Author: Atarah al'Norahn
Over the course of time, the name of the city has been changed several times. After the Breaking of the World, the city was known by the name of Aren Mador, and stood as the capital of the nation of Essenia (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 10). At some point after the Trolloc Wars, during the time of Yurian Stonebow, the the name Fel Moreina came into being (WH, Ch. 22). At some time in the past, it was also known as Aren Deshar, at which time it was the enclave of the Incaster People (ToM, Ch. 51). Finally, after the War of the Hundred Years, the city came to be known as Far Madding, the capitol of Maredo (WH, Ch. 22). After the fall of Maredo, when Far Madding became the city-state that it is today, this name was not changed.
Based on maps, Far Madding is situated to the north of the Plains of Maredo, Illian, and Tear, south of Andor, and east of Murandy. To the West is Haddon Mirk, and beyond that, the Spine of the World.
The city of Far Madding lies on an island, and the only ways in are through one of three gates: The Caemlyn Gate, the Illian Gate, and the Tear Gate. According to the map of Far Madding in Winter's Heart, the Caemlyn Gate is located at the northernmost point of the city and opens onto the Ajalon Bridge, with Glancor at the other end. The Illian Gate is located at the southwestern point of the city and opens onto the Ikane Bridge and, beyond, Daigan. The Tear Gate opens onto the Goim Bridge, with the village of South Bridge at its foot. The Gold Road runs from Illian to Far Madding (TPoD, Ch. 21).
Layout of the City
In the centre of the city is the Counsels' Plaza and the Hall of the Counsels (Far Madding Map; WH, Ch. 22).
In the southern part of the city is the Lakeman's Quarter, and in the southeastern part, the Mustering Grounds; although these are marked on the map in Winter's Heart, they are not otherwise mentioned or described in the books.
There are three markets, called the Stranger's Markets, where foreigners to the city are permitted to trade, (WH, Ch. 22). These are the Amhara Market (WH, Ch. 22), the Avharin Market (WH, Ch. 32), and the Nethvin Market (WH, Ch. 25). Each one is named after a revered female leader and contains a statue of that leader.
The Amhara Market
The Amhara Market is named after Savion Amhara, a former First Counsel of Far Madding, and contains a statue of her, standing on a pedestal, that points warningly in the direction of the Tear Gate. The statue stands two spans tall, holding a sword with its point at her feet, and is carved to wear fur-trimmed robes, chains of office, and the diadem of the First Counsel (WH, Ch. 22).
The Amhara Market is a huge square that looks nothing like a market, as it does not contain either market stalls or visible merchandise. It is surrounded by stone buildings: bankers' houses, inns with roofs of slate, blocky warehouses that have no windows, stables, and wagon yards (WH, Ch. 22).
The Avharin Market
The Avharin Market is named after Einion Avharin and contains a statue of her that points in the direction of the Caemlyn Gate (WH, Ch. 23).
The Avharin Market is surrounded by stone buildings: bankers' houses, inns with roofs of slate, blocky warehouses that have no windows, stables, and wagon yards (WH, Ch. 22).
There is an inn named the Golden Wheel that is located just off the Avharin Market (WH, Ch. 32).
The Nethvin Market
The Nethvin Market is named after a historical leader of Far Madding. Because there is a statue of Savion Amhara pointing towards the Tear Gate in the Amhara Market and a statue of Einion Avharin pointing towards the Caemlyn Gate in the Avharin Market, it can be assumed that a statue of Nethvin points towards the Illian Gate.
The Nethvin Market is surrounded by stone buildings: bankers' houses, inns with roofs of slate, blocky warehouses that have no windows, stables, and wagon yards (WH, Ch. 22).
An inn named The Counsels' Head is located within sight of the Market (WH, Ch. 25).
There are several different buildings in Far Madding that we learn about throughout the books. Information on them follows.
- The Counsel's Head: An inn that overlooks the Nethvin Market. It's innkeeper is Mistress Keene. This inn has better rooms than the Crown of Maredo (WH, Ch. 25). It is mostly used by foreign, wealthy merchants (WH, Ch. 32).
- The Crown of Maredo: A modest inn, with two dozen rooms and three floors (including the Common Room). The cooking here is said to be very good. The innkeeper is Mistress Nalhera (WH, Ch. 22).
- The Golden Wheel: A large inn that is located just off the Avharin Market. The innkeeper is Mistress Gallger (WH, Ch. 32).
- The Heart of the Plain: An inn (WH, Ch. 32).
- The Three Ladies of Maredo: An inn (WH, Ch. 32).
The Hall of the Counsels
The Hall of the Counsels is a great palace in the Counsels' Plaza, which is located in the centre of the city. It is round in shape with a dome on top. The building itself is white, and the dome is blue. The bottom level of the building has arched gates of bronze and huge carvings in the white stone. Some of the carvings, "more than twice life-size," are of Counsels. Between each carving of a Counsel there are carvings of trade goods, stacks of ingots, cons, and gemstones. There are also carvings of other people driving wagons and making trade goods. Around the two topmost levels of the Hall, there are fluted columns. Two sets of white stairs, one on each side, lead up to the second level (WH, Ch. 24).
Inside the Hall of the Counsels' is an indoor stableyard with a high ceiling. The corridors in the building have blue tiles, bright tapestries, and gilded lamps (WH, Ch. 24).
Within the dome itself, surrounded by arched doorways and a balcony with four sets of stairs leading up to it, is the Guardian (WH, Ch. 24).
Far Madding is ruled by the Counsels, which is made up solely of thirteen women. They wear their hair on top of their heads, and flowing, blue silk robes that are richly embroidered in gold over their dresses. Each woman wears a large pendant in the shape of a gold rimmed red enamel oval that is suspended from a necklace of heavy golden links. There is also the same shape at the front of the narrow, golden diadems that each of them wear. Some information about various Counsels follows.
- Aleis Barsalla is the First Counsel, a 'first among equals.' She is tall and stately, with black hair that has heavy wings of white, and an unlined face. Her dark eyes are filled with compassion and wisdom, and her presence radiates command. The red ovals on her pendant and diadem are made of rubies, and her diadem is covered with sapphires and moonstones. She wears a geavy golden signet ring on her right forefinger. The women of the Barsalla family have been involved in trade and politics since Far Madding was known as Fel Moreina.
- Cumere Powys - She is pretty.
- Cyprien - She has protruding teeth.
- Narvais Maslin - She is slim and gray haired.
- Sybaine - Her hair is as gray as Cadsuane's.
In the city of Far Madding, the women are seen as more important, and expect men to obey them. The only men of any real means are those who are either kept by women as lovers, or the widowers of wealthy women, as men are barred from trade and banking. At inns, there are special 'Women's Rooms,' which are separate parlors that are more luxurious than the common rooms for men.
The people of Far Madding are more often than not tall with dark hair and eyes. The women wear their hair long and piled on their heads in a variety of different styles-long rolls the length of their heads, a series of small balls, or large buns, which are often decorated with gold or silver ornaments. They generally wear dresses with high collars and waists, and floral embroidery. The men also wear their hair longer, to the waist, and held back with clips of silver or gold. The men tend to wear dull colors, with brighter embroidery at the chest and shoulders.
In the city of Far Madding, the civic order is strictly maintained.
Private arms are not allowed within the city. When entering at one of the gates, foreigners must register at the gate-forts, and must either 1) agree to store their weapons there, or 2) have them 'peace-bound' by intricately wrapped wires that are sealed with wax and leaden discs. Fines and floggings may be applied if the wires and seals are found to be broken, and a foreigner carrying a sword always attracts the attention of the guards. Foreigners are considered to be troublemakers and hotheads. Even the City Guards themselves go armed only at the gates, and must leave their weapons behind when they go off duty.
The guards wear armor of large, square scales, and helmets with barred faceplates. Officers are marked by yellow plumes on their helmets. Street guards appear to typically patrol in groups of three (WH, Ch. 22).
Within the city of Far Madding lies a ter'angreal called the Guardian. It consists of three cloudy disks that are each a span wide. Each of these disks has a clear, narrow wedge of crystal, and gradations around its circumference. The Guardian can detect channeling, from both women and men. It creates three zones around the city. The innermost zone ends at each of the bridges, and cuts women off from the True Source. The second zone is larger, ending about a mile around the city, that cuts men off from the True Source. The third and largest zone can detect both men and women channeling outside of the first two zones. When the Guardian detects the use of the One Power, the three crystal wedges point towards the source, showing the location of the channeler through triangulation. The crystal wedges turn red when saidar is detected, and black when saidin is detected.
- The symbol of Far Madding is a golden hand
- Raolin Darksbane was born in Aren Mador
- Yurian Stonebow was born in Fel Moreina
- A Waygate was grown near Aren Mador