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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has become an enduring icon in the gaming scene, exisiting as an often re-released masterpiece, cultural staple, and meme. It's reached the point where many people, even if only tangentially familiar with the game, can find fast food workers putting on a Skyrim skit funny.

That said, as fun as the overall game of Skyrim is, the nitty gritty of the game can often be frustrating to get through. This can often be due to the game's bugs or, just as often, obtuse direction. One example is a particular puzzle in the quest Under Saarthal, so here's a quick guide to getting through it.


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The First Pillar Puzzle

Under Saarthal begins with the Dragonborn helping out a class perform some archaeology, but they get trapped below ground along with Tolfdir, a member of the College of Winterhold. At first, the Dragonborn is trapped in a room, and must use either a spell or one of Skyrim's useful Shouts to break down a tablet. After that, the dungeon is replete with draugrs and myriad traps whith pose a serious threat to allies. Then the first pillar puzzle rears its head.

There are six pillars, each with three images on it, and the correct image must face the hallway the player occupies on each pillar. At first it may seem that there's no way to tell which is the correct symbol, but the answer is closer than many think. A good light source will illuminate the correct image behind each pillar. This makes a torch or night vision successful, a problem easily solved if playing a khajiit. One of Skyrim's hidden tricks to players not in the know is the khajiit's innate night vision spell that costs absolutely zero MP, a useful feature for dungeons like this.

The Second Puzzle

Here's where players start to have trouble. After sneaking or fighting through a room involving more traps and two powerful draugr, players will find themselves in a room with four more pillars. Once again the correct images are displayed by the pillars, but turning some pillars turns the others at the same time. It's a roadblock to progress that can ruin a playthrough of Skyrim if a player is dead set on playing a mage.

The trick is to turn the pillars in the correct order. Facing them from the doorway the player enters from it is: back left pillar to Whale, front left pillar to Snake, back right pillar to Eagle, front right pillar to Whale. The other pillars will still be turned with this sequence, but not in such a way they will slide out of place later. It's likely a part of Skyrim players are not looking forward to returning to, but once it's done, the quest is smooth sailing.

Skyrim: Anniversary Edition is available for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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