Harrowhark Playthrough,  Skyrim

Giving Inigo another chance

I’m about to put up another Harrow post soon, but I’m breaking this out into its own post because it’s worth addressing on its own.

I wound up having to roll back to the save just before I ran Moonpath to Elsweyr, because of trying to address the crashing issues I’ve been having in my game on the Steam Deck. As a side effect, this also meant that I rolled back to a point before I kicked Inigo out of my playthrough.

And I have decided to let that stand for now. I really still don’t like the whole hate-on Inigo has for the dragon souls thing. But I also felt actively guilty for punting him out of my playthrough, just because the awesome aspects of the character are pretty damned awesome. And unlike with Vilja, the “annoying parts” vs. the “awesome parts” are still heavily weighted in Inigo’s favor.

In particular, he has such great interactions with Lucien that I feel like kicking Inigo out of the playthrough is kind of like kicking a kitten. A very big, very blue, very heavily armed kitten, but a kitten nonetheless. ;D

And Dara handed me a perfect headcanon response that I will now consider Harrow to utter any time Inigo tries to give her shit about dragon souls:

“I’m sorry, I must have hallucinated what you just said, because you and I both know you’re not stupid enough to say that to the Dragonborn, while she is slaying a dragon and absorbing its soul, because otherwise I’ll Shout you clear into the next province. Right?”

Right. ;D

But that’s kind of the short-form, funny response. Before we get to that point, I also feel like a conversation like this would have to happen:

Inigo: “Absorbing dragon souls harms you and those around you. Every time you do it you put both of us at risk. You really don’t care do you?”

Harrow: “Wait, what? Hold on a Divines-damned minute because we need to break this down. First and foremost, why the hells would you say I wouldn’t care about putting people at risk, when I have spent the last several months as a vampire and having the two of you explicitly keeping me from putting people at risk? Have I not demonstrated to you sufficiently that I do, in fact, care about this?”

Inigo, crinkling his nose: “I take your point but should this not mean you should stop absorbing the souls?”

Harrow, rubbing her face, then giving Inigo a look: “What makes you think I could stop doing it even if I wanted to? Did you hear the Greybeards tell me any such thing? Did the Greybeards tell you any such thing? Are you hiding a history of being an expert on what it means to be Dragonborn that you’ve somehow neglected to tell me about all this time? In which case, why the hells didn’t you say something before now?”

Inigo: “I am not an expert in that, no, but–“

Harrow: “Then where in the name of Aetherius are you getting this idea that I’m putting anybody at risk by absorbing a dragon’s soul? How am I harming myself? How am I harming you?”

Lucien: “If I may, speaking as the one with the scholarly background here, I have to say… Harrowhark has a point. I haven’t observed any risk to any of us, either physical or psychic. Well, except maybe the risk of burns when standing too close to the dragon when it catches fire. And of course there’s the harm to the dragon, but that’s a whole separate question.”

Harrow: “And speaking of the dragon in this scenario, Inigo, exactly what am I supposed to do if a dragon attacks? Do you want me to not fight a dragon next time one attacks Riften? Do you want me to let the city you love so much burn down? Do you want me to stand by while its people are eaten?”

Inigo: “Of course not! But I worry about how much power you are taking! That much power in one person’s hands is not normal. It could change you. Maybe even into something dangerous to everyone, not just dragons. I do not want you to turn into something dangerous, my friend.”

Harrow: “You trusted me not to rip your throat out while I was a vampire. Why aren’t you trusting me not to harm you as a Dragonborn?”

Inigo: “Every time you take a soul you get stronger. Your Shouts get louder. And your eyes… my friend, you should see your eyes when you take a soul. They burn like dragonfire. And I’ve seen you breathe fire and frost at our foes just like the dragons do. Are you sure you’re not becoming a dragon?”

Lucien, very quietly: “Ah. Here we go.”

Harrow, taken aback for a long moment before she finally replies: “I’m not going to hurt you, Inigo.”

Inigo: “But you are not answering my question.”

Harrow: “Because I’m not sure how to answer it, and I don’t even know if it’s relevant. Look, Inigo… I know barely more about being a Dragonborn than you do. All I know, I’ve learned from the Greybeards, from Delphine, and from what legends the Nords we know have shared with me. Not to mention just what I’ve felt and experienced any time we go up against a dragon in battle. Arngeir says I’m Dragonborn because Akatosh made me so. Or I guess you’d say Alkosh.”

Inigo: “Yes. The Dragon King of Cats.”

Harrow: “Okay, yes. So I do know this. I don’t take dragon souls because I want to take dragon souls. It just… happens. Hells, I’ve had it happen to me if a dragon dies near me, whether or not I struck the killing blow. The only way I know of it to avoid it is to not go near any dragons ever. And I think we’re all in agreement that that isn’t an option. Right?”

Lucien: “I for one don’t see how. And Riften may be the city of a thousand suspicious smells, but I certainly don’t want it to burn down. Or Whiterun, or Solitude. I might even be a little sad if Markarth was destroyed by dragons. But diplomacy demands I avoid giving my opinion of Windhelm.”

Harrow, smirking at Lucien, pressing the point: “Right, Inigo?”

Inigo, nodding reluctantly: “Right. The dragons keep attacking us, everywhere we go. I do not think we can avoid them.”

Harrow: “All right. So if we can’t avoid the dragons, we have to accept that if one dies near me, I will take its soul. Because it’s part of being Dragonborn, apparently. I can’t just stop being Dragonborn, it’s not like being a vampire. It’s not a thing I can cure. It’s like asking me to stop being a woman, or stop being Imperial. And I don’t even think I should try to stop being Dragonborn, if Akatosh made me this way. Do you think I should tell the Dragon King of Cats I reject his gift?”

Inigo, thoughtful now: “That does not seem polite. Or wise.”

Harrow, while Lucien looks on, his eyes full: “All right. Then the only real question here is this. Do you trust me, or not? Do you want to follow me, or not? Do you believe in me, or not?”

Lucien, gently: “I trust her, Inigo, if that helps. Just like I trust you.”

Inigo, his face slowly easing: “I trust you, Harrowhark. I believe in you.”

Harrow, one corner of her mouth turning up, though her eyes are full now too: “Then that’s what counts.”

Lucien, suddenly grinning brilliantly: “Though just as a precaution, maybe next time she takes a soul, just stand back from the fire? You have a long tail and a lot of fur. Wouldn’t want it to burn off.”

All: <laughter>

As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.