Skyrim Meme Alert: I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee

12 December 2011
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Arrow in the knee

If you’ve surfed Youtube during the past week, top comments featuring this phrase will probably have driven you bonkers by now… but what does it mean?

“I Took an Arrow in the Knee” is a catchphrase from the role-playing video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim which inspired the snowclone phrasal template “I used to X, then I took an arrow to the knee.”

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  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the town guard non-player characters (NPCs) have several stock lines they will repeat when the player walks near them, including a bewildered statement about “curved swords”, a patronizing statement about “sweetroll” theft, and the melancholy confession “I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee.” The restating of such a specific story over and over again by so many different guards caused it to be noticed by players, who then proceeded to post about it in gaming forums and image boards. Along with the game itself, the video below helps give the idea that almost every guard in Skyrim became a guard due to the life altering results of receiving an arrow to the knee.


    On November 18th, 2011, a thread reached the front page of the r/skyrim subreddit, titled “‘I was an adventurer too, until I took an arrow to the knee,’ then, posted November 25th, 2011, Urban Dictionary listed a definition of the term “Knee-arrow”, which is “The affliction of taking an arrow in the knee”. The phrase even developed it’s own website, “”!

    It’s an epidemic and continues to spread throughout the net! So what do you make of this phrase? Have you see any funny variations on this saying, perhaps you’d like to add your own? Please leave your comments in the section below!

    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It is the fifth installment in The Elder Scrolls action role-playing video game series, following The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It was released on November 11, 2011 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

    Thanks knowyourmeme!


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  • About the author

    Meg Smith By Meg Smith: An avid gamer with a two year degree in Video Games Art and Design, she lives to broaden her gaming horizons and loves any game that captures the imagination or tries something new. Read her posts here and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and at Google+.

    • Dovahkiin

      I used to be a Dota player like you guys but then I took drow’s arrow to the knee

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