I’ll be honest, I’m surprised that Skyrim’s even been out this long, let alone that I still care enough about it to post in my blog on the subject (I did tattoo the stormcloak bear onto my arm, so there is a daily reminder, lol), and let alone that many others still care about it enough to be passionately discussing the civil war.
What I’m not surprised to see is countless clueless individuals that just can’t seem to get a grasp on the whole Ulfric thing, when it’s very simple.
You have a man born into a place of power, was raised knowing that he’d be responsible for his people. He was dragged away from that responsibility to sit atop a mountain, learning to have power but not use it, the exact opposite of what a Jarl does, all the while his people are dying to save a land that is not their own. Despite that, he goes against his teachings to help his people and Cyrodiil’s fight the Aldmeri Dominion, greatest threat to Tamriel in a very long time.
He was tortured, and held out long enough that his information he gave was no longer valuable. That is not easy. His reward, and Skyrim’s reward was an Empire signing a peace treaty that allowed the elves to torture and kill his people, the Nords, who hold the most importance in Talos than anyone else.
He had to go home and listen to the broken hearts, and their grief for their sons and daughters that died for nothing. This man couldn’t stand by and watch his people suffer, unlike their king Torygg, who like the other Jarls took Imperial gold and were made to shut up and accept the treaty.
They did as they were told, and let their own suffer in silence. An entire hold was taken and Ulfric freed it from the Reachmen with the promise of free worship of Talos, something the Jarl offered Ulfric because the Empire was incapable of doing this themselves, and they were desperate. Ulfric cleaned their mess, and was rewarded by being arrested. When he got out, his father was dead, his people in mourning, and he could no longer take it. He killed Torygg after begging and pleading to the other Jarls, and no one stepped to the plate to do what had to be done. So he would do it. He killed Torygg to free Skyrim from the dying Mede dynasty, a shadow of the Empire that the Septims created and maintained.
Now he’s stuck in a civil war because the Empire would not recognize or even acknowledge the legal duel he had between himself and Torygg, one Torygg the king had recognized and agreed to. Tullius never even mentions a duel, only calls it murder. Torygg’s own court mage Sybille Stentor tells you it was a duel, and thanks to developer notes, we know he was not shouted apart, so why the lies?
They try so hard to cover the truth. They made this civil war in their selfish desire to keep sucking Skyrim dry for Cyrodiil, and to keep this their province. They haven’t even paid for their own war, using soldiers from skyrim and money from Solitude’s own coffers, and none of the Empire’s at all. They literally sent one man to start trouble, raise an army and disrupt the legal proceedings of the land.
With an enemy like that, and with stakes this high, the very future of Skyrim itself, you really wonder why he doesn’t first commit to fixing shacks for refugees?
Dunmer fled Morrowind after the eruption of Red Mountain, and many of them are likely old enough that they are still technically refugees. They were given Solstheim, and the Grey Quarter. And now that they’re here, people think Ulfric is supposed to cater to them over everyone? He did not segregate them, and this is a Kingdom, not a democracy. Even democracies don’t just give everyone in need free stuff. Free help. They have to work their own way out of their predicament, no one else is given help. There are still poor nords in the city. The king’s duty, the jarl’s duty is to simply provide protection for the people and use taxes for the city, which Ulfric does.
However, he is also privately funding this entire civil war conflict all on his own, while the Empire relies on the riches of the capital, which are already wearing thin under the brunt of the Empire’s warmongering.
You expect him to put such an important cause on hold to cater to refugees? They aren’t citizens of Skyrim, just because they live there. This isn’t the US, that’s not how it works. Even if they were, elves shouldn’t be given any more special treatment than anyone else. If Sofie has to live in the streets while Dunmer live in their free shacks, then I think they can shut the heck up about oppression and inequality.
But instead of considering all of this, considering the situation, what’s at stake, people would rather just dismiss such a complex character, a complex situation as a matter of racism, and say he’s Hitler, Donald Trump, etc etc.
I expect more from people that claim to care about the intricacies of ElderScrolls lore. Elderscrolls lore is deep. If you shut down and label everything by your preconceptions, you won’t get an inch of such complex lore. So the next time you try calling yourself an Elderscrolls fan and a critical thinker, a lore buff or what have you, maybe you shouldn’t be so close minded and lazy, and assume that the first rumors and gripes you hear about a person are true, or let your real world bias color you so much that you demonize not only a character that many people are fans of, but the fans themselves, simply because they see things that you couldn’t possibly see while you run full speed into life with your eyes closed.