Thane is an honorary title presented by the jarl of a hold to individuals of high esteem. The bestowed title is one of both recognition and prestige. Thanes may be chosen due to their importance to the city or for their heroic deeds. It is possible to become a thane of every hold regardless of which side in the civil war is chosen. Each jarl has their own requirements for the title and may bestow the honor on multiple people.
 Benefits of Being a Thane
- Grants you a personal housecarl follower (if available).
- Grants you a symbolic weapon of the city.
- Guards will forgive your bounty up to 1999 gold (once per hold).
 Becoming a Thane
The general process for becoming a thane comes down to a relatively general formula with the exception of Whiterun, where it is initially achieved by completing the quest Dragon Rising, and does not require the steps below to complete, unless you have joined the Stormcloaks and completed Battle for Whiterun.
- You befriend the jarl through a quest or favors.
- The jarl asks you to demonstrate your value to the hold by assisting the people (five people in holds with major cities, three people in the other holds; in the Rift this stage is skipped).
- The jarl asks you to purchase a house in the city (major cities except Whiterun).
- The jarl grants the title of Thane and all that comes with it.
Progress made in assisting the people is dependent on disposition of citizens of the hold. Each citizen whose disposition is raised to friend counts towards the objective. Note that if you befriend the same citizen twice, the citizen only counts once for the Thane quest. Also, if a friend dies, you do not lose progress. In most cases, there is one quest for each citizen which will befriend that citizen. Some citizens may have more than one quest which will befriend them. Many citizens have no specific quest available at all.
The thane quests and their general pieces are related below:
 NPC Thanes
NPCs that are thanes are typically identified through dialogue. There is no specific faction marking for thanes only, but all of them are contained in the same faction as jarls: JobJarlFaction.
|Bryling||Haafingar||Bryling's House||Owns Stonehills settlement and Rockwallow Mine|
|Dengeir of Stuhn||Falkreath Hold||Dengeir's House||Former Jarl of Falkreath, deposed by his nephew Siddgeir. Siding with the Stormcloaks will allow him to regain the title of Jarl.|
|Erikur||Haafingar||Erikur's House||Sister is the steward Gisli.|
|Hrongar||Whiterun Hold||Dragonsreach||Brother of Jarl Balgruuf the Greater|
Mjoll the Lioness is declared by the Rift's jarl, Laila Law-Giver, to be a champion of the people. Her virtue and heroic nature are extolled by Laila, but this only represents one facet of being a thane.
- If the jarl that granted you thane is replaced through the events of the civil war or via Season Unending you will lose the title. New jarls are willing to allow you to start at the beginning of the thane quest for helping them become jarl. The sole exception is Haafingar, where Elisif does not get replaced.
- Using the Investor perk to invest in merchants befriends them. Also, selling produce to farmers, selling firewood to lumberjacks, and selling ore to mine owners befriends them. There is also the Companions radiant quest Rescue Mission which, if completed successfully, befriends the randomly-selected citizen selected by it.
- If Season Unending has been used to change the jarls of holds, the new jarls may allow you to become thane without completing any other prerequisite quests in some cases.