One of the most memorable moments in Skyrim happens early on, the first time you visit Solitude. Upon entering the city, you will see a crowd of people gathering near the city’s main gates. They surround a single executioner block with a man facing it. You will eventually learn that the man’s name is Roggvir, and he has been accused of high treason. He is directly connected to the death of the High King of Skyrim, Torygg. No matter whether you sided with Stormcloaks of Empire, you’re probably wondering is there a way to save Roggvir from execution in Skyrim?
You can’t save Roggvir from execution because he is scripted to die. You can attempt to save him by using cheats or attacking the executioner set to execute him, but it won’t work. Roggvir will still die, either in the newfound conflict you created between you and the guards or the game’s script itself. Meddling in Roggvir’s execution, however, may prevent you from completing the quest “Return to Grace,” which requires Roggvir’s dead body to be present after execution.
Now that you know that you can’t stop Roggvir from being executed, it’s time to see why and why it’s not a good idea to attempt it. If you’re interested in more, stay with us and keep reading!
Who is Roggvir, and why is he being executed?
As you’re probably aware by now, there are a lot of executions in Skyrim. The first thing that happens to you in the game as a part of the main story is that you’re scheduled to be executed simply because you’ve found yourself at the wrong place at the wrong time. Luckily you have been saved by Alduin (something that he, in retrospect, bitterly regrets). Not all prisoners scheduled for execution, however, have such luck.
The first time you enter Solitude, Empire’s seat in Skyrim, you will be met by a group of people in the middle of a dramatic scene. You will see an NPC named Roggvir standing (or kneeling) in front of an executioner’s block. Depending on who you decide to interact with, you will either hear that Roggvir is a coward and a traitor or a hero. You must be wondering what Roggvir did do to land himself in hot water.
Roggvir’s story is connected to Skyrim’s civil war. He was stationed at the main gates when Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak got into the city and challenged High King Torygg for the right to be the High King of Skyrim. Torygg naturally refused, and according to some, Ulfric shouted him “to pieces.” The whole mess ended with Torygg dead and Jarl Ulfric being among the most wanted people in Skyrim.
But, to return to Roggvir. Roggvir is executed because he lets Ulfric Stormcloak into the city, and after Ulfric kills High King Torygg, Roggvir once again helps him escape the city. No matter under which rule Solitude is when you first encounter this cutscene, Roggvir is still accused of high treason. He didn’t directly kill Torygg, but the fact that he let Ulfric into the city and let him escape after the ordeal, knowing his intention, makes him at least partly responsible.
Roggvir is unapologetic for what he did. He claimed he did an honorable thing since Ulfric had every right to challenge Torygg to a duel, it’s an ancient Nord custom, and you should respect it.
Roggvir’s last words are “On this day… I go to Sovngarde.” I don’t know if you’ve ever paid attention to the NPCs that inhabit Sovngarde, but Roggvir is nowhere to be seen, which means that the gods deemed his acts during life unhonorable and unworthy. In contrast, one of the NPCs that you can meet in Sovngarde is High King Torygg.
Can you stop Roggvir from being executed?
You can’t, unfortunately, stop Roggvir from being executed. Skyrim’s civil war is all about choices, but there’s no choice when it comes to Roggvir. You can attempt to kill the executioner or resurrect Roggvir, but it won’t work. The game will kill Roggvir in any case since he is scripted to die, and there are no real uses or actions associated with him.
Attacking the executioner will end with guards attacking you and Roggvir still dying.
Resurrecting Roggvir will result in the NPC being frozen for the time being, or in some cases; he might be teleported to the game’s testing area, where he will be properly disposed of. Besides, even if you stop all of this from happening, and Roggvir somehow miraculously lives, other NPCs will still register it as if Roggvir has been executed and there’s really nothing in the game that even remotely includes Roggvir surviving the whole ordeal. The NPCs will not register that you saved him since no such option has been included in his scripting.
What happens if you try to save Roggvir?
Your game might glitch if you try to save Roggvir. There’s also a quest related to Roggvir that includes his dead body, which you will be unable to complete if you don’t have access to his dead body.
When Roggvir dies, you can interact with a little girl called Svari. Svari is Roggvir’s niece, and she tells you that her mother, Greta, Roggvir’s sister, has been depressed since her brother was executed. You can talk to Greta; she will ask you to retrieve the Amulet of Talos from Roggvir’s body. Roggvir was, as a Stormcloak, a fierce worshiper of Talos, so it makes sense that he will break the rules related to religion as well.
If you accept to retrieve the Amulet of Talos, you will need access to Roggvir’s body. If the execution was mere days or hours away, you could still find Roggvir’s body near the city’s entrance. However, suppose a significant amount of time has passed, in that case, Roggvir’s body will be relocated to Solitude catacombs, where you will have to fight with a skeleton to loot the amulet of his body.
I should probably mention as well that looting Roggvir’s body as soon as he is executed before you’ve activated the quest “Return to Grace” will result in the quest being glitched and possibly even impossible to complete. You shouldn’t loot the amulet until after you’ve spoken to Svari and Greta.
And that’s pretty much it. You can’t save Roggvir, and you shouldn’t even attempt it because you can create a whole lot of trouble for yourself, and the game will, due to the script, kill him anyway.