Balgruuf the Greater is the Jarl of Whiterun and the ruler of Whiterun Hold. He can be found in Dragonsreach, the great fortress that sits atop the Cloud District in the city. Balgruuf is of Nord heritage and is considered by his people to be a very honorable warrior. In private Balgruuf still worships Talos.
The Jarl has many sons; three of his children live in Dragonsreach: Nelkir, Frothar, and Dagny. His son Nelkir is sometimes referred to as “Balgruuf the Stronger” by others. Balgruuf also has a younger brother, Hrongar, of which he shares a close bond. Proventus Avenicci is the steward to the jarl, and he also has a court wizard that goes by the name Farengar Secret-Fire. Irilteth is his Dunmer Houscarl; it is rare that a dark elf gets such a high rank in the Nord society.
Politics & Civil War
Balgruuf has always stayed loyal to the Empire, even if he doesn't necessarily support them in the war. Despite this he always puts the people of Whiterun first, and disallows the Legion to take point in Whiterun due to it possibly giving off the impression the city is under martial law. This has caused great confusion, as many of the people in Whiterun are against the Empire. Balgruuf himself is against the Stormcloak rebellion although he believes in the Nords and their traditions and all that embodies the Nord as a person. Some of the residents with anti-Empire opinions reconsidered their thinking and think that Balgruuf could be the future, a compromise that may work in theory, but less so in reality.
Depending on the side that the player takes in the civil war, they will either fight alongside Balgruuf or against him.
Balgruuf and the dragons
Generally Balgruuf the Greater is interested more in the return of Dragons than the civil war, with Balgruuf being a great admirer of the ancient group the Greybeards. In his youth, Balgruuf traveled to High Hrothgar to meet the Greybeards, Balgruuf even tried to learn how to use the voice (Thu'um), but he failed. This makes Balgruuf the first to discover the Dragonborn and who she/he is and direct the Dragonborn to High Hrothgar on the throat of the world to meet the Greybeards.
Thane of Whiterun
When the Dragonborn appears before Balgruuf the Greater with message of the dragon attack on Helgen, the Dragonborn then learns that another dragon called Mirmulnir is attacking the Western Watchtower. If the Dragonborn defeats Mirmulnir with the help of Irileth and many Whiterun guards, the Dragonborn will then be granted the title“Thane of Whiterun”, allowing him/her to purchase a house in the city. The house, which costs 5000 gold, goes by the name Breezehome, and is located in the Plains District of the city. Balgruuf also gives the player a special axe name “The Axe of Whiterun”, a status symbol of the Thanes of Whiterun.