Skyrim is a rich and diverse land, home to hundreds of interesting characters who come with their own personalities, relationships and storylines.
Bethesda took the time to comb through the game and ensure that vital characters in the major storylines were essential throughout - such as Tolfdir at the College of Winterhold - or at least essential until the point in which their arc comes to an end - such as Kodlak Whitemane of the Companions.
This marked a significant shift away from the days of Morrowind, where every NPC was counted as non-essential and entire questlines could be lost if they ended up dying.
And whilst fans of the earlier games in the series will say this was one of their favourite features and helped sell the immersion, Skyrim definitely benefits from keeping its most important characters out of the firing line.
There are still an abundance of characters in The Elder Scrolls V who are never given the protection of an essential tag however, and permanently run the risk of being cut down by the many dangers present in the world of Skyrim. But, whilst the game might not see them as important, some of these characters can prove to be both essential and incredibly useful to a Dragonborn.
From overpowered exploits to memorable questlines, here are the non-essential NPCs players should keep out of harm's way.