To its neighbours, the kingdom of Ferelden seems utterly chaotic. Unlike other monarchies, power does not reside exclusively with the royalty and nobility. Rather, it arises from the support of the freeholders.
The Landsmeet is a council of the Fereldan noble class which has been held annually for almost three thousand years, only occasionally interrupted by war or foreign occupation. It brought together all the fractured Alamarri tribes and after the unification of the kingdom, it functions as the official legislative body for Ferelden, and can override the king or queen on any matter of law. However its members tend not to exercise this privilege if the king is particularly popular or powerful. During the Landsmeet the current monarch is expected to mingle with and curry favour from their vassals.
An important milestone in the history of the Landsmeet, and of Ferelden itself, was that of the 42nd year of the Exalted Age. After mysteriously gaining the support of the Circle of Magi, Calenhad Theirin marched on and seized Redcliffe, thus forcing a Landsmeet at which the nobles unanimously submitted to his kingship. This marked the birth of modern-day Ferelden and began the Theirin dynasty that rules Ferelden ever since except the Orlesian invasion.
The King is the most powerful noble in the kingdom. Although Denerim was originally the official "teyrnir of the King", it has since been changed to a separate noble's arling, as the king's domain is all of Ferelden. However, even the monarch's power must derive from support throughout the land. The sight of a King asking for, and working to win the support of, "lesser" nobles is a source of constant wonder to foreign ambassadors.
In antiquity, Teyrns arose from among the Banns, having grown powerful enough to move lesser Banns to swear fealty to them. There used to be many more teyrnirs before the rise of Calenhad, but he downsized them during his war for the throne. In modern Ferelden there are only two teyrnirs; Gwaren in the south and Highever in the north. Teyrns are still owed fealty by vassals of both Arl and Bann ranks, whom they may call upon in the event of war or disaster. However they are also responsible for lending aid to them when needed. In modern times a king or a queen has the right to name a teyrn.
These are the current two teyrnirs:
The Teyrns at some point established arlings, giving the title of Arl to those assigned to command strategic fortresses that the Teyrns could not oversee directly. Arls are more prestigious than Banns, but they usually have no Banns sworn to them - known exceptions being Amaranthine and South Reach.
These are the current five arlings:
Each freehold chooses the Bann or Arl to whom it pays allegiance. Typically, this choice is made based on proximity of the freehold to the lord's castle (as it's rarely worthwhile to pay for the upkeep of soldiers who will arrive at one's lands too late to defend them). For the most part, each generation of freeholders casts its lot with the same Bann as the previous generation did, but things can and do change. No formal oaths are sworn, and it is not unheard of, especially in the prickly central Bannorn, for Banns to court freeholders away from their neighbours - a practice tending to ignite feuds that can last for ages.
These are the known bannorns:
- City of Amaranthine
- Dragonmount Bannorn
- Dragon's Peak
- Southern Bannorn — on the eastern shore of Lake Calenhad
- Waking Sea — on the northern shore of Ferelden
- West Hill
- White River
- Winter's Breath
Freeholds are the ownership of real property, being the land and all immovable structures attached to such land. A freeholder is the term for any land-owner in Ferelden. Although most freeholds are owned by nobles, commoners can also become freeholders.
Masculine Feminine Form of address Usage King Queen Your Majesty Title for the Ferelden ruler and his or her spouse. Prince Princess Your Highness Title for direct family members of the ruler, including their children and siblings. Teyrn Teyrna Your Lordship/Ladyship The highest title of the nobility. Feudal rulers of teyrnirs. Arl Arlessa My Lord/Lady Noble title. Feudal rulers of arlings Bann Bann My Lord/Lady Lowest title of the nobility. Feudal rulers of bannorns. Lord Lady My Lord/Lady Courtesy title for spouses of Banns. Acceptable address for any nobility, no matter the rank, but not royalty. Knight Knight Ser Title reserved for Fereldan knights.
Known royalty and nobility
- In chronological order:
- Calenhad Theirin — first King of Ferelden
- Mairyn — Queen consort to Calenhad Theirin
- Weylan I — son of Calenhad Theirin
- Fionne Theirin — ascended to the throne in 6:18 Steel
- Arland Theirin — ascended to the throne in 7:5 Storm
- Vanedrin Theirin
- Brandel Theirin
- Meghren — the Orlesian King of Ferelden during the last years of the Orlesian occupation
- Maric Theirin — ascended to the throne in 9:2 Dragon
- Rowan — Queen consort to Maric Theirin, mother of Cailan Theirin
- Cailan Theirin — son of Maric Theirin, married to Anora
- Anora — Queen consort to Cailan Theirin
- Moira Theirin — daughter of Brandel and mother of Maric. Known as the 'Rebel Queen'.
- In chronological order:
- Elethea Cousland — Teyrna of Highever
- Ardal Cousland — Teyrn of Highever
- Loghain Mac Tir — Teyrn of Gwaren
- Bryce Cousland — Teyrn of Highever, married to Eleanor Cousland and father of the Human Noble
- Eleanor Cousland — Teyrna of Highever, wife of Teyrn Bryce
- Fergus Cousland — Teyrn of Highever, elder brother of the Human Noble
- Leonas Bryland — Arl of South Reach
- Sophia Dryden
- Eamon Guerrin — Arl of Redcliffe and husband of Isolde.
- Isolde — Arlessa of Redfliffe and wife of Arl Eamon.
- Byron Howe — Arl of Amaranthine until 8:97 Blessed
- Rendon Howe — Arl of Amaranthine until 9:30 Dragon
- Urien Kendells — Arl of Denerim
- Vaughan Kendells — Arl of Denerim and son of Urien (possibly)
- Gallagher Wulff — Arl of West Hills
- Alfstanna — Bann of Waking Sea
- Nicola Baranti
- Camenae — Bann of Waking Sea
- Ceorlic — Bann in the Southern Bannorn
- Esmerelle — Bann of the City of Amaranthine
- Franderel — Bann of West Hill at 9:30 Dragon
- Teagan Guerrin — Bann of Rainesfere
- Valdur Krole
- Reginalda — Bann of White River
- Dairren — son of Bann Loren
- Eddelbrek — noble of Amaranthine
- Guy — minor noble of Amaranthine
- Landra — wife of Bann Loren
- Morag — minor noble of Amaranthine
- Oswyn — son of Bann Sighard
- Liza Packton — minor noble of Amaranthine
- Shayna — an Alamarri noble
- Derren — minor noble of Amaranthine
- Devith — knight of King Calenhad
- Perth — sworn to the Arl of Redcliffe
- Tamra — minor noble of Amaranthine
- Temmerly — minor noble of Amaranthine
- Timothy — minor noble of Amaranthine
- Theirin family — the royal family of Ferelden
- Cousland family — holds the teyrnir of Highever and Ferelden's second most powerful family
- Mac Tir family — the family established by Loghain Mac Tir
- Howe family — holds the Arling of Amaranthine
- Guerrin family — holds the Arling of Redcliffe and the Bannorn of Rainesfere