The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a mysterious game with several unsolved mysteries to this day, but none greater than why the guards are so dumb. This is a mystery that has plagued players for many years. Ten to eleven years to be somewhat exact. The sleepless nights pondering this mystery are a thing of the past though. Over on the “Gaming” Reddit page, a fan of the game still playing in 2022 — like too many of us — finally pieced it together and in the process went viral on Reddit and earned just about every reward you can earn.
According to the theory, it’s all about survival. If you came across the Dragonborn, who in a blink of an eye can murder the whole town, are you going to diligently do your job or pretend like it was the wind? Some may rise to the call of duty, and for it, they will be lit on fire and trodded on by Lydia.
“Taken me years of playing Skyrim to realize why they say it ‘Must have been the wind.’,” reads the start of the theory. “So I understand that everything in Skyrim is a feature. I have had many laughs at the guards clocking up the two arrows sticking from their skull as ‘their imagination’. ‘Dumb guards, love this game’ I would think as I would stroll on off. Then it eventually dawned on me. They are not dumb, it is their best move and a wise one at that. You live in a world where dragons, giants, and mammoths can kill you instantly. Worse than that, there are tales of this Dragonborn, who has been 1v1 ing (and Lydia) them nonstop. Such a being can’t be true. As you mind your own business guarding Whiterun you suddenly witness Garth and Dave, long-time friends, get voice blasted to the horizon. The Jarl pays dick and you know that you have no chance. So what do you do? Easy. You saw nothing. Not my problem. To your surprise, this armor glad mad lad squats up to you like a wild animal and starts stealing your stuff. So you play it cool, play dead in a sense, do nothing. Then to your surprise, he squats on-off away, leaving you unharmed and 4 gold lighter. So you tell the other guards, who tell their friends until everyone in Skyrim realizes if you just pretend you can’t see him, don’t complain as he fumbles to put a bucket on your head, then he will buy it and you might survive.”
Bethesda Game Studios has never really opened up about why the guards are the way they are. It’s probably to allow players more freedom and entertainment in the game’s sandbox. Until it provides more insight, this theory is the best we got.