For other uses, see Winterhold.
"We welcomes you to Winterhold. Let travelers find warmth within our walls, let challengers find us worthy..."
―Description in Arena[src]

Winterhold (otherwise known as Winter Hold) is the former capital of Skyrim. At its peak, Winterhold was able to compete with the likes of Solitude.[1] Despite its isolation from the rest of Skyrim, Winterhold remained wealthy and prosperous.[1]



Winterhold is located in the coldest region of Skyrim. In 4E 201, Winterhold has been reduced to a small longhouse resting on the mountains, an inn, and a trader. Anything resembling the former capital has disappeared. Winterhold has only one road that continues to Fort Kastav and Windhelm.


First Era

The city of Winterhold was founded by the Great Arch-Mage Shalidor in the first era. According to a folktale, Shalidor built Winterhold with a whispering spell. He also felt there should be a high standard for mages and that magic shouldn't used among the common caste. This belief is credited for the organization and formation of the school of magic as well as the foundation of the College of Winterhold.[2]

In 1E 369, Winterhold was ruled by High King Borgas. Borgas the last of the Ysgramor Dynasty and was a very controversial ruler for banning the old Nordic Pantheon.[3] Borgas was killed by the Wild Hunt in Valenwood and there was controversy on who should be the next High King of Skyrim. The Moot failed to elect the obviously capable Jarl Hanse of Winterhold and the War of Succession had begun in Skyrim. The War of Succession ended with the newly appointed High King Olaf One-Eye and the loss of multiple territories surrounding Skyrim.[1]

In 1E 2804, a rebellion broke out in Winterhold that got out of hand. The Master of the Dragonguard at the time refused to send aid to Winterhold. This led to Emperor Kastav cutting off supply shipments to Sky Haven Temple. However, the Dragonguard made a deal with the Reachman and the Temple became self-sufficient.[4] The rebellion was eventually ended with the involvement of Reman Cyrodiil II who negotiated a peace treaty between the rebellion and the Winterhold Government.[5]

In 1E 2805, the Dragonguard denied a man named Kalien admission into the Dragonguard. As a result, Kalien sacked the city of Winterhold along with Sky Haven Temple in spite of the Dragonguard. Relations between Winterhold and the Dragonguard had been diminished because of the destruction.[4]

Second Era

During the Alliance War, Skyrim was divided into two different provinces each with their own High King. Western Skyrim, which encompassed Whiterun, Falkreath, Morthal, and Solitude believed in the Moot and elected Svargrim to be High King while Eastern Skyrim, which encompassed Windhelm, Winterhold, Riften, and Dawnstar believed in what the Crown of Verity chose and had Freydis be elected High Queen. Because of this, Skyrim is divided and Eastern Skyrim served the Ebonheart Pact under the leadership of Jorunn the Skald-King.[OOG 1][6]

Third Era

Main article: Winterhold (Arena)

In 3E 313, Emperor Uriel Septim V believe he ruled Tamriel. Uriel used multiple defunct spy networks and manipulated members of the Elder Council. One of his most trusted allies was his sister, Morihatha Septim, who married Baron Ulfe Gersen of Winterhold to gain considerable wealth and influence.[7]

In 3E 399, The Eternal Champion had visited the city of Winterhold in the efforts of finding the Staff of Chaos. They visited the local Mages Guild and met with Thelen Kaarn, who asked the hero to travel to the Fortress of Ice to retrieve a missing tablet in return for the location of a piece of the Staff of Chaos. The hero retrieved the tablet and went on to Labyrinthian.[8]

Before the Oblivion Crisis, a large population of Dunmer came to Winterhold to study at the College. Eventually, they were driven out of the city.[9] The College of Winterhold had worked with its best wizards to counteract the Mythic Dawn's heinous acts on the people of Skyrim.[10]

Fourth Era

Main article: Winterhold (Skyrim)

A Nirnroot expert known as Sinderion was an honorary member of the College of Winterhold. After talking with his student, Avrusa Sarethi, he establish a laboratory at the Sarethi Farm and grew Nirnroot there. Sometime later, Sinderion ventured to Blackreach to research the mythical Crimson Nirnroot.[11]

During the Red Year, many Dunmer refugees traveled to Skyrim. The Jarl of Winterhold brought in countless of Dunmeri refugees especially those who contributed to the study of magic at the College of Winterhold. When Solstheim was given to Morrowind, many Dark Elves left Winterhold to stay in Raven Rock. Many people however, were unhappy to see how many mages decided to stay in Winterhold instead of moving to Solstheim.[10]

In 4E 122, Winterhold was under the leadership of Jarl Valdimar. A tragic event known as The Great Collapse destroyed a good majority of Winterhold by taking it all into the sea. The College of Winterhold was the only thing in the city that remained intact. This raised suspicion among the denizens of Winterhold, they believe the College was responsible for the destruction of Winterhold. The relationship between the College and Winterhold had been damaged.[10]

During the Skyrim Civil War, Winterhold sided with Eastern Skyrim again under the allegiance of Ulfric Stormcloak and his Stormcloak Rebellion. At the time, Winterhold was under the rule of Jarl Korir who had a large grudge against the College of Winterhold. When the Last Dragonborn arrived into town, Korir tasked the Dragonborn to retrieving the Helm of Winterhold in an undisclosed location. After retrieving the Helm, the Dragonborn is named Thane of Winterhold.[12]

In 4E 201, the College of Winterhold started an expedition to the lost Atmoran city of Saarthal led by Alteration Master Tolfdir and his students. Within the depths of Saarthal was an ancient artifact known as the Eye of Magnus. The eye was protected by the corpse of Jyrik Gauldurson. After defeating the awoken Draugr, the College took the Eye back to Winterhold for further study.[13]

Sometime later, the Eye of Magnus exploded with a surge of magicka and put Winterhold in danger by leaving a swarm of Magic Anomaly. Many wizards at the College of Winterhold defeated the anomalies and saved the town.[14]



  • When Arena was going to be a tournament based game where each city had their own gladiatorial team. Winterhold's team was known as the Annihilators.[OOG 2]
  • If Ulfe Gersen was referred to as a Baron, then it can be implied that during his time, Winterhold was a barony. Possibly under the Septim Empire rule.

By Game



Notice: The following are out-of-game references. They are not found in any in-game books, but can still be considered part of The Elder Scrolls lore and are included for completeness.
  1. ESO-RP Interviews Phrastus of Elinhir
  2. Go Blades