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Perhaps if more of our people lived by honor, we would learn to trust each other long enough to live together.[1]

Calenhad Theirin, also known as Calenhad the Great, was the man who united the Alamarri tribes into a single nation, and the first king of Ferelden.

The Theirin bloodline stems from Calenhad, meaning his descendants have almost always sat upon the throne of Ferelden, with the exception of the Orlesian occupation during the Blessed Age.


Calenhad was born in 5:10 Exalted as the third son of a Highever merchant on hard times. He was sent as a squire to Ser Forannan, a distant cousin of Calenhad who was a knight in the service of Arl Tenedor. At that time the wars of unity took place in Ferelden as many arls and teyrns were fighting each other in order to determine who will prevail and become the first king of the nation. One day, Arl Tenedor was besieged in West Hill by the forces of Arl Myrddin. Myrrdin called Tenedor out to parley but Tenedor sent Calenhad to impersonate him in his stead. Myrrdin intended to kill Tenedor during the meeting but Calenhad disobeyed his Arl's orders and revealed his true identity. Myrddin was impressed by Calenhad's courage and honor and asked him to become his own squire. Calenhad refused on the basis that since Myrddin intended to betray the right of parley, he was no man of honor. Eventually, Calenhad was permitted to return to the castle before Myrrdin launched his final assault in which both Tenedor and Forannan were killed and Myrrdin himself was bested by Calenhad in single combat. Calenhad spared Myrrdin and in turn Myrrdin swore himself to Calenhad's service. The lands of the late Arl Tenedor were given to Calenhad and he was named a teyrn.

The following years Calenhad won victory after victory and more allies flocked to his banner including Aldenon, the famed mage and former consultant to Arl Tenedor who became Calenhad's chief advisor, his faithful squire Ser Tillers, and the legendary warrior Lady Shayna, both of whom became close friends of the future king.[4] By 5:33 Exalted, only Simeon, the infamous Teyrn of Denerim stood in the way of Calenhad. At Aldenon's suggestion Calenhad went to the Brecilian Forest to recruit the Ash Warriors to his cause[5], which he did but when he returned he also brought with him the Templars and Circle mages. The Circle also crafted for him a silver armor which repelled both arrows and blades.[6] According to a legend, Calenhad's armor was crafted using the waters of the lake located near Kinloch Hold that allegedly possess magical properties. The myth claims that as long as Calenhad stood on Fereldan soil, he could not be wounded.[7]

Aldenon was outraged that his friend would betray him by what he saw as condoning the oppression of mages, since Calenhad made contact with Chantry, inviting it into the nascent Kingdom. Aldenon chastised Calenhad for allowing the Circle to be put in control of the mages. He soon left in a fury.[8] In spite of Aldenon's absence, the battle against Simeon was a victory. Teyrn Simeon nearly killed Calenhad but Lady Shayna saved him and killed Simeon though she was greatly injured in the process. In the 33rd year he became the Teyrn of Denerim. Later on, Calenhad moved through the Bannorn and successfully laid siege to Redcliffe Castle; becoming one of three men who was able to do that.[3] Unopposed by the year 5:42, Calenhad convened a Landsmeet and was crowned as the first King of Ferelden with his wife Mairyn, the daughter of Arl Myrddin, as its first Queen.

King Calenhad leading troops, wearing his famed silver armour.

The peace did not last however as Lady Shayna, who had secretly been in love with Calenhad, seduced him, allegedly with a love potion given by a witch which was later revealed to be Simeon's sister. Queen Mairyn discovered them and fled to Myrddin who threatened to revoke his support and spark a new civil war. Lady Shayna confessed to Calenhad that she had manipulated him with forbidden magic but Calenhad still refused to have her executed, infuriating Myrddin. Lady Shayna against Calenhad's instructions went to Queen Mairyn to plead for peace but was slain by Myrrdin. Calenhad regretfully challenged Myrrdin to a duel and slew him to avenge her death, sparking outrage amongst the other arls and nobles. As the threat of a new civil war loomed over the young kingdom, Calenhad issued a proclamation abdicating his throne to his unborn son whom Queen Mairyn was carrying and would eventually begin the Theirin Dynasty in earnest as King Weylan I. After that Calenhad vanished, never to be seen again. Supposedly he tracked down Marterel the Elusive, Aldenon's last apprentice and convinced him to reveal where his old friend had gone and then went in search of him. Neither Calenhad nor Aldenon were ever seen again.[9]

The Chantry named Calenhad one of the Anointed in 7:88 Storm.[10]

Qunari interpretation[]

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Until We Sleep.

Calenhad drinking dragon's blood

The Qunari have their own version of Calenhad's rise to power. Like in the Theodosian historian claim, he was born in destitution, being a common dog handler, with no real strength. But he was always ambitious and struggled to gain knowledge that might bring him power. He made many bargains to trade stories upon stories, until at last he gained from a certain scribe a powerful secret that he would use as payment to a certain witch, that would start him on the path to power. The witch led him to a cave where a Great dragon lay dying. Calenhad used his dagger on the ancient creature and drank some of its blood, gaining new strength that made him undefeatable in battle. A measure of this strength was passed on within the Theirin family from that time onward, and it allowed Calenhad to conquer all of Ferelden and establish his bloodline as royalty, which would endure into the Ages.[11]

Known descendants of Calenhad[]

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.

Codex entries[]

Codex entry: Camenae's Barbute Codex entry: Camenae's Barbute
Codex entry: Freedom's Promise Codex entry: Freedom's Promise
Codex entry: How to Act Fereldan Codex entry: How to Act Fereldan
Codex entry: The Legend of Calenhad: Chapter 1 Codex entry: The Legend of Calenhad: Chapter 1 - on Calenhad's early rise
Codex entry: The Legend of Calenhad: Chapter 2 Codex entry: The Legend of Calenhad: Chapter 2 - on Calenhad's rise to the throne
Codex entry: The Legend of Calenhad: Chapter 3 Codex entry: The Legend of Calenhad: Chapter 3 - on Calenhad's fall


  • Calenhad possessed a sword called Nemetos which was lost in 8:24 Blessed when King Vanedrin was killed during the Second Orlesian Invasion of Ferelden.[14]
  • The tradition that disputes over the throne of Ferelden are settled by duel dates back to Calenhad fighting Simeon.[15]
  • Calenhad is often known as the "Silver Knight"[16], due to his wearing a brilliant silver suit of enchanted armor bestowed to him by the Circle of Magi when they endorsed him.[6][7]
  • Lake Calenhad is named in his honor, as is the region of Calenhad's Foothold in the Hinterlands.
  • According to Slim Couldry, Bann Franderel owns several of the armaments of King Calenhad.[17]