Skyrim – Is Ulfric Stormcloak Racist?

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this article do not express the opinions of Just Push Start.

Several gamers seem to speculate that Ulfric Stormcloak (leader of the Stormcloak Rebellion), in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a racist. This is probably not the case, but this hasn’t stopped fans debating on this subject.

I’ve heard talk on the matter of racism appearing in the Stormcloaks around the internet, sometimes as a discussion topic, sometimes as a passing thought, even some users here mentioned it in our comment section. Some users go so far to mock people that side with these “bigots” that want to destroy the empire.

I was going to say, in a matter of continuing a conversation that my friends often refer to as ‘DGAFing’, that I’d like to drop the term ‘racist’ right now because it’s an overused popular culture hot button that gets thrown around like a rag doll in Garry’s Mod. After playing through the Stormcloak Rebellion of Skyrim, it appears I actually have plenty to talk about without propagating a generation of people accusing others of racism so they can appear morally superior and politically correct in the social spotlight for one happy gleaming moment.

Well now that you mention it, I would like to get down from here.

You might have picked up from that overly long, overly elaborate and painfully pretentious rant there that I do have plenty to talk about with the Stormcloak Rebellion. Indeed, racism is actually a subject that isn’t remissed in this fight for the land of the Nords. Not that my character was morally superior. My editor, God bless his heart, inspired me to write this article when I was RIGHT SMACK DAB in the middle of cuddling up to that dysfunctional murdering family, The Dark Brotherhood.

For those who aren’t into Skyrim, what is wrong with you? Oh, you don’t have the money, Sorry. Didn’t mean to offend. Well for those who can’t afford it yet but are hopefully receiving it for Holidays, the Stormcloaks are a bunch of Nords (And one Wood Elf in my case) fighting against a race of Imperials that have invaded Skyrim and forced the population to stop worshiping their god, Talos and is also protecting their land to a fairly decent degree.

Let’s stop right there for a second, because before people use the term racist, let’s remember that line up there. ‘Forced their population to stop worshiping their god, Talos…’. Now I understand that Skyrim isn’t exactly a monotheistic society and this isn’t exactly the greatest travesty that has ever disgraced the land of Tamriel, this is a fact that can’t be overlooked. They’re suppressing religion. We’ve seen this a few times, and no matter how much you hate America, they’ve never legitimately stopped you from worshiping your God.

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Skyrim - Is Ulfric Stormcloak Racist? , 5.8 out of 10 based on 28 ratings
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Wil Taylor


My name is Wil Taylor, an ex-rabid Nintendo fanboy until only a few years ago, a crazy man in a crazy hat showed me that games could be much more than Mario. I buckled up tight and gripped my respective controllers and decided that I was going to come up along-side the new wave of gaming and focus on the interactive mediums. Because seriously, how often does humanity discover an entirely new medium for art? Also, blowing up things is neat too. My favorite games are Bastion, Portal, BlazBlue, Street Fighter, Super Meat Boy and Saints Row.

40 Comments

  1. sneaky-khajiit
    December 19, 2011, 1:44 AM

    You obviously don’t know alot about the overall elder scrolls lore or even the deeper story of skyrim. Ulfric is an idiot because the banning of worship was only temporary and not even enforced until the empire could rally their forces to go to war with the dominion again. Ulfric made it an issue that had to be enforced by starting the war, and weakened the empire – meaning that it will take longer for them to start the fight against the thalmor again, if at all – there by defeating his own cause when the thalmor completely rule skyrim. Ulfric isn’t racist, but many stormcloaks are, not against imperials but against any non-human race.

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  2. Doug
    December 19, 2011, 1:48 AM

    I’m not sure if you forgot when writing this article or not but there’s a lore inaccuracy you’ve made. The Empire is supressing a rebellion (The Stormcloak rebellion), not invading Skyrim. The Empire has had Skyrim as a province for at least 600 years, since the Third Empire’s beginning. Besides that this was an interesting article and your points are understandable. Though I feel that perhaps you should’ve included some talk bout the Thalmor in the article, perhaps as another reason why the Stormcloaks are rebelling or something else.

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  3. Benedict Brunker
    December 19, 2011, 5:30 AM

    It should be mentioned I think that Talos is in fact Tiber Septim, the Tamriel’s very first emperor, who was apotheosised much like Caesar Augustus. So to fight the empire in order that they might again worship Talos seems a bit silly. If you ask me there would be just as many people in Cyrodiil who were outraged by this ban as there are in Skyrim.
    I think the Stormcloak thing is a great reflection of nearly all nationalist seperatist movements. It has good motives at heart, religious freedom, solidarity etc. But it also is used mainly as a vehicle for thuggery and racism. I don’t think Ulfric is a racist himself nor do i think he is just a soulless demagogue like some imperials make him out to be. But at the same time I dont think Karl Marx would have been a Stalinist or that Jesus would have been a big fan of the Spanish Inquisition.
    I remember being all keen to join the stormcloaks and pretend to be in the IRA (with swords and adept level destruction). Having chosen a dark elf character I went to Windhelm only to find my people (MY PEOPLE!) being herded in a little ghetto away from everyone else, while nordic thugs roamed the streets giving shit to dark elf shopkeepers just trying to get by. I vowed that day to do all I could to end the bigotry of the stormcloaks and create a free and multicultural society where all might sing and dance together and shit rainbows.
    One more thing, the nords i think, like ive said, hate the elves more than the Imperials. And it was the Aldmeri Dominion who banned Talos worship effectively, or else the Empire wouldve been wiped out and all those racist nords would have been living in ghettos in the Sumerset Isles. It becomes quite clear from the main quest that the Thalmor see the civil war in Skyrim as beneficial to them, as Skyrim is a particuarly beneficial region. So by fighting against the Empire, who dont want to ban Talos worship anymore than the Nords, they are simply being self-defeating and playing into the hands of those devious Thalmor (curse them!).
    Anyway im sorry that was so long but these are the kind of thoughts i could never ever say to any of my friends so must choose the dark recesses of the internet.

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  4. macready
    December 19, 2011, 7:25 AM

    Ulfic Stormcloak and his band might not be racist, but the writers at Bethesda are. Against their own creations sure, but never the less.

    Bethesda: STOP. FAVOURING. HUMANS.

    Remember that game Morrowind? You know, where the dark elves (portrayed on many occasions as evil slavers) didnt want the imperialistic, thieving empire in their land? Yeah, well this was portrayed as a bad thing. Those who wanted the empire out were xenophobic racists who barely stopped short of murdering everyone not a Dunmer in their land. The empire was portrayed as benevolent, and they even had their empire initiating the prophecy which saved Morrowind. How galling.

    Now ignoring the fact that the other part of the prophecy was to free Morrowind from the evil (not according to the writers) clutches of the empire that continued to dictate and steal from Morrowind was suspisciously skipped. Ignoring the fact that in the aftermath Morrowind was blown up, invaded by opportunistic weakling Argonians as some form of petty vengeance and now left a barely habitable mess. Ignoring all that, well just skip right to Skyrim.

    Yeah, the other elves that havent been scattered to the winds? The high elves and the wood elves? Yeah, well theyve started an Empire of their own. Only its evil, straight up opressive 2 dimensional evil. No questions asked, its a baaad thing.

    This is just pathetic. All taking place on a land where all the human races are foreigners even in their own provinces. Before humans arrived on Tamriel the elves lived there. But then the humans invaded- err, arrived in Skyrim and started killing their way into settling Skyrim. But dont worry, this was the elves, so they were evil and this was a good thing.

    Before anyone tries to bother claiming its all about perspective – no, its not because the elven perspective is almost never offered, and when it is, its twistevilbaad. The humans version of events is nearly always portrayed as superior – you hardly ever hear about how humans came from their own continent and stole land from the elves. No, because the elves are being too 2D evil to take the moral high ground the writers never bother gifting them.

    They even have the audacity to ascend the Emperor who started that entire (non-oppressive and totally good remember) Empire to godhood. And since the only genuine conflicting view from the new evil elven empire is “dont worship Talos or well kill you”, there isnt much to suggest Talos isnt now a god.

    So yeah, its the writers at Bethesda who are “racist” (read: stupid). The same writers who have the whiny Nords complain that “theyll die before elves dictate the fates of men” after one of their own scum bag people, now supposedly a god, established an empire that dictated the fates of all men, mer and beast races. Yet isnt once portrayed as a bad thing. Not once is their blatant hypocrisy pointed out. No its all, “we faught and bled for this empire that stole peoples lands and homes, and now weve decided in fact its stealing our own lands and homes”.

    I obviously played a dunmer, and strangely you might think, I sided with the stormcloaks. But not once was given the opportinity to call out their pretentiousness, their arrogance or hypocrisy and maybe that they brought it on themselves. The fact that the empire deserves to be destroyed to claiming other races lands and wealth for their own for hundreds of years, rather than just because they wont back the nords up over their stupid hero god.

    (Dont get me wrong, I love the Elder Scrolls – that faux outraged rant aside – but its true. The writers continually place their shoddy roman and norse ripoffs above all the others. I thought after Oblivion the empire would be done for, and all provinces would return to something of an equal footing. Now if they dont kill it off in the next game and also teach the Nords some humility it will really start to get on my nerves).

    None of this would have been a problem if way back at Morrowind (a game I also loved) the boot was on the other foot, but it wasnt. You were forced into the role of foreigner no matter what, even if you played a dunmer.

    I think the sooner the writers at bethesda pull their heads out of their asses and start being unbiased towards the races in the elder scrolls gameworld the better their (already excellent) lore will be.

    And thats the end of my semi-serious rant.

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  5. Damien
    December 19, 2011, 10:49 AM

    You fail to mention the racist (yes, racist) attitudes of the Nords against Khajits, Aragonians, all elves and Redguards.

    Is Ulfric himself a bigot? Maybe. Maybe not. But a good deal of the fine folks from Skyrim are. Ever run into Rolff Stone-Fist late at night in the “Grey” Quarter of Windhelm?

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  6. You people are stupid
    December 19, 2011, 12:55 PM

    well if bethesda made a game where every one got along then there wouldent be much of a game now would it? you people are fucking stupid. Its a game and they made a plot line to it. Todd Howard said on many occasions that the game would have racist themes in the plot. Get over yourselves. If you dont like it then dont play it. Simple. Bethesda is not racist and if you think they are then your narrow minded. This is entertainment nothing more. So if you feel like a made up fantisy race is racist i feel sorry for you. Try and worry abut real world problems. Nice article Btw i agree that people throw around the word “racist” way to often to make them selves feel better and politically correct and forget about the actual problem at hand. Too bad this is an article about video game racism and not real life racism. Becaue real life racism is an actual problem and not fantisy world racism where some people got offended because they chose to be a dark elf and they feel like they have been mistreated in a virtual reality world. i cant beleive that people would actualy take offence to it. If this was a joke then it was funny. BUt if people are actually bitching about this then i think its time to turn off the games and go play outside. You people are so caught up in your fantisy world that you forgot the animations dont have feelings and this is not actually effecting real people.

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  7. Big Kahuna
    December 19, 2011, 3:23 PM

    The folks at Bethesda crafted a wonderful masterpiece that is Skyrim. Which side to choose in the civil war is not supposed to be an easy decision. You have the imperials, which have protected Skyrim and promoted trade but also had to ban Talos because of the treaty with the Thalmor, to prevent the fall of the empire and the Thalmor having free reign over Tamriel. Then there are the Stormcloaks, with their alleged moralistic crusade against the religion banning Imperials. Except the Stormcloaks are racists by their treatment of the elves in Windhelm, forced to live in their own ghetto section of the city. Both sides have plus and minuses but when you look at the big picture, I chose the Imperials because their ban on Talos is temporary, until they can defeat the Thalmor and they stand to protect Skyrim and to encourage diversity.

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  8. Kill'ya
    December 20, 2011, 12:26 AM

    As as Orc who was about to be beheaded by the Empire, I would like to join the Stormcloaks. Yet all they talk about is “Skyrim is for the Nords”. Does that maen if I help them, they will kick me out, or, worse yet, Ill find myself back on the choping block?
    While the Empire May have tried to kill me, they seem quick to forget that mistake as long as I work for them. When the Stormcloaks are defeated, would I be back on that block again?
    I see this as a damed if I do/dont situation so I chose to kill em all and let Malacath sort them out(as long as I dont take an arrow to the knee)

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  9. IanG
    December 20, 2011, 1:19 AM

    Nothing in your article really touches on why Ulfric is racist. He’s racist because he allows it to flourish in Windhelm, compare Windhelm while Ulfric is in charge and after he’s been beaten. Plus his ideals are rooted in separatism which can be seen as racist.

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  10. Burning_Tyger
    December 20, 2011, 9:00 AM

    I am sure that this has been mentioned before in the above replies, but some of those are novels. So I will restated it more succinctly here:

    Talos (Tyber Septim) himself was a Nord, and the Empire’s most famous Emperor. He was the first and only person to unite all of the provinces of Tamriel under one rule, and brought lasting peace. So the Stormcloaks fight the Empire that was forged by their hero. Many Nords support the Empire, as the Empire is largely a Nord construct. I understand the reasons why some choose to rebel, with the religion and stuff, but the choice is not straight-forward (as designed). There are valid reasons to join either faction.

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  11. anon
    December 20, 2011, 11:43 PM

    something tells me that if it was in hammerfell and you were joining a redguard rebellion, the ‘racist’ connotation wouldn’t even occur to anyone.

    hammerfell for redguards
    black marsh for argonians
    skyrim for everybody!

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  12. werty22212
    December 21, 2011, 12:58 AM

    “…no matter how much you hate America, they’ve never legitimately stopped you from worshiping your God.” really now? Pre-columbian religions aside then? right right…

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  13. Man
    December 21, 2011, 2:18 AM

    Racism is sometimes justified.

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  14. mywhiterabbitradio
    December 21, 2011, 3:29 AM

    Africa for the Africans,Asia for the Asians,white countries for EVERYBODY!

    Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

    The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

    Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

    What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

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  15. Matt
    December 21, 2011, 3:17 PM

    If you really think that Ulfric Stormcloak is motivated by religious freedom, I have a suggestion for you. Sneak into the Thalmor Embassy and take a look at Ulfric’s dossier. If you still feel that way after reading the dossier, you are welcome to your opinion, but it certainly swayed my opinion. Also, seriously people, we’re talking about whether or not there is racism in the Stormcloak Rebellion, a fictional movement in a fictional world, there’s no need to inject your political ideology into the discussion.

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  16. Anthony Buccaroni
    December 22, 2011, 1:56 AM

    My character is an Argonian, a race that proves exactly why Ulfric is a racist jerk. Apparently, it was Ulfric’s decree that forced the Argonians out of Windhelm (just speak to Scouts-Many-Marshes in the game after killing Ulfric). The fact is, almost every Nord in Windhelm (Ulfric, Torbjorn, etc.) is racist. The way the Dunmer and the Argonians are treated prove this. If you can’t see that, then you are blind. Also, who says that only one race should be allowed in Skyrim? What are you going to say next? That Asians shouldn’t be allowed in America? All races should be welcome everywhere, and Ulfric disagrees with that. And that’s why I put a sword through Ulfric’s gullet in Skyrim and destroyed the Stormcloak racists once and for all! VICTORY FOR THE ARGONIANS!

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  17. Cicero
    January 2, 2012, 7:16 AM

    If you´re in the windhelm market go speak to the High elf, she will tell you that she isn´t treated as badly as the dunmer beacuse she adapted and made freinds with the folk of windhelm. She also states the Dunmer are to proud mix themselves into the nod society.

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  18. Lifts-her-tail
    January 13, 2012, 7:51 PM

    It’s a game set in times akin to medieval times and so should reflect the views of people at such a time. Racism was rampant back then; why should the game developers put a rosy outlook on things?

    Also, it’s entirely possible to play an imperial, fight the stormcloaks and still become officer. Ulfric won’t even comment on it.

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  19. Ma'rusaad
    February 3, 2012, 1:37 AM

    I play as a Khajiit and I think it’s kind of annoying how all the other Khajiit are forced to camp outside the city and I’m the only Khajiit aloud in every other city. I’m probably the only Khajiit in Skyrim that owns property. I fought with the Empire and it looked retarded seeing a Khajiit playing along with the Imperials and everyone was all casual. You could even be a High Elf and fight for the Stormcloaks which is pretty stupid. I reckon once the Imperials gain control they should let the Khajiit Caravans set up in the cities.

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  20. Bill Bellamy
    February 4, 2012, 5:02 AM

    Wow, a lot of people stroking the old R-word…and in a GAME of all things, a piece of entertainment media that happens to tell a story. This kind of discussion is beneath anyone who understands that entertainment media tell a story; do you piss and moan about racism in a Koontz novel? No, it’s there to set a tone or establish a character. People have really got to get a grip and stop big brothering every little thing they don’t like. What’s next? Boycotting Bethesda for having some politically charged undertones in their games?

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  21. m'aiq.the.dark.elf.liar
    February 4, 2012, 6:44 AM

    hmmmmm…elves are hated because the HIGH ELVES defeated imperials and temporarily banned worship for talos..thhey were sent to skyrim to stop the worship of talos in skyrim (not imperials fault being over run for now) ulfric started the war because the high king did not do anything the high king couldnt resist a fight..ulfric being a coward had to use a shout. the thalmor want to stormcloaks to defeat the imperials so they can completely over run them..which means the end to the stormcloaks too..tiber septim (TALOS) created the empire/imperial army consisting of nords,imperials,bretons,redguards..the imperials dont want talos banned either..i still havent choosed yet but now obviously for me its imperials as im a dark elf who wants a new jarl to run windhelm which the new jarl is the guy who wants dark elfs freedom and argonians(whoo sit outside the city walls WHICH IS SO RACIST) all of this is the thalmors fault..in the next game i hope we can destroy them all..and take them all to oblivion(SO MEHRUNES DAGON CAN CRUSH THEN WITH HIS GIANT SMELLY FEET)

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  22. XJaeX
    February 8, 2012, 9:13 AM

    i agree they can be a little racist, but if you sit around, preferably sneak, listen to ulfric talking to his general, his cause is actually quite noble and in no way because of race. I usually side with the lesser group, due to the fact that they have inferior armor and weaponery, do it in all games, but this game actually felt a little right. If you didn’t know, i do this because the enemy gives better loot, more of a challenge, a better feeling from murdering armer soldiers rather than rebellion rabble. My actual point that i wanted to state was, and i dont know if you guys pay’d attention, but elisif the fair, jarl of solitude, main imperial hold, askes you to bring the horn of her husband, who ulfric killed, to the shrine of talos… thats right, i play for both teams, the only difference is, tullius is a douchebag.

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  23. XJaeX
    February 8, 2012, 9:19 AM

    THE REAL REASON THEIR IS A CIVIL WAR IS BECAUSE THE THALMOR AND IMPERIALS WERE IN A WAR, AND THE THALMOR PRESENTED A TREITY, THE EMPIRE ACCEPTED, ULFRIC THINKS THEY ARE WEAK FOR DOING THING, AND AIMS TO TAKE THESE POWERLESS INDIVIDUALS FROM POWER. THE CIVIL WAR IS ABOUT WEAKNESS, NOT RACIST,OR RELIGION. I WOULD SAY SORRY ABOUT CAPS, BUT IM NOT…

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  24. jesse
    February 8, 2012, 4:28 PM

    hes racist to dark elves especially

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  25. Anonymous
    February 27, 2012, 8:45 AM

    One time at band camp, I stuck a whole giant’s club up my ass.

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  26. GimmickyMan
    February 28, 2012, 9:53 AM

    I joined the Stormcloaks because I didn’t appreciate the Imperials trying to execute me at the start, but to say the Stormcloaks aren’t racist takes a remarkably stubborn determination to remain blind to the facts. Cultural relativism (i.e. say that the Nords are a tradition orientated people) is not an excuse for racism nor does it make said people not racist. Being victim of tyranny also doesn’t make your actions not racist. There is very specific dialogue from anti-Stormcloak Nords in the game that despite the banning of Talos worship, it wasn’t an enforced law until the Stormcloaks forced the Empire to take notice. The Nords know the empire was forced to ban Talos and that without Thalmor influence the Empire would more than likely reinstate Talos into the Divines Pantheon. But an open-rebellion against Imperial rule forces the empire to more actively enforce their power and makes it obvious to the Thalmor that the Imperial Forces in Skyrim obviously weren’t enforcing the treaty by vigilantly stamping out Talos worship.

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  27. KiltedSavage
    March 5, 2012, 10:54 PM

    OMFG, it’s a flock of nerds…..nerds who are nerdier than myself. Please pay attrntion, I will make.this short. THIS IS A GAME. IT’S MAKE BELIEVE. THERE ARE NO DARK ELVES, NO WOOD ELVES, NO NORDS. O.o

    That being said, I appreciate the article….well said with humour to prevent hostility which sadly missed the mark for those who stand in line for Trolly to take them back to Long Friday’s neighborhood of make believe. If people want to send themselves into a frenzy over this game, let it be.for something real and annoying- Bathesda putting out a game that wasn’t end.user ready. Too many bugs, too many issues, too long to fix. Whine about that and I’ll put my Blue Lantern Corps tshirt and join the fun,.but this racism issue? Too funny, too stupid and so not worthy of time spent.

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  28. ArchKingofPrattle
    March 7, 2012, 6:34 PM

    I was looking for a heated debate on which side was in the right. Looks like I found it.

    I’m always an Argonian, and in my time in Morrowind (I didn’t get to finish it sadly) I saved a few slaves from the plantations. Good times. I had tried figuring out who to side with early on, and the prospect of a revolution interested me (along with not getting my head chopped off). They sounded alright, one of them even said they accepted non-Nords. This turned out to be a very ignorant saying, seeing the state of my lizardmen buddies out in the docks. Oh sure you can FIGHT for them, but you don’t get to LIVE with them. Touching.

    The Empire can’t last. While I’m not up-to-date on my Elder Scrolls Lore, from what I hear these guys are on their last legs. I mean they’re not as bad as everyone says, they simply don’t have the force to keep everything running smoothly. Still, the Thalmor outlawing of Talos…well I’m an Argonian who rarely concerns himself with the turmoil of anything warm blooded (a trait that I carry in real life, oddly enough. Except for the Argonian bit of course). But it only seemed like it was only as outlawed as littering, as someone has said already, not heavily enforced. Gotta call foul on you there Ulfric.

    Really, so long as the Empire is lasting, I’ll enjoy it. I will fight for the freedom of my people, Skyrim needs some tweaking in it’s civics. I might side with the Stormcloaks initially, but one look at Windhelm is enough reason to knock Ulfric down a peg. Still, we’ve seen the good old Dark Elves of Morrowind right? Again, someone mentioned them being not quite in the right on this one. I have to agree (slaving bastards >:l ), so my greatest fear is that our prophecised descent into Black Marsh will end up with a whole ‘screw mammals’ policy. Don’t ruin my lizard people Bethesda. Leave them MILDLY sympathetic…

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  29. Cavey
    March 9, 2012, 11:58 PM

    Three points.
    1. While bethesda games have seemed to get progressively buggier since Daggerfall, I still play them. (D’oh).
    2. While an imperial officer sends you to the block, you get to kill her in the first five minutes if you follow Ralof (Kil me, will you?? CHOP!!).
    3. Only a Dragonborn can legitemately sit on the dragon throne. So I joined the Imperials (as a Nord), put down the rebellion, joined the blades for legitemacy, slaughtered every thalmor who came after me (has NO ONE else read the note on the thalmor justicars?? They want you DEAD!), became thane of every hold to raise the peoples love for me, and now I’m just waiting for my rightful ascenscion to the dragon throne, so we, the people of TALOS’ Empire (Tiber Septim = Talos of Atmora), can squash the uppity, backstabbing, thieving elven mafia called the thalmor.

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  30. scholargrove
    March 14, 2012, 1:51 AM

    You obviously never heard of America, and never played Skyrim. First off, America DOES suppress religion now. Second, on Skyrim, just beginning the game makes it evident. There’s a reason almost all Stormcloaks are Nords, because they are racist, including Ulfric, the Thalmor’s little agent.

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  31. Nader
    March 25, 2012, 11:01 AM

    Sorry to say, but your whole argument is irrelevant. The oppression of religion has nothing to do with why people consider Ulfric racist, and someone already mentioned cultural relativism, so I won’t rehash upon that. What I will rehash upon is your blatant disregard for Ulfric’s treatment of the Dunmer and Argonians who were previously living fairly integrated lives in Windhelm before he established his rule.

    Let me put it in more familiar terms. Once Ulfric came to power, he rounded up all those who were not his people, stuck them in one convenient place and robbed them of any rights. (Hrm, sound familiar?) Then he proceeded to turn a blind eye to the rising hatred being levelled at those minorities by the regular people of the city, which was only exasperated by his segregating of the previously integrated population. Personally, I beleive with Ulfric left in power it would only be a matter of time before things escalate to a breaking point, and either those racial minorities are run out of the city, or simply killed off.

    Also, a partial aside, but an interesting observation I made recently related to this. Ulfric’s name stems from the old germanic word for “wolf”. You know what other name stems from that same germanic root word?

    Adolf. ;)

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  32. SammaG
    April 23, 2012, 5:17 PM

    Ulfric Stormcloak won’t allow Argonians into his city because of their race…
    Thats racist.

    At first I was going to side with the Stormcloaks but after visiting all the imperial citys you find out that he;

    1) Killed the High King with the power of the voice in honourable battle (is it honourable to use a talent taught to you to be used as peace to murder a young King) despite the fact that the High King respected Ulfric and would of gone to war with the Empire if Ulfirc had insisted instead of killing him.

    2) Only cares about the Nords. That would be fine is the province next door hadn’t become unihabitable and their inhabitants were forced to flee. Forcing Dark Elves to live in dingy shacks and doing nothing when bandits attack them. But when Nords are attacked he sends a legion, probably would go and shout the bandits to death himself. Winterhold is probably the worst city in the game thanks to Ulfircs leadership. He’s just a terrible Jarl. There are murders going on in his city and its only the steward and the court mage who remotely give a crap!

    3) Main reason for the rebellion is so he can become High King. It screams out that he just wants power. Imperials have said that they worship Talos regardless of the agreement, Rikke even says “Talos guide you” when Ulfric is killed in the civil war.

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  33. Eques
    April 28, 2012, 9:05 PM

    This is a foolish and biased article. How can you possibly raise this question? Of course Ulfric Stormcloak is racist and evil, if not worse.

    1- Took dark elfs homes and forced them to live in a gheto

    2- Banned the argonians folk from Windhelm.

    These actions based solely on race. Now, hes not racist???

    But hes also evil and a coward cuz he, not just killed the High King in a coward manner (denying him any chance of a fair fight) but he fled from Solitude before anyone could do anything.

    If Im evil, and play a racist nord, I would join Ulfric for roleplay sake. But in any other case, he and his stormcloaks are scum that deserve to be killed!

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  34. Zafiq the Viking Cat
    May 16, 2012, 4:50 AM

    Ulfric doesn’t seem so bad. He doesn’t openly express any hatred towards any of the races. He bans a group of Argonians from Windhelm for aiding the Aldmeri Dominion (if a bunch of Nazi soldiers came up to an allied capital and demanded entry, would the allies have let them in? Probably not. From what the game describes, the Argonians were working for the most part as a single faction. In banning that single faction, Ulfric would have banned all the Argonians near Windhelm).
    As for the Dark Elves, their problems seem to be more the result of negligence than persecution. Apparently, Ulfric didn’t force them to live in the Gray quarter as much as the Nord population of Windhelm. The dark elves who request to speak to Ulfric are turned away. Why? Probably because Ulfric is more focused on the war. Think about it: whenever you go to Ulfric’s palace, he’s busy discussing tactics with Galmar. That’s the only real topic of discussion: the war.
    Even when the Dovakhin barges in to the palace (making no request to speak to Ulfric beforehand), Ulfric makes it clear that he is focused on the War Effort and doesn’t have time for civil concerns.

    Galmar, and some of the Nords in the city (and likely most of the Guards) ARE openly racist, however, so there is no pretense that racism is not rampant among the Stormcloaks.

    But the belief in Nord Superiority doesn’t seem to be relegated solely to the Stormcloaks. Take Jarl Balgruuf’s argument with Vignar Greymane during the Battle of Whiterun (Stormcloaks). Balgruuf believes that the Nords are the ones holding the Empire up. And he and most of the other Jarls keep the Khajit trapped outside the cities as well (I was let in, but then an Argonian Dovakhin can enter Windhelm. It’s integral to the game’s writing), so racism is not simply a Stormcloak problem. And then think back to Oblivion; the Imperials thought of the Nords as an inferior people, unclean, barbaric, and unfit for anything but war and labour. General Tullius displays these beliefs to an extent himself, sending Ulfric to “wherever you people go when you die,” a disregard of Nord tradition (which is a huge part of their cultural identity, and the way their society runs. The fact that Tullius is negligent to learn something so important shows that he doesn’t see much value in the Nord people. He doesn’t even bother to learn the name of the man he’s installing as the new Jarl of Windhelm. He’s there for the sole purpose of maintaining Imperial control over the Nords, not as any sort of service to the Nord people; to him, the Nord people aren’t even worth the time to learn about.

    On the broader subject, I think there’s more to the Stormcloaks than the worship of Talos. The White-Gold Concordant seems to be the main focus of most members of the Stormcloaks, but that misrepresents Ulfric’s reasoning (which we finally see towards the end of the Stormcloak campaign).

    The Empire’s hold on Skyrim was already weak. The Jarls were intentionally kept in disarray to facilitate Imperial control, Imperial forces are already spread too thin across the Imperial borders, the Emperor’s leadership is weak, and most of the Imperial government and a good bit of the military is corrupt and amoral. The White-Gold Concordant leaves the Emperor as a puppet governor, leaving Tullius as possibly one of the strongest leaders in the Empire. This puts the Legion on the same footing as the Stormcloaks, as far as military strength goes.

    The Legion’s plan of action is to quiet down Ulfric’s uprising, and eventually gain enough military might to cast out the Thalmor (from all of the Empire, not just Skyrim) and restore the Empire. This plan is reasonable enough, but it would take a long time, and would most likely be crushed at the start.

    So Ulfric has a different solution. Get rid of the Imperial’s corrupt government system, unite the Jarls and all of Skyrim’s people under a common cause, rid Skyrim of the beginnings of Thalmor presence, and prepare for a full on war with the Aldmeri Dominion. The probability that Ulfric’s plan will succeed does not seem any higher than the probability that Tullius’s plan will succeed, and this is reasonable: The factions are supposed to be written so that both have their strengths and weaknesses, and neither side is necessarily more favorable than the other.

    Back to Ulfric. Ulfric accomplishes this by, ironically enough, using a temporary relationship with the Thalmor to give himself enough breathing room to build a military force and strike at Markarth (see the Thalmor Dossier on Ulfric) before immediately ceasing communication and becoming hostile to the Aldmeri Dominion. The Thalmor believe that Ulfric’s civil war will facilitate a Thalmor takeover. But it should be noted that Ulfric is, in fact, hostile to the Dominion, and not a Thalmor agent.

    Another important point about the Dossier is the last line, about how a Stormcloak victory should be avoided, same as an Imperial victory. This shows us that the Thalmor consider Skyrim as a unified nation just as much a threat as it would be as a stable Imperial province, under new, strong, leadership (Tullius). They fear the strength of Skyrim at its full military potential (which is exactly what Ulfric plans to carry it to), just as much as they fear a restoration of the alliance between the Jarls and the Imperial Legion, so any arguments about how Ulfric’s new government in Skyrim would be crushed by the Thalmor immediately and how he’s playing right into their hands by separating Skyrim from the Empire are not entirely sound.

    The Stormcloak uprising strikes a lot deeper than the Worship of Talos. I personally feel that many of the more realistic reasons behind the uprising were left grossly understated, and should have been focused on more, instead of harping on cultural identity and religious freedom over and over again (bad writing, if you ask me).

    The reasons to support the Stormcloaks over the Imperials are there; they may be subtle, and not given enough screentime, but they are there.

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  35. D. Paul
    August 4, 2012, 1:28 PM

    This article is extremely tendentious.
    “After playing through the Stormcloak Rebellion of Skyrim, it appears I actually have plenty to talk about without propagating a generation of people accusing others of racism so they can appear morally superior and politically correct in the social spotlight for one happy gleaming moment.”
    A: It is ridiculous the way you talk as if you didn’t know of any attitudes Ulfric has with other non-Nord races. Argonians are not let inside walls and made to work non-stop for their Nord superiors. You speak of racism as if it not existed in-game, which is not true and is totally visible in it. Try to understand other opinions instead of putting them down without arguments.

    “For those who aren’t into Skyrim, what is wrong with you? Oh, you don’t have the money, Sorry. Didn’t mean to offend. Well for those who can’t afford it yet but are hopefully receiving it for Holidays”
    A: Oh, congratulations you can afford to buy the game but don’t be show off enough to demoralize other people who does not own the game. Extremely unnecessary and unfit for an article.

    “the Stormcloaks are a bunch of Nords (And one Wood Elf in my case) fighting against a race of Imperials that have invaded Skyrim and forced the population to stop worshiping their god, Talos and is also protecting their land to a fairly decent degree.”
    A: The Imperials of the Empire is not 1 RACE (they are all races of Tamriel, however, there is another race named Imperial but that does not make all Legionnaires Imperials. Looks like you didn’t put this information on the article to keep the tendention as you saw fit). The Empire has not invaded Skyrim and they “sort of” forced the population to stop worshipping their god, Talos. All you said it was the Thalmor who have done. Of course the Empire had to agree, otherwise every piece of Tamriel that TODAY is in the hands of the Empire could have been handled to the Thalmor elves and torn apart Tamriel. The ones “protecting their land to a fairly decent degree” should be the Empire, who is protecting people, NO MATTER the race and are still keeping the Thalmor from a secure distance of taking over Skyrim. Thing that won’t happen with the Stormcloaks in charge.

    “Let’s stop right there for a second, because before people use the term racist, let’s remember that line up there. ‘Forced their population to stop worshiping their god, Talos…’. Now I understand that Skyrim isn’t exactly a monotheistic society and this isn’t exactly the greatest travesty that has ever disgraced the land of Tamriel, this is a fact that can’t be overlooked. They’re suppressing religion. We’ve seen this a few times, and no matter how much you hate America, they’ve never legitimately stopped you from worshiping your God.”
    A: Are you dumb? The banning of Talos was inside the Concordat between the Thalmor and the Empire, BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THE EMPIRE IS NOT WORSHIPPING TALOS!! Did you kept in mind that??? The citizens of the Empire, not only the NORDS, WORSHIP Talos, even hidden from the Elves. The Legionnaires WORSHIP Talos! But of course you did not think of this when writing a tendentious article. And your logic is resumed in this: “We love Talos so much that we must destroy what he created!”, and their actions of protection is described by you as “travesty that has ever disgraced the land of Tamriel”. I still don’t know if you worship Talos, but if you do, you are contradicting yourself. And finally a comparison of a game with real life. People still insist on comparing something totally different in real life with another inside a game.
    You have no arguments. You contradict yourself and you are tendentious. You use Talos as the reason for your war, but your poorly structured arguments cannot even give a better reason for it.
    Your article is not suitable, you should give both visions of Ulfric being racist, but instead you gave one tendentious badly structured idea, which contains mistakes and contradictions. You refuse to understand the Empire’s actions and write as if your text does not have any historical/idealistic mistakes.

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  36. Mike
    August 21, 2012, 9:57 PM

    Ulfric is made out to be a racist, but if he was truly a racist there would be no other races but the White human races in cities like Windhelm.

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  37. TheGingerAssassin
    January 4, 2013, 2:59 AM

    You all sound like thalmor. The empire and imperials are all stuck up about themselves. Ulfric Stormcloak is only supporting of the inevitable change. Skyrim is the land of the nords not the imperials. And there is no problem with them being there but they have no right to come and think they can rule it

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  38. Mzilikazi
    January 11, 2013, 8:45 AM

    The word racism is an over-used, oversimplified joke. Culturalism is much more accurate at describing the situation in Skyrim.

    Most Ulfric-bashers are globalized Anglophones that don’t understand the problems associated with multiculturalism. For the sake of simplifying things, the creators of the world of the Elder Scrolls had everyone speaking in English – which is supposed to be representative of the imperial common language that has been spread throughout Tamriel. Because of the empire and the language they establish as the lingua franca, people and races from all over Tamriel can move to wherever they want, including Skyrim, but they do not, of course, have to learn the language of the Nords. Thus a Nord, in order to communicate and practice commerce has to speak the imperial language and if he speaks his own language, he will be discriminating against the other cultures who have made themselves home in Skyrim. An imperial, Breton, Argonian, Orc, whatever, who resides in Skyrim does not have to learn the Nord language, and can demand a Nord shop owner or whatever, addresses him in the imperial language. Obviously this phenomena will be infuriating to many Nords. It’s not only the language issue, but probably many other cultural practices as well that get affected by this, including religion. If the empire gets kicked out of Skyrim, foreign races who live there will have to learn to speak Norse, tolerate the Nords to worship whomever they want, and accept any other cultural practices that the Nords wish to keep alive.

    I am an African living in an African country, and I understand Ulfric’s position. The entire continent south of the Sahara is plagued with multiculturalism. Different tribes and language groups have been thrown together by former imperialists. In a multicultural country, one cultural group will always be advantaged to the detriment of the others. Sometimes the indigenous languages disappear entirely simply because it’s more convenient to speak the coloniser’s language, be it Portuguese, French or English, for the sake of everyone understanding. I know 2 people from Angola and 4 people from Mozambique, my age (in their 20s), and none of them can even speak their native languages. This is the case for most people from those countries.

    Multiculturalism is a horrific thing. It destroys and ruins smaller cultures. It brainwashes children into thinking it’s better or chic to be like the dominant culture. That’s why these smaller cultures keep going backwards until they die out.

    As for those who compare Ulfric to Hitler: have you ever heard of Godwin’s Law? Nevertheless, even if there are many similarities it does not imply that Ulfric is “wrong”. Hitler might have been justified in some of his feelings and views towards the Jews initially; however after the war started, he lost it and went mad and took the anti-Semitism to a new and unjustifiable level. Just because there are similarities between Ulfric and Hitler does not mean his whole cause should be discredited, that will be a gross oversimplification of both the world’s history of the 30s and 40′s as well as the situation in skyrim. Besides that, why should we assume that Ulfric would go nuts and decide to just kill everyone in his territory ho is not welcome? I was an Argonian and he made it clear that anyone can fight for him, but I need to understand what it is that the war is supposed to achieve, that Skyrim will be a country for the Nords and any other cultural groups living there will have to fit in with the Nord way of running things. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do…”

    I have no problem playing the Stormcloaks. I have played as both sides anyway, first the storm cloaks and then as the imperials. Personally I think the dweebs who piss their pants when someone sides with the Stormcloaks are a bunch of Anglophone imperialist yuppies themselves, who wish that all other languages and cultures and ways of thinking will disappear so they can globetrot and live anywhere they please without feeling like they are out of their comfort zones. I’m not saying all Anglophones are like this, I’m talking about the yuppie, supremacist crowd.

    The situation in Skyrim is very simplified, so much so that some might interpret it as pure and simple racism. Well, it isn’t. The game designers aren’t necessarily the wisest and most informed people in the world. If a game could one day be designed by a bunch of renowned historians it would be fantastic, as people might then finally “get” how complicated these situations usually are.

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  39. dsf
    January 22, 2013, 9:30 PM

    Bethesda should make a game for every province in Tamreial,and should also bring back the Snow Elves and the Dwemer as a race. They need to at least tell us what happened to the Dwemer. They should make a game after it. I also think it time that the Argonians and kajhit. I also believe they should be made great among the province of Tamriel instead of the scum of the continent. The Thalmor need to also receive a beating from the two races. Maybe the two great kingdoms can save the empire from the Thalmor threat. I think it only fair that they give the Orcs an actual kingdom.

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  40. JZ Tai
    November 11, 2013, 7:45 PM

    U know what screw the empire and stormcloaks. This game should have provided an option like Mount and Blade…make urself a king and start your own empire. I tried fighting for both sides and must say, I really hate Tullius as well as Ulfric. Tullius is so ignorant, like many of you mentioned above, he doesnt even learn about the Nord people’s tradition properly..”wherever is it that you go?…” Yeah, how about I soul trap you and send you to Oblivion to be Molag-Bal’s little bitch? **Spoilers** I have seen the glories of Sovengarde and seen people like Jurgen Windcaller and Ysgramor, you act like it doesn’t even exist. Worst still, he approved of the Thalmor to capture and torture Thorald Gray-Mane (Eorlund and Fralia’s son). That’s just horrible. While stormcloaks can be racist, I never heard of any stormcloaks secretly capture and torture anyone. Stormcloaks on the other hand are too proud and arrogant. Especially that once-honoured guy and Rolff. Since you can’t kill rolff, i slit that once honoured guy’s throat immediately when he didn’t see me. Although being dragonborn regardless of race does make me feel that I am the only being closest to Talos, the fact that some Nords are prejudice towards other race infuriates me as well. There should’ve been an option to start your own kingdom, and destroy the Thalmors, the Empire and the Stormcloaks. A Dragonborn King who fought for the equality of all races. Truely trouching, storybook quality ; )

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