Ferelden is a kingdom in southeastern Thedas. It was conquered by Orlais a century ago, when King Darlan ruled, but was freed through the efforts of King Maric Theirin, grandson of King Brandel. Maric's son, King Cailan Theirin, is the ruler 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.
Ferelden is a land of many different environments. In the west, there is the cold Frostback Mountains. To the far south, there is the dangerous Korcari Wilds. To the southeast is the Brecilian Forest, where the Dalish elves can be found. To the north of the Korcari Wilds lie the Southron Hills and the Hinterlands. In the central region of Ferelden lies Lake Calenhad and The Bannorn. In the far northern region are The Coastlands, which alone consist of swamps and forests.
- Dales End 
- South Reach
- West Hill
- Harper's Ford
- 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
- Soldier's Peak
- Ferelden has two coasts. It is bordered on the north by the Waking Sea and on the east by the Amaranthine Ocean.
- To the west are Lake Calenhad, Redcliffe, mountain passes, and the dwarven kingdom Orzammar at the northwest edge within the Frostback Mountains. Beyond the mountains is the Orlesian Empire.
- In the northern center is the Bannorn, a large area of fertile land where the banns compete for the right to rule.
- To the northeast is the capital Denerim, at the base of Dragon's Peak.
- The eastern part is dominated by the Brecilian Forest, with the coastal city Gwaren to the far southeast, connected by the Brecilian Passage.
- Ferelden has two islands off its north-east coast: one island with a city named Alamar and another island named Brandel's Reach. In Alamar, the kingdom doesn't have a great deal of presence there. Brandel's Reach is a rocky island right next to it which is considered to be a haven for raiders, so Alamar isn't really considered a prime place to live.
Culture and society
Ferelden is a relatively temperate nation in the far southeast of Thedas populated by a barbarian, militaristic culture that has only begun to civilize in the last few centuries. Fereldan cities are considered anarchic by most standards. The Fereldan desire for freedom has engendered a laissez-faire cultural attitude towards law enforcement and behavior 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 major crimes. Commerce is largely unregulated as long as taxes are paid: businesses such as brothels and gambling halls are not only tolerated, but expected.
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. Most elves working there are unable to achieve high paying jobs, but many elves feel that, in alienages, they are at least among family who look out for each other.
Importance of dogs
Often visitors and travelers to Ferelden ask the residents and scholars to explain the omnipresence of dogs in Ferelden. In every civilized corner of Thedas, astute observers note that dogs are employed in hunting game, keeping barns and storehouses free of vermin, herding livestock, guarding homes, and, in the mountains, they are even used as beasts of burden. It is simply that Fereldans show appreciation for the work that their dogs do. The reason for that is tangled up in mythology.
Hafter, the first Fereldan to be named teyrn, was the hero who united the Fereldans' ancestors, the Alamarri, to drive back the darkspawn of the Second Blight. He was also reputed to be the son of a werewolf. This was perhaps meant to be some comment on his temperament or simply a way of making a great man even larger than life, but more than half the noble families of Ferelden claim to be his descendants. Thus many of the Fereldan people believe they have some distant kinship with wolves; and it is, after all, only good manners to be polite to one's kin.
To its neighbors, Ferelden seems utterly chaotic. Unlike other monarchies, power does not descend from their throne. Rather, it arises from the support of the freeholders.
They also have a extreme dislike for the Orleisians due to their treatment of native Fereldans during the occupation.
The Landsmeet is a council of the entire Fereldan nobility, which has been held for three thousand years - with the occasional interruption by war, occupation, or Blight. The Landsmeet has been an official legislative body for Ferelden, and it can override the king on any matter of law, although the Landsmeet tends not to exercise its power if the king is strong. During the Landsmeet, it is expected that the current monarch of Ferelden will mingle with, and curry favor from, the nobility.
An important milestone in the history of the Landsmeet, and of Ferelden itself, was the Landsmeet forced by King Calenhad Theirin in the 33rd year of the Exalted Age. After mysteriously gaining the support of the Circle of Magi, Calenhad marched on and defeated Redcliffe - forcing a Landsmeet where the nobles unanimously submitted to him as king. This marked the birth of modern-day Ferelden and began the Theirin line of royalty from which Ferelden Kings have descended - the primary interruption caused by the Orlesian invasion and occupation.
All nobility may be referred to as 'lordship/ladyship' or 'my lord/lady' when not using their title. This is also the correct term for their spouse.
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. (For example, "No, ser,")
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 your land too late to defend it. For the most part, each generation of freeholders casts their lot with the same bann as their fathers 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 that inevitably begins feuds that can last for ages.
There are currently ten known bannorns in Ferelden: Amaranthine City, Dragon's Peak, Oswin, Lothering, Rainesfere, River Dane, Waking Sea, West Hill, White River and Honnleath. If the player is a City Elf there is also created the first Bann of the Alienage.
One notable bann is Bann Teagan, who is encountered in the Arl of Redcliffe storyline.
Pre-'Battle of Ostagar' the rulling Banns are:
Amaranthine City - Bann Esmerelle
Dragon's Peak - Bann Sighard
Oswin - Unknown (Possibly Bann Loren)
Lothering - Unknown (Possibly Bann Ceorlic)
Rainsfere - Bann Teagan
River Dane - Unknown (Possibly Bann Perrin)
Waking Sea - Bann Alfstanna
West Hill - Bann Franderel
White River - Bann Reginalda
Honnleath - Unknown
The teyrns established the arls, giving them command of strategic fortresses that the teyrns could not oversee themselves. They are somewhat more prestigious than banns, but with the known exceptions of Arl of Amaranthine (Amaranthine City Bannorn) and South Reach (Lothering Bannorn), they traditionally have no banns sworn to them.
Before the Battle of Ostagar, the five known arlings in Ferelden and their ruling arls:
- Amaranthine - Arl Howe (succeeded by Commander of the Grey in Ferelden)
- Denerim - Arl Urien (succeeded by Vaughan after he is killed at Ostagar)
- Redcliffe - Arl Eamon
- South Reach - Arl Bryland
- West Hills - Arl Wulff
Teyrns arose from among the banns, war leaders who, in antiquity, had grown powerful enough to move other banns to swear fealty to them. There were many of these in the days before King Calenhad, but he succeeded in whittling them down to only two: Gwaren in the south and Highever in the north. These teyrns still hold the oaths of banns and arls. They may call upon them in the event of war or disaster and they are responsible for defending those sworn to them. The title is likely analogous to the real world English title of Duke.
Teyrns are referred to as "your Grace," a form imported by the Orlesians.
The king is the most powerful of the teyrns. Although Denerim was originally the teyrnir of the king, it has since been reduced to an arling, as the king's domain is now all of Ferelden. However, even the king's power must come from the banns.
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" men is a source of constant wonder to foreign ambassadors.
A king or queen is referred to as "your Majesty", while a prince or princess 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.
Fereldans are mostly patrilineal, but 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
- Aveline Vallen
- Cailan Theirin
- Eamon Guerrin
- Ferdinand Genitivi
- Loghain Mac Tir
- Maric Theirin
- Nathaniel Howe
- The Warden
- Ferelden is loosely based on the real-world medieval Britain. Human characters from Ferelden speak with a distinctive English accent. More specifically, Ferelden seems to be heavily based on the culture of the Anglo-Saxons, with a great deal Norse influence as well. Ferelden's occupation by the Orlesian Empire furthers the comparison to medieval Europe. Specifically, the Anglo-Saxon themed Ferelden being conquered by the French themed Orlais seems to be based off on William the Conqueror's invasion of England in 1066. Unlike Anglo-Saxon England, however, Orlais was driven out of Ferelden. Ferelden is essentially what England would have been like if the Saxons had ousted their Norman conquerors in around AD 1200, a few generations after conquest, like Ferelden repelled Orlais. The developers have specifically compared Ferelden to England in "AD 1200" for this reason.
- Furthermore, the similarities with the Anglo-Saxons is further compounded when it is observed that the modern day Fereldens are descendants of the Germanic inspired Alammari and Avvar; just as the historical Anglo-Saxons themselves were descendants of the three Germanic tribes; the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, as observed by the Benedictine monk, Bede. Northumbrian (A kingdom of the Angles in Northern England, divided into 2 parts) influences are also clear in Ferelden naming, (E.g.: Urien, Oswald).
- Additionally, the Landsmeet is almost certainly based upon the Witenagemot, or Witan, of Anglo-Saxon England.
- 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. Highever by Calenhad's growing Ferelden kingdom and Ireland by the Kingdom of England, upon which Ferelden is based. Also, several inhabitants of Highever have Scottish Gaelic names, such as Ser Gilmore or the teyrn's eldest Fergus; the default name for a male human noble, Aedan, is Irish.
- Most visiting foreigners (Sten and Marjolaine) claim that, "Ferelden smells like wet dog".
- Many of Ferelden's titles have real world analogues;
- "Ser" is likely based on the real life English honorific "Sir," which is bestowed upon male British knights. Unlike real life, where it is also used politely to address men, it is used in-game to address both sexes (this also means there is one less piece of voice-recording for the actors and less circumstantial programming). It has previously been used with the same meaning in 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," which was used in Hungary and Croatia during the Middle Ages. Bann also equates realistically with the status of the similar term "Baron".
- "Arl" is most likely based on the real world British title "Earl," from the original Anglo-Saxon title.
- "Teyrn" is also an actual real world title, being the Welsh for "Sovereign" or "Monarch".
- The Fereldens are also similar to the Celts of the British Isles. The Prophetess Andraste draws light parallels with Boudica. The similarities become rather clear when one recalls that Boudica led a rebellion against the Romans in modern day England. The Fereldans use their war hounds to take down armored knights, just as the Irish did with their Irish Wolfhounds when they were invaded by the English in the 9th and 10th centuries. Additionally, there are strong Gaelic/Irish influences in the naming of Ferelden characters (Loghain Mac Tir, King Cailan). Though these comparisons are relatively subtle when compared to how heavily the Fereldens are based on the Saxons.
- A gift made available by the Feastday Pranks DLC is about "The Complete Genealogy of Kyngs in Ferelden". This may be a developer joke on Ferelden's use of words for nobility that are slightly altered from English equivalents, "as was done with "Ser" or "Arl."
- ↑ Focus by Luke Kristjanson 
- ↑ 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
- ↑ Prima Official Game Guide (Collector's Edition), p245
- ↑ Prima Official Game Guide (Collector's Edition), p255