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Ulfric Stormcloak vs High King Torygg

    • 13 posts
    February 17, 2018 11:16 AM EST

    I'm sure everyone knows the tale of how Ulfric challenged High King Torygg to single combat. During this combat Ulfric used the power of the voice to win this duel. My question to everyone is, would this duel be concidered honorable by Nord standards?

    To be it always sounded like bringing a bazooka to a sword fight, Unfair. Ulfric already had years of experience as a soldier under this belt. Torygg was also just a boy. In my opinion challenging someone to a fight that is entirely one sided isn't honorable. What do you guys think?

    • 294 posts
    February 17, 2018 1:50 PM EST

    I think Ulfric was proving a point. Rather bluntly, but a point. If you look at the way Skyrim traditionally selects their high king, it's done through a Moot and you are selected based on your merits, your battle prowess, etc. Torygg got it through his bloodlines and while, yes, sometimes that serves a land and sometimes it doesn't. I mean we have examples of kings in royal lines in our own history that were great kings and then their sons really just suck. Do you want to condemn a land to a lousy ruler because he came from the old king's bloodline, especially where there are potentially better people up for the job and your way of selecting a king leaves you actually open to that option? 

    I'm not defending Ulfric, but I think I knew what he was trying to say with the challenge. Hey, if I can come fuck up your king like it was nothing to me, imagine if the Aldmeri Dominion would do if they got their hands on him. At least I am more capable of defending myself. Nords are a martial society, a weak king isn't a good one by their standards and this is not Skyrim's first war of succession. The first took place around the 400s of the first era and ended when Dragon-capturing Olaf One-Eye took the throne. Dragon-imprisonment is pretty slick, but the war started for the reasons below. 

    Over the years of the Ysgramor Dynasty, the Moot became more partisan and ineffective. The failure of the Moot to appoint the capable Jarl Hanseas Borgas' successor led to civil wars known as the War of Succession.[1]

    When the high king died in the fourth era, you can only imagine the look on Ulfric's face when he, a veteran of the war, the Bear of Markarth, was passed up for rule by Torygg? What does that say to you about the choices your Jarls are making, or who they are perhaps influenced by?  I'm not saying that Torygg probably couldn't have grown into the role down the road, Ulfric clearly didn't give him a chance to, but I can understand Ulfric's concern and the concern of the Jarls that support Ulfric's claim. Honestly, if someone like Ulfric or perhaps even Balgruuf had been selected in the Moot after Torygg's father's death, I don't think we'd even have a civil war. And Ulfric hesitates for a long while before attacking Whiterun, which means Balgruuf is no slouch. And Balgruuf doesn't use Tullius' troops until the very end, which means those two would be able to have a stand off. 

    I dunno, you can disagree with me. I just choose not to be colored by what is fair or unfair by our current standards, I'm looking at the Nord standards. Like I said, Nord society values martial prowess, it values strength and Nords themselves are sharply divided on the issue. Torygg was a bit of a mistake to put on the throne, in my humble opinion and sets the stage for Skyrim's strife, but gotta fulfill the prophesy of that pesky Dragonborn, am I right? Which needs the condition of the snow-throat being sundered, kingless and bleeding. That's not happening if either Ulfric or Balgruuf had become king. 

     

    • 1437 posts
    February 18, 2018 12:13 PM EST
    Though what's sad is, as NPCs who knew Torryg states, Torygg admired, nay idolized Ulfric, and if Ulric had just rolled up there and was like, "My liege, Skyrim no longer needs to be part of the Empire. I suggest seccession." Torygg would have been likely to go through with it
    • 278 posts
    February 19, 2018 8:40 PM EST

    Ulfric murdered Torygg. He didn't need to slaughter him with the Thu'um. Ulfric could have simply asked.

    • 747 posts
    February 19, 2018 8:49 PM EST

    Wulfhedinn said:

    Ulfric murdered Torygg. He didn't need to slaughter him with the Thu'um. Ulfric could have simply asked.

    "Murdered" is a strong word. It implies that Ulfric just walked in and killed the former High King. He walked in, challenged Torygg for a fight, Torygg accepted and, during that fight, Torygg died.

    • 278 posts
    February 19, 2018 8:53 PM EST

    Torygg had to accept, but I see your point. 

    • 294 posts
    February 19, 2018 8:55 PM EST
    Why not? He’s a Nord. Asking is weak. Look at their history, it’s full of individuals who tend to make direct points. Even Jurgin Windcaller was direct in his approach by using silence and then bringing the ither tomgues to their knees. In Ulfric’s eyes and in the eyes if half the Nords, he did nothing wrong. He was simply stronger.

    What this breaks down to if you fall in line with tneir nationalism or if you are more imperialized in your outlook.

    It’s the reason why they are fighting. Enough Nords don’t agree with and think he acted honorably. Are they wrong? If so, then you are imposing an Imperialized view and is that right?

    When does cultural assimilation get to the point where the culture is permanently lost? They’ve already lost their pantheon, what else is needed.

    Lol, I’m just playing devil’s advocate here. I actually understand your views and don’t entirely disagree from a personal standpoint, but I’m not arguing personally here. The Winter Bear build I made is a Stormcloak. Is he evil or wrong?
    • 278 posts
    February 19, 2018 9:08 PM EST

    His opinion is his own. A man convinced against his will is a man unconvinced, after all.

    • 294 posts
    February 25, 2018 8:38 AM EST

    Wulfhedinn said:

    His opinion is his own. A man convinced against his will is a man unconvinced, after all.

    I wouldn't call half the nords in skyrim convinced against their will. They made their choices and made them willingly.  Just like the Nords who follow the empire because in their eyes, they are defending an empire founded by Talos.  The Nords that follow Ulfric see the empire as so far gone from what was originally envisioned that it needs to be discarded. Both viewpoints are valid. Ulfric gets a lot of flack here because we are analyzing his actions through the veil of our own modern cultural standards, as we tend to do. However, when you analyze him through traditional Nord standards, his actions make a great deal more sense. Dunno, I guess, I just look at things very differently. 

    • 197 posts
    February 25, 2018 4:07 PM EST

    From the perspective of the more Imperialized citizens, what he did was barbaric. But I would bet from the perspective of more traditional Nords, especially from the old Holds and the non-ruling classes, what he did was just fine - it’s their way, after all. I like to “civilize” the Nords in my own writing because it’s more fun for me, but they’re an intensely martial culture. Ulfric really was the most physically powerful, and by Nord standards, the most powerful person should rule - no exceptions. It was ridiculous and insulting that Torygg was king in the first place, power-wise. And as Lissette pointed out, there was precedent for such a thing, should the Moot become partisan or ineffective.

     

    I also agree that Torygg had no choice but to agree to the duel, and I like to imagine Torygg in my head pretty far removed from traditional Nord culture, for all his devotion to Talos. The old Nord standards little more than a romantic fairy tale to him. I can’t imagine how he felt when someone who had to be one of his heroes challenged him to the death. 

     

    My personal problem with what Ulfric did, though, is more about his judgment. He knows what the Thalmor are like. He has to know that the Dominion can’t be content to just let Skyrim be. Unless he truly thought all of Skyrim would just fall in line behind him (which, given his ego, maybe that’s true) and the civil war would be over as quickly as it started, he had to know that splitting Skyrim in two and wasting their resources fighting each other wasn’t the way to go. This decision (plus his inability to make his own hold remotely liveable) makes me question his fitness for kingship. Plus, time marches on and people evolve - I’m wondering if we really did a study on power during Skyrim’s timeline, before the dragons came back, of course, is power still a purely physical thing? Or does it rest in diplomacy and a more global worldview? Maybe that’s the case, and Nords just haven’t caught up yet. If that’s the case, Torygg might have been a good choice for High King. His diplomacy has the power to channel the physical prowess of mighty armies - that is a source of power in itself. 

     

    But honorable as fits with Nord standards, not mine and not the more globalized ones of the Empire? Yeah, I think it probably was. I know this isn’t an exact parallel, but I just watched Black Panther last weekend, and I’m not going to spoil it, but there were a couple of duels in there, sort of like this. A challenge that couldn’t help but be accepted. And combat to the death, or yield. The challenge was written into their culture, their laws. So even if the people issuing the challenge weren’t necessarily honorable (I think the first one was in BP, the second one not, but that’s a different conversation), the challenge itself was honorable - it’s written into their laws to stop a weak king and that king’s line from weakening the country as a whole. So, in that case, it might have been dishonorable (from the country and the law’s point of view) NOT to issue the challenge. 

     

     


    This post was edited by ilanisilver at February 25, 2018 4:45 PM EST
    • 1571 posts
    February 25, 2018 6:44 PM EST
    Nords really need to revisit their definition of honour. Or at least Ulfric does. He freely admits he knew Torygg would not stand a chance against him, but challenged him anyway just to prove a point about strength. If anything, it was Torygg who showed honour in accepting the challenge. Ulfric claims it was his sword that killed the high king, but Torygg himself says it was Ulfric's shout that sent him to Sovngarde. As Torygg has no more reason to lie, I'm inclined to accept that eye witness testimony, and can only conclude that while the challenge itself was honourable, the actions in the challenge were not. Ulfric is just either too stupid or too arrogant to realise that strength takes many forms, and so by his ambition and selfishness bathed his homeland in the blood of brothers. Pity he learned nothing useful from the Greybushes.
    • 278 posts
    February 25, 2018 6:50 PM EST

    Paws said: Nords really need to revisit their definition of honour. Or at least Ulfric does. He freely admits he knew Torygg would not stand a chance against him, but challenged him anyway just to prove a point about strength. If anything, it was Torygg who showed honour in accepting the challenge. Ulfric claims it was his sword that killed the high king, but Torygg himself says it was Ulfric's shout that sent him to Sovngarde. As Torygg has no more reason to lie, I'm inclined to accept that eye witness testimony, and can only conclude that while the challenge itself was honourable, the actions in the challenge were not. Ulfric is just either too stupid or too arrogant to realise that strength takes many forms, and so by his ambition and selfishness bathed his homeland in the blood of brothers. Pity he learned nothing useful from the Greybushes.

    This.

    • 294 posts
    February 25, 2018 7:03 PM EST

    Paws said: Nords really need to revisit their definition of honour. Or at least Ulfric does. He freely admits he knew Torygg would not stand a chance against him, but challenged him anyway just to prove a point about strength. If anything, it was Torygg who showed honour in accepting the challenge. Ulfric claims it was his sword that killed the high king, but Torygg himself says it was Ulfric's shout that sent him to Sovngarde. As Torygg has no more reason to lie, I'm inclined to accept that eye witness testimony, and can only conclude that while the challenge itself was honourable, the actions in the challenge were not. Ulfric is just either too stupid or too arrogant to realise that strength takes many forms, and so by his ambition and selfishness bathed his homeland in the blood of brothers. Pity he learned nothing useful from the Greybushes.

    Honestly? I don't think the Greybushes are any better. IMO, there's your Dragon cult 2.0

    • 197 posts
    February 25, 2018 7:12 PM EST

    Wulfhedinn said:

    Paws said: Nords really need to revisit their definition of honour. Or at least Ulfric does. He freely admits he knew Torygg would not stand a chance against him, but challenged him anyway just to prove a point about strength. If anything, it was Torygg who showed honour in accepting the challenge. Ulfric claims it was his sword that killed the high king, but Torygg himself says it was Ulfric's shout that sent him to Sovngarde. As Torygg has no more reason to lie, I'm inclined to accept that eye witness testimony, and can only conclude that while the challenge itself was honourable, the actions in the challenge were not. Ulfric is just either too stupid or too arrogant to realise that strength takes many forms, and so by his ambition and selfishness bathed his homeland in the blood of brothers. Pity he learned nothing useful from the Greybushes.

    This.

     

    My husband is a career soldier, and when we first started dating, he had me watch all these war movies and and other movies, and it became clear very quickly his version of honor and mine are very, very different. It’s amazing how many there are. If I’m being honest, I think the most honorable thing that Torygg could have done was something that would have resulted in Ulfric’s death. It might have shamed him as a king, but it would have saved Skyrim lives, I think, in the long run, which fits better into MY concept of honor. 

     

    I actually HATE the Nords’ Sovngarde, the idea that living a life that doesn’t include death in “glorious combat” isn’t deserving of a glorious afterlife is repugnant to me. So much so that it’s hard for me to write anything involving that particular part of Nord culture in my stories. I read something in some book or other that it doesn’t even matter how you live, it’s how you die that counts. Ugh. So much awful in one sentence. 

     

    There’s a lot I don’t like about the way Nords (traditional Nords) think. I think lots of it is stupid and backwards and cruel and bloodthirsty. I too, think they need to revamp their standards of honor - standards that should revolve more around how people are treated and not around some hard and fast, rigorous, rule-based dogma. But then again, that’s me. Ulfric I think made a stupid decision to challenge Torygg that way. And I think it’s good that we think it’s stupid and dishonorable. 


    This post was edited by ilanisilver at February 25, 2018 7:14 PM EST
    • 1571 posts
    February 25, 2018 7:47 PM EST
    @ Lis, only insofar as they say that the use of one's Voice in combat is actually the least of its uses. That's the lesson Ulfric never understood. I cannot condone their apathy, though, and apart from respecting their ideology of peace, I normally side with the Blades and their philosophy of helping others is better than sitting on a mountain doing nothing. But yes, Paarthurnax's tyranny of the Way is very much a modern Dragon Culture. In my view all the pieces of the Merethic Era in play, it is just identifying who is what piece is the challenge :)
    • 294 posts
    February 25, 2018 7:55 PM EST

    Ilanisilver said:

    Wulfhedinn said:

    Paws said: Nords really need to revisit their definition of honour. Or at least Ulfric does. He freely admits he knew Torygg would not stand a chance against him, but challenged him anyway just to prove a point about strength. If anything, it was Torygg who showed honour in accepting the challenge. Ulfric claims it was his sword that killed the high king, but Torygg himself says it was Ulfric's shout that sent him to Sovngarde. As Torygg has no more reason to lie, I'm inclined to accept that eye witness testimony, and can only conclude that while the challenge itself was honourable, the actions in the challenge were not. Ulfric is just either too stupid or too arrogant to realise that strength takes many forms, and so by his ambition and selfishness bathed his homeland in the blood of brothers. Pity he learned nothing useful from the Greybushes.

    This.

     

    My husband is a career soldier, and when we first started dating, he had me watch all these war movies and and other movies, and it became clear very quickly his version of honor and mine are very, very different. It’s amazing how many there are. If I’m being honest, I think the most honorable thing that Torygg could have done was something that would have resulted in Ulfric’s death. It might have shamed him as a king, but it would have saved Skyrim lives, I think, in the long run, which fits better into MY concept of honor. 

     

    I actually HATE the Nords’ Sovngarde, the idea that living a life that doesn’t include death in “glorious combat” isn’t deserving of a glorious afterlife is repugnant to me. So much so that it’s hard for me to write anything involving that particular part of Nord culture in my stories. I read something in some book or other that it doesn’t even matter how you live, it’s how you die that counts. Ugh. So much awful in one sentence. 

     

    There’s a lot I don’t like about the way Nords (traditional Nords) think. I think lots of it is stupid and backwards and cruel and bloodthirsty. I too, think they need to revamp their standards of honor - standards that should revolve more around how people are treated and not around some hard and fast, rigorous, rule-based dogma. But then again, that’s me. Ulfric I think made a stupid decision to challenge Torygg that way. And I think it’s good that we think it’s stupid and dishonorable. 

    And who are we to challenge or judge how they think? Who are we to say what is right or wrong for them? Don't you all realize that this is the same shit the Thalmor are trying to pull on them right now. Analyze deeply what you are saying and then look at Thalmor texts. Freedom to have your own culture, people, instead of conforming and losing your identity, that is what Ulfric is trying to prevent. Whether his methods are sound or not, whether they are misguided or not is immaterial.  The important thing is that he feels he's right and enough Nords agree with him. They can not all be terrible people, right? They can not all be "repugnant, stupid or backwards?"  

    Again, just playing devil's advocate. But by not understanding Ulfric and where he is coming from, how close then are you to this line of thought? 

    To kill Man is to reach Heaven, from where we came before the Doom Drum's iniquity. When we accomplish this, we can escape the mockery and long shame of the Material Prison.

    To achieve this goal, we must:

    1) Erase the Upstart Talos from the mythic. His presence fortifies the Wheel of the Convention, and binds our souls to this plane.

    2) Remove Man not just from the world, but from the Pattern of Possibility, so that the very idea of them can be forgotten and thereby never again repeated.

    3) With Talos and the Sons of Talos removed, the Dragon will become ours to unbind. The world of mortals will be over. The Dragon will uncoil his hold on the stagnancy of linear time and move as Free Serpent again, moving through the Aether without measure or burden, spilling time along the innumerable roads we once travelled. And with that we will regain the mantle of the imperishable spirit.

    • 1571 posts
    February 25, 2018 7:57 PM EST
    Ilani, it is scary innit? Like a Norse Jihad. Even worse if belief shapes reality because that means the people who needed Sovngarde back in the day in order to know the loved ones who died in battle were in a better place, only for that much needed belief of the time to be perpetuated down through the ages. Rather than have it progress and evolve, change it like blessed Alessia did, the Nords are stuck in a cycle of conflict.
    • 320 posts
    February 25, 2018 8:32 PM EST
    Just wanted to point this out from a neutral perspective. Ulfric challenged Torygg and the latter had no choice but to accept because a) It was Nord tradition and b) If he declines, Ulfric would probably use it as excuse to rally more Nords to his cause, calling the High King a 'coward'. Torygg did initially have thoughts about siding with Ulfric, but again they were just thoughts. He might've changed his mind or something after realizing how straightforward and blunt the man was.

    Ulfric, on the other hand, was doing what needed to be done. Skyrim needed a capable ruler, someone who understands the people's plight. Skyrim's culture, religion, and traditions were being endangered and he was trying to protect that. So was he guilty for killing Torygg? Yes, and no. From an outsider's perspective it was cold-blooded murder, but from a traditional Nord's it was honorable.

    I think what Ulfric failed to realize was that by killing Torygg, he had brought down something which Torygg was trying to prevent: a war inside the Empire. Torygg was by all means not a weak leader. He was capable in politics and diplomacy (I think, which I hope he is) which was different from the Nord leaders of old who value strength and martial law.

    If this was a different time, then maybe Ulfric would be the ideal ruler. But with the fragile state of post-Great War Empire, Skyrim needed someone who could maintain that fragile peace for as long as possible.

    Sadly, that all ended with a single Shout.
    • 197 posts
    February 25, 2018 8:49 PM EST

    The Long-Chapper said:

    Ilanisilver said:

    Wulfhedinn said:

    Paws said: Nords really need to revisit their definition of honour. Or at least Ulfric does. He freely admits he knew Torygg would not stand a chance against him, but challenged him anyway just to prove a point about strength. If anything, it was Torygg who showed honour in accepting the challenge. Ulfric claims it was his sword that killed the high king, but Torygg himself says it was Ulfric's shout that sent him to Sovngarde. As Torygg has no more reason to lie, I'm inclined to accept that eye witness testimony, and can only conclude that while the challenge itself was honourable, the actions in the challenge were not. Ulfric is just either too stupid or too arrogant to realise that strength takes many forms, and so by his ambition and selfishness bathed his homeland in the blood of brothers. Pity he learned nothing useful from the Greybushes.

    This.

     

    My husband is a career soldier, and when we first started dating, he had me watch all these war movies and and other movies, and it became clear very quickly his version of honor and mine are very, very different. It’s amazing how many there are. If I’m being honest, I think the most honorable thing that Torygg could have done was something that would have resulted in Ulfric’s death. It might have shamed him as a king, but it would have saved Skyrim lives, I think, in the long run, which fits better into MY concept of honor. 

     

    I actually HATE the Nords’ Sovngarde, the idea that living a life that doesn’t include death in “glorious combat” isn’t deserving of a glorious afterlife is repugnant to me. So much so that it’s hard for me to write anything involving that particular part of Nord culture in my stories. I read something in some book or other that it doesn’t even matter how you live, it’s how you die that counts. Ugh. So much awful in one sentence. 

     

    There’s a lot I don’t like about the way Nords (traditional Nords) think. I think lots of it is stupid and backwards and cruel and bloodthirsty. I too, think they need to revamp their standards of honor - standards that should revolve more around how people are treated and not around some hard and fast, rigorous, rule-based dogma. But then again, that’s me. Ulfric I think made a stupid decision to challenge Torygg that way. And I think it’s good that we think it’s stupid and dishonorable. 

    And who are we to challenge or judge how they think? Who are we to say what is right or wrong for them? Don't you all realize that this is the same shit the Thalmor are trying to pull on them right now. Analyze deeply what you are saying and then look at Thalmor texts. Freedom to have your own culture, people, instead of conforming and losing your identity, that is what Ulfric is trying to prevent. Whether his methods are sound or not, whether they are misguided or not is immaterial.  The important thing is that he feels he's right and enough Nords agree with him. They can not all be terrible people, right? They can not all be "repugnant, stupid or backwards?"  

    Again, just playing devil's advocate. But by not understanding Ulfric and where he is coming from, how close then are you to this line of thought? 

    To kill Man is to reach Heaven, from where we came before the Doom Drum's iniquity. When we accomplish this, we can escape the mockery and long shame of the Material Prison.

    To achieve this goal, we must:

    1) Erase the Upstart Talos from the mythic. His presence fortifies the Wheel of the Convention, and binds our souls to this plane.

    2) Remove Man not just from the world, but from the Pattern of Possibility, so that the very idea of them can be forgotten and thereby never again repeated.

    3) With Talos and the Sons of Talos removed, the Dragon will become ours to unbind. The world of mortals will be over. The Dragon will uncoil his hold on the stagnancy of linear time and move as Free Serpent again, moving through the Aether without measure or burden, spilling time along the innumerable roads we once travelled. And with that we will regain the mantle of the imperishable spirit.

     

    oh my god, I can’t figure out how to just quote some things and not all the things. Seriously, I’m sorry you guys, if this comes out Gibberish. 

     

    Who are we to judge? I say, who are we NOT to judge? I’m NOT saying I want to be like the Thalmor who - yes, I’ve read that - want to remove man from the world. But yes, if a culture’s deeply-held practices are repugnant, I say judge away. And note that I never said the Nord people are repugnant and stupid and backwards. But yes, some of their beliefs are. They just are. Hell, some of our own culture’s beliefs are exactly that way, and I would point them out without hesitation, while STILL holding fast to my OTHER, NON-LIMITING opinion that all the people who hold those beliefs are not necessarily stupid, backwards, or repugnant. I don’t think that the Nord BELIEF in martial superiority makes them terrible. I don’t think the Nord BELIEF in Sovngarde makes them repugnant. But, some of the things the DO to enforce that belief? Oh, yeah. 

     

    Here’s the thing, though: I’ve spent years analyzing deeply what I think about this particular thing. This isn’t my first thought about the subject, nor will it be the last. Not re Ulfric, of course, ES didn’t exist when I was in college. I remember one of my professors telling me not to be ethnocentric. And I think it’s a very fine line we have to walk. No, I’m not going to go into a culture and start telling them their practices are wrong. Not because I don’t think they need to stop, but I do think the changes won’t stick unless the culture comes to change their beliefs themselves. But do I think forced female circumcision and stoning people for apostasy is wrong (this was what we were talking about in that class, I’m not just pulling it out of thin air)? Yes, I do. I will judge those behaviors, those beliefs, those practices with every fucking beat of my heart, because it’s fucking wrong. No, not from their standards, no it’s not. But it IS. 

     

    And I did state that no, Ulfric’s actions WOULD have been honorable from the traditional Nords’ point of view. I agree with that, and stand by it. But it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like some of the Nords’ cultural standards. And THAT doesnt’ change the fact that I think the empire was wrong in trying to assimilate everyone’s religion into one - I don’t blame the Nords for being pissed about that in the fucking least. Even though I disagree with the “goodness” of their own beliefs, personally. 

     

    And yes, to a certain extent, Ulfric is trying to do exactly what you say. But I think to another extent, he’s also trying to force his ways on everyone who lives in Skyrim, and is that any better than what the Empire tried to do, or did? Is Ulfric going to be one of those “if you don’t like it, leave” types, who expect Talos worship from everyone, and if they don’t comply, they have to leave, when their families have lived in Skyrim for generations? I don’t know, I don’t know if enough has been stated about his eventual plans for that, but I wouldn’t put it past him. If he’s for freedom of religion, great. If not, he’s no better than the Thalmor. 

     

    I’m rambling now, I know, but I think TLDR comes down to this: I think we can judge them for what they believe and NOT think it’s ok for their country to be raped and pillaged and every belief they do hold sacred thrown out like trash. I think the two things aren’t - shit, I can’t think of the word. It means you can think these things at the same time and not contradict yourself by holding those two beliefs. Noncontradictory? That sounds too simple. 

     

    • 294 posts
    February 25, 2018 8:57 PM EST

    But I'm not looking at earth culture, this is the standard error people make. Don't compare the nords to what you see in your reality. They are not the same. The problem is that we put our own views and our own histories into it and you must remain impartial to do a complete analysis. None of you know my real views on the matter because I am distanciing myself from my view and I am not sharing it, because my views on the subject are torally irrelevant. Instead I am looking at the Nord view. Trying to understand where they are coming from. 

    GAH, edit, TOTALLY, Liss, stop drinking the wine and making these poor folks nuts. 


    This post was edited by The Long-Chapper at February 25, 2018 9:00 PM EST
    • 197 posts
    February 25, 2018 9:02 PM EST

    Paws said: Ilani, it is scary innit? Like a Norse Jihad. Even worse if belief shapes reality because that means the people who needed Sovngarde back in the day in order to know the loved ones who died in battle were in a better place, only for that much needed belief of the time to be perpetuated down through the ages. Rather than have it progress and evolve, change it like blessed Alessia did, the Nords are stuck in a cycle of conflict.

     

    Don’t throw anything at me, but I’m not a fan of Alessia either, or Talos. ???? 

     

    Yes, I feel like it’s one of the ways religion sometimes uses doctrine to corral the masses. “Do this thing you don’t particularly want to do and you get to live eternity in paradise.” One of my favorite authors, Sara Douglass, wrote a trilogy that examined this - in this case, tradesmen were being asked to work for the church for free (this was in a medieval AU). While working, they received no pay, because it was supposed to be an honor just to do the work. But their families would starve while they couldn’t do paying work. And the church told them that they would suffer on earth, but it would help them get into heaven. I mean, honestly. And this sort of thing did really happen. It’s very, very scary. Go fight, go kill these people, and paradise awaits. Where are all the other Nords, though? The ones who don’t die in battle? Is there lore that explains this? I honestly don’t know. 

     

    My basic standard is that people are free to believe what they want to believe. And they should be free to practice what they want to practice as long as it doesn’t compel anyone else to do what they don’t think is right, and it doesn’t harm someone against their will. Yes, that’s a really simplistic way to say it, to boil it down into a sentence or two. I know. 

     

    Edit: the question marks are supposed to be an embarrassed face emoji. Apparently my tablet doesn’t work that way. 


    This post was edited by ilanisilver at February 25, 2018 9:24 PM EST
    • 197 posts
    February 25, 2018 9:23 PM EST

    The Long-Chapper said:

    But I'm not looking at earth culture, this is the standard error people make. Don't compare the nords to what you see in your reality. They are not the same. The problem is that we put our own views and our own histories into it and you must remain impartial to do a complete analysis. None of you know my real views on the matter because I am distanciing myself from my view and I am not sharing it, because my views on the subject are torally irrelevant. Instead I am looking at the Nord view. Trying to understand where they are coming from. 

    GAH, edit, TOTALLY, Liss, stop drinking the wine and making these poor folks nuts. 

     

    I know. I KNOW. And I feel like I’m shouting, because I agree with you. In my first post, I stated that by Nord standards what Ulfric did was honorable. In fact, I also stated that it might be looked on as dishonorable (from Skyrim and the law’s perspective) NOT to issue the challenge, by Nord standards. I have looked at it from Ulfric’s perspective, I really really have. 

     

    I get that our personal views are outside the bounds of the original question, but cultural relativism versus moral absolutism is fun to discuss, so I think it’s a natural secondary discussion after we’ve answered the original question. 

     

    And just thinking about what I’ve written, I still think there’s room for disagreement, even when you take moral absolutism out of it. Do we really know what Ulfric was thinking? Did he really issue the challenge only for the good of Skyrim (as he said to Galmar)? Or, did he issue the challenge simply to gain all the power for himself (as Balgruuf tends to think)? Does this change anyone else‘s answer, if we could know the truth about what was going on in Ulfric’s head?  And I’m not asking about his judgment here, whether the challenge was wise or not. Just, do his intentions change whether or not the challenge was honorable or not? Does it matter? Just going by Nord standards, martial standards, physical might versus weakness, I don’t think it does matter. But I‘m not sure. 

     

    EDIT: and also, by this time, Skyrim isn’t just made up of Nords. So, SHOULD Nord standards dictate whether what Ulfric did was right or wrong, honorable or dishonorable? And I’m not thinking about my own reality here, but the reality of the time. Yes, Skyrim is a Nord-heavy country, but just as a player in the game, the whole “Skyrim is for the Nords” mentality? That train sailed a long time ago. Any city in Skyrim is populated by a lot more than Nords. So, should the traditional standards of Nords still dictate what’s right and wrong for the country as a whole? I’m not sure. I’m not a political scholar here, or an expert in lore, and I do think there’s room for disagreement. 


    This post was edited by ilanisilver at February 25, 2018 9:33 PM EST
    • 1571 posts
    February 25, 2018 9:44 PM EST

    Definitely no need for anyone to be embarrassed :) Although I am a fundementalist Alessian :p and a fan of Talos because it's just fascinating to me. So fair warning, Ilani :D These discussions are always fun, and a luxury I have been known to indulge in from time to time, so it's been fantastic to see new perspectives. 

    I would say that the very fact there is a civil war and the Nords themselves are split about whether Ulfric's actions were honourable or not is an indicator that looking at it purely from a Nordic perspective is very hard. That is to say, there is no unified Nord view upon the matter. Even their traditions and traditional weapon of war, the thu'um, has been silenced for millenia. At what point can we call using the Voice in war "traditional" if it hasn't been used for that since Jurgen's day? Who makes that call as to whether Ulfric's use of it in the Blue Palace's throne room was honourable? 

    It all comes down to interpretation and justification. Ulfirc did what he thought was necessary either due to ambition or because he felt that the ends justified the means - or both. Those who side with him are very torn, can't see the big picture that we have the luxury of having, and face the very conflicted emotions we can only empathise with. That's the fuel for us players, roleplayers, writers, and builders. 

    The big picture, in my view, is that this was all going to happen. The Scrolls foretold of it, and the moment arrives just as it should. It's fatalism at it's most Nordic, but if there were one person who set the wheels in motion, an argument could be made that it rests on Ulfric's shoulders. The moment he makes that decision is the moment that the prophecy gets fulfilled and Snow Tower lays sundered, kingless, and bleeding.

    Then everything starts, and happens at a time when the modern day looks much the same as it did when Gormlaith, Feldir and Hakon were on Skyrim's stage. The Nordic weapon of war returns, a long-dead tradition is under question (a new dragon cult are responsible for that silence) and a dragon war rages again as men fight for their lives - and their very souls. The song of skyrim hits its chorus, and it sounds the same as the last time.

    So that kinda means I can only look at it from one perspective. A historian would anaylyse cause and effect, see how one event triggers the next. My view is more to determine the mythic significance of each act, and at what point the world watches, hears, remembers, and ceases to be. For me that point is when Ulfric makes his choice. 

    Edit: So yeah, that's my moment of judgment and to throw eggs at Ulfric for bringing about the return of The World-Eater :D


    This post was edited by Paws at February 25, 2018 10:09 PM EST
    • 1571 posts
    February 25, 2018 11:15 PM EST

    Ilanisilver said:

    Where are all the other Nords, though? The ones who don’t die in battle? Is there lore that explains this? I honestly don’t know. 

    Sorry Ilani, i did not spot this part. There is some, although like most things TES it's open to interpretation. Mostly, the part of a soul which makes up a person's identity goes to where they are aligned to based on actions in life. Or how they die if you're a Nordy Nord. So a healer dedicated to Mara would likely go to the part of Aetherius where Mara's planet or plane is situated, a librarian of Julianos would go to Julianos' plane - that's if each deity has a realm like Sovngarde. There's also the Dreamsleeve, a sort of reincarnation device in which the souls get washed of their identity and flow back into Mundus. Lorkhan is very much the mortal's banker, and so in most cases the souls always flow back to him. Even those in Sovngarde aren't there forever, they too await a final battle. They are just stopping over for a sip of mead while they wait. It gets complicated from there on out, but here's a link to how I built up familiarity with it back in the day. Posts by the Librarian from TiL known as Proweler are the key points here.

    Edit: Ah, but I forget myself. It's way more fun to ask one of our Loremasters over in the Lore Group's Expedition's Comittee for a custom-made article for more up to date lore, or start a discussion, or even peruse the Archives and an article called Two Parts of a Soul Make a Whole


    This post was edited by Paws at February 25, 2018 11:52 PM EST
    • 13 posts
    February 26, 2018 12:51 AM EST

    I cannot express how much I love this Discusion. Traditional Nords find this to a honorable fight, while the civilized Nords find it a dishonorable one. Outside of the Nords I'm sure most people would find it dishonorable with or without using the Thu'um. 

    In my opinion I think Torygg was a Traditional Nord. He accepted Ulfric's duel eventhough he knew it would mean death and speaking with him in Sovengarde you learn he did this to keep his honor. Even more proof to this is that he is in Sovengarde in the first place, The resting place of true nords. Even so Ulfric did something questionably dishonorable. Speaking with Torygg in Sovengarde he tells you this. 

    "I faced him fearlessly - my fate inescapable, yet my honor is unstained - can Ulfric say the same?"―High King Toryg

    A true traditional Nord questioning Ulfric's Honor. Seems like there is more to all this than meets the eye by traditional Nord standards. Seems like Torygg had some imformation we didn't. For what we know of the fight it seems honorable enough for True Nords. How about his motives then? I know that's been spoken of already in here so I'm going to skip over those reasons and add another. The Thalmor told Ulfric to do it. The Dossier found in the Thalmor Embassy on Ulfric gives us all the information that this is entirely possible.

    "Ulric first came to our attention during the first war against the Empire, when he was taken as a prisoner of war during the campaign for the White-Gold Tower. Under interrogation, we learned of his potential value (son of the Jarl of Windhelm) and he was assigned as an asset to the interrogator, who is now First Emissary Elenwen. He was made to believe information obtained during his interrogation was crucial in the capture of the Imprial City(the city had in fact fallen before he had broken), and then allowed to escape. After the war, contact was established and he has proven his worth as an asset. The so-called Markarth Incident was particularly valuable from the point of view of our strategic goals in Skyrim, although it resulted in Ulfric becoming generally uncooperative to direct contact.

    Operational Notes: Direct contact remains a possibility (under extreme circumstances), but in general the asset should be considered dormant. As long as the Civil War proceeds in its current indecisive fashion, we should remain hands-off. The incident at Helgen is an example where an exception had to be made - obviously Ulfric's death would have dramatically increased the chance of an Imperial victory and thus harmed our overall position in Skyrim. (NOTE: The coincidental intervention of the dragon at Helgen is still under scrutiny. The obvious conclusion is that whoever is behind the dragons also has an interest in the continuation of the war, but we should not assume therefore that their goals align with our own.) A Stormcloak victory is also to be avoided, however, so even indirect aid to the Stormcloaks must be carefully managed."

    I find it entirely possible that Ulfric is being blackmailed by the Thalmor to do their bidding. He thinks that he is the cause for the Imperial City falling during the Great War and he would do anything to keep this information from leaking. Like fighting a 15 year old to the death.