Laila Law-Giver is experienced and possibly superstitious. She wishes to make a good Jarl and rule Riften justly. Yet, she seems to be oblivious to the obvious corruption plaguing her city. Furthermore, she believes Maven Black-Briar, a devious business tycoon, to be an ideal citizen, which further proves her ignorance of Riften's situation.
As Jarl of Riften, she resides with her court in Mistveil Keep, where she holds court and dines rather enthusiastically. Laila has two children, Harrald, the older and Saerlund, the younger. Both differ in their opinions on who they should side with in the Civil War.
Because she supports the Stormcloaks, the Jarl believes that Saerlund has lost his mind or is possessed, so she tells her Court Wizard, Wylandriah, to find a reason. She believes she has the Thieves Guild problem under control, and her advisors reinforce her belief. Her housecarl is Unmid Snow-Shod and her steward is Anuriel.
During the quest Skooma Trade, she gives the Dragonborn pointers of where to look for the criminals. She later rewards the Dragonborn with the title of Thane if they are known throughout the hold and have purchased Honeyside in Riften.
As a supporter of Ulfric Stormcloak and his rebellion, if she is removed from her position, she is exiled along with the rest of her family from Riften. She is then replaced by Maven Black-Briar, an affluent Nord noble who controls most aspects of the city even before her reign as Jarl. Laila can then be found at the Palace of the Kings in Windhelm. There, she laments on how she failed the people of Riften.
"What can I do for you?"
- What's your stance on the war? "While I feel Ulfric's cause is just, my concern is for the people of The Rift. How can they continue to lead their already meager lives with dark clouds looming overhead? My heart goes out to them. If only our coffers were deeper, I could protect them as they were my own family.
- What of Ulfric himself? "With the Stormcloaks at his back, Ulfric's posed to rid Skyrim of the Empire's forces and invalidate our involvement with the White-Gold Concordat. Many have died taking up arms for his cause. I fear that the land will be stained with blood for years to come." (Pre-Stormcloak Victory)
- What of Ulfric himself? "With the Stormcloaks at his back, Ulfric's posed to rid Skyrim of the Empire's forces and invalidate our involvement with the White-Gold Concordat. Between you and I, I think his motivations are a bit more self-serving. He uses this holy war as leverage in order to pursue the throne. If he were to be crowned High King, I'm not so certain it would be the golden age his followers expect." (Post-Stormcloak Victory)
- What is the White-Gold Concordat? "Surely you've heard of the Great War between the Imperials and the Elves who called themselves the Aldmeri Dominion? When the smoke cleared, the White-Gold Concordat was signed... it was supposedly a treaty aimed at establishing peace within the Empire. One of the terms of the treaty was the outlawing of worship to Talos. To the Stormcloaks, this was viewed as the moment when the Empire became unworthy of the allegiance of any true Nord."
- Tell me about the Thieves Guild. "We're all eager to see them brought to justice. Maven Black-Briar has assured me that they're being dealt with appropriately. As one of this city's most influential citizens, she's taken it upon herself to oversee their incarceration. Sadly, they're proving elusive but I have confidence that Maven won't give up until this city has been rid of them all."
Laila: "Have our scouts come up with any information on these reports of dragons?"
Anuriel: "Yes, milady. That unpleasantness at Helgen supposedly involved a dragon. It killed several soldiers before it departed."
Laila: "I want you to speak to the city guard. Make sure there's a contingency plan in effect in case Riften falls under attack."
Anuriel: "Yes, milday. I've also taken the liberty in preparing a private carriage... just in case."
Laila: "Good. If Riften should fall, it's only right that its leader be spared."
Laila: "Anuriel, a word please."
Anuriel: "Yes, my lady?"
Laila: "It's been brought to my attention that the poison known as skooma may be present in our city. What do you know of this?"
Anuriel: "I believe it to be a falsehood perpetrated by the Empire in order to weaken the citizen's confidence in your ability to rule."
Laila: "Excellent, then they'll be no need to devote any resources to stopping it. Thank you, Anuriel. That will be all."
Maven's Business Expansions
Anuriel: "My lady, Maven Black-Briar has sent word that she requires your seal in order to expand her shipments into Morrowind."
Laila: "But of course! Tell her she'll have it. Maven is one of the few people I can trust and I'd be delighted to give her my blessing."
Anuriel: "Yes, my lady. I will pass the good news on to her."
Rumors of the Ratway
Laila: "Harrald, I have need of you."
Harrald: "Yes mother? What is it?"
Laila: "This situation with the sewers beneath the city. I hear people have entered this place and have gone missing. Do you know of this?"
Harrald: "Yes, I've heard such things. Anuriel assures me they're just fabrications and there's nothing down there save a few stray skeever."
Laila: "Well, make sure we keep the patrols out night and day, just to be certain."
What to do about Saerlund
Harrald: "Mother, how long must we put up with Saerlund spouting his nonsense about the Empire?"
Laila: "What would you have me do, send him to the gallows for treason? He's your brother, Harrald."
Harrald: "My only concern is your safety, mother. One can only imagine the sordid types he may be conspiring with to bring about your downfall."
Laila: "I will hear no more of this, Harrald. Do you understand me? No more!"
Saerlund's beliefs are true
Wylandriah: "Do you realize how delicate the experiment is you've interrupted by sending for me? I may need to throw out the components and start again."
Laila: "How dare you take that kind of tone. You're in service to me, remember?"
Wylandriah: "I'm sorry my lady. The stresses of all this research... it's becoming more than I can bear."
Laila: "You're forgiven. Now, I want to know if you've made any progress with my son. Is he cursed? Has he been possessed?"
Wylandriah: "Sorry, my lady. I've been looking but I'm convinced Saerlund says truly believes what he is saying."
Laila: "Very well. Keep at it. You may go."
The Risk of Traveling in the City
Laila: "Unmid, I wish to travel about the city. Prepare an escort please."
Unmid: "Begging your pardon my lady, but I strongly recommend against it."
Laila: "Anuriel seems to think that seeing me on the streets might bolster the city's morale."
Unmid: "My lady, there could be agents of the Empire looking for an opportunity like that to have you killed. Are you willing to take that risk?"
Laila: "No. Of course you're right, Unmid. I'll stay here for now."
Laila: "Maven! Always a pleasure to receive you. What can I help you with today?"
Maven: "Thank you, Laila. I wanted to discuss the protection of my shipments." OR "I'm certain you're aware of the loss I sustained a fortnight ago."
Laila: "Yes, indeed. An entire caravan shipment of your mead taken by Imperial soldiers. What of it?"
Maven: "Well, I'm also certain you're aware that our own city guard failed to provide the protection required to ensure safe passage of the shipment."
Laila: "Indeed. We lost three soldiers in that attack. A sad day for Riften."
Maven: "I have payments to make you realize. If I can't make them, I can't make Black-Briar Mead." OR "Quite. To be brief, I need compensation for the lost shipment. Since Riften was responsible for it, Riften should pay for it."
Laila: "We... don't have enough to..."
Maven: "Laila, Riften is my home, but if my meadery can't be safe here, I'll just move it elsewhere."
Laila: "No, that won't be necessary. You'll have compensation for your loss."
Maven: "Thank you, Laila."
In an unused quest in the Stormcloak questline, if Riften had been under Imperial control as a result of "Season Unending," it would have been attacked by the rebellion. After Maven's eventual surrender, Laila would have initiated the following conversation:
Laila: "Ahhh... It's good to be home."
Maven: "Welcome back. I've left a few surprises for you to discover."
Laila: "How kind of you. And I've brought an army to give you a going away parade."
Galmar: "If you two are finished with the touching homecoming, there's a city in chaos out there."
Alternatively, in the event of an Imperial victory, a similar conversation will occur, this time between Maven, Laila, and :
Maven: "I think I'll like living here."
Laila: "So enters Maven Black-Briar, the glint of Imperial coin in her eyes. So tell me, what's the price for a woman's integrity these days?"
Maven: "You never were able to see the forest for the trees, were you?"
Laila: "We Nords were proud warriors once. And we still could be. Evidenced by the men and women who fought and died bravely today. You could see that if you had any faith left in that black heart of yours. But no, you're content to snatch scraps falling off the Emperor's table. Fine. Take my home. Take my city. May it burn down around you."
Maven: "A bit melodramatic, even for you Laila. Pack your things and go."
Laila: "One day when you can see past your own interests, you will come to see that we were right. And this... This is all wrong."
Rikke: "If you ladies are finished bickering, there's much to be done. Jarl Black-Briar put your government together. Do it now, or there will be rioting in the streets. We must move quickly to prevent further violence."
Maven: "Jarl Black-Briar. I must admit, I do like the sound of that. And don't worry about any rioting, Legate. I have it under control. We will soon begin publicly executing captured men. That should send a clear message to the people."
Laila: "Yes, but not likely the one you intend."
Maven: "Oh? I don't expect anyone to miss my meaning. Come, Legate. There's much to do."
- "Speak, I wish to hear everything my subjects have to say."
- "You have something to say, dog? Something on your mind?" (when in exile)
- She's the only Jarl that uses a unique dialogue line when declaring Dragonborn Thane. She will compare the Dragonborn to Mjoll the Lioness.
- She was voiced by Claudia Christan, who also voiced Aela the Huntress, Adrianne Avenicci, Iona, Sorli the Builder, and Legate Rikke.
This section contains bugs related to Laila Law-Giver. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- When attempting to become Thane of Riften and after purchasing Honeyside, upgrading or entering house before returning to the Jarl will remove the dialog options required to complete the quest. This permanently leaves 'Return to Jarl of Riften' in the player's quest journal. This bug applies only if Laila Law-Giver is Jarl of Riften during the aforementioned quest. This bug was not addressed in patch 1.3.10 and there is no known solution for consoles.
- Update: this was addressed and fixed in the latest patch (1.4). However, there is a new bug thus recently discovered. In one case (so far) Laila Lawgiver disappears from sight. According to the player, when she had walked into the building in which Laila Lawgiver dwells, Laila, without moving on her own, lifted into the air, flew back and disappeared into a wall. The player then found her just outside the entrance to that same building with the same effect. As of yet, the developer and forums have not picked up on this bug.
[player.setstage FreeformRiftenThane 200]will grant you the Title Thane of Riften and the Reward for the Quest 'Return to Jarl of Riften' Workaround:
- Sometimes you do not get the option of buying a house and becoming Thane of Riften from Laila Law-Giver. This may be because you left a previous miscellaneous quest involving the people of Riften incomplete.
- When you become Thane she does not give you a Sword of the Rift, but she does however give you a randomly enchanted weapon without a unique name.