The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an absolutely massive game. Its popularity is evident, having sold more copies than any other entry in the Elder Scrolls series and still generates all sorts of buzz many years after its release. Developer Bethesda has a pedigree of sneaking extremely clever, well thought out Easter eggs into their games, and Skyrim is certainly no exception. There are lots of cool Easter eggs strewn throughout Skyrim, just waiting to be discovered.
From references to past Elder Scrolls games to incredibly intricate literary allusions, Skyrim touts some truly remarkable secrets, hidden features, and Easter eggs. Did you know that you can find NPCs speaking almost word for word dialogue from properties like The Shawshank Redemption, The Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones? And you can also can find scenes from various shows and movies recreated in the world of Skyrim. You can even follow in the footsteps of King Arthur to find the Lady in the Lake and the Sword in the Stone.
You Can Meet the Headless Horseman
Along certain roads at night, you might run into a ghost resembling the Headless Horseman from Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. If you follow him, he’ll eventually lead you to Hamvir’s Rest, where there is a headless skeleton laid to rest with a skull and helmet on the ground next to a sarcophagus.
You Can Play a Choose Your Own Adventure
You can stumble across a book in various locations in Skyrim called Kolb and the Dragon. The book is written in a “choose your own adventure” style, and you can even pick options that lead you to certain endings within the book.
There’s a Pac-Man in Endon’s Cheese!
If you travel to Endon’s House in Markarth, you’ll find a rather unmistakable arrangement of foods.
The Sword in the Stone Is in Rebel’s Cairn
The second King Arthur reference in Skyrim is the legend of the Sword in the Stone. If you visit Rebel’s Cairn, you’ll find a pile of stones in front of the cave with a steel sword in the top stone.
The Bleakwind Basin Skeleton Is Holding Excalibur?
This is actually just the first of two King Arthur references. If you head to Bleakwind Basin, you can find a small pool in the marshes with a skeleton’s hand protruding from the water. The hand is grasping a leveled sword which you can take. This is a reference to King Arthur obtaining the sword Excalibur from the The Lady in the Lake.
Bleakcoast Cave Looks an Awful Lot Like a Certain Cave on Hoth
After you kill the frost troll inside Bleakcoast Cave, you’ll find a skeleton hanging upside down from the ceiling. Below the skeleton is a glowing sword. This is a reference to Luke Skywalker’s imprisonment in the Wampa cave in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
There Are Gimli and Legolas Quotes During the Battle for Whiterun
During “Battle for Whiterun,” either the character Hadvar or Ralof (depending on which faction wins) can be seen near the city wall after the battle saying quotes like “I’m pretty sure I killed more than you, I was counting.” This is a reference to Gimli and Legolas’s ongoing competition in the Lord of the Rings movies.
Lucien-Wan Kenobi Feels a Disturbance
The ghost of Lucien Lachance will sometimes say “I feel a disturbance in the void,” a reference to a popular phrase from the Star Wars movies: “I feel a disturbance in the force.”
There’s a Sheogorath Having an Alice in Wonderland Tea Party in The Mind of Madness
During the quest “The Mind of Madness,” you’ll come across a Sheogorath holding a tea party in the middle of the woods. This is a reference to the Mad Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland. The Sheogorath’s outfit even looks similarly eccentric to the Mad Hatter’s
Moira Has a Very Gollum-Like Relationship with Her Wedding Ring
During the quest, “A Night to Remember,” one of the tasks is to obtain a wedding ring from a hagraven named Moira. Sometimes, you’ll hear her say “My precious” when trying to get the ring from her. This is a reference to Gollum’s classic line from The Lord of the Rings.
Did King Leonidas Kill That Saber-Toothed Cat?
Head south of the Shrine to Peryite west of Karthwasten. About halfway up the mountain, you’ll come across a skeleton under a dead saber-toothed cat that’s stuck between two rocks with a glass sword through its mouth and head. This is a reference to the scene in 300 where King Leonidas leads a wolf to a narrow passage and stabs it through the mouth.
The Ebony Warrior Doesn’t Show up Until Level 80
The Ebony Warrior is one tough mofo. You won’t even see eye or ear of him until you reach level 80, at which point he’ll show up asking for a duel to the death.
The Notched Pickaxe
Arguably one of the most talked about Easter eggs in the game, the “Notched Pickaxe” is embedded into an ore vein at the top of the highest mountain in the game, the Throat of the World.
The “Notched” descriptor is a reference to the creator of Minecraft, Marcus “Notch” Persson.
One of the Souls Loves to Quote Ghostbusters 2
In the Soul Cairn, you can find a soul that says, “Death is but a door, time is but a window; I’ll be back.” These were the last words of Vigo the Carpathian, who is the main antagonist in the movie Ghostbusters 2.
The A Night to Remember Quest Is Basically The Hangover
The quest “A Night to Remember” pays homage to the movie The Hangover. During the quest, you’ll be tasked with traveling around Skyrim in search of your drinking buddy Sam, all the while sorting out the problems you instigated while drunk.
Those Creepy Chairs in The House of Horrors Are a Poltergeist Reference
In the quest “The House of Horrors,” you end up locked in an abandoned house in Markarth where you can find some chairs stacked on top of each other in reference to the movie Poltergeist.
In the PC Version, You Can Access the Place Where NPCs Go After Death
A note from the get-go, this is only accessible in the PC version of the game, since you’ll need to mess around with some command prompts. Essentially, you can access a secret, neon colored room where the lifeless bodies of notable NPCs from the game who have died will stack up on the floor. It’s worth noting that they’re completely unequipped of everything… items, clothing, etc.
The Gildergreen in Whiterun Is a Reference to Return of the King
In Whiterun, there is a giant tree called the Gildergreen. This is a reference to the White Tree in Minas Tirith from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
The East Empire Company Takes Its Name from a Real Trading Company
The “East Empire Company” is a reference to the historical East India Company.
Thonar Silver-Blood Takes a Page out of the Lannister’s Playbook
If you can get through the Cidhna Mine, a character named Thonar Silver-Blood will remove his family ring and present it to you saying “A Silver-Blood always pays his debts.” This is a clear reference to the similarly worded Lannister house words from Game of Thrones.