Windhelm, also known as the City of Kings, is a city located in northeastern Skyrim. It serves as the capital of Eastmarch Hold. It is also the oldest city in Skyrim, possibly the oldest city of man on Tamriel that is still standing, dating back to the Merethic Era.
The city sits on the northern bank of the White River and is an imposing sight with its massive, ice-covered stone walls. It also has a port, accessible via the city itself. Windhelm is located near the northern border of Eastmarch, near Winterhold and the Pale. It is also close to the border with Morrowind, which can be found by road a relatively short walk up the Velothi Mountains, located east of the city.
Being in the icy north of Skyrim, the city has very cold weather. However, travelers heading toward the Rift or Whiterun will see the landscape turn green and lush almost immediately south of the city limits. Travelers to the city are greeted by the majestic frozen bridge leading to the main gate, but it is the old Palace of Ysgramor (now known as the Palace of the Kings), towering over all other structures in the city, that truly takes the breath away. The palace is considered to be one of the only original First Empire buildings remaining.
The city slopes slightly northward and has different levels of elevation, with the Palace located at the city’s highest point, making it even more visible and striking. The streets have high thick walls around them and are packed with snow, giving the city something of a claustrophobic feel; the sky is always white or overcast, and fierce blizzards batter the city with alarming regularity. It is within these snow-strewn streets and icy alleys that Windhelm’s inhabitants live, usually with an overriding sense of tension.
During The Return, in the late Merethic Era, Ysgramor's son Yngol was separated from the rest of the fleet in a terrible storm. Ysgramor eventually found the shipwreck of Yngol's longboat, the Harakk, and discovered that his son and his crew had been slain by the Sea-Ghosts.
Ysgramor, in grief, decided to build a great city where the nearby river met the sea. It was built as a monument of mankind. The city was designed in Atmoran fashion and was constructed by elven captives. Ysgramor commanded for a great bridge to be constructed, forever striding the river so no elf might sneak through to avenge his devious cousins. As the bridge was built long, so too was the palace built high, spires reaching the sky to show dominion even over the very winds that had brought forth such grief.
Once Ysgramor and his men had settled in this new land, the reign of the Ysgramor Dynasty began, and Windhelm served as the capital city of Skyrim during the First Empire. It is said that a huge tomb was prepared for Ysgramor in the deep hallows beneath the city. However, Ysgramor chose to be buried at sea, facing his homeland, Atmora. Ysgramor's burial place is known as Ysgramor's Tomb.
During the Second Era, under the rule of Jarl Elgryr the Unminded, Windhelm was in an impoverished state. Basic necessities were scare and the citizens lived in abject poverty. This eventually prompted the citizens to rebel against the Jarl and storm the palace, however it is unknown if the uprising was successful.
During the Oblivion Crisis in the Third Era, Windhelm was the only sizable city in the otherwise determinedly rural Hold of Eastmarch, and served as a base for Imperial troops guarding the Dunmeth Pass into Morrowind.
During the Fourth Era, citizens of Windhelm have much to worry of. Skyrim is now in the throes of Civil War, and Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak leads the rebellion against the Empire. The Dark Elves in the Gray Quarter (formerly known as the Snow Quarter) have grown increasingly disillusioned. Dragons have returned to the world and threaten to destroy Skyrim. And, as if all that weren't bad enough, a mysterious killer has been stalking the snowy streets of Windhelm at night and has already claimed two victims.
After the eruption of Red Mountain, many Dunmer fled to Windhelm after Hoag Merkiller opened it up to Dunmer refugees. Previously known as the "Snow Quarter", the area has since been renamed the "Gray Quarter" as all the Dunmer have congregated in this area. Reasons as to why vary depending on who is spoken to within the city. Some say it is because of heightened suspicion of other races generated by the ongoing Civil War, and that the strongly nationalist Nords of Windhelm sequestered the Dunmer from the other citizens in this "Gray Quarter" in reference to the Dunmer skin color. Other dialogue with various Nord characters and a High Elf in the city suggest though that the Dunmer did not want to assimilate to the Nord culture and so began living together in what used to be the Snow Quarter, and as the numbers began increasing, this prompted the change in name. Argonians are also segregated from the Nord population and are forced to live at the Argonian Assemblage at the city docks. A decree forbidding the Argonians from living within the city's walls has been standing since Hoag Merkiller first allowed them to come to the city.
Dialogue with Ulfric Stormcloak, Windhelm's current Jarl, reveals that he does not attend to the issues occuring in the Grey Quarter due to being too busy with the Stormcloak Rebellion. The guards seldom patrol the Grey Quarter and their reasons vary depending on the characters spoken to within the city. Some will comment that the guards are too afraid, as many of the other Nords are, to go near the place because of the Daedric worshipping occuring that is common for the Dunmer culture. Others say instead that considering the guards are Nords, that they are racist towards the Dunmer and blatantly refuse to help them.
Despite the claims of Ulfric's racism towards anyone who is not Nord, High Elves seem to manage living in the city much better than the Dark Elves, despite the fact that the High Elves are the head of the Aldmeri Dominion. Niranye, an Altmer citizen of Windhelm, implies that it is because the Dark Elves refuse to conform that they live in squalor like they do, rather than because of Nordic racism. She manages to attain a moderate amount of wealth and even owns a home outside the Gray Quarter. Likewise, the Dunmer Belyn Hlaalu is allowed to own a successful farm on the outskirts of the city where he employs a Nord, and likewise shares the view that his kin need to stop complaining and work harder to make a home for themselves.
It is suggested, through dialogue with Viola Giordano, that the Dunmer are taxed more heavily than the Nords, and that these taxes can be raised at the Jarl's whim.
During 4E 201, as the Civil War rages on, Skyrim becomes a nation divided, and Windhelm becomes the new capital of the Stormcloak Rebellion, the main center of the entire Nord revolution against the Empire. Windhelm is governed by Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak, the leader of the Stormcloaks. Ulfric was chosen by the public as the new Jarl of Windhelm after his father, the previous Jarl, died.
Ulfric believes that Skyrim should secede from what he believes is a crumbling Empire. This stance came about due to the aftermath of the Great War and the introduction of the White-Gold Concordat by the Aldmeri Dominion. But it was not until the Markarth Incident that Ulfric's rebellion truly started.
Windhelm is composed of three quarters:
The Gray Quarter was so named because of the large number of Dunmer that reside here. It was once named the “Snow Quarter,” but that was a long time ago. But, to the elves, the name “Gray Quarter” is one of derision, cruelty, and discrimination. They believe the Nord people of Windhelm have always seen them as outsiders and hated them because of it.
Translated from ancient Nordic, Valunstrad means “Avenue of Valor.” It is the oldest section of Windhelm and has the largest buildings in the entire city, including the ancient and majestic Palace of the Kings and the only purchasable property in the city, Hjerim.
Points of interest
- Aretino Residence
- Atheron Residence
- Belyn Hlaalu's House
- Brunwulf Free-Winter's House
- Hjerim (for sale)
- House of Clan Cruel-Sea
- House of Clan Shatter-Shield
- Niranye's House
- Viola Giordano's House
- Calixto's House of Curiosities
- Hall of the Dead
- Temple of Talos
- Windhelm Pit (not directly accessible; can be found through use of the Creation Kit)
Outside the city
- Argonian Assemblage
- Brandy-Mug Farm
- Clan Shatter-Shield Office
- East Empire Company Office
- Hlaalu Farm
- Hollyfrost Farm
- East Empire Company Office
- Windhelm Stables
- Main article: HjerimAfter completing Rescue from Fort Neugrad or the full Civil War questline, the house in Windhelm, Hjerim, costs 12,000 and can be purchased from the Jarl's steward. Assigned by the Jarl to serve the new Thane and protect the house, Calder is the Housecarl of Hjerim.
- Adelaisa Vendicci - Soldier who works for East Empire Company.
- Adonato Leotelli - Drama writer.
- Ambarys Rendar - Owner of New Gnisis Cornerclub.
- Angrenor Once-Honored - Beggar and disabled veteran.
- Arivanya - Wife of Ulundil.
- Aval Atheron - Merchant of market.
- Aventus Aretino - Boy who was sent to Riften orphanage.
- Belyn Hlaalu - Dunmer owner of Hlaalu Farm.
- Brunwulf Free-Winter - Man compassionate to the Dunmer and Argonians.
- Calder - Housecarl to the Dragonborn, should he or she purchase Hjerim.
- Calixto Corrium - Owner of Calixto's House of Curiosities, Seriel Killer called the Butcher.
- Captain Lonely-Gale - Retired sailor.
- Dalan Merchad - Sailor on the North Wind.
- Elda Early-Dawn - Proprietress of Candlehearth Hall Inn.
- Faryl Atheron - Worker of out-of-town Brandy-Mug Farm.
- Friga Shatter-Shield - The murdered twin sister of Nilsine Shatter-Shield.
- Galmar Stone-Fist - Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak's Housecarl, and right hand man.
- Grimvar Cruel-Sea - Son of Torsten Cruel-Sea.
- Helgird - Priestess of Arkay.
- Hermir Strong-Heart - Blacksmith.
- Hillevi Cruel-Sea - Wife of Torsten Cruel-Sea.
- Idesa Sadri - Live-in nanny for Clan Cruel-Sea.
- Jora - Priestess of Talos and Wife of Lortheim.
- Jorleif - Steward and Strategist to the Jarl.
- Kjar - Captain of the North Wind.
- Lortheim - Priest of Talos and husband of Jora.
- Luaffyn - Bard of Candlehearth Hall Inn.
- Malthyr Elenil - Live-in help of Ambarys Rendar.
- Neetrenaza - Argonian dockside worker.
- Nils - Cook of Candlehearth Hall Inn.
- Nilsine Shatter-Shield - Daughter of Torbjorn Shatter-Shield and Tova Shatter-Shield.
- Niranye - Merchant of market.
- Nurelion - Older owner of The White Phial
- Oengul War-Anvil - Castle blacksmith.
- Orthus Endario - Office manager of East Empire Company by the dock.
- Quintus Navale - Resident assistant of Nurelion.
- Revyn Sadri - Owner of Sadri's Used Wares.
- Rolff Stone-Fist -Galmar Stone-Fist's brother, with a similarly ingrained dislike of Dunmer and Argonians.
- Scouts-Many-Marshes - Argonian dockside worker to Torbjorn Shatter-Shield.
- Shahvee - Argonian dockside worker.
- Sifnar Ironkettle - Servant of the Jarl.
- Silda the Unseen - Beggar and Expert Pickpocket trainer.
- SofieHF - Orphan girl who sells flowers.
- Stands-In-Shallows - Argonian dockside worker.
- Stenvar - Mercenary staying at Candlehearth Hall Inn.
- Susanna the Wicked - Waitress of Candlehearth Hall Inn.
- Suvaris Atheron - Office manager of Clan Shatter-Shield by the dock.
- Torbjorn Shatter-Shield - Patriarch of Clan Shatter-Shield. Expert Two-Handed trainer.
- Torsten Cruel-Sea - Wealthy owner of Hollyfrost Farm.
- Tova Shatter-Shield - Wife of Torbjorn Shatter-Shield.
- Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak - The Jarl of Windhelm and leader of the Stormcloaks.
- Ulundil - Owner of Windhelm Stables.
- Viola Giordano - Wealthy old maid.
- Voldsea Giryon - Female dark elf sailor on the North Wind.
- Wuunferth the Unliving - Court Wizard to the Jarl. Common Destruction trainer.
- Yrsarald Thrice-Pierced- Member of the Stormcloaks.
- The White Phial (side quest)
- Repairing the Phial (side quest)
- Blood on the Ice (side quest)
- Rise in the East (side quest)
- Summerset Shadows
- Innocence Lost
- Find the Thalmor Assassin
- Harsh Master
| Hero of Skyrim|
Capture Solitude or Windhelm
This section contains bugs related to Windhelm (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- Jorleif) may continuously claim that a house is not available for sale even if all prerequisites for purchasing a home are met. This seems to be most likely if he is spoken to before Blood on the Ice is completed. The steward (
- An unused character, Sulvar the Steady, was supposed to reside in this city as an unused character, but was not added to the final version of the game.
- ↑ Songs of the Return, Vol 2
- ↑ Songs of the Return, Vol 19
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Skyrim
- ↑ Songs of the Return, Vol 2
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Songs of the Return, Vol 19
- ↑ Yngol And The Sea-Ghosts
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Scourge of the Gray Quarter
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 The Stories of Tamriel: Jorunn the Skald King
- ↑ The Windhelm Letters
- ↑ Skyrim Loading screens
- ↑ Dialogue with Ulfric Stormcloak
|Cities||Dawnstar • Falkreath • Markarth • Morthal • Riften • Solitude • Whiterun • Windhelm • Winterhold|
|Holds||Eastmarch • Falkreath Hold • Haafingar • Hjaalmarch • The Pale |
The Reach • The Rift • Winterhold Hold • Whiterun Hold