Elder Scrolls

Northwatch Keep

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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 also comment "I heard you gave the Thalmor a black eye. You really know how to pick your enemies, don't you?"
  • 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 seem 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."
  • The guard in the archway is always male, and always has a beard.
  • Once cleared of Thalmor, they do not respawn after a certain amount of time has passed; the area will remain cleared out.


This section contains bugs related to Northwatch Keep. 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.
  •  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

  • Vampires in Northwatch Keep

    5 messages
    • That's quite strange as I had a similar thing happen to me, pretty much all you mentioned apart from vampire has not spawned rendering this qu...
    • That is on the quests bugs list. On a console you could reload a save before getting the quest but this quest seems to plan itself out before ...
  • Northwatch Keep prisoners

    3 messages
    • It mentions here that they don't try to escape.
    • And when I was like go you are free prisoners, the arnonian was like "what are you looking at!?" and I was like, you don't wanna be free, f...

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