There are a number of NPCs who can follow you on your adventures across Tamriel, so picking the best Skyrim companions can be a tricky choice. They all have their own specific personalities and combat skills to offer, and although some of their desirability as a follower will come down to personal preference, there are definitely some buddies that are more useful than others. Most players will know who Lydia is in Skyrim, but there are others followers who are less renowned, which is why we've put this guide together to highlight the options available. Some of these followers will even marry you, and make excellent options for your husband or wife. Here then are the best Skyrim companions you can recruit to accompany you on your quests.
Cicero is one of the best companions you can get in Skyrim for a plethora of reasons. 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.
To get Cicero, you need to finish the Dark Brotherhood questline and spare him at the Dawnstar Sanctuary. I killed him in mine - even with stats like those, I found it difficult to reconcile my disdain for his actions with a need for a companion. Luckily, even if you 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, and if you kill Cicero you can take his heavily enchanted Jester set, too.
J’Zargo is a Khajiit mage in the College of Winterhold. Like you, he’s an aspiring student of the arcane arts. He’s also got some of the highest magic skills in the game, even boasting a maxed out Destruction stat.
J’Zargo is pretty easy to get as a companion. Like most purposeful NPCs, he wants you to do a couple of favours for him, but they’re quick and easy. Once he considers you a friend, you can ask him to follow 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.
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, provided you’ve completed the faction’s questline first.
Aela is a brilliant archer, but she has better synergy with some player types than others. If you’re a frontline brawler who runs into battle with an unwieldy warhammer, she’ll happily barrage your foes with a rain of arrows from the backlines. However, if you’re a mage who likes to keep their distance, or an archer yourself, you’ll find yourself getting overwhelmed fairly easily. Aela isn’t as well-developed as someone like Cicero, but she’s still a great companion.
Vilkas and Farkas are also residents of Jorrvaskr. They actually have very similar fighting styles, but I prefer Vilkas’ voice actor, so he’s the one I usually take with me.
These Nord warriors are bruisers, getting right up in the enemy’s face and soaking up tons of damage. You’ll synergize well with them if you’re an archer or a mage, but even if you’re a two-handed talent yourself, you can quickly incapacitate even the largest mobs. Again, they don’t develop a whole lot outside of the Companions questline, but they’re still worth keeping around, especially early in the game.
Mjoll the Lioness can be found in Riften with Aerin, her squire. Like Vilkas and Farkas, she’s a tank-like fighter, but she’s got a much more developed personality and is a genuinely intriguing character.
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 at your side. 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 Mjoll at The Bee and Barb.
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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