The northernmost province of Tamriel is the most expansive setting so far in The Elder Scrolls series. The bold and cold lands in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are breathtaking to behold and exhilarating to explore. This game knows exactly how to grant players satisfying amounts of freedom.

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Skyrim is divided into nine holds, each with its own unique sights and sounds. Winterhold, in the northeast corner of the map, may at first appear like snow and mountains with little else, however, there is plenty to do in this frigid area. Some intrigues don't even appear on the map and require the Dragonborn to adventure through the tundra blinded by snow, but enlightened by curiosity.

10 Shrine And A Wispmother

a wispmother spawning at a shrine of arkay

Wispmothers, and their ethereal children, are some of the rarest enemies that can be encountered in the game. They usually appear in spiritually significant locations. One will spawn as the player approaches the shrine to Arkay located south of Snow Veil Sanctum.

After taking down this gossamer-laden ghost, the Dragonborn can harvest her hard-to-find item drops as well as the snowberries and souls gems from the shrine.


9 Friends Until Death

two skeletons by a bear trap

Grim skeletons can be found upon a stretch of gravel to the southeast of Winterhold, though these ones won't become hostile. One seemed to have had their leg caught in a bear trap while the other looked to be trying to help their friend.

Obviously, things didn't work out for either of them, but at least the trapped one was not alone in the end. Nearby is a satchel full of the former possessions of the skeletal couple as well as the Alteration skill book "Mannimarco, King of Worms."

8 Frozen Mammoth

mammoth partially frozen in ice

It is unlikely that the Dragonborn has ever seen something quite like this. Mammoths can be encountered in various holds, though they are pretty rare around Winterhold. Located in an iceberg west of Saarthal, the player can examine this long-dead specimen to discover some interesting lore and a bit of loot.

The weapons embedded into the wooly pachyderm's flesh are dwarven in origin, meaning that this ancient culture once hunted above land. There are even more mammoth remains on top of the big, icy block that is partially encasing the one seen from the bottom.

7 Chest Beyond Two Horkers

two horkers in front of a chest

Horkers are not even close to the most intimidating foes one can face, so placing them as 'guards' before an icy pass with a chest seems like a questionable move by the developers. It is at least comical and has merit in regards to the entertainment value that can be had from such an occurrence.

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This spot can be found northeast of Journeyman's Nook and after one slays these two tusked mounds of blubber, the player can loot the goods of the area uncontested. Keep an eye out for the vein of silver ore nearby as well as the Restoration skill book titled "2920, vol 04 - Rain's Hand."

6 Death By A Few Horkers

horkers around the dead bodies of hunters that they have killed

Despite horkers not being much of a threat to the Dragonborn, they do pose a threat to normal NPC hunters. East and a bit south from Bleakcoast Cave, one can find some hunters who have failed in slaying a trio of the Winterhold coast's most common organisms.

Though, this is not really a bad thing, as Treasure Map VIII can be found on one of the dead bodies of the inept hunters.

5 Pillars Of Plenty

pillars on a mountain with loot around and on them

West of Mount Anthor's dragon-guarded word wall, upon a different peak, there are three dwarven pillars to be found that are accompanied by some goods. In addition to the two chests located at the base of the central pillar, there are some other bits and pieces scattered about that one can pick up.

The most interesting being the many potions resting atop the taller of these stone columns. To reach these quaffable vials, one merely needs to use the Whirlwind Sprint shout from the rising rocks just behind the pillars. It should also be mentioned that the potions respawn, so be sure to check back after a while for more free potions.

4 A Missing Apprentice

altar outside of the college of winterhold

There's a fair number of quests that didn't make it into the final game, although some traces of them have been left in the world as little bonuses for those who are intent on indexing the whole map. One such quest called "The Missing Apprentices" was supposed to have the Dragonborn track down students from the College of Winterhold who have disappeared.

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Southeast from the college, a round structure with an altar and pillar can be found housing the frozen corpse of one of these missing apprentices. They look like they were trying to cast an ice-related spell, though it appears to have backfired. The student, named Rundi, lies lifeless along with his unique dagger, a soul gem, and an Alteration skill book.

3 Another Missing Apprentice

dead body by some skeevers at a shrine to talos

Northeast of Ysgramor's Tomb, the Dragonborn can find another of the missing apprentices if they seek to spiritually follow this unimplemented quest. Like with Rundi, this student met their demise at the hands of their own ineptitude. This can be gleaned after collecting the loot in the area around the shrine to Talos.

In addition to the book that teaches one the Breathing Water Alteration spell, players can find the Argonian student Ilas-Tei's unique ring and some Scrolls of Calm and Scrolls of Fury. Ilas-Tei looks to have been using these scrolls on some skeevers as training, though their experimentation got out of hand and they were slain by the rodents.

2 The Final Missing Apprentice

dead body by some fire and a log

There is no official way to complete this pseudo-quest, but if the Dragonborn wishes to learn the fates of all the missing apprentices, they should head to a stretch of the coast northwest of Frostflow Lighthouse to find the gruesome remains of the final apprentice.

Among sparse flames, burning wood, and blackened scorch marks upon the ground, the player will find the body of Yisra along with her unique necklace and a tome that teaches the Flame Cloak spell. Yisra must have been learning this spell but cast it incorrectly and immolated herself. Too bad she didn't use the water from the nearby shoreline to quench the flames.

1 Enigmatic Altar On A Cliff

skeleton and some loot by an altar on a cliff

Both altars and skeletons are relatively common in the wide world of Skyrim, although there are none quite like the one found southwest of Winterhold, just east of the Sightless Pit. Here, at a scenic vantage point, there is a gracefully resting skeleton lying upon the altar surrounded by loot.

The most noteworthy of which is a book titled "The Doors of Oblivion," which will increase the player's Conjuration skill when read. Be warned, however, that if the Dragonborn touches anything, the resting skeleton and two of its fleshless comrades will rise and launch an assault.

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