The two institutions share an uneasy balance. The konung may overrule any decision made by the Althing, but should he make a habit of this, he will find the jarls, even many of his usual political allies, ready to assert their prerogatives. However, jarls who have done this have found themselves removed from their position. In practice, this means the konung rules most day-to-day events, with the jarls joining in when making major decisions.
Also, should the konung's heirs fight too much over a succession, the Althing will step in and pick an entirely new konung (see Founding, below).
Since Svellheim's economy relies upon trade with their neighbors, they tend to keep good relations with most of them. The lone exception, of course, are the Kreisens, which really isn't a realm at all but a collection of territories of various sizes.
Svellheim's economy is driven by trade, usually overseas in their swift longships. Their primary exports are timber, amber, and a number of minerals including iron, silver, copper, and nickel. Even realms as far as Amaranth have imported some or all of this, despite the distance involved.
Given their cold climate, Svellheim tends not to produce enough food to export. Indeed, during harsh years, they trade their generally more valuable resources to the Empire of Makhaira for wheat and other foodstuffs. They generally subside on fish from the northern seas and sheep, along with the little agriculture their lands can produce.
Svellheim's military is generally feudal and recruited, commanded, and equipped by the jarls. Often, jarls will provide warriors in the form of longship crews, as the longships of Svellheim are at the very least respected by all who know Shijuren's oceans.
Most of their warriors are ill-trained militia. The bulk of Svellheim's military might are in its huscarls, warriors kept well-trained and well-equipped by jarls and, occasionally, wealthy families without title.
The konung also has at his disposal a number of agents called gestir. All of them are skilled with weapons, but they serve more as spies, investigators, or whatever else the konung needs.
In 989 MG, the squabbling among the jarls of the region exceeded the reach and power of the Althing. Following a series of skirmishes in which the victors paid almost as much as the defeated, the exhausted jarls turned to Hróðólf Haraldssen. Hróðólf had worked tirelessly to avoid the skirmishing, in part with his daunting reputation with an axe and in part with his even greater skill with diplomacy.
Alone of the jarls, Hróðólf retained the full might of his steading after the skirmishing. It helped that his steading, Kvidalen was blessed by its location at the top of the North Road, already a major trade route, and one of the best ports in the area. While he could not necessarily overcome all the other jarls, should they unite against him, he could handily defeat any of them.
Since there was no possibility that all the other jarls could agree to work together long enough to face Hróðólf, especially since he remained one of the most popular people in Svellheim, they began to ask him to adjudicate the cases they brought to the Althing. He proved a scrupulously fair judge and after several years of this, the Althing asked him to serve as the first konung.
Hróðólf's dynasty continued for over two hundred years until two brothers squabbled over the crown. In order to preserve the kingdom from ruin, the Althing stepped in and chose Njáll Þórleik to serve as konung.
Three times now the Althing has stepped in to resolve a succession dispute, each time founding a new dynasty. The competitors for the throne have never been able to match the might of the other jarls and, thus far, an acceptable compromise has always been found to take the title.