The best Skyrim companions and followers to join you on quests

(Image credit: Bethesda)

The best Skyrim companions will greatly differ from adventure to adventure. If you had all Skyrim followers ranked, the list would likely look very different for each player – many followers have different utility in combat, and will open up opportunities that would have otherwise been closed off depending on the build of your character. But that isn't to say that we don't have some favorite companions in Skyrim

Whether it's because they are immensely helpful in an array of combat situations or just because one of them has us wondering how to get married in Skyrim, what you'll find below are our pick of the best Skyrim companions. Whatever you're after, get one of these followers on your side and your adventure will be all the better because of it.   


Skyrim companions: Cicero

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Cicero is one of the best companions you can get in Skyrim  - he’s an assassin with incredibly high stats, and he’s got one of the most well-developed personalities in the entire game. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, as he does technically betray the Dark Brotherhood, but if you’re willing to let bygones be bygones, he’s a follower well worth taking under your wing.

You need to finish the Dark Brotherhood questline and spare him at the Dawnstar Sanctuary to get Cicero as a follower. Luckily, if you do kill Cicero you can get one of the two unnamed Dark Brotherhood Initiates who show up in the Dawnstar Sanctuary after Nazir and Babette move in. Both of these have the same stats as Cicero. This might be the better option as well because if you kill Cicero you have his heavily enchanted Jester set, too. 


Skyrim companions: J'Zargo

J’Zargo is a Khajiit mage in the College of Winterhold with some of the highest magic skills in the game, even boasting a maxed out Destruction stat.

He's pretty easy to get as a companion and like a lot of NPCs, wants you to do a couple of quests for him before he'll join you. Bizarrely, J’Zargo has the highest HP stat of any companion, which is a bit strange when you compare him to tanks like Farkas and Frea. He only uses Apprentice level spells, which can be a bit of a nuisance given how high his stats are, but he’s still a powerful companion and a great character to boot.


Skyrim companions: Aela

Aela the Huntress is an archer found in Jorrvaskr, home of the Companions. Like most of the Companions, you can simply ask her to follow you whenever you like, once you’ve completed the faction’s questline.

Aela is a brilliant archer, and she has better synergy with some player types than others. Mainly if you’re a frontline brawler who runs into close range battle - she’ll then hang back and barrage your foes with a rain of arrows from a distance. However, if you’re a ranged player as well you’ll soon find yourself getting overwhelmed. 

Vilkas or Farkas

Skyrim companions: Vilkas

Vilkas and Farkas are also residents of Jorrvaskr with very similar fighting styles. Both these Nord warriors are bruisers, getting right up in the enemy’s face and soaking up tons of damage. You’ll work well with them if you’re an archer or a mage and less hands on, but even if you’re both piling in with close ranges attacks, you can quickly take out large mobs together.


Skyrim companions: Mjoll

Image credit: Skyrim wiki

Mjoll the Lioness can be found in Riften with Aerin, her squire. Like Vilkas and Farkas, she’s a tank-like fighter. You can ask Mjoll to accompany you once you find her sword, Grimsever. She’s a brawler that holds her own, even in late-game Skyrim and you could easily go through the whole game with her. The only thing to remember is that she disapproves of illegal activity and hates the Thieves’ Guild, so if you’re planning on pulling a heist, it might be best to leave her behind.

Skyrim DLC companions

Serana, Dawnguard DLC

If you get the Dawnguard expansion, you can ask a vampire named Serana to follow you. She’s incredibly strong, unleashing devastating magic to defeat her enemies and has one of the best character arcs in all of Skyrim. If you’re smithing items at a forge or bartering with a merchant, Serana will enter a state of idle animation to keep herself occupied. She even meditates with the Greybeards! 

Teldryn Sero, Dragonborn DLC

The Dragonborn DLC has some new companions too. Teldryn Sero is a mercenary you can encounter in Raven Rock’s tavern, The Retching Netch. Teldryn actually has some of the most unique armour in the game and fights with a relentlessly aggressive battlemage build, capable of demonizing even the most formidable of foes. So taking him on board for a mere 500 gold is a bit of a steal. 

No matter which companion you choose though, it’s most important to go for a follower who you actually want to spend time with. Farkas and Vilkas are great, but if you’re not into their personalities, you’re missing out on what bringing a companion around Skyrim with you is all about in the first place. That’s probably why so many people like Cicero, despite his treasonous treachery. He’s a great fighter, but an even better character, and he’ll likely make you laugh even in the midst of the darkest dungeons. A companion is more than just a follower; they’re a friend first and foremost. 

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Looking for something to play after Skyrim? Why not check out Bethesda's next game, Starfield – or read up on everything we know about the Elder Scrolls 6 so far.

Cian is a freelance journalist based in Ireland. He's written for numerous publications including USA Today, TheGamer, The Guardian, Washington Post, Verge, Vice, Polygon, Eurogamer, and GameSpot. He's a huge fan of The Witcher and other RPGs like Dragon Age.

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