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The Amulet of Mara is a piece of apparel the player may wear around their necks, which symbolizes the character’s willingness to marry and buff the player’s attributes via the enchantments on the piece of jewelry.
The world and people of Skyrim have always been aware of the power and influence of the dietic figures to which they pray. Far removed from our society wherein we must have faith, the people of Tamriel and therefore Skyrim can witness first-hand the power and majesty of their Gods, whether this is through the opening of hellish Oblivion gates right outside their city or a descendent of Akatosh turning into a literal golden dragon to close the said gate.
The God-like figures who dominate the culture of these lands do not stop there. Instead of allowing their power and influence to be forgotten or taken for granted, these Gods often insert pieces of their energy into real-world objects through which the wearer can gain several benefits. Thus once again proving said God’s power and divine spirit to the common sword-swinging neanderthal.
These gifts from the gods can also be seen as a means through which the game’s developers try and even up the scales between the Daedric lords, with all their cool weapons, armor, and quests. Thus, by providing the player character with divine items and quests, the world seems a lot more balanced and seemingly on the precipice of a battle between good and evil.
On the other hand, however, these items and the Gods who have been said to imbue them with magical power could simply be a way for the developers to insert some more cool loot into the game; for when you inevitably spend the next two decades of your life repeatedly trawling through dungeon after dungeon until Todd Howard finally releases Elder Scrolls 6.
No matter what the inspiration behind these items, though, a few stand out amongst the rest, and we will talk about one today; The Amulet of Mara. Yes, the necklace every confirmed bachelor throughout Skyrim would run away from in fear of taking an arrow to the knee is the subject of our guide today. So if you’re interested in this Amulet and the Goddess who spawned it, then keep reading as we jump right into it!
The Goddess Mara
This Goddess serves as one of the nine divines, the most practiced and celebrated religion across all of Tamriel, otherwise known as the Eight and One due to some reluctance to include Tiber Septim and therefore Talos into the ranks of Devine.
Regardless of this inconsequential drama, Mara is the Elder Scrolls version of Aphrodite or Venus, the ancient Greek and Roman depictions of the Goddess of Love. Therefore, this concept is not new to our society, so why should it be any different from the world of Skyrim?
If two conventionally different cultures, such as the Romans and the Greeks, reached the same conclusion, then, of course, Todd and his team over as Bethesda wouldn’t be long behind.
For some quick background on this Goddess, Mara is often anthropomorphized as a caring and devoted mother, looking over her children throughout Tamriel. However, many scholars within the religion will state that she is much more than a simple one-dimensional mother figure, saying that she is also heavily involved with other Gods such as Akatosh or Lorkhan.
Also, in Morrowind, where the deity is known as Ama Nin, she is rumored to be somehow involved with Nir. This presence gave birth to all of creation and, therefore, the Gods themselves.
However, there is no disagreement about her wishes for humanity and how they should act towards one another. Therefore, should the player character and anyone else throughout Tamriel consider themselves a follower of Mara, they should adhere to her commandment, which states, “Live soberly and peacefully. Honor your parent and preserve the peace and security of home and family.
- Mara is depicted as a humanoid figure and is often seen as a maternal, caring force.
- She is known as Ama Nin in the Elder Scrolls title, Morrowind.
- There are two known temples/churches dedicated to Mara across Tamriel.
We are currently aware of two main temples or chapels dedicated to Mara throughout Tamriel; however, there are many devoted to the Nine Divines as a whole. These temples are located in Bravil, which serves as the main place of worship for those who devote themselves to the Goddess of love, and there is another in Riften.
The chapel, located within Cyrodiil, another province much like Skyrim in Tamriel, is but one of many chapels dedicated to the individual gods and goddesses of the Nine Divines.
However, the Temple of Mara in Riften is somewhat different, and these temples dedicated to the Gods are not typical in the Nordic homeland. Instead, the temple sits rather on its own in this province, mainly dealing in marriages and other standard religious practices such as blessings.
The Amulet and Its Cultural Significance
Throughout the world of Tamriel, the Amulet of Mara is seen as so much more than a simple piece of jewelry or symbol of wealth. Instead, as alluded to earlier, the Amulet works as a sort of social contract wherein the wearer will be considered to not only be open to the concept of marriage but actively search for it.
This allows the player to find a possible spouse, activating several dialogue options with several NPCs across the land once the Amulet is equipped. It also removes a lot of the guesswork many people struggle with within the real world never mind one as brutal as Skyrim.
Therefore, the Amulet is seen as THE way people advertise themselves in terms of marital openness. Thus, the Goddess Mara is intricately woven into the fabric of Skyrim and her culture.
Possible Problems with the Amulet
Many fans have either protested the entire concept of the Amulet and the marriage mechanic which goes along with it, calling the whole thing overly simplistic and tacked on.
This is an opinion I wholly share; it seems as though the developers have decided to include this simple little mechanic to let some of their fans, who need as much realism as they can get, have a little taste of marriage life for their characters who probably mean more to them than many IRL relationships they have. One point I read recently from a fan sums up this issue in its entirety.
If the whole of Skyrim’s dating culture was hinging off of the use and cultural significance of these amulets, then why are they so rare to find out in the wilds of Skyrim? Why are we not simply tripping over them as we venture down the streets of Solitude? I mean, if there are supposed to be as common as engagement rings IRL, then where are they all at?
This brings us to a rather exciting tale or conspiracy if you would indulge me. You see, there is a rather interesting conversation being had among the message boards and Reddit forums which postulates that the need for an Amulet of Mara to indicate one’s singleness is not as entrenched in Skyrim’s society as the player character is led to believe.
Instead, these people are wondering whether this is a symptom of the Cult of Mara trying to gain influence in Skyrim and money by selling these amulets to suckers such as the Dragonborn. Through these purchases and the continued proliferation of the idea that one needs the Amulet as the proper course for one’s marriage, the church of Mara will only grow in strength and influence.
While this would explain the lack of amulets out there in the real world, I believe it is probably more likely that the developers decided to add this marriage mechanic into the game late. Therefore, it is not entirely well thought out. However, I am not one for conspiracies.
I am probably not the best audience for such an argument, especially considering that I am aware that no ‘Cult of Mara’ exists.
- Many fans do not like the shallow mechanics which surround the Amulet, thus believing the aspect of the game to have been rushed by developers.
- Some fans wonder if there is a conspiracy revolving around the followers of Mara and this Amulet.
- The Amulet has been likened to a Skyrim equivalent of Tinder of Plenty of Fish.
How to Get Married in Skyrim
If one is searching to get married in Skyrim, then the Temple of Mara is probably your best and only shot, that is if you don’t want to cheat and use some weird marriable Serana mod. Yes, that is a thing, and it is one of the most popular mods out there for one bizarre reason or another.
Once the player has arrived at this temple, located at the eastern edge of the city, just by the barred exit gate and the Jarls Keep, they must go inside and have a look for the priest in charge. This priest, named Maramal, will either be found in the Temple or the Inn across the road.
Once you begin talking to him, a dialogue option will be presented to the player, allowing you to ask about marriage and how it all works in Skyrim. He will then give the Dragonborn a brief, rather wordy exposition dump regarding the harshness of Skyrim’s dating scene and general life, providing context as to why someone you have possibly only spoken to twice in your life would agree to marry you.
Especially considering you decided to have fun with your character creation this playthrough. You look like a child’s rendition of a Picasso painting.
Once this dialogue option is complete, he will offer to sell the player the first step to any Skyrim marriage, the Amulet of Mara, sending you on your way to find your mate with the best of wishes before returning to his priestly duties.
At this point, the choice is pretty much yours; there are a wealth of NPCs out there the player can choose to marry. Simply walk up to anyone you might like to spend the rest of your in-game life with, and if they comment on your Amulet, they will most likely be up for marrying you. However, some will require you to complete a quest for the first. Nothing’s free after all,
Once you have your partner in hand, simply head back to Maramal, and tell him to set up your wedding. Then the player should wait 24 hours, and the wedding ceremony will proceed with several of your friends in attendance and Lydia for some reason.
Best Candidates for Marriage in Skyrim
- Vilkas: Not only will this NPC help train the player in the Two-Handed skill, but he is also a pretty good fighter in his own right.
- Aela the Huntress: Another member of the Companions guild, Aela benefits the player by using a ranged weapon for combat most of the time and therefore comes in pretty handy in fights versus those winged beasts of the sky.
- Shahvee: This possible spouse is not unique regarding what they offer the player character. However, they are the only marriable Argonian in the game, and therefore if we do not wish to discriminate against these people.
- The player can only marry one person in a playthrough, no matter if they die or you wish for a divorce.
- The player cannot marry just anyone; the developers must specifically choose them. However, you can marry any gender or race in the game.
- There is a bug where the player misses their marriage ceremony due to waiting elsewhere for the ceremony to begin; therefore, it is best to wait in the temple.
Amulet of Mara and Its Properties
This Amulet, as already stated, is a signifier throughout Skyrim of one need for want for marriage. However, you will often see player characters walking around their world with the Amulet still on long after their marriage. This is not because they are cheating idiots, looking for someone else while their spouse slaves away over the fire at home; it is because of the magical properties the Amulet holds.
At a base level, the Amulet has a weight of 1 and a base value of 20; however, this does not mean it is worthless. The Amulet can come in handy for some players who fancy themselves as something of a mage, especially when they expect to come under some heavy attack in their next adventure.
This is because the magical enchantment imbued onto the Amulet gives the wearer a -10% casting cost for any restoration spells, thus saving some precious Magicka and potentially giving the player some extra healing time when the chips are down.
- The Amulet works best for players pursuing a mage build wherein spellcasting is essential.
- The Amulet may not be worth much but considering its weight and effect, it is very useful to have with you.
- If the player has the Amulet equipped plus the Amulet gained from the book of love, their effects do not stack.
Question: How do you use the Amulet of Mara?
Answer: To use the Amulet properly and therefore gain yourself a potential spouse, all the player character has to do is wear the piece of jewelry around any marriable NPC. When the character begins a dialogue with this NPC, a comment on the Amulet will most likely be made, opening up the player to ask them if they are interested in you.
Question: Who is the best person to marry in Skyrim?
Answer: The correct answer to this question is up for debate; however, should you wish to see a good list of suggestions, look at the ‘Best Candidates for Marriage in Skyrim’ portion of this guide.
Question: Where can I get an Amulet of Mara?
Answer: The best and easiest place to get an amulet in Skyrim is from Maramal in Riften. He can often be found in the Temple of Mara or the inn across the road, and he will sell the player this item for 200 gold.
Question: Who is the most powerful God in Skyrim?
Answer: According to Elder Scrolls lore, the power of a God comes from their age. Therefore, Akatosh is easily the most powerful as they are by far the eldest God. They are also known as Aka.
So, there you have it, a complete guide to the Amulet of Mara and the Goddess who imbues said article of clothing with its restorative powers. In my opinion, this Amulet is one of the more overlooked items of enchanted jewelry in the game, widely considered useful just for the marriage mechanics which go with it.
However, as I have already said, this piece’s weight to usefulness ratio is certainly something to consider, especially if the player has yet to collect all of the Gauldur amulet fragments. With all of this in mind then, I hope this guide helps you understand the Amulet and its backstory, especially the marriage mechanic it represents in Skyrim.