Merawen Playthrough

In Which Merawen Slays the World-Eater in Sovngarde

As I pretty much expected, this session officially finished off Merawen’s run! Did the final big events of the main Skyrim plotline, starting from trapping Odahviing in Dragonsreach and taking it all the way through defeating Alduin for good in Sovngarde!

This is also Merawen’s last official session, and her second to last post. The final post will be a “thoughts on her run” kind of post, similar to the one I did for Alarrah.


  • Session number in this run: 90
  • Started at Western Watchtower but decided to boing to Windstad instead
  • Wanted to see if I could do enough smithing to level up to 85, also to pick up Dragonbane
  • Did enough smithing to almost make it to 85
  • Boinged back to Western Watchtower
  • Ancient Dragon! Took it down with dragonbone bow and arrows
  • Headed back into Whiterun
  • Stopped in Breezehome to see about a skill check via the appropriate Black Book only to remember oops right, I can’t use those unless I’m on Solstheim
  • Sold a few things at Warmaiden’s and at Honningbrew
  • Boinged to Riften to sell more things, and also check on whether i can buy Honeyside
  • Sold stuff to Tonilia in the Guild but did not linger to talk to anybody else because BYE GUILD I gotta go save the world, everybody keep stealing stuff if I don’t get back, mmkay? Brynjolf, you are totes in charge
  • Bought a bunch of materials from Balimund
  • Smithed up to level 85 \0/
  • Reactivated Ebony (and Stalhrim) Smithing
  • Sold stuff to Balimund
  • Waited for it to be morning before I set foot in Mistveil Keep
  • Imperial guard said ALL HAIL THE DRAGONBORN as I walked in, cool!
  • Huh Laila Law-Giver’s sons were apparently both still in the keep? Wiki says they are bugged and don’t leave the keep even after the Imperials take over
  • So I did a mini-quest to go get Harrald’s repaired sword back from Balimund
  • And Balimund was very snarky about him, pointing out quite correctly that Harrald is a lazy fucker who can’t be arsed to come RIGHT DOWN THE KEEP STAIRS to the extremely nearby forge to get his own damn sword
  • Also, Maven gave me permission to buy property in Riften, YAY
  • Of course, I actually bought Honeyside from her steward (son) just before I talked to her, so lol
  • Anyway now I own Honeyside even if i’m not thane so there’s that!
  • Also purchased all the furnishings from Hemming
  • Dropped off all the smithing materials in the chest by the bed
  • Boinged back to Whiterun, let’s finish up my business shall we
  • Enacted the plan and got Balgruuf to get his forces out onto the porch
  • Shouted for Odahviing
  • Trapped him, interrogated him, and agreed to free him in exchange for his giving me a ride to Skuldafn
  • Subtitles on meant I actually saw Irileth’s and Balgruuf’s lines to me as we flew off so that was nice
  • Arrived at Skuldafn
  • Fought my way through the two dragons and a boatload of draugr in the various sections of Skuldafn, and also some frostbite spiders, and an unnamed dragon priest as second to last boss
  • Cleared multiple chests in various places
  • Got the final word for Storm Call off the Word Wall
  • Took out Dragon Priest Nahkriin as final boss before the portal
  • Jumped through the portal to Sovngarde
  • Stormcloak soldier warned me about the mist
  • Spotted the ghost of Svaknir, the same bard from the Bard’s College quest for King Olaf’s verse; oh so that’s what he looked like!
  • Made it to the Hall of Valor after a bunch of Clear Skies shouts
  • Fought Tsum to get into the Hall of Valor
  • Oh hey Jurgen Windcaller!
  • Joined up with the three heroes to take Alduin down!
  • Given the Call of Valor Shout to summon a hero of Sovngarde, and sent home to Tamriel
  • Finale with Paarthurnax and Odahviing
  • Returned to Solitude
  • Runa asked me if I brought her something; yes honey, I sure did, here have a green dress <3
  • DONE


Did the various bits of preliminary smithing as I described above, partly to get up to level 85, and partly just because I wanted to reduce my inventory weight before doing the finale.

But I also took the time to pop back to Riften and follow up on the question of whether I could still get Honeyside, even if I’d been locked out of becoming Thane of the Rift.

Answer: yes. So even though this is not actually useful to me in this run as I’m retiring the character now, it’s very useful to know for the next playthrough in case I get locked out of becoming thane in Riften again. That happens again, it will have a very definite bearing on how I choose to play things out.

(Practically speaking I didn’t really need Honeyside that much, but I would have appreciated having it while I was still actively working on playing the Thieves Guild plot. Particularly given that I’d become persona non grata in the Bee and Barb. But I got around this just fine by waiting in various places. Because the game doesn’t enforce you having to sleep, unless you have the ability to play the Survival Mode creation! So I didn’t particularly mind hanging out just waiting in various places in Riften when I had to.)

I was startled to discover that Laila Law-Giver’s two sons, Harrald and Saerlund, were actually still in Mistveil Keep. According to the wiki, there’s a bug with both of them and they keep hanging out there rather than moving to the Blue Palace in Solitude with their mother. And their dialogue doesn’t change either.

There are amusing headcanon possibilities to explain their presence, though. Maven Black-Briar might have bribed them into following her; that would certainly be her style! Or, they might be trying to spy for their mother. In which case, good luck with that, and good luck with staying alive until Maven decides she’s no longer amused by having you around!

And it was also amusing to do that mini-quest to get Harrald his sword. Not only for doing one of those little favor quests this close to the end game, but also just to see Balimund actively snarking on him. I already liked Balimund a lot and this made me like him more. 😀

The Fallen / The World Eater’s Eyrie

Doing the “capture Odahviing and get him to take me to Skuldafn” part of this plot went a little more smoothly this time through, compared to how I did it with Alarrah. This time I knew that I had to get the dragon to follow me further into the great porch of Dragonsreach, so I was able to get to that point faster.

And this time through, I also got back far enough along that when Odahviing was trapped, I was actually at his head rather than behind him. Which certainly made it easier to converse with him.

Having the subtitles turned on also meant that this time, as I took off on Odahviing’s back, I was able to catch a couple of farewell lines from Jarl Balgruuf and his housecarl Irileth:

Irileth: “You’re either the bravest person I’ve ever met, or the biggest fool.”

Balgruuf: “May Kynareth guard you while you pass through her realm!”

I really liked both of those lines. <3

Still wish I could have gotten a better actual view of flying once Odahviing was in the air!

And, noting for the record, Skuldafn is not terribly challenging when you’re level 85 with maxed out Sneak! I mostly took down draugr from afar with one shot. Sometimes two if my aim was off. Noted too that the second-to-last boss before Nahkriin was a generic Dragon Priest rather than a Draugr Death Overlord.

And I still think Alduin’s follower dragons that you have to fight really ought to be a bit more powerful dragon types. The wiki says they still have higher stats than standard game Dragons. But I should think they ought to give the Dragonborn a better fight than they do!

Sovngarde / Dragonslayer

Sovngarde is still glorious. It’s official. <3

Tried to keep a better lookout this time through to see if I’d spot any interesting NPCs. Main ones I noticed were Svaknir, the ghost bard from the Bard College quest to get King Olaf One-Eye’s verse, and Jorgen Windcaller!

I am slightly sad though that the game has no way to actually let you see the Ebony Warrior in Sovngarde. Because of course he was brought into the game when Dragonborn came out, so he wouldn’t have existed yet when the game was first released!

I think it’d be nice to actually glimpse him partying in the Hall of Valor with the other warriors. Which would be a much nicer fate for him than showing up in Sovngarde and promptly getting chomped by Alduin!

I had thought that, when I got to the point where Tsum asked me what right I had to enter the Hall of Valor, that I’d answer him by asserting my position as a Nightingale of Nocturnal. I did not actually do that, and went with the “Dragonborn” option instead.

I’m not sure whether this says something to me about Merawen’s state of mind about being a Nightingale–that maybe it’s not as ingrained into her identity as Nocturnal might like. Or maybe it’s just more of a matter of natural reticence! After all, it’s not exactly stealthy if you announce yourself as a Nightingale to somebody’s face.

And Merawen, as a thief, would damn well know that, I think.

The final battle with Alduin went more smoothly and more quickly than it had for Alarrah, too. In no small part because by now, I’m better at aiming in general, and at throwing Shouts at airborne dragons in particular. It took me only a couple of tries throwing Dragonrend at Alduin to get him grounded so that I and the other three heroes could slay him. We didn’t even really get to the point of him dropping meteors on our heads, either.

I still really, really like the coda where you land on top of the Throat of the World and you have that whole sequence of dragons roaring to acknowledge Alduin’s passing. Which is a big factor in influencing me to not want to kill Paarthurnax. I like his final commentary about not being exactly happy that Alduin is gone.

This time through I also skipped doing a final encounter with Arngeir and just went straight to Solitude so I could reach a stopping point. But I think that in character, Merawen would still totally have gone through High Hrothgar on her way out.

Next time

I’ll do one more post with some wrapup thoughts about Merawen’s run in general.

And then it’ll be time for playthrough number three: the adventures of the orc warrior Delga! Stay tuned!


Editing to add

  • 11/17/2023: Fixed missing gallery, and added a session number.

As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.