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I am your sword, and your shield.
~ Lydia

Lydia is a Nord housecarl obtained upon completion of the quest Dragon Rising. She obtains the title of the Dovahkiin's Housecarl upon defeating a dragon located outside the city of Whiterun. As Housecarl, she is sworn to protect the Dragonborn with her life, and to carry their burdens.

Role

She first appears after the Dragonborn defeats the dragon Mirmulnir located outside Whiterun at the Western Watchtower, as well as learns of his/her true identity. Afterwards, Jarl Balgruuf the Greater will reward the Dragonborn for their actions by presenting them the title of Thane, as well as Lydia as their housecarl. Afterwards, she often plays the role of the Dragonborn's follower, and will carry out any burdens he/she requests.

She is often consider to be the first follower by beginners of the game, as she is usually (though not always) the first one available to them.

Besides a follower, she can also become a candidate for marriage as well as a member of The Blades if the Dragonborn wishes.

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