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Lore:Balgruuf the Greater

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Jarl Balgruuf the Greater
SR-npc-Balgruuf the Greater.jpg
Jarl Balgruuf the Greater on his throne in Dragonsreach
Race Nord Gender Male
Resided in Whiterun
Appears in Skyrim, Legends
"If it's the war you're referring to, I'm on the side of Whiterun."

Balgruuf the Greater is the Jarl of Whiterun in 4E 201, and a direct descendant of King Olaf One-Eye.[1] An admirer of the Greybeards, Balgruuf made the pilgrimage to High Hrothgar in his youth. He carried on a rivalry with Ulfric Stormcloak since they both were young. He had multiple children, including Frothar, Dagny, and the youngest , Nelkir. While considered to be an honorable warrior who put his heart and soul into his service, he was also not considered a patient man. Following the White-Gold Concordat, he and the other Jarls were given chests of gold as compensation. However, he continued worshipping Talos privately, and according to Nelkir, hated the Thalmor as passionately as the Stormcloaks.[2]

During the Stormcloak Rebellion, a shrine to Talos remained in Whiterun's Wind District, and citizens there were allowed to publicly proselytize in Talos' name without repercussion. Both the Stormcloaks and the Imperial Legion sought to gain Balgruuf as an ally, as Whiterun was prosperous, influential, and strategically located. The latter in particular allegedly made a great effort to obtain Balgruuf's loyalty. Balgruuf claimed to be neutral, saying he was only "on the side of Whiterun". He refused to allow the Legion to garrison troops in the city, and he refused to acknowledge Ulfric's claim to the position of High King. When the Last Dragonborn came to him following the attack by Alduin on Helgen, Jarl Balgruuf ordered troops to Riverwood, directed the hero to High Hrothgar, home of the Greybeards, and quickly devoted his time and resources to addressing the Dragon threat. He made the Last Dragonborn Thane of Whiterun for slaying Mirmulnir when the dragon threatened the city, and entrusted them with a personal housecarl, Lydia.[3]

At some point after Mirmulnir's attack, Jarl Balgruuf finally declared his loyalty to the Empire in order to protect Whiterun against a Stormcloak siege, and coordinated the defense of the city from Dragonsreach.[4]



Development map
  • A development map of TES5's Skyrim had doodled names of the Jarls who ruled each city. Next to Windhelm on this map, a blurb about that hold's ruler reads: "Jar-El Raskai, of divine birth". An arrow points to "divine birth", with an accompany text saying: "so, the Greater?". This title was later assigned to Balgruuf, being "Balgruuf the Greater". It is unclear whether Balgruuf's title holds the same meaning, or how "divine birth" is supposed to be defined.

See AlsoEdit


  1. ^ Farengar Secret-Fire's dialogue in Skyrim
  2. ^ Nelkir's dialogue in Skyrim
  3. ^ Dragon Rising quest in Skyrim
  4. ^ Battle for Whiterun quests in Skyrim
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