Saarthal Pillar Puzzle Solution in Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has become a long-lasting icon in the gaming world. It is a masterpiece that is often re-released, a cultural mainstay, and a meme.

Fast-food workers doing a skit about Skyrim is now funny to many people, even if they only know a little bit about the game.

Even though Skyrim is fun as a whole, it can be hard to get through some of the smaller parts of the game.

This is often because of bugs in the game, but it can also be because the directions are not clear. One example is a puzzle in the quest Under Saarthal.

Here’s a quick guide on how to solve it.

One of the most famous puzzles in Skyrim is the one in Under Saarthal Pillar Puzzle.

Most Nordic ruins in Skyrim only have one of these puzzles where you have to turn pillars, but Saarthal in Winterhold Hold has two.

The first one is pretty normal, but the second one requires some creativity. Players can’t just walk into Saarthal; they have to go through the College of Winterhold first.

Each Saarthal pillar puzzle is found one after the other, with almost no space between them.

So, Dragonborn who don’t mind knowing how to solve the puzzle can use this guide to solve the second part of the Saarthal puzzle, which can get very boring if you make a mistake.

How To Get To Saarthal

Saarthal Pillar Puzzle

The Nordic Ruin of Saarthal is at the very top of the map of Skyrim. It is just a few minutes’ walk east of the town of Winterhold, in the frozen tundra.

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But you can’t just walk into this Nordic ruin. In fact, the Dragonborn can’t get in until they meet a certain requirement, which is to join the College of Winterhold.

From the beginning of the game, you can get to the College of Winterhold by going to Whiterun as part of the main quest, then hiring a carriage just outside the city that goes to Winterhold.

Head north of the village to find a member of the college who will initiate you. Tolfdir takes his students to Saarthal after the first lesson (or, rather, the player meets him there).

He opens the door, and when they go in, they find themselves in one of the most interesting places in all of Winterhold.

How To Solve The Saarthal Pillar Puzzle

In the beginning of the quest “Under Saarthal,” the Dragonborn helps a class do some archaeology in the old ruin.

However, the Dragonborn and Tolfdir, an instructor at the College of Winterhold, get stuck underground.

At first, the Dragonborn is alone in a room and has to use a Destruction spell or one of Skyrim’s Shouts to break a stone tablet that is blocking the way out.

After this, there is a medium-length dungeon with Draugr and traps, an encounter with the Psijic Order, and, of course, the Under Saarthal puzzle that Skyrim makes players solve to finish the questline.

The First Pillar Puzzle

There are six pillars, and each one has three pictures on it. The right picture on each pillar must face the hallway the player is in.

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At first glance, it may seem like there’s no way to tell which symbol is right, but the answer is closer than most people think.

A good source of light will show the right picture behind each pillar. This is a good reason to have a torch handy or to use a Khajiit’s night vision.

For players who don’t know, the Khajiit’s race-specific night vision spell doesn’t cost anything. Check behind the pillars with a good light, no matter what, to move on from Saarthal puzzle 1.

The Second Puzzle

After sneaking through or fighting through a room with more traps and two powerful Draugr, players will find themselves in a room with four more pillars.

Just like before, the right pictures are right next to the totem, but when you turn one, you also turn the others.

Don’t let it ruin your Skyrim game. To solve this Saarthal puzzle, turn the pillars in this order while facing the locked door.

  • Turn the back left pillar to the Whale symbol, which also turns all three other pillars
  • Turn the front left pillar to the Snake symbol, which also turns the opposite two pillars on the right side
  • Turn the back right pillar to the Hawk symbol, which also turns the front right pillar
  • Turn the front right pillar to the Whale symbol, completing the puzzle!

When you turn each of the pillars, you will also turn a few others, but this order makes sure that they all end up on the right picture.

The Under Saarthal puzzle is one of Skyrim’s most famous because it makes you think. Most of the other pillar puzzles just require you to turn each totem to the right picture and you’re done.

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In the Saarthal puzzle in Skyrim, the player has to stop and think.

Skyrim: Anniversary Edition can be played on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.