Prior to his coronation in 7:5 Storm, there was no clear successor to the throne. Both Arland and his cousin Arlessa Sophia Dryden had a strong claim to the crown. According to Dryden's journal, Arland was chosen instead of her because he was young and thought by the arls and teyrns to be easily manipulated. She, however, had seen something in the boy's eyes that terrified her.
It was not long before Arland showed himself to be an immoral and ruthless leader. He imprisoned Sophia for contesting his succession to the throne of Ferelden, but under pressure from her supporters, spared her life on the condition that she join the Grey Wardens.
Eventually, some of the Banns approached Sophia for help against Arland's tyranny. A letter from Bann Mathuin Wulff can be found in Soldier's Peak where he explains that Arl Ruahn and his entire family had been slaughtered over an idle word, thus ending the Ruahn line, and begs Sophia for aid.
When Arland learned that Sophia was using the Grey Wardens as an army to oppose him and that there was a rebellion against him, he forbade all tithing to the Wardens and declared them to be outlaws. His army besieged the Wardens at Soldier's Peak for months. The siege was lifted upon Sophia's death, and the rebellion ended.
Arland also executed many Couslands, including the Teyrn himself, for plotting against him, being allied to Sophia, and to teach the survivors their place.
Little is known of what followed Arland's rule, as a civil war for the throne occurred soon after his death. The war lasted a decade and wiped away most records of his reign.