Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For other uses, see Battle for Whiterun.

Battle for Whiterun is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in which the Dragonborn must assist the Stormcloaks with taking over control of the city of Whiterun and, by extension, Whiterun Hold. This quest is only available if the Dragonborn joined the Stormcloaks.


Ulfric Stormcloak has ordered me to join Galmar Stone-Fist in taking the city of Whiterun.


  1. Get your orders from Galmar
  2. Break through the enemy barricade
  3. Follow Galmar Stone-Fist
  4. Open the exterior gate
  5. Open the drawbridge
  6. Enter Whiterun
  7. Break through the first barricade
  8. Break through the second barricade
  9. Break through the final barricade
  10. Force Jarl Balgruuf the Greater to surrender
  11. Accept Jarl Balgruuf the Greater's surrender


"This is it men! They say that our cause is false and that we are nothing more than thieves, thugs and murderers! But no! We are farmers! We are craftsmen! We are sons and daughters of shopkeepers, maid servants and soldiers! We are the sons and daughters of Skyrim!"
Galmar Stone-Fist[src]

At this point, Whiterun and Dragonsreach will disappear from the map and the Dragonborn will not be able to fast travel to them, even if a house is owned or if there is a spouse in Whiterun. Only the surroundings of the city can be reached by fast travelling or use a Carriage. Fighting in the Battle for Whiterun to finish the quest will return everything as they were before with additional debris from the battle.

Upon arrival at the Whiterun Military Camp, Galmar will inspire the Stormcloak soldiers with a speech before running to attack the city:

Galmar: "This is it men! They say that our cause is false and that we are nothing more than thieves, thugs and murderers! But no! We are farmers! We are craftsmen! We are sons and daughters of shopkeepers, maid servants and soldiers! We are the sons and daughters of Skyrim! And we have come this far because our cause is true. Because we fight as one. And because our hearts are bursting with anger! What we do here today, we do for our country! For all the true Nords of Skyrim!"

"Whiterun's walls are tall, but they are old and crumbling, like the Empire whose Legion lines them. They've barricades to block us, but we'll tear through them and the Imperials behind them! Our objective is the drawbridge. If we can find a way to drop it, the city will be ours! Everyone on me. Let's show these Imperial milk drinkers what true Nords look like! Rrrrraaaaaarrrrr!"

Entering the city[]

The walls of Whiterun are defended by both Whiterun guards and Imperial soldiers. The barricade is a simple wooden spike trap that is destroyed in a few hits.

Past the barricade a few more soldiers will be encountered. Beyond them are battlements around the left side of the drawbridge. Directly above the bridge is the windlass used to lower it. Once the gate is lowered, the defenders will retreat back into Whiterun, and the Stormcloaks will pursue them. Opening the doors to Whiterun advances to the next quest objective.

Taking Dragonsreach[]

The battle rages on in the streets of Whiterun. There are impenetrable barriers in place that prevent taking some of the alternative paths deeper into the city. Several of Whiterun's populace can be encountered on the streets, but they are non combatants and it is still considered a crime to attack them openly (for example, Vignar Gray-Mane is standing directly behind a spike barrier near the entrance to Dragonsreach). It is necessary to fight through the city to Dragonsreach.

Upon entry, three guards will attack, who can be killed in one hit by any attack. The Jarl himself will attack with three guards and his Housecarl, Irileth. None of the guards have to be slain, as long as Balgruuf can be forced to ground and made to surrender.

When Balgruuf surrenders, Vignar will walk in. After an argument over their views on the war, Balgruuf will face the Dragonborn and say that he thought better of them. He will then go to gather his belongings. This ends the quest and begins the "Liberation of Skyrim."

Changes to the city[]

The aftermath of the battle.

  • The guards in Whiterun, Riverwood and Rorikstead are replaced with Stormcloak soldiers.
  • The new Jarl is Vignar Gray-Mane.
  • Olfina Gray-Mane becomes the new Housecarl to the new Jarl.
  • Brill becomes the new steward.
  • Sinmir becomes the new commander of the guard.
  • The Battle-Borns are harassed and robbed, blaming it on the change in government.
  • Adrianne Avenicci's dialogue will change.
  • The preacher of Talos, Heimskr, is joyous from the result of the battle, even though he cannot enter his house, for it is sealed with debris and is missing most of the roof. Instead, he has a small tent next to the wall surrounding Jorrvaskr. This means a quest from Vex of the Thieves Guild cannot be completed.
  • The town has a few scars from the battle. The area around the Gildergreen tree is badly damaged.
  • Jarl Balgruuf, Commander Caius, Hrongar, Proventus Avenicci and Irileth take up residence in The Blue Palace in Solitude.
  • NOTE: If the Jarl is followed to his quarters after the fight, Galmar will become hostile when the Whiterun guards are killed before they become hostile. This can be avoided, after entering Dragonsreach, by waiting for the Whiterun guards to become hostile before they are killed.
  • Severio Pelagia will be killed and his house is no longer accessible, due to debris blocking the door and damage to the roof. This will happen no matter what.
  • Fort Greymoor will be taken over by Stormcloaks with horses to ride.
  • Carlotta Valentia will dislike the Stormcloaks for attempting to court her, and also for their foul odor, commenting that at least Balgruuf the Greater's men bathed regularly.


  • The first quest objective is to get orders from Galmar. Even though he is actually still in the Palace of the Kings after the quest is first received, talking with him there does nothing. It is necessary to leave and find him again at Whiterun Military Camp near Pelagia Farm.
  • The windows of shops and homes in the city will be boarded up during the attack.
  • There is a way to get Balgruuf to surrender without having to fight everyone in Dragonsreach. To avoid combat with the guards and Irileth, simply use the Slow Time shout as soon as Dragonsreach is entered and shoot Balgruuf with a bow until he goes down. Using a bow with powerful enchantments is recommended, because Balgruuf needs to be downed before Slow Time runs out.
  • Like the Imperial version of this quest, Severio Pelagia dies after this quest starts. His cause of death is unclear, although it could be that he was hit by one of the catapults.
  • If Vignar Gray-Mane is somehow later killed, Jarl Balgruuf will take back his throne. However, he will still act as if he was thrown out.
  • If the Dragonborn goes to Whiterun during the battle and then leaves, it will complete the quest. However, upon traveling back to Windhelm, Ulfric will condemn the Dragonborn, saying how they ran away and how cowardly they are. The Dragonborn will not be gifted the enchanted sword, but the Civil War questline can still be continued regardless.


Battle for Whiterun (Stormcloaks) – CWSiegeObj
ID Journal Entry
1 Ulfric Stormcloak has ordered me to join Gunmar Stone-Fist in taking the city of Whiterun.
  • Objective 1000: Get your orders from Glamar Stone-Fist
  • Objective 1005: Break through the Enemy Barricade
  • Objective 1015: Follow Galmar Stone-Fist
  • Objective 1020: Open the Exterior Gate
  • Objective 1030: Open the Drawbridge
  • Objective 1050: Enter Whiterun
  • Objective 1060: Break through the First Barricade
  • Objective 1070: Break through the Second Barricade
  • Objective 1080: Break through the Final Barricade
  • Objective 1200: Force Jarl Balgruuf the Greater to surrender
  • Objective 1210: Accept Jarl Balgruuf the Greater's surrender
  • Quest failed
9000 We have taken the city of Whiterun. Proving the righteousness of our cause and the fierceness of our warriors.
  • Quest complete


This section contains bugs related to Battle for Whiterun (Stormcloaks). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
Click to show
  • It is sometimes possible for the fireballs launched from the city onto the plains to become stuck there. Waiting and fast traveling will not fix this.
  • If Aela is married, and not following, she may be standing outside of the gate into Whiterun. She will be interactable and will have basic marriage dialogue. Both sides of the battle will try to attack her on sight, which usually results in her death, as she will not flee or fight back.
  • If the Jarl of Whiterun is quickly spoken to after defeating him, then he will constantly say, "Give me a few hours to gather my stuff, and I will depart. You have my word." This makes it impossible to complete the quest.
    • Fast travel to another area, then back. The dialogue will then be fixed.
    • Waiting for about one minute will allow the quest will complete automatically.
    • If nothing happens, attacking the Jarl again when a new guard walks in will cause a bounty (40 Gold) but the mission will continue (as long as the guard witnesses the attack).
  • When walking into Whiterun military camp, Ralof may attack without a reason. Galmor Stone-Fist and the Stormcloaks surrounding him will not attack if Ralof is attacked.
    • Fast travel to Whiterun Military Camp will avoid this bug.
  • When traveling to the Stormcloak camp in Whiterun, then leaving the camp by fast-traveling, this may complete the quest instantly. When reporting back to Ulfric, he will call the Dragonborn a coward, but it does start the next quest (the "Liberation of Skyrim"). Whiterun will not have any changes, except that it will now be counted as a Stormcloak city.
    • Fast traveling to Windhelm after entering Whiterun will cause the same thing to happen, except Ulfric will not call the Dragonborn a coward.
  •  PC   360   NX   When reporting to Ulfric after the Battle of Whiterun, he may not give dialogue to continue the mission. Whiterun will remain destroyed and the Civil War storyline cannot be completed.
    • This bug is caused because the Whiterun warzone is not properly unloaded. After Balgruuf's surrender, walk out of Dragonsreach and out of the city. Start walking in the direction of Riverwood; once the orange hue in the sky dissipates, it should be safe to fast travel to Windhelm and continue the quest as normal.
    •  360 (Fix)   Putting on a full set of Stormcloak Armor will sometimes trigger Ulfric to speak about Whiterun, allowing the quest to continue.
    •  PC (Fix)   This can be fixed by typing the following console commands: stopquest cwobj; startquest cwobj; getqr cwobj; Ulfric then speaks the dialogue.
  • On rare occasion, after a guard in Dragonsreach has been killed, Galmar will start to attack the Dragonborn.
    • This can be corrected by reloading the autosave and not killing anyone. The game will continue.
  • If the Thieves Guild quest "The Shill Job" for Heimskr's house is triggered after "Battle for Whiterun," it cannot be completed due to roof damage and entry points blocked by debris.
  • The "Battle for Whiterun" scripting may not initially take effect on the city, meaning that when Whiterun is entered to force the Jarl to surrender, the guards will be standing by the gate as they do usually, the prophet will be preaching by the Shrine to Talos and the cows and other people will be running around as the fighting suddenly starts all around them. (Note that attacking any guards or anyone else when this happens will count as an assault and cause a bounty.)
    • Reloading from an earlier save should fix the problem.
  • A critical bug appears when accepting the Jarl's surrender. Sometimes, in spite of the surrender, the mission does not continue. This can happen when the Dragonsreach battle is won without engaging combat with the Jarl. When leaving Dragonsreach without that objective (Accept the Jarl's surrender), the quest fails. If a fight is started with him again, the Stormcloak soldiers will attack.
  •  PC   Sometimes, when inside Dragonsreach none of the NPCs are hostile towards each other and the Dragonborn. Even after forcing Balgruuf to surrender, he will be "busy," causing the quest to stay stuck on accepting his surrender.
    •  PC (Fix)   This can be corrected by using the console command setstage cwsiegeobj 9000. This will finish quest and start the "Liberation of Skyrim."
  • In Whiterun city during the quest, it is possible that some of the children are still outside. If one is hit, a bounty is incurred (40 Gold). If the quest is completed after getting a bounty, it cannot be removed. It is impossible to talk to any guard in Whiterun hold to pay the bounty as the Stormcloak soldiers in Whiterun will be unaware of it. Even though the bounty is only 40 gold, the Dragonborn will be attacked on sight by the rest of the soldiers in the hold.
    • Currently, there is no known way to remove the bounty other than loading an older save.
  • If the Alik'r warriors from the quest "In My Time of Need" are still present in Whiterun, attacking them will accrue a bounty. However, the bounty will be in Eastmarch, not Whiterun.
  •  360   After Balgruuf surrenders, there may still be Whiterun guards in Riverwood. These guards will attack the Dragonborn on sight, and while attacking them will not incur any bounty because of self-defense, killing them will result in the usual 1000 gold bounty for murder. The easy solution is to walk away from Riverwood with the guards following and then killing them without witnesses. After theor death, they will be replaced by Stormcloak Soldiers who are friendly to the Dragonborn.
  • If the quest is active, but the Dragonborn has not started the battle yet; being teleported into the city via either completing the quest "A Night to Remember" or by getting arrested and being sent to jail will cause the quest to become automatically completed upon leaving the city, with no battle taking place. Balgruuf will remain Jarl and the Whiterun Guard will remain as the city's guards, but all other NPCs will act as if the city had been taken by the Stormcloaks.
  • If Breezehome is owned before the siege, it may be lost afterwards. If the Dragonborn does not have the key, there is no way to get in. It may be bought again from Brill (the new steward) but chances are he may be lying in the streets dead, naked. If this is the case, neither Breezehome nor the items inside can be obtained.
  • Galmar, during his speech at Whiterun Military Camp, may have a drastically different voice than usual.
  •  360   It is possible that the quest marker for the barricades will be stuck; it will not move to the drawbridge once the barricades are destroyed. Furthermore, activating the drawbridge will allow the Stormcloaks entry to the city proper, but as soon as the Dragonborn enters the city itself, there is no sign of the Stomcloaks, and the guards are not hostile, nor is there any hostilities in Dragonsreach. From this point, loading a save before the battle and starting it again is the only way to remedy this bug.