The Complete Guide to Becoming a Jarl in Skyrim

You’ve slaughtered the dark brotherhood, joined the thieves gilled and pickpocketed Skyrim dry, and the Dragons have been vanquished back whence they came. But, Dovahkiin, you are still drunk on power. And like all drunks, your thirst grows for more.

Nothing can quench your thirst for power or so your thought.

Why not become a Jarl? Ruler of Windhelm, King over the arch in Solitude, Queen of Morthal.

But can you even become a Jarl in Skyrim? And if so, what can you do?

Sadly, you can’t become a Jarl in the Vanilla version of Skyrim. The best you can do is become a Thane of a hold. However, if you have access to the PC version of Skyrim, you can mod the game to become a Jarl of a new hold in Skyrim.

If you’re still desperate to fill your drinking horn with more power, read on to find out more about becoming Jarl in Skyrim.

Wait! But before you read on, have you exhausted every quest in Skyrim? Are you tired of the same old dungeons, draugrs, and dragons? It may be time to set sail for new adventures. Discover new quests and mythical lands with our guide to games like Skyrim. Click through to my Games like Skyrim article and discover your next RPG addiction today.

What is a Jarl in Skyrim?

Jarl Elisif of Solitude

A Jarl, in the world of Skyrim, is essentially the defacto ruler over one of the major city-states, such as Solitude, dotted across the map. Every city, or hold, in Skyrim has a Jarl.

Jarls are essentially the head of state of the hold, such as a King, priminister, or president. They have the final say on all major decisions. They set taxes, decide who to war with, what buildings should be built, and the hold’s objectives.

If you follow the main storyline, the first Jarl you encounter in Skyrim is Jarl Balgruuf the Greater, of Whiterun.

Jarls usually reside in a grand castle, or at the very least, the biggest building, at the center of the hold. For example, Jarl Balgruuf’s home is Dragonsreach, the beating heart of Whiterun.

According to Skyrim lore, Jarls are selected for the position via birthright, inheriting the position from a parent. This is similar to royalty in the real world.

However, a hold’s residence can elect a Jarl in extreme circumstances, such as if the hold has been conquered or if the Jarl has no children.

So now you have a good idea of what a Jarl is, how do you become one?

Can you Become the Jarl of Your Own Hold in Skyrim?

Sadly, in the vanilla (unmodded) version of Skyrim, it’s impossible to become a Jarl of a hold.

When first playing through Skyrim, and on subsequent play-throughs on different platforms, I was surprised Bethesda didn’t add the option for the player to become a Jarl.

I mean, let’s be honest, Bethesda has effectively made every other possibility open to the player. You can dismantle the Dark Brotherhood guild, choose a side in a continent-spanning civil war, and become the most powerful Dragonborn ever to live.

You have all the tools and powers you’ll ever need to rule over all of Skyrim, never mind a single hold. Yet, Bethesda chooses not to bestow that honor on you out of the box.

Sadly, the highest position you can acquire within the high walls of a hold is Thane, a pale comparison to the sheer power wielded by the Jarl.

The word “thane” means “Lord, Baron, or Vassal” in Old Norse. It refers to an inferior nobleman with some degree of power and rank within his territory. And that’s exactly what the position feels like. After all you’ve done in the world, after saving Skyrim from death-dealing dragons, the role you get to play is that of an “inferior nobleman.”

How sad.

Fortunately, some very clever people have set out on a quest to remedy the lack of Jarldome in Skyrim by creating PC mods, one of which is not to be missed. Read on to learn more about the mod, Become Jarl of Ivarstead.

How do you become a Jarl in Skyrim with mods?

Hold your own feasts in the Become Jarl of Ivarstead mod.

Now you know, in the Vanilla version of Skyrim, you can’t become a Jarl.

However, Skyrim, on PC, is one of the most modded games ever. There is literally a mod to add anything to the game, from new armors to amorous adventures.

Thankfully, a mod has been created that lets the player become a Jarl. That mod is called Become Jarl of Ivarstead.

Available for both the standard version of Skyrim and the Special Edition, Jarl of Ivarstead allows the player to become the Jarl of a minor township.

Once the player has completed some quests, the townsfolk elect the player as their leader, Jarl of Ivarstead. Once you become the Jarl of Ivarstead, a wide selection of options unfurl before you, letting you flex your kingly muscle on the peasants that crowned you king.

Will you be a good king, a just king that rules over the people and lands of Ivarstead with love, kindness, and justice? Or will absolute power corrupt you absolutely, the peasants becoming nothing more than pawns in your deadly game of tyranny?

Whatever your wishes, whether you are good-natured or go all Emperor Nero on your newly acquired Jarldome, Become a Jarl of Ivarstead will pour the creamy, frothy power you crave into your tankard for you to gulp down.

For example, once Jarl, you can build new buildings, raise or lower taxes, and manage the food for the masses. You can even manage the prison and hold feasts.

The only thing the mod won’t let you do is drop the war axe on your enemies’ necks and declare war. Now that would be a very sweet cherry on an already sugar-stuffed pie.

Honestly, if you crave even more power and want to become your own Jarl, I can’t recommend Become a Jarl of Ivarstead enough. Please go and check it out on Nexus mods.

Conclusion: How To Become The Ruler Of Your Own Hold In Skyrim

So, in summary:

  • A Jarl is the defacto king of a city-state or hold in Skyrim.
  • You can’t become a Jarl in the vanilla base game of Skyrim.
  • To become a Jarl, you must download a mod for Skyrim’s PC version called Become a Jarl of Ivarstead.

What will your next RPG be?

Do you feel like you’ve explored every inch of Skyrim and exhausted every quest available? Are you itching for new lands to conquer and fresh adventures to embark on? Don’t settle for a lackluster gaming experience – there are countless other games out there that can offer the same thrill and excitement as Skyrim.

Discover your next epic adventure with our guide to games like Skyrim. From mythical creatures to enchanted landscapes, our curated selection of games will transport you to new worlds and challenge your inner hero like never before. So don’t let boredom hold you back – click through to my games like Skyrim guide and unlock a new realm of endless possibilities today.


Nick Sinclair

Nick Sinclair, a gaming aficionado since the Commodore 64 era, studied Creative Computer Games Design in university before founding his own gaming company. Discovering a passion for content creation, Nick now helps gamers squeeze every drop of fun out of their favorite gaming hardware

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