The Bannorn's role in Fereldan politics
The central Ferelden Valley has always been a paradox: no single bann holds more than a few dozen leagues of farmland, yet together they govern a greater territory than all the teyrns and arls combined. This collection of independent banns is known as the Bannorn, and it is the heart of Fereldan politics.
No person has ever sat upon the throne of Ferelden without first winning the approval of the Bannorn. Queen Fionne, who had the misfortune to take the throne in the eighteenth year of the Steel Age, wrote of the Bannorn, "There have been three wars this year fought over elopements. Five fought over wool. And one started by an apple tree. It isn't even winter yet. Who would believe that these same banns, now trying so hard to kill one another, just last year united to give me the crown?"
--From Ferelden: Folklore and History, by Sister Petrine, Chantry scholar