Main Quest: Bleak Falls Barrow

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You'll begin this quest inside Dragonsreach in Whiterun immediately after completing the quest Before the Storm. Jarl Balgruuf will tell you that there's another way that you can help him, and he'll guide you to Farengar Secret-Fire, the court wizard. Farengar will inform you that he's been studying dragons, and that an ancient stone tablet called a Dragonstone might show the locations of the dragon burial sites. He'll then ask you to travel to Bleak Falls Barrow and pick it up.

The easiest way to reach the barrow is to return to Riverwood, then leave the town via the bridge on its northern side, and then head into the mountains to the northwest. Along the way, you'll pass by a ruined tower being used by bandits. The bandits will attack you, but they shouldn't put up much of a fight. At the top of the tower you'll find a chest with some random loot inside. Then when you reach the barrow, you'll have to defeat a few additional bandits.

Inside the barrow, you'll encounter some more bandits, both living and dead, and then you'll come to a puzzle room (#1). To open the door in the puzzle room, you'll have to rotate some pillars so they show the proper symbols. You can find the answer to this puzzle on display on the upper level of the room. The only trick is that the middle symbol has fallen, and so you'll have to view it on the ground level. The correct sequence for the puzzle (from left to right) is snake, snake, whale.

Past the puzzle room, you'll encounter some skeevers and then a frostbite spider boss (#3). The spider will probably be tougher than anything you've faced thus far in the game, so be sure you have healing potions on hand before you charge at it. After defeating the spider, you'll meet Arvel the Swift, who managed to get caught in the spider's web (#4). To progress farther into the barrow, you'll have to cut Arvel down, but when you do he'll rush off without you and get himself killed (#4a). If you want, you can end Arvel's life a little more quickly by attacking him right after you free him. Either way, when you loot Arvel's corpse, you'll find a Golden Claw and Arvel's Journal.

As you make your way deeper into the barrow, you'll start encountering draugr, and eventually you'll come to a cylindrical puzzle door (#5). To open the door, you'll need to rotate the three rings of the door so that they show the correct symbols. For a clue on how to do this, just read Arvel's Journal. It will mention that when you have the Golden Claw, "the solution is in the palm of your hands." If you examine the claw in your inventory, you'll see that it has the correct three symbols engraved on it. These symbols are (from top to bottom) bear, moth, owl. Once you have the symbols in place, just use the claw in the center of the door to open it.

Past the puzzle door, you'll come to the main burial chamber (#6). Here you'll discover a treasure chest with some nice random loot in it, a closed sarcophagus, and a curved word wall. When you approach the word wall, you'll begin hearing chanting, and then then when you get right next to it, you'll gain access to the word of power for "force, unrelenting force."

Note: You'll learn how to use words of power in an upcoming quest.

After gaining the word of power, the sarcophagus in the room will open up, and a draugr boss (probably a draugr overlord) will attack you. When you defeat this boss, you'll find the Dragonstone on its corpse.

Finally, when you return to Farengar in Dragonsreach, he'll praise you for your work, but before he can say much, Irileth will come into the room and announce that a dragon has been spotted outside the city. This announcement will complete the quest and trigger the next main quest, Dragon Rising. When you talk to Jarl Balgruuf at the start of the next quest, he'll reward you for your work in Bleak Falls Barrow by giving you a random enchanted piece of armor, and by allowing you to purchase a house in the city.

Note: When you approach Farengar, you might find him in conversation with Delphine, his source for the information about the Dragonstone. You'll meet Delphine again in a later quest.

Another Note: The house you can buy in Whiterun is called Breezehome. It will cost you 5000 gold (plus extra to upgrade it), but it is the most convenient house in the game because it's located right next to your entrance point in Whiterun, and it's also right next to some shops.

1 - Puzzle Room

2 - Thief

On the table here you'll find the book Thief. The first time you read it you'll gain a rank in the Pickpocket skill.

3 - Frostbite Spider

4 - Arvel the Swift

You'll first meet Arvel stuck in a web here (#4). If you free him then he'll rush off and get killed by draugr (#4a).

5 - Puzzle Door

6 - Burial Chamber / Word Wall

$ - Treasure Chest

  1. Doorway between Bleak Falls Temple and Bleak Falls Sanctum.
  2. World exit.




Main Quests


College Quests


Companions Quests


Daedric Quests


Dark Brotherhood Quests


Imperial Quests


Stormcloak Quests


Thieves Guild Quests


Other Side Quests