Elder Scrolls

Northwatch Keep

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Forticon  Northwatch Keep
Northwatch Keep1
Northwatch Keep Map
Hold Haafingar
Location Due west from Solitude
Type Fort
Quests Missing in Action
Characters Thorald Gray-Mane
Enemies Thalmor
Location ID NorthwatchKeep01

Northwatch Keep is a partially-ruined fortress where the Thalmor are keeping Thorald Gray-Mane prisoner. In the Dawnguard DLC, the Icewater Jetty is located to the North-West of the keep.


The road to Volskygge (south of Northwatch Keep) leads to a seemingly dead end; however, there is an obscure path down the cliff, but it is easy to miss and will still need the Dragonborn to swim across an inlet; so the best route to get to Northwatch Keep is by following the shore from either the West or East. If traveling by means of the path, the Illusion spell Clairvoyance is helpful.


When the Dragonborn arrives there, he or she is greeted outside by a Thalmor. He will state that the Dragonborn must be a member of the Imperial Legion to enter. If the Dragonborn is not an Imperial soldier, the Dragonborn may enter anyway, but will still be attacked. The Dragonborn will then have to battle through the fort to free Thorald.

The other prisoners can be 'freed' by picking Master locks, or flipping the levers in the room. However once freed, they just stand there. Attempts to speak with them end with rude generic replies, which is probably an oversight on the developers' behalf.


Missing in ActionEdit

Release Thorald Gray-Mane from Thalmor custody.


Notable lootEdit



  • If one retreats far enough back after attacking the guards, they will cease to be hostile.
  • After clearing the keep in the quest Missing in Action, Hold guards will comment about the Thalmor having been "taken down a notch."
  • The guards will not attack those in Beast Form. However, once inside, Thorald will attack anyone in beast form. for this reason, it is best to wait it out and revert to normal before making the final assault on the prison cell.
  • After completing "Missing In Action", Vidrald and Geirlund may be found in the courtyard.
  • If one visits Northwatch Keep before the quest Missing in Action is acquired, then Thorald Gray-Mane will not be in the prison where the Dragonborn can find him in the quest.
  • If the Civil War questline has been completed while siding with the Stormcloaks, the Thalmor seems to use this as a hidden retreat within Skyrim. They will prevent the Dragonborn from entering or even asking about Northwatch, claiming it to be "privileged information."


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

  1. Confirm all bugs with other editors on the talk page before adding them below.
  2. Always try reloading an old save first, before asking for assistance.
  3. Do not discuss possible bug fixes or origins. Leave those and all other first-person-anecdotes on the talk page, not the article.
  4. Always add  360  ,  PS3  , or  PC   to clarify which system the bug appears on.
  •  360   If the Dragonborn goes with Thorald's brother to the keep they do not seem to recognize each other and continue on as if one another is not there.
  •  360   If the prisoners are killed, they may disappear through the floor.


Start a Discussion Discussions about Northwatch Keep

  • Northwatch Guard respawn time?

    4 messages
    • Its been at least a few months (in game time) and they still dont respawn. The only people in the fort are the prisoners who are too dumb to le...
    • I don't think they respawn. Once you kill them, that's it.
  • Northwatch Keep prisoners

    2 messages
    • I dont know if this is a bug or not but the prisoners dont escape when I freed them, they don't even leave their cells!!! 
    • It mentions here that they don't try to escape.

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