Ferelden is a relatively young kingdom located in southeastern Thedas. Ferelden means "fertile valley" in the Alamarri tongue. 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 Maric Theirin who was the rightful heir to the throne and Loghain Mac Tir. Maric's son, Cailan Theirin, and Loghain's daughter, Anora are the rulers as of the start of Dragon Age: Origins. Natives of this region are called Fereldans.
The climate of Ferelden appears to be temperate, and Ferelden along with Thedas itself is located in the southern hemisphere.
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.
Known cities, towns and villages Edit
- Dales End
- Harper's Ford
- South Reach
- Bann Loren's Lands
- Brandel's Reach
- Brecilian Forest
- Dragon's Peak
- Frostback Mountains
- Gherlen's Pass
- Sulcher's Pass
- The Hinterlands
- Korcari Wilds
- Lake Calenhad
- Southron Hills
- Ferelden's coastline faces the Waking Sea to the north and the Amaranthine Ocean to the east.
- The Imperial Highway enters Ferelden in the Frostback Mountains via Gherlen's Pass and circles Lake Calenhad and the Bannorn. Then one branch ends in Denerim and another at Ostagar which is also the Highway's southmost point.
- The Bannorn is effectively the "bread-basket" of Ferelden, containing the most arable land.
- 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.
- 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 Edit
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. 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.
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.  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. 
Alienage culture Edit
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 is illegal in Ferelden, but criminals still practice it in secret.
Importance of dogs Edit
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. 
Ferelden law Edit
Ferelden law is relatively unregulated compared to that of older nations, and is expected on an individual level to be supplemented by one's martial prowess. Indeed, most petty crimes like theft are overlooked by the city guard in Denerim, whose main concern is protecting their posts. Consequently, the common Fereldan should not expect much help fending off criminal activity unless murder or major property damage has occurred.
There are no laws regulating personal behavior such as bearing arms, drinking, gambling and prostitution. Similarly, local prejudices and violence against non-human residents--notably alienage elves--often go unpunished. In part this is pragmatism, as Ferelden king's law states that killing a human in defense of an elf is a crime.
This is not to say that Ferelden is lawless; quite the opposite. The king's seneschal personally appoints arbiters--judges--called "blackhallers" to hear disputes. Blackhallers adjudicate cases from the black granite senschal's hall in Denerim--hence the name--and in the countryside, sheriffs appointed by the local bann patrol and keep track of upcoming cases for the blackhallers to hear.
Given the blackhallers' busy schedules, trials can take some time to occur. A suspect may surrender an item of great value to the local sheriff and be released "on his bond" until the time of the trial rather than waiting in a dungeon. This property will be returned if the suspect returns to be judged. Otherwise, the property is retained by the sheriff and the suspect has the charge of fleeing justice added to their criminal record.
As long-term imprisonment is frowned upon in general in Ferelden, punishment is often quick and violent. Common methods include public humiliation, whipping, disfigurement, fines and even executions.
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 Edit
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). 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.
All nobles that are titled as Lord/Lady, Bann and Arl/Arlessa may be referred to as 'my lord/lady' when not using their official title. The Teyrn/Teyrna are addressed as 'Your Lordship/Ladyship', the Prince/Princess as 'Your Highness' and the King/Queen as "Your Majesty'.
The term for any land-owner in Ferelden. A few commoners are freeholders.
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.
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 bannorns named thus far in Dragon Age canon are Amaranthine City, Dragon's Peak, Oswin, Lothering, Rainesfere, Southern Bannorn, Winter's Breath, River Dane, Waking Sea, West Hill, White River and Honnleath.
As of the Battle of Ostagar, the ruling banns are:
- Amaranthine City - Bann Esmerelle
- Dragon's Peak - Bann Sighard
- Rainesfere - Bann Teagan Guerrin
- River Dane
- Southern Bannorn (located on the eastern shore of Lake Calenhad) - Bann Ceorlic 
- Waking Sea - Bann Alfstanna
- West Hill - Bann Franderel
- White River - Bann Reginalda
- Winter's Breath - Bann Farhen
Banns whose exact lands are not yet known:
- Bann Bronach
- Bann Darby
- Bann Ferrenly
- Bann Grainne
- Bann Loren
- Bann Perrin
- Bann Rodolf
- Bann Telmen
- Bann Teoric
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.
Before the Battle of Ostagar, the five known arlings in Ferelden and their lords are:
- Amaranthine - Arl Howe
- Denerim - Arl Urien
- Redcliffe - Eamon
- South Reach - Arl Bryland
- West Hills - Arl Wulff
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 "Your Lordship/Your Ladyship".At the beginning of the Fifth Blight in 9:30 Dragon, Loghain Mac Tir is Teyrn of Gwaren, and Bryce and Eleanor Cousland are Teyrn and Teyrna of Highever.
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 Edit
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.
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 Edit
- Aveline Vallen
- Bethany Hawke
- Cailan Theirin
- Carver Hawke
- Eamon Guerrin
- Ferdinand Genitivi
- Loghain Mac Tir
- Maric Theirin
- Nathaniel Howe
- The Warden (if not a noble or commoner dwarf)
Codex entries Edit