More than once, I've seen it mentioned that followers can be taught new spells by commanding them to interact with a spellbook. I've tried teaching a few spells to ol' Lydders, but she simply picks the books up and places them in her inventory.

What am I doing wrong?

  • My follower (Mjoll) used J'hargo's Flame Cloak Scrolls when I gave them to her.
    – Vlad
    Apr 25, 2012 at 20:31

8 Answers 8


I have done a lot of testing on this and have yet to find a way for a companion to actually learn a spell. If you give them staves that have spells on them they will spam them. As long as they are not conjuration spells. I used Lydia and when given conjuration staves she will revert to her bow and will not even equip the stave that summons. I am also unable to unequip her bow and arrows. They seem to be "Basic" companion items they always have.

So in short: No they cannot learn spells.

Although: If your companion is a spell caster they will cast the spells they already had but will not learn more.

  • Well, this sounds like the best information we have so far. Reports of companions learning spells seems a little wide-spread to be a hoax, but I'm starting to wonder if its the result of a hard-to-reproduce bug. In any event, it doesn't seem anyone here has been able to manage it! :-)
    – Ben Blank
    Dec 2, 2011 at 17:23
  • @BenBlank while it might not be hoax, it can be disinformation simply spreading in similar way as the console = cheater disinformation. (which has been proven false.) Dec 8, 2011 at 23:15
  • I gave Lydia a staff of Storm Atronach and she used it in every battle, even against mud crabs. I have the better followers mod, might not work in vanilla. PC
    – Andrew
    Mar 6, 2012 at 14:49

You can teach your followers new spells via console commands on the PC version. To do so, you will first need a hexcode for the spell you want to add.

To find out the hexcode, open up the console (by hitting the ~ key) and type in:

help "SPELL NAME" 4

Where SPELL NAME is the name of the spell you want your follower to have. For example, if you want your follower to be able to summon a Frost Atronach, type:

help "conjure frost atronach" 4

This will return several hexcode values. The ones you're looking for start with the 4-letter string "SPEL".

In this specific case, there are 3 spells for Conjure Frost Atronach. I'm pretty sure (but not 100% sure) that the spells are listed from least to most powerful. The first hexcode listed for Conjure Frost Atronach is 000204C4.

To give your follower this spell, target the follower with your mouse cursor while the console is open and type:

addspell 000204C4

And voila, your follower now has the ability to summon a Frost Atronach.

  • yeah but i doubt lydia would have the magika to cast anything except flames, or healing Apr 10, 2012 at 2:06
  • You can also use the console to give lydia the necessary skills and magika points to cast spells.
    – l I
    Apr 25, 2012 at 22:23

If playing on the PC, installing the mod, Ultimate Follower Overhaul, will allow you to get followers to learn new spells.

One of its features is:

[To] make a follower use a spell tome from inventory to learn a spell

It also allows followers to "forget" their learned spells.


Lydia will use magic staffs, although I've yet to teach any of my companions spells from a book.


You can add a spell to a NPC's spell arsenal, but your NPC will not use it, unless the specified NPC is programmed to. It depents if your NPC really is a spellcaster. If you teach a spell to a companion warrior, it will not equip/use it. And equipping spells with equipitem is impossible.


I haven't gotten it to work myself on a console yet either (I play on ps3), though I've read elsewhere that on the Steam version they have filled their Hireling's inventory, then when telling them to interact with the book, the only option they have is read.

  • No such luck, I'm afraid. On PC, with Lydia holding as much as she possibly could, she still simply added the book to her inventory, even though it put her over her weight limit.
    – Ben Blank
    Nov 23, 2011 at 7:13

Lydia is not a spell caster. You should try the 3 students at the Mage College.

  • 1
    Skyrim doesn't differentiate between spell casters, fighters, etc.; it's a matter how how high your skills are, not whether you have them, so anyone can learn spells. Additionally, the Reddit post I linked specifically mentions Lydia and a Storm Atronach. Assuming it isn't just a very-highly-rated troll, Lydia should be able to learn spells.
    – Ben Blank
    Nov 23, 2011 at 6:23

I'm not sure if the actual companions can conjure with battle staves, but i know that one of the girls in the College of Winterhold can summon both fire and ice atronaches.

Also, if you have at least 90 Conjuration, you could put a Conjuration staff onto a body (preferably one with all the armour still on) and then use Dead Thrall on it. They can summon out of that staff as long as it is in inventory but if it is not, just kill it and then put staff in and then resummon. They will use whatever is in their inventory so you can make it if you want so they are just spellcasters with staves and I really recommend this since if you do this, you can have 4 summons for the price of two.

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