The Dragonborn started his journey by fighting dragons and, in a way, ended with befriending a few of them. So, It’s only natural that you expect to be able to ride one.
The Dragonborn DLC expanded further to the Dragonborn’s story and introduced the ability to ride dragons. While not as expansive as you’ve expected, flying around and wreaking havoc from the skies is still quite fun.
Before riding a dragon, you must own the Dragonborn DLC and progress far into its main campaign.
Toward the end of the storyline, you’ll get the Bend Will shout ability. Once you’ve acquired all three words of this shout, use it on a dragon to tame and ride them.
Step 1: Get the Bend Will Shout
First, we’ll go over how to get the Bend Will shout. To put it simply, you can acquire this shout by progressing through the Dragonborn questline.
The first word of Bend Will is located on the word wall at Saering’s Watch.
Then, you’ll need to find and read the Black Book: Epistolary Acumen in Solstheim. This will start off the ‘Garderner of Men’ questline.
During the quest line, Hermaeus Mora will guide you through getting the remaining two words of the shout.
At the end of the quest line, you’ll also learn how to ride a dragon to defeat Miraak.
Step 2: Use the Shout on a Dragon
Once you’ve gained the three words of the shout, you’re ready to use it on a dragon. Open your Magic menu and select Bend Will from the shouts category.
Aim your crosshair at a dragon and use your shout ability. Using the shout successfully works similarly to the Dragonrend and will force the dragon to land on the ground. Additionally, the dragon won’t be hostile under the shout’s influence.
Note: There are a few dragons in the game that you cannot tame. E.g. Paarthurnax, Alduin, Durnehviir, Naaslaarum, Vulthuryol, Sahloknir, Voslaarum, Skuldafn.
Step 3: Ride the Dragon
Head closer to the dragon and press the interact button to get on the dragon. After getting on the dragon’s head, it will take off automatically and start flying around.
Now, you cannot control the dragons to go in a particular direction like other mounts, i.e., horses. But you can command them to help you in combat.
While you’re on the dragon, press the Space bar to lock on an enemy. You can switch between the enemies via your keyboard’s 1 and 2 numeric keys. After locking on an enemy, press the Ctrl button to command the dragon to attack the target.
Again, you cannot control the frequency of attacks nor the type of attack. The dragon AI will continue flying around and attack them until they’re dead.
Note: If you fail to interact with the dragon while it is on the ground, it will fly away and will aid you in battle instead.
Landing the Dragon
Getting off the dragon is relatively simple. Simply hit the button you use to dismount horses. The dragon will take some time to scout a safe place to land.
You’ll automatically dismount the dragon after landing. Pressing the unmount button twice will cancel the landing instead.
After landing, the dragon will take off and either attack your nearby enemies or will leave the area.
What Else Can the Dragon Do?
Besides helping you fight enemies, dragons are also a viable method to fast travel. Normally, the game will not let you fast-travel when enemies are nearby.
But when you’re riding a dragon, you can bypass the fast travel restriction and travel to your desired location.
Note: Some places are unavailable while riding the dragon. i.e., the cities or strongholds.
Where Can I Find a Dragon?
The spawn rate of dragons is quite low compared to other creatures in Skyrim. You’ll find them mostly at their nest, like the Mount Anthor, Saering Watch’s, or the Shearpoint.
A good place where you’ll always find a dragon is the Throat of the World. Here, you’ll find Odahviing circling the peak of the mountain. Force him to land using the Bend Will shout and fly around with him.