elder scrolls skyrim the world eaters eyrie guide

Elder Scrolls Skyrim The World-Eater’s Eyrie Guide

There’s so much stuff to do in Skyrim that it’s easy for the main story to get lost in the weeds. It took me a second go to properly comprehend what went on, and even after what has now been countless playthroughs throughout this game’s impressively perennial popularity, I’m still not sure about some parts.

Things always get a bit murky for me once The World-Eater’s Eyrie quest begins, although these days, I’m at least very familiar with how the quest actually plays and how to solve all the puzzles – even if I still don’t fully understand Dragon politics! For a first-time player, though, even the gameplay featured in this quest can get a little confusing.

You’re teleporting off to wholly new areas previously inaccessible, after all, so in this guide, I’m going to walk you through all the fights, puzzles, and dungeon crawling that The World-Eater’s Eyrie puts you through (as well as showing you how to prepare for what’s to come).

Bottom Line Up Front

If you’re in a hurry, here’s the key information you need to know about The World-Eater’s Eyrie quest.

  • The World-Eater’s Eyrie is a late-game quest that mostly takes place in an area of Skyrim only accessible via teleportation: the mountain tops of Skuldafn.
  • Once the Dragon Odahviing has dropped you off at Skuldafn, you’ll need to be prepared to fight two standard dragons right away—one fire dragon and one ice dragon—as well as an army of Draugr. You will therefore need to ensure you prepare appropriately (see the Before you start the quest section below for details).
  • The main section consists of a dungeon crawl through the Skuldafn Temple, an area consisting of two Nordic rotating pillar puzzles and several flammable traps, as well as a short boss fight with a Draugr Wright Lord.
  • Having completed the dungeon and exited, you’ll be required to defeat a Draugr Mage named Nahkrinn, after which you can loot his staff to activate a dragon portal at the center of the arena, completing the quest.
  • Don’t forget to check out the two lootable watch towers before you enter the temple if you want to collect everything the area has to offer (details can be found at the bottom of the main guide).

Before You Start the Quest

First of all, it’s important to understand that there’s no going back once you reach Skuldafn (and Sovngarde after it); the area marks the game’s point of no return as the final set-piece, so make sure you’ve tied up any loose ends before leaving.

You should also make sure you’re bringing your best gear with you and consider the following:


While the weapons you choose to use are most likely best guided by your play style, you will be fighting more Draugr in this section of the game than you ever have done before. Therefore, if you’re going to tie your weapons to this quest in any way, it makes sense to prioritize fights against them.

Draugr are 50% weak to fire, and silver weapons do 1.5 times more damage against the undead. You could either use a silver one-handed and wield fire spells in the other, or go with a two-handed fire-embedded silver weapon.

Good choices would be something like the standard silver sword (or one with a fire enchantment if you can). Dawnbreaker, another fire-embedded one-handed weapon, has also been a fan favorite for undead enemies; it’s given to the player after completing The Break of Dawn.

I’d also consider bringing a decent-range weapon with you. There are plenty of Drauger hidden off in the distance that snipe at you from above in the beginning sections of the quest, so it’s a good idea to have something to pick them off with.

the silver sword world-eater’s eyrie
The Silver Sword very common and perfect for this quest. | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

Prepare for Traps and Bring Plenty of Potions

This quest is mostly a dungeon crawl, and if you know anything about late-game Skyrim dungeons, you know that means plenty of traps. The Skuldafn Temple is full of oil slick traps in particular, so I’d highly recommend hot-keying a destructive fire spell so that you can ignite them as you see them.

This way, even if you’re using a two-handed weapon, you’re going to have immediate access to deal with what’s in front of you. While it’s possible to kind of hotkey stuff in Skyrim, it’s much better to use the Extended Hotkey System mod for this purpose.

As is usual advice for most late-game quests, you should also make sure you stock up on potions. Before you even get to the temple, you’re going to have quite the fight ahead of you: plenty of healing potions are a must, but resistance potions to both fire and ice will give you a leg up, considering you’ll be fighting two dragons from the get-go.

Draugr also routinely use fire and ice magic, so it’s a win-win. (the Extended Hotkey System mod will be of great use for this purpose also).

Unlock and Equip the Fire Breath Shout

The Fire Breath Shout is a brilliant all-around asset to the player in most situations, but especially during The World-Eater’s Eyrie.

The shout enables the player to emit a huge high-speed fireball with a large area of effect, which is especially useful if you get overwhelmed by the Draugr forces. Depending on the intensity of the shout, it will either inflict 50, 70, or 90 fire damage.

If you haven’t already fully unlocked Fire Breath, the three-word locations are Dustman’s Cairn, Sunderstone Gorge, and The Throat of the World (which you’ll have come across anyway during the main quest).

Quest Guide

Freeing Odahviing and Traveling to Skuldafn

The quest begins after having acquired the Elder Scroll, temporarily defeated Alduin, and established a truce between the Stormcloaks and the Empire.

To start The World Eater’s Eyrie, the Dragonborn must set free Alduin’s right hand, the Dragon Odahviing (the same dragon you helped trap moments before at Dragonsreach in the quest The Fallen).

Odahviing himself has become disillusioned with Alduin, and having heard your Thu’um, he recognizes you as being worthy of defeating him. He explains that Alduin has fled to Sovnguarde to regain his strength, the entrance to which is located at Skuldafn.

Having agreed to let him go, go and speak with the guard on the second floor of the Great Porch (located in front of where Odahviing is kept – take the stairs left of the main gates).

Having told the guard that you need to set the dragon free and assured him that it’s necessary, he’ll pull the chain to lift the great wooden shackles off of the dragon.

skyrim the world-eater’s eyrie
Before you set him free, I recommend hanging around for a few seconds to witness a pretty amusing interaction between the mage Farengar and Odahviing! | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

Once he’s out, go up and talk to him. Odahviing is your ride to Skandufn; he’ll take you straight there, and once he drops you off and promptly leaves, you’ll almost be immediately accosted by another, less-than-friendly dragon.

The Pilgrimage to the Temple

Now that you’ve set foot in Skuldafn, your task is to ascend the ruins to reach a temple you’ll need to pass through this place to reach the very top of the Skuldafn ruins and reach a portal that takes you to Sovnguarde.

You’ll trigger a dragon to attack you after you reach the first archway ahead, a few steps in front of where Odahving has set you down. It’s best to fight this dragon from within the rough area where you trigger the fight; as you progress ahead, there will be a lot of Draugr to fight as well as a second dragon, so you don’t want to be dealing with too much at once.

The tall stone archways are a natural defense from the dragon’s firey blaze, so use them to your advantage by hiding behind them when he blows.

the pilgrimage to the temple world-eater’s eyrie
Fighting the first dragon | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls GUided

Having dealt with the dragon, it’s time to make your way up the ruins ahead of you. Your route will essentially be in the shape of a question mark or hook; you’ll head directly forward, up some stairs, and then semi-circle around to reach the Skuldafn Temple, where the meat of the quest takes place.

world-eater’s eyrie
Here’s a view of the route from above. | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

 Once you start to head up the first flight of stairs ahead, the second dragon will attack you, but you’ll find that a couple of Draugr are targeting you with arrows before you get there.

After killing the first dragon, I recommend you tackle as many of these archers as you can with a bow: once you start the fight with the second dragon alongside the melee attackers, you don’t want to have to worry about the archers as well. You can spot several of these enemies on the left and right flanks of the ascending ruins.

Having dealt with them, feel free to proceed up and trigger the next dragon battle. This one fires ice instead of fire, and once again, I recommend trying to tackle it on its own. Rather than heading towards your destination, head back to the location where you fought the first dragon and deal with this one here also.

You can carry on and deal with both the dragon and numerous Draugr if you want, but it makes sense to isolate the dragon’s attacks if you want an easier fight. This is certainly one of the most combat-heavy segments of the game, so the more you can artificially chop up the battles into segments, the better.

the world-eater’s eyrie
The second dragon | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

After the two dragons, it’s time to mop up the Draugr. Make your way back up to the main stairs that lead you up and left, and as you turn the corner, you’ll be brought to a large courtyard with a small abandoned watchtower.

You’ll find a chest here with a few supplies, but it’s also a good idea to bait some of the Draugr in here to create a bottleneck as they pursue you (it also gives you the advantage of negating the remaining enemy archer fire).

This is nothing you haven’t dealt with before, but quite a few high-level Draugr will have spawned by this point, so be prepared.

Once you feel you’ve dispensed with most of the Draugr for the time being, head out of the tower and to the stairs directly behind it to access the main area of the ruins. This large, unmistakable staircase leads you up to a large set of double doors: the entrance to Skuldafn Temple.

the world-eater's eyrie quest
A large-scale view of the whole area described | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

NOTE: Before entering the temple, make sure you explore both the North and South Watch Towers in this area coming back later will be a pain as you’ll have to backtrack (see The North and South Towers of Skuldafn section below the main guide).

Skuldafn Temple

This is the area where you’ll spend most of your time whilst in Skuldafn; there’s nothing particularly special about it, and besides a couple of twists on familiar puzzles, it’s once again a case of slaying Draugr and reaching the end.

On the other side of the main doors, you’ll be presented with two staircases, though both lead you to the same central location: a large room with a Nordic rotating pillar puzzle.

world-eater's eyrie quest skuldafn temple
The first puzzle of Skuldafn Temple. | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

Directly ahead of the puzzle, you’ll spot two separate gates, each with a steep flight of stairs leading to them. Above each gate, there’s one of the symbols from the pillars. The gate on the right opens exactly how you’d think: simply rotate the three pillars so that the Eagle symbol is facing the two gates.

Then, pull the lever in the center of the room to open the gate on it. There’s a chest and a few bits and pieces to loot on the other side of this gate, but it’s otherwise a dead end. 

The gate on the left is the most important one for progressing through the temple. To open it, keep the left and right pillars where they are (with the Eagle symbols pointing towards both gates) and change the middle symbol to the Serpent. Pull the lever and progress through.

Following the next corridor round will bring you to the upper floor of a moderately sized room containing two Drougr. Get rid of them, head down the stairs, and then through the only adjoining door in the room directly ahead of the small altar in the center.

You’ll then come to a narrow corridor with some foreboding cobwebs strewn across it and a quick battle with a couple of small Frostbite Spiders. Past them is the door leading to the second puzzle (there’s also a chest just to the right of the door with some decent loot — it’s covered in cobwebs so use your fire spells on it first).

world-eater's eyrie quest dealing-with-the-spiders
Slaying spiders | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

Puzzle Two

This next puzzle is a little more complicated than the first. Having dealt with the spiders and headed through the large set of wooden doors directly in front of you, you’ll be brought to a large, complicated-looking room with a bridge that straddles the center.

world-eater's eyrie quest puzzle two
The second puzzle room | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

Heading up the stairs and to the bridge, you’ll spot two Nordic pillars to rotate on either side; if you look above their respective alcoves, you’ll see a large version of one of the symbols dictating which ones you need to turn each pillar to.

Whilst on the bridge, cast your eyes east to see a drawn bridge; moving the pillars to their correct symbol won’t bring it down, however. Don’t try to pull the lever in the center of the bridge having done so, or you’ll be shot with arrows.

To complete the puzzle, change the two pillars on either side of the bridge to their correct positions and then head back down the stairs to the ground floor where you first set foot in the room.

Directly in front of the double doors you entered through, you’ll find another pillar you must change to the Serpent symbol. You can now pull the lever to release the bridge to exit into the next section.

Defeating the Draugr Wright Lord

You’ve now solved the main two challenges this dungeon has to offer, though there are still a few traps ahead (quite literally).

Having made your way over the drawbridge you’ll pass through a set of wooden double doors and into a new room. Take care to guard against several Draugr archers on the bridge above as you enter.

Deal with these, and then head straight forward and up the large staircase that loops around to the bridge above.

world-eater's eyrie quest defeating the draugr wright lord
This part’s somewhat of an ambush, so be prepared! l Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

Across this bridge, you’ll reach a spiral staircase with an oil slick on the floor as well as a proximity arrow trap. Use your destructive fire spell from a safe distance to trigger the traps and then progress up the stairs.

defeating the draugr wright lord world-eater's eyrie quest
The first trap room there’s some loot for you to grab on the bookshelf behind the stairs. | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

At the top, you’ll find a circular room with a couple of Draugrs and a strange windowed room. In here, you’ll discover a leaver, and looking through the window, you will notice a new door open once you pull it. This is your way through.

switch-window-room world-eater's eyrie quest
The newly unlocked door | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

The segment through this opened door is the largest area in the temple, and you should spot that it’s covered in flammable oil in an elaborate trap. Walking through is certain death, so from a safe distance at the entrance, once again ignite this oil yourself to pass through safely.

trap world-eater's eyrie quest
The second oil trap | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

Following on up the wide corridor, you’ll find that this oil trap was guarding the boss, the Draugr Overlord.

This isn’t a particularly difficult boss fight, but it’s best to get a head start by sneaking towards him and using a well-placed arrow to get a damage bonus. I used my trusty Ebony Bow for this and then finished him off with my normal melee weapons.

draugr overlord world-eater's eyrie quest
Fighting the Draugr Overlord | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

With the boss down, loot his body to find a claw key you’ll need to progress to the next area. You’ll have done this plenty of times throughout the game: examine the key in your inventory and match its three symbols with the rotating mechanism on the door: top fox, middle moth, and bottom bird.

the claw key world-eater's eyrie quest
Examining the claw key | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

Having placed the claw key in the lock, you will enter another large room with no enemies. Instead, you’ll be rewarded with a new shout.

Trigger the unlock sequence and then head left and up some stairs to find the door leading out of the temple, as well as a room off to the right containing a Draugr burial chamber. Before you leave, head in here first to claim some rewards for making it this far through the dungeon.

Entering the Portal

Once you’re back outside the temple you’ll find yourself at a new elevated area where you’re required to climb further to reach Skuldafn’s summit. First, though, there’s some loot that you don’t want to miss; directly ahead of you, you will find some broken planks leading down into an abandoned dwelling of sorts.

Take the steps down to find a tiny room with a couple of potions on a bookshelf, and head down the stairs there to a deeper section with a chest containing a bounty of armor and weapons. Grab what you want and head back up.

lootable-area-after-exit world-eater's eyrie quest
Head down here for the loot location described. | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

You then want to proceed along the cliff to the left and up the very large staircase in front of you. At the top, you’ll find your destination guarded by the Draugr mage Nahkriin. He has a pretty powerful lightning staff but is still surprisingly easy to beat (I went with my axe and destructive fire combo).

nahkriin world-eater's eyrie quest
Nahkriin: your final obstacle. l Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

Having disposed of him however you wish, take his staff and head up the small staircase where he stood. You’ll have the option here to activate the dragon seal, and with Nahkrinn’s staff in your inventory, your character will promptly activate a huge, swirling portal.

Jumping in teleports your character to Sovngarde, where you’ll fight Alduin in the final segment of the game, thus ending this quest and starting the second-to-last main quest in Skyrim.

The North and South Towers of Skuldafn

It’s worth mentioning that while the Temple is your main destination when you set foot in Skuldafn, there are two other interior areas you should explore in this initial part of the map: the North and South Watch Towers.

Each of these towers contains a couple of lootable chests and is guarded by Draugr enemies; if you want to collect everything, I recommend doubling back before entering the temple to explore both.

You’ll find South Tower just opposite the abandoned tower you used to catch your breath on the way up.

south towers of skuldafn world-eater's eyrie quest
The South Tower | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

For the North Tower, you’ll want to stand at the Skuldafn Temple entrance and head left along the walkway on the second floor.

the north tower world-eater's eyrie quest
The North Tower | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided

There’s also an outdoor altar with a chest to loot. As you can see from the image below, you can spot it in the distance once you’re at the temple entrance; all you need to do is traverse the walkway on the same floor to reach it.

alter loot world-eater's eyrie quest
The alter | Bethesda Game Studios via Scrolls Guided


Question: Is it Essential to Complete The World-Eaters Eyrie?

Answer: If you want to complete the main story, then yes, you’re going to have to tackle this quest at some point. Of course, you can always use mods to skip the quest by triggering it to complete, but I wouldn’t recommend this as it has the possibility of breaking the game later on. 

Question: Is there a Way to Skip the Dragon Fights?

Answer: The first dragon will always trigger immediately upon stepping off Odahviing’s drop-off point, and the second once you begin to climb the stairs. There’s no way to avoid them attacking you, but if you’re quick, you could theoretically outrun them to the temple.

If you want to do this, study the route above route to the temple carefully. I’d recommend first sprinting to the aforesaid dilapidated watch tower and then picking your moment to dash to the door. It won’t be easy, but it’s doable.

Question: Can I Return to Skuldafn?

Answer: Technically, no. But you can use console commands to get back there. Enter the console by hitting the ~ key and then type coc skuldafn01 to head back to the start of Skuldafn Temple.

Adding different numbers (02, 03, and 04) teleports you to stages further on in the Skuldafn map. The commands aren’t caps lock-sensitive, either. Keep in mind, though, that there’s not a lot to come back here for after you’ve completed the quest.

Elder Scrolls Skyrim The World-Eater’s Eyrie Guide: Wrapping Up

I hope this guide has provided you with all you need to know to complete The World-Eater’s Eyrie and get ready to take on Alduin.

If you’re looking for more tips and tutorials on the many elements of Bethesda’s seminal fantasy RPG, then be sure to check out our wealth of other Skyrim articles, like our Eye of Magnus Guide or Infinite XP Guide.

• Skyrim Quests Guide

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