Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Not to be confused with Helga, Haelga, or Helgen Homestead.

Helgen is a moderately-sized community in Falkreath Hold in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It was one of the only heavily inhabited settlements located in Falkreath Hold, apart from the city of Falkreath itself and Half-Moon Mill. It is destroyed in the prologue by Alduin.

Helgen is the first location the Dragonborn will visit at the beginning of the game. It is the nearest town to one of Skyrim's borders, making it the most effective place to host the executions here after the Imperial ambush took place.


"Helgen... destroyed by a dragon. Hard to believe, isn't it?"
Hold Guards[src]

Helgen was a thriving town and keep on the southern border of Skyrim with Cyrodiil. Before its destruction by Alduin, the keep was controlled by the Imperial Legion.

On the 17th of Last Seed, 4E 201, Ulfric Stormcloak and a bodyguard of Stormcloak Soldiers (including Ralof and Gunjar) were sent to Helgen for public execution after being caught in a trap set by the Empire near Darkwater Crossing. Also among the prisoners was a horse thief of Rorikstead, Lokir, and an individual later revealed to be the Dragonborn, who had also gotten caught up in the Imperial ambush, apparently while attempting to cross the border from Cyrodiil.[1]

Attempting to flee the execution, Lokir was killed by archers. Though the Dragonborn's name was not on the Empire's list of those to be executed, the Imperial Captain overseeing the executions ordered their death regardless. However, moments before the sentence was carried out, Helgen was attacked and destroyed by Alduin. The Dragonborn was among the survivors to escape in the resulting chaos.

Alduin Helgen 3

Alduin above Helgen

The named residents of Helgen, besides Haming, are not seen again after the escape, and it can be assumed that they had either perished during the attack or managed to flee to safety. A few in-game days following the events, a small group of bandits will occupy the ruins of the town (the lock on either gate must be picked, or one of the bandits can open it). The damage caused by Alduin's attack will remain, with most of the town razed to the ground and burnt corpses lying among the ruins. The bandits are led by a chief, whose gear is randomized. Bottles of Mead with Juniper Berry may be found on the second floor of the ruined inn (accessed by jumping down from the gap in the tower's wall), if the Dragonborn returns.

It has a few distinguishing features: a wall, which is unusual for smaller towns, which some hold capitals do not have. It also has a large keep, which is unusual for anywhere but forts and walled hold capitals. It is possible for Helgen to have been second in the Imperial chain of power in Skyrim, behind Castle Dour, considering the strategic location not far from the southern border with Cyrodiil and midpoint for the northerly trade routes to Whiterun.






  • Inside the ruins of the inn, an enormous Slaughterfish displayed as a trophy on the wall can be found.
  • Juniper Berry Mead can be found in the building adjacent to the tower (5 bottles in "HelgenExterior03" and "HelgenExterior07" cells), referencing the comment which Ralof makes during the cart ride into Helgen at the start of the game: "I wonder if Vilod is still making that mead with Juniper berries mixed in."
  • South of Helgen is the border to Cyrodiil, which is marked by an impenetrable gate that can only be passed via console commands.
  • Elenwen and General Tullius can be found near Helgen if the Dragonborn returns there shortly after Alduin's attack.
  • If the console command tfc is used and swiped straight on while the Dragonborn is waited to be executed, an unknown Orsimer with Orcish armor can be seen with two Nords in common clothing. They will start walking towards the exit of the village shortly before Alduin's attack.
  • Helgen appears to be Skyrim's counterpart to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion's Kvatch. Both were destroyed at or near the beginning of the game by the main antagonists of their respective games.
  • Although visited by the Dragonborn at the start of the game, Helgen does not count as a discovered location, and therefore, will not help with progress towards the Explorer Achievement.
  • If returned to, just after completing Unbound, it is possible to find burnt corpses scattered in random locations and small fires still burning.
  • It is nearly impossible to die before exiting Helgen, with the only exception being fall damage, and the damage taken from Alduin's fire breath.
  • It is possible to escape Helgen without passing through Helgen Keep during the beginning of the game by jumping on the ledge of the tower where the Stormcloaks are and slowly scaling the ledge until it is possible to jump over the walls of the town.
  • Once bandits take over Helgen, a chest appears on one of the watchtowers. In addition, the collapsed bridge inside the Keep will be repaired, and the blockage will be removed.
  • The word "helgen" translates to "weekend" in Norwegian, Norway being a Nordic country.


This section contains bugs related to Helgen. 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.
  •  PC   Sometimes in the opening cinematic, the gates of Helgen will shut, causing the cart in front of the Dragonborn's cart to halt, which will then cause the Dragonborn's cart to collide with it. The carts will then shake and may be flung in random directions.
    •  PC (Fix)   Restart the game.
  • Occasionally, the horse pulling the cart the Dragonborn is riding in may start swaying around in the air, still attached to the cart, causing it to stop moving, stopping the first quest from progressing.
  • Alduin may sometimes attack, yet the people will carry on as normal. There is no known fix apart from restarting the game.
  •  PC   360   Sometimes during the execution cinematic, Alduin will fly above and around Helgen but will not attack.
  •  PS3   When returning to Helgen via the back gates, the textures may glitch and appear to be made of lava. Possible cause may be fast traveling while using "J'zargo's Flame Cloak Scroll."
  • If the Dragonborn runs ahead of the Stormcloaks in the keep, the hole to jump through to the house may be there. If this is jumped through, it will not let the Dragonborn into the house and they will be stuck in the square.
  • After the 1.9 Patch, jumping through the hole in the tower into the inn may set the Dragonborn on fire and kill them. Only fix is to use the God Mode tgm via the console. After leaping down from the inn the game progresses normally and the God Mode can be disabled.
  •  360   PS3   Sometimes, the basket to catch the heads at the chopping block will not be there, and the first Stormcloak that gets executed will have their head fall and roll across the ground.
  •  PC   The carts may turn left too early, causing the Dragonborn to be unable to leave the cart, even after their cart manages to enter Helgen.
  • Sometimes, when Alduin roars for the first time, General Tullius may not respond to Hadvar's quote, leading the game at a halt. There is no confirmed fix, although restarting the game may be a solution.
  •  PC   Very rare bug involving returning to Helgen finding no signs of the Dragon attack and Stormcloaks battling Imperials.confirmation needed
  •  360   When the Dragonborn is supposed to step out of the wagon, the wagon will continue riding into the wall, so that it cannot be stepped out of.

See also[]



  1. Dialogue with Ralof