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Ferelden is a relatively young kingdom located in southeastern Thedas. Ferelden means "fertile valley" in the Alamarri tongue.[2] It was formed by King Calenhad nearly four hundred years before the start of the Fifth Blight by uniting Alamarri clans.

The nation was conquered by Orlais three centuries later, and was under Orlesian occupation for 58 years of its 400 years history. It was freed through the efforts of King Maric Theirin and Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir. Maric's son, King Cailan Theirin, and Loghain's daughter, Queen Anora Mac Tir are the rulers as of the start of Dragon Age: Origins.

The climate of Ferelden appears to be temperate, and Ferelden along with Thedas itself is located in the southern hemisphere.

Geography

Dividing Ferelden from Orlais to the west are the Frostback Mountains. The southeast holds the Brecilian Forest, where in 9:30 Dragon a clan the Dalish elves can be found. To the far south are the forbidding forests, swamps and eventually tundra of the Korcari Wilds. To the north of the Wilds lie the Southron Hills and the Hinterlands, and the Free Marches across the sea. The central region of Ferelden contains Lake Calenhad and The Bannorn. In the far northern region are The Coastlands, which include more swamps and forests.

Brecilian ForestEast Brecilian ForestParty CampSoldier's Peak (DLC only)DenerimArl of Redcliffe's EstateThe PearlThe AlienageFort DrakonFrostback MountainsOrzammarLake Calenhad DocksCircle TowerRedcliffe CastleRedcliffe VillageLotheringBrecilian OutskirtsFlemeth's HutOstagarVillage of HavenHonnleath (DLC only)Redcliffe DungeonsKorcari WildsKadan-Fe HideoutRuined TempleThe Dragon's LairOrtan ThaigCaridin's CrossOrlaisAeducan ThaigThe Dead TrenchesCivil WarBattlefieldRefugeesCaravanDalish CampWest Brecilian ForestWerewolf LairThe Elven TombsBrecilian RuinsDenerim PalaceMap - World
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Known Cities, towns and villages

Regions

Notes

  • Ferelden's coastline faces the Waking Sea to the north and the Amaranthine Ocean to the east.
  • In the west are Lake Calenhad, the arling of Redcliffe, and the entrance to the dwarven kingdom of Orzammar. Orlais lies beyond mountain passes further west.
  • The Bannorn is effectively the "bread-basket" of Ferelden, containing the most arable land.
  • In the northeast is the capital Denerim, at the base of Dragon's Peak.
  • The east is dominated by the Brecilian Forest, with the coastal city of Gwaren to the far southeast, connected by the Brecilian Passage.
  • To the south, beyond the ruins of Ostagar, lie the Korcari Wilds. A vast region beyond the Wilds remains uncharted.
  • Ferelden has two islands off its northeast coast: one containing the city of Alamar and another named Brandel's Reach. Alamar is considered rather independent of Fereldan politics. This could be explained by the rocky Brandel's Reach reputedly being a haven for raiders, making Alamar an unpopular place to live or visit.[6]
  • The various hills and mountains of Ferelden are still ocupied by Avvars, and the Korcari Wilds by the Chasind, tribes independent of Ferelden. Dalish elves can also be found travelling through the nation.

Culture and society

Fereldans2

Fereldens in the Landsmeet chamber

Ferelden clothing

Fereldans in cold weather outfits[7]

Ferelden noble dress

Noble dress in Ferelden[8]

Ferelden garments

More elaborate noble dress[9]

Ferelden is a relatively temperate nation in the far southeast of Thedas, historically populated by a simple militaristic culture that has only begun to "civilize" in the last few centuries. The Chantry now claims the hearts and minds of 90% of the population[1]. Fereldan cities are considered virtually anarchic by the standards of most outsiders. The Fereldan desire for freedom has engendered a cultural mistrust of law enforcement, and 'laissez-faire' attitudes in general. While the worst offenses are quickly put down, many others are ignored and citizens are often left to make their own justice. Petty theft is common, as guardsmen will only go out of their way to deal with serious disruptions. Commerce is given little official scrutiny as long as taxes are paid; businesses such as brothels and gambling halls are not only tolerated, but expected.[10]

Surnames

In Ferelden, nobles have proper last names, such as the Howes or the Couslands. Sometimes commoners will have last names that stem from noble lines, foreign origins, land ownership or titles granted to family members in the past. [11] Otherwise, most Fereldan commoners introduce themselves with a reference to the area they come from or to their trade, e.g. Gareth of Oswin or Jannelle the Baker. [12][13]

Alienage culture

Like many countries in Thedas, Ferelden has a large population of elves who are segregated from the rest of society and live in walled-off alienages. Those who do not find positions of service outside of the alienage are unable to achieve high-paying jobs, but most seem to feel that they are at least among family who look out for each other.

Slavery

Slavery is illegal in Ferelden, but criminals still practice it in secret.

Importance of dogs

Mabari War Dogs

A mabari war dog

Visitors and travelers to Ferelden are often curious about local attitudes toward dogs. Throughout Thedas dogs are employed in hunting game, keeping barns and storehouses free of vermin, herding livestock and guarding homes; in the mountains they may even be used as beasts of burden. Fereldans, however, show a particular appreciation for canine companions. The origin of this is tangled up in mythology.

Dogs are common in Ferelden, both amongst the nobles as well as the common folk and mercenaries such as the Ash Warriors. Keeping dogs is a tradition kept since the times before Ferelden, started by the Alamarri tribes. The barbarians were introduced to mabari by the Magisters, who brought the dogs with them during their invasion of the land; many of the dogs decided to stay in the occupied lands after their original masters were defeated. [14]

Politics

To its neighbors, Ferelden seems utterly chaotic. Unlike other monarchies, power does not reside exclusively with the throne. Rather, it arises from the support of the freeholders.

Ferelden still harbors widespread antipathy toward Orlesians due to the treatment of native Fereldans during the only-recently-ended occupation.

The Landsmeet

The Landsmeet is a council of the Fereldan noble class which has been held annually for three millennia (only occasionally interrupted by war, occupation, or Blight). It functions as an official legislative body for Ferelden, and can override the king on any matter of law (although its members tend not to exercise this privilege if the king is particularly popular or powerful).[15] During the Landsmeet the current monarch is expected to mingle with and curry favor from her/his vassals.

An important milestone in the history of the Landsmeet, and of Ferelden itself, was that of the 33rd 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 was uninterrupted until the Orlesian invasion.

Titles

All nobility may be referred to as 'lordship/ladyship' or 'my lord/lady' when not using their official title.

Freeholder

The term for any land-owner in Ferelden. A few commoners are freeholders.

Ser

A male or female knight of the realm. Also commonly used as a polite term of address to and by those of equal or greater status than oneself.

Bann

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 neighbors - a practice tending to ignite feuds that can last for ages.

The eleven bannorns named thus far in Dragon Age canon are Amaranthine City, Dragon's Peak, Oswin, Lothering, Rainesfere, Winter's Breath, River Dane, Waking Sea, West Hill, White River and Honnleath.


This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.


If a City Elf Warden survives slaying the Archdemon, a new bann may be created, for the first time ever giving an Alienage (Denerim's) representation at the Landsmeet.

As of the Battle of Ostagar, the ruling banns are:

Banns whose exact lands are not yet known:

  • Bann Bronach[17]
  • Bann Darby[18]
  • Bann Ferrenly[19]
  • Bann Grainne[17]
  • Bann Loren
  • Bann Perrin
  • Bann Rodolf[20]
  • Bann Telmen
  • Bann Teoric

Arl/Arlessa

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.

The title is likely analogous to the Anglo-Saxon "earl" and Scandinavian "jarl".

Before the Battle of Ostagar, the five known arlings in Ferelden and their lords are:

Teyrn/Teyrna

File:Origins human noble 04 download.jpg

In antiquity, teyrns arose from among the banns, having grown powerful enough to move lesser banns to swear fealty to them. There are only two teyrnirs in modern Ferelden: 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 (but to whom they are also responsible for lending aid when needed).

The proper address is "My Lord/My Lady".[21]

As Dragon Age: Origins begins, Loghain Mac Tir is Teyrn of Gwaren, and Bryce and Eleanor Cousland are Teyrn and Teyrna of Highever.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.


If The Warden survives the Archdemon's slaying, s/he may become the new Teyrn of Gwaren.

Fergus Cousland rightfully succeeds his father as Teyrn of Highever.

King/Queen

The king is the most powerful of the teyrns. 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 Bannorn.

This is especially evident during the Landsmeet, an annual council for which the nobles of Ferelden gather. It has been held for almost three thousand years, with only a few interruptions for Blights and invasions. 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.

A king or queen is referred to as "your Majesty", while a prince or princess (designated heir(s) of the monarch) is called "your Highness."

Origin of titles

The titles ser, bann, and teyrn originate in Ferelden. Calenhad, the first teyrn to unite the Clayne tribes into a single nation, borrowed arl and king from neighboring states.

Inheritance

There's no firm rule that dictates who rules the household. Fereldans are willful and their families tend to be managed by whoever can. Usually, the oldest child inherits the majority of the property regardless of gender, but there are some cases where a younger brother or sister is named the heir simply because he or she seems more capable. The Human Noble, for instance, is rumored to be a strong contender to be the next Teyrn of Highever, despite the presence of an elder male sibling.

Notable people with Fereldan origins

For a complete list, see :Category:Fereldans.
Note: Although the entrance to the Kingdom of Orzammar is within Ferelden's borders it is not part of Ferelden and so dwarves from Orzammar are not considered Fereldans.

Trivia

  • Ferelden is loosely based on medieval England. Human characters from Ferelden often speak with a distinctive English accent. More specifically, Ferelden seems to be heavily based on the culture of the Anglo-Saxons and Norsemen. Ferelden's occupation by the Orlesian Empire furthers the historical comparison, in that the Duke of ("French") Normandy conquered England in 1066. Ferelden is essentially what England would have been like if the English had expelled their Norman conquerors a few generations after conquest, as Ferelden did to the Orlesians. The developers have specifically compared Ferelden to "England in AD 1200" for this reason{citation needed}.
    • Another Anglo-Saxon parallel is that Dragon Age Fereldans are descendants of Germanic-inspired Alammari and Avvar, just as historical Anglo-Saxons were descendants of Angles, Saxons and Jutes. Northumbrian influences are also evident in Fereldan names, (E.g.: Urien, Oswald).
    • Additionally, the Landsmeet is almost certainly based upon the Witenagemot, or Witan, of the Anglo-Saxons. In the German version of Origins, the term is Landthing: Thing was the Germanic predecessor of the Witenagemot.
    • The Teyrnir of Highever seems to be loosely inspired by a combination of Ireland and Scotland. Both Ireland and Highever were forced into submission via military conquest. Also, several inhabitants of Highever have Scots-Gaelic names, such as Gilmore and Fergus; the default name for a male Human Noble, Aedan, is Irish.
  • Visiting foreigners (notably Sten and Marjolaine) have claimed that "Ferelden smells like wet dog".
  • Many of Ferelden's titles have real-world analogues:
"Ser" is likely based on the real-world English honorific "Sir," which is bestowed upon male British knights. On Earth, it is still used politely to address men regardless of their actual station; in-game the official title is used for both sexes (necessitating one less piece of voice-recording for the actors and less circumstantial programming), but informally only for men (compared with the entirely ordinary "milady"). It is used identically in the land of Westeros of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.
"Bann" is likely based on the real-world title "Ban," meaning "lord" or "master" in medieval Hungary and Croatia; it is similarly not unlike "Baron".
"Arl" is most likely based on the Anglo-Saxon "Earl" or the Scandinavian equivalent "Jarl".
"Teyrn" is an actual real-world title - Welsh for "Sovereign" or "Monarch".
  • Fereldans bear similarities to the Celts of the British Isles. The Prophetess Andraste draws vague parallels with Boudica, who led a rebellion against the Romans (Imperium equivalent) in and around Londinium. Fereldans use mabari to take down armored knights, just as the Irish did with their wolfhounds when invaded in the 9th and 10th centuries. Additionally, there are strong Gaelic/Irish influences in the naming of Ferelden characters (Loghain Mac Tir, Cailan).
  • The Feastday Pranks DLC includes the book Compleat Geneaology of the Kyngs of Ferelden as a gift. The spellings are presumably a parallel of historical changes in English.

Gallery

Codex entries

Ico codex entry Codex entry: Geography of Ferelden
Ico codex entry Codex entry: History of Ferelden: Chapter 1
Ico codex entry Codex entry: History of Ferelden: Chapter 2
Ico codex entry Codex entry: Politics of Ferelden
Ico codex entry Codex entry: The Noble Families of Ferelden
Ico codex entry Codex entry: Culture of Ferelden
Ico codex entry Codex entry: Dogs in Ferelden

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Dragon Age: Origins - PRIMA Official Game Strategy
  2. Dragon Age: The World of Thedas volume 1
  3. Focus by Luke Kristjanson [1]
  4. See Valena
  5. Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne, Chapter 2.
  6. http://social.bioware.com/forum/Dragon-Age-Origins/Dragon-Age-Origins-amp-Awakening-Official-Campaign-Quests-and-Storylines-Spoilers-Warning/Is-Alamar-in-Ferelden-or-the-Free-Marches-373675-1.html David Gaider in Bioware forum
  7. image from Dragon Age: The World of Thedas volume 1
  8. image from Dragon Age RPG Player's Guide Set 1, page 13
  9. Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, pg. 73.
  10. Prima Official Game Guide (Collector's Edition), p245
  11. David Gaider. "The DA Question thread". Bioware Social Network.
  12. Codex entry: Arms of Mac Tir
  13. Pramas, Chris. "Chapter Two: Character Creation (Fereldan Names)". Dragon Age RPG, Set 1 - Player's Guide. p.32.
  14. According to Fenris
  15. Prima Official Game Guide (Collector's Edition), p255
  16. Kirby, Mary. "Question on Ferelden Background (For the writers, more so)". Bioware Social Network.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Mentioned in rumors from Bodahn or the barkeeps.
  18. Mentioned by Slim Couldry as the one being stolen from in the third mark during the Crime Wave questline.
  19. Based on the description of Fox's Pendant.
  20. Mentioned by Cyrion Tabris to a City Elf Warden after his rescue from the slavers.
  21. According to the Dragon Age: The World of Thedas Vol. 1. p:47
  22. Dragon Age: World of Thedas, vol. 1, pg. 45.
  23. Dragon Age: World of Thedas, vol. 1, pg. 50.
  24. Dragon Age: World of Thedas, vol. 1, pg. 46.
  25. Dragon Age: World of Thedas, vol. 1, pg. 47.
  26. Dragon Age: World of Thedas, vol. 1, pg. 45.
  27. Dragon Age: World of Thedas, vol. 1, pg. 50.
  28. Dragon Age: World of Thedas, vol. 1, pg. 46.
  29. Dragon Age: World of Thedas, vol. 1, pg. 47.
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