So ever since Skyrim came around, the Elder Scrolls community had been split apart over the issue of Skyrim's Civil War between the Imperial Legion and the Stormcloaks. Each side has their pros and cons, each side has their positives and negatives and I can see both sides of the coin and their issues. Because of this a lot of people argue about who is right, which side has the best outcome, and from all the points and conclusions I rallied up, looked through, thought about, and so on I myself believe that in all honesty that the Imperial Legion has it right. I'm not saying that the Imperial Legion is perfect and I can see why those who fight along side with the Stormcloaks are set in their ways what with the banning of Talos but putting both the Legion and the Stormcloaks on a scale the Stormcloaks have more problems that I have against than what the Legion has. With the Legion, the only problems is of course the Thalmor to which I will be discussing along with this topic, and General Tulius. For those who have played along side with the Legion you know well how unknowable General Tulius is about Skyrim and Nordic culture, well as far as I'm concerned the true leader of the Imperial Legion is that of Legate Rikke. She was there in the Great War, she was there with Ulfric Stormcloak and Galmar Stone-Fist and saw everything but through and through she goes with the more logical. Let me explain here.
Lets start with the main focus here, the end of the Great War, the White-Gold Concordat. Now, for those thinking that the concordat was just something the Thalmor or the Aldmeri Dominion cooked up just to ban the worship of Talos in exchange for peace between the Empire and the Dominion, that's just a bonus. Because as a member of the Aldmeri Dominion, what do you think is better? Killing every human, destroying everything, only to be left with nothing but ruins and spend hundreds of thousands to rebuild it all in your image and use your own resources to build it all from the ground up, or stop in mid fight and instead take command over them? That's what the Dominion did, that was what the concordat was about, the control over the Empire. That's what conquering is all about, you cant just kill every human being in sight. Because lets face it, Cyrodiil is not what it used to be back in Oblivion. No, there's probably hundreds of High Elves or Thalmor agents all over the city, watching over everything and killing those who oppose them and the Stormcloaks are going to be in a lot of trouble which again I will explain later.
If you're an empire, like the Aldmeri Dominion per say, you just dont go out and destroy everything in sight, that's counter productive, it doesnt help them at all. They would be left with little to nothing to rule over except ruins and vast empty lands. With instead of destroying and killing off every human being in High Rock, Hammerfell, Cyrodiil, and Skyrim, who will be left? You have all that land with no one to govern them and have to spend millions just to get everything running again. With the White-Gold Concordat, they control the land of Cyrodiil with an already placed government, that was the prize, and the banning of Talos was just an all out bonus for the Dominion, an extra amount of pressure of their heel on the human race's neck. You think the Imperial Legion is proud for banning Talos, of course not but they couldn't do anything. They couldn't win every battle, no one can. How can I put this into terms people can understand? It's like playing Total War and/or Civilization or games that are like that. For those who play those games you know how expensive things can get when you burn down an entire city and rebuild your own city on that very same spot where you could've just taken the city over. And for one reason or another you will loose, whether it be a city or land, you cant win every battle. That is what the Imperial Empire is dealing with, the Dominion was more well equipped than what the Empire suspected, and because of that the Imperial Empire has been captured by the Aldmeri Dominion and with that the Dominion can make the Empire do whatever they please whether it be taxing and what not while the Empire governs itself under the eye of the Dominion.
And it's not just that, the thing is with the Stormcloaks fighting against the Imperial Legion and the Imperial Empire, they sort of have their aim at the wrong direction. Because if you think about it the Imperial Empire is just enforcing the banning of Talos worshiping and all that because of the demands of the Dominion because the Dominion controls the Empire. The Stormcloaks are practically hitting the only friend they have, where they should be huddling up with the Imperial Empire and fight back against the Dominion and the Thalmor. It's like that of a warrior hitting the shield, the warrior presenting the Stormcloaks and the shield presenting the Imperial Legion/Empire. The warrior can bash and hit against the shield all he wants and cause dents and cuts on the shield but the warrior aint going after the one holding up the shield and only focusing only on the shield itself and the guy who is holding up the shield presenting the Dominion they can easily stab through the warrior much less kill him because lets take a look at numbers. With Skyrim they are alone, not unless High Rock makes an alliance with them but even then the Aldmeri Dominion has Elswyr, Cyrodiil, Hammerfell, Summerset Isles, and Valenwood. One or two countries against five other countries and I don't think Morrowind or Black Marsh will be joining with Skyrim again anytime soon, not with the relationship Skyrim have with those two countries. Even if the Stormcloaks were to somehow win and push the Empire out of Skyrim, the Aldmeri Dominion can easily just march through and end the rebellion just like that, the reason why they didnt do anything in this Civil War because they think little about the Stormcloak Rebellion. To them, the Stormcloaks are just a bunch of bandits as to they the Aldmeri Dominion have a massive army.
And it's all because of one person; Ulfric Stormcloak. I get it, his heart is rather in the right place but his vision, it's not as it all crack up to be. From what I can understand from Ulfric Stormcloak's ideals, he wants Skyrim to be independent, not to rely on any of the other countries. Basically be a loner, and like I said earlier if the Stormcloaks were to be able to push back the Empire and became independent, then the Aldmeri Dominion with its five forces would easily destroy that independence, and if Skyrim became truly an independent country then High Rock wont help them, unless High Rock and Skyrim made an alliance but if not then Skyrim would be all alone facing that of five other countries. The whole Civil War would be all for nothing in the long run. Morrowind and Black-Marsh wont help Skyrim because with the ideals of Ulfric Stormcloak and his rule if he becomes High King, he would alienate them just like he has been doing in his own city of Windhelm such as forcing the Dark Elves into a single district as well as the Argonians and forcing them to live in the docks. And I'm not talking about player race wise, that has nothing to do with any of this.
This is why I think Legate Rikke should be the actual figure head, the leader of the Imperial Legion. She loves Skyrim as much as anybody and she's a Nord, she wants what's best for the people and Skyrim and she understands what Ulfric doesn't. That one cannot fight endless armies without an alliance, and I believe that she knows or that she believes that with the forces of Skyrim as well as some others that the Empire may rise again and fight back to reclaim what was taken from the Dominion. That another rebellion is on the rise but this time unified and against the Dominion. But much like Rikke and Ulfric Stormcloak they are both one side of the same coin. They both love Skyrim but their vision and ideals are all different, Ulfric for me being the worse side of the coin. I can go on saying what everyone says about Ulfric saying that he's only doing this rebellion to become High King, that he's war hungry, but instead lets take Ulfric Stormcloak on a different approach with another person; High King Toryyg.
Now according to the information of High King Toryyg, he was elected to be High King over that of a Moot, a Moot being that if there are no heirs or that there is to be one of the royal family to become the next High King, the Jarls must elect who will become the next High King or recognize the next High King to which that happened with High King Toryyg. Now why did I tell you this? Well the Moot pretty much have to go for all the Jarls of Skyrim, Ulfric Stormcloak included. So pretty much, in the Moot Ulfric Stormcloak confirmed that Toryyg would become the High King or the very least elected Toryyg to be the next High King. But with all that, to some people including me, that the death, the murder of High King Toryyg was unfair. High King Toryyg knew Ulfric Stormcloak, he knew the power that Ulfric had knowing how to use the Thu'um and that he was in the Great War. He knew that Ulfric was a powerful warrior and was well respected by the people and by Toryyg himself. And to make matters worse for Ulfric, is that Toryyg respected Ulfric so much that if Ulfric were to have come and asked Toryyg to side against the Imperial Empire, he would do it with no questions asked.
But instead, Ulfric just went up and murdered him or should I say blackmailed him. Why did I say blackmailed? Well at the end of the game when you reach Sovngarde and find Toryyg, he say that he knew that he was going to die and that he fought fearlessly and still kept his honor but can Ulfric Stormcloak say the same? Toryyg didn't have a choice because according to the lore of Sovngarde not everyone can just go to Sovngarde, you have to uphold the traditions of Skyrim and the people. So since Ulfric challenged Toryyg to a duel, Toryyg had no choice but to accept or else he would not be permitted to go to Sovngarde. Ulfric knew this, pretty much saying to Toryyg that he either die by hid hand or dont go to Sovngarde. And at Sovngarde when you find Toryyg, he knows this as well. He knew what Ulfric knew, that what he did was honorless and just to so call redeem himself he did the same thing at the end of the Imperial Legion questline where he himself accepted the duel. So with all that, the death of High King Toryyg, all of which would've been easily avoided if it wasnt for Ulfric challenging Toryyg knowing full well that Toryyg would without a doubt be killed due to his lack of training and Ulfric being known as a strong powerful warrior, and there are other things that with the success of Ulfric would bring from alienation of other races, to Jarl Balgruuf being replaced and ran out even though Balgruuf shares almost the same thoughts with Ulfric, and so on.
I can agree to those who fight with the Stormcloaks that the Imperial Legion is not perfect, it has its problems, it has its issues, some I don't agree with. But for both the long run, for the people of Skyrim, I'd still fight for the Empire instead of working for someone like Ulfric Stormcloak.