Skyrim: No, Alduin Doesn’t Drop Any Loot & Here’s Why

No Alduin doesnt drop any loot 1
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It’s fairly obvious from the beginning that the main boss fight in Skyrim would be against Alduin. The Dragon inadvertently caused his own downfall by saving you from the headsman’s block at Helgen during the first few minutes of Skyrim gameplay. When the grand fight comes to pass, it’s rather disappointing, and what follows is more disappointment as Alduin doesn’t drop anything. At first, you think it’s a bug, and then you perhaps reload the save. After some trial and error, you decide to google the answer, and here we are. Does Alduin drop anything at all? No, he does not, and it’s time to explain why. 

  • Article Breakdown:
  • Alduin doesn’t drop anything because he is not really dead. You’ve never truly killed him.
  • This is not an official reason behind Alduin’s absence of a reward. It’s rather a theory that the game itself is steering you toward.
  • Alduin is the so-called “Firstborn of Akatosh,” and he will most likely return at some point in time, this is why you didn’t get any physical reward of souls by defeating him. 

The disappointing main boss fight in Skyrim leads you toward an even more underwhelming conclusion 

Ok, maybe it wasn’t obvious from the start that the main boss fight would be against Alduin, but it’s obvious in just a few main story quests after that when you see him resurrecting all those dragons you will have to face him at some point in the game. 

After a medium-sized main story, delving through Dwemer ruins, traveling through time, trapping a dragon at Dragonsreach, and facing an army of Draugr at Skuldafn – you’re finally ready to face Alduin. 

You learn quite quickly that Alduin cannot be damaged while in Tamriel, or Nirn, to be more precise, you need to catch him while he is stalking the valleys of Sovngarde, aka Skyrim’s version of Valhalla, and this should be your first clue that you are not getting anything out of this fight. 

After one rather underwhelming boss fight, no matter what level you are, Alduin disintegrates before you. You try to loot him, and the icon appears for a fraction of a second before it disappears forever. Did you miss it? Is the loot gone? It’s what passed through my head the first time I took the worm down, and the answer is no; Alduin doesn’t drop physical loot, and he doesn’t “drop” dragon soul either. 

Why doesn’t Alduin drop anything? 

The answer to this question lies in the nature of Alduin’s existence, and I have to say I’ve never expected to go so “philosophical” when it comes to fictional dragons in fiction worlds, but it’s one interesting subject, even more so since Bethesda never gave us the real reason and the answer to this question. 

But let’s return to the nature of Alduin’s existence. Alduin is the “self-proclaimed” firstborn of Akatosh. He is the world-destroyer, meaning he comes back in cycles, devouring and “resetting” the world every few eons. He is known as “World-Eater” or “Twilight God” because his return heralds the end of time. His name can be separated into “Al Du In,” which means “Destroyer Devour Master” in the Dragon Language.

While you travel back in time via time-wound at High Hrothgar, you learn from the ancient Dragonborns that they never truly managed to kill Alduin during the merethic Dragon War. They simply used the Elder Scroll to banish him forward in time, and because of that, he managed to resurface thousands of years in the future, and he’s looking to devour the world again. Your purpose as a Dragonborn is, of course, to stop him. 

Dragons are also immortal. As the children of Akatosh, they ride the waves of time, and even if killed in their mortal form, their souls return to Akatosh until they are reborn again by him or resurrected by Alduin (what you’ve witnessed yourself.) The key, however, to their immortality is their souls. Because Dragonborn can absorb the Dragon’s soul, he is the ultimate dragonslayer since he is perhaps the only individual currently that can absorb the Dragon’s soul, thus destroying the Dragon permanently. 

You could not absorb Alduin’s soul, even though you killed him in Sovngarde. If you connect all the dots, now is the time you realize that Alduin is perhaps not truly dead.

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Just like the ancient Nords never found a way to deal with him, without him returning, you’ve never found a way to deal with him completely. He is just too powerful, and his purpose as the World Eater is never-ending.

Alduin doesn’t drop loot because he is not truly dead; he will likely resurface again when his soul gets “recycled” by Akatosh or finds a way to travel through time again.  However, this is not an official theory as Bethesda has confirmed nothing, but it’s mentioned in several sources, including the game itself. 

The fact that Alduin is meant to devour the world is mentioned several times in the game, mostly by Greybeards. Take a look at this dialogue line by Arngeir 

What I want is irrelevant. This Shout was used once before, was it not? And here we are again. Have you considered that Alduin was not meant to be defeated? Those who overthrew him in ancient times only postponed the day of reckoning. They did not stop it. If the world is meant to end, so be it. Let it end and be reborn.

And this is Paarthurnax’s dialogue line when you tell him you aim to stop Alduin

Pruzah. As good a reason as any. There are many who feel as you do, although not all. Some would say that all things must end, so that the next can come to pass. Perhaps this world is simply the Egg of the next kalpa? Lein vokiin? Would you stop the next world from being born?

Lastly, after you fail to loot anything from Alduin, even absorb his soul, you take your worries to Arngeir at High Horthgar again.

Perhaps, perhaps not. Dragons are not like normal mortal creatures, and Alduin is unique even among dragonkind. He may be permitted to return at the end of time to fulfill his destiny as the World-Eater. But that is for the gods to decide. You have done your part.

Alduin Loot

All of this is evidence enough that Alduin will ultimately return. Every time you, or any other Dragonborn, face him, he escapes to “time” until Akatosh permits him to return. 

Alduin cannot be defeated; he can only be “delayed,” which is why he likewise cannot be looted. 

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