This article deals with general attitudes of the peoples of Hökaland.
Not unlike the American Dream, the dream of Ascendancy is the general idea that anyone can become anything they want and is held by many in the Realms. Much like in our world, this is an empty dream filled with powerful people wanting to enthrall the individuals while still encouraging the dream to instill a sense of meaning in fairly meaningless lives. Like gambling or drinking, it is a carrot for people to hang on to a dream in a depressing, short, life while doing their best - which mainly helps others than themselves.
However, there is much more presedence for this type of hopes in the Realms than in our world because the whole powerbase is resting on the shoulders of individuals "who made it", who experienced Ascendacy. The power of the Family Register is almost entirely hinged on the fact that the gentry is changing and the Register can be a supporting force for those who gained power to retain it and new "houses" are frequently created in battles around the Realms by being raised to Firstknight. There are also those who attempt the action Kingdom by Might (though these fail, as a rule, their myths live on).
Most of these annointed Firstknights (also known as Tyrospur, hedge knight or wandering knight) never achive proper "ascendancy" in the form of an heredetary title such as a Peer Knight and beyond, but their mere existence (and very visible/annoying existence in peace times) of them keep fuelling the wheels of production for Regents in the Realms and of the hundreds of armed conflicts of various size that happens on any given year.
Gays individuals obviously exist, but there is no tolerance of openly gay people. To a great extent they are not part of public discourse and as long as they marry and procreate, they can often have loves of their own gender through their lives. If found out or outed by their (heterosexual) partner, however, the poor individual is looking at some sort of legal punishment and a ruined social life.
Tolerance is greater in the Southrealms, as in people turn their heads away more often, but if the matter becomes official, they are even more harsh as to show they are faithful to their beliefs.
In the Northrealms tolerance is more complex. People don't care so much who you lay with, but gender roles are of slightly greater importance and a "man that lies like a woman" can not be considered for any important tasks like leadership. To be called "ergi" is also a mortal insult.
The Realms employ a fairly flexible succession system which is monitored and organised by the Family Register wherein it isn't uncommon for female regents. This is a symptom to show that the world is slightly more gender equal than medieval Europe, but not by a large margin. The primary reason for this flexibility has been to ensure the noble lineages despite a system where new families can create themselves and rise to power.
Female regents are dealt with in official channels with respect, but a level of disrespect exists and has to be accepted by the female regent in order to keep to power. She has to accept the general notion that she is inferior in physical and mental attributes to me - at least officially. Behind the scenes a female regent needs to be much more apt at intrigue and politics to remain in power than a male counterpart. A general rule is that is a woman has sat on the throne for much longer than the time to takes to gain a male heir (even an infant), she is probably very good at staying in power.
The quality of regents among males vary widely, but female regents are either very good, managing to stay in control, or they are thrown aside before they have a chance to blink. It can be said that long reigning female regents are often more skilled at navigating the treacherous waters of politics than their male counterparts. At the same time, most female regents choose to portray a slightly less powerful front to avoid intimidating male lords and as part of the game to keep in control.
While there is no inherited stigma of gingers in Hökaland, there are many strong views on them. Red hair and marble skin and/or freckles is a general sign of strength or wit and possible lines of dragon blood in a child. Depending on how the family or society views dragon/hawk lines, the child will be treated very differently. Some beliefs are that the red hair comes from something deeper than dragons and hawks and it's part of a deep natural force. Regardless, ginger children do tend to be treated a bit differently and turn out a bit different as well. Common stereotypes include bookworms that hide away in the Family Register or university or become charmers and leaders of people.
People who are left handed are said to be lying and backstabbing and cannot be trusted. Most parents try to train their young to be right handed at least so they seem "normal" for everyday life. There exists some famous exceptions of fighters who are left handed, but generally people believe them to be cursed for whatever reason.
People are generally wary of anythign supernatural and disikes magic and its users, but at the same time can be seen to buy good luck charms and love potions.
- See Magic user
Nationalism like it exists in our world does not exist in Hökaland, but xenophobia always exist aplenty. A "version" of nationalism is that people are protective of their homes and their find "thier current kingdom" safer than the prospect of "changing kingdoms" (by war, usually). People are proud, in a sense, of their Kingdom and often feel something positive for their protector (Regent), but people are members of their local communities first, their province second, their county third and their Kingdom fourth.
Every gentleman and decent freeman in the Realms will always condemn slavery, if asked. At the same time they often do not mind the near-slavery system of indebted farmers that make up the vast majority (more than 90%) of the population and the use of forced labour camps as punishment for many minor crimes.
In other parts of the world, slavery exists and is a large part of the economy.
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