Elder Scrolls

Add New Page

Elder Scrolls

Hitting the Books

52,393pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Talk23 Share
Hitting the Books is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The quest serves as the third quest in the College of Winterhold's quest line. To unearth important information about Saarthal, Urag gro-Shub asks that three books hidden within Fellglow Keep be recovered. The books were stolen by Orthorn, who is being held prisoner therein by The Caller.



To begin, speak with Urag gro-Shub about any documents that might explain the connection between Saarthal and the Psijic Order. Urag sits at his desk inside The Arcanaeum. Urag confesses that the needed documents were recently stolen by an apprentice by the name of Orthorn, who took the books and ran off to Fellglow Keep to join up with a group of mages who left the College. He suggests "speaking" with Orthorn about the books.

Fellglow Keep (Outside)Edit

The Fortress grounds are guarded by two mages and a Flame Atronach. The best way to kill them is to get atop the tower and sneak and shoot them with a bow. Once they are killed, the main entrance is found to be locked and can only be opened with a key. There is, however, another entry point through the dungeons. In the base of one of the ruined towers, there are steps down to the Fellglow Keep Dungeons

Fellglow Keep DungeonsEdit

The dungeons contain several rooms with water covering the floor. In the second of these rooms, there is an ice mage and two frostbite spiders. A table at the top of the stairs holds several Soul Gems. A set of stairs leads down to the southeast to a poison dart trap, where a set of stairs leads further down to the northeast, and another leads up to the southeast. The latter stairs lead to a dead end, with a wooden door that has an apprentice-locked chest behind it. Back at the junction, the stairs to the northeast lead down to an exploding rune trap. Beyond this is a prison with a leveled Conjurer sitting at a table. Note that the Vampires, if released from their cages, will attack any enemy mages.

Through the wooden door to the southeast is a torture chamber with several enemy magic users and several dead vampires, Khajiit, and Nords on tables or in cages. A door to the northeast leads to stairs down to another prison, where Orthorn can be found, along with a necromancer, who will release the wolves from their cages if given the chance. Orthorn, when asked about the books, says The Caller has them. After this conversation, Orthorn can be released by using the middle of the three levers. He can then be a temporary follower for the remainder of quest, or he can be left in the cage until the dungeon is cleared.

Note: It is easier if Orthorn is freed and following, as the final battle is quite challenging. Also, an option to make an arrangement with the Caller is only available if he is present.

From the prison, an adept-locked door to the west leads to a room with an apprentice-locked chest and some weapons on a table. A set of stairs to the northwest leads a door to Fellglow Keep that requires a key. A door to the southeast leads to stairs that go down to a room where there are three other magicians practicing their skills. It is recomended you have snowberries and a potion of resist cold. Sneaking here is very effective. Otherwise, the best defense is to attack.

The next steps to the northwest lead to a room with several Necromancers and some skeletons. The summoned undead will disappear as soon as all Necromancers are dead, so the Necromancers should be targeted first. At the end of the corridor is a Raise Zombie spell tome on a pedestal. To the left (northwest) is a door which leads to the main portion of Fellglow Keep.

Fellglow KeepEdit

In the next area, there are a conjurer and a mage. If Orthorn is in the party, it is best to attack whomever he chooses. There are bits of treasure throughout the room. Upon the pedestal directly across from the room's entrance is the Conjuration skill book, The Doors of Oblivion. Through the door to the east is a dining room, where a Novice Necromancer lies in wait. An adjacent room leads to a hallway with a key-locked door to the north that returns to the dungeons, plus a doorway to the east that leads to a common room with an Atronach of some kind, as well as a mage. The bottom floor also has a key-locked door on the north wall that leads outside, plus a door to the east that leads to a room where a mage and necromancer are resting.

Up the stairs are open doorways to the right and left, plus a closed door leading forward (south) that is barred from the other side. To the right is a room with an Arcane Enchanter, an Alchemy Lab, an anvil and a workbench. On the desk next to the alchemy lab is an Unusual Gem, while on the bookshelf next to the workbench are three Quicksilver Ingots. Back at the top of the stairs, to the left and up another flight of steps, there is a room with a mage and conjurer inside an inner circle of shelves. The skill book A Hypothetical Treachery, which boosts destruction skill, is on a table nearby.

On the opposite side (south) of the room entrance is a pathway leading to stairs up to another hallway. There are bedrooms on the left wall, and an Atronach at the other end of the hall. The second bedroom on the left contains a sleeping mage who holds the Fellglow Keep Key. Through the door at the other end is an adept-locked door that can be opened with the Keep key. Inside is a shrine of Julianos, which temporarily increases Magicka by 25 points. Another door in that room leads to a room with an adept-locked chest.

The CallerEdit

Back in the hallway where the Atronach was, there's a wooden door leading to a grand staircase, curving west / northwest, to the top. At the top is the door to the Fellglow Keep Ritual Chamber. Inside is The Caller. The Dragonborn can either fight against the sorceress or come to an arrangement with her.

  • Arrangement: If Orthorn is with the party, an arrangement is possible. Otherwise, she will say that the Dragonborn has nothing to trade. In the course of the conversation she offers to trade, requiring a team as a replacement for the mages and the books. She responds and waits. The bargain is completed by talking to the witch again. She must be talked to again to make the trade. If the books are taken before talking to her again she will attack. The three books should be taken and the room must be left quickly. Note that opening the exit door after leaving is not possible.
  • Fight: In a fight, she summons two level-dependent Atronachs (which can be looted for Frost/Fire/Void salts when defeated, as they aren't the result of a Conjuration spell), which appear in the rooms behind her. She primarily uses frost and lightning Destruction spells, but also uses Restoration spells and periodically teleports around the room. Note that if she is killed before the Atronachs, they disappear.
  • Persuade: Requires 50 Speech; she can be persuaded to not fight, allowing the Dragonborn to take the books and leave unhindered.
  • Assassinate: After speaking with her, if she's still neutral, it's easy to sneak behind her and kill her in one blow.
  • ​One Hit Kill:​ If you have a high enough sneak and archery skill, you can one shot her before she summons the atronachs, avoiding damage altogether.


If an arrangement was made, the door behind The Caller cannot be used. In that case, the Dragonborn can just leave through the entrance door. If not previously dealt with, a Novice Storm Mage will be there to fight at the bottom of the stairs. She can be killed, and Fellglow Keep Key will be on her body. After backtracking to the room where the Apprentice Ice Mage was, the key-locked door to the outside can be used to leave the keep.

If a battle was fought, the three books (located on pedestals, but they may fall onto the floor during the fighting) can be taken, and the Fellglow Keep Key can be looted from The Caller. The door directly behind the middle pedestal leads to much loot and a trap door exit, which leads through the barred door and back to Skyrim.

Upon returning to the College of Winterhold, Urag gro-Shub can be spoken with to return the books. He will then offer the quest "Good Intentions".


Journal Entry

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

  • Objective: Speak with Mirabelle Ervine

Since Tolfdir is not available, I've been asked by Mirabelle Ervine to look into information on the object we found in Saarthal by talking to Urag gro-Shub in the Arcanaeum.

  • Objective: Speak with Urag gro-Shub

I've been asked to find more information on the object found in Saarthal. Urag suggested that useful books may have been stolen from the Arcanaeum by Othorn [sic] [Do not change this to Orthorn. This misspelled word is how it appears in-game.], a former Apprentice at the College. His last known location was Fellglow Keep.

  • Objective: Find the stolen books

In attempting to track down books that may have information about Saarthal, I've been exploring Fellglow Keep and have located Orthorn, the former apprentice who stole the books in the first place. He's now a prisoner, and has begged me to free him.

  • Objective: (Optional) Free Orthorn

I've freed Orthorn from Fellglow Keep, and he has offered to help me find the books I'm looking for.

I was asked to find books that may have information about the object discovered in Saarthal, and traveled to Fellglow Keep to retrieve them from Orthorn, a former Apprentice at the College. I've found the books and now need to see them returned to the College.

  • Objective: Return the books

I've returned to the College with the books from Fellglow Keep. One of the books, "Night of Tears", has some information about Saarthal that Urag found very interesting.

  • Quest complete


This section contains bugs related to Hitting the Books. 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 Hitting the Books

  • Hitting the Books Quest Not Starting

    4 messages
    • please notice tough that my method above is a hack and untestetd and could prevent further progression so use it only if all else fails.
    • I have a Xbox 1 and hitting the books won't start even though savros aren gave me the magelight staff what can I do besides restarting...
  • Hitting the Books won't start after I speak with Savos

    3 messages
    • The mod [ 7K Better Whiterun] can cause both those problems, if you don't use it check ...
    • I did not have 7K Better whiterun installed, and yet it has happened to me too. I have tried talking to anyone I can think of, and using ...