Introduction and Overview

Stormcloaks vs. Imperials

Let me preface this by welcoming members of The Skyrim Blog to my blog page. Thank you for coming to view this site.

If you have happened upon this site and were not linked from The Skyrim Blog, I urge you to check it out here.

This blog site was created for a class, and thus, once the assignment has been finished, I will not continue to post to this blog. However, the information and my thoughts will sill be available for you to read and think about.

The purpose of this site is to provide a concise argument that relates my opinions and ultimate decision regarding the Stormcloak/Imperial debate. I will start by presenting my decision, provide a brief overview of each faction, give my personal opinion of each faction, and conclude with a deeper reasoning behind my decision.

My Decision: Not Taking a Side

This is the best image I could find on 
the web to show you how I imagine
Saryn looks.
My character on The Skyrim Blog is a Dunmer, Saryn, and he is old, pleasant at times but sometimes grumpy. He is beyond the age of caring about the squabbles of men. Now, the Civil War in Skyrim is much more than a squabble, but still, Saryn does not care. In the debate of the Civil War, he does not care who wins. In fact, he doesn't like the Empire much at all, and he borderline hates the Stormcloaks.

So bottom line, he doesn't take a side. In later posts, I will explain this decision in further detail.

If you want to learn more about Saryn, navigate to his page on The Skyrim Blog Website.

The Stormcloaks: An Overview

The Nord God-Hero, Talos.

 The Stormcloaks, so called for their leader Ulfric Stormcloak, the Jarl of Windhelm, are the freedom-fighters who seek to liberate Skyrim from the control of the oppressive Empire. Their motivation is religious. Once the Empire signed a treaty with the Aldmeri Dominon that included the banning of Talos worship, the Nords of Skyrim were called to action; to fight until the death for their religious freedoms. Those that wished to fight joined Ulfric Stormcloak of Windhelm as he headed the effort to restore the Nords' old and sacred traditions. The Stormcloaks are largely a ragtag group, most of them armed with older weapons and armor that belonged to their forefathers rather than higher-quality Imperial Steel. However, the Stormcloaks fight harder and longer when they think of their ancestors, to honor them in battle, holding the same weapons that they held, until the war is one, or they die. "Freedom or Sovngarde!" is their battle cry, and when you hear it, you had better be ready for a fight, or the Stormcloaks will crush you beneath their boots in the name of Talos, and for their families and friends that worship him.

The Imperials: An Overview

The Banner of the Imperial Legion.
The Imperial Legion is the military force of the Cyrodillic Empire. A strictly duty-driven society, the Empire knows what must be done for the greater good of all people. Although they may be misguided at times, and there are certain captains who are execution-happy, the Empire as a whole strives to keep order and peace.
In Skyrim, they struggle to put down the Stormcloak rebellion as quickly as possible, because their resources would be better used in fighting the true enemy, the Thalmor, and rebuilding the cities that were destroyed in the Great War with the Admeri Dominion.
The Imperials consider themselves the staunch protectors of peace and justice, and will put down any rebellion that threatens the peace that was fought so hard for in the Great War.

The Results of The Skyrim Blog Poll

On The Skyrim Blog, a poll was released to find out what the people on the site made of the Civil War. What side did they favor and why?

Here are the results:

The discussion about this poll can be found here.

Picture Gallery

Below is a bunch of images from across the internet that pertain to the Skyrim Civil War, just for fun, but also to see some people's opinions about the war.

The Imperial Argument

All quotes are taken from The Skyrim Blog.
“...Skyrim under [the] Empire benefits. Its people benefit…” Rumpel, an Imperial loyalist, shows his loyalty to the empire with this comment. What I am trying to showcase as the base of the Imperial side of the argument is that it is a more logical argument than that of the Stormcloaks. The people on The Skyrim Blog that support the Empire tend to look at the bigger picture. They know that the real threat is the Dominion, and that the Empire is the only faction with a hope of defeating it. The Empire is concerned with the greater good.

Some people that support the Empire do it because they would rather not support the Stormcloaks. Check out this comment from Samjt: “I went Imperials. They are more diplomatic and equal, whereas the Stormcloaks are racist and selfish.” He is plainly stating that he doesn't like the Stormcloaks because they are racists. The Empire is tolerant of all races, which is a major reason that so many different people side with them, and is the main reason that the Imperial Legion received the majority of the votes in the poll above. The Stormcloaks make life very difficult for anyone that isn't a Nord, and thus the people on the site who don't role-play as Nords are more apt to side with the Empire. In fact, Ulfric is one of the most racist major characters in a video game that I have ever encountered. And it shows. A lot of the comments on the Skyrim Blog were berating Ulfric personally, like this comment from Kuz: “I went with the Imperials because I prefer a unified Empire, also Ulfric is an asshole.”

The Empire's argument is justified. The continent of Tamriel will benefit greatly if Skyrim is reinstated as an Imperial province and the troops that are fighting the Empire would instead fight with them against the Dominion. But, with each passing month that the Civil War rages, the Empire uses valuable resources that it could be using to prepare for the second inevitable conflict with the elves. The Dominion is the larger threat, and the Thalmor are everyone's enemy. The commander of the Imperial forces in Skyrim, General Tullius, sums this up with his dying words (should the player choose to help the Stormcloaks). He says to Ulfric: “You realize this is exactly what they wanted…The Thalmor. They stirred up trouble here. Forced us to divert needed resources and throw away good soldiers quelling this rebellion…We aren’t the bad guys, you know.” This implies that if the Empire and the Stormcloaks do not unite, which is the Empire's main goal in stopping Ulfric, that the Dominion will win and everyone, be it Imperial or Stormcloak, will pay the price.

The Stormcloak Argument

All quotes are taken from The Skyrim Blog.

In direct contrast to the Empire, the Stormcloak argument seems very selfish. They believe that no one but Nords should be able to boss the Nords around—not the Empire, not the Thalmor, only the Nords. The Stormcloak way of thinking is showcased very will in this comment from Zimbu: “Stormcloaks. The Empire is falling. It lost its battle and is really just a sham of a government that is a puppet to the Aldmeri Dominion. Their treaty was basically forced on the Jarls of Skyrim, and they are oppressing people based on their religion…The Stormcloaks, on the other hand, are fighting for their political and religious freedoms. They do not accept the treaty that was forced in them, and want nothing more than to keep the oppressors out of their homeland. They want the freedom to practice their own beliefs and govern themselves using their own traditions.” The Stormcloaks are fighting for their freedom, but they are only fighting for the freedom and equality of the Nords, not the other races. The Stormcloaks are fiercely independent, emotional about the religious oppression that they are facing, and will not hesitate to fight for what they believe in, even if that means oppressing other races themselves.

The Stormcloaks do not fight for total equality. They only fight for themselves. However, there is a certain appeal to many people. It is inspiring to fight for one's freedom. Think of all the hit movies based on the theme of freedom and rebellion. People enjoy this sort of thing, and the Stormcloak rebellion allows them to be a part of it.

There are even a few instances of people joining the Stormcloaks just to be rebellious. Magnus Faraday seems to think so: “I sided with the Stormcloaks. My reasoning was entirely sentimental.” In following comments Magnus went on to tell about his childhood’s rebellious streak, and how he likes to take a rebellious stance when it comes to issues in video games.

Some people don’t support the Empire because they feel that it is politically unstable and weak. My good friend Kane says it rather nicely: “I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I lived in a land where the government couldn't protect its people.”
The Stormcloak argument is justified as well. What more noble a cause than to fight against religious persecution?

A Video Argument

I found this wonderful video of MeKaNiNjA8 on Youtube giving his ideas about the debate. His comments shed more light on the topic, and maybe contrast some of my bias. More opinions are always better!

Give it a watch!

Conclusion: My Decision in Detail

All comments are taken from The Skyrim Blog

I can see the merits of both sides, and I can understand the reasoning of each, but which side would I take? Remember, The Skyrim Blog is a site that is very much defined by the personas that the members of the site take on. My persona is a Dunmer—a dark elf from Morrowind, a desolate land covered in ash. When asked which side of the war I favor, I always answer that I would support neither side. I am one of the nineteen percent that would not favor either side of the war.
“Given that the Empire abandoned Morrowind during the Oblivion Crisis, I can’t ever see myself siding with the Empire.” I completely agree with this comment from Tyler. On two separate occasions, the Oblivion Crisis and the eruption of the Red Mountain, the Empire did not offer the Dunmer aid when they needed it. The Dunmer people had no one but themselves to rely on. The Empire simply was not there.
House Redoran led the relief efforts after the Red Year. Consider this excerpt from the lore book "The Red Year" in Skyrim (quoting Dunmer Deros Dran of Mournhold): “Relief efforts began almost a month after the mountain erupted. It was actually a directive that came from the House Redoran councilor that was living in Mournhold at the time.”
Similarly, “The Empire earned the hatred of the Dunmer by pulling Imperial forces out of Morrowind during the crisis in order to better protect Cyrodiil.” (From UESP) The Empire abandoned my people in order to protect themselves.
And the Stormcloaks are even worse then the Empire. Racists, the lot of them. “When the Red Mountain burned, you could scarcely breathe in Morrowind. So we came west. Windhelm is the first city on that road, and here we are. If we had known the Nords would be so unwelcoming, we may have kept walking." Ambarys Rendar, a Dunmer character in Skyrim, says plainly that the Nords are unwelcoming, but it is far worse than that. Several people in Windhelm, Ulfric's city, are openly racist towards my people. For example Rolff Stone-Fist, brother of Ulfric's right-hand-man Galmar, says “You come here where you're not wanted, you eat our food, you pollute our city with your stink and you refuse to help the Stormcloaks."
Suvaris Atheron puts it nicely: "Some of these Nords will come up with any excuse to despise us. And it isn't just the dark elves they hate – they make a target of the Argonians as well. In fact, just about anyone who isn't a Nord is fair game for their bullying." And Malthyr Enthil echoes: “Ulfric and his Stormcloaks made no secret of their disdain for the Dark Elves. In fact, they didn't seem to care much for anyone who wasn't a Nord.”
I will not take a side in this fight. It is not my fight. It is a human matter, and I have received no love—not even a courtesy—from the humans, so I will not give them any back. 
I agree with Suvaris. “It is not our fight.”

A parting gift for the Empire and the Stormcloaks, straight from the Dunmer: 
Take your Civil War and shove it.