Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

"I fight for the men I've held in my arms, dying on foreign soil! I fight for their wives and children, whose names I heard whispered in their last breath. I fight for we few who did come home, only to find our country full of strangers wearing familiar faces. I fight for my people impoverished to pay the debts of an Empire too weak to rule them, yet brands them criminals for wanting to rule themselves! I fight so that all the fighting I've already done hasn't been for nothing! I fight... because I must."
―Ulfric Stormcloak[src]

Ulfric Stormcloak is a Nord from Skyrim. He is the son of Hoag Stormcloak, the previous Jarl of Eastmarch.[2] Since 4E 176 Ulfric has been leading a Civil War against the Third Empire,[5] which escalated after he killed High King Torygg in 4E 201.[6]

By game[]


As the Jarl of Windhelm, Ulfric has both positive and negative aspects. The largely Nordic population of Windhelm supports both Ulfric and his rebellion,[7][8][9][10][11][12] as Ulfric is considered loyal, and a good leader to his kinsmen.[13] This is contrasted with the Dunmer and Argonian populations of the city. When Argonians, Dunmer, or Khajiit caravans are ambushed by marauders, Ulfric does not care for their deaths, so long as the marauders do not threaten Nord land.[13] The Dunmer and Argonians are further segregated from the rest of Windhelm's population. The Argonians were all forced outside of Windhelm's walls[14] by a decree written by Ulfric,[15] and the Dunmer are forced to live in a slum known as the Gray Quarter.[14][13][16][17][18] It is further implied that Ulfric desires a Skyrim full of Nords, without other races.[19][20][13][4][21]


Early life and the Great War[]

When Ulfric was young, he was chosen by the Greybeards to study with them. He was meant to become a Greybeard himself. After almost 10 years of training, Ulfric had learned the Unrelenting Force and Disarm Shout,[22] then the Great War broke out between the Empire and the Third Aldmeri Dominion. Ulfric decided to take part in the Great War on the side of the Empire,[2] where he fought alongside Legate Rikke[4] and Galmar Stone-Fist.[23] During the war, Ulfric was captured by the Thalmor during their campaign for the White-Gold Tower, and interrogated by Elenwen, who later became the ambassador to Skyrim.[24] Ulfric was led to believe that the information he provided led to the fall of the city, though it had in fact fallen before Ulfric had broken. After the interrogation, Ulfric was assigned as an asset to Elenwen, and was allowed to escape.[1]

The aftermath of the Great War[]

After the Great War ended, Ulfric was back in Skyrim and had established a militia. Direct contact had also been established between Ulfric and the Thalmor and he started proving his worth as an asset to them, particularly during the Markarth Incident. During the Incident, Ulfric attacked Markarth and drove out the Reachmen, restoring Markarth to Nordic rule[1] after Markarth had fallen to the local Reachmen during the Great War as a result of troops being recalled to Cyrodiil.[5] With the Imperial Legions still being in Cyrodiil as a result of the Great War ending, the Jarl of Markarth, Hrolfdir, could not turn to them for aid.[3] As an alternative, he found Ulfric Stormcloak and his militia.[5] While the Reachmen were making overtures to make peace with the Empire, and be recognized as a legitimate kingdom, Hrolfdir was arranging an agreement with Ulfric. Hrolfdir and Ulfric eventually came to an agreement, Ulfric demanded he and his militia would be allowed to worship Talos again,[3][note 3] and in return the Stormcloaks would take back the city.

Hrolfdir promised that Talos worship would be allowed in Markarth, and so the Stormcloaks marched on Markarth.[5][3] Ulfric and his militia were said to have been relentless when they took over Markarth, with Ulfric saying "You are with us, or you are against Skyrim."[3] It is said that many of the native Reachmen were killed by Ulfric through executions,[25] though Hrolfdir also played a part in this.[26] After the Legions had returned home from the Great War, they were blocked entrance into Markarth until they too accepted Ulfric's term of free Talos worship. With the rumors of deaths rising by the day in the city, the Empire accepted the deal and were permitted entry.[3] The Empire and Markarth's Jarl hoped the Thalmor would not find out.[5] When they did find out about it, they demanded Ulfric and his militia be arrested or the Empire risking plunging into a new Great War.[5][27] The choice was clear, and Ulfric and his entire militia were imprisoned,[5] which was particularly valuable for the strategic goals of Thalmor regarding Skyrim. However, it resulted in Ulfric becoming uncooperative to direct contact with Thalmor, causing them to reclassify him as a "dormant" and "uncooperative" asset.[1] This event also forced the Emperor to crack down on Talos worship by allowing the Thalmor Justiciars into Imperial territory.[28]

The Stormcloaks, Skyrim Civil War, and High King Torygg[]

As a result of the Markarth Incident, the militia Ulfric had used to conquer Markarth from the Reachmen were now turned into a rebellious group, known as the Stormcloaks. These Stormcloaks started the Civil War in Skyrim under Ulfric's demand.[5] The name "Stormcloak," according to some, refers to the last name of Ulfric, and was meant as a mockery by the members of the Legion to belittle the Stormcloak's cause.[29] Others state that the name was created by the Stormcloaks themselves to show Ulfric's ambition for the throne.[4] Regardless of the origins of the name, the Stormcloaks gladly accepted being named after Ulfric, and wear the name with pride, as they consider Ulfric the true High King of Skyrim and an exemplar of their Nordic values.[29] During his time in prison, his father, Hoag died. Ulfric was allowed to leave prison as a result. After this Ulfric made his way back to Windhelm and the people there set him on the throne.[2]

One of the deeds that Ulfric did as Jarl was force the Argonian population outside the city walls via a decree,[30][31] and segregate the Dunmer population to the Gray Quarter.[32][33][34][31] Ulfric also did not act if a group of Argonians, Dunmer refugees,[note 4] or a Khajiit Caravan is ambushed,[35][note 5] only sending aid or investigating when Nords are being threatened.[13] He also continued waging the Skyrim Civil War from Windhelm, originally being rather unsuccessful, and not gaining a lot of support, the Empire did not pay much attention to Ulfric.[6] Some skirmishes were fought between the Stormcloaks and Imperials,[36][37] even outside Windhelm itself,[38] but the war had not yet fully escalated. The High King at the time, Istlod, had held Skyrim together for 25 years, and following his death the Moot was held.[39] Though Istlod's son, Torygg had, by tradition, a justified claim to the throne[40] he still allowed the Moot to meet. Ulfric was at this Moot, and he spoke of Skyrim's independence in terms just shy of treason, for which Torygg greatly respected the man. Torygg was elected as High King by the Jarls of Skyrim, and would rule until his death in 4E 201.

In 4E 201, Ulfric Stormcloak asked for an audience with the High King and the Court of Solitude. The people thought that, because Ulfric wanted independence, he would ask Torygg to declare independence from the Empire,[39] but instead, Ulfric challenged Torygg to a Traditional Nordic Duel.[2] By Nord tradition, once such a challenge is issued in court, the High King has to accept, or risk another Moot meeting.[39] Torygg died when Ulfric unleashed the Voice during the battle,[39][41] though Ulfric himself claims it was his sword piercing Torygg's heart that killed him.[2] Historically, such duels did not result in death, thus some considered Ulfric a murderer,[42][43][41][28][44][6][45] while others in Skyrim considered it justified and a fair kill.[29][46][2][47][48][49] Regardless of whether the kill was murder or not, the death of the High King got the Empire's attention,[6] and the Old Holds joined Ulfric's cause.[4][42]

As a result of the civil war becoming a big obstacle, General Tullius got sent to Skyrim.[42][6] Tullius turned things around for the Empire in the short months he had been in Skyrim. Before Tullius' arrival, Ulfric and his Stormcloaks had always managed to evade capture by the Imperial Legion. But under Tullius' leadership, the Imperial Legion became more organized[6] and Ulfric got captured at Darkwater Crossing.[6][50] Originally, Ulfric was meant to be transported back to Cyrodiil, but it was later decided that he would be executed at Helgen.[6] At Helgen, Alduin made his first appearance since the Merethic Era, and in the chaos, Ulfric managed to escape. After the destruction of Helgen, Ulfric made his way back to Windhelm, where he continued to wage the Skyrim Civil War. The Jarls were upset that there was not a High King, and demanded the Moot to meet.[51] But Ulfric did not allow it to meet as he did not want to risk Elisif, the Jarl of Solitude and widow of Torygg, to become High Queen.[2][51]

Season Unending[]

In 4E 201, the Last Dragonborn, on his quest to beat the World-Eater, needed to capture a dragon in Dragonsreach, the palace of the Jarl of Whiterun. As Dragonsreach is located in Whiterun, and Whiterun Hold was neutral in the Skyrim Civil War, the Jarl of Whiterun, Balgruuf the Greater, was hesitant to allow the Dragonborn to capture a dragon.[52] The Jarl feared that if he made one wrong move, either the Stormcloaks or Imperials would try to invade his Hold.[53][note 6] The Dragonborn and the Jarl made an agreement that if the Dragonborn managed to create a temporary truce between the two factions, the Jarl would help in capturing the dragon.[26] When the Dragonborn asks Ulfric to attend to this council, he is hesitant at first, because not all the Jarls were fully committed to supporting him as High King, and he did not want to risk appearing weak.[2] However, the Dragonborn is eventually able to convince him.[52]


  1. Ulfric mentions that he started his training with the Greybeards when he was just a lad, and that he stayed with them for almost 10 years before the Great War took place.
  2. Only if the Imperial Legion wins the Skyrim Civil War.
  3. Alvor states that the Talos ban was not enforced until Ulfric started agitating about it.
  4. As an example, Refugees' Rest, a place for Dunmer refugees to meet missing relatives, is overrun by Frost Trolls.
  5. Another example is the dead Khajiit Caravan located at Steamcrag Camp.
  6. If the Skyrim Civil War is still ongoing post Battle for Whiterun, then depending on the Jarl, they will only agree to the plan if both the Stormcloaks and Imperials agree to a truce since they fear the opposing side would take advantage of the dragon attack to usurp Whiterun.




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Thalmor Dossier: Ulfric Stormcloak
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Dialogue with Ulfric Stormcloak
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 The Bear of Markarth
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Dialogue with Legate Rikke
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Dialogue with Igmund
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Dialogue with Hadvar
  7. Dialogue with Angrenor Once-Honored
  8. Dialogue with Elda Early-Dawn
  9. Dialogue with Hermir Strong-Heart
  10. Dialogue with Jora
  11. Dialogue with Lortheim
  12. Dialogue with Oengul War-Anvil
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Dialogue with Brunwulf Free-Winter
  14. 14.0 14.1 Dialogue with Alfarinn
  15. Dialogue with Scouts-Many-Marshes
  16. Dialogue with Aval Atheron
  17. Dialogue with Ambarys Rendar
  18. Dialogue with Malthyr Elenil
  19. Dialogue with Stormcloak Commanders
  20. Ulfric's speech during the "Battle for Solitude"
  21. Dialogue with Stormcloak Soldiers
  22. Ulfric Stormcloak's Shouts in Skyrim
  23. Dialogue with Galmar Stone-Fist
  24. Dialogue with Elenwen
  25. Dialogue with Nepos the Nose
  26. 26.0 26.1 Dialogue with Braig
  27. Dialogue with Cedran
  28. 28.0 28.1 Dialogue with Alvor
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Dialogue with Stormcloak Commanders
  30. Dialogue with Scouts-Many-Marshes
  31. 31.0 31.1 Dialogue with Alfarinn
  32. Dialogue with Ambarys Rendar
  33. Dialogue with Aval Atheron
  34. Dialogue with Malthyr Elenil
  35. Ghosts in the Storm
  36. Dialogue with Vulwulf Snow-Shod
  37. Dialogue with Nura Snow-Shod
  38. Dialogue with Solaf
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 Dialogue with Sybille Stentor
  40. Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Skyrim
  41. 41.0 41.1 Dialogue with Elisif the Fair
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 Dialogue with General Tullius
  43. Dialogue with Captain Aldis
  44. Dialogue with Proventus Avenicci
  45. Dialogue with Hold Guards
  46. Dialogue with Roggvir
  47. Nords Arise!
  48. Dialogue with Gerdur
  49. Dialogue with Greta
  50. Dialogue with Ralof
  51. 51.0 51.1 Conversation between Galmar Stone-Fist and Ulfric Stormcloak
  52. 52.0 52.1 Events of Season Unending
  53. Dialogue with Balgruuf the Greater