Skyrim is full of mysteries, and players have been dedicated to solving them since its release. From the headless horseman to the strange conspiracy in Rorikstead, Skyrim is packed with fascinating places to discover and investigate. However, not all mysteries have satisfying endings, and when one particular Skyrim puzzle was solved, fans were understandably disappointed.
The entire Elder Scrolls series is overflowing with secrets, hidden messages, and in-jokes put in by the developers deliberately for players to find. Some are references to previous titles in the series, such as M’aiq the Liar’s presence or Oblivion’s obsessive quest giver Sinderion in Blackreach surrounded by Nirnroot. Others are more specific and far-reaching such as why the Dwemer disappeared or exactly who is the Ebony Warrior.
Not all of Skyrim’s mysteries are solvable, as some are related to content cut from the game or incomplete quests, for example. However, in the case of this particular mystery, it is less a case of cut content or missing information and more a case of nothingness. So what exactly is Skyrim’s most disappointing mystery, and how was it solved?
Skyrim’s Mysterious Bugs In Jars
Throughout the province, players can find five jars with bugs inside them. There is a dragonfly, a butterfly, a luna moth, a torchbug, and a bee. They can each be found in specific and unique locations all over Skyrim. Their oddness means that players haven’t stopped trying to figure out what they represent and what they are for beyond being curious decorations.
There are countless videos and posts from fans and theorists about the bugs, their jars, and what it could all mean. Each of the jars has a unique mark on the inside of the lid, which led some fans to believe that the jars were linked to a hidden quest. Others believed that the markings were a secret message from developers, perhaps hinting at future content in the Elder Scrolls series.
One of the more popular theories involved Viking runes hinting at a terrible apocalypse where the Dragonborn was expected to stop the world from ending yet again or even bringing it about. Other Skyrim fan theories suspected that the markings were the developer’s initials and the bugs in jars were just an elaborated in-joke. At the same time, other players believed that the mystery was actually linked to the locations where the jars were found.
However, back in 2017, a Twitter conversation between YouTuber Camelworks and some of the developers who worked on Skyrim finally put the mystery to rest. The big reveal is that there is no big reveal. The bugs in jars were left over from a scrapped idea, and Bethesda never changed the art.
The original plan was they would be part of a hidden quest in Skyrim; however, Bethesda scrapped that in early development. As so often happens with game development, the team had already put resources into the jar’s designs, so they were simply never changed. There is no final clear answer because the whole quest involving them was never started, let alone finished.
Finding out that the bugs in jars are meaningless has obviously left some fans feeling underwhelmed. In contrast, others still refuse to believe the unsatisfactory explanation and give up their quest for answers. Years of conspiracy theories and fan arguments over nothing have left a bad taste in some players’ mouths. Even so, six years after Skyrim’s release, the mystery of the bugs in jars can finally be put to rest, even if the result is very disappointing.