Elder Scrolls

First Lessons

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First Lessons is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This quest is obtained upon arriving at Winterhold and approaching the beginning of the bridge to the College of Winterhold. It is the first quest in the College of Winterhold's questline.


When approaching the bridge to the College, the guardian of the bridge, Faralda, will ask the Dragonborn in order to prove their ability to enter the College, by casting a series of spells. The spell's level will depend on one's level and perks. If one does not know the spell, they can buy it from her for 30 GoldIcon. They must, however, possess enough Magicka to cast the spell that she asks them to demonstrate, or raise the amount of Magicka by the use of an amulet, a ring, robes or another means. If the skill is too low to cast even at the Novice Level, they will need to come back when they have leveled, and raised their Magicka enough. They may circumvent this test by passing a speech check, although the option to persuade may not be present unless one's skill is high enough.

Alternatively, the option to say they are the Dragonborn can be chosen, and instead of a spell, they will be asked to demonstrate the Voice. (This is only an option during the quest "Elder Knowledge".)

She will then lead the Dragonborn to the College and give them a quest to speak with the College leader Mirabelle Ervine (Master Wizard), a mage in the courtyard. This allows the Dragonborn access to the College of Winterhold. She will give some Novice Robes and a Novice Hood to wear if one chooses so. These robes will have an enchantment to make certain spells cost less. The set is basically the same as the first robe and hood he/she came across when escaping from Helgen Keep.

The Dragonborn will then be taken on a short tour of the College and be told to see Tolfdir in the Hall of the Elements where he is giving a lecture. Tolfdir is teaching three other students and the protagonist about the importance of safety while learning Magic. After a brief exchange with everyone, he decides to ask for the Dragonborn's help in a practical demonstration of ward spells. If one does not have a ward spell learned, he will teach him/her the Lesser Ward spell for free. Then they will be asked to defend himself/herself with a ward spell while he casts a long-range fire spell at them (either always a weakened version of firebolt, OR, it's possible the type and power of which is determined by one's level and one's ward spell's level). Once the Dragonborn has defended themselves, Tolfdir will ask the class to travel to Saarthal to take part in an expedition.


Journal Entry

I've found the College of Winterhold, where mages study the arcane arts in Skyrim. If I want to learn more about magic, I'll need to join their ranks.

  • Objective: Join the College of Winterhold

In order to join the College of Winterhold, I need to show I'm capable of simple magic by casting a Magelight spell.

  • Objective: Cast a Mage Light spell

In order to join the College of Winterhold, I need to show I'm capable of simple magic by summoning a Flame Atronach.

  • Objective: Summon a Flame Atronach

In order to join the College of Winterhold, I need to show I'm capable of simple magic by casting a Firebolt spell.

  • Objective: Cast a Firebolt spell

In order to join the College of Winterhold, I need to show I'm capable of simple magic by casting a Fear spell.

  • Objective: Cast a Fear spell

In order to join the College of Winterhold, I need to show I'm capable of simple magic by casting Healing Hands on Nirya at the entrance to the College.

  • Objective: Cast a Healing Hands spell

I've been allowed to join the College of Winterhold, and need to find Mirablle Ervine for a tour of the grounds.

  • Objective: Report to Mirabelle Ervine

I have joined the College of Winterhold. Mirabelle Ervine has agreed to show me around in order to become familiar with the grounds.

  • Objective: Tour the College of Winterhold

I have joined the College of Winterhold, and after a tour of the grounds need to find Tolfdir, who looks after the new Apprentices.

  • Objective: Listen to Tolfdir

After joining the College of Winterhold and speaking with Tolfdir, I've learned a bit about wards and will be accompanying some of the others on an expedition.

  • Quest complete

Trivia Edit

  • When heading towards Mirabelle, the Dragonborn can see her having an argument with Ancano. She says that the Thalmor will not get special treatment, like with the Empire, but Ancano is here because the Arch-Mage is allowing him to be.
  • It is acceptable to use Spellbreaker when asked to cast a ward by Tolfdir.


This section contains bugs related to First Lessons. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  / XB1  ,  PS3  / PS4  ,  PC  / MAC  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person-anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.

Start a Discussion Discussions about First Lessons

  • Mana glitch

    5 messages
    • Same Thing I Cant See The Bar Go By
    • @ Did you do a quest for Drevis(Illusion Master at the college)? If so it gives you a 2 hour(IRL time) buff that regenerates y...
  • Ward Spells

    3 messages
    • If you don't have a Ward spell Tolfdir will teach you Lesser Ward for free so you and he can...
    • i just use my spellbreaker and it works though...

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