The Circle is allowed to take any child (usually age 6 to 12) from their families as soon as they show signs of magical ability, including those from royals and nobility. The child is then raised and trained by the Circle until they reach adulthood, at which time they must either undergo the Harrowing or be made Tranquil.
The Circles, as Circle fortresses are called, tend to be located in remote and difficult to reach areas, but the Formari have outposts in major cities for the purpose of trade.
The Circle maintains a neutrality policy, since the Chantry might take action against them if they got into the habit of getting involved into conflicts, the single exception being perhaps during a Blight. Nonetheless, it isn't that unusual to see at least one mage or two serving either side during a conflict and the Circle ignoring these, either as a courtesy or as a way of not creating too much enmity against the Circle on either side.
The College of Magi, a council of first enchanters from all the Circles in Thedas (excluding Tevinter), routinely convenes in the city of Cumberland, Nevarra to discuss Circle policy and to elect a new Grand Enchanter.
- See also: Codex entry: History of the Circle
Known Circles of Magi
|Anderfels||Hossberg||Andrastian||See Codex entry: Rat.|
|Antiva||Unknown||Andrastian||See the dialogue between Zevran and Wynne.|
|Ferelden||Jainen||Andrastian||In the Waking Sea Bannorn. See Dragon Age Legends.|
|Ferelden||Lake Calenhad||Andrastian||See Circle Tower.|
|Free Marches||Ansburg||Andrastian||See Codex entry: The Basket of Lost Socks.|
|Free Marches||Kirkwall||Andrastian||See the Gallows.|
|Free Marches||Markham||Andrastian||See Codex entry: Air of Confidence.|
|Free Marches||Ostwick||Andrastian||See Codex entry: The Maker's First Children.|
|Free Marches||Starkhaven||Andrastian||This Circle was burned to the ground. Most of its mages and|
templars were moved to Kirkwall.
|Nevarra||Cumberland||Andrastian||The largest and most powerful Circle under the Andrastian Chantry.|
Seat of power for the Grand Enchanter.
|Orlais||Montsimmard||Andrastian||See Codex entry: Enchanter Illana, Dragon Age: Asunder.|
|Orlais||Val Royeaux||Andrastian||See the White Spire.|
|Rivain||Dairsmuid||Andrastian||Was annulled in 9:40 Dragon.|
See Codex entry: Shade, Dragon Age: Asunder.
|Tevinter||Minrathous||Imperial||The oldest Circle in Thedas, housing the largest library of arcane knowledge, the Arcanist Hall. Seat of power for the magisters,|
the Imperial Senators and the Imperial Archon.
- See also: Codex entry: Hierarchy of the Circle
Each Circle follows a simple six-tier hierarchy where all residents fit; although the Tranquil seem to stand somewhat outside this progression.
- The grand enchanter, the Circle's direct representative to the Chantry and advisor to the Divine. The grand enchanter is elected by the College of Magi in Cumberland. As of 9:39-9:40 Dragon, the position is held by Fiona, a former Grey Warden.
- The first enchanter, leader of a Circle. First enchanters routinely congregate in the city of Cumberland, at their College, also known as the College of Magi.
- The senior enchanters, a small council of the most experienced mages present in each circle.
- The enchanters, those mages who participate in teaching.
- The mages, all residents who have passed their Harrowing.
- The apprentices, all students training for their Harrowing.
In the time of the Tevinter Imperium, the rank of magister existed above first enchanter as supreme authority in the each Circle. After the mage Darinius claimed the title of Archon, the magisters became the only noble rank in Tevinter. All Circles outside Tevinter have abolished this rank.
In Dragon Age: Asunder, Wynne is referred to as "Archmage", which seems to be a honorary title outside of regular hierarchy but nevertheless conveys to her an authority approximating that of a first enchanter in the Circle matters.
Fraternities of Enchanters
- Main article: Fraternities of Enchanters
The mages of the Circle are also divided into several fraternities, the equivalent of political parties, which hold diverse views of how mages should act and their place in society.
- Main article: Harrowing
The Harrowing is a secret rite of passage that the Circle administers, without warning, to adult apprentice mages. The apprentice is exposed to a demon under controlled circumstances in order to prove that they are strong and willful enough to fight off an attempt at possession.
- Main article: Tranquil
Mages who are too weak of will to resist demonic possession or appear to be dangerous are forced (or willingly volunteer) to go through the Rite of Tranquility, which involves the use of a lyrium brand to cut off a mage's connection to the Fade: they can no longer dream. As a side effect, their emotional center is utterly removed. It was believed that demons cannot possess the Tranquil. This was subsequently proven to be wrong. In the mind of the Tranquil, there is no passion. They keep to themselves, and, if asked directly, will readily agree that having the opportunity to live out a peaceful and useful existence is far preferable when compared to what their alternatives would have been.
Formaris are composed of mages who focus on using their magical talents to create various items, most notably enchantments. They are less a political organization and more akin to a tradesmen's guild. The Tranquil belong to this group and do the grand majority of the enchanting and trading on behalf of the Circle. Owain and Solivitus are both examples of Formari.
Right of Annulment
- Main article: Right of Annulment
The Right of Annulment is the right to purge a Circle of Magi that is ruled irredeemable by ordering the templars to kill all the mages within a Circle. All the grand clerics of the Chantry can invoke this right.
Mages who are not part of the Circle of Magi are considered apostates and are hunted and killed by the Order of Templars. Mages who escape from the Circle are also considered apostates and either killed or brought back to the Circle by templars, though with enough secrecy however Apostates are shown to have varying levels of integration into Thedosian society, as with Gascard DuPuis and Anders. In retrospective, apostates consider the Circle a prison.
- Orzammar may have a Circle of Magi depending on the player choices during Dragon Age: Origins that exists outside Chantry supervision. It would be known as the only free circle in Thedas.
- ↑ Dragon Age: Asunder, Epilogue.
- ↑ A loading screen during Dragon Age suggests this.
- ↑ Dragon Age: Asunder, Chapter 18 and Epilogue.