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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Strategy Guide

Author(s): Greg Wright
First Published: 31-05-2012 / 00:00 GMT
Last Updated: 01-11-2019 / 16:05 GMT
Version: 1.2 (????) 06-04-2020 / 05:57 GMT

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Guide

5 months ago · Guide Information

Act I

Bleak Falls Barrow

Quest Info Description
Objective: Retrieve the Dragonstone.
Quest Giver: Jarl Balgruuf the Greater
Location(s): Riverwood, Bleak Falls Barrow, Dragonsreach
Prerequesite: Before the Storm
Next Quest: Dragon Rising
Concurrent: The Golden Claw
Reward: Enchanted Leveled Armor, Permission to buy Breezehome

Quick Walkthrough

  1. Talk to Farengar Secret-Fire.

  2. Start the quest The Golden Claw.

  3. Retrieve the Dragonstone from Bleak Falls Barrow.

  4. Return to Farengar.

Detailed Walkthrough

After delivering the news to the Jarl, he will take you to see his court wizard Farengar.

Farengar will have use of you: he wants you to go explore the Bleak Falls Barrow and to retrieve a Dragonstone from there. All of this is in the name of understanding why dragons are returning to Tamriel.

After accepting the quest from Farengar head up the stairs behind the Jarl’s throne. There’s a sort of mini-war room up here that has a ton of flags in a map of skyrim. This is an excellent chance to look at the map and add these points of interest to your map. Also, there’s plenty to steal in the keep if that’s how you’re playing…

Once you’re ready to continue, head out of the keep and back to the world map. Bleak Falls Barrow is to the west of Riverwood, so you want to head south like you’re going back to Riverwood and then start heading into the wilderness before you reach Riverwood.

You'll fight some wolves while going this way, so be ready.

As you trek up into the mountains you’ll see a trail leading up into the snow. There’s a broken-down tower along the way with three bandits in it that you can kill. Be sure to explore the tower as a chest at the top has a bunch of goodies for you.

Not far from the broken-down tower you’ll find and discover Bleak Falls Barrow, which has some nifty arch-work. At the top of the stairs to this area are THREE bandits: two archers and one with a battle-axe, so get the drop on them and take them out. Proceed into the temple once they’re dead and looted.

Bleak Barrow's Fall is close to your initial starting location; so it's worth a visit early on.

Note: If you don’t have the quest The Golden Claw yet, you will get it now as it is tied-in to this area. By 'now' I mean once you enter the temple. If you’re wondering, you could have also gotten it from Lucan Valerius, the owner of Riverwood Traders in Riverwood. It really doesn’t matter how you get it as long as you get it though.

Inside of the temple you’ll see a dead bandit and several dead skeever’s. Straight ahead of you are two more, alive bandits, so take them out and pick the chest near them for a nice bump in gold. Head down the stairs here and follow the path until you see a man in front of you. Watch him as he activates a lever and gets himself killed. Head into the room and loot it and then go investigate the pillars on the right-hand side of this area.

The correct order for them is Left: Snake Centre: Snake Right: Whale

Go hit the lever once they are lined up like that and the gate will open. Be sure to read the book on the table past the gate called "Thief" (it’s a skill book for pickpocketing) and raid all of the goodies here. After that head down the stairs and kill a few skeevers and loot some more until you reach an archway covered with spider webs. You’ll need to hack/burn through it, but be sure to save before you do.

When you go into the room, a Wounded Frostbite Spider will attack!

This creature is big and can effectively be called your first boss battle. This is a tough fight too, as not only does it HIT hard, but it can poison you and drain your stamina and health. Fire works well against it, and you can always go back through the arch that you came out of to take a break and heal up. This is the first fight I had to use potions on! Alternatively, archer-type characters can put arrows in it safely from the arch. Just be sure to stay healed first and foremost and you’ll be ok.

After the fight raid the place and then go talk to the human in the spider webs blocking the way. His name is Arvel the Swift. He’ll ask you to cut him down. You’ll soon find out this is the man that took the Golden Claw from Lucan Valerius in Riverwood, but you have to cut him down to proceed.

Note: This quest is part of a Riverwood City questline, but does involve the area we’re currently exploring. You may as well do it now if you want. We told you about this quest earlier and have it listed under the side quests as well.

After the ordeal with Arvel proceed deeper into the temple, looting as you go. Past the embalming room is a room full of the dead… but not all of them are as dead as we’d like! Three Draugr will get up and attack you! Kill them off as they rise and continue. Be careful of the path to the left here, as there’s a trap activated by a tile on the floor that hurts. You can go around it by a path on the right if you wish.

The next room contains three Draugr [Left]. Past this is a Swinging Axe [Right].

Again, hit them as they are getting up. Loot this room and get the chest up the fallen-in stairway on the left. The path to the right has three swinging blades guarding it, so use your years of video-game playing to time your way through it. Pull the chain after the last blade to make them all stop.

Continue your way into the temple and you’ll have to fight several more Draugr that are standing up in alcoves guarding the path (you can get the drop on them quite often knowing this, and there’s also some oil on the ground for a devastating fire attack at one point). You’ll soon reach a room with a Draugr and a stream running through it.

Kill the Draugr, inspect the chest, then activate a chain hear a metal door to continue. Follow the stream to a cavern area. Here you can harvest glowing mushroom, loot a skeleton, and loot a chest. You can even get a sneak attack in on a Draugr if you look out over where the waterfall is.

Take the right path now and head down. You’ll see a path going further down and one going right. Further down is a chest and some skeletons, so go on a side trip to loot then go right. Follow this path and you’ll soon reach an open room with a restless Draugr in it. He takes a lot more hits to fell, but he’s not too challenging. Be sure to get the chest that’s in here and then open the doors to the Sanctum.

Once inside the Sanctum you’ll face yet another blade trap. Cross each blade as it swings and pull the chain at the end to stop them. Three Draugr will no attack you! Kill the close one ASAP as he rises and deal with the other two as they come down the stairs (range helps here, and there are oil spots in this room). Follow the path past that to a locked door. Here there will be three rings that you can interact with and below those rings are a keyhole.

Note: Once again this is part of the The Golden Claw quest from Riverwood but it co-incides with our current quest so just go with it.

The secret to solving this puzzle is found by reading the journal that the thief, Arvel the Swift, left. Then examine the Golden Claw to see the answer sketched in it. Or to make it easier, just do this:

Top Ring: Bear Middle Ring: Moth Lower Ring: Owl

After that hit the keyhole and the door will open. Follow the path to an open room. Head into it and near the altar you’ll find a peculiar wall with strange symbols.

Approach it and you'll learn Unrelenting Force, part of a Dragon Shout.

You can’t use it right now, but it’s a good find! Don’t get too comfy though, turn around and get ready for a fight as a Draugr Overlord emerges from the nearby tomb! Hit him as he is getting up and then get ready for a fight. He hits hard and uses a form of Unrelenting Force, just to illustrate it to you (giving him some ranged options). His axe also does cold damage and can harm your stamina. Take him out just like any Draugr, only heal when you need to. Be sure to loot him after the fight to find the Dragonstone that you were sent here for. Loot the whole area of course as the chest here has several magic items, then climb up the big staircase nearby. Activate the handle to reveal a way out and loot the chest before going back out to the world map.

With the Dragonstone in hand head back to Whiterun .

Talk to Farengar and you'll give him the stone.

This will complete the MAIN quest Bleak Falls Barrows and will start the next main quest Dragon Rising .

Note: You should be able to finish The Golden Claw quest with ease now, since all you have to do is return it to Lucan AND Riverwood is on your way to Whiterun…

Note: You’ll also come across Anise’s Cabin which you can explore. Of note here is the skillbook Song of the Alchemists. Be sure to save if you do too much exploring though.


Guide Information

  • Publisher
    Bethesda Softworks
  • Platforms
    PC, Switch, PS3, PS4, 360, XB1
  • Genre
    Action Role-playing
  • Guide Release
    31 May 2012
  • Last Updated
    1 November 2019
  • Guide Author
    Greg Wright

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