Note: At this point Whiterun and Dragonsreach will disappear from the map and will not be reachable anymore, even if a house is owned, or if there is a spouse, in Whiterun. Only the surroundings of the city can be reached. Fighting in the Battle for Whiterun to finish the quest will return everything as they were before.
Upon arrival at the Whiterun military camp, Galmar is found giving orders to his troops to take the drawbridge.
Past the barricade a few more soldiers will be encountered. Beyond them are battlements around the left side of the drawbridge. Directly above the bridge is the windlass used to lower it. Once the gate is lowered the defenders will retreat back into Whiterun, and the Stormcloaks will pursue them. Opening the doors to Whiterun advances to the next quest objective.
The battle rages on in the streets of Whiterun. There are impenetrable barriers in place that prevent taking some of the alternative paths deeper into the city. Several of Whiterun's populace can be encountered on the streets but are non combatants and it is still considered a crime to attack them openly (for example, Vignar Gray-Mane is standing directly behind a spike barrier neat the entrance to Dragonsreach. It is necessary to fight through the city to Dragonsreach.
Upon entry, three guards will attack, who can be killed in one hit by any attack. The Jarl himself will attack with three guards and his Housecarl, Irileth. None of the guards have to be slain, as long as Balgruuf can be forced to ground and made to surrender.
When Balgruuf surrenders, Vignar will walk in. After an argument over their views on the war, Balgruuf will face the Dragonborn and say that he thought better of them. He will then go to gather his belongings. This ends the quest and begins the Liberation of Skyrim.
The preacher of Talos, Heimskr, becomes a very happy man, even though he cannot enter his house, for it is sealed with debris and is missing most of the roof. Instead, he has a small tent next to the wall surrounding Jorrvaskr. This means a quest from the Thieves Guild from Vex cannot be completed.
The town has a few scars from the battle. The area around the Gildergreen tree is badly damaged.
NOTE: If the Jarl is followed to his quarters after the fight, Galmar will become hostile when the Whiterun guards are killed before they become hostile. This can be avoided, after entering Dragonsreach, by waiting for the Whiterun guards to become hostile before they are killed.
The first quest objective is to get orders from Galmar. Even though he is actually still in the Palace of the Kings after the quest is first received, talking with him there does nothing. It is necessary to leave and find him again at Whiterun Military Camp near Pelagia Farm.
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It is sometimes possible for the fireballs launched from the city onto the plains to become stuck there. Waiting and fast traveling do not fix this.
If the Jarl of Whiterun is quickly spoken to after defeating him, then he will constantly say "Give me a few hours to gather my stuff, and I will depart. You have my word." This makes it impossible to complete the quest.
Waiting for about one minute will allow the quest will complete automatically.
If nothing happens, attacking the Jarl again when a new guard walks in will cause a bounty (40 gold) but the mission will continue (as long as the guard witnesses the attack).
When walking into Whiterun military camp, Ralof may attack without a reason. Galmor Stone-Fist and the Stormcloaks surrounding him will not attack if Ralof is attacked.
Fast travel to Whiterun Military Camp will avoid this bug.
When traveling to the Stormcloak camp in Whiterun, and leaving the camp by fast-traveling to for instance Riften, occasionally completes the quest instantly. When reporting back to Ulfric, he will call the Dragonborn a coward, but it does start the next quest (the "Liberation of Skyrim"). Whiterun won't have any changes, except that it will now be counted as a Stormcloak city.
Fast traveling to Windhelm AFTER entering Whiterun will cause the same thing to happen, except Ulfric doesn't call the Dragonborn a coward.
When reporting to Ulfric after the Battle of Whiterun, he may not give dialogue to continue the mission. Whiterun will remain destroyed and the Civil War storyline cannot be completed.
On PC , this can be fixed by typing the following console commands: stopquest cwobj; startquest cwobj; getqr cwobj; Ulfric then speaks the dialogue.
On rare occasion, after a guard in Dragonsreach has been killed, Galmar will start to attack the Dragonborn.
This can be corrected by reloading the autosave and not killing anyone. The game will continue.
The Battle for Whiterun scripting may not initially take effect on the city, meaning that when Whiterun is entered to force the Jarl to surrender, the guards will be standing by the gate as they do usually, the prophet will be preaching by the Shrine to Talos and the cows and other people will be running around as the fighting suddenly starts all around them. (Note that attacking any guards or anyone else when this happens will count as an assault and cause a bounty).
Reloading from an earlier save should fix the problem.
A critical bug appears when accepting the Jarl's surrender. Sometimes, in spite of the surrender, the mission does not continue. This happen when the Dragonsreach battle is won without fighting (hitting) the Jarl. When leaving Dragonsreach without that objective (Accept the Jarl surrender), the quest fails. If a fight is started with him again, Stormcloack soldiers will attack.
Sometimes when inside Dragonsreach none of the NPC's are hostile towards each other and the Dragonborn. Even after forcing Balgruuf to surrender he will be "busy" and the quest will stay stuck on accepting his surrender.
This can be corrected on PC by using the console command setstage cwsiegeobj 9000. This will finish quest and start the "Liberation of Skyrim."
In Whiterun city during the quest, it is possible that some of the children are still outside. If one is hit, a bounty is incurred (40 gold). If the quest is completed after getting a bounty, it cannot be removed. It is impossible to talk to any guard in Whiterun hold to pay the bounty as the Stormcloak soldiers in Whiterun will be unaware of it. Even though the bounty is only 40 gold, the Dragonborn will be attacked on sight by the rest of the soldiers in the hold.
Currently, there is no known way to remove the bounty other than loading an older save.
If the Alik'r warriors from the quest In My Time of Need are still present in Whiterun, attacking them will accrue a bounty. However, the bounty will be in Eastmarch, not Whiterun.
After Balgruuf surrenders, there will still be Whiterun guards in Riverwood.
If the quest is active, but the Dragonborn has not started the battle yet; being teleported into the city via either completing the quest A Night to Remember or by getting arrested and being sent to jail, will cause the quest to become automatically completed upon leaving the city with no battle taking place. Balgruuf will remain Jarl and the Whiterun Guard will remain as the city's guards, but all other NPCs will act as if the city had been taken by the Stormcloaks.
If Breezehome is owned before the siege, it may be lost afterwards. If the Dragonborn does not have the key, there is no way to get in. It may be bought again from Brill (the new steward) but chances are he may be lying in the streets dead, naked. If this is the case neither Breezehome nor the items inside can be obtained.