|“||If it's the war you're referring to, I'm on the side of Whiterun.||„|
|~ Balgruuf the Greater|
Balgruuf the Greater is the the Jarl of Whiterun and one of the major supporting characters in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. He is perhaps the second Jarl the Dragonborn meets in game, after Ulfric Stormcloak, as well as one of their first allies. Originally neutral during the Skyrim Civil War, he later sides with the Imperial Legion after learning Ulfric Stormcloak's true intentions.
The Dragonborn is told by either Hadvar or Ralof to travel to Whiterun to speak to the Jarl about the dragon attack in Helgen. When they first speak to him, he is a bit skeptical; however, he tells him/her that his court mage, who reveals that he is trying to locate a tablet known as the Dragonstone, located inside the Nordic crypt Bleak Falls Burrow. The Dragonborn is advised to travel there to retrieve it, and after returning, meets the court mage's one-time assistant (who is actually Delphine in disguise).
Afterwards, one of the Jarl's guard alerts Balgruuf that a dragon is attacking the Western Watchtower just outside the city. Balgruuf's suspicions are proven true, so he sends his housecarl Irileth, the Dragonborn, and several guards out to the tower to slay it.
After successfully defeating the dragon, the Dragonborn absorbs its soul, astonishing all the guards (but not Irileth), one of which tells him/her to reveal this fact back to the Jarl.
Upon returning to Jarl Balgruuf, the Jarl reveals what it means to be the Dragonborn and rewards the Dragonborn with the title of Thane and assigning Lydia as their housecarl.
Later, if the Civil War has not ended, the Greybeards will ask the Dragonborn to contact both leaders of the civil war's belligerents and tell them to meet in High Hrothgar about convincing them to temporary ceasefire and help deal with the more serious Dragon War. Jarl Balgruuf will attend if he is still the Jarl of Writerun, but if he has been ousted from power, Vignar Grey-Mane will attend instead.
Balgruuf is initially neutral on his views behind the current civil war between the Imperial Legion and the Stormcloaks. However after slaying the dragon at Writerun, he will decide to side with the Imperials. He will hand the Dragonborn an axe he received from Ulfric as a means to determine if he would join or oppose the Stormcloaks. Returning the axe back to Ulfric reveals that this action is an act of war, and Ulfric decides to invade Whiterun. If the Dragonborn decides to side with the Imperials, they will battle the invading Stormcloak army just outside the city walls, upon them calling off the attack, Balgruuf gives a speech commending all is loyal soldiers, as well as thanking the Dragonborn for helping defend his city.
Alternatively, if the Dragonborn sides with the Stormcloaks, he/she will invade the city and battle Balgruuf and Irileth in Dragonsreach, after defeating them, Balgruuf will become angry upon being overthrown and brand Ulfric and the Dragonborn as a traitor.