By completing the quest Elder Knowledge, the Dragonborn collected an Elder Scroll. The Dragonborn will need to return to Paarthurnax atop the Throat of the World and read the scroll at the Time Wound. When the Elder Scroll is read, a cinematic scene will begin. The Dragonborn will see an image of three Nordic heroes. The Dragonborn will then learn all three words of the Dragonrend shout, which will be used to defeat Alduin. Once the Dragonborn comes out of the vision, Alduin will attack them and Paarthurnax. Dragonrend is used on Alduin to make him land on the ground, where the Dragonborn can then begin to damage him. After Alduin is defeated, he will fly off and escape.
I've located the Elder Scroll that was used to cast Alduin forward into our time by the Nord heroes of old. If Paarthurnax is right, if I read it near the Time-Wound I will get a vision of the past, when the ancient Nords used the Dragonrend Shout against Alduin.
Objective: Read the Elder Scroll at the Time-Wound
Objective: Learn the "Dragonrend" Shout from the Nord heroes
I read the Elder Scroll near the Time-Wound, and learned the Dragonrend Shout in a vision of the Nord heroes fighting Alduin in the distant past. Now I need to use Dragonrend to defeat Alduin in the present time.
Objective: Defeat Alduin
I read the Elder Scroll near the Time-Wound, and learned the Dragonrend Shout in a vision of the Nord heroes fighting Alduin in the distant past. When I returned from the vision, Alduin attacked me, and I used Dragonrend to bring him down and defeat him.
Depending on difficulty, Alduin has roughly 25-100% resistance to both frost and fire magic and only physical and shock damage will harm him.
Like all dragons, Alduin's breath attack relies on his magicka pool. A barrage of shock spells can potentially deplete his reserves to a point where he is only able to do physical attacks.
During the fight between the Nord Heroes and Alduin, Alduin might get pushed toward the word wall when he steps over the corpse of the dead dragon nearby. This causes Alduin to be stuck facing the wall and trying to turn around. However Alduin will still be banished as usual.
Alduin can be prevented from shouting the meteor storm by using Dragonrend as soon as he is seen and then conjuring a storm atronach.
Always add 360 , PS3 , or PC to clarify which system the bug appears on.
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PC 360 PS3 After viewing the cutscene and engaging in battle with Alduin, it is possible that if Dragonrend is used before he has finished talking Alduin will not take any damage whatsoever and/or to become stuck. Also applies when a follower attacks Alduin before the conversation ends (verified with Serana).
360 If Dragonrend is used before Paarthurnax says to use it Alduin may be affected by Dragonrend but not land, and the shout will become ineffective against him.
A known method of fixing this is by reloading an earlier save from before using the Elder Scroll in the Time wound. Also, leaving the location and fast traveling back to it fixes this. And if the Dragonborn dies as Alduin is defeated it is possible that the fix will have to be repeated.
Another method is to travel to High Hrothgar, enter and exit the building, and run back up to the mountain to resume the fight.
If any menu is opened before Paarthurnuax says "use Dragonrend if you know it!", the game may crash.
PC 360 PS3 The music for the cutscene may not seem to play. On a PC use CTRL+TAB to switch windows minimizing the skyrim window, switch back to it and the music will sometimes start; however it will start at the beginning and often carry over into the battle with Alduin after the cutscene.
During the cutscene the tongues will stare at the Dragonborn when not interacting with other characters. This should not happen as the Dragonborn is having a vision and not truly there.
360 During the vision Hakon may slide under Alduin and make both of them fight on Felldir's left.
360 Sometimes when attempting to kill Alduin, all attacks (fire and tail/wing) will kill the Dragonborn instantly no matter what their armor or skills. This will continue until the console is turned off and the last save before reading the Elder Scroll is reloaded.
PC 360 The cutscene can freeze, leaving the Dragonborn stuck staring at the three tongues, only pause works causing a reload.
360 When the fight with Alduin is begun, there may be no combat music. To correct this, reload the autosave made immediately after the cutscene.
PS3 When Dragonrend is cast on Paarthurnax, while he is fire breathing on Alduin, it is possible that the sound of fire breathing will not stop. This can be fixed by fast traveling away and back.
PS3 Felldir may be killed by Alduin in the cutscene in the past before he opens the Elder Scroll, causing the Dragonborn to be stuck watching an endless battle between the sword hero and Alduin where they keep hitting each other but do no damage. The flashback never ends and a savegame prior to opening the scroll must be loaded to try again.
PC Use console command <setstage MQ206 32> to go on with cutscene.
PC PS3 It's possible that Alduin won't appear after Gormlaith Golden-Hilt's warning. This causes the three Nord heroes stuck looking at the sky.
To fix this, open the console and type: setstage mq206 70
This will teach the Dragonrend shout, which is needed to defeat Alduin
Then, to get out of the cinematic type: setstage mq206 100
Alternatively, fast travel to another location and attempt to read the scroll. After this wait for 24 hours and the quest should work as intended.
PC Killing Alduin too fast may glitch the quest and leave it unable to be completed. Waiting until he summons fireballs from the sky usually solves the problem.
360 When Hakon One-Eye is using his power attacks with his ancient Nord battleaxe, he seems to hold two weapons instead of one; the left hand has no visible weapon though.
PS3 During the fight with Alduin, Paarthurnax may become an "enemy". It will not be possible to end the battle without killing Paarthurnax. This affects future quests as the quest marker sits on the bones of Paarthurnax (Though Esbern may provide the information required to complete the next quest.) The Blades will not give the Paarthurnax quest and Arngeir will not recognize that Paarthurnax has been slain. There does not appear to be a fix for this - restart from an earlier save.
PC During Alduin's Bane, when Alduin eats Gormlaith Golden-Hilt, Alduin can hit and instantly kill Felldir the Old by accident resulting in an unfinished quest.
PC During the cutscene, after the three Nord heroes used Dragonrend to cripple Alduin, he may become invulnerable, causing the three heroes to keep hitting him and the event in which Gormlaith is killed never happens, resulting in an endless battle.
To get out of this cutscene and finish the quest, open the console and type: setstage mq206 100
Upon exiting the cutscene, an additional Alduin may appear standing on the ground, in addition to the actual Alduin that needs to be defeated. He is invulnerable. After defeating the actual Alduin, fast travel to any other place, and return to the Throat of the World, the bugged Alduin will be gone.
360 Repeated use of poison against Alduin may cause the game to freeze. Loading from a save made after the use of poison can also cause the game to freeze.
PC A rare bug makes the Dragonborn completely invisible. Can be fixed by reloading an earlier save.
It is possible that Alduin will take no damage no matter what. This is caused by attacking Alduin before the talking is over.
360 Exit the game and go to console settings/memory. Once there press y and reset the system cache. This may have to be done several times because it can happen again the same way.
Another way to fix this is to run away from the fight and to come back after a few in-game days. Alduin will take damage as normal.