The Companions are a group of warriors who carry on the tradition of the Five Hundred Companions of Ysgramor. The most elite members are included in the Circle of Jorrvaskr, and are offered lycanthropy - a ‘blessing’ from the daedric prince Hircine. The chief councilor and arbitrator is known as the Harbinger, after Ysgramor, the “harbinger of us all” and the only real recognized leader of the Companions.
The College is located in the northern section of the city of Winterhold, in northern Skyrim. Instructors of each magical discipline reside within, offering training and various magical wares. Outsiders view the College with indignation, believing its members to be the cause of the cataclysmic, “Great Collapse,” which occurred in 4E 122. The event left Winterhold in ruins, in terms of physical destruction with the vast majority of Winterhold destroyed, the destabilization of its government, economy and social structure and the lasting emotional and psychological damage to Winterhold’s people, who believed that the College of Winterhold was to blame for the Great Collapse.