Skyrim: How To Become Thane Of Winterhold
Skyrim is a massive game, offering players many a place to explore, quest to complete, and path to choose. One such of these many paths is the possibility of becoming nobility in each of the nation’s nine holds.
Indeed, through earning the title of Thane, players can a achieve high ranking among Skyrim’s many citizens, earning access to a few special perks. But how players can become Thane varies from hold to hold. The hold of Winterhold and its like-named capital city is no different from them, and this is how, exactly, one can go about becoming Thane of this icy region.
To begin the path to thanehood, players will have to befriend the Jarl, Korir. To do so is rather simple, as upon first conversation with him, he’ll ask players a favor. This favor? To retrieve the Helm of Winterhold. Yep, it’s yet another, good old fetch-quest!
The Helm will spawn in one of three random, radiant dungeons, all of which are located around the hold: Hob’s Fall Cave, Ironbind Barrow, and Yngvild. Of these three dungeons, Ironbind Barrow will be the easiest to traverse (assuming players haven’t already been there), as two extra characters will accompany the Dragonborn and any ally through the dungeon, providing phenomenal extra help in regards to the usual Draugr and other enemies. A slight word of warning, though, as one of the extra characters will turn hostile at the end of the dungeon… not that he’ll be too much of a problem, high or low level.
Still, whichever dungeon players have to scour, though, will still ultimately end with the Helm in their hands. And once said Helm is acquired, it’s only a matter of returning to Winterhold and handing it over to Korir, who’ll compensate players’ efforts with some gold (varying by level, of course). Then, they’ll be one step closer to thanehood.
Or Imperial Reclamation
However, like many other holds within Skyrim, the path to Thane is just as affected by the nation’s civil war as any other part of politics and nobility. And depending on which faction the region/player is loyal to, the requirements to reach the title will vary. For instance, the above step to becoming Thane only happens if players have not completed the civil war questline, or, if they have finished it, completed it in favor of the Stormcloaks (as the region is one of the many that starts off loyal to said faction).
However, should players side with the Empire, then the above step is not needed at all. Rather, the Dragonborn will have to retake the hold for the Imperials, which will, in turn unlock a new, pro-Imperial Jarl, Kraldar. And for the simple act of retaking the hold, for proving allegiance to the Empire, he’ll be quite glad to progress to the next step towards thanehood, no Helm required.
Help Some People Out
And what, exactly, is the next step to becoming thane? Whether players return from dungeon delving or war mongering, they’ll then have to help three citizens of Winterhold with menial tasks. It seems an easy-enough task to do… until players realize how sparse the hold is, population-wise. The city is the only real settlement of the region, and given its miniscule population, using the term “city” is generous at best. But still, it’s within this microscopic population that the few and only task-givers live, and there are two specific sub-routes one can take to complete this quest.
Become A Mage
This is the first of the sub-routes. Indeed, the city of Winterhold is home to the aptly-named College of Winterhold, the hub of all magic in Skyrim. It also holds five out of eight NPCs who give out tasks that count towards the thanehood quest.
And each of said quests is extremely easy to do, usually involving a bit of harmless, magical shenanigans. Several never even need players to set foot outside the college’s gates, let alone the city, to complete. But to access these characters and their quests, players will first have to actually join the college, and, in turn, kick of its own major faction questline. So, it’s best to prepare a spell or two or five, before approaching those ancient, stone halls. The real kicker, though? Ironically enough, successfully joining the college also counts towards helping one of the three people. Two birds, one stone!
Or Help Around The Inn
Of course, for those not magically inclined, or wanting to start up a whole other questline, there are a few other characters with eligible tasks, all of whom are conveniently located in the town’s inn. These tasks are, likewise, equally simple: give alcohol to a patron, convince said same patron to pay off their tab, and steal an item from another patron. Easy, right?
The only, slight downside is whether or not the three quest-givers are still alive. Though none may find themselves caught in an unfortunate magical accident, or on the executed end of a Dark Brotherhood contract, that doesn’t mean they’re immune from death. Dragons, vampires, and a variety of deadly enemies can still spawn near or in the city, and none of these inn-goers stands a fighting chance against them. Still, if worst comes to worst, just remember: the College is always accepting new students!
Claim The Title
Players have a Helm (or usurped the Jarl). They’ve helped three people. Now it’s just a matter of reporting back to the head honcho himself. Whether Korir or Kraldar, the Jarl will gladly grant the Dragonborn the title of Thane. And what perks come along with this prestigious position? Unfortunately, not just the Blade of Winterhold, a radiantly-leveled/enchanted weapon. After all, the region is the only place in Skyrim with no property, so there’ll be no special housecarl unlocked alongside the weapon and title. Is this small reward worth it, in the end? Well, that’s for players to choose for themselves.
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