The dwarven empire once spanned the length and breadth of Thedas, encompassing a vast number of thaigs which were connected via the Deep Roads, until one by one fell to the incursion of the darkspawn. The history of the dwarves is a long one and encompasses the rule of numerous kings and queens.
To be a king or queen in dwarven society is to have both immense power as well as an immense system of checks and balances in the form of the Assembly and, to a lesser extent, the Shaperate. Subsequently, the form of government of the dwarves can be described as a constitutional monarchy.
The Assembly holds the power to advise the king, approve or veto acts of the king, propose policy, declare Paragons, and elect new kings. The Shaperate works in conjunction with the ruler and the Assembly by overseeing matters of civil dispute. It is often consulted as a neutral third party in disputes both legal and social and sets legal precedent and determines the authenticity of documents and the binding nature of contracts.
The king or queen hold their position for life, unless they are removed or replaced. As the ruler, they are also the war-leader and have authority over the Legion of the Dead.
Kings and Queens of the dwarven empire
After the First Blight, the communication lines between the four surviving kingdoms of Orzammar, Gundaar, Hormak and Kal-Sharok started to fail. Because of that, at -195 Ancient (1000 TE), each kingdom elected its own king or queen while maintaining allegiance to the High King or Queen of Orzammar. By -35 Ancient the kingdoms of Gundaar and Hormak had fallen to the horde, while communication with Kal-Sharok was already lost. After the rediscovery of Kal-Sharok in 9:12 Dragon, King Endrin Aeducan demanded from Kal-Sharok to submit to Orzammar's authority, since technically he is still the High King of the dwarven empire. However this demand is outright refused and causes tensions between the two dwarven kingdoms.
- Bloadlikk – according to the legend he was the youngest and wisest of the Seven Brothers who founded the dwarven empire; furthermore, he became the first king of the empire and is the founder of the noble caste
- Orseck Garal – a king that ruled over the dwarven empire during an age of expansion and greatness for the dwarves; he is credited by some for moving the capital from Kal-Sharok to Orzammar by putting the idea forth the Assembly; he was named as Paragon by his successor after his death
- Endrin Stonehammer – a friend and ally of Orseck Garal; he succeeded Garal as the new king of the dwarven empireand was credited with having built Orzammar's Stonehammer Hall; Endrin forged a strong trade alliance with Archon Darinius of the Tevinter Imperium as well as attended the first match of the Grand Proving arena in Minrathous for of his accomplishments; Endrin was named a Paragon on his deathbed; he is also known as the "First Paragon"
- Aeducan – a warrior caste dwarf who saved the dwarven empire from annihilation and achieved victory against the darkspawn during the First Blight, although countless thaigs were still lost to the horde, for this he was made a Paragon and a king; Aeducan is the founder of House Aeducan and Anika became his Queen
- Kelgak – under his reign the Deep Roads were expanded with a connection between the Great Thaig of Gundaar and the Aeducan Thaig
- Valtor – ascended to the throne in -260 Ancient; Valtor's desire to create golems from individuals who were casteless, criminals, and political dissidents raised opposition from Paragon Caridin; Caridin decided to destroy his writings pertaining to golem creation, however, Valtor managed to preserve a few and had Caridin himself placed on the Anvil of the Void to become a golem as punishment; Caridin later took the Anvil and vanished in -248 Ancient in the eleventh year of Valtor's reign
- Getha – is one of few queens mentioned by name; in the second year of her reign she sent the entire Legion of Steel, an all-golem regiment, to recover Paragon Caridin and the Anvil of the Void, but no golems ever returned; due to the incalculable loss of the Legion of Steel, Queen Getha was deposed
- Threestone – is arguably one of the most important kings in dwarven history as he managed to seal the Deep Roads in -40 Ancient in a last bid to save Orzammar from the darkspawn invasion; this effectively separated the last great kingdoms of Kal-Sharok, Gundaar, and Hormak from the capital—isolating the dwarven empire into, seemingly, one lone city with a few outlying thaigs
Kings and Queens of Orzammar
In modern-day Orzammar the king or queen's power is leveraged by that of the Assembly, the dwarven governing body who chooses the king and from whom kings are typically drawn. Although the king rules Orzammar they must garner the support of the Assembly lords, called deshyrs, to maintain his position, for kings can—and have been—expelled from the throne. Unpopular kings and their heirs are deemed unfit to rule and the kingship then passes to another. While the chosen ruler is typically male, women have also been chosen by the Assembly to rule.
- Orrick Garen – he lived in the early Exalted Age and is the only king who became a Paragon during his reign; Orrick sentenced his son Tethras to exile into the Deep Roads for the murder of his sister Unaria; eventually he found out that the Carta was responsible for the murder—he was so overcome with guilt that over the next ten years he regularly sent Legionnaire units into the Deep Roads in an effort to find and bring his son back; as a tribute, he changed the name of his house from Garen to Tethras including his own name; this however is disputed by Varric Tethras who claims that as a tribute to his son, the heirs of House Garen took the name Tethras and eventually one of them became a Paragon on his own right and founded House Tethras
- Eithnar Bemot – he became a Paragon and the King of Orzammar in a single move from the Assembly during the Fourth Blight, and is the founder of House Bemot
- Queen Valda Aeducan – reigned during the Storm Age; she forged a trade agreement with Emperor Etienne I of Orlais in 7:80 Storm and gifted him a bronto trophy to commemorate the event
- King Barran Aeducan – reigned during the Blessed Age; King Barran and Grand Duke Gratien made an expedition to the Deep Roads in 8:31 Blessed—an event which further improved the relations between the two nations, a deepstalker trophy was gifted to the Grand Duke to commemorate the expedition
- Annalar Geldinblade/Perethin – he reigned during the period around 8:48 Blessed when the Primeval Thaig was rediscovered—and promptly lost again on his order; Annalar was assassinated in 8:50 Blessed, sparking a civil war; it is mentioned that Endrin Aeducan succeeded him—however this isn't possible considering that Endrin became king at 8:96 Blessed and his father, Ansgar, was also crowned king prior to Endrin[note]
- Ansgar Aeducan – the father of King Endrin Aeducan
- Endrin Aeducan – took the throne of Orzammar in 8:96 Blessed; Endrin is father to the Trian Aeducan, the Dwarf Noble and Bhelen Aeducan; in his reign the lost great thaig of Kal-Sharok was rediscovered
In the eve of the Fifth Blight, King Endrin Aeducan passes away and Orzammar suffers an internal crisis as none of the two candidates can gain enough support in the Assembly in order to be elected as the next king. During A Paragon of Her Kind quest line it is decided who Orzammar's next ruler will be:
- Bhelen Aeducan – the third and youngest child of King Endrin Aeducan; as a prince his most notable trait was his ability to stay out of trouble; as a king he proves to be a reformer and allows for trade with the surface as well as loosened caste restrictions; the casteless are permitted to take up arms against the darkspawn in exchange for new freedoms and for the first time in generations, the line in the Deep Roads is pushed back, and a few thaigs are reclaimed; if the Anvil of the Void was recovered, then the darkspawn are driven back as far as the Dead Trenches and later on, if a Dwarf Commoner Warden survives the events of the Fifth Blight it is revealed that Bhelen marries Rica Brosca who becomes his Queen
- Pyral Harrowmont – head of House Harrowmont, he is well known for being an able administrator, and the author of many compromises in the ever-warring Assembly as well as King Endrin Aeducan's most trusted advisor; as a king he tries to isolate Orzammar further from the surface; if the Anvil of the Void was preserved, caste restrictions and the rights of the nobles both grow; a law is also passed which excludes the casteless from common areas of the city; if the Anvil is destroyed, Bhelen's rebellion leaves him unable to find stability for Orzammar—and after a protracted illness he passes away
Kings not placed in chronology
- Darbir – during his reign the Assembly declared that it insulted the Ancestors for casteless dwarves to perform any work that a dwarf of recognized caste can perform
- Gherlen the Blood-Risen – he was born casteless, however after venturing to the surface and gaining enough prestige from his adventures and acts of bravery, he returned to Orzammar and became a Paragon and king by overthrowing the previous ruler; his tale is still honored by dwarven adventurers
Kings and Queens of other kingdoms
- Jegrek – a king of Gundaar; was was killed by Beregrand of the warrior caste in a Proving; the Memories mention that this event had dire consequences for the entire kingdom
Dragon Age RPG
- The “Lost King” – this king was utterly removed from the Memories and his deeds unknown; he ruled during the Divine Age for a 30-year period
- Felbin the Mad – Felbin went mad and was dethroned by the Assembly
Princes and Princesses
- Hendir – a dwarven prince who encountered chieftain Tyrdda Bright-Axe of the Alamarri within his territory; instead of fighting, Tyrdd peacefully left the dwarven lands striking an alliance and establishing trade; Hendir who loved Tyrdda joined her on the surface and married her but the feelings were not mutual, upon her death Hendir named their daughter as the new chieftain; Morrighan'nan is descended from his line
- Scaea – a dwarven princess and lover of Luthias Dwarfson, a human; she lived around -355 Ancient
- Tethras Garen – the son of king and Paragon Garen; in the early Exalted Age, he was accused of the murder of his sister and was exiled into the Deep Roads where he found his death; his name was redeemed when it was revealed that the Carta were responsible for Unaria's death
- Unaria Garen – the daughter of king and Paragon Garen; she was murdered by the Carta but her brother Tethras was framed for her murder
- Trian Aeducan – the eldest child of King Endrin Aeducan and the crown prince of Orzammar; in the eve of the Fifth Blight he is killed and his [[younger sibling was accused of the murder
- The Dwarf Noble – is the middle child of King Endrin Aeducan; the Dwarf Noble is accused of murdering their elder brother Trian Aeducan—as punishment the Assembly decides to remove their name and deeds from the Memories and exile them to the Deep Roads where they will find certain death—the Dwarf Noble survives only if they became the Warden
- Lord Harrowmont and Piotin Aeducan also mention that the Aeducans ruled for nine generations. However these claims have a chronological conflict with the years that Annalar has ruled.
- Additionally, a noble located in the Diamond Quarter mentions that House Aeducan has held the throne for 370 years.
- The new king or queen is coronated during a special ceremony in the Chamber of the Assembly by the Shaper of Memories.
- Astyth the Grey, became a Paragon at 1:95 Divine after she sacrificed her life to save the king from an assassin.
- Rica Brosca erroneously calls King Gherlen as Gherlon in the beginning of the Dwarf Commoner Origin. This is either a developer mistake or can be attributed to her lack of proper education.
- As the ruler, the king or queen is the theoretical war-leader of Orzammar but in practice this means that the ruler merely commands the warrior houses sworn to their own house and their allies.