Elder Scrolls


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Helgen is a moderately-sized community in Falkreath Hold in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It was one of the only heavily inhabited settlements located in Falkreath Hold, apart from the city of Falkreath itself and Half-Moon Mill. It is destroyed in the prologue.

Helgen is the first location the Dragonborn will visit at the beginning of the game. It is the nearest town to one of Skyrim's borders, making it the obvious reason to host the executions here after the Imperial ambush took place.


Helgen was a thriving town and keep on the southern border of Skyrim with Cyrodiil. Before its destruction by Alduin, the keep was controlled by the Imperial Legion.

On the 17th of Last Seed, 4E 201, Ulfric Stormcloak and a bodyguard of Stormcloak soldiers were sent to Helgen for public execution after being caught in a trap set by the Empire near Darkwater Crossing. Also among the prisoners was an individual later revealed to be the Last Dragonborn, who had also gotten caught up in the Imperial ambush, apparently while attempting to cross the border from Cyrodiil.

Though the Dragonborn's name was not on the Empire's list of those to be executed, the Imperial Captain overseeing the executions ordered their death regardless. However, moments before the sentence was carried out, Helgen was attacked and destroyed by Alduin. The Dragonborn was among the survivors to escape in the resulting chaos.

Alduin Helgen 3

Alduin above Helgen

The named residents of Helgen, besides Haming, are not seen again after the escape, and it is assumed that they either perished during the attack or managed to flee to safety. A few in-game days following the events, a small group of bandits will occupy the ruins of the town, (the lock on either gate must be picked, or one of the bandits can open it). The damage caused by Alduin's attack will remain, with most of the town razed to the ground and burnt corpses lying amongst the ruins. The bandits are led by a chief, whose gear is randomized. Bottles of Mead with Juniper Berry may be found on the second floor of the ruined inn (accessed by jumping down from the gap in the tower's wall), if the Dragonborn returns.

It has a few distinguishing features: a wall, which is unusual for smaller towns, which some hold capitals do not have. It also has a large keep, which is unusual for anywhere but forts and walled hold capitals. It is possible for Helgen to have been second in the Imperial chain of power in Skyrim, behind Castle Dour, considering the strategic location not far from the southern border with Cyrodiil and midpoint for the northerly trade routes to Whiterun.

Related questsEdit


Known survivorsEdit



  • The Mead with Juniper Berry is most likely a reference to the comment which Ralof makes during the cart ride into Helgen at the start of the game: "I wonder if Vilod is still making that mead with Juniper berries mixed in."
  • South of Helgen is the border to Cyrodiil, which is marked by an impenetrable gate which can only be passed via console commands.
  • Elenwen can be found near Helgen if the Dragonborn returns there shortly after Alduin's attack. She is seen in the opening scene, too.
  • If the console command tfc is used and swiped straight on while the Dragonborn is waited to be executed, an unknown Orsimer with Orcish armor can be seen with two Nords with common clothing. They will start walking towards the exit of the village shortly before Alduin's attack.
  • Helgen appears to be Skyrim's counterpart to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion's Kvatch. Both were destroyed at or near the beginning of the game by the main antagonists of their respective games.
  • Later in the game, the town will be overrun by bandits. Outside the main gate which is locked with an apprentice lock, there will be corpses and skulls on pikes.
  • If returned to, just after completing Unbound, it is possible to find burnt corpses scattered in random locations and small fires still burning.
  • Hold Guards can be heard talking about Helgen being attacked by a dragon.


This section contains bugs related to Helgen. 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.
  •  PC   Sometimes in the opening cinematic, the gates of Helgen will shut causing the cart in front of the Dragonborn's cart to halt, causing the Dragonborn's cart to collide with it. The carts will then shake and possibly be flung in random directions.
    • Solution: restart the game.
  • Occasionally, the horse pulling the cart the Dragonborn is riding in may start swaying around in the air, still attached to the cart, causing it to stop moving, stopping the first quest from progressing.
  • Alduin may sometimes attack, yet the people carry on as normal, standing around talking. No known fix apart from restarting the game.
  •  PC   360   Sometimes during the execution cinematic, Alduin may behave like a normal dragon and fly in the skies around Helgen but doesn't attack, causing the game to stop.
  •  PS3   Sometimes when returning to Helgen via the back gates, the textures may glitch and appear to be made of lava. Possible cause may be fast traveling while using "J'zargo's Flame Cloak Scroll".
  • If the Dragonborn runs ahead of the Stormcloaks in the keep, the hole to jump through to the house may be there. If this is jumped through, it will not let the Dragonborn into the house and they will be stuck in the square.
  • After the 1.9 Patch, jumping through the hole in the tower into the inn may set the Dragonborn on fire and kill them. Only fix is to use the God Mode tgm via the console. After leaping down from the inn the game progresses normally and the God Mode can be disabled.
  •  PS3   360   Sometimes, the basket to catch the heads at the chopping block will not be there, and the first Stormcloak that gets executed will have their head fall and roll across the ground.
  •  PC   Sometimes the carts will turn left too early causing the Dragonborn to be unable to leave the cart, even after their cart manages to enter Helgen.
  • Sometimes, when Alduin roars for the first time, General Tullius may not respond to Hadvar's quote, leading the game at a halt. There is no confirmed fix, although restarting the game may be a solution.
  •  PC   Very rare bug involving returning to Helgen finding no signs of the Dragon attack and Stormcloaks battling Imperials.
  •  360   When the Dragonborn is supposed to step out of the wagon, the wagon keeps on riding into the wall, so it cannot be stepped out of.

See alsoEdit


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