to align with the Blades, showing that the character doesn’t value the ancient and powerful culture of the dragons.

Is it right to kill a wise and powerful being to fulfill a mission or gain power? This decision forces players to consider the moral implications of their actions in the game. 

In terms of gameplay, killing Paarthurnax changes the player’s experience and the choices they make. After killing Paarthurnax, players lose access to the guidance and wisdom he provides, and they can no longer learn the Thu’um from him.

Killing Paarthurnax in Skyrim has some major drawbacks. Arngeir won’t help you find Word Walls anymore, and you won’t be welcome at High Hrothgar. Plus, no more bonuses from Paarthurnax, and you won’t be able to form the peace treaty council.

This can make the game more challenging and less rewarding. Additionally, the decision to kill Paarthurnax may make players feel guilty or remorseful, which can affect their enjoyment of the game. Will you be able to live with yourself, killing one of the nicest characters in the game?

On the other hand, you will become a permanent member of the Blades. Esbern will also give you a potion that gives a permanent buff when fighting dragons. Sure, it’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s way better to keep Paarthurnax alive.

What Happens If You Spare Paarthurnax?

Unfortunately, there’s no choice in the Blade storyline, as there is no ‘Kill or Spare Paarthurnax.’ Hence, in order to complete the quest, you have to kill him.

Players who don’t want to kill Paarthurnax (Gamers with a heart) have several options.

One option is to refuse the mission to kill Paarthurnax – This will lead to an incomplete Blade storyline, but you won’t have to kill your buddy! Much like the Skeleton Key quest.

Another option is to mod the game – Download The Paarthurnax Dilemma mod, keep him alive and get the rewards from the Blades as well.

The perfect ending!

Conclusion

The decision to kill Paarthurnax in Skyrim is one that players have to make at the end of the main quest. This decision raises important themes such as the morality of violence and the cost of power. Killing Paarthurnax has significant consequences to the game’s main quest and lore, and players may feel guilty or regretful for their choice. Alternatively, players may choose to spare Paarthurnax which could make the game more challenging but also more rewarding. Ultimately, it is up to the player to decide whether to kill or spare Paarthurnax, and both choices have their own consequences.

  • Paarthurnax is a wise and powerful Dragon in Skyrim and players must choose whether to kill or spare him, which significantly impacts the game’s story, lore, and the player’s experience.
  • Killing Paarthurnax has major consequences in the game’s main quest and lore, but offers a less rewarding gameplay experience.
  • Killing Paarthurnax will gain the trust of the Blades and continue to progress in the main quest, but will also mean the death of a wise and powerful being.
  • Sparing Paarthurnax may make the game more challenging but also more rewarding, and players may feel guilty or regretful for their choice.
  • Ultimately, it is up to the player to decide whether to kill or spare Paarthurnax, and both choices have their own consequences.

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Nick Sinclair

Having played games since the golden age of the Commodore 64, Nick finally took the plunge and studied Creative Game Design in university. After 3 years of "Study", Nick co-founded a games company where he soon discovered his true calling: writing about games. 11 years later Nick writes about a tower of topics, but gaming is always stacked neatly at the top.

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