In Whiterun, they worship Talos, but the Imperials banned Talos.

And on any civil war map, it says Whiterun is Imperial.

I am confused

  • A similar stance is taken with the presumed loyalties of the Dovakin during peace negations. If the Dovakin does not explicitly join the rebellion, he/she is presumed to be a loyal imperial subject.
    – tjd
    Jun 6, 2018 at 14:45

4 Answers 4


Jarl Balgruuf doesn't approve of the Thalmor rule over Skyrim, but he also doesn't think a civil war is the appropriate way to solve the issue. As such, he doesn't want to explicitly side with either the Imperials or the Stormcloaks, preferring to delay the choice until he's forced to pick a side.

While this decision doesn't win him any favor with either faction, it does grant him a larger degree of freedom in how he governs his city, allowing him to not strictly regulate the ban of Talos worship.

As for why Whiterun is counted as an Imperial city on the map, it's because "officially" counting yourself as an Imperial city gives you more breathing room and less strict controls, with the Imperials being spread thin as they are over the entirety of Skyrim.


This message is from a loading screen

Talos is the hero-god of mankind. His worship is currently banned by the Empire, but that hasn't stopped the Nords of Skyrim from revering him.

This is also true according to the wiki

The banning of Talos worship soon produced the Stormcloak Rebellion in Skyrim, where the effects of the ban were most felt. If the Stormcloaks manage to win the Civil War, Talos worship will be legalised in Skyrim again and a shrine to him will be returned in the Temple of the Divines in Solitude.

Basically, just because they banned it, it didn't stop people from worshiping. If you also sided with the Stormcloaks, you'll see more worshiping of Talos than if you sided with the Imperials.

  • 19
    TL;DR. Skyrim belongs to the Nords Jun 1, 2018 at 20:31
  • The loading screen message is good evidence, but I don't see how the quote from the wiki has any bearing on the matter.
    – Pharap
    Jun 3, 2018 at 14:14

Even if by the books Whiterun may be imperial, Whiterun actually is neutral and the population is divided as to which side to support. The guards don't have the order to police the Talos worshipers. The Jarl didn't allow imperial reinforcements until the relationship with Ulfric worsened.

Also note that the imperials don't really want to ban the worshiping but they are just enforcing the terms of the White-Gold Concordat to avoid a restart of the hostilities with the Aldmeri Dominion. Legate Rikke herself is a Talos worshiper.

I'm not sure how they avoided inspections by Thalmor Justiciars. Maybe they cannot spare more Justiciars and just considered Markarth more important or they didn't want to antagonize the Jarl and swing him to the Stormcloak side. Whiterun siding with the Ulfric would make the stormcloak victory more likely , which is not a desirable outcome for the Thalmor.

If the Stormcloack attack is defeated then the city allies officially with the Imperials, so the banning of Talos worshiping is enforced. In that case the Talos priest will be jailed.


Whiterun is technically neutral. Thus Whiterun does not follow the Talos rule. Whiterun leans heavily towards the empire though shown by the fact that, on the jarls map he marks Whiterun as imperial, that in the bannered mare the bard sings about driving out the Stormcloaks, and that in the civil war questline Whiterun chooses to be Imperial.

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