Hogwarts Legacy: How to complete In the Shadow of the Study quest and Slytherin snake door puzzles

Hogwarts Legacy In the shadow of the Study
(Image credit: Windows Central)

Hogwarts Legacy allows players the chance to learn the Unforgivable Curses as well as acceptable spells at Hogwarts. But in order to learn Crucio, Imperio, and even Avada Kedavra, you'll need to do the proper quests to unlock them. Don't worry. If you really want to experience these quests but don't want to learn the curses that is an option.

It's choices like this that make Hogwarts Legacy compelling, which further helps make it one of the best PC games and best Xbox games out there. The first of these malicious spells, Crucio, is unlocked during one of Sebastian's quests entitled, "Under the Shadow of the Study." To get through it, you'll need to do some problem-solving, including getting through a few snake puzzles that unlock Slytherin doors. Let's walk you through how to do it. 

How to unlock In the Shadow of the Study in Hogwarts Legacy

In order to get to this Hogwarts Legacy quest, you must have done three things: 

  1. Completed all of Sebastian's quests up to this point
  2. Reached Level 16
  3. Completed The High Keep main quest

In the Shadow of the Study: Meet up with Sebastian

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Starting location: The Grand Staircase → Lower Grand Staircase Floo Flame.  

Use your Charmed Compass (V on PC, D-Pad up on consoles and Steam Deck) and follow the yellow trail to the quest starting point. When you get to the glowing gold circle, press the proper Wait button (F on PC) to begin the quest. Sebastian Sallow appears and leads you to Ominis Gaunt. Follow him through the castle. Then talk to Ominis when you see him.

In the Shadow of the Study: Open the Scriptorium with lit braziers

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There are three braziers (torches with snake bases) that can be seen from where Ominis is standing — Two on the left, and one on the right. Quickly light all three torches using Confringo. They will go out if you aren't fast enough, but having all three lit opens a secret passage.

Head down the secret passage stairs and use Reparo on the destroyed stone relief. Now talk to Ominis and he'll tell you he hears voices. He'll speak Parseltongue to open the door. Proceed through it.

In the Shadow of the Study: Snake puzzles

You'll find yourself in a dungeon. The only way out it to solve the three snake puzzle doors in the area. You can light the torches in this dungeon using Imperio or Confringo to help you see better. 

The snake puzzle symbols are unique, so I'll attempt to explain what they look like, but you can look at the pictures below for reference as well. Here's how to solve the snake gate puzzles.

(Image credit: Windows Central)

When in the next area, ignore the snake figure and turn to look at the gate next to it. You'll see two symbols at its center. Remember these. Interact with the snake statue next to you. These snake puzzles need to be solved quickly or they will hurt you and you'll have to start over. Quickly enter the same symbols you just saw into the snake puzzle dials and it will open the gate to your right. 

Upper dial: Circle with a half-moon on the right.

Lower dial: Infinity symbol with snake head.

The door will open, but don't go through it. Instead, turn in the opposite direction, head down the hall and around the corner, then look at the symbols on the closed gate. After that, turn and duck under the half-open gate to the left.

Snake Puzzle 2 Solution

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In this next room, you'll see a coiled-up snake statue against the wall. Interact with the snake statue and change the upper and lower dials to the proper symbols to open the gate that had the same symbols on it:

Upper dial: A symbol that's kind of like a rounded capital A with a tail on the upper left

Lower dial: A right-side triangle with a stick that overhangs from right to left

Snake Puzzle 3 Solution

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Duck back under the gate and check out the newly opened room. Once again go and look at the symbols on the door in here. Remember these symbols then head through the gate near the entrance and into the new area. There's one final snake puzzle here. Enter the correct symbols to open the gate: 

Upper dial: Circle with two marks on the right (duck head)

Lower dial: Like a pointed capital A

In the Shadow of the Study: Cruciatus Door

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In this next room, a scene plays out where you find the remains of Ominis' aunt. You need to pick up the note on the ground and then talk to both Sebastian and Ominis, one at a time. Return back to Sebastian and you'll be given three choices: 

  • Don't learn Crucio
  • Learn Crucio, but have Sebastian cast it on you
  • Learn Crucio and cast it on Sebastian.

(Image credit: Windows Central)

This is really a matter of opinion. If you're against using any of the Unforgivable Curses from the Harry Potter universe then choose not to learn Crucio. However, if you want access to all of the spells Hogwarts Legacy has to offer, choose one of the other two options. Either you or Sebastian will get injured, but it won't have any lasting bearing on the story at this point. 

Note: If you turn down the offer of learning Crucio here, you'll have another opportunity later in the game to learn it from Sebastian in the Undercroft. 

In the Shadow of the Study: Search the Scriptorium

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Head through the now-open Crucio door and you'll see a Slytherin statue with snakes all around it. Pick up the Slytherin's Spellbook which is on the table beneath the ominous statue. Look around and grab any treasures you want, then head up to the top of the stars and talk to Sebastian. 

(Image credit: Windows Central)

After Sebastian and Ominis have finished talking, interact with the statue in the back of the room that has a snake going into the mouth and this will take you back to the Slytherin Dungeons (about where your journey began). You'll talk with Ominis about his aunt and then the quest will mark itself as complete.

On the road to darkness?

You don't necessarily have to learn Crucio if you don't want to, but it's still worth running through Sebastian's quests given that they lead to one of the most interesting plots within Hogwarts Legacy. The relationship between Ominis and Sebastian is a complex one and it's interesting to see that Ominis, (who is Voldemort's ancestor) is a decent guy with a good moral compass. 

Whatever your choice regarding Crucio may be, getting through these snake puzzles and landing in Salazar Slytherin's Scriptorium is a journey worth taking. 

Rebecca Spear
Editor and Reviewer

Self-professed gaming geek, Rebecca Spear, is one of Windows Central's editors and reviewers with a focus on gaming handhelds, PC gaming, and laptops. When she isn't checking out the latest games on Xbox Game Pass, PC, ROG Ally, or Steam Deck; she can be found digital drawing with a Wacom tablet. She's written thousands of articles with everything from editorials, reviews, previews, features, previews, and hardware reviews over the last few years. If you need information about anything gaming-related, her articles can help you out. She also loves testing game accessories and any new tech on the market. You can follow her @rrspear on X (formerly Twitter).