Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For the artifact, see Eye of Magnus.

The Eye of Magnus is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Serving as the final quest in the College of Winterhold questline, it culminates in a battle against Ancano, with the Dragonborn becoming Arch-Mage upon emerging victorious.


The Staff of Magnus has been recovered, and so it's time to assault the College of Winterhold and strike down Ancano.


  1. Use the Staff of Magnus to enter the College of Winterhold
  2. Reach the Hall of the Elements
  3. Defeat Ancano
  4. Talk to Tolfdir
  5. Speak with Quaranir


"The Eye has grown unstable. It cannot remain here, or else it may destroy your College and this world. It must be secured. Ancano's actions prove that the world is not ready for such a thing."

The College of Winterhold is now caught in an increasingly unstable maelstrom of magic—so much so that it has disappeared from the world map. At the College, the mages are caught up in a battle with the Magic Anomalies, although helping them defeat the creatures is optional.

Into the Eye of the Maelstrom[]

Maelstrom of Magic

The Staff of Magnus can be used to force clear the way across the courtyard and into the Hall of the Elements. There are likely to be one or more Magic Anomalies just inside the whirling force screen.

Upon arriving at the Hall of the Elements, Ancano is waiting, directing energy of some kind at the Eye of Magnus. He is well aware of the Dragonborn's presence. The mad elf spots them and Tolfdir, then begins taunting and crowing that he is so far beyond any pitiful attempts at magic that he cannot be touched.

Unfortunately, this is true, as Tolfdir's aimed fireball dissipates harmlessly. The old mage has just enough time to tell the Dragonborn to bring out the Staff of Magnus and use it on the Eye before an enraged Ancano strikes him—and anyone else (such as followers) in the vicinity—with a Mass Paralysis spell, leaving the Dragonborn standing alone.

Ancano decides to finish the Dragonborn himself, opening the Eye of Magnus and tapping into its full and incredible power.

Note: It is possible to keep Ancano from paralyzing Tolfdir and any other follower by blocking the former's Mass Paralysis spell with a magic ward.

Defeating Ancano[]

Note that any followers cannot aid in the fight and will likely attack Tolfdir after the magic anomalies are defeated, so it will be impossible to complete the quest with one around.

While the Eye is open, Ancano is invincible. When the Eye is fully open, a casting from the Staff of Magnus absorbs its energy, and the Eye begins to close.

Ancano and the Eye

Once the Eye is closed, the Dragonborn can start attacking Ancano with effect. Eventually, the Eye reopens, and Ancano becomes invincible again. When the Eye is pried open a second time, several Magic Anomalies are also let loose. Although the Dragonborn must deal with them, their presence has the potential to be very useful, as the soul gems they drop can recharge the staff if it is out of charge. Additionally, the magic anomalies attack Ancano if the Dragonborn is not near him. This quest can be used as a way to farm filled soul gems for training in Enchanting.

The Dragonborn can use the chamber's topography to an advantage, keeping a healthy distance from Ancano, which allows for more time to maneuver around his spells. Standing behind one of the chamber's many pillars, or the Eye itself, will block the full force of Ancano's attacks. A very easy way to safely battle him is to stand in the Hall of the Elements behind the closed gate after Tolfdir is paralyzed. One can stay safely behind the gate to heal or take a break from the battle, or just to sit back and let a summoned follower do the work.

An alternative method, if the Dragonborn has the Sanguine Rose from "A Night to Remember," is to use it to summon a Dremora after Ancano casts his paralyzing spell. The Dremora will attack Ancano, leaving them free to use the Staff of Magnus on the Eye. The Dremora will make short work of him as soon as the protection of the Eye is removed.

Another way of quickly dispatching Ancano is to use high archery skill, have health damaging poison, and carry a powerful bow and arrows. With this combination, it is possible to use the Staff to close the Orb. Immediately after it starts to close, a poisoned bow with glass or stronger arrows can make short work of him.

One other method is to get a Staff of Paralysis (the Paralyze spell, and the level 100 archery perk will also work). Once the Eye is closed, the staff or spell can be used to paralyze Ancano. Then he can be killed easily. Alternatively, the Dragonborn may also summon an atronach, which will attack Ancano. The Dragonborn can then proceed to close the eye.

The Dragonborn can also rely on the presence of the College's initiates, namely Colette Marence, Phinis Gestor, Sergius Turrianus, Faralda, Drevis Neloren, and Arniel Gane, who will join the battle and fight Ancano and the Magic Anomalies.

The Nick of Time[]

Quaranir appears

With the hated High Elf now dispatched for good, the Dragonborn can return to Tolfdir. He is thankful that Ancano has been stopped, but has no idea how to dispel the gathering crescendo of power that the Eye of Magnus is exuding. Fortunately, Quaranir appears just in the nick of time.

Taking the Eye away

Although he is as cryptic as ever, Quaranir tells the Dragonborn that the Psijic Order always believed in them, and their actions have proved their readiness to lead the College of Winterhold. Now that the Eye has grown unstable, it may not only destroy the College, but also the entire world.

Ancano's actions proved that this world is not ready for such power, so Quaranir prepares to secure the Eye. The Psijic Order will maintain the Eye for now, and he summons his brethren, Gelebros and Tandil, to perform a binding ritual. The monks and the Eye soon disappear from this world.


The quest's namesake relic is transported out of the Hall of the Elements by members of the Psijic Order. Tolfdir awards the Dragonborn the key to the Arch-Mage's Quarters as well as his robes.

After this, only the radiant quest "Aftershock," master-level ritual spell quests, "Onmund's Request," "J'zargo's Experiment," "Brelyna's Practice" and "Forgotten Names" are left to complete for the college.


The Eye of Magnus – MG08
ID Journal Entry
10 The Staff of Magnus has been recovered, and so it's time to assault the College of Winterhold and strike down Ancano.
  • Objective 10: Use the Staff of Magnus to enter the College of Winterhold
  • Objective 20: Reach the Hall of the Elements
  • Objective 30: Defeat Ancano
40 Ancano has been defeated, but there's still a tremendous amount of energy coming out of the Eye of Magnus. I need to talk to Tolfdir about what to do next.
  • Objective 40: Talk to Tolfdir
  • Objective 50: Speak with Quaranir
200 Ancano has been defeated. The Psijic Monks have removed the Eye of Magnus from the College, saying that the world is not ready for such a thing. With the crisis over, I have been named the new Arch-Mage of the College.
  • Quest complete


  • After completing the quest and becoming Arch-Mage, Hold Guards may comment, "You're that one from the college. I hear things are finally settling down over there," as well as "Saarthal is a place for Nord dead, not your weird experiments."


This section contains bugs related to The Eye of Magnus. 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.
Click to show
  •  PC   360   PS3   If the Dragonborn encounters a dragon before entering the College and does not kill it, the cutscene will fail to start, rendering the quest unable to be completed.
    • After defeating Ancano, it is possible to go back outside to kill the dragon. Upon reentry, the cutscene with Tolfdir will start upon approaching him
  • Sometimes, if a magic anomaly encountered outside is left alive, upon entering the Hall of Elements, it will then respawn in the Hall during the fight with Ancano. This will cause Ancano to start fighting it while he is not invincible.
  • If a magic anomaly encountered outside is left alive, upon entering the Hall of Elements, Ancano will speak the beginning lines, but Tolfdir will run into a corner, preventing the Dragonborn from being able to fight Ancano. In order to fix this bug, one should go outside and kill the magic anomaly then re-enter the hall; Tolfdir should now run his proper course.
  •  360   PS3   Upon completing this quest it is possible to acquire double or triple the rewards, two (2) arch-mage robes and two (2) arch-mage keys.
  •  360   Upon completing this quest, the Dragonborn receives the achievement. If the achievement is opened while talking to Tolfdir, the player will get stuck in the conversation and will not be able to exit for about 2 minutes.
  •  360   After fighting Ancano, the game will tell the Dragonborn to speak to Tolfdir. Once this is done, he may say something about the Psijics being there even if no one appears.
    • This can be fixed by continuing to talk to Tolfdir until Quaranir appears, or running around a bit. Once speaking with Quaranir, two Psijics should teleport in.
    • If this does not occur, searching Ancano's body again will trigger the continuation of the quest.
  •  PC   360   When entering the Hall of the Elements, it is possible that Tolfdir will just run straight into one of the windows behind the pillars, will not move after that, and will never shoot his firebolt, making it impossible to complete the quest.
    • Exiting and re-entering the Hall of the Elements seems to fix this.
  •  360   Sometimes if the Dragonborn uses the Staff of Magnus on the Eye of Magnus before Ancano casts his paralyze spell on Tolfdir, Ancano will begin attacking the player and will be invincible. In addition, Tolfdir will be laying on the ground with a flame spell in his hands.
    • At this point the only way to fix this is to restart from the last hard save or autosave.
    • It is also possible to cast the Fire Breath Shout at Ancano if this bug occurs, and he will take damage. After defeating him, Tolfdir will stand back up.
  • Once the Dragonborn gets the Staff of Magnus and uses it to break the ward Ancano made, the ward will disappear, but the Dragonborn cannot enter the College.
    • The only way to fix this is to reload the last save.
  • If the Staff of Magnus runs out of charges during the battle, using the Sparks spell will also close the Eye.
  •  PC   No matter how long the Dragonborn waits outside the Hall and re-enters, Quaranir may never appear, and Tolfdir continually repeats his line.
    • This can be fixed by using the console command player.placeatme 0002ba3c to make Quaranir appear. This will cause the rest of the quest to proceed as normal.
  • If the Dragonborn dismisses their follower after entering the Hall of the Elements, the follower may then attack Ancano of their own accord. This can lead to a disruption of the normally scripted sequence of conversation and actions, although it may not have any impact on the ability to complete the quest.
  • Sometimes if the Dragonborn enters the College after obtaining the Staff, Ancano will not be there.
    • The only known fix at this time is to start from a save before entering Winterhold.
  • The Staff may not work on the Eye.
    • This can be fixed by leaving the College and trying again.
  • Tolfdir may recover from being paralyzed by Arcano if the Dragonborn leaves and enters the Hall of the Elements again, allowing him to help kill Arcano once he is vulnerable.
  • When the Dragonborn is fighting Ancano, he will sometimes just sit there and do nothing, and he will be invincible.
    • This can be fixed by fast traveling to Winterhold. Upon return, he should be unfrozen.
    •  PC (Fix)   Using the console command Disable after opening the console and clicking on him, will make him disappear and will progress the quest as normal in most cases. Another work around is to use SetStage MG08 40 to progress past the third portion of the quest and then use console command TDetect so that Ancano and Tolfdir will not fight, then use the Disable command then continue with the rest of the quest. Be sure to go back and type TDetect again so that AI detection is turned back on afterwards.
  • The game may count killing Ancano as killing another member of the College, and the Dragonborn will be expelled from it. This makes any attempt at conversation with Tolfdir about reinstating membership impossible, thus making it impossible to complete the quest until the fine is paid.
  • Tolfdir's AI may make him not walk to the designated spot to trigger the fight.
  •  360   Sergius may be present inside the Hall of the Elements and will assist the Dragonborn in fighting Ancano, but will attack the anomalies first.
  •  360   Tolfdir may fast travel with the Dragonborn upon the start of this quest, and will walk back to the College afterwards.
  •  PS3   It is sometimes possible that after defeating Ancano, he will spawn dead, without clothes and will be fixated to one spot but appears to be running for unknown reasons.
  •  360   Ancano may not attack the player, even if he is standing right next to them, instead only focusing on the Magic Anomalies. This makes it easier to finish the quest, as he will not attack the player, even if the player attacks him.
  • If Ancano just stands there casting Shock at the Eye without doing anything or fighting, a possible fix is to first click on him with the console open, enter Setav aggression 3, then he should start fighting again. If Tolfdir does not shoot his fireball and tell you to use the staff, enter Disable. Doing so should get Tolfdir to start the event, and you can use Enable to get Ancano back in the fight, from there the fight should proceed as normal, although there is also the possibility of game setting him as a ghost and not set him back, making every attack pass through him. Use Setghost 0 to turn him back to mortal.


The Eye of Magnus (Achievement).png
The Eye of Magnus
Complete "The Eye of Magnus"
Points 30 Gamer points.svg
Silver trophy