- For the quest, see The Eye of Magnus.
The Eye of Magnus is an ancient magical artifact first discovered by Atmoran settlers during the late Merethic Era, when the first group led by Ysgramor came to Skyrim and built the city of Saarthal.
Eventually the Snow Elves discovered the Eye, and coveted the power for themselves. They assaulted Saarthal, hoping to capture the Eye, but Ysgramor rallied his forces and fought them back in an event known as the Night of Tears.
Only Ysgramor and his sons survived, and traveled to Atmora to rally the Five Hundred Companions. When the Elves were defeated in the Nordic-Falmer War and Skyrim was recaptured, they hid the Eye back within Saarthal and buried it deep below the earth.
Upon entering the room that the Eye is housed in, the Dragonborn and Tolfdir discover that the massive orb is guarded by a draugr named Jyrik Gauldurson, one of the sons of the ancient arch-mage Gauldur. When an attempt is made to damage Jyrik, Tolfdir states that the Eye is allowing for Gauldurson to become invulnerable to damage, and thus begins to cast lightning spells at the Eye, subsequently allowing for the Dragonborn to damage and kill Jyrik.
After destroying the creature, Tolfdir sends the Dragonborn on an errand to research the Eye of Magnus during the quest "Hitting the Books." Finding the research material in Fellglow Keep, the Dragonborn reads more about the object in Night of Tears.
Afterward, Quaranir, a member of the Psijic Order, visits the Dragonborn, telling them the object is dangerous and to seek out the Augur of Dunlain. This then leads to the search for the Staff of Magnus.
After returning to the College, the Dragonborn learns that Ancano has tapped into the power of the Eye and gained tremendous power. The Dragonborn then has to travel to Labyrinthian to locate the Staff of Magnus. They must then use the Staff to break through a magical barrier and use it to absorb the power of the Eye and so defeat Ancano. After Ancano is defeated, Quaranir, Gelebros and Tandil appear. Quaranir then says that the world is not ready for the Eye's unlimited power and that the Psijic Order will guard it. He, Gelebros, and Tandil then teleport the Eye away.
Another possible origin that Tolfdir did not mention include the possibility of the Eye being Aedric in origin. The Aedric god, known as Magnus, created the Staff of Magnus, but it is currently unknown whether or not he actually created the Eye of Magnus.
- The professors in the college may discuss a theory about the Eye of Magnus in the Hall of the Elements before the ruins of Saarthal are found.confirmation needed
- The color palettes may invert: the blues and blacks switching. This minor cosmetic bug corrects itself after a few minutes.