Elder Scrolls


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Race Altmer
Gender Male
Level PCx1 (15-50)
Class Mage
Faction The College of Winterhold
Rank Advisor
Ref ID 0001E7D8
Base ID 0001E7D7
"I had hoped your scholars would be on a level comparable with my own colleagues. They are not."

Ancano is an Altmer mage at the College of Winterhold. He is a Thalmor operative, serving as an advisor to Arch-Mage Savos Aren and is the primary antagonist of the College of Winterhold questline.


An overbearingly arrogant Altmer, the other mages of the college are highly suspicious of him; he, in turn, is highly suspicious of the Dragonborn. He also blames the Dragonborn's presence on the incompetence of the Arch-Mage.


During the College of Winterhold quest line, Ancano attempts to harness the energy of the Eye of Magnus, erecting a barrier between himself and other mages of the College. Savos Aren is killed in the process.

Only once Morokei is defeated and the Staff of Magnus is obtained can the Dragonborn return to the College and defeat Ancano. The staff must be used on the Eye to close it, allowing the Dragonborn to successfully attack and kill Ancano. If the Dragonborn has not been given the Staff of Magnus quest and completed a few side quests, Ancano's barrier will become small. Ancano will also not harness the energy of the Eye of Magnus but walking around the Eye of Magnus and going through his barrier. The Dragonborn can interact with Ancano but not when Ancano when is in the barrier.

It is unknown if Ancano harnessed the magic of the Eye of Magnus by orders of the Thalmor, or if he was doing this all for himself.

In CombatEdit

Despite his in-battle quotes, such as "My power is supreme!", Ancano is actually quite an easy opponent to defeat. In fact, the only remarkable thing about him is his invulnerability granted by the Eye of Magnus. When he is hostile he will normally use Flame spells, like Fireball, although he knows Sparks too. He will also use wards to defend himself and can use Lightning Cloak. Strangely, he will chase after the Dragonborn and attempt to punch the Dragonborn into submission; this can cause the Dragonborn difficulty at closing the Eye. He is immune to all effects when the Eye protects him, but follows the same attack pattern. He is relatively easy to kill with a melee weapon.



  • Ancano is flagged as an essential character until the Eye of Magnus.
  • Ancano's corpse can be controlled by using Dead Thrall or The Ritual Stone.
  • Although she dislikes him, Nirya finds him "handsome".
  • He and Elenwen are known to be the only Thalmor that wear/possess the non-hooded Thalmor Robes.
  • Despite the fact that Ancano is an essential character, he can be attacked and "killed" without any bounty or hostility from any surrounding people. This is probably due to the fact that everyone in the College of Winterhold dislikes or mistrusts him.
  • Ancano may not become hostile when attacked by the Dragonborn.
  • If Lydia is dismissed while Ancano is near she may attack him and most likely be killed. This may also apply to other followers.
  • When Ancano is using sparks on the Eye of Magnus, it will deal no damage when in front of it, and Wards will have no effect on it.
  • Ancano is voiced by Alexander Brandon.


  • "I have many important things on my mind. Your concerns are not among them."
  • "Are you quite sure we need to be speaking?"
  • "I'm disappointed to say I've learned little during my time here."
  • "I had hoped your scholars would be on a level comparable with my own colleagues. They are not."


Start a Discussion Discussions about Ancano

  • Stupid ancano

    14 messages
    • When I killed Ancano, I kept shooting him with the Staff of Magnus, then I decapitated him c: Then I threw his headless body around the Hall...
    • you dont even have to close they eye if you have the full soul tear shout from DG, just use it on him and it kills him instantly, and then...
  • Oh my god how did Mirabell and the Arch Mage Lose To Arcanno!

    2 messages
    • It's probably because he was 'powered up' by the Eye of Magnus. Since the Dragonborn had the Staff of Magnus he/she could beat Ancano.

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