Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

"Whatever happened here has affected Winterhold as well. I need you to get out there and make sure everything's all right. I'll do what I can here. Go now, go!"

Containment is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in which the Dragonborn must defeat magic anomalies that have appeared in Winterhold as a result of Ancano's tampering with the Eye of Magnus.


Ancano has done something to the Eye of Magnus, causing the orb to release incredible amounts of energy, damaging the College and killing the Arch-Mage. The town of Winterhold may be affected as well, and needs to be secured.


  1. Assess the damage to the Great Hall
  2. Find the Arch-Mage
  3. Protect the town of Winterhold
  4. Defeat the creatures infesting Winterhold
  5. Report to Mirabelle Ervine


A Plague on Winterhold[]

After the explosion, Mirabelle Ervine can be found sitting by one of the columns in the Hall of the Elements. Ancano remains with the Eye of Magnus, protected by strong magic.

Mirabelle will ask the Dragonborn to find Savos Aren, who was knocked away by the explosion. When Dovahkiin steps out to the courtyard, a crowd is forming around a body. Tolfdir confirms the shocking news: the Arch-Mage has succumbed to the wounds he suffered during the battle with Ancano. However, there is another, more important matter. Winterhold is being overrun. Magic anomalies appeared there and are attacking the townsfolk.

Running on the bridge out of the College, Faralda will stop the player and ask to be told what happened. She can be recruited to help, before asking Arniel Gane to join the fight herself.

The ten Magic Anomalies are easily spotted and quickly removed. Ranged magic is a good choice, but pinpoint spells (such as Firebolt or Ice Spike) that do not hit the fleeing townsfolk who are under Magic Anomalies' attack work best. Melee weapons, such as bound swords and "conventional" weapons like daggers and war axes will also do nicely.

One strategy is to draw the anomalies away from the townsfolk, leaving Faralda and Arniel to deal with them. However, if the anomalies are dealt with during the night, when everyone is indoors, it makes things much easier to protect the townsfolk as the only casualties will be the chickens outside The Frozen Hearth. If The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard is installed, a Master Vampire and either his thralls or death hounds or a group of Dawnguard warriors may choose to help and focus on the anomalies as well before possibly turning their attention to the Dragonborn. If Faralda is here when the ten magical foes are dead, she shouts that she will stay here and check for any more incursions. The defeated anomalies leave behind ghostly remains that have soul gems to be looted.

After all the anomalies are defeated, the quest continues by returning to the College and seeking out Mirabelle, letting her know that Winterhold is safe for now. She wishes she could say the same for the College. While she attempts to keep the Eye of Magnus contained with her fellow mages, she asks the Dragonborn to locate the Staff of Magnus.

When the Dragonborn mentions they are off to Labyrinthian, Mirabelle is taken aback: The Arch-Mage gave her an item from this place and told her she would know what to do with it. She gives the Dragonborn the Torc of Labyrinthian and Savos Aren's Amulet. This ends this quest and begins the next, "The Staff of Magnus."


Containment – MG05
ID Journal Entry
  • Objective 10: Assess the damage to the Great Hall
20 Ancano has done something to the Eye of Magnus, causing the orb to release incredible amounts of energy, and possibly putting the area in danger. I need to find the Arch-Mage and make sure he's safe.
  • Objective 20: Find the Arch-Mage
30 Ancano has done something to the Eye of Magnus, causing the orb to release incredible amounts of energy, damaging the College and killing the Arch-Mage. The town of Winterhold may be affected as well, and needs to be secured.
  • Objective 30: Protect the town of Winterhold
  • Objective 40: Defeat the creatures infesting Winterhold <Global=MG05CreaturesKilled>/10
50 Winterhold now appears to be safe from the creatures attacking it. Mirabelle needs to be informed of what's going on.
  • Objective 50: Report to Mirabelle Ervine
200 The town of Winterhold has been secured for now, but the Eye of Magnus cannot be reached and continues to jeopardize the College.
  • Quest complete


  • Using at least one rank of the Summoner perk, casting a summoning spell on the roof above Ancano's spell will raise the conjured creature inside the barrier. However, they still will not attack Ancano.
  • The anomalies sound identical to ice wraiths. They also move around and attack in the same manner.


This section contains bugs related to Containment. 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  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , 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.
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  • There is a bug related to this quest in which no characters react to the body of the Arch-Mage, no enemies are spawned in Winterhold and the quest does not show up in the quest log.
    • This can be fixed on the PC version by entering setstage MG05 0 in the console.
    • This may also be fixed by dragging the body to the group of people closest to the Dragonborn.
    •  360   This can possibly be fixed by loading a save away from the College and also, dismissing any followers before reporting back to the Arch-Mage after completing the previous quest.
    •  PS3   It may be possible to get the quest to start by completing all Winterhold related quests (including miscellaneous) that are active.
    •  PS3   Talking to Tolfdir outside and asking about the Arch Mage being dead may start the next part to protect the town.
    •  PC   Fast traveling to a different location and typing "startquest mg05" or "setstage mg05 10" in the console may start the quest.
    •  PC   If the solutions above does not work, the quest can be skipped. The command: setstage MG07 0 will start the quest after Containment (The Staff of Magnus). The quest item from Containment can be obtained with the command: player.additem 000a34f8 1. Then the reward can be obtained with the command: player.additem 000f1b33 1.
  •  PS3   A dragon may have killed everyone in the College courtyard and thus the quest cannot be continued.
    • This may be fixed by reloading a save from when Tolfdir, Arniel Gane and Nirya were alive. They will help kill the dragon.
  • It is possible to re-animate the arch-mage as a thrall, but he will sometimes disappear on the bridge to Winterhold. If he is killed by magic anomalies, he will turn into an ash pile.
  • The doors to the College may remain permanently half-opened such that the Dragonborn can no longer enter.
    •  360   PS3   This may be resolved by examining the entire door. When given the option to enter, it is possible to click the door and have it close without entering.
  • A crackling sound may occur when loud sounds occur.
    • Resetting the console has been known to solve this issue.
  •  360   PS3   After the explosion the Arch-Mage's body may be invisible, but Characters are standing around and quest is still active. They are all staring at the ground in a circle.
  •  PC   360   Sometimes one of the magical anomalies can end up inside the bridge connecting the town to the college.
    •  360 (Fix)   This can be resolved by reloading a save from right before they spawned.
    •  PC (Fix)   This bug can be fixed with the console. Open the console, select bridge and type disable (do not deselect bridge). Close the console, kill the anomalies, and wait while Faralda and Arniel walk away. Open the console again and type enable.
  •  360   PS3   A bounty may be received for any deaths of citizens/livestock within Winterhold, regardless if Faralda, Arniel Gane, or even the magic anomalies killed them.