Elder Scrolls


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Not to be confused with Aicaano or Ancalmo.
"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. In conversation, Ancano will reveal that he is annoyed that he has not been called upon by the Arch-Mage for "counsel." If asked, he also voices that the Thalmor are present in Skyrim to help with peace efforts, and this "time of transition" for the Nords.


Ancano knows the following spells:





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.

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 he is within the barrier.

Hitting the BooksEdit

With Tolfdir still occupied in Saarthal, the Dragonborn needs to speak to Mirabelle Ervine to find out about researching the discovery in Saarthal.

Good IntentionsEdit

Urag gro-Shub has asked to speak with Tolfdir about the Night of Tears book.

Revealing the UnseenEdit

Mirabelle has explained that members of the Synod recently visited the College, mentioning the Staff of Magnus. They were last known to be heading towards Mzulft; they may know more about where to find the staff.

The Staff of MagnusEdit

The Dragonborn needs to retrieve the Staff of Magnus from within Labyrinthian and return with it to the College of Winterhold.

The Eye of MagnusEdit

The Staff of Magnus has been recovered, and so it's time to assault the College of Winterhold and strike down Ancano.


  • "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."


  • 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 says she finds him "rather 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.
  • 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, who voices only one other character in Skyrim, Amaund Motierre.
  • If Ancano is spoken to after conversing with Quaranir during "Good Intentions," he will confess his fears that the Psijic Order "wants the Eye for themselves," and demands that the player inform him if the Psijic Order attempts to contact them again, though it is not possible to do so.
  • If asked where the Augur of Dunlain is located during "Good Intentions," Ancano will look worried and stutter that he has no idea what the player is talking about, before telling them to go about whatever tasks that they normally do. It is revealed when talking to the Augur that Ancano had been there before the player, but asked questions of a different angle than the player did.
  • When conversing with Ancano, there is an option to ask "Who are the Thalmor?" However, if one has already spoken to other agents - random Thalmor Justiciars, Ondolemar in the Understone Keep, etc. - about the Thalmor, Ancano's dialogue option changes to "I'd like to know more about the Thalmor."


Start a Discussion Discussions about Ancano

  • Isn't it obvious?

    5 messages
    • I assume you mean it's obvious that Ancano is a bad guy yet no one ever accuses him of anything? We cant really do anything about people who j...
    • You could hate him for is relentless quest for power...and the fact that he's not even trying to be polite, like some other Thalmor you can t...
  • Hmm I wonder?

    3 messages
    • Outsiders are not allowed into the college, so I guess the stormcloaks can't get to him, even if they would be aware of his presence?
    • Maybe he demonstrated... some degree of skill with magic. (Summon a Flame Atronach) The College's rite of passage. Clearly the Stormcloaks have...

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