Stormking902

Are there any cases of mariages being annulled in Westeros?

47 posts in this topic

I have to admit the show has got me thinking is there any cases in "ANY" of GRRM books based in Westeros that lords have had there mariage annuled/set aside and allowed to remarry? I know a king can easily do this but what about every other form of nobility? 

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Yes when the world book recounts the andal invasion there are several lords who put aside their wives for the daughters of andal war chiefs.

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53 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

Yes when the world book recounts the andal invasion there are several lords who put aside their wives for the daughters of andal war chiefs.

We don't know whether that's the same as an annulment. For instance, there is a king who puts aside the mother of his children for a new bride yet we don't know whether that affects the legitimacy of the children from the former wife.

Within the framework of the Faith it seems likely that it would, but the First Men kings wouldn't have cared all that much about that. It is the Andals that enforce their view of marriage basically on everybody else as is attested by the way the Andals see rock and salt marriages on the Iron Islands. For them the children of salt wives are bastards when things are actually somewhat more complicated from the point of view of the Ironborn.

An annulment means that a marriage is erased, a king - and only kings can/did set aside their wives - setting aside his wife might effectively be more or less a divorce.

What we do know is that marriages can be annulled if they are not consummated (because a marriage is only a proper marriage when there is vaginal intercourse involved), and perhaps a couple of other reasons. Barrenness might spring to mind, as well as a spouse being forced into a marriage against his or her will.

But this would all be open to interpretation. The word of a king or prince against the word of the wife would, most likely, always convince any representative of the Faith. In fact, the Targaryens only had to ask for annulment or the Faith's permission to set aside a wife back when the Faith still had teeth - before the Faith Militant Uprising. And even then the Faith would have gladly dissolved the incestuous marriages of Aegon the Conqueror if the man had asked for that. But the only Targaryen in those days who wanted to get rid of his wife was Prince Maegor, and he was married to the one woman he could not got rid of - a Hightower who also happened to be the niece of the High Septon. Such a marriage would never be annulled because both the High Septon and the Hightowers would be humiliated by that. That's why Maegor took a second wife instead of asking for an annulment or the permission to set aside Ceryse Hightower. Considering that Ceryse apparently was barren it is not that unlikely he would have gotten permission to set her aside if she had been any other woman.

In the Targaryen sphere bigamy or polygamy is actually more likely considering that there is precedent for this in Aegon and Maegor. The only Targaryen king who set aside his wife was Baelor the Blessed and he supposedly never consummated his marriage so he never was actually marriage. I guess the whole thing could count as an annulment but it wasn't something he asked about it was something he basically decided by his own authority and the Faith could only comply.

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I don't know of any Annulments but some hightower Kings set aside their wives for Andal invaders as did a gardener king.

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Wasn't Tyrion's marriage to Tysha annulled in some way? I mean a septon did marry them. Was Tywin able to have it annulled on the grounds that she was a "whore" or so he claimed? Did he ever get the faiths approval at any point? 

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Posted (edited)

30 minutes ago, Ralphis Baratheon said:

Wasn't Tyrion's marriage to Tysha annulled in some way? I mean a septon did marry them. Was Tywin able to have it annulled on the grounds that she was a "whore" or so he claimed? Did he ever get the faiths approval at any point? 

If I recall correctly, the marriage was just an act... I mean, they were married by a drunken septon with pigs as witnesses...

Edited by Leonard Greyjoy

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34 minutes ago, heraldofdragons said:

http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Minisa_Tully_and_Sansa/

AFAIK there's no direct mention of annulment in the novels themselves. i imagine that in practical terms, a marriage with no witnesses wouldn't be binding, and i imagine that marriages not performed by a septon are similarly non-binding. i have no proof to support this
 

Well, you could look to Tyrion's marriage to Tysha, which, as mentioned above, was annulled on those grounds.

This is why I have trouble believing any theories where Rhaegar secretly marries Lyanna. I suppose you could count the KG as witnesses, but seeing as they're all dead now, they may as well not been there in the first place. And what Septon is going to get R either an annulment or a polygamous marriage? And so if no one in Westeros will believe this second marriage, what's the point of this plot?

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, heraldofdragons said:

in practical terms, a marriage with no witnesses wouldn't be binding

Binding presumes a binder. Who would constrain Rhaegar if he told a Septon that Elia was no longer able to discharge the various customs and duties of the a royal wife? Her inability to have more children may well have been enough, if a reason was needed. Would a Septon even need to be involved if a royal could simply command a Maester to declare the annulment on paper? For the heir apparent, maybe even political considerations were enough, as when Joffrey's betrothal was annulled after Ned's treason-ish and the North's subsequent uprising.

If there's one thing we glean from the books, it's that the "rules" of medieval culture only apply when convenient to those who have the power to enforce or ignore them.

Edited by cgrav

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1 hour ago, cgrav said:

Binding presumes a binder. Who would constrain Rhaegar if he told a Septon that Elia was no longer able to discharge the various customs and duties of the a royal wife? Her inability to have more children may well have been enough, if a reason was needed. Would a Septon even need to be involved if a royal could simply command a Maester to declare the annulment on paper? For the heir apparent, maybe even political considerations were enough, as when Joffrey's betrothal was annulled after Ned's treason-ish and the North's subsequent uprising.

If there's one thing we glean from the books, it's that the "rules" of medieval culture only apply when convenient to those who have the power to enforce or ignore them.

I get your point, since it's kind of my point too, but marriage presumes a binder, even if it's just a lone drunk septon 

As i understand it annulment is a pretty special procedure, which requires either the High Septon or some kind of decision by council. Maegor provides a precedent for setting aside a barren wife when he left Ceryse, but that didn't go super well for him, so the idea that royals can annul as they please isn't completely supported. 

The other commonly-cited example of Tyrion and Tysha isn't explicitly annulled, IIRC. According to GRRM at least one party has to request an annulment, and Tywin has other means of de-legitimizing that marriage: nobody knows it happened besides Jaime, and an entire division of soldiers can attest that they slept with and paid a whore named Tysha 

this is only about precedent fwiw, not about whether Rhaegar could've annulled his marriage (it's pretty likely he did somehow)

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Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, heraldofdragons said:

this is only about precedent fwiw, not about whether Rhaegar could've annulled his marriage (it's pretty likely he did somehow)

It's extremely likely he did not; it will most likely be shown as plot service used by a poorly written show, and not of a talented author.

To say Rhaegar could have forced one through is one thing. To say Elia Martell would have been completely in the dark is a whole different thing. It's not like Elia was a country bumpkin maiden and Rhaegar this political schemer. Elia had multiple children, and had been around for years. You think she didn't have people loyal to her? She would have been completely and utterly unaware she had been annulled? That her children were retroactively bastards? Do you think Rhaegar would do that to his children? Because that's what an annulment is. It's not a divorce. It says, this never happened. That makes children of the union bastards. So if it happened, Elia knew. And if she knew, Doran or another Martel knew. And if other Martells knew, there's no way this is the first we're hearing of it.

 

 

side note, that would make Aegon a Waters. And that, at least, is amusing in its irony. Considering the hundreds of thousands of words on this site bickering between Targ and Blackfyre.

Edited by shadows and dust
irony

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12 hours ago, shadows and dust said:

It's extremely likely he did not; it will most likely be shown as plot service used by a poorly written show, and not of a talented author.

To say Rhaegar could have forced one through is one thing. To say Elia Martell would have been completely in the dark is a whole different thing. It's not like Elia was a country bumpkin maiden and Rhaegar this political schemer. Elia had multiple children, and had been around for years. You think she didn't have people loyal to her? She would have been completely and utterly unaware she had been annulled? That her children were retroactively bastards? Do you think Rhaegar would do that to his children? Because that's what an annulment is. It's not a divorce. It says, this never happened. That makes children of the union bastards. So if it happened, Elia knew. And if she knew, Doran or another Martel knew. And if other Martells knew, there's no way this is the first we're hearing of it.

 

 

side note, that would make Aegon a Waters. And that, at least, is amusing in its irony. Considering the hundreds of thousands of words on this site bickering between Targ and Blackfyre.

So an annulment does disinherit the children from the union as well? 

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5 hours ago, Aegon1FanBoy said:

So an annulment does disinherit the children from the union as well? 

Not in iRL history:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_of_Aquitaine

Her first marriage to Louis VII of France was annuled on the grounds of co-sanguinity when no son was born during the 15 years of marriage, but the daughters remained legitimate.

In fact, it was a legal trick widely used by royal (and noble?) families - they would marry relatives* without first obtaining a dispensation from the Church, because such marriages could then be annuled, if circumstances made it desirable. That didn't retroactively make the children bastards or the woman "soiled", though.

* Canonical marriage law during the early Middle Ages was based on the Code of Justinian that prohibited marriage between people who were even very distantly related - something like in the 6th or even 8th degree, IIRC. This was initially done to prevent Byzantine land magnates from combining their holdings via intermarriage and threatening the throne. The law was never followed among the peasants, because with their limited choices due to limited mobility it would have been impossible to satisfy.

Re: Tyrion's "marriage" - septons were consulted and declared it invalid. I imagine that a minor can't legally marry without the consent of his guardian in Westeros (The Crown was Sansa's and "Arya's" guardian). Catholic church also had minimal age requirement for marriages - 14 for boys and 12 for girls, which could only be circumvented with a dispensation, so the Faith might have something similar as well.

Now, in Westeros, there is also one other way to dissolve a marriage - that is, if one of the spouses joins NW or the Faith. That's why Fireball forced his wife to become a silent sister and why any previous marriages of the black brothers are considered null and void. 

Orthodox Church had something similar - married people could become monks/nuns and that ended the marriage. But the Catholics didn't have the option.

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10 hours ago, Aegon1FanBoy said:

So an annulment does disinherit the children from the union as well? 

We don't really know how it works in GRRM world. 

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17 hours ago, Maia said:

Not in iRL history:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_of_Aquitaine

Her first marriage to Louis VII of France was annuled on the grounds of co-sanguinity when no son was born during the 15 years of marriage, but the daughters remained legitimate.

In fact, it was a legal trick widely used by royal (and noble?) families - they would marry relatives* without first obtaining a dispensation from the Church, because such marriages could then be annuled, if circumstances made it desirable. That didn't retroactively make the children bastards or the woman "soiled", though.

* Canonical marriage law during the early Middle Ages was based on the Code of Justinian that prohibited marriage between people who were even very distantly related - something like in the 6th or even 8th degree, IIRC. This was initially done to prevent Byzantine land magnates from combining their holdings via intermarriage and threatening the throne. The law was never followed among the peasants, because with their limited choices due to limited mobility it would have been impossible to satisfy.

Re: Tyrion's "marriage" - septons were consulted and declared it invalid. I imagine that a minor can't legally marry without the consent of his guardian in Westeros (The Crown was Sansa's and "Arya's" guardian). Catholic church also had minimal age requirement for marriages - 14 for boys and 12 for girls, which could only be circumvented with a dispensation, so the Faith might have something similar as well.

Now, in Westeros, there is also one other way to dissolve a marriage - that is, if one of the spouses joins NW or the Faith. That's why Fireball forced his wife to become a silent sister and why any previous marriages of the black brothers are considered null and void. 

Orthodox Church had something similar - married people could become monks/nuns and that ended the marriage. But the Catholics didn't have the option.

I know that was just wondering if it works that way in ASOIAF too, but thanks for reaffirming with great examples 

14 hours ago, Daemon The Black Dragon said:

We don't really know how it works in GRRM world. 

Tis true sadly 

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Posted (edited)

There was reference to a process in The Rogue Prince in which Prince Daemon wanted to set aside his Royce wife, which included a petition that required the king's permission (which he denied).

Quote

As charming as he was hot-tempered, Prince Daemon had earned his knight’s spurs at six-and-ten, and had been given Dark Sister by the Old King himself in recognition of his prowess. Though he had wed the Lady of Runestone in 97 AC, during the Old King’s reign, the marriage had not been a success. Prince Daemon found the Vale of Arryn boring (“In the Vale, the men fuck sheep,” he wrote. “You cannot fault them. Their sheep are prettier than their women.”), and soon developed a mislike of his lady wife, whom he called my bronze bitch, after the runic bronze armor worn by the lords of House Royce. Upon the accession of his brother to the Iron Throne, the prince petitioned to have his marriage set aside. Viserys denied the request but did allow Daemon to return to court, where he sat on the small council, serving as master of coin from 103–104, and master of laws for half a year in 104.

So, it seems that there is a system in place, but it's very rarely used?

Edited by Daena the Defiant

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On 8/20/2017 at 1:35 PM, Daena the Defiant said:

There was reference to a process in The Rogue Prince in which Prince Daemon wanted to set aside his Royce wife, which included a petition that required the king's permission (which he denied).

So, it seems that there is a system in place, but it's very rarely used?

I mean I think the system in place is just "ask the king and pray he says yes"

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