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How to Defeat Lord Harkon at Volkihar Cathedral in "Skyrim"

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Lord Harkon is most vulnerable when he is stationary in the globe of blood healing. Use Auriel's Bow and sunhallowed arrows against him at this stage.

Lord Harkon is most vulnerable when he is stationary in the globe of blood healing. Use Auriel's Bow and sunhallowed arrows against him at this stage.

In Skyrim: Dawnguard dlc, it finally comes down to this—that which made the hero the vampire lord must be unmade in the place where the hero was sired as a vampire. In Volkihar Cathedral, the hero and Serana must take on her father Harkon in a fight to oblivion.

In this fight, the hero will finally understand how his enemies feel when fighting him as the vampire lord. It is simply impossible to defeat an arch vampire lord unless one has Auriel's Bow. And it so happens that the hero has Auriel's Bow. However, whether the hero can retain Auriel's Bow depends on his conversational choices in speaking to Harkon.

Skyrim Speak to Lord Harkon for the Final Time

Speak to Lord Harkon one more time before the unavoidable fight. Essentially, the choices in the conversation boil down to two options:

  • refuse to give Lord Harkon Auriel's Bow
  • give Lord Harkon Auriel's Bow

Tactics Used by Lord Harkon

Either way, Lord Harkon will attack the hero. Without Auriel's Bow, Lord Harkon the arch vampire lord "simply" has the following tactics:

  • Harkon will use life drain as his main attacks initially on Serana and on the hero.This life drain can cause a significant health drain on the hero whilst increasing Harkon's own health. This is a very frustrating situation indeed, as normal attacks will simply reduce Lord Harkon's health only to see it increase again on a successful life drain on the hero or Serana.
  • In addition, Harkon's ability to drift from one point to the next in Volkihar Cathedral is really unparalleled. It is almost impossible to target him when he is drifting and using the blood magic attacks.
  • Just when the hero thinks he has Harkon in his bow's sight, Harkon will activate the famous "bats" teleport away dodge move, and the hero will have to start reaiming again.
  • When Harkon runs out of magicka, he will drop into melee attack mode and close in to attack Serana and the hero.
  • When the hero reduces Harkon's health significantly, he will go into misform night power mode and levitate within a globe of almost impenetrable blood magic and heal up. In this form, Harkon will summon skeletons minions in the first round and gargoyles around Volkihar cathedral in the second round. When these minions are defeated, Harkon is back to full health and will attack the hero and Serana again.
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The above battle is already almost mission impossible; however, the only saving grace is the hero's Auriel's Bow and the Sunhallowed elven arrows. If the hero feels generous and gives the bow to Harkon, then this quest is truly mission impossible. In fact, Harkon will use Auriel's bow against the hero!

Tactics to Defeat Lord Harkon

The strategy is to hold onto Auriel's Bow and use it against Lord Harkon. The hero should use Auriel's Bow with the Sunhallowed elven arrows on Harkon only. Because there are only about ten plus or so such arrows, the hero must be conservative and use the arrows only and accurately on Harkon.

Harkon will drift very fast from place to place. The only times when he is stationary are when he is in his globe of healing, or when he is using melee claw attacks on the hero and Serana.

Take aim and fire off the sunhallowed elven arrows at such opportunities when Harkon is stationary or near stationary. Watch as Harkon's health decreases dramatically. Eventually, the last burst of sunshine from the sunhallowed arrows will engulf Harkon.

He will attempt to fly into his globe of healing and heal up but will do so in vain. Harkon will then bat teleport in front of the fountain of blood and will disintegrate into a pool of blood and ashes.

Congratulations! Lord Harkon has been defeated, and this concludes the vampire lord walkthrough in the Skyrim: Dawnguard dlc.


It's time to explore the other little details in the dlc, including blotching out the sun.

  • Speak to Serana and convert some elven arrows into bloodcursed elven arrows using Serana's pure Coldharbour vampire blood.
  • Now head out into the open and wait for a cloudless sunny day.
  • Use Auriel's bow and launch a bloodcursed elven arrow at the sun.
  • Watch as the bright sun turns a dusky dark red.
  • Switch into the skills page and note that all the vampire stats have been restored.

The sun has been dimmed and vampires can roam with full powers during the daylight hours. With the vampire menace under control, it's time to turn to the Dragonborn.

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